Rings of Honor is a role-playing forum built on community. Each character you encounter in the chat room and forums is being played by another player, and interacting with your fellow players is one of the most rewarding parts of the role-play experience.
Rings of Honor offers a handful of ways to talk with others. The chat room called Lobby ((OOC)) is a place for players to chat with one another without disturbing role-play that may be occurring in the other rooms. You can also send an instant message to a player by clicking on their name in the room list and selecting the "Instant Message" option. In the forums, you can join or start open conversations under the Player Discussions forum, or contact a player directly by selecting the "PM" option (which stands for "private message") when viewing their profile or one of their posts.
The remainder of this page will introduce you to the ideas of free form role-play and shared settings, and how players cooperate with one another to maintain Rhydin as a living, breathing fantasy world that everyone can enjoy.
Free Form Role-Play
Role-play in Rings of Honor can be described as "free form". This means that you have complete creative control over how you play your character, where they come from, and what happens to them. No one can seriously affect your character without your consent, nor can you seriously affect someone else's character without their consent.
Rhydin would be a boring place if every character kept to themselves and no one mingled, battled or created mischief. In order to make role-play exciting in a free-form environment, cooperation among players (or "cooperative role-play") is essential.
Cooperative Role-Play -- An In-Depth Look
Cooperative role-play can be defined as any free-form role-play that involves two or more players cooperating with each other to create a scene.
Engaging in cooperative role-play is simple. When you have doubts about your action, contact the other player, or players, to ensure your play is cooperative. This communication can be in the form of an OOC comment via instant message, a PM, email, phone call, or any other means by which two or more people can communicate. Communication between players is the essence of cooperative role-play.
When is role-play noncooperative?
While cooperative role-play takes into account the wishes of all players involved, noncooperative role-play shows a disregard for another player's right to decide what happens to their character. Noncooperative role-play attempts to define "bad" role-play, however much of what determines noncooperative role-play depends on how much communication occurs between the players involved and what sort of relationship they have with one another.
Let's look at some examples:
Bob: ::thwaps Joe in the back of the head::
At first glance, this could be considered "bad" role-play, because Bob describes Joe being hit. However, in cooperative role-play, the aforementioned play could indeed be cooperative in nature. If the players of Bob and Joe are friends, then they are comfortable in knowing where the line is in regard to what they can do with each other's character.
Mary: ::wanders in, spots her favorite boy-toy, and rushes over to tackle him::
Again, at first glance, this could be considered bad form. However, it's clear that Mary's player intends no harm, as it leaves it open for the boy-toy's player to decide whether or not he is actually tackled.
Mary: ::blocks her opponent's punch, and then uses a cross-body throw to send him to the mat::
Even within the duels, our characters engage each other. In the specific case of the duels, action is moderated by sending moves to an official who then announces the results of the move interactions. It's completely appropriate, and encouraged, for the characters to "enact" the moves. This is a variant form of cooperative role-play. It differs from normal cooperative play only in that the action is guided by the moves selected by the players. It is still up to the player on the losing end of an exchange to determine the degree of harm that their character receives.
Joe: ::approaches his nemesis with an evil gleam and stabs him with a poisoned dagger, shoving it to the hilt in his chest::
While extreme, this too can be an example of cooperative role-play. Perhaps both players have decided to play out a scene in the chat room involving a serious injury, or death, that they are enacting in order to tell a story.
The important key in all of these examples is that the players trusted the other player(s). Trust can only happen when players communicate.
Someone else is engaging in play. How do I join in?
The key to any cooperative role-play is player-to-player communication. Joining in a scene can be as simple as IMing another player.
Rizzo: ::skulks up behind Percy the Paladin readying a stiletto::
Player C sees this and wonders if he can play too. ::spots the stiletto and wonders if he should interfere::
Unsure if the players of Rizzo and Percy might have a scene planned, Player C IMs one of them and asks, "Hey, is this a private scene? Or can I jump in?"
Perhaps the player of Rizzo responds "Sure! But keep in mind that Percy is going to get mortally wounded so that we can play out something for the forums."
Based on this info, Player C decides to
::calls out a warning to Percy:: "Hey look out! He's got a knife!"
It's as simple as asking.
What if it's crowded and lots of people are asking if they can join in?
For big events, it's perfectly OK to use an OOC comment to let the room know you are playing out a scene and whether or not it's OK to join in the fun. Example:
Rizzo: ((Just FYI, Percy and I are playing out a scene that we'll be posting in the forums. Anyone interested is free to join in, but please don't try to heal Percy. He's going to get hurt for the story.))
As always, please try to use OOC comments sparingly, but it is OK, and appropriate, to use them to make sure the room knows you are engaging in cooperative role-play.
How do I know if I am engaging in cooperative role-play?
It couldn't be simpler. When in doubt, ask the other player(s).
A shared setting is a setting that all players have access to for role-play purposes. Places like the Arena, the Outback, and Twilight Isle are all creative property of Rings of Honor, and as such are available for everyone to role-play in. Because these settings are shared by all players, the degree to which any one player can affect these settings is limited so that other players can continue using these settings in the future.
We can categorize Rings of Honor's shared settings into three levels based on scale.
First-level shared settings are places like the Arena, Outback, and Twilight Isle, where live role-play takes place. These settings have fairly rigid descriptions, so your creative control is limited mostly to your character. Temporary setting changes, such as a broken glass or a toppled table, are welcome because they do not threaten to permanently alter the setting. For a more detailed examination of cooperative role-play within a shared setting, please see the following section below.
Second-level shared setting is the city of Rhydin. While the city has some established description*, it remains a dynamic setting, allowing you to establish your own structure (home, business, etc.) anywhere within the city. Here, your creative control extends to your character's abode and whatever happens to it. A large event, such as an incident that threatens entire districts, would require the cooperation of everyone who has established structures in the affected area.
*i.e. Rhydin is coastal, sits on a river, and has seven distinguishable districts. The Arena, Outback, and the door to Twilight Isle sit in the Dragon's Gate district, and one Baronial manor sits in each district.
Third-level shared setting is the entire world of Rhydin beyond the city walls. This world is vast, dynamic, and undefined. Here you can establish an entire country of your own for your character. The only guideline when establishing lands outside of the city is to keep it vague when attempting to describe the land's proximity to the city. For example, instead of saying your land sits "adjacent to the city's southern border", you might say it sits "somewhere south of the city". The purpose of this is to avoid setting conflicts. An example of a setting conflict would be a player saying their land completely borders the city while other characters are known to travel back and forth to the city on a regular basis without ever having stepped a foot in that land. In most cases, describing your land's position relative to the city will be unnecessary.
Cooperative Role-Play and the Shared Setting
This section attempts to describe how players can "manipulate" a first-level shared setting for live role-play purposes without threatening the integrity of the setting.
Just as players communicate with each other to engage in cooperative role-play, the same principles apply toward the usage of the common elements within a shared setting.
Let's look at some examples:
::scrawls his name in the table with the point of his knife::
Technically, the table is part of the property of the setting (the Arena, for example). However, it's clear from the action that no permanent harm is being done to another character, or to the setting in which we play, and the action is relatively minor in scope. For this reason, it's OK for the character to perform this sort of "action" upon the setting.
::takes it upon himself to rip out the bar, and replace it with a series of water fountains serving pink champagne::
This sort of alteration of the setting is much larger in scope than the former example. In this instance, the character has changed the setting in a way that would impact other characters. For this reason, this sort of action should be taken with caution.
In the instance of a wedding, where a mighty spellcaster has temporarily transformed the bar into fountains of pink champagne, and the bar will return to its normal self after the event, this could very well be an acceptable event -- especially during the hours when ordinary dueling is not taking place.
During the hours of regular dueling, if the player wished to do this kind of thing, it's always a good idea to contact the DUEL official in the room and confirm that they are OK with the action. At that time, the official is operating in the capacity of proxy for the setting. Thus, if you are unsure of your action, it's always a good idea to ask. In this case, ask the official if the action is OK.
This was an example of a temporary effect, one that would not impact the following nights of play. Taking the action one step further:
::burns down the bar, kills the serving lads, and dumps out all the ale and wine, anxious to see how the officials react to the damage on the morrow::
In this example, the character is causing permanent (until repaired) damage to the setting in such a manner that it would impact all players from now until the damage is repaired.
Under these circumstances, the same rules of cooperative role-play work. However, the proxy that the player should contact is the appropriate sport supervisor (e.g. DUEL Chris Graz for things involving the Arena).
In addition to getting their approval to permanently (or semi-permanently) affect the setting, there are additional benefits to getting the buy-in of the officials. For example, they can help promote the event to a wider audience. For example, in the instance of a major impact to the Outback (perhaps a fire), a note can be added to the weekly standings so that everyone who reads the standings will know that the Outback has been temporarily closed for repairs. The supervisor can also post word for all of their officials, so that the officials can support the role-play as well. Also, the supervisor may be able to tell you about special properties or protections that should be considered by the player (for example, the bar in the Outback has been enchanted and has regenerative properties).
In the end, the setting we play in should be given the same sort of consideration we ourselves would want as players and that we should afford other players. Just as we would not want another player to come in and burn down our residence without talking to us first, so too we should consider who will be impacted by our character's actions in the shared setting.