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Author Topic: A General Role-Play FAQ/Guide  (Read 6033 times)
Freedom Crazy

Merit: 13
Posts: 549

Bruce Dickinson

« on: October 02, 2006, 02:47:31 PM »

An Introduction to Role-Play

1. So What is Role-playing?
Role-play (RP), as it applies to NationStates, is a way for players to conduct diplomacy, launch wars, engage in trade, or even play out storylines involving the Citizens of their nations. RPs are usually like novels or short stories that members take turns writing together by posting parts of the story in the RP section of a forum.

Like a good piece of literature, a good RP will have an interesting, believable plot, complex, realistic characters, and high quality writing. That's not to say that you have to be a fantastic author to participate in RP. You just need a good imagination, and knowledge of the basic etiquette involved in RP.

2. Sounds Like Fun. How Do I Get Started?
If you're new to the RP forum, it is recommended that you start an RP that will introduce your nation. A very common and effective method is to start a "banquet" RP, where your nation extends an open invitation to the region, inviting foreign delegates to attend a state banquet or other function. You can RP the world leaders meeting in your nation, and begin establishing diplomatic ties with them. Just make sure your post is IC.

3. IC?
IC stands for "In Character." When you type something IC, it is something that is happening in your RP. "OOC," on the other hand, stands for "Out of Character." If you write something OOC, it means that it isn't actually something that is going on in the RP. In an RP, a post is usually assumed to be IC unless otherwise specified. So, for example, a post might look like this:
To: The Republic of RPer1
From: The Republic of RPer2

We have sent the military aid you requested.

OOC: So when are we going to start the war?

4. What Was That Formatting?
In most RPs, nations communicate with each other through telegrams or messages like that one. That message was an Encoded Telegram, which is a message sent between two nations. Since it is, as it said, encrypted, it cannot be intercepted by other nations. Encoded Telegrams are used when you want something kept secret between two nations in your RP; war, sabotage, and other shady doings.

More common is a Public Telegram. Public Telegrams are formatted exactly the same way, except that they do not have the "****Encoded****" line. These messages can be intercepted and read by anyone.

5. Sweet! So Now I Can Send My 1 Billion Man Army to n00k Everyone!
That's a serious case of Godmoding, and is highly frowned upon.

The general rule of thumb for armies is that their size should be, at the most, 5% of your nation's population. Five percent would represent a ridiculously militaristic nation with mandatory military service. This army would be poorly trained, as they are drafted civilians, as opposed to a regular army. A more reasonable--but still very large and unrealistic--size is 2% of your nation's population.

To give you an example of how big real life armies are in proportion to a nation's population, consider that the United States Armed Forces have under 2 million members, the United States having a population around 300 million people. That is less than one percent of the population.

Keep in mind that it takes some time for troops to move and your forces to be deployed. To use the United States as an example again, when the United States sent 200,000 troops to the Persian Gulf, it took six months. You will not be mass-deploying troops with any amount of speed. A well-RPed troop deployment will involve a lot of planning and time for troop movements.

The use of nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons is also godmoding, unless agreed upon OOC by both parties. Most RPers, when faced with an unplanned nuclear/biological/chemical attack, reply by saying that they are firing their "ignore cannon" and continue RPing as though the attack did not occur.

Godmoding also includes saying what happens to someone else's troops/cities/characters/etc. In free-form RP, it is entirely up to the person who was attacked to determine his or her own losses. Never role-play a war without the consent of the defender!

On the flipside, godmoding also includes refusing to take losses or to lose. Do not techwank; saying that all your soldiers are equipped with UberArmor that protects them from all bullets/lasers/pointed sticks is a godmode. Similarly, missile defense programs are not magic. If you have an extensive missile defense program in constant use in your nation, the chances of someone finding out how to subvert it are very high.

Finally, manipulating your nation's geography to give you an absurd advantage is another example of godmoding. So, saying that your nation is 100% mountainous is a godmode in a war. You can have a nation like this, but you have to introduce it as such before going to war, so that your opponents are aware of this disadvantage before they prepare their invasion.

6. Alright, So I Think I've Got the War Thing Down, But What About Diplomacy?
Most RPed diplomacy takes place after a nation has RPed its Embassy Exchange Program. This is done by starting a thread with an invitation to foreign nations, offering to grant them embassies.

Most nations have specific laws regarding what is allowed in a foreign embassy. For example, a nation may specify that a foreign delegation may only include no more than thirty people, including guards. Another nation may specify that foreign embassies cannot arm their guards, or may limit the types of weapons the guards can be equipped with. You may get specific enough to note the number of cars allowed a foreign delegation. The more detailed and realistic, the better the RP.

Once embassies have been established, a good step is to RP a meeting between your nation's leader and that of a potential ally. These threads can sometimes be uneventful, as they largely involve two leaders talking about foreign policy, but they are very useful in building diplomatic ties between your nation and its allies.

You may also wish to pursue alliances or trade agreements.

7. How Do I Start an Alliance or Trade Organization?
Once you have established close ties with other nations, you may wish to make those ties formal by starting an alliance or trade organization. Whether or not you choose to RP the summit (which is encouraged), at some point you will have to decide upon a few things before drafting an official treaty.

Who is signing your treaty? Will you allow other nations to join at a later time? If so, under what criteria? What is the purpose of the treaty? What happens when nations violate or resign from the treaty?

In the end, you will have a document that looks something like this:
The Treaty of Baris

[1.] In the event that the nation of RPer1 is faced with hostilities from a foreign power, the nation of RPer2 is obligated to come to the aid of RPer1.
a.) "Hostilities" are defined as blockade, threat of blockade, sabotage, or active military invasion.
b.) Aid includes, but is not limited to, military, financial, or material resources employed to assist the nation of RPer1 in defense and retaliation against hostilities.

[2.] In the event that the nation of RPer2 is faced with hostilities from a foreign power, the nation of RPer1 is obligated to come to the aid of RPer1.
 a.) "Hostilities" are defined as blockade, threat of blockade, sabotage, or active military invasion.
b.) Aid includes, but is not limited to, military, financial, or material resources employed to assist the nation of RPer2 in defense and retaliation against hostilities.

[3.] Should RPer1 be determined to have instigated the hostilities in any way, RPer2 may defer involvement in the conflict.

[4.] Should RPer2 be determined to have instigated the hostilities in any way, RPer1 may defer involvement in the conflict.

[5.] This treaty may be nullified with the consent of either nation.

Joe Blow,
Minister of Foreign Affairs,

Mary Sue,
Secretary of State,

8. Alright, Gotcha. So, What's All This About National News Reports?
RP newspapers are a common and fun way to let other members learn more about what is happening in your nation.

Aside from the obvious governmental news, RP news may include images, editorials, and regional news... whatever you want. Just keep in mind that the same godmoding/OOC vs. IC rules still apply.

It is entirely acceptable to start an RP based on what you have read in another nation's newspaper, although once again, if you want to start a war, you must do so with the defenders consent.

9. What If I Still Have Questions?
Ask, either on the forums, or in a personal message or telegram; some of our members even make their Instant Messanger identities available. Don't be afraid to ask questions; there are plenty of people here who are more than willing to help out!

Happy RPing!

Bruce Dickinson
The Anarchist Federation of Freedom Crazy
Former Archon Basileus of the Politeia

Government is the great fiction, through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else. Frederic Bastiat

Give a man some wood for a fire and he will be warm for a night, set a man on fire and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.

Merit: 11
Posts: 217

« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2006, 03:43:58 PM »

Collaborative RPs

One version of RP that can be a lot of fun is a collaborative effort - where you coordinate the events of the RP with one or more other players. Corintur and I (as Argyres, in the Meritocratic Senate) often times tie our plotlines together to make things more interesting than if we had the standard coup/rebellion type plot going on in our own countries. This is also a good way to tie in an alliance or agreement - in the case of Argyres and Corintur, the king of Argyres married the sister of Corintur's (late) emperor, which creates a solid IC reason for our collaboration.

If you're interested in working with someone else on an RP, the best way to start is to come up with your idea(s) on what kind of RP you want, and what you want to happen (Generally speaking). It's, of course, not a good idea to go to someone with the idea of nuking their country into the Stone Age - more than likely they will not want to participate. Instead, discuss your plans and ask if they want to get involved, pointing out what part they might have to play. If they prove interested, it's often a good idae to exchange instant messages, emails or private messages to ensure you both (or you all, if more than one other person is involved) are on the same page.

Trying to keep your RP small?

A common problem in RPing is that a lot of people might want to get involved, even if you don't want them to (or, they'll get too involved, blowing small wars up into world wars and so on).  An example of this is an old RP I did called 'A Red Dawn", which covered the Argyri Civil War - it started off with a few countries taking one of several sides, but eventually random countries jumped in with large battle fleets that were supposedly sailing around the world to get involved in a conflict they really weren't affected by. So, you might ask - what can you do about this?

A good start is to begin your RP with an OOC (out of character) message stating the rules - and if you want only certain people to participate you can say so, or if you want people to ask first, and so on. If people ignore your message, you can then ask them to delete their posts, or have the administrators/moderators on the forum do so. By starting your RP with a message, you can also avoid hurting people's feelings if they feel you simply don't want them to join the fun.

Another possibly tool is an OOC thread specifically for the RP - this is mostly useful when you have a large RP with a lot of participants who cannot be easily contacted through PMs or IMs (which is especially true when people are in different time zones).

Does RP "Count"?

Lastly, there is the issue of whether or not an RP "counts", that is, if the effects of it are real. This is a place where you can use advance planning and OOC messages to your advantage by deciding this ahead of time. If you want a fun war RP where people can go a little crazy, have it not actually 'count', so people don't have to worry about RPing nuclear wastelands afterwards. If you want a serious RP that has real consequences, just let people know (as I did in "A Red Dawn").

It's key to have this set ahead of time because you do not want people to join your RP with the wrong intentions or with incorrect expectations. If you have a serious RP that 'counts', you want to make sure you don't have people joining who think they can throw nuclear missiles around like toys. On the other hand, if you want to have some fun, make sure people know so they don't get upset when you're country is miraculously 100% healthy after a nuclear war.

Bottom Line

The bottom line is that RPing is a lot like other things in life - being polite, working well with others, and planning ahead can all greatly improve the quality and fun of RPing.


Some examples of what I am talking about can be found at:
A Red Dawn - Civil War in Argyres that spills over and leads to a much larger international war. Note: good example of the need for controlling the size of your RP and the risks of having too many people involved. Also, this RP had real effects
A Red Dawn OOC thread

A good example of a coordinated RP (if I am alllowed to brag Tongue) with interconnected plots can be found in the recently completed  Shalic Bree storyline involving myself and Corintur. Note the OOC messages providing information and links to appropriate other threads. - God's End - Setting the Board - Knights Forward  - Endgame

Also, if you're interested in the level of detail, you can see in the first post of  'Endgame' that there are several related threads, including one on the birth of the heir to the thrones of both Argyres and Corintur. These related RPs can help bring more people into the 'event' by including new characters, incorporating different places and involving different reactions from foreign countries. In addition, they provide background for the next round of RPs (the heir, for example, will play a critical role in the upcoming few RPs of Argyres).
« Last Edit: October 02, 2006, 03:53:14 PM by Iasonia » Logged
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