This section of the compendium isn't here to chronicle something which has been written before, but to help guide new people into joining our little collective. So, with that goal in mind, let's look at what one might need to do to get started.
Ok, first off, you need a thread to join. There are two choices here, you can try and join a thread in progress or you can make one of your own. There's pros and cons to both of them. For example, if you join a thread in progress, then you have to craft your character so that they'd be able to fit in in that thread. After all, you wouldn't send a char like Krono or Liquid X into Flake's thread as they're quite incompatable. There's also the chance that you might get over looked for a bit if there's several people there already. On the other hand, there's making your own thread. This offers maximum freedom as it can be whatever you want it to be, but there's always the chance that nobody will want to join. In which case, you have a thread, but nobody to join you in it. As it stands though, the cons of either aren't that great. So jump in whichever way suits you best.
Alright, now that you know how you're gonna appear, you have something to work with and you can move on to your next step, character creation. This is probably the hardest part, and the part that's hard about it is getting the initial concept down. Basically, all your char is is a class, their preference in skills, weapons, and armour, their personality, their history, their strengths and weaknesses, and how you play 'em. Class is simply a descriptor of what your char does. It's something where you can say it and people will get a general idea of what your char can do. Their preference in skills is basically where you decide what they can and cannot do, and what they prefer to do out of those skills. Personality is self explanitory. History can be a fun one if you want to try and make one up. However, you don't need to have a history if you don't want. It simply makes for a somewhat better RPing experience. Then, there's strengths and weaknesses. Basically, how strong is your char on the scale of things. This can go from Krono who is rumoured to be a Lesser Eternal of time to young Excal who has a sword, and a single semi-effective move. However, to counter balance that, there's also weaknesses which your char should also have a few of. These can be fun if you're creative. Like X, who's almost as powerful as Krono, but can only control 1% of his power and is always on the verge of losing even that tenuous control. Or Krono, who fears losing his humanity as he grows stronger. However, as important as this stage is, it ain't overly important. After all, while you do have to work within the framework of that char, you can change the char slowly as they grow. Heck, I plan for Excal to cool down a bit in some of the future threads, and X has changed from a loner, to Daryl's consort. But, that's also dependant on the next part, the most important bit in all of this; namely...
The Role Playing itself. It doesn't matter how good your char is if you can't play it well. And on the other hand, for a gifted RP'er, there's no character so bad that it can't be played well. Basically, this is where you play out the personality and various foibles of your char. And here's where the advice begins. First off, some things to avoid.
Things to avoid:
God-moding - While nobody is really sure where the line is for this (everyone I've talked to has their own interpretation) it is generally accepted that taking total control of another's char is a bad thing. Personally, I define the line as allowing myself limited control over other people's chars if a braindead trout could figure out they were gonna do that, and liberally giving them dialogue when it's conveniant unless that dialogue would be an important answer. Anything resembling a decision is hands off lest ye be god-moding. An example of God-moding would be Time for some Cosmic Mischief.
Damage calling - Basically damage calling is tossing an attack at another PC and saying "it hit them did so and so damage" instead of giving them a chance to dodge the attack, or at least stating the damage taken by their character themself. When this happens it rapidly deteriorates into the equalivalent of "Bang! Your dead! No way! You missed me!" which isn't particularly fun at all.
Non-descriptive writing - People, detail is your friend. And while too much detail leads to long boring posts, too little simply confuses everyone else, and where's the fun in that?
Not-reading what came before - Granted, this one won't be quite as large a problem now that there's a handy edit feature. But, back in the Epsilon War there was a couple of examples where one person said one thing and the exact opposite happened. One involving somebody saying they were headed one place finding themselves walking into an ambush somewhere completely different. And a case where a certain floating fortress got destroyed, only to submerge and destroy the planet a few posts later. It's annoying to see this happen to say the least...
Changing other people's characters without asking - Some of this is to be expected while RPing, otherwise things would get boring fairly quickly. However it's generally a bad idea to try and give someone else's character new skills or killing them without asking that person first. Their char might not be able to learn the skill you just claimed they did, and killing else's char without permission is obviously bad (The same goes for raising a dead char btw). Giving away weapons or items doesn't carry quite as much risk, since it doesn't change the character, though wheather or not that person will actually use the weapon or item in question is unknown.
Rolling over bosses and quests - Similar to god-moding, doing this is likely to piss people off. The main point of RPing is to have fun. Not just a few people, but all people involved in it. So when people are on a quest or facing down a boss monster, it's a bad idea to run in and finish the quest or kill the boss without giving them a chance to do anything. At best people will be annoyed at the goal being stolen. At worst they will completely ignore your post and proceed as if you hadn't killed the boss/gotten the treasure/rescued whoever.
Things to do:
Nothing specific in this category. Really, just be descriptive, stay IC, remember the point is for everyone to have fun, and avoid the stuff above. It ain't that hard to play well, and that's all you need.
Tips from Krono:
Foreshadow. people can accept a lot of stuff if it's given a little foreshadowing. Half the problem people had with the world being blow up during the Eidolon War wasn't that it happened, but that it happened with zero warning. If your going to attempt a plot shaking twist, put in little hints before hand. If you're starting such a post with something along the lines of "Suddenly" there's a fair chance that people are going to be going "WTF?!" Rather than "Wow!"
Don't be afraid to use the edit post feature. If you've botched spelling in a post or messed up a plot or someone else's character to the point where you have to recant, don't make another post, edit the existing one to fix things.
Feel from to talk to other people out of character (OOC). Not all mistakes can be fixed IC, and even those that can can't necessarily be fixed well. If someone pops up and starts bossing you around in your own thread, feel free to talk to them about it before you try and accept or ignore it IC. (Go back through the archives and you'll find plenty of places where this was/could have been helpful.)
Don't try and draw characters from the comic into the RPing. Yes Eternion has shown up, but he was played by Webby, and thus is Webby's character, same thing for all the comic characters.
Tips from Liquid-X:
Don't be afraid to use a character trait that conflicts with the overall idea of your character to make a character more interesting. Like a Monk who has a habit of drinking binges, thieves who cant bring themselves to steal from certain types of people, bards who hate lutes, or evil characters that are willing to destroy the world but cant bring themselves to harm cute fuzzy kittens.
Listening to music appropriate to the scene your trying to write can often help. For example, listening to battle style music like heavy metal for battle scenes, or sad music for moving scenes.
A tip from Lowell (Spirit of St. Louis in the old forum):
Ulterior motives. It's not bad to have a character who's just in it for the money, but it's also not very interesting. What about a character who seeks revenge on a person/thing/town that he or she knows to be in the party's way? Or a character who wants to find the graves of his or her ancestors and hold a seance? Don't necessarily drag the other characters along on huge side quests, but do let your character think about something besides the quest itself.
And that about sums it all up.
Newbie Board - A place to ask any questions that aren't covered here.
Compendium - Technically back. I figured it was about time I started adding these...