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Suggestions for writing Epic War roleplay threads

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Suggestions for writing Epic War roleplay threads

Postby Third Spanish States » Sat Jul 25, 2009 4:48 pm

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Note: You should read the Art of NS War before this guide, as the Art of NS War deals with the basics, while this guide deals with more advanced subjects.

Suggestions for writing Epic War roleplay threads


This is a complementary guide to the Art of NS War. Where the Art of NS War deals with the basics of warfare, with how to increase the chances of your NS winning a conflict and with how to make a war thread with events that resemble a cliché, plot-holes ridden war movie, this is a guide on how to write EPIC war roleplay threads. As for what it involves lets define the difference between two Roleplay posts, on where one is as cold as the act of clicking a bunch of units in a real time strategy game and the other an epic one.

NOTE: If you want to consider war RPs as highly flexible text-based strategy and tactical games, this guide may be superfluous. If you want to make a proper roleplay involving a deep, engaging plot that may come closer to things like Starship Troopers(the book) rather than only writing strategic and tactical moves and posting Orders of Battle(ORBATS), then it is not.

Index


Examples, basic ideas and Tech Levels

Located at this first post.





Hastily made fictional example of a quality Non Epic RP thread:

Player 1

Army group north ORBAT;

  • 1st Mechanized Infantry Division
  • 2nd Mechanized Infantry Division
  • 3rd Mechanized Infantry Division
  • 4th Mechanized Infantry Division
  • 5th Mechanized Infantry Division
  • 6th Mechanized Infantry Division
  • 10th Armored Division
  • 11th Armored Division
  • 12th Armored Division
  • 13th Armored Division
  • 1st Carrier Air Group
  • etc etc (I hate ORBATS)

Two companies of the 13th armored division began to advance against the enemy northern flanks at the break of dawn, while the 113th hammerheads provided them air support.

Player 2

The 2nd Paratrooper brigade was being readied, as they embarked on multiple air transports and headed towards the supply lines of the enemy to disrupt their offensive, followed by twenty strike fighters and six squadrons of air superiority fighters. Meanwhile the 24th motorized infantry division began to advance towards the vulnerable northern flank under attack, to reinforce it.

Player 1

Awaiting patiently, soon contact was made, as the 113th hammerheads proceeded to crush the enemy aerial counter-attack. Each of their thirty fighters launched two missiles, picking their individual targets from the swarm. Meanwhile, ten companies from the 10th, 11th and 12th armored divisions began to now advance through the now less protected southern flank, as the enemy divisions made contact and the diversionary attack to the northern flank begun.


As you see, like in most war RPs in NationStates, it has a purely technical writing, like if it was part of a military history book rather than a military novel. There is little to no emotion, no visible characters. In fact, it is as dry as watching a randomly made video involving tanks fighting where you never see the pilots behind them. I don't know if you like war movies, but you'll clearly realize how this is totally off from the thrilling script from a good war movie. Why? Because it lacks a human element. It is technically decent, but there is no depiction of the men involved, treated only as "assets" rather than as human beings. If you are treating a war RP you joined just as a text-based strategy game and nothing more besides it(something you are entitled to do if you prefer), it won't be a problem, except for the fact it'll be an extremely dry, dull and uninteresting thread to read filled with bureaucratic listings of divisions, tanks, etc and with number-crunching statistics. If it's your thing though, that's my biased opinion about these totally technical war threads. I just find it way more fun to just play a strategy game even if it limits certain possibilities. Compare it with this example of a character-centered post in a war RP.

There were many announcements that a battle was about to come after many hours of lull and waiting. Waiting perhaps, was the most common fact in the duty of a soldier. Patience was as much important of a virtue as a good aim, and as the courage and readiness to self-sacrifice, if necessary, for brashness was many times synonymous of failure, and yet, the enemy seemed all hasty and brash in their offensive, forgetting of the essential virtue, letting their pride guide them to the belief on an impossible goal: to conquer a large island like Mallorca in only one day. Iwo Jima, a much smaller island, took months to be conquered, how could it be different in such a place, where their offenders were this time, outnumbered due to their arrogant pride that they could achieve the feat of winning an offensive, even with inferior numbers. And yet, half of the defenses were still in the east of the island, away from the front, but heading towards it. Or actually, stagnant. The total lack of air superiority was a major deterrent to shipping troops and resources during daylight, and in main roads, and for now, they were not desperate to the point of risking it. General Vidal Torres knew that eventually Mallorca would fall, but he was confident that their forces would be able to inflict heavy losses against the enemy, and perhaps convince them that the cost of lives would not be worth the island, and that they would stand no chance against the mainland.

However, the strategic big picture was barely thought about by Rafael Viejas, as he had to focus on other worries. The battle was announced by the loud exploding noises and machineguns of not so distant tanks firing, while he still sat upon the truck with his comrades. Their leader has given a speech before, but this time, doing so was much more challenging due to the interference of the orchestra of death everywhere. Nonetheless, it was a common to give an inspiring speech to those who prepared to battle, specially when such was against so uneven odds as it would be.

"Comrades! These will be the most important minutes of your service to the people, and of your very lives. Today the enemy has lost hundreds of tanks and lives, as we have proved the superiority of our cause! The Spanish workers, the Party and our very future lie in your hands!" was suddenly interrupted as a loud explosion came, and Rafael braced himself as he realized the strong pressure of gravity and of the explosion pushing the truck while his rifle was thrown away, falling into the grass behind. It was a matter of seconds, difficult to understand. Only the vision of despair and men falling upon the other end of the truck sides, and the sound of its tires desperatedly attempting to regain balance as it tumbled to the left, displacing some grass of the ground and making a very sizeable noise. He felt a serious ache over his back, like if someone just kicked it very strongly, and witnessed as four men fell over other soldiers, and some screamed and shouted in despair. Some of them managed to slowly regain their standing as they prepared to leave, and others took the rifles back that have fallen on the side of the truck. Their leader, known as Sanjuro, as much of a Commissar as of a Captain, seemed completely oblivious to the incident, and with a calm but exacerbated voice, ordered as he prepared to leave the vehicle himself:

"Move behind one of our armors, for the enemy artillery will not wait! Take any fallen guns! Forward comrades!!"

Rafael struggled against his body as he ran for it. It was a sort of slightly uneven grassland, with a small angled slope perpendicular to the direction their assault was heading towards, that served as a small barrier for running, with a few bumps and elevations, and the distant seas could be seen from afar, as the sun stood in its place, shining the battlefield like an onlooker to its carnage. There was Leopard 2E slowly advancing, firing and maneuvering in face of enemy presence, at about half block to his northwest, and he, following the others, crouched and made a run for it, ignoring the sounds of fire, the ever approaching artillery, the stench of the soldiers, and the annoying louse under his pants. He was one of twenty thousand soldiers ready to fight to the bitter end, and indeed, he still was an human being, with many fears and worries that could not be completely waned by propaganda efforts. His teeth gritted and nearly looked to be about to shatter as suddenly an artillery shell exploded very close to the squad he belonged to, so close that his hearing became muffled and his senses weakened. A strong headache came, as a blank noise disturbed him like a fly inside his ears. Yet he continued to, as a survival instinct, run towards the tank. It took him a couple of seconds to realize one of their designated marksmen, Juarez, or the upper part of his body, a quick glimpse as his need to get behind cover was greater than that of witnessing the miserable last seconds of life of such man.

He managed to get through it, but had no second to rest from his run. His ears were finally getting back from the noise, as he realized how close death came to him. It could have been him this time, it was only a matter of probabilities and luck that allowed him to not be the one who died. Sanjuro shouted to them, the only way to make his voice prevalent over the gunfire, as they were just behind the tank, keeping up with its relatively slow speed:

"Comrades! We must kill all of their anti-tank before they hit one of ours! We have very little tanks to spare, so if necessary, I will want you to jump in the line of fire of a missile! Do you understand?"

"Yes!" Viejas shouted as he noticed the synchrony of his voice with the voice of all others, forming a small chorus as they double-checked their rifles and grenade launchers. Their captain had a radio, for short range communications were not affected as seriously as long range ones by the significant amount of electronic warfare operations of the enemy. Walking through the sloped grassland, the sides of a small hill, they advanced, still not challenged by any sort of direct fire, but only by indirect fire of artillery. There were likely a couple of kilometers from the current enemy position, but the element of surprise was still with them, multiple irregular lines in a spread out offensive, methodic and taking advantage of something that would be as important as their strategic numeric superiority: the fact that for now, they outnumbered their enemy tactically as well. Some have fallen to artillery shells or air defense anti-tank missiles, but the whole was still organized and cohesive. The enemy seemed to be waiting for something, and their unwillingness to counter-attack meant that their only card was air support.

Thus timing was of essence, if they wasted too much into the offensive the close air support of the enemy could annihilate them, but if they managed to take over the enemy emplacements, they would be able to hide safely from the aircrafts, and as a plus, pose a serious trouble to any logistical shipments of their offensive. Such was exactly the most desirable outcome. But to achieve each, a combination of a bit of luck with giving out of their best was needed. One distraction, one mistake, one minute wasted unnecessarily would be enough to increase tenfold the mortality rate of the assault. Large unit and small unit tactics were combined, like the smaller and larger gears of a clockwork, like the maw and pincers of a scorpion, to overcome the enemy with agility, and force their offensive to a halt.

"Follow me comrades! We must be fast for the enemy airplanes will arrive!" shouted Sanjuro, all of a sudden as he began to move quickly to a direction which was roughly southeast, observing the few advancing tanks, the armors, self-propelled artillery, anti-air vehicles and soldiers of their own, of which a few were taking detour from the frontal line. They were dispersed, but still close enough to concentrate their fire. The line was barely two kilometers long, a hammer of which sides anvils would emerge. The tanks were still quite slow, for something had to be done to ensure their safety, and after it, a major breakthrough could be achieved. Running slightly crouched, Viejas accompanied his leader with no fear as they descended the slight slope towards the side of the hill, where a patch of tall grasses, a perfect cover, stood. Feeling the nearly allergenic touch of grass everywhere, he continued to follow with the remainder of the squadron. One single look to the sky was enough to notice a small flying object, one of the many eyes of their enemies, who likely were gauging the extent of their counterstrike, counting all they could of their light armors, tanks and soldiers, before taking more bold actions to stop it. A sense of urgency came to Rafael immediately, and their leader, who also spotted it, fastened the pace.

However, the grassland patch suddenly ended, and standing at its edge, Rafael observed the much barer lands ahead, a small downing that suddenly turned up again to a another roughly plain area, two hundred meters ahead, featured by the number of rocks in the place. It seemed like a perfect hideout for an ambush, specially for an anti-tank ambush, like the ones they have once performed with mild success. Seeing it, he suddenly noticed that now the sounds of machinegun fire were also coming, indicating that the first direct confrontations began. Sanjuro then instructed about a very important point:

"Everyone! We must hasten our advance, but to do so, we must first ensure that at least most anti-tank crews of the enemy are wiped out. This region likely have a large amount of them, so pay attention and try to spot any hid soldier or hint of enemy presence around. Marquis, prepare your G3, for soon it will be necessary."

Viejas tried hard to focus his vision, to attempt finding a speck, a single dot of a soldier who was too confident of his hiding skills amidst the rocks, the elevations and grasslands ahead. Yet it seemed an impossible task, like if their enemies were actually waiting, patiently, to let them fall into their trap, and yet they had not time even to mourn for their fallen comrade. There was more to the squad, and personal relationships did exist. There was a certain reason, perhaps a pet peeve, that led Sanjuro to dislike Viejas, despite his competence. Most high risk, dangerous or plain boring or unpleasant tasks were given to him, to the point that in secrecy, some claimed that Rafael's role was that of the "designated sucker", to do all the handiwork of the squad. Or perhaps it was, ironically, the only reward given for his dedication, if it could be called a reward at all.

Rafael was not surprised at all when he heard who Sanjuro, already realizing that to wait would not work, wanted to do the high risk task in that situation. There was only someone, and of course, this person was him. The captain, pointing to one of the distant rocks ahead, a perfect cover, looked at him and ordered:

"Viejas! I need you to run towards that cover so our enemies will show themselves. We cannot waste any second. Marquis will cover you while you run. Now prepare yourself and wait for my command."

And thus, he took his rifle, and checking it again, prepared his legs in a position not too different from that of an athlete preparing to run through a two hundred meters track. It was not a competition, but instead the preparation for a run that would determine whether he would live or not. Any mistake could mean death, and there was not much time to appreciate the contrasting beauty of the scenery. He simply focused his vision on the distant objective to reach, his waypoint, ready to make his run for it.

"Go! Go!"

Rafael simply came to the limits, running as fast as he could, ignoring everything else in his running spree. His muscles were straining due to the heavy effort, and the burden of his backpack became heavier. Stepping heavily into the immediately displaced grass, he did not pay attention to anything, focusing all his mind into the singular act of sprinting. The partly uneven terrain was no concern, and a few seconds after the safety of the grassland was gone, he could barely notice as artillery shells pounded nearby due to his concentration, as part of the suppressive fire effort. He ran nevertheless, aware of his vulnerable condition, and panting, he saw as there were only twenty meters towards the cover of stone. It was then that he heard the sound of gunfire nearby, but could not waste time trying to locate its source. Suddenly he could swear that a bullet came very close as he could heard it, yet fortunately he was very close to cover. With no time to waste, Rafael simply threw himself towards the back side of the stone with a leap, and almost immediately he noticed as particles of stone were unleashed by the fire of a machinegun, and as tracers quickly flew overhead. It was just in time, and the suppressive fire continued to come, nearly deafening, making any attempt to take a peak out of the cover suicidal.


It's is indeed a longer post, but longer for two main reasons:

1) Character conversations

2) Detailed "first-person view" action

The first example could actually be as long as the second if I bothered to make it in a serious effort rather than hastily, and if it was filled with redundant gloating over how the Tank of NationState 1 had the System x that granted it y and z, with all the tl;dr of technical facts that I don't believe that have their place outside of factbooks and technical threads. When such thing is done, it's usually a scare tactic, as people who only focus on the technical, tactical and strategic sides of battle won't bother with characters or detailed action that don't technically contribute to whether they will "win" or not the war RP.

For one, I think that treating International Incidents in a purely competitive manner is a formula for drama, FAIL and OOC bitch-fests that lead otherwise potential threads into drama and threadlocks as people keep arguing on whether the fighter could reach that far with its claimed combat radius or not and whether the tank main gun can blow the other tank armor or not instead of roleplaying. Anyway, enough of pulling my bias against purely competitive war RPs, and to the matter at hand:

Choosing your Tech Level


Trust me in this, Mixing tech levels in a war RP can be extremely messy unless you pre-planned most of it and/or set solid rules regarding on how x is better than y and vice-versa. It'll make itself a huge chore, except if you plan to make it as purely cooperative and character-centered, and thus as always, it's a good idea to focus on a single Tech Level. I'll brief the highlights of some of the possible levels regarding the "epicness" factor below:

Medieval/Antiquity Fantasy Tech

Pros: Fighting against legions of zombies, the fact it approaches the Sword and Sandals genre, the fact that a melee duel can be way more dramatic and epic to describe than a firefight.

Cons: Very few people interested to participate of one. Overuse of magic may ruin it and lead to godmodding/wankery.. Very vulnerable to "thread death" due to loss of interest from participants.

PS: As for realistic Medieval or Antiquity Past Tech, the problem with magic-wank is eliminate, but there'll be even less people interested to participate.

Gunpowder to Early Industrial Age (1600s - 1800s) Past Tech

Pros: Excellent choice for Pirates/Naval Battle centered RPs. Equally good for epic ground battles and the fact melee weapons still are used for dueling.

Cons: Arguably the most difficult tech level to find willing players to join a RP at.

WW1 to WW2 Past Tech

Pros: Perhaps, past depicting the details of the brutal conditions of trench warfare, this tech level allows for the most awesome possible air and naval battles. There is no place for pathetic "I LAUNCH 1000 MISSILES POST LOSSES"(something you'll avoid anyway if you take the advices in this guide), missile spam and other cheap tactics that make for dull, poor and uninteresting war RPs in naval and air warfare, and with some good situational writing you can describe a very brutal and dramatic air battle from this. If you wish to make a war RP which main character will be a ace like the RL Red Baron, this is the tech level to pick.

Cons: Not many people with interest to participate of one. People may make many misconceptions(I am commie I launch human wave assault) about the tactics of the epoch.

Cold War to Modern Tech

Pros: Lots of flexibility, good choice for low intensity warfare(civil wars, proxy wars IE. RL Vietnam War, etc), tech level range with the greatest number of potentially interested players to join.

Cons: Many resort to missile spam and other lazy tactics. Tech level with greatest care of cold technical details over epicness by the old NS players who usually prefer it makes it more difficult to draw people without bureaucratic ORBATs and the like.

Post Modern Tech

Pros: Expands the profile of totalitarian states, allowing for roleplays with far worse enemies than anything seem before(IE The Kraven Corporation, now inactive as far as I know).

Cons: Orbital warfare is inherently anti-epic.

Future Tech

Pros: Maximum flexibility and less care over technical details compared to MT and PMT. Space battles. Decent number of players.

Cons: Lack of standardization, way too large technological disparities(you'll find everything from "just began colonizing space" to "godlike civilization", franchise mish-mash("Star Wars vs. Star Trek" by proxy, etc.) , fanboyism ("You can't pick a Star Destroyer it has 1000000000 GJ of powah!"), people who still try to play competitively with an unlimited source of godmodding and wankery..
Last edited by Third Spanish States on Sun Jul 26, 2009 8:11 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Suggestions for writing Epic War roleplay threads

Postby Euroslavia » Sat Jul 25, 2009 4:51 pm

For the sake of minimizing clutter, any posts that are made while the edit of the first post (and potentially more posts being made) isn't finished, will be deleted. This post itself will be deleted once the edit is finished.
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Re: Suggestions for writing Epic War roleplay threads

Postby Third Spanish States » Sat Jul 25, 2009 5:48 pm

Building the Premise for War


It doesn't matter how awesome you think your NationStates leader is, because if the only reason a war was initiated is because "I'm bored lol", it'll logically become another n00b thread, with likely most players which could make a significant contribution ignoring it and instead an influx of spam soom being drawn as a magnet. The reason is simple: poorly thought out war RP threads are magnets for poorly written replies. For a war to happen, there must exist in-character motivations, ambitions and preferably a casus belli: case of war. A "case of war" is the official justification why the declaration of war is being made that would fall as acceptable to the international community at large. Classical examples of casus belli include having one of your allies homeland invaded, suffering a surprise attack without a previous declaration of war from the attackers. More questionable examples include accusing x of possessing weapons of mass destruction and using such as a pretext for invasion.

Now, having a "case of war" is one thing. Describing such case of war and the building up of tension for the coming war is another. Just like an horror movie where the alien/big scary monster/serial killer attacks right at the first seconds and have its face shown will lose much of its impact, a war that happens instantly will lead readers to think "What is this supposed to be about?". Major atrocities, increasingly aggressive intelligence operations, political assassinations and violations of territory are potential means to lit the powderkeg of a conflict. Describing the "Road to War" is extremely important to ensure the readers will be aware of why it happened and build the tension prior to the conflict.

On doing this, there is a major difference between posting "an assassin killed the president with the lazerz" and the following:

"In former Global State, people had no freedom or free will, but they were still happy, happy because of an illusion forced into the remaints of their own consciousnesses. The sort of "happiness" you seek to create, although not so drastic of a violation against human freedom, still is tyranny. Do you really want to follow a small step of the example left by our former enemies? Is happiness truly worth the sacrifice of a part of human freedom? And more, you are trying to force the end of the Homo sapiens, of a natural species you belonged to once. Yet, they have done much more, struggled and created much more than this new Homo superior has ever did. Suppose we were being forced by a aliens to "evolve" and to have the genetic and corporeal structure of our children forcefully modified, would you accept it? To become drones with atrophied brains whose majority of mental functions are handled by machines? Is that what you seek? Is that how you shall honor those who struggled since the dawn of man to allow us to be here?"

Gonzales sighed, and looked at him, apparently stressed by the arguments. Clearly, he behaved like someone defeated. Gil hoped that the pride of that man would not blind him to the truth. A frightening silence took place for a while.

´"Will he change his opinion?"´ Gilbraith thought, as they continued to stare each other, trying to scan the reply. Then the man sighed, and looked at Gilbraith:

"I am sorry, but if a tiny bit of freedom is what takes to ensure our kin will never again be condemned to suffering, I will not allow for mere ideological folly to destroy what is best for everyone. I shall proceed with this Gil. I do not want to lose you."

Drops of sweat came through his forehead as the long waiting for the reply ended. He looked with a distraught expression at Gonzales, and seemed nervous. There he was, a "biocon". The idea of children being forced to receive nanites was abhorrent, and he knew what was his last manner to ensure that no rhetoric would destroy the ideal of anarchism and put the deaths of its fighters in vain. He had to stop such veiled police state to his plight, and soon, everything ended, as the argument of his pistol came straight through Gonzales mind, silent, piercing through and immediately putting his life to end.

Gilbraith threw his head to the table, and covered his face with his hands. He wept, looking at the dead body of that one who he killed. It was necessary, to protect a species who refused to comply with an artificial evolution. He could barely think about the ramifications and further consequences of his acts, as he drowned into sorrow.

Gilbraith whispered softly, as he raised from his chair:

"I am sorry father."

And a maelstrom of chaos ensued as he came out into a psychotic rage, shooting at everything that he could see, until finally his own life also was finished. At last, father and son were united.

News would flash... the Nets would roar in flames as "Head of State murdered by his own Son!" shouted through all the medias. And perhaps, the last unbroken chain of a sense of unity in mankind would shatter, with its crackling tempered by the sounds of war.


As you see in this example, multiple facts are explained through the description. Obviously it is a Future Tech example, where the conflict between a minority of bioconservatives, people who refuse to artificially change their bodies and who refuse clinical immortality, with the majority of people who see nothing wrong with their total dependence over artificial intelligences and machines, and with the "gift" of immortality, triggers an assassination. The last sentences hints an ideological gap so great that it could lead even families to fight among themselves. As you can see, the most important factor is to build up tension, to ensure that the moment will be as dramatic as were equal moments in RL history, and to try hinting as much as possible regarding the reasons behind it. The premise will, as this example shows, be obviously dependent upon the tech level you have chosen. There are few better inspirations than RL History and war movies for seeking one.
Last edited by Third Spanish States on Sat Jul 25, 2009 5:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Suggestions for writing Epic War roleplay threads

Postby Third Spanish States » Sat Jul 25, 2009 6:43 pm

Being Epic in Battle


First of all, no matter how good you write something, you cannot transform a total overkill in an epic victory from a literary perspective, unless your NS is defeated despite your massive numbers, ensuring an epic victory for the other NS. Just look at some of the most famous themes of victories. Very little would have been written from the point of view of hypothetical 200,000 men with 1,500 helicopters and 3,500 bombers that defeated 500 starving soldiers without any air support, because easy victories are not epic victories., while on the other hand the amount of fiction done that was inspired by the Battle of Thermopylae is massive. Thus if you more about making a war RP that is enjoyable to read and participate of first, and winnable second, you shouldn't focus too much effort into applying excessive and sometimes unrealistic numbers against the enemy NS forces. NUMBERS = INSTAWIN!!! is a sign of total n00bery and will never ensure epic victories. The best way to achieve victory in an epic manner is to RP with a war with a crafty, experienced player that has enough knowledge to pull some tricks that are realistic for a given tech level, although it is also obviously the far less unlikely for victory to happen than when you simply hunt for a NS that just joined and post "I DELCAER WAR AGIASNT ". Of course, doing the former will make a far greater defeat as older NSes will be tempted to dog-pile on your NS because of it, whereas a well written, engaging battle that ended in victory will rarely lead to the outcome of dog-piling.

However, an epic victory(or epic defeat) requires first an epic battle by itself.

Elements for an epic battle include:

- Close Calls: Life can end at any time
- Even numbers or your NS side being outnumbered: Victory by numbers and overkill isn't epic.
- Death at the side: Describe losses, rather than "POST LOSSES!!!!"
- Describing the battle from a single character's first person view rather than from a cold, technical bird eye's view
- Surprises coming from the enemy that your NS forces weren't expecting and thus had no plans against.
- Psychological Impact: Civilians, urban warfare paranoia, terrorism, being pulled to difficult choices between "practical necessities of war" and refusing to kill civilians.

Close calls are references to those few who are statistically lucky and come very close to their deaths during a battle. Those should ideally be your main characters, unless you like to keep building characters during a war RP and changing main character point of view, building a fractal perception from the last moments of life of multiple characters. Although such thing would be very interesting, it would be even more time-intensive than making an epic war. Using multiple character first person views to describe different areas of a large front is also a good idea, even if time-intensive.

"Death at the side" is a very common sight in the epic genre, and in fact it helps to give the impression the character may die at any moment. It's a great tool for roleplaying should you ever get bored of the participant of a conflict you took as the main character during the war RP. There is a major difference between describing the last thoughts of a dying man, or of a man aware he is about to die and only posting "They lost x soldiers and y tanks". It is essentially the same difference from that infamous Stalin quote that "One death is a tragedy, a million of deaths is but a statistic". Don't treat your combat losses as mere statistics in your posts. Give humanity to the victims of the war so the readers may sympathize with them

As for the description advice, it's obvious. Putting the "camera"(the point from where you'll describe a battle in written text) as the eyes of a soldier will give you far greater opportunities to depict a dramatic battle than using a bird eye's view as the basis for describing it. Describing the operational(firefights, sword fights, the groups of soldiers at the front) is obviously more epic than describing as a commander issues orders and soldiers follow them without the details like taking cover, grenades, ambushes, combat moves, walls being exploded, manholes being opened, occasional victims of minefields and difficulties from walking through likely many miles of battlefield. Posting detailed descriptions of action scenes is by itself a challenge and it requires practice. Just remember to take a real-time approach whenever possible, and try to think up on the scale. How much time will it take for the soldier you have chosen as a main character to reach the goal? What is the goal? How many enemy soldiers will be in that small area of the front, how many soldiers are supporting him. In many ways, this requires some significant cooperation among players, as the focus will shift in part from the tactical and strategic level to the operational level of groups of soldiers in battle.

Surprises can obviously lead to major moments in a war RP. Just remember to try not breaking the suspension of disbelief with them if you are the one devising them, and be careful on whether to accept them or not when they come from another NS player, for there is a major difference between a properly thought out surprise that will make a far more interesting battle in the middle of a war RP and an ass pull done to bring an instant advantage to the NS losing in the battle that wasn't thought out before. When for every successful move of your NS forces the enemy NS has a counter, then the likelihood of them being ass-pulled is very large. Try to fix it first OOCly, preferably through telegrams, if that happens. It's always better to solve such matters than to generate drama and throw ignores prematurely, whenever possible.

As for the last matter, it is perhaps the most important to make a epic war RP. your soldiers are not robots. They have feelings and fears and seeing death all around is not going to be healthy for their minds. On a slightly off matter, movies like Apocalypse Now, for example, put a far greater emphasis on the psychological side of war, whereas movies like Saving Private Ryan put a far greater emphasis on the action. Putting emphasis on the psychological will favor deeper, better made characters and a style of posting that reminds the psychological horror genre(IE: Silent Hill games and movie), while putting emphasis on action will favor the posting of more detailed and tense combat scenes in the posts. Which to emphasize will usually be mostly influenced by the thread starter, although it may shift according to who joins the RP.

One of the most intense manners to explore the psychological side of war is terrorism and the existence of civilians supporting your enemy soldiers. When you know that every able bodied civilian in the middle of an urban warfare may be an enemy, and specially when your NS is democratic, the existence of civilian spies for the enemy will ensure major "practicality vs. principles" dilemmas, whereas the sight of dead civilians, specially children, and the knowledge you can be attacked at any moment by a previously inconspicuous civilian can serve for building up nightmares and psychological horror moments.

----

Now returning on the matter of epic victories, the symbolic impact must not be ignored. An example of a classical symbolic impact for an epic victory would be describing a victory in a RP thread which final gesture would be like that of the following images, and the difficult moments that came before them, of course would have to be included:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/e ... iginal.jpg

http://www.uiowa.edu/policult/assets/WW ... a_flag.jpg

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/e ... ssino2.jpg

I may be a bit cliché on this, but I think there is nothing more epic than raising a flag over the battlefield after an extremely difficult and challenging battle, specially when done against a NS that has almost completely defeated yours before(I'm obviously referring to the epicness of the last picture I gave as an example).

(I'm almost finishing this. Next will be done at most on this Sunday.)
Last edited by Third Spanish States on Sun Jul 26, 2009 8:12 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Suggestions for writing Epic War roleplay threads

Postby Third Spanish States » Sun Jul 26, 2009 8:13 pm

Unless someone has suggestions on how to complement this guide. It is finished as of now. I did plan way more than what I would end really willing to write at first, but as it is I believe it already is sufficiently self-contained and puts the basic ideas, even though it could be complemented.
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Izistan wrote:Third Spanish States is a well known far-right activist so his attempts at humor can only be expected.

Umbagar wrote:%*$#! I put a crack in my screen thanks to the awesome "place fist here" sign. >:(

Lhazastan wrote:if all you want to do is run around being the big badass of a community, not only are you pathetic, but you are a bad RPer

Saxon Germany wrote:[...]you're practically a professional troll, TSS.[...]

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Re: Suggestions for writing Epic War roleplay threads

Postby Third Spanish States » Tue Jul 28, 2009 8:37 pm

Bump for comments, criticisms and suggestions on how to complement this. I know there are lots of subjects yet to be encompassed into it.
Last edited by Third Spanish States on Tue Jul 28, 2009 8:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Honoro Sacrificium e Libertas : The Mindset, Jaredcohenia, New-Lexington, Binaria, Varejao, Hogsweat, Franberry, ChevyRocks, Izistan, Ulanpataar, North-Point, The Mindset, Vault 10, Rosbaningrad, Sharfghotten, Tyrandis, South Sharfgotten, Jeuna, Satirius, Zukariaa, Midlauthia et New Nicksyllvania.
Izistan wrote:Third Spanish States is a well known far-right activist so his attempts at humor can only be expected.

Umbagar wrote:%*$#! I put a crack in my screen thanks to the awesome "place fist here" sign. >:(

Lhazastan wrote:if all you want to do is run around being the big badass of a community, not only are you pathetic, but you are a bad RPer

Saxon Germany wrote:[...]you're practically a professional troll, TSS.[...]

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Re: Suggestions for writing Epic War roleplay threads

Postby Czardas » Tue Aug 04, 2009 8:53 pm

"All right, Space Marines, this is a bug hunt. Lock and load, take no prisoners, and stay frosty! The line must be drawn here! Ask not what your country can do for you, but give me liberty or we few, we happy few, to whom so many owe so much, shall fight in the streets, we shall fight on the beaches, ..."

Clichés.

They irritate me. Avoid them, if only to avoid my wrath.

Assassinations, for instance. It always seems to be that the Important Dude is traveling down the street in his motorcade, waving to the enthralled populace, and a concealed sniper shoots him from a convenient hiding spot (or maybe a grassy knoll). That gets boring. Do something else.

Or when the Bad Guy sees how hopeless his situation is because the Good Guys are closing in on his secret underground bunker (there's always a secret underground bunker). He always goes to his desk, takes a pistol out of his drawer and shoots himself in the head and it's very dramatic and tragic and he dies instantly and his cranial fluid and brains don't go all over the place. Every. Frickin'. Time. If he's gotta kill himself, can't he do it some other way like by jumping into a pit of lava, or making his escape in the escape pod only to wind up stranded in space, out of fuel, running out of air a million light-years from the nearest inhabited world, or something?

Perhaps what bugs me the most is those speeches Lieutenant Bob gives to the assembled company of soldiers right before the pivotal battle against the Army Of Evilness. Lieutenant Bob always gives them some poorly written knock-off of the St. Crispin's Day speech, and they're all like "WOO HOO, CZARDAS, FUCK YEAH!" and spend the rest of the night partying (quietly of course so the Army of Evilness can't hear them). The speeches are obviously supposed to be inspirational and moving. It's just that, unlike Will Shakespeare, you suck at writing speeches. If you don't crib them entirely from someplace else with some of the wording changed, they suck, and couldn't inspire a bunch of critics to write bad reviews. Now, since I've never been in the Army it's entirely possible officers do give such speeches before every battle that later on becomes historically important, and people do cheer them even if they suck, but realistic dialogue is unrealistic. A text-based medium demands good writing, so if you're not good at writing inspirational speeches (like me), have the mind of your viewpoint character wander a little during the speech.

(The same goes for speeches made by your Mary Sue national leader. No matter how poorly written, obviously evil, or just plain dumb they are, everyone cheers. But then your Mary Sue national leader is also a 17-year-old colonel in the Imperial Guard who works as a supermodel in her spare time and can speak five languages and is a better sharpshooter than anyone else in the army and has an I.Q. of 185 so it's natural that people would want to listen to her.)

Finally, there are some character types we can really do without. The eager neophyte whom we know is doomed to die painfully from the first sentence we read about him. The nasty drill sergeant who, surprise!, turns out to be really not so nasty after all. The nice and friendly general who's really Secretly Evil™. There are also some supposedly character-establishing moments we can really do without, like when the eager neophyte only feels a tiny amount of guilt after killing 300 people with a machete and gets over it once the chaplain reassures him that the Flying Spaghetti Monster will still let him into heaven and remains an emotionless killing machine for the rest of the thread, or when your Mary Sue national leader is in bed with five different women purely to show how manly and badass he is to the audience when the nameless aide arrives to tell him that holy shit, Generic Empire just declared war on us, et cetera.

Give your characters some depth. Recognize that not everything they do has to be totally badass and cool and shit for the war RP to be an epic one; after all, a flawed character who can still do awesome things is much more epic than Brainwashed Personality-Free SuperSoldier 7168436 doing awesome things. Let the characters define the plot, not the other way around.

Also, try to pretend you didn't click on any of those TV Tropes links in Spanish States's posts. That way lies madness.

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Re: Suggestions for writing Epic War roleplay threads

Postby DaWoad » Wed Aug 05, 2009 5:48 am

At a glance over this looks great a few small additions,though,
1)Link to a couple of threads that you think are good.
2)Link to NSTrainer thread as a ("getting help") function
3)a little more emphasis on showing your own personal style in the thread. Like tech? try incorporating cyberwarfare etc. etc.
4) A description of PMT might be a good thing
5) possibly something about having main characters die especially when you have multiple character perspectives.
Last edited by DaWoad on Wed Aug 05, 2009 5:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Suggestions for writing Epic War roleplay threads

Postby Lynion » Wed Aug 05, 2009 7:30 am

Talking about characters, in war threads that happen (regardless of what kind), it is, it will be and it’s a fantastic idea if you read on battle’s (that happened in real life) to have some knowledge of how they played out. For example, when I write my battles, I either have a book about it or I’ll simply look up a style of battle on the net. I’ve got several books focused on various types of battles/wars. Some are focused on the infantry, other’s on the air force, the navy and I’ve got a couple focused on Special Forces.

I would like to state that the historical books are excellent to see how things played out. Perfect examples are: Tobruk by Peter Fitzsimons (includes General ‘Desert Fox’ Rommel tactic’s as well. It also has detail accounts of how the Battle for Tobruk, North Africa, started and ended), A Bastard of a Place: The Australians in Papua by Peter Brune (Based in PNG during WW2 from the Australian point of view. Includes the 7th Australian Division and the 39th Militia Division), Soldiers Without Borders: Beyond the SAS by Ian McPhedran (Based mainly around Private Military Contractor’s and what they do), Special Forces Heroes by Andy McNab (Based on British Special Forces from when they were founded up until the Second Gulf War) and The Wars of the Green Berets by Robin Moore and Michael Lennon (Based on American Special forces, includes Delta Force, from the Vietnam War until the Second Gulf War). If anybody is interested in a war strategy book, I read The Art of War: Great Commanders of the Modern World Edited by Andrew Roberts (Has commanders from the 17th Century up until the 20th Century. Sadly, it doesn’t have the commanders of the wars after the Vietnam War. It is suggested there might be another).

When I do criminal’s, I went out and brought two books based on a mafia boss and a contract killer (both books were fantastic mind you). The books I read were: Gaspipe: Confessions of a Mafia Boss by Philip Carlo and The Ice Man: Confessions of a Mafia Contract Killer (gave me the chills about how he killed people) by Philip Carlo.

Watching movies...they can help as long it’s realistic. For example (with all respect), Arnold (however you spell his last name), plays as a Colonel in the United States Commandoes and is now retired and lives with his daughter (only child). However, he is forced to became a Commando when his daughter is kidnapped and has only 11 hours to rescue her before she dies. (I’m not going to explain the entire plot) Eventually, he finds where his daughter is hiding and she is being held prisoner by an old friend that served him in the Commandoes. During the fight, Annie pulls out a rocket launcher that can fire four rockets (one at a time) and stands out in the open and the remaining two rockets at various positions the enemy is around while UNDER fire from two sides. He eventually saves her, kills the villain and walks off with her and another girl (side-kick maybe) all emotionless by what has happened. How the bloody hell does he stands out there and not get wounded or killed (he only get's a knife wound from having a fight with the villian). If I was the villain, I would wonder where the f**k did these men learn how to shoot. the movie is known as Commando

If you want an excellent example of a movie/TV Series being realistic (seriously), go see Saving Private Ryan (WW2), MASH (if you’re interested in medical stuff. Based during the Korean War), Band of Brothers (WW2 from Normandy until the War ended) or ANZAC’s (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. Based in WW1 from Gallipoli to France, 1914-1918, including leaving and coming back to Australia). Those movie and three TV Series are accurate (ANZAC’s doesn’t have the blood and guts mind you. For the bloodthirsty types, go see Saving Private Ryan) in what happened, how it happened, who was involved, the events that happened and the characters. What more, they are realistic about everything. They may not sure the modern tech, but they show you what war was like before, during and after.



Let’s talk about characters in war. I for one love a good character you can use during a war thread, but one of the major issues I can see is that they don’t get developed. Ok, you can have the emotionless, bloodthirsty war freak that is bent on serving in the military but that is seriously over done. I’ve seen it happen so many times it gets boring. Have them talk about home, their families, friends and what they used to do before they joined the military. Let me give you an example with one of my characters I had to change (WARNING: I give my key characters the gift of living longer than others but I don’t RP it most of the time).

Rathma Phoenix. He was originally meant to be a Spec Ops commander that only gets mention the odd time throughout NS. However, I suddenly became attach to the character and decided to use him more often. Rathma Phoenix came from a poor family that lived in Romania but he was forced to flee with a stranger to Lynion. Because of this, he has little/no memories of his family and brothers. It turns out his brother and sister fled to Britain and his parents were killed while trying to protect them. Because of that, he doesn’t know what the word ‘family’ means. Eventually he ends up in Lynion and swear an oath of loyalty to King Jonathan ‘Vamp’ Kingston in 1939. Jonathan becomes the father like figure Rathma never had but yet, Rathma becomes bloodthirsty as he joined the military. Jonathan is exiled in 1942 after the Lynion’s defeat the Japanese at the Battle for Lynion (little is known about why he exiled himself). Because of this, Rathma serves as a loyal bodyguard to the Royal Family but is flooded with failure when he fails to stop the assassination of Queen Esther (wife to Jonathan and there was a hint of an affair between her and Rathma however, it’s unproven), King Lanakan and Queen Amy (twins of Jonathan and Esther. They are married but are assassinated. This draws out Jonathan from exile). After these attempts, he blindly served King Marcus who started to genocide a race (remains unnamed). This starts a coup and Rathma is surprised to see Jonathan, now named Vamp, to be sponsoring the coup. Rathma feels betrayed by Vamp but after seeing more innocent people die, he becomes their tool to assassinate Marcus. He uses a special poison (working on the name) that was added to Marcus’ soup and when Marcus drank it, it gave him a heart attack that killed him. This made it look like a natural cause but the Vamperial Order covered it up. It was the only assassination conducted by the military.

Rathma eventually leaves the Imperial Guardians (bodyguards to the Monarch) and joins the Spec Ops. During his time, Rathma starts to question himself weather he can actually do something. He questions about the authority but remains loyal. From being bloodthirsty and the accident that made him become half cyborg, he retires and moves to Southern Union for peace and quiet. He starts to question his killing abilities. He questions himself and asks himself why he should be doing military work. His answer comes when an old war buddy, Daniel Price AKA Black Daniel, offer’s him a job in the mafia world to help free Southern Union. He agrees but only for one job. The job was success but as he announces he wishes to retire, Vamperial Guardians (Vamperial Police Force Personal) kidnap Black Daniel’s daughter. Black Daniel is forced to give up the mafia game or watch his daughter die slowly and painfully. Rathma sees a chance and decides to change the cause of the mafia and its militia unit. Instead of uniting parts of Southern Union, it was going to fight the freedom from the Vamperial Kingdom. Black Daniel agrees if he can save his daughter, Johanna, from being killed. Using military tactics and guerrilla tactics, he was able to use the militia unit to draw the Vamperial Guardians away from Johanna while Rathma rescue’s her. The mission was a success and Rathma found his answers. He looks about the city which is flooded with corruption and waves of crime. He decides to lead the militia into overthrowing Southern Union government and uniting the South. Rathma starts to see a purpose with his life and decides to fight for the freedom of the innocent from the corrupted.

It becomes known as the Union Uprising which started in 2004 and ended in 2009. In late 2008, Black Daniel died from cancer and it changed the outcome of the war. Black Daniel’s nephew, Big Tony, became the new leader and sent Rathma away from the front and put an inexperienced general in his place. They sieged Port City of Fremantle which was the last stronghold of the Vamperial Forces. However, instead of an assault, they waited. This allowed the Vamperial Forces to break the siege and push the Rebels back south. The war was over when the Vamperial Forces sieged Chan’vax City (capital of the south). Rathma was trapped further north with Fat Tony, several key military officers and Johanna. He fell in love with Johanna but later found out she was dying from a virus the Rebel’s couldn’t cure. With the war already lost, he defected to the Vamperial Kingdom with an offer. His life as long as Johanna got medical care. As history states, Vamp was there and because the current monarch (King Ranakin and King Xiahou) knew Rathma since they were kids, requested he was spared and Vamp decided his fate. Rathma was spared and he learnt that mercy should be shown even if he was bloodthirsty. He swore a new oath and became a capable commander. He killed Fat Tony and lead the assault against Chan’vax City, which ended the war. He eventually returned to being a Spec Ops commander and saved Ranakin’s life from an assassination attempt but Xiahou died from cancer. From time to time, he does hunt down various Union Mafia factions to avoid another uprising again.

The point I’m trying to make, you need to give your character a good background story why they’re there. You don’t need a four page essay why and you don’t need a single line or two sentences. You need a good back ground and keep it short (I got a little carried away here) but not too short. Developing your characters make the plot more interesting and the thread more able to be read and keep the reader’s attention.

Still need help? Here’s something that should help you.

Credit goes to a mate of mine whose an excellent review critic and fantastic story writer. He’s only known as Master Neverdead and he’s just a great guy that helped me with my stories and RP’s. Well done mate!


Characters


First, I'd like to address the characters, as they are the MOST IMPORTANT role in any successful tale's greatness. Badly written characters can be the downfall of even the greatest of plots, but well rounded and well portrayed characters can make a horrible plotline seem amazing. Here is what you do:

Quest Requirements: An imagination, a comfortable chair, and some mood music.

Rewards: Characters that will be the envy of all your rivals.

Sit alone in a room. (Music is optional) Now take a deep breath and try to empty thoughts from your mind. Focus them by thinking about a room, and not just a blank room, a room with chairs, fireplace, a painting, or whatever else you can imagine. Now, imagine someone walking up to you. Don't force the image just let it happen. Ask yourself these questions: What is the gender? What is he/she wearing? What does their face look like? What is their body type? What do they sound like? Are they being polite? Get deep with your questions, essentially becoming intimate with the character. Allow them to tell you their life story and wham-o! You have yourself a character. Be VERY careful to ensure that your story has balance. You cannot have a character with an endless supply of power with no downside and no one to fight him. BALANCE IS EVERYTHING!!!!

Now that you have your character you have to input them into a plotline (we'll discuss these next). This is possible the most dificult part but there is one rule that if followed, makes much better results. Your character CANNOT allow the plotline to control it. Your character MUST control whats happeneing in the story. Your plotline should be made to suit your character, not your character to fit into the settings. Make sense? Readers don't connect with plots, they connect with emotions, and what portrays emotion? Characters! Your characters seem more real when they are seperate from a plot. Essentially the plotline exists BECAUSE of the characters. I hope all my rambling makes sense.


Storyline


Characters are great, and they are what the storyline is about. But they only draw the emotions of the reader, not their physical bodies. You want them to FEEL your world. Needless to say, without an interesting plot the story falls flat. Here is my advice:

Quest Requirements: Characters, thoughtfulness, a friend, and open mindness.

Rewards: A story that doesn't flounder, and the tears of your readers all over their keyboards.

Once you have a whole cast and supporting cast of characters, it is time to make them do things. I cannot tell you how to write a storyline, because if I did then it would take away from your stories unique potential, however I can offer this. There has to be a history, a problem, a protaganist(hero), an antagonist (villain), a neutral party, a world for all of this to take place, a solution to the problem, and your own unique way of explaining why things happen. For example: Just because the Dwarves in Lord of the Rings wear blocky armor and have unkempt beards doesn't mean yours do. Just because magical powers come from ones soul in Hammer of the Gods doesn't mean that yours do. This is YOUR WORLD, bend it how you wish. But be careful, you have to make sure you can make it all seem real and believable.

Ask yourself this one question: Why am I writing this?


Presentation


This is something I've noticed a lot of you have not yet mastered. Presentation is key, as its difficult to understand and get drawn into something like this:

"He turned he crner and, saw, their in front of him, the very prson he to kill. So he fast like ducked back and got ready ta fight."

Hmmm...See my point?

"He turned the corner, and there, to his surprise was the very person Max had sent him to kill. Quickly, he ducked back around the corner and removed the silenced pistol from his coat pocket."



Remember, the stuff in the quote isn't and wasn't mine!! It belongs to a bloke known as Master Neverdead.
Last edited by Lynion on Wed Aug 05, 2009 7:35 am, edited 2 times in total.
"Indeed" Merlin replied, remaining in shadow "Emotions give people more power than they could possibly image. Emotions can turn the tide of battles with a single heroic act, help beat back even the strongest enemy. Emotions are what keeps us going in our hour of need. Hope, and trust in our friends. What Rathma did, he did because he had emotions, not because he had a lack of them"

Merlin, Ustio North - Origins of a Hero

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