(Reposted from Online Gaming Resource's 2003 archives.)
There comes a time in any MU* player's experience when the inevitable happens: you can't find RP. This can occur for many different reasons. Maybe no one's online at the time, or you can't find folks on the grid or maybe you've been idling in the OOC area, bar or apartment and nothing's happening at all.
Never fear, for there are many things *you* can do to help solve this problem! Yes, you can actively do something to help generate RP, either for yourself or for others who might be in this very same predicament. Here are some suggestions:
- Are you set UNFINDABLE? Folks can't RP with you if they can't find you. If you're not sure if you're unfindable, typing "@set me=!unfindable" should clear the flag (if set) and make you visible on the game's location code, if such code exists. (Some of the syntax for clearing a flag might be a bit different between codebases, or might not exist. If unsure, check your game's help files.)
- Don't be a hermit. If you're always in your character's apartment or hiding hole, RP will likely not find you (especially if others have no IC reason to be there).
- Try to include others in your RP. Try to limit your private RP if possible. Private scenes are great fun and sometimes necessary, but consider those on the grid looking for RP. If your scene can be a public one, why not consider moving it to a more public space to include others (if possible). If it can't, consider getting your character out in the public grid right after the scene if you can.
- Don't limit your RP partners. If you only RP with a couple of people, what will you do when you're online and they're not? Get out there and expand your RP circle!
- Don't idle unless you have to. Folks are less inclined to try to find RP with someone who has been idled 47 minutes than someone who idles no longer than 5 minutes at a time, right? If you must idle, set an appropriate idle message so that people know you'd be available for RP as soon as you're back at the keys, and when you'll be back.
- Bend your character a little if necessary. Your character isn't 'into' the bar scene, but everyone on the MU* is at the local pub? Bend the character just slightly and find an excuse to get him there. Say he's only there for the coffee, or he was looking for a friend who is known to frequent the establishment. Remember that the RP can move to another venue from there.
- Can't find anyone? Page someone you know. Just a friendly little page to another player to see if they're free for RP is more than reasonable. Make sure you know them, however, as paging complete strangers might not always come across the way you want it to.
- Be pro-active, not reactive. RP does not always come to those who wait. Get out there and be active. Even talk to the staffers about how your character can get more involved ICly; they might just have some good suggestions for you. Remember that your character has a life to live - s/he wouldn't just sit at home and stare at the four walls all day until someone called.
- Explore the grid. You'll never find anyone if you never look! Sitting around in a bar won't always give you RP if no one shows up. If you've been sitting in one location for too long and no one's shown up, maybe it's time to go exploring. Move your character about the roleplay grid. If you find someone on the street, pose that you're walking by and see if their character reacts to you. If not, continue onward, seeking out other RP partners.
- Don't logoff if the WHO is near-empty. When logging on, even if no one is on the WHO list, don't just logoff. Chances are, a dozen others before you did the same thing. If you hang on for about 15 or 20 minutes while you check your e-mail, it's possible others might logon and stay. They might even want to RP!
Remember that RP starts with you, the player. If you're out there on the grid, making yourself available, being enthusiastic about RP and trying to actively keep RP alive and kicking, you might actually start something. People might clue into this and follow your example and before you know it, you're never starved for roleplay again! (In an ideal world... but we can all dream, right?)
(2006 Update: Please keep in mind that wandering into areas of the grid where you shouldn't be is not advisable, nor is 'pestering' someone for roleplay. There is a fine line between being eager and being 'stalker-esque', but perhaps that is best left for another article! -- Sio)