by Max Barry

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by The Commonwealth of Brujland. . 1,121 reads.

Role Playing 101

Role playing 101

Hello all! If you’re new to role playing in Nationstates, or someone who wants a few pointers on how to improve, this is a little guide to help you get better. Some of the tips might sound obvious at times, but a lot of mistakes we'll talk about are easy to make and even experienced RP'ers fall into them. Nomatter your level of experience, it's always good to look back at the basics and make sure you're doing the best you possibly can.

The basics:

Roleplaying is just telling a group story on one of the message boards with the other people in your region. You say what your country does, and then other people can respond to it with how their country reacts.

To tell your part of the story well, you have to make sure that you’re working WITH the rules of your region, and not against them. Read up on the era, setting, and military information of whatever region you’re in. Make sure that when you tell people what your country is up to, it conforms to that information. Besides that, the sky is the limit! Have a civil war within your borders! Have your world leader send some other leader a valentine! Open up trade routes with your neighbors! Just make sure you have fun.

Ok, now that you know what role playing is, here’s a few ways to make sure you have fun the first few times you do it. Even if you’re working within the era and rules of the region, it’s easy to make a mistake that can make you a pretty unpopular guy wherever you are. Follow these tips and other players will be DYING to hear what your country is up to next, as opposed to ignoring your posts whenever you try to start something.

1. Don’t make your country the best at everything.

Most players want to tell everyone else how awesome their country is. That’s normal. We all have pretty darn sweet countries. The problem is, sometimes when we try to tell people how awesome our country is, we accidentally make other countries sound way worse than ours in comparison. When someone thinks you’re trying to make their country sound bad, they won’t want to engage the stories that you try to tell.

Instead of saying that your nation is the BEST at everything, focus on a few things that you’re good at, come up with weaknesses, and engage countries that want to be good at the same stuff that your country holds dear; the two of you are pretty similar!

Read the following examples. Who would you want to play with?

Example of what NOT to do:

Unpleasantopia: My nation has bombs that literally are the biggest in the world. They destroy everything and are better than anybody elses could possibly be because my scientists are so good.

Other nation: Well, I have a pretty big bomb too. My military stats are…

Unpleasantopia: No, yours isn’t even close to mine. Mine is better. Bigger. Explodes cooler.

Example of what TO do:

Pleasantopia: Scientists in Pleasantopia just invented a new type of jet! It’s faster than any previously recorded jet engine!

Other nation: My country has pretty fast jets too…

Pleasantopia: Oh wow! Maybe we should have our nations get together and share design specs! Or maybe we’ll just have to arrange a grand race between jets from our nations to find out who’s is the fastest! Our nation would love to host a big race like that!

2. No "God-Modding"

This rule is a lot like the first one: don't make your stuff so powerful that it makes role play difficult. Maybe you aren't saying that your nation has the best police force in the world, but your police chief is 10 feet tall and can dead-life 400 points. That's not fair for anyone else! The character is too strong for a good story to include them. Whether its an invention or a character, make sure that you don't create something so powerful that it prevents others from having fun.

Example of what NOT to do:
Unpleasantopia- My world leader comes over to yours with his bulletproof armor, anti-aging serum installed, and a detonator to blow up your nation unless you give him all of your money.

Other nationr- Errrr, I guess my world leader jams the signal on the detonator so your bombs can't go off?

Unpleasantopia- I forgot, the detonator is unjammable.

Example of what TO do:
Pleasantopia: Hey, my world leader comes up to yours and says "Please help us! We need money for our starving civilians!" He also has guards around him.

Other nation: My world leader looks yours in the eye and says, "I don't believe in charity! Only the strong survive!"

Pleasantopia: My world leader tears up, but quickly leaves the room with his security to talk to other people that might be able to help.

3. Don't control other people's stuff.

There's nothing more awkward when someone tries to tell you how your nation thinks or responds to another nation. Maybe that isn't what they would have done! Role playing is more than just writing a story; it's writing a story together. When someone hijacks your part of the story (your nation, your characters, or other similar story elements) they've stopped role playing and just started monologuing. Don't be a monologuer. Be a roleplayer. When you are telling your part of a story, make sure you let other nations control their part.

This is ESPECIALLY important when it comes to killing major characters that someone has developed. Make sure you ask permission in a telegram before killing a character that someone has invested in.

Example of what NOT to do:
Unpleasantopia: John Hargrove, the diplomat you just made a factbook about, shows up in my nation's embassy. "Hey guys, what are you... wait, AHHHH!" He screams as soldiers in black masks gun him down where he stands.

Other nation: Wait, why was he there? Shouldn't he have a weapon or something?

Unpleasantopia: He was looking for a restroom lol. Too late now...

Example of what TO do:
Plesantopia- A woman with an athletic build and a skimpy red dress is standing outside my embassy. "Hello, Mr. Hartgrove. Won't you come inside?"

Other nation- "Well, don't mind if I do!" John says with a roguish grin.

IN A TELEGRAM FROM PLESANTOPIA TO OTHER NATION: Hey, I was thinking about trying to assassinate John Hartgrove in the embassy. Would it be ok if I killed him to start a war between our nations?

IN A TELEGRAM FROM OTHER NATION TO PLEASANTOPIA: No, I really like him, but we can let him get injured. Maybe even be in a coma for a few days. Then my people will get angry and we can have a war.

*back in the RMB*

Pleasantopia- Two masked guards stand just inside the doors to the embassy. As the woman runs around a corner, they open fire on John.

4. Try to say "Yes, and..."

When you role play with someone, you're telling a story with them. Consequently, the story really ought to make sense. If you're fighting over the details every time you pass the story back and forth, it gets awkward. Instead of fighting over the story, try to accept whatever the other author wrote, and then build on the details that they provided. Instead of "Wait, no," you're saying "Yes, and..." Now, obviously there are times when details get muddled enough that you have to stop and disagree, but that should be the EXCEPTION to the rule. Your average roleplay should be a smooth back and forth that allows both people to add details, and both players to accept what the other wrote.

Random Nation: My ambassador walks from his embassy over to your capitol building and asks the person behind the reception desk, "Hey, how can I arrange a meeting with your leader? I'm concerned about some of the recent events..."

Unpleasantopia: LOL we have no embassy from your people. You never asked for one. We don't even like u.

Random Nation: Oh, I guess we ask for one then?

Random Nation: My ambassador walks from his embassy over to your capitol building and asks the person behind the reception desk, "Hey, how can I arrange a meeting with your leader? I'm concerned about some of the recent events..."

Pleasantopia: The receptionist shoots a worried look at the ambassador. "I know. I'm afraid too. I can pencil you in with the president this afternoon if you'd like. I hope you can make it. I think we need help."

More to come in the future!
5. ...but don't be afraid to say no.
6. Stay in character.

The Commonwealth of Brujland