March 30, 2010 – 11:24 am
Yesterday I talked about how I brought Annorah around from stagnation to a place, albeit a brand new, shaky, unstable place, within the Feathermoon RP community. Finding her welcomed in the group from a plot/story standpoint, I realized very quickly that she was going to be a difficult character to keep “in check” with regards to other people’s RP.
Annorah is a Farseer - a Shaman trained in the art of scrying and divination, of speaking directly with the Elements and using that connection not only to see the past and the present, but to look into the future. Her combat skills are weak, but her ties to the Elements are incredibly strong.
Which means, basically, that every time I RP her in that function, whether it be in a simple parlor “fortunetelling” trick or in a serious scrying attempt (as was done on Sunday for Bricu and Threnn), I have in my hands the ability to “god mod” and ruin other people’s stories. Giving Annorah the ability to see the future, as well as see (even remotely) anything going on in the past or present, gives her the opportunity to be incredibly powerful. But it also makes her really fun – and an unusual plot element or ability.
So how do I keep that in check, and make sure that I don’t accidentally squash someone else’s long-planned story?
First, I make sure that her powers are limited: by her own knowledge, ability to understand what the Elements show or tell her, the time she has, and the amount of preparation she puts into a Seeing. A quick scrying in a black bowl of water with a candle flame won’t yeild the same kind of complete responses that a fully prepared Spirit Walk would. I also allow for the Elements to say no, to speak in cryptic riddles, or to simply be unable to see something at a certain time.
By placing limits on the character and her oracle, I actually make her interactions more fun as well as more controlled. If she were able to simply stare into a candle flame and see anything and everything anyone wanted to know… she’d be kind of boring.
Those limits are not just something I place on myself though, which leads to the real way that this kind of a character actually works within a group.
(This answer won’t surprise many long-time readers of my blog.)
The entire time that Annorah was scrying for Bricu and Threnn, I was in whispers making sure that she was only “able” to see the things that Bricu and Threnn were OK with having turn up at that point in their story. Bricu gave me an excellent framework, and I worked within it to make a meaningful interaction that left all of the characters with something to think about. (The lack of closure actually spurred on some other writing with Annorah, who is now one step more involved – but still very much on the periphery – because of her skills and training.)
Annorah actually did three scryings on Sunday evening – Bricu and Threnn’s, one for Arrens, and one for Ulthanon. Each involved at least a quick “tell me what you want her to see, and whether you want her to be direct about it” kind of conversation, others involved more planning. Arrens actually gave me the thumbs-up to do a little creative “seeing” for Arrens just to freak him out.
By keeping that line of OOC communication open, I keep the story progressing as the person writing it would like, while still having the creative (and very fun) element of scrying and far-seeing. The word of another character is final in these situations as well. Obviously there’s room for a conversation about what would or wouldn’t be see-able, but when someone says “I don’t want her to see more than XYZ yet, my character/the story isn’t ready for more”, that’s where Annorah stops – either because she gets tired, or something clouds her vision, or the candle gets blown out by a draft.
OOC communication makes the character “usable” – and makes it so that other people are curious and want to see what she might “See” for them.
Obviously most of this is character specific. Annorah’s particular flavor of “powerful” is relatively easily tempered by making sure that other players know what’s going on. But the same goes for other character interactions that contain power. Fight scenes, warlock summonings, anything having to do with powerful magic is best at least loosely worked out with other players. That way everyone involved can have fun and know that they still retain the ultimate decisions about their own character.
RPing is not about anyone else doing anything they want to your character and you being forced to respond to it. (That’s pretty unfair actually, because then you don’t get to decide, for instance, if your character gets their nose broken or – in extreme cases – is killed)
Communication, especially in situations where there is an exchange of power, is vital to allowing everyone to have fun with the RP.
Oh and PS: If you’re on Feathermoon and see Annorah around, don’t be afraid to ask her stuff. Though be warned, she lives with one foot in the Elemental world most of the time, so she can be a little bit strange…
March 29, 2010 – 9:57 am
It’s been awhile since I’ve done any extended RP with Annorah.
She was my raiding main in Burning Crusade, and I did a lot of RP with her while she was leveling, but once she hit 80, a lot of that trickled off due to attrition – most of the people she’d associated with while leveling rolled new alts or straight up quit playing for one reason or another. After Aelflaed hit 80 and I started RPing more with her – which led to joining the Wildfire Riders and her becoming my new main – my poor shaman, on whom I’d spent so much time and energy, got pushed aside, since she didn’t have a voice or a connection to the new RP group that I was playing with.
Which doesn’t, of course, mean I wasn’t interested in RPing with her. I’d just lost her voice, after losing the connections that she had to other people.
And that made me sad.
Unlike other characters that I’ve “lost” in the past, I really /like/ Annorah: I like her personality and her RP, I like her backstory. I like her being Draenei (as much as I’d love a Dwarf shaman).
Rather than letting her go into the character graveyard in favor of a new and different shaman, I decided I wanted to take a shot at bringing her back and finding her again.
So I started asking around. I knew I wanted to make the connection again, but I also knew just marching her into the Pig and Whistle wasn’t likely to magically work any better than with any other random new character would right now – the Riders are in the midst of a very dark bit of story, and forging a new relationship without a “connector” would be hard. In a sense, it would be like completely starting over, even with the same people I already knew OOCly.(Starting completely from scratch with a brand new group where you don’t have any connections already made is MUCH more difficult… but I’ll save that subject for a different post.)
Since I wanted to introduce Annorah peripherally and “logically” within a story, I started the following process to bring her into the fold slowly and without an awkward “first meeting.”
Step 1 was to make sure people knew about her or remembered her from TRI days in Burning Crusade. ICly, anyone that had done any raiding with TRI before Lich King would have seen Annorah around and remembered her for her healing, but I wanted to reforge that connection outside of a “battle” environment. I talked with various people OOCly about who she was and what she did (more on that in a later post). I made sure that a few people I trusted knew that I wanted to bring her back around. (This process started… months ago really, it’s not been a quick or easy thing.)
Step 2 was to be patient and work on finding a place that she would fit in. I kept her in my mind, and would occasionally bring her up, and in the end it was Arrens that made the initial connection for me. He had need of a Shaman who was accustomed to speaking directly with the elements, so he asked Aely if she knew anyone who might be able to help.
I took the connection from there (since both Aely and Annorah were part of TRI during Burning Crusade), having a little memory jog where Aely would suggest that Arrens spoke to Annorah. (Lots of A-names!)
Step 3, of course, was to follow through and make time for the RP to happen. Once that link was made, bringing Annorah around for RP was MUCH easier, since she had an explicit reason to be there. Even though I’m essentially using her as a plot device right now, she’s making connections to other people. Last night she spoke not only with Arrens, but also with Bricu and Threnn, as well as with Ulthanon and Pitchblack.
She’s certainly not part of the social circle in any way yet, but she’s done a favor for the Bittertongues, used her skills for several people, and gotten free drinks at the Pig and Whistle out of it. In the future, the Riders now have a connection to a Farseer should they need one, and Annorah’s got a little tiny thread of connection to the people I’d like to see her RPing with more.
It’s a small first step, but it’s a first step nonetheless. I really hope that it leads to more RP in the future!
I’ll talk tomorrow about exactly who Annorah is and how that connection was made, as well as a bit about roleplaying successfully with a character that has the potential to stray into godmodding territory very easily. See you then!
(And yes, to anyone following the various signatures that show up on these posts, this is the first time since I’ve been using them that Annorah’s has been visible on the blog. Yay!)
March 26, 2010 – 9:00 am
The first thing you decide when you roll a new character is which server you’re going to play on.
Now, that decision can be pretty meaningless (eenie, meenie, miney, moe), but it can have a lot of later implications on your play style. Before cross-server battlegrounds, for instance, rolling on a PVP server meant knowing which faction was stronger on a particular server, so that you didn’t sign yourself up for repeated failure.
On an RP server, however, things can be a little different.
I’ve played on Feathermoon essentially since I started playing (I had two short-lived characters on PVP servers with a jerk of an ex-boyfriend, got over THAT, and rolled to play with my best friend from high school here on Feathermoon). During that time I’ve been a rookie member of a lot of failed guilds, an integral member of a few guilds that went under due to real life issues, expansions, and splits in purpose and personality, and a contributing member to a couple of really awesome guilds. Throughout most of that, I’ve participated in various RP events – some on the realm forums, some from guilds, some spontaneous.
But one of the things that makes RP servers particularly interesting is that they develop a kind of “server lore.”
Obviously this isn’t the same as Blizzard’s lore, but for the people involved it can carry a similar weight. Some of those lore events are, of course, sillier than others, but they do bring a kind of connection to the people that are involved. That connection then shapes further interactions on that server.
Now, let me disclaimer this – a lot of server lore (at least on Feathermoon) happens or is initiated by forum events and RP. If you aren’t interested in what happens on your realm forums, then you’ll probably miss out on some of these kinds of events – and that’s OK. Not everyone really wants to be involved in large-scale RP or PVP type things, and some people prefer almost-exclusively smaller scale RP. That doesn’t make this lore more important, it just means more people have probably seen or been involved in it.
Having only played on Feathermoon, I can only speak to our individual lore, but some of the things that I remember include:
- The Battle of Hillsbrad Between the advent of the Honor System (April 2005), and the introduction of better-functioning battlegrounds (October-ish 2005), Hillsbrad became a war zone. Noted particularly because at the time Alliance outnumbered Horde on Feathermoon by more than 2 to 1, several guilds and the long-standing PVP rivalries started up during this time. As a leveling hunter, I didn’t even properly understand how PVP flags worked, but I knew that there wasn’t any amount of money that would make me ride through Hillsbrad. Several well known – and utterly feared – Horde rogues made names for themselves during this event (Particularly Nimjhal and the guild Low Red Moon).
- The Rose Ball A server-wide RP event that happens yearly, and gets a lot of people to show up and have a good time. Run by The Order Of The Rose, this event includes games, prizes, trivia, and all kinds of other assorted silliness. An ongoing event, I always try to make it to the Rose Ball, if only for a fun excuse to get “dressed up” in game and hang out with people I might not normally get to RP with. It’s open to new RPers too.
- The Deeprun Tram Incident A dwarf, running through the Deeprun Tram, discovers two naked night elves, engaging in … risque behavior. Interacts with them, screenshots it, and posts it all over the internet. Feathermoon becomes synonymous with RP Cybersex. Mentions of “yar yar hump hump”, dwarven hand cannons, and acting like trees while making crow noises all stem back to this particular little juicy tidbit of server history.
- Guildwatch and the Tri-City Assault Arranged by an Alliance guild known for defending (and attacking) cities in World PVP, three horde cities were attacked in one night – Orgrimmar and Thunder Bluff as diversions, with the Undercity as the main target. The RP that stemmed from this (including the trial of an Alliance rogue suspected of treason for warning the horde cities) was relatively legendary at the time. This, combined with the Battle for Hillsbrad, has gone a long way to sustain general hatred between the Alliance and the Horde.
- Boomsticks Pub Night – one of the oldest Alliance side RP events that is still ongoing, the Boomsticks Gang hosts a fantastic pub in the Dwarven District of Stormwind every Wednesday. (Similarly, Noxilite hosts a fire night for storytelling and RP on Mondays, and other guilds host or have hosted ongoing RP events like this. I think the Boomsticks pub is the longest running on Feathermoon, but I could be wrong!)
- Uthas, Plaguebringer, Absolution – Uthas Wordweaver, priest, preaches peace and community to both the Alliance and the Horde, starts a cult, and then gives them all the plague. The resulting chaos from this story created one of Feathermoon’s best known villains (who has guest posted here even!), and a server wide, cross-faction RP storyline that extended for months. His name is spoken still with reverence, with such epithets as “Sweet Zombie Uthas on a Pogo Stick”.
- A whole bunch of Forum Silliness – Hail Kull, Soulblade 178:7, Kill yourself and join the Sidewinder Band, /waffle, Cheese is not of the Forsaken, Pantsless Wednesday (more on that particular event soon!) and other such nonsense that bleed into general chat, forum conversations, and generally show up in random places, taking on a life of their own.
Within individual guilds, lore builds up as well – things like The Bloody Long Story (which is both bloody and bloody long), The Longest Night and The Wrathgate are recent events that have shaped, and will continue to shape, the Wildfire Riders. Current storylines will get folded into guild lore as well. I’m not sure if there’s even an official name for the story that has us wrapped up currently, where Tarquin is exiled from Stormwind (to avoid being hanged), SI:7 is causing trouble, some old god followers are generally wreaking havoc, and we’re finding bodies in the Stormwind Canals, but I’m quite sure it will be remembered in stories in the Pig and Whistle for some time. (I suspect Arthas’ death will also become part of WFR history, with as many exiled Lordaeron characters we have.)
So, to lasso this back to my original topic … of course not everyone on Feathermoon knows about, cares about, or remembers these events. Some of them happened quite a long time ago, before a lot of the current players were even thinking about rolling characters and trying out the World of Warcraft craze.
But these kinds of events (even the silly ones) provide each server with a sort of cultural history, a background that runs between the forums and the game, between factions, between guilds, that anyone can tap into and build from.
Which, of course, turns this post into a sort of Friday challenge.
What servers do you all play on, and do they have events and stories that pop up again and again? Are there major server-wide RP events that shaped how you play or how you see certain aspects of the game (I know I still, to this day, skirt quickly around Tarren Mill)?
If you don’t know, your server’s wowwiki page is a good place to start (this is Feathermoon’s), as well as looking through your realm forums or asking around in your guild. Getting people talking about old stories is fun, and you never know, you might learn something new about your server. If possible, you might try asking about these events in-character too, since an in-character retelling of a long-past event can be really interesting.
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March 24, 2010 – 9:36 am
RP takes place in all sorts of places.
Sometimes it happens in planned locations or expected places. Sometimes it’s out in the open where anyone can see it and take part. Other times it’s done in party chat, guild chat, or private channels. Sometimes it happens out “in the wild” with strangers. Sometimes those strangers become friends, but maybe you never see them again.
I, personally, have seen RP happen:
- in a city
- in an inn or tavern
- in Dalaran and Shattrath
- at a flight path
- in an auction house
- in the bank
- by a mailbox
- on a boat
- in guild chat
- in party chat
- in whispers
- in /yell
- in /say
- in general chat (yes, really. in general chat)
- by a quest giver
- at a cool or interesting place out in the zones
- in an instance
- in a raid
- on a guild forum
- on the realm and RP Blizzard forums
- in a google document
- in emails
- in messages and IMs
- just about anywhere, really
The most important place that RP happens is wherever you happen to be, even if that just means thinking in your head “I wonder how my character would react to this <whatever>” – that’s a little half-a-thought of RP that connects you to your character.
There is no hierarchy, no RP that is inherently better than other RP simply because it has an epic storyline. I’ve had as much enjoyment out of mundane, everyday conversations as I have out of huge planned events. (In fact, sometimes I like the smaller stuff better than the bigger stuff. My RP diet is wide and varied, and I like to keep it that way.)
We make RP happen.
In the words of the wise Falconesse - RP happens WITH us, not TO us. Being able to see all the minute opportunities to increase the immersion in this world (uh oh – there’s the “I” word… I don’t use it very often!) and in our characters can take a little time and thought, but I think it’s worth the effort.
If you never reach out, never participate, and never take the chance, you’ll probably get bored pretty fast.
And that’s OK, if your comfort level with roleplay is to think about your characters and their histories and then simply play the PVE game, not seeking out other roleplayers to bounce your characters and ideas off of. But if you want something more than just sitting around watching other people RP or running around never having any character interactions? You’ll find that being willing to get into your character’s head and letting them interact with others can be a lot of fun.
None of this is to say that I’m never bored, or that RP is never boring (just like my enjoying raiding doesn’t mean that raids are never boring or frustrating). I’m simply stating that the more chances you take, the more likely you are to find success.
November 19, 2013 – 4:46 pm
Bad things are happening in Stormwind – and beyond.
The Hand of Lothar, they call themselves.
Yva Darrows was their first target.
Tirith and Aely were their second and third.
They have since… expanded their reach and escalated their methods …
November 13, 2013 – 9:59 am
The cathedral bells stop ringing overnight, except for chiming the hours. Three bell strikes, and Angoleth padded softly around another corner of the Cathedral District, staying carefully in the shadows. Trained ears picked up Mogget’s soft breathing – nearly inaudible …
November 7, 2013 – 1:33 pm
(Written by Jolly, Tarquin, and Annalea)
The highlands of Lordaeron were not for the faint of heart; be it the putrescence of the Scourge’s long-lingering remnant, or the rock-strewn hills and valleys that made farmers out of only the most …
September 13, 2013 – 7:11 pm
(With Tarquin and Annalea)
Once more, four people made their way through the thickets and hills of Lordaeron, this time in the crisp chill of late morning, seeking after the Rider. Aelflaed had snatched what sleep she could while Chryste …
September 11, 2013 – 9:47 am
She hadn’t wanted to leave Jolly – not so soon after finding him again – but once away, it took about five minutes for Aely to figure out she had a problem.
That problem had just announced that …
September 9, 2013 – 10:05 am
It was an uneasy goodbye for him, but it was agreed by both he and Aely that a stroll back to Hearthglen would not be very easy to explain, nor would the explanation needed for the three Argent soldiers once …
September 7, 2013 – 9:02 am
“Light sent me ye when I needed ye afore – an’ now again when I need ye. I canna ask fir more than tha’.” She sighed and slung the shield back across her shoulders. “It’s… Light. Been awhile hasna it? …
September 6, 2013 – 2:02 pm
She blinked, but did not drop either of her shields. “Aye, though I’ve been Caltrains fir th’ last near three years. Canna say I’ve any memory ay ye.”
“Yeh’ve far moar’n yeh realize,” he replied evenly, his grip tightening on …