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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default How do YOU encourage proper RPing?

    Or even better yet, what IS proper RPing?

    I've just seen two thread respectively asking for tips on how to get players to RP properly in their game so that they're not disruptive to the game itself. When I see things like this I just can't help but feel like we GMs sometimes are treating our players like a nanny with a big pair of kid gloves, while the kids act like dogs with a bladder problem who will take a piss on you if you do not lay down the law.

    Compound this with the fact that half of the time, the players do not know the law, or have any input in the very sandbox they play in, it means the players have really no incentive to act nicely. And why should they?

    Of course, what I'm speaking of is approaching Godwin territory, as that is probably the worst way to handle things. This, however, does raise a question for me... how do YOU encourage your players to RP?

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    Default Re: How do YOU encourage proper RPing?

    I don't. The degree of RP my players use is entirely up to them. If they want to be a deep and rich character with a ton of backstory (which I need to hear about) great. If they want to be Joe the Goblisnsmasher, that's cool too.
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    Default Re: How do YOU encourage proper RPing?

    I'm more experienced with STing World of Darkness then I am with Dungeons and Dragons, so I'm bias in thinking it stresses RP more then combat. What I did in my games (in both systems, though the smaller xp gained in WoD worked better) was at the end of a session I lad all my players do a blind vote for who they felt deserved RP experience. That way if you didn't like the idea of rp for xp, then you just don't have to vote, but if you enjoyed someones back story you could reward them for it.
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    Default Re: How do YOU encourage proper RPing?

    Ask before you start the campaign. Find out what they're looking for, and set guidelines that will help achieve that. Work with them to get what they want. If everybody knows (in a general way) what to expect and what's expected of them, things run a lot more smoothly.

    Even if one player wants to be Joe Goblinsmasher and the other is trying to be the next Alec Guinness, you need to know that going in so you can design things for both of them to enjoy. Also, they need to know that, so Joe doesn't get annoyed when Alec goes on a monologue, and Alec doesn't get annoyed down when Joe pulls off his super-duper dualwielding dungeon crasher pounce attack snowflake wardance (hold the mayo) of DOOM for the seventh time this session.
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    Default Re: How do YOU encourage proper RPing?

    Uh, well my group tends to be as AKA_Bait puts it, the "Goblin Smashers". But of late I've started discussing with the players about their characters one-on-one without the other group around, usually using the internet. They can come up with some really cool ideas when the fear of being teased or picked on isnt around. As far as I can see, many D&Ders want to have a cool character with an interesting backstory and such, rather than just some guy with an Axe. Just like in a book, you can have a detailed character which the writer has hooked you on, and if that character gets hurt or dies, you feel something. If you can get your character to RP a bit more then maybe they can flesh out something like that which the group will actually care for, other than some brainless killer, which can always be replaced with another brainless killer.

    Well, Im not sure if its actually going to work in the end, but yeah, so far Ive just been discussing character concepts with them individually. I think that talking about it with a whole bunch of people around can be somewhat intimidating.
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    Default Re: How do YOU encourage proper RPing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Telonius View Post
    his super-duper dualwielding dungeon crasher pounce attack snowflake wardance (hold the mayo) of DOOM
    I'm so working this named attack into my next session somehow.

    Anyway...

    I am big proponent of communication. I think this is the core issue that a lot of novice GMs have with their players. A lot of the time, they will take on the creative bulk of the work but not realize that they need to effectively communicate the world to his players prior.

    To me, this means there needs to be an extra level of effort made to communicating these desires. One of my friends used the term "flags" to denote an item that the players really care about. When a player puts a flag on their character sheet, it's saying, "hey, this is what I want to see in game!" And from that, I try to craft the game to fit those better.

    In the Fate system, this is built into the mechanics through aspects. So if a player puts down "orphaned" as an aspect, that means this player wants to see his orphaned status come in to effect them in some way in game.
    Last edited by elliott20; 2008-07-01 at 02:05 PM.

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    Default Re: How do YOU encourage proper RPing?

    Personally, I've found the best way to make for cool RPing is good NPCs.

    Any sort of good NPC - just the kind that the group treats as a (albeit fake) person, instead of a video game character (I am a gamer and played WoW for a long time, so this isn't an insult - but you don't RP with Deckard Cain). Have the world treat them differently depending on how they do things - if they're badasses who like taking things for no reason, have a thieves' guild find and recruit them - then slowly ask them to do more and more evil things, until eventually the group either gives up or changes their alignments... Either way, it can make for a great story.

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    Default Re: How do YOU encourage proper RPing?

    Quote Originally Posted by elliott20 View Post
    Of course, what I'm speaking of is approaching Godwin territory, as that is probably the worst way to handle things. This, however, does raise a question for me... how do YOU encourage your players to RP?
    "Godwin territory"? I'm confused. Are you saying we should resurrect Hitler to serve as co-DM?
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    Default Re: How do YOU encourage proper RPing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mewtarthio View Post
    "Godwin territory"? I'm confused. Are you saying we should resurrect Hitler to serve as co-DM?
    That's kind of a funny image in my head....

    what I meant is that the example I wrote down is kind of a bad example of GMing and I would like to believe that MOST GMs do not act like this.

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    biggrin Re: How do YOU encourage proper RPing?

    I've always found it easier to encourage proper RPing with exp. penalties

    kill an adventure hook, BAM!!! exp goes away, just like that

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    Default Re: How do YOU encourage proper RPing?

    Quote Originally Posted by I iz dapimp View Post
    I've always found it easier to encourage proper RPing with exp. penalties

    kill an adventure hook, BAM!!! exp goes away, just like that
    Our group prefers the other way around - we get benefits for good RPing.
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    Default Re: How do YOU encourage proper RPing?

    It depends on the players. Sometimes I get the group who just wants to smash stuff and make his characters do ordinary things wich they wouldn't even dream of doing in real life, like insulting the local authority, punching someone just because you don't like them. In those cases trying to RP seriously is mostly a waste of time, so I just go along in the hack and slash train.

    And other times I get the group who will spend most of the session time making discussing the histry and if we either should acept the King's mission to create a new trade route to the dwarfes or further investigate it's intentions, at the same time that the DM throws us a group of ostracized individuals who is trying to speack(not attack) us to persuade the party to help them regain their rights at the same time while searching for an old miner wich is somewhere in town and holds valuable informtation for one of our member's past.

    The DM should see what the players like more, and then go along with it. After all, the purpose is for everybody to have fun.

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    Default Re: How do YOU encourage proper RPing?

    I don't. Roleplaying is the reason why the people I play with play roleplaying games in the first place. Why encourage people to something they desire to do all on their own?

    It's elementary to be clear on what the group wants before the game, and to constantly ask after each session into which direction the players would like the game to change. After all, the players are there to have fun; the game should suit the style they prefer. Of course, since the gamemaster is there for the same reasons, the whole group has to agree upon their style together, which also includes the amount of roleplaying involved (however the group decides to define it). It's generally conducive to play with people with similar preferences to oneself.

    As for increasing the opportunities for roleplaying...

    Since, while the number of roleplayers amongst my friends is high, it only rarely happens that many of them have time to roleplay at the same time, and we therefore usually end up with rather small numbers of players, I tend to send a couple of NPCs with them, all with unique personalities and a role of their own to play in the story (though, of course, with the first directive being that they never must occupy too big a role - they are not the protagonists, the PCs are); this way, there is always a source for both coversation and conflict.

    Also, I find that the more rules-light a system is, the less time the mechanics consume, and hence the more time remains for the roleplaying proper, which is why I generally prefer rules-light systems.
    Last edited by Winterwind; 2008-07-01 at 03:06 PM. Reason: Spelling errors
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    Default Re: How do YOU encourage proper RPing?

    Quote Originally Posted by I iz dapimp View Post
    I've always found it easier to encourage proper RPing with exp. penalties

    kill an adventure hook, BAM!!! exp goes away, just like that


    I also feel that doing something like that might seem a little unfair too unless it's properly moderated. sometimes, the reason why a plot hook fails is because the players simply just couldn't pick up on the proper way to proceed through a plot. And quite frankly, if the plot hook is couched on something too hard to see, I don't blame them.

    in the spirits of the century book, they classify plot hooks in two ways: a "tell" and a "clue".

    Tells is a signal that something is up, but how this signal interprets is entirely up to the player. It doesn't always give you a course of action to run with. It's like finding a size 7 boot print on a murder scene. What does this mean? who knows? it depends on the interpretation.

    A clue, on the other hand, gives the player a clear direction as to where the action might lead. It might not dictate the action for them, but it certainly let's them know where it is going to lead. it's like finding jack the ripper's calling card on a scene or a set of foot prints or finding a witness who tells what the murderer might look like. right there, the players now have the knowledge to take action.
    Last edited by elliott20; 2008-07-01 at 02:41 PM.

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    Default Re: How do YOU encourage proper RPing?

    My DM has a Celtic Broadsword he affectionately refers to as "The Obeidence Stick."

    I've found that the more excited I am about a character, the better I can RP.

    And I've almost completely eliminated any metagaminig from my play as well, by asking questions and listening to the DMs responses.

    I charged right into an opportunity attack I KNEW was coming, because my Blackguard can't see through walls.

    And the first thing I thought of when I read "Godwin Territory" was Suikoden V.
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    Default Re: How do YOU encourage proper RPing?

    Like Winterwind, I was lucky enough that my gaming group in college were all there for the RPing in the first place and there was almost always a lot of back-and-forth between us as to where we wanted any particular game to go.

    Also, the only game I ever ran for the group was Call of Cthulhu. BRP laughs at your silly concept of "experience points." If you're not interested in pretending to be somebody stumbling upon Things Man Was Not Meant To Know then you have no reason to play in the first place (hell, playing the insanities is part of the fun).
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    Default Re: How do YOU encourage proper RPing?

    There's two parts to RP, in my mind:

    1) The player has to have a character who can do it. If you're playing Fi-tor and his girlfriend, Claire-Rick, you don't exactly have much use for role-playing. Characters have to have personality, at least, in order for them to be RPable.

    2) The DM has to have a world for that character to interact with. If you run your games like a human version of WoW, where the NPCs are just there to generically hand out quests or information, then even the most creative characters will fail to RP. If your story is the same no matter what characters the players draw up, you're going to make it hard for your players to RP. They have to have something to work with.

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    Default Re: How do YOU encourage proper RPing?

    "Proper" roleplaying is playing the character as if you were him/her/it. There's a role, and you are playing its part in the game world.

    Examples of not roleplaying well are introducing player knowledge ("There's a secret door in here; I read the module last week"), not taking due consideration of the character's view point ("I'll just walk into the lava; I've got 120hp so losing 100 is not problem"), allowing out of game issues to influence character actions ("I backstab the Magic User; that'll teach him to chat up a girl he knew I was interested in"), or basically anything which it's not reasonable to believe that the character would do.

    Things that are examples of "Good roleplaying" are speaking in character, acting against the player's personal goals because the character "wouldn't do that", and showing fear or other negative character emotions. I don't consider the absense of any of these "bad" roleplaying, but they're all good signs that you've got your players engaged with the setting.

    Something that's neither here nor there, in my experience, is players who come up with detailed backgrounds for their characters. That's really nothing to do with roleplaying (it's storytelling) and players who don't do it are as likely to play their characters well as those who don't, IMO.

    One thing that 1e had which is particular to AD&D (and perhaps D&D) was the idea of playing your class as well as the specific character. Ie, you were assumed, if you picked a fighter, to be trying to play the role of a fighter and not a magic user or a thief. Basically, if a fighter starts collecting and using wands and scrolls etc. instead of trying to find better arms and armour or getting into the front of a fight, then the DM was, btb, expected to penalise them with longer (and therefore more expensive) training to go up levels to reflect the fact that they're not conentrating on their core skill set, as represented by their class. I think this is fair enough in a system with classes.

    Encouraging good roleplaying can really be done only one way: by example. The DM should play the NPCs as rounded as s/he expects the PCs to be played. And the world should reward roleplaying by being dynamic and responsive to the characters' actions, even when they have nothing to do with gaining xp or furthering the plot.

    I don't penalise or reward bad/good roleplaying with XP. Ever. No matter how good or bad. If someone is roleplaying well then it's its own reward, if they're roleplaying badly then the DM is probably not running the game correctly and it would be perverse to penalise the player. If a player is not roleplaying because they're just not into it then they'll probably drop out soon anyway and nothing you can do will change their minds with the exception of making it look like it might be fun to try. Certainly, beating them with a stick is not going to help.

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    Default Re: How do YOU encourage proper RPing?

    I should probably mention that the Obedience "stick" is mostly used to cut down on the amount of OOG chatter we do while gaming.

    It's not actually used to encourage RPing, except to punish repeated and flagrant metagaming.

    i.e.: even though there's a wall between me an that goblin, I'm going to set off a fireball there just past the wall, where it won't hit any of the other enemies that I can see.

    Or, as you mentioned: reading the module or MM and makin plans accordingly when you character has no such knowledge.

    Now, we all read the MM, so we know what we're up against, but if we all fail our knowledge check, we don't fight as if we know what we're fighting.
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    Default Re: How do YOU encourage proper RPing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackfang108 View Post
    I should probably mention that the Obedience "stick" is mostly used to cut down on the amount of OOG chatter we do while gaming.
    Chatter is usually a sign that it's time to break out the Lego pirates and start firing marbles at each other's ships instead of role playing. Some nights, we're just not in the mood!

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    Default Re: How do YOU encourage proper RPing?

    Quote Originally Posted by nagora View Post
    Encouraging good roleplaying can really be done only one way: by example. The DM should play the NPCs as rounded as s/he expects the PCs to be played. And the world should reward roleplaying by being dynamic and responsive to the characters' actions, even when they have nothing to do with gaining xp or furthering the plot.

    I don't penalise or reward bad/good roleplaying with XP. Ever. No matter how good or bad. If someone is roleplaying well then it's its own reward, if they're roleplaying badly then the DM is probably not running the game correctly and it would be perverse to penalise the player. If a player is not roleplaying because they're just not into it then they'll probably drop out soon anyway and nothing you can do will change their minds with the exception of making it look like it might be fun to try. Certainly, beating them with a stick is not going to help.
    Couldn't agree more. To add to the XP penalty thing...why would you reward roleplaying with XP? It makes no sense. If a player is truly roleplaying, XP should not be their primary concern. Character development should be. So if they're really roleplaying, they shouldn't care about the XP reward. If they're roleplaying just to get XP, on the other hand, that's just silly, and it's not real roleplaying. It's gaming the system. So the XP reward doesn't really foster actual roleplay. The same thing, actually, goes for XP penalties.

    Roleplay rewards need to be directly related to the roleplaying. A far more effective reward/penalty system would be to base roll modifiers off of roleplaying. Not for combat, but for stuff like skill challenges. Let's say that you're supposed to talk to NPC So-and-So, and you roleplay the speech really well. The GM gives you maybe a +1 or +2 bonus to the roll, because your character is speaking with honesty. (This applies to a character statted at any Charisma; if you have a low-Charisma character, and give a speech appropriate to that character, you should get a corresponding bonus, because you didn't artificially deliver an eloquent speech, which the GM might even penalize you for)

    I also agree on the dynamic world bit. If you see the world change as a result of your character's non-gaming actions, that's pretty darn awesome. And it would really encourage me to roleplay. I think that, maybe, you should force a mild level of roleplay on your players for one campaign, to give them a taste of what it's like. I'm willing to bet that it'll enrich most of their experiences, unless they're metagaming munchkins or the like. (No offense intended towards metagaming munchkins )

    Some simple encouragement to the players could be along these lines:
    • Suggest the inclusion of potential plot hooks (like an old nemesis or a strange phobia) into character biographies
    • Suggest that they flesh out their characters and compare personalities, to imagine how those personalities might interact
    • Put a few lively quirks into your character, to distinguish them
    • Give your character a major motivation or goal
    • Give your character a personality flaw


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    Default Re: How do YOU encourage proper RPing?

    I lead by example. I was a budding writer before I took up gaming, and most of how I play tends to reflect that; I characterize strongly, fill the world with things the group is only going to find out by interacting with the NPCs and their environment (mostly not plot-critical, just nifty), and encourage them to ask for help if they're not sure where to go with their concepts next. Giving actions effects in the gameworld also helps a great deal.

    And I ask them to RP. I think that's the most important consideration; if you can get the entire group to agree that everyone, including the GM, should be having fun, and then that if there is something people can do to make sure everyone's having fun, people should do it, it helps. One thing I also recommend, for the combat-inclined in the group, is a way to incorporate roleplaying into the fight itself, whether by encouraging inventive maneuvers or by hitting them with enemies you think they have a particular grudge against. That's a good way to start netting your combat-dominant types; then you just branch them out into other areas.
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    Default Re: How do YOU encourage proper RPing?

    With consequences. Hack and slash all you want, some situations simply don't call for that method. I'm fine if all they say at a formal ball is "X attempts to woo the princess" and roll a charisma check, that's at least some effort, but the second I hear "How much exp do you think the king is worth?", I start rolling up guards with class levels. Plenty of them.

    Personally, I gave up heavy role-playing after the continuities on Furcadia I attended suddenly vanished. I lost the thrill. So I'm content if all my players want to do is half-ass the speaking parts. After all, it's better than watching them attempt to use upper-level vocabulary to simulate an Int score much higher than their own. Quite successful at that, they are not.
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    Default Re: How do YOU encourage proper RPing?

    I've found lately, as I've mentioned on other topics, that increasing the inherent danger in most combat situations causes my group to more fully consider in-character actions. Not a drastic increase, I'm not out to actually kill them. Just enough of an increase to make death, or at least defeat, a realistic possibility. My group often does hack'n'slash, usually deliberately, but I've found that if combat is an easy answer, e.g. with little to no serious danger, we default to it. That goes for me when I'm a player, too.
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    Default Re: How do YOU encourage proper RPing?

    As a GM I make sure I invite the right players for an RP heavy campaign. I don't actually exclude anyone - I just send out an invitation for a collaborative storytelling game based loosely on D&D, emphasizing that I will spend more time on plot than on combat and that the game will probably bore mechanically inclined players. This lets powergamers filter themselves out instead of me excluding them.

    I also require character backstories. Characters with a motivation are heavily encouraged. I also ask for some story leading up to the present situation, rather than purely biographical information. This helps the players get into character before games begin. If we all have free time I'll even run a one on one session for each character to get them started. One of my pet peeves in games has been introducing your character without having gotten into the character. This helps jumpstart the players so they're in character at game start.

    I like to receive backstories 2-4 weeks before game starts. This gives me a chance to read each of them thoroughly and find good hooks. I'll already have several plots in mind by this point and I'll attach character's hooks into existing plot hooks. I'll also merge elements of backgrounds together. Two players whose parents were murdered will likely have a common enemy. From a broad scope this introduces many coincidences into the game, but few enough of them are ever realized that the players won't even notice. You just want to be able to write around these coincidences when preparing so that its all consistent.

    The danger with using a player's plothook is that the other players can become prone to dismissing it. They'll take the backseat while Timmy is in the spotlight for Timmy's adventure, and then they'll pay attention when the main plot comes back. Instead of running Timmy's adventure you want to run a normal session that just so happens to incorporate elements from Timmy's backstory. This will get him that much more involved. It also means that any plot threads that continue from this will have Timmy's attention too. Even if it never comes up that this adventure has special meaning for that one character (some characters have secrets after all), that one player will have a kickass game session and everyone else will still feel involved. This works even better if you used the previously mentioned strategy of merging backstory threads together and the merging can come up during game time.
    If you like what I have to say, please check out my GMing Blog where I discuss writing and roleplaying in greater depth.

  26. - Top - End - #26
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    Xuincherguixe's Avatar

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    Default Re: How do YOU encourage proper RPing?

    The way I do things sometimes, being disruptive IS proper roleplaying :P

    In order to defeat a Chess Master the PCs are going to have to really shake things up, and take away control from them.

    While that's more of a "theme" than roleplaying, they're somewhat related.


    The other thing I do, is determine what exactly each character wants to do, and incorporate it into the story.
    I don't think you get it.

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    Default Re: How do YOU encourage proper RPing?

    Answering the OP's two questions: Proper RPing is what the group wants for that game.
    To encourage, I leave around the typical hints, that, if the players follow, they'll meet alies that can help them with information, equipment, and others things, and make less enemies. They are fully free to ignore it all and do things the hard way. It's up to them.

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    Default Re: How do YOU encourage proper RPing?

    Quote Originally Posted by elliott20 View Post
    This, however, does raise a question for me... how do YOU encourage your players to RP?
    Reward it. Usually not with gold or XP, those have too many potential game affects. Though gold may be a useful reward when it's party gold such as getting a higher percentage from selling loot with good RP interaction between players and the fence.

    In general, reward good RP with intangibles. Titles. Property. Nicknames. Luck or Fate points. Potentially useful friends and allies in the game world.

    Being inducted into the Order of the Black Sword and being given the title of Knight of the Realm is a more lasting reward than a few gold anyway. Add the title to a run down manor and the new knight will likely be eager to accept his brand new "money pit" and "adventure hook generator" otherwise known as Crag Chalet! :)

    Quote Originally Posted by Winterwind View Post
    Also, I find that the more rules-light a system is, the less time the mechanics consume, and hence the more time remains for the roleplaying proper, which is why I generally prefer rules-light systems.
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    Last edited by Raum; 2008-07-01 at 09:02 PM.
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    Default Re: How do YOU encourage proper RPing?

    Quote Originally Posted by SadisticFishing View Post
    have a thieves' guild find and recruit them - then slowly ask them to do more and more evil things, until eventually the group either gives up or changes their alignments...
    I totally did that with a character once. By gradual degrees I got him to the point where he murdered an innocent child. He was profoundly disturbed by it.

    I say, that's how the DM wins D&D.

    Seriously, though, the way to encourage RP is to make it work. If the NPCs can be manipulated through RP, then the players will use it. If asking the King for help because you're a young paladin works, then the players will. If, on the other hand, the only language NPCs respond to is violence, then guess what - the only language your players will use is combat.
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    Default Re: How do YOU encourage proper RPing?

    Threaten them with "The walk of a hundred D4's"
    "So...the orphan attacked you?
    "Aye"
    "And so you cut him down with your axe in self defense."
    "Aye..."
    "I don't believe you."
    "Damn...would ye believe that th' orphan was an alien?"
    "No"
    "Damn."

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