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Author Topic: Freeform Roleplaying  (Read 782 times)

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Freeform Roleplaying
« on: June 23, 2013, 09:22:19 PM »
Freeform Roleplaying Described

Definition by our Standard

The word Freeform has many connotations in the world of RP, but when the word is used to describe a realm, there are really only two basic types.  There are True Freeform realms, in which any and all characters, regardless of origin, are allowed without prejudice (though power-gaming is still frowned upon).  This type of realm does not normally include a detailed world or setting, leaving it up to the players themselves to create their surroundings.  As you can imagine, this can easily get out of hand and lead to a very chaotic realm. (This style of RP is available in the Casual Roleplay forum.)

Hidden Realms is the second type, a Structured Freeform realm.  This type of realm includes a detailed, fleshed out world in which to play and requires all characters to be from, and fit within, that world.  Most, like Hidden Realms, also require that characters be approved for play before entering the RP.

People tend to over-complicate the issue when describing how to roleplay in a freeform setting.  The default method is a very simple concept, actually.  In this article, I will attempt to explain it in as concise and easily understood manner as I can.

The first order of business are the basic rules.  It has become "politically correct" to refer to them as "guidelines", but if any one of them is broken, the RP session will be disrupted.  In my book, this makes them "rules".  Following them is required for creating a successful roleplaying scene.  (Note: These "rules" apply to all freeform RP, regardless of which type of realm it is.  These rules also apply to combat.  Combat is simply a form of RP scene.  It is really no different than any other interaction.)


The most important point to remember is that OOC cooperation between the players involved is paramount to the success of any RP scene and never more so than when RPing a combat scene.  There are players out there that believe that combat is a competition.  While it is a competition between characters, it will only be successful if it is a cooperation between players.  This point cannot be stressed enough.  If you ever encounter a player (and you will) that sees RPing as if it is an OOC competition between players, you can count on the scene going sour before it is finished.

What makes someone a "good RPer" is not the length of their posts, not their OOC "kombat skillz" and not the power level of their character.  A "good RPer" is someone that strives to create a good, well written scene, for their own enjoyment, as well as the enjoyment of others.  A "good RPer" knows that cooperation is the key to any RP scene's success.  A "good RPer" will take a hit when it is warranted and concede defeat when their character has been bested.  Most of all, a "good RPer" portrays their character in an accurate and consistent manner. 

Basic Rules

  • Stay IC: Keep your posts in character, and your planning out.  We have boards for planning and thread development, we have IRC and we have PMs.
  • Take Turns: Simply post what action(s) and/or dialogue your character is taking on your turn, then wait for your fellow player(s) to post a response before you post again.  The automation of others is allowed, but only when conceded by the player of the character(s).  This is normally something that veterans of several stories will do, it is not recommended for people RPing together for the first time, and requires an intimate knowledge of the fellow PC.
  • No Autos: When posting the action(s) that your character takes, you -must- stop short of actually affecting another player's character.  No one may say what happens to a character other than -that- character's player.  Period.  This includes controlling the actions and/or dialogue of another player's character without that player's prior approval.  That being said, some of the greatest stories flow when people discuss and cooperate on how much they are willing for a partner to control their character.  Just communicate, be honest and be fair always.  Seek above for more info.
  • Play Fair: Always play fairly and remember that the scene should be fun for everyone involved.  It is not fair to never take a hit or "god-mode" your way out of it.  Cooperation is key, it is the essence of this kind of RP.
  • Combat is voluntary: No player can force another to RP a combat scene.  It must be mutually agreed upon by all involved.  Conversely, repeatedly refusing to roleplay combat that has developed for legitimate in-character reasons can be considered a violation of the rules if it unnaturally changes the course of the RP as a result.

Sequence of Combat

An RP scene turns to combat when one or more characters make an attack toward another.  The player of the defending character is then expected to describe how their character either:

  • Takes the hit, describing the damage, or lack thereof, caused by the successful attack.
  • Describes how their character avoids being hit by the attack, whether it is due to armor/shielding or simply dodging out of the way.
  • While posting either the first item or the second item in this list, the defending character also attacks in return, thus forcing the original attacker to become the defender on their next turn.
This series of turns and counter turns is all there is to it.  The combat scene is at a conclusion when one side of the conflict is either beaten, successfully flees, concedes defeat, or OOCly calls it off for whatever reason(s) they may have.  Here is a brief example of a combat scene in action.  (Note:  This is simply a naive example.  If this had been an actual RP, the posts would have been considerably longer, and more thought out)

Angry Swordsman suddenly pulled his sword from its scabbard and swung it violently from left to right, aiming its deadly arc in an attempt to connect with Stealthy Ninja's neck.  He hoped, of course, to remove the subject of his anger?s head . . .

Stealthy Ninja was quick to react to the not-so-surprising attack from Angry Swordsman and dropped to one knee as the sword went whistling past overhead.  She spun as she dropped, quickly extending a single leg in hopes of knocking the swordsman from his feet . . .

Angry Swordsman wondered if he would ever learn to stop attacking Ninjas as his feet were knocked out from under him.  He fell squarely onto his back amid a clattering of armor, the wind leaving his lungs in a whoosh.

As you can see.  There was an attack attempt followed by the third item in the list, which is then followed by the first item in the list  This scene has obviously not come to a conclusion, but it doesn't look good for the Angry Swordsman at this point.

This form of combat is great for beginners, but once you have RPed with a character, or are more experienced, it is fine to talk OOC about how the combat will unfold and write more flowing posts of both characters.  So long as you respect the above rules, combat can be written very elegantly.

One last point that should be made is that a combat scene does not automatically have to result in the "death" of a character.  Players put a lot of time and energy into character creation and unless their is a valid IC reason for another character to kill them, it is not a necessary goal.  It is also something that only a character's player may decide.  No one can actually "kill" a character without the cooperation of that character's player.  This also applies to NPCs under the control of another player.


  • Original Concept and Write-up: Jarucas
  • Revised Edition: Davin Ragal & Zyrphath
« Last Edit: August 16, 2016, 07:18:24 AM by Davin Ragal »