Immersion: for many it's a word that has absolutely no meaning. They know the definition of immersed, but otherwise it has no meaning. To be immersed is to become part of something, usually used in reference to culture, a lifestyle, a movement.
For roleplayers, it often means the same. In a small way we become our characters. We dive into a world of fantasy, their lives, their actions, their decisions, their outcomes, their choices; the people they know, the lives they live, and ultimately their retirement or death.
But there are small things that make it hard sometimes to get engrossed in the character, the scene, the roleplay, the moment. There are things that don't quite flow right, don't quite fit, or are too ostentatious or line-crossing for you to feel perfectly comfortable. We call those things immersion breaking, things that pull you out of a scene, or are so bad that sometimes entire scenes need to be rewritten or even forgotten.
For each of us, it's a different trigger that crosses that line. My question for you in SWTOR-RP's new Friday Focus is: what ruins immersion for you? What makes a scene completely unplayable or makes it nearly impossible to get into a character?
Roleplaying is something that even children do with dolls and friends. Playing mommy with Barbie dolls, soldier with GI Joes, or maybe if you were like me, you just had a habit of leaving a bunch of hairless, naked dolls half buried in mud lying around while you played 'war'.
Cops and Robbers, chef, dress up, whatever you want to call it, children were the first roleplayers, and for some of us, roleplay is not something easily grown out of. In fact, for some of us, the older we get, the more we've seemed to develop a taste and enjoyment for the games, table tops, and LARP activities. For some of us, diving into that unknown realm is a way to escape from the monotony of real life. For others, it's a way to tell stories and write with a group of like-minded people, to create epic tales and plotlines for a genre we love.
Roleplay is a varying creature, with varied styles and skill levels. There are people like me that have been doing it for sixteen years now; long enough that I feel old. But there are also people that have been doing it for twice as long as I have, and people that are just stepping their toes into the icy water and trying their hand at it.
Everyone has a different flare, a different style, different ways of wording and emoting, things that make them distinct and unique in their story telling.
Whether you're just beginning, or you've been doing it for years, we've all learned things along the way that make us better at the thing we all enjoy so much. My task for you this week is to do one thing: if you had one piece of advice to give to someone starting out, just dipping their feet into roleplay, what would it be? What pivotal piece of information should they keep in mind?
Most of the people that read these articles have one thing in common with me, the writer: we're all roleplayers, that for whatever reason, love or hate, a mixture of both, find enjoyment enough in The Old Republic
to continue on, creating plots, writing stories, interacting, and diving head first into the community, whether on a broader scale, or with a few close knit individuals.
For whatever reason, we all fell in love with Star Wars
. You may not like BioWare
, may not like George Lucas, Disney
, may not even like SWTOR
as a whole, but there is one thing that each of us have in common and that is our love, fascination, or even idle curiosity over the environment that those have come to create, and that is the genre of Star Wars
Some, like me, delve further into the Expanded Universe and fanon, taking the time to create guides, models, ideas, to expand on existing content and flesh it out to create an entire idea or concept behind a species, like my own Iridonian Fanon guide, started by roleplayers in Star Wars Galaxies
on Bria and Starsider, and then brought to TOR
and expanded by myself, Vaanthe, and a few other roleplayers. Guides like the Cathar roleplay guide
fleshed out and written by Foxberry, and guides like the Sith roleplay guide that was fleshed out and expanded for TOR
For whatever reason, people like us, people like you, Mandalorian fanboys and girls, Iridonian lovers, or even die hard Chiss fanatics, came together to create and play this game, to roleplay in this genre.
So my focus this week is: what is it about Star Wars
that drew you in? Why Star Wars
? What is it about TOR
or Star Wars
in general that keeps you coming back for more despite the hundreds of other RPGs, MMOs, or various dramas you could be in?
Why do you love Star Wars
One thing about Star Wars
as a genre is that while there are distinct sides to the Force, there is this ever prevalent grey area when it comes to a vast majority of the characters. From Anakin Skywalker
, to Han Solo
, and even Mace Windu
. There are characters that just cannot fit into a certain box or side. The dastardly rogues. Dare devils. Bad boys. Star Wars
is full of characters that walk the line between being truly heroic, and what's considered an anti-villain. Characters that are not good by any stretch of imagination, but through the course of a story or through their deeds, end up inadvertently, or sometimes willingly, doing the right thing. There are even more characters that skirt that line and outright fall to the dark side, but manage to maintain something that still resembles humanity, or eventually relearn a little of their humanity as the story progresses.
These are the bad boys of Star Wars
; characters that are so evil, but not because they're dark-sided, but because they manage to capture your heart and your attention by being the devilish rogues or unwitting villains that you just cannot help but love (or love to hate).
So which character is it that stole your heart? Which bad boy is your favorite? The roguish smuggler, Han Solo? The questionably grey Jedi that Luke Skywalker
becomes? Or Maybe a certain Mandalorian that gets sucked into the belly of a Sarlacc? Which bad boy do you love?
In a previous Friday Focus
, we discussed immersion, the state of becoming engrossed into a setting, characters, or scene in roleplay; primarily, what ruined immersion for you.
The responses to that article were overwhelming, and spawned the idea that immersion is not only a facet of roleplay, but a necessary part of it; without immersion, and that ability to dive into a specific setting or scene with one's characters, roleplay is in fact impossible.
We've discussed in length what immersion is, and we've even discussed in length how immersion is broken and ruined for multiple people; those things that drive them away from a scene, character, or even genre, that make it impossible to become emerged.
The question I have this week is: what is immersion to you? What makes you feel engrossed in a scene? What do you absolutely have
to have in order to feel part of a story?
Characters: they start off as a storyboard, an idea, sometimes well thought out and planned, sometimes off the cuff and spontaneous. Sometimes they turn out nothing like you anticipated when you created them, taking on minds and personalities of their own, ever changing and evolving.
Sometimes they have quirks. Oddities. Habits. Mannerisms. Even a look.
Sometimes that look is influenced by a real person, maybe even yourself. My own character Niatara has a habit of playing with her hair, ruffling it, twirling it, mussing it up when she's idle or thoughtful, a habit of my own that I transferred to her. My character Talia is insanely crazily curious about all things imaginable; another habit of mine that I thought would be fun to play on. My former character Adahiana had pale skin, dark hair, and a crazy love for any and all animals.
These are things I infused to the characters because I thought they might be amusing quirks and habits for them to have that reminded me of my own faults or oddities, if you will.
So my question to you this week is: how many of you do the same? How much are your characters like you? How much of yourself do you put into your characters?
I don't know if anyone is like me, but sometimes when I'm reading a book, my imagination gets away from me and I sometimes play in my head what will happen next, or my mind wanders around and starts creating different stories.
That's one thing about roleplay that always attracted me: your ability to create something unique and new while playing off of other people's characters and stories. To go wild with things and think outside of a box, be it Star Wars
, horror, fantasy, sci-fi... it's a world unlike our reality, outside of it, a place living, breathing, waiting for us to dive into.
To me that's my favorite part of roleplay. What's yours?
There are different parts of roleplay. Actions, emotes, emotions, characters, players, personalities, scenes, dynamic, immersion, interaction, and reaction. There are more than those listed, but all of these things come together to help paint the picture, to help a scene go from your head to reality.
There are types of roleplayers too, those that are comfortable leading scenes and taking charge, giving others stories and plots to participate in while they themselves play dungeon masters and the like. There are those that are more comfortable reacting to scenes, participating, and allowing their characters to roll with stories others provide. Then there are those that are evenly mixed, enjoy creating scenes as well as participating. For some it is a matter of comfort level, for others a matter of experience, and others a matter of enjoyment.
So which are you? Are you a take-charge sort of story master, or do you prefer to let other people run things and play along? Or are you an even mix of take charge and roll with the punches? What do you prefer to do?
There are Sith
, and then there are Sith with a purpose. Many people roleplay Sith; they have a love for the dark side and want to have a character that is an embodiment of that driving urge to play the bad guy. Oftentimes they're played as a villain for personal plots, sometimes as a separate character that isn't at all tangled in their other stories.
Regardless of the reasons that people roleplay a Sith or are drawn to the darker aspect and elements of the Force, a group of people that are almost always depicted as the mustache twirling villains of quintessential evil, Sith are a predominant part of roleplay and many roleplayers find them fascinating.
The ultimate goal of a Sith is knowledge, power, prestige, and influence. It's a game often filled with backstabbing and treachery that is worse than any D&D
campaign or ROME
tabletop game could ever be.
But Sith also serve a purpose. Outside of being the bad guys, they have a driving goal, and even the most skilled have something they work for and excel at above others. This is where Spheres of Influence
come in; different organizations created by the Sith Empire
to house the special talents of their members.
What are your characters talented at and best known for? Do they have a particular set of skills that they're better at? Do you roleplay something outside of the in-game parameters? An alchemist, scientist, inquisitor, maybe a defense contractor or even a diplomat involved in expansion of the Empire?
There is Peace.
There is no Emotion,
There is no ignorance,
There is knowledge.
There is no passion,
There is serenity.
There is no chaos,
There is harmony.
There is no death,
There is the Force.
These words have long been the founding principle behind the Jedi Order
, and the tenets to which all Jedi young and old are instructed and follow.
Interpretation of them, however, has always been something of a question both in roleplay and in the Expanded Universe itself, where talks of off sects of Jedi
, Corellian Jedi
, Grey Jedi
, and the like have been mentioned and written about.
Each of these different sects holds different views and beliefs of the tenets that helped found the Jedi, many of them have or at some point cross paths and equally work for the light side of the Force to create good and peace in the galaxy. Their paths are different, but the ultimate goal the same: to destroy the dark side and bring harmony.
My question this week is: which group do you see as right in their view of the Force and why? The emotionless path of the classic Jedi, never fully connecting for fear that connection will lead to the dark side? Or do you and your characters believe in a different path, one that is still light-sided, but holds a different view?