Roleplay over Mechanics, a brief guide

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Roleplay over Mechanics, a brief guide

Postby Nightwing » Fri Jun 17, 2016 5:26 pm

Or, full title:
Roleplay over Mechanics: A guide to ensuring everyone has fun as often as possible

So, I had a recent scene on the server in which my character was eaten by a pred whose concept I adored, I didn't want to go through with digestion, but the pred was digestion only. We came to a compromise in LOOC, my character would be eaten and digestion would start, and then my character would call for help over the radio and be rescued. I was appalled by the response of security, we had shootings, we had disobeying orders, we had powergaming, we had about 5 characters all trying to do their own thing to this one pred, and nobody was RPing almost at all. The rescue itself involved minimal RP, and the section in medical afterwards not only involved no RP, but actively prevented me from RPing by shoving me in a cryocell and knocking me out. So, there's a number of messages to take from this, and I'll have a general section first, and then a brief guide thereafter to illustrate what went wrong in each section of the rescue and how a player might improve it.

General tips:

  • Take it in turns! Write out a roleplay post, and then wait for your partner to respond. If you're in a group, perhaps establish an order for people to play in. If you post too many times in a row, others won't be able to react to what you're doing.
  • Write a decent amount! Nobody wants to see one-word responses. One-line is generally acceptable, but why stop there? Go nuts! "Greyshirt McPreyson nods." - boooring. Nobody's having fun that way. "Upstanding Roleplayer nods their head and scratches their beard thoughtfully as they look between the two arguing predators." - You've basically said the same thing, but you've added more detail. People will believe you're more interested because you've written more.
  • Don't rely on mechanics! Mechanics are unreliable, mechanics are binary. Mechanics can't tell that somebody is typing or that it's not "your turn". Sure, you've got a fancy gun, but you've also got WORDS! Greyshirt McPreyson above might just wield his gun and click on an enemy. Also boring! Observe: "Upstanding Roleplayer's hand jolts down and wraps around the cool metal butt of his stun pistol, which he draws from the holster and holds level, pointing towards Preddy McNom. "Alright, that's far enough. Let them go," they grunt, keeping the weapon level." - All it takes is a few seconds to type, and you've made the situation so much more descriptive and interesting.

Now that that stuff's out of the way, you should be able to just keep reapplying these tips to each scenario as you reach them. However, I'm still gonna go over the specific scenarios I listed above!


How security handled the matter was... Not ideal. First, everybody converged on the pred in the bar. It was a single case of one pred eating one prey, really, one or two guards were all that was needed. The presence of additional guards made everything overall more complicated. Furthermore, several were trigger-happy. One used the mechanical "take aim" function, which was fine - until the pred got moved by somebody else and thus shot at, and somebody moved in front of the pred and grappled them, which got THEM shot instead. Here's how things should really be played out when security has to intervene somewhere.

  • Send only a necessary amount of troops. Scale the size of your responding team to the size of the problem. In this case, one macro-sized shark had eaten one person unwillingly and was attempting to digest them. Two security members needed to be present, three at most.
  • If you AREN'T security, get out of the way. This should be simple logic. If a situation is so dire that armed security forces need to intervene, civillians (read: everybody who isn't sec) should get out of the way and let them work. You'll only complicate things. The bartender kept standing between the pred and the sec officer who had a gun pointed at the pred. Not many people would stand in front of a loaded firearm deliberately. Would that fit your character?
  • Don't over-react. Try to stow that itchy trigger finger. The "take aim" function was a decent idea, but it's better for if the predator is, or has been, running. There's also settings - tailor them to your situation. Allow them to speak, and if the situation calls for it, prevent them from moving. What you must realise is that the "take aim" function SUPPLEMENTS roleplay, it doesn't replace it. If you plan to use it, it doesn't mean you should be less descriptive, although it will make roleplaying easier by telling you what your character is doing. Greyshirt McPreyson might click their target and let auto-aim slow them down, possibly shout "stop!". Upstanding Roleplayer selects auto-aim and selects their target, then continues: "Upstanding Roleplayer readies their weapon, their finger curling around the trigger as he lines up the sights with Preddy McNom's torso, trying to ignore their swollen belly jiggling before them. "Freeze!" he shouts, a bead of sweat trickling down his face." Using the "take aim" function gives you more breathing space to roleplay because your target can't run away while you type - but it may not be necessary at all if your target isn't going to run!
  • Don't powergame. While you may have the upper hand because you have a gun or a baton, it's not fair on your partner to just assume they can't take any action and play a bunch of stuff happening without letting them react - or worse yet, play out their character's reaction on their behalf. Greyshirt McPreyson has learned from the previous steps, but falls flat here: "Greyshirt McPreyperson runs forward and swats at Preddy McNom's body with their lit baton. "Get on the ground!" they yell, forcing them down to the ground thanks to their excessive military training and extreme bodybuilding. McNom would be unable to resist those powerful muscles. Grunting, Greyshirt pries open Preddy's jaws, and thrusts their arm down into their throat, fishing around until they grab hold of the collar of their prey's shirt and haul them up to safety. Having successfully rescued the prey, Greyshirt gives them a kiss and whisks them away to the dorms for their reward." - Although Greyshirt has written a lot this time, and it's got some description, they've also given the pred nothing to respond to by typing so far ahead that they dictate how the roleplay must go. Preddy can't reasonably respond to that unless they go along with what's written. Upstanding Roleplayer, on the other hand, would break that string up into small chunks and put more description into each. Also note that Greyshirt claimed to be a bodybuilder with advanced military training - if that were so, why would they be working here on a research station?

So that just about covers the security section, but what about what happened next?

This is more broad, but it applies to what the captain did immediately after rescuing my character from the predator. Despite emoting that my character was covered in caustic gastric acids and needed to be cleaned off, instead of running to the bathroom literally 5 tiles from where the captain was standing, then instead ran towards medical without so much as an emote in response. Upon reaching medical - still no roleplay - rather than handing the injured prey over to medical staff, the captain barged right in and shoved me right into the cryocell, then ran off. This... Sucked. Logically, it may be the right thing to do, but I was knocked out, the medbay staff had nothing to do, and nobody could RP anywhere. After this, I was extracted, popped onto a bed, wheeled to a patient room, and then the doctor left while I was typing an emote, despite me having sent an LOOC message just moments before. So, time for some tips!

  • Be logical in your actions. Mechanically, I was in no danger because the "acids" my character was covered in weren't reproduceable mechanically, so the captain chose to honour the mechanical problem above the roleplay problem. Now, obviously, if I'd been closer to medbay than to a water source, I'd have agreed perfectly with their decision, but a bathroom was literally metres away and instead of responding to the acid coating my character, they ignored it and walked off towards medbay. Realistically, they would have been in that bathroom and washing the liquid off me before it could do any more damage. So, thinking about what's most realistic to do in any situation is important.
  • Don't do other departments' jobs for them. The captain had no right to march into a staffed medbay and heal my character. Doing so deprived the medbay of their job, which they signed up to do specifically.
  • Pick the option that results in the most fun for everyone. While shoving me in a cryocell did solve the problem, it was blunt and boring. No roleplay required, no roleplay even POSSIBLE on my end. Medical treatments and roleplay would have been substantially more fun. For instance, "Upstanding Roleplaying heaves the wounded prey up onto the operation table and takes a deep breath. They begin to clean the wounds on the prey with a damp cloth, then start to apply ointment to the more severe burns. "Hey, are you alright? Still conscious?" they ask, glancing down to the prey's face and flashing them a soft smile. "Hey. It's going to be alright. I've got you." They continue to apply ointment to the wounds, which are beginning to look better thanks to their treatment." Almost any situation may be improved thanks to roleplay. This also goes for the doctor who left me in the patient room despite seeing my LOOC message (although this was a little more excusable because they were being called to the front desk for an emergency). Generally speaking, try to include people who're actively trying to be included, and do try not to walk out on people without a single word.

Now, this guide is far from perfect, and I'm sure it'll be added to as time goes by - but I'm sure you can see the messages I've been trying to get across! There will obviously be exceptions to each of these, and don't worry if you aren't a fast typer or can't think what to type - it's not a race, and there's six whole hours in a shift! LOOC is your friend always, and will help when it comes to interacting with others.

On that note, good evening, and happy hunting~ :9
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Re: Roleplay over Mechanics, a brief guide

Postby Arbon » Fri Jun 17, 2016 7:13 pm

While the above discussion is re-hashing what a lot of older players have said multiple times over (which naturally bares repeating on a written medium so more people can see it) and I have nothing in particular to take away or add to it, the comment on medical (or this case captain) taking measures to actively eliminate the possibility of roleplay is identical to the argument against surgery. And why so many players will ask to be kept awake when being sliced open on the table, or demand chemicals instead of sitting down to be silent, deaf, and blind for however long it takes to heal them. If it were simple and fast surgery would be fine here, but when you've been under for upwards of an hour without so much as being able to hear the radio chatter it becomes MUCH more reasonable for the player to just say "kill me and press the clone button" rather than sit in the no-fun zone for an indeterminate time.

Likewise blindfolds and sleeping toxins have the exact same problem, while it could be neat for roleplay to use such mechanical elements, when wearing a blindfold you unfortunately cannot see emotes and anything that puts you unconscious takes you out of the game for however long it applies. To a lesser extent this also happens with digestion, during long periods in which the damage is enough to knock you out but it takes far too long before you actually die, and the entire time you can't hear speech nor see your predator's emotes, but its easy enough to just be mindful and wait that length of time.
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Re: Roleplay over Mechanics, a brief guide

Postby Sansaur » Wed Jul 27, 2016 4:45 am

Who would roleplay to be overpowered by an unarmed civilian who poses a risk just because of his species/body type?

Without breaking server rules and with a situation that could offer that.

For example, we've got a legit unwilling RP (Not someone breaking the rules), where someone is getting vored or raped or something like that, you go in as a sec officer and you find that your target roleplays as a 50ft long macro naga squeezing the life out of his prey, how many people around here would actually back off and say to themselves "with a puny stunbaton I can't do shit"? Or even better, actually charge in and end up being squeezed too? And I'm not meaning in the terms of 'that's your fetish' but instead of the terms of 'I recognize I wouldn't be able to beat a gigantic naga up with a stunbaton'

I know that a lot of people who join into the security team don't have in mind "getting digested in the first five minutes of the rounds", but you know...

If a character roleplays some kind of evil but still catchable predator.
If a couple of people decide to roleplay unwilling and actually spread it over the comms
Or if someone wants to pred/dom you unwillingly (with LOOC permission).

Before you draw out the stunbaton and instantly take them down with a click, to then do all your security stuff and jail them for 45-60 minutes, EVEN IF THEY CAN JUST CRYO AND COME BACK, think about how they made an effort to set up a roleplay where you can take part as your job and have a bit of action.


That's what I think about security, for what I've seen they spend their whole round ERPing and most of their interactions are either being perfect SoP-followers or smug assholes with weapons, I don't care, but what frustrates me is seeing how some people get in trouble KNOWING that security is going to come after them TRYING TO HELP SECURITY HAVE A LITTLE BIT OF FUN AND THEN THEY JUST GET ROBUSTED WITH A STUNBATON/REVOLVER/TASER.

Just mix it up a bit, that's what a lot of people who like to get chased by sec think. (probably)
Characters: Echeide Aythami, SAMkII, Donyarc Magmolzad, Ivan Zimbalist, Arthur Pelinor, Oujay Devouz (Not to be seen again), Aciaga Rott, Yale Teller.
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Re: Roleplay over Mechanics, a brief guide

Postby Scree » Wed Jul 27, 2016 5:23 pm

In all honesty, if someone's playing security because they want to "win" against other players, then I don't want them playing security. If their goal for the round is to ensure that people are wordlessly stuffed into cells and left until the timer expires, that's no fun for anyone.

Edit: on the flip side of the coin though, you gotta be sure that the "fun" you're creating for security actually is fun. If all you're doing is greytiding then they'll often want to just toss you in a cell to get rid of you for a little while.
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