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A little guide on role playing.
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Author:  Karathyriel [ Sat Nov 20, 2010 6:20 pm ]
Post subject:  A little guide on role playing.

Karathyriels guide to role playing

Hi people,
I thought I try to write a little guide to role playing, especially role playing in WoW. I really hope you like what I will post here.

The basics
What the hell is role playing?
Well, that’s easily answered but hard to tell.

Role playing is a very special kind of being an actor. Aside from LARP (Live Action Role Play), you don’t have to dress up, need no make up and, best of it all, you don’t have to learn a script by heart. Role playing just means to try to empathize with your toon and let him or her act instead of yourself. Sure, you still have to do it but it’s his character that makes the decisions, not yours. My characters have so many times said and done things I thought to be stupid but then, it was what they would have said or done. Yes, they actually develop a personality and that is the fun part about role playing

Most beginners start of with one little mistake: they want their character to be a hero. Don’t get me wrong here, there is nothing wrong with being a hero but (aside from death knights) everyone starts at level one and is in mortal danger when a second boar decides to join the fight you started with one of them. Let’s face it, you are merely accepted by the trainers of your class and your training has just begun. Not so heroic now, huh? Well, you have 79 dings (and when Cataclysm hits the shelves, it’s going to be 84 dings) on your road to heroism. Take your time; Rome wasn’t built in one day either, as they say…

If you don’t have a very special reason to do it, you should avoid being something you are not. It confuses people to see a hunter come along with his pet by his side and to learn that this is not a hunter but a warrior with an animal friend. It’s confusing, so you should, if in any way possible, stay within the boundaries of the game. Also, people forget that they can’t read your name or your class in the tool tip and so will approach you with knowledge, their character just can’t have. That is a real problem. People can’t really decide what is their own knowledge and what is their characters knowledge.

Try to avoid things that aren’t common in the world you play in. Vampires and Werewolves are cool, no question about that, but how many have you met in Azeroth so far? The Worgen might give you the chance to play a werewolf as they actually will be able to switch between human and worgen form, everything else is hard to role play, believe me and especially beginners should avoid being half dragon, vampire or demon spawn. Try to fill out a normal role before you start any adventures.

Author:  Karathyriel [ Sat Nov 20, 2010 6:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: A little guide on role playing.

A little help can be provided by using a flag add-on like FlagRSP or MyRolePlay. Why does it help? First of all, other role players who use such an add-on will recognize you immediately as a role player. Second, you can write down a description of your physical appearance in details, so you don’t have to tell everyone who looks at you. It is very tempting to write down your story there but stick to your physical appearance. That’s all people see when they approach you. You don’t wear a “that’s my story”-t-shirt, are you? :lol: Third, you can use a family name or a title or stuff like that to make your character appear more alive.

Think of a story for your character. You can do it very detailed or you can make a rough sketch of a story and develop it while playing. Both ways have their disadvantages but more on that later.

The chosen race and class
If you decided on staying with what the game offers you, you have to think about your race and class. It may not be obvious, but a blood elf hunter and a tauren hunter are not the same in role playing, even when they are in their play style. Both hunters will have, aside from their racial traits, the same skills and abilities. So while playing your hunter, both will work in exactly the same way. But then, when role playing, the tauren hunter is a very valued member of his tribe, providing skins, meat and all the other stuff the tauren can use to craft items from, may it be clothing, weapons or jewellery. They will not hunt what they don’t need in honour of their bond to nature and their goddess, the Earthmother. When needed, the hunter can use his abilities on humanoids to defend himself or his tribe. The blood elf hunter is a hunter for sports who enjoys the hunt itself. He will not hunt because he needs to but to show his skills in archery and tracking. He will take the meat of his pray and invite friends for dinner to show off his skills. The rest will probably go to waste. Or the blood elf will be more like a ranger, an excellent archer defending his home country but no hunter at all.
This goes for almost any race / class combination. The same class will be looked upon differently in other cultural backgrounds. As the warriors of the orcs are highly valued, honourable persons, the warriors of the trolls are just that: warriors to defend their people.
So, if you decided on which race and class combination you would like to play, you should spend some thinking on that combination for your role playing style as well. Try to imagine what that class means for the chosen race. Will the forsaken warlock be as despised by his own people as the orc warlock? Well, you’ll get the idea…

Author:  Karathyriel [ Sat Nov 20, 2010 6:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: A little guide on role playing.

Every race has its own way of living. So, like I said before, there will be typical orcs or trolls as well as untypical of their kind. When you read about a race and what they are like, you’ll just get the typical stuff. But that shouldn’t prevent you from going off course and do something not so typical. Don’t get me wrong here; there is nothing wrong with playing the typical orc or draenei! It can be as much fun to do just that as having a not so typical representative of your chosen race.
If you would like to get your chosen race a little better, there is always WoW-Wiki to check out and gather some information.
But, let’s face it, it sure is a little more fun to build up your own character rather than just act out what the people at Blizzard came up with. At least, it is for me.
The best way to get a feel for how your character will be and how he got there will be his story. How to write one will be covered in a later chapter of this guide.
Characteristics can cover everything, from little quirks in his or her behaviour to completely strange ways of living for this race. Take my blood elf hunter Karathyriel, for instance. He completely abandoned his people due to some issues with his family and ended up being blood brother of my tauren warrior and honorary member of the (made up) blackhoof tribe. This goes very far and is sometimes hard to act out but then it is so much fun to talk like a tauren, worship the Earthmother and kneel before Cairne or Baine Bloodhoof.
How far you let your character stray from the ordinary is only a matter of taste and role playing skill.

You just sound like…
Both factions, alliance and horde, consist of different races who all have their own language. For obvious reasons, both factions chose the language of the leading race as their official language. What does that mean?
I always have a smile in my face when I meet a role playing orc who speaks in simple sentences with some words coming out wrong, just like an orc should speak. Or should he? Let’s face it, the horde speaks the orcish language. Who of all the races should be able to speak fluently and flawless if not an orc? It’s their native language and they learn it from childhood! All the other races should have accents, shouldn’t they?
Alliance players have an easy going here, as the human language is the main language, so you don’t have to think about it. But can nightelves, dwarves and draenei speak that language as well? If your character can, why?
A lot of people think, roleplaying is all about theeing and thouing and soundiing medieval. But think about it! Would an orc speak in the same way as a nobleman from a kings court in 1504? I don’t think so. And even if you play a human that has no background with the nobility, would he talk like this?
You see, even the way you speak is worth a thought or two.

Author:  Karathyriel [ Sat Nov 20, 2010 6:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: A little guide on role playing.

Once upon a time…
Yes, we go into this game as adults. Well, the characters do. The players, I sometimes wonder if… But that is another problem and should be discussed in another thread.
So, even if you decide that your character is pretty young, he still is of age or at least close to it. His training just started and he left home to go on adventures.
As you could tell by the title, this part of my little guide is taking care of the back story.
There are two ways to do it:
You completely develop a story of what happened to your character so far, what made him be like he is right now and what drives him to go out on adventures and what his goal in life are.
Advantage: You don’t have to think about certain aspects of your characters life when asked for them because you’ve already made ‘em up. You get an idea what your character will be like, what he likes, what he dislikes, what he fears and so on
Disadvantage: You might come into situations, were you would so love to do something but your back story says no. Or you want to change something that is no longer what you want but this might bring your whole story down as it was a cornerstone of your story.
Or you can have a rough sketch of a story, with only the cornerstones set.
Advantage: You can go along with events that happen and “bend” your back story to your liking. You can react very spontaneously to given situations without having to mind that epic story.
Disadvantage: If you are rather inexperienced, you might feel like you have no real back story and do things, that will contradict each other. You will have to make up things while rolling when people ask for details about your former life… And you have to remember them later! :lol:

There is an easy way to get some flesh on the bones of your character. It’s called “20 questions” and will cover most of your life. Just answer these 20 questions and you might end up with a great story of your very own creativity. But enough blah blah, let’s get it on!

Author:  Karathyriel [ Sat Nov 20, 2010 6:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: A little guide on role playing.

  • Where does your character come from? Was he raised by his own people? Did he live with some other race? Is he old enough to have witnessed some important events in Azeroths history?
  • How would you describe your characters physical appearance? Start from the head down to the toes. Is he male or female? How does he look like? Keep an eye on distinctive details. What’s more important? That he has blond hair, wears it in a ponytail or that he uses some herbs to keep it shiny?
  • Does your character have any quirks? An accent, a nervous tick or maybe a strange way of expressing himself? All this helps give him some personality but keep it low. Too many quirks will look strange and make your hero be a clown.
  • What is your characters main motivation? Why does he go on? Why don’t he give up when something bad happens? What is driving him? Love? Greed? Thirst for revenge? Is he looking for his long lost sister or is he a patriot , fighting for his people?
  • What is your characters greatest merit, what’s his worst flaw? Is he very good at something? Is there something he just can’t do without failing in an epic way? A hero with no strengths is not very likely to be a hero one day. A hero with no flaws is very two-dimensional and not very likeable.
  • What does your character like? What does he hate? Is it some special behaviour he just can’t stand or some kind of food? Maybe a smell or a certain view? Does he feel small when he looks up at the stars or does he love the smell of the sea? The sky (or better: your imagination) is the limit here!
  • How about his psychological state? Does he have problems with controlling his anger? Is he sometimes overwhelmed by his passion? Is the adrenalin of a fight his drug and does he laugh aloud when fighting for his life? Does he like a certain song or will a certain fairy tale make him cry?
  • What does your character fear?Almost no one fears nothing. Maybe the worlds greatest warrior of all times is afraid of getting old and weak? And if so, wouldn’t he do everything he could to find this fountain of youth he heard rumours about, even when those rumours are rather untrustworthy? Sometimes fear drives people to their greatest deeds! Is it spiders? Or acrophobia?
  • What are your characters greatest ambitions? What‘s his greatest love? What would your character like to be told about himself at campfires after he died? His deeds? His poetry? His fighting skills? Or does he just want to settle down with a loving partner in a small house somewhere? Is he fighting for the freedom of his people or is he looking for fame and riches?
  • What does your character think about his own kind? Is he a hard-boiled patriot, blindly praising his own people, ignoring all faults and flaws? Has he left his own people, now homelessly roaming the lands or did he even settle with another race as he respects their ways? Or is it something in between?
  • Does your character have any prejudices? Is there a group of people your character just can’t stand? Traumatising events from childhood or maybe just what he heard from others made him look down on “those” people.
  • Who has your characters loyalty? Is he serving his own purposes only? Is he serving King Varian or Warchief Thrall? Or maybe one of the other leaders? Or his guild mates?
  • Is your character in love, engaged or even married? Is there someone that makes your characters heart pound like crazy? If he is married, is he happy? Are there children? How old are they? If engaged, is he going to marry the bride soon? Of his own free will? Does he like the idea?
  • Does your character have a family? If your chosen race supports this, choose a family name. Think of his childhood and make a list of events that happened back then. How did they affect him? Can he remember them? Does your character have parents, brothers or sisters? What social status has his family?
  • How would your characters parents describe him? This revelas a lot about your character and his relationship to his parents. Answer this twice, once for his mother, then again, in his fathers voice. This might take two completely different views on your character.
  • Is your character a gentleman? Does he act gallantly? Does he keep promises he gave? Is his word of value?
  • How strong does your character believe? Which is his religion? The light, the Earthmother, Elune… Azeroth has a lot of gods to choose from. Is he a strong believer? Does he pray? Often?
  • Is your character part of any kind of group? A guild? A secret society? A club?
  • What is your characters view on magic? Maybe he doesn’t like any kind of magic? Or he just doesn’t trust the forsaken? Is it warlocks he loathes? Or does he accept any kind of magic as the helpful tool it seems to be? Or didn’t he even bother to think about it? Maybe you can think of a way, your character found out he could use magic, when playing a caster.
  • If you could give your character some advise, what would you tell him? Before you answer that, you should read everything you have come up with until now. Answer this as if your character was in front of you and think of how you would have to tell him to get him to listen to you!

Author:  Karathyriel [ Sat Nov 20, 2010 6:23 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: A little guide on role playing.

That's pretty much it for now.
If there are any questions or suggestions, feel free to post them right here.

Author:  Saturo [ Sat Nov 20, 2010 6:41 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: A little guide on role playing.

Awesome guide!

Author:  COMYYY [ Fri Aug 05, 2011 3:51 am ]
Post subject:  Re: A little guide on role playing.

thank you for your guide.

Author:  Winchesterr [ Sun Jan 18, 2015 4:52 am ]
Post subject:  Re: A little guide on role playing.

Wow! Great guide! You have answered all of my questions :)

Author:  Karathyriel [ Fri Aug 18, 2017 1:42 am ]
Post subject:  Re: A little guide on role playing.

I just stumbled of this, slightly outdated, website.

It's been written a while ao but still contains a lot of infos about role playing, not only in MMOPGs.

Author:  Krysteena [ Fri Aug 18, 2017 5:31 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: A little guide on role playing.

Hey, I've been looking more into RP properly, even though my BE hunter's name 'Krysteena' is the least Blood Elven name possible, and I've read this through and it has really helped! :)

I do have a couple of questions, though. In Blood Elven society, would they have a family 'sigil', of sorts? Like GoT, the Starks have the wolf, the Lannisters have a lion, etc. So could Blood Elf family have a sigil relating to their name, or is that not a thing?

Also, any ideas on how would I 'justify' a character not having a name stereotypical to their race? Krys was made back when I first joined WoW, but she has become her own character as time went on, and I don't really want to throw her away because her name doesn't quite fit.

Author:  Karathyriel [ Sat Aug 19, 2017 11:31 am ]
Post subject:  Re: A little guide on role playing.

Well, about the name...
I think it is spelled "weird" enough to go as a fantasy name. Maybe some hardcore RPers wouldn't think so but you can never do it right for everyone.

As for the sigil, so far only the red and gold bird has popped up for the Blood Elves.
But that is more like a racial sigil, a national flag, so to speak.
So if you're role playing a noble born Elf, why shouldn't your family have a sigil?
(You might even start a trend! ;) )
I say "Go for it!" and you still can silently drop it if to many people tell you that it is stupid.

Author:  Krysteena [ Sat Aug 19, 2017 11:52 am ]
Post subject:  Re: A little guide on role playing.

Oh, thank you for all the information! I'll definitely be having a look into this more deeply when I've got the time to.~

I'll also have to start thinking up some sigils, while I'm at it :D

Author:  Ashaine [ Mon Aug 21, 2017 8:54 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: A little guide on role playing.

I would have replied to this sooner, but I've been away on vacation all week. I think the name you chose should be just fine. As for sigils, many blood elven houses have their own family crest. So you could always think of it like that if you wish.

I'm always happy to help out with any RP questions anyone might have here, so feel free to shoot me a PM anytime! (I've been GMing a medium-heavy RP guild for 15+ years now and roleplaying in general nearly all my life, so I like to lend aid to others whenever I can). :D I also hope to start up something here on the RP forums in the near future for those who may be interested. Perhaps start with a 30 day site write challenge with some fun in prizes. ♥

Author:  Krysteena [ Tue Aug 22, 2017 11:02 am ]
Post subject:  Re: A little guide on role playing.

Thank you for the extra confirmation! :D I've started fleshing her backstory out a little more, and have begun the task of finding a good RP server on the EU side of things~

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