This article is to give insight on the definition of roleplay according to Aria.
Roleplay is a story-based gamemode wherein players pick up the role of a character (much like acting) give it a personality and story, and then make him/her behave based on how they should react to certain situations. You interact with other characters controlled by other players, explaining what your character does and says through text.
Article §3.1, Article §3.2 and Article §2.1.2 provide sufficient information to gain a basic idea of what roleplay means, and how to do it.
Back in the day, roleplay started with board-games as simple as Dungeons & Dragons (D&D). These games often had set game mechanics, such as being turn-based, using 'rolls' in combat (using dices) and some used trading cards.
These early games were often set in a fantasy universe. As the genre became more popular along with the internet, the games were incorporated with modern devices. 'Forum roleplay' started there. Forums were used to create a text-based setting, eliminating the 'actor' element, wherein actions were defined by text rather than speech. Some communities decided to give it a touch of their own, and eliminated the turn-based element present in D&D. This gave everything more of a story-like sphere, as though writing an interactive book with multiple people, wherein each person decided what happened to their character rather than have all characters controlled by a single author.
The game hence became more interactive, and later the gamemode spread into different universes, now still popular things like fantasy-horror, modern-fantasy, simulators, Warhammer 40K and so on and on. Universes didn't neccessarily have to be pre-made. Some creative aspirants made worlds of their own where there scenario would take place.
Roleplay has always been cult-based, though, making its fanbase very small and often looked down upon. Other genres that have sprouted from this, and seemed more hardcore and extravert, were things likeLife Action Roleplay (LARP).
Roleplay has as of then been transfered into the gaming industry, when Blizzard created Roleplay servers for their game World of Warcraft, with the intend of integrating roleplay with an interactive gaming medium that, rather than keeping roleplay an imaginery genre, making it open to people with less mental visual interpreting skills, and making its text-based descriptions photographic, eliminating the need to describe everything to the fullest detail through text, and through that making roleplay less time-consuming.
Other games from there on incorporated the same playstyle into their own universe. Guild Wars adopted roleplay servers into their server list, and other indie games and game modifications picked up on it. There people started making 'illegal' private servers based on World of Warcraft, fully dedicating themselves to the roleplay genre.
The same happened in Multi Theft Auto, which is open-source. This gave access for actual programmers to get involved with the design of these servers, manufacturing their own game elements that were to support the roleplay genre fully. Features like inventories, wallets, car engine and light controls, items (which were not initially present in the official version of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, but were in fact later added by voluntary scripters) and much, much more, integrated the simulation of a lot of real-life elements into servers, making it the more realistic than it already was.
From there on roleplaying games started to become more accessible by the public, and quite easy to comprehend in the end, while not eliminating the story-writing feature that allows us to go somewhere with our creativity and stimulate that, much like how artists dump their mental imagery on paintings and drawings, along with thousands of different art forms.
Roleplay is a game-mode made for multiplayer; it was made to interact and share with others, and it was made for the community, bringing hundreds of people together to share an amazing, not so rare experience. While roleplay is a game, it is more thoughtful, strategical and creative than a lot of other genres, quite possibly because it is so unlimited in nature, opening doors to infinite possibilities.
A character is much like an avatar. Characters are controlled by players, and form the core of all that's roleplay. Characters are named, and characters cannot have the names of celebrities or (non)fictional characters named in literature or games. Names should be realistic, and have the common format Firstname_Lastname, wherein both names are capitalized, and numeric symbols are not allowed. A character can optionally have a Middle name and nickname. This is all dependant on its story.
Relevant parameters to creating the character explained
- Name — The name of the character, as to what it is registered, and what will be displayed as a label. Names can be anything that fits in its universe. On instance, in Aria, like real-life, a name consists of a given name, surname and optionally a middle name, like John Patrick Doe. A name does not neccessarily have to be that what your character is referred by. You may identify your character under a nickname, by introducing yourself with a different name to people (pseudonym) or people may decide to give you a nickname. John Patrick Doe may just introduce himself as John Doe, and people could call him 'Johnny'. It is not allowed to name your character after a celebrity, or fictional character, such as Brad Pitt or Ezio Auditorie (Assassin's creed franchise).
- Ethnicity/race — In some games, like World of Warcraft, a character's behaviour and background is often defined by the character's race, like Orc or High Elf. In reality, an ethnicity (not to be confused with nationality) could be for example Asian or African-american. Nationality defines a person's citizenship. A person born in Mexico, whom has lived in the United States for five years, may obtain an American citizenship. His nationality can then be defined as 'American'. A nationality is not permanent, while ethnicity is defined upon birth, and is dependant on your ancestor's heritage quite often.
- Physical appearance — Your physical appearance is your character's clothing and physical build. Your hair color belongs to your physical appearance. Physical appearance is what your character looks like. There's permanent things to your physical appearance, and things that can be modified. You can color your hair blue, while it's hard to grow a sixth finger on the spot. Common sense often applies to physical appearance, and some factors affect your character's appearance. On instance, it is quite rare to find a person whom was born with green or blue hair. It is not allowed to roleplay animals either, within Aria. It is up to yourself regardless, what you want your character to look like, and you have full liberty in deciding this, as long as you follow the server rules. It is on instance not allowed to roleplay a dragon, because first of you're not allowed to roleplay animals, and secondly, this violates rules of scientifical realism.
- Personality — Your character's personality, is the way he/she behaves in certain situations; the way it thinks, reasons, its morals, religious belief, mental flaws, talents and so forth. Your personality is often affected by the character's background, or mental incapacities. Ask yourself questions like: "Why is the character insecure?", "Why is the character so easy to kill people?", "Why is the character Christian?" or "Why does the character hate black people?". These are all quite simple questions you can ask yourself, and the answers may provide interesting situations and decide the outcome of a certain event.
- Background — Your character's background is basically, at the very least, what your character has experienced since birth. Some people may decide to conclude the family background is relevant to the character's story, and make an early extension to that; what did the family do pre-dating your character's birth? The character's background often affects factors like its personality and sometimes physical appearance (think of a scar, or a physical disability). Visa versa a character's ethnicity may define the setting of the character's background. Think of the following phases of your character's life when designing it: early youth (post-birth), teenagehood, adolecense and adulthood. What was the character's relation to his family like in these different phases? Did the character go to high school? Did it go to college? The more detailed the story, the more you can work with in the end.
- "John Doe was born March 7, 1982, to his mother and father. They lived in a single-child household in Los Angeles up until he reached the age of 8. He went to elementary school, and his father received a job offer, making the household move to Las Venturas. They bought a house in Redsands West. John at this point had abandoned all his friends and family, except his mother and father. Them being the only relatives to himself, he learned to appreciate their presence a lot, growing intense love for them. Because John was on his own at the time, moving to high school was rather mentally tough, causing him to grow a strong personality and reason of him being able to deal with his own issues quite well. When he finished high school, his father died. He wanted to get a degree, but figured he had to make money in order to provide for his mother. It was at the time really hard to find a decent job. Therefore he worked illegally as a carpenter. He later got in touch with a Bob, whom was a loose organized crime figure doing errands for a small Break & Entry crew. This was how John got in touch with organized crime, and his love for his mother, made him overcome the fear of harming others, priorizing himself and his family in an obsessive manner. In 1995 John was arrested during the armed robbery of a box store, and in 2013 he was released on parole."
- Basically this is the point where you start off controlling John Doe as a character; being released from prison. Whatever was mentioned in the past, is his story, and will further affect him as you walk him through it.
- See how John developed his morals, learning to love his parents because at the time it was all he had. This is what eventually brought him to the point where he chose to earn money rather than study to get a degree, and overcome his morals, bringing him on the wrong path, because he priorized different aspects in his life rather than living his life as a lawful citizen.
In the end, what you experience while moving throughout the story of your character, much like any other RPG with an immersive story, you may grow an emotion of sentiment towards the character, and be compassionate towards his story despite you wrote it yourself, much like how an author often tries to put emotion in his stories in order to transmit a mutual message.
Roleplay is a very learnful game, which may, despite it's fictional, teach a life lesson you'll never forget, or just offer useful information that may come handy in real-life as you do research on things you find interesting.
Terminology of Roleplay
Situational definent terms
In-character (abbreviated 'IC') is a term used to define the character's perspective - seeing a situation from the perspective of your character wherein his laws apply, and wherein parameters consistant in real-life do not apply. Example: When two characters are having a conversation, the opinion of the player controlling the character does theoretically not affect the outcome of the event. Solstice95 (talk) 13:39, February 21, 2013 (UTC)
Out-of-Character (abbreviated 'OOC') is used to describe a real-life situation wherein the character's perspective is indistinct. Out-of-character is you, as a person. Example: When you, as a person, are talking to another player over Skype, you are out-of-character. Solstice95 (talk) 13:39, February 21, 2013 (UTC)
Terminology applied to Rules & Regulations
Powergaming (abbreviated 'PG' or 'PGing') is a negative term used to describe a situation wherein a player is controlling not only his own character, but another player's character's decision. Example: Player A and player B are roleplaying while each respectively controlling Character A and Character B. Player A describes his character (Character A) punching Character B, and describes Character B's response to the hit, instead of letting Player B respond to Character A's action. Solstice95 (talk) 13:39, February 21, 2013 (UTC)
Metagaming (abbreviated 'MG' or 'MGing') is when a player is using Out-of-character (see Out-of-Character), in an In-character situation (see In-character).
Example 1: Player A's character has never met Player B's character before. A nametag hovers above character B's head, and character A addresses character B with that name.
Example 2: Two friends (Player A and Player B) are chatting using the private message function. They decide they'll meet up, but rather than having character A contact character B through In-character communication, player B tells player A to "Meet me at the mall". Character A and character B both go to the mall to meet up, in spite of the fact neither of the characters should be aware of this information.
Godmoding (abbreviated 'GM') is when someone roleplays having supernatural powers. Example: Character A flies through the air like Superman, has supernatural strength and is not affected by physical damage. His is also extremely, supernaturally agile, able to make enormous kangaroo-jumps, and can backflip over Character B's head like Jet Li. He dodges all punches that are sent to him, and he is able to dodge a bullet when he's being shot at with an assault rifle. When he gets in a car crash when driving 100 km/h, he will climb out of his car and have light blunt damage to his knee, claiming 'it hurts a little' and not physically impaired whatsoever.Solstice95 (talk) 13:39, February 21, 2013 (UTC)
Miscellaneous roleplay slang
Statwhoreism is a term from time to time used to describe a player that seems to play on a roleplay server in order to gain and flash off materialistic stats, like unneccessarily modifying the appearance of his vehicles, spending a lot of money on customization, prancing around with the millions of e-money in his bank account while sometimes having no other excuse than 'all people want to earn money' and denying a lot of aspects that are core to the build of a character. 'Statwhore' is used to identify a person to be categorised as this, and is often a rather rude, judgemental, intolerant statement, that is commonly used in the wrong context, often applied to individuals that bluntly put are really unskilled roleplayers. Statwhores often complain- or try to talk their way out of getting character-killed because they 'worked really hard to get these stats, and don't want to lose them'. Statwhores often behave like they don't know the difference between a Roleplaying-game (RPG) and Roleplay (RP). Solstice95 (talk) 13:39, February 21, 2013 (UTC)
Emote (noun), Emoting (verb) is a term used to describe a line of text that displays a character's physical actions (/me). Example: *John Doe lifts up his shirt and pulls out a Glock .22.* Usage: "That person is using very long emotes.", "That is a very detailed emote.", "Hold on, he's emoting." Solstice95 (talk) 13:39, February 21, 2013 (UTC)
Non-roleplay (also known as 'Non-RP') is when someone behaves the way it's inappropriate in the roleplay gamemode, such as neglecting the need to write emotes, roleplaying a vampire, or doing something that's simply impossible and does not fit in with the terms listed above. Example: Character A is drifting around town with his Nissan Skyline and slams into character B's car. The car takes visual damage on the game engine, and the player continues to drive without typing out his character's response to the crash 'because the car noticably took visual damage'. "Why should I bother typing out a long emote when you can see it?" Non-RP is often used during whinefests and is often an undebatable accusation, because the prosecutor disagrees with something, or doesn't like the way another player roleplays his character or the way a player behaved in a situation. "He's Non-RPing fear of a gang by calling the police!" Solstice95 (talk) 13:39, February 21, 2013 (UTC)