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Archive for July, 2013

Your RP Q&A #4

Published by under Role Play,Uncategorized on Jul. 26. 2013.

((RP XP with MJ – I answer your questions))



It’s time for another round of YOUR RP QUESTIONS! (Insert John Williamsesque fanfare here).



For those of you keeping track at home, or building a reference library of RP how-tos, here are the links to the previous Q&As here on swtor-life.








Every 10th RP XP I’ll take a moment to answer your burning RP questions. Now I haven’t been back all that long, so I really had to scrape. At least one of these is from an earlier batch I never got to. So, if you’ve been holding back because you didn’t think I’d get to you, /yell PLEASE don’t be shy. Send your questions to me A) Here, in the form of a reply to any of my columns, 2) By writing to me directly at swtorliferp(at), or C) Hitting me up through Twitter (I’m @MJswtor).



Now on with this week’s questions….




I tried RP, got pulled into ERP. How do I get out?



Ooh. That’ll happen. Let me guess. You had a nice lead-in to RP at a local cantina (see my guide to BARPing in the last two RP XPs) and were excited to find yourself invited back to his/her ship to continue chatting “in private.” Maybe you were lured with the promise of continued RP. Maybe your new chit-chat buddy dropped character for a moment to complain that the chat box was getting too crowded. Whatever the case, you found yourself getting groped (In-Character, that is).



Before I can really answer, I’d need to know what you did. It sounds like you “went with it” regardless of how uncomfortable it made you feel, or maybe you simply logged out and now you’re afraid to go back. Depending on your solution to the matter before you brought your question to me, I have good news and bad.



The good news is if you logged out in a panic, the other person should get the clue. If they hit you up again, just tell them politely, “((Sorry. I don’t do ERP.))” It’s that simple. Even in a virtual world, “No” means “No.” Though I’d warn you now that you will encounter the odd (and I do mean ODD) ERP “rapist” who likes to act out violent sexual fantasies or fetishes. Don’t let that deter you from living your character, though. Those people are few and far between. Just remember, you can always log out, and if you feel you’re being harassed, you can report the offending character/player to BioWare. Be wary of anyone who doesn’t begin an ERP with an Out Of Character dialogue to set boundaries (or who doesn’t respond when you try to set the boundaries).



The bad news is just going to require a little work on your end–and this is only if you went along with it even though you were uncomfortable. Chances are the other person may hit you up again for RP. If that’s the case, you’re just going to have to come clean and tell them you don’t want to do it again. Send the character an in-game mail message if you want to avoid a live confrontation. Chances are they’ll be embarrassed that they lured you in to something you weren’t comfortable with and you won’t hear from them again. And there’s always “/ignore” if that’s not the case.



Be aware of your surroundings and what’s going on in your RolePlay. If you begin to grow uncomfortable with something in the other person(s) RP, break character and ask for clarification, or tell them you’re not into that particular thing.




When creating a story for a plotted event, how do I know how long to make it?



A TV or film script is generally one minute per page. That’s great if you’re shooting your own internet video. That’s not the case in RP, however, because you’re going to have a lot of breaks in the action to explain things OOCly, you’re going to have pauses while you wait for players who had to AFK (Away From Keyboard) in the midst of the story, or you’ll have to hand-hold slow typists and endure pauses that are typically much longer in RP conversation than in the real world.



What works for me is to keep to the Three Act Rule and keep your notes extremely short. If your story is dialog heavy, be sure to include a lot of exposition or carry the dialog to different locations in order to keep the play interesting. If your story includes a lot of dueling or in-game combat, keep in mind that people’s play styles will now ebb into the flow of the story as they have to switch gears to beat the Heroic you threw them into as part of your story.



Here’s an example of what I mean by “short”:



ACT 1 – Establish contact on Tatooine (My character informs the others that a vital piece of Republic intel was taken by the Imps. I’ve traced it to Voss).

ACT 2 – Travel to Voss (We are attacked on the way. Each person will pretend to either fly the ship or man a turret. [Here is where you can establish rules for the “/roll” command (more on that below)]).

ACT 3 – The group fights their way to the stolen intel and recovers it. (Using the Cyber Mercenaries HEROIC+4).



Doesn’t seem like much, but keep in mind that any time you switch locations, move the story, or something new happens, you’re changing acts. Generally, even a fast-moving RP can run from 20 minutes to an hour per act. That’s an hour minimum for the story outlined above, and that’s not including any internal conflict. Say for example one of the people in the party plays an undercover Imp. Naturally, they’ll try to sabotage the intel rescue mission. That will add some great drama to the story, but it will also add time.




I hate that we can’t sit in chairs. When will that happen, and what do we do in the meantime?



You’re preaching to the choir. I would much rather see a sit-in-chair animation than chat bubbles at this point. While pondering your question, I searched the Web for anything on SWTOR and chair-sitting. No surprise: I was lured to a forum post under the heading of “Chair Sitting: The Final Post on the Topic.” I never read the forums. I can’t stand flaming and name-calling and BioWare bashing. It’s just a lot of ignorance.



But, every once in a while you come across a gem of wisdom you hope the Devs will pick up on.



Here’s a Dev quote someone found and regurgitated: “We’re always looking to add things that enhance and support roleplaying, but we have to weight the impact some of these new features might have on performance or other quality-of-life improvements. There may be room for us to create specific social spaces with sittable furniture, for example, but converting all furniture in the game would be a monumental task.”



The poster went on to (no surprise) rail against BioWare for being so “helpful,” but not without a good point: Why worry about creating sittable furniture when you could simply create a “sit-in-chair” emote? It worked for Star Trek Online, among others. You simply hop up on a chair, turn around, and type “/sitchair.” Viola–chair sitting ANYWHERE! I don’t blame BioWare for wanting to concentrate on other improvements (though they should really leave PvP alone. From what I hear they spend a lot of time fixing things that PvPers complain don’t need fixing). Other quality-of-life and performance enhancements should always be top of list, right before “New Content.” But this poster makes a good point. Don’t waste time on furniture, BioWare… Just create a new emote.



As for what to do in the meantime, I suggest “Expositional Standing.” Meaning: Walk up to a chair, stand in front of it, and type, “/e sits down and crosses his legs ((pretend I’m sitting)).”



Lame, I know. But that’s as good as it gets unless you want to do the “/sit” command… which, admittedly, looks very awkward in a chair.



I’ve never seen anyone use the dice roll command. Isn’t that an RP thing? What would you use it for?

By typing “/random” or “/roll” you can generate a random number from 1 to 100. This command is useful for people who RP D&D style and affect using multi-sided dice to generate results. For example, say two adversaries are facing off and want to duel. The problem is that both are supposed to be equal (say they’re both Sith Lords), but one is Level 18 and the other is Level 53. By facing off and having each person “roll” to determine a successful hit, you can level the playing field. Granted, it’s not as dynamic and cool-looking as an actual duel, but it does the job.



The great thing about the “/roll” command is you can use it to generate any random number in virtually any random span. Let’s use the example of two Jedi Padawans sparring. We’ll call them Myx and Jevv.



Myx: /roll 1-100 (generates a random roll from 1-100) = 23

Jevv: /roll 1-100 (generates a random roll from 1-100) = 50 (Jevv’s strike wounds Myx)



So, next round:

Myx: /roll 1-50 (generates a random roll from 1-50) = 13

Jevv: /roll 1-100 (generates a random roll from 1-100) = 72 (Jevv’s strike wounds Myx a second time)



So, final round:

Myx: /roll 1-25 (random from 1-25) = 24

Jevv: /roll 1-100 (random from 1-100) = 13



So, Myx got in a lucky jab when Jevv wasn’t expecting it. The duel can go on like this, each wound costing the opponent half of their points (or however you choose to cut it) per round, diminishing their chances of maintaining strength or footing in the duel without ruling out the chance of a comeback.




Do you have a question for MJ? send it to him directly at swtorliferp(at), reply here, or follow him on Twitter @MJswtor. ((The RP XP with MJ)) appears right here on exclusively every Friday.


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MJ’s Ultimate Guide to BARPing (Part 2)

Published by under Role Play on Jul. 19. 2013.

((The RP XP with MJ #39))


In the last RP XP  I introduced the concept of BARPing (Bar RP) and introduced some of the personality types you’re liable to run into as you stroll the decks of either faction’s fleet hub, and I introduced a few ways you can strike up an In-Character conversation without resorting to tired old pick-up lines (that only work in a virtual world).


Now let’s take a look at ways to extend and expand your BARPing so it doesn’t become as boring and droll as running Dailies.




So, you wander into the cantina area and the first thing you notice is that the opportunity for RolePlay appears boundless. Even the droidless bars are teeming with activity. Characters of all sorts are standing two-deep, blending into NPCs, and even occupying every piece of furniture in every darkened corner. There are even conversations going on between couples at the railing and in the V.I.P. area. The chat box is a blur.


You hurry to your cargo bay and pull on your best robe and boots. You don your Smuggler’s toothpick and saunter up to an opening and throw out your best…


/e glances around at the patrons and smirks, then he orders a tall Corellian Ale. “And a shot,” he adds.


Two robed figures next to you, a male and female, are engaged in their own chatter…


Tarik [says]: “So why don’t you just leave him?”

Veetha [says]: “I cannot leave him. He is my master.”

Tarik [says]: “But you must follow your heart.”

Veetha blushes deeply. “I must follow my Code.”


Oh boy.


Oh! No matter. There’s a rather attractive rifle-toting woman with long red hair standing by herself next to you. So, you give it a shot…






/e smiles to the woman next to him.




/e smiles to the redheaded woman next to him in the Imperial uniform.




/e smiles to the redheaded woman TO HIS LEFT in the Imperial uniform and says, “Hello, officer. May I interest you in a drink?”


Nothing… Then a moment later she walks away and begins a conversation with the character she was waiting for. You’re not daunted. There’s a lot going on. You have something to offer! Someone WILL talk to you!


But, as the night wears on and more and more people exit for PvP pops, guild opps or private RP in their respective ships, the possibilities seemingly dwindle away. You notice a few conversations going on, some of them “openly private,” some of them “loud,” and others relatively conversational but obviously nothing to do with you.


Is there a way you can interrupt an RP in progress? Isn’t that rude? Can you just walk up to a couple or a group of people and invite yourself in to the conversation?


Sure! What you have to realize is that BARPing is supposed to emulate a real life “bar scene.” If you overhear someone badmouthing your favorite team to a friend of theirs, you have a right to go up and throw your two cents around. If you see two pretty girls chatting and you’re interested in the one on the left, you can politely edge your way over and introduce yourself. If you see a group of guys hovering around a table with the only bowl of pretzels (or ashtray), you can politely excuse your way into the group and take your fair share.


Granted, it’s not always that easy, and BARPing has as many pitfalls as real life. Your two cents can get you a black eye. The two pretty girls can turn on you and start cutting down what you’re wearing or point out that you have something sticking out of your nose, laugh, then leave. The guys hogging the pretzel bowl can bodily kick you out to the curb. Don’t be discouraged. Reactions are fifty-fifty. You could just as easily end up winning the argument, getting the girl or kicking back to enjoy your own bowl of pretzels.


Granted, the conversations you “overhear” aren’t going to be as mundane as what you’ll hear in a bar. Let’s look at an example and how you can pry your way in…


Remember these two?


Tarik [says]: “So why don’t you just leave him?”

Veetha [says]: “I cannot leave him. He is my master.”

Tarik [says]: “But you must follow your heart.”

Veetha blushes deeply. “I must follow my Code.”


Here are three possibilities for entering this chat, hopefully without becoming the third wheel:

OPTION 1: “Pardon me for intruding, but I’ve heard the Jedi are pretty lax on that whole ‘Code thing’ these days… I’m Lord Tagious. Tag to my friends.” (The personal introduction sets you up as an authority and why their conversation interests you. The “to my friends” is typical BARP code for “I’d like to be friends”).

OPTION 2: “Sorry for interrupting… Code?” (Sure, you know what the Jedi – or Sith – Code is, but maybe your character doesn’t. Playing dumb to draw interest makes the other player feel important and gives them the chance to “educate” from the personal perspective of their character’s character).

OPTION 3: “The guy in the robe is right. Why don’tcha leave the bum? …I’m Tag, by the way.” (Pick a side. Be loose and conversational. But end with a grin.)


Keep in mind that you may not always be welcome. Some people don’t get the fact that if you’re conversing or emoting “loud enough” to be overheard, someone may interrupt at some point. If you’re enjoying a good natured BARP, but don’t want to be interrupted, invite your conversation partner to move somewhere else, use a personal custom channel, speak using /whisper, or form a Group and chat that way (it also makes it easier to follow which conversation is yours if you’re in a color-coded channel).




Let’s say your character is a Sith Lord. Let’s say he’s got a chip on his shoulder, a short fuse, and isn’t much for “chit-chat.” He has a blue/black lightsaber blade because you thought it was cool and offset his personality curiously. Let’s say you also have a Sith Marauder who behaves timidly around other Sith. She’s shy around people in robes or armor, but she’s talkative when you get her to open up. Let’s also say you’ve decided to relate these characters as MASTER (Named Darth Zhak) and APPRENTICE (Named Apprentice Felina)…


Tarik [says]: “So why don’t you just leave him?”

Veetha [says]: “I cannot leave him. He is my master.”

Tarik [says]: “But you must follow your heart.”

Veetha blushes deeply. “I must follow my Code.”

Felina bumps into the woman and gasps. “I-I’m sorry. D-did I spill your drink?”


For the sake of argument, let’s say Tarik and Veetha are good RPers and they play along.


Veetha brushes at her robe. “I think I’m ok, hon.” She eyes the pale woman who bumped into her.

Tarik looks at Felina.

Felina keeps her head low and speaks in a low, fear-filled tone. “D-Did you happen to see a large Sith Pureblood come through here?”

Tarik [says]: “There’s lots of those.”

Veetha [says]: “You ok? You look pretty shaken up.”

Tarik moves his robe and rests a hand on his own saber hilt. “What did this so-called Pureblood do to you?”

Felina almost whimpers as she confesses, “I m-made a lightsaber, but my stone was blue… I-I like blue. He never said it had to be red. H-He beat me and took it f-from me.”

Tarik [says]: “That scum!”

Veetha [says]: “You can stay with us, hon. We’ll keep you safe. Here… Let me get you a drink.”


You’re in! That was easy. But say you want to expand the story. Say you want to build intrigue. Say you have an idea for a personal story that these two may be interested in playing in. Excuse yourself at an appropriate time, log out, then come back as Darth Zhak (and remember… he has a blue lightsaber).


Tarik [says]: “I hope she’ll be ok.”

Veetha looks to where the young Sith girl disappeared. “She’ll be fine… I hope.”

Zhak ignites his lightsaber, gives it a flourishing twirl, then hooks it back on his belt. He steps up to the bar. “Black Ale, droid – Now!”


In the silence that follows, Tarik and Veetha may be chatting on their own channel or in whispers, not wanting their RP to be interrupted by the annoying loud-mouthed Sith with the blue… wait a minute….


Tarik looks at Zhak.

Zhak leans against the bar, toasting to the robed couple next to him. “Nice night for punishing ignorant apprentices, isn’t it?”

Veetha gasps, her jaw dropping as she glares at the Pureblood next to her.

Tarik [says]: “We don’t want any trouble, Sith.” He turns to Veetha. “Maybe we should go.”

Zhak [says]: “If you happen to see a pathetic human whelp whining about her lost blue blade, send her to me.” He grits his teeth. “She needs another lesson.”

Tarik stands a little taller. “This human you speak of. What’s her name?”

Zhak glares at the man. “Felina. Why?”

Tarik [says]: “We saw her here just a little bit ago. She was scared to death because of you! Why don’t you pick on someone your own size, you weak excuse for a Sith!”

Zhak threatens Tarik

Veetha elbows Tarik in the ribs ((about the time he gets to ‘saw her here’ – OK if we wind back to that?))

Zhak [says]: ((LOL. Yeah, sure!))

Tarik [says]: ((Sure. Re-posting))

Tarik [says]: “We saw her—Oof!” He grunts as Veetha’s pointy elbow pokes him in the ribs.

Veetha crosses her arms. “We haven’t seen her.”


Kudos to Veetha and Tarik for making the little interruption interplay there. Remember, you can always break character to clarify things or to set-up instances like that. And, no, Tarik shouldn’t have made the assumption that Veetha would elbow him without checking with her first (maybe via Tell). Maybe she wouldn’t want to interrupt him. Maybe she’s spoilin’ for a fight too?


Depending on the scenario you’re trying to set up, you may want to break character to clarify something. In this case, if Zhak is threatening violence (or hinting at some very dark RP others may find offensive), feel free to clarify with a simple line:


Zhak [says]: ((FYI, Felina’s my alt)).




Be careful with this kind of interrupting RP. Don’t let your story overpower the Personal RolePlay that was already going on before you even got there. I’ve been in situations before where something like this starts out as something cool, but before I knew it, I was being introduced to alts who played family members, rivals, enemies, even random characters who knew something about someone else. It gets hard to follow, it’s confusing, and—let’s face it—if it doesn’t include YOUR story, it will only be exciting for so long.


If you played Zhak and Felina in the example above, what would be your next step to keep from being the “annoying third wheel” to Veetha and Tarik?


((The RP XP with MJ)) appears exclusively here on You can contact MJ directly at swtorliferp(at) You can also follow him on Twitter @MJswtor. MJ answers your questions in the next issue, and every 10 columns after that, so write or tweet early and often!

5 responses so far

MJ’s Ultimate Guide to BARPing (Part 1)

Published by under Role Play on Jul. 12. 2013.

((The RP XP with MJ #38))


BARPing, otherwise known as “bar RP” has been a staple of MMOs since bars, inns and cantinas were first placed in the gaming space. It’s a simple and well-known precept that characters will congregate around hub areas similar to communal spaces you’d find in the real world. And, ever since the first hairy-chested guy with a gold chain asked, “What’s your sign?” bars have become the stereotypical meeting place for nearly every walk of life.


They’re the place to go to meet new people, hook-up for that one night stand, celebrate a team’s victory (or loss), drown your sorrows, or let your hair down after a stressful day. The bar is where you go to hang out with friends when you don’t know what else to do, host an impromptu class reunion, play games or watch the Big Game, even face off against a rival for bragging rights.


There has been a lot of criticism about the casual nature of RP around a bar, particularly because “cantina chat” is stereotypically the same old song and dance. As I mentioned in the last RP XP, it’s usually the slave girl, the smug smuggler, the anti-Jedi, or the trooper drowning himself in Corellian ale as a way to fight off post-traumatic stress, that populate the local virtual “bar scene.” I’m one of the not-so-outspoken opponents of BARPing because it thins character by reducing interaction to the here and now. Remember that back story you gave your Sith Marauder, about how she turned to the Dark Side by accident because she stole a starship? That’s an interesting story, but will it come up in casual bar chat when all the Bounty Hunter next to you wants to know is if you’d like to take your drinks to his ship so you can be alone? Doubtful.


That said, there are ways you can turn BARPing into a more well-rounded experience that invites deeper levels of RolePlay—yes, like the kinds you hope for in the open world but never find.


(How to Recognize Different Kinds of BARPers)


Only interested in ERP—I’m sure you realize that the scantily-clad women gyrating on tables aren’t there because they’re looking for a new apprentice, or that female characters with names like “Ima Slavehoney” or “Gimmieluvin” were born from a long lineage of former Tatooine Moisture Farmers. Most (but not all) of the time, a conversation with these buxom beauties will fall down the rabbit hole of “personal interaction” and a desire to “please you, master.” Likewise, the Smugglers, Agents or “Fallen Jedi” who keep pushing drinks toward female characters with a side chat hinting at “alone time” are generally looking for hook-ups. If all you’re looking for is a “good time,” by all means, enjoy. Just don’t complain when you finally get to be alone with one of these types and they’re not too keen to listen to your story about the time you fell into a nest of gundarks… Unless they think that’s “code” for something else.


Troll Strollers—These folks will make you dizzy. How many times can the same person walk around the same four cantina bars without stopping for a drink? Oh, sure, they’ll vary it a little by riding the elevators up to the VIP level and back down again, even roam around the outer ring. They never say anything, never do anything, but they are on the hunt for RP. Some time ago I talked about the “walkers” (That was before I heard someone in General Chat use the term “Troll Stroller” and I about spit blue milk through my nose at the clever turn of phrase), and the fact that “walking,” like personal emoting, is a sign that someone is acting with their character in a more realistic way—and therefore are likely to respond if approached in a realistic way. It’s easy enough to engage a Troll Stroller in RP. Typically, all you have to do is highlight their character and type /nod, /look, or /smile and you’re sure to get the same back, if not the start of a full-fledged conversation. The hard-to-get Troll Strollers aren’t worth your time if you’re serious about sitting down to some deep RolePlay. If you throw them a “/look” and they shoot back with a “/nod,” and move on without another word, they’re either just spinning their wheels or waiting for the PvP queue to pop—or, they want you to do all the work.


Fishers—These characters are a lot like the Troll Strollers except they stand still. They usually find a spot at the bar where no one is around, or stand at an empty bar. Sometimes they sit (in that strange not-really-sitting-way) in chairs overlooking the bars. Sometimes they stand at the railings on the outer ring of the cantina area. Most of the time, Fishers are quiet. They’re just waiting for that “in,” the moment when they overhear a snippet of RP that holds an interest for their character, or they’re scouting out other Fishers or Troll Strollers for potential chat.


PRPers—Personal RolePlayers can be any of the above, but they attract RP to themselves by giving you something to respond to, typically in emoted behavior or exposition, but sometimes by spoken mumbles of monologue. Examples include: The Twi’lek who acts like they’re being choked or shocked by an unseen assailant, the Bounty Hunter who sharpens his war blade, the Jedi who meditates or practices levitation, the Imperial Agent who “spies” on everyone, the Smuggler who makes racist comments in order to pick a fight, or the person who roams around checking the time as if they’re waiting for something (or someone). These people are good to watch, sometimes very entertaining to listen to, and can offer up some great RP, especially if their PRP line matches up with your own (Like you hate Zabraks as much as the racist Smuggler).


Griefers—These are the guys who make you wonder why they’re on an RP server, and I only mention them here because some actually make periodic (if not horrible) attempts to RP. Griefers fire AOE weapons into crowds, they park their full sized speeders on top of the bars, they dance on the bar (unlike “dancing girls,” they’re typically shirtless guys with some sort of pet following them around), they use foul non-canon language, they speak OOCly and typically with abbreviated “TXT speech,” and they generally make asses of themselves in order to bust up RP moments. My advice is to add these people to your friends list, then use the COMMENT option to notate, “GRIEFER.” Why? Because you may want to pass three days later when the same person steps up next to your character at the bar and engages you in conversation (sometimes Griefers try to blend in with RolePlay only to execute their own form of “knock-knock” jokes by shouting an obscenity or running off mid-sentence after wasting an hour of your time. This is not typical, but I’ve seen it done. You are warned).




“Can I buy you a drink?” may illicit an eye roll from the player across the country, staring at their monitor as your character steps up to RP, but it’s not an invalid question AT A BAR.


Here are some other perfectly adequate opening lines:

“Are you waiting for somebody?”

/e notices the lightsaber on your belt and asks, “Are you a Jedi/Sith?”


/wink (keeping in mind that this introduction may be taken as well as it is in real life. Unless you want your character to be branded as some kind of creep, avoid the wink until you’ve made proper introductions).

“Hi. What’s your name?” or, even better, “Hi, I’m (YOUR NAME HERE). What’s your name?”


These are all fairly simple, easy to manage and easy to execute even if you’re relatively shy about RP. Try taking your opening lines up a notch by incorporating your surroundings. Some of these are good opening lines, others are good follow-up to introductions:


“Have you noticed how slow the service is around here? I think these droids need maintenance.”

“Excuse me, do you happen to know when the next shuttle leaves for Sullust?”

“Do you know where I can get a droid’s memory erased around here?”

“The air smells funny. Do you think maybe the atmosphere processors are on the blink?”

“Do you think what I’m wearing is ok for Tatooine? I hear it’s hot there.”

“Excuse me, but I’m bound for Taris in a few days. I heard there’s a problem with rakghouls there. Do you know anything about that?”

“I desperately need to get to Nar Shaddaa. I’m meeting someone about some money I’m owed. Do you know if there are any transports leaving in the next few minutes?”

“Do you happen to know if a model R-29 Aerodust speeder will fit the cargo bay of a Corellian freighter?”


These kinds of openings add extra levels to the conversation right from the start, and they can also give you the opportunity to bring in some of your own characterization. The line about the air smelling funny can be part of a character trait you don’t just “say;” in this case that your character has heightened senses, or at least a really good sense of smell. The active tip here is to USE YOUR SURROUNDINGS. Remember, that you are on a huge space station peopled with aliens, droids and all sorts of personalities among the NPCs.


You may wonder why there are questions about shuttle departure times. Why would your character need a shuttle when they have a ship of their own? Well, maybe you RP that your character doesn’t have their own ship; or maybe they do, but they’re trying to stay under cover. Asking about transportation also gives you the possibility that the character you’re talking to will offer you a ride where you want to go. This opens up time alone aboard their ship where you can exchange background information, forge friendships, or… yes… get lucky, if that’s your thing.


In the next RP XP with MJ I’ll talk about creating involved stories in the BARP atmosphere without interrupting other people’s RP. I’ll also show you ways you can use your legacy to spice up the BARP, and how to lure quality RolePlayers into the open world and away from the bar.


((The RP XP with MJ)) appears exclusively here on You can contact MJ directly at swtorliferp(at) You can also follow him on Twitter @MJswtor. MJ answers YOUR QUESTIONS coming up in #40, so send ’em in!

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Introducing: The Playable Droid Race!

Published by under Role Play,Uncategorized on Jul. 05. 2013.

((The RP XP with MJ #37))




No, it’s not the next expansion, and I seriously doubt we’ll see “playable droids” in our SWTORian future, but who says you can’t make your own rules in an MMO?




Here’s a run-down on your typical cantina RP:

~ A Jedi Knight who has become disillusioned with The Code and seeks peace through passion. (Could also be a Sith who has become disillusioned with the Empire and seeks power through peace).

~ A Twi’lek slave/dancing girl looking for a master (or temporary master, or any form of ERP).

~ A Mandalorian who drinks Corellian whiskey through his helmet while spouting phrases in Mando’a.

~ A Smuggler who drinks hard, flirts with the ladies, and swears (sometimes using actual canon swears like “kriff” or “kriffing”)

~ A Soldier fresh off the front lines looking to drown his sorrows (until the next PvP queue pops).


Sound familiar? The pain behind your eyes from rolling them so much is almost enough to send you into PvP–not that there’s anything wrong with a stereotype now and again (that’s how they become stereotypical), but you’d like to see something new. Once in a great while you find a RolePlayer who breaks the mold, who creates a character so rich with background, so unique with characterization, so specifically animated, it renews your RP spirit and gives you hope that there’s more beyond the “bar scene.”


I was lucky enough to bump into one of these characters while trolling around Vaiken Spacedock looking for a random RP encounter. When my character was “scanned” (Cyborg species emote) by a heavily armored individual who then walked away without a word, my curiosity was piqued. I ran him down and immediately went into a stream of IC incredulity, throwing out my best “Hey! What’s the deal!?” exposition. To my delight, the response was instantly intriguing: “That information is restricted to personnel without authorization.” No matter how I pressed, I was flatly denied and told repeatedly that I was “not authorized to access the unit.”


The lack of emoting, the painstaking enunciation of every word… By the moons of Corellia, I’m talking to a droid! Sure enough, this character (whose floaty name identified him (it) as “Sentient” from the guild “Execution”) was a flawless portrayal of an assassin droid, even down to the look—which reminded me of the poor victims Lord Grathan’s cyberneticist on Dromund Kaas. **SPOILERS (for anyone who just picked up the game yesterday)** Remember Captain “Duchess” Sarnova’s quest just outside Grathan’s estate? The one where she asks you to find her missing troops, and you eventually find that the poor slobs are being turned into droids to do the Empire’s bidding? Sentient even had that “look,” though somewhat sharper and more fear-inducing.



IMAGE: Left – One of Captain Sarnova’s (inset) men converted into an assassin droid. Right – The real deal, “Sentient.”


After our brief RP, which was even more inspiring because Sentient refused to be baited into a drawn-out chit-chat (he is an assassin droid, after all, and has programming to follow—no time for idle BARPing), I caught up with him and asked if he’d mind being interviewed for the RP XP.




How long have you been RPing?


“I must have been about fourteen or so when I first started RolePlaying, though it might be even further back than that. One of the first places I RolePlayed was in an infamous Korean MMO called Ragnarok Online. I don’t RolePlay on any other MMOs at the moment, though I had a brief stint on World of Warcraft.”


How did you come up with the concept for Sentient?


“When I initially joined SWTOR, I recognized a lot of similarities between the different characters I observed. I always like to do something that would provide me with an interesting challenge. I’d always been fascinated by the concept of artificial intelligence and non-organic characters in video games, for example, Legion in Mass Effect… They can often end up coming across as more human than the human characters—and subsequently acting as social commentary on our own species and its shortcomings. I was not someone who wanted to see a droid class at first, but I believed it would be a welcome addition to the game and one that I personally would love to see. In addition, I’ve always been something of an in-universe droid sympathizer, seeing as most characters view them as nothing more than slaves and tools for a decadent organic culture.”


Well said.


Do you keep notes on how you believe a droid would behave? How do you keep consistency in the portrayal of Sentient?


“Interestingly enough, I’ve never kept any notes, but I make sure to keep the character acting in a subservient role. [I do, however] take regular screen shots of conversations with other characters to form a literal ‘record’ of dialogue and information so I can refer back to it at a later date and pull up that information much like a droid would when accessing memory logs within its internal databanks.”


What is Sentient’s background?


“Sentient’s creation is one that is marked with a number of underlying agendas, many of which I can’t go into detail about as they’re relevant to an upcoming storyline within the guild. I can provide you with some basic information, however. Sentient was created as part of a secret black project called the ‘Sentient Heuristics Initiative’. The objective of which was to develop an operative that would be infallible and utterly loyal to Imperial Intelligence, and more importantly the Dark Council. No danger of being reprogrammed or brainwashed, and incapable of going rogue as a number of organic agents had no doubt done so in the past. Holowan Laboratories, a well known canon staple, were employed as external contractors to build the actual unit itself. However, just as the project was nearing completion and the unit was just about ready for launch, the entire initiative was scrapped and shut down. All records were destroyed, all personnel involved in its development were quietly taken care of and the unit itself was scheduled to be consigned to the scrap heap…”


Now that’s a lot of detail. While it’s not typically necessary to go that deep into your character’s background, the more you have stored up as backstory, the easier it will be to “act” when RolePlaying in the open world. Sentient’s “role” becomes easier for the player to articulate because he knows what the character has been through.


What advice would you give to other RPers out there looking to improve their RP, or enhance their RolePlay?


“Don’t be afraid to experiement. Don’t settle for something that’s within the realm of familiarity. I also suggest observing other characters and seeing what others have done, and noticing what kinds of characters seem to be more popular. …At the end of the day, RolePlaying is about having fun!”




If you’d like to know more about Sentient’s portrayal, his guild, or the possibility to crack his programming in RP, feel free to send him a PM or in-game message. You’ll find him on the Ebon Hawk server.



Sentient allowed me to break protocol (pun intended) and share with you his recipe for crafting the appearance of an “assassin droid” based on what I glimpsed from “Inspect Character.” Note, these are only suggestions, and most of the medium and heavy gear (particularly on the Sithy or BH side) look fairly “mechanized.” There is a lot out there to pick up, craft or buy that can be mixed and matched (and now “dyed”) to fit any droid portrayal you want to create. If it looks “droidy,” go for it. Here’s some of Sentient’s recipe:

Head – Polished Marauder Headgear / Ablative Turadium Headgear

Chest – Ablative Turadium Vest

Belt – Black Hole Mender’s MK-2 Belt

I do believe you can craft the head and chest pieces at Synthweaving Level 54.


If you come up with your own droid character, let me hear about it! My smuggler is in need of a new protocol droid to replace C2-N2. If you have a special twist on characterization, motivation or appearance, let me know. If you have any RP ideas or “spins” unique to the art and you want to be featured in a future column, drop me a line!


((The RP XP with MJ)) appears exclusively here on You can contact MJ directly at swtorliferp(at) You can also follow him on Twitter @MJswtor.

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