1. DO NOT MOVE OTHER PLAYERS CHARACTERS. DO NOT ASSUME YOUR SLAP, SPELL, PUSH, SHOVE, GRAB, KISS, OR OTHER PHYSICAL CONTACT WAS SUCCESSFULLY 'RECEiVED'. DO NOT SPEAK FOR OTHER PLAYERS CHARACTERS.
This is called 'god-modding' or 'power-playing', and not-doing it is actually harder than it sounds. If you come to a point where you feel like you need the other person's reaction before you can go on... stop, and leave them time to respond. Every description says something about our characters, so don't speak or act for someone else! Exceptions of course are NPCs, (non-player-characters) but don't over-use these, either.
This is such an important point, and one often complained about by the experienced rp'er who gets frustrated wtih the newbies, that it bears giving an example:
We are in a Wizarding world where the occasional spell is going to be cast at the occasional fellow player. When this occurs, you need to write your post in such a way that you are explaining what YOUR character is doing, and what he/she HOPES is the result of that, and then stop, giving the other player time to decide the actual result. I will use an example here of two characters for whom we do not currently have players:
Moody took careful aim directly at Lucius's heart. The slippery git had gotten away from him too many times! Not now! With all the confidence of years as an Auror, he shot his stunner directly at the pale man.
Now, the Moody player would stop their post, to give the Lucius player time to decide how to respond. As the player being cast upon, Lucius needs to think how he would react in canon, and be realistic. Crabbe and Goyle, together, can beat up any one lone person they encounter, without question, in canon. Yet you would be surprised at the number of people who insist that their characters could withstand, or even win, a C&G battle single-handedly on other rpg's I've seen. Remember that you don't always have to "win", and sometimes writing the spectacular "loss" is just as fun and entertaining to roleplay, and challenging as a writer.
Lucius stared down the crumbling old ex-Auror with disdain. Surely the fool man would not DARE to presume to attack HIM. Unfortunately his conviction was incorrect. By the time he realised the eejit intended to hex him, it was too late to raise his own wand. The stunner hit him square in the chest and he fell backwards, his perfect hair and robes splaying about in disarray in the squelching mud.
Or whatever. Maybe Lucius would decide he DID raise his wand in time to do the Protego shield, and then cast his own curse back at Moody... at which point he would need to stop and give Moody time to decide how to respond... you get the point.
2. PLEASE DO NOT JOIN A ROLE PLAY IF YOU DO NOT HAVE THE TIME TO KEEP UP.
Role play can be time consuming, and if you do not have the time to read the game at least every other day, please do not join. If you are going to be away for any length of time, please write your character temporarily out, so that the other RPers can continue without you.
3. PAY ATTENTION TO THE POSTS BEFORE YOU.
Your fellow role-players have taken the time to write out what their characters are doing/thinking/feeling/saying. They maybe have told you body-language clues, where they are sitting/standing, what they are wearing. Please read the post you are responding to several times so you can 'see' the picture in your head, and respond to what they have said/done. If you ignore them and just do your own thing, you are disrespecting your fellow players, and you will find that people avoid interacting with your character.
4. LOCKED OR INVITED THREADS.
Sometimes you may want to have a thread that only allows specific people, and don't want the flow to be interrupted by additional characters, even if it's appropriate for them to be in the same place/time as you are. If this is the case, please put in the thread title something to that effect--"Locked" or "Invite Only". This is not being rude--it's making sure we don't embarrass ourselves stepping in where you don't want us! It's perfectly okay!
5. ASK BEFORE JOINING A THREAD 'IN PROGRESS'
Even if it started out 'open to any', if a conversation has 'gotten going' between two or more characters, please don't just 'butt in' because it looks like fun--an additional character might disrupt the flow. Use your email or instant messager contacts to ask the other players involved before stepping in.
6. DESCRIPTIONS ARE AWESOME!
Dialog is important, of course. But what makes roleplaying fun and fascinating to read and play is the 'behind the scenes' stuff. What is your character thinking? What is the environment surrounding them? What are they wearing? Doing? Facial expressions? You don't need to make each post a novel, nor address each of these things in each post... but think about the things that are important at the time. If they are sitting in the rain, you should tell us, so that the person coming to interact with you doesn't comment on the bright sunny day!
7. CHARACTER KNOWLEDGE VS PLAYER KNOWLEDGE--CAUTION!
This is so hard, especially in a journal game--sometimes it is easy to forget which posts you've read were 'private' and which ones were 'public'. Please be aware that as a player, you are getting to read back-ground history and narrative things in each post that your CHARACTER would not know or have access to.
Please be very cautious as you play that you are not jumping to conclusions based on what you, as a player, know, that your character would not have access to yet.
It is a fine line to walk, and takes some additional thought. It also takes a great deal of respect for your fellow players and willingness to nicely say to someone, "Hey, Lisa, my journal entry about Harry's secret lust for Filch was a private entry, so Snape doesn't know that yet--will you go edit your post, please?"
If you receive that sort of friendly ping, please be courteous and edit the post in question in a timely fashion. It's an easy mistake to make, and also easy to repair if we are all friendly and communicative with each other.
8. AS THE POTTERVERSE TURNS: A FEW WORDS ON MELODRAMA
Please consider these points as you play your characters--particularly Original Characters. Remember that our primary guide for this 'world' is canon, and that we desire to stay as true to the spirit and intent of canon as possible, while allowing for flexibility and play.
Canon Characters are ALWAYS better at 'xyz'. No original character is wealthier/older/more powerful than the Malfoys (Or even close). No OC is better stronger at any given magic than the known canon 'experts'. No OC is going to out-duel Bellatrix Lestrange or Albus Dumbledore, for example.
Please do not play your canon characters as 'weaker' than they are in canon. Don't play your Death Eaters as nice, your bungling student as brilliant, your canon klutz as suddenly graceful, etc. Try and keep canon-characters to canon.
Please do not play your original characters as stronger/better/faster/smarter/richer than the canon characters.
- Friends, Enemies and Countrymen
Building all sorts of relationships in a roleplaying game is very fun. Don't neglect to build enemies as well as friends--having people your character really, really hates is just as fun and character-building as having loads of friends. Focusing on one aspect of the character makes them flat and dull.
- Make new friends, keep the old.
Do NOT assume behavior/relationships of other people's characters in relation to yours without CLEARLY discussing it with the other party(s) first. It is not necessary to play out every single interaction, and it is easier to be a newbie in a game if you can step in and say, "Hey, I'm in the same house/year as your character. Is it okay if they had this sort of friendship/hatred/past crush/whatever?"
On the other hand, it is not cool to step in and say, "I'm a MWPP age Gryffindor, and I was James Potter's first shag before he decided he liked Lily better...."
The Wizarding community is relatively small, and has just been through a major war. Use your email/instant messagers to communicate with the players of characters whom your character would logically know, and discuss their mutual backstory as you settle in to your character's place in the post-war world.
- My spell is better than JKR's spell....
Yes, we will allow you to 'make up' spells for your character with admin approval of the spell first. However, keep in mind that there are NO Original spells stronger/more powerful/more deadly than the canon "Unforgivables". I know--I could think of plenty that would be better, too. But this game is focusing on trying to stay as true to canon as possible while exploring things that canon does not reveal to us. Some variation is to be expected--but there are definitely some absolutes.
- Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou, Romeo
A word on tangled love-lives. This is fantasy, pretend. We want to allow freedom to explore and develop all sorts of relationships. However, it is possible to go to extremes even in this. After a certain amount of tragic deaths, unexpected pregnancies, steamy and sordid love affairs, etc., occurring to the same character over and over, it begins to become comical rather than interesting. We are not trying to be a 'soap opera' here. Try and keep your relationships with some sort of grounding in reality, even in a fantasy world.
- Upstaging/Hogging the attention.
We all know the roleplayers who join a game and suddenly have to be involved in EVERY thread, whether it makes sense for their characters to be there or not. Try and be considerate of your fellow players. Everyone feels their character is pretty special and wants to have time to develop him/her. It is not okay to make every thread in which your character is involved become all about him/her.
- Magical Maladies
If you start tossing hexes and jinxes about, people are going to get hurt. Half the fun of this is then letting people come and take care of you or fuss over you as you get patched up. Think Hermione's fuzzy face! On the other hand, it once again delves into the realm of comical if a character over-plays their injury. The reverse side of that is the person who gets massively injured and hops right up, dusts themselves off, and walks away.
Wizards are still human. Think of the injuries in terms of what you know about your own body. Would you really walk bravely away after a massive sprain to the ankle? Sometimes a minor injury IS very incapacitating for a brief time. A hard slam to the nose will cause a person to see stars and be dizzy for several minutes afterward. Most superficial cuts and scrapes, however, would not be debilitating or cause excessive blood loss unless they were left untended for a long time.
9. STRETCHY TIME ISSUES AND CHALLENGES:
One of the ‘tricky’ things about running on ‘real-time’, where one day of ‘game time’ equals one day of ‘real time’ is that it is hard to complete any given thread in one actual day. This is why we permit up to two weeks (or more, within reason) to finish a thread, and also why we allow people to post-date threads if necessary so they can fit their character ‘in’ where he/she needed to be if action moved on ahead of them.
It is also necessary to ‘jump ahead’, even when past threads are not done, so that our character’s current plots can keep moving.
However, PLEASE do not ‘forget’ the threads which are still ‘behind’. If they get left for too long, they become irrelevant, and some important character development of your fellow-players falls by the way-side.
It is VERY frustrating to be a player in one of those ‘past’ threads, and feel ‘stuck’ because you aren’t certain how the thread will end. Especially when you see your ‘co-player’ bouncing on ahead as though the outcome of your thread with that person has no bearing on their own character.
Whether this is the intent or not, it can make the person 'left behind' feel as though they were ill-used--'good enough' to help the other character's plot move forward, but not 'good enough' to complete the thread and recognise the character development of their own character.
Even as you move forward, PLEASE keep your focus on finishing your ‘open’ threads in the past. It is best for the game, and for all your fellow players, if you try to make a personal commitment to do this. When you come to the game with time and intent to post, think first about the threads ‘behind’ you. Is it “your turn” to reply there? If so, it is courteous and beneficial for game-health for you to answer your ‘tag’ in that past thread before answering your current tag. Email notification of replies is an excellent tool to use to help you know when it is your 'turn', as well as making use of the 'incomplete' lj-tag we use here on the board.
It is especially frustrating when one is in the position of the ‘stuck’ player, who is waiting and waiting for a reply, to see the person they are waiting for moving ahead in thread after thread, making it clear that time is not an issue. That makes the ‘stuck’ player feel his/her thread is unimportant, which can also lead to resentment and a lack of willingness to play with you in the future.
If you are one of the ‘stuck’ players, please take this up with the individuals involved, first. Send an IM or an email reminding the person that the thread is open and you need to know how it resolves in order to be able to move your own character forward. Much of this can often be done in behind the scenes communication, and a post or two will often resolve the thread satisfactorily for all parties. Communication is the key.
If your fellow player seems unable or unwilling to help you finish the thread, please bring the issue to the Admin Team so we can help find a solution. We know everyone is busy and sometimes it is very hard to keep up, so open and friendly lines of communication are the best tools we have at our disposal.
Questions, comments, or suggestions are always welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org