Roleplay Online

Roleplaying online can allow you to experience and interact with remarkably detailed worlds that you'd otherwise never glimpse. Roleplaying also allows you to be someone you can't be in real life - a fierce warrior, for instance, or a powerful leader. There are a variety of roleplaying experiences (both free and paid) available online today. Explore your options and create a new virtual you!


  1. Respect the GM. The "boss" of the role-play is the creator, usually called DM (Dungeon Master), GM (Game Master), or moderator. They create the rules, forum, and (possibly) the scenario. If you don't like their rules, then you may have to leave. Their job is primarily to make sure that the role-play carries on and changes. Some are more hands on, others like to get the group to be creative.
  2. Find a type of role-play you like. There are many different types of role-plays of many different genres. If you dislike one, you may find another you like better. Make sure what you write goes along with the type of role-play you're doing. Don't write about casting magic in a 'future tech' role-play.
  3. Remember to treat others with respect. You will be treated with respect in return. For example, never cuss someone out; it gets you nowhere.
  4. Remember that you can only control your character (not those of others), unless you have the other person's permission. People are likely to be annoyed if you control their characters without warning...this includes their Non Playable Characters (NPC's).
  5. Follow the "skirt" rule. In role-playing, many people enjoy the "skirt" rule. "Long enough to cover the essentials, short enough to be interesting." This usually means three or four sentences that give your fellow role-players what they need to know to respond, while keeping it short and sweet.
    • In respect to the skirt rule, you do not need to have a huge block of text if your character is doing something that can be described in two or three sentences; for example, if your character is in a fight, or a quick conversion between forms.
  6. Check the length expected. In literate to semi-literate role-plays, the skirt rule may not apply. Many advanced role-players expect several paragraphs. Discuss it politely with the GM or leave if you can't write that much.
  7. Keep in contact with the other roleplayer(s) on a regular basis. Have multiple methods of contact. Discuss it before you begin the role-play.
  8. Notify the GM when you won't be able or willing to contribute to their role-play for a while.

Role-playing Language

  • Basic role-playing keywords are:
    • RP: Role-play
    • PC: Player Character. Your and the other real players' characters.
    • NPC: Non-Playable Character. Not a real player's character. Think of it as Nurse Joy instead of Ash Ketchum.
    • WB: Writer's block.
    • OOC: Out of Character. You speaking instead of the character. You could use parentheses to show this.
    • IC: In Character. You speaking as the character.
    • BIC: Back in Character. Used after OOC to return to IC.
    • Powerplaying: Trying to control other people's characters.
    • Godmodding: Changing in-game rules or controlling other characters' actions or reactions.
    • Mary Sue/Gary Stu: A character with little or no weakness, an overly dramatic or perfect past, and who is excellent at everything.
    • Collab: Two role-players writing a collaborative post.
    • CS: Character Sheet
    • Literate: A very good role-player who shows that they are able to demonstrate proper use of grammar, punctuation, capitalization, spelling, and so forth. A literate role-player knows when long introductions are appropriate, understands the place for short one or two sentence posts and keeps in-character emotions separate from their own.
    • Semi-Lit: A decent role-player who has an okay grasp of grammar, punctuation, capitalization, spelling, and so forth. A Semi-Lit role-player typically writes (sometimes excessively) long introductions several paragraphs in length and posts of up to a paragraph and longer.
    • Illiterate: A bad role-player who disregards all grammar, punctuation, capitalization, etc. Their spelling is usually equal to chat-speak (also known as "l337 spk"). An illiterate role-player typically writes one paragraph for their introduction, and around one or two sentences per post. One-word posts are also frequent.


  • Never power-play. No one likes to role-play with someone who is in one place, then is mystically in another without moving, or has actions completed that they have not included in their post. Power-playing is also used to describe the action of controlling, injuring, killing, or otherwise manipulating another character without the player's consent, such as shooting or tripping a character. It assumes that the character's fate is yours to control, and is one of the most impolite things you can do in role-play.
  • Never God-Mod. God-modding can refer to many things; for example, being immortal (never getting hurt or killed, dodging every blow) or taking control of another person's character. Usually, it is a power or point of character that unbalances the role-play.
  • If wanting to fight in role-play, you have to ask! People don't like things like this out of the blue. A simple, "OOC:Can we fight?" will do.
  • A lot of role-players prefer you have a certain standard for how much you write, though it varies. You might aim to write three good sentences while someone else wants three good paragraphs, or vice versa.
  • Whatever you do, do not ramble! Nobody wants to read three paragraphs about minute details like the color of a dinner plate, the past of a character from birth to present day or the tone of their voice! Little details about a 'fragile ivory dinner plate' or a 'low, raspy hum' are great, but be careful; write too much and people will skim or even skip over your posts!
  • No one likes someone who makes two or three posts and doesn't post forever. If you have to go on a trip or have a job, then inform your fellow role-players so they don't sit and wait for you all day. If you don't like how a role-play is going, work it out with the people you're role-playing with, instead of just leaving.
  • If a role-play is "yaoi", it is asking for a sexual relationship between two men; if it's "shounen ai", it's asking for a romantic relationship between two men. When it is "yuri", it's asking for a sexual relationship between women; if it's "shojo ai", it's asking for a romantic relationship between women. These are popular concepts and if they're part of your role-play, make sure new players are aware before they agree to join!
  • Another thing to avoid is creating a Mary Sue/Marty Stu. You do not want your character to be clich├ęd or unoriginal. A character who is too perfect, too powerful, without weaknesses or overburdened by a tragic past may be seen as a Mary Sue if these elements are not considered.

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Sources and Citations