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RpNation Newsletter: July 2018

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Roleplay of the Month
@A L M O S

Give everyone a quick summary about what your roleplay is about.
A powerful, and previously hidden, Cabal known only as CHIMERA has come into light. In a display of arrogance, influence and power they tipped their own hands, showing their corrupting presence within the social, political, financial and militaristic machinations of roughly 80% of the civilised and developed world. Nuclear codes, political scandals, embezzlement, black market trade - all the dirty secrets of the world laid bare in shame. As governments tried to cover up, silence and reframe narratives - sleeper agents within the top Intelligence agencies of the world have been activated - tasked with taking out those elements within these agencies which might prove to be too 'unwieldy' to control or corrupt. One such individual - known as the Hunter, learned of this plot and sent secret missives to those few agents of the world who excel beyond all their supposed peers, and who have proven themselves too powerful to control - their skills and patriotism serving as the ink on their death warrants. They are to meet, former rivals - sometimes enemies, now sudden allies - tasked with nothing less than saving the world.

What inspired you to create this roleplay?
I love the spy genre, the ideas of intrigue, drama, reluctant alliances and respect between those who should kill each other but don't - for fear of a world made lesser for it. There is a game called Command and Conquer - Generals, and it's expansion - Zero Hour - in which you play as a general, commanding the armies of the USA, China and the GLA (Global Liberation Army - a middle eastern Terror insert). I played it religiously, and each country had a hero - an icon that was beyond any other single unit. There could be only one of them, and if used correctly they could turn the tides of war. America had Colonel Burton, with his heavy machine gun and explosives. Black Lotus, a hacker who could steal finances and war factories. And Jarmen Kell, a sniper for the GLA, who could one-shot any infantry at a distance and immobilised vehicles. Often in the game, I would choose China, just so I could steal enemy buildings and make my own A-Team. One of each hero, together more powerful than entire battalions. Taking out bases like a well-oiled machine. As you might imagine, I took a lot of inspiration from that, along with some other writing that I might want to publish later. Testing out ideas and concepts. I can't wait to see what these people do with it.

Were there any difficulties that you came across when making your roleplay?
I needed to do research into the various major players in the world. Not just various Governments, but also Businesses, Private Intelligence agencies, Terror groups etc. etc. I needed to figure out a way in which a single group could become so powerful and rich so that they might shake the world, without drawing the attention to themselves before the right moment. I needed reliable sources of finance, reliable sources of 'soldiers' - ways to undermine coordination between intelligence and political groups. Much of this was already done since I have been writing about these things for years, but to convert it to this format took some time. I needed to simplify the plot a bit since it is easier to control the flow of information when you are writing alone. I also decided to not share all the history. Or even the enemies in the CS. I want the entire world to be slowly unearthed through interaction with it. I know few people like that since they want to know what they are up against. I decided to make the 'opening' post as grandiose as possible, immediately showing the power without showing the face. I am glad some took the bait, and are happy with learning as we go along.

What do you believe are your strengths as a GM?
I am locally known as a bit of a world-builder. I have been DM'ing Dnd, Vampire - The Masquerade, FATE and many other RPG's outsides of RPNation. As such I am capable of running a rather complex story in the 'background' while still trying to make the 'in the moment' scenarios seem approachable and interactive. These are skills that you need if you want to run games in person or online. I feel that world-building is vital to these things. Some RPs are fine without it, but to have a strong, well thought out narrative behind the RP really allows one to 'live' in their characters. To know what is going on beyond just the posts and threads. To know that there are consequences. I really want to explore this later on in this. Another thing, which some might not like, is that I am willing to make hard decisions. Too many RPs die out because when interest wanes among some, the entire group suffers. I have made it very clear that I don't mind eventual disinterest. But I won't just let characters fade out or stall story. I am willing to have them die, if it means the story goes on. Luckily the group seems to be okay with that. Understanding that makes it much easier to cut away any necrotic flesh before the system is compromised beyond saving.

How about weaknesses?
I tend to overthink things. It tends to make my replies slow. This is made worse by my need for 'nuance' and 'complexity' which just makes my decisions even slower. I am trying to be less controlling of the world dynamics - as I tend I insist on tonal consistency. I understand that there is a place for humour in horror and suspense within sagas - but I need a level of integrity within a narrative that I am sometimes a bit too controlling over. I am also never fond of most of my characters. They bore me. Especially my Main characters. I am kinda depending on the others to make some cool characters since mine are often quite horrible. I do have a thing for villains though. They are more often than not <kiss fingers Italian style>.

How did you come about roleplaying?
As a DM I never get the chance to play my own characters. I am almost always the one running the game, instead of playing it. I was looking for a place to practice my writing and my Character building. This site, and a few before it seemed perfect. Is perfect still. Which is why I rarely run RPs. This is my relaxing space. But with a recent flurry of RPs that died on me, I felt like I wanted to run something cool, with the goal of having a good story and having it run on beyond just the first few pages. But I am always on the lookout for something promising.

How did you discover RpNation?
It was a mix of various chatrooms, various sites I signed in on, and never went back to. This one just stuck. This was perhaps two? Three? incarnations back. I just found an RP I liked and I was hooked. The system was simple, quick to get used to, easy to 'stylise' - the range of topics and interests seemed quite comprehensive. I found it, and have not really had any reason to leave since.

What is the most unique roleplay you ever participated in?
One of my first RPs was a group of gods, all hanging out on Olympus. It was very different from what I would normally do, but I read the first hundred-ish pages and then made a char - by that point it had been running forever. It was a mix of old, new - various pantheons. In a world that seemed to not need them anymore, they just hung out - explore what they were, and what they should or want to be doing. It was very interesting as a character study - both for the gods and those who RP them. There was very little story, and from that many stories formed. Rivalries formed. Friendships formed. Romance formed. Those who were in it for whatever they were. eventually found someone to share with. At one point there were maybe 10 different stories running congruently. It was amazing. Eventually, it died. But like the gods, it was reborn a few times. Each time, some of the old gods would return, while some new ones would form. I loved it and I still miss it sometimes.

What stood out most?
The roleplayers. I would sit in my lounge, reading on a tablet with coffee - the coffee was forgotten and cold to the side and my arms shook in anticipation. Especially the one who played Hades (this was before I was part of it, still busy catching up). They just wrote so beautifully, so elegantly, so perfectly - that I swooned when I should have. Felt pity when I should have. Understood and condemned, all within the span of a few paragraphs. And it was not just one of them. Many of them were just amazing. Beyond just the context, the characters and the world were so perfect, that I could not resist entering. A perfect example of a created world, a beautifully crafted context - allowing for character exploration and development.

What is your fondest memory of roleplaying?
I was playing a very strategic character (same Gods RP) - and I was up against another god. I wanted to fortify and protect my domain against the wrath of the more capricious gods. I needed to god of death on my side. My rival needed him destroyed so that he could put another in his seat. I could not allow this because the peon he wanted to become the new god of death was not powerful or experienced enough to fulfil my needs. So I offered the current god of death information on the supposed replacement and their weaknesses - undermining the rebellion in order to court favour and eventual alliances. At this point, we had been going for months, and I often paced around in my hallway - thinking about my alliances, my enemies, my resources - trying to out think and play the enemies of my character. I loved it. For large parts of my week, I was my character. I have not really been that invested since. I can't wait for that feeling again.

What are some roleplaying tips and tricks you think others could benefit from?
If there is ever anything where you need to assign your character powers, skills or abilities - take a moment to look at what you are planning. Imagine the most annoying person you know on this site, playing your character. Especially when there might be conflict involved. If there is any chance of them abusing, manipulating, implying or overpowering the narrative using the powers and skills you are currently considering - limit, or remove those things. No matter how fair or good you think you are, don't give yourself the opportunity to be 'that' person. Think of the story as a puzzle. You could just burn the puzzle to the ground. No matter how powerful you might feel doing it, that is not the function of a puzzle. It is there to be solved. Not knowing how to do it is half the fun. Taking the time to learn and understand it. Taking the time to become better. Taking the time to overcome a challenge allows for growth. There is a reason classic Superman is a boring character. If you are already a god, then there is no point in admiring you. The process of becoming a hero is what remains admirable. And the best heroes are flawed. They are weak. They fail. Bravery is only bravery when you are actually in danger. Suspense can only build when there is a chance of failure. Life is only valuable in the face of death. There are exceptions, of course. But keeping these things in mind when making a character will more often than not allow for a level of depth and integrity that might shock even you. Remember - you are not the main character. There are no spotlights here.

If you don't know what to write - React, Reflect, Respond! See what happened before. How does your character react? How does the change in context affect them? Reflect, how this changes them, their outcomes and future plans. Respond, set in motion those new plans. If the previous replies don't give you enough to employ this strategy - then it is not your fault. They are not offering you quality RP. Skilled people can do so in a few sentences. Others need a few paragraphs. If you are not sure, write three sentences. Your reaction. Your reflection. Your response. Separate them into three paragraphs. Add to them until they resemble paragraphs. Insist on quality RP, and provide quality RP.

Do you have any roleplaying pet peeves? If so, what are they?
I call it Shonen-style-Creep. When you are presented with a problem - and you are not expected to overcome it with what you already have - but to change in order to overcome it. This change is not natural or organic, but purely the ability to do something you could not before - something you never had any reason to do before or after, while the change in itself renders all previous obstacles laughably simple, forcing all future obstacles to either be scaled up or be too underwhelming to be bothered with.

Another, which I call Sisyphus-Saving-The-World, in which there can be no plateau. The entire narrative serves towards a point, which seems to be the greatest, most important, most 'world ending' it could ever be, afterwards we start again - building towards another 'world ending' situation. There is nothing wrong with the 'world ending'. It just can't happen every week.

Do you have any other projects in the works that you would like to share?
At the moment, no. I am just focussing on this while looking out for quality RP. Anyone have anything that they think I might be interested, let me know. And if they feel like they might want to join - send me a PM. We are kinda full... but the spy world is dangerous. You never know when one might just... pop off.
Roleplay of the Month
@AgWordSmith

Give everyone a quick summary about what your roleplay is about.
Kolan and the Guilds Wars revolves around two brand new guilds in the Country of Kolan as they compete against each other for the right to become the King's Guild. Recently a law has passed that re-establishes the formation of guilds. A practice banned in all nations long ago. A Fae disguised as a Human creates the Raven guild while an important Human disguised as no one truly important creates the Wolf guild. The story changes and progresses as the guild members choose their quests and discover more about the known world of Nera. A world with a long and debatable history fully of war, civil and international, genocide and birth of new beings, peace and prosperity as well as magic. Each country, even Kolan itself, has its dark and light moments in history books. Though one thing that is very important to the world and how players interact with it is the caste system based on the type of magic a species uses, and how much of it they are capable of using. Those on top look down as those below as those below kick dirt to those sneering down at them. The guilds allow any type of being to join so getting along among the species is a challenge members will face as they pick each quest and complete them. This has and will have a big impact on quests and the development of the Guild's reputations as they build their own story through this vast and diverse world. It's all about the quests and what each member does during each adventure and what information they learn from it that will lead on to a self-made end goal. Of course, fighting monsters, free room and board and the rewards are great as well.

What inspired you to create this roleplay?
It all officially started somewhere around the end of 2016 the begging of 2017. My Friend and Co-Gm of Kolan and the Guild was made up a small discord rp on discord and we just wanted to have a group of characters questing around a world, just something fun to do. It was called Kolan and the Guild, I think. It was just inspired by good fun and our favorite fantasy tropes. Then it sorta died and got resurrected when I tried to rope my siblings into rp (it didn't work). Here is where some of the countries and unique the details of Kolan were created and most of them are still used in the rp (Orsinium, Gloyryce, The Fae Kingdom and Kolan have a lot of the original info in them still, if not all of it). But when that died too, Soma and I decided to get a little more serious and plan out a huge rp project involving a big world, completing IC's and a lot of video game like mechanics such as the weapon upgrades and classes. we took inspiration from video games, dice rps, and what we had observed on RPN in terms of what works and doesn't work in an rp. Though some ideas were inspired by my siblings' info they made form before and how the Fairy and Fae are was inspired by a google doc created the January before depicting ideas I had for a long time on a more original take on Fairies and Fae's in fairy-tales. All in all the rp has been in the works for a long time.

Were there any difficulties that you came across when making your roleplay?
Yes. A lot. My biggest challenge was presenting and creating a world that was detailed enough but not so unnecessarily detailed. We wanted things to be simple but not too simple that people couldn't just do whatever they wanted and ruin it all. The world had to be fleshed out but had room to grow and didn't have so many little things about it that didn't need to be said in the Interest check. The Rp actually sat as an unfinished work in progress for a few months because I fell into the problem of how to present this much information in a pleasing manner. Designing is my forte and the rp had to look appealing as well as be appealing. It wasn't until BBC+ came out that I had more free reign with cosmetics that were functional on and off mobile did I really spend all my free time on finishing writing and coding the interest check and finalize most of our ideas.

The next big challenge was to get another person to help be in charge of one of our IC's but in the end, it was really easy. It was just really hard to get the courage to just ask here on RPN if anyone wanted to be a part of this thing. It was like a test to see if our idea was actually likable at its most basic description. I'm very grateful to our Moderator and my Co-Gm for helping me out so much with this rp! Of course for all our members as well!!

What do you believe are your strengths as a GM?
That's a hard one to answer. I guess the way I just don't give up on rps. I always respond one more time to dying threads, asking if people are still in this and just trying one last time before seeing that an rp is really just, dead. That or the fact I'm just don't mind to wait for responses as long as it means people are still willing to keep a story going. Once a day or once a week, if there are still people willing to participate I don't mind waiting. It is hard to draw the line between "They are just busy" and "Oh wow I really need to get this moving again before it goes stagnant."

How about weaknesses?
I'm too nice. People tell me that a lot. I let people walk all over me and get very stressed when I feel like I've done or said something wrong so I try to make the other person happy and give in. I really have a problem with making people happy at my own expense. Though With this Rp I've been doing my best to not let it happen to the extent that I'm just letting people just tear apart the thing's I've created and construe it to there own purposes. This rp I'm also reminding myself what I want out of it and what others should be getting from it. I don't mind to bend small rules for great ideas but I do not want to just let whatever happen just because someone else wants it and that's what I have trouble with.

How did you come about roleplaying?
So It's 2012-2013, I'm like an eighth-grade person, a total nerd that wore to much black for her own good. I came across this site that was just for online quizzes and story publishing, Quotev was the name I think. So I'm just on there all the time, reading and taking dumb quizzes and after a while, I came across this group function of the site. I joined one where people created characters and played out scenarios with them. I loved it and kept on rping on that site until I was banned from talking to strangers online by my parents. As a freshman at the time, it was "the worse thing to happen in all my life." Dramatic right?

How did you discover RpNation?
So after my dramatic exit from Quotev, (a table was broken, it was that much of a deal to good ole mum and dad. I still can't believe it haha) I spent the next few years heavily into Homestuck and drawing until my Senior year started in 2016. A huge incident involving my family, The government and a terrible parent going to jail happened and my sister and I got iPhones after all of that settled. Crazy effect to turmoil huh? So I had the whole of the internet at my fingertips with little parental surveillance and distrust around me. I decided to find my old buddy from Quotev, my old best friend. Guess where I found him? On Rpn. It sounds like a cute story but we don't speak now but I'm glad I found Rpn and am happy with the friends and acquaintances I have on here now. You guys are great! Every one of you I've had the chance to meet!

What is the most unique roleplay you ever participated in?
Other than my own? hahaha, I'm kidding. Let's see...One that wasn't my own rp is Wyrmchilde made by Stonewolf18. It was really amazing and I still love the ideas behind it. It was all about dragons and the descendants of basically dragon gods being gathered to fight. They were to battle a Wyrmking that wanted to destroy the world and make it his own, I think. Then out of now where the plot switched to a modern setting and to me that was cool because it all still made sense, mostly.

What stood out most?
For me, I've never been in an rp where the GM just kept things moving so well so I took a lot of notes on how to more successfully run a bigger group rp from it. It was a really helpful and delightful rp experience!

What is your fondest memory of roleplaying?
Um... Wow, I'm not sure. I feel like every new post on all my rps become my new favorite thing about rping...I'd have to say after I put Kolan and the Guilds War's interest check up and I got a lot of positive responses. I was so worried that nobody was going to like this rp, I put so much work into it for nothing and its all just stupid, why did I do this? That's all I thought while waiting to see what would happen and then all of a sudden people were typing up positive responses and it got a lot of interest. It made me think a lot about how I shouldn't be so scared to make something that was kinda different and it affected me so much that I changed how I look at myself as an artist as well. It's really those little moments like that that makes rp fun. People getting together to have fun with ideas, stories, and characters.

What are some roleplaying tips and tricks you think others could benefit from?
Ask questions!! Don't be afraid to admit you don't know whats going on! or don't remember something! More often than not despite me feeling like I'm the dummy in the rp for asking people dumb questions they usually respond very kindly and won't care to answer. It's really not as stressful as it seems! At the same time answer questions kindly! Things don't make sense to others the same way they do to you! Kindness and patience is the true rebel attitude in this world!

Do you have any roleplaying pet peeves? If so, what are they?
The utter LACK of diversity in some rps. I know a lot of rp is indulgence and just having fun but its a little weird how plain a character roster turns out most of the time. Not just in looks but in personality and ability too. In Kolan and the Guild Wars, I tried to guide people to push the boundaries with their characters in creative ways and I feel pretty happy at the fact we have so many elves (It cracks me up, to be honest) but each one is really different from the others. I just don't know if it's just me falling into these more bland rps but it happens enough to make me extremely annoyed that a lot of the more out there rps I've been in had characters all with the same skin and eyes and are all just straight. It's just, boring to me, especially in fantasy and Sci-fi settings where you can go really far out with characters and...no one does.

Do you have any other projects in the works that you would like to share?
Nothing in the works per say but If I were to ever make another rp it'd be "You are [Awake]" a Sci-fi mystery about the 8-10 survivors of a huge vessel waking up in a torn apart ship where creatures still lurk. I don't think it'll be a thing any time soon but I have been thinking about it or another Sci-fi rp about escaped experiments called "Assimilation," either one may be something in the far future. For now, I'm pretty happy with Kolan and the Guild Wars and want to keep working on that. The Rp is always Open. Spots come and go all the time! Never be afraid to try join again when previously you weren't able to!

More Features

Featured Artist
@starfallen.txt

Starfallen's tiled maps are wonderful. Each and every single one of them are detailed and filled with life. Reminiscent of old school RPGs, they each bring about a sense of idyllic comfort from its bright palette. Both her outdoor and her indoor maps are wonderfully done and are so well made that they could very well be in a game. I highly recommend checking them out.
Featured Discussion
@Onmyoji

Do you sometimes get so engrossed in your roleplays that you start attributing the actions and personality of the character to their creator? Maybe the character is so nice that you think that the creator is just as nice, or maybe so vile and hateful that the creator is just as dark. What about when the character is so similar to the creator that you can't tell them apart? Join in on our discussion about Characters vs Players!
Featured BBCode
@wonhae

@wonhae's codes are small, cute, and just a treat to look at. Copious use of bbscript and bbcode+ has allowed her make some wonderful and creative pieces, each one with a clean design. While these designs are fairly small, they often lead into a rabbit hole of contents within its interactivity. Go check it out at codes // wonhae.
Featured Idea
@Kiyoko Tomoe

Ever have an idea for an RP but aren't able to GM it yourself? Maybe its a busy schedule, or maybe you don't feel like leading it. Perhaps its you just have an idea you really want to share. Well, drop in and post it at Plots for Hire! This is a place where you can give out your ideas and maybe pick up an idea for yourself. Of course credits must be given to the original person.

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