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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

FAQ | Roleplaying Online [Click to see summary view]

Some Frequently Asked Questions and their Answers compiled and written by Your Very Own Guide to the Non-Existent Universe, Pieter van Hiel.

I came here because I thought it was a chat site... but everyone is acting weird. What's going on?
The people here are role-playing. Role-playing is like a game "Let's Pretend" for adults and older kids. It's like an interactive story, in which you play the part of one of the characters. These people don't really think they're kings or wizards or super heroes... for the most part they don't, anyway. They're just playing a game with each other. Role-playing is a great way to relax. Why not stop by and try it out?

Is role-playing Satanic or something? I hear a lot of weirdoes play.

Well, it's not Satanic in and of itself, but yes, a lot of weirdoes do play. Some games do explore occult themes. This is just part of the game…it's not meant to be taken seriously. Moreover, in some rooms this sort of role-play never occurs. As for the weirdoes…well, if eccentric people frighten or annoy you, then role-playing is probably not the ideal pastime for you.

If you are still worried that RPGs may be Satanic or evil, this essay should help set you straight.

Okay. I think understand. So, can I go play?

Not quite yet. Some rooms have rules about being accepted as a player. Choose a chat room that looks interesting. In the doorway to the room, there will probably be a blurb about the kind of role-playing that happens in there, and maybe some links to a homepage or rules. Read the rules for the room, and think about what sort of character you'd like to play. If you're stumped, go into the room and so what sort of role-playing is happening. Talk to the people in the room. Most of us are pretty friendly.

So... I have a handle, and I've talked to the room host. Am I ready to go?

You sure are! But go slowly. Pop into the room and see what plots are going on. Don't just barge in and try to get involved in an ongoing story right off the bat. Send private messages to people, and see if they'd like you to join in. Like I said, most of us are pretty friendly, and will welcome you. If you're stumped, you could try starting your own plot.

Hey, I've been gaming offline for years. What difference can I expect?

Most rooms don't use any dice. Yes, it's true. And unless you were a limp-wristed Amber player before you arrived here, the diceless factor going to take some getting used to. How do you resolve combat, for one thing? Or interaction between players?

Well, first of all you're going to have to get used to a little give and take. If someone says they hit you with a sword, you shouldn't just assume you dodge. Consider their handle. If they're playing a master swordsman, chances are they did hit you. Think of this as a book, with you as one of the heroes. In any interesting book, the hero doesn't automatically succeed all the time. Be willing to fail once in a while if it will advance the plot.

I got in a fight with some guy, and he won't die, even though I have a more powerful handle!

Talk to him. Plan out how you want the combat to go... and remember, no one likes to lose a handle. Maybe you could just knock him out? If the two of you can't agree on an outcome, and can't seem to get anywhere in an unplanned fight… well, just forget about it.

There's some guy ruining the role-play for everyone! He types in all CAPS and keeps trying to do impossible things! What do I do?

First of all, let the person know politely what the problem is. He might be new here, and not used to the way things work. If he's still being a pain, log their actions and send them on to the room staff or host. They'll deal with it, or pass it on to the SysOps. Whatever you do, don't insult the person or get angry with them. If the person becomes a real annoyance, just ignore him.

No one will role-play with me. Am I an unlovable worm?

I can't see you from here, so I can't say. Seriously, I can't say why no one will join in your role-play. Maybe you're not putting yourself in a situation where people have any reason to get involved. Maybe the people playing are in a pre-plotted role-play, and don't want any outsiders involved. Keep trying, I guess. Or move to another room and see what's what.

Whatever you do…don't get mad. If you feel consistently left out, talk to the room host. Maybe the host can find a plot for you to get involved in. If you feel you're being purposefully excluded by the chatters and staff... well, keep cool, they might have a reason. Send some email to mediation and we'll look into it.

I'm meeting my vampire lover offline... should I let him drink my blood on the first date?

Okay, this is very important.

You are not a vampire. You do not have magic powers, you are not immortal, you cannot turn yourself invisible, you cannot fly, and you really shouldn't be drinking blood.
Let's all do a reality check here, okay? Vampires are make-believe. People who drink blood are no longer role-playing, they're living in the Land of Mental Illness. People who think they can cast spells or curses are living next door, in the Kingdom of Delusion. If you start to think that you're a vampire, or that you have magic powers…you're going too far. Get help. Talk to a counselor or something. I'm serious.

To clarify, yes, we know that some beliefs accept the power and reality of magic spells or curses. We may not agree with their claims, but we recognize that their adherents are usually sane, mentally stable people. If you start thinking you can cast the spells in the AD&D Player Manual or that you have the powers listed in the Mage: The Ascension rule book you're losing your grip on reality.

My son/daughter/whatever wants to play online, but I'm worried. Are these games addictive?

Yes they are, like any good pastime. And as with any pastime, there are people who get TOO involved. Like the golfer who spends his rent check on new clubs, or the car nut who would rather fiddle with his custom dragster than spend time with his family, an online role-player will often find their schoolwork or social life being sacrificed for play.

If you're worried, limit the time spent online to a specific hour every night or something. Tell them to stay out of rooms with adult content. As always, use common sense. And if your son/daughter/whatever starts dressing like their character…well…don't panic yet. Talk about it with them. Um. That's about all I can say. If they start drinking blood, call the vicar. If they sacrifice the cat to Tahkisis, call the cops.

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