The Twi’lek smuggler looks up from her drink and smiles toward the man in the robes and armor.
The Jedi Knight catches her eye and nods a polite greeting before turning his attention to the row of bottles behind the bar.
Taking her drink, the smuggler moves closer to him, her eyes casually taking in the bar, the colorful crowd, careful not to linger on the Jedi. She stops close to him, close enough to be heard in a whisper but not overheard by anyone else. She faces the dance floor and leans back on the bar with her elbows. “You’re Kendris?”
The Jedi purses his lips and studies his own reflection in the mirror behind the bar. “You’re sloppy,” he says just above a whisper.
“I didn’t ask for this particular job, ya know,” the Twi’lek smirks, “But it was easy money. I don’t need your smugness, Banthaface, I’m just making sure it’s you.”
“You didn’t ask me for the clearance code as you were instructed, Yulel… And how many other Jedi do you see in this bar?”
Closing her eyes, Yulel feels her face and lekku burn as her orange skin blushes a deep ruddy color. “Damn.”
Into his empty cup, the Jedi says in a low voice, “If I were a Sith — like the man in the far corner — you’d be dead right now.”
Yulel’s eyes snap open and she starts to turn–
“Don’t look,” Kendris warns. “He’s been watching me.”
Yulel swallows hard. Her hand instinctively goes to the butt of the blaster at her hip. “What do we do?”
“I will head to the spaceport. You will follow in no less than five minutes. My ship is the Regail. We’ll meet there.” Kendris pushes away from the bar and says, “Scratch your nose if this is clear.” He doesn’t look, but sees her move in the corner of his eye.
Yulel turns to the bar and studies her reflection in the mirror and the empty space next to her where the Jedi once stood. She downs the rest of her drink and presses the cool glass to her forehead. She quietly curses to herself, “This is the last time I run medical supplies for the Jedi… I swear it.”
And so begins an adventure in Star Wars: The Old Republic. But you won’t find the scene on YouTube. In fact, you won’t find it anywhere in the game, not anywhere in the hundreds of thousands of lines of dialog. It’s unique, but it’s every bit a part of the game as anything Bioware put into it.
It’s RP (RolePlay). It’s a scene created by two players, portraying a Jedi and a Smuggler, who created a story about a dangerous business deal between a cartel friendly to the needs of the Jedi and the Jedi themselves. The story could have come up as the spontaneous invention of the players, or it could be part of an epic story that involves more players, maybe even someone form the Imperial side.
RP has been part of MMOs since the earliest text-based games, and part of gaming in general since Dungeons & Dragons. It’s an art form that rides the wave of self-expression and creativity, and the desire to live beyond the entertainment that is given to us. For decades, RP has empowered gamers to create characters, worlds and stories beyond the pretty packaging of the game in the store, to bend reality and to set the stage for more and more and more.
RP is a way for gamers (and, in the case of Star Wars: The Old Republic, Star Wars fans who are gamers) to live the dream of writing, acting or directing in the universe they love with no overhead and no expense, beyond, of course, the game itself.
Let’s get back to our story. Curious to see what happens next?
Yulel leaves the bar as Kendris had instructed. She cautiously looks both ways before heading toward the spaceport, but she’s smart enough to not use the main roads. Instead, she ducks down an alley and makes several turns, crosses a couple of main streets before ducking into a doorway to see if she’d been followed.
One of the two Republic soldiers on the far corner elbows his partner. “Sergeant. Look.”
“What is it, Wex?” Both men look down the street to the orange-skinned Twi’lek standing in a doorway. She glances around nervously. The two men, posted here as guards by their regimental commander, start to move toward the woman. Corporal Wex unslings his rifle and holds it at the ready as he moves in a wide arc toward the street opposite the Twi’lek. The sergeant puts on a wide smile and moves straight toward the woman.
Yulel notices the two soldiers and draws a sharp breath before she breaks cover and sprints down the street. Immediately, the two troopers give chase, their heavy armor clanking as they run after the fleeing smuggler.
The sergeant raises his rifle. “You! Stop or I’ll shoot!”
Yes, the two troopers are part of the story. The cool part is that the Twi’lek’s player knows they’re part of the story, but doesn’t know exactly how they fit in. The troopers are with the Jedi and they were tasked with making sure our poor little Yulel finds her way to Master Kendris in safety. From this point there are literally hundreds of ways the story can go, especially if we throw in another RPer playing the part of an undercover Imperial spy. That’s just one of the great things about RP in a game like TOR. While Bioware is setting us up for hundreds of hours of content and story, we can add countless more hours by bringing our own, getting together with friends and launching full epic tales in the TORverse, or even generating side stories from the ones crafted by Bioware’s writers.
Every week, right here on swtor-life.com, I’ll bring you tips and tricks for creating or mastering RP. I’ll show you how you can create your own epic stories and get others to join them, or how to join the epic stories created by others. I’ll cover the RP pitfalls and mistakes. I’ll show you how to be an RP magnet, and I’ll show you how to find your character’s voice. I’ll tell you the best places to find, launch or stay clear of RP (and I’ll tell you why there are times you should stay clear of it). I’ll give you the lowdown on RP etiquette and the best ways to blend narrative and dialog without clogging up the chat window or taking forever to respond. I’ll show you how you can gain XP while you RP. I’ll show you how to use the environment, how to create environments that aren’t there, and even how to perfect your RP outside the game.
Oh, I’ve got tons of stuff to share! I’m sure we’ll have a good time!
I’ve had over 30 years experience as a roleplayer. I’ve hosted RP events and directed scenarios. I’ve written multi-part stories that featured hosts of NPCs and twisting plots. I’ve even done my time as an RP guild officer and leader. Between my lengthy RP experience and my “day job” as a full-time professional writer, I’ve got lots I can share to either indoctrinate you into the awesome world of the self-created story or help you hone your RP skill. No matter your level of “RPXP,” I’m here to help.
I also want to hear from you! Feel free to contact me by responding to this column, or you can send comments and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. I promise to answer every email, and if you have an RP story, question or idea that’s really cool, I’ll be happy to share it (anonymously if you prefer, otherwise I give credit where it’s due).
The good news is that anyone can RP, it’s easy to get into if you know the world around you (in this case, TOR), and RPers make great friends and leveling partners. And… when it’s done right… you’ll be left with feeling like you just saw a new Star Wars film, read the coolest new Star Wars novel, or just watched the first episode of a whole new Star Wars series.
And, cooler than that? …You were in it, truly living life in the Old Republic.
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