A Friendly, Basic RP Survival Guide
Roleplay Basics and Etiquette

- by Sullivan of Earthen Ring

Version 2.5 - July 2006

Disclaimer: This is a guide to help with those interested in roleplaying on a RP Server. I hope this will be a helpful guide for those wanting to "blend" in more into roleplay and into the Roleplaying community. To many of this looks like extra "work", but it's a nice finishing touch to your character, and for many, a prime requisite to playing on a rp server.


RP isn't rocket science, nor is it some mystical ritual of migraine intensity. Chances are if you ever as a kid played cops and robbers, cowboys and indians, had tea parties, or played pen and paper rpg's - this is not too far from the tree, just a mature extension of acting, being the hero, or heroine - or just plain townsfolk in a fantasy setting.

While none of this is set in stone - hard core rules - it's not meant to be. It is merely a hopefully helpful guide for any who have interest. Take what you can from this to have fun.

You may, and will make mistakes, but do your best and try. Hopefully those you rp with understand and will help, and play along. Have some flexiblity in your roleplay, and give people a chance. As always, respect others' roleplaying, and those that try to fit in, better yet, join in and have fun.

Just making the attempt makes a difference.

For those that try, I salute you and hope you are having a good time out there. Hopefully, people will try to get along. Find good folk and friends to rp and game with, and have fun.

While this is a RP server, rp'ers and non-rp'ers can co-exist. I have friends that RP and those that don't. The thing to remember for us all is that we are all people here behind the "masks" we share. Mutual respect, maturity, and heart helps make any community grow. Make note of that, as well as the fact we are all human, and make mistakes.

This goes for both the RP and Non-RP folk here.

/hugs to all

Until next all, stay safe.

-- The Guy That Plays Sullivan (Of Earthen Ring) --

Also, guilds are free to copy this, but please give me credit, and do not edit. Thanks in advance.

Introduction to RP: RP 101Edit

The following are to help with the social and roleplaying community on RP (roleplaying servers) in World of Warcraft.

So Sullivan, what's the difference between this and a normal server? (or Dood? wth? [for some of you.] *grin*)

What is a Roleplay (RP) Server?Edit

RP Servers are for those who like the role of a character that resides in the world. It can be a great departure from the normal servers and a good outlet for your imagination.

Yes, you will find a mature crowd here for the most part, as with any server, you'll find some bad apples. And yes, we have some additional rules here - make note of them. Seriously, a RP server and playing with rp'ers can be a wonderful addition to your gameplay. Please respect the server's rules and policies (links below) - and have fun.

Still not sure about what a RP server is? Blizzard's handy-dandy explanation is half-way down this page via this link:

"If you enjoy role-playing (RP) and would like to imagine that you are an inhabitant of a fantasy-based world, then a role-playing realm may be for you. Please read our Role-Playing Policy before you start playing on an RP realm. Players who choose to play on an RP realm should abide by the Role-Playing realm policies and remain in-character at all times. Role-Playing realms give players the chance to develop characters with a backstory who do not go blindly from quest to quest, but instead assist or hamper the efforts of others for reasons of their own. As far as game mechanics are concerned, there is no difference between a Role-Playing realm and any other realm. You don't get special benefits or special hindrances other than the behavioral rules you agreed to when joining a Role-Playing realm.

Role-Playing realms can either be Normal realms or Player vs. Player realms. When a Role-Playing realm is Normal it is called RP; all game mechanics are the same as on a Normal realm. When a Role-Playing realm is a Player vs. Player realm also it is called RP PvP, and again, all game mechanics are the same as on a Player vs. Player realm (for example, on an RP PvP realm you still can not attack members of you own faction even if it would sometimes make sense from a role-playing point of view).

Pros: If you want to create a "real life" for your character, a Role-Playing realm gives you the best opportunity to do that. You can count on many other players to support you by role-playing their characters too.

Cons: There are no automatic game rewards for role-playing, and no game mechanics are altered (if you give a rose to a felhound it will still try to eat you). Not everyone will act as you would like and the experience can sometimes be frustrating.

Sentence to remember: If I choose to play on a Role-Playing realm, I will act and speak as my character should in the World of Warcraft setting."

But I like to PvP and Raid - You know - Kill stuff! You can Raid, PvP, PvE and -still- RP. Light to Heavy, it can work. It's up to you, the guilds/groups you are with, and what works for your playstyle.

What is Roleplaying?Edit

Roleplay in general is impromptu acting, or pretending to be what your character is. Just have fun and enjoy the server. You may find some great people, some not-so-great, but that is the nature of the beast, so to speak. When roleplaying, you are improvising a persona, or character, in the game. This character can be as close as or not to your actual personality, the choice is basically yours in that regard.

I would suggest thinking about that before fleshing out details on your character. It's best to find a "flavor" that is stress free on your part, unless you like the challenge of playing someone you aren't. Just remember your gaming actions and interaction with others may or may be appreciated or not. As in real life, there are all kinds - so think before you say or do something that you may regret. But most of all, have fun!

Please remember, even if playing a "bad" guy, please be respectful of others boundaries, and have tact and use common sense. Establish your own boundries in rp to help. If being excessive, whisper to the person and give then a head's up in a RP situation - it does help. Know when to say when... :)

Blizzard's Roleplaying Policy:

Roleplay, Griefing and HarrassmentEdit

For rp'ers, or ones wanting to try, please remember the fine line between grief and roleplay, and that harassment and griefing is a bad thing, not matter how you dress it up. Just because you have opportunities to hurt others, or be a griefer - doesn't mean you should. Let maturity, common sense, and forethought be a guide. While some drama is good, some is bad - please know the difference.

The Golden Rule: Treat others as you want to be treated.

Some RP TerminologyEdit

IC and OOC: IC is "In Character", OOC is "Out Of Character". These terms are used to separate real world and game speech. You can use ((ooc text)) or [occ - text] to separate your text if you need to use ooc communication via whisper and such. For chat channels, /say and /yell should always be in character. You can extend that to the other channels, check with your guild if they require it, and/or if they have a separate ooc channel set up. General is almost always ooc - so no (( )) is required, as is -sometimes- Trade and LFG, but it never hurts to throw in a bit of IC as long as it doesn't interfere with the chat or your intent. As always, remember the policies and adhere to them for the server.

Think before you type, and understand that IC chat in /say and /yell is what your character would say or yell out. This applies to emotes as well.

Despite what you may hear in Ironforge or Goldshire! :P

Channel Note: Make sure what channel you are speaking to, and do not "spam" emotes, or messages.

Gamespeak: The gamer's language used in chatrooms and in server based games, like Halo and such. Also used as shorthand in online games. ("l33t" and aolspeak) Please avoid this and use caps and complete sentences. Shying away from most gamespeak is good also in yells and in open chat - basically any IC communication.

Note: If you must use gamespeak terms, please use [ ] or (( )) to denote ooc info. Example: "wh3r is teh AH" Revised: "Where is the auction house?" (Yes - it's more words, but it makes sense.)

Example: "can any1 give meh +15 agility" Revised: "Can anyone enchant my <weapon name> ((+15 agility))?"

Metagaming: Try not to use OOC information to influence your IC roleplay, This goes for Lore and other information. Just use common sense and good judgment on what your character knows or doesn't know about the world. Know your boundaries and respect others.

Examples of Metagaming: Guild Tags from guilds you have not officially "met" or know the tabard/guild Names of people - knowing strangers without even seeing them before. Lore and "spoiler" info/history Using ooc info to influence/break ic actions and roleplay.

Scene: A Scene is where a group may be rping/interacting. Some are freeform, so you can include yourself - others are more private in nature, as in the real world. If you are not sure, send a ooc whisper to one of the people and find out if it's ok. But by all means, be respectful.

Backstory: A Backstory is your character's history and traits - the little pieces that make up your character's personality. This can be as extensive or as simple as you feel needed, just use common sense, and your imagination. Make your own identity, and have fun with it. Typical things to avoid are placing yourself in the major story/history as a relative/relation of a major character. While you cannot -be- Arthas, you may have had some interaction in his presence or seen the person, but a basic rule is to try to avoid such and forge your own path in the world.

Bunnying/Godmodding: Bunnying is manipulating another's character, making decisions for them at an event or storyline with little or no debate. Godmodding, or Powergaming, is when a player is over-stepping game/player boundaries to sway the event/scene/storyline in your favor. This includes killing characters, player actions, "impossible" acts that break rules, and controlling actions of NPCs, which the player has no permission to. Give players a chance, don't force RP.

Fleshing Things Out: RP 102Edit

Picking a NameEdit

"THUNDERBLADE!" /sigh /shoots keyboard

Pick names that are logical based on race, environs, and do not violate the naming policy. Explore words and names that are unique or borrow from other sources, just make it your own. Tip: Search engines, literature, and your imagination are great tools or examples - and what to steer clear from.

The random generator that comes with WoW Character Screen isn't the most "friendly", so coming up with a few names could work to your advantage. Trying a baby name site or a random name generator (Google is your friend) might be a great solution.

Some sources for names: (helpful resources to play around with)

Another source would be using names from literature, film, and giving them a twist, to make them "yours", not "thiers". If "your" name(s) are taken, try replacing a vowel, or shifting/adding a letter. Anything remotely sounding like a first person shooter handle or a trendy chat/leet handle would not be a great idea (hehe). Whatever you decide, make it pronounceable, easy to type (within reason) and something that "fits". Avoid names like Merlintwo, Tissue, Leetodin, Thunderbunny, Bobx or Xbob, or similar "easy" fixes. While these may be fine for screen-names, or handles - they are not RP friendly.

The RP Server Naming Policy:

The main thing is to use common sense.

Speech and DialectsEdit

Possibly adding an accent or a dialect can bring out uniqueness to your character - just use it with moderation. Too much of a "good" thing can be bad. Be consistent in your mannerisms and patterns. Note: Broken speech or crude sentences do not have to make you an unintelligent character. Actions and wisdom can and do outweigh fancy words. Also, some character's histories may limit some language types. Example: A tech-challenged gnome, or an orc influenced by humankind.

Speech Pattern examples - actual tongues/usage may vary:
Dwarves: "Scottish/Irish/English", from crude to proper
Elves: "English", from crude to proper Darnassian is more fluid, so common tongue may not be as good.
Humans: "English", from crude to proper - some Scottish/Irish.
Trolls: Island slang, "Jamaican/Cajun" influence
Orcs: "English", from broken crude to proper
Gnomes: "English", from crude to proper, some with a technology/techo-babble slant to it
Forsaken: "English", from crude to proper
Tauren: Spiritual/Nature wording, with Native American influence

Also you will encounter cursing, or less than tactful language. While it does occur in RP, it doesn't not give one the excuse to grief or use OOCly against another. We do have chat filters, yes - but maturity is important also. So choose your words well in that regard.

Note: For Roleplaying, please avoid gamespeak. Also try to use caps and complete sentences. In private channels and general, it's fine, or chatting ooc with friends - but respect the IC channels.

Emotes and ExpressionEdit

Just as speech add to roleplaying, emotes add to the flavor of character interaction and expression. Tip: Along with the in-game emotes, custom ones are done by typing/eand then your action. Example: the emote "Sullivan tips his hat" would be made by typing: /e tips his hat. (Just play around and see what works)

To break up the wall of white text in /say, emotes can be used to combine an action, and speech. Example: Sullivan tips his hat, looking at the mage. "A pleasure to meet you miss."

Note: The other faction will not understand custom emotes. They will only see <Character name> does some strange gestures. Also, do not spam emotes.

Clothes Make the CharacterEdit

Change up your armor for some "casual" duds for when you are at formal events, or just out fishing. The details can make a character stand out - and make your character memorable. The Dressing Room function is your friend - and don't forget accessories or props! Just use moderation.

Roles - Standard and BeyondEdit

Try to find a happy medium between stereotypes and taking your character too far off "center". Also, look at your character's past and see what avenues were there to shape your mindset.

Whether you play a hero, villain, barkeep, or a wandering adventurer, you interact with some point with others. Think how your character may handle the situation, based on any backstory or traits that you have thought about for your persona.

Difficult Roles: Try first roleplaying what you may be comfortable with, then branch out as you gain confidence and test the rp "waters". We all have to start somewhere - welcome aboard! :)

remember to respect others as best you can, and even in difficult roleplaying situations and characters.

Goals and AspirationsEdit

Giving your character goals helps define your path and may lead you to other storylines, adventures and hopefully great people.

Most of all have fun and do your best to RP!

Backstories (Character Bios): RP 103Edit

Why have a Backstory?Edit

Having a backstory gives life to the character, helps define "who" he or she is, and their place currently in the world, and thier future. This also helps with interactions with others. Just as you meet interesting (and not-so interesting people in RL, such as it happens on a RP server).

Remember, not everyone is Thrall's lovechild, Baron Rivendare's cousin, or heir to the the King of Stormwind... Really!

Do I have to have one to Roleplay?Edit

No, you do not -have- to have one, but it does help "get into" character. Depending on what type of character you are playing, it can be a nice asset.

Even just writing some character traits on an index card can be a nice guide. It depends on what works for you, but try to be somewhat prepared if anyone actually ask where you are from, or what you may have done at some point in "life".

It's nice to know "why" you are "here".

Basic QuestionsEdit

This is an overview of some basic questions to ask to help give your persona some stability. You can be as detailed as you want or need, depending what your are comfortable with. These are just a sampling, so take from it what works, but don't burden yourself too much - keep it simple. See what may "click" for him/her, and how you may approach it in-game. Some nice information on lore and such is in the Survival Guide section after this.

Examples to think about:

Where are "you" from? Where you were raised and grew up. (Factors: climate, homeland, areas and items of interest)

What was "your" upbringing? The role family and such played in your life, if any. (Factors: economics, social views, ethics, reputation, religion, politics, family structure, ancestors, friends, family of note)

What do "you" like or dislike? The things that move you, good or bad. (Factors: fears, joys, hobbies, personalities, colors, animals, etc...)

What do "you" do and what have you learned? What and how you learned. (Factors: skills, trades, type of education if any, teachers)

Who has contributed to "your" life? Creatures and people in your life so far. (Factors: family, friends/enemies, lovers, instructors/mentors,leader in politics and religion, role models, creatures, etc.)

What event(s) made set "you" on "your" path(s)? Pivotal/turning points in life. (Factors: family, conflicts, encounters, politics, war experience, childhood event(s), historical event, death, curse, duty, etc... .)

What drives "you"? Your present and past motivations for your actions. Your Goals. (Factors: childhood events, family, love, hate, war, peace, curse, prophecy revenge, organizations, rivalry, enemy, deathwish, adventure, fame, fortune...)

Tip: Don't overdue it, use moderation. Even "regular" folk can be great heroes - if they want to be.

The Survival Guide: RP 911Edit

Your Survival Kit:

What to Possibly ExpectEdit

- Expect the starter area to be a bit "raw" - Expect a lot of non-RP chat and actions - Expect sadly, people being rude, obnoxious - Expect a lot of people who may not understand why they are on an rp server, or what rp is - Expect a lot of guild invites for no reason, or for very oddly named guilds (and people) - Expect also some good folk, some rp, but most will be in certain areas. Hope you find them.

Chat TabsEdit

One useful thing is to route all non-rp chat to it's own chat tab (That way it's there, but not, so you can concentrate on things better) - keeps the "spamming" away. Note: I personally route combat/skill text to it's own tab also, so it's not in the way of my /say, /yell, and /party. Oddly enough, this also works for Ironforge. *grin*

Guild Tags and SuchEdit

Toggle your setting in the Interface for no names to show up on the screen unless clicked. The name tags may be useful, but they distact from the scenery.


In case of harassment, first ask to stop, then if that fails, report and ignore the individual. Foul language can and possibly will show up. To many, they think the chat filter gives them the green light to curse and grief. My take on it is that people should exercise some manners and self control in their actions, and speech. There is a difference in cursing verbally in rl and physically typing it in game. Just because you can curse and there is a filter, doesn't mean you should.

Note: If in a bad situation - if that ever happens, work it out OOCly first. If the person is being rude OOCly or otherwise abusive, warn first - then report if it persists. You will find many people in different mindsets and such - make sure you understand which actions/talk it OOC or IC.

Random Guild InvitationsEdit

Guild invites are another issue. You may be flooded with people wanting you to join thier guild. My suggestion is to ask questions based on what you want from a guild. I would personally reject all "blind" invites, and those that sound like a bad infomercial or sales pitch, including "canned" responses. I would avoid these like the plague. Especially if leet/aolspeak is being used. Ponder the name of the guild, their policies and actions, and whether or not they try to get to know you, or just want warrior#23 in their roster. Bottom line, look for a guild that fits for you, don't rush. Look for maturity, respect, and good people.

RP in the "Wild"Edit

Get into areas where rp exists, or find/meet people that are rp friendly. You will come across others that rp and play well, hopefully friendships and community can follow. Just be respectful of the other players time, and rp style. Some roleplayers you will find will be a mixed lot, some very good, and helpful, some spamming on general. (that's where routing the general chat to a separate tab shines)

Anything Else?Edit

Till you get your "sea legs":

Don't Panic! - Chances are, others are in the same boot as you. Keep your ears and eyes open, and see what's going on.

Can't find good RP? Look for events, and people talking IC. Some may be walking, or running - depending on their need to be someplace. Maybe even being IC and such will let others know, and seek you out.

Can't walk? Easy! The default is: Toggle Run/Walk Num Pad / For Autorun it's this: Toggle Autorun: Num Lock (This hotkey can be changed in your Interface Options if needed.)

Eep! Someone in is talking to me in say or yell! First, don't panic. Really... don't! :P Second, reply in kind, as you think you would if you were IC. Think how you might reply in a fantasy setting. Even a simple "Hello." is something. Who knows, might just have found someone to rp with. If you are not ready for it just yet, just let the person know OOC via Whisper using (( )) to show it's OOC. Most will be understanding, and may be good folk in the future when you are ready. Don't be afraid to try.

Don't Give Up! Sometimes RP finds you!

You may have to deal with some OOC chat in some places, but overlook it and move on. But mainly, have fun and hopefully you will find people that are nice and can have a great time and adventure.

Don't be afraid to "evolve" as your character gets "wiser" or experienced. Your motivations, character "direction" and mindset can/may change in some way during your character's storyline. Makes for interesting rp, and great times with great people.

Inspire Others - You will meet others who do not roleplay on an RP server and give you flack - it happens. Just stay in character (IC) and give them a chance to "play along", but don't grief them, they might "get it" and have fun. Though there are several levels of roleplaying, keeping IC (in character) does take some focus, but it makes the "world" a brighter place. This goes for both the rp and non-rp crowd on the server. Roleplaying isn't a hard thing to get into.

Side Note: Don't be in a rush to get to level 60! Half the fun is exploring, developing character, and interacting with the world and the people in it. Avoid the "fast food" mentality and have a "sit down" meal... hehe Sometimes it is the journey, not just the destination that counts.

Helpful RP LinksEdit

World of Warcraft Lore section:

City Information (Basics):

RP Forum link from wow-europe. Good stuff.

RP Forum Link from the

Great RP link from the US Roleplaying Forum, covering macros, addons, and sources:

This includes a nice addon called flagRSP. It gives you some additonal leeway to fleash out your persona, including a character description. Though not required, it is a fine addition. Main Site:

Minabelle's Library:
Books from the game, nice resource for written lore.

The D&D Alignment Test:
Nice idea of where your character (or you, for fun) fall in the scope of gooding good - or not.

Profession Lists: For inspiration.

Speaking Jamican:

Godchecker/Native American "Gods": May be helpful for Tauren culture.

Some information of Heraldry Symbols:

Orc RP community: All about orcs, in general - amusing bits.

Good Luck out there!