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Hi guys, and welcome to roleplay! This guide is designed to give you a basic understanding of where to begin, terms and basic etiquette so you can feel comfortable when just starting out, as well as some suggested addons and additional resources. Please note that some of the terms and concepts I mention you may have heard of before: this is because this guide is meant to cover as much as possible from the ground up! GLOSSARY OF TERMS/ABBREVIATIONS RP - RolePlay, in context usually referring to a group of people creating a story within the bounds of the lore of the game IC - In Character, this refers to any speech, thoughts, actions or anything else that is created from a character's perspective. If you someone says they are "IC" it means that they are currently playing the character and any actions or things they say are interpreted as coming from the character OOC - Out Of Character, essentially the opposite of IC, its anything that’s just coming from the player themselves and not the character, if someone says they're doing something "OOC" it means that whatever they're doing isn't the actions of the character Canon - This refers to anything that is accepted by the RP community as being fact, or existing, this can refer to lore that exists in the game itself or it can be used to talk about events that have happened in RP. Example: "Is it actually canon that your character plays the saxophone?" If you said that as a joke OOC, the answer would be no, if it’s actually in character that your character plays the sax, the answer is yes PM/DM/Whisper - sending someone a private message Powerlevel - refers to how powerful characters within a community are, different guilds and RP communities operate on different powerlevels. Some guilds might be playing their characters as able to take down a wild god and others might play their characters as common footsoldiers who can only really go toe to toe with a gnoll PC/OC - Player Character or Original Character, this refers to the characters people play generally for an extended period of time. Usually this is reflected by an actual character that they have ingame. NPC - Non Player Character, this can either refer to a character written by Blizzard who exists in the game and is not played by any player or characters invented for short term usage by players that are played within roleplay to further a story. Example: I once briefly played a judge for a scene where some PCs were in trouble with the law ERP - Erotic Roleplay, roleplay with a sexual/erotic context Post - Used more commonly to describe out of game rp (discord/forum/tumblr), a post contains all the actions and dialog a character of a certain moment, generally rotating players post by post as the rp progresses Scene - this usually refers to one session of rp in a single setting, if you have a conversation in a bar with someone, and then later meet up with them to kill skeletons, those are two different scenes Storyline/Campaign - an overarching story that takes up multiple scenes, usually with several characters DM/GM - Dungeon Master/Game Master, a term taken from DnD, this is the person who guides a storyline and is ultimately in control of where it goes and what opposition the players face Metagaming - Using OOC knowledge to give a character an advantage IC OP/Powergaming - (OverPowered) Someone who uses a powerlevel much higher than the people they are RPing with PvP - Player versus Player, anything that pits one player or PC against one another PvE - Player versus Environment, pitting player or players against NPCs RP Dissonance - a descriptor for when two characters/stories are incompatible because of conflicting lore/character interactions with the world/power level/etc. Example: two characters that both have and always carry The Ashbringer IC trying to interact Tavern/Campfire RP - RP that is generally relatively unattached to a storyline and is simply a social venture Godmodding - taking control of another player's character in a roleplay (very bad) OOC vs IC The first and most basic thing to understand when starting out in roleplay is that IC and OOC are separate things and should be kept separate. Your character can hate my character and we can still be friends as players! It's extremely important to keep communication OOC open to prevent any hard feelings. If someone says something mean to you in character; understand that it does not mean that they don't like you OOC. Generally though, if you are saying something mean or hurtful to someone IC it’s a good idea to reassure them OOC. Usually when RPing in game you'll have a channel that's dedicated to talking OOCly: sometimes this is an actual chat channel in game that you can /join <channel name>, many guilds will have these and TNRH also has community and /join RP for the whole server, but sometimes it's just party or raidchat. Whatever channel you use will likely be labeled or agreed on beforehand, but if you ever have to say something OOC in an IC channel you can denote that by putting a double parenthesis on either side: ((like this! Anything written in here will be understood to be OOC)) Sometimes people will just tack them on the end of a single line or post and it will mean the same thing.)) In game, /say and /emote (or /me) are pretty much always considered to be IC when RPing. Generally, if you're not sure if a channel in game is IC or OOC (/guild might vary by guild for example) just ask with the ((double parenthesis.)) In forums, they are usually labeled by section as to whether they're IC or OOC. In discord RP, usually IC channels and OOC channels are specified by either channel name or category. SPELLING, GRAMMAR and ACCENTS Generally speaking in roleplay you're going to want to write with proper grammar and spelling to the best of your ability. If you have some difficulty that causes more than average errors, such as dyslexia or if you're RPing in a language that isn't your first, it might be a good idea to let your partner know OOCly that you care about the RP but might have a bit of trouble with spelling or grammar. In my experience everyone is extremely understanding of someone who's having trouble as long as they know it's not a reflection on how the person feels about the RP (like if you’re just being sloppy because you don’t care). It's worth noting that usually nobody minds a few typos or bungled sentences, it's only when things get genuinely difficult to read that it usually really becomes an issue. If someone has a hard time reading what you write, they may be less inclined to RP with you. With legibility in mind, let's talk accents. If you want to play a character with an accent, you'll want to adjust your dialog to match the appropriate phonetics of that accent. For example, dwarves generally speak with something akin to a scottish accent, so if you're playing a dwarf, you'll likely want to change the dialog to match that. Keep in mind you should only change the dialog, there's no reason to carry your accents into any emotes or actions you might perform. Furthermore, when you do an accent try to keep a certain level of readability, your accent might be spot on with more letter substitutions and clipped gerunds but there's a certain point where everyone around you is scratching their heads on what you could possibly be saying. It's hard to RP with someone if you can't understand anything they're saying! To use an example, in the movie Brave the main character says: "Mom, it's just my bow" which would be totally acceptable, but perhaps feels a little bland to you, so you could write "Maaaaauhm, eet's joos' meh boooo" which is still technically the same sentence, if a bit hard to parse, so maybe something closer to "Mum, it's jus' me bow" which more or less gets across that the character is speaking with this accent without making it overtly hard to read, about average between the two earlier ones Where you want to fall on the scale of no accent to heavy accent in your writing is entirely on you and your preferences there's no 'correct' way to write accents, but do try and keep in mind that someone else has to read that accent and hopefully understand it. Again, OOC vs IC, its possible for a character to not understand an accent, but in general you want the player to be able to understand it. ROLEPLAY “RULES” - BASIC RP ETIQUETTE Before I get into the “rules” of RP, I want to sort of put forth a disclaimer - people don’t always follow these, and some of these aren’t things I would personally necessarily call “bad” in an RP; this isn’t any kind of callout and if you do these things I’m not looking to make you feel bad about it. This is mostly “people may find this rude, so don’t be surprised if doing these things ruffles someone’s feathers or gets you in trouble with your guild.” Most of these rules exist to prevent RP dissonance, because causing too much of it may make people hesitant to RP with you. Different RP for Different Groups A very important thing keep in mind is to be aware of the group you find yourself RPing in; this could be a guild, a server community, a massive cross-realm WoW group or just a handful of friends. What your RP looks like in the context of these different spaces can be wildly disparate. The power-level of characters can swing pretty heavily from group to group, how fast and loose with the lore you are, character interactions with major lore figures, etc. Generally speaking, the more people in the group you’re RPing with, the more restrictive and close to the etiquette rules listed here you’re going to be expected to play. When you’re just writing a RP with one friend that isn’t considered canon in a larger RP sphere, anything you agree on goes; but if you’re in a guild with a bunch of people whose stories and characters are affected by your RP they’re going to frown pretty heavily on you bringing in that much RP dissonance. If you’re ever not sure what your groups feelings on something are, just ask OOC first! Interacting Directly with Major Lore Objects/Characters and Why You Shouldn’t Most of the time, interacting with major lore characters/objects/events in the game in a large and personal way is discouraged. This is to avoid the RP dissonance of say, you walking up to me in an RP and telling me how you slew Gul’dan with your own two hands and I’m like “but I slew Gul’dan with my own two hands!” Obviously, that would be a pretty big problem to try and RP around (we can’t both have strangled Gul’dan to death without having at least met doing it). It would usually be considered acceptable to say that you were part of a large team that assisted in the efforts to defeat him--but the actual kill is generally attributed to some nameless generic hero possessed by no PC. This goes for slaying major lore characters, dating major lore characters, possessing important one of a kind artifacts, even in some circles interacting with major lore characters in any way. Obviously this means that what you play through the game is not a direct translation of what your character does. When you play through the quests in game, you’re treated as the one true hero of azeroth--but in an RP setting, you need more room for the other players to be just as important as you are. Additionally, often just saying your character is in direct contact with a major lore character can cause RP dissonance. If I walk into an RP and say “King Anduin directly ordered me to burn down this Horde orphanage and kill a bunch of orphans because he just hates orphans so much” I’m sort of putting a bunch of lore and words in Anduin’s mouth that I have no right to. Most people would probably be furious at the idea that I’m establishing a canon where Anduin hates orphans and wants them dead. Anduin hating orphans is an extreme example, but any time you as a player are putting words into a game character’s mouth, it’s likely that you’ll encounter resistance. This is avoided by just never having PCs interact directly with any sort of major lore characters. Again, how acceptable this is and what is acceptable varies by your RP group, but usually minor NPCs in the WoW are considered fair game (having heard something from a barkeep in a small town, for example). A word of caution however: Blizzard may decide to do things you don’t expect with the NPCs you tie your characters to, and dealing with that can be difficult and radically change your character. Take it from someone who made their character from the Cliffwalker tribe before playing through the Cataclysm Stonetalon storyline: your entire family may wind up dead. Lore Nobody expects you to know everything, especially right away, but you should try to stay as within the lore of the game as much as you can. Lore is primarily important because it sort of greases the wheels of RP. If you and the person you’re RPing with aren’t operating with the same rules of how the world works in mind, it’s going to cause RP dissonance. Most people won’t mind if you don’t know things, but what’s important is that you try and that you’re open to people politely correcting you. I’m never going to be upset with someone who doesn’t know everything (goodness knows I don’t, despite how many years I’ve been playing) but I will be hesitant to RP with someone who gets angry or upset when they’re told the lore is different from what they thought, or can’t at least have rational discussion about it. Powerlevel Powerlevel is definitely something you should try and be very aware of from group to group. Every established RP group is likely also going to have a sort of understood powerlevel, sometimes your characters are expected to only be as powerful as the local city guard, other times they’re powerful saviors of the universe, and getting to know which one you are in is very important. As much fun as it might seem, generally being more powerful than all the PCs you’re interacting with (powergaming) is going to turn people off from RPing with you. As an example, in my guild we have a decently high power-level, where together a number of the PCs took down a corrupted wild god at one point. But, a smaller facet of the guild was a tribe of Tauren I was a part of--and for a bit we avoided bringing any of our more powerful magical friends to our village because we wanted to explore some stories at a lower power-level. It’s hard to play out the struggles of getting fresh water to irrigate crops if a shaman or a mage can just snap their fingers and fix the problems, rendering the story over. In the same vein, choosing what race your character is can be dependant on powerlevel. All playable races are of course, fair game. But, if you want to play something that isn’t a playable race, you’re generally going to need to make sure they’re on the same powerlevel as the playable races. If someone walks up in RP as a Taunka very few people will balk at that, and even very few would have a problem with something a little more off-brand like an Arrakoa or a Jinyu. The problem generally arises when someone is playing a race that’s implied to be much more powerful than the others. For example, if you’re a Naaru in disguise, people might not be keen on RPing with you. One of the most common examples of this is people playing dragons: some communities take huge issue with people playing dragons but others are ok with it--if you are thinking about playing one make sure you ask around your RP community first to see how they view these things. Godmodding As defined in the glossary, godmodding is the act of controlling a character that belongs to another player and is heavily frowned on. The easiest to understand and most common place this comes up is in combat situations. For example, if my character is Arahe and the person I’m RPing with has a character named Gahnder, it would be godmodding if I wrote a post that was “Arahe cuts off Gahnder’s arm with her glaive,” instead, I would want to write a post that only involves my own character’s actions and reactions. “Arahe swings her glaive at Gahnder’s arm” would be the proper way to phrase the post, because Gahnder can decide how much damage, if any, his arm receives. MetaGaming Another thing I want to cover is meta-gaming, which is keeping IC and OOC knowledge separate. I already went into OOC vs IC a bit earlier, but I want to run through it in the context of meta-gaming. It’s important to limit your character’s knowledge to just what they would actually know, even if you as a player know more than them. For example, you as a player might know that your sneaky rogue friend is creeping up behind your character unseen, but your character might not be aware and get surprised! Or, you might know from an OOC perspective that another character is alive after an attack, but your character is still in the dark. This is most frustrating when used directly against another PC; it can make it hard to react to things, but also break down trust between players and cause hesitance in revealing ‘too much’ of things that should be discussed ahead of time because the meta-gamer might ruin them. It is also generally frowned upon when it comes to lore from the game. If in a cutscene/book/etc Genn Greymane whispers in Anduin’s ear some sort of secret and nobody else is around to hear it, your character probably doesn’t know that secret and it would be strange to go around telling other people about it--or worse, expecting them to know about it. Post Etiquette and Turn Order When RPing, always try to communicate one post at a time that contains a full action/piece of dialong without constantly adding additional lines and wait for the person/people you’re RPing with to respond before adding more. This is especially important ingame or in places where you can’t see if the other person is typing. If you’re writing a longer post and you don’t have an addon which allows you to type it out at once, include an ellipsis at the end (...) to let the other person know that you’re not done with your post yet. It can be extremely difficult to respond to someone who is constantly adding more to their post in seperate lines because you might start typing out a response and then have to change it with each following line, or you might not know when they’re finished and you should post. Always try to let everyone else respond to each piece of information before continuing, unless they’ve said it’s ok to skip them OOC. For example: Don’t: Player A: “Hello!” Player A: “How are you?” Player A: “I just got back from the front.” Player A: Character A reaches out to pat Character B’s pet on the head. Player A: “Our mutual friend got injured in last week’s attack.” Player B: “Hello. I’m well, how are you? Are they ok?” In this instance, Player B probably has to rewrite their post several times to react to each new input, taking them even longer to post and likely getting frustrated in the process, and may just sit and wait after the last line, wondering if Player A is ready for a response yet. Do: Player A: “Hello! How are you?” Player B: “Hello. I’m well, how are you?” Player A: “I just got back from the front.” Character A reaches out to pat Character B’s pet on the head. “Our mutual friend got injured in last week’s attack. I went to go visit them and spoke with them at some length. We discussed…” Player A: “some plans that I think would interest you.” Player B: Character B’s pet makes a happy noise at the head pats. “Oh? Are they alright? What sort of plans?” Here, Player A gives Player B a chance to respond to more reasonable chunks of information and the flow of conversation feels a bit better. It might even stand to be a little more broken up. Player A is also keeping it clear where the posts end, so Player B knows when to respond. Entering a Scene in Progress If you see a pair of people already engaged in an RP, it's totally possible to join in! If it's ingame in a public space like a tavern or at an RP event, usually you're good to just walk up and join them. The same is true for forum or discord RP which has been denoted as "open rp." The rest of the time, however, it's polite to whisper or ask in an OOC chat if it's ok to join the scene. It can throw people off if they're engaged in a serious story-line conversation if you just jump right in, but most of the time people will be open and happy to include you if you ask! Basic Ingame Manners Generally, when you're RPing ingame, you'll want to toggle on walk instead of run (the default keybind is / on the numpad). Often people will identify that you're IC and entering a scene when you're walking. If you don't have a RP Profile Addon, this is an easy way for people to know that you're an RPer! Avoid excessive use of moves/running around in circles/toys just because you're bored between posts. If your character is jumping up and down on the table IC that's fine, but keep in mind that your character's movements and actions while in an RP scene are considered IC and people will react to that, and may find too much activity annoying or distracting in both an OOC and IC sense. To Quickly Summarize RP Etiquette: You only control your character, never control or directly affect someone else’s PC without their explicit OOC permission. Your character does not experience everything you play through in the game, and you should avoid direct contact with important lore figures and objects. Try to keep lore in mind and be open to discussions about lore and how it pertains to your characters. Keep your character’s power level roughly on par with whoever you’re RPing with. OOC knowledge should be kept separate from your character’s IC knowledge. Construct your posts in a way that makes them clear and easy for your RP partner to respond to. And again, all of these guidelines are just that, they are not necessarily a direct reflection on my own personal RP views, and they are subject to change a bit from RP community to RP community. They are just to let you know what may be frowned upon in whatever community you may find yourself in. Make sure you keep clear and open OOC communication with your community to find out what’s acceptable! Combat In RP, combat can be handled in a few different ways. The most common are dice rolls, duels and RP combat. Dice Combat: Usually used if you don’t really know/trust your opponent and you want to guarantee a fair fight. Usually it’s as simple as both players rolling a die and whoever rolls higher succeeds. This can either be a single roll that determines the winner of the fight, or multiple rolls that determine each move and how successful they are. Sometimes people will just roll a die on their own and sort of arbitrarily determine how successful they are at moves/attacks/avoidances/etc by how high or low they roll. Duel Combat: this combat is simply fighting someone PvP ingame in a duel to determine who canonically wins a fight ICly RP Combat: Here, you just write out your moves/reactions to your opponents moves at eachother, my earlier example of godmodding is an example of a possible RP combat post. If you do this form of combat, it's polite to at least take minor hits sometimes. It can be very boring if two characters are just dodging every single move the other throws out, and frustrating if players are taking down a difficult NPC monster a GM is running without taking any hits. The GM won’t godmod you into being injured, but they might be less inclined to run things for you if you breeze through their final boss without a scratch. WoW ADDONS Most addons for WoW can be downloaded and managed very easily through the twitch app (what was once the curse app). Generally just search the names in the twitch app to find them. I will try to update these as needed. If you have suggestions for other RP addons, please leave a comment and I’ll add them. I highly recommend picking up at least one of the profile addons, just because it makes it immediately apparent to others that you’re also an RPer. Total Roleplay 3 (By EllypseCelweBelore) - A profile RP addon (will not work with XRP or MyRoleplay also installed, but will communicate with them so you’ll see profiles from them as well. Basically you have to pick one of the three of these.) that lets you make custom profiles for your characters/pets/mounts/etc, find other RPers on the map, spot other RPers at a glance, and make chat customizations. You can also change your character’s name and give yourself a last name. The extended version also includes the ability to make documents, quests and a whole bunch of other complicated and fun stuff. It’s worth noting that all RP profile addons can be reported to and moderated by blizzard, so don’t put anything in them that would get you in trouble if you said it in /say! MyRoleplay (by Etarna, KatorieHooves, TheGildedFox and EllypseCelweBelore) - A profile RP addon (will not work with XRP or TRP also installed, but will communicate with them so you’ll see profiles from them as well. Basically you have to pick one of the three of these.) that lets you make custom profiles for your characters, spot other RPers at a glance, change your character’s name and give yourself a last name and give people other information. It’s a bit more lightweight and easy to use than the other ones. It’s worth noting that all RP profile addons can be reported to and moderated by blizzard, so don’t put anything in them that would get you in trouble if you said it in /say! XRP (by BorBlasthammer) - A profile RP addon (will not work with MyRoleplay or TRP also installed, but will communicate with them so you’ll see profiles from them as well. Basically you have to pick one of the three of these.) that lets you make custom profiles for your characters, spot other RPers at a glance, change your character’s name and give yourself a last name and give people other information. Supports more cross-faction and cross-server functionality than the others (and is a little more experimental in that sense). It’s worth noting that all RP profile addons can be reported to and moderated by blizzard, so don’t put anything in them that would get you in trouble if you said it in /say! Elephant (by pb_ee1) - A super handy little addon that’s useful in many situations, but is particularly good for RPers. Simply logs the chat so that you can go back and read/copy/keep it for later. Can be filtered by chat. After you finish a scene you can easily go back into this addon and keep it for later, or look back to reference something that happened earlier in a scene that wouldn’t still be tracked by WoW’s normal chatlog UnlimitedChatMessage (by Cyprias) - If you find yourself hitting the 255 character limit in WoW’s chatbox often and are annoyed by putting ellipsis on the ends of your posts to continue typing, I highly recommend this little addon. All it does is let you type endlessly and then breaks it up into the acceptable 255 blocks for you and posts them all at once when you hit enter. HandyNotes (by Xinhuan) - probably less vital than the other addons, this is still one of my favorite addons. Lets you mark custom locations on the map. I use it constantly when I find neat little RP spots that I want to come back to so I can find them again. TinyPad (by Gello) - a helpful little addon that gives you an ingame notepad to make notes for yourself on ADDITIONAL RESOURCES Discord - is a free voice and text chat for gamers, a great deal of RPers use it pretty extensively. Below, I’ll list a few servers for RPers on Discord, please let me know if you know of more to add! TNRH Community Hub - The discord server for the TNRH RP Community Roleplayers Connect - A cross realm RP community Nobbel - Warcraft Lore server - discord for hardcore lore discussions Lore of Warcraft - WoW - another lore discussion discord for WoW Blood and Iron - Orc RP/Lore centric discord The Shal'dorei - Nightborne RP/Lore centric discord Silvermoon City - Bloodelf RP/Lore centric discord The Goblin Coliseum - Goblin RP/Lore centric discord The Bluffs - Tauren RP/Lore centric discord The Ebon Hold - Deathknight RP/Lore centric discord Official TNRH RP Ingame communities: Horde: https://www.worldofwarcraft.com/invite/D2lm9DnuOwz?region=US&faction=Horde Alliance: https://www.worldofwarcraft.com/invite/owrxLOVseKr?region=US&faction=Alliance Other: https://rpfind.me/ - an RP website with some great features for finding friends and connections If you have any questions/need additional help please feel free to contact me (add me to your friends list/shoot me a mail or whisper), Arahe-Ravenholdt. My discord is Arahe#6448, feel free to add me! Or just add a comment on this post.