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“A Jedi walks into a bar…” ((The RP XP with MJ))

Published by under Role Play on Sep. 02. 2011.

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, 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 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.

Until next week, may the Force be with you!
I’m MJ, and this has been the RolePlay eXPerience.MJ is a writer from the Chicago area. He lives with his wife and two kids. He’s been an RPer and Star Wars fan since Episode IV debuted …a long time ago.
PLANS FOR NEXT TIME: I won’t typically do this because there’s no telling what cool new RP thing will cross my path from week to week. However, I’m pretty sure my next topic will cover something that’s been going on for at least the last three years TOR-wise, maybe longer: FORUM ROLEPLAY. So, if you’ve got a hot FRP thread going on, send me the link and tell me about it. Send it to and let me check it out. I love a good story 😉

15 responses so far

15 Responses to ““A Jedi walks into a bar…” ((The RP XP with MJ))”

  1. […] Now check out his first column here “A Jedi Walks Into A Bar” […]

  2. Smuggler Steelon 02 Sep 2011 at 2:19 pm

    Excellent start! I myself have had goodly amount of experiences with RP across the board, Pen n paper, LARP, Fourm to MMOs. There are two great challenges that I think face all new RP people in all of the forms of RP. 1. Mustering the courage to start. 2. Developing their first character they fell comfortable enough with to start with. They would be great topic I think, and diffidently be a resource I would use to help encourage people thinking about doing some RP in my guild.

    Good Luck to you on your weekly feature!

  3. MJon 02 Sep 2011 at 3:07 pm

    Thanks, Steel. Appreciate the welcome. The next couple of entries will be all about that all-important first step and how to get started before the game even launches. Thanks for reading, and thanks for the input!

  4. Daeldaon 02 Sep 2011 at 9:54 pm

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    Very good first Article. Yes, “How to Get Started” is a very important guide – as is, “Just Who Are Mary Sue and Marty Stu, and How Do I Avoid Becoming One of Them?”

  5. swtorcrafteron 02 Sep 2011 at 11:29 pm

    Thank you guys for stopping by and giving MJ your ideas and thoughts, he has some excellent material coming, this is a fact!


  6. MJon 02 Sep 2011 at 11:32 pm

    Daelda, thank you! And, yes, you have read my mind. If only I could post an article every minute instead of every week 😉 SOOO much to cover. I’m so pumped and excited to be on the team. Everyone here has been great. All I can say is… “Patience, young one. Soon, all will be revealed.”

  7. MJon 02 Sep 2011 at 11:34 pm

    ((Oh, and you have NOT heard the last of Yulel, Kendris, Wex and others to be introduced.))

  8. Daeldaon 03 Sep 2011 at 2:05 pm

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    I’m a GM of 28+ years, so I understand a lot of the complexities of Role-Playing. I look forward to your upcoming articles – and commentary on things once the game goes live (like the inability to sit in chairs and its impact on RP).

  9. swtorcrafteron 03 Sep 2011 at 8:39 pm

    Daelda! dont even get me started on that!

    no sitting wth 🙂

  10. MJon 03 Sep 2011 at 9:48 pm

    Daelda, I share my buddy swtorcrafter’s angst on the whole “sit” thing. We’ll see what we can see, and you can bet I’ll be talking about it… as I stand at my computer.

  11. Joshrooms13on 04 Sep 2011 at 7:39 am

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    I used to RP a bunch when I was younger back when I played SimRTK but I fell out of practice after a while. I could totally see this game getting me back into it if I was playing with the right people.

  12. Aldricon 04 Sep 2011 at 10:08 pm

    It looks like this will be a great series of articles. I’m not overly into RP in my MMOs, but I definitely enjoy it from time to time and will be looking for light RP opportunities in TOR.

  13. Swtorcrafteron 05 Sep 2011 at 4:47 am

    hey Aldric 🙂

    Same with me I am not role play oriented when I game, but this is cool and something that I find interesting to read. It does well to get me in the mood to be in a star wars realm

  14. […] a quick thank you to everyone who responded to my first article, “A Jedi Walks Into a Bar….” It’s great to see so much response to my intro and the subject of RP. In fact, I was so moved […]

  15. MJon 06 Sep 2011 at 10:33 am

    Joshrooms13 and Aldric, thanks for the comments! I really appreciate the feedback and your own perspectives on RP.

    Josh, you make a good point about playing with the “right people.” There are levels to RP that span from “very casual” (ie. “Sometimes, when it comes up, just to ‘play’ my class”) to extremely hardcore (ie. “I’m in character ALL the time regardless of the situation”). Casuals and Hardcores don’t usually mix after prolonged exposure and tend to gravitate to their own kind. If you’re not typically an RPer, but want to give it a shot or “get back into it,” I’d recommend starting one-on-one or with a very small group of people you know. Of course, once the game launches, all 16 of my characters will be available for RP 😉

    Aldric…. Yup. It’s all about the ‘mood’. It’s all about “Living the Old Republic.” ((Swtorcrafter owes me for using our catch phrase now 😉 ))