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War and Storytelling: A Guide to Roleplaying War

PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2017 6:27 pm
by The Macabees

When Japan bombed Pearl Harbor in December 1941, the United States became a combatant with a mighty, but only potential, military strength. Before it could win any conflict, it had to mobilize its resources. Since the beginning of the war, the Western Allies had agreed to a “Germany first” strategy, meaning that they would focus on winning the war in Europe first and the Pacific war second.

It took almost one year to organize the very first large-scale operation against the Germans, Operation Torch — the invasion of North Africa (and this was built on years of prior intelligence work).

The story of the United States’ military and economic mobilization, after it had come out of the worst economic depression in its 165-year history, is one of industry, sacrifice, and the raw power of the largest open society of the time. It’s a story of the women who worked on the assembly line for the first time, because the men were being trained for battle. It’s a story of the soldiers who took bullets, lost friends, and killed for the first and last times of their lives. Of the western European women who were held down while their heads were shaved for sleeping with Nazi soldiers. Of the people who were butchered for being of a different religion, race, or for holding different beliefs. It was a web of tens of millions of stories that in aggregate make up one of humanity’s greatest catastrophes.

The wars of your nation, the wars in your canon, are as much a — potential — collection of stories as was World War 2. You just need to tap into it, and I plan to teach you how to do that. The only thing I ask is that you apply some of this into your next war roleplay, or as it should truly be called, your next war story. If you do, I am certain that you’ll have a much more entertaining and fulfilling experience on NationStates.

We all want to write killer war stories. This guide will give you what you need to become the next Larry Bond

Let’s start by talking about storytelling:

What is a story?

If we strip it down to its core, a story has three elements:

• Beginning — provides context
• Middle — drives tension
• End — brings resolution

You’ve seen the movie Saving Private Ryan, right? If you haven’t, you should. It is probably the most iconic war movie ever produced by Hollywood. It is said to be so realistic that when World War 2 vets sat through a private screening some of them had to walk out and leave. For a story to drive that much emotion it must be really good. So let’s dissect and learn from it.

The movie starts with a scene of an elderly James Ryan at the grave of a Captain John Miller, then cuts to a wave washing onto a shore of Czech hedgehogs, which are those H and L-shaped anti-tank obstacles that were used heavily throughout World War 2. You then see what is most likely the most well-known part of the movie, the landing on bloody Omaha Beach. It takes you from the moments on the landing craft just before hitting the berm, to the massacre of unloading American troops by defending machine-gunners, and finally to the eventual opening of an exit to allow for a breakout. This is the beginning of the movie’s story, and it’s already managed to captivate you.

Let’s take a closer look at how Steven Spielberg, the director, set the beginning up:

First of all, what did the beginning accomplish? It tells you that the movie is set in World War 2, right? Specifically, we know that the events of the story take place after the D-Day landings and the invasion of Normandy. What else do we know? We know that the Americans took heavy, heavy casualties. And, we know most of the major characters that drive the story.

Notice that I emphasized the words set and drive.

The movie is not about World War 2. In fact, we still don’t know what the movie is about, because we haven’t gotten past the beginning yet. This is worth repeating, the story is not about the war, the story is only SET in the war.. The war is a backdrop. The importance of this fact will become clearer further down the guide. Trust me, if you really are interested in writing thrilling war stories, you won’t want to miss it.

I also mentioned that the characters drive the story. What does that mean? Notice how Saving Private Ryan is not just a retelling of a series of historical facts. It uses historical facts (and Hollywood-ized them, of course) to provide context, but that’s all that they’re their for. The story will become about something that happened during World War 2 and it will be revealed to the audience if they are willing to follow the characters. Everything that’s revealed about the war, the world, and their lives is revealed through their actions and dialogue, none of it is narrated. This is how characters drive the story.

There’s something else that Saving Private Ryan’s beginning does really, really well. It gets you HOOKED. And it does that with badass action and with characters that are in the thick of it. You see men die from a machinegun run as they drown because their pack was too heavy to swim with. A man lies on the beach with his intestines hanging out, pleading for his mother. A flamethrower lights a German casemate alight and American on the beach yells, “Let them burn!” The beginning is as interesting as it gets, and it makes the audience more receptive to the story that’s about to unfold.

There are a lot of war movies, just like there are a lot of war stories, and on NationStates war stories are the bread and butter of roleplays. If you want yours to stand out above the noise, your beginning needs to kill it — you need to hook the reader.

So far, all we’ve talked about is context.

Let’s analyze the meat of Saving Private Ryan’s story, the middle:

Thanks to the beginning, we know that in this particular World War 2 battle American soldiers suffered horrendous casualties. It makes sense, then, when the movie takes us to a scene set in an office back in the states, where a team of typists are writing letters to the mothers of dead soldiers. They discover a family of brothers, all of which have fought in the war up to now, and all which but one have died. The news get to the Chief of General Staff, General George Marshall, who decides to use a squad of Rangers to extract the surviving brother out from the war and return him stateside.

Boom, tension!

Now the Ranger squad — conveniently (and on purpose), the characters that were introduced at the beginning of the story — must figure out where this guy is, because as it turned out he was dropped into France by aircraft, with the 101st. Guess what, the 101st was scattered all over Normandy.

That’s the tension that provides the shell within which the story is written.

What does that mean?

The story, the characters, the setting, are all revolve around the tension that gives the story meaning. It gives the story purpose, and it makes the story interesting because now we’re enthralled and at the edge of our seat, wondering how in the hell they’re going to pull off the rescue mission of the century.

The next hour in the movie is tense scene after tense scene, from the urban battle in Neuville, to a lonesome — but well positioned — machine gun nest, to the final battle scene in Ramelle. There is so much to talk about here, but let’s come back to the middle — or the tension — in a second, let’s just quickly shift focus to the final element in Saving Private Ryan and any good story, the end.

Every great story has a great ending — maybe not an ending you agree with as a reader, but an ending that makes you think, that makes you angry, or that makes you feel wanting more.

Have you ever read a book, or watched a movie, or seen a show, where you’re at the edge of your seat? Maybe, it’s about a surprising hero who’s pillaging his enemies, helping the downtrodden, and in love with a beautiful woman. You really identify with him, you want him to win. He wins, but he dies in the end, and you’re pissed. How could they do that?! And it was his right-hand man all along! And he took the girl in the end! That’s a lot of emotion. That’s a lot feelings. It takes a damn good ending to extract that from you. Saving Private Ryan has a damn good ending, it makes you feel sad, right? It gave meaning to what the audience is feeling throughout the middle.

By the way, the only reason you care about the ending is because the tension made you care. Let’s talk about that:

Tension-ception: Tension Within Tension Within Tension

There’s a central tension that defines Saving Private Ryan: the need to find Private Ryan without knowing exactly where he is, and with thousands and thousands of Germans standing in between. But that tension can get old if there aren’t spikes of it, i.e. difficulties, obstacles, or problems. That’s why, in Saving Private Ryan, you have a number of different combat scenes that revolve around problems and obstacles that come their way.

When Captain Miller’s squad arrives in Neuville, they encounter a squad from the 101st Airborne Division. Private Ryan is from the 101st, and so Captain Miller figures these guys might know where Private Ryan is. It would have been easy to set up the scene so that Miller and his men could get whatever information this particular squad of the 101st has and then let them go along their way. But that would have been boring. So Spielberg decided to have the Rangers help the 101st take the town. It’s a side story — a side quest, if you will — that’s still related to the main tension (finding Private Ryan), but which allowed Spielberg to inject freshness and up the tension to keep you wanting more.

He does it again with the machine gun nest, which takes a three-column maneuver and a death to eliminate. And then again with the fighting in Ramelle.

Combat isn’t the only way to create tension in a war roleplay. In Saving Private Ryan, you see it when the Ranger squad is going through a pile of dog tags in front of a column of the 101st that just suffered all of those casualties. You get it again in the immediate aftermath of the machine gun scene, where the tension is within the squad and not with the enemy. If you remember, PFC Reiben mutinies against Miller’s authority, for letting the captured German machine-gunner go, rather than executing him.

When you’re creating your war RP, you start with:

  • The setting: my soldiers are invading my southern neighbor because they have been funding and arming a rebellion against my government.
  • The characters: Brigadier General John Richards, commander of the 14th Infantry Division.
  • The main tension: General Richards has been tasked with taking Mirallas, a small city about 60km deep into your southern neighbor. Taking this city will unhinge the enemy defenses and allow for your forces to break through their initial defensive lines. The problem is that the enemy’s XIX Armored Corps stands in General Richard’s path.

You want to cover this story over a series of posts. How do you do it?

Think of each post as a step. It’s the next step the character has to take towards his final objective. If you’re climbing a ladder, what happens? It takes strength, initiative, and muscle to climb. Each step drives tension. Each post in your story is an opportunity to spike the tension.

Maybe General Richards’ 14th Infantry Division must take the town of La Granja first, to punch through an enemy battalion that’s blocking its path. This could be the first step. Maybe after La Granja is taken the enemy counterattacks. This could be the second step. After the counter-attack is repulsed, the 14th must now push through 20–40km of enemy territory, fighting small actions against enemy emplacements and counter-attacks along the way. There’s also a logistics problem, as vehicles start to break down. There’s your third step. Finally, they reach the outskirts of Mirallas and it turns out that there’s an additional, and surprise, battalion of infantry attached to the XIX Armored Corps — which has suffered casualties, but is still strong —, driving the tension to a maximum in the story. This is the final step, the final boss of the game, the greatest challenge that the hero must struggle through to overcome. (If it’s not a struggle, it’s not interesting, by the way.)

There is your middle.

But the tension-ception isn’t over. Let us go deeper down the rabbit hole:

The Tension in Your Characters

If it’s the characters that drive the story — they are the engine that moves your plot along —, they should be interesting right? How do we make interesting characters? That’s right: tension!

Captain Miller has a mind for tactics. He’s able to lead men toward objectives in problematic situations. It’s why he was tasked with securing an exit on Omaha Beach and it’s why he was chosen to find Private Ryan. If that was all there was to Captain Miller, he’d be a very boring character. He’d be two-dimensional.

As it turns out, he’s not just a good commander. He was a school teacher before the war, married with children. What makes this interesting? It provides a contrast, a conflict within his character that gives him tension, and therefore meaning and purpose. It’s a new layer to him that makes him interesting. He’s so good at what he does because he’s focused on getting back home to his family.

How do we make great characters? We make them three-dimensional. And how do we make them three dimensional? We give them an internal conflict, or an internal tension.

Notice how Captain Miller’s tension, in Saving Private Ryan, is still related to the story’s main tension, or rescuing Private Ryan. After PFC Mutinies, Captain Miller reveals his backstory (his inner tension) and tells his men that his reason for pursuing this mission to its end is to earn his ticket back home, so he can get back to his wife and to his children. That inner conflict within him is what drives the plot forward; it’s what gives his character and struggle meaning, and ultimately it’s going to define how the audience identifies with him. It makes him weak and insecure, it makes him human.

Remember General Richards, from the previous section?

We had worked through creating the middle to a story by means of the example. In it, General Richards is tasked with taking the city of Mirallas, in a war between your country and your southern neighbor. There is an armored corps and an attached infantry battalion in your way. General Richards is the engine, the rest is just the scenery. The character, Richards, is what’s going to drive your audience through this scenery. We need to make him interesting. How do we do that?

Make him three-dimension. Yup! Good, now how do you do that?

Maybe Genral Richards’ is seen as weak by his peers. Maybe his whole life he has been considered inept and constantly underappreciated. This has caused doubts within himself, but his fear of not being enough is what pushes him to excel — so that he can prove his doubters, and himself, wrong. This is what has propelled him to master the knowledge of tactics and develop the intuition he needs to defeat a numerically superior opponent that has the benefit of being on the defensive. Your General’s inner tension is born outside of the direct story, but it’s still tied to it because it gives the character — and therefore his actions — meaning.

Note that General Richards is likeable because his inner conflict is one that many of us can identify with. We all have our insecurities. We all know that we must meet objectives in our life nonetheless, whether those goals have to do with our career, relationship, health, or whatever. Each and every one of us encounters obstacles along the way. Maybe the girl that you like isn’t interested in you. Or, perhaps you didn’t get that promotion that was going to take your career to the next level. Those of us who are ultimately successful take these experiences, learn from them, and get stronger, so that we are more ready for the next opportunity. Knowing this, isn’t there a cherry you can add to General Richards to make him a truly awesome character?

If you can say something profound and introspective that speaks to that central tension, you’ve made a character who can teach a lesson. Or, better said, you’ve taught a lesson through a character — you have positively influenced someone.

Strong writing is powerful.

We’ve talked a lot about tension so far. Let’s switch gears and come back to the beginning, or the context. Let’s talk about adding context along the way, as you introduce different levels of conflict — i.e. inner conflict within a character or a tension specific to a post, as we discussed in this last section with the General Richards example.

Let’s talk about building your world. Building the war:

The Devil is in the Details: Using Characters to Build Your World

In Saving Private Ryan, after the initial battle on Omaha Beach, we get a general picture of the situation: Western Allied troops just landed in northern France, and some more were dropped via aircraft behind enemy lines. You might think this is a lot, because you know about World War 2 and Operation Overlord, but assume you didn’t already know the history. The knowledge that you get from the opening sequence of the film is pretty scarce. Again, the beginning merely sets up the context for the middle to start. It gives you just enough information to have a general understanding as to what’s happening in the world that the characters are in.

As your tension drives the story further, you might need to reveal more details as you go through sub-plots, or sub-tensions. Let’s come back to our General Richards example. Before the middle of the story even kicks off, you established that you are invading your southern neighbor and Richards’ division needs to take Mirallas. Once you establish that in your post, you move on to the first step of the middle. Here, if you remember, he first needs to take the town of La Granja, the center of the enemy’s initial defensive line. This is an opportunity to add further context and, by extension, build your world.

Just by introducing the town of La Granja you’ve added further context. Along the way the size of the town can be revealed, its history, what it looks like, the kind of people who inhabit it. It doesn’t need to be an info-dump — although that certainly is a legitimate style that many people enjoy —, it can be a simple, minor side story that reveals something about the town, whether it’s anecdotal or not. People like anecdotal things if they’re short and interesting.

At Neuville, in Saving Private Ryan, they come across a husband, his wife, and his daughter. She’s crying and one of the Rangers approaches her, taking her in his arms. The father urges them to take her away. The daughter is hitting the father, the mother is screaming at the father. The soldiers are yelling at each other. (Do you feel that tension? Do you feel it bubble? Do you feel it rising?) And then a sniper strikes, taking out the soldier carrying the little girl (this is the ‘drop’). In the telling of that story, Spielberg told us so much about the town. Not only that, but he revealed details about the 10st was doing in Normandy, which was interesting to the audience because the ultimate objective — saving Private Ryan — is directly relevant to that aspect of the world.

You notice how world building in good movies or books, in good stories in general really, is always tied to the tension, to the plot? As authors, we love our worlds. We created them, we are invested in them, and we know a lot about them. And we love talking about it. But not everyone is equally interested. In order to make your world interesting, you need to show it through stories. Remember, the engine is the character. It’s what’s taking the reader through your world.

The character should reveal the world.

In an open world roleplaying game, like The Witcher III or Red Dead Redemption, the world is not revealed to you all at once. Neither is it dumped on you along the way. It’s revealed to you as you move through it via the character. That’s why there’s so much wonder initially. When you first come across Meridian, the Carja capital in Horizon: Zero Dawn, it’s awe-inspiring. Had you seen it before, in a picture or via some other random insertion of knowledge outside of the bubble that is your character, the reveal would have been boring. But when context, or the world, is saved for when it’s relevant, it makes that world worth knowing about.

Ultimately, others might become so invested in your world, and just by reading your stories, that they may read additional information that can be presented in a more encyclopedic way. As I read through The Wheel of Time, a high fantasy series written by Robert Jordan, I like to read the glossary. And I own the companion book, which is just a giant dictionary. But I only read those things because the story made me interested in the world, then I wanted to learn more about it. To be even mildly interesting, info-dumps needs to be preceded by great stories. And great stories are driven by great characters, who then take you through a tour of the world as it’s revealed to them through their eyes.

In Titanomachy, a war roleplay between the Scandinvans and myself, I wanted to reveal some information about my logistics and what an average soldier goes through before being sent to fight in Gholgoth. So I introduced a new character, Ehecatl, a recruit from the territory of Theohuanacu who’s been bloodied while fighting in Dasch, a city in New Empire being besieged by Macabean forces. New Empire is used as a filter, culling the less able soldiers and allowing the military to identify men capable of fighting in Gholgoth. I revealed this world to provide context for a story about the day Ehecatl receives his orders to ship out to Gholgoth. I was able to reveal information about my overall world, including the fact that my country is not just fighting in Gholgoth, but in New Empire too. But I tie New Empire into the general context of the main story, which is about different characters’ (Ehecatl is just one of them) experiences during this war.

Notice how I wanted to talk about a certain aspect of my world. Logistics may not have been relevant at all had I taken the story a different way, but I wanted to talk about it. I wanted people to know about this aspect of my world. And that’s okay. The lesson isn’t that you can only talk about certain things, it’s that whatever you talk about must be relevant to the main tension.

How do you not pigeon hole yourself in your story? Creativity. Seriously, be creative. Think of steps your characters can take that would make that parts of your world that you want to talk about relevant.

In the story of General Richards, there’s a second step that we established: the break-out after the initial hurdle of La Granja. 20–40 kilometers is a long distance. Vehicles break down, soldiers need food and ammo, and this is a perfect opportunity to talk about logistics — to reveal that part of your world. You can reveal how your soldiers deal with broken tracks, or how water is delivered to your men, details that make the story rich with context. How can you make logistics interesting? Tie it into the central tension. Needing a supply line is a weakness in the sense that it constrains the speed of your advance. Doesn’t this speak to the tension? Doesn’t it give the enemy more time to prepare for the defense of Mirallas? Wouldn’t that help drive tension toward the ‘final boss’ moment? That’s how you make logistics interesting. That’s how you reveal those aspects of your world in an interesting way.

A Final, and Short, Note About the Middle: Let There be Lulls

While tension is indispensable, tension gives me anxiety.

I was always a sub-par student. After my second semester, I was put on academic probation. I didn’t want to lose a whole semester, or graduate half a year later, so I decided to throw a hell mary. The next semester, I took 9 classes, or 27 units. I did that while working my ghost writing job. I got the highest GPA I’ve ever gotten and I was put on the Dean’s list for the first time in my college career. The tension kept me on the ball, it kept me at the edge of my seat. But, shit, all that tension was bound to burn me out. I needed lulls where I could relax.

Your audience needs lulls in the plot, periods of time when their hearts aren’t jumping out through their chests. During these lulls, our brains can take a rest and we can digest everything that’s happened so far. But the lull can’t exist just for the sake of there being a lull. The placement of your ‘come downs’ must be strategic. After all, it wouldn’t have made sense to take my lull right before the final of a class I was struggling in, right? No, the tension has to be high then, so I study for the big test — the final boss. But it makes sense to take a lull after a major midterm, after one of the sub-tensions of my college story, to act as a ‘come down’ from that high — to act as a speed bump before I ratchet up the tension again.

Feeling the same emotion over a very long period of time gets tiring…and boring. At a concert, you don’t always want to head bang, there might be periods of beautiful melody that bring out a different emotion. An individual song itself might swing you between moods, and the placement of the swings are strategic — there’s always a build-up before the drop, and there’s always a ‘come down’ afterwards. There’s a reason for this pattern: it makes the music — and the story the music is taking you through — interesting and, just as important, untiring.

What I mean by ‘untiring’ is what I alluded to in the opening sentence of the section. Tension gives me anxiety. Some anxiety is good. Too much anxiety might make not watch the movie, or read the post, at all. Or maybe it’s too much sadness. Or so much comedy that there isn’t a serious-enough undertone to be able to identify with the characters. Too much of one thing tuckers me out.

Stories, just as much as characters, need to be multi-dimensional. They need to have layers.

We’ve talked so much about Saving Private Ryan that it doesn’t make sense to not tie it into the point being made here. There’s a scene at the very beginning of the final sequence, when they find Private Ryan at Ramelle. There’s some tension when they first find Ryan and he refuses to leave with them until he can make sure the objective there is secured, and so they must stay in Ramelle until the position is reinforced. This starts a build-up toward the final tension, or the fight against part of the 2nd SS Division.

The lull in Saving Private Ryan is used strategically. It comes before a spike in the tension that gives meaning to the final sequence of the middle of the movie. And it takes the reader through a false sense of calm, right before the big drop at the end. It makes that big drop all the more exciting.

By the way, is the Battle of Ramelle part of ‘the middle’ of Saving Private Ryan’s story or ‘the end?’

The end actually comes later, when an elderly James Ryan is standing over the grave of Captain Miller — the very scene that the movie started with. There the end literally comes full circle. A big tension throughout the movie is the question of whether sacrificing the lives of all the Rangers who died saving this man was worth the savior of his life. He asks, with red, watery eyes, his wife if he’s a good man. She says yes. That’s the resolution to the story, that’s the end.

The Role of Cooperation in War Roleplaying

Consider this question: when you are roleplaying a war with another player, should you be competitive or should you be cooperative? Or is there a mixed strategy — a balance between competitive and cooperativeness?

If you’re playing fully competitively your focus is on defeating your opponent. If you are focused on defeating your opponent, you can’t reveal your strategy — you can’t share the details of your next steps, because you want to surprise the other player so that his or her response is weaker than yours. Your goal is to win, and that’s where your focus is. Is that conducive to storytelling? How can you build a story with other players if you’re incentivized to hide the details before the story is built? Suppose your opponent is also only in it to win. How can a roleplay where the players have different, and mutually exclusive, goals succeed? The fact is that they usually don’t. They tend to die after angry out of character discussions.

If you’re playing cooperatively, your focus is on the story.

There’s a highway north of Los Angeles that runs through the countryside, with an electric wire running alongside it. Every thousand or so feet there’s posts that keep the wire suspended. One of these posts, hidden behind a dangerous curve in the road, is decorated by dozens of flowers left behind by the family members of accident victims who died hitting that pole. There’s hundreds of feet in front and behind the pole, but for some reason multiple drivers have died hitting this post. Why can’t they drive off the road to the left or right of the pole? Even if they don’t have control over their car, surely there is a random distribution of trajectories that’s broad enough that multiple hits on the same pole, less than a foot wide and surrounded by leagues of empty space, such that multiple hits on the same post is highly improbable — if random. What if there’s a reason? What if it’s because people focused so much on missing the pole that they focused on the wrong thing: the pole. You tend to go in the direction you focus on, and if you focus on the wrong thing you go in the wrong direction.

When I first learned how to snowboard, my instructor taught me to ride by forming a triangle with my hands and using them to guide my body. I focused on the direction I wanted to go through my hands, and my body would follow. The principle is the same when it comes to roleplay.

If you’re focused on winning, you’re not focused on the story. And you’re going to hit the pole, and the story is going to suffer. If the story sucks, people aren’t going to be interested in the roleplay. And, more likely than not, the people roleplaying with you are going to get bored too. Sometimes roleplays die not just from out of character conflict, but also just because of ‘ghosting.’ Some players just stop responding and the thread stalls, killing the roleplay.

The win isn’t worth that, trust me — I have had to, and continue to, discipline myself to be cooperative. We’re all highly vested in our own world and we have dreams for it, but at the end of the day the game is necessarily multi-lateral, so should be the out of character decision-making that goes into creating the story you’re telling.

But a roleplay with no element of competition sounds boring too. It has to be exciting for the writers to write, after all. There’s definitely truth to this, and that’s why it may be worthwhile to explore more balanced approaches.

First, I’d like to talk about perspective.

When we say that competition is exciting, that excitement is usually tied in some way — in some cases it might be more apparent, in others it might be subtler — to wanting to win. It’s the belief that we’ll get something out of the roleplay that benefits us, in a way where the line between in character and out of character is blurred. Is this a good or a bad thing? Or is it just the current of the stream, which is something we should work with, rather than against?

Consider the novelist. Not the NationStates player, but a novelist who writes for an audience. The benefit that writer gets, beyond whatever intrinsic value there is in doing your hobby as a career, is the experience of impacting your audience. To a novelist, it’s all about the story. Even when there are multiple authors to the same novel, it tends to be all about the story. Why is that? There must be a reason. If you think about it, it’s because the author and/or authors are all operating on the same baseline canon — they’re either a one person team or they’re all on the same team, so there’s no incentive to clash over differences in preference over who in the canon should win and who should lose.

NationStates is inherently different. On NationStates, each player has his or her own canon. Roleplays represent unions between separate canons. They are like two worlds colliding, and so there’s an opening to compete.

Are people wrong to compete? Are they wrong to be vested in the direction of their canon? After all, a common theme in the meta-discussions around roleplaying is the notion that you are the master of your own canon and that you can say ‘no’ if other players want to take it in a direction that doesn’t jive with your vision. If in your canon you want your nation to win the war, shouldn’t you be able to fight for that outcome?

Yes. You should. It’s natural to be competitive on NationStates.

This is all the more reason to discipline ourselves and to strive for cooperation. Your opponent is just as vested in his or her canon as you are in your own. If you both go in wanting to win, the roleplay will die — it’s a war, how can there be two winners?

Building a good story on NationStates requires some behind-the-scenes discussions, and these may boil down to negotiations. You will present the ending you want, the other players will present the endings they want, and you’ll have to find something in the middle that’s okay with all the players involved. Don’t be too strict, because you may find that nobody wants to join your thread. But don’t let yourself be walked over, otherwise you’ll burn out.

It’s the out of character aspect of storytelling on NationStates that’s the most difficult, by far. The majority of in character threads in the game die due to out of character blockages, usually caused by disagreements over the direction of the story. If you are willing to cooperate, or even negotiate, you will avoid many of the pitfalls that befall so many stories on NationStates — you’ll avoid the cause of why so many players ignore each other, refusing to even talk to each other.

Let’s come back to the novelist really quick. Remember, the novelist writes for the audience, not to win. His or her focus is entirely on the story, and focus is vital because it determines the direction of our writing. I challenge you to focus on the story, I challenge you to take on the role of the novelist:

The Challenge

Pop quiz, tell me the elements of a story:

  • Beginning — establishes context
  • Middle — establishes tension
  • End — brings resolution

What drives the story? The character.

What makes the character interesting? Tension.

What makes the story interesting? Tension.

Is tension multi-dimensional? Yes. There is a main tension that defines the overall theme of the story. There are episodes of tension that are like individual chapters in a book, or sequences in a movie. And the characters themselves have inner tensions that help define them and give them purpose.

How do you build tension? Conflict (both war-related and human, whether inner-conflicts or inter-personal conflicts), incongruities, contradictions, and obstacles.

What’s the role of the world? To establish the context needed to understand the relevance of the tension.

How do we reveal the world? By tying it to the tension.

The challenge is for you to apply whatever you learned from this guide to your next roleplay thread. The only way we can improve is by practicing, so if you’re not currently in a war thread then start one. Try focusing on the story and see how it turns out.

The ultimate war story on NationStates would be told non-linearly. If you’ve seen Pulp Fiction you know that the order the sequences are shown don’t correspond to how they line up temporally. John Travolta’s character, Vincent Vega, is killed by Butch Coolide, played by Bruce Willis, yet Travolta shows up again in the ending sequence. A director or a novelist can do this because they’re focused on the story. They know how it all turns out, and they already know everything that happens, and so they’re able to tell it in interesting ways. Being able to pull off a non-linear storyline on NationStates would be the ultimate test of cooperation.

That’s the bigger challenge.

And as long as you’re focusing on the story and on having fun, and whether or not the other players in the thread are having fun, you’ll get there.

Addendum: Getting Started on Your First War RP

Let’s quickly go back to square one. You’re looking through threads on the forum and you suddenly have an idea — you want to be in a war RP!

There’s at least two possible directions this conversation can take:

  • How do I start a war RP?
  • How do I join a war RP?

Let’s tackle them one at a time, and let’s start with the first question: how do I start a war RP?

You start by thinking of your ‘main tension,’ as we’ve been calling it. These tend to occur naturally once you start to collaborate with other players. You usually have a map and you have neighbors, and so these may be the other players with whom you cooperate on a war RP with. Or maybe there’s a reason for you to invade a country for other reasons — my point is that more often than not these develop organically when you’re roleplaying within an active group of people, because each player has different goals and these often conflict. What better reason to have a war?

Maybe you’re invading your southern neighbor. Maybe you’re invading some random bloke who started a thread about killing his minority of choice. Or maybe you’re the one being invaded! Either way: there’s your main tension. Person A needs to invade Person B, but to accomplish that Person A needs to overcome a series of obstacles. Or, to repulse said invasion, Person B needs to overcome a series of obstacles.

Here’s the thing, once you have your idea for the ‘main tension’ you’re still not ready to start. Now you need to talk to the other player who want to involve — the person you’re invading. And you need to pitch them your idea, You need to persuade them that they’re going to have fun, that it’s a cool idea, and that you are willing to come up with a plan that balances your preferences and theirs with regards to the direction of the story.

Let’s go over that again. You have the main tension, or main shell, that defines your story. You’re invading your neighbor. You’re killing minorities. You’re protecting minorities. Whatever your ‘main tension’ is, you have it. Now you have to discuss it with the other players.

Why should you talk about the story and how it ends with other players? Remember what we said about the out of character cooperation and communication that’s needed for a successful roleplay?

If you focus on the story, you’re going to create a great story. How do you focus on the story? You make the focus explicit. You invite the other players into the discussion and decision-making regarding what the story is going to be about and how it’s going to end. If you are the OP, or the DM, or the GM (they all mean the same thing — you are leading the direction of the story and helping the other players through it), it is your responsibility to discuss the story with other players to the extent that it affects their canon, over which you have no say.

That last sentence is important.

Regardless of your status as OP, you have no say over other players’ canon. You cannot force another player to accept an invasion, or accept losing that invasion. If that’s the outcome you seek, you need to persuade that player that, despite the outcome, they’re going to have a great time. A great tactic is to compensate — offer to lose elsewhere, or offer to make them look like heroic defenders.

Once you have a ‘main tension’ that all the players have agreed to, you can start the RP. How do you start the RP? Remember the three elements to a story:

  • Beginning — establish context
  • Middle — drive tension
  • End — resolve

You start a thread at the beginning, right? This is where you, as OP, are establishing the context for the other players and for the reader. You provide background to what’s about to go down. ‘The beginning’ can be a single post, or it can span a series of posts. In Titanomachy, the beginning introduces the pirates who the Scandinvans are arming to rebel and there’s a series of posts before the war starts — I was establishing a detailed background.

Once you have the beginning, you transition to the middle. Let’s go back to the example of General Richards in the Tension-ception section, above. We talked about driving additional layers of tension in individual posts, so that each post is almost a story within a story. Using General Richards and the example of an invasion of your southern neighbor, we discussed one way you could organize these secondary points of tension. The first sequence might focus on the initial breakthrough attempt, illustrating it with the Battle of La Granja. It might be a tougher breakthrough than expected, and that is the obstacle — the tension — you must overcome. The second sequence may be a 20–40 kilometer advance, and the obstacle there is a tenacious enemy engaging in holding and guerilla tactics, along with mechanical breakdowns as your division advances. You can have as many sequences as you want. We discussed four in the example, but there could very well be 400 if you were interested in that long of a roleplay.

How long the middle ought to be and when you should think about ending the thread is a tough discussion, because a lot of it will fall on your intuition. People lose interest over time, and so if you drag the thread out too long then it may fade away, rather than end in a fulfilling way. The mood of other players will need to be something that you gauge as OP, and depending on how you read it you may speed up the pace or slow it down. You may even decide to cut parts of the middle out, similar to how directors will cut scenes, to get to the ending more quickly.

If you’re not sure, it’s always worth asking. Asking others how they feel is the only accurate way of knowing.

Throughout this process you need to be in communication with the other players, and you need to promote communication between the players. A lack of communication leads to decisions being made without everyone knowing, which will lead to resentment if you make a decision that conflicts with their vision of the direction of their canon. The role of talking to each other in a civil and constructive way cannot be overstated.

And if there are squabbles, you as OP need to be the person to mediate and resolve them. If you can’t do it yourself, reach out to another player you look up to, or reach out to a mentor. We would love to help!

The advice here begins to overlap with the next question: how do I join an RP?

You see a thread on the forums that you like and you’re interested in becoming involved in. First, look out for a tag on the thread title. These are some examples of what you might see:

  • Closed: This means that the thread is closed to players directly invited by the OP. You may still consider reaching out via TG or elsewhere online, such as Discord if that player has a channel they frequent.
  • Semi-Closed: It means you should TG or reach out first.
  • TG for entry: Essentially the same as above.
  • Open: It means anyone can join. You’re still better off reaching out first.

Notice what they all have in common? Yep, reaching out. Why? Because if your plan for becoming involved doesn’t jive with the OP, your foray is going to be cut short.

I OP war threads frequently, and this is what I look for when someone wants to join the RP:

I want you to show me that you are willing to dedicate the time to understanding the setting of the RP and any of the tension that the thread may have already revealed. I want you to show that you truly are interested in writing a story with me. What’s the best way of doing that? Understand where the RP is at now and suggest a backstory and a tension that gives in-character meaning to your involvement.

A lot of people put this work on the OP. The OP is already busy, and while they may be willing to help some people become involved if they think it’s worth it, or because they’re friendly and want to help, sooner or later putting it all on the OP is going to get you rejected from a thread. If you make it easy for the OP, you heighten your chances of being included. Does that make sense?

Just as it is with OPing a war RP, if you want to join one you need to communicate. And when you communicate you need to show real interest in the story. Think about it this way: why would it be beneficial to the OP to include you?

If you can answer that question without making the OP work for it, you are the perfect candidate for the thread you’re trying to join.

PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2017 6:28 pm
by The Macabees
Reserved for future list of military-related guides on NS.

PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2017 6:29 pm
by The Macabees
Reserved for glossary.

PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2017 6:29 pm
by The Macabees
Reserved just in case -- FAQs.

PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2017 9:52 pm
by Lutvikkia
This is most interesting, and informative. I want to do a role-play/ history of my nation, this will help greatly, any suggestions?

PostPosted: Tue Jul 11, 2017 10:46 am
by The Macabees
Lutvikkia wrote:This is most interesting, and informative. I want to do a role-play/ history of my nation, this will help greatly, any suggestions?

Sure. I'm not sure where you are with ideation currently, so let's start at zero and build up.

Do you have a basic idea of what your history will look like? Or, better asked, do you have a basic idea on what your military RP would be about?

PostPosted: Tue Jul 11, 2017 10:47 am
by The Macabees
Also, the panel today has been moved to 9PM EST.

PostPosted: Tue Jul 11, 2017 12:14 pm
by Lutvikkia
This is most of the basic stuff I have on Lutvikkias beginning

On this date (august 8th) our vessels set out on a colonization trip to a pre-determined land, to establish a colony for the fatherland. The command vessel was the smallest of the three, the barque Opaust. The brig of war Ruffalion, carried the troops, and the sailbarge Jadkull, carried the colonists and supplies. On the fourteenth day of the journey, a great storm arose lashing the little convoy. Exhibiting severe lightning and pounding overwhelming waves.
The storm lasted for three days, but seemed to last for weeks. Blowing the ships off course and into uncharted waters. During the storm, the ships had lost sight of each other, After the great storm the ships took the better part of two days to locate each other. The Jadkull had come to rest in an unfamiliar harbor, sinking there in the shallows, after taking damage then water. The Opaust came limping into the harbor a day later, with her sails in tatters. Then, late into the evening, the Ruffalion is lured into the harbor by the bonfires. The Ruffalion had battled another Man-O-War, barely surviving herself, so also limped into the new port.
Taking a few days to lick their wounds, the remaining settlers decide to establish the colony on this island, on the twenty-third of August. The first fort of, (?) which eventually becomes the capitol of Lutvikkia.
Early life on Lutvikkia was harsh and difficult for the settlers. As the flora and fauna did not cooperate easily. It was not a widely accepted practice, at first, to work with nature, and live in harmony.
Exploration and expansion.
Exploration Eastward eventually led to discovery of the islands indigenous peoples, Indians. At first they were stand off-ish, even xenophobic. Suddenly they became friendly (later we found this to be a probe of our strengths and weakness) eventually leading to war, the second continental war for our fledgling nation.
broke away from the father country (Brekkia) in ships came across a continent and sailed into the harbor we set up three colonies dismantling some of the ships for fortifications as the years passed the use of stone and metalwork replaced the ships after being hidden for many years a brikkarian man-o-war pulls into the harbor and a three hour bombardment ensues our medium range guns were no match for their long range ones suddenly without warning they ceased, furled sails and departed presumably for home several weeks later a fleet returned,

when the island continent was first settled the military declared martial law and military leaders were the ruling leaders for nearly one-hundred and fifteen years then as the need and desire for elected - not appointed leaders and officials became apparent and so the military backed down saying should the need arise for military intervention the colonies had better remember to vote situation first and promptly withdrew from the colonies completely
House of Commons - Workers
House of Plurans - Wealthy
House of Guilledg - Commerce
House of Proctuas - Military (later in history replaces Plurans
elections were held by the drudge each house has three drudge so that nine drudge sat on a council all lesser decision made after two years the houses adopted banners that were later unified into seals and flags the first of many spreading over towns and cities but down the line reunification called for more regional flags and to drop the individual city and town flags later a one unified government was ratified into being calling for one flag one government

Our Illustrious Leader is elected for a term of six (6) years. Has the ultimate say so in the affairs of state and military issues. Presides over the international council.
Three (3) Vice Presidents, one from each ruling house to represent all people.
The Vice leader from the Illustrious Leaders house is the Commander in Chief of the military.
The two other Vice leaders are over foreign affairs and commerce, respectively.
The Illustrious Leader utilizes other cabinets and ministers to run the country.

The Precouncil assists the Illustrious Leader, this is the highest council.
The Comcouncil assists the common man.
The Mitcouncil assists the military.
This is my "basic" government.
The next level is the state level, it governs the Indistates, like the thirteen original colonies.
The next level is the local city governments.
With the judicial system binding it all together.

3 Houses
The ruling families each take turns serving a (6) six year term, after which an election is held between the two other ruling houses. A house may serve up to (2) two additional years, if an elected house has to abdicate, or dies in office. Giving the house time to gain another official for election at which point the new elect represents its candidates. This has only happened (3) three times in Lutvikkia history.

Independence - WW 1
---------------------WW 2

Modern navy
Modern day--2011 oppression
- 315 yrs
1796 war of tyranny/freedom
- 213 yrs war for freedom
1544 war of independence of separation
- 700 yrs
844 first cardoes built
- 44
800 beginning of brikkarian empire
Krahkan troops
Adran Miller
bluestone farms

Break away from parent country - 1530
fleet of ships becomes lost - 1531
ships find Island nation - 1531
dismantle ships to construct fortifications and three towns - 1532
after twenty years of prosperity a single ship from the parent country arrives in harbor short negotiations fail and the ship fires on the main fort after a short engagement the ship leaves - 1552
two years later the ship returns with an armada - 1554
an occupying detachment of troops are left - 1555
construction of a capitol is ordered - 1556
additional towns are built and brief exploration begins - 1558
martial law is declared and the military leaders are ruling - 1559
after twenty seven years of peace the occupying military and civilian volunteers combined forces making the "Imperial Island Guard" - 1586
under tension from the parent country to bend to further military rule and to declare allegiance to the parent country the two factions begin to war for independence - 1588
lasting eleven years the war takes a turn and the colonies are set free the war takes its toll in people resources and finances - 1599
taking its toll forces the fledgling nation to resort to trade with outside countries revealing their location to potential conquest - 1601
disappointed by the way the military has governed the colonies the demand for elected officials becomes tantamount the military backs down - 1606
with the departure of the regular army the colonies must turn to conscription of the people but call them "volunteers" but are called the "first Island Army" - 1608
the need for self identification becomes apparent individual flags and banners for each state and city these were ratified into being - 1613
later flags were changed to state seals and "one flag" government was called for - 1619
the regular army was relegated to defense of the capital with need for additional units and defenses primary - 1622
through exploration efforts of the island the Indian tribes were found and skirmishes led to border disputes leading to all out war - 1654 lasting for several years - 1671
it was an act of ultimate sacrifice of a Lut ship to save an Indian village that brought the war to its end - 1672
talks with the Indians was difficult at best as the years of hostilities remained - 1677
finally an accord was struck - 1681
setting forward with the Indians in a new era of exploration of the island and establishing new settlements forts and defenses - 1689
exploration lasts for years culminating with the discovery of Luthicite allowing for the end of fossil fuel use - 1703
new technology, new training, new construction, new equipment - iron beasts - ironclad wagon (Locom) - ironclad cannon (Tannik) tank - ironclad rigger (Krussar) ship with these new inventions the nation grew quickly with this the primitive (Air Korvis) was set into production and the navy became a unified force
after the two wars - independence & freedom - came the war of tyranny lasting 18 years

It was an act of ultimate sacrifice of a Lutvikkian ship, to save an Indian village, that brought about the end of the war - 1779.
Talks with the Indians was troubled, and difficult at first. Years of hostilities and cultural differences slowed progress - 1787.
Finally after multiple cultural exchanges, and harvests, with both sides holding feasts an accord was reached. With the fundamental foundation that no culture encountered from that day fourth would be overlooked or trivialized - 1791.
Setting forward with the Indians in a new era of exploration of the island and establishing new towns and forts and travel - 1799.
Exploration extended for years, climaxing with the discovery of Luucite, allowing for the dismissal of fossil fuels - 1837.
The great bird 'Tuthura' nested in the high mountains, and had four children. These children were each given a gift, and a companion. The child of the North was given the gift of Ice, and the companion Frazent. The South was given Water, and the companion Alhuana. The West was given Wind, and the companion Chiwhand The East was given Fire, and the companion Impkala.

PostPosted: Tue Jul 11, 2017 12:38 pm
by Lutvikkia
These are a few examples of my RP style


The sub continues toward the coastline, running on silent.
" Sir, we have a sonar contact bearing One-Five-Four Mk Two-Two."
" Radcom this is dive bridge. Does it match any known configuration on file?"
The computer flashed through several sub silhouettes with statistics, dive ratios, and wake patterns.
" Radcom to dive. No it matches none of our active patterns on file."
The Captain and XO exchange glances.
" Helm bring us to Zero-One-Five and Fifteen down on the bow planes. Commence drop float, all activity is canceled till this fish passes us."

Once the logistical nightmare of getting a whole fleet's crewmen to their housing was finished,
the armored limo carrying the Lutvikkian leadership was driven to the Naval Department

Lutvikkian naval high command :
Fleet Admiral Lucas Winters command of Fleet response flotillas
Commodore William Jefferson Bradford Mckinly Attached
Captain Taurik Lamdris - Actual command of LNN Restikas
Captain Saull Pryllas - command of SSRN - Pokkarr
Captain Nohann McKeep command of LNN Affiyrrmd
Captain Killena Cooper command of Affiyrrmd primary air group
Major Krivchensen Lavrson command of security
Drudge - Occanaeus Pryrrn, Lutvikkia representative
Prolott Prime - Political officer to the Illustrious leader Hollthas Mowgon

They were whisked through security and were soon situated in a room similar to the main room of the United Nations. There, they met with their Dominian counterparts, the commanders of the Iron Will's navy and aerial squadrons who would be taking part in the exercise.

Hollthas Mowgon stood up amidst the conversations and put forth his point of view.
" One of the things, or criteria were looking to improve upon is the efficiency of our quick response fleets."
Then, to break the awkwardness Captain Nohann stood up and seconded the notion.
" Yes, this will allow us to enhance our aircraft tactics. As I am sure my flight commander Killena will attest."
And the Drudge stands up and responds.
" Yes, well not much thought is given to Ambassador relations. And many often times it is we few who must go into hostile, and some times war like, situations and help smoothe matters over."
Mckinly stands up and hoists his glass.
" No matter the rhyme or reason of visit, it is with greatest pleasure the peoples of Iron Will have so graciously welcomed us to your most scenic nation. Cheers!"

After the officers got to talk with one another for a bit, General Allir called the meeting to order. "I know you Lutvikkians are probably tired of hearing this by now, but welcome. We are glad to have you here." He turned to address the whole audience. "Ladies and gentlemen, this marks the beginning of the first annual Operation Blue Field naval training exercises."

He considered something on his notecards. "So do you all want to history lesson or do you want to get right to the competition?"

Admiral Winters stands and addresses the congregation.
" On behalf of my staff, my flotilla, and myself. Giving credit to our Illustrious Leader Benjamin H. Schyddel our military and diplomatic staff, and finally the peoples of Lutvikkia......We accept and would be grateful to listen to the history of your nation, your people and your military. As Drudge Pryrrn would point out it strengthens our peoples and compels us to better understand our friends and their customs."

Note : Not all of the sailors on the ships would be possible to leave. As the ships systems and engines must be maintained. However 80% of them could depart and then rotate out.

ALSO where are the ambassadors we assigned to your nation?

Drudge (Ambassador) Mallin Artho Mazdrill, and wife Tillidia Shragg Mazdrill (Llandruss) to the post of Iron Will Ambassador.

Lutvikkia » 24 Jan 2015 23:15

" When in the course of human, December seventh nineteen forty, not even the right damn day. I know...There will be dark days ahead.....NO! "
A knock came at the door.
" Illustrious Leader? it's time to address the council."
Anndraas was terrible at making speeches, that's why he had people for that. But his secretary was doing her duty over seas. She volunteered her time with young adults wishing to become dignitaries. Someone was being rushed here, but with security and distance, it did not look good. As he entered the grand council room, he noticed that most of the council and Drudge dignitaries were present. Hell he was not even supposed to be the Illustrious Leader except that ass Schyddel, that was "Imparted"
" His Illustrious Leader Anndraas Ribert Kassbrat "
He took the podium, gripped the handholds, took a deep breath and began.
"Ladies and gentleman, it has befallen our great nation of Lutvikkia once again to bring forth the question of war. I ask you to consider once again the need to defend another nation. A nation split by war its self. The very thought of war is by nature is appalling. We as Lutvikkians have many freedoms that we take for granted. Our allies number among those that we have assisted in their times of need, and we are better for it. Should you choose to turn a blind eye to this new crisis at hand? We will loose an opportunity to make another nation whole, stronger, and free. Along with ourselves. Now I know we, I have recalled you this late evening to return here and do your solemn duty and vote. And for that I am sorry, but the need for haste is upon us, as fleets are already converging to wage war as well. So I now leave the floor to you, but I must beg urgency."

The hall erupted into murmuring, heads shook and nodded. And finally
a Drudge stood up and walked down to the podium, and spoke, after being announced.
" Drudge Illieus Hillann - Lutvikkia Ambassador Relations presiding "
" My fellow Lutvikkians, it is never warranted to blindly wage war on a fellow nation. However, war is a part of our natural lives. And from time to time we as a nation must by definition, participate as well. Not just for our safety and security, but for the safety and security of all mankind. That is why we have voted Eight Hundred Two to Seven, for war. Illustrious Leader, if you will just sign the document, it will be official."


SECOND FLOTILLA - Third Fleet Gerris

As the old battleship and her fleet slowly came to life, it was as if a sleeping dragon was waking to do battle once again. The LNN Shaunnan BB-12 was being led by tugs to the "alive point" or Alpha point of the harbor, where she would leave port under her own power. Children and adults lined the public access points to catch a glimpse of the old battle wagon and her fleet leaving.

On the bridge -
" Helm, One-Hundred-Twenty yards to "A" point sir"
"Clear that helm. Engineering, status report?"
Down in the bowels of the ship, massive engines slowly began to revolve as the Luceket glowed. The chemical reaction that powered Lutvikkian vessels made for a "Christmas" effect in Engineering.
"You'll have full power in Eight minutes sir"
"Very well, clear that. Rad-com to all commands, we are alive and making way."
" Rad-com sir, clear that. Comm-12 to all commands, we are alive and making way."
The massive ship reached the "A" point and the water began to churn and roil as the triple screws spun pushing the majestic vessel through the water.
" Rad-com to all commands Ten days steaming time to Kejia, tuck in."
Lutvikkia » 26 Jan 2015 18:06

As the fleet slid near silently in the cold clear crisp night, the watch was making its rounds, making sure the ships and their occupants were safely asleep.
Seaman Willsar Gaahth: "I am really surprised they brought the Shaunnan out of mothball."
Seaman Ikks Gahphall: "I know, it's not like battleships have much of a presence on the naval field."
The two sailors stood and watched the old girl bob and sway in the water. The majestic lines of the older battlewagons was pleasing to most Lutvikkians. Suddenly a mighty explosion occurred on the aft of the battleship, causing her to real to port. The explosion was large enough to blow off the aft turret into the water, damaging the port side extensively. As klaxons went off in succession down the fleet line, the collision alarm sounded on the battleship as she slowed visibly to a stop. Flames billows out of the many holes and ports, reaching heights of thirty feet.


Third officer Ryhllik: "Jesus wake the Captain! Helm get us in close, as close as you can."
Helmsman Dyllyard: "Aye sir."
As the klaxon sounded the response teams filled the halls.
Rad-com officer Pryillis: "This is not a drill, this is not a drill. All fire crews man your action stations, all fire crews man your action stations."
The heavy destroyer pulled along side, nearly colliding with the battleship, and fire teams began pouring water from sea hoses onto the fire.
Fire Chief Cycommb: "Pour it to her! Jastills, hit that three inch fifty!"
Time seems to stand still as the mighty ship burns. Crew scurry about her decks like ants on a disturbed hill. Orders are shouted and relayed up and down the two ships. The once proud vessel lists slowly to starboard as she takes on water from her wound, and the many hoses of the heavy destroyer. One of the troop ships pulls along side the battleships port side, taking on the non essential crew, and wounded. As day breaks over the ocean, the combatants show their wounds, as the last flames dwindle in mock reproach. Scooted, bruised and burnt, The crew of the three vessels stare wearily longing to drop into bed for some much needed rest, but the next task is about to begin. The long journey home.
Captain Bellthorne: "Well this is a fine example of how not to run a ship." As he stands on the bridge wing looking out to sea. His Yeoman, Thrandal, looks on awaiting orders.
Yeoman Thrandal: " It's not your fault sir..."
Captain Bellthorne: "It damn well is my fault!!" He takes a deep breath and continues. "It is the responsibility of the commanding officer to assume the yolk of deeds of the crew under his or her command. Ergo I am the commanding officer, it is my fault. I was going to retire with only one blemish upon my record, how do you think this will look?"
With all the preparations made for the journey home, the three vessels make their way back to their home port. The crews of the vessels pay tribute to their fallen comrade by performing a naval salute, where all off duty personnel line the rails, in dress uniform and salute, at attention. And the two split fleets make way in opposite directions.
Lutvikkia » 05 Feb 2015 20:39

The fleet is approaching the territorial border, and the time has come to notify the command naval fleet.
Rad-com officer Eyvekk: " This is the LNN Lontonvarg CD-1007 responding on allied frequency 110.8 calling commanding allied forces vessels patrolling in the area of 312.4 by 18.6 degrees. Respond please.
This is the LNN Lontonvarg CD-1007 responding on allied frequency 110.8 calling commanding allied forces vessels patrolling in the area of 312.4 by 18.6 degrees. Respond please." The message continues for an hour. The XO steps into the radio room.
XO Panderson: "Any contact?"
Rad-com officer Eyvekk: " No."
XO Panderson: " Not even a search plane or picket ship?"
Rad-com officer Eyvekk: " No."
XO Panderson: "How about....."
Rad-com officer Eyvekk: " No." He pauses and looks the XO in the face and exhales. "No, sir no one has responded in any lingual code, encryption or even smoke."
XO Panderson: " Very well get me the carrier Lavandra."
Rad-com officer Eyvekk: "Edifice to Arm, Edifice to Arm, Two to confer."


Rad-com officer Jaillek: " Message from Edifice. Two to confer."
Yeoman Murrk: "Very well switch to encrypt-4 And pipe it to command."
Command: Captain Deyffuse: "Lima Alpha go for command."
XO Panderson: "We are approaching our waypoint with no recognition. I want to launch a package to confirm our allies are there."
Command: Captain Deyffuse: " Clear that launching a package with benefits."
On the flight deck:
Two sea Kestrals are elevated up to the flight line, as well as four drones. The Kestrials are launched, then the drones. The flight makes its way to the coast of Konia.

PostPosted: Tue Jul 11, 2017 4:15 pm
by The Macabees
Okay, so what kind of war RP are you looking to have now? Let's start by defining the setting. Who is the war/conflict between?

I might be confused. Let me phrase it this way: what do you need help with? Do you want feedback on your writing? Do you need help starting a new war RP?

I just want to establish a starting place, a baseline if you will, so that we're both on the same page.

PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2017 10:34 am
by Lutvikkia
I want to start the RP/war as my history. So basically a non participation RP at first, just to both "flesh out my history " and get it more linear if you will.

and second, YES, please adjust my writing help me if you can. YES tell me it sucks here, but is good there, it is what I am looking for, thanks!

PostPosted: Sat Jul 15, 2017 4:22 pm
by The Macabees
Sorry for the hiatus.

What part of your history do you want to focus on? I would start here first. Which historical era are you most interested in?

PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 5:27 am
by Lutvikkia
Well I always heard folks say start at the beginning so : the departure from the parent nation...can not settle on the micro details macro details are easy.....just sayin

PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 12:41 pm
by The Macabees
Okay, the next step is to figure out:

  • The setting:
  • The characters:
  • The main tension:

We know that your setting is your war of independence. What year did this happen? What kind of military technology was there at the time? What was your society like at the time? Answering these questions will help flesh out your setting/world/backdrop.

Then, who are the characters your RP will focus on?

Finally, what tension will these characters face as the story progresses?

PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 12:46 pm
by Lutvikkia
Ok, I do not wish to seem ignorant, however, I understand "tension" as you describe it above, but I am having difficulty in applying to my story can you : example/explain?

PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 12:58 pm
by The Macabees
Lutvikkia wrote:Ok, I do not wish to seem ignorant, however, I understand "tension" as you describe it above, but I am having difficulty in applying to my story can you : example/explain?

What's the problem that drives the story? Every plot has its climax, but to have a climax you have to build up to something. What are you going to build up to? What's the obstacle that the character is building up to surmount? In Rocky, it was an upcoming fight. In war movies, it's the final mission/target. In video games, it's the final boss. What's the main tension in your RP?

PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 2:47 pm
by Westwickport
Can I just say your guide's awesome! I have a question though, uhm, is logistics management [or the storytelling thereof] important for International Incidents storytellers? Or do people just generally put aside that kind of stuff?

PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 5:39 pm
by The Macabees
Westwickport wrote:Can I just say your guide's awesome! I have a question though, uhm, is logistics management [or the storytelling thereof] important for International Incidents storytellers? Or do people just generally put aside that kind of stuff?

It can be important to some RPers. Personally, it depends on your tastes and what you prefer to write about. The Forever War speaks very little about the logistics of interplanetary warfare, yet it's a great book.

NSers tend to like logistics because they expect a different form of RPing. People prefer that you RP your logistics to force you into 'realism' or 'believability.' I get that - it stops players from their urge to instantaneously move an army from location A to location B. But, time on NS is fluid and you can jump from location A to location B if you are willing to admit that some amount of time took place in between, and within that time other players were able to do actions A, B, C,..., n.

Sometimes I like to talk about logistics because it helps fine tune some of the setting. I'm a post-modern tech RPer, which is really just 'low level' science fiction (and a lot of which is actually MT, or heavily based in MT at least). So I like to explain how where the logistics chain might be highly automated, because that would be a somewhat unique feature to my society. Similarly, although for different purposes, I RPd some of the logistics behind my invasion of the Scandinvan Empire, which is about 40k+ km away. I did so because part of my plan was to build a gigantic floating base between the two regions to facilitate the movement of troops and material, and I thought that would be cool to describe and show. Likewise, I also have posts covering events in other parts of my long logistics chain, because in a war like this the logistics is a big part that can be very interesting (it's unusual to fight a war at that distance, with as many men as I'm deploying).

Does describing logistics add to the story? If so, RP it. If not, maybe your writing time is better spent on other facets of the story.

All the same, if it would put the other players in your RP at ease -- whether they're justified in their apprehensions or not -- then maybe it'd be worth it to just describe it. If you're just not into it and don't want to do it, maybe you can explain what's happening behind the scenes logistics-wise.

PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 8:21 pm
by Westwickport
The Macabees wrote:
It can be important to some RPers. Personally, it depends on your tastes and what you prefer to write about. The Forever War speaks very little about the logistics of interplanetary warfare, yet it's a great book.

NSers tend to like logistics because they expect a different form of RPing. People prefer that you RP your logistics to force you into 'realism' or 'believability.' I get that - it stops players from their urge to instantaneously move an army from location A to location B. But, time on NS is fluid and you can jump from location A to location B if you are willing to admit that some amount of time took place in between, and within that time other players were able to do actions A, B, C,..., n.

Sometimes I like to talk about logistics because it helps fine tune some of the setting. I'm a post-modern tech RPer, which is really just 'low level' science fiction (and a lot of which is actually MT, or heavily based in MT at least). So I like to explain how where the logistics chain might be highly automated, because that would be a somewhat unique feature to my society. Similarly, although for different purposes, I RPd some of the logistics behind my invasion of the Scandinvan Empire, which is about 40k+ km away. I did so because part of my plan was to build a gigantic floating base between the two regions to facilitate the movement of troops and material, and I thought that would be cool to describe and show. Likewise, I also have posts covering events in other parts of my long logistics chain, because in a war like this the logistics is a big part that can be very interesting (it's unusual to fight a war at that distance, with as many men as I'm deploying).

Does describing logistics add to the story? If so, RP it. If not, maybe your writing time is better spent on other facets of the story.

All the same, if it would put the other players in your RP at ease -- whether they're justified in their apprehensions or not -- then maybe it'd be worth it to just describe it. If you're just not into it and don't want to do it, maybe you can explain what's happening behind the scenes logistics-wise.

Thanks so much for your time and help!

My Factbooks

PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2017 5:54 pm
by Nova-Columbia
So, I would like some advice on my fact books, if you are willing to give it. Just advice in general to be honest, like what else I should write, what I need to include in my current entries, etc.

I'm really new to rp in general, so any advice is welcome.

PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2017 7:08 pm
by The Macabees
Put up a link and I'll check it out!

PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2017 7:49 pm
by Nova-Columbia

PostPosted: Thu Jul 27, 2017 12:53 pm
by Nova-Columbia
Or you can just look on my profile, either way should work.

PostPosted: Thu Jul 27, 2017 1:24 pm
by The Macabees
I took a look at them. They look good.

Do you RP with a set population that's different from your NS stats?

PostPosted: Thu Jul 27, 2017 2:31 pm
by Bashriyya
Is Full Metal Jacket a good film to observe?