Think you've considered all perspectives when roleplaying? We've compiled a couple of tips from the players and admins from the Realm of Mystara to hopefully help you take your roleplaying to the next level in Mysts of Eyr. This article is geared toward intermediate roleplayers and covers five tips to help you step up your game and attract your fellow roleplayers to seek you out for future roleplay.
Tip #1: Preen yourself less, focus on your RP partner more.
A lot of para roleplayers, when roleplaying will often take quite a lot of time describing the glint in their eye, the quiver of their lip, the wind in their hair, their sultry sexy muscular body, and so on.
While this is good in terms of offering a visual, the person on the other end of the roleplay often feels like they are not the star of the show, and can be put off, or put down, by overly self-preening descriptives that can come off as narcissistic to the spectator. And no one wants to live in the shadow of your vanity.
Try an exercise where you spend some of your descriptives focusing on your roleplay partner. Try something to the effect of: "she looked at him with an appreciative smile, his shining black hair like the finest silks and glistening green eyes that seemed to carry the weight of the world." Not only does this show the other person that you are paying attention to what they are saying and taking cues from their demeanor, avatar, and RP -- it pumps them up and makes them feel good. Even if you are describing a lecherous zombie -- taking the effort to notice and incorporate descriptives about the other person will show them that your roleplay isn't solely talking all about yourself. When people FEEL GOOD about roleplaying with you, they'll come back for more again and again -- and you will soon find yourself at the center of every major roleplay.
TIP #2: Take Advantage of the terrain
Terrain is there for you to enhance your roleplay and yet it is often overlooked if not completely disregarded. Most commonly, people will hide behind trees or watch the crackling fire and little else. Terrain can really benefit your roleplay because you can use it to your advantage or detriment to enhance a scenario.
Next time you get into a battle -- attempt to drive a person toward a rickety bridge, if not yourself. Pay attention to the elevation, are you on higher ground or lower? This can greatly affect the outcome of a fight. Are you by the waters' edge? Trip and throw yourself in! Are you by a rocky precipice? Consider how your character would be affected by such steep terrain, and perhaps consider how "fatigued" your character might be from climbing the hillside to a temple ruin. Next time your character is hanging out in the swamps, add to your fight how slow and beleaguered your steps are from the thick mud.
There are a lot of different aspects of terrain that can impact your roleplay in a great way.
Example, "he crept backward, lying low in the thick and gnarled underbrush of the jungle as the rabid leopard approached, growling with fangs bared. One more step back and the earth moved beneath him, crumbling away to a deadly fall into the roiling green sea. His only choice was to jump or fight."
Tip #3: Make someone laugh, have a sense of humor
The bottom line is that we're all here to have fun. Taking your character *too seriously* is an attitude that can really kill the fun for others. I understand that for immersion it's good to keep a persona, especially if you're an evil or badass character. But, there are ways in roleplay to give everyone a good chuckle, have a great time, without losing your street cred with the local bad asses. A great example of this would be from Mystara where the formidable undead warrior Garrent Morgath, who, in his roleplay battle allowed several of his decomposing limbs to be lopped off and sent flying. Describing this in just the right way can have everyone rolling and you'lll find that again, you will be the center of a lot of roleplay in the future. So - key point, funny descriptions of things can get folks laughing even if your character is an evil badass.
Another thing is self-deprecating humor. On many occasions I have slipped, tripped, walked straight into a pole, walked in with a section of my dress tucked into my underwear by accident, fallen on my face in the mud and other bodily function mishaps. Regardless of how elegant or perfect or graceful our character is, adding in human foibles and funny mistakes makes us that much more real and believable - which people connect with, and again get them laughing. Passing your character off as perfect and without humorous faults can really lack the depth that a true person would have.
Tip #4 Compel Yourself
I see applications every single day where people put down NOTHING for "Goals and future intentions?". I also get people who complain that they wait around and no one talks to them, and they can't get into RP. To take your roleplay to the next level, COMPEL yourself. Without a mystery, a purpose, a quest, a compulsion, or a drive, your character will go nowhere and will be boring to roleplay with. It's easy to feel purposeless but it's also very easy to fix. So many of you really don't know where you're going or what you intend to do and this really is character assassination of the worst kind. Put some time toward thinking about your characters' past, and what your character is most deeply compelled toward. Is it love, sex, perhaps a family? Open your own trading business? Advance within your race tribe and become a high ranking person? Discover the people who killed your family? Avenge the death of your comrade? Discover the mystery of how you came to be? Find a cure for your particular affliction? Gain wealth? Find a way off this Eyr or this Realm entirely? If you are completely lost and struggle with finding a compelling future storyline to drive you, we have a team of amazing writers that would be willing to help.
Tip #5 - Drop Plot Hooks
(Contributed by Vossla Resident)
So you have a realistic multidimensional character with a good backstory and good current motivations and goals. Awesome! Now let your richness become amplified by opportunistically dropping just a few words here and there that are hinting invitations to new regions of character landscape. Sensitive RP partners will pick up on the cues, and - eventually - follow those tantalizing loose ends.
Examples: and note their brevity.
"she rubbed the jewel at her throat before replying" (( past memory reflex ))
"she put on her veil as darkness fell" (( that's backwards . . ))
"he reached for the tankard with his left, then grunted and grabbed it with his right hand instead" (( injured ))
"Yes, he replied dreamily, eyes defocussing for a moment" (( ah, l'amour . . ))
This is in contrast to what I call "telepathy" where the player's dying to share their secrets, so they just type unknowable information into their posts: "Yes, replied dreamily, thinking of their last kiss under the ash tree when they decided to have pretzels at their June 8th wedding reception."
Be patient. Revel in the knowledge that your character is deeper than anybody knows. Yes, this will occasionally mean a dead area. For example, I played a wizard for 3 years. She had no "familiar." There was a great backstory for why, but despite dropping hints for 3 years, nobody ever asked Zira why she had no familiar. Hm. I should have nudged somebody oocly, hindsight being 20/20.