Role play

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What is role play?

About Role play wiki page (RP) is simply pretending to be someone or something to simulate an experience, usually interacting with others doing the same. The simplest 'game' is just a gathering of friends, endulging in a common tale.

Why would I want to role play at all?

To experience something without real life limitations. In the real world, the 18th century has passed, natural disasters infrequent, and identity fixed (for the most part). Role play is a well established principle of education, psychotherapy, self-exploration, and entertainment. We pretend to remove those limitations when simulating an experience.

Why role play in Second Life?

Unlike real life which limits the extent of presentation changes to represent a role, Second Life affords endless ways to represent a given role, a character with credibility.

What do I need to know about role playing in Second Life?

First of all, each RP sim and community has it´s own set of rules. Some are open in creativity and free action, some aim to more strict controlled interaction. There are five types of role playing: Non-literate, Semi-literate, Literate, Advanced and Elite. Read more about the types under Practices

Before you jump in, you might want to read more about different genres. You should also get to know the terminology and shorthand, and also the practises how to 'play'. You will also want to think about a rough character for yourself.


Few examples

1: First person shooters These games are more game-like and often lack plotlines completely, they are usually more alike shotgun-ranges in RL. a Zombie-hunt for example

2: Wargames These are also games, usually two groups battle together. Usually random shooting without structure. Although there is a rumor games with strategy do exist.

3: Scheme & Plotting These are usually Vampire games, others do exist, though. People refer to these games as 'talking heads' which means more talk and less or no action. These are mostly Advanced or Elitist games.

4: Periodic Re-Enactement Ancient Egypt, Medieval, Empire, 18th century, 19th century, 1950's -you name it! People gather together to live out the era once was in the real world. The clue is to be as authentic as one can. Usually not games. The emphasis on character outfit and manners. Usually Literate type settings.

5: Fantasy Theme Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, My Little Ponies, Pirates, Medieval, Fairytale, Gor .... soo many! Many different types exist, usually Non-Literate or Literate. But many Advanced ones there too. There are lot´s of medievalish fantasy settings in SL! Mosty Immersion 'Games'


Role Playing Terms Wiki page Abbreviations

Some people, and on this page, they use 'game' with quote marks, why is that?

Some people prefer to make a difference between Gamist games and Immersion 'games'. The word game is used plainly about any playable, but 'game' with quotation marks is usually referred to the Immersion or theathre-play type sessions. A Gamist game aims to win the game, aka it has a goal, a purpose the character has to achieve. Immersion 'games' have no set goal, and there is no way to 'win the game', the point is to live out as the character and experience things and make connections.

Most needed in SL role play:

Alt Alternate avatar, alternate character Combat Meter/Meter An object device you need to wear, it counts your HP

Character A tailored avatar for the part, like a movie actor one should pre-meditate the outlook & characteristics of a character. In most of the 'games' any personality-traits are not needed, as one acts the same as oneself would. Some Elitist games have pre-written characters, in that case it is needed to act the way the character would act. That is theatre-play like.

Realm The setting of the 'game'. It contains other things than just the visual surroundings, it includes some story elements and background data of the world the game is placed in. In many cases there is no specific Realm, but when there is, one should learn it before playing. Information about the realm (or the world) usually contains info whether magic exists, what kind of dangers there are and such details to help immersion.

IC In Character, person speaks as the character or acts as the character

OOC Out of Character, person speaks as him/herself

OOR Out of Realm something does not fit the given setting, like a futuristic Ray-Gun in a periodical medieval village... HOWEVER if the said village is in one of the Goa'uld's planets in a Stargate setting, a raygun is not out of place....

HP Healt Points, healt level of your character. When you take hit, you loose Healt points and when you are healed, you gain HP

XP Experience Points. Some games allow your character to 'grow' in skills, to gain a new skill level, you need experience

Every game has also it´s own abbrevations, you come to know them while playing.


How to play varies according to which game you take part in. But the rule of thumb is "Listen to how other's play and follow example"

Common rules to all role play games

are few, here some (not exhaustive)

  • Separation of OOC and IC chat and actions, there is a way how you do this in every game, and to what extinct
  • Character Outfit&Gear, something else than your newbie gear, preferrably suitable for the Realm. Even the first-person shooters require at least a gun.
  • A way to measure HP and/or XP and wear character name, usually a HUD
  • People not following the rules usually get banned, fortunately there usually is a newbie-friendly area you can practise your gameplay safely.

Few tips & hints

  • Don't be afraid, people know you are new and will treat you kindly!
  • Remember all chat is to be taken as IC talk, people will make known if they are speaking OOC, if they are not and you can tell, just ignore it.
  • Some endulge in roleplay so deeply, all they do in SL is RP, this is even more true in Gor: it is a lifestyle to many.

It is, in any case your responsibility to let others know, if some things go beyond your borders. Just notify them kindly the said thing was too hardcore for you. If you are uncomfortable, teleport away.

Types of gameplay

These names of the types are not estabished, and therefore many ways are used. Usually people do not want to be called 'non-literate' or 'elitist' so these are to be used only on an educational listing like this.

Non-Literate Non-Literate role plays have no need for quality posts and are littered with net-speak, improper grammar, actions quotes No-one cares what you wear or if you speak OOC or not. The most common externalizion is action brackets or asterix:

Cay Avatar: I´m off to bed, good night! *waves and hugs*

This kind of 'role play' is around one's every day Second Life

Semi-Literate Semi-Literate role plays are slightly better than Non-Literate in terms of grammar, although they still use improper grammar often. The Character is not usually any more pre-meditated than the gear on your avatar. Usually without thinking if the gear fits to the supposed era... you might end up having a 6 foot tall Hobbit, or a pink-haired medieval lady. This kind of OOC or OOR (out of Realm) dressing, behaviour and talk is often tolerated or ignored. Still the preference is to NOT forget the Realm.

Literate Literate role plays are the most common types of role plays. They are presented in the form of prose and prefer proper (In Realm) grammar and spelling. Literate role playing is considered one of the more superior form of role play. One's character is well-thought and out-of-character speach is discouraged. Some gear fluxes are tolerated, but usually people would want it as close to the right era one can. Many roleplays provide a special meter, a device you need to wear. That counts the wounds you might get if you end up in a fight.

Advanced Advanced role plays are with actual plotline and or arranged events. The World (or Realm) comes with background material (books, scripts, castes etc.) And the Rules how to enact battles.

Elite Elite role plays are basicly the same as Advanced, but these 'games' are usually for the selected few and you need an invitation to take part.


I heard role play is bad in Second Life. That it is just sex slaves.

Yes there are sex slaves. But that is not the only way to role-play, it is not even the most common. Before generalizing and condemning all role play, consider role plays for natural disaster recovery and first response treatment, leadership training, language training, interpersonal skills training, fire fighter training, interactive novels and more. The best way to learn something is not to read or hear about it, but do it, even if simulated. The corporate world trains employees globally using this technique, while others enjoy it for entertainment. It's all about immersion.

Aren't we all role playing all the time in Second Life?

You find as many opinions on this topic as you do avatars in Second Life. Some strive for a real life connection to their avatars, others seek escape from real life. One advantage to considering some role play communities and sims is that the line is more clearly drawn in such cases v.s. just your general avatar. Most role play communities allow renaming yourself with an "RP HUD" or tag of some kind allowing your normal avatar to still be used even if you may use that avatar for more work conferences and such. Some choose to get a completely new avatar (an 'alt') just for the role play they are involved in.

What role play communities are there in Second Life?

About anything you can imagine has a community in Second Life, including traditional fantasy and science fiction genres. For this one, we have started a page listing the role play communities and sims. If you hear of one not listed, consider contributing a listing.