"The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live; and when I see the blood I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you when I strike the land..."
In roleplaying, participants adopt and act out the role of characters, or parts, that may have personalities, motivations, and backgrounds different from their own. Roleplaying, also known as RP to some, is like being in an improvisational drama or free-form theater, in which the participants are the actors who are playing parts, and the audience.
People use the phrase "role-playing" in at least three distinct ways:
- to refer to the playing of roles generally such as in a theater, or educational setting;
- to refer to a wide range of games including computer role-playing games, play-by-mail games and more;
- or to refer specifically to role-playing games.
Since the 1920s, roleplay simulation has been used in politics and international relations contexts, including model League of Nations organizations, which gave rise to model United Nations simulations. Role-playing in the form of historical re-enactment has been practiced by adults for millennia as well. The ancient Romans, Han Chinese, and medieval Europeans all enjoyed occasionally organizing events in which everyone pretended to be from an earlier age, and entertainment appears to have been the primary purpose of these activities. Within the 20th century historical reenactment has often been pursued as a hobby.
In gaming, roleplaying is when the participants assume the roles of characters and collaboratively create stories. In the case of MMO's, a player may take on the role of their character in a effort to fully immerse them self in the enviroment of the game. This may take the form of speaking in a race-specific language, or dialect, and a created persona (often times having little or nothing to do with the actual personality of the player.) When the player is engaged in roleplay as the persona he is known as "in character", and will often ignore any "out of character" statements or situations (such as references to modern technology, politics, pop culture, or sports.)
Because roleplaying is often completely free-form, players will enact various "unwritten rules" to fully realize the illusion of the game world. These rules can be enforced by chosen "game masters" or admins for maximum effect, but will often be enforced by players themselves in out of character chat channels. Often times a roleplayer, when presented with someone who is not roleplaying, will explain the rules and offer the player a spot in the game. If the offending player continues to break the rules despite warnings, he or she might be banned from the server for their abuse. When first joining a roleplaying server, it is best to observe and ask questions in out of character channels so that you can fully understand the rules of the game.
Roleplay's purpose in WAR is currently unknown. Mythic has stated that WAR will contain dedicated RP servers which will follow the Core ruleset (see Server). Mythic has a history of enforcing roleplay rules on such servers very well with their previous game, Dark Age of Camelot. The WAR online community has begun to set up dedicated roleplay groups and guilds on many of the community's forums (such as WAR-RVR and Only-WAR) to ready for the RP servers.