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Seven Surefire Ways to Improve Your Roleplays

A staging-point for declarations of war and other major diplomatic events. [In character]

What Do You Find Most Difficult About Writing A Roleplay?

The Setting
25
5%
The Characters
38
7%
The Dialogue
100
18%
The Action
65
12%
The Introduction
66
12%
The Conclusion
33
6%
Flow of the Story
143
26%
Originality
79
14%
 
Total votes : 549

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New Azura
Negotiator
 
Posts: 5304
Founded: Jun 22, 2006
Ex-Nation

Seven Surefire Ways to Improve Your Roleplays

Postby New Azura » Tue Jun 29, 2010 2:23 pm

Seven Surefire Ways to Improve Your Roleplays
- By the Handler of the Honourable Republic of New Azura on June 29th, 2010.

I want you to pay attention to what I’m about to say. There is no discernible reason why your writing has to be laughed at or made fun of any longer! If you’ve had trouble accepting the criticism - deserved or undeserved - from other handlers, take the opportunity to examine your style of writing. Not a single handler in the history of NationStates can openly claim to be the perfect writer; we all carry room for improvement! Don’t be discouraged when you first start out, or even if you’ve had trouble acclimating yourself to the forum environment. If you’re looking for an easy way to improve your writing, then try using these simple steps. They’re quick to read and pretty easy to understand, and if you absorb the information contained in each step, it should help you improve your writing skills drastically. The following are seven surefire tips that will help you raise the quality of your roleplaying abilities!

1. Length vs. Brevity
One of the most important aspects of your roleplay is to ensure that it’s long enough to be considered respectable, yet brief enough not to bore the reader to tears. Ninety percent of all roleplays in the NationStates Universe can be classified in one of two ways: either a short response (typically less than two paragraphs) that is used quickly to advance a storyline forward, or a more concentrated “story” roleplay that takes more time. Dependent on the roleplay you’re making (or joining), the situation may call for a faster response, typically when partaking in roleplays with handlers who are more adept at technical figures and stats. A lot of times, newer handlers tend to write these short, quick roleplays to get into a thread and keep the story moving, without bothering to slow down and evaluate a few of the finer points of storytelling:

1. What is the main goal of the roleplay in which I am interested?
2. How does my nation fit into the environment of a particular roleplay?
3. What would an acceptable progression of events entail to make this roleplay successful on my behalf?

Examine these three points before jumping into or starting a roleplay. If you’re joining a roleplay that’s already begun, examine the quality of posts that have already been made. And by all means, remember that an hour’s worth of work on a detailed post is far better and more respected by your fellow handlers than a five minute job that was hacked out because you want to progress the story!

2. Game or Story?
When you’re preparing to jump into a roleplay, please consider the nature of the “game”. While some handlers enjoy playing “the game”, NationStates is really best suited as a medium for storytelling. The best roleplays are often created by a pair or small group of nations who have a general idea of where the story will go and how it will end. More often than not, spur of the moment roleplays that arise from some sort of IC dialogue or challenge end with no conclusion, poor writing, and the occasional intervention of a Forum Moderator to lock the thread. NationStates is certainly a game, but it’s also an online community featuring writers of various talents from around the world. Get to know some of the more experienced handlers in the forums and learn from them. Then, share ideas with your new friends about story ideas - share ideas, characters, and the like. Create a basic outline with as little or as much detail planned out beforehand as you feel comfortable with, then start the party. You’ll be surprised how quickly your roleplaying ability will improve with this simple step.

3. Storytelling
When you prepare to create an honest-to-goodness respectable roleplay, consider yourself in the role of a storyteller. Though some basic information may exist on the nations who will be taking part in your story, you and the co-authors will basically be charged with creating an entire universe out of your own imaginations. The language, the people, the customs, the scenery, everything is at your disposal. Far too often, people jump straight into the meat without bothering to even cook the potatoes! If you’re starting a roleplay regarding a war, don’t have the first shot of the war end up in the first paragraph of the first post! A lot of times, a conflict story between two adept handlers can go for pages at a time before the first shot is even fired! Though you don’t have to wait for two months to get to the action, you should at least provide some exposition for the event. Explain through dialogue why the situation is the way it is; what’s happening to who. Then, elaborate in your follow-up posts with an escalation. Increase tension and the severity of the incident while continuing the usage of good dialogue, ample imagery, and timing.

4. The Story
Okay, so you’ve come to the conclusion that you want to create a good story, and not something that a child could come up with. Good for you! Now, one of the first things you want to do is to establish (what else) an actual story! This encompasses three major points. First, you should figure out what you want to write about! There are plenty of good examples posted already on the boards, but I challenge you not to read them yet. Instead, use your imagination to come up with something unique that will be your very own. Have a general idea of what type of story you want, be it an adventure story, a love story, an action piece, or even a spoof thread. Second, you need to create the universe in which it exists. If you’re doing a character-driven roleplay about a city cop, dream up some of the more memorable aspects of your fictional city, like landmarks and spots that can serve as background locations. If you’re doing a war story, try to envision the terrain that your troops will be fighting on. Plan out several different locations ahead of time, since your story will likely be taking you in different directions. Finally, you’re going to want to create a basic outline of your characters. Flesh out the primary details about your protagonists and/or antagonists - who they are, what they’ll be doing, etc. Don’t try to mold your characters in with your background, but rather, let the two flow together. It’s okay to experiment with unusual concepts like a Brooklyn-style thug in a tropical setting. Far too often, story ideas are so generic, that most roleplays feel sanitized and unimaginative. Don’t be afraid to come up with a character who has flaws!

5. Characterization
Once you’ve established the basic premise of your story, it’s time to flesh out your characters more. Almost all of the characters in roleplays these days are cut-and-paste from other stories. People rely too often on caricatures of ideas from other sources without probing their own imaginations. Get creative with it, and hash out something that’s purely your own creation. Give your characters complete workups! Understand little nuances about them, like what they look like and how they act. By all means, develop backstories for the character in your own mind! Even if you don’t use them in the actual roleplay, it can be an invaluable source when trying to craft that epic roleplay. At the end of the day, what you want to have are characters who a reader can draw their own mental picture of, believe it or not. If you get your reader to start envisioning your roleplay ideas in his or her own thoughts, you’re on the right track. When people can already guess where your characters are heading ahead of time, you’re in trouble.

6. Dialogue
Unless your subject matter is a stump, you’re probably going to need some dialogue in your roleplay. It can be a challenge to use dialogue successfully in a story. Don’t be afraid of the challenge, though! When you create dialogue, try to have a verbal conversation take place in your head between the characters involved. Make it be like real life: when confronted by your foreign minister about an approaching attack fleet, your main character’s first response in real life wouldn’t be to take out a pen and start scribbling orders. There would be some type of emotional response! Examine the following example with me for a clearer picture of this.

Bad Dialogue:
Davis spoke: “Sir, an enemy naval fleet is en route to Mycountrya!”
The President responded: “Get word to the naval commanders in that area, and launch our missiles!”

Good Dialogue:
Foreign Minister Mitchell slowly let the phone slide from his hand, causing an audible thud when the receiver hit the table. The President was concerned: “John? What on earth is wrong?”
“Sir,” Mitchell spoke quietly, “We just received word from our fleet commanders. An enemy fleet is approaching Mycountrya from the south. It’s a large fleet, sir.”
The President’s face drained, creating a deathly gray pallor across his features. With a trembling hand, President Morgan slowly steadied himself on his desk, trying not to collapse backwards into his chair. An invasion fleet… heading to Mycountria!”
“My God,” the President lamented. “We’ve got to put out an alert to our military commanders! Contact Central Command, and have my councilors in my conference room in ten minutes! I‘m not about to lose this country without a fight!”

Even this example is a far cry from what’s possible when you put thought into what your characters are saying. Don’t be afraid to demonstrate emotions with your characters, either! Not every central character has to be a knight in shining armor or a rough and tough military grunt who graduated from R. Lee Ermey’s Boot Camp. Experiment, and don’t be afraid to add a few flaws here and there!

7. Imagery
One of the final things to remember is to constantly pad your work with detailed imagery. While your universe has been given a basic establishment during your brainstorming, you should always remember to add basic details when writing your roleplay. For instance, don’t resolve yourself to roleplaying two cops talking in a diner without describing the diner! If they’re in a restaurant, have them eat something while they’re there! If they’re on a battlefield, describe the sights and sounds, even the smells if you have to! You don’t want the reader to picture your universe as this yawning void where it’s business as usual. Imagine your setting as a world unto itself, needing items, places, and things just like our own reality does. This will help improve your writing drastically.

There you have it: seven clear steps that will help improve your writing abilities. While things like grammar and sentence structure are important, these steps can be used as a virtual primer for your growth as a writer. Granted, not everyone is blessed with an abundant imagination, and learning how to craft more fluent stories will take some practice. But if you keep at it, and learn from past mistakes, you’ll become a respected handler in no time. Soon enough, you’ll be helping new players create their own writing skills before you know it!

If you have any questions about these points or other trouble spots in your writing, post them here and I or someone else will help you as best we can.
Last edited by New Azura on Tue Jun 29, 2010 2:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
THEEVENGUARDOFAZURA
UNEFLEURPOURLECOLOSSE

— A PROUD MEMBER OF GREATER DIENSTAD

THEDOMINIONOFTHERITHOS
CAPITAL:ISAURA (TSYION)DEMONYM:AZURGOVERNMENT:IMPERIAL THEOCRACYLANGUAGE:CIRAZUR

Her Graceful Excellence the Phaedra
CALIXTEIMARAUDER
By the Grace of the Lord God, the Daughter of Tsyion, Spirited Maiden, First Matron of House Vardanyan
Imperatrix of the Evenguard of Azura and Sovereign Over Her Dependencies, the Governess of Isaura
and the Defender of the Children of Azura


— Current Roleplays —
Congress of Ishikawa|Summit Tsyion 2016

— Multilateral Agreements —
CAPINTERN|Global Aerospace Trade Association|The Western Pact

— Controlled Nations —
Azura, Lexmark, New Azura

— Other Supported Regions —
Astyria (PT | MT), Teremara (P/MT | FT), The Local Cluster (FT)

— Roleplay Tech Levels —
[PT][MT][PMT][FT][FanT]

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The Master M
Ambassador
 
Posts: 1876
Founded: May 18, 2009
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby The Master M » Tue Jun 29, 2010 2:25 pm

I never want the story to end :( haha.

Great work Azura !

*votes this be stickied*
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The Golden hoarde
Attaché
 
Posts: 95
Founded: Jul 21, 2009
Ex-Nation

Postby The Golden hoarde » Tue Jun 29, 2010 2:26 pm

Very nice Azura, very nice.

*Sticky vote*

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Of The Arch ilands
Negotiator
 
Posts: 5105
Founded: Nov 30, 2009
Ex-Nation

Postby Of The Arch ilands » Tue Jun 29, 2010 2:27 pm

*Big Stickie Vote!*

ha ha
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Ceannairceach
Postmaster of the Fleet
 
Posts: 26606
Founded: Sep 05, 2009
Ex-Nation

Postby Ceannairceach » Tue Jun 29, 2010 2:29 pm

*Sticky Vote*

Very nice. I like it a lot. I need to brush up on my intro skills, and this should help.

Oh mods, make this mighty work a sticky!

@}-;-'---

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LINTYLAND
Minister
 
Posts: 2315
Founded: Aug 23, 2009
Ex-Nation

Postby LINTYLAND » Tue Jun 29, 2010 2:54 pm

*jizzed*

Somebody Stickie this
14:12 Solm Black people shouldn't be on NS

I makeTitles!!!
Pew! Pewwwwwww! Explosion!!!

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Greywatch
Envoy
 
Posts: 291
Founded: Jan 29, 2008
Ex-Nation

Postby Greywatch » Tue Jun 29, 2010 2:57 pm

This needs to be stickied
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New Azura
Negotiator
 
Posts: 5304
Founded: Jun 22, 2006
Ex-Nation

Postby New Azura » Tue Jun 29, 2010 2:59 pm

LINTYLAND wrote:*jizzed*

Somebody Stickie this


:meh:
THEEVENGUARDOFAZURA
UNEFLEURPOURLECOLOSSE

— A PROUD MEMBER OF GREATER DIENSTAD

THEDOMINIONOFTHERITHOS
CAPITAL:ISAURA (TSYION)DEMONYM:AZURGOVERNMENT:IMPERIAL THEOCRACYLANGUAGE:CIRAZUR

Her Graceful Excellence the Phaedra
CALIXTEIMARAUDER
By the Grace of the Lord God, the Daughter of Tsyion, Spirited Maiden, First Matron of House Vardanyan
Imperatrix of the Evenguard of Azura and Sovereign Over Her Dependencies, the Governess of Isaura
and the Defender of the Children of Azura


— Current Roleplays —
Congress of Ishikawa|Summit Tsyion 2016

— Multilateral Agreements —
CAPINTERN|Global Aerospace Trade Association|The Western Pact

— Controlled Nations —
Azura, Lexmark, New Azura

— Other Supported Regions —
Astyria (PT | MT), Teremara (P/MT | FT), The Local Cluster (FT)

— Roleplay Tech Levels —
[PT][MT][PMT][FT][FanT]

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New Azura
Negotiator
 
Posts: 5304
Founded: Jun 22, 2006
Ex-Nation

Postby New Azura » Tue Jun 29, 2010 3:05 pm

Anyways, here's a pretty good litmus test to follow. A Good Example of Roleplaying:

Jenrak wrote:Mature Thread. OOC is here.

    Aaron was a strong man, but he wasn’t strong enough to fight off two well-armed guards, and when they brandished batons to keep him locked down, he didn’t have a chance in hell to fight them off. “No!” He would scream and yelp and spit, his arms flailing and his legs kicking as they hauled him into the ambulance. The sirens were wailing always, and at the same times and places he’d always try and get to the same location.

    The central city hall. He would always want to talk to our ‘leader’, but his records were never amicable. Never good. A wispy-haired man without a smile on his face, Aaron was a man who moved in only next door to me. A quiet, demure and generally cautious man, he preferred the companies of the hyssops that hung at his windowsill than the words of my wife and I. We tried to talk to him three times, but he had given us hints that he didn’t want our company: sudden shutting of his curtains, the blocking of our phone numbers and an unwillingness to answer the phone when we knocked.

    The rapping soon became irrelevant, and over time he began to become increasingly erratic. At times, we would hear odd noises come from his open basement window, and other times, the sounds of soft plays on the violin would sprinkle the forests behind our homes with haunting echoes.

    He was a strange man, and over the days since we met him, he grew increasingly gaunt and pale, withering to a former of his own shapely and intimidating self. He wasn’t a lonesome and fearsome man now, but rather a gangly creature of a human being. He was silent and cold and vicious, and there were no noises from his basements. No sounds of the violin stringing from his rooms. No melodies to haunt our homes.

    It was a weird absence.

    Then, on Christmas Eve, he went missing. Nobody really knew where he went, and I never saw him out of the house, but police officers stopped at our door and checked on us. Nothing big, no real large questions. Just curiosities.

    And well, now, they say he was found maddened and crazed in a forest, clawing at his skull. We couldn’t but feel, my wife and I, that Aaron was some sort of genius.

    Oh, for fuck’s sake.

    They say he was taken to Gabriel Correctional. That place is not a good place for anyone. For the patient, for the doctor, for the faculty – no one. That place is wrong, and when I saw Aaron go into that ambulance, I could have sworn his influence rubbing off on me. His craziness like spores, prickling my eyes.

    I could see it. His eyes. They were, weird. I don’t know. That was the last time I saw Aaron.

    But the melody was not ending there. I heard it again, because they came. It was innocuous at first – it looked like a massive cumulonimbus cloud, roaring and towering over everything else as its fluffs and puffs were bubbling up into a massive shape to cast a deep shadow over the entire area.

    When they came, the rush of oceans and the trickle of seawater on the rocks turned from pretty whitecaps to raging tsunamis.

    When they came, the sky boiled and the heavens bubbled in an unbelievable heat.

    When they came, sicknesses were rampant more than ever before, and new strains seem to spring up to welcome their new masters.

    When they came, not a single person could figure out the majesty of this great thundercloud. Certainly, it roared. Certainly, lightning danced as sheets from its tips, from ends to ends, illuminating the area in a thick crackle. A never-ending storm.

    When they came, Aaron was being taken away.

    And I could have sworn he finally smiled at their sight.


And.... a not so good example:
Charzak wrote:Today 600,000 soldiers and 1,000,000 civilians rose to the call of a rebel leader only known as The Savior. Already under his command are 200,000 rebels. The rebellion has arisen due to the fact that "....[Withheld] should span the globe as all others are inferior...". The rebels, known as the Imperialist Core, seek to take control of the U.S.C. and create a global Empire exterminating the "inferiors". The rebels have claimed most of southern [Withheld] and are pushing towards the capital of Krayt. Our security forces were caught unprepared and the military is slowly responding. The Supreme Leader today asks the international community to help put down this rebellion.

Image

Red= Imperialist Core
Blue= Loyal Government
Last edited by New Azura on Tue Jun 29, 2010 3:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
THEEVENGUARDOFAZURA
UNEFLEURPOURLECOLOSSE

— A PROUD MEMBER OF GREATER DIENSTAD

THEDOMINIONOFTHERITHOS
CAPITAL:ISAURA (TSYION)DEMONYM:AZURGOVERNMENT:IMPERIAL THEOCRACYLANGUAGE:CIRAZUR

Her Graceful Excellence the Phaedra
CALIXTEIMARAUDER
By the Grace of the Lord God, the Daughter of Tsyion, Spirited Maiden, First Matron of House Vardanyan
Imperatrix of the Evenguard of Azura and Sovereign Over Her Dependencies, the Governess of Isaura
and the Defender of the Children of Azura


— Current Roleplays —
Congress of Ishikawa|Summit Tsyion 2016

— Multilateral Agreements —
CAPINTERN|Global Aerospace Trade Association|The Western Pact

— Controlled Nations —
Azura, Lexmark, New Azura

— Other Supported Regions —
Astyria (PT | MT), Teremara (P/MT | FT), The Local Cluster (FT)

— Roleplay Tech Levels —
[PT][MT][PMT][FT][FanT]

User avatar
LINTYLAND
Minister
 
Posts: 2315
Founded: Aug 23, 2009
Ex-Nation

Postby LINTYLAND » Tue Jun 29, 2010 3:12 pm

Ohh thats nice
14:12 Solm Black people shouldn't be on NS

I makeTitles!!!
Pew! Pewwwwwww! Explosion!!!

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Third Spanish States
Ambassador
 
Posts: 1454
Founded: Oct 09, 2007
Ex-Nation

Postby Third Spanish States » Tue Jun 29, 2010 3:23 pm

I have no problems with any of the mentioned details. Only with bothering to finish a RP I've started due to gradual loss of interest. Also.

planned out beforehand


Surefire way to make a RP boring, specially when the ending is preset. At least for me. I prefer the lack of predictability, because I don't start RPs for the sake of having the outcome I'd ideally want for them ensured, but to have fun along the way. It's like the difference between playing a game after someone already told you how it ends(or how every of its branching ends are in some case) and not knowing how it ends.

And the technical side isn't necessarily bad. A war can have more depth when unique approaches regarding pros and cons in fictional designs are factored, the problem is when a post content is 80% about describing the awesomeness of a missile/fighter/etc and 20% about everything else. For one, I'm in the middle road between the competion-cooperation spectrum, and in the middle road between the war-character centric thread spectrum as well.
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The Grand World Order
Powerbroker
 
Posts: 9181
Founded: Nov 03, 2007
Iron Fist Consumerists

Postby The Grand World Order » Tue Jun 29, 2010 3:37 pm

Something I'd like to recommend is reading books... it gives you a better sense of how to create characters and "scenes," so to speak.

Another thing I've noticed a lot of people doing is strictly RPing on a strategic level when it comes to war. Here's an example:

16,000 Alphanian soldiers head towards the Betanerkian capitol. They are equipped with AK-47 assault rifles and have 250 T-90 tanks following them.


The Betanerkians had 50,000 soldiers in the capitol, and 2,000 specops soldiers, with 600 M2 Bradleys, 100 M1A2 tanks and 30 F-35s.


The Alphanians made a charge at the city, losing 1,000 men in the first few minutes.


And so forth.

There seems to be no telling "from the ground," so to speak. For example, I could improve the above like this:

PFC Adam Michaels was nervous. After all, who wouldn't be? He was a mere infantryman in a force of 16,000 Alphanians who were basically being flung at the Betanerkian capitol. Like most of his comrades, he carried an AK-47; trash, compared to whatever the Betanerkians had. This war had cost far more Alphanians than Betanerkians, even if it was being fought on their land, and Michaels firmly had doubts as to whether his own military truly valued his life. The propaganda in his head seemed to be riddled with bulletholes from the Betanerkians, who in contrast seemed like a happy, peaceful people before this all happened. Hell, he didn't even know why he was here, other than he was fighting for "the glorious proletariat." Hopefully, the 250 T-90s with him would make a difference, but only time would tell.

The sound of tank treads and truck engines radiated out into the air, and the overall mood was silent and grim, aside from the uppity Commissars.


In the Betanerkian capitol of Beta, a sense of hatred was felt. It was a hate so strong it was almost visible as it spread over the now-empty streets of the once-grand capitol city. The Alphanian bombing runs from weeks ago had maimed many of the famous landmarks, leaving their skeletons open to the elements. Rubble filled some parts of the street. The soldiers here knew that this was all they had left to fight for; their families were probably dead, most of their homes destroyed. And now, they made their final stand, all 52,000 of them. They knew the Alphanians were coming, and the warriors of Betanerk had nothing but bodies full of wrath waiting for them.

Betanerk had been a peaceful nation. No one knew why the Alphanians were invading, why so many Alphanians had died before the smaller Betanerkian military. The Betanerkians, while peaceful, had been building their military solely for protecting themselves, using the best equipment they could muster. Most of the men had an M-16A4; their tanks were the feared M1A2 Abrams, 100 in all within the city. Overhead, 30 F-35s -the remnant of the Betanerkian Air Force- screeched, their pilots just as furious as the infantry. 600 M2 Bradleys, known for their fierce firepower, served as battle taxis and mobile bases for the troops.

Staff Sergeant Jacob Harris was in one of these Bradleys. He could only wait for the Alphanians; he had sworn to kill at least 30 of them for every relative he lost in the brutal invasion.


PFC Michaels heard the whistle. It meant that the enemy was in sight, and it was time to fight. The tanks rushed ahead, many of them getting blown apart by the Betanerkian firepower. He saw a mass of men charging ahead, only to get cut down in seconds by an Alphanian M249. He witnessed as his comrades were torn apart, some of their ribs twisting out of their chest, their blood pumping out into the soil. He witnessed just how effective 20mm rounds were against infantry such as himself- "soft targets" according to the Betanerkians. Then he felt something hit his chest, flooring him instantly. He didn't feel any pain from it, not yet at least. He began hearing a sucking noise before looking down and seeing that he had been shot in the chest by a Betanerkian soldier. He could only presume the sucking sound was this bullethole pulling air into his chest. He looked to his side to see an oncoming T-90; what a shame. He would die by getting run over by his own countrymen. His mind went back to home, memories of the Revolution, his mother, his father, his dog. He was an only child, conscripted into service. Now that his parents were too old, there would be nobody to carry on their legacy. He prayed, contradicting his formerly forced Atheist lifestyle, that whatever God was above would understand his situation. He stared at the incoming treads before closing his eyes, helpless as the 46.5 tonne war machine rolled over him, flattening his head and shooting the contents of his skull around the ground.

In the first few minutes of the attack, nearly 1,000 Alphanian conscripts fell.
Last edited by The Grand World Order on Tue Jun 29, 2010 3:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Jenrak
Negotiator
 
Posts: 5676
Founded: Oct 06, 2004
Ex-Nation

Postby Jenrak » Tue Jun 29, 2010 3:39 pm

I'm stickying this for now, because it's quite handy.

Though II seems to be quite sticky-rampant >__> .

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Toopoxia
Chargé d'Affaires
 
Posts: 403
Founded: Apr 06, 2006
Ex-Nation

Postby Toopoxia » Tue Jun 29, 2010 5:41 pm

Third Spanish States wrote:
planned out beforehand


Surefire way to make a RP boring, specially when the ending is preset. At least for me. I prefer the lack of predictability, because I don't start RPs for the sake of having the outcome I'd ideally want for them ensured, but to have fun along the way. It's like the difference between playing a game after someone already told you how it ends(or how every of its branching ends are in some case) and not knowing how it ends.


I agree with this, someone (I don't remember who... actually it could have been Yahtzee?) Said its better to have some strong characters and to insert them into a scenario, to see how they react, and have the story off this back rather than plot every consequence and reaction, it gets frustrating wanting to insert a specific piece of imagery you have in your mind but not having the RP head in that particular direction or dull waiting for the specific moment for this scenario to present itself.

I have a huge problem with this myself, I swear its why most of my RPs peeter out, I lose interest because the "exciting" bits are still either miles away or becoming increasingly obscured by the player interaction.

Sure, it's best to have a loose plot in your mind, but be always willing to let it bend or even in some cases snap, for the sake of the story.
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The Weegies
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Founded: Antiquity
Ex-Nation

Postby The Weegies » Wed Jun 30, 2010 5:31 am

Jenrak wrote:I'm stickying this for now, because it's quite handy.

Though II seems to be quite sticky-rampant >__> .


It needs it.
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Almajoya
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Founded: May 26, 2009
Ex-Nation

Postby Almajoya » Wed Jun 30, 2010 2:41 pm

Jenrak wrote:Though II seems to be quite sticky-rampant >__> .

That's because everyone has an opinion and everyone wants to share it.


The OP is very good, imo, but I would leave out the point about length vs brevity. You should always write what you've got; no more, no less. That is, when you sit down and write, if you only wind up with three paragraphs of material, don't lengthen it to ten just to impress the writing gods; similarly, if you have ten paragraphs of relevant material, don't reduce it to three for fear of scaring off other players. Our muses give us what they give us; to silence or force words from them would be unnatural.

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New Azura
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Founded: Jun 22, 2006
Ex-Nation

Postby New Azura » Wed Jun 30, 2010 3:07 pm

Almajoya wrote:
Jenrak wrote:Though II seems to be quite sticky-rampant >__> .

That's because everyone has an opinion and everyone wants to share it.


The OP is very good, imo, but I would leave out the point about length vs brevity. You should always write what you've got; no more, no less. That is, when you sit down and write, if you only wind up with three paragraphs of material, don't lengthen it to ten just to impress the writing gods; similarly, if you have ten paragraphs of relevant material, don't reduce it to three for fear of scaring off other players. Our muses give us what they give us; to silence or force words from them would be unnatural.

Except for one-liners. One-liners make me die a little inside.


That's what I was trying to convey, really. A one to three sentence blurb is going to be laughed out of the thread more often than not, and has no real place. Likewise, a thirty-five paragraph treatment is a bit excessive and could use some trimming. The object is to accomplish what you need with adequate description and imagery, without going too overboard.
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Freidlichen
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Founded: Jan 16, 2009
Ex-Nation

Postby Freidlichen » Wed Jun 30, 2010 9:41 pm

I've got to agree with TSS -- preplanned RPs tend to be some of the most boring. On that note, I think it's a little iffy to say "NationStates is really best suited as a medium for storytelling" as an objective fact; I know Questers wrote an excellent primer on how to make a competitive RP work, though for the life of me I can't find it...

I certainly see where you're coming from, but if at all possible I think mentioning how a competitive RP can work would be worth it. After all, we don't all always RP cooperatively.
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Questers
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Founded: Antiquity
Ex-Nation

Postby Questers » Thu Jul 01, 2010 2:04 am

This is a good thread. I largely approve.

Freidlichen wrote:I've got to agree with TSS -- preplanned RPs tend to be some of the most boring. On that note, I think it's a little iffy to say "NationStates is really best suited as a medium for storytelling" as an objective fact; I know Questers wrote an excellent primer on how to make a competitive RP work, though for the life of me I can't find it...

I certainly see where you're coming from, but if at all possible I think mentioning how a competitive RP can work would be worth it. After all, we don't all always RP cooperatively.
IMO people should start out on pre-planned RPs until they're mature enough to handle competition. I'll remind people that we rped a novel sized roleplay -- probably, including the aftermath, the size of a Tom Clancy book within the space of several months back on jolt (the four day war) with no OOC disagreements. We entered the Four Day War as OOC friends and came out as friends, despite it being an absolutely competitive RP. In my view it is still one of the greatest roleplays ever to grace II. I might be exaggerating it, I'm rather nostalgic... it was pretty much the end of my NS career, in my view.

Btw, I remember that -- I wouldn't mind reading it again. I think it was back on Jolt, so if you can find it, I'd appreciate it, as I certainly can't.
Last edited by Questers on Thu Jul 01, 2010 2:12 am, edited 7 times in total.
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Unibot
Senator
 
Posts: 4292
Founded: May 25, 2008
Ex-Nation

Postby Unibot » Thu Jul 01, 2010 7:39 pm

Questers wrote:This is a good thread. I largely approve.

Freidlichen wrote:I've got to agree with TSS -- preplanned RPs tend to be some of the most boring. On that note, I think it's a little iffy to say "NationStates is really best suited as a medium for storytelling" as an objective fact; I know Questers wrote an excellent primer on how to make a competitive RP work, though for the life of me I can't find it...

I certainly see where you're coming from, but if at all possible I think mentioning how a competitive RP can work would be worth it. After all, we don't all always RP cooperatively.
IMO people should start out on pre-planned RPs until they're mature enough to handle competition. I'll remind people that we rped a novel sized roleplay -- probably, including the aftermath, the size of a Tom Clancy book within the space of several months back on jolt (the four day war) with no OOC disagreements. We entered the Four Day War as OOC friends and came out as friends, despite it being an absolutely competitive RP. In my view it is still one of the greatest roleplays ever to grace II. I might be exaggerating it, I'm rather nostalgic... it was pretty much the end of my NS career, in my view.

Btw, I remember that -- I wouldn't mind reading it again. I think it was back on Jolt, so if you can find it, I'd appreciate it, as I certainly can't.


From:
http://forums.joltonline.com/showthread ... n-Roleplay

Questers wrote: Competition and Cooperation in Roleplay

....

Now, there are two ways you can go about roleplaying; either one can compete with others or one can cooperate with others but first I ought to establish what these mean and why, in my opinion, they are not necessarily linked in all circumstances, and why in some circumstances they are very much linked.

Firstly we ought to think of competition as a "my nation versus your nation in a roleplay" mindset, and cooperation as a "my nation and your nation in a roleplay" mindset. Naturally there are some roleplays where competition is impossible and therefore we are only discussing those where competition is possible; i.e., diplomacy but most importantly war. So now that we have established that we must also establish that a certain degree of cooperation is necessary.

If I were to play Risk with my friends and, upon being the first to lose (I assure you, that is fully hypothetical ), promptly wipe everyone else's pieces off the board in a fit of rage, I would not be cooperating! But Risk is a competitive game, so we can see that in any game where mutual consent is necessary there is a degree of cooperation which is mostly down to behaviour, and the fact that bad behaviour; i.e. bad cooperation, will exclude you from future games. To put it in NS context - does anyone roleplay with Hataria nowadays?

So, in NS roleplay, cooperation is intrinsically necessary. If it is totally lacking then there will be bountiful ignores. Let us then properly define cooperation as a state of roleplay where the prime concern of the individuals roleplaying is to create a cooperative work of literature, and competition the prime concern of the individuals roleplaying to gain an edge over each other. You might then think that alot of your time you devote to NS is competitive and for alot of new players this is true; I certainly viewed, and still do, NS in a competitive manner, as well as a cooperative manner. So what is the whole flesh of this post about?

Since I started RPing on NS, in the november of 2003, the mantra has always been "Roleplaying is about working together to create a good story." I would like to disprove this but simultaneously prove that a healthy mix of competition and cooperation provides equal enjoyment to simple cooperation and far more enjoyment then simple competition.

From personal experience pure competition has not failed. Yes, I am interested in my nation winning wars because I think that NS is a roleplay game and not just a roleplay, but also because I don't think that removing competition would be a good idea. Last year, I launched what is now known as the Four Day War - it in fact lasted, OOCly, three or so months and gathered about two hundred posts (and over 100,000 words in the first forty posts). It was a purely competitive RP launched because I was interested in changing the balance of power in Haven. I did not consult any of my enemies beforehand to 'plan out' this war. It turned out that I was defeated (in the short term at least), but in three months I do not remember a single OOC disagreement between anyone involved.

Despite the fact it was purely competitive, the natural instinct of the roleplayers involved led us to cooperate on matters of technology and orders of battle because we both thought that we could win and therefore would gain an advantage ICly. There are other reasons why people accept competitive RPs. If my enemies were to ignore me on the basis they thought they might lose, they would lose some large degree of credibility. I would like to think that the Four Day War was an experience in which the people who played a part in it enjoyed to some degree; but I would like to also think that it was the competition that helped that.

There is enough creativity in 'writing a story' to gear anyone's mind into action. But competitive RP requires a different kind of thinking; on the tactical, strategic and operational levels, on how to out-think your enemy, and how to out-play him. I have fought five conflicts with Doomingsland that I can count, yet, we have never had a falling out and remain good friends to this day. We never once pre-planned an RP and we never once said to each other "we must cooperate here, to write a good story." All our roleplays together have been strictly competitive, and while other people (he knows who I'm talking about) may have a problem with him, we have never had issues with our strictly competitive roleplaying.

Yet of course there can be cooperative wars. I am not going to doubt that. Currently I am RPing with a number of people in a war in Alacea. The consensus is that this is an enjoyable RP. However, I, at least, have maintained contact with him to make sure our posts flow on a competitive level and not on a cooperative level. My temporary allies concern is evacuating civilians, but when that is done, we may turn upon each other. I trust that myself and Velkya are friendly enough (at least I hope so, even if he is a blood-pissing Italian) to need no cooperation in achieving a good rping experience.

I have many friends on NS, which is the reason I'm still here; and some of them are on the opposite side of the fence, and some are on the same side. I think that we are friendly enough that we would need no planning or cooperation to establish a fun RP. We wouldn't need to cooperate any further than providing details on unclear matters to have a good time. This is not to say that cooperative war RP is unworkable. Quite the opposite. I have seen it work many times before and have seen it produce some spectacular results (I'm looking at you, Russkya). What I am saying is that competitive roleplay doesn't need to end in godmodding, OOC bitchfests, and ignores all round.

Military technology is a purely competitive matter. The people who design weapons design weapons primarily in the majority of cases with the intent to produce either something that beats the opponent's equivalent or something that doesn't need to rely on foreign technology - both IC advantages. Over the years I have invested at least, approximately, four hundred pounds (that's eight hundred dollars) worth of models (that's Tamiya, Agrandov, not bloody warhammer), books and such to understand better military strategy and technology. I haven't met anyone of my age who has come close to that (although Macabees trumps me with the amount of reading material), although it has to be said if I was given 400 pounds my immediate concern would be cigarettes, alcohol, and gratuitous amounts of pizza, in that order.

I'm not saying that cooperation shouldn't form the crux of relationships on NS. What I am saying is don't get pulled into the trap of believing that cooperation should come before your country's interests. This also isn't to say that single line posts saying "I fire my missiles. post losses." is good. Nor is it to say that you should claim unrealistic losses because it is in your IC interest to lose less materiel and manpower. There must be some degree of humility, accepting when one is defeated, and taking losses when necessary in wars, for competitive RP to work. Those things have nothing to do with cooperation. They have everything to do with how good you are as an RPer.

And at the end of the day; if you don't like Risk and I don't like Axis and Allies, there is no point in us playing either game. It will just end in tears. And nobody wants to cooperate in producing tears, and neither do they want to compete to see who can make the most tears. Furthermore, competition is about your IC nation winning. It is not about your OOC personality winning. That is called being an arsehole. We are all arseholes from time to time, some of us more so than others (myself included), but being an arsehole is not something to maximise your time doing.

If you wholeheartedly agree, if you wholeheartedly disagree, or if you think I'm a fucking dumbass, or an arrogant moron, or whatever, please, fucking post something, because I didn't just write this so noone could give a fuck.

- Matt / Hogsweat / Questers / Britfag


Here you go.
Last edited by Unibot on Thu Jul 01, 2010 7:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Novus Niciae
Negotiator
 
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Founded: May 15, 2007
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Novus Niciae » Thu Jul 01, 2010 11:46 pm

The hardest thing I find is that people tend to post once or twice and then vanish and leave the RP hanging.
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Of the Quendi
Postmaster-General
 
Posts: 14935
Founded: Mar 18, 2010
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Of the Quendi » Sat Jul 03, 2010 9:24 am

The Master M wrote:I never want the story to end :( haha.

Great work Azura !

*votes this be stickied*

*Agrees* :clap:
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Dyelli Beybi
Senator
 
Posts: 4779
Founded: Antiquity
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Dyelli Beybi » Tue Jul 06, 2010 6:54 am

Nice thread... one thing that I, when I am hosting a thread, find very difficult is balancing between allowing agency to the other nations RPing and keeping the thread flowing. While obviously complete agency is ideal, if players are allowed too much agency a thread can falter because they don't know how to respond.

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Seperate Vermont
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Founded: Apr 24, 2010
Ex-Nation

Postby Seperate Vermont » Tue Jul 06, 2010 11:55 am

Its insightful, especially with its notion of moderation and balance.
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The Rich Port
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Founded: Jul 29, 2008
Democratic Socialists

Postby The Rich Port » Tue Jul 20, 2010 10:15 am

Oh, yah, STICKIE for sure! :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:

A slow story almost always kills a thread, though. There should be a section with your opinions on thar.

I'm trying to start a voter's thread to ask people who should be the new leader of my country (it's been ten years since the last election) and this gave me a few great ideas... I'm still unsure, of course, whether it will attract people.

See, it's more about how countries will react to the Voting Referendum and the new candidates, as none of them are openly supportive of the Socialism I've run The Rich Port for almost 2 years now (about a decade in character).

If anybody has some advice... I'm your humble student. :bow: :bow: :bow: :bow:
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