An earnest-looking person of indeterminate gender strolls into the classroom. They take up a position at the lectern and clear their throat nervously -- is this the teacher?
"Ah, hello. I'm Morgan, and this is Freeform Roleplaying 101. Now, this is actually an example of roleplaying in progress--" Morgan points to the first paragraph above, which has magically appeared on a chalkboard. "See here, where I walked in, that's what we call third person present tense narration. Third person narration is the standard for freeform RP."
"That means you write about your character as if you were observing them, using their name, and pronouns like 'he' or 'she.' Present tense just means you write about this character as if things are currently happening -- 'Morgan walks,' instead of 'Morgan walked.' Everyone with me so far?" Morgan looks around. Of course, nobody's paying much attention.
"...right. Anyway, you can also use dialog in freeform RP, which of course I'm doing a lot of, here. You should put quotation marks around your dialog, and use a tag like 'Morgan says' occasionally, to remind the other players who's talking."
"Now, I'll need a volunteer from the class for the next section," says Morgan.
"I guess that would be me," says Ariadne, with bit of a sour expression otherwise lovely face.
"Perfect!" says Morgan. And with that, the androgynous instructor draws a sword from nowhere, and decapitates Ariadne. The half-elf now wears an expression of dismay, as her head rolls to a stop near Morgan's feet.
"Hey! No it doesn't!" says Ariadne.
"Correct!" says Morgan, and beams at Ariadne. "But can you tell me why?"
Ariadne rolls her eyes. "It's powergaming. You didn't just say what you did, you controlled what happened to me. And I like my head where it is, thank you very much."
"Exactly. Now, let's try this again."
In a single, improbably fluid motion, Morgan draws a sword from nowhere. Grinning, the instructor advances on Ariadne.
OOC: See, this way I give her a chance to decide how she's going to respond. This is an "OOC" comment, by the way, which stands for "Out of Character." Right now I'm playing myself, so that might be a little confusing, but hopefully it will become clear in a moment...
Ariadne draws her own blade -- a wicked-looking curved dagger, but clearly no match for a sword -- and backs away warily.
OOC: Ariadne can't take you in a fight, but I'm not going to let you kill her... and she'll do her best to make your life miserable if you beat her!
Morgan pauses to lecture again. "See, that's great -- see that OOC comment? Ariadne's player talks about her in the third person, then says "I won't let you kill her off." That's because you're not allowed to do anything to a character without their players' consent -- so even if I do this," and suddenly her sword is at Ariadne's throat "--and she has no plausible way to escape, I can't say I cut her throat, if her player doesn't want me to."
The sword vanishes, and Morgan smiles. "You're excused, thank you."
Ariadne grumbles, more or less OOC at this point herself: "What makes you think you're fast enough to put a sword to my throat without me doing anything to stop you?"
"Well, that's a good point," says Morgan. "It's difficult to know where the line between powergaming and just playing your character's skills should lie. But there's a simple way around it -- here, try it on me."
Ariadne grins, and in a flash, her curved dagger is at Morgan's throat.
Morgan moves as Ariadne approaches, drawing the sword from nowhere again, and the dagger is met with the clang of steel on steel. "See? I take what you intended to do, but change things halfway through. That's only if someone posted something that you strongly feel shouldn't happen, though -- otherwise it's usually more fun and interesting to roll with the punches."
Morgan waves a hand, and both sword and dagger disappear. "Ahh, powergaming. Of course, that's technically allowed, because Ariadne is my character. But normally you should treat other people's stuff with a similar respect to their character. Don't burn my tavern down, for example -- although you're welcome to try setting it on fire. If you want to get thrown out."
"Another time when powergaming is allowed, is if you negotiate it in advance."
OOC: Hey, Ariadne, can I knock you out? I promise it'll be the last demonstration.
Ariadne looks extremely displeased by the disappearance of her knife. "You'd better be planning to give that back."
OOC: Oh, fine. But seriously, I expect to have that dagger back!
OOC: Double post, ignore this.
Morgan grins -- and punches Ariadne in the face, knocking her out cold.
"Now, you might be asking why you'd cooperate with something like that...well, roleplaying is usually more interesting if the players open to the possibility that their character isn't biggest, baddest bad-ass in the bar. Otherwise it tends to be a lot of posturing and blocked attacks, because nobody wants to get hit."
Morgan looks at Ariadne regretfully. "I did promise no more demonstrations." Morgan waves a hand, and the half-elf's unconscious body fades from view, presumably back into the subconscious mind from which it originally formed...
"So, that's freeform roleplaying in a nutshell... does anyone have any questions?" Morgan looks around hopefully.
A gruff looking man, who obviously has been up to some late night drinking stands up and mumbles;
"Do characters need to have or be any thing in specific or could you be a beer bottle if you really wanted to?"
Morgan looks pleased to have an interested student, however inebriated.
"Yes, of course you could have a-- I'm sorry, did you say be a beer bottle?" Morgan looks momentarily flummoxed. "Er, well, yes, I suppose if you really wanted to, you could be a beer bottle. Now, other people might have other rules about their own settings, but the Tavern Between the Worlds is specifically intended to be as open as possible about character backgrounds. Which I suppose might include, ah, beer bottles. Um... are you planning to be a talking beer bottle?"
The gruff man looks pleased with himself, as he seems to have confused the gender neutral teacher named Morgan with his bizarre but quite important question, however he responds by asking "Could you be a never-ending beer bottle?" and in his drunken state laugh happily and slips up and says his diabolical drunken plot;
"Heh if i could do dat, HMMM I could play another drunkard and drink fovers.r,mmmmm."
and thus the gruff man passes out on the floor and starts to snore loudly.
"...walked right into that one, didn't I?" Morgan looks amused... though less so when it becomes apparent that the drunkard isn't going anywhere. "Figures. At this rate I'll have to borrow a bouncer from the tavern."
An attentive male student in the front raises his hand saying, "If you say your name is Morgan are we allowed to assume your a she?" With a thinking face adds, "Also would the fact you saying nobody is paying attention be a form of power gaming? Since my character is in here?"
OOC: Thanks for making this thread hopefully someone will eventually form an RPG of this type of the site.
"Yes, it kind of was, wasn't it? Powergaming definitely isn't a black-and-white thing, and it's easy to slip up a little." Morgan grins. "And you're allowed to assume whatever you'd like."
OOC: Psst, over here: http://chooseyourstory.com/forums/forum-games/message/8039
"Also is there a size minimum on posts?" ask the student thoughtful. "Like is for an example" then consternating hard images a man who looks like a cross between a bear and human.
The beast man says"ME HUNGRY! RAWR!"
the student finishing asking "Is an acceptable post?"
OOC: To clarify the post would be The beast man .......RAWR!!
"No, there's no minimum -- or maximum -- but for best results, you'll probably want to put a bit more effort in. Still, I'd rather see something like that, than someone going on for paragraphs without letting anyone else get a word in edgewise."