♥ 𝕯𝖊𝖛𝖊𝖑𝖔𝖕𝖎𝖓𝖌 𝕿𝖗𝖚𝖊 𝕽𝖔𝖒𝖆𝖓𝖈𝖊 ♥
Ahh love, such a wonderful thing. Two people meet, it's love at first sight, and they live happily ever after. Riiiiggghhhttt.... It is never that simple, or at least it shouldn't be. One of the biggest complaints I get behind the scenes from a high percentage of the Rpers I have known over the years has to do with Role Play Romance. They either figure out way too late that their characters are not compatible, that they moved to fast and now the romance is dull and uninteresting, that it has become the entire Rp and other things of importance are falling out of perspective, or even that they just cannot work with the Rper they shipped their character with.
Romance is one of the greatest things in an RP, but it is also one of the worst Rped situations out there. Why? Because people are not thinking. I know, love isn't supposed to involve the head, it is all about the heart. Thing is, that is true. For your character. It shouldn't be true for the Rper behind the scenes. You really have to actually think out a romance before it begins. If you don't well then it is bound to fall apart, get you stuck, or even be willing to kill off your character just so you can get the hell away from someone. I have seen all this and more behind the scenes as people message me on how to get out of an RP romance.
So here I am going to walk you through developing a true romance in RP. One that fits, that works, that keeps going and holds interest. Not only that I am going to help you progress properly through building romance and even how to get out of it if shit hits the fan and you just don't want to deal with it anymore. If you want a good romance that is an enjoyable read and adventure then you have to plan and take steps. Love might be able to happen at first sight but true romance takes work. Shall we begin? Let's.
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Now, the sad fact of the matter is that most romances begin because of Shippers. Sorry guys, you might be fun for a time in chat but when it comes to true romance you sink more ships than you create. So as much fun as it might be to ship in chat, please never and I repeat never let it be the beginning of a romance in actual RP. Chances will be that it doesn't work. Sure you might be able to Rp it out but when you start looking at it, it really doesn't. It will be one of those couples others poke fun at behind the scenes and others will start avoiding getting into romance with you over in the future.
Think that doesn't happen? Trust me it does. You don't want to know how many PC's or NPC's of my own I have 'sacrificed' for the sake of another RPer to get them away from a Shipper. I can think of over a dozen in the last year alone. You never want to be that Rper where when the romance fails or your character dies that someone is cheering behind the scenes because now they don't have to deal with you anymore. Bad Romance causes this more than anything.
Now to start building a true romance you are going to want to plan things out. There are certain check points you are going to want to reference to make sure this is going to be more than just a simple Ship. Ships usually begin because someone see's a face claim and they fall in lust with the idea of having their character getting together with that hunk of a character. As with real life, this rarely works out well for anyone.
Below I am going to take you through a process which I use in part or whole depending on who I am wanting to form an RP Romance Partnership with.
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The Check Points
There are check points you are going to want to look at while planning or going through a character coupling. If you take the time to look and think about these things, talk them out with an Rper, you can actually get a lot done behind the scenes and still keep it believable in the RP itself. If your go through each of these check points you have a much higher chance of a True Romance success instead of a Sunken Ship and even if it fails it can end up being fufilling and a complete story.
- Does it work for me?
- Does it work for my Rp Partner?
- Is it plausible?
- The First 'Moment'
- Building Suspense
- The First 'Admission'
- Making It Last
- When To Walk Away
Yeah, that seems like a lot but with anything in life the best things come from those that took the most work. Romance, in and out of RP, should be taken slowly and given time to blossom. We aren't talking smut, we are talking Romance. There is a difference even if either can grow out of the other. I go through these with each romance I let a character of mine get involved with, some before the romance begins and some during. We will address each of these below.
Does It Work For Me?
The first thing you really need to address is if those whole romance thing works for you. If it can't work for you then chances are it won't work for another. If you are the one first thinking of an Rp Coupling, then you need to go through these before you even talk to the other Rper. If someone is coming to you, then you need to go through these things on your own before you reply back. Looking at things before you get into discussions is the best way to work out things in your own mind before anyone can influence you. This is especially important if you are the type of person that follows instead of leading.
When thinking about an RP Romance you will want to go through what I call the Nine Sacred Passions and they are as follows:
The Nine Sacred Passions:
- Thinking Logically
- Psychological Compatibility
- Sexual Preferences
- Type Of Romance
- Common Grounds
- Romance Goals
- Type Of RP
Each one of these I look at before I even begin to think about something real in RP or discuss with another Rper. If I cannot check each of these off before I talk to another Rper chances are I won't even think about having an RP Romance with their character. If I can, then I can go to the next step. Now each of these are important for their own reasons and we will look at those below.
Thinking Logically: Above anything else, are you thinking logically? You personally, not your character. Is this just a whim, something you cooked up in your head? Are you just trying to ship something because you are desperate? If you aren't, then you need to start doing that before you continue. Sure a whim can lead to more but if you don't check your own emotions before you begin it is going to lead to something horrible. The biggest of which is that you will become emotionally attached to an RPer because of your character romance. This is bad and can sink not only a ship but an entire Rp and friendships. Do NOT let that happen!
Psychological Compatibility: Can these two characters really work together? Sure opposites attract but they will have certain things that they are compatible on. The biggest is their own personal psychology. If they are too different in the way their minds work it just doesn't work logically to the reader. Now, the same can be said for couples that are too much alike. If two people are the silent type well then no one is ever going to say anything and it will just die before it begins. You will want to find a character that balances your own. If looking and comparing your characters CS with theirs it looks to work without you making an excuse or justification in a very specific circumstance you are on the right track. If not, move on to another.
Sexual Preferences: Now, when you make your character make their sexual preference from birth even if the character isn't sure yet. This will give you something to build from. Now look at the other characters sexual preference. It you are heterosexual and they are homosexual you are going to be very limited but that doesn't mean Romance cannot happen. It just means sex is off the table. Yes, romance can build between opposing sexual preferences, in fact one of my favorite Rp Couplings is between a Heterosexual Male character of mine and a Homosexual Female character of another Rpers. But you have to think about the sexual preferences before hand.
Type Of Romance: Okay going off the sexual preferences will help you with this one. What type of romance can build between these two and just what do you think will work? There are four main types of Romance:
- Vacant Love: Where you are just just wanting companionship for the characters. This can work for a lot of romantic situations and is a lot of fun because sex isn't expected. It is especially good for those that are leery of more heated writing.
- Infatuation: Where there isn't true love but just a passing thing. This is usually best for hot and heavy 1x1's behind the scenes. It accounts for an initial want but nothing long term.
- Real Love: This is for the romantics in the group and will encompass everything from initial attraction to falling in love to building a long term relationship in RP. These are the most complex to pull off in Rp.
- Desolate Love: This is can be either Tragedy or Unrequited. This works great is you just want to either have something one sided you don't need an RPer to actually fall into with you or to bring about the end of a romance for whatever reason you need to fulfill. This is also good for those that are Sexual Preference Incompatible.
Common Grounds: You have gone through the above, now keep going. What do your characters have in common? Do they like the same things? Have the same habits or hobbies? If they have a few base things in common it gives you an in, an ice breaker, a reason for them to talk. Even if it is them hating the same things or fearing the same things.
Differences: Now, as long as the characters are not different in everything, have some differences is actually a good thing. It helps bring balance to not only the characters but the relationship. This could be things they debate over, or even fight over. The differences are important because bring depth to a True Romance. Remember part of True Romance is working through the differences and still hanging on to the story and love that is building.
Backgrounds: Now in truth it doesn't matter if your characters have the same background but knowing each others background story will give you a lot to work with. What about their pasts can they use in the Rp to build a life together? What obstacles will stand in their way that they will have to overcome? Each characters past will play a large role in their future. Use this!
Romance Goals: What exactly is your goal? Do you want that happily ever after? Triumph over Tragedy? Want to totally crush your character? Doesn't matter what your Romance Goal is, just that you have one. If you have a goal then you have something beyond just the shipping to work towards. Having a goal gives you a light at the end of the tunnel.
Type Of RP: Now this is usually really looked over but the type of Rp you are in can really make a difference in whether or not a romance will work. If you are in high school slice of life, please hang up the happily ever after love at first sight thing. Ugh, it is so over played and tedious. Focus on more a puppy love, an infatuation where you are going to be okay with an Rper dropping you like yesterdays trash for something new and shiny. Make sure the romance fits for what your characters are going to be dealing with on a day to day basis.
If you can go through each of the Nine Sacred Passions and check off at least 6 of them you have a good start. If you can't check off that many, you might want to rethink things. Not to say it can't work but your chances of success are much lower. If you have checked off ALL of them, chances are you are lying to yourself, go back and double check before moving on.
Does It Work For My Rp Partner?
Okay, you have gone through the above list and you are pretty sure this could be a good thing. Now to check with the Rper who will be running the other character. If it doesn't work for them then you are pretty much S.O.L. Too bad. Don't guilt them or try to convince them it can. Forced Romance should never be a thing, in or out of RP. When someone says no, it means no. Not try to convince me. Let's not play that game.
When you talk to the Rper, do NOT tell them why you think it will work. Simply let them know you would like to try for a romance with their character and send them the Nine Sacred Passions check list. Now you don't have to do this but do try to ask them to at least look at both character sheets and see if it is something they want to try for. If they say yes without thinking, then ask them to go back and think on it. You don't want them to start something and then back out because it didn't work just because they didn't think about it. If they aren't willing to look things over, chances are they won't be in it for the long haul and if you are looking for something like a True Romance then you need an Rp Partner that isn't flippant.
Also ask yourself just how dependable of an Rper is this person. If they are known for flaking out you might want to rethink asking even if you want something that you think will work. Perhaps you should just go with Desolate Love set up and not worry about it. It might pay out better in the long run for you that way.
If someone is coming to you that wants to do an Rp romance, feel free to look over the Nine Sacred Passions yourself and then if it works for you ask them if they have done any actual thought on this. Don't take no for an answer and for the love of god never trust a fast yes. Get some information from them first once you have made up your mind. Not before. Unbiased gut feelings on something are usually always the best.
Now if this works for both of you, then go onto the next step.
Is It Plausible?
You and your Rp partner have agreed that the character could work out but now you both need to ask yourself if is it really plausible now. Well if you think it could work and they think it can work, it will work right? WRONG! Okay, well maybe not necessarily wrong but you don't want to just assume it will work out.
This is where you two talk it out and find out what the other thinks in detail. I don't usually recommend you both talking. I recommend you both typing. You type up yours, they type of theirs, and then compare notes to see if you are on the same page. If you are, then great. You have a good chance. If you aren't then talk it out some more.
Talking it out more doesn't mean planning. For the love of god, do NOT plan out the romance. That really takes a lot of the fun out of it. Let that happen in RP. Yet you are going to want to make sure that the Nine Sacred Passions you thought would work are the same as your partners and if not how you two can come to an understanding between you two while keeping true to your character concepts. (Which is where I tell you and your Rp partner to go to my Staying True To Character tutorial and read over it.)
You both agree that it is plausible? Moving on to the next check point.
The First 'Moment'
You have gone through the basics and are now in taking your first step into Rp with this entire True Romance adventure. The first moment is that when the initial spark begins between the two characters. It isn't where love happens, it isn't that knowledge of love. This is purely chemical. This will start the ball rolling. It is the first ripple in the water that sets off a wave to come further along down the line. How do you do this without planning it? It really it a lot simpler than you think.
Now, whether your characters have known each other a long time or this is their first meeting really doesn't matter. What matters is what causes them to finally take notice of the other person. The first moment can happen for both characters are the same time and that is fine but I usually recommend that characters each come to this moment on their own when it feels right for that character.
Situations are going to play a big roll in this and you cannot force it. Let it happen naturally. Sure it may take time but that is fine. In fact the longer it takes a character to feel that draw the better a lot of the time. Also, please make sure that you are going by RP time and not IRL time. It can take six months or even a year to get through a single RP Day. That could easily be 50+ posts between the two of you. Sure that seems like a lot but it isn't really.
Things you can look for are things you looked at in the Nine Sacred Passions. Certain traits a character exhibits, things they have in common, backgrounds, etc. Reference your check points and your RP partners to see when it seems right for that initial spark to happen. When you find one, then have it happen. Not before, not forced, not planned, and especially not just because you can. If you start doing it just because you want it, it will go down in flames and chances of it rising from the ashes are pretty much zero. Don't do that to yourself or your RP partner.
Also do NOT bitch at your Rp partner that they are not moving fast enough or are moving too fast. You stay in tempo for yourself and only yourself. Let them move how they want. If they are going too fast for your character, have your character pull back and distance themselves. This creates tension and helps ease any stress you might be having. No matter what happens, do it where you feel comfortable. If your Rp partner cannot understand then move on and do NOT feel guilty over it.
You have had that first moment and now your characters will live happily ever after! NO! STOP! BAD RPer! This is the most important part of a True Romance: Building Suspense. This is also the time in an Rp Romance where shit usually turns into a Shippers Shit Storm. Why? Because people are impatient and want everything right when they want them and they aren't willing to work for the reward. They want it served up on a silver platter. Well knock that platter right out of their hands and tell yourself "My character is worth the work!"
Building suspense takes time and in RP you have to be careful about this because as I have seen so many times in the past people like to rush things. Especially love. You have to remember RP time is very different than IRL time. If you have only met a character once in Rp for five minutes there can be no love, there can be no dying need to protect them. It is not cute or romantic. It is stalkerish and just down right creepy. Don't turn a good character into a creeper because you want romance.
Depending on the Nine Sacred Passions, what is happening in the Rp, and how quickly time in RP actually moves will determine how the suspense is built. Things you are going to want to consider are how often are they around each other physically, how much have they actually talked, and what have they been through together. Each situation that comes up in Rp is a chance at Romance but shouldn't be forced to be. If your character is busy thinking about something else, don't force them to think about the other character. Let it arise naturally.
Now if you really want to see how things will play out and the Rp is moving slower than frozen snot you can always collab things out. At least this will give your character a chance to talk. If there is a time jump coming up in Rp, get together with your Rp partner for the romance and actually Rp out the time jump. Throw something at them, see if something good comes up and if it sticks. A lot of good romance will come from those small moments you can collab out in more detail than with a group. Time jumps are great for character develop between the characters but for the love of all that is holy in RP don't use a time skip as a reason to just slap a romance couple label on it. That shit is just piss poor Rping! Do the work! Rp it out! Even if it is just a quick collab or even a 1x1 in PM behind the scenes it will build stuff and give your characters a shared history to look back on and reference in times to come.
The First 'Admission'
You are in RP and time has passed in RP. The characters have really gotten a chance to know each other more than just a simple hello. They have been through things. They have learned about each other. They have overcome some differences. Slowly the suspense has built. Now is the time for your character to admit they are falling for the other. How do you do this? You just do it.
The first admission is actually really simple if you have taken time to build it up. You just wait for the right moment and do it. But where it becomes complicated is if the other character is ready. Sure they might be and that is all well and good but maybe they aren't. Is your character patient enough to wait for the other to fall in love? Or is your character willing to deal with someone that is in love with them when your character isn't there yet?
Think about things before you say anything and again - do NOT plan it out. Let it happen naturally and surprise the other character. And if you are the one being surprised, don't automatically let your character say they feel the same way if you are not 100% sure the time is right for them. Sure, if they have been holding back and now can feel free to admit they care, do it. If they aren't there yet don't say they are just to have that moment. Let the suspense build more before you are ready. Oh hell, maybe you will find out the other character is just too needy and clingy for your character to deal with and it would be a good time to break it off.
No matter what happens during the first admission, do NOT take it personally and do NOT try to force what you want on other character/rper. If you can't handle things not going the way you want them back the fuck off and get the hell away from an Rp romance. If someone is acting that way, protect yourself and your character, and get the hell out of there. If you can't do it personally talk to your GM. If you are the Gm and can't do it yourself fell free to PM me. Seriously, I don't have a problem telling anyone they need to back off. Don't want me, pm a mod - no matter what you should feel comfortable and safe in RP. If you aren't and are getting the creeps never feel bad about saying no or getting outside help.
Making It Last
Both your characters are now in love, ahh what sweet bliss! And there goes the spark and the interest you had in all this. Yup, right out the window like last years fruit cake. Thing is, once two characters come together and you get all that initial excitement worked through in Rp it can get tedious to keep a romance going without it turning into either a goo-goo fest that people get sick of reading or you just don't want to post for anymore. It doesn't have to be that way.
Remember, falling in love in RP shouldn't be the goal, it should really just be the beginning no matter how long it took you and your RP partner to get to this point. Now is where the fun can really start. This is where all those tips and tricks from above become even more important. And where you need to check yourself again. Granted you should check yourself before each post but it is especially important now. If you have done all this work up until this point and you are a year into posting then you don't want it all to go away like that ~snaps her fingers~.
Remember the Romance Goals. They love each other, do you want them to stay together now? Want it to progress to something long term? Maybe throw another attraction in there to test their love. One has to go on a trip, how will they handle being apart? How will each character all those little idiosyncrasies they once found cute that are now like nails on a chalk board? This is where you really have to sit and remember that RP Romance is a lot like real life romance. You have to work at it to keep it afloat. Repeat after me: It takes more work to keep something going than it does to first obtain it. Falling in love was only the beginning.
This could also be the time when your RP partner has flaked out and disappeared or the character was killed off in RP. Don't fret. Use this to your advantage to help you build your character. How do they cope with this? If the Rper left, how do you go about a break up? If they died, how does your character mourn? How long where they together. A good rule of thumb is if it took 'X' amount of time for the characters to come together in RP, it should take 1/3rd of that amount of time for your character to get over them. 3 days in rp to fall in love? 1 day in rp to get over it. 6 months? Then 2 months. 1 year, then 4 months. And so forth.
Remember to take into consideration what is happening in RP, who is there, who isn't and what you can get away with without breaking any of your GM's rules. Slice of life - romantic dinners and vacations are pretty simple to do. End of times RP? Well trust me the gift of ammunition and a rope ring will mean more than violin music. And remember the dates. When did specific events happen to your characters in the RP? Has a time jumped happened and you are coming back to them? Have something anniversary wise to do for your characters. Are you passing your characters birthday? Does the other character remember it? Use those character sheets and the situations in RP to really bring this to its fullest.
When To Walk Away
Sometimes no matter how much you work or try things just are not going to work out and that is alright! It isn't a failure, it just means that it wasn't meant to be. Don't beat yourself up over it. Don't be one of those people who sits and mopes because their character will never find true love. Ugh, it just lowers your characters chances even more if you decide to try again. Suck it up buttercup and keep moving.
Whether we like it or not there will be times where you have to walk away from an RP romance. There are a lot of different reasons and they can include but are not limited to:
- Your Rp partner flaked out and isn't around anymore. (Or they got kicked out of RP.)
- Your characters love died.
- The characters have progressed to a point where they no longer are compatible.
- You just cannot make yourself deal with romance anymore.
- You need to drop the RP itself.
- You just cannot work with your Rp partner anymore.
Now just because it is over doesn't mean you should worry. It doesn't mean that you just keep going either and act like nothing happened.
If your RP partner flaked out just look at the whole thing like a break up and talk to the Gm about creating a post so you and your character an get closure. The same goes for if your RP partners character dies in RP. You will want your character to go through a mourning stage. Both of these are great times for character progression and growth. Now if the characters have progressed and just aren't compatible anymore the same goes. You will still need some sort of closure so you can personally move on in RP. Whatever, do NOT feel guilty over any of it.
Sometimes it isn't an IC thing, sometimes it is an OOC thing. Perhaps you personally are just not in a place to deal with romance in the RP anymore or you need to drop the RP because you are too busy. Again, do NOT feel guilty over it but do have enough common courtesy to let your RP partner know and work out a proper ending for the RP relationship. At least give them that. They will be more willing in the future to jump back into the Romance Pot with you later on if you do.
Then there is one of the more common reasons you have to step out of an RP Romance. Your Rp partner is just no longer someone you want to RP with. It is sad but it happens and it happens a lot. This is normally one of those times I get messaged behind the scenes by one Rper asking me to save their asses from another Rper and I end up sacrificing one of my characters or NPC's so they can step in and create a wedge between the couple so one Rper can get free. Rpers can be needy, they can be overly shippy, they can move too fast, can try to force things on their RP romance partner, or keep blipping out and in again. No matter the reason if you can't deal with your RP Romance partner anymore don't feel bad, step back, and honestly don't explain yourself this time. Just say you need to space yourself and leave it at that. If you are in this position and try to explain chances are you are going to hear a lot of whining and back lash. Contact your Gm, let them know what is up, and let them step in if you need.
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Now while this is something you should have been doing the entire process I wanted it to have it's own section. See, this is really the most important part of any RP Romance or even in any situation in RP. You need to check yourself, constantly and with every post. If you don't things can and will get away from you and not for the better. I have seen it time and time again over the last 30+ years of Rp. Tabletop, MMORPG's, Chat, Forum: No type of Rp is safe and no situation is either. Romance seems to suffer the greatest amount of flying off the handle though than anything else. Why? Because we tend to Rp with our emotions instead of our minds. This is why you need to check yourself and have your RP Romance partner do the same constantly.
Things to Check:
- Are you thinking logically? Seriously. Make sure you are not just posting shit because your got an itch. itches get scratched and go away. You want this to last to think with your mind and not your feelings.
- Are you staying true to your character? Is this something your character would really do right then? Or are you only doing it because it is what you would want them to do?
- Is your Rp partner staying true to character? You should know your Rp Partners character as well as you know your own at least part way through this. If they aren't call them on it.
- Are you both staying true to character together or are you just falling into the RP rut where you are posting because it seems like fun instead of if it makes sense. Trying to keep yourself in order is hard enough when you add another person into the mix it makes it so much more difficult. Never be afraid to ask an outside voice of reason to give their honest input. If they do, don't try to justify things, accept what they say and see what you can do to improve.
- Do the situations and RP work for this? Rps and situations in Rp's change constantly so always check that it is the right time do to something. If it isn't hold off and build more suspense before moving on.
- Is it really holding interest? If not, don't feel guilty about walking away. It's better to try again later doing something else than to try to force it.
Like with many things in life, if we forget to check ourselves along the way things can get really out of hand and before we know it we are lost and don't know what to do. In a true RP romance that need to check ourselves is even more important because Romance can make or break an RP depending on how it is done. You see, because it is romance no matter how much we try a little bit of ourselves does become personally invested and a little bit of us falls in love as well. If things fall apart it can drive a wedge between you and a friend or even cause enough of a shit storm that an entire RP falls apart because the rest of the Rpers don't want to deal with it anymore. So check yourself, constantly. For the protection of your character, for the protection of the Rp, and for your own personal protection.
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I know, this seems like a lot of work and some of you are probably sitting there going that love should just flow it shouldn't need this much work. That is where you are wrong. Love requires work. A good romance requires work. As with anything in life. Sure emotions are something we just act on a lot of the time but if you want something to last, that works, that makes sense to your readers, then yeah you are going to have to put some work into it. A lot of work. Don't get me wrong. I love shipping, it can be fun. Yet I have seen it ruin more things than it ever created. I've seen it tear apart friendships and Rps. Don't let that happen. If a little work can keep that from happening isn't that worth it?
Now, as with all my tutorials this may not work for you. These are just things I do and I look at when dealing with an RP Romance. Please remember that you need to invest some time and let things progress at a true rate if you want something lasting, something you will remember, and something your readers will enjoy as much as you did creating it. Use all of this, use some of it, use none of it. And if you take only 1 thing from this tutorial, please let it be this - RP Romance is not the same as real love, don't mix the two up and get yourself hurt. You are not your character and neither are they. This is just RP.
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