Role Play Guide

Role play is a group activity in which people assume the role of a fictional character and then interact with each other, as if they were that character. You will find here the basics that you need to know in order to jump in and join in the fun.

Don’t be afraid to try. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Ask in IM (Instant message) or in the Border Marches group if what you want to do is all right or for advice. We are a friendly group, and we enjoy helping others new to Second Life, Role Play or both.


You will often see the abbreviations “IC” (In Character) and “OOC” (Out Of Character).

When you are IC, you are fully immersed in your character. You speak, act and react as your character would. This might be similar to your real self, or completely different, depending on how you defined your character.

When you are OOC, you are acting as yourself, not your character. You are not role playing when you are OOC.

We encourage people to use open chat text only for IC role play, and to use the Border Marches group for OOC text and voice chat. The group is free to join and open enrolment. Cut and paste the link below into chat, and then click on the link that pops up in chat to join the group.


If you are role playing with someone not in the group, or you want to be sure they see it, you can enclose OOC comments in double parentheses, (( and )), eg: ((Phone ringing, be right back)).

We ask that OOC be kept out of open chat as much as possible, so as not to disrupt our ability to fully immerse ourselves in the time and place.


In order to act as your fictional character, you need to know who he or she is. Take some time to browse our roles and progression page to give you some ideas. Think about your character’s past and the events that shaped him, making him who he is, what his strengths and flaws are, whether he is good, neutral, or evil. You may want to put something about your character on a picks tab or into your profile so others have an idea of who you are (but won’t use that information without learning it in role play). It is helpful to other role players, especially those just starting out in the region.

You may want to plan some role play with others to play out events that will further your storyline or take you in a direction you want to explore.


Role play posts are usually in third person. You can use “/me” without the quotes in Second Life to have it add your name to your post. In my case, “/me sees the filthy man enter the room and wrinkles her nose in disgust.” would read as “Vivienne Daguerre sees the filthy man enter the room and wrinkles her nose in disgust.”


Be friendly, courteous and helpful, especially for people new to the genre, place, role play or Second Life. Role play is no fun if you are doing it alone, and your treatment of visitors and newcomers can contribute greatly to the success of your role play environment. More people to play with equals more fun. Be patient with new role players, offering help in IM.


Role play is usually based on turns, usually in the same order as when the role play started. Order is not as important as giving people time to respond and react, making sure that everyone has had a chance to do so before you post again.

Sometimes there are multiple scenes taking place in the same space, such as two or three separate conversations and interactions. In these cases, you would focus only on those players involved in your particular interaction or scene.

Try to complete your turn in one continuous post. Short posts leaves others not knowing when you are done and unsure of when they can respond.


You have the right to set limits about what you are comfortable doing in role play. It can be helpful to put limits you feel strongly about on your profile. If things start to move in a direction you don’t like, IM the other person to discuss the matter and how you might resolve the role play in a way you are both happy with. An example might be, “I am not willing to role play being mutilated, for that is something I would not enjoy and would have long term consequences that I don’t want to play out. How can we resolve this?”

Fading to black is a technique that can be used to move past something that you want to acknowledge happened in role play but find distasteful to play out. For example, you may accept that you were captured and put into stocks naked, but not want to spend hours doing that in role play. You could IM and say, “I agree that this happened, but don’t want to do it, so let us fade to black and agree that it occurred.” You can then continue on your way, and permit the consequences of that role play to unfold.

Sometimes real life happens, despite all our best efforts. You might be enjoying a role play, but your mother just dropped in for a visit. Take time to drop a quick IM, stating that you can’t continue right now, and negotiate a time to end it, fade to black, or continue the role play at a later time. There may be an emergency or power outage that does not permit you to do that. The polite thing to do would be to contact the other person when you can to explain what happened.


If you are going to be unable to role play for a while, especially if you are in a key position, it is only polite to let the owners and/or the Admin team know so that they do not give your position and home to another, thinking you have abandoned the role play. Examples would be going on vacation, working extra hours for a time, or illness. You could ask another to relay the information if you are unable to. If your absence will be prolonged, more than a month, you may wish to consider relinquising a key role/position so that your absence does not negatively affect everyone else.


1. Don’t powergame. Powergaming is dictating the success, failure, or response of the other player to your action. Example: “/me swiftly and smoothly lifts my skirt and draws the hidden dagger from its sheath, throwing it at the soldier. It strikes him in the middle of his chest, piercing him through the heart, killing him.”

We all have the right to choice and personal limits, and dictating in my post what the result of my action will be is violating that right to choice and limits. This would be better: “/me swiftly and smoothly lifts my skirt and draws the hidden dagger from its sheath, throwing it at the soldier.” Now the other player has the choice of what the consequences will be to him according to his limits and character. He might respond, “/me bends backwards and to the side trying to avoid the dagger, but it is too fast and embeds itself deep into his shoulder, disabling his sword arm.”

2. Don’t thought emote. It is poor behaviour to use your “thoughts” to put down or criticize another, example, “/me thinks to myself that she is an imposter, for she surely does not know the ways of court or how to behave.”

It would be more helpful to IM the other person in a friendly way to ask if she is new to role play, or would like some information about rank, address, the time era, or whatever, and if she responds that she would welcome some help, you can then give her notecards, links to websites, etc. You may make a new friend, or make a new player feel welcome and a regular participant.

If you want to convey what you are thinking, give others something that they can see and respond to. This would be better: “/me’s jaw drops open in shock at the lady’s behaviour in court, watching her tear into the pheasant with her bare hands.” They can see your shocked expression, open mouth, and the direction you are looking, and then can respond to it in role play. “/me reaches over and gently pushes X’s jaw back up into place, winking.”

3. Don’t metagame. Metagaming is using information you learned OOC in role play, such as reading a profile or a tag above someone’s head. Make sure you role play out learning this information so you can legitimately use it.

4. Don’t type excessively long posts. If the situation demands a lengthy response, by all means do so. Second Life is different from text role play in that there is a visual component. I don’t need you to say you are smoothing out your dress of smooth, red satin. I can see your dress, that it is red and that it is satin. You only need emote that you are smoothing out your dress. Don’t take five minutes to scratch your butt. Say what you need to say, but don’t stop or stall the role play to give us details that do not add something significant to the scene.

“/me looks surreptiously to the left, and then to the right, making sure that no-one is watching. The maddening itch in her left buttock intensifies and shows no sign of ending soon. /me smiles, and casually takes a couple of steps back into the corner. /me moves her hand behind her, grasping the fabric of her skirt, slowly inching up the fabric with her fingers. Finally, the skirt rises in the back to her waist and she is able to insert her fingers into the back of her panties. A look of vacant pleasure washes over her face as she digs into the itch with her fingernails, enjoying the sweet release of scratching. Relieved, she removes her hand and lets her hand fall back into place. /me steps out of the shadows and rejoins the conversation.”

The above example does not further the story or action of the scene, and is simply showing off. It is not likely to be appreciated by other role players.

5. Don’t be a poor loser. You cannot win every encounter. Take your turn at losing, or accept that your arrow may miss its target. Be a good sport, or others will not want to play with you. Everyone wants a turn at success or winning, a turn in the spotlight, and it is important to let others have that and not be greedy, wanting to be the star or hero of every show.