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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.

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