What is roleplaying? What is play-by-post roleplay?
Roleplaying is the playing of a role. Play-by-Post roleplay, which is the term for roleplay on a forum, is a form of round-robin writing. In short, threads are housed in their relevant location (Terrenus roleplay in Terrenus, Alterion roleplay in Alterion, etc) and members post to those threads. Writing (as well as pictures and sounds or music) is the medium of our game, which distinguishes PBP roleplay from table-top games (D&D, Warhammer, etc), video games (WoW, GuildWars, etc) and LARP.
Our game pieces are our characters and the setting is the world of Valucre itself. Players create threads with their characters and other players reply to those threads with their own characters (or as the setting, or as NPCs, and so on). Collaboration is key and is also a distinguishing feature of roleplay. If you want to control all aspects of a story, all characters, all plot movements, short stories or a novel is probably what you want to write.
Valucre is where you come to write with others and contribute to a flowing tapestry of story that is in constant flux, continually added to by the community. Creation and creativity are the names of the game.
Where do I play?
On the forums page, everywhere from Terrenus to Tellus Mater represents the virtual space of Valucre. They are the continents and territories which are written about in the Lore. If you want to play in Dougton, Terrenus or Orisia, Genesaris or Draco South, Elendaron, you would make a thread in that board. Once your thread is made, you can post there, others can post there, and you can advertise in the water cooler or make it a closed thread.
How do I play?
- Create a character.
- Choose a roleplay and learn the setting.
Create a character
You can have the character in your head or you can make a sheet. Sheets are optional.
Though optional, some members find sheets useful for tracking information, especially if they make multiple characters. If you do on a sheet, post in the profile database. Characters must adhere to Mild Powers, which is determined by post content and not character sheets. Mild Powers are the major limitation to be mindful of on the site, and otherwise you can use whatever race or abilities that won't break the MP threshold.
When thinking about a character, here are some things to consider, whether in your head or on a sheet:
- Appearance: What they look like. Basics, things other characters would notice at a glance such as hair and eye color or visible scars, will give your partners relevant details without being repetitious.
- Skills/Abilities: Critical information for tournaments and combat roleplays, but usually unnecessary. A short list of skills/abilities will help you keep your character within reasonable limits of knowledge and power.
- Occupation: Their job. Usually ties in with the above.
- History: Just enough to give your character substance, so it isn't as if they came out of nothing. Anything longer written pieces would be better placed in Creativity Showcase, where our members often display their poetry and prose.
Choose a role play, know the setting
Valucre's lore is immense. Many are tempted to read as much as they can, which is great. That's why it was written. But keep in mind that Valucre's lore is a work which has been added to over a period of over a decade by hundreds of members. Don't get scared off by thinking you have to read the history of a continent to write in one of its forests. Just read about that forest to get started.
The lore is there to enhance your writing, not to get in the way of it.
Do you want to start or find a role play? Go to either the water cooler, to read and post advertisements for role plays and plots, or the Open Roleplays page to see what newly created Open threads have been added.
Now there's nothing left to do but post. The two fundamental things to keep in mind are:
- Have fun
- Put in some effort. Your writing doesn't need to be flawless and no one expects it to be, but people respond better and with more effort themselves if they see their partner is putting in effort as well. You don't need to read every scrap of lore out there but knowing some detail about the forest or town you're in adds realism and depth to your post.
Where you post is a matter of preference. Everywhere from Terrenus to Tellus Mater represents the fictional world of Valucre, which you can read more about in the Overview Article underneath the Lore Tab. Once you find a place you want to play in, locate the closest board in the forums, and post to your heart's content. With a character you'll be able to actively participate in quests, artifact hunts, events and more.
Formatting: Space out your paragraphs. Walls of text are difficult to read and fatiguing to the eye.
Player primacy: In terms of the actual lore, a board leader has final say, but in terms of the content of a thread, the thread or roleplay creator is the ultimate authority. This means that, among other things, a player can decide on the magic and technology levels or abilities for their RP and has the final say regarding their own characters.
Consequences: Actions have consequences. Characters don't exist in a vacuum and the setting isn't there just to prop up character exploits. If your character engages in criminal activity the setting will push back, and any character who consistently evades IC consequences to an unreasonable extent may be breaking established canon. If so, IC responses may follow.
Make things happen: Keep in mind that you are one part of a narrative that is interacted with by many players. When you post don't just react to the things that have happened - make something happen. Add to the narrative, push the story forward, include something that gives other players a chance to react as well.
Item creation and weighting: Users can create items or acquire them through roleplay. To balance the site's freeform potential against the lore's integrity, Valucre follows a hierarchy system. From top down, artifacts > canon items > readymade items. This means artifacts created by board leaders for their area will always be the strongest. Then items which a player acquires, confirms, or creates through canonized roleplay. Then items users can make on a whim for their sheets or character backgrounds.
NPCs: NPCs can be used as fluff or canon fodder but don't make them punching bags. If the citizens of an area are known for being strong, don't make them easily overpowered. If they're known for being intelligent, don't make them easily fooled. NPCs are meant to be used as vehicles to prop up your story so you can use them in whatever way makes sense, whether they win or lose, but just be mindful of respecting the canon.
Magic: This is a fantasy site and magic is a part of it, however magic should not be used as a blanket deus ex machina solution to all problems. Magic that has a cost, that is unpredictable, that solves one problem while creating another, are all examples of how to use magic in a manner which doesn't defuse narrative tension.
Post order: Replies should cycle through players in the order they join unless otherwise agreed upon. This makes it easier to know who posts when.
Realism vs Verisimilitude: Verisimilitude is the believably of a work of fiction. Generic verisimilitude is the plausibility of a fictional work within the bounds of it own context. A character singing about their feelings all the time isn't very realistic, but inside of the fictional universe of a musical, it makes perfect sense. Inside of a free-form fantasy universe, strict realism isn't very useful, but verisimilitude is.
Reply time: 2 days before skipping is the standard. Many members take on multiple threads or request a faster or slower pace, and it's up to you to make clear your expectations to your partners. You can use PMs or the @ mention feature of the site to let people know it's their turn.
Tags: Use the tag system to your advantage. Threads that are listed as Open get automatically added to a tag aggregate linked at the site footer and are openly advertised in Valucre's social media. Closed threads let people know your story isn't taking any newcomers.
Villains: Antagonistic characters can be very fun to play and serve a purpose towards creating conflict and dramatic tension. However if your villain or antagonist is impossible to defeat then other players will grow frustrated and lose interest in trying to best them. Defeating a villain doesn't have to be easy, or without a cost to the heroes, but it should remain a distinct possibility.
Valucre Role Play Glossary
- AFV: Away From Valucre. Used when announcing long absences.
Auto (AKA powergame): Taking control of another character or inflicting damage on another character without the owner's permission.
- Depends on degree and context. Writing someone out of the thread because they're inactive is generally accepted. Dictating another character's reactions is generally frowned upon. People are fine with an innocent handshake but not if it turns into a Judo flip.
Canon: The body of Valucre's lore. The end result of years of effort and collective, creative contribution from the board leaders and all of the site members. Read the Canonization Guide for more information.
- Strict canon: The actual approved and reviewed canon which gets integrated into the site lore. Strict canon follows the canonization process.
- Loose canon: The memories of collective events shared by players, and whose content or results are not confirmed by a board leader. Loose canon does not follow the canonization process (ex: Daily Weekly).
- Flexible time: Flexible time is the concept that your character can participate in multiple threads so long as you keep track of your character's subjective timeline. Threads can't happen in different locations at the "same time", but one thread could come before another, and you only need to keep track of which is "before" and which is "after" for your character.
- Godmodding: Creating a character, item, ability, etc with no weaknesses, flaws, or limits or that easily deflates plot conflict.
- IC: In Character.
- Mary Sue: Common literary term to mean a perfect character with no weakness.
- Metagaming: Taking information you know as a player and applying it to in-character action despite a lack of grounds for your character to know that information.
- NPC: Non-Player Character - Any other character in the game world, such as a guard or a bartender. Some NPC's require special permissions to control. It is more acceptable for a player to NPC a bartender than it is to NPC a mayor.
- OOC: Out of Character.
- OP: Original poster
- PC: Player Character. A character controlled by a player.
Readymade (AKA shake-n-bake): A story element (character, item, setting, etc) quickly put together for story purposes rather than taken from existing canon.
- A readymade village is not a legitimized piece of canon, hence has no map placement or sub-board, but players are free to create villages for plot purposes.
T1: Valucre's turn-based fighting system. Learn more about the constraints of abilities and the rules of T1 in the Mild Powers article.
- Collaborative: Choreographed to various degrees, from completely scripted to loosely plotted. Also known as "T1 Story", this requires only that players decide among themselves how combat should go
- Competitive: Unscripted combat. Requires a third-party method (such as dice or a judge) to settle differences objectively. Note that administration does not enforce character death
Edited by supernal