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Online Achkaerin

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RP Guide for TIO Members
« on: October 27, 2017, 05:03:55 PM »

Welcome to the RP Guide for The Independent Order, here you'll find resources and ideas in regards to the different ways you can RP within the region. Note please that while I have attempted to make this guide as comprehensive as possible it is not exhaustive, each section also makes reference to 'experts' by which we mean RPer's who may be able to answer further queries.

Quick explanation of RP within TIO

Roleplay is anything and everything your nation or representatives of your nation get up to within the Modern Tech (MT) roleplay of the region, so everything from diplomatic meetings to economic details to full on wars. Of course this is regulated in our case this is by our Roleplay Moderator/Magistrate who at time of writing is DaveIronside, generally speaking if he thinks there's a problem he'll raise it with you and help you work through it. What's most important to us all of course is having fun and this should be fun which is why we work the way we work on the moderating side of this to ensure that your RP experience is as fun as possible.

Reference Topics

Templates - for factbooks, character profiles etc
Dave Military Building PLC - Dave's help topic for building nations military's if you're worried.

Index

Online Achkaerin

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Re: RP Guide for TIO Members
« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2017, 05:37:39 PM »
Getting Started

Useful contacts: Achkaerin, DaveIronside

So you've just arrived in the region and want to get started in the RP? Great we're thrilled to have you and if you're confident jump right in to one of the RP's that are ongoing. But if you're unsure on what to do there are plenty of ways you can ease your way in. As you're new to the region one of the first things you should be doing is applying to get on the RP map. This for a new player is an excellent first goal to set yourself because it's easily achieved as you only need six RP posts to get there for example the following would qualify as six RP posts:

  • Claim your spot on the map - yes this does count as an RP post, as cartographer I recommend that this be the first RP thing any new member does because it's the easiest way of ensuring you get the spot you want. The map is updated every two weeks if it's going to be delayed I do usually make an announcement concerning that. You have completely free reign on where to claim as long as you do so within the rules of map claims.
  • Start your factbook - This forum is where the information about various nations is kept, this template gives a very good layout and doesn't require too much effort to fill in. We do encourage originality in nations but understand that there may be various reasons why this does not happen. A good tip if you're struggling with the GDP per capita is to figure your population against a real life countries and make a fair estimate based on that. But we'll cover factbooks in a later entry. There's also a character guide sub forum where you can set up an encyclopedia of your characters, again this will covered in a later entry.
  • Set up your news thread(s) - There will be more on this in another entry but in this forum each nation keeps their news threads which are essentially newspapers or news stations reporting on various events occurring within the RP. There's also a sub forum in there titled Press Offices where various declarations can be made.

You have there the basis of getting to six RP posts - a map claim and the basic set up posts. Once you're on the map you'll want to get into your first RP if you haven't already done so.

Your First RP

With the basics done you'll want to start easing your nation and characters into the RP world of Mundus, how do you that? Well you can jump into one already happening or create your own - for the purposes of this guide we'll cover this from the point of view of getting involved in one already ongoing and deal with creating an RP in a later entry.

Generally there are two types of RP:

Open RP - this is an RP open to anyone, these are great fun since they cover almost any circumstances it's possible to imagine - everything from being washed up on a desert island to murder mysteries most will have (Open RP) after the topic title which will further help you identify which ones are open.  Do bear in mind however that some open RP's may be advanced in terms of plot (which can be gauged by the number of replies) or may be intertwined with other threads or long running plots- for example a murder mystery may be tied in with a background plot for a coup. If you're unsure it's a good idea to contact the person who started the topic as they will probably be best placed to answer any questions in this regard. If you're new to RP and this idea interests you I suggest you find a relatively new open RP to jump in on, there are usually a few of these at any one time.

Closed RP - this is usually straight up diplomacy or other meetings between a limited number of parties so for example a diplomatic meeting between Achkaerin and East Moreland would be a closed RP. Usually it's fairly obvious either from topic title or the first post in the topic that it is a closed RP given that usually the first post in such an RP tends to be an invitation of some description. If you are new to RP then this type of RP is probably the easiest way for you to get used to Roleplaying, this can be done simply by contacting an active member and asking about this.
« Last Edit: October 27, 2017, 06:45:51 PM by Achkaerin »

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Re: RP Guide for TIO Members
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2017, 09:11:50 PM »
Your First RP

Useful Contacts Achkaerin, Libby, DaveIronside

So you're all set to RP but you're not sure what to do? Never fear help is at hand right here, in this entry we'll cover how to ease yourself into the RP and give you some useful tips on different types of RP and how to make things interesting because the more interesting something is the more chance people will pay attention and get involved.

How do I get started?

Two ways - the first is by creating a thread (which we cover later) the second which we'll cover now is by joining an already existing Open RP.

The first thing to note is that the majority of our RP takes place in the Diplomacy and Events Forum. Next consider which RP to join, generally if it's your first RP pick one that doesn't have that many replies to it or is relatively new as these give you the best chance for creativity. The second thing is what type of RP is it? The reason for this question is that how characters act is dependent on the circumstances occurring within the RP, so a character at a formal dinner is going to behave in a certain way whereas a character caught up in a life threatening situation is going to behave very differently. If you're jumping in to an RP you should first read the previous posts or contact the topic author to ask questions, this is something strongly advised if things look complex because most of the time they are not - what you'll actually find is that other players take elements from within the RP and advance character based story lines off them. For example during Little Death I used the murder that took place in Achkaerin as a means of fleshing out the characters within one of my nations noble families and ran a story line that tied that family to the victim.

Anyway after reading the content of an RP you'll come to writing your post so what should it be? Well again this depends on the RP context of the topic. For example something like the Utman Declaration of Independence gives an easy in as it allows for statements from national governments, something like a multinational meeting such as the Trans Ardia Partnership is a more character based setting from the start.

If starting an RP then you need to consider what kind of RP it is you want to start - Open or closed. If you're completely new to RP and just want to get started then I suggest a straight up closed RP based around an initial meeting with another nation, my guidance here would be look for your closest active neighbor, generally speaking on Cotf Aranye that could be Achkaerin, Royal Seleucid or potentially Kaitaine, on Alba Karinya East Moreland, Vafleon or Balticum would be good starts. For Ardia the Iwi, Ui Cenneslaig, Himeyama or Gowu and finally on Albion Lodja, Ecclesiastical State or if you don't mind waiting a little Arda Tuluva. Usually when pursuing this option you'd be looking to formalize a basic agreement of some sort with each other.

However if you've got a solid Open RP idea don't be afraid to go for it. Generally Open RP's take a little more planning but are more fun as things are far less predictable, take the 2017 East Moreland Festival of Sail, started out as a ship procession and celebration and finished up as an impromptu Royal Wedding. As you may have gathered an Open RP is all about the planning, this doesn't mean knowing exactly what is going to happen because a) no one's a mind reader and b) it's unlikely people will join an RP that's completely pre-planned. Instead know roughly what your "endgame" (outcome/conclusion) is and have a series of flashpoints (events) planned along the way, so for example assume it was a series of murders your endgame would be the arrest and interview/death of the killer with the flashpoints being breakthroughs in the case for example evidence being discovered or other murders, arrests of suspects etc. What you'll find is as you plan things out like this you get an idea of where you're going and how to get there but it's an adaptable framework that can suit a wide variety of in character developments.

My Golden Rules

1) Think things through. This is not to say that people don't or won't think things through but whenever I write a post whether it be an official statement from my nations government or a speech from a Royal at a meeting I always ask myself "What are the in character implications of this likely to be?" Now I do this for two reasons 1) it helps to avoid having to retcon the statement later or U-turn official position and 2) It avoids massive Out Of Character (OOC) arguments.

Let me give an example let's say that a nation is embroiled in a civil war you will have other nations taking various positions, some will support either side others will remain neutral and call for negotiations, if you were to write a statement of support for one side then the chances are that an implication would be that such a statement will draw criticism from other nations.

2) No character knows everything - No character is a mind reader, sounds common sense but it needs stating. Your character is not going to know everything about someone they've never met before. Granted if it's a prominent public figure they may know somethings but not all. You also are not going to know about things that have taken place in private where your nation has no presence, this would be considered close to metagaming. However bear in mind three things:

a) Things can be picked up - for example if your character behaves in certain ways around people then it will allow characters to form opinions this is comparable to body language and first impressions. Consider the character of Besarian Ivanov, the way he acted around Lady Jasmina in the aftermath of Queen Viktoriya being crowned Queen allowed for other characters to form opinions on his more devious character.

b) Events can be suggestive - It's true no one can know everything but people can make logical guesses by means of deduction. For example, the Borland Separatists (a terrorist group that has beef with East Moreland) are led by a man named Kyle Barren now if he were to be assassinated on the orders of King David of East Moreland no one would be absolutely certain because no one from a nation other than East Moreland would have been in the room when the order was given but the fact that the dead man is Kyle Barren is enough for people to make the jump.

c) The experience factor - this is just for new player reference but you may see references to the behavior of characters being regarded as expected, this is because there is a relationship between characters whether that be an acquaintance or friendship or something more. For example let's take the characters of Empress Emerita Beatrice of Rokkenjima and Crown Princess Serenity of Achkaerin, these two have sat around the same negotiating table at several summits so they know each other well enough for Serenity to be able to answer the question "Did Beatrice act in an unusual manner?" as your characters develop various relationships they will also get to this point.

3) You can say NO - It's something else that should be obvious but you can say no to ideas, we're a welcoming and friendly bunch in this region and usually have a few ideas of how to get people into interesting RP, it's important that people bear in mind that such ideas are only that - ideas, if I say to you "How do you feel about a kidnapping in your nation?" then I'm simply asking "Can I do a kidnapping in your nation?" if you say no that means I have to go off and ask someone else.

4) Do your homework - sounds dull but potentially one of the most useful points. Many of us use character profiles to keep information about our characters (see the Besarian link above) checking these can sometimes provide useful information that you can use as an icebreaker which in turn will help you settle into an RP.

5) Proof read - I don't necessarily mean this in terms of spelling and grammar but in terms of content, what I like to do is write something but not post it, then I do something else (usually listen to music) for a few minutes and then go back and re-read the post to see if there's anyway I can make it better. This is also where some handy constructive criticism from fellow RPer's can help.
« Last Edit: November 10, 2017, 05:36:28 PM by Achkaerin »

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Re: RP Guide for TIO Members
« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2017, 05:29:46 PM »
Treaty Writing and Negotiation For Beginners

Useful contacts: Achkaerin, DaveIronside

If you're active in the RP the chances are that at some point you are going to end up involved in discussions around a treaty. There are of course many forms of treaty extending from the basic bi-lateral treaty to mulit-national treaties governing organisations and even some beyond that. The current major international treaties in force are:

The Uppsala Convention - The rules of war in short the Mundus version of the Geneva Convention. Important note in regards to this treaty is that any nation can be held accountable to it whether they've signed it or not, however only signatory nations have judges assigned to the Convention Court.

The Fair Seas Concordat - Usually abbreviated to FSC. This is a direct copy and paste of UNCLOS.

The Mundus Convention of Universal Rights - Usually abbreviated to MCUR. In simple terms this is an in character version of the real life European Convention on Human Rights with additions. This is a little different to the Uppsala Convention and the FSC in that it's not suspect to not sign up to this one because ICly there are and will probably be more nations that have issues with sections of this. It is advised that you view this as more of a declaration than a treaty.

The Outer Space Standards Convention - Otherwise known as OSSC. This is essentially an in character enforcement measure against people choosing to weaponize space, claim territory beyond Mundus etc.

Treaty For the Protection of Hygelac and Hrothgar - This is a treaty that ensures that the in character equivalents of the arctic and antarctic are explored for scientific not military purposes.

Generally speaking you will find that these treaties get referred to a fair bit - there are others but these are the main ones. I encourage everyone to be aware of them and what the general implications of them are both in terms of your nations responsibilities to uphold the treaty provisions but also what breaching those treaties means. In the case of breaching a treaty you will find a variety of things are likely to happen usually in broad terms the ramping up of international pressure on your nation. It is one way of pulling other nations into an RP.

However before you go doing things contrary to treaties allow me give some advice.

1) Be aware of the likely consequences - As implied above there are consequences to breaching treaties in the case of breaching the Uppsala Convention it is highly likely that the international community will take strong measures, if for example you drop napalm on people you will attract attention, you start massacring civilians you are going to get nations turning up ready to step in and stop you from doing that.

2) Check you aren't a prior signatory - It wouldn't be the first time that a nation has done something against a treaty only to have it pointed out that they have also signed the treaty, my favorite example would be Kaiser Adolf's anti LGBT laws which ran contrary to the MCUR provisions, a treaty they were signatory of. Just make sure that whatever you've got in mind is not going to run contrary to what your country has signed up to if anything. Also if you are going to withdraw from a treaty have a reason for doing so - it may well be that your out of character reason is to enable a future plot but in character you should have a reason.

3) Don't do all the running - If you are going to breach something like the Uppsala Convention within your own nations borders please don't have your nations media report it in such a way that a breach is obvious, find another way to get the word out that is less credible because if your national news says "our national forces today wiped out a village of 300 civilians." then I will guarantee you'll get boxed in very quickly because of what the reaction to that would likely be, instead have your national media report that as something like "our national forces today attacked and captured a village used by (insert terrorist group name here), in the course of the fighting we lost (insert casualty number) soldiers and 300 terrorists were killed."

So how do you go about writing a Treaty?

In general the principles behind writing a treaty are the same regardless of how many parties there are to the treaty, so ask yourself a very important question first - What is the purpose of the Treaty? For example is this about friendship between nations? Is it about trade? Is it a declaration on Climate Change? Answering this question is important because it will help you and the others involved shape it. Let's say you want a basic bi-lateral treaty between two nations to formalize relations, first draw up a basic treaty outline here's one I made earlier. Each of the sections provides a basic idea of what goes in each part, diplomacy covers ambassadors, travel, extradition and such, trade is self explanatory, defence again is somewhat self explanatory though also can include intelligence matters. Special agreements is something I incorporate because there are things that may be agreed that don't fall under other headings so for example nation A agrees to train X number of prospective astronauts from nation B. Finally miscellaneous this is basically final administration points such as how long the treaty remains in effect for.

Once you've got a good idea of what goes where have a go at writing in the detail and present it to the other nation involved and then we come to the negotiating phase.

Negotiation Theory

Let me begin by explaining how negotiation actually works - the building blocks.

1) Common facts - all negotiations will have a set of common facts these being things known to both parties so for example the respective reputations of their nations, the strengths and weakness's of each others nations as understood from public information.

2) Private facts - each party will have a set of facts known only to them, these will form the basis of their negotiating position - what their main priorities are and what they're prepared to compromise on.

3) Compromise - this is defined as "An outcome that neither side is happy with." think of it like this - you want to buy a house you are prepared to pay 100,000 for it the seller is prepared to sell it for 200,000 you agree on the price of 150,000. This is the essence of a compromise as you have paid more than you would have liked and the seller has sold for below what they wanted to get.

So how do I negotiate?

This varies depending on the situation, a good general rule is that the fewer the number of parties the easier the negotiation is going to be because there are less competing interests to balance, so in theory a bi-lateral treaty is the easiest while something like a multinational treaty or peace talks is going to be more difficult.

What I advise everyone to do before getting into a complex negotiation is work out your position in advance by answering the following questions:

1) What does my nation want out of this?
2) What is the priority order of what my nation wants?
3) What is my nation prepared to trade off?
4) What are my nations red lines?

As an aside if you ever end up in the position of having one of your characters chairing something like peace talks then I strongly advise doing as much research on the situation as possible, talk to those involved by PM to recap what is and is not known within the in character context.

Also bear in mind that in negotiations there tends to be a stronger position and a weaker position, a real life example of this would be the Brexit negotiations where the EU holds the stronger position and the UK the weaker position - these positions are usually determined by who has more at stake. Within RP please be aware of this.

Negotiation tactics

1) Ball parking - Consider the example of buying a house again the buyer wants to buy as cheaply as possible the seller wants to sell for as much as possible. If I am selling that house I would know the value of the house for example let's say it's 250,000 obviously I don't want to get less than that in the sale so I put the house on the market for 400,000 - why? Because I know whoever's buying the house is going to want to buy it for less than I'm offering to sell for but because I want the actual house value in the sale I start high to bring the buyer into my ball park in terms of value. From the buyer's point of view the theory is in the same but the reverse, where the seller comes in high to sell for as much as possible the buyer comes in low to buy as cheap as possible and therefore bring the seller down into their ballpark.

In RP terms this is more applicable to business deals than anything else but it can also apply to other aspects of negotiations such as a percentage of funding to be borne by a nation for a science project.

2) Trade off's - This is useful when you have multiple items to negotiate on and works well in partnership with your priority list. Basically you give ground on a lesser priority to demonstrate good faith in order to strengthen your hand for your more important priorities. Sort of losing the battle to win the war.

3) Keeping quiet - This only works at multinational summits such as the MCUR summit. Basically have your character sit there and keep quiet early on in negotiations as others speak, this will reveal indications as to their negotiating positions which you can then use to your advantage.

4) Bluffing - Useful for negotiations in trying circumstances especially when in the weaker position, if for example your nation is on the verge of economic collapse according to some media outlets and your nation has gone cap in hand to another nation and asked for help then it's likely that the other party will be looking to put all sorts of conditions in place in exchange for the bail out as it were, you may consider in such circumstances downplaying the extent of the crisis to try and lessen the pressure.

5) Blackmail - Be careful with this tactic as it may come back to haunt you, should only really be considered if surprises arise during negotiations that are external to the talks.

6) Strong-arming - Note this is at times similar to blackmail but is at times different best applied to circumstances where you've got the other party "Over a barrel." defined as "To have someone at a disadvantage or in an awkward position." the difference is that there's no need to be threatening if you know this.

7) The walk out - Not to be used recklessly but effective if the circumstances are right. If you're negotiating a delicate treaty and the international community's mood is that there must be a treaty then walking out may make the other side make further concessions. Of course the risk is that you don't get them coming back with another deal.

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Re: RP Guide for TIO Members
« Reply #4 on: November 17, 2017, 06:31:16 PM »
Historical Nations

Useful contact: Achkaerin

At this point before delving into RP planning and other such things I want to spend some time explaining what a Historical Nation is, these are the nations labelled with gold text on the map.

The current list of Historical Nations is as follows:

Each nation is to differing degree's established within the RP tapestry of the region some are successors to previously active RP nations that have left a lasting legacy on Mundus due to some historical event or other. Others are to accommodate the need for RP clarity on certain issues for example Vanora and Abydos between them account for issues relating to the in character equivalent of a Holy Land, while the Allied States of Ardia accounts for one of the most significant RP backstories and the Nuclear Canon.

What does a Historical Nation Do?

Generally they just sit there and do nothing. They will from time to time trigger RP events initially these will be introduction events for those that need them (at time of writing I am brainstorming these). Followed by at later dates other events designed to generate interesting story lines. It is worth noting that if a thread is such that the presence of a Historical Nation is present it will happen - an international celebration in Kaitaine for example would attract Rodina due to the historical link between the two.

Can I interact with a Historical Nation?

Yes you can but I do ask for advance consultation regarding any such interaction and to be clear simple showing up for a friendly diplomatic chat is not likely to happen, these are nations meant for much larger events however such things are not ruled out if they contribute to part of a larger story line. Generally speaking though these nations serve as backdrops for RP.

Can I invade a Historical Nation?

Yes but as the saying goes "On your head be it." each of these nations does have their own military so yes you can fight a war against them but as above these should form part of a larger story line and not be for the heck of it. Also consider that each of these nations will have allies and or friends that are not likely to sit on the sidelines.

What else do Historical Nations have?

Their own characters and a compilation news thread.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2018, 11:04:30 PM by Achkaerin »

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Re: RP Guide for TIO Members
« Reply #5 on: November 17, 2017, 10:44:10 PM »
Planning an RP

Useful Contacts Achkaerin, Libby, DaveIronside, Lakhzovia

A lot of good RP comes from good planning, sometimes building up over a long period of time, over multiple threads. But whether it be a single thread or a long term story line the principles are the same. And here are some tips to help you better plan your RP.

1) Work out Endgames - As mentioned in a previous entry it's important to know where you're going with an RP but be aware that when it comes to RP planning it pays to have flexibility at all times that includes the ending. This is simply because you don't know what other people are going to post and that ultimately affects how the RP progress's, it may be the case that what you originally thought was going to happen ends up not happening. Multiple endgames also help keep things unpredictable.

2) Curve balls and Red Herrings - Curve balls are basically plot twists. I always like to have a few surprises in store to throw people off, note this is done in an IC sense. So you shouldn't be using this as a means of sidelining people but more to throw something unexpected at them to keep them on their toes.  A red herring is something more akin to disguising where a plot is going, the best way of describing it is misdirection you set something up somewhere to distract from the real focus. Generally these may need a little OOC discussion with people involved.

3) Have an out - If an RP gets out of hand i.e. so far removed from the intention for example an archaeologically dig turning into a war zone (oh the memories of Fallen Angels) always have a means of getting either back on track or ending it.

4) The retcon is a last resort - A retcon is a complete removal of an event from the RP. It is a last resort and should not be used simply because something has not gone the way you thought it would or that you don't like it. It should only be used if an RP has got to the point where a thread through various methods has become skewed or 'gamed'. If using the retcon consider how using the retcon will affect others and previous events.

5) TV shows and films are ok to use as sources of inspiration, but try to remember that things may not play out here exactly as they did in the show/film. For example one may post a story around the attempted assassination of a major figure ala the Jackal. But obviously the relative progress of the story will be different.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2019, 02:23:36 PM by Achkaerin »

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Re: RP Guide for TIO Members
« Reply #6 on: November 17, 2017, 11:21:41 PM »
Characters

Useful Contacts Achkaerin, Libby

Characters are the lifeblood of RP story lines so it's important to discuss how to construct a good character. The template for generating character profiles can be found here here. Which when filled in can generate something like this:

Fleur Mishima
Titles"Arctic Fox"
"Queen of Tanks"
EducationOfficer Graduate Achkaerin Army Academy (Armored Corp)
High School Qualifications from Valkyria High School
Positions Held

Major (Achkaerin Army)
Posting: Achkaerin Armored Corp
FamilyMother - Kira Mishima †
Father - Jonathon Mishima †
Grandmother - Gwen Mishima †
Grandfather - Athos Mishima †
Links to Important events?Reunification of Safraen
Seaforth Eugenics War (Officer Commanding Battle of St Catherine's)
War of the Enlightenment (Officer Commanding Battle of Border)
Operation Nightshade
BiographyShe could do without the pressures her nicknames within the Armored Corp bring her way. She's smart, tactically astute and an experienced officer, having developed many of the strategies that the Armored Corp use. She's the granddaughter of Achkaerin's great general of the Mhorish Sea Campaign in the Great War, she's touted as being as gifted as he was and many things are expected of her.

Queen's Star awarded for "Distinguished and courageous leadership in the face of the enemy."
Hermione Leonidas Order awarded for "Conspicuous Gallantry in action against the enemy"


Now no one is saying that this is something you must do, it is simply a useful tool to keep track of character details, I personally find that having an image to work with helps generate a feel for the character, others may disagree with this but each to their own. What's of great use is the record of what they've done and where they've been so for example looking at Fleur's profile we see she's commanded military forces at two major battles in two separate conflicts, this gives suggestion that she is a reasonably experienced military officer. This will also help others gauge how to act around your characters.

So here are some basic tips for character generation:

1) Every character should have an edge - in short something interesting. What is there about this character that's going to be different from the norm? Do they have a disability? Do they work too hard etc. This does not need to be a negative but it is useful, personally I like to focus each character around an area and generate them based on that, this especially helps in terms of general parameters for how they act - a royal will behave differently to a military officer, classroom teacher etc.

2) No one is perfect - self explanatory there should be a drawback to each character especially the ones that get used the most frequently.

3) Have an initial plan for each character - don't just generate a character for the sake of it, have a plan for them. In other words generate characters as required. I usually generate them with an initial story line in mind, after that it's a bonus. For example Fleur was initially generated in detail for the Seaforth Eugenics War, having survived that conflict when I then needed an armored corp officer for the War of the Enlightenment I was able to use her again.

4) Try to be original - When devising character backgrounds and personalities try to, while being realistic, be original, in short make this your character not a copy and paste of someone from real life or other mediums. I accept not everyone has the time to do this but it helps encourage less predictable RP.

Also remember these two key principles about characters:

1) You as the creator of the character have the final say over what happens to them. Generally speaking this is "No one can kill/permanently wound/seriously harm your character without your consent." however this should be used realistically and carefully, for example if there's a bomb blast and you happen to have a character in the vicinity chances are they're going to at the very least get hurt, potentially seriously. If you've got a military character doing humanitarian work in a war zone and a helicopter comes overhead and opens up then it's good practice to be aware your characters squad will take casualties, generally though in that situation the player who puts the helicopter overhead (assuming it's not you) should not be RPing any casualties inflicted.

2) No one should maneuver a situation to deliberately create a no-out scenario. It should always be possible for a character to get through situations presented to them because the whole point of the story is to write their story though various events of the situation. Creating no-out situations is the easiest way to lose people willing to RP with you. It's a delicate balance which is why communication between various people involved on an OOC level is highly advised.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2017, 12:16:27 PM by Achkaerin »

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Re: RP Guide for TIO Members
« Reply #7 on: November 20, 2017, 01:44:22 PM »
Villains

Useful Contacts Achkaerin, Libby, DaveIronside

As we've just discussed Characters in general I want to hone in on a specific type of character that of the villain, some will refer to them as bad guys, some will think of them as bad guys I don't, I prefer to think of them as antagonists, within the RP villains come in two forms nations and characters, the most common form of villain on Mundus tends to be terrorists the most famous being Kyle Barren leader of the Borland Separatists. The point of a villain is  to generate a story arc, to spark interest, to create something. They should be the product of a similar thought process as other things you generate, they should not be deliberately created red shirts i.e. just there to be shot at and killed because that is not good RP.

If anyone remembers the film Shrek you may remember the line "Ogres have layers." well it is exactly the same with a villain they have layers, this makes them more three dimensional,  more complex. It may sound cliched but heroes and villains are two sides of the same coin a good villain is therefore every bit the equal of the hero for example I love the Sherlock Holmes stories and they wouldn't be as good as they are if Moriarty was not on the same level as Holmes. The point is a developed and believable villain is better than a pin up villain.

So some tips for a good villain:

1) Avoid one off villain's - a one off villain is a villain designed for one event by definition they essentially become useless once that event is over so whether they survive it is irrelevant as they then become lame ducks. Therefore I urge anyone developing a villain to avoid designing them for specific events, yes a villain needs to be introduced and an event is the best way to do that but theme the event around what the villain stands for and then keep the villain around, evolving, developing and then bring them in on another event.

2) Give them a cause - in other words what do they stand for? If you've got a villain opposing a government then the question that will be asked is "Why?" when generating a villain ask yourself that question and if you can only answer with "just because" then you probably need to think about it a bit more.

3) Grey is Good - This is probably the best bit of advice anyone can give about a villain. Do not make it blatantly obvious that they're a villain. If you're going to introduce a villain and with them bring tensions leading towards a potential civil war that's fair enough but avoid making them out as the bad guy because that way you can potentially split the international response which will generate more interesting RP, so employ moral grey as the foundation for the villain, that doesn't mean they don't torture, kill or do other things it just means they're careful how they do it.

4) Villain's are not all bad - in short everyone is different just because someone happens to be lumped in with the bad guy side and therefore a villain does not mean that they are necessarily a villain to the same extent as others, the scale of beliefs are different as is the case in many movements throughout history. It's entirely possible for a villain to have a conscience and to find some things abhorrent they are after all still human.

Villain Nations

I'm going to touch on these very quickly - a villain or 'bad guy' nation should follow similar principles. In villain nations moral grey is an absolute must! If you as a villain nation act in a very overtly bad guy way then you will be treated as such and this will in turn have the knock on effect of limiting your RP opportunities. For example there was a nation called Zachachevania, there was no issue with the nations statistics and such once it was all sorted but the fact that the nation was obviously overtly antagonistic created circumstances where when things did develop there was the 'pile in' effect - whereby all the major players ally against. By comparison consider Kaitaine the way it is RP'd is such that the Truthsayer's may be terrorists or they be innocent victims. This in turn means that the Kaitaine leadership is either heroic in combating what would be considered the greatest terrorist threat on Mundus or they're carrying out a mass genocide. The simple fact that it is a grey area allows for Kaitaine to have a solid standing internationally with similar minded nations while those nations that are skeptical have very little to work with.

Going 'evil' - let's say you've RP'd a reasonably standard everyday nation and now you want to have that country go to the dark side as it were. Sim ple question is how are you going to get there? If you're a Presidential Republic a shock election victory for a party that shares the ideology of where you want to go is probably the best way. If you're a monarchy you've got two options either the overthrow of the royal family or a coup from within the royal family. There are other examples but these are the most obvious.

Let's take as an example the Presidential Republic one - how would you go about it? Well it's all in the planning, obviously you need to create the basis for the eventual winners to have an appeal, this means you have to create the circumstances where the incumbent government is negatively viewed. So a dark secret suddenly being exposed, ministerial gaffe's etc are the order of the day there's also the option of having the eventual winner inspire a movement so stuff like "This government is for the few not the many." and "Banker's President not People's President." then close the polling gap maybe have them debate each other and then spring the surprise.

That gets your villain faction into power you then need to consider how to convert what you have into what you want - this isn't going to happen overnight, do it slowly and gradually remember moral grey is your friend in this let's say this new government wants to suspend certain freedoms - find a plausible reason for doing so, such as clamping down on protests that have turned violent. The more sense there is to the reasoning the easier a time you will have to the point where you may even be able to accomplish it all under the RP radar.

My final bit of advice with villain nations is this - pick your battles, Icly look for situations which are universally accepted as bad but very little is being done, acting in such circumstances strengthens your hand and in theory gets your nation friends.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2019, 02:26:40 PM by Achkaerin »

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Re: RP Guide for TIO Members
« Reply #8 on: January 05, 2018, 07:58:32 PM »
Vignettes

Useful Contacts Achkaerin, Libby, DaveIronside

"What is a Vignette?" I hear you ask. Well in simple terms a Vignette, which we post in this forum, is a short story or series of short stories that add to the RP, usually this is by portraying events behind the scenes as it were, I generally think of them as opportunities for character development and laying the foundations of future story lines, in this way they allow you to RP an event that would if put in Diplomacy and Events otherwise be a one hander (i.e. you're the only person posting). So this would be for example the death of a King or Queen, the assassination of a President etc, in short anything that would not normally require another nation or player. Also if I may refer back to the concept of a Villian a Vignette is a useful tool to introduce and develop such a character.

There are many ways of writing Vignettes, you could have a specific story line in mind and use the thread simply for that story line, alternatively you could focus a thread around a specific group of your characters. My approach to Vignettes is the latter because it suits the way my mind works I compartmentalize so I have a thread for stories about the Achkaerin Royal Family, another for the politicians, one for the space agency etc. Importantly this is my personal preference there is nothing wrong with either approach, what matters is that however you write a vignette works for you.

So what should I write about?

Ah yes the million pound question. The answer is actually quite simple - whatever you like, provided it falls within the RP rules so for example writing a story about a detective in your nation would be fine, something out of the Famous Five would be fine but obviously something out of the Chronicles of Narnia in terms of the wardrobe effect is a big no no.

Are there rules as to content?

Yes there are - some of these may not be as hard and fast since the switch of forums but these should still be decent guidelines.

1) Be fair and respectful to the audience - this is more a guideline than an actual rule. It's common sense that not everyone is going to have the same stomach for violence, torture etc as others. So I encourage people to get into the practice of putting "SPOILER ALERT - POTENTIAL UPSETTING CONTENT" at the top of posts (put in a different color and bold it if necessary) if you're writing something that is quite graphic, this allows the reader to know that there may be something in the post that may upset them, now before you think 'Nanny state' let me explain why I encourage this - many years ago I did character based RP in a different genre, part of the story line we were running at the time involved plenty of 'darker' elements, I 'd been having my evening meal, I came back to the computer and played catch up ten minutes later I read a specific post and felt quite ill because of some of the details contained within. Don't get me wrong it was a quality post but the content was such that it would not agree with everyone hence why I have since advised such things as Spoiler Alerts, this is no way means you can't write such things (provided they fall within the terms of service) it just gives the reader the awareness that the content may be a bit too much for them personally.

2) Sex Scenes - Ok let's get one thing straight right from the start, romances between characters have no issues, there's nothing wrong with characters going on dates, no problem with them kissing, no problem with them touching (within reason), this point is not about the romance element it's about how far you can take things when they get intimate. Now in this regard I want to make something clear this is not I repeat NOT Fifty Shades of Grey, from a story point of view there's nothing wrong with that sort of dynamic existing however as with all sexual elements when you put characters in the bedroom I advise people to be very general about it and avoid being overly graphic.

So what is overly graphic? That's a matter of judgement, what I will say is that I've written erotica style stuff for ten years and I've written in my time a lot of detailed posts is this sort of setting and I have never put anything like that in any vignette here, firstly because it was when we were on Zetaboards a breach of their terms of service, secondly if I could do that here would I? In all honesty I probably would, but I wouldn't do it every story because that degrades the characters involved. Ultimately with this kind of scene focus on the characters thoughts and not necessarily their actions too much. And remember use a Spoiler Alert if you're worried about things.

3) Language - Do characters swear? Yes of course they do. But not to Malcolm Tucker levels, general advice would be one maybe two major swear words per post but swearing rants? No, please don't while it's not against the rules it's a major readers turn off.

Now a point for readers of Vignettes

This is quite important to bear in mind - don't take things personally. It's entirely possible that in another players vignette you may see your characters or nation referenced in some way, now depending on how that persons characters view your nation or characters which means it's possible for such views to be negative, so please remember that. I cannot count the amount of times I've had people messaging me to flag up something they've viewed as unfair when it is simply understandable from an IC context. All characters will have IC opinions of various things and they won't all be positive, so to be blunt this is not a harmonious utopia of a world.

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Re: RP Guide for TIO Members
« Reply #9 on: April 12, 2018, 02:56:33 PM »
Organisations

Useful Contacts Achkaerin, DaveIronside

Naturally as nations develop ICly it's inevitable that they'll make friends with each other, establish close relations, find that they're like minded in certain ways etc. It's also possible that a group of like minded nations, or a group of friendly nations may seek to form what I will for the purposes of this explanation term an 'alliance'. If we go one step further a larger scale organisation is also potentially something that may develop.

Now I want to be clear about two things from the start here

1) No one is obliged to join an organisation - ICly it doesn't mean anything to your nations standing if you're not a member of an organisation. Consider the example of the former nation Union of Nordic Peoples, a nation that had ICly a good standing in the international community but was in terms of alliances and such completely neutral.

2) Please develop organisations ICly - what I mean here is don't allow an OOC viewpoint to shape something. For example the so called Mundus Supreme Coalition was clearly put together OOCly with a clear OOC devised aim. The best way to do this is to ICly develop relations with other nations and then float the idea of something bigger.

The Big Two: CTO And CMA

The Commonwealth Treaty Organisation and the Cross Mundus Agency are what I term the big two organisations, in short think of them as United Nations equivalents. They are both open to all nations to participate in, they are a place mainly for debate on issues. The main difference comes in approach, the CTO historically speaking has taken a more direct approach to situations whereas as the CMA works with nations affected or potentially affected - so for example just over a year ago there was major fracturing of a nation on the continent of Alba Karinya, the CMA effectively went to East Moreland (the nation coordinating the localized response) and asked "Have you got this?" so we see the difference the CTO is a more direct intervention element while the CMA is more supportive element.

Now everyone should be aware that both the CMA and the CTO pass resolutions i.e. decisions on certain situations, regarding what a course of action may be. These resolutions can mean, in the case of the CTO, that a member state is bound by the resolutions terms, so for example let's say that the CTO imposed a strong set of sanctions on Rokkenjima including the ceasing of trading relationships with Rokkenjima, that would mean that every CTO member state was required to cease trading with Rokkenjima and this would be regardless of any other existing treaty or principles of any other organisation. This is an important point because it does add a level of caution to any IC negotiations involving member nations of the CTO especially with characters who place great stock in their word, because it becomes very difficult to give absolute guarantee's of things.

How do I draft a Resolution?

The CTO has a Topic with templates for you to use, the CMA doesn't but as can be seen from this post it isn't that difficult. To all intents and purposes drafting a resolution is basically answering the question "What needs to be done to handle this situation?" so for example if there's a situation where two nations have rising tensions towards each other you may wish to submit a resolution calling for diplomacy to be pursued, peace talks etc. So the first point of that resolution would be the proposal of peace talks, the next question is when, where and who chairs? So that would form the second point.

You would then need to consider "What are you asking the CTO/CMA to do to ensure that the talks happen and are meaningful?" so for example consider this hypothetical resolution along these lines:

1. Requests an immediate cease fire for the purposes of administering humanitarian aid, evacuating non combatants and the wounded.

2. Further Requests that both sides in this conflict meet to negotiate peace

3. Agrees that the negotiations should take place at Wyvern Castle, Gowu on the 10th of April, the talks to be chaired by Sakura Sheppard.

4. Resolves to take other action as deemed necessary by the CTO/CMA to ensure a resolution to the conflict if the negotiations do not take place.

The key point is the fourth one, that's in theory a bit of strongarming to get both sides to the table, it's the sort of thing you hope not to need to trigger but if you have to then you need to be ready with a resolution spelling out what action should then be taken this could be sanctions, military intervention or something else. I advise anyone who ends up drafting this sort of resolution to remember the value of a proportionate response.

How do I create an Organisation?

Exactly the same way you would any other treaty but you'd probably do this sort of thing in the Convention Centre forum. However bear in mind that more nations in the room means more viewpoints so it's possible that you may have to compromise a little more on things. Also when you've negotiated your organisations governing document so Treaty or Charter make sure to post a topic in the International Organisations sub forum titled as the name of the organisation containing as content the governing document and a membership list.

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Re: RP Guide for TIO Members
« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2019, 04:28:38 PM »
War RP

Useful Contacts Achkaerin, Libby, DaveIronside, Rhodes

So you've experienced talking with other nations, you've interacted with them and now you feel like blowing something up? Ok then, this is nation RP and war does happen so how do you RP in a war situation? How do you manage one? Both good questions and in this entry I'll endeavour to answer them both. This is probably one of the more comprehensive entries in this guide because there are lot of aspects that need to be covered.

The Basics

1) All War RP takes place in this forum

2) An OOC thread is a good idea and highly recommended - People will have questions and will hopefully want to become involved in your RP. Where the OOC thread is absolutely needed is when two players engage in a War RP against each other. In that instance it is an absolute requirement for you to discuss how the war will go, who will win (if anyone) as well as final losses in men/materials and the major turning points, plot lines and fates of the major characters. Until that happens, I highly recommend that you hold of on the War RP. It's also advisable to contain within any OOC thread a map of the conflict area as this helps others when in the planning stages and the thread can and should be used to coordinate a timeline especially when dealing with multiple parties.

3) Realism - Just a reminder this an MT RP, you're not going to be running around with Vipers from Battlestar Galactica, lightsabers from Star Wars or Daleks from Doctor Who and the laws of physics do apply. Your RP should therefore flow with this in mind, no you're not going to have (as has happened) a 15 year old military genius of a President with fighter jets capable of the impossible by MT standards not to mention the talking lions, but you are going to have a variety of different characters involved each bringing their own expertise and experience into play. If in doubt ask someone.

4) Be aware of the Uppsalla Convention - why? Well it's the rules of war in an IC sense and other nations will hold those participating in conflicts to account by using this convention, and if you're now saying "My nation hasn't signed that" then I should remind you that the lack of signature makes no difference.

5) Nuclear weapons are not permitted without the RP Mod's approval - In 2018 there were three nuclear powers, all three in that year took the decision to disarm their arsenals, so for another nation to have a nuclear arsenal pre 2018 and still have it would affect that decision. This does not prevent a suspected nuclear weapons program being the grounds for war but bear in mind that the actual development of such weapons is at the discretion of the RP Mod.

6) War RP is still a story writing experience. It's not a numbers game, it's not about winning or losing it's about writing the experiences of your characters in a dangerous environment or difficult circumstances.

Planning a War RP

Some of the best war RP's in the region's history have come from detailed planning over potentially several months (Eugenics War) we're talking here about vignettes, news posts, diplomacy moments - essentially a build up in which the sides are developed the issues at the heart of it explored and tensions built right up. Now this won't always happen but there is a big difference between a conflict where the foundations have already been laid and one that just springs up out of nowhere with no groundwork done, and the difference is answers to questions in the case of a conflict where there's been a build up most of the things that people will need to know on an OOC level will be known if there's no apparent build up then people are going to ask questions such as "Why is there a war over this?" so if you're going to do a war RP plan ahead.

If you're struggling with ideas for why this war would start then below (courtesy of Rhodes) is a list of possibilities

1) ideological change
A) political
B) religious
C) other

2) self-determination
A) response to an attack
B) response to outside influence

3) territory
A) national control
B) control of part of a country
C) control of another country

4) resources
A)control of raw materials
B)control of means of production

5) economics
A) control of trade routes
B) control of trade profits

6) treaty obligations involving the above in the nations best interests.

Logistics

Be aware of what hardware is in play in any War RP that you're writing, this includes both at the beginning and as the situation unfolds. For example in the Marseilles conflict initially on the ground the CTO coalition had force commitments from Achkaerin, East Moreland, South Hills, Rokkenjima, Dijel and Nueva Ardia. As that RP unfolded Nueva Ardia went a little rogue and Rokkenjima despite committing the largest number of troops and assets and having overall command never showed up. This was incidentally adapted to very well by everyone involved and was well used as the catalyst for Seaforth to come in and shore up the support for the coalition. In simple terms the point is keep track of what's there because there will be a) reinforcements and b) casualties.

Staying with the troops point there is a point that needs to be made - it is going to take time for assets to get into position, for example in the original Safraen crisis an East Moreland aircraft carrier was deployed to the area now this thing didn't get deployed on the Saturday and magically turn up on the Sunday (covering the thousands of kilometres that would entail would be unrealistic in a 24 hour period) instead it took ten days for that carrier to get there meaning that forces on the ground in Safraen had to adapt to the circumstances and hold their ground for that long. My personal approach is to keep a list on my laptop of where all my navy ships are as this enables me to know which ships are available should something happen and then I can work out how long it will take them to get there.

Also ask the question "Who is this character?" I say this because every character behaves differently, for example General James Robbins of the Achkaerinese army is someone likely to be behind the lines giving orders whereas someone like Major Fleur Mishima of the Achkaerinese Armoured Corps is more likely to be on the front lines in the thick of the fighting. Also remember to factor character expertise into their decision making, some people fight better in certain ways, some people are trained to do things that others aren't etc.

When Writing the Story

Key point here is be flexible, you don't know what's going to happen unless you've planned this right the way down to the smallest detail (which I don't recommend, key moments yes but everything no otherwise it's going to get boring). Each person who contributes to a war RP is going to have their own style of writing and their own strengths, if you can identify these strengths early enough then you can shape part of the story around that and help them have fun, for example I'm not that good at large scale battles - I understand the tactics but I'm better on the smaller scale, some may prefer air combat or combat in a submarine, part of this is about helping everyone involved enjoy participating in writing a collective story. The best way of doing this is creating the foundation for their strengths and then letting them loose to write it in their way.

Keeping track of who's involved on an OOC level is hugely important to a war RP because this is how you if you are the person responsile for the thread will ensure everyone is able to participate. Keep across what others are doing, talk to them OOCly if you have to and if you're stuck for ideas ask their opinion, because nothing is more disappointing to an RPer than to put in a lot of effort and to then get ignored. Now while it is true that you may at times need to slow down the pace of someone's storylines within a war scenario (usually if they're getting way ahead of everyone else) that does not mean you shouldn't be responding to them.

Key OOC point - allow for disappearances. As much as we all enjoy writing and RPing here we all know that real life comes first, things can happen it's not unheard of for a player to suddenly not be able to continue their part. If you are managing a war RP and this happens then please don't pulverise that person's troops into oblivion, push them back, put them in retreat - give the player the opportunity to come back to the story if their absence is only going to be a few days. Also if you are managing a war RP please try not to go missing yourself, now I appreciate that we can all be walking down the street one day and get hurt or have a sudden illness. This is where coordination with the other writers (as per an OOC thread) is useful because it makes it possible for them to continue the story in your absence and if necessary resolve it in your absence, one such example of this would be the Academicia crisis.

So there's a very basic overview (I hope) of how to work a war RP.

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Re: RP Guide for TIO Members
« Reply #11 on: April 24, 2020, 08:28:33 PM »
News Posts

Useful contacts Achkaerin, DaveIronside, Tamora

News posts for the purposes of this explanation includes any post in the international news networks forum (including the sub forums of press offices and tv shows)

The logistics

Before explaining how the posts etc work in these threads I'm very quickly go through some good practice ideas for people to bear in mind.

1) Image hosting sites - very useful for this sort of topic, especially if using different logo's. Personally I use imgur because I find it easy to use but there are others so I suggest finding one that works for you if using images for logo's and other such things.

2) Logo's - easy enough to make in things such as a paint, publisher etc, uploading them to an image hosting site as a png makes them usable.

The golden rule

Everything posted in a news thread, press office or television show is automatically considered public knowledge.

News Posts

These are posts where you can post news stories ranging from everything to do with internal politics, shop openings etc to reaction to international events and how your nation does at sports. Essentially this is almost whatever you want to post provided it falls within the rules in terms of realism.

Press Offices

These are generally topics that comprise official statements from leaders of nations, government ministers and so on.

TV Shows

These are self explanatory and can be anything from a car show, to a travel show or maybe a hard hitting interview show.

Some guidelines

Think about the style - in short are you running a state propaganda outfit or are you running a more open press? If you're running a propaganda machine there's going to be a certain twist on it, it's not going to be negative about the country etc. A more free press of course has more options open to you as a writer in terms of the stories you could do and for anyone new to this sort of RP I would advise going the free press route (after all it's not like you can't post a crackdown on press freedoms later).

Factchecking - Otherwise known as "One of Ach's favourite words", basically if you're citing something in terms of an RP event then please make sure that the facts you're stating are correct in terms of what happened, interpret that fact and spin it however you like if it suits the media article you're trying to write but don't change the fact on which you're basing it, otherwise you may cause confusion.

This point also applies to character consistency, as players we have to treat characters according to their track records (what they've been posted doing), so if a character has experience in foreign affairs we'd expect them to know the policies of a nation.

Language - There's a huge difference between how a politician or other public figure will speak (and behave) and how an average member of the public will. A politician is far less likely to use profanity, they're more likely to be reasoned and constructive in answers, in short they're the ones who are supposed to know what they're talking about. An ordinary member of the public on the other hand is not likely to. Generally I advise everyone to avoid having people swearing or insulting because it ends in back and forth news articles.

Planning ahead - don't feel you need to run a story all at once, stuff like an election campaign can be broken down over a few weeks, a project such as a landspeed record can be as well.