Roleplaying writing styles


  • Admin

    I'd like to remind everyone this is not the Hogpit. Please let's not insult each other here, as I think it might be good to discuss this here in some length.

    What's your favorite 'roleplaying writing style'? Do you have any biases either way? Do you consider yourself an elitist?

    For example - and I will be honest here - on the MUD I first roleplayed on we heavily favored longer posting styles and ever since then I've been favoring that style heavily; I love writing in detail, and my favorite partners have always been ones able to return this. So giving me ambience about their character, turning their poses more colorful by essentially assuming minor storytelling duties and making the scene's environment come to life with sounds and scents, all those things will make me appreciate them a great deal.

    On the contrary I've learned to associate brevity with subpar roleplay. It's largely a bias, I'll freely admit it, and there are definitely players who can pull it off. @Coin, for all he's a blight on this world, can make every word count but most people can't get away with it. There's also a stigma about it being a sign of distraction such as when someone's playing on multiple scenes and just churns out a quick pose once in a while.

    What I can't stand is too many typos or spelling errors. Come on, it's 2017, get a spellchecker!

    Anyway, there are other quirks I encounter occasionally and I wonder how others feel about it. A common one is plugging wiki tags in poses - I don't have strong feelings about that either way personally but this being MSB that might vary. :) The use of linefeeds and tabs is also pretty varied.

    There are also players who plug OOC bits into their poses. I've seen it be fairly innocuous ("Bob has been silent for a few minutes. That's because his player was AFK letting his dog out. He looks up and...") and way less acceptable ("Bob sits down and stays silent. He hates that bitch Jane and hopes she dies in a fire.").

    So, how do you like to pose? What's your preferred style in your partners?


  • Politics

    @Arkandel said in Roleplaying writing styles:

    I'd like to remind everyone this is not the Hogpit. Please let's not insult each other here,

    First of all, fuck you. I do what I want, you Grecian jerk.

    @Coin, for all he's a blight on this world,

    See? Jerk.

    can make every word count but most people can't get away with it.

    [something something thanks something]

    There's also a stigma about it being a sign of distraction such as when someone's playing on multiple scenes and just churns out a quick pose once in a while.

    When I was playing Hemi on Eldritch it actually took me longer to pose those very concise poses than it would have taken me to rattle off a few paragraphs, sometimes. This was because I was consciously choosing a very concise and adverb-free style of writing to ape Hemingway's, and that took some thinking sometimes. I am usually very concise, but that bit was particularly attention-keeping.

    I think the key to making every word count is to make sure what you're typing has meaning in the scene and is an interaction, not a passive statement. Say something to someone that necessitates a response, touch someone, move, do something. Otherwise, just say 'skip me' and let people play. Being a voyeur is sometimes better than being a slow poser who has nothing to say and just slows everything down. (ETA: This is why I favor the 3 Pose Rule by default, and usually don't even follow pose order anyway if I have something particular to say. Slow people are slow, and if asked, I will wait. But otherwise, no one's gonna die because your two paragraph pose got interrupted by my witty amazing super awesome one-liner. >.>)

    What I can't stand is too many typos or spelling errors. Come on, it's 2017, get a spellchecker!

    For reals.

    Anyway, there are other quirks I encounter occasionally and I wonder how others feel about it. A common one is plugging wiki tags in poses - I don't have strong feelings about that either way personally but this being MSB that might vary. :) The use of linefeeds and tabs is also pretty varied.

    I do this almost routinely. It's just habit now. Ease of posting is key when you're posting logs.

    There are also players who plug OOC bits into their poses. I've seen it be fairly innocuous ("Bob has been silent for a few minutes. That's because his player was AFK letting his dog out. He looks up and...") and way less acceptable ("Bob sits down and stays silent. He hates that bitch Jane and hopes she dies in a fire.").

    I do the former, not the latter (unless the latter is in jest with people who know me and we're being humorous). I especially do the latter towards MYSELF. If my character is doing something particularly mean, I'll often end the pose with, for example, [character] is such a dick.

    So, how do you like to pose? What's your preferred style in your partners?

    Don't you-pose at me. That shit is creepy and completely unnecessary. I am not going to you-pose back, I don't care how hot my PB is and what you would like them to do to you.


  • Admin

    @Coin said in Roleplaying writing styles:

    can make every word count but most people can't get away with it.

    [something something thanks something]

    Those are the WRONG WORDS. Can you be more terrible?

    I think the key to making every word count is to make sure what you're typing has meaning in the scene and is an interaction, not a passive statement. Say something to someone that necessitates a response, touch someone, move, do something. Otherwise, just say 'skip me' and let people play. Being a voyeur is sometimes better than being a slow poser who has nothing to say and just slows everything down.

    I think that's my main peeve when it comes to pose length - that people both take a long time to pose and say nothing in the couple of lines they begrudgingly toss out. At least make it only one of the two!

    ... Which of course won't help if the scene is one-on-one. But it gets really annoying when you do have a decent scene going in a public location with someone and a third party comes in who is extraordinary disengaged and slow at the same time. I never want to skip anyone (even though I will if I have to), and even even if I do it'll have damaged the scene's flow by the time we realize the other person is weighing it down.

    I do the former, not the latter (unless the latter is in jest with people who know me and we're being humorous). I especially do the latter towards MYSELF. If my character is doing something particularly mean, I'll often end the pose with, for example, [character] is such a dick.

    This reminds me. How do you feel about revealing things about the character through narration and not in any visible ways? For example: "Bob sits down and grows silent. Ever since he returned from the war he's been reserved in social settings with people he doesn't know well. He lifts his glass and...".


  • Pitcrew

    I tend to be a shorter poser, 3-5 lines. I don't like feeling like I'm adding a bunch of extra fluff when I can get my point across in fewer words. Basically I started posing more like I would actually write book type stuff at some point. I still mostly refuse to throw out one-liners unless I'm with friends, which is rare because I have none. NONE.

    I add in wiki tags for emphasis and it bothers me a little when other people use non wiki tags for the same purpose. I only plug in OOCish narrative bits that pertain to my own character. (Good one, Bob.)

    I mostly need for people I'm playing with to give me something to work with. If we aren't interacting meaningfully within a couple poses, preferably the first two, I have no problem posing out and getting on with my life.

    I don't RP a lot these days.


  • Politics

    @Arkandel said in Roleplaying writing styles:

    @Coin said in Roleplaying writing styles:

    I do the former, not the latter (unless the latter is in jest with people who know me and we're being humorous). I especially do the latter towards MYSELF. If my character is doing something particularly mean, I'll often end the pose with, for example, [character] is such a dick.

    This reminds me. How do you feel about revealing things about the character through narration and not in any visible ways? For example: "Bob sits down and grows silent. Ever since he returned from the war he's been reserved in social settings with people he doesn't know well. He lifts his glass and...".

    I do this all the time. I don't really mind if other players know my character's motivations (USUALLY) and most of the people I play with aren't assholes who will assume telepathy based on it.


  • Admin

    @Coin said in Roleplaying writing styles:

    I do this all the time. I don't really mind if other players know my character's motivations (USUALLY) and most of the people I play with aren't assholes who will assume telepathy based on it.

    Although I've used this before, I know people (excellent roleplayers, in fact) who advocate everything should be visible in your poses, and that you should only emote things others can observe and interpret.

    The idea being that anything less is lazy and bad storytelling, the rough equivalent of having an actor on screen display a reaction through his facial expression and body language, and having a narrator's voiceover explain what just happened to the audience.


  • Politics

    @Arkandel said in Roleplaying writing styles:

    @Coin said in Roleplaying writing styles:

    I do this all the time. I don't really mind if other players know my character's motivations (USUALLY) and most of the people I play with aren't assholes who will assume telepathy based on it.

    Although I've used this before, I know people (excellent roleplayers, in fact) who advocate everything should be visible in your poses, and that you should only emote things others can observe and interpret.

    The idea being that anything less is lazy and bad storytelling, the rough equivalent of having an actor on screen display a reaction through his facial expression and body language, and having a narrator's voiceover explain what just happened to the audience.

    Yeah, well, those people may be excellent roleplayers, but they don't corner the market on excellent roleplaying, nor what people find fun to read in other people's poses. So they can shoo off to play that way with people who only play that way, I guess. Hehe.

    P.S. Also, that reasoning completely ignores several kinds of theater and several schools of acting that don't work that way. Absolutism is the bane of my existence.

    P.P.S. As if A Series of Unfortunate Events isn't a banakable storytelling style over several mediums (like, oh, TELEVISION). Pfft. Whatever.



  • For me, my writing style is purely situational. Smaller, social scenes are easier for me to pose a bit more lengthily while during combat scenes I tend to drop shorter poses to help keep the flow going and to make sure no one will be stuck waiting for me. I do try to be as detailed as possible, no matter what.


  • Pitcrew

    I have found that of all things, Joss Whedon has had a distinct influence on my writing style. On occasion I do make meta comments, but for amusement rather than imposition on other people. It's interesting how his style of patter has become so natural, and I daresay to practically an entire generation.


  • Pitcrew

    @Coin said in Roleplaying writing styles:

    P.P.S.

    Thank you for not writing P.S.S.


  • Politics

    @Faceless said in Roleplaying writing styles:

    @Coin said in Roleplaying writing styles:

    P.P.S.

    Thank you for not writing P.S.S.

    Who the fuck writes P.S.S.?

    It's post-script. If you do it again, it's a post-post-script...

    [bashes his head in]


  • Pitcrew

    Some people are just barbarians.

    sips tea


  • Pitcrew

    @Coin said in Roleplaying writing styles:

    @Faceless said in Roleplaying writing styles:

    @Coin said in Roleplaying writing styles:

    P.P.S.

    Thank you for not writing P.S.S.

    Who the fuck writes P.S.S.?

    It's post-script. If you do it again, it's a post-post-script...

    [bashes his head in]

    I saw someone do it recently. Probably why it's fresh in my mind.

    Staying on track with the thread: I prefer detailed poses. Humans are more than a few words and vague actions. I provide enough details about physical actions, especially(as @Coin can probably attest with his time playing Shadow) for those characters who are fairly quiet or otherwise don't have a lot(if any) dialogue. You have to offset the lack of dialogue with well described (and potentially verbose) physical actions.

    At least that's how I feel. If you want to give someone something to work with while playing a tight-lipped character, then you have to offset that shortcoming with plenty of detail that physically displays the fact that character is a living, breathing person with more than vacant stares and the occasional smile.


  • Politics

    @Faceless said in Roleplaying writing styles:

    @Coin said in Roleplaying writing styles:

    @Faceless said in Roleplaying writing styles:

    @Coin said in Roleplaying writing styles:

    P.P.S.

    Thank you for not writing P.S.S.

    Who the fuck writes P.S.S.?

    It's post-script. If you do it again, it's a post-post-script...

    [bashes his head in]

    I saw someone do it recently. Probably why it's fresh in my mind.

    Staying on track with the thread: I prefer detailed poses. Humans are more than a few words and vague actions. I provide enough details about physical actions, especially(as @Coin can probably attest with his time playing Shadow) for those characters who are fairly quiet or otherwise don't have a lot(if any) dialogue. You have to offset the lack of dialogue with well described (and potentially verbose) physical actions.

    At least that's how I feel. If you want to give someone something to work with while playing a tight-lipped character, then you have to offset that shortcoming with plenty of detail that physically displays the fact that character is a living, breathing person with more than vacant stares and the occasional smile.

    This is why Shadow was so socially aggressive despite not talking.


  • Pitcrew

    @Arkandel said in Roleplaying writing styles:

    This reminds me. How do you feel about revealing things about the character through narration and not in any visible ways? For example: "Bob sits down and grows silent. Ever since he returned from the war he's been reserved in social settings with people he doesn't know well. He lifts his glass and...".

    I am absolutely in favor of this sort of thing. Mainly because human communication is mostly non-verbal on a much we are forced to just use verbal because all we have as tools are words. If someone is really good at posing body language this can lesson the issue but body language is not constant across cultures so things that would absolutely be understood ICly get lost OOCly.
    So while I will not have my PC be able to figure out details, if playing someone who has normal observational skills and raised in the same culture as the posing PC, I do use those asides to give my PC an idea of the other PCs emotions.


  • Pitcrew

    I really enjoyed playing my mute character despite the fact that I mostly played her with @Coin and he's obviously a big jerk. I love seeing body language and expressions in poses. I've learned to hate the phrase 'a little'. I still use it a little.



  • @ThatGuyThere said in Roleplaying writing styles:

    @Arkandel said in Roleplaying writing styles:

    This reminds me. How do you feel about revealing things about the character through narration and not in any visible ways? For example: "Bob sits down and grows silent. Ever since he returned from the war he's been reserved in social settings with people he doesn't know well. He lifts his glass and...".

    I am absolutely in favor of this sort of thing. Mainly because human communication is mostly non-verbal on a much we are forced to just use verbal because all we have as tools are words. If someone is really good at posing body language this can lesson the issue but body language is not constant across cultures so things that would absolutely be understood ICly get lost OOCly.

    I don't do this kind of thing with new people, but with players who're supposed to know my PC to some intimate degree? I use a little more narration/meta. And OOC communication, though sometimes sticking things in a quick line in a pose feels less disruptive to the RP. I try to stress body language/tone more and make the cues more subtle than that (idk how good I am at subtle, sometimes not), but your friends and family pick up on a lot of shit rando strangers don't.

    I also try to play my PCs differently around people they're close to versus people they're not. Not radically, but I think we all have a private face and a public face (and a face we show our family versus our friends, etc.) to some degree, and feeling that out gives me more colors to RP that keeps it fun for me.

    I'm honestly not sure what my writing style is when I RP. I feel like I'm a medium poser? I've asked people I play with on the regular before and gotten variable answers. I usually do 5-ish lines and get length-abusive mostly from dialogue rather than prose. I'll take a shorter poser who gives me a response in under 10 minutes to someone who takes 20 minutes to pose a screen at me any day (I usually don't got that kind of time), but if I'm one-on-one with somebody I care a lot less as long as I'm getting something engaging.


  • Pitcrew

    I aim for concise poses that display what people can observe and interpret. I pose very differently when playing with a blind character versus someone with sight. I describe smells and sounds more than body language and visual action.

    Sometimes, a meta comment slips in there, particularly when connecting characters with a past together. Some things need to be established and known. Example: "I didn't take the dog out." He never takes the dog out. This is not news. "Cat got loose though." This, on the other hand, is news. The cat never leaves the bedroom.

    I have quirks, like filling poses with speech. I'm trying to break that habit. No one really monologues, Goldfish. No one mutters to themselves that much. So quit that shit, me.


  • Admin

    There's a flipside to all this - many people have style quirks which make them identifiable. For example after a player on Fallen World posed once I immediately paged them and asked "are you <X> from TR?" which they were, because of such tells.

    Mine is probably excessive dialogue. My characters tend to be chatty - to the surprise of exactly no one here. :)



  • A.P.S. A priori script


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