Let’s start with the basics. What is roleplay?

Roleplay is assuming the identity of a character — in a forum-based roleplay game like ‘Souls, it’s writing as that character. In a traditional, table-top roleplay like Dungeons and Dragons, it’s speaking and making decisions as that character; in a LARP, or live-action roleplay, it’s acting as that character.

While roleplay is writing, it is more structured than writing stories solo. In roleplay, the overarching setting and many other aspects of the “story” have already been set. You control your character’s destiny, and much of the fun comes from interacting with other players and their characters.

IC and OOC

Remember that In Character and Out of Character interactions are entirely separate. The relationship between two characters should not reflect the relationship between two players. You’re roleplaying — that is, assuming the role of someone other than yourself.

If someone’s character is antagonistic towards yours, it doesn’t mean their player dislikes you. If you dislike a player, don’t take it out on their character! If you find yourself really disliking another player, simply avoid them in roleplay — drama mixing IC and OOC is especially tough to sort out, so please avoid it! :(

RPGuide_01Post Counts

In most forum roleplay, including ‘Souls, OOC and IC posts are counted separately.

Don’t make OOC posts in IC forums, which includes all forums in “Claimed Territories” and “Neutral Territories.”  It’s okay to make mistakes, and you won’t get in trouble — but please be careful! Report any double posts, wrong account misposts, or other accidental OOC banter in the IC forums — whether they’re your own or another player’s.

Why? IC post count is a widely accepted measure of a roleplayer’s activity. Many packs update ranks according to post counts. The administration also evaluates some requests based on post count. For these reasons, your post count should be accurate.

Thread Tags

Thread tags are used to quickly indicate thread statuses. Generally, roleplayers use the pre-defined tag images on the forum. However, other players may place them in the topic title or description (subtitle). Pay careful attention to thread tags — for example, private threads are intended for a specific roleplayer and you’re actually breaking the rules if you intrude!

Thread Tags with Image Icons

When you post on the ‘Souls forum, you’ll notice certain thread tags have their own pre-defined images. Use them for their intended purposes, please.

  • AW* (All Welcome)

    This indicates an “open” thread — (almost**) any character can join. An “AW+” tag indicates that multiple characters may join.
    * Don’t confuse this for the pack AniWaya; their acronym is also “AW.”
    ** Sometimes, thread starters add additional stipulations — e.g., they’re only looking for Inferni characters (but don’t care which character, as long as they belong to Inferni). Please make sure to read the thread’s OOC introduction, if applicable, and ask first if you’re not sure your character is welcome.
    *** Note: unmarked/untagged threads are widely assumed by most players to be private. If you want a random roleplayer to reply, mark your thread “aw!”

  • DND (Do Not Delete)

    Threads are typically archived after four weeks without a reply. Do Not Delete* is used to keep a thread out of the archive**.
    * The term is somewhat of a misnomer as we never actually delete In Character threads, we always archive them.
    ** Even threads marked DND may be archived after months of no reply — it’s not indefinite.

  • P (Private)

    Private threads are planned* threads intended for specific character(s).
    * It is inconsiderate to create private threads without discussing the thread with the other player first!

  • RO (Read Only)

    These threads are not intended to receive a reply. See Read Only.

  • J (Joining)

    This is used to mark IC joining threads, primarily to call the pack leader’s attention.

Other Thread Tags

  • M (Mature)

    This indicates a mature or explicit thread. All mature threads must be marked as per the Mature Content Guidelines.
    Mature threads do not have a pre-defined icon because the (M) must be in the title. When the (M) is in the title, it shows up on the forums index if the thread is the one most recently posted in.

  • ATTN (Attention)

    These threads are intended for a specific roleplayer, but “attn” is different from “p.” The intended participant is invited (not required) — and other roleplayers are also generally welcome in the thread.
    ATTN does not have a pre-defined icon because you need to specify who the thread is meant for — best done in the thread title or subtitle!

RPGuide_04Thread Types

Read Only Threads

Members may make “read only” or “RO” threads — threads consisting of a single post that is not intended to receive a reply. Generally, Read Only threads are done for NPC interaction, to advance a plot or for important character realizations.

When you post a RO, use the image tag or otherwise mark your thread as such. You may also use the Maintenance Thread to ask for your Read Only to be locked.

  • Read Only threads are one post by one player (don’t reply to ROs — even your own!).
  • Read Only threads can involve one or multiple characters in the one post.

Self Threads

Roleplayers may thread between two of their active characters. Try not to roleplay with yourself too often — there are plenty of other roleplayers on the forum, and if you prefer writing with yourself, you may want to consider writing a novel. ;)

  • Self-threads are multiple posts by one player and their multiple characters.
  • Each post within a self-thread must be 200+ words. This ensures self-threads aren’t abused to boost post counts with micro-posts.

Liquid Time

  • ‘Souls follows real time. One In Character day is equal to one real-life day.
  • In the ‘Soulsverse, it is the present time, day, and year. If it is 2014 in real time, it is 2014 in ‘Souls time. If it is October 24th in real time, it is October 24th in ‘Souls time.
  • Dates are more important to most players than time of day.

A flexible time scheme, referred to as “liquid time,” allows members to roleplay their character in multiple threads and places. As long as your ability permits, you can have many simultaneous threads! Concurrent threads means you may have numerous reply options on any given day.

Threading in Liquid Time

  • Unless otherwise specified (e.g., with fore- and backdating), most players assume a thread is dated when the first post was made. For example, a thread started on February 10 is assumed to have taken place February 10th.
  • Be sure to describe the time of day in your post — ‘Souls has members all over the world. Even if you see “10 AM” attached to your post, another member with different time zone settings may be seeing something else!

Foredating & Backdating

You may also change the date of threads: simply state the date in the first post. This is called foredating (“foredate”) or backdating (“backdate”). Foredating is “roleplaying in the future.” Backdating a thread is “roleplaying in the past.”

Try not to roleplay more than one month ahead or behind the present date. Too much time play can cause irregularities that are difficult to ignore (e.g., in a thread back-dated to 6 months ago, a character breaks their leg; any threads roleplayed since then would lack references to the injury).

Avoiding Inconsistencies

It’s important to avoid inconsistencies between threads as much as possible. Sometimes it can be difficult to plan for, but if you expect that your character may encounter a significant event in a thread — getting an injury, making a major discovery, etc — it’s good idea to confirm with your thread partner roughly what will happen in your thread so you can account for it accordingly in subsequent threads.

If something unexpected happens, you can always edit posts in other threads to reflect this, but it can be kind of a pain! You can also fore- or back-date threads after the fact so they fit into your timeline better. Still, some players avoid exact dates for threads altogether and will set them more generally in “early November” or “mid-September.”