RP Tutorial Getting Started: Role Play Abbreviations, phrases and Symbols


Exhausted Retail Unicorn
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As role players we tend to use abbreviations on occasion. It saves us time and energy for typing. We often forget however that new role players may be unfamiliar with them. If you are confused by all the abbreviations and symbols flying by you, here is a guide to what they mean and how they are generally used.

Common Abbreviations:
OC: This usually stands for Original Character. An original character is most usually completely created by the player.

RP: Roleplay / Role-play

RPG: Role playing game, such as what GreaterRealms is, or for example, a popular game such as Dragon Age: Inquisition or Dungeons and Dragons can be considered a role playing game.

OP: This can mean two things, depending on the context it is used. Some may use OP to mean an Over Powered character, or OP to mean Original Poster.

PC: PC stands for Player Character. This means or represents a character that is controlled and written actively by a human behind the screen.

NPC: NPC stands for Non Player Character. Non Player Characters are characters that can be created by someone but not actively played. For instance, The Brazen Wench has an NPC bar tender named Orlak. Orlak was created by a person, but he is not role played by anyone. Everyone is free to use, mention, or write about Orlak in character.

IC: In character. A player is writing their character actively. The actions, thoughts and speech of the character they are playing are In Character.

OOC: Out of Character. A player is writing in their own voice. The actions, thoughts, opinions, writing and speech you are reading is not a character, but the person behind the character.

RP Chat Abbreviations:
Admin: Abbreviation of Administrator. An administrator is usually a staff member of a website or software platform that manages a role playing group or website.

AU: AU stands for Alternative Universe. Characters of a certain work, canon or non canon lore are placed in a scenerio or setting that is not presented in canon. For example: playing a Dragon Age character in the modern day setting of earth could be considered an AU.

AFK: AFK stands for Away From Keyboard. The player of said character has to get up and walk away from their device and are not available to respond to messages or in character actions toward their character. This most usually is a long absence from RP.

ALT: Alt stands for alternative. There are two usual uses for this. ALT can stand for Alternative Universe, or Alternative character. For example, my main character is Sulissurn. My ALT could be considered any other character I play. ALT characters tend to either not be role played as much, or considered as important to a player as their main character.

Bio/Bio Break: Bio can stand for two things.
Character Bio, for instances, represents character biography, or the history or backstory of a character.
Bio Break stands for Biological break. This is a polite way of saying the player has to take care of bodily business. It is not as common in text and forum RP as it may be in online gaming.

BRB: BRB stands for Be Right Back. This is almost like AFK, but this is generally seen as much quicker. The player has to step away from their device but for a short period of time, usually. Sometimes, life does in get in the way and a BRB runs longer than intended.

BBL: This abbreviation stands for Be Back Later. It means the player will return at a later time and is most usually found in chat role play settings.

CW: CW stands for Content Warning. Usually used to tag a post that has content that may be triggering, graphic, violent, adult in nature or sexual.

DC: Disconnect. Usually seen when an interruption to internet services.

DM: DM can stand for several things. First: Direct Message. A Direct Message is almost exactly like a private message. A player is directly messaging another player. Discord used the abbreviation DM for when privately messaging someone.
Second: DM can also mean Dungeon Master, as familiar term for people who have player Dungeons & Dragons or other table top games. A DM is generally considered the person who guides an adventure or story.
Third: DM could also be the abbreviation of Death Blow. The final hit or act which may kill a character.

FC: This usually stands for Face Claim. Some role players use a real life person or celebrity to represent their character's appearance and may call it a 'face claim.'

Mun/Mod/Mundane: Mun or Mundane is an older term to refer to the player, or persons behind the character being role played. Mod can often be seen used to refer to the player behind a character on blogs or in places such as Tumblr.

NSFW: NSFW stands for Not Safe For Work. This means the scene or writing being played by a character or characters is not something safe for reading at work or where people under the age of 18 can read. This can usually be seen tagging writing that covers violence, sexual themes or gore.

PBP: PBP stands for Play by Post. Role playing on a forum or message board can be considered play by post.

PBC: PBC means Play by chat. Role playing in a chat room can be considered play by chat.

PM: PM stands for Private Message(s). A private message takes place between one player and the other, in a private setting that the public cannot see. Such as emails, instant messages, or private message options found on a forum or chat software.

POV: POV stands for point of view, meaning the perspective of the narrator. There is first person, second or third.

TW: TW stands for Trigger Warning. This tag or abbreviation is often used to warn fellow readers or players that the subject matter may be triggering for survivors of abuse or assault or other mental health issues and in tandem with writing that involves assault, mental health, and or abuse.

UAFK: These letters stand for Unannounced Away From Keyboard. Sometimes, life throws a curve ball and a player has no time to type into a chat or tell their partners they have to leave their devices for whatever reason. Usually after a period of absence that is not announced, a player may send UAFK to explain why they haven't replied or responded.

WB: WB is generally a shortened version of Welcome Back! A player may use this to welcome back a partner that has had to go AFK for whichever reason, or perhaps experienced internet issues, was logged out and has returned.

IRL: IRL is the shortened version of In Real Life. A distinction between what happens in role play as to what happens in real life. Example: I am not a millionaire IRL, but in game, my character is.

Phrases or Words:
Arc: represents a story line, a very large part of the story line or large part of a in character plot.

Backstory: Backstory represents the events and history of a character that usually happened in the past. The events and history which shaped how a character is at this moment.

Canon: Canon represents lore that is official. For example: Lord of the Rings has an expansive canon written by J.R.R. Tolkien and his son.

Canon Character: A Canon character is generally a character that has already been established as part of lore. Going with the above example, someone role playing Legolas from Lord of the Rings would most likely be playing a Canon Character.

Closed RP/Closed Role Play: Closed RP or Closed Roleplay means that the role play you are reading is only open to select characters, or is not open to be replied to or reacted to by other characters.

Fanon: Player created characters or ideas that are loosely based in Canon lore, but highly subject to individual interpretation.

FFRP: Free form role play. A type of role playing that applies little to no restrictions on scripting, plotting, character types, how to RP when or where, leaving major decisions in the hands of character players. There is usually no manual or no 'right' or 'wrong' way of FFRP so long as players respect each other and the rules of the media types or website they are role playing on.

Fade to Black: A term most often used to represent or imply that a scene has occurred but role players have deemed they do not wish to write it/act it out.

God Mode/God Modder/Power Play/Power Gaming: This generally refers to a character type or player who does not, or will not entertain the idea of their character ever being defeated, show any weakness, or be flawed. See: (Article Link Here)

Main character: The major, or most important character to either a story or to a player. Some role players have a main character to which they enjoy writing with the most.

Meta Game/Meta Gamer: A player who regularly mistakes or purposefully uses out of character information their character could not possibly know or understand in character. See: (Article Link Here)

Open RP/Open Role Play: Open RP or Open Roleplay means that the role play you are reading is open for anyone to reply, react to, or write about.

Player: This word represents the human being behind the character. A player is the person who writes for, controls and plays at the keyboard.

Brackets: Sometimes players will separate in character actions from out of character. Most of the time this is represented by brackets, such as ((These.)) or [[These.]] or {{These}} or <<These>>
::These:: or This or This or -This- or +This+ or #These# may be used by players to represent and make distinct in character actions or thoughts.

Novel Style: Some role players do not use any symbols to represent their in character actions, but almost always use a bracket of some kind to indicate the difference between in character and out of character. An example of this would be:

Jane smiled, "It's good to see you Jack!" <---In character
((WB Teagan!)) <--- Out of Character

(This article is a work in progress. Spelling and grammar mistakes will be edited asap. In the meantime, feel free to reply to suggest any common abbreviations or symbols you would like to see added. Thank you for understanding!)
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