Join the World of Esferos!
The center of roleplay in TWP is the map of our world, Esferos. Our canon is tied to the map and our stories are built by our community—whether you're into nation building, international affairs, or rootin' tootin' cowboys, you'll find something that grips you here. There's no telling how deep you'll go!
Citizens of The West Pacific can request a place on the map to develop a history, culture, and people for their nation. While collaborating with others, you will create roleplay like factbooks, news, stories, or sports—essentially, whatever you want to do with your nation within reason. The current RP year is 1422 AF, this translates to modern-day Earth. Most technologies are also roughly equivalent to the modern day.
Before we get too into things, if you have any questions, you may address them to one of the Lorekeepers on the TWP Roleplay Discord server.
We very strongly encourage you to join RP Discord server before you submit your Mapplication™. Ideally, we want everyone to have the opportunity to get to know the different regions of Esferos (geographically and culturally) and see who is active there so you can decide which area is the right fit for you, as opposed to throwing a dart at the map.
Where can I roleplay?
TWP's forums are the official home of TWP's roleplaying—there are four roleplay subforums available for use:
Atlas of the Occident - Map and Factbook - Home of the regional map and forum-based factbooks of the nations that reside in it.
The Repository - Local & World News - The place to post newswires about the goings on in and around your nation.
Roleplay - How the West Was Won - The general RP subforum. If you have an IC roleplay thread to post, it belongs here.
OOC Support - Information & Dispute Arbitration - The place where OOC threads belong and where disputes can be resolved.
And of course the RP Archive, which is, as you guessed, where really old clutter goes.
The TWP Roleplay Discord server is the home of OOC discussion and worldbuilding. Its activities include nation building, arts and crafts, regional planning, and all sorts of other things, but it is not the place for in-character (IC) talk. It is also not a gameplay or foreign affairs Discord, nor a substitute for the general chat and spam functions of main TWP server.
You can find an overview of the server's rules, roles, and channels and links to helpful resources in the #welcome-info channel.
RP Spreadsheet - This contains the core statistics and basic information for all nations on the map, including capitals, land area, population, languages, and much more.
Session Zero Guidance - This guidance forms the basis of our shared world. No one is allowed to go against the guidelines set in the Guidance.
A brief "Session Zero" for TWP Roleplay
The term "Session Zero" comes from tabletop roleplaying games, in which before a campaign starts, the game master sits down with the players to introduce the setting, set boundaries, and clarify expectations for the coming games. For our uses, it refers to the most basic rules and customs you need to know before starting to build your nation on Esferos.
When in doubt or in need of help/guidance, ask the Lorekeepers. They are all experienced in subjects related to wordbuilding such as history, military studies, archaeology, anthropology, and political and international studies. They also guide the balance, quality, and realism of our shared world, and may take action to enforce it.
An overriding goal of TWP Roleplay is balance—this means everything good comes with drawbacks. No nation can be good at everything, just as no nation can be bad at everything.
You cannot “win” the RP spreadsheet
Your goal should not be to have the highest number on a sheet. Having a high population, a high GDP per capita, or high military spending each have their own drawbacks. It is a balance.
Existing technologies with widespread implementation, such as cell phones or helicopters, are fair play.
Advanced technologies with limited or experimental implementation, such as fully autonomous vehicle fleets or advanced laser weapons systems, are guided by balance: if a real-life analogue nation has access to a technology, then you may attempt to justify that access by defining the balance.
Real-life religions and languages do not exist on Esferos. Similarly, you cannot use RL religious symbols in your IC religion. You may reference them as inspiration or ‘flavour’ out-of-character. Using similar inspirations to other nations does not mean your nation must be related to them.
Your nation didn't always exist in its current form. People probably lived there for thousands of years, but much of it was in a very different form to modern life. It's unlikely that the exact same political entity that exists today existed hundreds of years ago.
Ancient developments should follow a timescale with reference or similarity to the real world. If you are interested in exploring the ancient history of your region of Esferos, you should look into real-world societal developments for similar regions and timespans on Earth.
Modern developments should also reference the real world. For example, the ‘Industrial Revolution' was a process which unfolded at different scales and speeds around the world from 1760 to today.
International relations don't have to be cordial, and your nation can have been friendly and have histories with countries it isn't friendly with today.
Just as RL religions and languages don’t exist here, RL places don’t exist either. Do not name your nation, cities, and other things after prominent RL places like “Shanghai”. Exceptions are common given names like “Georgetown”. If you need help coming up with names, ask in the Discord or check out a random name generator.
There is no magic. That doesn’t mean people can’t believe something is miraculous or magical, but you cannot state as an OOC fact that it is.
You should make distinctions between historical, semi-legendary, and legendary events and figures.
Just because something is not an OOC fact does not mean that it cannot be believed to be fact IC.
The laws of physics are the same as we understand them in the real world. They cannot be manipulated or exploited in any extraordinary way.
Humans are the only available species to roleplay as.
The current year is not the beginning of your nation’s story
We recommend avoiding the propensity to make big events happen in the current year; you should roleplay past events or allow them to be a historical fact.
Just because you weren’t playing your nation before does not mean it didn’t exist or have relationships. Talk to your neighbours and define your historical relationships with them, it’s all part of the fun!
War is difficult, messy, and detailed
There is no total victory. You should find some drawback or disadvantage to your activity—there’s no fun in always winning all the time.
Just because you have a large army and say military spending is 50% of your GDP doesn’t mean you win. Be tactful and realistic; look to real life examples and ask the Lorekeepers for help if you need it.
Yes, North Korea is a “real life example” but their level of expenditure is an extreme outlier and comes at great cost.
Border changes will not happen without Loremaster approval. This would be dependent on quality and content of roleplay.
Remember that matters of war and military are subject to oversight by the Lorekeepers for balance and realism purposes.
You are not a “recently discovered tribe”, and avoiding other common tropes
There are no “undiscovered” nations on Esferos, just as there are none on Earth.
If your nation is “opening up diplomatic and foreign relationships after a long period of isolationism” you are not going to be up to the modern standard of life or technology.
Continents are not “Teams”
The Continental Congresses don't have meaning beyond out-of-character (OOC) planning. There is no IC organization called a "Continental Congress".
In the Continental Congress channels, we come together to plan histories, geography, and other things that affect our neighbors, but the goal isn't one continent-spanning intergovernmental organization. Avoid treating continents as teams.
A few community rules
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Worldbuilding and RP can be daunting, but you’re not alone—we’re a community.
Roleplay is multilateral, which means every party has to agree—you only participate in ways you agree to. If any issues arise, please let one of the moderators know.
Along with this is zero tolerance for hate imagery or masked clones or iterations of nations like Nazi Germany.
This section is adapted from the TWP RP20 Guidance and Rebalancing, which includes a slightly more in-depth version of the Session Zero.
Esferos lore introduction
Our planet is called Esferos, a medium-sized terrestrial world orbiting a gas giant around a binary star, and is the only astronomical object known to support life. Its surface covered mostly by oceans, with a handful of major continents and numerous smaller island chains.
The five continents of Esferos are Andolia, Aura, Doll Guldur, Nur, and Polaris.
Andolia is located in the southern hemisphere — a land of broad grasslands and forests in the east, mountainous shores in the west, and deserts and rainforests in between. Andolia also has the most active volcanos of any continent.
Aura is regarded by some as the historical center of Esferos — much of the southern part of the continent is tropical, covered in lush rainforests and fertile plains, while the north is much more arid and contains the world's largest desert.
Doll Guldur is a rugged land in the northeast of the region — its terrain is made up of great plains and wide forests, with shattered mountain chains along the eastern coasts. Doll Guldur also contains the world's largest endorheic basin.
Nur is located far to the east the other continents — its surface is covered by plains and rainforests in the north to mountains, temperate forests, and steppe in the south. Nur is the largest and least densely populated continent of Esferos.
Polaris is located in the far north — it is a land of great forests and greater mountains in the west, grasslands and hills in the east, and desert in the center and south. It is also home to the largest freshwater lake in the world.
Most of Esferos uses the Markian calendar system, which counts time from the founding of the Holy Principality of Saint Mark. One properly counts time using the BF and AF suffixes, short for "Before Founding" and "After Founding". The current year is 1422 AF. You can easily translate between the Markian and Gregorian calendar by taking the year in the Gregorian calendar and subtracting 600. For instance, 1900 CE in our time is the same as 1300 AF in roleplay time (1900-600=1300).
The international language of Esferos is called 'Common'—it originated as a trade pidgin among sailors in the Darkesian Sea and spread from there. Out of character, most players use English to approximate it, but it is not related to English in-character.
Esferos is a multipolar world—no single power international power has the strength to dominate the others.