Imagine this scenario.
You’re at the top of Falcon Watch, in the massive tall Blood Elf tower there. You’re looking out over Hellfire Peninsula. When you spot, at the base of the tower, a blood elf with an intriguing FlagRSP description. “Zounds!” You think, because you’re the sort of person for whom ‘zounds!’ would naturally occur in your thoughts, “That man looks like he’d be intriguing to role-play with. But how to open up a role-play? Of course! It is simplicity itself. I shall jump down, use my parachute cloak to float dramatically next to him, and casually ask what he’s doing.” You leap off the tower, hit the button that activates your cloak… and put it on. Oh heck. CRUNCH.
Do you get the feeling this scenario isn’t quite hypothetical? You’re not wrong. (Well, OK. I didn’t think ‘Zounds!’. But I should have.)
So, the only sane question is: What do I do now? My initial clever plan has been derailed, Instead of a dramatic landing, I now had a clumsy slam into the ground.
The wrong answers are: Pretend nothing happened. Limp away and don’t try to role-play.
The right answer? (Keeping in mind that I was undead.)
/me lands with a sickening crack as his legs break.
/say Oh, bloody hell! Now I need to reset these things. Ow, ow ow.
/me gathers up the fragments of his leg bones.
Now, it turned out that the blood elf was a paladin (they’re all paladins, unless they’re Death Knights) and so he lobbed a healing spell my way. Again, I adapted, ditching my scene with the glue (my undead warrior uses glue to repair joint and bone damage) and instead thanking him for the help. The scene then continued apace, with my character being his usual bizarre self.
I know it’s a simple thing, but it’s true: Adaptability is a good thing. Improvising is the key skill of role-play. It’s not just because you need to adapt to others. It’s also because sometimes, you’re going to be an idiot. And if you don’t improvise well, people will notice.