Helpful Tips for Authentic Roleplay
by "Sabrina Stockwood" (aka Lynn)
1. Background Story and Personality
We encourage our roleplayers to come up with a background story for their character. Where are you from and who is your family (parents, siblings, cousins)? Are you single, married, betrothed, or widowed? Why are you here in Tyrhampton—are you looking for the love of your life, or at least the stability of a sensible marriage? Are you traveling and just passing through Tyrhampton, or are you looking for a new place to settle down? Are you on a particular mission, or are you a wandering soul? Are you rich or poor, young or old, good or not-so-good? Allow your backstory to work its way into your conversations with others so they get to know you (as you would in real life).
In Ever, Jane, personality and character traits are very important. Are you like Marianne Dashwood who prefers happiness over duty? Are you like Fanny Dashwood who deems status more important than kindness? Work to improve those traits that are in line with your character and the personality that you’ve chosen to play, and weave them throughout your roleplay experiences.
The beauty of roleplay is that you can create your own adventure, developing your story as you interact in other players’ stories. Other than the confines of the Regency-era culture and etiquette, there is no limit to the possibilities except one's own imagination.
2. “In Character” (IC) and “Out of Character” (OOC)
We are working very hard to create the look and feel of Jane Austen’s world during the Regency era of the early 1800s. It is our hope that as you immerse yourself in roleplay, sharing gossip with other players, attending any number of social events, participating in the quests, etc., that you will begin to feel that you are actually in Tyrhampton during the early 19th century. That is, until someone walks up to you and says, “OMG, did u hear what happened? IDK what’s up with that. Oh well, c u l8tr.” Neither Jane Austen nor her contemporaries knew the language of texting, and if she had learned of it, she probably would have fainted. Even if you are not well-versed in the manner of speaking of Austen’s day, you can simply speak using proper English grammar and standard spelling.
So as not to spoil the experience for any other players, please do your best to stay “in character” (IC) at all times when in the game, unless absolutely necessary. There may be times when you do need to go “out of character” (OOC), such as if you need to ask a question that is not part of the roleplay scene or you’re about to go away from the keyboard (AFK) for a few minutes and you want the other players to know that you’ll be right back (BRB). For any chat that is OOC, please enclose it in double parentheses so that the other players will know that your chat is not part of the roleplay scene.
Example: ((Is anyone else having trouble clicking Mrs. Hatch’s handkerchief?))
3. How to Emote
In a virtual roleplay environment, it is important to learn how to emote properly in order to create and sustain an interesting and authentic scene. No one can see an avatar's facial expressions, emotions, or body language, so those must be “emoted.” A roleplay game is so much more than simply moving an avatar from place to place; it’s about creating and interacting within a story and expressing how you feel about what is going on around you.
Emoting is simply a form of narration, in present tense, and it is set apart from the dialog by asterisks. For example, if you have received sad news and want to let someone know that you are crying, then you may type something like this: *After reading the letter, she is overcome with grief and tears begin to roll down her cheeks.* Or if you want to emote an action, such as a toast at a dinner party, you might type this emote and brief dialog: *Lifting his glass, he clears his throat before leading the toast* To the New Year!
The general rule of thumb is that anything you want the other players to know about what you are doing, or what facial expression or attitude you wish to get across, let them know through emoting.
4. Mind Your Role Play Etiquette and Avoid “God-Moding”
See and hear only things you would be able to see or hear in real life. It is important to remember not to use certain information in the game if it would not be realistic to do so. For example, no one has a name tag floating above their head in real life. So, before calling someone by name in the game, if you had not previously been introduced, seek that information through a roleplay conversation.
In addition to refraining from using information that has not been given in roleplay, you also cannot decide what happens to another roleplayer by describing their thoughts, emotions, reactions, or what happens to their body or possessions. You can set up a scene, but then you should allow them to respond for themselves.
Bad example: *Anger welling up inside, he pushes Thomas and watches him tumble into the river*
What if Thomas were light on his feet and stepped aside quickly as you reached out to push him? Or what if he decided to put up his hands to attempt to block the push?
Better example: *Anger welling up inside, he reaches out to push Thomas, hoping he will tumble into the river*
Thomas can now decide what happens to himself in this scene.
Better example: *Jealousy overtaking her at seeing the two of them dancing, she eases her way up to the couple and sticks out her foot, hoping to trip the girl*
Then the other player has the opportunity to decide if she actually will trip and fall to the floor, or if she will miss your foot and then perhaps cast a smug glance at you over her shoulder as she continues dancing.
5. Finishing a Roleplay Scene Before Leaving
Because one cannot disappear into thin air in real life, if you are involved in a roleplay scene in the game and must leave, it’s best to roleplay your way out of the scene and then walk off to a discrete area (e.g., inside a building or around a corner) before logging off. Or if you wish to take a shortcut to the parlor, or elsewhere in the game, you should walk away from the scene and then click the shortcut to teleport to the other area.
6. Be Respectful of Others
Even if your character is an unsavory cad IC, please don’t carry that into OOC. Let’s be respectful of others, and remember that there is a real person with real feelings behind every avatar. Stay mindful of the Golden Rule, and let’s seek to have fun and enjoy the game!
How to Get Invited to the Ball and Other Mysteries of Ever, Jane
All the characters in Jane Austen’s novels have specific traits that influence how the world reacts to them. Mr. Darcy, for example, comes across as one who lacks happiness compared to his more fun-loving companion Mr. Bingley. He has sacrificed his happiness in life to attend to his duties to his sister and his aunt. It is not until he has fallen in love with Elizabeth that he puts his happiness ahead of duty to his aunt.
Each character in Ever, Jane has its own set of character traits and it is up to the player to determine which traits must be sacrificed. The choices the player makes will determine the opportunities available throughout the game.
Character traits are divided into two types: active and passive. An active character trait is one which the player can decide they wish to cultivate or sacrifice while progressing through the world and interacting with others. Passive character traits are modified through activities designed to improve them, such as learning a dance or mastering the pianoforte.
Active Character Traits
There are 5 active character traits:
Status consists of your rank in society. With different levels of status come different rights, obligations and duties. There are two types of status reflected in Ever, Jane. The first is ascribed status, the status of birth. The player’s ascribed status is determined by the subscription level. Free-to-play will not provide sufficient status to be a member of the gentry. Within the gentry, different subscription levels will determine the size of the estate owned, whether the player is titled, and affects the income of the character.
Achieved status occurs within the game. A player may choose to make status the primary trait they wish to advance. By associating with people of a higher status and improving the character’s reputation the character may improve status and begin circulating in the higher social circles. All passive character traits contribute to status.
Acts of charity are expected of the gentility and are one way that kindness can be expressed. Others include helping others of a lesser social status as Emma so ineptly attempted. Acts of kindness inspire others to act kindly as well and many opportunities will be open for the genuinely kind to be exposed to events that might require additional status.
In Northanger Abbey Jane Austen writes, “It is well to have as many holds upon happiness as possible.” Ms. Austen is aware of the sacrifice of happiness necessary when doing one’s duty by one’s family. In fact, she originally chose to marry Harris Bigg-Wither which would have allowed her to provide for her mother and her sister Cassandra, but on thinking over her happiness with a man she neither loved nor who loved her, she cancelled the engagement the next day.
While choosing happiness over duty may result in a loss of status and income, the resulting pleasantness in personality will increase one’s beauty, grace, and wit.
Mr. Knightley tells Emma, “There is one thing, Emma, which a man can always do if he chooses, and that is his duty; not by manoeuvring and finessing, but by vigour and resolution.” Duty is an important part of maintaining the social norms. It is the duty of the gentry to care for the poor. It is the duty of the first son to care for all dependents in his care. It is the duty of a woman to marry well for the sake of her siblings. Regency life was filled with duty. Abandoning one’s duty can result in the disapproval of one’s community.
A character’s reputation can be either one of notoriety or prestige. Characters may have their valid reasons for wishing their infamy to be well known just as many of the more prestigious may prefer to remain anonymous. Reputation is simply how well known the character is, for good or ill. The higher a character’s reputation, the more impact the notoriety or prestige will have in affecting the character’s interactions.
Passive Character Traits
These traits are improved by changes in the active traits and by activities taken in game. Learning a dance will improve one’s gracefulness which will impact Beauty and Happiness. Learning Italian demonstrates one’s breeding which, in turn, improves one’s Gentility which increases status.
Gentility is reflected in one’s breeding and manners. Gentility affects status and can be improved by education in languages, literature, music, and art. Improper behavior or ill manners will impair one’s gentility standing.
Wealth is a result of one’s income from one’s estate or one’s relatives. It is improper for the gentry to work to earn a living and work will lower one’s status significantly. Wealth affects one’s status, but only as far as within one’s class (wealthy merchants cannot become gentry in a single generation, though they may come close if they purchase an estate). However, within the gentry, wealth directly affects status.
Wealth can be improved by improving one’s condition either through investments in the estate, marrying well, gaining the favor of wealthy relatives, or by entering a profession if one is male and the profession is appropriate such as the clergy, law, or military.
While men of wealth generally prefer marrying women of wealth, a pretty face has been known to lure a gentleman into a less financially ideal arrangement. Beauty affects status. Kindness, Happiness, Gentility and Grace affect Beauty.
A lady is expected to move with grace and fluidity. Grace affects beauty. Grace can be improved through education in dance, music, and comportment.
Jane Austen was a fan of word puzzles, poetry and a master of wit. A witty partner at a dance can appear more attractive than a dull partner with equivalent features. Wit affects beauty and reputation. You can improve your wit with education in literature and through reading and writing.