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Archive for August, 2013

Enhance Your RP with Authentic SW Languages

Published by under Role Play on Aug. 30. 2013.

((The RP XP with MJ #45))


There really is no better way to show your seriousness about your characters, or the depths you’ll take to RP them, than to have them speak in their native tongue. Imagine your Pureblood Sith reciting the Sith Code in the ancient language of Korriban. Imagine your smuggler negotiating a deal using the Smuggler Cant in some shady corner, or your Mandalorian proclaiming the deeds of his clan in authentic Mando’a.


Fortunately, SWTOR exists in a time when you can find virtually any resource on authentic Star Wars languages on the Internet, and while “Trekkies” can enjoy their various super-in-depth Klingon or Romulan dictionaries, there exists a treasure trove of intensely detailed guides for Star Wars languages spanning everything from Ryl (Twi’lek) and Huttese to Jawa and Ewok. And, thanks to enterprising programmers who undoubtedly wear the Star Wars fan badge proudly, there are a number of “live” translators modeled on Google Translate that allow you to type your word or complete phrase and see it come back to you in your favorite Star Wars language.


I’ve used a few of these myself and thought it would be leah (Huttese for “nice”) to provide you with a guide of some of the best, as well as a few tips for using them effectively in RP.





Before we get into the fun stuff, let’s start with the “when” and “how” to use authentic Star Wars languages in your RP. There are basically four instances when it would be appropriate to whip out your ch’ashe’an’ci tin’hi (Chiss for “silver tongue”).


The first rule is: DON’T OVER DO IT!


I can’t emphasize that enough. This is especially true if you’re not going to offer the courtesy of a live translation to your listeners. It slows down RP and can easily derail it if you’re not careful. Sure, it might be cool to throw out a string of Mando’a, but all anyone else is going to see is gibberish unless you take the time to translate for them. This doubles your amount of chat box input, and depending on your typing skills, can be a real drag.


So, keep it simple.



Use it “under your breath”:


For example, let’s say your Twi’lek character is standing at a bar when a burly individual saunters up to start talking smack about your favorite Huttball team. They notice your “Frog Dogs” practice jersey and decide to drop this on you:


[Degaron] says: “Heh. Nice jersey. The ‘dogs ain’t playin’ so hot this season.”

Quella looks up at the big guy in the armor. “What do you know about it?”

[Degaron] says: “I know their coaching staff outta be gutted.”

Quella mutters under her breath, “sahak tuev san.” ((Ryl for ‘don’t push me’))


A short phrase, a couple of words, even an authentic curse, will come off more authentically than if you decided to have your character speak “natively” the entire time you RP.



Use it during greetings or introductions:


For example, your Rattataki (who you play as raised in the swamps of Hutta) is introduced to a contact on the fleet.


Beznin bows to the Sith and introduces his Rattataki friend.

Ubadow runs a hand over her smooth pale scalp and smiles. “Achute, mah pateesa.”

Degaron [says]: “What is this gibberish, Beznin? What did you bring me?”

Beznin looks to Ubadow confused.

Ubadow [says]: “Forgive me, my lord. I was merely saying hello.”


You might want to clue in your RP friends that what your Rattataki said was, “Hello, my friend.” Give them the opportunity to respond in kind, because A) They don’t know you weren’t spitting insults at them, and B) It’s common courtesy to give them the opportunity to respond according to their character. Maybe a Sith Lord doesn’t like being called “my friend.”



Use it to emphasize titles or lore:


For example, your Pureblood Sith is teaching a new apprentice, also a Pureblood, the Sith Code in the ancient language.


Coohla kneels.

Naragath [says]: “Repeat after me, my apprentice, the words handed down since the time of Sorzus Syn.”

Coohla [says]: “Yes, master.”

Naragath raises his hands toward the rusty Korriban sky and speaks in a low drone, “Nwûl tash.”

Coohla [says]: “Nwûl tash.”

Naragath translates, “Peace is a lie.”


For simplicity sake, or perhaps to blend in amongst human Imperials when having to deal with them, your Sith will typically speak Basic. Show how pure your blood really is by reciting the Code in your given language. It also makes a simplistic and often-repeated master/apprentice lesson more “real.”



Use it in special ceremonies or events:


For example, your smuggler and her partner are meeting up with another smuggler on an orbital station. There are Republic soldiers on patrol here and you don’t want them to know what you’re talking about.


Blixx waves over Kendon

Kendon approaches, looking around cautiously. He nods to the two.

Blixx [says]: “This is Arnof. He’s ok. He’s with me.”

Kendon cuts to the chase, leaning close to whisper, “Are you gonna t-made the kesselsport these bothan goods to sister?”

Arnof looks to Blixx, confused.

[Group][Kendon]: ((It’s Smuggler’s Cant for – Are you going to transport these stolen goods to Corellia))

[Group][Blixx]: ((Thanks for the translate. I was looking that up : P ))

Blixx turns to Arnof. “I know what he said. Don’t worry about it.” She glances at the soldiers nearby. “We don’t want the keptiers on us.”

Arnof [says]: “You can clue me in later, boss. Let’s just get this done.”


Use of the “smuggler cant” can spice up (pun intended) any nefarious conversation, but be careful. Even though many of the words are Basic, the twisted way the Cant uses them can be confusing. Based on old English rhyming slang, it can be very hard to follow, and that’s on purpose because it’s used to hide your true intentions from people who may be listening in to your sneaky confabs. Like any authentic language, use it sparingly, or translate on the fly.



When not to use it:


Using authentic Star Wars language in your RP can be awesome. It can turn heads, spark up conversations, and it can show how seriously ensconced you are in your character. Don’t over do it, though. If you can just as easily say, “Naragath curses in the Sith language,” or “Blixx orders her drink in Huttese,” do it that way. Remember, RolePlay relies a lot on how something is delivered because the timing of how it’s delivered is subject to the typing speeds of those around you. Especially if you’re a slow typist, it’s best to keep language use to a minimum. A little will say a lot.





As I’ve mentioned, it’s best to keep your authentic language use to a minimum—unless you’re prepared to translate on the fly. Here are some simple rules to keep in mind:


ONE: Introduce your language…


Before actually “speaking” Huttese, offer some exposition to indicate that’s what your character is doing. This will give others the chance to let you know, “Hey, my guy speaks Huttese!” That may not mean he can write from a translator like you can, or that he—the player—actually knows the language. The bottom line here is that you’ll have to give this guy a translation as you go.


TWO: Translation…


Translation via ((OOC))


There are a few ways to provide a courteous translation to your language. The first, most simple, and connected way is to simply follow up your language phrase with a translation tucked inside OOC (Out-Of-Character brackets. “Nesooeefa! ((See you later)).” At least one of the multi-language translators I link to below actually gives you the option to have a bracketed translation included in your results.


Translation via /whisper or Group


This can be a lot of fun, especially if you’re in a closed RP between you and a friend. Passers by will be amazed by your wordplay and the fact you understand each other, until they peek behind the curtain and learn your whispered secret. Say your two Sith Lords are discussing the finer points of the Dark Side in the ancient Sith language. Follow up each string with a /whisper command to your friend to translate. Don’t be rude. If someone overhears you and their character makes a comment or asks a question, you might want to clue them in on what you’re doing OOC-ly before pulling them in ICly. If more than two of you are speaking outside of Basic, you can use a custom group channel (or simply Group) to translate.


Translation via substitution


It can become tiring, not to mention time-consuming and overly complex, to maintain a steady stream of Huttese, Ryl or Mando’a. Once you’ve established that your character is speaking in their given language, and you’ve shown some examples of what it “sounds like,” feel free to use an indicator to show they’re still speaking in their chosen tongue without you having to re-type everything they say.


For example, Khanda here is a Mandalorian speaking to fellow members of her clan. She just traded a few introductory phrases with them, they responded in kind, and now a full conversation begins in Mando’a (the Mandalorian language). Here are some examples to show she’s still speaking Mando’a though her player is typing in Basic:


Khanda [says]: [[M]] “Let’s go back to my ship and discuss this”

Khanda [says]: “~~Let’s go back to my ship and discuss this.~~”

Khanda [says]: “//Mando// Let’s go back to my ship and discuss this.”


Since (( )) is RP speak for OOC, avoid using parentheses to differentiate between your tongues. Other brackets, the tilde, or symbols can be effective cues. Be mindful of what other speakers use to show a continuation in the chat box. Avoid “~” if your RP partners uses it as a “to be continued” marker at the end of a line.


However you choose to notate your translation, make sure it’s understood by everyone listening, and if the conversation goes on for awhile, introduce newcomers with a refresher or reminder.


Khanda [says]: ((Khanda will be speaking Mando’a from now on. I’ll use “#” when she’s totally into Mando))

Khanda motions for her clan brothers to follow. “# Let’s go back to my ship and discuss this.#”





It’s time to have some fun! Here are my favorite links to some truly awesome Star Wars translators or language sites. Check them out, experiment, and explore. Jee ye wanya nudd bai bunno cay uba! ((“I look forward to chatting with you!” [Note: There is no Huttese word for “chatting” so I substituted “talking.” The meaning is the same. Keep word substitutions in mind as you use these translators.]))




Cheunh (The Chiss Language)

Huttese (The language heard by aliens throughout SWTOR)

Minnisiat (The Trade Language used around the frontiers of the Chiss Ascendancy)

Old Corellian (The precursor to Galactic Basic)

Ortolan (The language of the little blue elephant-looking guys (eg. Max Rebo))

Ryl (aka. “Rylothian.” The Twi’lek language)


Through separate links, this site also includes:

Mando’a (The Mandalorian language, presented in an easy-to-follow phrase chart)

Sith (The ancient Sith language)

Smuggler’s Cant (The secret language of smugglers)


Cantlator(The Smuggler’s Cant interface is cool, but it requires Flash to run properly.)


This awesome site is an extremely functional multi-lingual translator based off the Google Translate engine. You simply choose the language you want to translate, type your phrase, hit return. Your translated string appears below the translate button, and you can easily copy/paste the line into the chat box. Words that can’t be translated appear in italics.


One of the features I like most about the site is the option to include your original string in angle quotes (<<like this>>). That makes for an easy cut/paste that includes the Basic translation from your chosen Star Wars language. For example: “atiay <<see you later>>”.




I’ll bet you didn’t think the “Imperial Language” needed its own translator.


Since the first roundtable of jackbooted Imperials bandied about the Queen’s English in Episode IV we’ve been introduced to an Empire where the common “Imperial Accent” is really what the rest of the world knows as the British accent.


What many of you American-English language typists (like me) may not realize, however, is that there are distinct differences in the spelling of words between American and British vocabularies. The link above will introduce you to a comprehensive list of American and British spelling differences. Here’s a quick example:


American English: “Excuse me! What color is the flag flying above the armory?”

British English: “Excuse me! What colour is the flag flying above the armoury?”


If you want to take your Imperial Agent RP to the next level, throw in an extra “u” here and there. Some may think you’re prone to typos, but the truly knowledgeable will see what you’re up to. Seriously, though, I’ve used this technique and received /whispered accolades for my proper use of an “Imperial accent.”



This awesome dictionary-based Web site not only covers both canon and non-canon Huttese, it also offers links translations, or samples of translations, for everything from Bocce and Bothan to Neimoidian and Nikto with references to more than 50 Star Wars languages. Site creator Summer Wood has made a home for countless resources for Star Wars languages and has gone the extra mile in explaining the entomology of most of them, provided links to alphabets, and included some fun trivia as well.



Looking to translate some of those neon signs on Nar Shaddaa? Or maybe you want to spruce up that Guild Site with some authentic Aurebesh lettering. The link above will take you to the SWTOR TOOLS site Aurebesh text translator. Unlike a common alphabet chart, this awesome interface allows you to type in the English text and get back the Aurebesh below. Or, you can use the Aurebesh keyboard to reverse translate and finally find out what’s being advertised around the market bazaar.



Finally, a word about that most heinous of immersion-breaking language use: THE SWEAR WORD. Personally, I don’t mind colorful language (or colourful language as the Imps might say). I swear now and again myself. I even have characters who may swear from time to time. What they don’t do is drop the “F Bomb.” Canon-wise, Star Wars swears are pretty much relegated to ‘Hell’ and that’s about it. Extended Universe Canon, however, has a long list of Star Warsian words that would make a rancor blush, and they won’t get you reported to BioWare (remember, there are kids playing the game too).

The link above includes a list of terms, language, insults and derogatory slang (and their origins), a mopak load of Star Wars goodies. So, next time you want to drop the F Bomb, don’t be such a kriffing mudcrutch protie. Use this handy link and impress while you digress.


((The RP XP with MJ appears exclusively right here at Do you have an awesome Star Wars translator you’d like to share, or links to other RP resources? Contact MJ directly at swtorrp(at)gmail, or follow him on twitter @MJswtor))

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A Captured Moment with Vizxiz The Lost Jawa

Published by under Role Play on Aug. 23. 2013.

((The RP XP with MJ #44))


Welcome to the second segment of “Captured Moments” with ((The RP XP with MJ)), my ongoing nod and /salute to the great RolePlay inspirations found throughout the awesome living atmosphere of SWTOR’s set design and NPC placement.


Keep in mind this little vignette wasn’t produced, endorsed or even recognized by BioWare. It’s just me doing what every good RPer does: finding those captured moments of “realism” throughout the game and making up my own story to go with it. For the passing gamer, these are nothing more than animated space filler. For me, and maybe you, they are something more. They’re little untold stories, pictures that spark the mind and give you ideas. Like this one….





A lone Jawa stands atop a half-buried sand crawler in a remote spot on Tatooine, apparently making a plaintive call to a cohort via holo.


(-2346, 456) “The Dune Sea”, Tatooine


Let’s call him Vizxiz.


Several cycles ago, Vizxiz was a simple tool modeler aboard the Sandcrawler Jjakwi V. He wasn’t one of the favorites among the clan of 26 Jawas (well, 25 since Shaman Ulnazrik was eaten by a Krayt Dragon) who lived aboard the Jjakwi, roaming from one side of the Dune Sea to the other, looking for broken down speeders, crashed ships, and the tastiest of all Jawa pursuits: unclaimed droids.


No, poor Vizxiz had a hard time fitting in. Many of the Jjakwi’s clan were hard pressed to deal with him, grudgingly approaching him to repair or requisition tools. Behind his back they delighted in teasing him about his height (he was the shortest one in his crew) and his sight (Vizxiz’s eyes didn’t glow as brightly as his peers, earning him the nickname “Vizxiz oytia vyzt gr’eek!” loosely translated to “Vizxiz dim-seer” from a local rough Huttese translation to Basic from Jawaese).


One day the Jjakwi V was caught in a late-night sand storm. And, without Ulnazrik, their mystical all-seer to steer them through the hissing gritty mist, the crew had no choice but to sit and wait. Hours later, when it seemed no hope was in sight, Clan-Chief Tyaqua happened to notice that the crawler was getting hemmed in by huge drifts of sand. Now it’s good to note here that not only was Tyaqua the crawler’s clan chieftan, he was also the union boss of the Jjakwi’s crew and always the one the others would turn to when it came time to make a big decision.


His brilliant idea: “Abandon ship!


So the crew of the Jjakwi V pulled their robes tightly around their little bodies, collected all the tools and droid parts they could (neglecting to pack any kind of water or nourishment), and headed out into the skin-cutting tempest of the storm. Jawas have a pretty good sense of direction, and superb night vision, but when it comes to navigating a late-night storm in the middle of the Dune Sea… Needless to say, they were never heard from again.


Until now.


It seems everyone forgot about Vizxiz Dim-Seer in all the commotion. He woke up to the silence of a new day, the light of the twin suns peeking through the tiny slit that served as the window to his quarters and tool shop. In a panic, Vizxiz ran from one end of the crawler to another, unable to find a door that wasn’t blocked, until he looked up and spotted the dorsal hatch above the clan-chief’s sleeper pod. That, he reasoned, had to be how the others left.


Vizxiz may not have been the tallest or brightest-seeing of the Jawas aboard the Jjakwi V, but given half a chance his crew might have recognized him as a pretty smart thinker. Vizxiz pieced together a holocommunicator from spare parts and the tiny tools that were made for his little rodent-like hands, toiling against the Jawa code of “Not look for uses in salvaged item, but rather to imagine someone else who might find use for it.” (1) Before too long he had established communication with the clan leader of the Zkozk VI, a sandcrawler just 74 kilometers away.


He stands there today, frantically trying to explain his situation as the Zkozk makes its long, slow crawl toward his rescue.





“The Sad Tale of Arlon and Jurie”



(1) The Jawa Code – from a Wookieepedia reference.


If you have a favorite “captured moment” scene, screenshot it and send it to me (swtorliferp(at) If you’ve got a story to go along with it, let’s hear it; or if you want to see what I can make up, we can do that too. ((The RP XP with MJ)) appears exclusively on You can contact MJ directly by writing to swtorliferp(at)gmail, leave a comment, or follow him on Twitter @MJswtor.


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A Confederate RPer in a PVPer’s Court

Published by under PvP,Role Play on Aug. 16. 2013.

((The RP XP with MJ #43))


In the last RP XP I gave you a little made-up quiz to gauge what kind of RolePlayer you are. While it was all tongue in cheek and didn’t really mean anything when it came down to it, I still got some pretty haughty responses to it off-line. That got me to thinking some more about what kind of RPer I am, and if I’ve become “elitist” without even knowing it.


Some time ago I tweeted about having an interesting go-round with my agent on Alderaan. I was randomly asked if I would PUG (Pick Up Group) a Heroic with a couple of other people. I didn’t know any of them, so I was reticent to say the least. The chatbox pretty much scrolled like this:


[THEM]: Wanna join us for a Heroic. We need a fourth.

[ME]: ((Thanks, but I don’t think so. I’m not very good at the ‘game’ part of the game.))

[THEM]: I don’t get it.

[ME]: ((Well, I’m an RPer.))

[THEM]: So? I’m not very good at RP.


Point made, and so too was the point that I was boxing myself in and making grand declarations without a wider aspect ratio. When I brought the conversation back to Twitter, one of my RP counterparts from another MMO pointed out, “Hey! Just because you’re an RPer doesn’t mean you can’t play the game!” They went on to comment beyond my original intent, taking personal insult to the suggestion that just because you’re a serious (or Hardcore or Diehard) RPer that doesn’t make you any less of a gamer.


That’s only true, as Obi Wan would say, from a certain point of view.


My first true love in any MMO is the creativity that comes with bringing a character to life, writing stories with friends and acting them out, or trying out different character traits and seeing how others respond. The bottom of the list is watching floating numbers dwindle, smack-talk, mashing attacks and spamming AOEs (Is that even a thing, or did I just make a PvP faux paus?)


Then it occurred to me: MJ, how can you talk about “RP Purity” and Hardcore anything without actually experiencing life on the “other side?” Now, keep in mind that I never NEVER criticized PvP or looked down at it. Just because I hold my head up high as a proud RPer doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate other forms of gaming (unless you’re the kind of gamer who runs around cantinas dancing with your shirt off while making lewd comments, spamming the chat box or firing missiles at RPers).


But, I had to admit, it’s really not particularly cool of me to wave own banner with pride without fully understanding what life is like on the other side. So… I dove in.




I gave a shout out on Twitter, proclaiming that I wanted to give PvP a whirl, but that I was self-conscious because I didn’t think I could hold my own in an arena setting. To my surprise, I got back some pretty helpful advice, starting with the best one: Just create a new character specifically for PvP, and queue up when you hit level 10.


Level 10!? Hold on a second! Fallacy Number One: I was under the impression you had to be a “maxed out” muscle-head to hold your own in a PvP match. Ok, when you stop laughing I’ll reiterate how I spend my game time. I have never PvP’d in an MMO. Never.


So, I created a Sith Marauder (a female Pureblood, because I figured that if this didn’t work out I could use her in RP as my Sith Juggernaut’s long-lost daughter). I followed the easy grind up to Level 10, then I hit the queue button and waited.




I opened myself up to duels and other challenges by flagging myself for PvP. I proudly made my way through the world with the green name floating above my head rather than the customary blue, and while I ran into one or two others like me, no one wanted to pick a fight. Hm. Maybe I had to be in a PvP-dedicated area? I’m still learning, obviously.


Then the drum roll, fanfare, alert thingy; the pop-up box that said I had the option to dive into a PvP match. I swallowed hard, braced myself at my mouse, and clicked to enter the queue.


I don’t know where I was. It was a wide arena and I was standing on a platform with a half dozen other characters, everyone pounding on the “buff up button” as we waited for the red glowing walls to drop and allow us to go at it against our enemy, who I assumed was gathered in a similar pen across from us.


I think my first foray dropped me into Ancient Hypergate, the capture-the-pylon PvP arena that dropped with Patch 1.6 a long time ago in a galaxy far… oh, you know. I glimpsed the map and got the idea quickly: capture and hold a pylon while keeping your enemy from taking it away from you. I found out the hard way my first time in that some kind of yellow mushroom cloud of death would re-set the pylons and wipe out anyone who didn’t retreat. And here I was, standing in the arena wondering why I was alone: “Ooh, look at the pretty light!”


It didn’t take long to learn the first rule of PvP: “MOVE!”


My first PvP went surprisingly smooth. I actually got a kill (though I died three times myself), I was instrumental in igniting one of the pylons (while everyone else did the P versus the P thing), and when it was over… we won! I don’t know how, or what we did to capture the accolades, but there I was back in the SWTOR game world with 8,700 extra XP points.




Every day for a week I tagged my Sith for PvP, and every time the queue “popped,” I was right back at it. As time wore on, I lost matches, won matches, got kills, got KILLED, and had fun. I thought that a world where the only goal was to score more points than other players, to flex your button-mashing muscle, would be replete with insults, cruelty and an overall selfish lack of honor. I was surprised to find that PvP isn’t the smack-talky nightmare I thought it would be. I wasn’t mocked because of my low level (or PvE gear). I wasn’t told I was “doing it wrong” (which, ironically, I see a lot in RP). And I wasn’t kicked off the team.


My biggest beef about the PvP system in SWTOR – unless I just missed this option somewhere – is the ability to queue for certain maps and not others. I hated Huttball and was frustrated with Voidstar, primarily because I figured such arenas would require a modicum of strategy and tactical thinking, or at the very least cooperation of the team. But no, PvP is nothing but PvP. You see somebody on the other side, you go after them, you whack at them until one of you dies. Repeat. Really?


I know there are PvPers out there who take it seriously, who get all the gear, grind up to max on everything, form groups or teams or guilds with specific strategies for success, but I saw none of that in my experience. One Ops Leader comment about why nobody was guarding a pylon was the only thing I saw that remotely resembled an “idea.”


Voidstar, which requires both sides to fight their way to a stack of intel at the center of a derelict space ship, should have had more to it. You have to unlock doors and gain the upper hand by getting to the map goal ahead of your enemy. Really? That’s funny, because when I played Voidstar the first time, the only thing that happened is we bashed away at each other in front of doors that no one bothered to even try to open… until the disembodied Imperial-sounding voice declared one of us the winner.




It was the same with Huttball. I expected at least a partial bastardization of NFL rules, or some kind of “footbol” strategem, anything. But no. Huttball was the same bloody free-for-all I found in any other arena. I was surprised our team won. I don’t recall anyone actually carrying a ball, having spent most of my Huttball experience in a corner getting battered to death by some crazed maniac with a pair of lightsabers, but somehow something happened and we stood victorious. More XP for me. Easy peasy.


Granted, I’m sure it’s not like that all the time. My experiences didn’t cover every map, and I only repeated certain ones once or twice. Happily, my second time through Voidstar gave me the chance to see what the rest of the map was like as someone FINALLY managed to open a door.


All in all, PvP in SWTOR reminded me a lot of the earliest online games I ever played. From Myth to Halo, it’s not about the atmosphere or the setting. It’s not about the pretty backdrops and awesome particle effects. It’s not about character or story. No, in the end its about using an avatar to beat the living snot out of another avatar, knowing in your heart of blackest hearts that there’s another human being somewhere in the world controlling the unconscious form lying helpless to your relentless teabagging.




Not long ago, an RP buddy gave me a piece of advice. As I bitched and moaned about not having a Level 50 (55 post-Makeb) because I spent more time in RP than PvE or daily grinding, he suggested I queue up for a PvP match. He said it’s the best way to get easy XP, it’s fun, and it’s fast. He said that PvP helped him over the reportedly painful hump between Level 48 and Level 50 – something that I hear takes forever.


Well, now I can let the secret out. He was right. All it takes is letting go of the character for a few minutes and just playing it like a game. While I was never criticized for my performance in PvP, it occurred to me that if someone shot at me: “YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG!” it wouldn’t hurt nearly as much as if I heard that during RP. And there in lies the misconception among self-anointed RP “purists.” The PvPers aren’t the Snobby Elitist Majority. We humble RPers are the Snobby Elitist Minority. Consider the difference between being told you’re doing PvP wrong compared to being told you’re RPing wrong. PvP has rules, strategies (even if it doesn’t always seem like it), a basic here’s-what-you-do-on-this-map kind of thought process. If you’re told you’re doing something wrong, you probably are, and it’s easily fixed. RP is open to so many different interpretations, and it’s not “the thing” of the game (despite the fact that RP in MMO-RPG stands for ROLE PLAYING). RP is a delicate art form built upon decades of traditions and inborn nuances for acting outside of yourself. If PvP is football (or footbol), RP is Chess.


Don’t get me wrong. I’m still not “looking down” on PvP. On the contrary, I enjoy it and I plan on doing it some more. It’s still not my thing, though. I’m still an RPer at heart and always will be.


And, no, I’m not saying RP is “better” than PvP. It’s just different. During the PvP matches I played, I never felt like an outcast. I felt equal – even as my Level 18 was going toe-to-toe against a Level 40. In the PvP arena, we were all just playing a game and having fun. Win or lose, we were all in it together and we all collected our easy hunk of XP at the end (and Valor Points, though I’m still not sure what those are).




And that’s why I’ll never turn my back on someone who is “trying” RP for the first time, or standing by “listening” instead of interacting amongst the BARPers. If you see someone making an RP faux paus, don’t call them out. Don’t /yell at them that they’re doing it wrong. Don’t even turn your nose up and walk away.


I once saw someone make a big mistake during an attempt at RolePlay. I don’t remember the specifics, but it was obvious they were sincerely trying to fit in. I remember my first time, being embarrassed at the “godmodder” label before I even know what that was. That was a long time ago, but if not for another player who pulled me aside to TEACH me, I wouldn’t be where I am today. So, I reached out with a direct message and asked, “((Are you open for some RP?))” It was obvious they were – or were at least trying – but you never want to open with anything accusatory or insulting when hoping to correct someone’s RP mistakes. I wanted to encourage them and be that “teacher.”


They responded that they were, and even reached out to me, asking why what they were doing wasn’t working and if they could try it with me. I was glad to help, and they were excited to try some of the tricks I taught them (most of which can be found here on the RP XP 😉 I like to think that they’re out there, somewhere, building a character base and forging their own Star Wars story.


Just like I’m sure that, somewhere, there’s a Level 40 tapping their foot and twirling their sabers, waiting for me to come back for another ass-whoopin’.


Bring it.


((The RP XP with MJ)) appears exclusively right here on You can follow MJ on twitter @MJswtor, you can write to him directly at swtorliferp(at), or you can find him RolePlaying on the Ebon Hawk server. Feel free to shout out to “Elayo” Rep-side or “Solax” Imp-side.

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The RolePlayer Quiz: What kind are you?

Published by under Role Play on Aug. 09. 2013.

((The RP XP with MJ #42))


What kind of RolePlayer are you?

You’ve probably heard terms like “serious” and “casual” and “hardcore” bandied about, and you’ve probably wondered where you fit in. Does your RP guild bill itself as HARDCORE? What does that even mean?


I came up with a short quiz that might give you some idea of the differences between various kinds of RolePlayers. Keep in mind that this is all in fun. There are as many different ways to describe the common RPer as there are planets in the Star Wars galaxy, so there’s a lot of gray in between. Have fun with it.


Give yourself 1 for every A, 2 for every B, 3 for every C, and 4 for every D. The idea is not to get the most points, so answer honestly. Some questions are specific to certain classes or situations. Just respond with the closest answer for the given situation. The point values connect with a key at the end. Good luck!


1. Which one of these best describes your RP “drink order”?

A. “I’ll have a Flaming Pink Ewok.”

B. “I’ll have a rum and Coke.”

C. /e tugs the bartender’s sleeve and points. “Can I have one of those?”

D. “I’ll have a Corellian Ale.”


2. Which one of these best describes your introduction to an RP?

A. “You a dancer?” /or/ “Do you want me to dance for you?” (whispered from across the room)

B. “Do you wanna RP?”

C. “Which Star Wars is your favorite?”

D. /e nods to the other person. “Greetings, my friend.”


3. Which one of these best describes the way you move around on the fleet?

A. My speeder. Everywhere. I need to get around quickly. Sometimes I hop while driving.

B. My speeder if I’m in a hurry, otherwise rocket boots or sprint.

C. I just sprint everywhere. Sometimes I hop if I’m having a good day.

D. I use my speeder outside. I run if I’m in a hurry, but otherwise I walk. People walk.


4. Which one of these best describes the kind of Legacy you have?

A. My what?

B. All my characters have the same last name. Period.

C. My Sith is my Jedi’s father, and my Smuggler loves my Jedi’s girlfriend (who is actually his sister).

D. It’s complex. There are relations, business connections, marriages, etc.


5. On any given day, what would you rather be doing in SWTOR?

A. PvP! if not, I hurl AOEs at the crowd around the cantina.

B. RP if I’m bored, otherwise leveling my alt or queuing for a Flashpoint.

C. RP if there’s a guild event, or if a friend is on, otherwise probably PvE.

D. RP. I might try something else, but RolePlaying is typically why I log in.


6. When someone mentions ERP (Erotic RolePlay), what is your reaction?

A. Fag!

B. Change into your slave outfit and meet me at my ship.

C. I don’t ERP. Ever. If a sexual situation comes up, I prefer to skip it.

D. I’ll ERP if it’s within my character, and if it actually makes sense. I may request a “fade out.”


7. What do you call your Smuggler’s wookiee companion?

A. Fur Butt (Or Fuzz Butt) /or/ I don’t call him anything

B. Bowdaar (Because that’s his name)

C. Chewie (As in Chewbacca) / Sometimes “Walking Carpet”

D. Ghazzarta (It sounded cool and Wookiee-like) /or/ I use impersonal pronouns (he or she).


8. Which best describes how you might describe your Imperial Agent character?

A. Back-stabbing DPSer

B. An Imperial Agent

C. An Imperial Officer who will one day work on a Death Star

D. An Imperial Loyalist with contacts outside the Empire. He’s currently a naval officer.


9. Which best describes the kind of answer you’d give to the question, “Where was your character born?”

A. “In a hospital.”

B. “On Alderaan in House Organa. They’re part of a royal family.”

C. “In a moisture farm on Tatooine. They’re a simple farmer.”

D. “On the shore of K’turket Lake, Talus.”


10. Which best describes the kind of answer you’d give to the question, “What is your character’s occupation?”

A. “I’m here to chew bubblegum and kick ass… and I’m all outta bubblegum.”

B. “I’m a ______ (insert game class: Jedi, Sith, Smuggler, Trooper, etc.)

C. “I’m a moisture farmer on Tatooine.”

D. “I’m used to be a chemical engineer for a small company off Falleen, but since I found my calling as…”




You don’t really think much about it beyond mocking those who do it. You may have tried to fit in, or at least attempted it to see what it’s like, but you’d rather just be a “gamer.” You may also be a special breed of “Completist,” the kind of person who not only goes for every possible accolade, achievement or unlockable, but also every play style from PvP to RP just to say you’ve done it. Stop griefing the RPers just because they’re different. You’re a nerd too… or is that not a video game you’re playing? MJ’s ADVICE: Get off my server, and spend more time with your friends playing Halo. Play your way and let others play theirs.


You don’t really know much about “lore,” though you may find it interesting. For the most part, you play yourself as your character. You have some friends who RP consistently but you don’t feel like you “get it,” or you may be easily bored or turned off by it. Still, you’ve done it and may do it again. Your experience in SWTOR has been one of a player who plays the game. You enjoy the story BioWare created and you love the PvE. Sometimes you like to play characters of the opposite sex just to “mess with people.” MJ’s ADVICE: If you’re kind of on the fence about RP, if or if it’s not entirely your thing, or if you just do it to “mess around,” that’s fine. As long as you enjoy the game, that’s all that matters. Just be aware that there are people who take it more seriously than you and give them the distance and respect you’d want in “your world.”


You don’t really know much about Star Wars or the Old Republic beyond what you’ve seen in the game or the movies, and maybe an E.U. book here or there. When you play your character you like to pretend that you’re part of that universe though you don’t really care to get that “deep” into it. You may be a Star Wars fan whose primary exposure has been the movies, so you pattern your character after Star Wars archetypes like the Han Solo smuggler, the Darth Vader Sith or the Luke Skywalker Jedi. MJ’s ADVICE: If you love Star Wars, dig deeper into the lore and stories of the Old Republic. Check out some of the really good Extended Universe fiction and explore the possibilities of a character you write yourself. Don’t just play in the universe, be part of the universe.


You have more of a knack for writing than you think. You’re able to think outside the box of stereotype, but sometimes it’s more comfortable to put that square peg in a square hole, so you don’t stray too much from the expectations of RP in a Star Wars universe. While you may borrow a lot from the published lore and E.U., you have a few things that are wholly your own. You love RolePlay as much as you love the rest of the game, though you’re not particularly keen on PvP. For you, it’s fun to live the PvE as your story and stretch beyond it, adding to BioWare’s vision with a vision of your own as you venture out into that great Old Republic universe. Your characters have backgrounds, but you live in the now, so you don’t really think much about it unless it comes up. MJ’s ADVICE: Keep it up! If you’re having fun with what you’re doing, there’s no reason to stop. Don’t let trolls and flamers get you down, but don’t snub your nose at those who place a higher (or lower) importance on RP than you do.


Star Wars is yours. To you the vision of George Lucas was just a launch pad, his creation an amusement park for you to play in. You have ideas of your own and a rich imagination that finds its outlet through art, music, acting or writing. While Casual and Serious RolePlayers may be as artistic and creative as you, your vision goes much deeper. You realize that the background characters in Star Wars have lives and adventures of their own and your characters are living proof of that. You go to great lengths to make your characters “real” and know there’s a much bigger galaxy to play in beyond the handful of worlds in SWTOR. MJ’s ADVICE: Humility. Don’t let your hardcore geekdom alienate you from other creative people. Don’t lord your knowledge and talent over others, and don’t teach those who don’t want to be taught. Lead by example without being elitist. Enjoy what you do keep supporting the art of RolePlay.


How close was I? Is that pretty much how you see yourself as an RPer, or did I miss the mark? Keep in mind that this was all tongue in cheek. I don’t particularly care for labels because I’ve met some people I see as pretty hardcore, though they maintain that they’re just “casual.” I’ve also seen some who play the most two-dimensional and predictable characters who consider themselves to be hardcore creatives. It’s really all about how you see yourself and where you want to be.


In the end, players are just as diverse as the characters you find roaming the Star Wars universe. Not everyone fits into one of the categories I made up here. And, like a Jedi who wants to get married and raise a family, sometimes the answers are more gray and less black and white.


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

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Dueling for Roleplayers

Published by under Role Play on Aug. 02. 2013.

MJ’s Guide for RP Combat

((The RP XP with MJ #41))



I recently lost a duel in-game. There’s no surprise there, and even less of a surprise when I tell you that it was my Level 32 Sith going up against a rival Level 44 Sith. Unless my PvP skills are top notch (they’re not), I’m statistically a loser in this match-up.


My opponent asked me before we began, “Do you want to do this as a duel or RP?” He pointed out that he figured our two Sith were probably equally matched story-wise, and he was right. I felt my Sith Lord carries the weight of one of the Dark Council’s favored (read: ‘favoured’ with an Imperial accent), and he fancies his near-Darth as a domineering, independent bad-ass.


So how would we fight? The answer: a RolePlay duel. There are a couple of ways to go about dueling (or really any form of combat between RPers) that don’t leave the results to the game’s computations for deciding the victor. If you have a pre-determined result in mind—for example, it’s important to your story that your smuggler learn humility by losing the blaster duel with the rival trooper—you simply “act out” each trade of hot glowing bolts through exposition and dialogue (the odd shout of, “Ugh!” a good indicator of a scored “hit.”) If you want some form of “randomness” to determine the outcome of the duel, there’s a very easy way to orchestrate a round of combat using the “/roll” command.




Our opponents are a Level 18 Jedi Guardian (played as “Nergalon,” a Jedi Master), and a Level 55 Jedi Sentinel (played as “Plynk,” a Jedi Padawan. While Plynk grossly out-levels Nergalon, these two RolePlay a Master/Padawan relationship outside their levels.


In their story, Master Nergalon is training Padawan Plynk in the fine art of lightsaber combat. Plynk just constructed his first lightsaber and Nergalon is showing him the ropes.


It just so happens that Plynk is on a rapid drop into the Dark Side and it’s not too long before his fury and unleashed anger turn this sparring match into an all-out battle to the death. Let’s take a look at how this would play out in the chat box using the /roll command laced throughout their RP:




The two players group so they can use Group Chat to iron out rules as they go. This also helps because the default Group Chat color (purple) matches the random die roll color, so all the “statistics” play out separate from the dialog and exposition.


[Group][Plynk]: ((So, how we gonna do this? Want to use /roll?))

[Group][Nergalon]: (Yeah. Sounds good. We’ll use the rules we used in the “Attack on Cave 151” episode we did with the guild last week.)

[Group][Plynk]: (Coolio. How do you feel about Plynk falling to the dark side during our spar???)

[Group][Nergalon]: (Yeah… but how would that end? I mean… Nerg would kill him.)

[Group][Plynk]: What if we play it out using the guild rules

[Group][Nergalon]: You don’t want to Permadeath, do you? Dude! Nerg would totally kill you if you fell do the DS!!!

[Group][Plynk]: How about this – If I win, Plynk takes pity on his former master and just knocks him out cold and leaves, right – if Nerg wins, he can totally chop him up and leave him for dead, not realizing hes really still alive. Then +

[Group][Plynk]: we can play it so Plynky returns in the future all tricked out with cybernetics and stuff.

[Group][Nergalon]: So totally like an Anakin/Obi thing, right?

[Group][Plynk]: Totally.

[Group][Nergalon]: Let’s do this. I’ll start.

[Group][Plynk]: Coolio

[Nergalon] says: “Are you prepared to spar, young one?”

Plynk nods and readies his lightsaber. “Yes, Master.”

Nergalon ignites his blade and smirks. “Then let us begin.”


Notice in the set-up how our two players start with the OOC chat convention of the double parentheses (()), but quickly drop to one, then none? If you establish that the Group Chat, for example, is your OOC channel, you can drop the conventions. The double parens are best used as OOC interjection in the IC channel.


So, it looks like our two players have decided on the outcome no matter who wins, but they’ve left it to chance to decide how their story will unfold. Now for the rules….




Here are the rules Nergalon and Plynk’s guild came up with for duels:


  1. We’ll use the standard /roll 1-100 for the base standard of all combatants.
  2. /roll generates a random number between 1-100. You can specify other rolls like so: /roll 1-80.
  3. You can decide pluses or minuses based on equipment, skill level, etc. before combat begins.
  4. Each strike reduces the chance by 10.
  5. To speed up a round, you can increase successful hit dice by 20.
  6. Following a first strike, the responder replies with a defensive move AND a counter strike.
  7. The roll of the defender counts for both the defense AND counter attack.
  8. Example loss: P1 rolls 90 on attack. P2 rolls 23 on defend/counter. P1 strikes P2.
  9. Example win: P1 rolls 90 on attack. P2 rolls 95 on defend/counter. P1 misses P2, P2 strikes P1.


In the case of Nergalon and Plynk, the players have decided that Plynk (playing the less skilled of the two) will play with a -10 deficit. The reason it isn’t a wider margin is because Nergalon has agreed that his Padawan-Turned-Sith has rage and anger on his side.




The two characters face off in the area where they’re going to duel. They choose the shore of the Toxic Lake on Taris. Each character stands apart and ignites their lightsabers…


[Group][Plynk]: Good luck, dude!

[Nergalon] says: “Begin by establishing your guard.” He swings toward Plynk’s mid-section in a purposeful slow arc.

[Random]: Nergalon rolls (1-100): 26

Plynk would see the blow coming since it’s a practice swing and he would respond with a block followed by a savage flury toward Nerg’s shoulder.

[Random]: Plynk rolls (1-90): 37

Nergalon attempts to duck the sudden attack but is hit across the shoulder armor. Surprised, he staggers back.

[Group][Nergalon]: I’ll let you have another attack, dude. Nerg’s pretty shocked. Don’t forget, you won so add 20.

[Group][Plynk]: kewl

Plynk surges forward, swinging wildly at his master!

[Random]: Plynk rolls (1-110): 64

Nergalon quickly parries and strikes back with a Force Push.

[Random]: Nergalon rolls (1-90): 82

Plynk stumbles as the Force Push catches him off guard, but he quickly spins and charges at his master, swinging for his head.

[Random]: Plynk rolls (1-100): 32

Nergalon steadies himself, sensing the dark twist in his Padawan and strikes back accordingly.

[Random]: Nergalon rolls (1-110): 90

Plynk feels the hot sting of his master’s blade across his back and arm. He unleashes a tunnel of dark energy as blue Force Lightning shoots from his fingers.

[Plynk] says: “I always hated you, you smug Jedi bastard!!!”

[Random]: Plynk rolls (1-90): 74

Nergalon attempts to catch the force lightning in his blade and cast it back as a cone of energy.

[Nergalon] says: “Plynk, no! Don’t give in to hate! Whatever I did to make this happen, please–!”

[Random]: Nergalon rolls (1-130): 116

[Group][Plynk]: Ahhhhh, that sux!

Plynk is hit full force with the energy and with a last concentration of Force power, throws his lightsaber at Nerg ((And he’ll start to sizzle cuz theres no way he can beat that. LOL))

[Random]: Plynk rolls (1-80): 23

[Nergalon] says: “Plynk, give up. You’re no match for me.”

Nergalon dives toward Plynk, thrashing his saber in an attempt to cut off his Padawan’s arm.

[Random]: Nergalon rolls (1-150): 6

[Group][Nergalon]: WHAAAT????

[Group][Plynk]: ROFL

Plynk catches his saber on the return arc and holds it up at Nerg, thrusting forward as a surge of energy charges him up.

[Random]: Plynk rolls (1-100): 54

Nergalon grunts in pain as he’s stabbed almost all the way through his armor. He tries to bash away Plynk’s blade and strike for his legs!

[Random]: Nergalon rolls (1-140): 133

Plynk reels in pain after the slash cuts through the thigh on his leading leg. Though he’s now limping, he strikes back at nerg’s neck.

[Random]: Plynk rolls (1-90): 88

Nergalon would deflect the blow, spin, and combo Force-Leap and strike down from behind Plynk.

[Random]: Nergalon rolls (1-160): 94

Plynk feels pretty beaten at this point and begins to lose his footing and his breath. “I’ll… kill… you…” He tries one more jab!

[Random]: Plynk rolls (1-80): 14

[Nergalon] says: “I have no choice, Plynk… I’m sorry.” He raises his saber over his head and strikes down!

[Random]: Nergalon rolls (1-180): 123

[Group][Plynk]: Yeah, I pretty much yield at this point. I gotta log in about 10 anyway.

[Group][Nergalon]: KK. How you wanna end it?

[Group][Plynk]: Um…. let’s say Nerg actually chopped off both my legs on that last one, then the final strike knocked me into the toxic lake.

[Group][Nergalon]: That works… Then you’ll come back all Vader-like next time?

[Group][Plynk]: Yeah. I can wear my new PvP gear as cybernetics – just say it’s mechanical legs.

[Group][Nergalon]: Works. Ok, I’ll catch you later. Good RP!

[Group][Plynk]: yup yup! L8Rs!

Plynk has logged out.


And there you have it. The Level 55 bested in a duel by a Level 18. Isn’t RP amazing?



The expositional descriptions in orange are done with the /e command. Using that command introduces a sentence leading with your character’s name. During the “combat,” characters can move about. This is great if you want it to appear as though they’re fighting over obstacles or through the interior of a ship. Stand on tables and describe kicking over cups and plates, say you’re using the Force to topple obstacles or taking cover behind them if you’re having a blaster fight.

Of course this is only one example. I like it because changing the die roll depending on damage received makes the combat more realistic. They could just has easily decided to do a “best out of five” and just went with the straight /roll (1-100) command. In the event of a tie, use the OOC chat to decide a victor or agree on an exposition that describes a stalemate.

If you have a system for dice rolling (for example, a way to make Pazaak or Sabaak work in-game using the /roll command, let me hear it.) I’ll post it on the RP XP with credit to you.


Do you have a cool idea for SWTOR RP to share with 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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