In the world of real-life (Its that scary place you go to every weekday between 8 and 4, right outside your window), lots of things happen. People are born, people die, people are angry, people cry, people eat, people have fun, people drink, people make good deals, people make bad deals, people get rich, people get broke, people do stupid things, and on and on and on and on. The number of things that happen within a single hour of life would be enough to fill a library with history - and I do love my history. History has taught us a lot of things. That Hitler was a dick. Stalin was an accepted evil. That Ron Jeremy is the best porn star there ever was. That 300 Spartans held off either 100,000 or 10,000,000 Persians in a small mountain pass, and then made a cool movie about it staring Gerard Butler. History has also taught us that every event known to us has had its reasons for it. The French Revolution, the Magna Carta, the Mongolian Invasion of . . . everything. They all had reasons.
And reason is something LS-RP, I find, is heavily lacking in.
Now yes, this applies both OoCly and ICly, but what you do with yourself at night isn't up to the server to decide (Even if touching yourself at night did kill the dinosaurs and got Adam Jamal removed as Chief of Police), so this is an IC topic of debate. As so elegantly stated above, everything has a reason. Why did you buy a Coke at lunch? Because you were thirsty. Why a Coke? They were out of Sprite. Why didn't you go to the Pepsi machine for a 7-Up? I don't like Pepsi. Simple things can have complicated back stories to be sure, but this doesn't mean every small action from getting in your car in-game and scratching your ass with a /me needs to have massive psychological back stories. Just scratch your ass, its fine. I guess. Maybe.
What should require some sort of back story is major actions of any kind. Small details are fine, but they all lead up to a big picture eventually. Every slight brush stroke can lead to a Mona Lisa, or a pointless painting of a can of Campbell's Tomato Soup (What is that shit, anyway?). Why did four gang members pile into a car and decide to rob three men at gunpoint at the fishing pier? Why did they even get guns in the first place? In real-life, this could fill a story book. One man could have a sick mother at home, no father, and is going broke just trying to maintain an education and any kind of life stlye, as well as his mother's life. Another might just be spoiled rotten, gotten into the wrong group of people, and decided that begging his ill-mannered dad for an XBox 360 takes more time than just breaking into his gun cabinet and robbing people for the money instead - a decision he will probably regret rather quickly. I could go on, but really the point makes itself rather simply.
Sadly, in LS-RP, most people do these kind of actions for the OoC fun. "Lets rob people at the pier". No reasoning, just a statement. Suddenly several people have handguns and shotguns and are charging the fishing pier in a Sultan. They're doing it for shits and giggles, because they want to make some small change, on top of getting a thrill.
There's always two sides to every story, though, and obviously just being involved in a situation doesn't mean you'll instantly understand every aspect of the other player's character and go "Oh, I see why he's doing this, no need to /b about getting shot at for what seems to be no rational reason. Carry on." The basis of every Report Player thread is ignorance. Either someone broke a rule doing something stupid, or someone wants to report someone for breaking a rule because he doesn't understand why it happened in the first place. But thats the thing, just because there's a back story involved, does it mean you're really using it? Almost every thread I see, the response as to why someone did something is "Oh, you angered my character, so he decided to kill you." or "I play a gang banger so obviously he'll rob you if you can.". Thats some petri-dish deep material right there. I've spread butter on my toast with more depth of understanding than this, people.
Putting it bluntly, examples like in the above paragraph aren't a reason, they're an excuse. They are two very different things, and I hope you all learn them in time. A reason is more along the lines of "My character just learned that his best friend's dog ran away, and since I carry a gun on me for safety, and I saw you walking a dog alone, he took the opportunity and tried to steal it from you." There's depth there, even if it isn't an astonishing level of it. Remember that (Admittedly) whine thread about "people ruining role-play", and the guy that shot Hoover at a speech? He wasn't a bad role-player, but he had reasons for everything. Here's the quote;
I would just like to clear things up a bit regarding Jim Hoover (maybe everyone's gotten over it but I still feel like a dick). First of all, I'm sorry, Jim. Well, I signed up very recently, and I was instantly interested in the mayoral elections. I began to research, and quickly became a fan of Jack Stracci (he just seemed to be more down-to-earth IC, nothing personal ). When I discovered that he was having his final speech, I decided that I would check it out ICly. If I didn't like the speech (ICly), I'd follow him after the speech and confront him. So I got a gun, I got someone to drive/tail Jim after the speech (though he ended up as a getaway driver), and I arrived at the speech.
Mid-speech, gunshots broke out, and everyone started to panic - so I saw it as my only chance, I fired at Jim and killed him. I then ran to the getaway driver, and got out of there. Now to clear things up - I am very sorry, I did not do it to piss people off, I had good intentions (really, I thought it'd make some interesting widespread roleplay - for example everyone asking who did it), I know how to roleplay properly, and again - I'M SORRY!
I won't complain about my jailtime, I just wanted to explain this to everyone and say sorry to you, Jim. Please don't judge me from this mistake of mine.
Now that is a fantastic reason. See? Reason. Not excuse. He didn't just say "I didn't like Jim Hoover, so I shot him.", he said - well you know what he said, you should have just read it. If not, fuck you okay.
We all have a character, and we role-play his personality or traits. The basis of all actions are personality. One situation can have a million outcomes depending solely on someone's mood, their personality, and who it even is at all. A hot-headed, unthinking man having a horrid day may decide to clock the first person that annoys him slight in the face (Note I didn't say kill him, since thats honestly a whole other topic). Even a well-mannered, understanding person on a bad day could do the same. Someone who just broke up with their girlfriend, depending on their character, could swear off women for a while, might drink himself stupid, might get in the sack with the nearest piece of meat in a skirt he can find, who knows. It all depends on your character's personality - and not yours.
I'm going to break into a small tangent and simply state this outright; MAKE A DISTINCTION BETWEEN WHAT YOU WANT TO DO OOCLY AND WHAT YOUR CHARACTER NEEDS TO DO ICLY. Doesn't mean it has to be a chore.
You have your character. He's living his life, doing whatever (Literally fill in the empty spaces with your own character). Suddenly a troubling situation comes up. Your house is due for foreclosure because you haven't paid rent. What now? If you have no friends in-character due to being a loner, maybe you can get a loan. Maybe you can coerce the landlord into giving you more time, if you're a charismatic type. Or maybe, you're just sick of this shit, your friend's in hospital after a shootout, your dad beat your mom again, and you just got no time to handle this. Time to take the gun and take care of business, you're the angry type and you're not thinking anything through.
What would your character do in the above situation? There's a million possibilities here. But there's also a lot of OoC solutions, unfortunately. Ask to rent at a friends. Kill him with a PK so he stops bothering you. Go to your unrealistically large bank account and just pay him off anyway. This is what you are doing, however, and not your character. Make the distinction.
So, how do I start role-playing with reason, you so eagerly and demandingly ask me? Mindset. What the fuck is that, you ask? Put yourself in your character's mindset. Wut, you say? Simple; What has your character done in his life? How has he commonly reacted to these things? What are his problems? What are his personality quirks? Now how might he solve them as a human being of his own? If he/she needs $5k, what will he/she do? Once again, what will he/she do? Not what will you do, what will your character do?
I'm not here to discuss what happens to your characters after major events like this, although both topics do follow up on each other. Thats up to you to decide. But if you finally grasp being able to give reason to your actions, then with that kind of understanding to your character, you should also be able to understand what will happen to them afterwards.
And I realize now this probably should have been a how-to beginners thread or something.
Edit/P.S. - I'm not hating on gangs here, even though it is my example of choice. This is just because the majority of players on LS-RP role-play a gang member, and obviously its the best way to get the point across to the most people.