Roleplay on a MUSH has a lot in common with other kinds of roleplay, such as MUD roleplay, forum roleplay or PBeM roleplay, but there are also some significant differences. Even from MUSH to MUSH there can be considerable differences in the roleplay culture, and this article attempts to be a brief guide to the style of roleplay encouraged on Blood of Dragons.
You do not need a degree in English to MUSH. Indeed, its perfectly possible to do so even if English is not your first language. But, MUSHing is a text-based activity, so ultimately it all comes down to reading and writing. If you want other people to read your poses and come back for more roleplay with you, make sure you do your best to proof-read what you write for grammar issues or spelling mistakes. Most modern MUSH clients come with a spell-checker, so make sure to use that if you know you tend to have problems with spelling. That said, don’t be worried about making a mistake here and there. We all do.
Almost more important than grammar and spelling is to be careful with your capitalization and punctuation. Don’t think of roleplay as chatting, think of it as writing a novel and use proper written language and avoid all slang. It is very disruptive to the immersion in the scene if a player is sounding more like he is a modern guy chatting via IM than a lord in Westeros talking to his peers. Another very important aspect of this is to keep your language appropriate to the setting. People in Westeros do not say “okay”, for example. You should also keep any modern terms—not to mention abbreviations—out of the descriptive parts of your poses.
Generally speaking, there’s no right or wrong tense for roleplaying in. However, on Blood of Dragons MUSH (and most other MUSHes), we use only present tense. This is a firm style rule rather than a guideline since it is very disruptive to a scene if not all players are using the same tense.
If you are used to roleplaying in past tense, no one is going to get upset if you slip up now and then, but please don’t take it badly if you are kindly reminded to switch to present tense.
Actually, we do not have any mind readers on the game, so what is often called “thought-posing” on MUSHes should be avoided. A “thought-pose” explicitly includes words such as “thinks” or “wonders” in the part of the pose that isn’t dialogue. You can hint at what your character may be feeling and thinking by describing body language and facial expressions, but do not include internal monologues. They are fine in books and in some other forms of roleplay, but they are not used on most MUSHes. The other characters can only react to what your character says or does, not what he or she thinks.
It is particularly frowned upon to include negative comments about other characters in a thought-pose. If you want to insult someone, make sure their character can reasonably react to what is said or done.
On a MUSH, you generally control yourself and no one else. We are leaving the question of NPCs aside for the moment and looking just at player to player interactions. In such, you always pose your own actions and your own actions alone. It is always up to the other players to handle their characters.
This includes in cases of conflict, for example in combat. Whether or not code is being used to determine the outcome, you only pose attempting a hit on a person. If code is being used, you pose first and then use the command which tells you and the other player whether you hit or not. However, it is still up to the other player to decide (within reason) how they pose being hit. If no code is being used, the same is done but without the result of the command providing guidelines for what the result should be. Instead, the outcome is entirely up to the other player.
There’s nothing wrong with short poses. There’s nothing wrong with long poses, either. On Blood of Dragons, the preference is for medium-length or longer poses, and you will not find a lot of players using one-line poses. They generally leave the other players very little to react to, so a little more substances to your poses is definitely preferred.
In particular, using just the say when roleplaying is frowned upon. For the most part, players use the @emit command rather than the pose command as well. This allows for free-form poses that do not start with your character name each time.
As a result of the somewhat longer poses, it is common for participants in a scene to agree on a pose order. This can be loose or strict, but one thing that is always frowned upon is if someone puts in several fast poses before others have a chance to respond. The speed of your actions is not determined by the time it takes to pose.
At the same time, always try to be considerate about taking too long to pose as well. If you need to idle, let your fellow players know so that you don’t end up holding up a scene.
Some use of formatting is also encouraged, though don’t overdo it. If you’re writing a longer pose, do use %R%R to divide the pose into two parts with a blank line inbetween. But try to avoid doing more than two parts per pose, as it becomes difficult for other players to see who did what. Some people also like to start a pose with a single %R to separate it out from the previous poses; this is acceptable though not the preference of everyone. You should avoid using %T to indent your poses.