I’ve been role playing online since I learned to type, but not all RPGs are created equal. Today, I’m going to teach you how to get involved in one that I dabbled in recently: Tumblr RP.

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If you hear Tumblr and immediately think of teenagers sharing animated gifs, well you’re not too far off from the truth. However, there is a hidden world underneath that where many Tumblr users live vicarious lives through fictional characters. Want to get involved here’s how:

1. Find a Game: This is probably the most difficult step. While Role Play Games are fairly prevalent on the Tumblr site, finding one that is both interesting and active may prove difficult. In addition, many have player limits. When looking for a game, find one that interests you. Many are based on already existing fandoms, while some are original. The best way to browse is to follow the RPG tag. Read the back-stories and rules, to be sure it’s a time committment you can handle.

2. Create a Character: Once you’ve found where you want to play, it’s time to decide who you’re going to be. For many Tumblr RPs, the creator of the game has already populated their world with predesigned characters. All you need to do is choose one that fits your writing style (or doesn’t, if you want a challenge). On Tumblr, each character tends to be represented by a celebrity or their Face-Claim (FC). This gives the roleplay a visual aspect, as people often use gifs or still images of the celebrity to show character action or emotion.

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3. Audition: Most Tumblr RPs require that you fill out an application, although I’m not sure how strict they are. Most want to know how active you’ll be, since some RPs require posts daily, while others only need you to be around a few times a week. They will also ask you to submit a Para example, which is basically a couple sample paragraphs, generally featuring your character. They just want to make sure you can write.

4. Create Your Account: Make a stand alone Tumblr account for your character. Most games don’t like it if you use a side blog, because it’s more difficult to play the game. Then, follow all the other players and the RPs main blog. Some may have other side pages (like confessions or gossip) that you need to follow as well.

This is the most fun part to me. You get to design a Tumblr as though you were your character, not someone playing him or her. Many people find nice layouts and reblog images and posts that their character would enjoy. Some people upload music their character would listen to. It gives you a chance to really get into your character before step 5.

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5. Play: There are two ways main ways to involve yourself in the game. The first and simplest is to make a post to your Tumblr accompanied by an animated gif of your face claim. These posts are written in first person and flow like dialogue. the second way is more like RPing I was used to off Tumblr, and they call it Para-ing – or writing in full paragraphs in the third person. This is more like the cooperative story-telling that role play should be to me.

There’s a few other ways to play. Many RPs will send messages, either anonymously or in character that trigger major events in the story-line  Sometimes, you will be given assignments that need to be completed or goals you must achieve. The best games do a lot of this and a lot of Para-ing, without so much of the small-talk you get from a dialogue.

It seems intimidating at first, but role-playing on Tumblr, when you get down to it is just like role-playing anywhere else. It’s story forming with a group of like-minded people through fictional characters’ voices. If you like RP, try it out on Tumblr.

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