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Author Topic: Role-Playing Basics  (Read 1072 times)

Ceid Ankoun

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Role-Playing Basics
« on: September 18, 2012, 02:19:05 AM EDT »

What is Role-Playing?

From Wikipedia regarding Role-Playing Games:
"A role-playing game is a game in which the participants assume the roles of characters and collaboratively create stories. Participants determine the actions of their characters based on their characterization, and the actions succeed or fail according to a formal system of rules and guidelines. Within the rules, they may improvise freely; their choices shape the direction and outcome of the games."

Role-Playing is basically improvisational acting.  You create a character, providing a name, a history or background, strengths and weaknesses.  The character you create is no more than pen and paper, or pixels in a computer game, until you bring it to life with your words and actions.  There is no script, no existing prompts and nothing to sway the story going one direction or the other.  There are no right or wrong answers, you do what you feel the personality of the character would do in the existing circumstance. Canon and general lore of the world you are in, plus your own imagination, shape the adventures you will experience.


What is Improvisation?

Wikipedia has something to say about this one as well.
"Improvisation is the practice of acting, singing, talking and reacting, of making and creating, in the moment and in response to the stimulus of one's immediate environment."

It is sometimes referred to as Improv.  It sounds like it can become a chaotic mess but it can be incredibly dramatic, comical and breathtaking if done properly.  Combined with the personality you have given your character, you base your reactions and words off of the actions and words of others around you.  In a table top or live action role play group there are generally storytellers that help move the story along by providing NPCs (non player characters) who present new stimuli for the players to react to.  In an MMORPG there is not usually a storyteller unless a player decides they want to try to run a story line.  It's not common place but also not unheard of.


Why do people role-play?

Generally people like to have an escape from the real world.  They enjoy playing someone who is different from themselves and the entertainment lay in interacting with others who enjoy the same, creating a story while they do so.  That willing suspension of disbelief you get from reading a book or watching a film is doubly strong because you are actually a part of the story as it is being created.

Names

As we all do not have characters just yet...a word of caution.  RP names must be used for all characters.  Names like "Leetwarrior" or "Jedimaster" as well as famous names taken from already existing canon will not be accepted.  While the game's character creation may allow you to save the character with a name like this...it will not go unpunished by the community at large.  At best it will earn you flaming and ridicule.  At worst your name will be reported to the GM (game masters employed by BioWare) who will force a name change upon you.

How to get started

Since the game has not started yet, we have some time to prepare.  Use this time to be thinking about what kind of character you want to portray.  First thing that needs to be considered: a  character needs a history.  What kind of training did they have?  What was their family like?  Their childhood?  What has happened to him or her in their past to make them the way they are today?  Maybe they did not have a great education and does not always speak correctly.  Maybe something traumatic happened to them as a child that caused an irrational phobia or hatred towards a certain type of creature or person that plagues them to this very day.  This and more can influence the way that the character will react to certain things within the present RP happening around you.  A player background questionnaire has been posted in another sticky that can help you flesh out your character.

The second thing you need, of course, is people to RP with.  We are all at a good starting base by choosing to join an RP flagged guild.  Once the game is released we will already have a group of RP friendly guild mates pre-gathered so the main search is already over.  Otakuon has also started (and will continue to do up until the release) forming alliances with other Republic RP guilds and setting up some RP adversaries with RP guilds from the Sith side.  Unfortunately we will not know for sure if we will actually end up on the same servers as a lot of these guilds yet so it is very hard to set up much at this point.

Other then RPing with your guild mates there is the random 'walk up' RP.  RP server communities usually generate RP hot spots.  These are generally provided by the game environment in the form of empty or lightly NPC populated areas that provide a certain sought after ambiance for social RP interaction.  In general RP players will flock to these areas if their own guilds are not actively doing much at the time in hopes of striking up a conversation for some random RP.  In SWTOR you can probably expect to see this type of thing within main city limits, cantinas, parks or fountains, etc.

Language and Etiquette

The way you type and what you type is very important.  The toons usually do have some certain simple emotes that the character may physically act out.  Examples are /wave, /kneel, /salute.  Other then these, any other physical action made by your toon must be described by you.  Any movement that you wish to portray besides walking or running in the game must be detailed out.  These descriptions are generally surrounded by either * * or ::  :: format indicating to other players that they are descriptions and not spoken word.

   Example: <Character Name> *brushes a stray strand of hair from her eyes*
       Example: <Character Name> ::gazes at the sky for a moment lost in thought::


If we are lucky, the game will incorporate an emote system and emote channel like so many other MMOs have and it will be a simple matter of typing something like /emote or /em automatically shifting you into the emote channel and any text following the /em will be the desired action.
 
      Example: /em walks up to the bar of the cantina and orders a drink from the bartender.
In many other games, this comes out as "<Character name> walks up to the bar of the cantina and orders a drink from the bartender."

Style of type can also be used to indicate if your character speaks with an accent or a lisp.  Intentionally misspelling words to put across this description is common.  You can always just make it clear with your RP partners that they are aware of the special accent or speech impediment, as staying consistent with the different style of type can sometimes be taxing.

Regardless of the level of RP your guild has chosen to uphold within their own guild walls (Hardcore, Medium or Light), the public areas of the server should be considered a constant source of RP for everyone.  RP servers in addition to normal standard behavior rules that BioWare put forth, have extra rules that need to be considered.  Anything said in the regular public speaking channels (/general) needs to be phrased in a way that is considered IC (in character) at all times.

Leet (1337) or d00d speak as well as acronyms like lol (laugh out loud) or rofl (roll on floor laughing) are generally frowned upon in these channels also.  If you must make an OOC (out of character) comment in these channels it is expected to be surrounded by a double parenthesis.

   Example: ((afk a moment, need to let the dogs outside)).

SWTOR has multiple chat channels that people can choose to subscribe to.  They can be used for chit chat, questions and banter with your fellow players on an OOC and IN levels.  If you meet someone, or have IRL friends that play that you wish to converse with OOC, joining together in a group or using the private or whisper feature is highly suggested. Please do not use channels designated for specific activities for general banter, such as the channel TCLRP(The Corellian League Role-Playing).

Another word of caution.  No one can force you to RP, however you cannot force people to stop RPing either.  If you do not wish to participate in the RP around you, do not disrupt it in anyway OOC.  Simply do not participate, or better yet leave the area if you are bothered by it.  On RP servers, guild reputation is held at a higher standard then on regular PvE servers.  They look at our social aspects as well as our skill in the actual game play.  Disrupting public RP with OOC banter in known RP hot spots, is considered what is called "RP Griefing".  RP Griefing depending on how serious the infractions can be considered by the offended player and by the GMs as a form of harassment whether or not you meant to or agree to the ruling.  Being ignored by the player and possibly being issued a warning or ban from the GMs is a lot of trouble to have to endure just because someone wanted to be stubborn and not follow the rules.

What this boils down to is simple, please try to be courteous and respect your surrounding players RP environment and try to keep the OOC in public to a minimum.

    Life Altering Scenes

This is in regards to good RP form.  With warring factions the impulse is going to be to try to 'kill' every Sith you see.  While this may go along with what your character would do and story as a whole, it does not lead to very deep RP at all.  We're not in a PvP server and we are able to communicate with the Sith for epic battles of words, tit for tat annoyances, taking prisoners, and running rescue missions.  It is good form, if you plan on trying to land a 'killing blow' on another toon, to whisper OOCly to the player and make certain they are ok with that kind of RP.  Reason for this is simple.  In a table top or LARP game, it is exceedingly easy to roll up a new character.  In an MMORPG, most people are only going to have one toon at first that they have poured their time and effort in.  I know if I have a max level smuggler, and some sith decided to try to lay a killing blow on me in RP combat, I certainly do not plan on never playing the character again.  Trying to go this route with story lines leads to miraculous resurrections that can't really be explained and accusations of God Modding.  From past experience it's best to find other stalemate ways to resolve these scenes.


    Terminology

    IC - In Character

    OOC - Out of Character

    ST - Storyteller

    PC - Player Character

    NPC - Non-Player Character (usually controlled by STs, GMs or the game's AI)

    Meta-gaming - using out of character knowledge as if it were in character, even though there is no way your character could possibly have said knowledge.  (just because you know the thief is standing on the other side of a wall that you can see on your screen in disguise does not mean your character automatically knows where to look for him)  Considered cheating by many veteran role players.

    God Modding - No matter what happens, you happen to have something just slightly better that make your character always come out on top.  Also considered cheating and annoying by most players.
   "I shoot my blaster"
    "Well I have a blaster proof body shield"


    MMO RP Combat: If RP starts to become violent to the point where characters would start throwing punches there are a couple ways to approach.  Some people like to just duel each other and get it over with.  Some people prefer to describe and act out the combat entirely.  In order to do the latter, some form of random /roll is needed.  Whoever wins the roll get's to describe the next round of actions, usually to a pre determined and agreed upon goal (fight till first one to five hits, or an agreement that 10 hits would render a character incapacitated or at the very least unconscious).  Whichever you choose to use should be agreed by upon by all parties involved before combat even begins.
« Last Edit: September 18, 2012, 02:46:20 AM EDT by Master Ceid Ankoun »
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