((The RP XP with MJ #17))
“Hutta is wonderful this time of year if you don’t inhale too deeply,” the bounty hunter chuckled as he escorted the imperial agent past the palace of Nem’ro the Hutt.
Jenla smirked. “Why the hell did you bring me here, Boarsch? You know how much the Hutts nauseate me.”
Boarsch hid his amusement by pretending to look away from her, concentrating on some activity at the end of a side street. Since the attack against the Jedi and Sith two days ago, Jenla Ruf and Boarsch had been on the run, skirting the outer rim systems and playing hopscotch with the main merchant runs where the Empire and Republic often traded blows. They just arrived on Hutta to re-supply and get work done on the ship. Distant blaster fire marred an otherwise quiet day.
As they turned down a particularly putrid alley rank with the smell of waste, Jenla stopped and held up her hand. “I am not going down there.”
The bounty hunter kept walking as the agent unsteadily glanced back down the main road.
“Did you hear me, Boarsch? I’m not going down there.”
The bulky Mandalorian shrugged under his armored shoulders. “Suit yourself, darling. I’m sure a Chiss woman by herself wearing an Imperial uniform will be just fine standing on the corner all alone.”
Jenla scowled and glanced from side to side, then watched as Boarsch continued down the alley. In a few paces he’d have to turn at the end and vanish from her sight. Looking back toward the spaceport, she saw two Gamorreans with heavy weapons waddling toward them. “Wait. …Boarsch, wait!”
She ran to catch up to him and just touched his arm when a woman jumped out from a doorway and shoved a blaster under the Mandalorian’s jaw.
“Freeze, scum dump!” The woman wore rags that were held together with bandoliers and patchwork bits of armor. Her blond hair was matted where it wasn’t a thatch of tangles and her eyes flared like blue lasers.
Jenla dropped her hand to her sidearm, but that only made the woman push the blaster’s barrel deeper into Boarsch’s throat.
“Just try it, sweetie!” The woman rasped, “And I’ll blow his kreffin’ head off.”
That’s when Boarsch started to laugh.
As Jenla watched, her red eyes wide with amazement, Boarsch simply took the gun from the woman’s hand and embraced her in a big hug, squeezing her tightly around the waist and lifting her off the ground, both of them twirling and laughing like children.
Boarsch said, “Scum dump? Where’d you get that? I almost lost it right there!”
“Oh, Boar, you always were a lousy bluffer.”
Boarsch, his arm around their assailant, spun her toward Jenla, both of them grinning ear to ear. “Jenla Ruf, this is my sister, Margis.”
“Sister,” Jenla sneered. “Really.”
Margis offered her grimy hand. “You must be my brother’s lover. Nice to meet ya. Hope you’re makin’ an honest man of him.”
As an Imperial agent, there were many times Jenla Ruf hated the idea of pulling the trigger. Sometimes it just didn’t feel right, that the target didn’t deserve to die at her hand because she felt like she didn’t know enough about them. But oh, how she wished Margis was her next target. This one target would make up for years of regret.
Aww, ain’t that sweet. The bounty hunter took his girlfriend home to meet his sister.
Do you have a sister? Brother? Parent? Uncle?
And by ‘you’ I mean your character. When you reach the coveted “Legacy” level, are you going to RP your characters as siblings or half-siblings? Or, will you seek out the more adventurous route and forge family bonds with another player through RP?
There are some aspects of RolePlay that don’t readily reveal themselves as one of those palm-to-forehead “oh yeah” moments. Typically, you play your creation like a character in a movie or book, going about their daily Jedi or bounty hunter or trooper business without a thought to the current status of their back story. The back story is just filler, after all, something to round out their personality. But how do you give it life and keep it fresh?
I’ve talked before about establishing a background for your character that included things like occupations, lineage and relations, but have you ever thought about the kind of depths you can explore if you RP’d a relationship with another RolePlayer other than companion-at-arms or mate? After all, your background doesn’t just stop. It continues and changes until it catches up to you in the present.
There are a lot of variations of relationships you can easily RP with a friend. Master-Padawan, Lord-Slave and Husband-Wife are just a few of the more obvious ones. But, have you ever thought of RPing a relationship as, well, just a “relation?”
Here are some talking points you can throw out to a friend or RP partner to see if anything clicks.
ALL IN THE FAMILY
Naturally, if you’re going to RP as a parent and child, you’ll need to establish the disparity between the ages. Brothers’ and sisters’ age ranges can vary greatly, as can more distant relationships such as cousins or aunts and uncles, but the age difference between parents and children should make sense. The offspring of a 40 year-old could easily be 20, but consider the math of a 20 year-old parent or a 50 year-old offspring. Find a range that suits both players as you set up your relative connection.
Other things to consider, depending on how closely you’re related, is family resemblance. Fortunately, with only so many options in the character creator, it won’t be hard to make brothers look like brothers. It’s also fortunate that Twi’leks don’t transfer color genetically. A blue-skinned Twi’lek mother could give birth to a red-skinned Twi’lek son. Zabrak and Mirialan facial tattoos are tribal or right-of-passage related and don’t have to match. Check out the lore of your family’s species of choice before rolling up that character.
While you’re weighing your considerations, here are some other possible pairings to get your creative juices flowing:
Father/Son – Dad is a retired trooper who now runs guns for his old Republic buddies. Junior is a chip off the old block and an up-and-coming shooter in Havoc Squad within the Republic Military Machine.
Father/Daughter – Dad is a proud imperial agent whose Force-sensitive daughter is making her way through the trials on Korriban.
Cousins – Both bounty hunters and rivals to the end, both up for the Great Hunt. (And, once you both reach the end of your Great Hunt story line, duke it out with a series of duels between the two of you to claim bragging rights over the other).
Long Lost Siblings – The Jedi woman who bears a striking resemblance to the smuggler at the bar. He knows everything about their family, including the day the Jedi came and took his Force sensitive baby sister.
Half-Brothers – They work together with their own family “junk business” (picking up or crafting bits of this or that to sell on the market).
BLOOD IS THICKER THAN WATER
There are two basic ways to play your family relationship if you just want to look at opposite ends of the spectrum. You and your RP partner can agree from the beginning that you’re bitter rivals, hated each other growing up; or you can be the best of friends, brothers or sisters who stick by each other no matter what, etc.
Those are both good, but what about these “gray” options:
Friendly Rivalry – Not bitter or hurtful at all, but you compete with each other like angry Gundarks fighting over a bone.
Clean Slate – You’ve been separated for so long and now you have a lot of catching up to do. Let the chips fall where they may.
Jealousy & Suspicion – “Mom always liked you better” vs. “Dad is the one who got you admitted to the Academy.” Played with subtle jabs between the two but never angrily or vindictively.
Caustic Love Triangle – Two brothers in love with the same woman. It would be even more interesting if a third player took the role of the woman played between the two formerly-close sibs.
The great thing about having an RP’d family is that you can feed off of each other’s epic stories. Not only can you help each other in game with quests and Heroics, you can also work together on each other’s RolePlay adventures.
You can still have the “relationship RP” that leads to an in-game marriage, but imagine how much more fun a simple in-game ceremony would be with a parent who doesn’t agree with the relationship, or the untrusting sister who wants to steal the groom, or the uncle with the credentials as a ship captain (like a Smuggler, for instance) who can actually perform the ceremony for you.
FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS
As you get deeper into your role in Star Wars: The Old Republic and your character starts to take on a mind and voice of their own, consider the possibilities and dimensions you can explore with friends willing to make familial connections between your characters. Your own character’s life will suddenly be more rich and more alive with the entire existence of another person attached to them by virtual blood.
And, if you both happen to play out the Legacy system with the “surname” option on, imagine how extensive your in-game family would be if you joined together as half-siblings or through marriage.
TEST IT FIRST… ON CAPTAIN SOLO
Are you an SRPer? Do you “Solo” your RP? Are you a “Creative PVEer?” Maybe you haven’t met anyone in the game yet who will RP with you regularly. Maybe you’re too shy to go “Fishing” (See RP XP with MJ #16 for tips on how to snag an RP). Maybe you have a bunch of friends in the game, but they all want to PvP or speed level to get that all-important invisible checkered flag so they can start complaining that there’s nothing left to do.
You can create multiple characters who are related to each other and play out the ideas in your own mind to add depth to your SRP or PVE. How each character reacts to the in-game environment might have an effect on your inter-character relationships, or vice versa.
For example, I have a bounty hunter who is looking for his daughter. She ran off with an Imperial officer ten years ago and he hasn’t seen her since. Since then, he has become embittered against the Empire and every in-game decision I make with him furthers or feeds off that attitude. His daughter, meanwhile, is an Imperial agent. She’s stubborn, self-centered, cocky, bullheaded and wants absolutely nothing to do with her father. Consequently, she keeps clear of older men who remind her of him and that’s reflected in my in-game decisions as well.
See. Even if you don’t have an RP partner, you can have fun with RPing your own legacy.
Now go log in and tell a story!
((The RP XP with MJ)) is published every Friday right here on swtor-life.com. MJ is a long-time RPer and GM with a history that dates back to tabletops and dice. If you have any ideas, comments or questions, or if you want to run an RP scenario by him, feel free to contact him directly at email@example.com. Oh, and follow him on Twitter: @MJswtor. Don’t forget, the next Q&A column is #20. Get your Qs in now if you want some As. 😉
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