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Roleplay Tip: Read The Room - By Bear Stillwater

We've all been there: new RP sim, new character, but...where to start? It's hard to be the new character in town, especially when trying to weave your narrative into already-established storylines. Nobody likes feeling like an outsider, and the thrill of a new sim makes you want to dive in and join the fun! However, even the most beginner-friendly sims don't appreciate a player who barges in, not knowing what's going on, and turns the focus entirely on themselves. This is where learning how to read the room comes in.

Reading the room can mean the difference between a relevant character introduction (with more opportunities for roleplay afterward) and an awkward, inappropriate intro, with no one wanting to play with you later. What exactly does "reading the room" mean? On a fundamental level, RTR requires watching local chat to see what sort of scene unfolds before posting in. What are your surroundings? Are people rapid-firing one-liners or crafting multiple paragraphs of detailed scene-building? Is it a scene, or are people hanging out, OOC?

These questions can be answered by waiting for everyone present to make a post or two while the newcomer observes. Sometimes, more information is needed. Say you wandered up to a residence where the inhabitants are getting amorous. Or, you've found yourself in a secret faction meeting where battle plans are forming. What then? Consent is key! Whether in local chat or IMs, an ask to join the scene is always appreciated. Players typically amenable to crafting stories with you may not be so keen if you've invited yourself somewhere you're not supposed to be. (continued) So you've followed these guidelines, crafted an appropriate intro, and now, you notice that cute avi across the room that you want to get to know. What do you do? Read. The. Room. Are they with someone? Do they have a ring on their finger or a partner listed? What do their pics say? They may be there solely to hang out and are interested in something other than ERP. If you need clarification, ask them. Communication is vital. What if it's not your first time roleplaying with this group? You might've had a different character or already introduced your current character.

Remember that your character can only know some things about others present, regardless of OOC discussions. If the other characters are a type that shift forms, they may not be recognizable to your character, even if you know them OOCly. If another character attempts to use an ability on you, look up that ability (or ask the player to explain how it works) and react accordingly. If the other characters speak in a species-specific language, only respond that you understand if you play that species.

What if you've been playing at a sim for a while, know some people, and are looking for a scene to be a part of? Consent, consent, consent! Maybe your friends are busy doing their own thing. Ask them to join you, or if you can join them. Don't demand, and never assume.

And finally, unless you've set up the scene for a specific purpose, don't make it all about your character! Everyone present has a story they're trying to craft, and stealing a scene is a surefire way to get your character written out of a sim's narrative. Consent, courtesy, and learning to read the room are all necessary components to a fun and compelling experience for everyone.


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