((RP XP with MJ – I answer your questions))
It’s time for another round of YOUR RP QUESTIONS! (Insert John Williamsesque fanfare here).
For those of you keeping track at home, or building a reference library of RP how-tos, here are the links to the previous Q&As here on swtor-life.
Every 10th RP XP I’ll take a moment to answer your burning RP questions. Now I haven’t been back all that long, so I really had to scrape. At least one of these is from an earlier batch I never got to. So, if you’ve been holding back because you didn’t think I’d get to you, /yell PLEASE don’t be shy. Send your questions to me A) Here, in the form of a reply to any of my columns, 2) By writing to me directly at swtorliferp(at)gmail.com, or C) Hitting me up through Twitter (I’m @MJswtor).
Now on with this week’s questions….
I tried RP, got pulled into ERP. How do I get out?
Ooh. That’ll happen. Let me guess. You had a nice lead-in to RP at a local cantina (see my guide to BARPing in the last two RP XPs) and were excited to find yourself invited back to his/her ship to continue chatting “in private.” Maybe you were lured with the promise of continued RP. Maybe your new chit-chat buddy dropped character for a moment to complain that the chat box was getting too crowded. Whatever the case, you found yourself getting groped (In-Character, that is).
Before I can really answer, I’d need to know what you did. It sounds like you “went with it” regardless of how uncomfortable it made you feel, or maybe you simply logged out and now you’re afraid to go back. Depending on your solution to the matter before you brought your question to me, I have good news and bad.
The good news is if you logged out in a panic, the other person should get the clue. If they hit you up again, just tell them politely, “((Sorry. I don’t do ERP.))” It’s that simple. Even in a virtual world, “No” means “No.” Though I’d warn you now that you will encounter the odd (and I do mean ODD) ERP “rapist” who likes to act out violent sexual fantasies or fetishes. Don’t let that deter you from living your character, though. Those people are few and far between. Just remember, you can always log out, and if you feel you’re being harassed, you can report the offending character/player to BioWare. Be wary of anyone who doesn’t begin an ERP with an Out Of Character dialogue to set boundaries (or who doesn’t respond when you try to set the boundaries).
The bad news is just going to require a little work on your end–and this is only if you went along with it even though you were uncomfortable. Chances are the other person may hit you up again for RP. If that’s the case, you’re just going to have to come clean and tell them you don’t want to do it again. Send the character an in-game mail message if you want to avoid a live confrontation. Chances are they’ll be embarrassed that they lured you in to something you weren’t comfortable with and you won’t hear from them again. And there’s always “/ignore” if that’s not the case.
Be aware of your surroundings and what’s going on in your RolePlay. If you begin to grow uncomfortable with something in the other person(s) RP, break character and ask for clarification, or tell them you’re not into that particular thing.
When creating a story for a plotted event, how do I know how long to make it?
A TV or film script is generally one minute per page. That’s great if you’re shooting your own internet video. That’s not the case in RP, however, because you’re going to have a lot of breaks in the action to explain things OOCly, you’re going to have pauses while you wait for players who had to AFK (Away From Keyboard) in the midst of the story, or you’ll have to hand-hold slow typists and endure pauses that are typically much longer in RP conversation than in the real world.
What works for me is to keep to the Three Act Rule and keep your notes extremely short. If your story is dialog heavy, be sure to include a lot of exposition or carry the dialog to different locations in order to keep the play interesting. If your story includes a lot of dueling or in-game combat, keep in mind that people’s play styles will now ebb into the flow of the story as they have to switch gears to beat the Heroic you threw them into as part of your story.
Here’s an example of what I mean by “short”:
ACT 1 – Establish contact on Tatooine (My character informs the others that a vital piece of Republic intel was taken by the Imps. I’ve traced it to Voss).
ACT 2 – Travel to Voss (We are attacked on the way. Each person will pretend to either fly the ship or man a turret. [Here is where you can establish rules for the “/roll” command (more on that below)]).
ACT 3 – The group fights their way to the stolen intel and recovers it. (Using the Cyber Mercenaries HEROIC+4).
Doesn’t seem like much, but keep in mind that any time you switch locations, move the story, or something new happens, you’re changing acts. Generally, even a fast-moving RP can run from 20 minutes to an hour per act. That’s an hour minimum for the story outlined above, and that’s not including any internal conflict. Say for example one of the people in the party plays an undercover Imp. Naturally, they’ll try to sabotage the intel rescue mission. That will add some great drama to the story, but it will also add time.
I hate that we can’t sit in chairs. When will that happen, and what do we do in the meantime?
You’re preaching to the choir. I would much rather see a sit-in-chair animation than chat bubbles at this point. While pondering your question, I searched the Web for anything on SWTOR and chair-sitting. No surprise: I was lured to a forum post under the heading of “Chair Sitting: The Final Post on the Topic.” I never read the forums. I can’t stand flaming and name-calling and BioWare bashing. It’s just a lot of ignorance.
But, every once in a while you come across a gem of wisdom you hope the Devs will pick up on.
Here’s a Dev quote someone found and regurgitated: “We’re always looking to add things that enhance and support roleplaying, but we have to weight the impact some of these new features might have on performance or other quality-of-life improvements. There may be room for us to create specific social spaces with sittable furniture, for example, but converting all furniture in the game would be a monumental task.”
The poster went on to (no surprise) rail against BioWare for being so “helpful,” but not without a good point: Why worry about creating sittable furniture when you could simply create a “sit-in-chair” emote? It worked for Star Trek Online, among others. You simply hop up on a chair, turn around, and type “/sitchair.” Viola–chair sitting ANYWHERE! I don’t blame BioWare for wanting to concentrate on other improvements (though they should really leave PvP alone. From what I hear they spend a lot of time fixing things that PvPers complain don’t need fixing). Other quality-of-life and performance enhancements should always be top of list, right before “New Content.” But this poster makes a good point. Don’t waste time on furniture, BioWare… Just create a new emote.
As for what to do in the meantime, I suggest “Expositional Standing.” Meaning: Walk up to a chair, stand in front of it, and type, “/e sits down and crosses his legs ((pretend I’m sitting)).”
Lame, I know. But that’s as good as it gets unless you want to do the “/sit” command… which, admittedly, looks very awkward in a chair.
I’ve never seen anyone use the dice roll command. Isn’t that an RP thing? What would you use it for?
By typing “/random” or “/roll” you can generate a random number from 1 to 100. This command is useful for people who RP D&D style and affect using multi-sided dice to generate results. For example, say two adversaries are facing off and want to duel. The problem is that both are supposed to be equal (say they’re both Sith Lords), but one is Level 18 and the other is Level 53. By facing off and having each person “roll” to determine a successful hit, you can level the playing field. Granted, it’s not as dynamic and cool-looking as an actual duel, but it does the job.
The great thing about the “/roll” command is you can use it to generate any random number in virtually any random span. Let’s use the example of two Jedi Padawans sparring. We’ll call them Myx and Jevv.
Myx: /roll 1-100 (generates a random roll from 1-100) = 23
Jevv: /roll 1-100 (generates a random roll from 1-100) = 50 (Jevv’s strike wounds Myx)
So, next round:
Myx: /roll 1-50 (generates a random roll from 1-50) = 13
Jevv: /roll 1-100 (generates a random roll from 1-100) = 72 (Jevv’s strike wounds Myx a second time)
So, final round:
Myx: /roll 1-25 (random from 1-25) = 24
Jevv: /roll 1-100 (random from 1-100) = 13
So, Myx got in a lucky jab when Jevv wasn’t expecting it. The duel can go on like this, each wound costing the opponent half of their points (or however you choose to cut it) per round, diminishing their chances of maintaining strength or footing in the duel without ruling out the chance of a comeback.
Do you have a question for MJ? send it to him directly at swtorliferp(at)gmail.com, reply here, or follow him on Twitter @MJswtor. ((The RP XP with MJ)) appears right here on swtor-life.com exclusively every Friday.
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