Your character profile has been approved! You're free to start roleplaying, either by jumping into an open thread or starting your own. It sounds pretty straightforward, but we all know how intimidating it can be. It can be very difficult to find a place to start, and keep in mind that it often takes time for a character's story to really get rolling. But there are some things that you can do to give yourself a running start.
Have an idea of your character's goals and motivationEdit
You don't need to have his or her life plotted out beyond what you included in your profile's history, but it does help to have some motivation in mind. What are your character's driving goals? Does she want to retire from a life of adventure, but finds herself being drawn back into it? Does he want to learn new fighting techniques, but no one will teach him because he's an Orlesian elf in Ferelden?
If you can build some conflict into your character's motivations, all the better. Remember, all good plots are based on conflict. If your character has no conflict in their lives, they'll be pretty boring to read about.
Try to find other players with whom you can create a connectionEdit
We're not necessarily talking about a romantic connection, although those are always fun. Rather, we're talking more about finding a way to insinuate yourself into the world of Warden's Vigil, to make it seem like your character existed before you started playing him or her. For example, Rae Caoileann worked with Sergeant Kylon during the Siege of Denerim to rescue people trapped in the rubble of buildings. A player who started later, Kali, wrote in her history that she lost her parents to a fire during the Siege of Denerim, and she was badly burned. After realizing that this was a great opportunity to make a connection between the two characters, the two players decided that Rae was the person who pulled Kali out of the fire. It has added depth to the histories of the characters, as well as to their interactions.
To find a potential connection, look through the approved profiles. Read active threads. Review new profiles waiting to be approved. If you find a potential connection, don't hesitate in sending a private message to that player. The majority of players on the board are only too happy to help work in a new character.
Don't be shyEdit
If you wait for someone to notice your character sitting along the wall and ask them to play, you'll be sitting for a long time. Find an open thread to jump into. Even if it doesn't lead to a long-term story, it'll help you get to know how posting works on the board, and it will also give you a chance to start exploring your character.
The Warden's Vigil IRC channel (the address of which is emailed to players once their profiles have been fully approved) is also a great resource to help build connections. It can get pretty silly in there at times (just see the Quotes from the IRC thread for proof), but it's a way to get to know other players. If you mention in IRC that you're looking for a thread or story to become a part of, you might just find some takers—provided you have an idea of the motivation or direction for your character, as I discussed above. It's perfectly fine to be "totally open" to ideas, but you need to have a starting point for people to latch onto.
Work on your writing skillsEdit
Being an expert writer is definitely not a prerequisite of the board, but you should be able to express yourself fairly well in the written form. The main reason is that if your posts are difficult to read, you may find it less likely that people want to be in a thread with you.
- Always re-read your posts after you write them. A good tip for proofreading is to read your posts backwards, so you focus more on the words that are actually there instead of what you think you've written.
- Write your posts in a word-processing program first, then copy and paste them into the board form. The reason for doing this is that the boards have been known to eat posts, which is incredibly frustrating when you've just spent an hour crafting one. Also, most word-processing programs have spell-checks built in, so that will help with your proofreading.
- Watch out for the errors that spell-checks won't catch. Things like there, their, and they're used incorrectly, or it's and its, or other words that are technically correct but used improperly.
Make sure your posts are interactiveEdit
The whole point of roleplaying forums is to interact with other characters. To do this, you need to make sure that your posts give other characters something to work with. Whether it's dialogue, or easy-to-follow action, or even just a meaningful glance that encourages a question, interactivity should be your main goal in posting.
You want to give your roleplaying partners something to react to, but too much in a single post can be overwhelming. If at all possible, try to break up your posts into manageable chunks to give your partners a chance to react and to provide you with something to act upon as well. Please refer to this article on Posting Etiquette for additional tips and guidelines.
The most important part about a roleplaying forum is that it's supposed to be fun. We're all here because we love the world of Dragon Age (okay, some of us are a little obsessed) and we want to continue to be a part of Ferelden even after we finished playing the game itself.
As is true for any community, online or otherwise, you will get out Warden's Vigil what you put into it. A little effort goes a very long way!