Text Role Playing Games: A Button Masher's Guide to Role Playing
By Seth R. Cooke
As most gamers know, the key to success in any situation is being able to rapidly press random buttons until you win. Role playing in a MUD is the same way - it is simply a matter of knowing which buttons to press. But because MUDs don't usually come with pre-made keybindings, it is up to the player to create his own. These are a few modest suggestions to help the aspiring button-masher win at role playing in a MUD, by using the F1-F4 keys.
As every story needs a beginning, your F1 key in a text game should contain your background. I don't mean an excerpt or a summary; it should contain your entire background, prefaced with, "Hello, my name is and...". This saves precious time, since other players will occasionally ask about your character's history, and demonstrates character development perfectly every time you press it. By presenting everyone within earshot with your story, you ensure that your origins are well-known and quell any doubts that you might be bad at role playing.
Remember, backgrounds are so important that almost every major movie character has at least one flashback per movie. By keybinding F1 to your entire history, you can save time and make sure everyone in the text game knows that you agree that role playing is serious business.
After establishing your background, the next most important thing is to establish who you are now. To do this, I suggest a few select emotes all paired together. If your character is light and care-free, express this by binding emotes like LICK, SNUGGLE and POUNCE to F2. These show that your character is playful and fun; and keep in mind that nothing bad will ever come of abusing this sequence, because it is clearly in your character's role play. Should your character be a bit quieter, maybe try shuffling their feet and blushing every time the F2 key is pressed. And finally, should you have a sad character, I suggest sobbing quietly paired with quiet whisperings about how no one loves them. It really depends on your character here, so feel free to customize. The important thing is that these emotes really reflect your character.
With the two major aspects of your text game role play safely out of the way, you can focus on the ultimate paragon of role playing - snarky taunts about your enemy. With your F3 key, you want to underline the obvious flaws in the opposition as much as possible while keeping it short enough for them to process. You should also make sure that the taunt is generic enough to be used in almost any situation when you're dealing with a text enemy The best way to role play is by trying to win, so everything you do needs to be oriented at succeeding. Remember, losing is not an option!
For the F4 key, I suggest putting a catch-all in. Some sort of laugh, perhaps even a simple 'lol', is useful. When other words fail, when players do not care about your background or your quiet sighs, a laugh is perhaps your best weapon. This key should become your most used key, so ensure you have a replacement if it wears out. Remember, there is no inappropriate time for a generic laugh!
Hopefully by reading this guide you will have mastered the basics of role playing in a text game. Be it explaining your background in one fell swoop or laughing randomly, mashing these keys should set you up to be a shining example of role playing in any MUD you play.
Disclaimer: This is a humorous article, and does not reflect the thoughts or opinions of Iron Realms Entertainment, or even necessarily Seth himself.
If you would like to try out some great MUDs, check out these text-based role playing games today.
Seth R. Cooke is a text game enthusiast and currently plays games from http://www.IronRealms.com.
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