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Disappointed by Para Roleplay


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So I went to a "meet and greet" yesterday and was really rather disappointed by my experience. It was on a Family RP sim and there were about 10-12 people that showed up. I have not done a lot of RPing but I do okay.  The hostess was lovely and very nice but it seemed like everyone was so busy crafting the perfect RP paragraph no one actually interacted with anyone. A couple of the residents chatted amongst themselves but did not really involve anyone else.  I have rented just a very small place on the sim.  The hostess was there promoting their Facebook and discord channels along with some event going on today but I would have liked to see more RPing from them to get the group going. As it was most people just stood around for 20 minutes and then left. She did talk to me a bit but It would have been nice for her to say something to get people chatting like....hostess looks at the crowd gathered for the meet and greet. blah blah. "hey everyone! xxx avatar just moved into town. Can someone grab her a cup of coffee and make her feel welcome"? Something like that. LOL I said I'm not great at RPing and have not done much so I was looking for some direction I guess. At least more interaction from the residents that were already established in the town.  

I think that is why I've stayed away because I am more of a 2-4 line RPer and am not into crafting long paragraphs. I want to interact with people!  I know how to emote and relay feelings and thoughts out but in a shorter way.  

I love family urban roleplay so maybe I just picked the wrong one, I don't know.  Is there any Roleplaying regions out there that doesn't do Para Roleplay or am I asking for too much?

I do have another question I am hoping someone can answer. So there is a RP group and people come in and type in RP paragraphs all the time.  It doesn't seem to "go" anywhere. What is the purpose of that. A few days ago someone did post and then put in ((open RP)) and they were at the donut shop. A couple people responded in the group chat and then I assume the RP went live out on the sim itself. The second scenario is what I would imagine the group chat would be used for - to set up someone seeking an active RP. The first scenario I really don't get why people do it.

 

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23 minutes ago, Sam1 Bellisserian said:

I think that is why I've stayed away because I am more of a 2-4 line RPer and am not into crafting long paragraphs. I want to interact with people! 

I had similar experiences a few years ago. I think the problem stems from the amount of time it takes to write the paragraph, and consequently the amount of time it takes others to then read it, leaving very little time to actually react to it before the next poster posts. My feeling was of being in a prose-writers class where each person was offering their latest endeavors.

Don't feel too bad about not fitting in, if you're the type of player who likes to interact with and react to other players, seek out similar.

For your second question, I believe what your are describing are "lures". Somebody posts a paragraph that describes a potential situation in group chat and than waits, hoping for a responding IM from another person interested in developing an RP along the proposed lines. You'll not see the responses, that's why it looks odd to you. In fact it is considered bad form to respond to or criticise such a lure if you have no intention of actually participating. In the second part of your question you then saw it in operation where several people were able to join in.

Because of the very issues you described first of all, long para-RP tends to be one-on-one games, sometimes not even played out in person in a location, but by two people using IMs. It allows people who are only on mobile phone, or who are at work and hiding a text-only viewer behind another window to have a game.

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Thank you!  So if I understand correctly someone who types in the group chat something like:

Avatar opens her eyes and squints to see what time it is hoping that she has at least an hour left before she has to get up. She looks over and sees the glowing red numbers letting her know it is 5:59am. "shoot" she whispers as she realizes the alarm will go off in just a minute.  Not waiting for the buzz of the alarm to go off she reaches over and shuts off the alarm, swings her legs over the side of the bed and slips into her leather slippers.  As she makes her way downstairs she sighs and thinks she may have made a mistake even getting out of bed this morning because she has yet to finish the project her boss is expecting on his desk at 8:00am

This is where it confuses me...is this person setting up an active RP? If someone is responding are they now taking it to private IM or have they taken it to the RP sim in person?  Would a responding person IM the person and tell them they want to participate or just send them an IM of RP maybe their co-worker or the boss themselves? I'm SO confused!  

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1) Yes.

2) Could be either, if they're both on their phones or text-viewers they'll probably not go to the sim. Going to the RP-sim expecting them to be there frequently disappoints.

Most hopeful responders emote their actions rather than start discussing what would be acceptable, although if you ((OOC suggest what you'd like to do is that OK? )) it usually gets accepted. If several people jump at the bait the poster inviting the RP can then pick and choose.

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Posted (edited)
19 minutes ago, Profaitchikenz Haiku said:

1) Yes.

2) Could be either, if they're both on their phones or text-viewers they'll probably not go to the sim. Going to the RP-sim expecting them to be there frequently disappoints.

Most hopeful responders emote their actions rather than start discussing what would be acceptable, although if you ((OOC suggest what you'd like to do is that OK? )) it usually gets accepted. If several people jump at the bait the poster inviting the RP can then pick and choose.

Well then..that answers the question why are these people just typing paragraphs into group chat thinking it seemed useless and confusing. LOL  I see these lovely websites for roleplaying regions with rules and how to RP but this has never been explained on any website I've seen. They explain metagaming and godmod but not the use of how to use the group chat to RP.  It might seem to be known without saying I guess. I wish I'd known this 2 years ago or asked questions, lol. Totally on me.  Still not something that I'm that interested in doing. I'd rather Roleplay in person but it's nice to know the why behind it.

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6 hours ago, Sam1 Bellisserian said:

The hostess was lovely and very nice but it seemed like everyone was so busy crafting the perfect RP paragraph no one actually interacted with anyone.

Paragraph roleplay in Second Life seems a bad fit to the system. We have this whole interactive 3D world, with voice and animations. You can roleplay in real time here. Paragraph roleplay was intended for text forums.

Second Life gestures have roleplay potential, but the defaults are so overacted they're useless. Are there more useful gesture sets?

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   "Para-RPer" in profile blurb =/= wannabe-elitist Mary Sue. 

   I'm not sure what sort of person enjoys waiting for a half dozen people to take ninety minutes for one round of the PO to progress the plot half a step and meanwhile start three new side plots because half of the attendants feel they have to start their own thing to make themselves feel important. 

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Roleplay ideally follows a sort of structure:

[...] Prompt -> Reaction, Prompt -> Reaction, Prompt -> [...]

However a lot of role players I have met invested all their skill points in their reactions and none into writing prompts. The result is often this type of passive play where it's a struggle to keep the show going.

Yea they just wrote a paragraph, cool. But in it, there are no hooks, nothing to connect to. Often my reason for preferring paragraphs is that by a sheer shotgun approach, it increases the chances of there being something workable in there and if they're a good role player, there will be many to pick from.

In Final Fantasy 14, if you stroll into the Shifting Sands on Bahamuth, you can observe hundreds of role players all stuffed into a small tavern. Despite the sheer quantity of players, it's often strangely passive and an endless flood of "*leans against the wall, hood hiding face*".

The second a player with the ability to prompt shows up, it's suddenly like there's free pizza at an anime convention. So I would say don't sweat not writing paragraphs. It's not the length really. But if you can get good at prompts, you'll be set. In essence, offer something to react to, hint at a story or directly address someone with a gesture. Look at them, wink at them or drop a glass, sell a magic apple, come with a pack of pretzels...

But as Orwar also noted, read the room. If there is action going, write your prompts somthey further the narrative or interaction already going.

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4 hours ago, animats said:

Second Life gestures have roleplay potential, but the defaults are so overacted they're useless. Are there more useful gesture sets?

i used to hangout in sandboxes and helpy places once upon a time. Not sure if it is the same now as then, but back then making and swapping gestures was quite a thing. People having whole conversations in the open chat just with full-on gestures - text, sound and animation

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3 hours ago, Profaitchikenz Haiku said:

Ah, so that's where gesturbation originated :)

altho was a creative thing that lots of sandbox foxes got into making, tbf was Linden who invented gesturbating. I can remember new people using the Linden gestures a lot at the HIs and WAs. Specially Hey and Heybaby.  People going: Hey! and then other person going back Hey! Next thing whole place is going off. Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey!  Was a lot of fun

of all the gestures and attached players tho, the one I liked the most was Dougie. Used to get played (sound clip plus dance animation) a lot at places like Korea1 and Zebrasil WA in 2009/10 about

Teach Me How To Dougie was by Cali Swag District

 

back on topic tho

there used to be inworld classes for para-roleplayers. Not sure if they exist anymore. I remember going to a series of classes at Caledon back in the day. The two tutors who ran that class were pretty good and I learned quite a bit about how it all worked.  The main thing they focused on teaching was what ValKalAstra mentions: that to work well together then have to prompt, so that the next person has something to work with if the conversation is to flow

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Para Role play is all fun and awesome.... in a small setting. Frankly when you have more than three people in a scene para role play becomes tedious. Who wants to/has time to wait upwards of 20 minutes and more for each post? Sure some people are able to type novels very quickly, but generally... no they don't. When I start tabbing out to watch you tube or play a mobile game on the side to kill time it's time to leave the scene. I am all for long well crafted posts, but if the scene suffers because of them then they aren't worth it. Myself I rarely post more than 5 sentences, there just is no need for it. I like to make sure to keep my response time under 5 minutes if possible. I don't like waiting on people so I am not gonna make them wait on me.

I don't require my rp partners to describe every eye movement or tell me what color their eyes are three times per post. I also really don't care for their thoughts in a post. If it's not something others can react to, then it has no real place in a post. In the end RP any way you want to. Most para rpers are just fine with semi para rp too. :)

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18 hours ago, Sam1 Bellisserian said:

Avatar opens her eyes and squints to see what time it is hoping that she has at least an hour left before she has to get up. She looks over and sees the glowing red numbers letting her know it is 5:59am. "shoot" she whispers as she realizes the alarm will go off in just a minute.  Not waiting for the buzz of the alarm to go off she reaches over and shuts off the alarm, swings her legs over the side of the bed and slips into her leather slippers.  As she makes her way downstairs she sighs and thinks she may have made a mistake even getting out of bed this morning because she has yet to finish the project her boss is expecting on his desk at 8:00am

Doesn't the person who usually posts these intros also add some low-key "her husband is away due to work and she is all alone and bored / wants to run off / enjoy someone else's cofffee cream (IM me to continue)"? ... ah, the latter.

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19 minutes ago, Lillith Hapmouche said:

Doesn't the person who usually posts these intros also add some low-key "her husband is away due to work and she is all alone and bored / wants to run off / enjoy someone else's cofffee cream (IM me to continue)"? ... ah, the latter.

I had not seen that in any RP group chat I was in. I just happened to be online at the time someone typed something up and then put ((open RP)) and then a couple people responded in group chat and the I assume they took it online to the donut shop as that was where everyone was headed.  Otherwise, no I hadn't seen anything like ((IM me to continue)) I wish I had because I would have caught on earlier! LOL..

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I may be late to this one, but I don't mind para RP when it's done well. You don't have to write a novella! Brevity and quickness do help scenes move along quicker.

That said, I haven't had much luck getting into para RP I've been able to stick with these days, so who knows.

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On 5/19/2021 at 4:33 PM, Sam1 Bellisserian said:

Avatar opens her eyes and squints to see what time it is hoping that she has at least an hour left before she has to get up. She looks over and sees the glowing red numbers letting her know it is 5:59am. "shoot" she whispers as she realizes the alarm will go off in just a minute.  Not waiting for the buzz of the alarm to go off she reaches over and shuts off the alarm, swings her legs over the side of the bed and slips into her leather slippers.  As she makes her way downstairs she sighs and thinks she may have made a mistake even getting out of bed this morning because she has yet to finish the project her boss is expecting on his desk at 8:00am

So I'm assuming you've seen something like this before but this confuses me as well. I can understand someone starting/opening rp in a group chat but what's written up above doesn't feel like a good way to open. They are starting the rp in their house...unless they have a sudden roommate they never met, are getting a delivery or going to be robbed suddenly, how would someone enter that scene? Why would someone suddenly be at their house? Why would some stranger have a need to interact with this stranger at their home? Usually people have characters already in mind or written for their rp so this would be a bad way to begin overall because it's trying to force an rp setting on their terms rather than inviting organic rp. I would personally present the group as somewhere that people would generally congregate like a coffee shop, a bar, a club, lounge, library, etc and then start something. Somewhere that makes sense to have strangers around unless it's a specific group where they have that type of thing already pre-defined. Also, there was literally nothing to respond to as an outside character. You generally learn that you can only really respond to actions and not internal dialogue so I would question what would be the point of such a post. If no one responded I wouldn't be surprised. So yeah; first situation makes sense to me, the second not so much.

As for the issue with the hostess, I would agree. If they were in charge of the meeting they had a responsibility to take charge and try to get the ball rolling, set an example, draw people out of their shells, etc. I generally try to keep any lines I do during rp as concise as possible to keep things active. I don't feel the need to describe my character in detail because people have eyes and can see what I look like. I'm going to dress my character up appropriately to match what I want to rp. The only time I use that is when I'm describing my facial expressions or actions. It's easy to get bogged down with descriptions, thoughts or other things like that because we tend to build our characters up and put a lot of thought and time into the idea of them and want to just put it all out there. I kind of compare it to fanfiction writers to published authors (weird tangent I know but bare with me). Fanfiction writers will go on and on and on with descriptive prose or weirdly unnecessary scenes that don't do anything to help drive the plot and have stories that can be anywhere from 200k to 800k words long. A published writer will be forced to write their story with only a  fraction of that number. They have to be more concise with their words while conveying all the emotions, thoughts, actions, words, etc that they need to to get their story across. 

So overall I don't think it's too much to ask for people not to spend 20 minutes each typing up a page each during role play. We are in a game where a lot of visual work is done for you. Also it annoys the crap out of me when people are constantly spending so much time typing out a paragraph and it's nearly all internal dialog with some generic external dialog or nothing said at all. 

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You can't para RP with 12 people! Once you get past 4 or 5 people then any good event leader will open the floor up and allow a fluid PO. 

Most people don't actually know how to RP well, however. You could probably cut out about 70% of people's posts as being useless or just pure meta gaming. I don't know or need to know what your character just did in the previous scene, nor will I have any idea what their thinking or feeling unless I can read minds or you give clues to how your character is feeling by describing their actions and body language. 

That's why I generally prefer free flowing snappy RP which is confined to one or two short lines. If you are going to para RP, however, then make sure you start writing your response as soon as the person after you in the PO posts, that way when it comes to your turn to post, you only have to write your response to the previous poster and not everyone else. 

 

 

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3 hours ago, brodiac90 said:

That's why I generally prefer free flowing snappy RP which is confined to one or two short lines.

 

 

Exactly what I'm looking for. Do you have any suggestions of groups or places that do this?

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5 hours ago, brodiac90 said:

Once you get past 4 or 5 people then any good event leader will open the floor up and allow a fluid PO. 

   I disagree. The more people, the more the reason to enforce a PO, otherwise the chatty ones are going to have at it and the slow typers get left behind. Personally I prefer RP to be inclusive to everyone that wants to participate. 

6 hours ago, brodiac90 said:

Most people don't actually know how to RP well, however. You could probably cut out about 70% of people's posts as being useless or just pure meta gaming.

   That sounds pretty elitist and unfair, and absolutely not the kind of statement you should ever tell newbies in any RP scene. People express themselves differently, and sure not everyone will find everything written by everyone else ever intriguing or interesting, but telling people that the majority of their input is 'useless' is just .. Not a very fun attitude to bring with you when you go to RP.

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In almost any RP setting, who came before you in Post Order (if being used) is only meaningful if you or one of the others is interacting in some way with one another. In other words if you're presently only interacting with Person C and you are Person H, what Person A, B, D, E, F, G, and I - Z (and up) are doing is irrelevant unless it somehow affects you or you choose to initiate some form of interaction/acknowledgement of their actions.

That said, post size ought - in my own opinion anyway - to be fluid. There's no need for extraneous/redundant details.

That said one also shouldn't be snapping off one or two line responses unless necessary as well.

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13 hours ago, Orwar said:

   I disagree. The more people, the more the reason to enforce a PO, otherwise the chatty ones are going to have at it and the slow typers get left behind. Personally I prefer RP to be inclusive to everyone that wants to participate. 

   That sounds pretty elitist and unfair, and absolutely not the kind of statement you should ever tell newbies in any RP scene. People express themselves differently, and sure not everyone will find everything written by everyone else ever intriguing or interesting, but telling people that the majority of their input is 'useless' is just .. Not a very fun attitude to bring with you when you go to RP.

PARA RP is founded on 3 key principles. These are not principles made by myself but ones that are commonly acknowledged by many PARA RP communities. 

1) No meta gaming (using information your character could not know).

2) No power gaming (removing character autonomy). 

3) Maintain PO. 

So if your post contains meta gaming (information your character or mine couldn't possibly know) or removes other people's choice, then that information is useless. I don't think it is elitist to say that. Now if I said you must follow those values for any and all types of roleplay, then that would be elitist. However, the subject of this discussion is PARA RP, not other types of roleplay. If you read carefully, you would have seen I actually prefer other types of roleplay. 

Lastly being inclusive is good, except when it isn't. Of course this is all subjective, but in my experience most people don't want a RP scene to go on for 6+ hours which is inevitably what happens when you have 10+ people in a scene where you maintain PO.

 

 

 

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17 hours ago, Sam1 Bellisserian said:

Exactly what I'm looking for. Do you have any suggestions of groups or places that do this?

Best thing to do is meet new people and try different things. If you love RP you will inevitably find people who prefer less formal RP. You might find people on the family sim who like the same RP but you probably won't find it at organised events since by definition those are more formal. 

I've had good experiences on family sims and in the kid community. The most active I can think of right now is Fox Hollow where there is a good variety of PARA RP and more fast paced RP.

 

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26 minutes ago, brodiac90 said:

PARA RP is founded on 3 key principles.

   One of which is one of the five foundations of general RP, another of which is another one but the wrong one (power-emoting is to exceed your character's abilities, i.e. casting a fireball with a character who isn't a magician, punching through a brick wall with a non-superhuman character, etc - to deny someone their autonomy without their consent is god-(e)moting), and another of which was exactly the point I made.

   Post orders don't necessarily mean that things will take hours if done right. It's commonplace to put a time limit on each person's turn to make certain that things go forward (and to lower the time limit the more participants there are, which eventually takes the whole para part out of it).

   Para RP is just pretentious - you can full well write multi-paragraph emotes in normal RP too, if it's called for. Calling it para RP just reinforces that behaviour, which, under no circumstances whatsoever, makes things more interesting; if anything that forces people to write all those fillers because they feel a need to produce more text. It also assumes that it's para RP vs. 'regular' RP, and that the two are binary - which is blatantly false; 'regular' RP can contain posts containing anything from a few words to half a page, or anything in between. Para is just fringe-trotting snowflakes who think that quantity is quality.

   Using a post order isn't unique to para RP either, but in that style of play it becomes an absolute necessity as a sudden drop of a text wall when you're half-way through writing your own text wall may invalidate all that you've written and might force you to restart, which slows it down even further. 

   Also, to project a character's thoughts or feelings is not metagaming - that's just a style of emotional roleplaying which a large portion of the RP community do enjoy; not everyone wants to push realism ('I can't read people's minds, so they shouldn't write their emotions or thoughts to me'), but rather want live storytelling wherein YOU (i.e. the person behind the screen) is a reader and co-author of a shared story; those thoughts and emotions aren't necessarily meant for your own character to be aware of - and acting on knowledge of such emotions or thoughts IS metagaming. 

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  • 2 weeks later...
Posted (edited)
On 5/30/2021 at 8:46 AM, Orwar said:

   One of which is one of the five foundations of general RP, another of which is another one but the wrong one (power-emoting is to exceed your character's abilities, i.e. casting a fireball with a character who isn't a magician, punching through a brick wall with a non-superhuman character, etc - to deny someone their autonomy without their consent is god-(e)moting), and another of which was exactly the point I made.

   Post orders don't necessarily mean that things will take hours if done right. It's commonplace to put a time limit on each person's turn to make certain that things go forward (and to lower the time limit the more participants there are, which eventually takes the whole para part out of it).

   Para RP is just pretentious - you can full well write multi-paragraph emotes in normal RP too, if it's called for. Calling it para RP just reinforces that behaviour, which, under no circumstances whatsoever, makes things more interesting; if anything that forces people to write all those fillers because they feel a need to produce more text. It also assumes that it's para RP vs. 'regular' RP, and that the two are binary - which is blatantly false; 'regular' RP can contain posts containing anything from a few words to half a page, or anything in between. Para is just fringe-trotting snowflakes who think that quantity is quality.

   Using a post order isn't unique to para RP either, but in that style of play it becomes an absolute necessity as a sudden drop of a text wall when you're half-way through writing your own text wall may invalidate all that you've written and might force you to restart, which slows it down even further. 

   Also, to project a character's thoughts or feelings is not metagaming - that's just a style of emotional roleplaying which a large portion of the RP community do enjoy; not everyone wants to push realism ('I can't read people's minds, so they shouldn't write their emotions or thoughts to me'), but rather want live storytelling wherein YOU (i.e. the person behind the screen) is a reader and co-author of a shared story; those thoughts and emotions aren't necessarily meant for your own character to be aware of - and acting on knowledge of such emotions or thoughts IS metagaming. 

This is really a good response. 

Quality is better than quantity. If you enjoy writing paragraphs, then alright, but always remember that in group roleplay settings to narrow that information down to one or two sentences to keep the scene flowing. 

And yes, paragraph roleplay can be seen as pretentious but that is not the general consensus. Paragraph roleplay is intimidating and I found that most roleplayers—especially on Second Life—have trouble shortening their responses if they write on a roleplay sim that is paragraph heavy. 

As a writer you shouldn't feel obligated to match quantity with quantity when you can match it with quality (if you are a writer that can do both, I applaud you). 

And yes, in group settings you will have to sacrifice quality and quantity at times to get responses out, and that's alright. Roleplays are very much rough drafts. Try and make sure you're writing a cohesive enough sentence. 

I totally agree about how a character's thoughts or feelings isn't metagaming. It actually enriches the writing and—personally—I find it shocking how some roleplay sims have rules involving that aspect of writing. Some problems that exist on Second Life are simply Second Life issues. 

Edited by BloodSparda
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