Roleplay Guide for New and Experienced Roleplayers

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Staff Team

Generic Staff Account
Oct 11, 2019


Author; Frank Devine
Contributors; Kate Lennox, Jeremiah Jackson, Johnboy Cavanagh, Shemsedin Coselli, Piper Sloan, William Hayes, Hunter Hayes, Fiona Swift

This is a guide to help both new / experienced Roleplayers. The goal is to help along anyone who is newer to Roleplay in general or give further tips to the experienced Roleplayer.

REMEMBER! We are here to play a "historical fiction"; Not relive 1899 Wild West. Things will not be exactly as they were.Follow the Rules.

Section 1; Introduction
The basics are required to have a functioning and enjoyable Roleplay Community for everyone involved. As long as you follow the basics, everything should go smoothly as you and others will enjoy Roleplay more thoroughly.

Section 2; The Basics - Approaching Roleplay with a Positive Mindset.

  • General
    • Never go Out of Character
      • If someone goes OOC, act confused and try to steer the conversation back into In Character.
        • If someone keeps breaking character, remove yourself from the situation and file a report on the forums or contact Staff.
    • You are not always the center of a storyline, and you should do your best to make sure your RP is enjoyable and conducive for anyone you interact with.
      • Be conscious of other people’s Roleplay and how your actions may affect them.
        • Sometimes you are advancing your own story, other times you are along for the ride and/or assisting others. Learn to enjoy both aspects.
    • Win or lose, as long as the rules aren’t being broken just roll with it;
      • As gamers, we typically chase the Wins, and get frustrated at the Losses.
        • Just because you may have ‘lost’ an encounter doesn’t mean it is the end of that story. It will lead to more opportunities in the long run.
    • Have a basic foundation of what you want to do that day, but try to keep an open mind. If a new opportunity comes along, roll with it; do not shut down other’s roleplay and say yes to new opportunities.
    • Take it slow when appropriate. The little details help shape an experience and furthers immersion for yourself and others.
      • IE: Instead sprinting or racing a horse through a busy city / town, bring it to a slow trot or lead it by the reins and hitch it to a post.
      • Don't forget to use your emotes!
  • Law and Order interactions
    • Act according to the crimes that you have done.
    • Try to not get personally upset OOC if you get caught. Accept punishment and consequences as character development.
      • Lawmen and Government Officials are just doing their jobs in Roleplay.
      • No one should ruin another person’s RP by getting OOC salty if they get caught and/or punished.
    • Serious crimes should be handled with serious premeditation and planning.
      • Don't just rob a bank because you are 'bored', have a story and motive behind it!
  • Slow Burn v. Action Oriented
    • Roleplay can generally be categorized as Slow Burn or Action Oriented, and a balance of both should be a personal goal.
      • Slow burn
        • Being aware that things have consequences, and slowly build up drama and tension over time, usually with a climax.
          • IE: Your character is an outlaw and has undergone a murder spree. The character gets caught by the Law and is now facing trial with a possible death penalty. The whole storyline and conclusion is ‘slow burn’
      • Action Oriented
        • Daily interactions which include Bank Robbery and shootouts are action oriented.
          • The daily action can be fun, but focusing only on action such as “Lawmen vs Robbers” mentality will likely result in lack of overall story, and thus shouldn’t be used as a crutch for Roleplay.
Section 3; Character Focused Tips
  • Roleplay is, to put it briefly, establishing a backstory for a Character and acting out actions that relate to that backstory and thus building new stories for you and the world around you, while reacting appropriately to others the player meets within the world.
    • The player should look at the Character and think to themselves, ‘How would this person act in this situation given his background?’ and proceed accordingly.
  • Unique Character Creation tips
    • Pick a great name that aligns with the times and is not offensive or a meme.
      After all, you'll be sticking with it awhile, so you're going to want to like it for more than a moment.

      Your characters name may not be associated to any well known character or person, whether that be known historical figures, famous people, or comic/movie/tv show/video game characters, and that includes not being characters from the RDR universe. Your character must be unique and your own creation.
      Ex: You can't be Angelina Jolie, Bruce Wayne, Johnny Cash, Peter Pan, Arthur Morgan, Wyatt Earp, etc.
    • Get inspiration from characters from the Era, whether it be Video Games, historical figure, movie character etc. and customize the look and feel of your character to make it your own unique character.
  • If the player combines 2 or more inspirations, a unique character can be established.

    These wonderful things can shift over time and are a great way for development and growth of your characters story.
    • Have positive traits and negative traits for your character
      • Negative traits give life and a sense of individualism to each character.
        • Example of a positive trait - Always friendly toward strangers.
        • Example of a negative trait - Never willing to share
    • Have things your character is confident about while other things they are insecure or unsure of, for example:
      • A gunslinger might be all tough in front of his buddies, but when he actually sees someone he's interested in, he has no idea how to approach them.
      • A doctor that is a great general practitioner could be insecure when it comes to surgeries and always tries to refer their patients out to someone that is more capable in that regard.
    • Have hopes and fears
      • A gangster that strives to run the town, though part of the reason he does all this is that he wants to be remembered. Yet he fears that he'll end up dying in some gutter after being shot down some day by a deputy or because one of his own men betrayed him. But what he fears most, is dying alone because in the end, the gang was only with him for the money and once he is no longer useful or someone to fear, they'll leave him behind just like they did the last one.
      • A civilian who's hopes is to one day become a state representative, but their fear of public speaking keeps them from stepping towards the podium.
      • A deputy that wants to be marshal some day, but their fear of intense situations and having to take leadership holds them back from progressing further.

        Note: Characters should never be a copy of a known historical figure, famous person, comic/movie/tv show/video game character.
        Nor should gangs or groups be named after known historical or fictional groups from the Red Dead Universe.
        (We're all wonderful and creative people, so there's no need to copy someone else or mimic/emulate them 😉.)
  • Set rules for your character, and stick to them.
    • Putting restrictions on your character and sticking by them will lead to dynamic RP that might not happen if your character is a master at everything.
      • IE; Pursuant background, the character refuses steal horses from anyone (even AI). He then gets robbed of his horse by a thief and now has to run by foot to the nearest town. During that journey he encounters another player hunting who gives him a ride into town, and furthermore hunt down the bandit.
        • Because of the rule of 'no stealing horses', the character was able to meet a new person and have an experience different than otherwise if he had just nabbed a 'yokels' (ai) horse and continued the planned journey.
      • Character doesn't own a map, so you as a player never look at a map.
        • You will come across unexpected experiences.
  • Have a ‘fresh slate’ mindset
    • IE: You as a player might know every detail and landmark of the map, however a character that just moved to the area would not.
    • Folks were usually specialized and highly skilled in a category
      • It is not always good to be Jack of all Trades, however the Character can evolve over time
    • Have a Moral outline for your character
      • Is the character Chaotic Good? Lawful Evil? Having a foundation for the Character’s moral compass will allow the Player to direct the Characters action appropriately and consistently.
    • Starting with a foundation, set short and long term goals of how you foresee the character evolving.
    • Once comfortable in Roleplay, do not hesitate to build out separate, unique characters with different backgrounds, pursuits, and friend groups; you are limiting yourself and your potential experience if you stick to only one character/style.
  • Have a purpose and goal for the character
    • Political, professional, or Law ambitions? Sad and tragic story with a perma ending? Business mogul? Outlaw / gang leader?
      • If your character has purpose, the RP will come to you.

Section 4; Thinking Outside the Box
  • Roleplay does not always require mechanics to accomplish activities and interactions.
    • Use your imagination and publicly broadcast the availability of a service and people will take you up on it. Roleplay doesn’t have to be limited to ‘Lawmen vs. Outlaw vs. Civilian’. Think outside the box.
      • Some examples of activities outside of Lawmen vs. Outlaw vs. Civilian
        • Saloon owner / Bartender / Innkeeper
        • Bounty Hunter
        • Loan Shark / Debt Collector
        • Transport Security
        • Horse Auctioneer / Trader
        • Hunter / Trapper
        • Doctor or Lawyer
        • Snake Oil Salesmen
        • Conman / Charlatan
        • Event Coordinator
    • Is someone offering a service? Take them up on it and seek out the opportunity.
  • Organize or participate in events
    • Is someone hosting an event? Participate in or show up and support it! No one hosting an event? Take it upon yourself to organize one! Too broke for a prize pool? Ask for donations/sponsorship. Many folks are philanthropic and don’t mind donating to a good cause.
      • Examples of events;
        • Horse Racing
        • Boxing Competitions
        • Scavenger Hunts
        • Rodeo Competitions
        • Improv Comedy Clubs
        • Singing Competitions
        • Social Parties / Gatherings


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Staff Team

Generic Staff Account
Oct 11, 2019
Section 5; Background, History and Setting of the Old Frontier / Current Affairs
  • The following is a brief overview of the Setting and Historical information of the Old Frontier, which can also be found in some detail here - (a bit outdated)
    • Time Period (1890s - 1900s)
    • Technology
      • Steam Engines, Telegraph, Phones (possibly only 1 per town), Mail Couriers, Industrial Revolution, AC Electrical Power (1888), Trolleys, ‘Movie’ Projection, Black and White Cameras
    • Terminology
      • Most Frontiersmen would use a common dialect similar to what we consider ‘the American South’, however there are many dialects depending on heritage and the frontier was a melting pot of many cultures (French, German, English, Scottish, Irish, Chinese, etc.)
      • REMEMBER; while political correctness has changed a lot in 120 years, it is never allowable to use derogatory and racist terms that may have been common in the late 1800s;
        • Many Terms of Service (“ToS”) agreements strictly forbid it, such as;
          • Twitch / Mixer
          • Rockstar / Take Two
          • Wild West RP Rules
      • An example list of ‘clean’ insults is as follows
    • Historical Politics
      • 30 Years After the "Civil War"
        • 600,000 American Casualties
        • Many tensions were still present among the older generation following the Civil War’s conclusion in 1865
          • Alongside calling it the Civil War, both sides who participated and supported the conflict had different views.
            • Northerners / Union referred to it as ''The War of the Southern Rebellion" or "The War to Preserve the Union"
            • Southerners / Confederates referred to it as "War for Southern Independence" or the "War of Secession"
            • Neutrally referred to it as "Mr. Lincolns War" or "The Late Unpleasantness"
      • Homestead Act of 1862
        • Differing degrees of implementation, however the Homestead Act essentially guaranteed free / very cheap land (160 acres) to anyone who settled and improved it.
        • Became a point of contention and conflict when the higher priced areas were saturated.
      • Gold Rush (1840’s - 1900)
        • Many folks ventured into the Frontier to make quick, easy cash with ‘rivers that flowed with gold’, however by the late 1800s many mines were claimed and much of the abundant gold had been discovered.
        • There were many conflicts called ‘claim jumping’ whereas a group of bandits might take over a productive mine, and the legal owners would request the Government to step in and settle the dispute.
      • Native American wars / disputes
        • By the late 1800’s, the Native American Wars had started to end. There were pockets of resistance, however many of the living Native Americans were already forcibly relocated to reservations.
      • Government
        • Federal - US Congress (Upper Staff)
        • State - State Government
        • County - TBA
        • Local City / Municipality - TBA
      • Philippine American War.
        • From 1899-1902, had little impact directly on the settlers of the Frontier.
      • Urban Vs Frontier
        • There were different types of gangs, crime, and law enforcement depending on the region / area one was in.
    • Further Factions
      • Differences between Urban and Frontier Gangs
        • Urban
          • Industrial Revolution; Law enforced by local Town Marshals
          • Racketeering, extorsion, strong arming businesses
        • Frontier
          • Rural focused. Less enforcement of Law, more dependant on common folks (bounties / vigilante mobs / posses)
          • Cattle rustling, Claim Jumping, Banditry, etc.
        • Ex; The City (St. Denis) ‘Gangs’ would most likely be similar to the modern ‘Mafia’ where they would extort and racqueteer successful businesses, whereas a ‘Gang’ in the Frontier would focus more on banditry, robbery, and cattle rustling.
      • Current Tribal Affairs
        • Wapiti Nation
          • Currently considered the 'Peaceful' Natives in our lore of RP.
        • Hostile Tribes
          • NOT a reason to be racist
            • Use appropriate terminology, such as; Aggression against the Government / Encroaching Civilization. taking back the lands, ect.
    • Manners
      • Honorable v. Dishonorable
        • Words are reputation
          • A man should always do what he says he is going to do.
        • Shooting a man in the back or from ambush was the epitome of being dishonorable, however mutual fights where both had the opportunity to pull a weapon to defend themselves and were shot in the front were generally treated and seen as a fair fight.
      • Strangers
        • People were expected to be hospitable to strangers and show them respect. Taking a stranger in off the road and feeding them a meal was an expected courtesy.
    • Fashion (Author: Kate Lennox)
      • Masks and perceptions
        • Masks were considered rude, and anyone wearing masks would be looked upon with distrust (similar to current RDR2 mechanics)
      • People were very much judged on what they wore, as clothes in the past were expensive and how you presented yourself to the world could affect your reputation - dress how you want to be treated! If you dress as a hobo, don’t be surprised if people treat you like a hobo. As a rule, people did not own main clothes so picking out some items and creating a capsule type wardrobe would be an interesting way to choose what your character would wear.
        • Ladies:
          • As a rule, during the day women would mostly be covered from neck to toe. You would not show your cleavage, upper arms, or bare ankles or anything in between. Trousers were not commonly worn, however we know this is a game and ladies wearing trousers in an informal setting should not raise any eyebrows. While outside of your own home, the head would generally be covered. Ladies do not need to remove their hats when they visit someone else’s home for a short time, or as a mark of respect - unless you want to.
          • For a formal event, a woman could be less covered up. The shoulders and upper arms could be bared, the decolletage visible and tighter tops worn. As a rule, women would generally wear skirts. No hats were worn. Gloves were often worn. If a woman chooses to wear pants in a formal setting, they should be clean and worn with other appropriate clothing, such as a clean shirt and a more formal vest and/or jacket, perhaps a necktie.
        • Gentlemen:
          • A man should also be respectably covered up - as a rule, you would not see a man’s bare chest or his upper arms unless he was engaged in very heavy work. During the daytime, a man’s dress would depend on his activity during that day.
          • A man’s formal dress would be clean pants, a clean shirt, a formal vest and jacket, and a necktie (though sometimes he could dispense with the jacket).
          • Wearing a hat in most formal establishments was considered rude, inappropriate, and disrespectful.
  • Survival and related aspects (Author: Jeremiah Jackson)
    • Weather
      • Respect the weather and how it may affect your situation. People would rarely want to roam around outside during a thunderstorm or if at all in the pouring rain. Seek shelter or make sure you stay warm and safe when nature is throwing a tantrum.
    • Clothing
      • Always wear clothing appropriate to the temperatures that you are or will be facing, meaning you don’t strive into the Grizzlies without a coat and a pair of gloves, just like you wouldn’t enter Tumbleweed wearing a full get-up of animal skins and fur. Heatstrokes and frostbite can be very lethal.
    • Wildlife
      • Depending on your location you’ll encounter a large amount of wildlife roaming about, some more deadly than others. Consider your characters stance on bringing along an extra hand for protection while hunting in the more predator-infested areas or don’t stray too far from the road if you are transporting valuable goods
      • Nutrition
        • Make sure you carry the necessities when you’re travelling, working or planning to stay out of town for a while. Often times you will not have access to anything of nutritional value in an emergency in the wilderness, so think about how your character would react in those situations and plan ahead if you’re a planner or don’t if you’re more sporadic.
    • Environment
      • Acknowledge the environment that your character stays in and how it might affect their lifestyle, behaviour and health. This is primarily in regards to homes and places that the character would occupy for longer periods of time.

- Happy Roleplaying!
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