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Romance In RP: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

By: Qai

These were originally written while role playing in WoW, but all of the general concepts and advice still very much apply. Even if you've been role playing for years, there are some things in here will likely help you develop even further.

While I take no credit for writing this guide, I cannot actually name the person who wrote it. It is a handbook that has been passed around for a little over 9 years now, the authors have changed (or at least user names) many times over. Though I thought it would be good to share for those who do actively or are interested in role playing.

Romance in RP: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

Romance In Role Play

Now before you start to point and snicker, muttering about “cyborz”, notice the title is ROMANCE, not ERP. That is another topic for another day. Romance can cover a wide range of emotional depth from the friends that exchange flowers on occasion to fully fledged lovers or married. Role Playing romance DOES NOT mean cyber just like reading a book that has romantic elements does not mean reading porn.

The Good

If you choose to involve your character in romantic relationships it can bring in another level of Role Play that is interesting and a good development tool for the character. It can also bring pleasant interaction and memories for both the character and the player to counteract the war-stricken and depressing world they live in. It’s a way to see that even in such terrible times, life does go on. There is hope and there are things to take joy in. Emotional beings (whether they are human, dwarf, tauren, orc or whatever) need that. If a mind is constantly bombarded with the awful with no respite, eventually it will break down.

The Bad

Sometimes Role Play romance can be taken too far; too seriously. Always always always remember IT IS Role Play. IT IS NOT REAL. I have seen people who’s characters are involved in romantic Role Play begin to believe that it is an actual relationship and when one of those involved plays another character or spends time with other friends, the other gets jealous or angry. These are pixilated images inside a box of computer parts. They are not real flesh, bone or emotion. They are story characters that we play with and read about but do not really exist. Do not fall into the trap of thinking they do.

The Ugly

I have seen Role Play romances turn sour and because one party or both have taken it too seriously, when the Role Play romance fails, it destroys the friendship between the players. I have also seen it go so far as to fracture guilds. Bands of friends choosing sides because one or two people pushed it too far, it Is a truly a sad affair and one that should NEVER be allowed to happen in Role Play.

Rules for Romance in Role Play

While this list may not be all inclusive, I will try to provide at least a beginner’s guide for those looking to involve their character in Role Play romance. Much of this may seem like common sense but perhaps, for some, reading it will drive it home and give pause before the ugly rears its head.

1 – The most important! If you forget everything else, do not forget this! – Role Play Romance is not real. It is an interactive story development. Nothing more.

2 – The character your character is involved with has a player behind it too. This player usually has other obligations such as real life, other friends, guild members, other characters that they want to play as well. Don’t try to monopolize their time.

3 – Don’t let your time be monopolized either. If you have other things you wish to do, be sure the other player understands this as well.

4 – Role Play romance is not a stepping stone into exclusive guilds or raids. Don’t expect the other player to be able to shoehorn you into one just because the characters are involved romantically.

5 – “Intimate” Role Play should be decided on in advance by both parties. Set your boundaries and stick to them, or be respectful of the other person’s boundaries as well. Romantic Role Play can be just as rewarding without Erotic Role Play.

6 – Make sure all boundaries and limitations are clear and understood. Do you only have time once a week to dedicate to Role Play? Do you have another character that you want to spend time on as well? Do you want to be able to spend time leveling as well as role playing? Make sure it is all clear.

7 – If something comes up that is going to keep you away from contact for a while, let the other person know. Heck let all your friends that you play with know! They’re your friends. If you just disappear without a word they worry about you.

8 – The other player likely has other characters that they want to play too. These other characters may become, or already be involved, romantically with characters that are not yours. This is acceptable. Do not get jealous or snippy because the player wants to spend time with other friends too. This comes back to both #1 and #2.

Making It Work

Now there are many factors that play into whether romance can be feasible. First off, it is not likely the characters are going to be able to spend as much actual time together as a couple might in real life and trying to do that will cause issues of its own. However there are still ways to have the characters “be together” in down times that will fit with the Role Play and won’t leave anyone feeling pressured.

The Power of Assumption

“It can be assumed…” That statement can lead to any number of useful Role Play short cuts. In this case it can be used to establish time spent together doing more mundane things. Sharing meals, sleeping together, fishing, etc. If you have characters that are regular lovers, for example, just because the players are not in game at the same time every day or are even out for several days at a time, doesn’t mean the characters are not spending time together. Likely they would find a way to at least spend the night together more than once a week, if that is their inclination. Discuss this with the other player so that it can be established for the characters and help ease the burden of feeling obligated to spend every available moment in game together.

Combining Objectives

Are you questing in similar areas? Level ranges? Have the same instances you need to hit? So make them into a Role Play session. Grab a group of like-minded individuals for that instance and Role Play as you go. Run around the countryside with your RP muffin and complete quests while engaging in conversation and the occasional stolen kiss. Be creative. Role Play doesn’t always have to be just sitting in a bar in Stormwind. You can Role Play and accomplish other tasks as well.

Schedule It

Set up a time or day that you and your Role Play partner are scheduled to hang out together in game. That way neither of you gets lost in the shuffle. Maybe every Wednesday you meet for Role Play dinner at the Blue Recluse. Perhaps Friday is the night that you both have set aside to kill monsters. Be creative and keep it interesting. Maybe all you want to do is sit in a chair and talk all night. That’s good too. By scheduling a day/time to do it then you avoid the hit or miss of scheduling differences.

Write It

A great deal of story can be created and told through written Role Play. Most guilds associated with Role Play have a place for storytelling. By creating a written story coinciding with the in-game Role Play, there is a great deal more information and development of character that can be accomplished. So you’re not the greatest writer in the world. How will you get better if you don’t practice? Use your spellchecker and your grammar checker and then learn as you go. Share the story as it grows and give it the details that we cannot see or experience in game. It’s a great way to tie everything together when actual play time is limited.

As with anything, communication and respect are very important when involving your character in Role Play Romance. Have fun with it. Be creative. But always remember, it is just Role Play!

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