So how do you START an RP dialogue with a stranger? I suppose you can walk up to someone and say your hello and comment about the weather. It’s a normal enough thing to do – sort of. I mean, it doesn’t happen to me in the grocery store or at the gas station. Americans don’t even make eye contact never mind actually talk to someone they don’t know unless they absolutely have to. (Exceptions of course being swearing on the highway at someone who cuts you off or rude hand gestures at people driving like monkeys near you at an intersection).
That aside, though, how do you start an actual thought provoking conversation with someone without forcing it? I’ve had the terri-bad RP’er saunter up to me and try to tell me how amazingly powerful they are at level 19. “I’ve killed dragons.” “Actually, you just left Westfall. Nice try though!” (Of course, after my paladin killed whelplings in Redridge she was sort of claiming to have bested the black flight, but that was for humor. No seriously, I promise it was.)
I’ve always struggled with this. I’m not a shy or introverted person by any stretch of the imagination, but I’m always trying to find new ways to open up communication without it being stale, boring, or completely and utterly unnatural. After years of misstepping and being met with blank stares or people outright ignoring me, I’ve got some favorites that seem to work.
Here are a few of them:
Comment on a piece of gear. Compliment it, ask where they got it. It can lead into a comparison of your travels and adventures, always a great way to get to know someone.
Say something completely random. Skyborne is famous for this. She’ll sit down next to someone and say “I killed a mammoth today and dragged it into a tree. I’m /awesome/.” You’d be amazed at exactly how much RP I can spark up by saying the first thing that comes to my mind, whether it be about pants, eggs, chicken feet, etc. Of course, this depends on how zany your character is. I suppose it’d be tough for a by-the-books paladin to claim to have eaten pickled pigs feet out of the blue.
Have your character read a newspaper and out loud comment on one of the ‘articles’. “Can you BELIEVE they’re taxing goblins at a thirty percent higher rate than everyone else?”
If you’re a regular somewhere, ask what brings X character around.
Flirt. Flirting’s always fun. Seylon spends 80 percent of her time hitting on people she knows and people she doesn’t. It’s always good for a reaction, though the reaction isn’t always good if you know what I mean.
I’m sure there are a zillion other ways to inspire RP with someone new. Let’s hear ‘em. Ta!