One of the most fun and beautiful aspects of Second Life is the ability to be whomever and/or whatever you want. Many people choose to be close to their own looks and identities (and this is totally fine) while others opt to adopt totally different personas, different genders and even different species (think furry animals).
To give your time on Second Life more direction and the ability to meet others, consider getting in on some fun (and sometimes kinky) roleplaying.
What is roleplaying?
Roleplaying is creating a character and acting out that character within the structure of a roleplaying environment with others who are also acting out within that environment. It’s very similar to when you played cowboys and robbers as a child – everyone adopting a different role – but this is within the confines of various sims (the different worlds/locations) in Second Life.
During roleplaying, you interact with other people/characters within the world, keeping true to your character’s role within the scenario.
For example, if you were roleplaying as a criminal, you’d want to stay true to the actions and dialogue of what a criminal would do and say. This is called staying in character (IC). If you need to break character, such as to let others know you’ll be right back (brb), you’d let them know that you’re out of character (OOC) usually with double parentheses within the chat: ((brb)).
It’s important not to get personally offended when roleplaying. Think of yourself as an actor in a movie. It’s not personal. It’s roleplaying.
Also, it’s important not to break character while roleplaying. It pulls others out of the roleplaying bubble. Try not to break the illusion.
In this same vein, do not interrupt scenes in play with out of character dialogue and/or comments. This is considered super rude and pulls others out of their roleplaying. It can even get you ejected and/or banned.
You’ll start by deciding what type of character you want to play. Often this is dictated by whichever sim/environment you want to play in. They often have predetermined characters/roles for you to choose from.
For example, a BDSM location would have the available roles as submissive, slave, Dominant or Domme.
Some people adopt a character that they play throughout various sims/locations while others may tailor their characters to the specific sims/locations they’re playing in. The choice is yours.
Most sims (locations) have groups that you’ll want to join to keep updated on the group’s events and notices. You may also need to join the group in order to participate in the sim’s roleplaying. The owner of the sim may also give you a title/role that will show over your head once they’re familiar with you. Sometimes you’ll start out with a guest or OOC tag to show you’re visiting and not part of the roleplaying yet. This can be a great way to check out a sim before committing to be part of it.
Most sims (locations) have their own set of rules. These are typically available at the landing spot and are often times handed to you as you land.
Take a moment to review the rules to ensure the best experience for everyone. You may be ejected and/or banned if you fail to follow their rules.
These rules will not only include how to act and interact while on the sim but may also include how to dress while on the sim. Clothing can be a very important part of the roleplaying illusion and you will want to ensure that you’re in alignment with the sim you’re on. You may get warned or even kicked off if you’re not. Again, it’s about not ruining the illusion for others. Plus it’s a lot of fun to get dressed up!
Also, check out other people’s profiles for their specific rules and/or limits prior to engaging with them.
Some roleplaying sims include combat. Since I haven’t played in any combat scenarios (it’s not my thing), my knowledge here is limited. But you’ll usually need weapons (that you’ll buy elsewhere) along with meters that are usually offered on-site for free. The sim’s rules and documents at the landing location should outline how combat works on their sim.
Dialogue is essential to roleplaying. Most roleplaying groups prefer that you keep all dialogue and emoting (explained below) in nearby chat so everyone can engage in it, similar to being at a party. But for more intimate interactions, you may want to IM with people directly, as if you pulled the off to the side to chat.
Use dialogue to progress the storyline/roleplaying as well as interact with others. Don’t overthink it. Have fun!
– To whisper, which decreases the range you’ll be heard in nearby chat, type /whisper prior to your dialogue.
– To shout, which increases the range you’ll be heard in nearby chat, type /shout prior to your dialogue.
Emoting is showing actions as a way to progress the roleplaying storyline since the avatars aren’t all that expressive. (Although you can use animations, etc., to enhance roleplaying but most people rely on emoting.) This is usually done in local chat, especially if your scene involves more than one person. But for more intimate interactions, especially in a busy location, you may want to have your interactions (discussion and emoting) in IMs.
To emote, start by typing /me. This will show up as “Your Name whatever you’re doing” vs. “Your Name: whatever you’re doing.” Some people have emotes set to be italicized (available to change in preferences) so by using /me, it will show up italicized for them.
WHAT TO EMOTE
Emote actions – what others can see, such as waving, smiling, crying, pouting, taking someone’s hand, leaning in to whisper in someone’s ear, etc. Things people can see you doing but can’t actually see because avatars don’t have that capability. Emoting helps to fill in the gaps and makes the interactions more realistic and interesting.
Feel free to put emotions into them, such as “smiled shyly,” but be careful not to express your inner most thoughts. People in real life can’t read your mind and they shouldn’t be able to in Second Life either. If you want to share your thoughts, it’ll be best to express them in chat as dialogue.
This will depend on the environment you’re in. Some groups appreciate long more complicated emotes (like in depth story telling) while others like to keep things simple and straight to the point. Once you’re engaging with others in a particular group, you’ll soon learn their preferences.
But be sure that your emotes add to the overall experience and help to show others what you’re doing and what’s happening. Give them something they can build on and respond back to.
WHAT NOT TO EMOTE
WHAT OTHERS ARE DOING OR THINKING
This is called God Modding and people really don’t like this. This is when you emote what others are doing or thinking which can be challenging not to do in some scenarios. Be super mindful of this and let others emote what they’re doing regardless of how badly you want to do it.
An example of this would be “/me leans in to kiss him and he held my face, staring into my eyes, before leaning in to capture my mouth.” This emote should have read “/me leans in to kiss him” and let him fill in his actions in response to it.
Metagaming is when you use knowledge that’s not available to your character during roleplaying. This would include commenting about things you know about the other character that you didn’t learn organically through roleplaying, such as their name or motives.
Where to Roleplay
Even though Second Life has quieted down over the past several years, there are still some really great places to roleplay. Click here to see the latest that Second Life has to offer on their website. I’m also in the process of putting together my own kinky list which I’ll share with you here.