Kedian Ta'Null in Dark Ages
This is perhaps the most important issue. You are an Aisling, we all know that...but what of it? Are you a warrior from a far away land? Were you born the son of a mundane, or does your lineage descend from ancient wizards and skilled rogues?
The best way to develop your character is to let your imagination go. Sit back and think about the age you are in; the time period that you play in. If you feel it would help, research the time period. Read about the mythological and religious beliefs of the time. Try to understand more about the world your character exists in. It will make it easier to develop a believable story.
Your story can be as long or as short as you want. You will find that over time, as you play and learn more about the world of your character, you will naturally begin to add to your character's history and his "persona". Is your character a brooding, fearsome warrior, or is he a caring, delicate priest? Your character's persona will most likely mirror your own personality, with exceptions. You might want your character to be a complete opposite of your personality; it's up to you.
If you're getting frustrated - remember to relax. No one is forcing you, and there is no pressure. With time, you will weave your character's persona and history with ease. Take it one step at a time. Where did your character come from? Who were his parents? What was his childhood like? These are perhaps the most important aspects of your character. Once you've established this, you can fill in details - stories of your character's trials and tribulations; how he/she dealt with their new power as an Aisling; your first battle with the seemingly indefatigable rat....Your imagination will take over and create the different aspects of your character.
There are those who may believe that they are not creative, or imaginative, by nature. I believe that everyone has an imagination, but that some of us are more adept at realizing and using it. To some, character development will come easily; while for others, it will at first seem to be an agonizing process. For those of you who are having difficulty, the best way to spark your imagination is, as I have said, to read about the era we play in. The more you learn about the world around you, the easier it will be to weave your character into existence.
Lastly - remember that you're here to have fun! Take it easy, and slowly. You don't have to sit down and write novels; that's not the point. The point is to create a character. Your character. It doesn't have to happen overnight; there are no deadlines. Allow yourself time to think and let your imagination do the work for you.
Remember that we are all Aislings, but that the power to look at the world around us and actually notice it - the power to take control - is new to us all. Your character is new to the world around him; he is likely to be fascinated by things that would seem normal and mundane to us. The whole world, for your character, has just come alive. He is able to see and feel and hear with new clarity and feeling.
This becomes especially important when you are interacting with other people. If your character continually ignores the world around him and focuses on bashing things with swords instead of taking note of the beauty around him, he will seem boring and mundane. You are an Aisling because you can experience the world around you, in contrast with the mundane Merchants and NPC's. Don't allow yourself to be an NPC! It will bore other players who are more interested in the actual roleplaying than the mechanics of it.
Contrary to popular belief, the entire world does not speak Standard English. If you can, try to use Old English, or at the very least, adapt a stiff formality with your language. A good idea is to drop slang and contractions; your wizard isn't going to say "Yo dude, sup?" and get any kind of useful response from the characters around you. Try to remember that the "reality" of the world around you - that is, its perceived "
It's important to remember the concept of being "in character". The strictness of roleplaying will vary from person to person. Some will be in character all the time, whereas some will loosen the rules for friends who are in the game with them. Some will even be in character when you send them private messages, and will expect the same from you. Like I said, it differs from person to person. A good rule of thumb is, you can never be too formal, and you can never be too polite.
Also, do you speak another language? It might be entertaining to make up words and claim them as part of an ancient family language (which, conveniently, no one else speaks). "Frizan frabzorb!! Melthlar queue?" This can also be incredibly annoying to those around you if you do it all the time (people don't like others who constantly speak in tongues) so do it sparingly (for instance, in place of normal interjections (expressions of fright, shock, pain, etc.) )
Another thing to consider is how you refer to out-of-character (OOC) events and descriptions. A good thing to remember is to enclose anything that you want to say OOC with double parentheses; i.e. ((I have to go, it's nearly 2:00am here)). For instance; you're not logging off, you're "heading to the inn for a good rest". You didn't get "kicked off", you were "mysteriously possessed by the infamous lag beast".
Always remember that you are an Aisling, and can see the world around you for what it is. When you describe things, whether it be in a conversation to another character or a story you are writing, be imaginative.
For example. "The sky was blue. It was cold outside."
A better way to say this would be "The sky was a brilliant blue, much like the ocean at Abel. A bitter wind rushed through the landscape, chilling me to the bone."
Try to be as descriptive as possible when you talk to other players, especially if you are trying to tell them how to find something. "It's right over there" doesn't exactly cut it. A better way to say it would be "Go over the bridge, take a right at the blacksmith's, and keep going until you see the river."
Part of the fun of roleplaying is immersing yourself in the virtual world around you. You want that world to be as real as possible; your creativity and imagination will aid in making it seem "real" (and it will prevent those around you from thinking you're a boring mundane).
You will meet a wide variety of people in Dark Ages, from a diffuse cross-section of backgrounds. It's important to remember that everyone will react to situations differently.
For instance, different people take offense to different types of discussions and material. It's important to know other people's boundaries and not cross them willingly.
Also, as I have mentioned earlier, there is a difference in how people roleplay. Some people will stay in character constantly, speak (okay, well, "type") in a Gaelic accent, and never mention anything outside of Dark Ages. It's important to respect those people and not break the illusion for them (for instance, if someone is being formal and polite to you, return the favor).
Always approach people with an open mind. Greet them, and get to know them. You will make many friends in the game, and will adventure and journey with them. To me, this is the most rewarding part of the game.
Above all, remember to be courteous, and polite. If you treat people with disrespect, they will do the same; and you will acquire a reputation of being non-sociable. Try to remember that there is a human being on the other end of the character you're interacting with, and they react to what you say. The golden rule "Think before you speak" certainly applies here.
The most important thing, however, is to remember that this is a game, and we are here to have fun and be entertained. If someone takes offense, apologize. You gain nothing by stubbornness and false pride. Don't be afraid to admit you're wrong or that you made a mistake.
Spoken from experience, there are those who get very involved in the fantasy of the game. And some may forget that it is just a game.
For example, in some RPGs, you can get married. Getting married (at least to this roleplayer) is a serious thing. However, remember that being married in the roleplaying world does not necessarily relate or impart any relationship outside of the game. While this may seem like a silly, obvious issue, it is not. I have met many players who confuse the line between fantasy and reality and often create problems for everyone involved by doing so. Many people who get married then ask for their "husband" or "wife's" phone number, address, etc. While your relationship with your "spouse" may eventually lead to a real life one, it is inappropriate to assume that it will, or force it to.
Also, remember that the mood you are in will undoubtedly come out in your character's thoughts and actions. If you are angry, upset, depressed, etc. - your character will seem to be these things. Try to play the game with an open mind, and don't use it as an escape. The game should be recreation, entertainment, and fun. It is not recommended to use the game as an escape from the world around you. Some people do this, and eventually it leads to being unable to deal with the real world around you. It's important to remember that the game is just a game, and while it is appropriate to roleplay and enjoy the game to its fullest, it is detrimental to use the game to replace real life.
Again, this may not apply to you, and you may never have this problem. But, from my experience, there are those to whom this does apply, and it is my hope that maybe by writing this, just one person will think twice about what roleplaying really means.