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Forum Roleplay Guide

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The Phoenix
Staff member
Forum Roleplay Guide

Welcome to the guide to forum roleplay.

If you’re here, we’re going to presume you’re new to forum based roleplaying, even if you have play-by-post experience via other medium. Play-by-post encompasses every form of text based roleplaying. Forum roleplay is one sub-form
Be advised, this guide is specifically written to work on Solvitur Charta Roleplay.
Other forums may or may not choose to execute certain features differently.

What is forum roleplay?
According to Wikipedia, forum roleplay, or play-by-post roleplay is defined in the following manner;

A play-by-post role-playing game (or sim) is an online text-based role-playing game in which players interact with each other and a predefined environment via text. It is a subset of the online role-playing community which caters to both gamers and creative writers. Play-by-post games may be based on other role-playing games, non-game fiction including books, television and movies, or original settings. This activity is closely related to both interactive fiction and collaborative writing. Compared to other roleplaying game formats, this type tends to have the loosest rulesets.
In this thread, more on forums and forum roleplay. Click on each section in the Content list to be taken directly to that section.

1. Roleplay slang
2. Forums & subforums
3. Posting etiquette
3.1 Thread Starters
3.2 Thread replies

4. Roleplay Etiquette
4.1 The Big Bad Three

4.2 Plot contribution
4.3 character interaction
5. Character Creation
6. How to post a thread

To be edited and updated as required.
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The Phoenix
Staff member
Short for “application”.
This is a term used to describe the process somebody must adhere to in order to join a game, create a new character or something else. Usually this is a form of some sort.

Stands for “Alternate universe”. Used to describe a roleplay or story based on something existing, where the story takes place in an almost identical world. Details of such a world are then different enough to call it “alternate”.
I.e. A story based on an Earth where the Egyptian pantheon is real.

Canon is the material accepted as “official” in a fictional universe.

Conversation splicing
Taking quotations from a dialogue and giving a response to each individual part instead of as a single response.

ERP | Smut
Short for erotic roleplay. Type of roleplay where the premise is lots and lots of sex.
Smut is another term for ERP

Faceclaim | Playby
Faceclaims, or “playby” refers to a picture or image used for a character.

Fluff | Purple Prose
Fluff, or ‘purple prose’ refers to unnecessary words or content to posts. Usually this means excessive descriptions and/or adjectives but it doesn’t add anything meaningful to the post, plot or story in general.

Game Master
The Game Master (GM) is the person who runs the roleplay. In DnD this person is known as the Dungeon Master (DM). Sometimes the term “narrator” is used interchangeably, usually when the GM/DM isn’t an active part of the story, but does move the story along.

God modding | Powerplaying
Godmodding / powerplaying refers to somebody who isn’t the actual “owner” of the character to control the character. This can happen with and without permission from the actual creator/owner of the character.

In Character (IC)
In Character, or IC, is the actual creative writing part of a roleplay.

Mary Sue
Also known as “Marty-Stu” or “Gary Stu”.
Mary Sue, or Gary Stu for a male, refers to characters who are too perfect. They’re the type of character who is good-looking, smart, everybody likes them, they speak at least 4 languages, they are A+ students, work at least one job besides, they’re top of their chosen career and/or hobbies, sports etc.
Everybody wants to be them, or be with them. They have no flaws to speak of.

Metagaming is when character has information through no means other than that the player has the knowledge.
I.e. a character has intimate details about a conversation they weren’t a part of and weren’t told about either, because the players discussed the matter or the character owner read the conversation.

Term to refer to either a player character or anything that inspires the player

Non Player Character (NPC)
A non player character (NPC) is a character that’s part of the roleplay but isn’t controlled by anybody in particular or an active part of the story. Sometimes the GM is solely responsible for the NPC, sometimes every player in the game can use it.

Original Character (OC)
Original characters are characters that the player themselves created for the story the character is in. This can be either a new character in a fandom roleplay, or an original character for an original universe.

Orginal Post (OP)
Term used to refer to the first post of a thread.
I.e. "You can read in the OP the GM stated this"

Original Poster (OP)
Term used for the starter of a thread.
I.E. "OP said before that..."

Out of character (OOC)
Stands for “Out of Character”, meaning a post or comment written by the player as the actual player, not as something the character is saying or doing. Opposite of IC and refers to comments and discussions that aren’t characters interacting, but players.

Overpowered (OP)
Overpowered, or OP, refers to characters who are too powerful and can’t be reasonably/realistically be defeated. OP characters are usually discouraged because they negate the hurdle the other characters must overcome

Player Character (PC)
Opposite of NPC. Refers to the characters players are controlling. One player can have multiple PC’s.

Storyline | Plot
The plot of the story, the main story people need to follow.

Railroading is a term used when one player (oftentimes the GM) takes over and dictates the the roleplay. In the process, they take away player ability to insert their own ideas or deviate from the story the railroading party sets out.

Roleplaying Game
A role-playing game (RP, RPG) is a game in which players assume the roles of characters in a fictional setting.

Play-by-post | pbp
Also known as: pbp. A broad term used to describe all text based roleplaying

Rapid Fire | Ping-pong-posting
Rapid fire, or “ping pong posting”, is a style of quick back and forth posting between 1 or more players. This usually means relatively many posts in a small amount of time. I.e. 1 player can get out 30 or more posts because they go back and forth for hours, and there is only a few minutes between posts.

Short for ‘retroactive continuity’. This is editing IC continuity by backtracking OOC and stating things did or didn’t happen, or happened differently and the player(s) then adopts this new truth.

Ship or Shipping
Shipping, or “relationshipping” is a term used for when you imagine or write 2 characters into a romantic relationship. This may or may not be canon.

Self-insert refers to characters who are an (near) exact representation of the player in personality, look or both. Oftentimes these “self-inserts” are prettier, smarter and/or overall better at things than the player.
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The Phoenix
Staff member
Forums and Subforums
A message board, or online discussion forum, can be broken down into various important sections and subsections. Each of the following terms is important to know and understand.

Message Board: The entirety of the forum. Online discussion site where people can hold conversations in the form of posted messages

Category: A category encompasses a certain set of forums.
I.e. the Forum “General Area” consists of the forums
Information Hub

Forum: A forum is a place specifically designed for “threads” regarding that topic.
I.e. Our Introductions & Goodbyes should contain only and all member introduction threads and goodbyes.

Subforums: a section of an online forum dedicated to a specific topic, typically one relating to that of the main forum.
Threads and Replies
Threads are single topics in a specific forum or subforum whereas replies are comments (posts) in that specific thread. Both are needed to run a forum play-by-post roleplay.

There are various ways to write stories. Most common is third-person, past tense. This is a writing style . But, first person and/or present tense are also used. Usually, the preferred writing style is indicated in the first Out of Character (OOC) thread.

In a one on one (1x1) roleplay, which is a play between 2 players, you post back and forth. First player 1 posts, then player 2 and then player 1 again.

In a group roleplay, more than 2 players post. This can be either in a specific post-order, or not. Post order means that players post in a specific order. In a game consisting of 3 players that would be: Player 1 posts, then Player 2, then player 3 and then Player 1 again.
Open groups are group roleplays that accept everybody. Even if you weren’t in the initial planning of the RP, you can still join in. These threads are usually indicated by their thread prefix ACCEPTING or OPEN GROUP. More on thread prefixes can be found [HERE]​
Closed groups are group roleplays that don’t or no longer accept new players. Sometimes open roleplays become closed ones or vice versa. Reasons to close an RP is to limit the size the group. Reasons to open closed RP’s include losing players and wanting or needing more.​
Post Length & Writing Styles
Solvitur Charta Roleplay is a no-word-count site. This means that our default status for threads is that you do not need to meet a certain post length for it to be acceptable. As a rule of thumb, quality of quantity when it comes to your writing.
However, Game Masters can install a minimum word count or paragraph count for their specific roleplay. A word count or paragraph count means you need to overall meet that minimum threshold for your in character replies. If game masters install a certain paragraph count, it helps to clarify how many sentences or words an average paragraph is. Usually this number lays between 6-8 lines. Lines, not sentences or words, but some GM’s opt to lessen that number, and others up it a little bit.

As for the writing itself, replies can be written in past- or present tense and in first, second or third person point of view (POV).
Most roleplays are written in past-tense, third person, but every roleplay is different. If the preferred writing style isn’t mentioned, ask the GM how they’d like to see you write your post. General consensus is to pick a tense and point of view and stick with it, for consistency throughout the story.
Alerts & Tagging
Solvitur Charta has an alerts system, that will notify you when you’ve been tagged, or when somebody replied to a thread you are watching.

Tagging and alerts (or rather, watching content) is a good way to keep an eye on threads you’re interested with. It can be a useful tool to keep track of posts you owe, or games you play. Be aware that you get only 1 alert after a reply to a thread you watch of are tagged.
That means that more replies can be made after you got alerted, but you received only 1 alert.

Note: watching a thread is what alerts you, not having content in the thread. If you watch a thread, you will get a notification (alert) that somebody replied.

Tagging is a form of alerting somebody. You can tag a member by using the @ sign followed by their name. For example, you tag Robyn by typing @.Robyn or Dao Ma by typing @.Dao Ma
Don’t forget the space between the two names~
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The Phoenix
Staff member
Posting Etiquette
Thread Starters

Thread starters are the very first post of an in character thread. Usually, this post sets the scene by describing at least that which is directly needed for other players to know to start the story. This might include things like the current weather, the characters location, the time (of day), what they should be doing.
Without a roleplay starter there is no roleplay, as somebody will need to start the thread and set the scene.

When you write something in a roleplay (in character) it is strongly advised to give somebody else something to respond to. This can be either an action, i.e. one character (attempting to) hit another character. It can also be dialogue. Think about characters asking questions, responding to a silly/funny/sarcastic/offensive comment.
Replying to Threads
Replies are needed to keep a story going. Some people work with “post matching” but that is a personal preference for each player. Post-matching is a roleplaying style where players match the post length and style of the partner(s). If you are unsure if a player does this, or expects this, you can always politely ask.
This might prevent issues down the line, where players have a vastly different roleplay style (i.e. single paragraph vs 5+ paragraphs).

Overall, forum roleplay moves slower than I.M. or Discord roleplaying. This makes it perfect for people who cannot be online for hours on end to go back and forth. It is advised to make your posting expectations clear before you engage in a roleplay.
In a group roleplay, it is common for the GM to indicate how often they expect a response. If you cannot meet this expectation, you can either choose to move on from the roleplay. Another option is to talk to the GM or your partner to see if they can adapt their schedule.
Some flexibility would be advised, since most forum roleplayers have lives; schoolwork, hobbies and/or work.
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The Phoenix
Staff member
Roleplay etiquette
Like most forms of interacting, forum roleplay has its own set of general etiquette.
Your replies will overall be expected to be longer than, for example, Tumblr or Twitter.
Below are various points to take into consideration when you start roleplaying on our forums.

Big Bad Three
Metagaming, Powerplaying, and Godmodding
These three terms (explained in our Roleplay Slang) are a sure fire way to rouse other players’ ire. Even if a roleplay doesn’t have these listed as being against the rules, presume they are unless told otherwise. In doubt, don’t do it, or check with your partner or the GM of the play.

Especially god-modding and powerplaying are issues, as you force others into a corner they may not have wanted to go into. You may have characters react differently than they normally would or should. Meta-gaming makes your character seem some sort of God in the game, which diminishes the conflict they’re a part of. It makes plotting with the player harder, as the other player(s) cannot be guaranteed the character doesn’t suddenly have information they shouldn’t have.

Example: the characters are lost in a wood and without explanation or reason character X knows there is a trap coming up and changes direction.
The conflict that was set up is taken out completely, and it would leave others very confused on how the character knew this. Conflict is necessary for an (engaging) story.
Plot contribution
Most people start to roleplay because they like collaborative writing. Emphasis on collaborative. Most, if not all, roleplayers like it to plan and plot together, and for their partners or group to forward the plot together. In group roleplays, GM’s often like feedback and ideas for the game. They like you to contribute, rather than only responding to what they put out there. It’s the difference between active, and passive participation.

In 1x1 roleplays, your partner will likely want feedback on their ideas, as well as ideas from you. Hearing “I don’t mind” or “I don’t care” gets tiresome really quickly for a lot of people. Some ideas don’t work, or don’t work the way you put them out there, but that’s where you brainstorm together.
Character interaction
Follow-up on the previous point, character interaction is the biggest and “easiest” way to facilitate contribution to the plot. It’s also something a lot of new forum roleplayers struggle with. Without anything to respond to, a roleplay isn’t easy to keep going and it’s something a lot of roleplays die on. Next to people dropping it for various reasons. More on this later.

At times, characters will not get along. They may argue and fight and disagree. However, it shouldn’t be made impossible to interact with the other character(s). This isn’t an easy thing, and you might want to talk to your partner or GM on how to solve it. This can be either before the entire conflict happens or during.

It can be a delicate balance. For example, people generally dislike rude characters. This doesn’t mean you can’t play a rude character, but it does require delicate handling. Becoming more friendly and less rude could be this specific character arc. If one character is rude to another, the character might simply walk away and that’s the end of it.

Before a character is rude, you might want to consider how your partner will respond. You might even ask them if it’s a good idea if your character is rude at that moment. If the character has already been rude to you, you will want to consider on how to respond. Your character can just walk away, they might yell back, they can act violently. There are many responses and again, communication is key.
Character requests
Sometimes, players have a ‘pre-set’ character they want/need you to play alongside theirs. Usually, this involves characters who already have a pre-roleplay connection. I.e. siblings, fellow students, co-workers. They already have a plot involving them, and thus require somebody else to take on 1 half of the connection; the sibling, the co-worker or the fellow student.

Before you say yes to a character request, you want to read the details on the character. If the story already has a plot, it’s very likely the character is also already ‘set’. A face-claim might be provided, key characteristics already listed, history determined. Or all of these.

If you feel uncomfortable or don’t want to adhere to these requirements, it’s probably best to walk away. Or, at the very least, talk to any possible edits to make it work.
Adoptable Characters
Adoptables are character that players have designed and/or played in the past, no longer want or need but would like to see played in the future. Adoptables are always given up with permission.

Adoptables are a type of requested character, but also the most difficult ones to play, despite being easiest in development. Since somebody already played them, it’s important you make sure you can do them justice. This does not mean you play them 100% the same as the other player, since that’s impossible. You will give them your own voice. However, if you change the character entirely to fit your style … it’s not really an adoption.
Adoptable plots
Some people offer up a plot they came up with for adoption. This can happen for various reasons, much like adoptable characters. Players may not have time to play the plot, or would like to see it played out, but can’t be the GM are two such examples.
The same idea applies for the plot as does for adoptable characters.
Dropping or ending an RP
Sometimes life gets in the way, you’re not having fun in the rp, there are many reasons to end an RP. If you want to end a roleplay, it’s considered common courtesy to let your partner or GM know. Many people won’t mind as long as you’re honest and note them.
Ghosting people, just dropping an roleplay without a note of any kind, is considered rude. Imagine having an appointment with a friend and that friend just not showing up without letting you know.


The Phoenix
Staff member
Character Creation

General Do’s and Don'ts
So you’ve decided to join a roleplay, great! Now how to go about creating the character? Here are a few do’s and don’ts

Use the character sheet if one is provided
The GM has written this up for a reason and it usually ensures that the roleplay has a variety of characters and skills. It will help to ensure characters aren’t overpowered or Mary Sue’s as well as character consistency along the story. It’s a template for who this character is.

Look or ask for important information that should be provided.
Do races have subspecies? I.e. Wood-elves vs Dark Elves. Both are elves but differ greatly in looks, skill-set, general characteristics. If so, to what detail do you need to describe these things?
In a roleplay with superhuman type characters, do you pick the power or does the GM provide this? Does the power need a stated limit at the beginning or not? Are any powers off-limits or maybe needed for the RP to start?

Follow the application process
Use the given tools, or ask if it’s okay to deviate. Private message your application to the GM if asked, rather than post it publically. Post it publicly if asked. Make the edits you’re asked to make.
Application length
If a partner or GM asks you to be mindful of the application size, listen to it. Adhere to it. It will speed up the application (acception) process.

Common things in character sheets.
Character Appearance
Fairly self-explanatory. Character appearance describes how your character looks, dresses. If there are key markings (i.e. scars, piercings, birth-marks)
Some people will want to have this written down in great details (i.e. various paragraphs), some rely on face-claims, and others bypass this alltogether.

Character Personality
Character personality involves things like characteristics; are they hot-heated or very level-headed? Are they shy or maybe risk-takers? Other things that can fall under this section are character likes, dislikes and hobbies.

History and Backstory
History and backstories pertain to the life and strives of the character before the roleplay started. History and backstory is usually contained to major events in a character life and things that shaped the character. Think about who their parents were (abusive vs very loving), what they studied, if anything. Maybe they had a life-changing car-accident that put them in a wheelchair, or made them lose a limb.

It can also be used to explain certain character traits; i.e. the character that has trust issues due to past bullying, or racism/discrimination. Potentially they managed to keep a positive outlook on life despite these negative experiences.

Backstory is generally kept concise and kept to the most important things that shaped your character only. Should more detail be required, it can always be added.

Sample Post or Sample RP
Some partners or GM’s request a sample post. A sample post is precisely what it sounds like. It’s a sample of your writing, preferably something they can generally expect from you. They request this, to get an idea and a feeling for you as a player, your character(s) and your writing style. Conflicting styles and character can be an issue that is easily avoided this way.
Writing a great character sheet or application doesn’t mean you’re a great roleplayer, and vice versa. Some people struggle with a character sheet but post amazing RP posts.

Consensus is that you send an writing sample of your average writing, though differently can be mentioned in each RP or RP request. Of course, we all have great writing days, and lesser ones. If you send only the best or the worst, this does not give people a good idea about who you are as a roleplayer.
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The Phoenix
Staff member
How to post a thread
Threads can be posted in three ways

1. On the forum list page (font page) you find the POST THREAD button on the top right, above "members online" and next to "new posts"

2. Click through the (sub)forum you want to post your thread.
Click the Title box and a box for content appears.

2. Click through to the (sub)forum you want to post your thread in
Click on Post Thread in the top right corner, right above the threads

In all cases, give your thread
  • Prefix
  • Title
  • Content
  • Tags
Click "Post Thread" when you're done. Et voila, you have a new fancy, shiny wonderful thread!

Once posted, threads can also be edited
If you are allowed to edit a post or a conversation message, you will see an Edit button in the bottom left corner, right next to the Report button.

Thread prefixes
Thread prefixes are a kind of flair you can add to your thread, but that's not their only purpose. Multiple prefixes

Important things to know about Prefixes
  • They help you distinguish between kinds of threads
  • Clicking a prefix pulls up threads in that (sub)forum with only that prefix
  • Different (sub)forums have different prefixes
Thread prefixes and their purpose

There are various prefix groups. Every groups can be/is assigned to specific forums.
Writing level
Casual - for roleplays under 1 paragraph (6-8 lines)​
Intermediate - for roleplays between 1 paragraph and 5 paragraphs long​
Intense - for roleplays above 5 paragraphs.​
Roleplay status
Accepting - for roleplays that are accepting players​
Discontinued - for roleplays that aren't finished but will not continue either​
Finished - for roleplays that have reached the end of their story​
Not Accepting - Roleplays that aren't accepting new members​
Multiple Pairings​
No Pairing​
Slice of Life​
Critiqued requested​
Assignment of the prefixes. Here we've written down which forums allow which prefix. Most forums also require at least 1 prefix.
1x1 Search Section
Requires 1-2 prefixes​
No default prefix is set​
Writing Level​
Group Search section
Requires 1-3 prefixes​
No defaul prefix is set​
Writing Level​
OOC sections
Requires 1-3 prefixes​
No defaul prefix is set​
Writing Level​
Roleplay sttus​
1x1 IC sections
Requires 1 prefixes​
Default prefix: PG-18 (can be edited by members)​
Group IC sections
Requires 1 prefix​
Default prefix: PG-18​
1-2 prefixes​
No default prefix​
Critique requested​
Adding Prefixes
You add prefixes by clicking (prefix) under the thread title box. A drop down menu opens and then you click the prefix(es) you want. You can add 1-3 prefixes per thread. The minimum and maximum differs between types of threads.
Open the spoiler for a picture on adding prefixes to your thread

Tags are initially added to threads by the user who started the thread. Tags are displayed at the top, next to the title. Clicking on a tag will allow you to view other threads that have the same tag - and which may be related.
It's useful to add only relevant tags to the thread as not to clutter searches for that tag.

Adding tags

When you start a thread you see TAGS below the content box of making a thread. You type your tag into the box, seperate them by a comma. When you're done, you click "post thread"
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