If you’ve ever scanned role-play forums, no doubt you’ve come across a bunch of different letter combinations that seem to make no sense whatsoever. OOC, IRL, PBPRPing. Look familiar? Or, rather, look completely foreign? Well, not to worry! They’re perfectly harmless and ever so handy to know. Here are a handful of some of the more common terms you might come across, particularly in play-by-post role-playing. For a broader list, a quick Google search will pull up tons of sites, each with a general list and one more specific to their board. This is one such site with a longer list of terms than I’ve provided below.
- RP/RPG: role-play/role-play game. The RP is the fictional story within which your characters are playing. In PBP RPing, each player takes turns posting as a specific character, and each post adds to the story.
- RPer: role-player. This is the person sitting at the computer typing character posts. I would be an RPer, my cousin would be an RPer, but our characters on the forums would not be RPers.
- Character: the fictional person created by an RPer for an RP. Okay, so this isn’t an acronym of any sort, but it’s still a term I felt needed some sort of explanation. This is not an RPer posting as himself – his opinions, his thoughts, his comments. This is the person the RPer made specifically for the RP board he has joined.
- IC: in-character. This refers to posting something from the point of view of a specific character. If I have a character named Takeshi who is obsessed with comics, typing IC would be typing about him reading comics, referencing comics, buying comics, and so on.
- OOC: out-of-character. This is the opposite of IC. This is when an RPer posts a comment or a whole post not as his character but as himself, from his own point of view. For example, at the bottom of an IC post, a player might put in parenthesis an OOC post. It could look like this: (OOC: Sorry this post is so late, guys. I’ve been really busy with school right lately.)
- POV: point of view. This is the viewpoint of a post, and it is broken down into a few parts. IC and OOC are two. There is also first-person and third-person POVs. First-person is typed as “I put the pencil down and sighed.” Third-person is typed as, “Takeshi walked down the stairs and called out to his brother.” OOC posts are in first-person, while most all IC posts are in third-person
- IRL: in real life. This is used in OOC posts only (unless a character uses chatspeak). For instance, it might be seen in a post like: “Time in the RP moves so much slower than IRL time.”
- God-modding: typing the future actions, thoughs, and dialogue of another character in your own post as a means of controlling the RP. Do not do this without permission! This would be like my cousin stating in a post that Takeshi said such-and-such or did this-or-that when none of the posts above ever stated that he did or said those things. Then she would continue her post as if those things had actually happened. It’s a way of making a character better than all the others by controlling the situation. If my cousin really want to respond to a certain (minor) situation, she might ask before hand if I minded if she said Takeshi called his sister. If I said yes, then she could type “Takeshi’s ringtone sounded from across the room.” If I said no, then she would have to type about something else. More on this in a later article.
- PBP: play-by-post. This is my type of role-playing, where you sign up on a message board and the story is literally played out post by post. Characters take turns posting about a situation, and each new post reacts to the posts above it. For instance, if my cousin and I are role-playing about a mishap in a home ec class, we might have posts that sound like the following. (Note that posts are usually much longer than these.)
- Takeshi: Cooking was not his finest skill. Why on earth had he let his sister talk him into taking this class with her?! The last time he had been in a kitchen, he had burned his hand trying to get toast out of the toaster, then broke a glass by knocking it to the floor with his elbow, and then he stabbed himself with a fork while trying to get it out of the drawer. And all that happened in a single morning! Class hadn’t even started yet, but already he could envision a multitude of horrible accidents that were bound to occur before the day ended.
- Eiko: In all honesty, Eiko’s cooking skills were only a step or two up from her twin’s. Having them both in the same kitchen … let’s just say that nothing good could come from it. So why had she signed up to take a cooking class? And why had she compounded the chances of an accident occuring by asking Takeshi to join her? There was only one real answer: Eiko and Takeshi had never taken different classes. Every year, every class, they were always together. Taking separate classes would be way too weird! “Ne, Take,” she whispered excitedly, “Thanks for doing this. I really, really wanna learn how to cook. I hope we learn how to bake cakes first, that way I can make one for Shinji for his birthday.”
- Takeshi: Though he had no interest in cooking, he couldn’t say no to his little sister, especially when she had walked into his room with her excited eyes and begged him to take the class with her. “Anything for you, Eiko,” he whispered back. He hoped they made cakes first, too, because their poor little brother would get a lopsided, burnt cake.
Depending on what type of role-playing you get into, the terms will change. PBP RPing has different terms than games like Dungeons and Dragons or World of Warcraft. Knoxville gamers of all types – KnoxGamers.org has forums and events like the Three Rivers Con that might interest you. My challenge: check out their forums and other forums and see how many terms you recognize!