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Post by Clarence_Tillman on Mon Nov 05, 2018 8:26 pm

Credits go to Kipps

So, here's something I threw together for another faction a while back at the request of one of their members. Most of it is applicable to prison roleplay. It covers the following topics:

- Screenshot presentation
- Solo role-play
- The length of /mes
- Other crap

Solo role-play

The trend of posting screenshots of solo role-play has accumulated something of a big following recently. It has some obvious benefits for the perpetrator that can explain its popularity:

    1. They can be the lead actor in a scene, showcasing their role-play.2. They don't need to rely on the presence of other role-players.3. They acknowledge that people in real-life aren't always crowded in company. They spend time alone.

I really think it's the first two benefits that are mostly responsible for the support. If you want to showcase your role-play, please allow other people some involvement. No one's role-play is so jaw-droppingly awesome that to share its contents directly would be unhealthy; your role-play doesn't possess the face-melting properties of Ark of the Covenant. Share it around.

The enjoyment of browsing screenshots pales in comparison to the enjoyment of participating in a good role-play scene. You should be showing your role-play to other people in-game – so they can enjoy it – and not just in titbits you release in screenshots. If the only good role-play you produce is in an isolated & scripted setting, you need to improve. That's the blunt truth.

The second draw, that concerning activity, is problematic. You can create role-play with one of the hundreds of players outside the faction if you're so confident no one in the faction will be available. It's really odd to even imply activity is an excuse for not role-playing with other people when the server packs at least a few dozen players at all times – and often many hundreds more. There are many, many rackets available to your character to participate in if you know how to break into it OOC.

Finally, there's the argument from simulation. My reply to this is the same to those people who take a long and tedious shit in strenuous amounts of detail: No one cares. There are certain areas of role-play worth committing to – a drug deal, a conversation in a bar, towing a car, and others – and then there are those you don't bother with – taking a dump, getting breakfast before you leave the house, brushing your teeth – because they bring nothing to your character. Macbeth, Citizen Kane, The Godfather, Nineteen Eighty-four: None of these works of literature would benefit from a scene where the protagonist takes a shit. It's not necessary.

So if your isolated role-play isn't supplementing your character, avoid it. If you take drugs & screenshot it, the drug-taking should be a precursor to justify your character's behaviour in a later scene. If you just want to show your character to be somebody who takes drugs, do so in a more subtle way. A scene where your character just indulges themselves in hard drugs is overt and boring. Only stick to the solo role-play that serves a proper, thoughtful purpose.


It's true that a picture paints a thousand words. It's also true that a lot of pictures are crudely drawn crap. In LS-RP, a few people standing on a street is a picture that paints very little – so compliment your picture with words. This game is mainly dialogue driven – dialogue should feature in the bulk of your screenshots. Blank screenshots do little more than demonstrate (some) activity. A faction of this calibre should have higher aspirations than showcasing some activity. We should principally demonstrate quality in our screenshots. Part of this demonstration involves a few necessities:

Don't use outlandish mods and Lady Gaga-inspired outfits for your characters and/or other characters. Why? It makes the screenshots look very silly and contradicts this faction's status as a gritty band of criminals – not the models at the Paris Fashion Week. Think carefully about your character's status and use mods that conform to it. You don't lose points for not using mods as the default skins serve their purpose well enough. In prison mods help with immersion, but most people have functioning imaginations and so won't be too disadvantaged by seeing default skins.

ENB settings should be understated and subtle. We don't need ENB settings that make a dull Idlewood alleyway light up like it's stuck in Moulin Rogue. Similarly, not every Tahoma needs to be lit like the Starship Enterprise. Be restrained and subtle with its application.

Try and make it interesting. Be it the dialogue or the event itself, people like screenshots and role-play that's actually on some level engaging. Again, blank screenshots typically aren't this.

The length of /mes

This too has been the subject of debate for a while now. Some people see no worth in posting long /mes, while others assume that longer /mes are indicative of a 'better' role-player. The reality is that neither longer or shorter /mes are inherently more worthwhile.

As a general rule, I would recommend you keep your /mes concise and to the point. Longer /mes can often become cumbersome and unwieldy. This not only disrupts the flow of role-play – because longer /mes take longer to produce – but it also creates communication difficulties. Avoiding verbose /mes will maintain the flow of role-play, avoid confusion, and make for more enjoyable reading.

So, why & when should you resort to a longer /me? As long as your longer /mes aren't disrupting the flow of role-play, creating confusion, or being expressed in more words than necessary, it's okay to use them. The last point is the most important (“being expressed in more words than necessary”). Your /mes should always convey something; if an emote is using words that aren't adding anything, those words have no positive use and should be removed. Here are two examples to illustrate the point:

/me purses his lips against the glass and then, having done this, takes a sip.
/me sips from his glass.

What does the first /me say about your character or the process that the latter doesn't? The two are indistinguishable in terms of what they add to the character. The first is cumbersome and verbose. The additional words add nothing meaningful to the picture. Here are two further examples:

/me shakily clutches the coffee mug.
/me holds a coffee mug.

The first example is longer, but the additional words serve to give some meaningful insight into the character. He's probably nervous. If your character is nervous, the first /me is more suited. If your character isn't, the latter is perfectly serviceable. Don't turn your character into some insanely theatrical slapstick caricature for the sake of justifying long /mes about their physical behaviours. Most people, often even when unsettled, don't writhe with fear. Try against overstating your character's feelings in their physical descriptions and behaviour. If your character is a little shaken, they could be quiet, withdrawn, hesitant, or speak in a certain way – they don't need to be a constant quivering mess irrespective of context. Moderate the physical descriptions you choose to use. Be subtle, throw in the odd word to suggest a certain anxiousness here and there, but you want your character to feel real and not too cartoon-like.

/me shakes constantly. His shaky hands clutch tightly on to his cup. His eyes are full of dread.

This seems like the behaviour of somebody who's been told they're about to become the rear end of the Human Caterpillar - not a guy who's just introducing himself to a stranger. As I said, try not to go overboard. Let's examine a more extreme example of a long /me:

/me slowly inhales, twisting his head slowly downwards, his eyes momentarily darting towards and catching sight of a dull, bland set of heavily scratched steel hand-cuffs that are loosely fitted to his clumsily placed and partly twisted black police belt, hand-cuffs which he then swiftly and deliberately slaps two chubby fingers against, simultaneously releasing them from his belt and spinning them once around his index finger, before, as he exhales, snatches a firm hold of them, thus capturing the cuffs securely in his left hand.

Firstly, this /me is staggeringly hard to decipher. It lacks any fluidity and is near impenetrable. If somebody threw this hard-ball at you in a role-playing scene, they'd bring everything to a halt. It's the mid-air collision of /mes. It's the type of gut-wrenching disaster that Michael Bay could shoot a movie around.

Let's pretend there's no issue with the clumsy grammar and it's actually all very well expressed. From this long description, we can understand the officer to be quite scruffy and careless. Maybe he's lost pride in his job (as suggested by the old hand-cuffs and the scruffy, clumsily placed belt). Maybe him spinning the cuffs suggests that he's trying to entertain himself, or he's bored and less interested in efficient police work.

However, we can also understand that this scene is going to take all night if Thomas Hardy doesn't get a fucking move on. It's good to convey details about your character in his appearance and behaviour as well as in his dialogue, but this should be tempered. You completely disrupt the flow of a scene with verbose /mes. The longer the /me, the more careful you should be to ensure it reads well and isn't diffuse.

Use language and phrasing that you feel confident with to help ensure easy readability. If you're tempted by a thesaurus, don't be. Learning new words is healthy and they can give your writing flare, but resorting to thesaurus-checking too often is a bad habit. Candidly plucking words from a thesaurus is the LS-RP equivalent of reading words from the Book of the Dead. All that awaits you is pain, misery, and a character kill. Stick mostly to what you know you know rather than relying on inaccurate 'synonyms' that really don't mean what the online budget thesaurus suggests they do.

To summarise, don't take an absolute allegiance to either long or short sentences. Keep your /mes concise, meaningful and relevant. Every additional word should serve a purpose – either implying something about your character's traits, or explaining something vitally important (like how your character hot-wires a car). A long /me is only fine as long as it remains meaningful and readable.


Alright, I know it's this part in the guide. I know perfect grammar and spelling aren't a necessity for enjoyable roleplay - and I'd never suggest that, but certain understandings about grammar and punctuation help clarity. Clarity helps roleplay.

I'll be brief.

".." - this is not a thing. "..." - is a thing, it's called an ellipsis. It denotes a long pause or the trailing off of speech. To quote that ever reliable bastion of the internet, Wikipedia: "It is used to build tension or show that the sentence has been left unfinished or unstarted". Cool!

Example directly below:
Arthur Thompson says: I don't believe it...

"." is also a thing. It's a full stop. You use it to end sentences.

You can argue that ".." is fine, but it's not. It could be either a full stop or an ellipsis. The point is that we don't know and its meaning is therefore lost.

"-.." - this is not a thing either. Two dots are never a thing. Ever. They aren't. Stop trying to make .. happen, it's not going to happen.

Your two choices are:

"..." - the meaning of which has already been explained.


"--" / "—" - these are for interruptions. The alt code is 0151 for the em dash. It's a stylistic preference that determines which you use, although consistency is most important when you've decided. If somebody interrupts you, you'd use this.

Example directly below:
Arthur Thompson says: How about y--
*Arthur Thompson is slapped with a fish.

Nothing else means anything; "-.-", "--...", "...--", "-..", "..-" aren't recognised forms of punctuation. I know at this point that people are yelling "WHO CARES YOU PEDANT?" but it's exceptionally difficult to draw meaning from anything when people are operating on their own sets of rules about punctuation.

It's best to stick to what you know when you're in the middle of a roleplay scene. If you're nervous, just keep it simple and qualify your phrase with a /me. You don't know how to convey a lasting pause? Fine.

Bob says: I'm scared.
*Bob pauses in silence.

It'll do fine. And it beats relying on punctuation that doesn't exist.

Slang words like 'wanna' and 'gonna' are recognised as full words. As such, when written in their complete form, no apostrophe is needed. If you were to shorten them, you'd follow the same rule with all other words. "Oh, I'm gonn' fuck you up!" - notice the apostrophe for  the missing 'a'.

Show, don't tell feelings

"Show, don't tell is a technique often employed by writers to enable the reader to experience the story through action, words, thoughts, senses, and feelings rather than through the author's exposition, summarization, and description." - That infallible guru, Wikipedia.

*Arthur Thompson feels out of place in his current surroundings.
*Arthur Thompson fidgets in his place.

The latter is showing, the former is telling. The latter is nicer. There's more to it. It isn't lazily thrown out there. In addition, it gives other players a greater opportunity to judge whether their character would recognise Arthur's feelings. An observant character might recognise how Arthur feels, where as a less observant one might not. Other players can get involved. Where do they even begin with the first /me?

In books, exposition is sometimes a necessity for the sake of conciseness. Showing everything would stretch books out into thousands of pages. In roleplay however - for the aforementioned point especially - you should really describe your character's physical behaviour, only alluding to their emotions, rather than simply stating how they feel or what they want in a /me.

There are only so many ways you can show your character is nervous or out of place before it becomes cliché territory. In these cases, you can wrap the feeling up in an action:

*Bob Racisms hesitantly reaches out for the prison shiv.

You get the idea across that he's nervous without being blunt about it. It's subtly woven into another action. It's fine to have 'nervous expressions', or aggressive postures, or whatever else - as this isn't really just telling.

*Bob Racisms thinks about whether the Felons are going to make a move. - That is just telling, and in my opinion, it's bad.


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