There are six text chat channels: Talk, Party, Shout, Whisper, Tell and DM. You can pick them from the drop down menu, or type /tk /p /s /dm /w and /tp “playername” or /t “charactername” for tell.
Talk sends text to everyone in the vicinity of the speaker. I’m going to consider everything you say in Talk to be in-character unless otherwise specified, BUT I would prefer if you didn’t use it for the most part. Instead, it would be better if you guys used
Party, which sends text to everyone in the party. It also sends text to the DM, which is why I’d rather you guys used Party for in-character communication. I might be in a different area, setting something up before you reach it, and if you use Talk, I’ll have no idea what’s going on. Whereas if you use Party, I’ll be able to have NPCs respond or jump back and make stuff happen for you and so forth. Please don’t abuse this – if you guys get split up and wouldn’t be able to hear each other, either split the party into two groups or just use Talk instead.
Shout sends text to everyone on the server. This is really for stuff like admin messages (“Server going down in 5 minutes! Everyone log off!”) and there’s no real reason for you guys to use it. But I guess you can if you want to. I might switch to it if I have something to say to everyone and they aren’t all in the same area, but I try to use it sparingly.
Whisper sends text only to characters who are standing immediately next to the whisperer. I will consider Whispers to be in-character, but if you’re really trying to say something without an NPC overhearing, I’d prefer to just use Party and do a Listen check.
Tell sends text privately to a specific person. I consider this to be out of character, and furthermore to be none of my business unless it is directed at me. (I can’t see it anyway.) You can click on a character portrait to automatically fill in the Tell information on the chat bar – useful if you can’t remember their player name.
DM sends text to the DM. Unlike the other chat channels, it isn’t echoed to your own chat buffer, so it will look like nothing happened when you used it. Rest assured, I will see it. The best use of this is in situations where you have a question for me or want your character to take action without announcing it publicly. (“
/dm Does my character know anything about this?” “
/dm I pick his pocket when he's not looking.”) You can also use Tell for this stuff if you want. Whichever is easier for you.
Outside of OOC areas, I will assume that all text is in-character speech or actions unless otherwise specified. If you have an OOC comment you want to make, mark it as such. I prefix my out of character comments with double slashes // as if I were commenting out a line of code. This is pretty standard among NWN vets, at least on the servers I’ve played on. I’ve also seen double parentheses ((around the text)) or even just “OOC” at the beginning. Try to stick to in-character speech if you can, though.
It’s also pretty common to use asterisks to specify emotes. “
I have no idea where the goblins went. *shrugs*” or “
*carefully pulls the lever, ready to jerk his hand away if anything unpleasant happens.*” This is pretty vital, since obviously NWN doesn’t have animations for all the things you might want to do.
Finally, the DMFI tools I use to make my job as DM easier come with scripts that automatically do certain animations if you type certain emotes. For instance, drinks will make you appear to chug a potion, and looks or peers will make you put your hand over your eyes like you’re shading them from the sun. These sometimes happen unintentionally – don’t worry about it, just ignore them.