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Overcoming Obstacles: How do you adjust to a new form of roleplay?

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Chances are you've probably seen me post several times on different threads about being more or less new to forum roleplay--the decade and a half or so that I've spent writing has been through one form: PHP based MUDs, or Multi-User Dungeons. In this form of roleplay, a player enters a physical world that is built room by room. If you look at older text-based games, you'll encounter rooms where you can only leave in certain directions, where every detail is listed as to what your character sees. MUDs are heavy on world-building in an entirely different way than forums/discord/tumblr/twitter etc. It was about two years ago that I first started poking around forum roleplay, and honestly I haven't really dipped my toes in near as deeply as I would like.


In a way, it's a bit of a contradiction. I am an experienced roleplayer. Simultaneously, I am a complete and utter newbie when it comes to more "modern" forms of collaborative writing. I spend months lurking around sites, reading lore, sometimes even talking to people, but ultimately I hit the same wall: I'm terrified of admitting I am new to something I've been doing for years. I am equally scared to admit to other people when I am uncomfortable, anxious, or otherwise disheartened. And that leads me into the question I'm asking you guys tonight:


How do/did you adjust to new forms of roleplay? If you RP on forums, did you start that way? Or maybe you've transitioned to Discord. How did you handle getting your feet wet? What would you tell a newbie that's transitioning into a new medium to help ease the stress they might feel doing that?

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Sometimes it just takes multiple tries.


Take Discord roleplay. One day, eventually, I'm probably going to do it. I've come close. I've even got into the plotting stages on a dedicated Discord server for a Discord game. But it didn't stick. It hasn't stuck yet. Same with GDocs despite using them for so many other things. IRC was similar, until I found both the skills from observing and a place that I meshed with.


My roots are in IRC (which was kind of like Discord but less organized), MMORPGs with complementary forums (which I liked even more than the games, which is what nudged me toward forums completely), and classic pen-and-paper.


A lot of the skills are transferable, thankfully.

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By Wit & Whitby

[Plot] | [Rules] | [Wanted] | [Discord]

18+ | Victorian Era | No App | No Word Count |

PoC & LGBT-friendly | Newbie-friendly

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I originally started on Livejournal & rped on similar blog platforms for several years before jumping to forum based rp, I've dabbled in IM, twitter, & tumblr, and I've recently gotten into table top over the last two years. So I strongly sympathize with having experience but also feeling like an out of depth newbie. I'm still struggling with that in terms of tabletop.


For online, the biggest thing that helped me adjust was lurking on and reading through boards and other postings. With forums I had a little help as I joined a game that a rp partner was running and she gave me advice but I would also read through games set in genres I was interested in. Trends tend to be similar so I was able to pick up what was expected from others.


With twitter I had just jumped in without any idea how it worked but I did the same thing. Searched & read through other people's RP twitter accounts and mimicked which is how I learned. Also once I started rping with someone there and saw them do something I didn't recognize or understand I made myself send a message to ask. I felt like a noob but once I asked & got an answer I found that feeling went away.


So as for what I'd tell a newbie: Don't be afraid to ask for help or clarification from game staff or RP partners. It's tricky & sometimes you think you're bothering people but really majority of rpers are happy to help in my experience. Just like you'd probably be happy to help someone who wasn't familiar with PHP based MUDs.

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How do/did you adjust to new forms of roleplay? By asking a lot of questions and doing a lot of googling. How does x work, can I do y here, does z work like a or b? And I start with a simple, straightforward character not connected to anyone so it makes it easier on us all if I turn out to not like the medium and move on. It's never a bad thing to say "This isn't working for me" but I think you do need to be considerate and not join a totally brand new thing with a bunch of canons and wanteds. Get a feel for whether or not you like the thing before going all in. 


If you RP on forums, did you start that way? Sorta. I started on two mediums simultaneously - the roleplay forums of horse/wolf sims and FeralHeart (online wolf/lion MMORPG). I ended up phasing out of the ingame roleplay side of FeralHeart because I found that I only liked writing in a forum setting where I could use bold/italics, didn't have to reply instantly, could have multiple threads at once, things like that. From there, I moved to a self-hosted multigenre site, and from there I got into Jcink roleplay. With how prevalent Jcink is, I've written almost exclusively on it since then. I've tried Proboards and Discord and ended up not liking either for different reasons, and I've grown to prefer Jcink for my familiarity with it over the last seven years or so. 


How did you handle getting your feet wet? I pretty much followed my own advice from the first question and below. 


What would you tell a newbie that's transitioning into a new medium to help ease the stress they might feel doing that? Find roleplaying guides people have written for that medium and see if there's anything popping out at you that you don't specifically like. Then, if nothing comes up, join one. Lurk around on a writing group in that medium and see how things are run and explain that you've never done xyz before and you're not sure if you're going to like it or not. And ask questions! The staff of a site is there to help you out. And if they get pissy at having to help out a new member figure out their site, run. Run and never look back. That's a big red flag. 


ETA: I would suggest finding a writing partner who's proficient in multiple mediums. Ask them to try out the new genre you're interested in with you, and then if you don't like it, you can fall back on another genre you do like. I think that having someone to help you will be a confidence boost. Especially since the two of you can keep writing elsewhere if you don't like it, so there won't be any pressure on you from that area to keep writing in that medium. 

Edited by Jaxx
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Honestly I can't recall if I started on proboards forum or the post and reply system first. Both were within the same time frame. The post and reply was used on AJJE Games, and while it was interesting, you had to read through everything in your 'game' before replying because you couldn't tell if someone else had replied to it until you got to the end. It was weird. 


I transitioned to Jcink and forums, but currently I play on both Jcink and Nova. I've come to appreciate Nova just as much as the forum. 


I asked A LOT of questions when I first joined the first Nova simm last summer. A LOT! 


Advice: You might find an awesome RP and Awesome people when trying something new. Don't be afraid to ask questions, and like already stated, if they throw a hissy...run!

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