WooHoo, it’s your first PvP (Player versus Player) roleplay combat and boy are you ready! You have a cool sword and you are ready to fight. You hide in the shrubbery and watch the mini map, seeing a yellow dot approaching. It’s Ralf, one of the opposition rangers, a perfect target. When you see his dot nearby, you lunge out, sword waving and plunge your blade through his chest, killing him instantly. Your shouts of triumph are muted as you notice the roleplay has stopped and everyone is glaring at you. What’s wrong? You just broke 2 of the cardinal rules of roleplay etiquette. What!?
If you see action based on minimap dots or IMs, do not race to the rescue. Do not plan action based on information from your mini map or the OOC (out of Character) chat. In this case you used the mini-map to give you an unfair advantage, both by recognizing the player who was approaching from his map ID and by using the map to pinpoint his position.
Meta-Gaming also involves other ways of using information obtained outside of actual roleplay.
If you use information from a person’s backstory that they have not relayed to you in character (IC), that is meta gaming. Addressing someone before you have been introduced or at least overheard their name is also a form of meta gaming. You should never address people by name based on what you see. You need to be introduced or at least overhear their name during the RP. They may even be playing a different character than their captioned name.
If thoughts are expressed as dialog, that does not mean you can use them. They must be told to you or you must get them from some legitimate roleplay source such as being told by another player who does know or reading a dropped letter or journal. Or you could ask questions based on the expression of the character revealing the thoughts.
Beginners may find it helpful to make a cheat sheet of what they know and what they learned OOC during complex roleplays to avoid accidental meta gaming.
2. Do Not God-Mod
God-modding is having superpowers, the individual always wins and cannot be injured or killed. It is also forcing the results of your action on another player without their consent. You jumped from hiding and attacked Ralf with your sword, stabbing him and declaring him killed. Perhaps Ralf did not want to die that day?
It is always the choice of the attackee whether they are injured or killed unless meters or dice are being used. Any action of that type must be discussed prior to or during the attack and it is always the victim’s right to decide their fate. If Ralf felt that this was not a good day to die, he could have caught your sword on his shield and turned it. Or he could have agreed to take the hit and been injured, how badly is still his decision.
You can never determine the results of your actions on others, nor can you be all powerful. You cannot make choices for or force things on other people. For example: In battle, you can shoot an arrow at someone, but you cannot say you hit them or wounded them; that part is their call. The more correct approach would be to say: Fiesty called upon the earth powers to soften the ground under the attacking troll, hoping it would sink. Whoever is playing the troll would then get to say if they sank and were trapped.
However, if you are interacting with NPCs (Non-Playing Characters) or extras (Minor characters created for a specific roleplay) rather than live major character roleplayers, the end result is your or the group’s choice. Many NPCs are only statues voiced by the player interacting with them or extras. NPCs are the Redshirts (stock characters) of roleplay; any day is a good day for them to die.
If you are lucky, your roleplay group will realize your error is due to inadequate training, explain the rules and let you continue. Before you go on, let’s cover a few more important roleplay rules.
It is considered rude to jump into an on-going roleplay without permission from the players. Always ask politely in IM if you may join. Scripted roleplayers will be especially annoyed if you join a prepared scene. If you are invited to join in, listen and contribute but make no assumptions about the characters, get to know them first.
Expressing thoughts can be problematic. Some groups put thoughts or emotions in quotes, carets or italics, other rely on the description to alert people. I.E., Savage thought the hobbits looked tasty instead of <<Talia wished for more cream>>.
Your viewer can be set up to make any emote comment show in italics by prefacing it with a /me or sometimes an *. Some RP groups also use the asterisk to denote thought or emotions.
When making OOC comments, every group has their own style, but it usually involves parentheses or brackets around the comment. For example: [great shot Ralf, been practicing?]
Please also avoid creating Mary Sue characters. That is a roleplay character with no faults, unbelievable skills, always perfect, always right, always wins, is sooo nice and beloved and so, so boring. Don’t go there, everyone will hate you.
Vocabulary from this article:
PvP- Player versus Player combat, usually regulated by lots of rules and a staple of many rp groups. It works best when meters are used but can be dice or pre-agreement regulated.
Meter- A HUD attachment linked to scripted weapons and sometimes animals or food. It measures the health of the wearer, records injuries and stamina and possibly hunger. We do not currently have these available.
Dice- A method of randomly determining the outcome of an event developed for tabletop RP games and used somewhat universally now. Roleplay dice are generally polyhedral and may have up to 20 sides. They can be rolled to determine who wins a combat or the degree of damage that is caused or even how many adversaries will be faced or what degree of combat skills may be used in an encounter. Dice are frequently used as substitute for metered combat. It is best if the expected results are discussed before they are used or things can get really complicated. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dice_notation