Best practices - RP

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Best practices - RP

#1 Post by Nomine » Mon Apr 24, 2017 4:11 pm

Starlight has a tradition of having a wide range of events and role-play(RP). It is a tradition we are proud of and want to continue. It means that Starlight has events going from ice cream and tea at Happy Sofas to those that leave your character broken and battered, even dead.
This post is about looking at what has worked and continues to work in terms of supporting that full range of RP.

At the heart of this document is the belief that role-play at its finest is a collaborative narrative experience. It means we work together to build stories and let characters grow. It is an immersive experience, which tries to avoid interruptions that break this immersion into the story, world and the characters. That we as a group can do that better if we are committed to ideas like community safety, for more info check out this link: viewtopic.php?f=81&t=1175

These best practices have been taken from events run by Starlight members, as well as other RP experiences. It is a document that will continue to grow.

Best Practices as a participant

What if during an event, there is content you do not wish to be part of, or experience?
You can always withdraw consent, in this setting it typically takes the form of one of two ways.
1. You ask the other player to use the "Fade to Black" mechanism. Where you quickly OOC agree on what happened, but it is not played out. Something that allows the storyline to continue, on a group and/or personal level.
2. You withdraw from the event, through letting the arranger/group know you are doing so. No explanations are needed.
As a player who withdraws consent, it is you who should suggest use of "Fade to Black". This helps you to make a proactive suggestion, where you can easily be helped without any pressure to talk about your reasons for preferring not to play this section out in rp.

Expectations /Play to lose/Play to give
This happens when an arranger sets expectations for a story/event, for instance, "I want this to be a realistic, story-driven event with a focus on investigation". You as a player should help build up under that, through taking part in investigation, supporting players with their characters, and building up under realism: Actions have consequences, characters are mortal, mana/stamina runs out)
Doing this is part of what is referred to as "Play to lose" or "Play to give". E.g., you do not play to be the hero or sole focus of attention at the cost of other players' experience (e.g. they are bit part players/audience). Rather, you play to create an enjoyable game for all, and to encourage others in achieving immersion.
While expectations are set from what is planned by the arranger/GM, what ends up happening is primarily driven by player actions in co-creation with the arranger/GM.

Immersion vs. chat channels
During an event, OOC channels can be distracting for many that take part. Please limit the use of them as "entertainment" - eg comments or jokes about what is taking place. The time spent in an OOC channel on entertainment can often better be used in making your character come to life, through characterisation emotes, small talk with other characters, etc.

Gold and riches
There is no real standard among players on "how much one gold is worth". So emotes/comments can be used to build up under the value. "Carefully puts down a silver coin on the bar counter, glancing a second time at it". Or "These 20 gold pieces would go a long way towards buying a home here, it is all I have, I hope it is enough payment to rescue my daughter" - says a whole world about the value of the gold. React to it, within the story`s fiction - even if in another story the reward was 2000 gold pieces.

Forum RP & Stories
This kind of writing is a kind of "Shadowplay", that opens up for characters to show how they experienced an adventure, what they felt, and can act as a launchpad for RP between characters that would not otherwise be possible. It is a treasured tool and strongly encouraged. Starlight's journals can add a layer of depth not usually experienced in rp.

Stick around
RP does not start and stop with the event, nor does the feelings a good story can create. There for it is important to give place for it, which is often right after the official event RP has ended. Staying around can give more room for growth, to let characters react in smaller groups, or 1-1 or let two characters deal with events that had a particular strong impact for them.

Best Practices as an arranger

Set expectations
Clearly inform people about what sort of event you are aiming at arranging. Usually, this will be a combination of IC and OOC communication.
ICly you establish expectations through asking/inviting characters to be at the location for the event at a given time, and what their characters should prepare for.
OOCly you set expectations through being clear on:
Time: Start/Planned end
The kind of content that is planned to be part of the event: Mature, graphic themes, strong focus on realism, dungeon adventure, the number of participants. Particularly important is letting people know about Mature/graphic themes that are planned for the event, so players who are concerned about being triggered are allowed to ask you as an arranger if a specific theme is part of the event.
We set expectations largely so players know what they are signing up for. This often means more people will be willing to take part, and they can be in the right mindset, something that helps with immersion. (Note that the Fade to Black mechanism above protects players from engaging in content that arises spontaneously and is not planned.)

Examples of things you can clarify or mention when OOCly setting expectations:
Mature themes (Violence, sexual themes, gore, graphic violence, death, etc.)
Lore (Level of lore knowledge needed, strict lore interpretation, low lore accuracy, etc.)
Travel (Central part of the story, will not play a role, e.g., jump from location to location, etc.)
Type of event (Social, Casual, Story-driven, IC dungeon, etc.)
Time (Precise start, planned length, number of days, if the story-driven content will happen at one time, but players are encouraged to role play at the location before/after).

Why are we there and why do we care?
Characters need to have an IC reason of why they are at that location, at that given time, when the event starts. There needs to be a hook that helps explain why a character should join.

What to do if a player suddenly withdraws from the event, Opts out or withdraws consent?
- A player may ask for the "Fade to Black" mechanism to be used, which means they wish to continue the storyline, but do not want to play out a particular element of it, for instance, torture or sexual scene. In that case, you agree on what happened OOCly and move on to the next point after that scene took place, continuing RP from that point on.

- A player lets you know they will withdraw from the element altogether. If they give an IC reason - validate it ICly and move on. With validating we mean that you give acceptance to the reason, let the character move out, no matter the situation and with no backlash. If they do not give an IC reason (and none is required) give OOC acknowledgement, continue the event as the player was not there. Do not punish the rest of the group for the missing member. For example, if the player whom left held a key magical artefact, let another player "happen to have taken it". If the player who left had a skill the players need - find another way for them to tackle the challenge.
The Arranger is the one who, if necessary informs the group that a player has left, and that you continue without them.

At a later date/time, the arranger or players who took part may speak about the topic of "your character was there for the first half, and I would like to build upon the RP we did then. How can we do that?" - If the player who withdrew consent then says "no", that is a final no.
Examples: A player whispers "I am not comfortable to this, I wish to leave" = Withdrawing consent, and is acknowledged OOCly.
A player whispers "I am not sure if I am ok with this" - then the arranger can suggest another way of approaching the scene, like "Fade to Black."

Use the in-game calendar, but also look at directly inviting interesting players you meet, ask other guild members for suggestions on who could be invited and for open events, a post on the Argent Archives is key.

Names matter.
Give NPC`s and storylines memorable names that make them easier to remember and more interesting to players. – then reuse the NPCs to become a known person with a history in later storylines!

Describe the danger, don´t assume it is understood.
Particularly in a setting like WOW, there is a very wide range of ideas of what is dangerous to a character. ”There is a large Orc in front of you” – is far less dangerous than ”The large Orc in front of you wears his scars from countless battles proudly”. Or you can let NPC`s react to the danger with an appropriate level of fear, so that players can pick up on their lead.

Let the character's strengths override the player's weakness.
Not everybody knows how to survive in the wilderness, how magic works etc., so don´t expect the players to describe how they will do this if it's only their character who has the knowledge. Feed them the information they need to make their character look good! This is very closely connected to "Describe the danger", as you can supply information both ICly and OOCly. A way to feed it ICly can be through showing the players the danger or consequences of an action "The shadow flame leaps out, melting the rock it hits". Or mention that two guards are overheard describing what happened to the last one that tried to sneak into the keep, etc.

To read about the Starlight`s culture when it comes to Role-play, please check out this post "Role-play within Starlight" viewtopic.php?f=81&t=1181

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