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    What is FOIC?

    FOIC stands for “find out in character.” It’s a phrase used in online roleplaying games (RPGs), especially MUDs and MUSHes with a heavy focus on roleplay.

    FOIC refers to the practice of discovering game mechanics, lore, and other information through in-character (IC) means rather than out-of-character (OOC) sources like guides, help channels, or forums.

    This approach emphasizes immersion and encourages players to integrate learning into their roleplay, but can be challenging for newcomers unfamiliar with the game’s mechanics or roleplaying culture.

    The concept of FOIC is rooted in the tradition of immersive roleplay, which emphasizes the separation between player knowledge and character knowledge. As such, it encourages players to explore and interact within the game world as their characters would.


    What is the purpose of FOIC in roleplaying games?

    The purpose of FOIC in roleplaying games is to enhance immersion and storytelling by ensuring that all information and learning occur in character and within the context of the game. It’s meant to encourage players to engage more deeply with the game world, develop their characters through direct experience, and interact more meaningfully with other characters.

    How does FOIC affect new players in MUDs and other RP games?

    The FOIC approach can be daunting for newbies, especially in games with complex lore and mechanics. It forces them to navigate the game world and its challenges without out-of-character help, which can result in a steeper learning curve and potential frustration.

    This is especially true for players who are more accustomed to casual games, where it’s common to learn in-game information through chat channels, wikis, and other OOC sources.

    Is FOIC always enforced in roleplaying games?

    No, FOIC is not always enforced in roleplaying games. Its application varies widely among different games and communities. Some may adopt a strict FOIC policy, while others may allow or even encourage out-of-character assistance for new players. The approach depends on the game’s objectives and the community’s RP culture.

    Can FOIC lead to the exclusion of new players?

    Yes, overly strict enforcement of FOIC can lead to exclusion, making it difficult for newcomers to integrate into the community. It may create an unwelcoming environment, particularly if veteran players (oldbies) are unwilling to help newcomers navigate the learning curve in a supportive, in-character manner.

    Myths about FOIC

    One common myth about FOIC is that it is intended to gatekeep or deliberately exclude new players from roleplaying communities. While it can inadvertently lead to such outcomes, the primary goal of FOIC is to promote roleplay immersion.

    Another misconception is that FOIC is a rule applied universally across roleplay-intensive games. In reality, its enforcement and acceptance vary significantly from one game or community to another. Some games even ban the use of the phrase “FOIC” because of the negative connotations attached to it.

    Lastly, some believe that FOIC makes it impossible for new players to learn and enjoy the game. With supportive players and a well-designed game world, FOIC can enhance the learning process and make it a rewarding part of the roleplaying experience.

    However, the FOIC approach isn’t ideal for all roleplaying games and all types of players. It can come across as stifling and unhelpful when forced upon new players, especially those seeking a more casual RP experience.

    FOIC examples

    • A new player asks about the history of a game’s kingdom in the help chat and is advised to visit the in-game library and speak with character historians rather than being given a direct answer.
    • A player encounters a magical artifact and has to learn about its properties and history by consulting in-game sources or other characters, instead of looking up information outside the game.
    • A newcomer joins a guild and has to learn about its customs, rules, and history by interacting with other guild members in character.

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    About the author

    Andruid is a writer, roleplayer, storyteller, and nerd who tries to live by Bill and Ted wisdom, i.e. "Be excellent to each other."