A Brief Guide to Roleplaying Genocide [OOC]

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The State of Monavia
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A Brief Guide to Roleplaying Genocide [OOC]

Postby The State of Monavia » Mon Oct 06, 2014 10:17 pm

Disclaimer: I have consulted moderator advice from Jenrak about the appropriateness of posting this content and have received approval to post it for use by the community.




While trawling the old Jolt forums during the latter half of 2008, I happened to come across a guide for roleplaying genocide in an effective and credible manner. The quality of the writing may no longer be particularly impressive to me after having read better guides, but the clarity with which it makes points about roleplaying is more than enough to warrant its reposting on these boards. While I have not been able to recover the identity of the author as of yet, I invite readers to look through the Jolt Archives if they so choose. Although the passage of time has obscured the origin of this material, I can say with certainty that the original author intended for “this guide” to be “somewhat a response to Euroslavia’s guide on genocide and partly [composed] of my [his] own research.”

I have worked to maintain the author’s original conversational style of writing where I can, though there are places where one can obviously see that I have rewritten small sections for clarity. As always with work of this sort, I assume responsibility for all textual errors that somehow manage to escape detection prior to posting.

On September 15, 2016 I linked Euroslavia’s guide to this post, rewrote one of my editorial remarks, and added another.


Basically, people will be roleplaying genocide. Might as well ensure that their roleplay be a bit better, I suppose.


Using the UN definition of Genocide, from the Eon Convention, we have the following description:

§1. Genocide is defined as the systematic and deliberate extermination of a society, or part of a society, based on arbitrary criteria (such as skin colour, genetic conditions or religion). Those covered by this resolution are those protected by The UBR.
§2. Extermination includes, but is not limited to: murder, torture, enslavement, rape, forced pregnancy and familial separation.
§3. Genocide is committed or instigated by the state, or by groups acting on behalf of the state. Should there be a claim for a private group being responsible for genocide, this can also be brought before TPP (to be described later) to confirm the validity of the claim.
§4. Genocide has no statute of limitations.
§5. If Genocide is used in self-defence, it is still considered genocide, and will be brought to TPP to confirm the validity of the action.

Only a fraction of all players belong to the WA (the original author estimated this fraction at one-third) and an even smaller number of them actually read WA resolutions (originally estimated at five percent).


The main failing of Euroslavia’s guide is the fact that it merely described how a genocide happens instead of talking about the reasons why genocides take place. For RP purposes, assume we have an ethnic group known as the Maxipotans. Now...why would you want to kill off those fools? (Big Note: Just because I list those reasons doesn’t mean I want to start a debate. I want to provide inspirations for why your dictator chooses to pull off the infamous deed.)

1) Everyone, or at Least a Sizable Vocal Majority, Hates the Maxipotans.

People do in fact hate each other (sorry liberals). Racism is still alive, as well as ethnocentrism. Remember that the majority are usually the ones who kill off the minority in most genocides. The real question is, why would they hate Maxipotans? Maybe the Maxipotans are über-rich, and the poor hate that. Maybe they act all smug and deserving of that hate. Maybe, the Maxipotans once ran the rest of the country, but then got overthrown and left with a smaller role, but of course, the rest of the country still does not forgive the Maxipotans. Maybe it is all about ideology as well, the Maxipotans believe in something that the rest of the country does not believe, and this tension lead up to war. Anyway, the Maxipotans are great scapegoats, and therefore, prone to being targeted for genocide. [Editor’s note: as a roleplayer, you should strongly consider roleplaying the eight-stage process for marginalizing and demonizing persons so that your readers can understand how the victims became targets for mass murder.]

Note that even this may apply to an authoritarian country. After all, troops are humans too. While it may be true that they may be compelled to kill, it’s also possibly true that they like the killing. Besides, genocide is done by the state, and one can reasonably argue that if a person doesn’t oppose the state, he is in support of the state and all it does.

2) “The Maxipotans are Standing in the Way of Progress!”

This argument often takes a form such as “the Maxipotans control some mighty oil fields and I want to seize them.” For the most part, this argument is good for the inner circle to believe, and after all, if you tie this one with #1 (everyone hates Maxipotans), then that will be okay. If however, you want their natural resources and the population doesn’t exactly hate Maxipotans, the government has to inspire hatred against them, possibly using an ethnic group as a scapegoat, and eventually causing genocide.

3) Maxipotans are Revolting!

Independence movements that want to break your nation apart (or give any part of it sizable autonomy) lead to nationalist sentiment. While the nation’s leaders would claim that they don’t hate Maxipotans, they merely hate those who join in the resistance, so if a huge chunk of Maxipotans are in that resistance front, then maybe it’s time that you have to do genocide in order to preserve your country.

Sometimes, however, independence movements are motivated by a perceived hatred by the rest of the country folk, in other words, reason #1 is already there. But now with the resistance front, the country folk finally have an excuse to act on that hatred and show their genocidal side—and if the Maxipotans’ territories are very valuable (#2), there is an incentive to not let that ethnic group take your national resources away.

The more liberally-minded readers may think: “HEY! Let’s just let the Maxipotans get their own country. What’s the problem?” The problem is that you give into terrorism and violence, allowing any old fool to create their own sovereign nation-state, and at the same time, you dismember the original nation. If anyone can lead rebellions against the government, then the government is sure to descend into anarchy, and not the peaceful kind either. It would cause far more violence, especially since there is the main problem of deciding borders (e.g. “is City A part of Maxipotans or part of the main nation? Want to start global thermonuclear war?”) Basically, if you intervene and help secessionism succeed, the original nation may very well be destroyed, at least according to nationalists, and if those hard-line nationalists believe the nation is threatened, they’ll begin playing around with the tool of genocide more and more to try and save it.

There is also a huge possibility that, by having the international community intervene and letting Maxipotans get their own nation, other resistance groups around the world may think: “Wow, the Maxipotans are smart. They started a resistance front and got their own people exterminated so that the international community would intervene and fight on the side of the resistance front! Plus, if the government attacks civilians that belong to the ethnic group, the ethnic group will be compelled to support the resistance group anyway, supporting recruitment efforts. We should start doing that, let the evil Empire attack our own defenseless population and human shields, and we shall prevail!” Hence, by intervening in Maxipota, you may be paving the way for future genocides and interventions. I see this tactic as far more cynical than the actual genocide, and maybe there should be more done to try and stop such manipulation of public opinion.

4) The Maxipotans Started it!

This plan is always a great fail-safe when the others have failed. [Editor’s note: I do not entirely agree with the author’s opinion on this specific plan. There are many players who would rather just punish all the guilty parties regardless of the justifications they have invoked.]


The first rule of conducting a genocide is to avoid calling it a genocide. The Maxipotans are the ones who call it genocide. It’s up to the international community to decide whether to believe them or not. It is likely they will, however, it depends on the severity of the crime and how convincing the evidence is. Is it “really” genocide to imprison members of the Resistance and try them for terrorism? Anyway, for our purposes, let’s refer to our example as “ensuring national security by getting rid of enemies of the state.”

You have two ways to execute you plan: Either have your national army do it, or outsource the dirty work out to private militias who would be more than happy to kill. If you outsource the work to private militias, you have the benefit of plausible deniability, which you can then use to avoid charges of genocide. You can claim that “the private militias are not under our control, they are organized by people who wanted to defend themselves, and they were organized illegally and without our permission.” People may actually believe you, especially if the violence is terrible and the Resistance Group did attack civilians and cause massive damage. Even then, all that would happen is that the international community will just target those private militias instead of just attacking your own uniformed men. Maybe they might recommend integrating the militias into your army, so that you can control those militias and make sure they don’t commit war crimes. If, however, you choose to do the dirty work yourself, then you have no such plausible deniability, and if it is found to violate the international law, there will be little mercy for you.

One more thing to remember is that during the act of “ensuring national security” you should play up any charges that the rival ethnic group is doing genocide and war crimes on your population. You might gain some sympathy, especially if you claim that you aren’t really murdering anybody, but are in fact trying to defend your nation against a band of terrorists dedicated to getting rid of your nation. Even if that is not true, at least the international community may be obligated under WA law to attack both you and the Maxipotans, which may be fair enough.


What Dog Piles Are

Short answer: Your worst nightmare.

Long answer: An alliance of at least three other independent countries that combine their forces together for the sole purpose of overthrowing your nation’s government.

No matter how powerful you are, having lots of nations pile on you is sure to make you suffer badly. If they work independently you will have to fight on many fronts. If they work together, they might even steamroll you.

Why do nations dog pile? Some see it as their moral duty to go and ensure that human rights are protected. Others see it as a way to test their “leet” weapon systems, or see it as an excuse to overthrow your nation and create a puppet state. Still others do it just for fun. Regardless of their reasons, dog piles are dangerous, but if a nation that is part of a dog pile doesn’t have much real respect for human rights either, then you can expect lots of damage to be done to your infrastructure.

A dog pile is far more dangerous in NS than it is in the real world. In the real world, war can easily harm your nation forever. But in NS World, your nation’s growth is based on domestic policies, issue decisions, and how long you play the game—therefore, any effects of continuous warfare and intervention are likely to be ignored. With no consequences to fighting as many wars as possible, all kinds of countries are more inclined to intervene, thereby making dog piles more lethal.

Compromising With Dog Piles

The common way of defending against a dog pile is to have an army that is ready to defend your nation to the death—but the dog pile (by definition) has the advantage of numbers and will win the war by attrition. As a matter of fairness, you will need to wait a long time (i.e. play NS for six months or more) to actually acquire a big enough economy to defend yourself.

The best alternative to war is to use diplomacy. Actually talk to the nations and try to convince them not to intervene. Some saner nations may simply want to stop the genocide and lack the stomach for intervention—but others may not. Here you are in a dilemma. If you don’t comply, you’ll get dog piled and enter a war you are sure to lose, but if you do comply with the international community’s demands, then what was the whole point of plotting the genocide to begin with? You’ll become the embarrassment of the Evil Dictator Club, for crying out loud!

Instead, just compromise with the other countries (or “stonewall,” see below). Talk to one nation who sympathizes with you and try to come up with a way that will satisfy both parties and avoids intervention. If the dog pile wants independence for Maxipotans, promise them self-rule and a revenue sharing program instead. If a dog pile wants to bring your leader(s) to face trial, ask if just giving up your “criminal” generals as scapegoats would be acceptable. If the dog pile wants to get you to stop attacking villages randomly, state that you are open to having military advisors be sent to train your troops to respect human rights and prevent this sort of collateral damage from happening. A compromise helps both parties. The dog pile nations are happy because they stopped the genocide. You are happy because you completed your goals of genocide anyway, and you haven’t gotten killed in the process.

Don’t be afraid to lie. Dog pile nations want to think that they are doing something effective. Obviously, you don’t want to lie if the dog pile can easily verify what you are doing (and don’t make promises you don’t intend to keep), but if you are winning the propaganda war and convincing civilization that you are heroes fighting against terrorism, all can be fine. Even if you fail to convince some countries to side with you, you may be able to convince some other countries to defend you. With two dog piles blowing each other up, you should be able to stay alive and finish your deed of genocide before slipping into your defense positions in the hope that your dog pile prevails.

Another question is even simpler: why should you compromise now? If the dog pile defeats you, you would lose full control over your nation, or at least be forced to sign a treaty that would stop you from committing genocide for a very long time. If you don’t compromise and you lose, then you will be forced into a situation you’ll hate.


Suppose that you are unwilling to compromise. Suppose you want to do whatever you want and not bow to the will of the dog pile. You can do that, although pulling that off will be harder. To do this, you should express a “willingness” to compromise but avoid making firm comments. Instead, call for a diplomatic meeting where you and the dog pile nations send diplomats to meet up in a secure place where they can hold talks and hash out a good agreement. If it helps, you can even declare a “ceasefire” in which you will not attack the other side. Of course, the ceasefire is a lie and it is slated to be temporary anyway, but the international community doesn’t need to know that, and it will help make your demands for a peace conference more acceptable.

Now one may be wondering about this and ask “Why hold talks when you can just type out what you want and end it at that?” The answer is that you are stalling to waste as much time as you can. Your main goal is to drag out negotiations, quibble over little points, make grandstanding speeches, whine about how oppressive colonial powers made your country have a bad economy and causes huge income disparities, and overall make the other delegates roll their eyes at this utter excuse for a “peace conference” while your genocide still continues and your economy grows at a pace to make your military better. Just think about what North Korea does.

Perhaps those who attended the talks will go “inactive,” as in, they are busy worrying on more important issues like bombing the next country violating human rights, instead of heading into peace talks and dealing with the boring issues. If so, you won. You can safely assume the diplomats are busy quibbling as you finish ethnically cleansing a population. If, however, the delegates stay active and care about the peace conference, they’ll catch onto your ruse sooner or later and reform the dog pile again for their next attack. At that point you must decide if you want to sincerely compromise or prepare for war.

Effects of Genocide

The domestic effects of genocide are detailed in Euroslavia’s guide on genocide; however, I’ll discuss the international effects of genocide here to complete the picture. First and foremost, you will be seen as an international pariah. People will hate you. People will refuse to trade with you. Sure, you could dismiss all the embargoes as dumb posturing, but the embargoes mean that you lose out on prospective trading partners and made some countries who are unwilling to deal with you no matter what. Even if you avoid the dog pile threat, you still have some bad blood between you and your neighbors—and this bad blood will be remembered.

That being said, only a few countries would actually read the newspapers, and therefore, would know what is going on. Therefore, you can still have a working relationship with other people, and therefore continue to have a good economy. Nonetheless, if you continue to become increasingly “infamous” for conducting more genocides, more people will soon know of your reputation and will try to avoid you as much as they can—not to mention the obvious fact that with everyone hating you, it will only be a matter of time before diplomacy fails and you end up facing the threat of intervention (and it’s quite likely that you’re going to have to deal with a dog pile when that happens).

Therefore, only do genocide if you have to, and if it serves a purpose. If you would want some protection from your nation from genocide, join up with a region or an alliance of like-minded people who would protect you and form a counter-dog pile. [I believe the author intended to say that nations committing genocide should seek out like-minded allies in order to prevent interference by outside parties—Ed.] Even then, use genocide sparingly, and always ensure you brush up on your diplomacy skills to cover it up effectively.


The original author made allusions to expanding this guide with additional research (I have omitted these remarks) but never posted this material (to my knowledge). It is my hope that I have offered the community an opportunity to access and use a resource that another player intended to share for said community’s benefit. If I have succeeded even a whit in this mission, then I can rest assured that the time I have spent on editing and posting this material has been put to good use.
Last edited by The State of Monavia on Thu Sep 15, 2016 11:11 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Jenrak » Fri Oct 10, 2014 11:25 am

A good starter guide. Credit goes to the unknown author for penning, and Monavia for saving it! For those interested in the topic of genocide, you can find some great information on specific case studies as well as the moral, normative, and systemic complexities involved in genocide. For the sake of writing a relevant, relatable, and realistic story revolving around genocide, this guide is fairly useful.

For further reading, I'd recommend a great article by Daniel Greenfield, titled The Crime of Complicity in Genocide: How the international criminal tribunals for Rwanda and Yugoslavia got it wrong, and why it matters. Here, Greenfield looks at our understanding implicit versus explicit co-option into genocide, and the legal precedence it can set.

I'd also recommend Hitler's Willing Executioners by Daniel Goldhagen. Though I don't necessarily agree with Goldhagen's underlying thesis, he does go into considerable detail about the work of people whom may or may not have agreed with the Holocaust. On the same vein, for a more holistically sound argument, you may find Christopher Browning's Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 as a good read.

For those a bit more familiar with the topic of genocide, you may find literature regarding autogenocide to be very helpful. Oftentimes genocide isn't necessarily predicated on an innately Other dimension: social and economic factors can turn into Other dimensions, particularly in homogenous societies. You may find Nalini Vittal's Tribulation before Trial in Cambodia to be a great read about the systems that occur and lead to a formulation of the Other, thereby leading to autogenocide.

For a look at when genocides occur but responses fail (and they often fail), you'll love Romeo Dallaire's Shake Hands with the Devil, which is a compelling and beautiful piece about the limitations and bureaucratic noise associated with dealing with genocides when there's a lack of proximity.

I hope this helps anybody interested in the topic, or at least is looking for a way to describe a realistic genocide. For those looking for post-genocide work, the Guardian has a great article on the Coffee trade post Rwandan genocide (which was considered a major contributor to increasing Hutu-Tutsi tensions and Interhamwe volatility): ... danddrink3, and ... de/5376752
Last edited by Jenrak on Fri Oct 10, 2014 11:25 am, edited 1 time in total.

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