Role Playing Text Games: Five Ways To Start Role Play in a MUD

Role Playing Games

By Lorna Cowie

To a lot of people, reading this might seem quite odd. Roleplaying in a MUD? It's one of the reasons we play the MUD! But to others, those who stumble upon a text based game to give it a go and find they really like adventuring and fighting, roleplaying might not come naturally.

Roleplaying is very easy to get into, and well worth the effort. Here are some helpful tips that you might find useful in getting started!

Say hello!
Yes, it is as simple as that. Greeting people you meet, even if they are complete strangers might get you some roleplay. It might not all be good, or end up in a lengthy and complicated discussion about the local politics, but it will get you into the feel of talking to other people. Also, it shows that you also are open for roleplay and conversation, and that is never a bad thing!

Examine another player and comment upon what they are wearing.
This one is easy. All you need to do is examine another character, perhaps the one you have said hello to, and comment upon something they are wearing. Do you notice an unusual piece of jewellery or a nicely tailored item of clothing? Mention it! A simple 'That is a wonderful cloak, who made it?' will break the ice more than you think!

Comment upon features of another player.
Nicely, of course! No use telling a new potential friend they have a huge nose! Do they have eyes that are an unusual shade of colour? Or perhaps a scar that has a story behind it? Finding out can lead to a wonderful story of what has happened to them, and they might just return the favour and ask something about you!

Make sure YOUR character description is up to date.
Check over your own character's description. Does it make sense when you read it over? Are there little hints and details that might allow another character to ask you about them? This can sometimes help become involved in roleplaying. The world doesn't have to be full of perfectly formed women and truly muscular men and making yourself stand out can be a lot more involving. What if you had a previously broken nose? This could lead to telling a good story about how you ended up in a bar brawl that had nothing to do with you!

Be polite!
No matter if your character is good or bad, full of evil intent or as saintly as an angel, always try and be polite. People remember a lot more of the bad things than the good, and you would be surprised at how quickly gossip can get around. You may be the most bad-ass fighter in all the world, but the simple act of being polite, especially to those who do not know you, might open up a few more doors than you think it would!

Hopefully these few tips will help you, and remember that not everything will be offered to you easily, but with hard work and putting up with a few knock backs, you will find yourself roleplaying like a pro!


If you would like to try out some great online roleplaying games, check out these text based RPGs.

Lorna Cowie is a text game enthusiast and currently plays games from



in-game RP organisations too. Houses, clans, orders, families - there are myriad ways to get involved!

As long as you don't get those people that feel they must be the dictator of their organization.

Even dictators aren't all that bad, dependant on the organization in question, the rpability of the dictatorship in that avenue, as well as who they are rping with, and if they are GENERALLY the type to be at least fair minded OOCLY.

When I first started playing the game, I was fortunate enough to have a good house with people who roleplayed while they taught me. Some of these people are still my friends, and I can't recall hardly any OOC which really helped build the world around me.

Learning from others is the best.



As a massive fan of Raymond E. Feists books, I got into muds initially to prepare for the release of Midkemia Online, although I used to love table top RP, the main reason for me to play was to explore and quest and I didn't really do anything with other characters other than to get through my novice tests so that I could learn my skills.

When MKO came out, all I really did to start with was explore the lands and make pilgrimages to places from the books. However once I started to interact with fellow city and guild members and eventually order members I started to put a bit of thought into my characters personality and went from there. 

This article would have been a big help at the start, great read.



I felt the same. I got into MUDs because of MKO and I have to say... MKO was quite a struggle at the beginning... I let it rest for a year and now it looks a lot better roleplay wise. There are structures that are built and one can interact with.

6. Be impolite! More than making friends, an enjoyable sort of roleplay is making enemies. Nothing sets the tone for an RPG like a good rivalry.

I hate to say it, but its true. So long as you stay within the borders of RP and keep the impoliteness totally in-character, a good rivalry can be a great way to get some good role-playing time in.


That sounds like it would be really fun, actually. 

7.) not every siren needs to be big breasted with a sultry voice.

Ahaha, this is a very good one! Unfortunately not many people make their characters FLAWED or ORDINARY which is a big loss

While it's nice to play a super being with immense power, it's very important that you try and coax some flaws into your character's actions. Adding a small flaw like a phobia or something can easily create new interactions with people in itself, simply by discussing them!

Text games let you get immersed in rich storylines if you create them for yourself. Don't be afraid to start conversations with people around you, especially if you're new. Text games have some of the friendliest players

It's also always nice to meet someone while fighting and then become friends with them! Muds are fun for the fighting AND the roleplay! They work together.

Many new players are simply afraid to start a conversation, being more worried they are new and don't know what to say. Best way to start a roleplay is to identify yourself as much with the character and just do what you feel it's natural. People usually like to respond to challenges.

Be interesting enough to catch the interest of everyone around you, and try to get people involved in your RP! If they hint to you that they don't have any interest, back off, but keep your options open to bring other people into the proverbial loop.


But if your RP is spewing out a baby in the middle of public, you may want to rethink yourself.

That last bit made me laugh out loud in a rather inappropriate setting to do so.

Greeting people is always the best way to go, some people will be like you and would want some interaction but don't know or not willing to go about and do so.

But approaching random people at NoT isn't going to get you very far. Join an organization, and talk with more experienced members of the organization about initiating RP or getting involved with storylines that are already in motion. Experienced players are often reluctant to invest a lot of time in RPing with eighteen year old chars that might poof the next day.

Honestly, the first rule is the most important. Saying Hello can really get the ball rolling. That is how the best stuff starts, baby.

Great advice above on how to start up roleplay.  Relating to the say hello point, sometimes a call for assistance is an easy way to get the ball rolling.

So, it's probably not a good idea to say something like: Yours are the most succulant ears I have ever seen, may I eat them?

Compliments can always be rather quirky, even when they -are- compliments, I guess, although the advice "don't be stupid" may not be always appropriate.

Well, now that you've mentioned it though... what are succulent ears supposed to taste like?

What? You've never had a succulent ear? Me either.


I myself can't really seem to support a good solid roleplay. My situations either turn into run-of-the-mill chatrooms or sandboxing. Either that or it's grind grind grind or attempting to be on the front end of every little event that comes along. 

Good advice. Also, don't just do it with your friends - roleplaying with your enemies can be twice as interesting! Greet them with a snort of indifference or a raised eyebrow and watch the sparks fly! 

It's best to just shut up and start doing something. People are intrigued by work -- they'll stop what they're doing just to watch!

This, so very much this. While the advice in the article is good for background for your character, roleplaying is much more about what you're going to do than what you've done. Of course the two have to be consistent (which is why side-swapping RP is so rarely done well) but the times when I feel the best about Cam are when I'm accomplishing something and moving forward, and the times I'm least content are when I feel like Cam's resting on laurels and living in the past.

Good article, I like Lorna's style of newbie friendly intro to MUD's and probably could have used the advice when I first started.

I originally steered clear of any RP I saw or even anything but the shortest of interaction with others when I first started as I was afraid I'd likely screw up the RP if I even tried. Eventually my character was pushed a bit into interacting with others more and I managed to go with it. I've grown to love a lot of those whom I interact with now and I'll try to mix in some RP with some one-on-one time with them. I still keep my character quiet for the most part as it really is a defining part of his personality, which in itself is also RP.

I don't have a working description on my character yet - big mistake!


On Achaea, however, I've found that a remarkable number of people DO comment on my appearance or clothing to begin conversations. Hmmmm.

I love RPGs for the family systems, each one has a different one, but they tend to keep us on our toes. That's the great part of RPGs, family dynamics that seem to keep us all constantly moving forward, even if you don't get along with all of the members of your family they are still part of the whole that makes the game more then just something we do and turns it into a whole new life. The Dynamics are what keep me going as a player and I love every moment of my time with my family.

I love the family systems as well. Getting married is great because you inherit a whole new set of family to interact with as well and roleplay with.

It's definitely kind of hard to adjust to RP-intensive MUDs after playing MMORPGs where RP has no importance, but it's definitely worth it!

I suck at roleplaying. Starting conversations is the hardest part.

One of the things I like the most about RP MUDS is that you have predefined rules for which to talk about.  No matter what game you play you are always roleplaying something.  It is nice when there is an overarching topic or theme that everyone stays within, because it adds to the atmosphere and fun of the game for me.

Instead of trying to randomly come up with things to talk about, the game has stuff already built in which makes it really easy to start roleplaying.

This is really something that should be an intro to any MUD. It sets the foundation for role-playing. Asking people what they are wearing and commenting on certain points of their descriptions helps to create 'encounters'. These encounters help to propel your character's storyline whether it be learning about the lore or another character's life.

These are solid pieces of advice, it all boils down getting yourself involved. Even if you're not particularly good at role playing, involving yourself will give you the practice you need. You'll find most people are particularly receptive of people who actually seem interested in roleplaying, even if you're not very good at it when you start. Just be open to criticism and remember the goal is to have fun, for both parties.

Good advice, awesome pic.

I actually just started trying to RolePlay.  Its not really that hard.  Mostly you have to let go of your normal video game instincts.

Being an old hardcore WOW and GuildWars player, its been hard to let go of the bad habits those games can produce in communications.  However, I am learning and having a lot of fun.

Saying hi is definitely a norm, though knowing what to say after that... tends to be quite difficult for me. I never would have thought about following the rest of those steps mentioned afterwards. Very enlightening! I would guess that commenting the weather and time of the day or month would be a good idea as well. Usually does lead to disccusions about current events and sharing of opinions about it.

It's easy. Just pretend that the character you play is real, and behave as if your character has emotions, attitudes, preferences, and beliefs. The fun part is you can choose whatever personality you'd like your character to have. Like anything, the more you do it, the more effortless it becomes.  Have fun!

If you are having trouble there are alot of people in any of these games who are very friendly and helpful and want you to enjoy the game. So don't be afraid to ask anything.

Pay attention to what your guild is doing or what your guild stands for. It's very easy to forget that every guild in IRE is different from one another! You don't all believe in the same thing, so you don't all have to act the same. You can find a lot of rich roleplay just by understanding what it is your character DOES with their day-to-day life.


If you really want to take things serious then become familiar with your emoting system. Lusternia has a very nice, interactive system that carries on into the SAY command as well, but very few people ever take advantage of it. Make a notepad with some emotes that you can use often, or use aliases. It will give your character a bit of a kick. Just don't spam them! It's nice to have a little flavour but don't force everyone else to read 8 sentence-long emotes of you talking or anything like that. Find a good balance and stick with it.


Another thing, bathe. Often.

Do take advantage of your guild and city RP. These are great ways to develop your character and provide you with some RP to follow if you're still unsure.

I don't agree with your suggestions at all.

What is the nonsense about politeness, niceness, etc?


The most interesting characters are the ones that are a bit off in their behavior and speech.


Don't listen to this person. Be interesting!

I'll have to agree with Drazik here. Although, I suppose I'm not one to talk.

I've never been good at role playing. I've made alts just so I could roleplay more and get out of the combat scene, but that's seemed to fail me so far. It's never lasted long.


I suppose this is good advice though for the brand new player.

Some of us are just too stuck into our old ways!

Always keep an open mind for opportunity, rather than be focussed on wanting to get a certain thing such as a lover for your character. The random person you just bumped into may not be the one, but might end up doing you a favor in the future, which you had missed out on if you were too focussed on getting a certain thing done. 

... the pic!

A small insult or odd comment can go a long way too - my character is described as being grossly obese, and people telling me I'm fat/need to exercise more can be an excellent way to get a conversation started.

All very good points, +10

Role-play can often be difficult for some, which is understandable. I personally have been playing MUDS for close to 15 years. When I first began trying to role-play in a text based world, it was a lot to take in. It's best to stick to simple idea for role-play, such as looking around you and commenting on items you see, people you meet, et cetera. As time goes on and you are within the role-play world more often you begin to mold to a character which you are comfortable playing and able to relate to. That makes role-play easier for those who have issues with doing so. For me I have created several characters and I find it fun to switch to these alt roles and challenge my ability to role-play. Not everyone can play an evil character who is just a pain to deal with, but you know what. It can be fun to attempt to role-play that for some and yet a challenge for others. The key to role-play in my opinion is honestly to just have some fun with it without breaking all the rules. Think of some personality you think you could play, be creative with it, and give it some quirks. I once saw an Atavian who could not fly. Try that one on for size! Now that's creative role-play. Kudos to that guy!

Good piece of advice. It took me too long (and several characters) to achieve my mediocre level of roleplaying.
I always doff my hat or salute when I cross another player. Most of the times what I get is the same distant polite reaction from him/her but something is something. 


My advice: Don't jump, scream and sing if somebody is performing a ritual where you are. Surely these actions will end with your death.


breaking the ice is hard but RP small-talk may not be the best way to do it, I personally avoid it because I don't think my character would have the patience for "hi how are you, I am fine thanks." For exciting RP, you need to make something exciting happen, and THEN other people will get interested and join in

Thanks for the tips

It's those weird people who only have a period for a desc? :|

How do you tell a story in a Mud? Has anyone had any good success coming up with a storyline and roleplaying it out without involving the divine? I would like to tell stories.

I joined a family.. plenty of drama and rp opprotunities in it.. also switched guilds, and cities. heh. plenty of opprotunities you can make yourself.. :)

personal emotes are also GREAT for RP! Or at least I love them!!!

I remember having just started roleplaying elsewhere, as well, when I joined up in the MUD community here. So, to get more into it, I went with what would be the hardest for me to roleplay and, well, it worked!

First rule, don't act like a newb if you aren't ruins it for those that are. Second rule, don't do stupid things, it only gets you in trouble and if you've gotten anyone else to help you get started learning the game, it only makes them look badly.