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RP Etiquette Tips: How to Find and Keep RP Partners

PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2019 4:51 pm
by Antheia
This post is meant to help players respect our RP partners' time, despite our busy schedules. With no great options for mobile clients and the discord as our main avenue of chatting, it’s more important than ever that we come up with ways to accommodate each other’s dedicated MUCK time. With that in mind, I’ve pulled together some staff advice on how to respect your partner’s time while RPing -- and therefore get both a higher volume of RPs and RPs that are more satisfying.

Find our guide for respecting time needs while in RP below:

Totally fair, I got you.

On Commitment
We don’t expect you to always be all there for an RP, and we recognize that they are unique in that there can be long boring pauses while you wait for the other person to reply. So it’s okay and expect to do some minimal multitasking while you RP. Nevertheless, NarniaMUCK the game isn't a chat room you can pop in and out of indiscriminately without doing anyone a disservice. Think of RPs as you would hanging out with a friend in real life. In real life, if you’re chatting with a friend over coffee or knitting, your friend won’t be bothered when you turn your attention to your food or the instruction on the next perl. But they’re going to want a warning if your hangout might involve major disruptions, like when you are babysitting or about to be called to dinner.

If you enter an RP, the expectation is that you will be staying until the RP is completed, and that your attention will be enough engaged not to create long pauses. Exceptions (with a warning when possible) are expected and completely reasonable, but they should be just that: exceptions. Otherwise, while we all want to be understanding as possible, people are going to get frustrated and feel like their time has been wasted.

Casual RPs are the meat of a game like NarniaMUCK. They create and drive the significant plot RPs, which fall like deadweight without them. But no one wants to have casual RPs if they don’t go anywhere -- and they won’t if you can’t 1. stay engaged and 2. stick around to the end.

Super fair. I went to all of our staff and here’s what we came up with for reasonable and usual expected norms.

On Speed
Different players pose at different speeds, and while there is the occasional player who shoots out most of their poses in under a minute, we don’t expect this kind of speed, and we emphasize patience for players who need to be slower. About 2-7 minutes can reasonably be expected between most poses from most players most of the time. Featured Characters may average closer to 5-12.

If you are someone who typically takes more than 10 minutes to pose, we don't want to rush you, but we do ask that you let your fellow player know that RPing with you may be a longer time commitment (especially if they haven’t played with you before).

Similarly, if you are multitasking or have another reason that you will be slower than you usually are, please let your RP partner know. Example: if you are cooking while RPing, simply tell your partner you are multitasking and may experience some pauses or slower posing.

On Limited Time
If you have an appointment or a bedtime, it is ultimately your responsibility to tell your RP partner -- in a timely manner -- when you need to leave the RP. If possible, please give at least a half-hour’s warning so that there is time to wrap up the scene. Then actively seek a way to satisfactorily end the scene.

On the flip side, if your RP partner mentions that they need to leave at a certain time, acknowledge the deadline, and actively seek a way to satisfactorily end the scene.

Remember, your RP partner may be in a different time zone, work a long or odd work schedule, or have children or other outside responsibilities. You can’t assume that a reasonable end time for you is reasonable for them. It is polite and reasonable to ask how long the other player will be available when you enter RP.

On Idling
Emergencies happen. However, if at all possible, please let your RP partner know if you are going to have to unexpectedly leave in the middle of an RP. If possible, you should include the following information:
    That you are leaving
    How long you can expect to be away

If it is not possible to write that out, but you do have a second to type something, the following abbreviations are of use:
    BRB, for disappearances that you expect to be under ~15 minutes.
    BBL, for disappearances that you expect over ~15 minutes.
    G2G for disappearances that you don’t expect to be back from any time soon.

If you do not have a bedtime but are sleepy, please let your RP partner know so that if you idle out they can feel safe assuming you fell asleep on them.

If your RP partner suddenly slows down, or appears to have disappeared, it is okay and encouraged to ask something like “still here?”, wait 10 or 15 minutes for a reply (unless previously warned that it would be longer between poses in which case it may or may not be polite and possible to wait longer), and then pause the RP by moving your character to the OOC lounge or logging out in a haven location (like an inn, home, or shelter). If another high action RP is available, it MAY be okay to leave an idled RP to join the other one. This is too case-by-case to make a rule for, other than that both parties be as considerate as possible.

On Pausing
The expectation is that if you start an RP, you (or in the case of a group, somebody) will finish it. Pausing an RP in the middle can sometimes be necessary, but it should be the exception, unless you have a clearly and explicitly stated understanding with another player that pauses are okay. Even then, you should ask if a pause is okay rather than expecting it. There are a lot of reasons for the expectation that you will wrap a scene rather than pause it:
    Players entering a scene are not necessarily expecting that committing time tonight might also mean committing time later this week.
    It can be unsatisfying and even frustrating to build up suspense, emotion, or scene momentum just to have it unexpectedly halted in the middle.
    A paused RP can keep a player from entering other RPs if they aren’t sure what the character’s emotional or physical state would be afterward.
    Since a day in the real world is supposed to equal a day in Narnia, paused RPs can significantly mess up the timeline.

Sometimes a pause is still the right choice. If you get into an RP at 7pm that suddenly gets very deep at 9pm and you and the other player already agreed to log off at 10pm, you may decide that it’s worth it to both of you to pause so that you can do justice to whatever interesting moment you’ve uncovered. Because you’ve already been respectful enough to tell each other your time limits, this pause will come as less of a surprise. If this should happen, we suggest trying to schedule when you can next meet to finish the RP, so that neither of you is stuck with the task of sacrificing their free hours to log in and wait around for the other.

Caveat: If you enter an RP at 7pm and both agree to log off at 10pm, and you have PLANNED to have an important conversation in that RP, it is expected that you will actively seek to reach that conversation at a reasonable time so that it can have concluded by 10pm. If at all possible, don’t start a planned, time-limited important RP with a long and insignificant detour. Get right down to the meat as fast as you can so that you can make use of the time you have.

“Backdated RPs” (RPs that are meant to have ICly occurred before the real-time date they are written) follow a similar rule. Occasional backdated RPs to fill out your characters’ emotional state while keeping an event on schedule ICly are reasonable. But you should always ask your RP partner first, and if you find that you are constantly behind “real time”, you may need to start sacrificing some of these so that you can catch up to where everyone else is at in the timeline.

On Scheduling RPs
Scheduling HELPS. We all have busy lives. If there is someone you want to RP with, we HIGHLY recommend that you pagemail them and ask if they would be up for scheduling an RP with you. You can then set an ISO so that if they use the discord or have an alt logged in they will know to check in. If they don’t have discord or aren’t presently logged in, they will still receive your message by checking their pagemail.

If you have tried pagemail and ISO to get in contact with someone and gotten no response, you can inquire with staff. Sometimes we are able to get in contact with a player for you.

That said, if you aren’t able to respect all of the above guidelines, people aren’t likely to feel up to scheduling very many RPs with you, especially casual RPs. It’s simply asking too much time and effort of them, for too little reward.