As a server with group-based roleplay, I’ve decided to compile a list of tips to help people improve their roleplay skills. I learned a lot just by researching topics from this list, so give it a read. If the text is intimidating, try just reading the headings and see what you get out of that.

  1. Focus on the story.
    1. Your primary focus should be on the quality of roleplay, not on your character’s motivations, goals, and plans. Sure, you can have plans, but if you’re only in it for your own gain, you’ll become disappointed and nobody will have fun. Make them able to grow according to what happens around them.
  2. Make a useful character.
    1. You can play someone fun, memorable, and original without needing to be a badass who always gets their way. If they don’t get along in groups pretty well, maybe rethink the purpose and place of your character. Take control of them. Don’t use them as an excuse to sit in a tree or on a bench all day and do nothing. Your character will screw up sometimes. That’s fine. I probably won’t have them killed.
  3. Make a proactive character.
    1. Stop making passive characters. People rarely want to be involved with them unless their story is clear and accessible. These types of characters don’t do very well in most situations. Find something to add to every situation. Instead of “no, that won’t work”, try “yes, and …” and fill in the gaps. If the situation is serious, use a little more discretion and wisdom, but try to contribute ideas and develop poor plans into good plans, rather than stopping the flow. Don’t kill the story.
  4. Separate yourself from your character.
    1. Role-playing means you’re playing a role. You are still you, and you’re the one in charge. Think from the point of view of your character but don’t let the old “my character would/wouldn’t …” stop you from being creative. And remember, there’s nothing wrong with making a mistake and dying because of it, because it was your character’s mistake, not your mistake. If things are getting heated and something is making you angry, don’t take it out on someone in character. If it’s serious, ask to pause the roleplay and sort the situation out. If it’s not serious, move on.
  5. Don't roleplay beyond your means.
    1. It's fine to want to make a character who is very different from you. They may be way more charismatic, or really clever, or some kind of genius, but if you don't have these skills in real life, it's going to be really difficult. All members are expected to improvise roleplay on the spot and if you can't improvise skills you don't have, you're gonna have a bad time.
  6. Ask for help and be helpful.
    1. Want roleplay? Got ideas? Want ideas? Ask. Bring up recent things you’ve learned in roleplay over Teamspeak and ask what others think about them. Don’t keep absolutely everything to yourself (because they’re not allowed to use OOC info IC anyway). Ask for some clues or an easier quest. Ask for a battle or offer to build a quest. This is meant to be fun and challenging for everyone.
  7. Be appropriate with rules.
    1. Yes, there are rules, but if you have a problem with someone’s treatment of the rules, make a note of it to me and leave it aside for later. Don’t clog the flow of roleplay unless it’s immensely important. Instead of stopping the action, the plan, or the conversation entirely, just build upon it to improve it. It’s never worth stopping the flow just so everything can become “correct” again, as long as there’s a flow.
  8. Pay attention.
    1. It sounds condescending but we all let our attention slip. Yes, there are quiet parts sometimes. Yes, it may seem like it’s not your turn to speak so you just sit quietly. Yes, we all have lives outside of the computer. Nothing prevents you from planning ahead or from speaking up (if appropriate). Make notes of things that you think seem strange, or that I put emphasis on (I do it often). In character or out of character. If your character is the kind of person to sit quietly in most situations then I’d suggest making a new character, because that passive guy won’t be any fun or any use.
  9. Don’t copy me.
    1. This may sound odd, but you can’t ALWAYS roleplay the same way I roleplay. I have many characters, each with certain shifting roles in particular stories. They have a wide range of personalities and this enables me to make characters who may seem more passive or controlling in certain situations. This is completely different to members, who have “main” characters which become the focus of their playtime.
  10. Keep the admin informed.
    1. If you’ve planned something special for your character then it’s not worth keeping it from me if you want it to work. My stories can change extremely quickly. Your entire plan can go from almost-complete to dead. It’s not worth trying to surprise me if you really want it to happen. I can also sometimes work it into the main story, so give it a shot. Also, player feedback is without a doubt the biggest contributor to the quantity and quality of roleplay. The more you guys talk and play together, the more stuff I can make happen.
  11. Share the spotlight.
    1. Not every character will get special moments in every roleplay, but when someone gets something, support it, and they will support you when you get yours. Even if they don’t you’re the better person. Remember, you’re not playing for your own glory. You’re playing because we’re all friends and it’s fun to play together.
  12. Don't split the group up.
    1. Either to explore more at once, or through disagreements. Just don't do it. I can only do one line at a time and splitting up usually kills the story. You may as well all be together. If your character really has enough reason to not want to get involved, consider getting a more cooperative and stable character.
  13. Make friends in roleplay.
    1. With both my characters and other members' characters. Knowing others saves a lot of time in setting up meetings, chance encounters, or looking for help with things. Don't be a loner.
  14. In conclusion, the main story is NOT the story of your character; he or she is only part of the main story.