Roleplaying Conventions on GarouMUSH

How to enter a scene
How to pose speech
Unattributed poses
Pacing in poses
Dealing with characters that go idle in a scene

How to Enter a Scene

If there are people RPing in a public room, it is polite to page and ask if it's okay to show up before doing so. Most of the time, people are happy to have new characters join in. This is not absolutely required, but it is polite. In private residences or secret, secluded enclaves, paging is a must. There are some rooms in our game that we encourage people to spontaniously just show up (provided they have IC access andit's in character for them to do so). These include, but are not limited to: the caern, the sept compound, and the current sept safe place, Edgewood House.

If the scene is taking place in a public area where people might happen across it, then the players involved in the scene should keep an open mind as to inviting in new people. Public areas are meant for happenstance RP and inclusion--not excluding because you got there first and are currently in a discussion that you don't want someone else to overhear. If you RP being in a restaurant, other customers are going to come and go--and other PCs should be able to come and go.

While it might be nice to hold all RP sessions in a room where you're pretty much guaranteed to not get any disruptions, this excludes anyone else wanting to get RP from RPing with your group. Try to have RP in a "public" room as often as possible unless there is a pressing, pertinent reason to not do so.

If a GM is running a scene and does not wish to invite additional people in, respect those wishes. Sometimes even one more garou can be too many--or ruin the scene that has been setup.

How to Pose Speech

Speech is handled in three different ways: human speech, the garou language (Mother Tongue), and lupus communication.

Human speech

Using human speech is pretty much exactly like you'd see in any novel. Spoken words are indicated by the use of quotation marks (").

Example of a pose with human speech:

     Mary says to the bartender, "I'd like a scotch on the rocks."

This type of posing is used for all human languages. Characters can use this posing for human speech if they are in homid or glabro form. Characters in crinos can, with difficulty, speak a 1-2 simple words and have them be vaguely recognizable. Characters in hispo or lupus cannot speak any human language.

Garou speech (Mother Tongue)

Crinos speech (Mother Tongue) is essentially handled just like human speech, except that the quotation marks are replaced with tildes (~).

Example of a pose with crinos speech (Mother Tongue):

     Blood-Claws snarls angrily, ~Watch your mouth, ragabash!~

Because the prerequisite for using the Mother Tongue is having a certain set of wolf-like physical attributes in the mouth, throat, and larnyx regions, only crinos, hispo, and lupus can freely speak the language. Those in glabro can speak it to a lesser extent and only with some effort. Those in homid may be able to approximate some simple words or phrases, but they lack the physical abilities to do much more.

Lupus (animal) speech

Lupus speech is integrated into the pose itself. There are no marks used for separating speech with words. Therefore, composing a lupus pose can be tricky. Note that wolves do not have words to express a large number of modern-day items nor complex thought processes. The lupus language is piss-poor for waxing philosophic or eloquent. Try to communicate as much as possible through body posturing, facial expressions, gesturing, and primative gutteral noises and growls.

Alternately, garou in lupus form can use the Mother Tongue to communicate complex ideas, which is what almost every garou save the most traditional of lupus (read: all Red Talons) typically use.

Example of a pose in lupus:

     Blood-Claws turns her head towards the strange wolf and curls 
     her lips back to expose long white fangs. A low, liquidy growl 
     begins to immenate from her, growing in volume and aggression. 
     Intimidatingly, she takes a single step forward, this single 
     move charged with the threat of impending violence.

Alternately, you can use simple sentences to communicate a thought in lupus. The text is tacked on at the end of a posturing/growling sentence.

Example of a pose with lupus speech:

     Blood-Claws turns towards the strange wolf and curls her lips 
     back to expose long white fangs. My territory. Leave now.

Using two-word sentences keeps the communication process simple and underscores the difficulty of communicating something complicated using the language of wolves--which is incredibly basic and undeveloped, but fine for what normal wolves normally communicate. For more information about house rules involving how animals can speak and what they can understand, see the description for Beast Speech in the Rank 1 Gift Guide page.

Characters in crinos, hispo, or lupus can speak in lupus. Characters in glabro or homid can use body posturing or barks/whines to attempt to emulate basic concepts "play", "run", "food", "fear", "anger". About the extent of communication that most dog owners have with their dog. However, Garou in homid form may fail to communicate with wolves or dogs because the animal in question may not make the mental connection that the motions and sounds made by a human-like figure are intended to represent the actions/sounds of a lupus. The communicative effort might not be recognized as such by the dog or wolf and simply ignored.


A pose is supposed to communicate IC information from one IC character to other IC characters. Metaposing is when an otherwise ordinary pose is "beefed up" with information that no in-game character could possibly know or respond to without breaking the IC-OOC barrier. This sort of thing is common practice in a novel, but most certainly does not work well in an online roleplaying setting. Metaposing is very much frowned upon on GarouMUSH.

Here's an example of a metapose:

     Angela nods in response to her elder's order to scout ahead 
     and says, "Ok." Even though the orders are idiotic. She knows 
     that later she will disobey these orders--the same that a 
     previous pack alpha once asked of her to do and resulted in 
     the death of half the pack.

What's wrong with this pose? Well, the only thing that the other character in the scene can respond to--and stay in character--is the very first sentence: Angela nods in response to her elder's order to scout ahead and says, "Ok."

There is absolutely no way that all that other unspoken information can be conveyed and acted upon by the other character, nor is there any indication that the character will do anything but follow the order that was given. The only exception is if the other character metaposes in response:

     Darren nods back at Angela. "Excellent." He knows she is lying 
     and that his actions are, in fact, justified and correct. Also, 
     if Angela does not follow orders, he will kill her when she 
     least expects it.

This is just plain silly! But that's what metaposing ultimately encourages. Furthermore, metaposing is often used as a means of getting in a passive-aggressive "last word" on someone. In the above example, Angela's player (or character) is broadcasting that she thinks the order (or the other character or player) is idiotic. Any of the other players in the scene can see an OOCly announced "I think you're an idiot" being said; however it was never communicated in an IC capacity that could be responded to, so no character can react to it.

Metaposing is often used as a means of passive-aggressively getting in a "last word" without having to deal with any IC consequences.

Metaposing breaches the border between IC and OOC, putting OOC information in front of everyone via a pose by an IC character.

This sort of thing is hideously frustrating to deal with and very much frowned upon on GarouMUSH.

Here's three examples as to how Angela's player might have better handled that original metapose, making it an acceptable pose depending on circumstances:

1.   Angela nods in response to her elder's order to scout ahead 
     and says, "OK." However, she does not look very pleased with 
     this decision.

2.   Angela nods in response to ther elder's order to scout ahead 
     and says, "OK." But the perceptive might notice her eyes 
     looking away as she responds, indicating that she's lying.

3.   Angela sighs with frustration. "Fine. But the last time I was 
     in a pack and we tried this, three people died. I don't think 
     this is a good idea. Maybe there's an alternative?"

Manipulation is an important stat to consider in situations where someone is tempted to metapose. For instance, if your character says one thing but doesn't like it and has a low Manipulation attribute, then your pose should imply that even though your character said something, their body language or voice inflection indicates that they do not agree with it.

Manipulation is more than just the ability to lie. It is also the ability to conceal feelings and reactions that betray how a character truly feels inside--regardless of what they vocalize.

Unattributed Poses

Unattributed poses--poses that do not contain any indication as to who did what--should be avoided because it's confusing as to who made the comment. The only real exceptions to this are "invisible" GMs or "hidden" characters.

Here's an unacceptable unattributed pose:

     "Oh, I can do that."

If there's more than two people in a room, no one knows who spoke.

Here's an acceptible unattributed pose, where a GM or hidden character is involved:

     There's a snap of a twig from off in the woods nearby.

In this instance, we're not meant to know who or what made the noise, so it's fine to leave the pose unattributed in the example above in order to evoke a sense of intentional mystery and suspense.

Pacing In Poses

On garouMUSH, we're more interested in the quality of individual poses rather than the speed with which they're produced. Some people are fast typers while others are not, but that doesn't mean that the fast typers should leave slower typers in their dust.

Imagine the following combat that takes place between a fast-typing character (Runs-Swiftly) and a slow-typing character (Walks-Well):

     Walks-Well says, "I accept your challenge. Now let us spar and see 
     who is the better warrior." He drops into a fighting crouch.

     Runs-Swiftly says, "Ok."

     Runs-Swiftly crouches down into a combat stance.

*(Walks' player begins typing an attack pose.)

     Runs-Swiftly leaps without warning at Walks-Well.

*(Walks' player deletes the pose he's been working on and starts a new 
 one about how he's going to try and defend against the leaping attack.)

     Runs-Swiftly lands just in front of Walks-Well and swipes at his 
     eyes with a knife.

*(Walks' player sighs, deletes the second pose he's been working on, 
 and starts on a third pose reacting to being knifed.)

     Runs-Swiftly also tries to kick Walks in the nuts.

*Runs-Swiftly pages: "Hey, are you going to do anything?"

Players that pose rapidly, in or out of combat, aren't giving other people the opportunity to respond to their actions. Put simply, it's rude. What's more, if there are three or more people in the room, the scene can quickly get away from the slower player if the others in the scene simply carry on before allowing him time to participate. Think about what your character is going to do, then compose a pose that includes all the relevant actions in that one pose, not 3-5 poses presented in rapid-fire succession.

There are two basic techniques commonly used on GarouMUSH to ensure that everyone gets a chance to pose: posing order and waiting a bit before posing again. Either method is fine.

Posing order

Some players like to have pose-orders, ensuring that every player gets their turn to pose. While this is fine in some instances, it can be impractical at other times--especially with larger groups where someone is bound to go idle or when two characters are the main people interacting and the other characters just seem to delay things or are providing empty side commentary just to take up their turn in the pose order. If someone goes idle, everyone else in the scene sits waiting for the idle player to take his turn.

Waiting a bit before posing

This technique draws upon making common sense judgement calls. Pose. Wait a while to for people to respond, then pose again after you're relatively certain when it's okay to do so. This method is generally faster than pose ordering (particularly since it cuts out players unimportant to the conversation that have gone idle), but might step on someone's toes every now and then, particularly if someone that was not formerly involved in the conversation wants to jump in suddenly.

Dealing with Characters that Go Idle

If someone appears to have gone idle in a scene, you should first page them to see if the player is idle or just got temporarily distracted or is in the middle of crafting a larger pose. If you don't get any signs of life within 5-10 minutes and they're holding up the scene, just use an @emit to have the character step out to use the bathroom or something else inconsequential (go say "hi" to someone that just walked in that they know, etc.). If the player de-idles, they can just pose coming back from the bathroom (or whatever) and jump right back in to the RP. If they idle out, you've established an excuse for why they didn't come back to the conversation.

If someone goes idle in a combat, that's much more difficult to deal with. Perhaps have them miss a combat round because they're surprised or shocked by something, or spend their entire round fending off an attack while the other active people in the group are more productive in their fighting. If the character has really gone idle, just have them be knocked out--removing them from combat altogether--or Fox frenzy and run away (at the GM's discretion) to remove them from a situation where an unconscious character might get killed or left behind. Better to lose some renown for Foxing than to be dead.

Idle characters in a combat should not be pulling their weight, contributing in any significant way, or otherwise gaining any sort of renown.

If someone has to leave early (because the fight is going longer than expected or because something in RL popped up unexpectedly) and arranges things with the GM before going idle, that's a different story--but these puppeted PCs should still be as much in the background as is humanly possible to let the active players save the day and reap the rewards of battle. GMs are encouraged to let puppeted PCs take a lot of damagein order to put them out of commision as soon as possible.