Note: WOW This is old! If you're gaming on something more recent, like Discord, you can find more info here: Online RP Resources

Here's a quick guide to gaming on IRC.

I'm starting with a "how to" guide to actually getting on IRC in the first place, so if you're not interested in that, skip down to the Commands section. Please replace things like "yournick" and "channelname" with the relevant words. :P

Also note, you CANNOT start a line with a / as the server will interpret it as an attempt at a command. To fake it out, you can put a . in front of it like so ./whoosh!/ Or you can do it the fancy/real way and start with the /say command.

Common Conventions

It's nice to get everyone on the same page as to how they format things when they type stuff. Here are some guidelines that my groups use.

  • Put "quotes" around any speech, even if it's the only thing on the line. Write it like you're in a novel.
    • Ex: "Hello," she said, turning to her new companion. "What brings you here?"
  • Use a * to set off actions within the middle of a sentence, or if you don't want to use the /me command.
    • Ex: *Silently, Bob runs across the room*
  • Use ~ or :: to set off telepathic conversations, instead of quotes. If you're "talking" to one person try ~Targetname~ What you're thinking~
  • Use /slashes/ surrounding a word or phrase for emphasis.
    • Alternately, use /slashes/ to set off things that you are thinking to yourself that nobody else can hear. Make sure your group agrees which one you're using.
  • ALL CAPS means you're yelling. Don't do it unless you're actually yelling. It's considered rude!
  • When using the /me command, write in the 3rd person.
    • Ex: /me runs across the room, skidding to a halt.
    • If my nick were Bob, it would show up in the channel as: Bob runs across the room, skidding to a halt.
  • Pick a tense! Life is less confusing if everyone uses either present or past tense. Just figure out what works best for your group.
  • If you're crazy and use one channel, use ((Parentheses)) to set off your OOC chat.


First you'll need to get a free IRC program to connect with everyone.

I personally use (PC) and (Mac) There are many other options out there, including some all-in-one IM type programs that also let you chat on IRC, like Adium and Pidgin.

If you don't want to install anything, or you happen to be at work >.> try

You don't tend to have to do anything other than specify your server and nickname (nick) out of the box with these, though there are tons of options if you want to poke around.


The Server:

Next you'll need to all decide on a server to connect to so you're all in the same place.

Some servers have RP services built into them - like dice rolling and NPC commands so you can post as someone else, or sort of faceless ambience without switching your nick. is an example of one of these. is another.

IRC programs also have deep scripting languages that you can use to write your own dice scripts, etc. I'm not going to get into scripting here, I'll simply use magicstar's default dice rollers for my examples.

The Room:

So now that you're all on the same server, you all have to go to the same room. If you are meeting in an established channel, type "/join #channelname"

If you want to start a brand new channel for your game, type "/join #channelname" -Yeah, it's that easy.

In fact, if you want to take someone aside to have a private conversation between only a portion of the group/NP Cs?, or say the group splits apart into two separate places, go ahead and make a new channel for the split off group. If you trust your players not to metagame, the people that aren't in it can even join and watch.

You can make as many channels as you want, but unless you register them they will disappear when nobody is in them. Registering lets you make the channel permanent, set the topic, and establish channel operators, or Ops. The first person in will get an Op, and they will be able to register it with the following command: "/chanserv register #channelname password [email protected]" That person will become the channel founder - don't forget your password! Note: The founder must also have a registered nick. (See commands)

Various symbols or color-coding designate the power structure of the channel, from ~Founder to &Super Op, to @Auto Op, to %Half Opand +Voice in descending level of power. That power being, changing channel modes, setting topics, kicking and banning misbehaving trolls, and adding and subtracting people from the various power lists.

This is mostly not important, other than that to use the NPC command you need to be opped, and it's nice to have someone able to kick out jerks.

I highly recommend one channel for Out Of Character stuff (OOC) and dice rolling, and a second channel for the game fiction itself. (ie #mygame and #mygameooc). Some people don't like to do this but don't listen to them. They're crazy!

A new window/tab should pop up showing you the new room, with a list of other people who are in it on the side. Everything everyone types shows up in the main window. Yep.


Most commands are triggered with a forward-slash. We like to call them slash-commands. These don't show up in the window, as the slash indicates that it is a message directly to the server. Generally the server will respond to you with the result, either in the current window or in your status window.

Other commands activate scripts, and these ones will show up in the channel when you type them. The rpgserv ones are generally triggered with the # key at the beginning of a line. User-written scripts often trigger with a ! or other character.

Note that any time you want to get more information you can type /msg chanserv help (replacing chanserv with nickserv etc. as relevant.)

Standard IRC Commands

  • /join #channelname - Join or create a channel
  • /nick newnick - Change your nickname to a new one. This will change it on all channels on the same server.
  • /me does stuff - Posts to the channel as "*yournick does stuff."
    • This is the most important RP command on IRC!
    • Make sure to write in third person when you use the me command or you'll look dumb. Pretend you're writing a sentence with your name as the first part, as written by a novelist.
    • If you want to fake using a comma right after your name, just stick a space in after the /me like so: /me , hearing the noise, looks up in fright!
  • /part #channelname - Same thing as hitting the X on the channel window (not the program window - that closes the whole thing.)
  • /quit - Disconnects from the server

Roleplaying Commands - RP Gserv?

RP Gserv? is an optional service that some IRC servers have. Not all do. It rolls dice for you, and also runs the NPC, NPCA and Ambience commands.

  • #roll 1d10 - this will roll (first number) (second number)-sided dice. 4 standard six sided dice would be written as #roll 4d6
    • Written this way, the dice will be totaled and that sum will be the result posted to the channel.
  • #roll 5[1d10] - As above, but the result of each die will be shown separately in the result.
  • /npc #channelname NP Cname? your sentence here - Posts to the indicated channel under a temporary name. Only works if you are an Op
  • /npca #channelname NP Cname? your action here - As above, but simulated /me command for your NPC

Administrative Commands - Nickserv

Nickserv is the service that controls all the you-related stuff.

  • /msg nickserv register yournick password - Registers your nickname so other people can't steal it! Also required to be a channel founder or an Op of any status.
  • /msg nickserv identify password - This is essentially logging in to your nickname so that IRC recognizes you as the owner. You must do this before a channel will op you, etc.
  • /msg nickserv ghost yournick password - Someone else is using your registered nick? Kick them off! BWAHAHAHAA!
  • /msg nickserv link mainnick mainnickpassword - Got a lot of nicknames that you want to tie together so they share ops with your main nick? Link them with this command. (Not available on all servers)

Administrative Commands - Chanserv

Chanserv is the service that controls all the channel-related stuff.

  • /msg chanserv register #channel password email - Register an unclaimed channel as the founder. Requires a registered nick. Not all servers require the email.
    • A Registered channel's settings will persist when empty. For example, topic and modes, operators
  • /msg chanserv identify #channel password - Identify as founder to the channel. This is the only way to be able to add or remove a SOP.
  • /msg chanserv add #channel SOP nick - (founder only) add a Super Op to your channel. target nick must be registered.
    • SOP can add AO Ps? etc., Voice people, change channel modes, use /npc and /npca commands, kick, ban, and speak in a moderated channel.
  • /msg chanserv add #channel AOP nick - (founder, SOP only) add a Auto Op to your channel. target nick must be registered.
    • AOP can Voice people, change channel modes, kick, ban, use /npc and /npca commands, and speak in a moderated channel.
  • /msg chanserv add #channel HOP nick - (founder, SOP only) add a Auto Op to your channel. target nick must be registered.
    • HOP can Voice people, kick, and speak in a moderated channel.
  • /msg chanserv add #channel voice nick - (founder, SOP, AOP only) add a voiced person to your channel. target nick must be registered.
    • Voiced people can speak in a moderated channel (+m).

Administrative Commands - Channel

Some stuff you do directly to the channel. Most of these can be accessed from a right-click menu by clicking either on the channel or on the person you want to affect. Here are the raw commands. Most stuff can also only be done by Ops.

  • /topic #channelname whatever - Sets the topic of the channel
  • /ban #channelname *!*@* - Replace the funny characters with the hostmask of the person you want to ban. Wildcards * work.
    • Don't actually type the above. It will ban everyone from the channel. If you uh, do, and you happen to be an op, you can type /chanserv unban #channelname me
  • /mode #channelname +x - Set channel modes. There are several to use in place of that x (which does nothing). use a + to make it so, and a - to remove it. Case sensitive. Here are some to get you started.
    • +t - Topic lock. Only ops can change the topic.
    • +s - Secret. When someone does a /whois on you, these channels won't show up so they can't stalk you there.
    • +m - Moderated. Only people with voice or ops can speak in the channel.
    • +i - Invite only. Only ops and people sent the /invite nickname command can join
    • +r - Registered. This is not a mode you can actually set, but if you register a channel you'll see it up there.

Comments and Questions: