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The Streets of Rhy'din: A Journey Into The Whimsical World of AOL Chatroom Roleplay

We’ve all done things we are horribly embarrassed of, lets face it.  You live on this planet long enough you’re bound to have something in your past that, upon recollection, makes you cringe just a little.  Sometimes we must silently bear these scars alone, but not I.  For you see, my tragyic past is something of a shared experience.  A group effort, if you will, forged through the ever cool and not lame bonds of online roleplay.  More specifically chat room based, late 90s, AOL Roleplay.  Ah the late-90s, Dragon Ball Z was the hottest anime on TV, Final Fantasy 7 and 8 were released, along with a re-release of Star Wars, and The first Matrix film.  It was a time of great entertainment milestones, iconic moments in the world of gamer and geekdom, a glorious time for a socially maladjusted nerd like myself to fully engross himself into.  What better place to do it than RP Chatrooms on a dial-up modem?

In AOL Roleplay the realm was named RhyDin or Rhy’din or just Rhydin.  It was based on the rules of ‘uh…. what were the rules again?’  There was dice, but no one seemed to pay attention to it.  There was no level-up system.  No DM.  No universally recognized rules or real ways of enforcing said rules.  The RP community was so vast and there were so many variations on the rules that if you found two people following the same ones in an open chatroom it was the RL (Real Life for all you non-RP coolkids) equivalent of finding the Yeti riding the Lockness Monster like a jetski.  There were however some universal rules that most everyone seemed to follow, and I wished they hadn’t, some of the more notable ones were:

  1. Every room has rafters for the Vampyres to lurk and hiss in, even if the room is called ‘OPEN GRASSY FIELD WITH NO RAFTERS.’ Also, even if they don’t mention it in their profile, in character, or at all, virtually everyone is at least 25% vampire.
  2. Every child character is a super-genius of some kind, and can speak ‘perfect’ English, do magyick, and in general outsmart you at every turn, even if the person who is RPing him/her can’t seem to spell properly or show any signs of said advanced intelligence.
  3. Every female character is a badass battle maiden who don’t need no man with massive heaving tits and a seemingly endless libido.
  4. Virtually everyone is a ‘dark’ and ‘wycked’ and will endlessly make reference to using a ::wicked grin:: or a ::sinister laugh:: repeatedly in conversation, even if you’re just asking for directions.
  5. Everyone either wears all black hooded outfits, billowing capes, or some sort of celestial battle armor forged by Jesus.
  6. The Medieval crowd will insist on speaking in ye olde English, even if their only understanding of said dialect is that you add random ‘y’s into words and ‘e’s at the end of others.  If you speak to these people in any other way they will pretend you are speaking martian to them and yell at you in the dreaded out of character brackets in instant messages.
  7. Everyone has a tragyic past.  No one has gone through life apparently without their whole village being murdered while they were out gathering berries or some shit.  As if it’s an entire realm filled with JRPG protagonists.  Almost every female character has been raped, sometimes repeatedly.  Sometimes male characters too.
  8. No one has a normal name.  You must have at least three names, all with special characters and accent marks. (¯`’·.¸.·::»¥« Trîllÿånå §ådærå-Ðrågðñ »¥«::·.¸.·´¯), is an actual example and not something I just made up.  Seriously.
  9. Your Geocities, Angelfire, Homestead, etc. website is only allowed to use RED on BLACK colors, and everything must be bold text.  NO EXCEPTIONS.  Animated .gifs from Diablo 2 optional.  ::wyckid grin::
  10. Never, under any circumstances, question how it’s possible to be 25% werewolf or 50% vampire and not just a werewolf or vampire unless you’re prepared to listen to long typo-ridden dissertation containing elements of all of the above rules.

Now while those rules, an insane and sadly accurate as they may be, do give at least some sort of fucked-up facsimile of order do not be fooled.  As with anything involving life in Rhydin, it’s all optional!  That’s right, because Rhydin is actually purely freeform roleplay.  The problems inherent  with such a system should be readily apparent to anyone with even a tiny iota of common sense.  With other RP games, typically MUDs or things like say, DnD, you can keep everyone in line.  This means that no matter how tragyk your past, or what percentage of vampire and sith lord you happen to be, you’re still going to be starting out as a level one thief, and if you fail your roll against a trap disarmament all the ::wycked grins:: and ::sinister laughs:: won’t save you from being smashed to paste by the DMs rolling boulders of death.  Such pesky things like risk, power capping, and forcing the player to actually think are totally thrown out the window.  That’s because the number one way to keep someone in an RPG in line is to force them into situations where failure is actually possible, and lets face it when you can just roleplay as Zeus’ vampire brother who uses two light sabers that shoot lightning bolts what situation could you possibly be thrown into that would possibly put you in any real danger?

That’s because the biggest problem with freeform was that most people lack any form of originality whatsoever.  Why be just a human, or hell even something basic like an elf or an orc when you could RP as Vampire Goku?

 #YOLO

That’s right, it’s an entire realm populated by immortals, gods, superheros, any popular anime or video game character, vampires, werewolves, dragons, half-demons, half-angels, full demons, full angels, iconic fantasy characters, cyborgs, sith lords, jedis, robots, time wizards, Dr. Robotnik and all the ninja turtles.   Sometimes some people would be all of those things at once, forming awesome character combinations I’ve actually seen, like the aforementioned Vampire Goku.  Or my personal favorite, Darth Sephiroth-sama who used a 6 foot red light saber and was able to use the death star laser to attack people, which he called ‘dark flame of the medigo.’

As to what time period this all supposedly was taking place in?  Who knows?!  Who cares?!  Was it the future ruled by robots and cyborgs with laser cannons and spaceships?  Wase ite thee medievale paste fylled wythe tragyk vampyres?  Was it modern times with tanks and machine guns?  How about all of them at once?!  Why the fuck not.  You’d be strolling down the streets of Rhydin while a cop in an Apache attack helicopter was chasing down a demon king while no less than three huge titted battle maidens were being raped in a side alley by a 10-dicked dragon and Neo from the matrix battled no less than two Gokus in the sky destroying at least five city blocks per second.  It was a magical chaos clusterfuck that truly had to be seen to be believed.  Combine that with the chat system itself that was prone to lag, remember this was the time of dial up modems, people flat-out refusing to accept people they don’t like’s RP resulting in half the room having random people blocked, made from some very confusing conditions for trying to explain how your the way you ::appeared in a cloud of myst:: was totes awesome.

Not like I was any better, considering I was role playing as a time wizard half-demon immortal.  Though, my real life friends who roleplayed were not much better.  One of them was very obviously RPing as Deadpool.  The other had what you could describe as ‘final boss syndrome’ and would only RP as emotionless super powerful beings.  Everything from a sixteen foot tall titanium alloy golem or Zeriam, an immortal invulnerable alien from some fucking anime we watched.  Needless to say, I was not exactly any better than some of these people in terms of back story.  As a matter of fact, I rarely RPed without my buddies just because I found the whole thing tragically embarrassing and hopelessly pointless.  A tragic ballad that didn’t just extend to the people playing, oh no, but the actual rooms themselves.

First thing you need to know about Rhydin is that this is realm devoid entirely of anything resembling residential housing.  It’s either massive guildhalls surrounded in, I don’t know, a cloud of bats.  Inns that no one uses for rooms, they just hang out in the rafters in the lobby and hit up the bar.  Oh and the predictable taverns.   That’s it.  This is a place fueled by chaos and booze.  Then there were out the outside rooms, there was of course a few of those, but my two personal favorites were rooms created to facilitate in common RP plot devices.  As in the only perceived reason to go into these rooms was to inflict various tragedies upon your character to add even more angst to your gawthic half-demon vampyre.  Those two rooms were Rhydin Rape Alley, and my personal favorite, Suicide Cliffs of Rhydin. 

Lets make something clear here before I continue, rape is not something we at nonpersons endorse, alright?  Don’t rape anyone after reading this article, k thx.  Anyway, Rape Alley was kind of like accidentally stumbling upon a video of one of those Japanese sex game shows where the contestant is actually rubbing his mom’s ass from behind a curtain.  In other words, horrifying and amusing all at once.  You don’t want to stare, but you can’t look away.  So, you waltz in and sit back, letting the perverse chat log scroll on by, wondering what kind of demented soul is typing these messages about his half-dragon demon lord with a 5 foot cock raping the half-blood wizard queen of Valhalla or whatever.  No one is really getting raped, because you don’t go into a room like RAPE ALLEY unless you really are asking for it.  The only thing that was getting raped was my sanity as I witnessed in that room Lovecraftian horrors that easily rival even the most hardcore of asian tentacle cartoons.  Oh and this was also one of the more popular rooms for ‘erotic’ roleplay, and would constantly be at the top of the page in the chat menus.

But lets talk about my favorite room of all time, Rhydin Suicide Cliffs.   Your saiyan anthro moonsire of the darknyss vamprie clan leave you?  Did you just get raped by a half-dragon dickmonster from the 6th dimension?  Did your parents die in a tragic buggy accident?  Well fear not!  Now you can simply cry for attention in the most contrived way possible, attempted suicide!  It was actually surprising that most people legitimately did kill their characters off here, mostly because no one in Rhydin actually dies unless they do it themselves. That’s right, immortals who can fight god in a boxing match and probably win somehow can be killed by jumping off a cliff.  Lasers, holy water, machine guns, death stars, fireballs, deadly traps, the moon hitting you, being frozen in place, having limbs cut off, all mere trifles!  Gravity, gravity was the one true weakness of all AOL RP characters.

Speaking of being immune to most any damage, the actual RP ‘battles’ if you could call them that were beyond ridiculous.  Things like location, relative strength, even dice rolls didn’t matter in the slightest.  No one ever was harmed by your attacks, assuming you could even agree on what dice rolls constitutes a hit, since no one had any stats whatsoever, and since there was no way to track them, it was actually impossible to lose a fight or even get hurt.  Most people wouldn’t even bother with things like rules, you’d have people type, no joke, something like ::KILLS U:: followed by a dice roll.  If it hits they’d just yell YOU’RE DEAD over and over and block you.  In the rare occasion you could actually get someone to take any form of combat seriously they’d almost always have godlike powers or describe your actions for you.  ::THE DEMON GIRL GRINS WYKEDLY AND GRABS YOU BY YOUR SOUL AND YOU SCREAM AND ARE TOTES SCARED, YOU SHIT YOURSELF AND BEG FOR FORGIVNESS, GIVE HER ALL YOUR MONEY AND AGREE TO BECOME HER SEX SLAVE:: Insert Dice roll here.  Where are you fighting?  Inside a bar?  Okay cool, lemme just swing my 20 foot sword called justice around a room filled with other people, support pillars, furniture, low ceilings, etc, that’s cool right?  Oh also I’m a vampire so my sword is red and shoots energy bats.

Then there were the worst of the worst, the guild leaders.  AOL allowed for message boards so you could make up a guild and give yourself a message board for your members to hang out and RP with each other in private free from pesky people like Darth Neo or whatever.   Sounds great right?  Wrong.   Since most guilds were populated by the same unoriginal idiots you’d see in the chat rooms you’d have the, ahem, pleasure of reading a ten paragraph description of everyone’s tragic past or long rambling speeches about their greatness.  If you dare reply to anything with anything other that complete agreement or awe the guild leader and all their flunkies would descend upon you like a pack of wolves.  Sometimes guilds would be in alliances, or in other words, yet another group of idiots with yet another group of rules no one would follow.  Making an already confusing environment all the most chaotic.

WARNING! THE FOLLOWING REAL AOL RP PROFILE CONTAINS EXTREME AMOUNTS OF STUPID, PROCEED WITH CAUTION! 

Note: I have added .gifs of fire and Diablo 2 to enhance the effect.  You’re welcome. 

 

Evil at its finest… ::Feral grin::

Don’t be afraid…come on in…::Grins wickedly with a wink::

  • Malice
  •     Poneros
  •     Kakos
  •     Love Then
  •     Love Now
  •     Life
  •     Kindred
  •     Now

Don’t be afraid…I don’t bite::Smirks:: Much…

(<~Poneros)
PONEROS:
::Smirks:: What can I say…Poneros is my trusty side-kick. My beloved companion. As well as my pet and protector. He watches my back and I stear clear of his path.::Chuckles:: Yes Poneros is my dear tiger. I found him long ago, poachers killed off his family as a tribe killed
mine. I related to his feeling of sadness and took him with me on my travels. He was a spunky cub and has not calmed down one bit. And that is the reason for his name. Poneros, same as kakos….in simplilest form, means harrassing evil. When I first came to RhyDin I often took him to the Inns with me. I soon learned that to not be a smart thing to do. He enjoys beating on the weak…::Chuckles darkly::Though I understand his feelings of that as well. He has bruised me and broken a few of my bones as well. But I know that he loves me none the less. He has never let me down when I absolutely needed him.


 

KAKOS: Kakos is a name that suits me all to well as it was my maiden name. The name also represents the family in which I came from. The word kakos means, in its simplest form, destructive evil. Through my families destructive nature I am left, to my knowledge, the last of my family. I do not fear death. Especially now.::flashes  her wicked grin:: I live up to my name. So do stear clear of my path. Unless, of course, you are a friend…::grins and winks::
LOVE THEN: ::Shakes her head with a smirk::Love…what a topic…I was known as a RhyDin bitch. Love was the farthest thing from my mind. I had no need for a man. I had my guild…-=DETH=-…and needed nothing more. I was a hunter…how can a hunter have love when all my concern was killing and not getting killed. Knowing that at any possible moment I could die. ::Sighs:: I did find love though…or should I say…love found me. I met a great man…named Dymone. ::Chuckles slightly at the memory:: I hunted him for some time because he intrigued me. Nothing major…I was just checking him out. Finally one day I found him…after chasing him from inn to inn.::Smirks:: Anyway…We talked for a short time and for some reason he told me that I stole his heart. He swore up and down that he was not like the other men in RhyDin. After a loooooong time…::Smirks at her own stubbornness:: I began to trust that he was true. He was not like all of the other male sluts of RhyDin. And I trusted him in other ways as well. Slowly my heart began to soften. ::Chuckles:: Poneros even liked him. Soon we were in love. We went through hell together.
We’d break up over nonsense and get back together. Then I lost him to death.::Looks to the floor with saddened eyes:: But thanks to my beloved Grand Commander, though he’s a Drow I repect him much, he found a way to get him back…legally. We spent a short time together and broke up again. We got BACK together again..::Smirks:: and then he left…to go on a trip…::Sighs:: And I have never heard from him again. Now I merely enjoy the company of my new *family*…-=DETH=-…as well as a few other friends.


After a while I thought life had taken a turn in the *right* direction for once. Thanks to my dear friend Misa, and her endless efforts in match making, she finally made a perfect match. She introduced me to a handsome Tremere named Marco deTasconi. After a very short while he confessed his love for me and a while after that my feelings matched his. Soon there after I put my house up for sale and moved in to his gorgeous chantry with him. And not long after that…we were married by that same dear friend…~*Lady Misa Tarbold*~…the original Black Dove of RhyDin. Then we lived a happy life together, bound by body, mind, soul, strength, and blood as well. But…that was long ago now
LIFE: Seems I already told you lots of that. My life has been full of trouble. I think one of the best things in my life was having a life long dream fulfilled. I admired, being a mere human, all of the kindred. I have great hatred towards Drow and all the wolf breeds. Wether were, mutant or who knows what else. My only fascination lies with the kindred. I soughtafter many clans, tribes and loners to find a suitable sire. I found a few to be my very friend. Yet it never worked out. I did however find on sire that was worthy, willing, and available. He sired me on the mundane date of 7/9/97. On that day my live has been full of joy. Troubles and pains have dwindled quite a bit. It feels all so great to have a dream come true.


KINDRED: After a life time of researching the diverse Kindred breeds I decided that I no longer wished to remain a mere mortal. I was awe struck by many of the Kindred that had crossed my path. I had also watched the mortals that wanted the dark gift as well. Many were fools and grabbed the first sire that would take them. Not me, I searched diligently for the perfect sire. After careful concideration and observing an individual for a long time I would approach them and ask for their dark kiss. A few turned me down and a few more were too busy even after they had agreed. Then, on one flawless night, after a long time of observing on particular Kindred, a 9th generation Tremere, I approached him and everything fell into place. We went to the place of his choosing and with the passionate embrace of the dark gift I began my new life as a Kindred and as a 10th generation Tremere of Camarilla. My sire was not one of
sexual pleasures for I still had hopes of Dymone returning. All that was done was strictly business but my Sire will forever have a special place in my heart for giving me the gift of my dreams. I think back on all of the Kindred that warned me of all the down falls of being Kindred, and how bad of a life it was…::Smirks:: I don’t regret my decision for a moment. Although I did give up my dark gift for a short time. With the help of another Kindred and Magic, I became mortal and conceived a child. Soon after the babe was born and weened, my dear husband re-sired me. We had quite a bond for quite some time.



NOW: Now, as fate would have it, I am again alone. Raising my dear daughter, Cynthia Whisper, by myself. Without my husband, without my old family of -=DETH=-, simply alone.
Pretty boring I’m sure. but now you know a little about what makes me tick. ::Chuckles darkly and whispers::And what get me ticked.::Chuckles::

 

The biggest issue is that everyone wanted to stand out the most, and as a result no one stood out.  In a realm where everyone is a special little snowflake with a dark past, wyked grin, and untapped ultra-powerful powers, no one is special.  In order to be unique you’d have to be common, play as a normal human with no real powers to speak of, and lets face it, with the ever looming threat of Lord Sephiroth Vader-Sama’s Death Star, you wouldn’t last very long.   Don’t worry though, Vampire Goku will be sure to sire you just before he flies up into space to do epic battle with Darth Sephiroth and stop his nefarious plans once and for all.  Fight on Vampire Goku… for justice.


This delightful nugget of information was brought to you by:  Dr. Repose: The site's wanna-be author, professional jerk, monster who's dead on the inside, and semi-proud owner. More from this author


6 comments to The Streets of Rhy’din: A Journey Into The Whimsical World of AOL Chatroom Roleplay

  • Lord Of Silence

    Brilliant!
    Remember deaf slave girls? You couldn’t swing a dead cat in Rhydin without hitting a deaf slave girl! I once played a deaf, dumb and blind slave girl without arms and legs. I was castigated for “taking it too far.” Go figure.

    • Too far, or not far enough?

      Yeah, I remember that being one of the more… disturbing ERP trends. I was in this guild called DHoS (Dark Hands of the Shadows) and there was this member in there who was one of the officers by the name of Entropy. She was a full-fledged demon, you know horns and goat legs, the works. Also giant heaving tits that swung loose and free. She’d always have a few of the lesser guildies act in her sad little harem and there were quite a few who were… blind slave girls.

      On a side note, I eventually got kicked out of the guild for implying her mun was probably a man out of character. Which tells me I was probably right. They attacked me in a bar as a result and I remember laughing hysterically to the point I couldn’t breathe because Entropy kept having her character attack me by shooting ‘balls of necromancy’ at me over and over while typing out these elaborate descriptions of her slaves and tits trying to hold her back before she’d become consumed in ‘ultimate darkrage.’ These people took themselves too seriously, I swear.

  • Wow – you totally just made my day. I haven’t thought about AOL RP and RhyDin in years! I seriously laughed out loud at the vampires in rafters in the field and the AOL profile. My favorite players were most definitely the ones that would ” ::walks in:: Hi, how’s it going? ::rubs up on you:: ” LOL. Omg, awesome. Anyways, thank you for this. I do remember the guilds, and was apart of some myself, but do you happen to remember the hospital chatroom? Where you were supposed to fill out an application to become a “doctor” or whatever but in reality everyone who was in the room was somehow a world-renown cardiologist already? Aw, so many nights filled with people shooting and katana-ing people in the waiting room.

    • Actually I do, remember the Hospital! There was this guy who was a rip off of Snake Pliskin from this movie called ‘Escape From New York’ that hung out in the modern RP rooms like ‘Streets of Rhy’din’ and ‘Rhy’din Hospital’ (the name changed a lot for that room). He’d almost always get all in a huff as my friends and I would impersonate doctors and make jokes poking at him till he got mad and started firing machine guns and rockets all over the place, civies be damned!

      Good times.

  • Whoo boy, that is some serious nostalgia. I’ll have to pass this around to some friends, ’cause you’ve hit the nail on the head with every sentence.

    Funny thing is that I was JUST bringing up Rhydin to a friend, recently. He’s a bit younger and didn’t take part in all this, so I sent him the “Rules of Rhydin” (from the same anglefire site your bio example came from) with the explanation that a majority (if not all of it) was true. I didn’t really go too far into an explanation, so I could use this article as a better way to describe it all. I never realized how hard it would be to explain all the chaos, but you’re right: Anyone and everyone was anything and everything at all times.

    It’s just crazy how things like someone being “up in the rafters”, “The Suicide Cliffs”, or hell, the “Rhydin Waterfalls” strike that nostalgia chord so hard. It was certainly a different time and, being a teenager, I sucked it all in with angsty fervor. Still, I made some good friends, at the time, and managed some interesting free-form battles without dice, and all that (more like a “how fast can you type” sort of thing, while still remaining legible).

    Even though everything you’ve stated is true…I think I can still look back on it with fondness. I mean, for the nostalgia, and for how hilarious it is to me, now. It couldn’t be helped. You throw a million teenagers together and it was bound to happen. I’m just glad I didn’t make some big mistakes, like some of them did; running away from home to meet up with online friends who “understood them.”

    Crazy, crazy times.

    • Yeah, I tried digging up some more stuff about Rhy’Din before I started writing this but I couldn’t find much. It’s basically dead because the chat system that sustained it is totally gone. Also, the free hosting sites that people put their character/guild bios on have been slowly going offline or purging them.

      I’m with you, it was really stupid, lame and angst filled, but it’s hilarious to look back and think that I actually spent so much time fighting people pretending to be Goku and Neo from the Matrix. I wouldn’t say it was all entirely unfun, but for me the majority of my ‘RP’ was basically trolling with my friends. Still, good times.

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