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The universal rules of roleplay

The Universal Rules of Role Play

When you first start roleplaying, there are several universal rules that you are going to have to get to terms with. These rules are essential, and without them, you will not just ruin others experiences, but will also potentially get yourself suspended from the community you are playing on.

In this guide, I will go over the basic roleplay rules, what they mean, and why they exist.


This is a standard rule that is constant throughout all types of roleplay community. Fail roleplay is what it says – it is when you fail to roleplay out a situation, or do something that is considered out of context or deeply unrealistic, with no interior or exterior motive. This encompasses not only unrealistic situations but also other rules on this list, such as fearRP.

An example of failRP would be falling asleep on a road, or running, unarmed, into a gunfight that you are not involved in; no one in their right mind would do such a thing, due to basic survival instinct telling them it is not safe. Even though you are roaming a virtual world, you still have to obey social norms that are unquestionable, regardless of your character’s stance on the law or anarchic intentions.

A rule of thumb is: If someone wouldn’t do it in real life, don’t do it in game.


Again, a standard rule that can be found in all types of roleplay server, fearRP is when you fear for your life, and are put under the influence of another player due to in-character aggression that would realistically result in compliance.

For example, you are walking down an alleyway and two players approach you, both armed. You cannot run away from them, as you fear they will chase you down and attack you; you are now under fearRP. You have to do whatever they tell you to, as they have the upper hand and have complete control over the situation – your autonomy has been stripped, and you have to reflect that in your in-character actions. If they ask you to give over your wallet, you have to, as long as they are physically threatening you and giving you a verbal command.

There are multiple different conditions of fearRP, and who it is applied to can change in the middle of the situation. If the aggressor is carrying a melee weapon, fearRP is not applied until the target is within slashing n’ bashing range; the target has the opportunity to try and escape if they identify the threat before it gets too close. Also, if both parties have guns pulled out at each other, a Mexican standoff, a Deux ex Machina* can apply fearRP onto the underrepresented party. If a one on one standoff turns into a two on one, the lone gunman has to stand down, as he is now outnumbered. This however does not apply as the numbers increase. A three on two, or four on three, would still be considered neutral, as both parties have more of an equal chance of coming out on top.

Finally, regardless of how many people are with him, one lone gunman with a hostage has fearRP applied to all aggressors, as they fear that he will kill the hostage if they don’t do what he says. They must follow all of the captor’s orders unquestionably.

As soon as a bullet is fired, or a melee weapon is used on you, fearRP is off, and the fight or flight danger response system kicks in; you now have the opportunity to escape or fight back as you fear for your well-being staying in your current position. If you do what the aggressor says, you will stay out of harm’s way – If you run away after an attempted injury, you have a chance to evade the harm being inflicted. The whole purpose of this rule is to provide a realistic answer to the idea of fear of harm, and the human need for physical well-being.

* Someone or something that comes in and conveniently saves the day or provides a large advantage.


Doomforts are overpowered and unfairly biased defenses that are almost impossible for a raiding party to overcome. This is mostly self-explanatory, although many communities do not contain specifics within their rule guidelines.

A rule of thumb here is: If it gives you a large advantage, it’s a feature of a doom fort.

For example, if you have a hole in the wall that is extremely easy to shoot out of, but very difficult to shoot into, you have an attribute of a doom fort, and should increase the ease the attackers have of shooting in.

However, this shouldn’t go to ridiculous extremes, as the whole point of defenses are to give an advantage to the holding party; they must be fair and considerate of the raider’s objective, and give them a reasonable chance of success.


Powergaming encompasses two behaviors.

The first is imposing an action forcefully onto another player through the medium of roleplay commands, such as /me and /it. For example, ‘/me twists the man’s neck, breaking it’. The player who you are ‘imposing’ the action on to has no say in the fate of their own character, and you are forcing them to die. This also includes the misuse roleplay actions in an attempt to take an RP situation into a certain direction, such as /it . In some serious roleplay servers, this can be avoided by using the /roll command, which will generate a random number to determine if an in-character action succeeds or fails.

The second is primarily found in casual and semi-serious roleplay servers, and is exploiting an in-character system to benefit yourself. An example of this would be to switch to a vendor job with the sole purpose of manufacturing goods for yourself, with no intent of helping other people, so you can get them as cheaply as possible.


Metagaming is a rule in every type of roleplay community. This is when you use information gathered out-of-character while you are in-character, regardless if it sways a situation in a certain direction or not.

For example, most roleplay game modes have a scoreboard that can be accessed by pressing ‘tab’ – this is out-of-character information. In these scoreboards, you can usually see information about a player, such as their in-character job and name. You cannot use the information gathered here in-character, such as walking up to the player and calling them by their in-character name, when this is clearly your first encounter. You have not met before, so you are going to have to ask them for their name before you can use it in conversation.

If your character doesn’t know the information from an in-character interaction, you can’t act on it.

This also works the other way. If someone asks something that should be dealt with in-character in out-of-character chat, this is metagaming, and is breaking one of the fundamental rules of roleplay.

NLR, New Life Rule

NLR stands for ‘new life rule’, and kicks in every time you die in an in-game situation.

In most communities, this primarily means that you may not go back to the place you died within 5 minutes of your death, and if you do go back there un-coincidentally, you must be called there by someone who is still alive.

It also states that, after death, you forget everything from your past life, such as current situations and who killed you. Moreover, this does not include long-term memories specific to the character you play, such as your job or allegiances. Essentially, you must forget all of the short-term encounters of the session you were previously playing in.

RDM, Random Deathmatch

RDM stands for ‘random deathmatch’. This is when you kill another player for no specific reason. This completely breaks all immersion in the game, and although it might provide instant gratification to you, it is breaking the rules and will almost certainly get you suspended from the community you are playing on. On top of this, you are also ruining the experience of the receiving player.

CDM, Car Deathmatch

CDM stands for ‘car death match’. This is only applicable to communities where you can drive vehicles, and is when someone intentionally runs someone down. This is very similar to random deathmatch, however instead of being killed with a firearm or melee weapon on foot, you are using your vehicle as a weapon. This still carries the same deserving consequence of a suspension from the community server, like RDM, and is also looked down upon as much.

However, accidents do happen; you are not CDMing someone if it was an accident, and you should pull your vehicle over to try and give them assistance as well as call for help.