Roleplaying in Celestial City! (A primer)

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Roleplaying in Celestial City! (A primer)

Post by jessi_pintens » Mon Sep 28, 2015 4:46 am

Roleplaying in Celestial City

So, your character is working out exactly as you'd hoped, and you're having a wonderful time as you find scenes that become progressively more interesting and exciting. Sure, there's always the occasional bump in the road, but you're discovering that more often than not, you're enjoying your play. Every once in a while, you hit a hiccup. Maybe someone doesn't really get into what you're trying to accomplish, or maybe they're playing a way that feels foreign to you! Sometimes, it can feel like other people are almost speaking a different language.

So, here are some ideas in a few categories. We've compiled them from our own experiences for you, and you might have some different thoughts yourself. Feel free to let us know if you have any extra thoughts you think should be covered here! And bear in mind that this LONG post is not some sort of perfect gospel. This is just the combined ramblings of a few of us, so we would love your thoughts and feedback to make it even better!

**The Basics of Roleplay**

To learn how to RP, it is important to separate what happens in character (IC), and what happens out of character (OOC).
In character(IC) refers to actions of characters within the framework of the adventure. This includes everything someone says and does. It also includes anything the games master (the person(s) who organised an organzied RP Event) describes.

Out of Character (OOC) refers to anything that happens outside of the adventure. The reason to separate them is to avoid confusion.


A big part of RP is about how characters talk to one another. In Second Life, you can simply type in the chat box. Doing this represents conversation. For example:

Shop worker: Greetings, sir, and welcome to Dave's electronics. Have you heard anything about then power is going to be coming back on?
Shopper: Not a thing. Just another reason to get rid of all of these annoying capes if you ask me.

Should you want to complete an action, you can use either * or the /me command (emote). If you use the /me command remember that whatever you type will be displayed as an action. If you want to also talk in the same emote, you should use quotation marks ("blah") to make it clear what your character said out loud. For example:

Smuggler: *Slices into the computer network* I hate these antiquated computer systems.


Smuggler: /me slices into the computer network. "I hate these antiquated computer systems."

Both are acceptable, and both let the other players know what they see your character doing and what they hear your character saying.

OOC: Should you want to tell your RP group you are doing something in real life or say something outside of the RP event, you can either use a different chat channel, say guild chat, or you can use (()).
((Need to answer the door, BRB )) for example. Remember, only those within chat range will get a message like this in general chat. So, if you need to let a larger group now, make sure you post it in the right window!

In addition the games master (GM) may use this command (()) to describe what is happening. ((Panther Girl's costume is ripped to shreds by the buzzing blades flying around in the air)) ((The clouds gather and the ground begins to split apart))

What you can do...

So now you know how to type the keys to make your actions and words come to life. But what are you actually allowed to type? For me, this was the hardest part to get used to in roleplay like this. I used to be super-guilty of god-modding.

Now, everyone who has played with me might find that impossible to believe. After all, I play the furthest thing you can imagine from characters with god-like powers. And yet, despite that fact, I was accidentally crossing that line without realizing it! To avoid falling into this pitfall, the basic idea to remember is simple:

Your character's actions end at the end of his/her fingertips.

What does that mean? Well, here's an example. For purposes of this example, let's assume that I've snuck into a room and my partner has described himself as sitting at a desk, wearing a pair of big headphones while typing at a keyboard. His back is to me.

Panther Girl sneaks into the room, seeing the man typing away on the computer. She creeps in slowly behind him until she is only inches away from him, taking advantage of the fact that he is absorbed by his work on the computer screen. She grabs his ponytail, yanking back on it and placing a claw against his throat. "Late night at work?" she hisses softly.

It seems reasonable, doesn't it? He's distracted and I'm a stealthy character. But it assumes so many things. For all I know, the headphones are actually hooked up to speakers that amplify and pick up every sound in the room. Maybe he knew I was coming and is actually watching me on a webcam on the computer screen he is so intent on staring at. Maybe he has alarms in place around the room that will sound if anyone steps on the floor. Maybe the ponytail is a clip-on! Following the fingertip rule, here is how the post could be simply modified. It might result in the same thing, but it might not, and this next post will make it clear I am open to whatever my partner has in mind.

Panther Girl sneaks into the room, seeing the man typing away on the computer. She creeps in slowly behind him, believing that he is absorbed by his work on the computer screen. If she gets to him before he reacts, she will grab for ponytail and then yank back on it as she reaches up to try and place a claw to his throat. "Late night at work?" she would his softly if she succeeds.

In a nutshell, you don't ever punch someone in their smug face! Instead, you aim a punch at their smirk and they will tell you what happens!

Okay, so those are the basics of how to make it clear what you're doing. But that just begs the question, what *should* you be doing? The following are just some guidelines, but they can be a great way to get involved with what is happening in Celestial City.

*RP and Immersion (Keeping it real!)*

We strive to make Celestial City a fully immersive SIM. We want you to be able to step fully into the role of your character while here, and to forget that any other world exists out there. To keep full immersion at Warp 9, when RPing bear in mind the following:

If RP is happening behind closed doors, send an IM to see if you can participate. From a realism perspective, you would not know that something was happening unless the RP spills out into the outside world. You'd notice a gunfight in the streets, but you probably wouldn't notice someone being quietly held at gunpoint behind closed doors. NOTE: Even if your character has X-Ray vision or can pop up through toasters into those private places, you should always ask before stepping in!

If an RP is happening in the outside world, feel free to join in. If it is something dramatic and it is witnessed by your character, then you must react as you would if you saw it in real life, even if you just run away. This would apply to fights, kidnapping, struggles, even arguments. Let me tell you... some of the best people I've ever played with I met by going wide-eyed and rushing away from what they were doing in the streets. People really appreciate it when your reaction as a bystander makes their action become that much more real.

Unless you have advanced senses you should not notice someone hiding or out of your characters field of view. This can spoil the RP considerably if you notice someone in the sewers for example. A good rule of thumb is to remember that just because you read it in someone's post does not mean your character saw it. You should try to realistically put yourself in the place of your character and ask yourself if it's something they would have noticed.

Although we have our names above our heads, unless you learn the name through conventional means, you would not know who they are. Also, some of the player characters appear on television, (check the forums) so feel free to act starstruck. Now, it's okay to use someone's name to identify them for purposes of your posting. You could type that you "point your gun at Marie" even if your character doesn't know her name is Marie, because that's just a way to identify who you are pointing at. But you shouldn't walk up and say "Hello, Marie," unless you know her name in character.

*Blend Into the Story Instead of Fighting It*

I put this one first because I think that it's the most important thing for you to know before you consider joining into the ongoing story lines. The core story of Celestial City generally has a dozen or more players all engaged in an improvisational blend of story arcs. It can be a very complicated dance at times, with everyone needing to be conscious of the impact their actions will have on others. As I mentioned in the previous installment of this series, it's a group effort, so one player running around focused on only his own story will do a lot more bad than good.

So, if you want to engage one of these players, understand that your role might have to be a small one in the beginning. Taking on Sir Jerry or Shiva in glorious single combat seems like a great way to get yourself noticed and force yourself onto the big stage, right? But the problem is that it's likely that character has a number of other stories that he or she is already juggling. So, in addition to being difficult to fit in the time for a massive Man of Steel style slugfest, it might just not fit with what is going on at the time. And since we're an entirely consent-based SIM, it just isn't likely to work out the way you have it imagined even if the fight does take place.

So, instead of taking actions like this that can potentially disrupt other stories, focus your efforts on playing a part, no matter how small, in the already existing story. My first role in the ongoing story of Celestial City was tiny! I was hired as a maid by Elysium House and then later arrested while going to check on my boss, Persephone, at the jail. That led to a really fun railroad of a trial, which then led to some still-unknown group kidnapping me afterwards. So much fun from just being in the wrong place at the wrong time!

Which leads me to...

*Understanding the Story Before Jumping In*

Now, before you can find a place in the Story, you need to understand what is actually going on. You can get this valuable information, quite often, simply by spending some quality time in the role of a citizen of Celestial City, whether in your alter ego or as the part of a regular person. Citizens are able to be in places and to watch things that other people just can't. Listen in on conversations. Ask questions about what people are doing, and what their jobs are. Pay attention to the notices that are going around.

Also, read people's character listings here on the forums and profiles! These are all great sources of information regarding what the story is, so that you can spend some time thinking about what potential roles you might be able to play. Remember that a lot of the time, the information that you find is actually OOC. Be careful to pay attention to what is actually out there as public information. That, of course, you can easily find by looking at the IC News Reports here on the forum!

There are always openings to be filled, and sections of the story that would just work so much better if there were a person available to play this role or that.

Which leads me to...

*Ask for Ways to Become Involved*

The best way to join an ongoing story is to *ask* to be involved. If you think of an idea about someone's plot, pitch it to them! It's likely that they'll be happy to hear it. If it doesn't fit, they might be able to make some suggestions to help tailor it so that it does.

Don't be afraid of other people. Don't be afraid to get involved with others. Yes, some may reject you, but others will be much more welcoming, don't be disheartened by those who don't involve you, and don't hold it against them if they don't, sometimes, a new RPer can be just as intimidating to other RPers, as a more experienced one in that setting can be to a new player.

If you can't think of a specific idea, but have watched someone play and think that you'd love to join in, just tell them that. First of all, they'll be flattered. Second, they might just happen to have a great idea for a role they' need filled. Maybe they're supposed to have a long-lost relative but never had anyone to play the part. Maybe they've been looking for a nemesis. Maybe they've got an idea for kidnapping an unsuspecting heroine or citizen, breaking her spirit, renaming her Lilly and enrolling her in the ... Oh, sorry, got a little carried away there.

But, the point is, spend some time learning whose style you like, and just as importantly, whose style your own matches with. Then take the plunge and let those people know that you'd like to play a part. The more open you are in your willingness and flexibility, the better. You'll be amazed by what an even modest opening can grow into.

If you can't think of anything or find a place to fit in, fear not! Another excellent opportunity is now available for you! Celestial City has a great system in place for you to find a roleplaying job for your character. Just check out the listings here in the forum of the many, many jobs that are open and available. The sky is really the limit here, so if there's a particular thing you'd like to do that you don't see listed, odds are good we can make it happen for you!

*Earning Your Spot*

Ok, so this one is partially touched on in some of the other areas of this note, but I want to give it its own heading so that I can make it very blunt and obvious. You need to earn your place in the story, and you do that by playing your role, however small it might be, well. Starting small gives you the chance to show your stuff and earn your stripes.

Because (and this is important):

*No matter how amazing and wondrous your idea might be, and no matter
how incredible you think it would be, do not expect the Admins to
just jump on board and bend the world of Celestial City to make it happen.*

If Chyleste responded to every request to blow up a building (which she already wants to do, mind you), rob the Science Center, poison the water supply, and rain locusts from the sky, there wouldn't be anything left of our beloved Celestial City! She doesn't have the time to pour through them and, more importantly, it's critical that you show that you are committed to invest some time and effort into the SIM before you have this kind of impact.

Honestly, if you're not comfortable starting small and working your way up... if you feel like you need a SIM-wide flash in order to really get interested in playing, then you're probably not going to keep interest in playing here for very long. So, if you want to do and be involved with big things, prove that you are ready for the small ones and show that you are willing and ready to add to the story.

You don't have to always be THE hero or THE villain. In our minds, we often paint our character as the center of the story. When you have a large group of people coming together for a collaborative story, you have to remember that other RPers also have stories they want to tell, and often, those stories will require your character to take a back seat, or support role. This is not a bad thing. A lot of my favourite RP memories come from being in a support role for RP.

*Making Mistakes*

Don't be afraid to admit mistakes. We all make them, if you make one, just admit it and get things back on track. Retcons aren't always a bad things, they can help a lot if needed, of course, sparing use is always something I'd recommend or people may get confused as to where your character stands. Also remember that mistakes aren't always bad for character development, they can actually be VERY helpful.

Mistakes can take a few forms:

1. Roleplaying with a person you don't blend well with: This happens all the time. You start roleplaying with someone and quickly discover that you don't mesh. Maybe you're both looking for completely different things. Maybe your styles are totally different. My best recommendation here is to have a polite discussion in IM about what isn't working. If you can fix it, great! If not, it's okay to simply call the scene and part on friendly terms.

2. Missing something in a post: This happens to absolutely everyone. The bigger the scene, the easier it can be to get caught up in the moment and miss something important. You should always do your best to read everything going on around you and react to it accordingly, but sometimes either you or your partner might miss something. If something like this happens, just reach out with (( )) or in IM and point out either the thing you missed or the thing you think they missed (i.e. "Ahem, Jessi, could Panther girl really leap like that with those cuffs on her ankles?") Then, you can just retcon the posts as needed.

The important thing here is that you keep it civil at all times. Always remember that the person you are playing with is giving up valuable time in their Second Life to play with you. Bear that in mind and be appropriately appreciative. If you assume they're trying to "cheat", it's only going to end badly for everyone involved.

This sentence doesn't belong here at all. It has nothing to do with what is going on around it. Oh wait, and neither does the whole rest of the paragraph. That's because it's only here because I was curious to see who might actually be reading the entirety of this monstrosity of a post. If you do read this paragraph, you are officially awesome in my book. Feel free to send me a private message saying something entirely nonsensical to let me know you got this hidden message. And then sit back and bask in the warmth of knowing that I love you for it.

In all cases, if you reach a point in a scene where you and your partners cannot come to an agreement on what should happen, it should never devolve into an OOC fight. Just reach out to an Admin and we'll help get it resolved!

*Winning Isn't Everything... or anything, really*

You can't win every time. Well, okay, if every one of your scenes is with ME, then you can win every time. But chances are you're going to end up playing with other people who also have a desire to win.

Now, now, I know what you're thinking... but Jess! My card says that I am the greatest swordsman ever! I can't lose a swordfight! Then, my whole life would be a lie! I can only be defeated if they stand on one foot while reciting the name of my seventeen forefathers. It says so right on the card!

This is a collaborative world, remember? And I'm not saying that you should just knuckle under every time. However, I can tell you that some of the best scenes come from surprise defeats. Just think of the roleplaying opportunities for your self-described greatest swordsman when he is humbled and then has to train all the harder for a rematch?! Failure is the greatest thing that can happen to any character. Just watch any movie, read any comic book, or pick up a newspaper and you'll see!

If you absolutely are not willing to lose a fight, be sure to inform your partner of this, in frank terms, right up front. If they feel the same way, it is probably better for you to both just move along for other partners.
As always, contact me with any questions, thought, or feeback you might have!
Thanks to siphon for making me this wonderful signature!

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Enhancement Characters-helping to build everyone together

Post by Chyleste » Sun Feb 14, 2016 12:08 am

Celestial City is not just a basic SIM in Second Life. This is a living, breathing, evolving world that we are creating together. We all form the lore and story of this world. Every scene, every character, everything everyone does forges the world and shapes the future.

There are epic adventures, climatic battles, sinister plots, perverted kidnappings, kinky meetings, light hearted romps, and personal drama. At the core of our world, above all else, is the characters. That is what brings this world to life.

It can be difficult to really flesh out and grow your character's personality and story. Good characters should be much more than just a bad ass powerful metahuman. A good character has depth, motivations, personality, all shaped by their experiences--their ups and downs, their failures and setbacks, and how they personally react to everything. A lifeless generic character is as boring as an emotionless robot simply performing programmed tasks.

With all that said, we need to help each other develop those three dimensional characters. This thread is a place to network to help each other. To help flesh out everyone's main characters, we need some lesser characters. Maybe you need to build up your hero's reputation as a good guy. Maybe you need a wanna be hero for your villain to defeat. Perhaps you need some henchmen. What about a reporter to interview or record a scene, a detective investigating someone's past, a confidante to discuss your thoughts?

We are now encouraging people to have some minor one shot or recurring support characters and "jobbers" that soul purpose is to help flesh out and build up other people's characters. If someone helps you (or even if you don't have anyone helped ) you should try to help someone else with their story lines.

Support / enhancement characters don't have to be fancy or really too detailed. They are not the star of the scene. They can be thrown together quickly, even use the default Ruth avatars if you want. Keep any powers simple to fit whatever scene is needed. One-off support characters don't need approval for a couple scenes. They can develop into full time characters if you grow attached.

In this thread, please list how to contact you in world if you want to help play these types of support characters. You can list what kind you think you can play best and even your personal likes and limits.

If you are looking for someone to play support characters for your stories, write up what you are looking for here and how to contact you in world. REMEMBER if someone helps you then you need to be sure to help others. Give back to the community.

Building up everyone's characters and stories will help the entire SIM. Let's add more life and depth to our world.

Please keep this thread informative. Off topic posts will be removed. Thank you.

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Re: Enhancement Characters-helping to build everyone together

Post by LillianVickson » Sun Feb 14, 2016 7:19 am

Great idea, Chy!

Right now I lack the time and perhaps even motivation to advance my own characters just now. That is why I will watch this thread for what other people need and try to fill that. It should spice things up for me and the sim.

Make sure you mention when you usually are in-world folks!
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Re: Enhancement Characters-helping to build everyone together

Post by Xander » Sun Feb 14, 2016 7:27 am

Fleshing out a character sounds dirty...I'm in! Seriously though I'd be glad to help with that now that I'm starting to get better.

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Re: Enhancement Characters-helping to build everyone together

Post by Talista Glas » Sun Feb 14, 2016 8:00 am

I have 3 characters already that can be used for helping others. If anyone sees me online and wants to RP with me, about half the time I'm just circling (and if I'm busy, can always queue you up for next shift/next night). Seriously, you can rp with one of my main characters, just let me read your profile card and tell me what type of scene you want to run. I have a magical villain, a street-powered cop, and a mercenary who is essentially a cybernetic Lady Deadpool. Just pop me a line, usually on later evening EST (occasionally weekends, but not this weekend). Even if you don't know me; I like meeting new people.
Gimme the sauce, Morty, I need the sauce.

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Re: Enhancement Characters-helping to build everyone together

Post by Asrya » Sun Feb 14, 2016 9:06 am

In sim I'm Asrya Amaterasu or (rarely) Colleenia Tyran
I adore making these one-shot type characters. And if you want a little motivation for creating a throwaway character you can feel free to use the half-assed 'story' below to inspire your own.
All types tried to hide within the massive city, some snuck in, some were changed after arriving. Some merely gave up. But hatever the reason, the wasteland was pocketed with those few communities who thought it could survive The End without the help of anyone.
How wrong they were.
Twisted and changed by the irradiated wastelands, forged in the ugly trials outside of the oasis of the city are what once were human, and others, who scrabble for life. And some of them have begun coming back into the city seeking who-knows-what.
The above was the general concept behind a raver-styled meta who makes flash-bangs and was raiding the gas station. Feel free to use it if you want.
That being said, I'm always up for playing one shots because it's a great creative exercise to write supporting cast. So if you ever have need of a player to fill out a scene with any kind of character, I'm always up for discussion of whatcha need and what kind of scene you're looking for. I'm mutable and adaptable and am not afraid to let one shots die, get maimed, or otherwise traumatized.
Hell... within reason my mains can be too.

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Re: Enhancement Characters-helping to build everyone together

Post by Butterfly of Doom » Sun Feb 14, 2016 10:07 am

I put 2 npcs in villains sheets. minor powers
"The nerve of... Ugh!"- Celeste
"Our enemy is never as evil as we imagine." - Katyusha
"Darlin. You’re hotter than donut grease at a fat man convention." - Anna
"..." - Eventide

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Re: Enhancement Characters-helping to build everyone together

Post by Timberwulff » Tue Feb 16, 2016 8:13 am

Got minor villain, was a thug but got his leg taken off by Timbers hammer after flying him to the hospital Timber went back to fight the big Demon who called him BRO and later was told that thug had dies but it could all be a ruse.

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Re: Enhancement Characters-helping to build everyone together

Post by Butterfly of Doom » Tue Feb 16, 2016 9:39 am

haha no. Sir ben Ded knee is drom a tribe on an alternate earth. He shouldn't have done goon work. Buts hes alive. Gonna have him show back up with a prosthetic leg and a anger for Timber. Still no powers
"The nerve of... Ugh!"- Celeste
"Our enemy is never as evil as we imagine." - Katyusha
"Darlin. You’re hotter than donut grease at a fat man convention." - Anna
"..." - Eventide

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Re: Enhancement Characters-helping to build everyone together

Post by LillyanaKabal » Thu Feb 25, 2016 2:41 pm

I could probably make The Disk. A minor villianess with the power to hypnotize people that want to be hypnotized.

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Re: Enhancement Characters-helping to build everyone together

Post by Pyrria » Thu Feb 25, 2016 4:05 pm

I have some random civilian alts I could use to help people out as a kidnap victim, hostage, unwilling test subject, whatever. I'll do what I can to help.

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