Frequently Asked Questions

What is roleplaying?
Why do we ignore the existence of Voldemort, Harry Potter, and other JK characters?
How many characters am I allowed to have?
What is the minimum length for a post?
How long does it normally take for someone to respond to a post?
How do I know what day/month/time it is?
How long does a term usually last?
How long does a lesson usually last?
What does OOC mean?
What is considered writing for another character?
What is considered realistic?
Can I post on more than one board at one time?
Can I bring in outside characters?
If I am going to be unable to RP for a long time, what do I do?
How do I create italic, bold, or underlined text?
What spells can my character cast when?

What is roleplaying?

A basic definition of roleplaying is a group of "roleplayers" or participants who each act out an individual role/character to create a central story. This site is a writing based roleplaying game. A participant will first create a character that fits into the roleplay world, in this case Sonora Academy, and then act as that character by writing "posts" in third person past tense.

An Example on how roleplaying works:

Character One's Author writes a post describing what Character One is doing, possibly what they're wearing, and what they're thinking. They would then either encounter another school denizen (usually leaving this part very vague so as to invite anybody to be this random encounter) or just simply end the post after setting the scene.

Character Two's Author comes by and reads Character One's post. They think 'oh, I know what Character Two would do if she saw Character One doing this!' So Character Two writes a response, being careful not to say or do too much so that Character One has an opportunity to respond.

Character One's Post Summary: Professor Nathan Xavier is on a ladder trying to scrub the sides of one of his greenhouses clean. A gust of wind wobbles the ladder and he falls off, landing in the small frog pond located beneath him. While glad that the pond broke his fall and prevented injury, Nathan looks around, worried a student might see him looking utterly ridiculous with a lily pad on his head.

Character Two's Post Summary: Student Ginger Pierce comes by to ask a question about the recent Herbology assignment and runs forward as she sees her professor fall of his ladder. Luckily, he seems to have landed relatively safely, but she can't help stiffling a giggle as she sees him sitting in a frog pond with a lilypad on his head. Trying really hard not to laugh out loud at her Head of House, she asks in concern if he is okay.

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Why do we ignore the existence of Voldemort, Harry Potter, and other JK characters?

There are two main reasons we have such a rule. Firstly, without this rule there would quite probably be a large group of members wanting to connect themselves to a JK character in some way, whether through a family relation or an old friendship. This could obviously cause issues with the consistency of story lines since it would be impossible for Harry Potter to know even a third of the students at Sonora. Secondly, this allows for more creative writing as opposed to using JK's wonderful ideas over and over again. The focus is therefore not on Voldemort or the war in the wizarding world, but on the story we create ourselves.

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How many characters am I allowed to have?

Each member is allowed to have an limited number of student characters (no more than two submitted per term is preferred, and other numbers are determined on posting by the author and numbers of other characters already played), one faculty character, and a limited number of unique characters (those non-student/non-faculty characters that are approved). On that note, we advise new members to only sign up one student character during their first term. After that, use your own discretion, though a good rule of thumb is if you haven't posted for one of your characters all term, it is probably not best to sign up for a new one.

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What is the minimum length for a post?

All posts should be AT LEAST two paragraphs in length, each paragraph averaging around five sentences, roughly 200 words in total. If you are having trouble reaching the minimum, think about the following questions:

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How long does it normally take for someone to respond to a post?

When involved in a thread, be patient. Depending on Real Life(RL) constraints and one's current level of creative juices, it may take a while for another author to respond to your post. Sometimes an author can respond within the hour, however; it may take days or even a couple weeks to receive a response.

The amount of time it takes for a thread to progress has no bearing on the RP world. A thread that takes weeks to finish may only be ten minutes in RP time. We distort and bend time for the purposes of our story. After all, it wouldn't make sense for our characters to sit in the dining hall for weeks on end simply chatting.

On another note, please try to respond to posts within a reasonable time period. If you are able to post at least once a week so that we know you are alive, that would be wonderful. This will allow the level of participation at Sonora remain high and therefore more enjoyable. If you are not going to be around for an extended period of time, it is RP etiquette to let everyone know via the OOC board.

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How do I know what day/month/time it is?

Until the "Mid-term" announcement is posted, the date can be any time during the first half of the term. After the mid-term is over, the date is any time during the second half of the term. If the date or time of your post matters, you may set them yourself by including phrases in your post such as "It was after midnight" or "A few months of school had passed" or "Halloween was next week..."

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How long does a term usually last?

Generally, a term will last around four months. Sometimes more, sometimes less.

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How long does a lesson usually last?

You may post in any lesson for house points up until the end of the term in which it was posted (pre or post midterm), though activity is usually highest in the first couple of weeks after it was posted.

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What does OOC mean?

OOC is an acronym for "Out of Character." It is used when the author wants to comment on something and will not effect the actual character's interaction. The OOC board is a discussion board exclusively used for these type of comments.

Its corrolary is "IC" or "BIC" for "In Character" or "Back in Character", respectively.

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What is considered writing for another character?

Writing for another character is when you write speech, actions, or thoughts for another writer. You must be very careful when reading other writer's posts so that your character can respond in a way that flows well with the story. Making assumptions about another characters' feelings/facial expressions/actions can often lead to unintentionally writing for them. Likewise, give the other character opportunities to react to your actions else they might be forced into inaction when they might have otherwise acted.

To simplify matters, you can make some assumptions like being invited inside after knocking on a teacher's door, but when in doubt, it is best to err on the side of caution or ask the other character's author for permission.

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What is considered realistic?

Realism is difficult to define in the RP world, especially one based on something fictional like a magical school. This term does not suggest keeping post within the boundaries of real life, but rather within what would be realistic in the JK Rowling universe. For example, it's very unlikely that a first year could cast the patronus charm correctly because JK specifically notes the extreme difficulty of such a spell. So, in conclusion, think about the boundaries of your character before writing. If you have any questions related to realistic posts, please e-mail the Headmaster.

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Can I post on more than one board at one time?

Absolutely, as long as the threads take place at different times in the RP timeline. This is called fuzzy time.

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Can I bring in outside characters (i.e. relatives, visiting friends, garden pest-sighting, an annoying portrait)?

If relatives/friends of your character have a realistic reason to visit, you may write for them as you please. Please let the Headmaster know if you are planning to do this so we can better keep track of non-member posts.

You may also write for elves, garden animals (i.e. gnomes) that may realistically live in Sonora's gardens, portraits, or other magical half-way intelligent beings that your character interacts with. Please keep this at a realistic level.

If you would like to play one of these unique character on a regular basis, e-mail the Headmaster about your idea.

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If I am going to be unable to RP for a long time, what do I do?

As a matter of ettiquette, please post a notice on the OOC board (under the "Other" heading) to let anyone posting with you know about any absences lasting more than a week.

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How do I create italic, bold, or underlined text?

When you are typing your post into the Message text box, you can utilise HTML tags to format your text.
<i>This text would appear italicised</i>
<u>This text would appear underlined</u>
<b>This text would appear bold</b>

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What spells can my character cast when?

Please refer to this neat page we created to answer this question.

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