Role Playing is something creative and exciting. It allows you to engage your imagination and craft a story within certain boundaries while using certain prompts (like site wide plot lines or interactions with other PCs) to keep things constantly evolving. Its been over a decade since I started written online role play and in that time, as you can imagine, it has transformed and mutated through different communities, mediums, and play styles. I honestly don’t know if I can remember exactly how I started anymore. Probably the same way you did…heard about it somewhere and then tried it out because it sounded neat.
The first time I remember looking into it I think I was between 10-11 years old. God, that was fourteen years ago, so yeah, before Harry Potter was cool in America. Anyways, my Granny was always buying me books. She got me one with this scrawny, goofy looking kid with glasses who was riding on the tail of a big red bird. I wasn’t all that impressed at the time.
Yeah, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. The second book in the Harry Potter series. I didn’t read it for the longest time because I had also just gotten my first Gameboy color and paid my brother $20 for his copy of Pokemon Yellow and I had to catch ‘em all. Eventually I was cleaning up my room and found the book in a toy box, just literally sitting inside with my horse figures and happy meal toys.
I’m getting off on a bit of a tangent, but essentially, I finally started reading it and could not put it down.
Harry Potter was the first chapter book that I remember reading really quickly and when it was over…all I wanted was more. I called my Granny and told her how much I loved it the second time I tried reading it. (Because the first time I didn’t know it was the second book in the series and couldn’t figure out why the writer referred to so many things I hadn’t seen yet.) So she got me the first one and then bought me the others as they came out. I was obsessed, engaged, completely and totally excited about Hogwarts, Harry Potter, and even before we really got to know who Snape was, yeah, I liked him too! I had all these ideas and didn’t know what I could possibly do with them.
So I went to the interwebs, did some research, lied about my age, and joined up on a few Harry Potter RPG forums. I’m not saying that’s the route everyone should take, I’m just sayin’ that’s the path I walked.
Anyways, I was involved in a few hard core RPGs that assigned homework for your classes and I literally had to browse through the Harry Potter Lexicon and read essays like, “The theory of magic” and look up facts about magical creatures, certain spells, and potions making in order to write reports in character to be graded. Fun fact, I did more fake homework than real homework and that’s probably why my teachers all thought I was like the weirdest kid ever.
The very first character that I remember creating was a complete Mary Sue and while she isn’t the worst Mary Sue that’s ever seen the light of day, she was pretty bad. I was allowed to create and play with a girl named Sereene Snape and she was, of course, Snape’s daughter. Boom, headshot!
I hate to sound like a douche, but you’ve got to remember that this was before the books were a super huge deal, and way before Snape had that ginormous fanbase that he does now because it all happened before the first movie was made. So, believe it or not, in a lot of those places I got complete free reign over what I wanted to do with his character. And as a little baby role player, and someone completely new to stringing thoughts together in any sort of narrative way, I made some ridiculous decisions. (I’ll wait to write about all of those in some sort of “Evolution of the Sue” post.)
From Hogwarts to X-Men Evolution to Anime High School, to RPOL, I bounced around the Internet Neighborhood quite a bit, but it all started at a place called Secret Term RPG, where a bunch of us Potterheads got together and dreamed up some pretty crazy, amazing, crap. Ah, the good old days.
So what was your first experience with written role play? Was it something that encouraged a positive discovery in your life? For instance, written role play helped me realize that I’m a story teller at heart and no matter what medium is involved. I want to get inside a characters brain and think and imagine things the way they do. It helped me realize that I don’t just love reading books, but that I’m passionate about creating them too. Did anything like that happen for you? Who was your character? How has your style, theme, and medium changed? I’m really interested in what you all have to say!
P.S. the gifs are all from tumblr, the photos are from my Instagram account. Check it out!