Role Playing Guidelines
Policies for Role-Playing : Role-playing is a priority in BlackMUD. Unlike other RP MUDs, BlackMUD does not punish players for poor role-playing. However, BlackMUD is moving toward a system where, the better a character is role-played the faster he/she advances. In which, most experience gained will be rewarded for accurate and imaginative role-playing. Although role-playing is not an absolute requirement, BlackMUD is designed with it in mind. If you feel you can't or won't role-play, it would be a waste of your time to come to BlackMUD. How a character should be role-played is dependent on the race, age, sex, class, occupation, history, and individual personality of the character. As this suggests, the possibilities are immense.
Helpful Hints for Role-Playing : Role-playing (RP) is an acquired ability. To successfully role-play a character, it is necessary for you to step outside of real-life and slip into the mind frame of a character. This means that while you are in the game playing a character, you should think, act, and talk as the character, not as yourself (the player).
The most basic element of RP is the difference between 'In Character' and 'Out Of Character'. The term 'In Character' (IC) refers to something related to the character you play in the game. Acting IC refers to playing your character in the context of the game world, while having your character talk about real world things would be considered OOC. In general, everything your character does in the game should be considered an IC action. If you find you have to communicate within the game about something that is OOC, use BUG, TYPO and IDEA. Discussing game mechanics (such as skill percentages), and dealing directly with immortals (who do not exist in the IC game world). Try to keep OOC actions within the game to a minimum. If you can do something IC with a little extra effort, like describing yourself as a skilled archer rather then giving your skill percentage, make the effort.
A second distinction between OOC and IC is that of character knowledge. It is likely that you, the player, will know many things about the game world that your character does not know. If the knowledge is not something your character would know, then the knowledge is OOC knowledge, and you should play your character as if he/she did not know it (since they don't). The rule here is do not use OOC knowledge. The most common violation of this rule is using a subsequent character to seek revenge on someone who killed a previous character, or going to recover your previous character's belongings, etc. Using OOC information is a sure way to annoy other player sand the immortals of BlackMUD. Please don't do it.
Another point to keep in mind when playing 'In Character' is how you treat 'Non-Player Characters' (NPCs). NPCs are any animate being in the game world that is not currently being controlled by another player. Contrary to the philosophy of most other MUDs, NPCs on BlackMUD are placed in the game to enhance the feel of the world, not to act as targets for player characters to practice their combat skills on. Before you attack an NPC on BlackMUD, consider two things: First, ask yourself 'Would my character attack this person/thing?' Unless your character is a psychopathic mass-murderer, he/she is unlikely to go around slaughtering people indiscriminately. Second, consider 'What are the consequences that will come from attacking this person/being?' Remember, BlackMUD is a game 'world', and much like the real world, there will be consequences for your actions. Even in the worst parts of town, people will not tolerate a maniac charging down the street swinging a sword, and a lynch mob will likely be after said maniac in short order. Good role-players will treat NPCs exactly the same way they treat characters controlled by other players.
Creating a Character : The first thing to do, before you ever start playing your character, is put a little thought into him/her. Take a few minutes and think about your character's general attitude and outlook on life. Does she love/hate a specific thing or group? Is he friendly or withdrawn? A loner, leader, or follower? Stubborn or easily swayed? Opinionated or open minded? You might also think up some habits, common phrases, accents, other common mannerisms of your character, and set up EMOTE aliases for them.
Here are some questions that will help you to come up with a firm concept for your character. These are geared toward standard race characters without major clan associations. For those in a clan, many of the same questions will apply, but your clan documentation will provide guidelines from which to answer them:
Family : Spend some time thinking about your character's family life. Don't let the fact that you won't have any literal parents in the game affect your choices -- use your imagination in both your background and in role-playing the existence of 'virtual' parents. Is your character the illegitimate daughter of a noble? Did he grow up in the Forests of Mirth with his human mom, never getting to meet his elven father? Was he born to a simple hunter in the city of Halkann or to a champion in Makilor's city guard? The possibilities here are great -- take advantage of them.
Childhood : In addition to situating your character's family life, think about her experience of childhood. Was she often beaten by other kids in the commons? Did his mother's status as a templar bring him more status and attention than he desired? Was she always trying to escape the city to explore the wastes outside, though everyone told her to do so was suicide?
Social Interaction : There are several issues here that you should decide about your character. How does you character relate to others? Is he an extroverted socialite, a gaudy showman, a slightly insane introvert? Does she naturally create causes and lead people in them, does she only when lead necessary? To some degree, think about how others have traditionally viewed your character. Of course, once you get into the game, this will be determined by the other players, but it may be worth giving it some thought nonetheless.
Personality : After you've decided where your character has come from, you're ready to decide where he is now. Personality is largely a catch all term that includes everything from little details like unique mannerisms made with the EMOTE command and taste in clothes to bigger issues like temperament and self-confidence. Does she often fly off the handle at the slightest provocation, getting her into no end of trouble? Is she prone to wearing green shirts or exotic jewelry? Does he have a funny habit of sucking on his moustache? These are the answers that will bring your character to others.
Goals : All you should have left to do now is figure out what this fleshed out character is going to do with his life. A firm idea of what your character's goals in life are is vitally important to a fulfilling role-playing experience. At the same time, goals are perhaps the most difficult thing come up with, especially for those new to the game, as they do not have the perspective to know what sort of things are solid, reachable goals and which are dreams, or, more importantly, which sorts of goals will provide them with things to do in the game.
Unlike most other MUDs, the goal of a character on BlackMUD is not to become the most powerful and well equipped character. On BlackMUD this would be considered an OOC goal, because it is something you, the player, wish to accomplish. IC goals, or goals your character wants to accomplish in the game world, make for much more interesting role-playing and also help to define your character better for both yourself and the other players. Perhaps your character seeks to start her own merchant house, defeat a group of bandits, become the champion warrior of a city, or be the most renowned members of his profession in the land. IC goals, and the way your character goes about trying to accomplish them, are one of the easiest ways to help your character come 'alive'. If you have trouble coming up with goals for your character initially, try talking with other characters who seem to have a good idea of what they want to do - you may find that your character is willing to assist them with (or feels compelled to prevent them from) accomplishing their goal(s). Experience will help a lot here -- don't expect to get it all right with your first character! Nonetheless, there are a few lines of thought that new characters and old alike might want to follow. First, your goals do not have to production oriented. A successful character's purpose in life could very well be to waste himself away in the local taverns, listening to the tales of the travelers who pass through. Neither does your goal have to be grand or specific. Maybe your character just feels the need to spend as much time as possible away from the city. Lastly, and most importantly, you should choose a goal that will be fun for you, the player, to pursue, instead of choosing a goal that will be fun to attain. Trust me here, choosing the goal of becoming a immortal simply because you, as a player, think it would be cool to be a immortal is a sure recipe for having a bad role-playing experience. You should always keep your focus that it is the process of playing, and not the result, that will provide your most fulfilling experiences on BlackMUD.