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Journal Roleplay

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As an outgrowth of their enormous fandom contingent, LiveJournal, InsaneJournal, and Dreamwidth have a large and lively (and dramatic) roleplaying community. No, not that kind of roleplay. Or that one. The format has also taken off on other personal blog-based sites, such as Tumblr, Twitter, and Deviantart.

Essentially, it's a cross between the Play-by-Post Game and Character Blog, where the player characters come from various fandoms. Original characters may also be seen; initially, these were less common, and disallowed in most games for fear of a Self-Insert Fic, but the culture has changed over time, and beginning in the late 2010s, most games now allow them.

A (by no means complete) list of games: 

Tropes applying to JRP in general or very commonly used in games:

  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Given JRP's fandom roots, players frequently come into conflict over whether a given player's interpretation of a character is true to the original.
  • Alternate Universe: Most games that aren't "spooky jamjars" are AUs where the canon characters' backgrounds have been altered to fit the setting, or else "dressing rooms" which accumulate many alternate versions of characters into one setting. A few games also allow AU versions of characters in addition to the canon ones.
  • Anyone Can Die: The point of both the horror and murdergame genres, and applicable to others as well.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: Many games have 'events', handwaved in different ways depending on the game, that influence characters against their wills. Common events include:
  • Archive Trawl: "Canon review", the process of re-experiencing a series (or portions of a series) to better play a character.
  • Audience-Alienating Premise: There have been a handful of games that failed to take off because of an offputting premise. Possibly the most infamous among the DWRP old guard was The HouseExplanation .
  • Back from the Dead: Many games do not treat death as permanent, so that a player can keep on playing them.
  • Brought Down to Normal: Many games tend to depower or nerf overpowered characters to put them in line with other characters. However, there may still be imbalances due to the state of different series (even a nerfed Superman is still going to be more powerful than Joe Everydude).
  • Canon Immigrant: Some games allow players to import their character's CR and history from one game to the next game. Such a character is usually referred to as a "CRAU."
  • Cast Herd: Inevitable in big games (who can interact with everyone?) but tends to lead to accusations of cliquishness.
  • Celebrity Paradox: Resulting from this style of roleplay usually using existing fandom characters. This often creates awkward situations, particularly if someone is playing a well-known character referenced in many other works (like Sherlock Holmes) or is playing a character who regularly references other works (like Konata from Lucky Star). Ways to handle the Celebrity Paradox vary; many games have a "no fourth-walling" rule—i.e., one character can't reveal to another character that they're fictional, or use knowledge of their original canon to their advantage. Others (though much more common in the past) take the fourth wall and bomb it to rubble, usually with permission from the players involved.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: In big games, the friends of dropped characters may angst for awhile about their friend's disappearance, but then they are sometimes never mentioned again.
  • Closed Circle: Most dramatic RPs forbid characters leaving the setting of their own volition, because many of them have no plausible motive for staying.
  • Comic-Book Fantasy Casting: Generally called 'Played Bys'. (Which is usually shortened to 'PBs'.) A typical custom among Original Characters (and fandom characters who don't have visual media to draw from) is to take a celebrity or a character from an actual work who looks like the character and use them as a general appearance aid. Some people, and games, actually prefer this over a drawing of the character.
  • Comm Links: Most games include these for the Player Characters only, sometimes against all logic.
  • Crack Pairing / Crossover Ship: So, so many.
  • Cross Player: The vast majority of DWRPers are women who only or mostly play male characters. There are also male players who play only or mostly female characters, though these often are (fairly or not) seen as creepy.
  • Cut Short: The fate of many a log, whether due to the fickleness of the players or real life getting in the way.
  • Death is Cheap: Death isn't permanent in most games. Many of these impose a punishment of some sort (e.g. memory loss) for dying.
  • Double Standard: Guys that RP mostly girls are seen as creepy. However, it's perfectly alright for a girl to RP mostly guys. Slash ships are treated much differently by the RP base at large (and much more common) than femslash, as well.
  • First Girl Wins: Characters don't often date around, but tend to settle down with the first person they hook up with.
  • Funetik Aksent: How characters with accents are often handled, sometimes to the chagrin of other players.
  • Game Master: The moderators.
  • Hollywood Provincialism: LJ's servers were originally in California; when the Journal Roleplay community was on that site, this was the stated reason that sex games and some horror games had a lower age limit of 18.
  • Honorifics: Japanese ones are often retained by characters from Japanese (often anime and manga) fandoms.
  • In and Out of Character: Due to player schedules and posting speeds, real time is generally not exactly the same as game time.
  • Insufferable Genius: In contrast to Small Name, Big Ego below, there are some roleplayers who are every bit as good as they claim to be, despite being unpleasant out of character.
  • It's Popular, Now It Sucks!: Series that become especially popular among RPers tend to gain a Hatedom that rivals the fandom in size. Bleach, Death Note, Reborn! (2004), Hetalia: Axis Powers, Homestuck, My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, and Danganronpa have all had this happen to them.
  • Kink Meme: Since these often appeared for fandoms on LJ, there was a trend for some time of games making their own where players requested pairings from the game.
  • Limited Wardrobe: This tends to happen when characters are brought into games with nothing but what was on their person at the time.
  • Mean Character, Nice Actor: It's an unwritten rule in almost any game that "IC =/= OOC". Meaning, even if a character is a complete Jerkass, the player might still be a pretty decent person. That doesn't stop some people from taking it personally, however, and therefore in many games it's stressed at every opportunity that if a given character is a Jerkass to your character it doesn't mean the player hates you. 
  • Mega Crossover: Panfandom games by their very nature.
  • Most Fanfic Writers Are Girls: It's not uncommon to see complaints about people "ruining" games with sparkly buttsex. (Not that they're any kinder to people who play lesbians.)
  • Naked on Arrival: Not uncommon in Spooky Jamjar settings.
  • The Name Is Bond, James Bond: Because there are a lot of people who play anime characters and characters from other Japanese media, and Translation Conventions differing person-to-person means that some muns use Eastern order and some use Western order, often at least somebody is confused as to which name is the given name when introduced to a new character. (This goes double for obscure canons or characters with Two First Names.) This is one of the common ways to get around it.
  • Nice Character, Mean Actor: In contrast to above, there are plenty of people who play nice characters in comms, but are complete Jerkasses out of character.
  • No Social Skills: Some characters arrive with the little knowledge they had in social conventions. Part of the fun in their Character Development is having them win them with cross-fandom characters that, at times, could even be complete Foils.
  • NPC: Setting-based characters played by the moderators are referred to as such.
  • O.C. Stand-in: Generally known as "Canon OCs", these are used for all they're worth in many games. On the other hand, others may only accept characters that have a sufficiently distinct canon personality or history. Matt from Death Note was, at one time, particularly infamous for being used this way.
  • Odd Couple / Odd Friendship: Many!
  • Omake: Players sometimes play out extra scenes with their characters outside of the main game, or draw art, write fanfiction, make fanmixes, etc. for their game characters. Most current games have "meme communities" for silly stuff outside of the main games.
  • Ontological Mystery: Very common plot device for a lot of games.
  • The Other Darrin: The result of different players playing the same character over time.
  • Painting the Medium: Font color, face, and size is sometimes played with. Many players go as far as mimicing a character's style, such as various Homestuck characters' typing quirks and Deadpool's "little yellow boxes".
  • Perspective Flip: Inevitable when characters talk about their past—not everybody was the main character back home.
  • Plot-Relevant Age-Up: Sex games usually require the aging up of child/teenage characters to legal age to protect the players from legal shenanigans and/or squick, if they allow them at all.
  • Real-Life Relative: Siblings do occasionally play together.
  • Replacement Scrappy: When apping a character who was previously at the game you're looking at, it's considered common courtesy to wait a little while after the previous player has dropped, especially if they dropped all their characters in one go. Otherwise, you risk becoming one of these, especially if you're a new player.
  • Revolving Door Casting: Dropped characters may be picked up later by a different player. In a long-running game, this may even happen with the same character multiple times.
  • Romance on the Set: Players forming romantic relationships with each other is not uncommon.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: On a game scale, it's when a person decides to flounce from a game, usually due to a number of things, from the stupidly simple to the complex. On a net-wide scale, the many games listed here actually jumped ship from LiveJournal to DreamWidth when LJ's system changed to the point where playing there was impossible.
  • Shoot the Money: Many people are reluctant to drop characters they no longer feel like playing until their paid accounts run out.
  • Skeleton Government: Unless the premise of a game centers around a Dystopia to begin with, the basic structures necessary for a functional society are usually an afterthought at best. The majority of players would rather assume that the game's city or town just works.
  • STD Immunity: Outright stated in most sex games' rules.
  • "Stop Having Fun" Guys: Even dressing room games, which are made to be laid-back and casual, are not immune to anonymous backlash. Hell, even some museboxes (private games in which only a select few players are allowed) have been known to get this, to the point where WankgateWhat?  of all places instituted a rule against it. Combine this with the GIFT (courtesy of the aformentioned memes) and it gets ugly.
  • Strangled by the Red String: Ships can often be forced and/or rushed and seem out of character for the character(s) in question.
  • Summon Everyman Hero: How games end up with the most overpowered shounen/video game heroes... alongside ordinary high school students.
  • There Are No Boys On The Internet: Well, there are male roleplayers, but they're definitely in the minority.
  • Translator Microbes: These anime characters must be chatting with those comic book characters must be chatting with these aliens somehow. Usually it's unexplained, but in some games the translation device is something that can be lost or stop working, at which point Hilarity Ensues.
  • Trapped in Another World: Probably the most common setting.
  • True Companions: Sometimes formed between characters, but these aren't always the most stable...
    • Also formed between players, which more often than not leads to complaints about people being cliquish.
  • Watch It for the Meme: A variant — many people get into new series because of the characters they've interacted with in panfandom games.
  • What Is Going On?: Far and away the most common type of intro by new characters in a jamjar game.

Alternative Title(s): Livejournal Roleplay, Dreamwidth Roleplay