Newsletter RpNation Newsletter: June 2024

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june 2024 newsletter



Artwork by Bennett

A soft ray of sunshine illuminated a living room that was occupied by a woman and her child. She was positioned sitting down on the carpet with a book in her hand while the little boy next to her was coloring on a picture book on the floor. There was a comfortable silence surrounding the two until an opportune and random question popped into the childโ€™s mind.

โ€œHey Mom, what is a friend?โ€

The womanโ€™s immediate response was a cough. She placed a hand on her chest as she was struggling with a fit of choking on her own spit. Her attention settled onto the boy once she calmed down, โ€œThat is an excellent question, Bennett. What do you think a friend is?โ€ Due to the randomness of the question, she was left scrambling on formulating the proper answer for her son. Although she was also curious to see what his current perspective was of friendship from the videos and other learning outlets heโ€™d been exposed to.

He was quiet for a few seconds until he sat up straight and turned towards his mother, โ€œI think a friend is someone you like. Like Uncle Mick. I like him so he is my friend, right?โ€ The more he talked, the more uncertain his tone sounded.

โ€œYes. That is certainly a part of what a friend is, someone you like. However, there is so much more to it as well. It is like your Lego sets. You have one piece and then connect it together with another piece until it takes shape of something you recognize, right? Well, itโ€™s kind of like that. There isnโ€™t exactly one answer to what a friend is. They are someone who you can trust deeply. They can be someone who you want to play games with since they like to play the same games as you. Or they can be someone who you want to ride bikes with. All these factors and desires could be with the same person or all different people.โ€

โ€œAre you my friend too then, Mommy? I donโ€™t like to have story time with Uncle Mick because he does not do the voices like you, but I like story time with you.โ€

His mother smiled, โ€œYes. I am your friend too.โ€

โ€œRocky is my friend also, since he likes walks and I like walks too,โ€ the boy pointed over to a dog that was laying on the couch.

โ€œThatโ€™s right. Anyone and anything can be your friend, but who actually becomes your friend will be up to you. There will never be one type of friend out there. And youโ€™ll see the wide variety of friends that are out there. All there for you to help you grow and live in this world. These will be the special people in your heart that will care for you in ways you wonโ€™t realize. Cherish them and love them, Bennett.โ€


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roleplay of the month

What inspired the creation of "The Ballad of Renegades," and what are its primary themes and concepts?
Goonfire: We, the co-GMs and community, first banded together for what became BoR three months ago. In these early stages, we had started building lore for this continent of Kirlia, which was a completely blank slate. We were initially torn regarding the means by which our characters would meet. We drew inspiration from the ragtag groups that formed around hubs of outcasts such as Firelink Shrine and Majula from the *Dark Souls* franchise. Most characters in these settings understood cheating and betrayal had consequences more dire than in "civilized" lands, and that their pasts could still follow them beyond any nation's borders.​

This tale we have woven is one of community, but it also focuses on *renegades*โ€”fugitives, exiles, and runaways who are believed to have abandoned their causes and are now paying the price in their own ways. These fractured and unique people form a coherent whole, reflecting the diverse members who have faced their own adversities but banded together to make this roleplay possible. Each member adds their own unique concepts and themes to the mixโ€”bittersweet moments, epic magic and curses, revenge and redemption, and unbridled ambition.​

For our newsletter readers who have yet to view the Interest Check, can you write a brief synopsis of "The Ballad of Renegades"?
Aegis: A Ballad of Renegades is a high fantasy setting in which the players take the roles of outcasts: criminals, banished folk, and the missing, all thrust from their previous lives. Though, some may try and find a way to regain some semblance of what theyโ€™ve lostโ€“ in most cases they will never be accepted again. The answer to this is The Cradle, the legendary place from which all life originated, but its location has been lost. It has faded into such obscurity beyond ancient myth, one must question whether or not such a place ever truly existed. However, one key detail attracts the hungry and ambitious adventurersโ€”the desperate, the hopeless: a wish. The legend suggests whoever rediscovers The Cradle is capable of having any wish granted.​

Currently, we have multiple groups on their own around the continent exploring their own smaller arcs and experiencing the lore of the world. It's our hope to bring them together in a Sanctuary (think Firelink Shrine or Majula) after our first major arc, and from there we can mix and match in order to keep things fresh with new character interactions on characters who are already developing a first-hand history in the world beyond their backstory.​

In "The Ballad of Renegades," players have the opportunity to develop their own lore for specific areas of the continent within the world of Kirlia. How do you ensure a balance between player-generated ideas and GM input in shaping it?
BlueXBlood: I think our answer to this question really highlights Ballad of Renegades' greatest strength, which is the overwhelming unity and trust within our community. Each player has contributed to the big picture of Kirlia, so its nature is something we've all familiarized ourselves with. Each idea proposed by our players becomes grafted into that bigger picture, with everyone collaborating collectively. Even though the GMs are left with the authority of the final say, there's so much open and honest interaction between the community (GMs included) that goes on throughout the world-building process that by the end of it, the result is refined into something beautifully cohesive and flavorful.​

All in all, everyone involved has proven themselves as brilliant and trustworthy minds, and that's something we put our faith in.​

With the search for The Cradle being a central plot point, how do you keep the sense of mystery and anticipation alive for players while navigating characters' personal journeys?
BlueXBlood: Since The Cradle has been left as a distant concept and myth within the story, each character's imagination has taken the liberty of shaping it to their own desires and interpretations. This was something we decided to play to our advantage since everyone has a "definition" of the cradle that suits their goals. However, at the same time, the true nature of the Cradle is left ambiguous, and the parties have yet to discover what it truly is. Is it really a precious, wish-granting treasure? Or is there some dark reason for why it's so well-hidden? In the same way that everyone's contributions to the lore stand unified, the spectrum of aspirations and goals of each character still progresses in one primary direction. We're all renegades of some kind with an ultimate wish, and each event of personal growth goes on to define and enrich the pursuit of that wish, making the Cradle even more valuable.​

As GMs, what strategies do you use to guide the storyline in a freeform, player-driven manner while ensuring coherence with the overarching plot?
Corn Orc Vandal: Weโ€™re very early in the RPโ€™s plot, so our strategies are still developing as the game develops. But the concept of the Cradle, this mythical wish-granting object/entity/place, has helped unite our players with a common goal. Additionally, each character is something of an outcast, so this theme helps bring characters together who might not otherwise run in the same crowds. Every character has their own motive, but theyโ€™re all eventually going to be focused on locating the Cradle. Players definitely have their own plot-lines as well, and we as DMs like to incorporate those stories into the hunt for the Cradle. Ultimately, though, you have to trust your players to help craft an exciting and interesting story, otherwise you just end up railroading the entire game, which is no fun for anyone!​

How do you garner interest for your roleplays and keep your group engaged with the roleplay?
Aegis: So, I think one thing that attracts people right away is the freedom that we offer in โ€˜blazing your own trailโ€™ so to speak. We, of course, have an overarching goal of getting everyone to the cradle and the *main* plot is centered much around the exploration of areas and events surrounding clues or hints that we hope will lead the players toward that. However, we also encourage personal development in characters and their abilities through their own arcs. If we combine that with our push for player-led lore creation, we get location that have a thorough environment and history that is well equipped to provide our players with maximum opportunity to explore aspects of their character; we can also use their lore to improve upon our own plot and sprinkle our own twists in regard to The Cradle.​

We like to keep players engaged by implementing positive communication and an active OOC chat where we discuss the RP and other things. We bring up Questions of the Day which can range from IC questions to actual experiences in order to foster community cohesion and help with brainstorming! Overall, we want our role play to be a relaxing and enjoyable experienceโ€”not work, and for it to be executed at a reasonable pace for everyone.​

How do you maintain stability, comfort, and community between your players? Especially should new players join.
Corn Orc Vandal: I think one of the biggest reasons RPs die is a lack of communication between players, and using Discord as a sort of watercooler has definitely helped grow some bonds between players. Thereโ€™s always going to be downtime in an RP, but having a dedicated server to chat with other players about the game, or just life in general, helps to keep the spark alive and maintain interest. Discord also helped immensely when the site was experiencing some downtime, since it allowed us to continue plotting, sharing ideas, and developing lore for our shared world. As far as welcoming new players, the goal is to just incorporate them into the squad as seamlessly as possible, letting them develop their own lore for the world and make them feel like part of the squad. We have a big map and plenty of room for new arrivals to play with their own ideas!​

Do you have a favorite memorable moment, scene, or plot development that occurred in the roleplay? Perhaps one that made you laugh, jump out of your seat, etc.?
Goonfire: It is still quite early in the roleplay, but our second group, consisting of Khadija (@Corn Orc Vandal ), Aris (@BlueXBlood ), R'hllor ( Xen6n Xen6n ), Bal'kafaz (@Zazz ), and their GM/narrator (@Aegis), were the first to find the Sanctuary, a forgotten headquarters for a nigh-extinct order of relic hunters and the new hub for our renegades. While searching the abandoned refuge, a monstrous giant spider attacked them. A brutal fight scene is in progress as of our writing this. The characters' visceral reactions to being struck by the monster lend believability and suspense as their characters scramble to defend against a physically superior threat. We are all sitting on the edges of our seats right now, waiting to see what happens next!​

When did you start roleplaying?
Aegis: I started off my roleplay journey when I was at the ripe old age of eleven on Pathfinder 1e. It was a good time, but my text based experience started on some of the earlier multi-verse murder RPs.​

BlueXBlood: I started roleplaying when I was 11, way back when it was just texting back and forth between me and a friend. A little after we dabbled in our own makeshift roleplays, I ran into an online community on a platform called Habitica, and I got exposed to my first official, public roleplay. I've been sort of devoted to it as a hobby ever since, and it was one of the things that encouraged me to go to college for writing too. Now, here I am, at what I would say is the most sophisticated, well-organized, and engaging roleplay I've ever participated in.​

Corn Orc Vandal: I started roleplaying as a kid probably in 2005 (shoutout and RIP WeeWorld) doing the exact same thing Iโ€™m doing now, except much worse! Since then I've hopped around other forums and sites, started playing tabletop, and just recently landed on RPN, which is a really great and active community.​

In all seriousness, I was getting into PC gaming nearly 15 years ago, when a friend gifted me Garry's Mod. I discovered the DarkRP game-mode and became a regular on zombie RP servers. New friends over the years introduced me to D&D, then finally forum roleplay.​

What is the most unique roleplay you ever participated in? What stood out?
Aegis: The most unique roleplay I've ever participated in was probably the multi-verse murder RPs with their balancing of story-telling, PvP, and trying to bend established characters to your style. I do prefer OC content these days. However, I will always remember that.​

BlueXBlood: Ballad of Renegades is in its beginning moments, currently, so if I really wanted to pick something that stood out to me in the long run, I'd probably have to search through some of the older ones I've been a part of. It's hard to say but there was one roleplay that lasted close to 3 years, passing from generation to generation, and that was by far the most memorable one I've done. I think it pales in comparison to what I'm seeing come to life in BoR, honestly, but it still stands close to my heart.​

Corn Orc Vandal: Last year I finished one of the longest-running RPs Iโ€™ve ever done on another site, which was a sort of sci-fi/fantasy mashup wherein human explorers crashlanded on a distant medieval planet filled with all kinds of strange and magical aliens. The game actually ENDED rather than died; can you believe it? A faction of humans sabotaged their repaired spaceship, many of them dying in the process, to prevent the militant faction of humans from returning to the planet and exploiting the alien world.​

Goonfire: I was in one in which the characters had died and forgotten everything about their pasts; all that remained of each person was a fragile body with a colored mote of colored "soul fire" for a head. We didn't start with character sheets, but instead made them over time by adding bits of information as we proceeded.​

What are some roleplaying or roleplay creation tips and tricks you think the community could benefit from?
Aegis: Honestly, find a balance with your roleplay between having things figured out and letting the players have agency. It's easier to let players have an effect on the world when you have an idea of what you want, but aren't completely set on how it should go down.​

BlueXBlood: As a GM, I'm not the wisest, and so I don't really have much advice to give. However, as a player, I say to take risks, have fun with challenges, and don't be afraid of the bittersweet things. "You only live once," is something I take to heart a lot, both in real life and in my writing, and you're only going to experience the fullness of the moments your characters will have if you treat it like one precious life.​

Corn Orc Vandal: I think a lot of DMs and players get way too bogged down in developing pages upon pages of history, NPCs, and technology/magic systems before the game ever starts. Having a 200-page codex of family crests, trade agreements, and bureaucratic structures is a great way to discourage players from joining. In my opinion, a punchy, well-defined concept will beat fully-fleshed out worlds any day of the week. You can always add more to your world later and let it grow, it doesn't all have to be set in stone from the start!​

Goonfire: Remember, words can be a hard choice. Don't be afraid to take that extra minute... or hour, or day... to find the right diction. In the end, it'll help your posts pop and give your character a distinct voice. Ask yourself if the lexicon you're considering is far too modern or dated for the setting, and don't be afraid to consult a thesaurus or even a friend for suitable alternatives. Finally, there are no shortcuts; AI writing is no substitute for mastery over your skill and hobby.​

Would you like to give a shout-out to your co-GMs, players, and/or friends? If so, please feel free to tag them here for us!
Aegis: I'd like to go ahead and give a shoutout to one of my best RP buddies @Tool who has been an absolute pleasure since I invited her to join our community.​

BlueXBlood: I want to shoutout to @Aegis , Goonfire Goonfire , and @Corn Orc Vandal , for being the leaders that made this all possible from the start. I'm honored to GM with them!​

Corn Orc Vandal: Absolutely! Shoutout @Zazz whose enthusiasm and humor has kept us all motivated to press on with the RP, and Xen6n Xen6n , an endlessly creative lorebuilder and brainstormer whose imagination I am profoundly jealous of.​

Goonfire: I'd like to highlight my players for group 3: @escapist , @AriAriAbabwa , and @Rohan . Though their opening section started later, they have been good sports and kept me going as we work towards their characters' introduction into the main plot.​

member of the month

How did you come up with the username, Kaiju Cat?
With how popular the Kaiju genre is and the destructive nature of my cat who funnily is the same cat in my user profile picture. Thus, the user name, Kaiju Cat was born. I caught him many times chomping on cables. He does it out of mere spite, or sneakily has a go at the cords while no is paying close attention to him. His need to destroy anything and everything isnโ€™t just saved for electrical cords he likes to target small critters. Haha, nothing is safe from his jaws of doom. His name is Gus-Gus, we call him gg for short. Donโ€™t be fooled by his cute name, heโ€™s all bite with a mean karate chop paw, a single swipe can Thanos bap anyone into the ether, who has the misfortune of being in his path. I like to joke with a friend that our cats will someday cause the apocalypse with their ways.​

How did you get into the world of roleplaying?
Actually, it started back in my elementary school days where I played make believe during recess time. I played my favorite character that day, adopting their physical traits, memories, and personality traits while my classmates played characters opposite of mine. I didnโ€™t know that was another form of role playing at the time. Traversing from make believe into text based role play began with Yahoo Instant Messaging, typing one liners in a chat room, it was cringey. Also, my first introduction to the concept of digital role playing opposed to make believe. I eventually permanently broke away from IMs and joined Gaia Online, my first forum type of role play. Iโ€™ve been into forum role plays since then.​

How would you describe yourself in three words? And why?
I like to use witty humor to make my family, friends and teachers laugh. Itโ€™s my way of lighting up the room Iโ€™m in, I enjoy making people smile even if my humor falls flat. Being compassionate to others and things shaped me to who I am today. When someone needs comfort, sickness , or help, Iโ€™m by their side. Like my tendency to use witty humor, Iโ€™m random at times, which is my biggest trait. Spouting random facts or just being random in general keeps people on their toes when they get to know me well.​

Whatโ€™s a memorable roleplaying moment for you all your years of roleplaying?
My memorable role playing moment happens to be my character getting attention from Eris, the goddess of chaos and discord. Heโ€™s known to be charming in the canon verse heโ€™s from, my partner and I were simply chatting about the anime heโ€™s from and the rest is history. We spent time hyper fixating on this ship. I like to go by if it fits, it ships. Although, itโ€™s one of those goddess x mortal romance archetypes. I rolled with it for fun. Now itโ€™s one of my favorite ships. I just canโ€™t help gush a pirate won the heart of a goddess without trying!​

Do you have a favorite character, or if not, do you have a character that reflects you the most?
One Pieceโ€™s Monkey D Luffy feels like heโ€™s literally me; he's a complex character. Heโ€™s misunderstood as a dumb character fitting the shonen stereotype, which is not true. He understands and can read people well. Luffy had it all, and more. The other aspect of his character I admire is he has respect and honorable these traits make him an amazing character.​

Whatโ€™s a genre of roleplaying you like participating in more?
I like dabbing into fandom multiverse rps. It helps open up new series that I never heard of before. It's fun to work with all different types of canon settings, how they fit seamlessly together, the bonds they form. 1x 1s what I love the most. I get to add my own spin on a canon verse of my choice, sprinkle it with head canons, my and my partners hyper fixations. The best part is the head canons are as crazy as some of mine are, they are making some insand arcs thatโ€™s fanfiction worthy.​

Do you have a favorite book, TV, video game, manga, etc. series?
My favorite video game is Final Fantasy VI. It has no main character, each character brings such a rich plot, compelling stories, great personalities, the characters comes from various backgrounds. The best scene in the game is the Falcon airship flying from the ocean. I love this scene personally because it represents such great themes like moving on from despair, depression, and loss. The cut sceneโ€™s sudden shift from the gameโ€™s original song, epitaph, to searching for friends is so amazingly done. It symbolizes invoking peace and light after living in a dark, dreary, and depressing world thatโ€™s slowly dying. Just as the scene cuts over to Celes, Edgar, Sabin, and Setzer, a dove flies past the falcon. I love how a dove speeding by the airship symbolizes hope, very fitting after the world is in ruins.​

Are there other hobbies you like to do aside from roleplaying?
I like to collect Funko Pops on the side. I have over 30 of them in my room, and action figures. My favorites are One Piece, Final Fantasy Funkos.​

What is your favorite part of RPNation?
My favorite part of RPNation other than role playing of course is hopping the forum games. It's hilarious and gives me a way to show my witty side, itโ€™s fun to see how the members are being creative over there. It feels like it's around my alley.​

How did you discover RPNation?
I wanted to branch out to the other sites I googled RP websites happened to click on RPNation. Viola! I signed up here Iโ€™ve been here since.​

Do you have any future projects planned for RPNation?
Hm, this a tough one. I have to say I donโ€™t have any thing planned maybe in the future.​

What advice do you have for Newsletter readers?
Iโ€™ll say to everyone is stay true to yourselves it may seem tough but keep your head held up and keep trucking.​

And now, before we wrap things up, are there any shout-outs youโ€™d like to make?
Sheโ€™s a damn boss for putting up with my nonsensical ramblings spamming her inbox @hogwartsalumni211 Iโ€™m so happy that our love for One Piece brought us together. Ok, ok, I took the plunge and commented on her thread in the 1x1 interest check sub forum. I never once thought I love the Ace x Vivi ship so much. Whatโ€™s fun itโ€™s not the main focus of our rp we added our own other ships although the pairing is canon x oc itโ€™s one of my favorite ships next to our main one. The greatest thing that brings me such joy is we seem to be on the same page with our head canons, brain rots, and small sub plots. I love you, girl!​

Iโ€™m not too familiar with DND I have been considering dipping my toes in table top games and dice games. However, it feels a bit intimidating to me maybe Iโ€™ll consider in the future. Kameron Esters- Kameron Esters- He made a dnd esque mash of Final Fantasy VII crossover with other iconic games as a military subplot for the smash rp we are a part of. Kameron had managed to make that subplot engaging and fun. Every post he makes I want more. Iโ€™d like to bring up how grateful I am for his constructive criticisms and guidance he gave over PMs, he gave me a good whack on the head. Without his honest approach I wouldnโ€™t have changed my perspective on a canon character thatโ€™s tied to that plot. Bro, thank you so much, keep up the great work. Iโ€™m so excited to see where the plot goes.​

This is my first smash rp the very same one that Kameron and I are part of. I did not think Iโ€™d enjoy it so much. Thanks to the Smash RPโ€™s GM @GrumpySwallow for managing to make the rp so much fun, their attention to detail and great storytelling is amazing. Not just their creativity thatโ€™s awe inspiring. I like to know more about their oc named Lunaris, his past, beliefs, how he became the villain in the current timeline of the rp. Iโ€™m happy the rp is going on strong, keep up the great work, grumpy!​

Iโ€™d like to give a a major shout out to @AlexneushoornTheGreat his random question of the day thread questions are thought provoking , although Iโ€™m a lurker and occasionally post. I enjoy some of the answers on his thread, Iโ€™ve read deep and thoughtful responses they do invoke critical thinking.​

Also, are there any more photos of Gus-Gus that we can see? We all love some good olโ€™ pet photos around here.
Hereโ€™s Gus-Gus, the fur boy the same kitty behind my username. Haha, donโ€™t be fooled by his cute demeanor heโ€™s all bite, an unyielding martial arts master with a mean paw karate chop that can send the fear of hell in anyone and a scary voice to match that evil feline overlord reputation heโ€™s got.​


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June Donation Badge by gxxberkit gxxberkit
Kaiju Cat Kaiju Cat Waaaahoooo! Kaiju Cat is the RP Nation Member of the Month! Raaawr! Hooray for our silly and fun-loving Gus-Gus, (wrong cat), er, Kaiju Cat (right cat!)! Reeewr!
Kaiju Cat Kaiju Cat is member of the month? Boooo!! Kidding, ofc! Interacting with you through #forumgames has been an absolute pleasure; from what I see, this is well-deserved! ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ

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