Hello everyone, Nanja is back with another guide, this time I'll deal with something very general. I'm going to write a guide to roleplaying. I'm doing this because quite a few people have begun asking me for advice in regards to how to improve their roleplaying ability.
In this guide I won't be covering the absolute basics of roleplaying, as there's a myriad of other guides out there that accomplish the exact same thing. Instead, I'll discuss a few more intermediate ideas, techniques and guidelines to help you improve. If you want to brush up on your basic level of knowledge however, here's a link to the guide of Chrono Nexus, a good friend of mine and one of the best roleplayers I've ever seen.
With that out of the way, onwards we go!
Three-Paragraph Rule: This is a personal rule of mine which I always advice others to follow, and it's quite common among the more experienced roleplayers on this site. Such as Void, Sei, Ten and well.. me. The rule is about always writing a minimum of three paragraphs every time you post. No less than that is permissible. This is to provide an idea to your roleplaying partner that you're taking this seriously, it also makes it so that you naturally tend to be more detailed in your attacks and defenses. In most roleplays, detail is THE greatest power available to each participant. A more detailed attack feels more powerful than one which has little investment in it, and roleplayers are often much more willing to have their characters be harmed by an attack that sounds powerful and cool.
No Pokemon Battles: This term was coined by Void several years ago to refer to the traditional roleplay between two users, the term seemed so apt and perfect that I've used it ever since. Where one part makes a single attack, and the other part defends, evades or gets hit, then proceeds to retaliate, rinse and repeat until crispy and apply a dash of soy sauc- Where was I again? Oh yeah, I was about to explain why this is a terribly bad practice. Put in simply terms, a Pokemon Battle is overly slow, offers very little character development, feels unreal and unrealistic and above all else, it tends to be boring and repetive. When you fight, give your opponents multiple things to react to at once, combine spells together, attack from multiple angles, use multiple techniques towards a desired awesome end. Be a badass. Not only will your additional attacks push your roleplaying partner to respond in kind, thus making for a much more lively and engaging roleplay, chances are high you'll both learn a LOT.
Use the Environment: Really, don't ever let a chance pass you by to define something in the imaginary space your character will confront their opponent in. The environment belongs to both of you, and it can be used in a billion of different ways to give you an edge, make a more interesting story or just to create a cool environment. Is there a large body of water nearby, if any of the characters have advanced water manipulation skills, they just got a huge advantage. Is your character a Kido Master and the battle takes place in Hueco Mundo? Enjoy a nigh-infinite supply of spiritual energy. Are you facing a Kido Master and you have an ability that allows you to teleport others elsewhere? Attempt to bring the mage to the Valley of Screams and force them to use their own reserves for once, they won't appreciate it. Don't hesitate in changing the scenery once a while too, perhaps your characters abilities are so powerful that they might make a few.. redecorations?
Learn how to use your characters: This is extremely important, even if you made a character, that does not mean that you know how to utilize them optimally in a roleplay right off the bat. Talk to people, have them take a look at your character, do some research on the applications of their abilities and just learn how their powers work (an absolute necessity!). Also, read the roleplays of other users who have made similar characters and see how they use them.
Read Your Partners Article!!!(!!!): This step is crucial, like, absolutely and utterly crucial. Whenever you post, whenever the opposing character uses a technique, spell or otherwise you NEED to refer back to their article. You should actually read their entire article several times over the course of a roleplay. What's written there is for all intents and purposes LAW as far as the roleplay is concerned. If you misunderstood a technique, you either need to revise or suffer the consequences to your character. If you're in doubt, ask your partner, but never trust your own interpretation. Though feel free to share that interpretation with your roleplaying partner if you feel it's cool and fitting, they might decide to adopt it.
Things Not to Do
If you've read Chrono's guide which you definitely should before reading this guide, he mentioned a few common pitfalls. I'll expand on that and provide some other important points. Here comes the list.
Viewing your Roleplaying Partner as your Opponent: This is something a lot of people does wrong, I'd reckon most in fact. The reason this is a problem is because it encourages you to become overly competitive in your dealings with that individual, they're not your rival, your enemy or your opponent. When you consider your partner in this way, you become much more likely to excuse yourself from them having fun, and you often become more intent on "winning", this often affects your ego and you become more likely to ignore or downplay their characters achievements. Which leads to my next point.
Grandstanding: This is another term of mine I invented for this point. When you roleplay with another roleplayer, and have your characters duke it out, there's always be egos involved. You're not the only one who worked on a character after all, Grandstanding is when you consistently downplay or berate your partners efforts in your post. This is often done to cement your character as the strongest, examples include:
"Bob easily deflects Linda's attack, remarking at how silly she is for attempting to use an attack of that caliber against him"
"Anna effortlessly keeps up with Sam, where every step makes it seem as though she's walking, not running."
Does that mean that your character can never have an easy time with a techniqe or ability? Of course not, your character can stomp, crush and overwhelm any ability or technique as long as they've got a good explanation. The important part is showing the ease, not telling or mentioning it. Whenever you do something like this, you should be prepared to answer your partners inquiries and questions honestly and respectfully. And if your partner comes with a good counterargument to how your character can't, then you should follow that and change your post accordingly. That proves to your partner that you're taking their character seriously.
Demanding: It's never your place to make demands of your roleplaying partner, how they act and what they do is entirely their business. Their characters are, as the sentence goes, their characters - how they act is entirely up to them. Attempting to enforce your views on them means that you betray their trust and invade on their boundaries. It also makes you come off as a selfish prick, don't do it. Do this enough times and you'll find that people are not longer willing to roleplay with you, roleplayers talk amongst themselves, and you will soon get a reputation if you don't watch out. If you do this, or have done this in the past, I'd advice you ALL to apologize to that person immediately. The only time you can make demands of your roleplaying partner is if they overstep the agreements of the roleplay.
Just to give you some examples:
"My character just went Bankai, that means your character has to go Bankai too, otherwise you're not taking them seriously!"
This is largely the most common form this takes. Whenever a character does something huge, the other part naturally wants them to follow - the reason for this is quite simple. If one part uses their Bankai, while the other is content to continue fighting in Shikai, the implication is that one of them is stronger than the others. Desperate to quell that implication, one side chooses to make the demand that the other goes Bankai too. If you have this concern, you may voice it, but in most cases it's not necessary. If one part chooses to go all-out and the other doesn't, if they're truly equal and your Bankai is actually powerful, they'll find themselves at a huge disadvantage before you can say "Potato".
That concludes this part, if anyone have any questions or additions, feel free to comment on them or post them on my wall and I'll see if they warrant a mention.
These are a list of some roleplaying techniques you might use in your next collaborative story with another user. All of these are completely fine to use and never go against the compact in any way, shape or form.
Floating Attack: A technique I use a lot, a Floating Attack is a combination of an attack and it's conclusion. It differs from an autohit due to one fundamental aspect, namely that it does not mention any effect on the opposing character in any way, leaving the roleplayer able to decide for themselves as usual while still showing the full extent of your characters power. Here's a short example.
"With a wave of his hand, Rolf brought down the full force of the summoned sphere of fire upon his opponent. Culminating in an enormous explosion that uprooted trees, upturned the very earth and produced a shockwave stretching for miles"
As you've likely noticed, what happened to his opponent is left open, while Rolf got to showcase the full power of his attack all the same.
Expanding: The next roleplaying technique is Expanding, as it's name implies, Expanding is about taking something and making it even bigger. This does not apply to your attacks in this case, but to those of your opponents, this can be done for a multitude of different reasons. The most common one is if you find the attack of your roleplaying partner a bit lackluster you can exaggerate it's features to make it seem cooler and more awesome, but why would you do that though? Well.. a huge part about how you manage to make your character appear badass is by how they respond to an opponents attack. If they do so in a spectacular and awesome manner then that can greatly impact how the readers perceive them. I've only got one good example of this, and unfortunately, it's a long one.
This piece is taken from one of the best roleplays I've ever been a part of called The Swan and the Hunter . It features a battle between my own Hiroya Ginkarei and Void's Kenshin no Yagami and Jet'Ika's Taro Suzuki.
Both Void and Jet'ika are very skilled roleplayers, and both of their characters were Aizen-class so this marked the first time Hiroya was ever truly challenged. And the only time I've ever used a Bankai.
The following post was brought about after Hiroya summoned forth a hundred Sokatsui doves to assail Taro and Kenshin towards the climax of the roleplay. Each of these doves had enormous destructive power, and when he added an additional pair of wings to each, they became too fast for the eye to even perceive them. Their power being born of the fact that Hiroya cast the spell with a full incantation, which for any Kido Specialist is a BIG DEAL.
As he unleashed this swarm of exploding avians, I was rewarded by Void's lovely post. Which has stuck with me ever since. Enjoy.. --- "Taro." Kenshin said turning to the face his ally. "I'll clear a path. Use this opportunity to find an opening. He's getting desperate....we're close. Lets finish this." His form disappeared, as he charged forward in an azure blur, intent on meeting Hiroya's attack head on.
In that instant his perceptions warped, his eyes glowing brightly with white light. Mugen Kuusou already at work, calculating every movement of each blazing dove that sped towards him. So it comes to this? Very well, but it will take more than kido to stop me!" With a defiant shout, he screamed the name of his technique, feeling its subtle energies course through his body, as raw instinct took over.
"KABUTO!!!" His mind and body became one, all thoughts fading without a trace, as his face became an iron mask, devoid of all emotion. The next moment, he and the barrage of kido met. --- With a downwards swing he brought the full might of his being to bear, as a faint blue beam of light, no thicker than his blade was released in the wake of his attack, destroying a dozen of the illuminated doves on impact. Shifting to his right, he slid past several more, twisting and turning as they bombarded him, narrowly missing his nimble frame.
His sword arm blurred, as it connected with another causing it to dissipate on contact, yet another dove slipped after his strike, intent on blowing up in his face. With impossible speed he pivoted mid-swing, its fiery wings leaving a thin scorch across his cheek as he barely dodged in time, his blade trailing after before it made contact causing another to shatter.
Each second brought him closer to death, as wave after wave of doves shot forward from all directions. He couldn't see their movements, couldn't predict their angles of attack, but he knew exactly how he needed to move. Like water, he flowed around the attacks, his Zanpakutō not even visible due to the sheer speed he was maneuvering it at, slicing and tearing apart the blazing doves with relentless ferocity.
Having enough of his defensive position, he launched into the air, only to find the doves homing in on him, the flock undisturbed by his sudden movement. They spiraled together gaining increased velocity, and when they were near, opted for detonation. But Kenshin was faster, appearing nothing more than a phantom, he flickered from space to space, as a trail of explosions resounded in the air, as he flew upwards in a steep arc. Turning around, he was forced to use his Zanpakutō to aid in his escape, cutting through any dove that got too close.
But Hiroya was no fool, as a second volley intercepted Kenshin from his flank. But that was the secret behind Kabuto it granted Kenshin an almost precognitive awareness, forcing his body to move at speeds as massive amounts of spiritual energy was channeled to maintain the technique. With ungodly speed, his sword flashed outward, blocking and deflecting nearby doves. Explosions tore through the air, buffeting the Shinsengumi, yet he still maintained his agility, using the concussive force to twist and turn around the attacks that would have surely destroyed him outright. But his body was being pushed to its limits, and his technique was beginning to fade.
An explosion to his left was close enough that the force alone, along with his slip in defenses broke through his guard, long enough for a nearby dove to collide with his unprotected backside. Gritting his teeth, he tried to reorient himself, only to be blasted again, from the other side, causing him to crash downward into the ground. Not a second later, more doves smashed into the crater, their powers compounding into a grand eruption of epic proportions.
Yet out of the smoke, a figure darted, zig-zagging through the downpour of birds that sought to finish him once and for all. His backside was terribly burned, nothing more than a black scorch, with various minor burns and soot all across his body. But still he fought, the continuous explosions ringing through the air. He had already fought through two-thirds of Hiroya's attack, and the last flock was quickly making gains on his location. With this, Taro finally had his opening, and he could only hope that his ally would take it. Swerving to the side, he dodged another dove, his intent clear, as he was held off this last stand. --- Through this display, Void managed to take Hiroya's unrelenting omnidirectional attack and turn it on it's head so that Kenshin was the one who came out looking like a badass. What's more, he did it in such a way that I was impressed to the degree that I went and had Hiroya cast Jikanteishi. The only time I've ever utilized that spell.
I think this sums up my guide for now, comments are much appreciated and feel free to ask any questions. Likewise, if you feel there's something crucial that I've missed, just tell me and I'll try to update the guide. Until then, good luck, and I hope this was useful to some of you.