With the many events happening on Laurelin, there are both new players and visitors from other servers joining in. Which is grand! Please remember, though, there are a few simple house rules over here yer should know about. Which could perhaps also be useful for some of our old-time players to brush up on!
Updated August 8th, with a few clarifications and more examples.
Hullo new player to LOTRO! Hullo visitor from another server! Welcome to Laurelin, it is good to see yer here! We are a friendly and good-natured bunch over here, but there are some general house rules yer should know about.
The official Laurelin RP policy
Laurelin is an official Roleplay-Supported server. What does this mean? Simply that there are some policies that are in effect on this server that you don’t have on the others. These are in place to enable the Laurelin players a gaming world where they can have a deeper immersion in Tolkien’s lore.
There is a long-standing mistake in the LOTRO community that Laurelin is Roleplay-Enforced, in other words that you have to roleplay in order to play on Laurelin. Nope, this is utter nonsense. There are many grand and fine players on Laurelin who never really roleplay. They follow and respect the RP policy, though, and don’t try to ruin things for roleplayers, which is why we all get along rather nicely.
You can read the policy over on the LOTRO forums, but here is a quick overview:
- A naming policy, saying that your character name is required to be within the spirit of The Lord of the Rings. ‘Character names should be inspired by and reflect the lore of The Lord of the Rings’. Just remember that you shouldn’t use names that are similar to characters from The Lord of the Rings (no Ganndalf or Legolass, please).
- A roleplay harassment policy, to enable a secure gaming environment for roleplayers.
- Chat restrictions, which labels some of the in-game chat channels as ‘In-character’. “In character” means that all chat must abide by the lore of The Lord of the Rings. This includes the following chat channels: Trade, Say, Regional, LFF, Shout/Yell, Emote, Player biographies.
It is generally not too hard to follow these policies. The simple version is:
- Put a little thought into your character name, so it would be somewhat fitting in Middle Earth.
- Don’t go mess up things for those who roleplay.
- Don’t talk about stuff that doesn’t belong in Middle Earth, or things that characters in Middle Earth wouldn’t know about, in the restricted channels.
The OOC chat issue
Sadly, there has been an increase in out of character (OOC) dialogue in the /say channel on Laurelin in recent months, with more violations of the chat policy. I suspect this is in part because we have more folks visiting from servers that do not have the roleplay policy, and also that some of our own players pick up habits from other servers. Sure, it might be fun to throw a well-timed OOC remark into /say, and there is usually no ill intention behind it. The problem is that this ruins the immersion for many players.
There are of course several opinions about what in-character may be, but the official guidelines state that ‘“In character” means that all chat must abide by the lore of The Lord of the Rings’. For me, that would rule out:
- References to other LOTRO servers, for instance dialogues like “Hi, I saw you on server xxx last week”, or “There is a great event on yyy on Sunday”. As a role player, you play in Middle Earth, without there being 29 parallel universes you can travel between. For instance, on the off chance that your character has heard the term “Landroval”, it would be because of some great eagles that are on average less than keen on carrying folks on their backs. Not because there is a server by that name. Similarly, “Crickhollow” is a location in Buckland, “Laurelin” was one of the two ancient trees of Valinor, and so on.
- Direct references to song titles and artists that have no home in Middle Earth. It is rather grating to hear someone strike up a song, and then lots of players go “Yeah, Beatles/Lady Gaga/Theme from Mission Impossible” in the /say channel, and then start a long OOC discussion about the song. With a little bit of effort, though, it is possible to “write” many artist into the game world. Some of us have for instances long played music by that strange old hobbit Jethro, he who played the flute and jumped around on one leg….
- Other references to stuff outside of Tolkien’s Shire (for instance, ninjas, cars, modern technology, tv shows, real-life or fictional characters outside of Middle Earth etc…).
- OOC descriptions of why you need a break, that you have technical issues etc. If you need a pause or time away from your keyboard, it is better to just say “Oh, I’ll be right back” rather than go ((LOL phone)). Have a technical problem preventing you to play music? Simply say “Aw, I have a problem with my instrument” rather than go ((dang, LAGGGGG/playback problem)). Just roleplay around it! This enables others to respond IC to it, and it is much more fun than calling attention to your real-life actions or issues.
This is not a huge problem still, but the signs of increased OOC are there. So let’s try nip it in the bud!
Nobody is likely to club you down if you make simple mistakes, though, so don’t be afraid. If yer keep the policy in mind and try yer best, that’s usually more than enough!
Green Dragon Friday guidelines
Green Dragon Friday (GDF) is the traditional weekly inn night for the hobbits on Laurelin, started back in the spring of 2008. It is often a place where new players visit, which is always a grand sight.
GDF also has some guidelines you should be aware of. Most of these are rather easy (have fun, be friendly, keep things hobbity etc.), but there are some that are worthy of particular mention:
First, GDF is an event for and by hobbits.
While a few travelling dwarves are always welcome at the Dragon, we have since the start asked that men and elves don’t attend the event. This is not because we hate those playing men or elves or think less of their roleplaying. We simply try to create an event that is close in spirit to the Shire of Tolkien’s books.
So please, remember that at the Green Dragon, you are (most likely) a hobbit living in the Shire, typically interested in hobbity stuff like the latest crops, quality food and ale, upcoming hobbit holidays and parties, and perhaps some strange tidings from out of our bounds. Hobbits were generally distrustful to anything or anyone hailing from outside of the Shire, and men and elves were a rare sight. In fact, most hobbits hadn’t ever seen an elf. Sam Gamgee dreamed of seeing an elf one day, you can bet he never saw one dancing on the tables in the Green Dragon.
We’d rather keep GDF as a hobbit event too, where hobbits can be themselves and act naturally, without being scolded, patronized or even stepped on by the “big folk”. Yes, this all happens sometimes, whenever the latest special friend or protector of the Shire shows up.
So please, roll up a hobbit if you’d like to attend! It is marvellous fun!
Second, follow the general RP policy on Laurelin.
As discussed above, there is a general trend towards more OOC chatter in the /say channel, and we notice this at the Green Dragon too. Please remember to keep dialogue in-character. OOC messages in the dreaded ((OOC brackets)) should not be used, except for a simple link to an event page like The Bramblebury Gazette, or clarifications about event times.
Third, talk about happenings in the Shire (on Laurelin).
GDF is meant to promote and enable hobbit roleplaying on Laurelin. An important part of the event is to contribute to a lively hobbit RP presence on Laurelin the rest of the week too, not just on Fridays. That’s one of the reasons we have a dedicated news section, to spread word about the goings-on in the Shire.
Lately, there has been more requests to advertise events not hosted by hobbits, held outside of the Shire or even on other servers. While we have sometimes allowed this, we’ll likely tighten up the news section from now on.
So remember: The GDF news should primarily spread the word related to happenings the Shire, not least hobbit events that are held on Laurelin. It is generally NOT a place to advertise events outside of the Shire or on other servers. Those events have their own venues for promotion.
Fourth, be mindful of what is going on at the inn, and don’t spam the chat!
Chat box space in LOTRO is limited, and people often struggle to keep up with all emotes and words that scroll through there. So please try to make what you put in there count.
Some things to consider are:
- Avoid spamming a lot of emotes in a short time.
- Don’t talk a lot in /say when someone is reciting a poem, sharing the news or singing a song. The flip side of that coin is; don’t start a song with lyrics or recite poetry when there is a lot of natural dialogue going on.
- Don’t feel like you have to wave hello or goodbye to EVERYONE in the inn INDIVIDUALLY. A simple universal greeting like “Hullo Green Dragon!” is quick, unobtrusive and helps speed things along.
- If you need to run a long one-on-one discussion with someone, consider heading to the other side of the inn, away from the entertainment hotspot.
- Keep kin recruitment away from GDF – it is a place to relax and have fun together, not to compete for new members.
- And, as discussed already, don’t bring OOC into the chat, even with the dreaded ((OOC)) brackets.
Keep up the hobbit roleplaying
While this seems like a lot of rules, these are generally simple things to remember and follow. They are not in place because we want to control every aspect of the game play of others. It is simply the tools we use to keep GDF an event that fosters hobbit roleplaying and fun, open for newcomers and veterans alike. By following them, you help us enable a friendly hobbit RP community on Laurelin.
Quite a few hobbits have worked long and hard to keep GDF an in-character event with a distinct hobbit flavour, and we’d really like to keep it that way. Laurelin is the one server we realistically can do this, and it would be a shame to see that go away. We’d rather not have GDF turn into a generic social hangout where the lore gets thrown out of the window (or under the rug, worn though it may be), or where visitors can’t cope because of a lot of chat spamming. Although we are far away from this still, please remember to keep the server RP policies and event guidelines in mind, be somewhat mindful of the others at the event, and I am sure that GDF will be around for a long time still!