Roleplays have become a popular, major, and significant part of the LEGO Message Boards. They were first started by MB Legend Kit-Fisto7 in early 2008. There is some sort of roleplay in almost every forum, and in many cases, there is even a subforum for roleplay-only topics due to the fact that they have become so prevalent. Some forums, such as LEGO Video Games Forum, lack any form of roleplay.
Types of Roleplay
Roleplay varies from forum to forum. Roleplay teams are based in topics called "HQs." Roleplay mainly consists of establishing a character that the user will play as and then fighting or competing against different users, based on the related theme. To discourage unfair roleplaying, moderators have announced rules in roleplay forums regarding what kind of actions the player is not allowed to do, etc.
Roleplay in the DesignbyMe Forum
Another type of roleplay also has stemmed from the LEGO Digital Designer, where you use LEGO Digital Designer to design LEGO sets that go along with your roleplays, since not many players frequent LDD. These roleplays are usually in groups of 1-10, although some have more. Most members of rivaling HQs are disallowed from interacting with each other's members and leaders, except in wars.
Members of a roleplay team often want to discuss plans or issues without other teams listening to what they're talking about. For this reason, roleplay members often use a system called jammers. Before the message, the user types "JAMMERS ON! XYZ ONLY!" if one wants to talk to XYZ. No one besides XYZ could look at the message (at least in theory). This system is very dependent on honesty and honor on the opponent's part to not look at the jammed post though. This system can also be used outside of roleplay. After the 2012 update, a functioning Jammers was added. It acted as a sort of folder, where you click on it and it opens showing its contents, so no one can "accidentally" read them.
The roleplays started in 2008 not as a roleplay, but something else. Kit-Fisto7, an MB Legend among most older users, created a Jedi Council topic, and asked for 12 members to join the Council. Among them were Glendon501, spacedude1234567 and Flash21704. The topic was used as a help forum for its duration. A week later, Kit decided this isn't what he had originally wanted - he had dreamed of a Bounty Hunter HQ kind of thing, where people were handed out missions and the like. Several people tried and failed to start the topic. Glendon501 eventually succeeded, and created the first Bounty Hunter HQ. For a good few months this topic was used for many quizzes, as well as missions in the LEGO.com Games Forum. Eventually, the Clone HQ came up. This quickly became a "rival" of the Bounty Hunter HQ, and the first roleplaying fight on the LEGO Message Boards begun. After a few months, the Droid HQ also arose. These three-way battles would sometimes become very flamed, and very insulting to the users. The Bounty Hunter HQ decided it would be best to make a council. This first council was made up of Kit, Flash, and spacedude1234567 (or SD). One day, the mods decided enough was enough. The battles had grown very personal, and were becoming dangerous. There was a temporary shutdown of the roleplays as the mods, as well as key members from each HQ, discussed their differences. After it was worked out, the mods allowed another two HQs - these became the Jedi and Sith HQs. One day Kit created the Bonny Bounty, which would become the first Cafe. The roleplays were spreading like wildfire, to most forums, everything from Indiana Jones to Pirates. Eventually Kit got tired of the increasing number of people who broke the rules and exaggerated. These unrealistic moves were becoming more and more common. Kit decided to leave the roleplays once and for all, never coming back. Glendon501 took his place on the council in the SW Roleplays. After a while, he too got fed up with the actions. He wouldn't be persuaded however, and he left - eventually joining up with several other people who left the LEGO Message Boards on LegoZonePower. Flushy would take his place. SD would also eventually leave for the same reasons, emjajoas1 then taking his place. After some time, a Galactic Empire era of roleplays was added.
Cafés are in most roleplay forums, where users can request food, get in a food fight if the cafe allows, or just talk. Some cafes aren't named cafes, but function the same way. The first cafe associated with a roleplay was the Coruscanti Cafe, which was posted by Darth_nehimis.