When All’s Quiet.

By | May 28, 2009

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!


Mommacow on May 28, 2009 at 2:52 pm.

Sadly, Rashona’s too calm to initiate RP with much of anybody. Crazybelf, OTOH, will warn people off of things that might eat their souls, swear at her felsteed for trying to get her killed (this is why she kept almost riding into Star’s Rest, THAT’S MY STORY AND I’M STICKING TO IT), and muse aloud on the feasibility/desirability of enslaving any demon that happens to be nearby. (Which lead to an awesome exchange with Kaasmi the racist troll, as crazybelf was eying the demon boss in HFC: “Naah, skinny little thing like you couldn’t take that demon. Now Gharr, GHARR could do it with one hand behind his back…”)

Sean on May 28, 2009 at 6:00 pm.

I’m not even joking when I say that the best advice I could give to anyone who feels uncertain about approaching people ‘cold’ in RP is to read about pick-up artists. Seriously. That’s what they do, in effect, and they’re damned good at it.

The trick I picked up is to say something that demands a response. A good idea is, if you have picked up some new gloves, etc. to walk up to someone and say, “Hey, I need some advice. Which of these gloves look better on me?” Don’t let them get away with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer, frame it as a choice.

The OTHER great trick is, of course, to have someone else around. If you have a role-playing buddy, you can easily rope in others. “You’re crazy!” “You’re crazy!” “Hey, hey, you. Tell this woman she’s crazy.”

Arrens on May 29, 2009 at 10:15 am.

I was tooling around last night on my level 13 NE Druid in Darnassus (a new alt I rolled on Earthen Ring, just for jokes) and /yelled something about Fandral Staghelm being an ass. Next thing I knew, 3 people RP strolled up to me and we began a rather long and crass discussion about what a fool the leader of the Cenarion Circle was.

Fortunately, none of my characters are the shy, quiet type. In fact, most of them are rather brash and boastful (or at least of the intellectual sort that can strike up a conversation about most anything), so it’s rather natural for them to chat up someone they’ve never met before.

Mommacow on May 29, 2009 at 12:41 pm.

Oh. AND I have a lowbie Dwarf paladin on another server. She’s a farmwife who took up paladinning after the kids were grown and off serving in the Dwarvish army. She *cooks*. And runs around Ironforge inflicting food on everybody who looks like they might need it. Because how are they gonna survive the Horde/Scourge/pirates/worgen if they don’t EAT?

Kyraine on May 31, 2009 at 10:39 pm.

Companion animals, hunter pets, mounts- comment on other people’s, have your own do something. If you’re walking around as a hunter, have your pet do something. I had a great chat with some folks on how many towns my hunter’s wolf had been kicked out of for bad behavior. And Kyraine’s horse is named Bastard for a reason- he’s a notorious biter. They give another dimension to the game and are a great way to start conversations.