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Zane_Marlowe

RP--Reloaded!

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Alright friends, we've had some interesting discussions about the MP game, fleet roles, and the like. The fleet commanders have spoken with one another about RP in permissive terms rather than in definitive terms (i.e., boundaries but no plan), so this is the thread where I'm going to suggest we hash out the ground rules. I just spent a goodly amount of time looking over past RP threads, going all the way back to 1998, and two things are clear. First, we're not going to see the old RP because that's not how people are here anymore. Second, the MP game can serve RP in ways we're still exploring, and which we should work out here if possible. Given these points, I propose the following.

First, RP requires not only combat, but non-combat actions, so MP by itself is not enough of a platform for RP.

Second, MP can be used to resolve combat in an RP scenario, so long as the results allow interpretation in after action RP postings. Marvin suggested some rules which I reprint here for the sake of this discussion.

quote:

Marvin's Suggested Rules:

1. Only players who participated in the specific match can write up an AAR in role-playing format. Other than that, first come - first served. Those who come after can add to the story line.

2. The story must deal with a match already played and reflect what actually happened in that match.

3. Each player must write only about his/her own character ... in terms of thoughts, actions, and consequences. We shouldn't be trying to get into each other's heads. Include other players only when necessary and only to reflect what you actually observed.

4. No participant can be killed within another player's role-playing story line. Only the player, himself, can make that decision. Any of the kills associated with a fleet match will be attributed to a player's ship. Ways to circumvent an obvious kill include:

Use of escape pods.

Cloning of players.

Being, yourself, indestructible (e.g. Marvin the robot).

Using the transporter.

Giving up (not a suggested solution).

The player killed will decide how to come back from the dead, so to speak. For other players who must describe the kill, refer only to the destruction of the ship.

5. No story line should contradict any previous parts of the R/P story. Which mean, if you're going to contribute to the story, you'd better read what's already been posted.

6. To make the story more interesting, certain facts can be added by senior members of the match. For example, in "Shuttle Attack," none of the shuttles have been given a particular reason for being targets; they might be hauling dangerous artifacts or an alliance dignitary might be aboard. These details could be added to give the story more depth. More interest. But such details shouldn't be included without thought to the overall picture ... else they end up restricting what comes after. Which is why a senior member should be consulted prior to adding details of this type.

7. The story line will take place in the multiplayer universe.

As far as Prime Fleet is concerned, Beta Wing need not adhere to this rule so long as their R/P activities remain within the purview of Prime's role-playing structure and posted either in the Role-Playing section of 3000AD or a similar section at Prime. But, either way, stories based on MP events must take place within the MP universe.

8. NPCs, if included in a story line, must not play a major role in the outcome of any part of the story. A player can use an NPC as an excuse for poor performance but only in general terms. Additionally, if you're going to name your NPCs, give them names not used by everyone (e.g. Resnig). The original crew belong to GalCom's Supreme Commander ... the best you could expect from that group would be clones. If your ship's name is associated with a specific group of characters from a book or movie or anime, think about using them, instead.

9. Any major background story must conform to original 3000 AD "history." Again, details will usually result in a more interesting story but, because of the effect it might have on future play, get it okayed by Remo before posting it for all to read.

On my view, the following rules make good sense: 1, 3, 4, 5, and 9. The others depend on the degree to which RP is MP dependent. I'm going to weigh in on my own suggested adjustments to this scheme shortly, but for now I have to dash.

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quote:

Originally posted by Zane Marlowe:

we're not going to see the old RP because that's not how people are here anymore.

I agree with everything in your post but this. Classic RP takes more time, dedication, and, in multi-author stories, patience than most players currently possess. For example, it took me more than eight months to pre-write my first single-author RP - Elliptical Orbit. Though I had ample opportunity to write during that period, much more than now, there were times when I wanted to quit. Building extensive character biographies, filling in missing pieces of the timeline with little official history to go on, and properly formatting my posts drained me. To continue writing in that circumstance, or to wait for a co-author to come back and post after a week of no activity in the thread is just beyond most people's commitment. It takes dedication, to this game series, to your Fleet, and specifically to fan-fiction-based Role-Play to succeed at this art form.

Trust me; no matter how much time you have available, the degree of your desire, your passion for this largely lost craft of story telling, will determine if you

[*]post once, or even ten times, then quit for one reason or another, or

[*]build your character, succeed in your fictitious adventures, and rise to the level of recognition and respect awarded by this community to only its best authors

That is why I created my Quazar profile after 3 years of absence; it is the reason I joined Earthcom instead of some other Alliance. RP is what has brought me back to this player community for the last 76 months (that would be starting in September, 1998).

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Perhaps if you combined your talets ... agreed to develop just one story at a time. Sort of an "official 3000AD" role-playing manuscript.

Few people have the time to read five or six different stories at once. Personally, I get the story lines confused ... can't remember who is writing what. And, when contributions come at irregular intervals, I can never remember what happened last ... and I certainly don't have the time to re-read what came before.

But, if I could concentrate on one story, I'd stick with it ... read every chapter ... like it was some kind of Flash Gordon serial.

I'd suggest you assign someone to be the story's editor, though. Someone to check spelling and chronology and ... uhmmm, what's it called? Ah ... "continuity." Yeah.

I'd read something like that.

And, if you formed a club or organization to make it work, I'm pretty sure Prime Fleet's Beta Wing would be happy to join.

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Those are good points, Marvin.

If Elliptical Orbit was better than average fan-fiction, it's only because I am a perfectionist, not necessarily a talented writer. I want my stories to be good and to flow from one thread to the next.

quote:

Originally posted by Marvin:

Few people have the time to read five or six different stories at once. Personally, I get the story lines confused ... can't remember who is writing what.

The best guide I have found for tying together at least some RP threads is this timeline. Along with the official game history from the manual, many events therein pertain only to individual characters, most of who's authors are no longer around. This information is quite a bit to sort through, but the summaries of GWII, the Battle of Mars, and other events give reader and writer alike a clear perspective of one author's ideas. Desylva's RP timeline is far from perfect, or even complete, but it is a starting point.

quote:

Originally posted by Marvin:

And, when contributions come at irregular intervals, I can never remember what happened last ... and I certainly don't have the time to re-read what came before.

This is exactly what I have had to do. When I am short on time, I save my work on my computer and come back to it later. Like anyone, I don't have a good memory; and must often re-read what came before. This is because, as a writer and perfectionist, I want my facts to line up together, and with what other authors wrote before me. If it means re-reading what came before and performing extensive research, so be it. That is my level of commitment. This process of sporadic writing and re-reading can quickly turn into a daunting task. It all depends on how dedicated you are as an RP author. Writing good fan-fiction is hard work, but the success you can achieve is always worth it.

quote:

Originally posted by Marvin:

But, if I could concentrate on one story, I'd stick with it ... read every chapter ... like it was some kind of Flash Gordon serial.

From a reader's standpoint the situation is a little different. Reading a completed RP thread requires no waiting, but is akin to reading a Multi-Player After Action Report (MP AAR) for a match in which you could not participate. The personal thrill of being there is gone; but you at least sense the comradship of seeing members of your fleet in action - and representing you.

For example: I'll bet Nick Jamont enjoyed reading about how Ben defeated you in the Fleet Tournament this year. You presented the facts well and with "continuity". You, Marvin, have the writing skills to succeed in classic RP should you choose.

If I read about members of my fleet going up against the enemy forces, in MP AAR or fan-fiction-based RP, it makes me want to join them in their struggle. In this context, you can encourage your fleet members to play MP by writing MP AARs.

quote:

Originally posted by Mavin:

I'd suggest you assign someone to be the story's editor, though. Someone to check spelling and chronology and ... uhmmm, what's it called? Ah ... "continuity." Yeah.

I'd read something like that.

As you know, the Battlecruiser game series appeals to a niche audience. Only a portion of that fan base joins a fleet. Within this smaller community, Earth Command is a niche Alliance that has specific interests within the Terran nation. So currently, I am the only one in my Alliance who possesses that degree of commitment. My goal, however, is to develop a love for fan-fiction in my fleet members so they can shoulder some of the load - and fun.

quote:

Originally posted by Marvin:

And, if you formed a club or organization to make it work, I'm pretty sure Prime Fleet's Beta Wing would be happy to join.

Vanguard Fleet focuses primarily on fan-fiction, participating in MP on the side; so I'm guessing that's what you mean. Though, I don't quite follow your meaning, Marvin. Please elaborate.

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To elaborate.

Beta is Prime's role-playing wing. We set it up to keep non-MP members from wandering off and joining other fleets. But, so far, R/P activity has been minimal at best. It might increase if the wing had more contributors.

Or ... if members of the wing went elsewhere to write ... to combine their ideas with those of like-minded authors ... and then post the results at the Prime Fleet forum.

Such stories need not focus only on one segment of the Battlecruiser/UC universe. If you had a "writers' guild" of sorts, members could be taken from each of the fleets. That way, the storyline could encompass ground ops, space ops, insurgent activities, raider atrocities ... all equally.

A truly collaborative effort.

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My personal thoughts on the RP side of BC are that more use should be made of the single player game experience as it is an area where anything can and does happen. Using AAR's and liasing with other Commanders in a controlled environment using basic rules which I have been working on would be interesting and having an exp system would also help keep things moving along.

If you have any ideas I would be interested to hear them.

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Welcome back, Patrik. Send Denny a PM and let him know you've returned from your deep-space assignment. He's your new wing leader.

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Hang in there, Marvin. I will respond fully to this post when I have time.

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quote:

Originally posted by Marvin:

Beta is Prime's role-playing wing. We set it up to keep non-MP members from wandering off and joining other fleets.

Beta is Prime's Role-Playing wing? Cool!

quote:

Originally posted by Marvin:

if members of the wing went elsewhere to write ... to combine their ideas with those of like-minded authors ... and then post the results at the Prime Fleet forum.

Such stories need not focus only on one segment of the Battlecruiser/UC universe.

Superb observation! It's easy to focus only on your own nation, Terran, and alliance. But that approach can get sticky when you want your forces to interact with other nations.

For example: how are Vesperon Military forces organized? What group types and ranks do they use? When writing about the Empirian-Vesperon War of 3004, or so, would you as an author want to generate such a structure on the fly? Wouldn't it be better if the Vesperon Military fleet structure was already defined? The problem is there is no Real Life Vesperon Military fleet leader here at Battlecruiser Online.

quote:

Originally posted by Marvin:

If you had a "writers' guild" of sorts, members could be taken from each of the fleets. That way, the storyline could encompass ground ops, space ops, insurgent activities, raider atrocities ... all equally.

That's a good idea, Marvin! This is how the rest of us can fill the gap I identified directly above. Such inter-Alliance collaboration ensures that no single outside group can set the rules for an all-NPC military. A writers' "guild" would also pool a lot of diverse talent and perspective.

I believe we should form just such a group in the future. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. We still have our own Alliances to look after and shouldn't forget about Multi-Player.

quote:

Originally posted by Patrik Vanda:

My personal thoughts on the RP side of BC are that more use should be made of the single player game experience as it is an area where anything can and does happen. Using AAR's and liasing with other Commanders in a controlled environment using basic rules which I have been working on would be interesting and having an exp system would also help keep things moving along.

Patrik, it's import to distinguish between fan-fiction-based Role-Playing (such as The Omega Six) and Multi-Player After Action Reports (such as Marvin's Fleet Meet AAR in R/P Format). If you have questions about either one, let us know.

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