Welcome to the Roleplay section. This section is far less watched then others. Us Moderators do not expect there to be any breaking of the normal set of rules here.
Your roleplays should be written accordingly.
How does Roleplay work?
Roleplay is creating and controlling characters to tell a story. The members of an RP are the OP (original poster, or gamemaster (GM)), the mods (if any), and the players.
The GM is the creator of the story. He controls the vast majority of the game’s universe, in addition to establishing a plot and usually controlling the main villain. He writes the OP and makes the rules.
The mods are people appointed by the GM to aid in the exposition of the plot and enforce the rules. Sometimes they are granted some sort of in-character perk as well, as a reward for keeping the peace. Otherwise, they are normal players.
The players are exactly what they sound like. They are the participants, who control main characters (PC’s, or “player characters”) and sometimes secondary characters (NPC’s, or “non-player characters”). They still have significant impact on the plot, since they often carry important pieces of it.
Roleplaying has two distinct domains: In character (IC) and out of character (OOC). IC interaction is what goes on in the RP world. OOC interaction is the players talking to each other about the game. How these two relate will be discussed in more depth below.
Rules, Etiquette, and Definitions
Rules and etiquette are one of the most crucial parts of a roleplay. While rules often vary widely according to setting and plot, there are some common courtesies. These are crucially important and frame all interaction. Here are the major ones, which are often included in the RP’s “rules” section.
Godmodding/Autoing: This is when one player controls another player’s character without permission. This especially applies during fights, where it can mean the life or death of a character. Never do this without the permission of the victim’s player. Autoing is a combat-related variant where a shot is stated to hit without the other player's consent.
Unauthorized plot twists: A particularly heinous form of g-modding, because it derails everybody playing. This is taking the plot in an irrational direction or effectively eliminating an important plot point without the GM’s approval.
Creating a new character midstream with the ability to magically solve a problem falls under this category as well. With the introduction of one of these characters, all the conflict, all the adventures to be had trying to solve the problem, and definitely all the fun disappear. No more quest for the healing herb, because Bobby the Wonder-Medic showed up. Since characters with that sort of power are completely overpowered for their setting and are generally bad form, they are a no-go. I call these characters “Anti-Plot Rocket Launchers.” On the other hand, if in the above scenario, you made a merchant NPC that knew where a relevant healing herb might be found, that might be okay, so long as he didn’t become a crutch.
Metagaming: One of the hardest things to avoid. This refers to the use of out of character knowledge in character. For instance, the original post may have listed a piece of information, but unless it has been revealed to the characters, it may not be used. To use a popular example, the Emperor may have told Luke that the Death Star is operational, but Lando (who was lightyears away at the time) must find that out for himself. The guy controlling Lando may know that the Rebels are about to get hammered, but Lando does not; ergo, no counter-action can be taken. To act as though he magically overheard the conversation would be absurd and rude to whoever was playing the Emperor, who probably spent much time laying the trap. If the Falcon’s sensors detected that the shield was still up, so that the Rebel fleet barely manages to avoid splattering on it like bugs on a windshield, that would be more permissible, but only if the plot warranted it. APRL’s qualify here as well.
Flaming: Being rude/a jerk to someone OOC under any circumstances or IC without reason. Do I really need to explain why not to do this?
Spotlighting: Hogging all of the attention for yourself. While it’s not game-breaking, like metagaming and godmodding, it’s downright inconsiderate. We’ve all done this one at some point. Just try to avoid it.
Bumping: Posting without substance in order to move a thread to the front page. Follow the forum guidelines for this. If it’s been a couple of days, double-posting is generally accepted. Triple-posting is a no-go. Bumping after five minutes is bad and generally unnecessary. Bumping once a day is more reasonable. If your RP is brand new and it has gone several days without a signup, do not keep bumping it. At that point, nobody is interested.
Necroing: Bumping dead threads. According to the forum guidelines, this doesn’t officially exist. However, there is such a thing as necroing in the RP forum. Anything that hasn’t had a post in a couple of weeks is dead. The GM will not come back, and neither will the players. Once an RP thread is dead, there is nothing more to do in it. It will not come back.
If you see a dead RP you really like, PM the GM and ask if he would be interested in running it again or if you could run it. If he/she is no longer on the forums, you can try running something similar.
Plagiarism: Stealing. If you use someone else’s material, give them credit. End of story. Many people get very mad if you plagiarize. If you rerun a dead RP (because you didn’t want to necro it), then say something like “based on/rerunning of/sequel to (as appropriate) X’s Y RP.” Rerunning someone else’s RP while theirs is still active is beyond rude. This is not to say that there can’t be several RP’s in the same genre at once: having two dragon RP’s at a time is not uncommon, and it is perfectly acceptable. However, having two identical RP’s is frivolous.
Script/Screenplay format: Writing your posts as though one was writing a screenplay, not a book. Dialogue looks like "Name: blah blah blah blah." This is an eyesore. If you are caught RP'ing like this, the brainbow of war, the emolandfish, and I will all come and breathe rainbow-colored fire of fishy emo-ness on you.
Seriously, screenplay format may be permissible in an illiterate RP, but it's a faux pas anywhere else. Write as though you're writing a book, not a movie.
Stats: Putting a number to things about your character. Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma are the most common. An RP lacks these by definition. An RPG, like Dungeons and Dragons, does have them. The OP/source manual will describe the rules for these. Just because RP's lack stats, that doesn't mean you can simply assume you're the best at everything. RP'ing is based on your honor and skill as a writer. If you constantly do ridiculous things just because nobody forced you into a set of numbers, people will hate you and nobody will play with you.
Advertising: Trying to persuade people to join by posting in other people's threads. See "Spamming" in the forum guidelines. Advertising is never permissible. It does not make your thread popular: it makes people hate you, because you're being inconsiderate. Chances are they saw your RP and are uninterested, so don't be obnoxious.
Fourth Wall: Essentially, the boundary between IC reality and OOC reality. It comes from theater, where everything would be directed at the "fourth wall," aka the invisible wall that has the audience on the other side of it. When a character realizes he is in a work of fiction and addresses the audience or a narrator or writer, he is said to have "broken the fourth wall." TVTropes has much to say on the subject.
The major thing to remember is that you’re playing with other people. If you wouldn’t want it done to you, don’t do it to anyone else.
Literacy is how well the members of an RP write. Each RP falls into one of three categories: literate, semi-literate, and illiterate.
Literate RP’s read like novels where each person chips in the part for his/her character. They have accurate grammar and spelling (occasional typos notwithstanding), vivid or at least competent writing, and well-formed action and characters. Minimum post lengths are not uncommon, and one-word responses are anathema. OP’s are frequently quite long, rule lists are specific, and character sheets are fairly involved. This is the sort of quality every roleplayer should strive for.
Semi-literate RP’s are a step down from literate roleplays. Posts are still legible, but they are generally shorter, and one-line responses are often permissible. This is the realm of the competent but still learning roleplayer. Op’s are often brief, but are sufficient to outline their purposes. Character sheets are short but intelligible. Posters tend to go quickly due to thinking less about their posts.
Illiterate RP’s are the slums of RP’ing. Posts are short as a rule, godmodding abounds, and there is no sense to be had. People with any command of their language have no business writing this poorly. Op’s can be as short as one sentence, character sheets may or may not exist, and chaos generally abounds. We want none of this here.
The grammar rules you learned in school apply to any and all RP’s. Nobody cares if you are too lazy to write properly. Nobody wants to sift through horribly-written posts. If English is your second language, just do the best you can, and everyone else will be understanding. Native speakers have little excuse.