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Roleplaying Guide

 
We are a high immersion roleplaying kinship. This means we immerse ourselves within the world as our elven characters as realistically as possible (within reason of course). Think of it as method acting for roleplayers. This page is provided as a guide on Elven Roleplay and General RPing to assist in your immersion.
 
No matter how you may roleplay, you may find the information useful as a beginner or a seasoned roleplayer. Those wishing to join this kinship should study this guide and see how closely they fit.
 
The below information was gathered mainly from two websites* and heavily edited to fit our perspective. While it is based on lore as we see it, it should be regarded as a translation into words of the intuitive feel one should have for Tolkien's elves, not biblical gospel with cited chapter and verse displayed. This is OUR interpretation of Tolkien Elves. If you find it disagreeable to your way of RPing an elf, then move on.
 
Finally, this guide is presented as exactly that, a guide. We do not expect every elf to fit this understanding perfectly. 
 
We highly recommend reading Elven Life Cycle & Elven Characteristics from TolkienGateway.net . That website is generally regarded as a lore accurate place to learn.

(Aug. 2019) 


Table of Contents

 

LiL Crest
 
 
 
 

 

Terms used
OOC = Out of Chracter
IC = In Character
RP = Roleplay
RL = Real Life
LiL Crest 

Rolplaying an Elf  

 

  • The single most influential aspect of elves is longevity. Elves are the longest-lived sentient race. This fact molds everything about an Elven character. Imagine living for thousands of years and how that might affect your personality, the people you choose to associate with, your attitude about life, your thoughts on men, hobbits, dwarves, your own kindred.  Elves basically live until they tire of the world choosing to finally sail west to Valinor; or die through violent means where their spirit goes to the Halls of Mandos. In the Third Age (where we currently are) Death means going to Halls of Mandos for a period of recovery and then reincarnating in Valinor with a body created by the Valar.
  • Following the above point, Elves feel time very differently than we do. Legolas once said, "...For the Elves the world moves, and it moves both very swift and very slow. Swift, because they themselves change little, and all else fleets by: it is a grief to them. Slow, because they do not count the running years, not for themselves. The passing seasons are but ripples ever repeated in the long long stream. Yet beneath the Sun all things must wear to an end at last." When RPing we must remember what seems like a long time to us, is rather short for elves. Elves separated from family or friends for a season, should be viewed more like a weekend away. They can be separated for decades, even centuries but feeling it being more like a few months or a year as it would feel to us. It does not diminish their love or affection for their loved ones. Elves have deep bonds with one another. Separation in the form of time, is not as much of a bother to them as it is for us. Ultimately, they will see each other again. If not in Middle-Earth, it will certainly be in Valinor. When RPing time, the easiest way to imagine blocks of time shortened in your mind is to redefine our human words into what an elf may feel about them. Think of a real month of time as a week or even a day in how it might feel to an elf. A year would feel like month. For an elf, a year in feeling to them is actually the "great year" 144 years in our reckoning, referred to in Quenya as a yén. More than one yén are yéni. Do not confuse the elven sense of time as a lack of recognition of the sun rise and sun set of an actual day, or the calendar year. These things exist for them as they do for us, they just feel that passage of time around them differently than us which is the important distinction here.
  • Elves recognize the subtlety and beauty in the changing seasons and count them differently as a result. This might seem counterintuitive to the above statement about time, but remember that elves exist in a different state of being or consciousness than we do and can rejoice in small beautiful things we take for granted, thus for perhaps a moment, slow that feeling of fleeting time. There are 6 elven seasons in a calendar year - ethuil (spring), laer (summer), iavas (autumn), firith (fading), rhîw (winter), echuir (stirring)
  • Elves love all the beauty of nature, the stars, and the sea. These were the first things they saw when they first awoke near the bay of Cuiviénen.
  • Elves are patient. (with perhaps a few Ñoldor exceptions) This patience pervades all aspects of their lives. While there are exceptions, this should be the rule. 
  • "The Elves have their own labours and their own sorrows, and they are little concerned with the ways of hobbits, or of any other creatures upon earth." Elves rarely make close friends with members of the shorter-lived races because they know these folk will live for but a few decades.  This can make them seem distant at times with the mortal races.
  • Elves have a much higher chance of knowing each other than the shorter lived races. Elves have a smaller population compared to other races. They live for ages, and by the end of the 3rd age, they are departing Middle-Earth, thus their numbers dwindle. This means that there is a high likelihood of Elves knowing each other by appearance, or by name, at least in a general passing sense, but not necessarily personally. This is tricky to RP as we try to avoid using OOC information as RPers. However, this can be managed in RP without breaking RP etiquette. An example might be to say something like, "Oh yes, you say you are from Rivendell. That explains it. I thought you looked a little familiar. I spent much time there in my youth." It is not recommended that your character know their name unless you have OOC permission to RP that you do.
  • Elves are often feared and unwelcome in lands not their own, thus it makes little sense for them to risk their lives visiting Bree or Hobbiton and it's another reason why they don't usually make close friendships with the shorter-lived races.
  • Elves are not destructive like other races. They know how long nature takes to repair the damage done by sentient races, and they go out of their way to live in harmony with nature, as opposed to the attempts to control and dominate nature by the other races. For RP inspiration, look to Native Americans and/or the Japanese. Don't take that literally though. We don't mean for you to RP your character like a Native American, just draw aspects from it if you need a RL example to look to. 
  • Elves are difficult to provoke as a general rule. By the end of the 3rd Age, if you're an elf that has lived for a few thousand years already, imagine the vast amount of wisdom and intelligence you'd have about yourself and others from a psychological perspective. The wiser a person gets, the more they realize just exactly how much they have yet to learn. Of course we see some examples of exceptions, sometimes among the Ñoldor, but honestly, do you really think stepping on your toes would be easy to do? Likely not, unless you're a perpetual teenager through the centuries that never seems to grow up. This kind of RP is sometimes noticed with Ñoldor RP and seems to feel like an oversimplified two-dimensional expression of the Ñoldor which does them, and indeed all elves, a disservice. We feel any elf, regardless of which branch, would have a bit more poise after 3 ages. Ego becomes less important. The Eldar, especially those of great age, would be intuitive and empathic enough to see the truth of a situation. Even if someone has done a serious wrong resulting in anger, elves have the luxury of time to settle a grievance and can be just as content watching an enemy die of old age as to confront them. This doesn't mean they aren't swift to react to incoming threats from the Shadow of Mordor though. The above is about interpersonal relations.
  • Elves have keener senses, sight and hearing than Men, are slender, graceful yet strong. Seeing just fine under starlight, one can speculate they can be more nocturnal. Since they are more intune with nature and can sense weather patterns better than most, they make excellent sailors. 
  • Elves are resistant to extremes of nature, illness and disease. They notice temperature less than others but in some circumstance may be subseptible to very severe conditions. With regard to clothing, an elf could easily be comfortable in the same clothing year round but it's perfectly acceptable to dress for the season here.
  • Elves have an insatiable curiosity and a desire of learning and creating. They gather knowledge. It’s what they are best at. They can live for thousands of years before death by violent means or succumbing to weariness and sailing West. With such a long lifespan, there's a kind of never ending practice towards the perfection of a thing, whether it's a work of music, or the crafting of weapons. You can look a little towards Japanese culture here. Again, don't take that literally. We don't mean for you to RP your elf like a Samurai warrior, simply draw from the analogy to assist you in your RP if it helps. 
  • Elves are not snobs and are not racial elitists. They do lament the destructive nature of the shorter-lived races. Of course, there are old grudges that come up from time to time, but as a general rule it isn't about being 'better than' other races.  Look at it from this perpective; Elves tend to have more accumulated knowledge and experience, which can make them seem aloof. They believe that all forms of life are important, and if the shorter-lived races have a serious fault it’s that they don’t share this belief and tend to destroy and manipulate other living creatures, which elves tend to frown upon.
  • Elves marry for love, or at least with free will from both parties, typically early in life. Monogamy is practiced and adultery is unthinkable. By their very nature, they are "seldom swayed by the desires of the body" or influenced by lust. There can be a kind of very light courtly love between elves, but culturally, they are very different from us humans. Sex is synonymous with marriage in elven culture. The draw to procreate is linked to their sexuality. They don't 'date', and since marriage is typically early in life, once two elves do recognize each other, they bond. That's that. Other elves can read that bond in the eyes without words. It's just known and respected. A single elf flirting with a bonded elf, just wouldn't happen. An elven bond is something far deeper than the typical marriages of the other races. Breaking a bond, unlike human divorce, is practically unheard of. Therefore, RPing elven romantic relationships are tricky. It should be approached with extreme caution. If you simply must, make sure it's with someone who is just as keen on sticking to lore as you are and won't change their mind later. Once you make yourselves a known pair (marriage or not), it's very difficult to RP out of without breaching lore to do so. While it's possible to end a relationship that isn't yet a marriage, it's exceeding rare and shouldn't be anything that you do with your character more than once, if ever. Never is really the answer, that's how rare. After marriage, your character is stuck with it. There's no turning back. The safest route is to NOT RP an Elven romantic relationship because we RL humans can be rather fickle compared to elves. If a break up (IC or OOC) happens one or both are faced with some extremely hard choices. Do you retire your character? Quit the game? Rename and RP you both went to Valinor together to live 'happily ever after' to bring lore friendly closure to it? Etc. It gets very messy and often times causes RL hurt feelings. This kind of RP takes a pair of very good friends or RL married couple to pull off with success. Both players need to be in full understanding that you can't just get upset one day and end it, or find a shiny new RP friend and enter a new RP romance. Elves don't do that. It takes a serious lore minded pair to make it successful. Being immortal, elves basically bond for eternity. Period. 
  • Elves have children always by choice, never by accident. Married elves simply decide that their union will produce a child. You can sort of think of it as an Elven spiritual experience where they not only join physically but also through will, and intent, manifest pregnancy. So there's never going to be any human soap opera style baby drama in elven RP. Because children are a choice, elves will often delay having children in times of war. "A sundering during pregnancy or during the early years of parenthood, such as by war, would be so grievous to the couple, and hurtful to the child, that they prefer to have children in peaceful times." When they do decide to bring children into the world, elves typically have fewer than four. Parenthood is a deeply cherished time in their lives. Once a couple has all the children they wish to have, the desire to procreate wanes and is replaced by more personal goals. Because elves can live for thousands of years, it's not unusual for families to be separated by distance for long stretches of time, like decades or even centuries. But that doesn't mean the love is any less. Elves tend towards close family bonds. Thus, RPing being the child of another character, or being the parent of one, or even siblings, is almost as important a decision as the above choice to have a romantic relationship. It's not quite as tragic if your RP mate goes MIA from the game in this kind of RP, but still, it's inconvenient to say the least. If you've got a particularly deep story-line you both have been playing out in-game, then suddenly you lose your RPing friend for what ever reason, it may force you to have to come up with an IC reason for their absence. Doing that can be tricky if they are not around to ask what's okay to RP about them being gone. So approach this kind of RP with caution.

For a more detailed account of the Elven Life Cycle we highly recommend you visit http://tolkiengateway.net/wiki/Elven_Life_cycle.

Final note on roleplaying an elf.

It should be obvious by now, if you read all the above, that elves are not like us humans. That's what makes RPing an elf in Middle-Earth a wonderful and challenging experience. If you want to RP being an elf, set aside your human expectations. Elves are different. The people who truly RP elves best have an instinctual understanding of the above guide and know how to add a personal touch to it without crossing human lines. That doesn't mean that if you're new to it, you won't pick it up and do it well. There are natural elven RPers out there just waiting to pop into existence. If you're drawn to it, heed the call. We encourage it. The best way to learn is by doing. Study others, read this guide, ask questions, practice, learn, and repeat. It's fun and different. You'll find it mentally stimulating to think outside your human existence and imagine being in the skin of an immortal being. You certainly won't find the people who RP elves like the above guide at the Prancing Pony. There's a distinct difference between just saying you're an elf, and actually understanding what it means to RP one.

 
 

General Rolplaying 

(sometimes from an elven perspective)
 
  • Show courtesy in all aspects of your RP participation. From entering to exiting, be mindful of the perception of others. Barging into an established scene of RP would likely be considered rude. So unless you're trying to warn everyone about impending doom, be polite about how you enter a scene of RPers. Find an IC reason to interact and go with it. Example: "Pardon my interruption. I've only just arrived and I am unfamiliar with your city. Could you direct me to the library?" The same courtesy applies to leaving. If you need to leave the game to attend to RL matters, make a polite exit out of the RP. Don't just vanish. Yes, it takes a little more time, but plan for that. Vanishing out of RP is jarring for everyone involved and makes it appear as though you care more about your own convenience than those around you. Show courtesy and take another min or two to bow out of the RP gracefully. You can do this a number of ways. Example: "Forgive the interruption of such an engaging discussion, but I'm to meet my brother this evening to discuss our upcoming journey to Rivendell. I must take my leave. Please excuse me...." That's all it takes to leave gracefully.
  • While typing in /say , stay IC at all times. Do not drop to OOC unless you must. If you need to say something OOC, use /tell, /f or /k channels. If you must say something OOC in /say because not everyone is in your fellowship or kinship, then use parenthesis, such as /say ((This is my OOC comment.)).  Using the /say (( )) method should be RARE and only used when absolutely needed. Keep it short. No long explaination needed if you need a bio break, just type /say ((AFK)). You don't want to encourage additional OOC remarks in /say by being detailed in your OOC comment.  
  • Whispering in RP - If you really only want a single player to hear a RP comment, then whisper using /tell like this: /tell <playername> *leans over to you and whispers* I think we should leave. You can also do this in /say but remember that anyone that is within range can see the comment. If that's what you want, then play it that way. 
  • For Elves, all /say conversation within elven lands is assumed to be Sindarin (elven language) unless otherwise noted. Please denote other languages such as [W] Westron, [Q] Quenya, [K] Khuzdul etc, if your character is speaking something other than Sindarin. Example:/say [Q] May the light of the Valar guide you, if your character decideds to speak in Quenya.  Not every character speaks or understands every language and shouldn't. Sometimes this makes RP interesting. If you're going to use real Sindarin from time to time, it is customary to include translation for those who many not know. Example: /say Gannadog vae ([S]You play the harp well) Commonly used words may not require this, such as Mae g'ovannen, as a greeting or Quenya farewell, Namárië.
  • Emotes in RP add depth when simply saying something isn't enough. Emotes should describe what someone may notice about you. Stick with observable actions and facial expressions and avoid describing thoughts. We wouldn't know what you're thinking. For instance "Caldilion sets his cup upon the table and wonders if the lady will notice him." We really wouldn't know what Caldilion is wondering about. We can't read his mind. In this case it would have been better to emote, "Caldilion questioningly glances at the lady as he sets his cup upon the table." This statement more accurately puts what the observer would be able to notice. Furthermore, long detailed emotes may be too much as well. If everyone is reading 10 lines of text every-time you emote, you may want to edit yourself a bit. Use your writing skills to put succinctly what you're trying to convey. Example: "Caldilion wonders if the lady will ever notice him as he sets his empty cup upon the table. The weary Gondorian soldier averts his eyes from the lady, staring at his empty cup. He seems quite distant and unable speak as his thoughts shift to the recent battle, still fresh on his mind. So many orcs... so many dead. How will he ever rid himself of the things he's seen? He knows he won't. He shuts his eyes hard and buries his face in his hands. The screams of the dead echo in his ears. It feels like madness might over-take him. He needs another drink drown out the noise, but his cup is still empty..."... ETC ETC ETC. There's a great deal of artistic detail here, but very little of it can be responded to by other observing RPers. Most of it is happening in Caldilion's head and as previously mentioned, we can't know what he's thinking. RP is about action and reaction. In this case all we can respond to is how disturbed the character might appear, or how his cup is empty. These are things which can be noticed. The best way to have gone about this is to emote what other RPers, the observers, would be able to notice. Example: "Caldilion questioningly glances at the lady as he sets his empty cup upon the table. The Gondorian soldier appears disturbed as he buries his face in his hands." Yes, it's short, but it is exactly what anyone watching him would be able to observe. If you want to get into what the character thinks and feels, convey these things in /say when someone asks him. So, if a RPer reads your short emote about appearing disturbed, it gives them the opportunity to ask, "Lord Caldilion, you seem distressed, is there anything I can do to help?" Shorter emotes that stick to what can be observed actually opens more RP opportunity. It invites characters to ask questions and create a dialog, which is what RP is all about. Shorter is better, always. It keeps things moving.
  • Never use OOC information IC in any way. The best example I can give is just because you can see someone’s name hanging over their head in the game, your character wouldn’t know that character’s name unless someone had told you IC while roleplaying. Another example would be if you read their character background on Laurelin Archives and knew specifics about their history. Your own character would not know this information unless the other character tells you their life story while roleplaying.   
  • Stay within the Middle-Earth genre. I know it can be hard to do when we so easily speak to each other with modern phrases and expressions, but avoid slang and colloquialisms. Legolas would not say, "Hey, any1 want 2 nuke some orcs!"  Likewise, music, songs, and poetry, should also stay within genre.  Galadriel would not bring out a harp and start singing Shania Twain's "Man, I Feel Like a Woman". Modern music and lyrics have no place in Middle-earth. Lastly, modern concepts that include social political issues, don't belong in Middle-earth. There are no tories, terrorists, discrimination laws, modern religions, peanut allergies, rights activists, etc... in Middle-earth. If Tolkien didn't write about it, it's best to leave it out of your RP. 
  • Never assume someone will react in a certain way just because you think they should. Always give others the chance to react in their own way, and don’t get upset if the reaction isn’t what you expected.
  • Any action you perform on someone else’s character, no matter what the action might be, should be phrased as an attempt. By making an attempt instead of just doing it outright, you give the character’s player the chance to consent to the action or avoid it if it’s something they’d rather not have happen to their character. Example: /em Lindewen panics and attempts to grab the wine glass from Gangien before she can drink from it. This allows Gangien the choice to allow the action or not.
  • Be considerate of the role-playing mood of others. If you come into a situation where other characters are already engaged in some RP, don’t just leap in with a radically different mood unless you get permission (Either IC or OOC, depending on the situation and whether you have any way to contact them OOC). As an example...say there is a couple sitting at a table discussing a recently deceased character and you jump in acting like a court jester and spill their drinks in their laps while telling bad jokes. You aren’t going to make friends like this if your actions offend the players behind the characters.  
  • Furthermore, inserting your character into someone else's long story-line, that wasn't there before, and forcing your idea of RP drama into it without consent is rude and presumptuous. Casually participating is likely okay, but if you've got a 'plot twist' in mind, your RP surprise may be wrecking hours of work done by other players and no one is going to appreciate that. The best way to get involved in a juicy story-line you've discovered is to get OOC permission first from EVERYONE that may be affected. Ask, "Is it okay if I get involved? I've got some ideas. How can I be apart of this story?" If everyone agrees to a way to include you, STICK to the AGREEMENT. Sticking to the agreement means just that. Thus, don't think you're being clever by changing things to suite your hidden agenda that wasn't agreed to just because you think you're being artistically creative. You're not. You're being an arse, and it won't win you any RPing academy awards. Remember that your version of RP fun, may not be someone else's. It's best to play it safe with RESPECT to everyone. Get OOC consent from everyone involved and behave with integrity and honour when an OOC agreement is made on a RP story thread.
  • Don’t try to be the center of attention all the time. Grand displays and fits of overplayed drama get old fast. Be polite and share attention with other characters. In fact, if you downplay your character or cater to the others around you instead of seeking attention, the chances that other players will ask you questions about your character will happen more often. There's a little reverse psychology there. Give it time if it doesn't happen right away. Consider that in larger groups there's a lot of chat to read and respond to. Don't take it personally if you don't get acknowledged. Just be consistent, mature, gracefully elven, and keep at it. Remember, you aren’t the only one there to have fun, give everyone their turn in the spotlight. Constantly trying to be the center of attention will result in players ignoring you after a while. 
  • Give others time to react to you. One of the strangest things noticed in MMORPGs is when people will walk up, say something, wait about 0.0001 seconds and run off. The person they talked to would barely have had enough time to read what they said, let alone respond to it. This also happens in conversations. People will say something, wait a very short amount of time, then keep going as if they think the person they were talking to didn’t hear them or isn’t going to respond. In most cases, the other person was going to respond but simply wasn’t as fast as expected, and loses the chance because the conversation has moved on without them. There’s no need to hurry so much, just relax and enjoy the interaction. As with the above, in larger groups, the RPing chat and emotes can get overwhelming and things can be missed unintentionally. Don't rush your RP. Read, react and wait with patience for a response. Depending on the other player, it might be a few minutes.
  • Avoid god-like abilities for your characters. Also avoid trying to be the oldest elf in existence with encyclopedic knowledge, grand magical gifts, and 15 titles because you know every cannon character on a first name basis. RPing isn’t about who can make up the most powerful well-connected characters, it’s about the personalities of the characters. Any character that is ridiculously powerful or has a perfect personality is going to be fairly boring to RP with and will end up being mostly ignored by others. 
  • Be considerate with your /emotes. The developers were not friends to the Elves here. For instance, if your emote includes really obnoxious sounds, like /eat (smack smack smack smack)  Please don't do it repeatedly! Would an elf eat like that with all that noise? Hell no. Once is more than enough to indicate you're eating, and in fact, just typing /em Focuron is eating is far better. Some emotes just aren't very 'Elven'. Really look at them before you use them and ask yourself if an elf would really do that.
  • Stay realistic in your RP with regard to travel. We know this may be sticky topic for some who just want to port around Middle-Earth, but really, ask yourself how realistic would it be for you to be in Duillond one week then Lothlorien the next? That's a very long and dangerous journey no matter how FANTASTIC you made your character. In this kinship we take a realistic view of travel and the dangers abroad. We actually take our characters out of play for a time if we're on a long journey. If it takes several weeks, then, it might be several RL weeks that the character is gone. Or we actually take the journey walking across Middle-earth for the approximate time it would take to get there. An example of this is when we travel from Duillond to Rivendell for our winter trip. For those outside our kinship that aren't as ridgid in this regard but may be looking for an alternative to our method but still wishes to attempt to make it realistic, we suggest RPing the timeframe in your IC /say chat. Talk about how long it was and how dangerous the journey. Wow... it was hard and the journey took several weeks, but you made it. That will be for more believable than casually talking about your latest trip to Lothlorien, or Rivendell, like you took a flight there, hung out for a few days and then returned on the same plane (or eagle) back to Duillond all in the space of week... ermm no. Not believeable at all.
  • With regard to pets, just keep them put away when RPing unless you need them out for a RP purpose. Pets are a distraction, get in the way, and often make distracting noises. 
  • Share your knowledge of Middle-Earth constructively. Remember that not everyone knows every detail of lore/dates/names/language - thus, bombastic lore police are frowned upon. Players that regularly 'correct' others eventually get themselves ostracized as being "that guy". If you're extremely knowledgeable about the lore, share that knowledge in a way that is constructive, not rude, argumentative, challenging or pointedly questioning in your RP chat. Otherwise, it just comes agross as being arrogant. Gentle nudges are fine, but ultimately strive to simply enjoy being with other RPers who share similar passions as you, not pretentiously trying to show off how much more you know than other people. It's annoying and scares off new roleplayers who are trying to learn. Show that you truly have the grace of the Eldar and let the little things go
  • It is generally considered rude to just up and attack someone out of the blue. If you and your TARGET are not part of some planned combat event, get OOC consent from the player before you attack their character (This can be done IC if you make your meaning clear enough and you can't contact the other players OOC). If there’s no good way to get this permission, at least give them plenty of IC warning that you might attack, and if they seem to approve IC, then go ahead. If they don’t seem willing to fight, or you can’t tell one way or another, it would be best not to attack them to avoid OOC troubles. 
  • Never include someone else’s character in a written story that didn’t actually happen exactly as it was RPed without letting that character’s player proofread and approve the story before you post it. Really, it's a good rule to follow to always let the players involved, proofread so that they can have input regardless, but especially if you're changing something that didn't actually happen the way it was RPed. 
  • When writing up a story about combat that happened in-game, don’t be literal. Gaming engines are not known for playing out duels and the like in a RP accurate way, use good judgement and consult OOC with the players involved before making your story public. 
  • Over all, the best rule to follow is to only perform IC actions that affect your own character. Anything that would affect another player's character should be avoided unless you and the other player discuss the matter OOC. 
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*This guide was inspired by:
http://www.grey-company.org/TelRuid/rp/playing.html (This site has been down since about the end of Jan 2018)
Also information from: