Most roleplayers can agree that communication between characters is important. If it be scheming some kind of grand plan for taking over the world, having a long-winded verbal argument over who has the bigger sword, or simply a word exchanged between war buddies over drinks in a bustling tavern. However, many roleplayers forget about, or neglect, an aspect to roleplay that is far more integral to the success of plotlines and relationships between both authors and characters - out of character communication.
Without communication, lines are often crossed unknowingly. One author has an idea regarding a plot that the other author - or authors - don’t share, and executes a change without discussing it with the other authors involved, and then feelings get hurt. A character could die, or a plotline could spiral out of control where nothing is going as planned. The easiest solution to this problem lies in talking. If it be over mumble, ventrilo, email, or simply in-game messages, a quick conversation about what everyone expects from a plot or scene can change the course of a story. Not only preventative, communication can turn a simple elbow brush in a tavern into an intricate adventure, twisting and turning with rich complexity.
In order to have a constructive conversation, every author involved has to bring their own expectations to the table - just like they’ve brought their own characters up for grabs! Furthermore, every author has to give the floor to another. If there are four or five people involved in a plot, it’s bound to be a long conversation - perhaps something better left for a google doc or an email! But, it’s worth it. Once everyone gets their cards on the table, and is on the same page, goals can be met more effectively. Fun can be had! No plot will be boring if every party contributes. The primary goal of any plot is to have excellent character development and story progression while keeping everyone comfortable and having fun.
Executing plot is the fun part. However, every party has to commit to their actions - and if someone has a problem, or feels uncomfortable with where the story is headed, it needs to be brought up. Underlying problems only lead to cracks in the foundation of your characters’ relationships, as well as the relationships between you and the other authors. Constant communication needs to occur, if it be gushing over the roleplay, discussing in-depth the development happening, or simply an exchange of compliments and critiques!
Unfortunately, problems do arise. When and if they do, some kind of conversation needs to happen. The most effective method of hashing out these issues involves at least three people. The pair that is having the dispute, and a referee of sorts. The ‘referee’ can calm either party down, serve as a third party with an outside opinion, and keep the conversation constructive. Meanwhile, the authors with the conflict should make an effort to keep the discussion respectful - there should be no talking over each other. If one has a comment, they should keep a mental (or physical!) list of points they want to touch on. Furthermore, they should focus more on what the other person is saying, and less on how they feel about the situation. Making an effort to see the problem from the other person’s point of view is crucial.
Above all else, communication serves as a tool for building relationships. Characters can gain new friends, allies, and enemies by out of character conversations. A quick out of character compliment of a character’s outfit, appearance, name, or concept can begin a conversation that leads to two characters meeting, preventing the awkward hesitation that occurs before characters brush elbows. As long as an author keeps utilizing quick conversation as a tool, they harbor the ability to make a plethora of potential friends, allies, and even recruit for their guilds. It really is as simple as a quick message.
All problems can be either prevented, or solved with communication. The art of keeping calm and cool, and choosing words carefully and meaningfully is the most vital asset when it comes to exciting and successful roleplay. Although it appears as though it requires a complex system, success really just boils down to talking to each other, and being considerate of one another’s feelings (as silly as it sounds).
If there are any questions regarding problem solving, event planning, where to get started when it comes to recruiting, or if there’s need for a referee, don’t hesitate to message me! I’m more than willing to help.