How to become a well rounded LOTR role player
By Eledhwyn

Part One:

~ Introduction

~ Finding a good RP

~ Designing your character

Introduction

So, you’ve never tried Lord of the Rings role playing and are, as some more experienced RP’ers would say, a n00bie. You don’t have a clue as to what you are getting into, or so I assume. It was only a year or so ago that I stumbled upon this wonderful way to learn and develop better writing skills as well as spend time with other LOTR fans. At first, it’s hard – and if you have nobody to show you the way, it can be a lot to learn. So, I’ll start with the very basic stuff.

A RPG stands for Role Play Game. Basically, I’ve found that some of the best ones fall into two types – chatroom and message board. A chatroom type LOTR RP uses a chatroom or some other service like that. It often isn’t very in depth and hardly ever has any requirements to join. A message board based RP (such as those on the host avidgamers.com) are often more difficult, but also more intriguing. They mainly rely on members posting on message boards – posts can range from one paragraph to eight.

So, which one is better? I’ve never really participated in chat room RPs; I find them too fast paced and it simply doesn’t allow me to get into a lot of detail. Mainly badly trained n00bies hang around here, or people who simply don’t have the time and energy to work up a really good post.

In a message board RP, there are numerous message boards designed to simulate Middle Earth. For instance, there might be a Minas Tirith, Edoras, and Rivendell, just to name a few. Your character is free to mingle onto any message board that you want it to go to (though some sites limit the amount of places your character can be at once). Once there, you draft up a post as if you were seeing things through your character’s eyes – it can honestly be anything realistic.

I hope you have an idea of what I’m talking about by now. I’m going to move onto the next topic – how to find a good RP.

Finding a Good RP

I’ve seen two types of role plays out there – good, and just plain bad. There are numerous things to look for when choosing a role play site. Probably the most important thing is the layout of it – is it easy to find the links? Is the text readable? And lastly, is it just pleasing to the eye? I admit to dismissing some pretty good sites simply because of the owner’s lack of html knowledge. If have to squint to read the text, then it would probably not be too much fun to have to do that every time you wanted to post.

The second thing to look for is activity – how many people are posting everyday, and also if the site’s owner is online at least every other day to update. Some people like the relaxed style of a slow moving role play, where everyone posts every few days or so. Yet some like fast moving role plays, where at least half of the characters are posting at least one or more times per day. It really depends on how dependable your internet access is and how often you are able to log on. I know some people who get pretty annoyed if you are gone for long stretches of time.

The third and last thing is how much people are posting. It’s just common courtesy to mirror the posts of people you are role playing with. In other words, if you don’t want to post three or four paragraphs, then don’t join a site where everyone is posting that much. It’s really pretty simple and it makes it easier and much more fun for you and all the other people involved.

Okay, so you’ve figured out what roleplaying is and how to find a good one. Now, onto the most important part – designing your character.

Designing your Character

Have you ever read fan fiction with a powerful, all-knowing, beautiful, perfect and usually female character? This type of character (usually called by the name of a Mary-Sue) does turn up quite often in role plays as well. Frankly, most people find them incredibly annoying and absolutely no fun to be with. Hence, the number one rule of making your character is to make sure that they have some flaws.

Whew. I’m glad that’s out of the way.

The next thing to do is to pick a name, gender, and race for your character. Both race and gender tie in closely when choosing a name – if you are playing an elf from Lothlorien, then you might want to have a name that means something in Sindarin. If you are playing a human from Rohan, then the same name might not apply. It’s often more fun if you pick a race that isn’t too popular as well, such as dwarf or human. Most role plays are just overflowing with elves.

After that, some sites might ask you to say a little bit about your newly created character, most likely how they look and a bit about his or her personality. Again, just remember that not everyone is perfect. Some people like to make a balance of the two – if your character is awesomely beautiful, then perhaps she or he has a major mental flaw. Just do what feels right for you. Most people who have previously written fan fiction (or any type of fiction, for that matter) find this to be quite easy. It’s just like designing a character for a book.

That’s all for today! If you need any other help or information, feel free to send me a message and I’ll try to answer any questions that you might have.

’Til later,

Eledhwn