MUSH Survival Guide: Roleplaying

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Chapter 1: Bare Bones Minimum- wherein MUSHing is talked about in comparison to other mediums, and clients are listed.

Chapter 2: How Do I Shot MUSH?- wherein basic mechanics of communication are described.

Chapter 3: Can I Haz Character Nao?- wherein you find how to be a good guest, survive the horrors(?) of the application process, and how to construct a well-rounded character for MUSHing purposes.

Chapter 4: Everyone was Kung-Fu Fighting with Lovebeams???- wherein we speak of the combat system (csys for short) and how to set up your character with some fine stats.

Chapter 5: Wait, What's This Thing You Call 'Roleplay'?- You're here!

Wait, What's This Thing You Call 'Roleplay'?

One thing to remember is that, like a lot of parts of this guide, despite being tailored from PersonaMU* to Battle Fantasia MUSH, many of these tips can apply anywhere. Also, keep in mind this is not as black and white as some of the other chapters of this guide. There is no 'you must type this command to do this', nor is there 'you must do this to receive this'. These are simply tips and methods that seem to work, most of the time. Your mileage may vary. As it is such, like any part of this guide, you can add on what you've found works for you.

So you got your character approved, he/she/it is fitted with all the bells and whistles needed, and you're ready to go. What next? Well, you see that there's a LFRP (looking for roleplay) channel, so you join it (@chan/join lfrp), type '+lf who wants to RP with me?' and you wait. And wait. And wait.

Yeah, sometimes, the RP juice is not flowin'. It's not really your fault, or the fault of your character. It's just sometimes the nature of the beast, and it's where you need to be a bit clever.

How To Bait The Hook

This is where that pesky little thing the application staff calls 'hooks' come in. They glow over your application, then talk about 'needs more hooks' like you were in a fishing endurance race. It's not because they're wanting an extroverted genki schoolkid, it's because, especially when you're roleplaying someone who isn't inclined to seek out other people, you need hooks to throw your character into the field, especially something that forces your character to associate with others. Don't make other players do the work for you; if you're standing quietly in a dark corner, chances are that other characters will probably leave you alone. If you must be lonely and in need of befriending, make sure to have reasons to put yourself in the path of the legions of befriending magical girls.

Pose Orders

The Pose Order Tracker (+pot) is an excellent resource: it sorts by pose order, with the most recent posers at the top. It displays their names, how long they've been idle, how long it has been since they posed, whether or not they have any status effects (eg, buffs or debuffs; B|D: Y/N means a N under B means 'no buffs', a Y under D means 'yes debuffs', and vice versa), and then some prose about their Fatigue, Mana and Morale. These are only indicators; how one poses one's condition (especially one's feelings) is ultimately up to the player.

A yellow asterick indicates someone has used +heal/boss to take on multiple opponents.

Fatigue and Mana ranges: Great: 90-100%, Good: 70-90%, Okay: 50-70%, Bad: 30-50%, Awful: 10-30%, Critical: 1-10%, KO: 0% or less. Boss indicates a character is in boss mode, and has extra health and mana.

Morale ranges: Normal: -10 to +10, Down: -40 to -10, Morose: -70 to -40, Despairing: -90 to -70, Critical: -99 to -90, KO: -100 or lower. Upbeat: 10 to 40, Hopeful: 40 to 70, Radiant: 70 to 90, Transcendent: 90 to 100.

For example:

===========================[ Sagittarius Zero Star ]============================
 Name                Idle Pose  B|D: Y/N       Fatigue         Mana       Morale
 Usagi Tsukino        0s    2m  N|Y              Great        Great      Hopeful
 Jadeite              4s    5m  N|N               Okay           KO Transcendent
 Ami Mizuno           47m  54m  N|N              Great         Good       Normal
 Scene Pose           24m         Scene pose set by Jadeite.                    
==========================[ Sun Sep 15 18:59:13 2013 ]==========================

+pot/last - Displays the most recent round of poses. +pot/last <name> only displays Name's most recent pose.

+pot/scene <pose> - Sets the Scene Pose, accessible by anyone in the same room with +pot/scene.

That being said, pose orders aren't utterly strict unless someone asks otherwise; please don't roll straight over someone else if there isn't a reason to, but those reasons exist, particularly 'they've been idle for more than twenty or thirty minutes and aren't responding to pages.' It can be rude to jump the queue just to grab a particularly narratively juicy moment; if it isn't your turn, think twice.

For more information, please see: Basic Commands

Combat RP

Pose/action order becomes rigid during Combat RP, or at least more rigid. Make sure you don't take actions any more often than all of your opponents collectively; if it's one on three, you need to wait for all three of them to go, and vice versa. The three, in that example, are all on the same side, and mixing things up a little that way is generally more fluid, as long as it isn't rude. Specifically addressing the issue of jumping the queue to get the 'killing blow' on a big boss, it is expected and accepted for those who haven't gone yet to continue attacking the boss after the csys says they're down but before they've posed, and boss GMs are best served by doing a final pose that includes everyone's attacks taking it down together, unless there's a clear reason to do otherwise.

In big scenes, try not to only RP between your character and your opponent; that really misses the point of how the magical girl genre uses fighting, which is for character development and growth of relationships. If you also banter (or bicker) with your friends, react to them being knocked around (or especially amazing), and so forth, and you'll all have a much more interesting scene.

If everyone in a scene is willing to use consent instead of the csys for combat, by all means have at. Just remember the usual rules of engagement, which apply to coded combat as well: don't no-sell your opponent, by which I mean 'pose brushing off their every action as though they're so ineffective as to be unimportant'. Don't pose the effects of your actions, only your actions themselves; it's up to you how you swing your sword, but it's up to your friend how much blood is drawn. Do try to make everyone feel as awesome and empowered as possible.

General Tips

Behavior and Rating -- the latter especially -- have some relevant tips about how to survive in our roleplaying community. They're summarizable as Wheaton's Law and common sense: don't be a dick, and be tasteful. And if you're making someone uncomfortable and they ask you to stop, even if you don't understand why they're uncomfortable, stop anyway. That's a key behavior that can really help you get along with everyone in the scene. Sometimes, even, a pose can take a scene so totally off base that the group decides it would be better to discuss, retcon, and redo it: this isn't common, but neither need it be a bunch of out-of-character drama. We're all trying to tell great stories together, and that means give and take.

The Care and Keeping of Antagonists is our guide to oppositional etiquette in far greater depth; it is highly recommended reading to anyone, whether they're playing a heroine or a villainess.

11 ways to be a better roleplayer by LookRobot's Grant is an excellent article that is mostly giving advice about tabletop RP in a setting like D&D; however, most of it is relevant to MUSHing, which is not all that different from tabletop in many respects. One of the most important differences to point out is that because you can't see the faces of the rest of the community, merely text, it's easy to forget that they're human beings, same as you, with the same strengths and foibles as anyone else. Try to remember; it's worth it. You'll have more fun that way.

And above all else, we're here to have fun together.

Special thanks to Alice and Trish of Persona MUSH for this guide!