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Tag Archive 'RP'

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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A Captured Moment with Arlon and Jurie

Published by under Role Play on Jun. 28. 2013.

((The RP XP with MJ #36))



I’m introducing a new segment to the RPXP inspired by the great living atmosphere of SWTOR’s set design and NPC placement.


Have you ever stopped to smell the roses? There are a lot of awesome little mini “scenes of drama” (or comedy) playing out throughout the SWTOR universe. Around every corner or thoroughfare there are NPCs going about their daily lives, arguing, laughing, crying, throwing up into fountains. There are even Easter eggs and inside jokes for Star Wars diehards (have you found the “Darth Vader bounty hunter briefing” aboard the Imperial fleet’s Ziost Shadow as a nod to the scene in EpV, or the wookiee who pulled the droid’s arms out of its sockets per Han Solo’s warning in EpIV?)




Did you ever wonder what the BioWare designers had in mind when they set these scenes up? That has to be one of the most fun things about working on an MMO like SWTOR, the little inside jokes or captured moments they don’t expect you to actually “see” unless—like me—you stop to smell the roses.


So, I thought it would be fun to take a tour through BioWare’s Old Republic and make up stories for those captured moments found throughout the galaxy.





A young dark haired male human apparently upset about something near a seated blond female human.


(-946, 1441) “Garden of Justice”, SenatePlaza, Coruscant



Let’s call them Arlon and Jurie. That’s not what BioWare calls them, as far as I know, but let’s extend the RP beyond ourselves for a moment and see what we can come up with for these two.


Arlon and Jurie live in one of the sky-scraping behemoths that line the horizon of Coruscant. He’s a loadlift operator at the nearby spaceport, and she works the diner on sublevel 141 at the Senate Plaza.


One day Arlon comes home to a hastily tapped note on a datapad that reads, “My Dearest Arlon. I’m sorry to tell you this, but I’ve decided that I love Wokum more than you. I can’t go on living this lie and I have to follow my heart. The times we shared together walking in the Garden of Justice were memorable, but I need something more. Love always, Jurie. PS – Please don’t be weird about this just because Wokum is Trandoshan.”


So, what does Arlon do? He tracks down his lady friend at their favorite walking path and finds her sitting wistfully staring out into space, happy about her decision and waiting for her the taxi that will take her to Dosha. As for Arlon? He’s obviously at a loss for words.


Of course the scene could be more serious than what I’ve depicted here, or it could even be more lighthearted. How would you paint this picture?



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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Do Guild Events Kill RP?

Published by under Role Play on Jun. 21. 2013.

((The RP XP with MJ #35))


I recently received an email from a fellow RPer who expressed—at length—the same concerns about RolePlaying in SWTOR that I share. They’re not just SWTOR concerns, either. I’ve seen and felt the same rumblings in other MMOs where RP is par for the course. There were a lot of good points in the email, some of which I’m sure I’ll hit at a later date, but for now let’s talk guild events, and the question… Do guild events kill RP?


The reader had several good points about how organized events in an MMO kind of suck the life out of quality RolePlay. Guilds, particularly large RP guilds, tend to schedule “events” and encourage attendance ICly. The problem with these large-scale forays is that they either A) Focus on one character’s story or plot (Even if the story is all-encompassing, it had to have started somewhere, and that person is typically played by the GM guiding the story—It’s their character’s story); or B) Are relegated to “mix and mingle” “dance parties” where ERP hook-ups become the norm. Now I’m not saying that all guilds are like that, but so far I’m batting a thousand on my own personal experiences. If you do things differently—and it works for you—by all means, please share! I’d like to hear a success story or two.


You can waste time with your friends when your chores are done.” — Owen Lars


To most casual RP guilds, the “dance parties” are a cool way to meet other guildies, recruit new ones, and have casual fun in character before going back out into the grind. Don’t get me wrong. I “get it.” I also think there’s a time and a place for it, especially in casual or part-time RP guilds.


So how is it kill RP?


To answer that question, we need to look at RolePlaying as an art form within an art form. As I’ve extolled upon previously, RP involves character writing, plot formation, background building, interaction and progression. Now, I don’t want to be the guy who points a finger and says, “You’re not doing it right.” The IC mix-and-mingles are a perfectly fine way to maintain guild unity and grow membership, but consider the “reality” of an in-character dance party. If you’ve created a Sith Lord who is plotting the demise of his master while grinding his teeth over the failings of his apprentice still stuck on Korriban, who spends his days hunting Jedi for sport, is he really going to belly up to a bar and say to the Twi’lek slave girl next to him, “So, sweetie… You live around here much?”


I’d say no. If you create a character who was born on Galactic Standard Date 20138, lost their parents in a horrific freighter accident, picked and scraped through the back streets of a long forgotten city on Horuz to earn enough money to make it to the next system, met and fell in love with a young Kiffar woman who was later killed by an Imperial soldier at a checkpoint… you probably don’t want to spend your nights sending Jawagrams, lighting fireworks or emoting belches. I’m not saying your character wouldn’t visit a cantina now and again. Hell, a story like that would lead anyone to drink. But I wouldn’t be far off the mark if I suggested you’re looking for something different, something more. And you’re not going to find it at your guild’s “Dance Event.”


So, am I rallying against the Mix-And-Mingle RP? Not at all. It’s perfectly fine for more casual guilds or guilds that keep RP around as “flavor” between flash points and ops. But if you’re in a guild that takes RP to deeper levels, you’d do much better hosting OOC (Out Of Character) events, or box them into a theme that makes sense to your guild’s charter. If you’re a Jedi guild, for example, you might want to package your mix-and-mingle as a “Council Meeting,” or call it a “Republic Planning Committee Session.” Just keep in mind that such meetings aren’t nightly occurrences.


Didn’t we just leave this party?” — Han Solo


In larger guilds, the problem of diluted quality RP becomes tangible if you’re creating a story. Having 25 guildies coming to the rescue of a downed smuggler friend’s ship on Tatooine is overkill (How did so many people become involved in a story that works best with 3-5?). If you don’t think the story’s diluted at that point, put yourself in the shoes of Guild Member 24. There’s a good chance Guild Members 1 through 5 (at least) are close. They’ve been together the longest, they write good stories together, they do a lot of PRP (Personal RP) together, their characterizations come out clearly. But Guild Member 24 can’t keep up. Lack of chat bubbles aside, how do your newer members stay focused, stay in the loop, and participate in something so massive?


Scenarios like that can lead to Guild Elitism. Through no fault of your own, your guild becomes “elite” because newer members too shy to be open in chat, members who can’t keep up with your stories, and—worst of all—members who never get the chance to host their own stories, end up leaving… bitterly. That can be a problem if your intention is to be all inclusive to fellow RPers who share your passion for the art.


The bigger problem is that guild story events don’t make sense with that many people, unless of course your story involves a full-scale military assault on an enemy base.


So, how do you have guild story events that include everyone—and make sense—without it degrading into a pointless strain on the chat box? The first answer will hurt: You don’t. The core issue is the quality of the RP. Too many people all vying to get their character’s personalities out in the open will rapidly dilute the story and destroy immersion. Most crafted stories will only need the participation of a handful of people. Take the original Star Wars trilogy for example. The Episode IV “guild” was comprised of Luke, Ben, Leia, Han, Chewie, C-3PO and R2. Their story of rescuing a princess from an evil Empire allowed everyone’s personality to shine through easily, and even they broke into sub-groups from time to time.


I have a bad feeling about this.” — Everybody.


If you have a huge RP guild and want to give everyone a chance to shine, there are a few ways you can be accommodating. First, create a system that allows for one guild leader per every five to seven members. There’s no rule that says a guild can’t be built from cells of smaller groups. Each leader can then “GM” story events, or members can rotate the Game Master role. To make sure the precepts of your guild are maintained, the guildmaster can call monthly (or whatever period works best for you) OOC meetings to see that everything is running smoothly.


Another option is to make RP in your mammoth group more “viral” by planting seeds and making PRP introductions. Do the Henry V thing; walk amongst your guildies and listen. Pick up on their stories and deliver them to others. Encourage your membership to mingle WITHOUT the party.


In a future column I’ll take a look at BARPing (Bar RP) and talk about how it’s a million times worse for RP than the “Dance Party.” Oooh, did I just get your ire up? Good. Let’s chat.


((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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The Endar Spire Conspiracy (A Role Player’s Perspective)

Published by under Role Play on Jun. 14. 2013.



The thousands of workers at Rendili Hyperworks had no idea the hand they played in fate as they watched their labors rumble to life. Moorings shook and fuel vents shuddered as the enormous ion engine flutes of the Hammerhead-class cruiser illuminated her berth like four caged suns.


And so launched the Endar Spire, the ship of lies.


The conspiracy hidden within the corroded and overgrown shipwreck on the surface of Taris begins with questions about her sinking more than 300 years ago. We know that Jedi Knight Bastila Shan was given command of the Endar Spire’s last mission. We know that Revan was aboard, disguised as a common Republic soldier. We know of Revan’s importance to the Jedi Council at the time—the former supreme leader of the Sith, brain-wiped and under the care of Bastila. We know that Bastila’s gift of Battle Meditation made her extremely valuable to the Jedi Order and a prime target of Darth Malak.


So why would the Council allow Bastila and Revan to head out alone aboard the Endar Spire to Taris, a world occupied by the Sith and protected by a blockade overseen by Malak himself, especially considering Revan’s defenseless condition at the time?


I recently paid a visit to the broken spine of the Endar Spire at the behest of the Galactic Republic, on cryptic orders from a Captain Childress whose detachment of soldiers had not reported back from the wreck. I was curious to see for myself how well the ship’s grave held up, swallowed by the local fauna, a breeding ground for rakghouls, pirates and armed settlers. I had to ask why the Republic would even bother sending a team to an old shipwreck?


Exactly. There’s too much going on with the Taris Reconstruction Project to waste manpower on a centuries-old downed cruiser. Or, that’s what I thought until I started putting the pieces of the puzzle together, and realized the Republic wasn’t doing enough to secure the Endar Spire, considering my suspicions.




So, fully armed and geared up with my trusty sidekick, a smuggler I call “Mr. Funny” because of his penchant for naming inanimate objects (and if I hear one more time about his beloved “Torchy” I’m gonna blast him myself), I set out for the crash site. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was immediately stunned as we crested a ridge of upper city wreckage and saw her, the Endar Spire, surprisingly intact and still maintaining the familiar profile of a Hammerhead-class cruiser.


I suppose the first mystery of the Endar Spire is its surprisingly good condition. Not only had the ship apparently survived total vaporization in orbit—contrary to popular belief until this time—it also survived Malak’s savage bombardment of the planet’s surface. The Endar Spire was reported lost days before the Sith glassed Taris, yet here she lay, relatively pristine despite the attack and three centuries of natural and man-made abuse.




The pirates camped near the wreck weren’t much trouble, and we made our way inside in no time, aiding a small band of research scientists protected by the faltering remnants of a Republic military detachment. Astonished is too weak a word to describe my surprise at finding some of the ship’s functions still operable. After making a mental note to have future upgrades to my own ship done at Rendili Hyperworks, we concluded our short escort mission and returned the research team’s materials to the Republic base camp nearby.




And that’s when I realized a full-blown conspiracy was in the works, a web of secrets and lies between the Jedi Council and the Republic military dated centuries ago and maintained to this day.


According to the officer I spoke to back at base camp, the Republic was only interested in the surveillance footage captured by the Endar Spire during her last moments of life, surveillance of Sith warships that were in service 300 years ago! I knew that had to be a mistake. There had to be something more, and this was just a line the military was giving to civilians stupid enough to serve as volunteers.


That’s when I took note of a quarantined field hospital filled with groaning soldiers and workers diminished to pathetic shadows of their former selves, the wraiths of Taris, the rakghoul victims. Did the Endar Spire’s secret mission to Taris have something to do with the rakghoul curse? After all, the slavering beasts had been around since well before the sinking of the Endar Spire, a curse born out of the twisted mind of Karness Muur thousands of years earlier, a curse that seemingly would never die.


The ancient Sith mastermind of the rakghoul plague “left the oven on,” so to speak. It was only a matter of time before someone tapped the ghastly abominations haunting the lowest levels of Taris and released them on an unsuspecting galaxy to spread like an unstoppable virus. I believe the Endar Spire’s last mission was to lure the Sith attack, to sacrifice the city planet in an effort to prevent Malak’s Sith from using the rakghouls to their fullest potential.


Which begs the question: had the Endar Spire not taunted Malak into the bombardment of Taris, would the rakghoul plague have raged out of control centuries earlier?


And why send such an important Jedi Knight to a Sith-controlled world along with the Jedi Council’s most enigmatic prisoner? Taris has always been just out of reach of the Republic. The resources and manpower required to launch an assault on the distant world would attract too much attention; in particular the attention of Malak who was seemingly ignorant of the deadly viral weapon in the deepest gutters of Taris.


The solution? Use Bastila to lure Malak’s wrath. She was the only carrot the Jedi Council could dangle in front of the Sith; the Endar Spire the only cruiser capable of getting her as far as Taris. As for Revan, I personally believe he was an expendable asset, unless Bastila was totally unaware the role the Council wanted her to play in the destruction of the rakghoul curse. Revan was given an alias and listed as a soldier aboard the Endar Spire. Is it possible Bastila was completely ignorant of his presence? Is it possible the Jedi Council knew Revan would regain his strengths and somehow rescue Bastila from the very attack they were planning?
That seems far fetched, and unfortunately, many of these questions remain a mystery. All we know of the facts are that Bastila abandoned ship during the Endar Spire ambush leaving Revan to die. Considering her responsibility to him we have to wonder why. We also need to consider the miracle of the Endar Spire’s survival and the Republic Military Machine’s interest in a 300-year-old corroded hulk.


Is it possible the Endar Spire’s final resting place holds more than old surveillance images? Could the clue to the Endar Spire’s last mission still be locked within her aging memory banks? Or does she hold something more? Does she hold the clue to Karness Muur’s curse and the secret to preventing a rakghoul pandemic like the one that recently made its way across the Outer Rim to Tatooine? Who is brave enough to find out?


((I hope you enjoyed this little “side step.” I present this article to you as an example of TGI (Total Game Immersion). At the very heart of RP is the desire to breathe life into the story first written by the game developer. In this case, I bridged the gap between BioWare’s Knights of the Old Republic and Star Wars The Old Republic by stepping into the mind of one of my more curious characters. I hope you enjoyed it. Now… What’s your story?)) 

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Return of the MJedi

Published by under Role Play on Jun. 07. 2013.

((The RP XP with MJ #33))



Hey! I’m back! Miss me?


Ok, enough pretention. Let’s talk about why I disappeared, and more importantly, why I’m back.


My last column appeared here in March of last year. There were a lot of personal things going on in my life, most actually related to business, and I needed some time away from my writing here to concentrate on my writing elsewhere. I like to think I’ve grown, even improved a little, and SO MUCH has happened in our beloved SWTOR that I just HAD to come back.


So what was it that brought me out of the gloom and shadows to carry the torch of ((The RP XP with MJ)) once more? Hello!? Appearance editor!? I woke like a startled Krayt Dragon when I saw the notes for Patch 2.1. As BioWare continues to struggle with making PVPers happy, I was delighted to see a respite from that particular grind and some love shown to the RP community.


Don’t get me wrong. I love the fact that BioWare has continuously strived to make every play style available to every player, but let’s face it: SWTOR is a PVE/RPer’s game. The stories are so rich, the characters so well acted, the set pieces so spectacular, I don’t mind spending time at PVE away from the comparatively mundane RP that floats around the cantina.


So, what are my plans for the RP XP?


Well, I’m coming back with a vengeance! In addition to the usual Tips n’ Tricks for RPers, I’m going to throw in more commentary about the game from an RPer’s perspective, reviews of story elements from the game (no spoilers – promise!), special segments that cover the art and writing of the game, and maybe some commentary about Star Wars in general with a slant toward how SWTOR connects with The Canon of the Future (with all due respect to the House the Mouse Built, of course /bowrespect). Oh, and I definitely want to hear more from you! I’m hoping future installments of ((The RP XP with MJ)) will include interviews, links and snippets from your RP worlds!


It’s so good to be back. I’ve never been more excited about RolePlay in SWTOR, storycrafting, character building and interacting with all of my fellow SWTOR-RP fans and friends.


See you again soon!


~ MJ


PS – My very special thanks to Serge for keeping swtor-life and swtor-spy alive and well! There’s so much content at swtor-spy it’s crazy. I’ve been going there since launch for all my PVE and SWTOR survival needs!


((I know it’s been awhile, but the doors are open for your input, ideas and questions. Write me at swtorliferp(at)gmail! Until next time… AFK BRB))

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TOR Lore: 1.2 and You

Published by under Lore on Apr. 11. 2012.

Greetings once again everyone! You may have noticed that TOR Lore has not been appearing on the site for the past few weeks. This is because I need to retreat deep into my lore cave and recharge my geek power cells in order to keep bringing you all of the sweet lore tidbits that you love. But now I am back, recharged and ready to go!


To celebrate my somewhat Ali-like return to the realm of lore I am going to be talking about some of the changes we will be seeing in 1.2, specifically how these changes are going to affect us from the lore immersion of our game. It’s no secret that there are players out there who are not happy with some of these changes and their reaching implications. I am referring to the Legacy unlocks, specifically the various species unlocks and Heroic Abilities. How are these going to affect our immersion, and are these changes going to be positive or negative? Continue Reading »

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Building Your Story Part III: Directing

Published by under Role Play on Mar. 30. 2012.

((The RP XP with MJ #32))


Jenla Ruf sat outside the Boarsch home and brooded under the hood of her cloak at the yellow rain coming down and splashing in the rust muddied puddles all over the village on Hutta. Inside, her Mandalorian lover worried over his sister’s existence.


Why bother with these slugs?” the Imperial agent scowled as she wiped the slimy rain from the comlink on her arm, contemplating her next move. “Sister or not… this is a waste of our time.”


It had been weeks since they escaped the Sith surprise attack against the Jedi on Uradis. They’ve been in hiding long enough, but now there’s this, this “personal” wrinkle. Inside, Jenla heard the hushed voices of Margis and Boarsch. He was promising his dying sister assistance, no matter what.


A cold shiver rose in Jenla’s spine. She knew what that meant. Though Boarsch had joked about it at times in the past, this time she felt uneasy. Margis was dying and their options were limited. The agent turned and moved to the doorway. She pressed her ear to the grimy metal.


I’ll reach out to the Republic,” she heard Boarsch say.


And that was the moment Jenla Ruf realized the mistake she made, a mistake she vowed to correct.


Continue Reading »

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Building Your Story Part II: Scripting

Published by under Role Play on Mar. 23. 2012.

((The RP XP with MJ #31))



The Zabrak Padawan made his way through a back alley of Coruscant’s Old Galactic Market with the body of his shrouded master cradled in his arms. Tarik glanced over his shoulder at the Rattataki woman behind him, barely registering her on-guard posture and the long lightsaber hilt held in her hands.


We’re in your neck of the woods, Tarik,” Veetha sneered. “Why all the shadowy back alleys? Tryin’ to make me feel at home?”


Because you’re Sith, for one. Because I don’t want to attract the attention of Coruscant Security for another.”


Veetha reached out and gently tapped his shoulder. “Aww, that’s sweet. The lil’ Jedi cares about me.”


Not for a second. I just don’t want to… have….” Tarik stopped before they got to the cross-street and his arms began to tremble. He lowered himself to his knees, his expression blank, his mouth hanging open as Veetha stepped up next to him and crouched to his level.


What’s wrong, kid?” She touched his arm and shook it gently, but Tarik continued staring into nothingness. Suddenly nervous that she was going to be swarmed by Jedi who sensed her presence, Veetha stood and turned, holding up her hilt to defend herself.


Yulie,” Tarik whispered.


Veetha spun.“What?”


Leaving his master’s body in the alley, Tarik stood and suddenly turned the way they had come.


Tarik? Where the hell are you going? What about your master’s carcass?”


Ignoring her, the Padawan picked up his pace. He didn’t look back as he called out,“She needs me!”


Veetha watched him hurry back down the alley, her eyes wide. The Padawan didn’t answer. She figured this Yulel was probably another Jedi – they were always running to each other’s aid, weren’t they? There were two reasons she felt compelled to join him. First, she felt something for him. His determination surrounded by a boyish innocence was somehow …entertaining.


Second, she was a Sith’s apprentice… alone on Coruscant.


Veetha broke into a run to catch up with Tarik.



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Your RP Q&A #3

Published by under Role Play on Mar. 16. 2012.

((The RP XP with MJ #30 – Q&A #3))

Since this is a Q&A article (if you’re new here, I do this every 10th issue) and I have a personal story of my own, we’re going to leave Tarik, Yulel and the “MJ Fiction Players” alone this week and concentrate on your questions, especially since one of the questions involves the fiction that kicks off the column each week.


My story involves the near destruction of this column and my life in SWTOR. Ok, my wife would roll her eyes and call that the exaggeration that it is, but as a writer/producer/RPer I tend to lean toward the dramatic. The short form is this: This particular article may seem a bit like it was hastily thrown together. That’s because it was. In fact, if this wasn’t a Q&A week, there probably wouldn’t be an RP XP today.


For those of you who don’t follow me on Twitter, you missed the dramatic story about my dead video card and loss of a couple day’s work on my pending novel and various editing projects – not to mention the loss of valuable MMO time. The short end is… I found a nice card (and highly recommend the GeForce GTX 550 Ti for anyone on a modest budget and, like me, don’t have what I’d call a “gaming rig”). The card is more than a match for Star Wars: The Old Republic as well as graphics grinders like Skyrim. If you’re shopping for a card, check it out. My old one, in case you’re curious, was a GTS 240 and came stock with my Dell Studio XPS, which is a great machine for creative types who aren’t run-gun-slash-kill gamers. There are gaming machines specifically for that.


RolePlayers don’t really need that kind of power though, do we? 😉


Now enough about me. Let’s talk about you. On to your questions.

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An RP Perspective on the Legacy Patch and Beyond

Published by under Role Play on Mar. 09. 2012.

((The RP XP with MJ #29))



Darth Tagious stood over the corpses of six Republic soldiers and sneered through a rasping exhale. A jutting steam pipe nearby added to his hiss, the sound echoing off the rusty tubular chambers of the Works deep within Coruscant.


He angled his head up, his piercing red-tinted eyes glaring miles through the heavy structures as if he could see his apprentice with the human Padawan they had left to die.


“So, Veetha… you mean to betray me to the Jedi,” Tagious breathed. “Let them come.”


Of course it didn’t really come as a surprise to the Sith Lord that his Rattataki apprentice would turn on him; it was every good apprentice’s challenge to eventually try. But the ebb of Force energy off the girl was different, clouded, masked in some way.


Tagious left Veetha with Tarik for a reason. He wanted to be done with her. He wanted to use her to lead him to the Jen’Hutis.


His sneer became a shallow laugh, then a roar of victory. Who better to lead him than the illegitimate daughter of a Jedi Knight?


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