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This is the "RP Guide" notecard that is included in the Coven's welcome kit. It explains the basics of RP and etiquette and is not specific to playing a Vampire or to the Coven.

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This article explains how roleplaying in Second Life and in Lost Angels works, what's expected of you, what the etiquette is, etc. While it's aimed at people who have never roleplayed before, everyone new to CoLA should read it since it may highlight some differences in rules and etiquette with other roleplay communities the reader may be familiar with.


I. The Goal of Roleplay

Roleplay in SL is different from video games because there is no concept of winning or losing. The goal of roleplay is to tell a story, and whether your character is the winner or loser can be equally fun. Your character in CoLA is not you, but a separate person you have created within the roleplay world. Keeping this in mind can help separate yourself from your character, and help you keep having fun even when bad things are happening to your character. That's what dark RP is all about.


II. In character and out of character

Anything you post into public chat is considered to be In Character (IC), meaning that it's understood to be something your character is saying inside the world of the roleplay. If you as the person in real life at the keyboard need to say something, that's called speaking Out of Character (OOC). The common convention used in CoLA is to put OOC comments in double parentheses ((like this)). You should use OOC comments sparingly, though. If you can, it's better to discuss things with players in IMs or group chats where your posts won't interfere with the IC roleplay happening in public chat.

Another thing that's important to keep in mind about IC and OOC is that they are separate. If someone posts an insult in public chat without using an OOC mark, that means their character is insulting your character. It's part of the RP and shouldn't be taken personally. CoLA has many factions that fight each other and want each other dead, but that's just IC. There's no reason everyone can't be friends OOC regardless of what faction they're in or what their character does in RP.


III. Emotes

Emotes allow you to not only post what your character is saying, but also what they are doing, how they are feeling, etc. An emote is posted by typing "/me" at the beginning of your post. SL will replace the /me with your avatar's name when it appears in public chat. For example, if I type '/me walks up to Bob slowly with her eyes narrowed and peers at him for a second before exclaiming, "You look weird!"', that would appears as 'Erica Kessel walks up to Bob slowly with her eyes narrowed and peers at him for a second before exclaiming, "You look weird!" Posting like this allows RP to feel more like a collective story with narration instead of just a chat room with 3D boobies.


IV. CCS vs. RP Fighting

Fighting is one of the central activities in CoLA, which is natural for a post-apocalyptic world filled with all sorts of creatures struggling to survive. There are two options when entering into a fight with someone. The first is to do what's called "RP fighting", which is where the participants will post into public chat what their character is doing in the fight and what is happening to them. This requires the players to respect each other, not godmod (see the next section), and not to be focused on winning the fight (see the first section). RP fighting can be very time consuming and can get complicated, especially when a lot of people are involved, so there is also CCS, which is a combat meter/system that can be used. Both methods of fighting are considered equally valid, and it's up to the players involved to decide how they want to fight. If CCS fighting is chosen, RP should resume when the fight is over, with the defeated players RP'ing as if they lost the fight. They don't need to RP being killed, of course, but they should RP being in a bad condition. Why else would they have stopped fighting?

If a player is attacked by someone using CCS, they cannot back out of it. If they disable their meter or refuse to fight back, then they will be considered defeated and RP should continue as if they lost the fight. However, a player should not just go around attacking everyone with CCS. This is considered extremely bad etiquette and you will most likely be banned if you do not stop. Remember, this is an RP sim primarily, not a combat video game.


V. Metagaming & Godmodding

These are explained in the LA Rules, but they are important so they're repeated here. Both terms are things that are against the rules in CoLA.

Metagaming is basically when your character knows something IC because of something you know OOC. For example, if your character is searching for someone, and you move your camera around the sim to find them or use the minimap, that is metagaming because your character isn't actively looking for them in the roleplay world. Another example of metagaming is calling someone by their name if you've never met them before. Remember, even though you see their names floating above their heads, your character doesn't!

Godmodding is when you control another player's character in RP. Remember, you only have control of your own character. This may sound obvious, but it can show up in subtle ways. For example, posting "/me throws her shoe at Bob and hits him in the head" is godmodding because it doesn't give Bob an opportunity to have his character try to dodge or catch the shoe. A better post would be "/me throws her shoe at Bob, aiming for his head." During an RP fight, you can't post things like "/me punches Bob in the face and breaks his nose." You have to give Bob a chance to dodge your attacks. You might wonder why anyone would ever get hit in an RP fight. This goes back to RP being about telling a story and having fun, not winning and losing.

VI. The End

Hopefully you feel more comfortable getting out there and roleplaying now. If you're still unsure what this is all about, just watch some people roleplaying and you'll get a feel for it. And don't be afraid to just jump right in. We all had to learn this at some point, too, and you'll find most people are more than happy to help.
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