The Problem(s) with Roleplaying in SL, Part 2

When I wrote the last post a few days ago, I was frustrated and disappointed. This hasn’t changed, but I have had time to think some more about what I was trying to say and this reflection time, coupled with the comments here and on Hotspur’s blog here, have brought me back to the subject. I don’t know about you, but I never feel I get my point over clearly enough in a post.

First off, let me state that I in no way want these posts to seem like I’m bitching about SL. I love this world and whilst I will admit it has many faults, any blame for difficult RP experiences can not be laid at its feet. SL is what it is and it’s not WoW.

I’ve also had only limited experience RPing in SL – I’ve tried to ‘break into’ several dedicated sim set ups, but despite all the rule reading & prep I did, the sims tended to be empty with little sign of RP or lagged to hell rendering even walking impossible, let alone RP. These communities seem to lack a certain something… a level of coherence that make it feel like you really are playing inside a series of impressive story arcs. Instead they seem to be more about small personal and interpersonal stories that exclude and don’t really go anywhere.

As for non-RP dedicated sims, my feeling from visiting them and reading the blogs is that you really have to move in and live in the community to take part, which is fair enough really.

It seems to me that the most successful SL-based RPing goes on outside SL, in the blogs and nings and whathaveyous of the players. The time in-world is taken up with meetings to plan and set up the events that will then be played out/photographed/filmed in-world and then expanded upon/written about out-of-world.

Rather than expand upon my perceived problems with RPing is, why don’t I list what I want from a RP experience in SL using , as an example only, the acme of my RPing desires at the moment; a Philip Marlowe-esque 1940’s hard boiled PI game:

1) A thematic location is desirable. A few sims worth of appropriate mean city LA streets would be nice. Some hills over the sea even better. Something to use as a backdrop to the pictures and films that than go onto the blog.

2) Someone in overall charge. Good RPGs need a games master – someone to direct action, help players along and enforce (with a light touch) rules. In my ideal game, the city mayor and/or DA and whilst their word would be law, they would interact and seek opinion and guidance from the players.

3) Engaging and constantly evolving story arcs. I don’t *just* want to play a story where I’m in competition for business with another PI, I want those big cases to come my way. But then I don’t always want the same type of case (broad on desk, murder rap chasing her, old man with money in the background). I want to feel that the city is alive with or without me.

4) A consistent, maintained & searchable history. How many times have I dipped into the many (many!) wonderful Caledon blogs and enjoyed what I’ve read but had no fucking clue what the wider picture is. People cross-post without links; stories start, stall and continue without recaps; no one seems to ever make a history of their character and how they fit into the world. Maybe this info for Caledon exists, but I doubt it’s any coherent form. A RP game without a sense of shared and valued history only ever exists in the present and therefore the value of the experiences being generated is lessened – after all, why RP well when the whole thing will be forgotten by everyone but the half-dozen involved.

If I had those four things, I think I’d be a happy RPer. If No 4 & 3 were in place, then I think the game would have a better chance of evolving and growing into another world you step into rather than a theatre backdrop constantly being lowered and raised behind you.

All these ‘wants’ are fine in theory, but they ignore the two biggest problems facing RP providers and players? Time and money. Someone has to pay for it. Someone has to create and maintain it. SL people seem to be transitory by nature, either leaving the world or moving on to the next big sim. Many of the Caledon blogs I stumbled upon two years ago are Steelhead blogs now. Many other blogs I read have similarly changed location and sims close or people move on. Even with a shared, maintain history it is hard for an RP game to survive this – the owners/runners of such a game have to be willing to be in it for the long haul and how the hell you make that pay, whilst still maintaining the integral feel and energy of the RP itself is, dear reader, beyond me. I guess the Guvnr in Caledon has it right – the sims pay for themselves and meanwhile small pockets of happy residents make their own RP up and blog it as they go.

And that, ladies and gentlemen is what I suspect is the only system that will work in the current SL model. Whilst people have to pay a lot of money to rent servers, RP sims will never move successfully beyond a mix of rent-to-pay and small-scale-resident-run-RP. Maybe OpenSim will one day change that? If I could rent a server cheaply, that’s 4 sims of my 1940s LA RP right there with either no or minimal need to generate revenue.

Yours in thought.
HeadBurro Antfarm, PI
*******************

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29 comments

  1. I don’t know how anyone can say they RP on WoW. I used to play and I played on RP servers, but it was still about like it is on SL. You could create it in your own little group, but if you ran into anyone not in your group, they might be all leet speak or talking about spilling a Pepsi on their keyboard.

  2. Oops. Hit Submit too soon.

    Lately, I have really been missing my old days of MU*ing. I miss the intensity of the RP relationships that I had there. Reading the old logs has me kind of depressed. I remember being eager each day to login and see what would happen next – I don’t get that so much on SL.

  3. Hi there Miss Burton,

    I have to admit to never playing WoW or any online game – in fact SL was my first MMO. But I also harbour a lingering fondness for a ‘simpler’ game style – back in 2001 to 2004 I ran a Play by Email Cthulgu RPG and it was a dream to play.

    I’ve been through times in SL where logging on was just so… meh. Only bursts of creativity have got me through them – the travel guides at first, then the show and now (maybe) some more writing – hell, maybe even some collaberative efforts!

  4. Good points all. This is bringing my mind, somewhat predictably, to Lumindor.

    While I had lived in one RP sim prior to this, with Lumindor I actually reset my home point and moved in–it wasn’t just wandering around the edges, I truly felt I was part of the life of the sim.

    And I won’t say it was all faery dust and roses–some very bad things happened, both in terms of mismanaged RP, and in my personal life. And at times it seemed like the players were more invested in petty power squabbles than serious RP–if a fantasy sim drawn from several mismatched histories can even be *termed* serious RP!

    The biggest problem, of course, in any form of roleplay on SL, is finding that proper balance between doing things for the love of them, and the financing and business end of sim management.

    The closest thing SL has or had to ‘advancement’ RP–well, the first thing that comes to mind is Dark Life, which I’m not sure even *exists* anymore–a roleplay sim where the game meter recorded achievements and quests, and ‘points’ were allocated based on that rating–but as has been said, it didn’t change the abilities of the basic players of the game, because the players of the game remained the same, evolving day to day, just like real life.

    The other concept that springs to mind is far stranger, and started in Avaria (Grendel’s), though it’s now spread in odd fashion to Caledon. A limited investment at the main store gets you the basic harvesting and hunting HUDs–which with difficulty can be combined–and then there are two ways to ‘play’ the game:

    1. Join the Avarian Hunters group, get in on the Avarian roleplay, and stage HUD combats to advance, or use what you’ve gathered and created to trade with other players in rp settings;

    or

    2. Forego the group, forgo the advancement, per se, and spend time harvesting, mining, and hunting to get nifty sets of armor, mounts, or fun attachments for your avatar–just because that’s fun for you, or because you want ‘free’ toys.

    This makes it oddly similar to a standard MMO experience–at the base camp, one can come in with a load of copper ore to smelt, and find people conversing in strange pidgin about the lights in the sky, standing next to folks talking about how much they want Taco Bell to deliver!

    Still, all and all, I think we’re at the very edge of the threshold of vr roleplay–and, whether it stays on SL or moves on to newer emergent technologies, I think SL can teach us a lot about the concept. “Social gaming”, for instance–that puts Caledon in a whole new light, doesn’t it?

  5. This debate is all very interesting. I share many of the experiences reported over here – both the exalting experience of having sparkles of good roleplay and the frustration of having a story going nowhere simply because the players never manage to meet again.

    Even if money can be relevant, my guess (with OpenSim or in some other way) its relevance is bound to decrease. What will remain relevant is time. Both as time spent online, and as time shift – a nightmare finding a common playtime across continents.

    I’ve been experimenting hard to find solutions and what I’ve found – perhaps, still in a provisional shape – is a mix of SL scenes and actual diary entries. Even if some players cannot login or meet for a while, even the shortest diary entry keeps them inside the action. And when a scene happens – by chance meeting – the characters have much more depth.

    So, my current recipe would sound like “make a two-paces (two-rhythms? two-clocks?) environment, with short but frequent diary posts, and more relaxed, freely happening SL scenes.”

  6. My Dear Miss Orr! Never feel shame at leaving a substantial comment on my blog, such things make my trollop heart beat that much faster 🙂

    I have to admit to having never heard of Lumindor – I didn’t even realise there was a fey or sidhe RP faction in SL, but your description od the power/ego struggles that took place is all too familiar.

    I am more familar with the Avarian system though and at one point tried my hand at it (https://headburroantfarm.wordpress.com/2008/01/16/hunting-goodies-in-the-avarain-expedition/). My avatar actually fits in there more than anywhere else, but for whatever reason, I’ve never been back – something just doesn’t grab me about endless digging, collection and combo-trying. It’s the same with my alt when I tried the Wastelands – endless running, empty sims, a sense of a tale passing me by because I didn’t live there.

    I don’t really know what to do about that – I think I’d have to give myself over to a sim/area and stop, as you say, wandering about the edges.

    Social gaming… I think you are spot on there. Even when I think waaaay waaaay back to when I tabletoped RPGs (Tunnels and Trolls, MERP, Traveller) the atmosphere was broken by OOC chatter and the like – why should RPing in SL be any different.

    I think the biggest problem with RPing in SL for me is that I haven’t found a genre or game or community I have felt was just right. The problem isn’t the platform – it’s that I’m too ruddy fussy! 😀

  7. well Hon, there’s “fussy” and then there’s “aspiring to something on a level above irritating mediocrity.”

    Nothing wrong with having standards–in essence, having a clear idea of what you’re looking for. It’s like your desire for a “hard-boiled PI” experience–I think it’s important that you realize you’re not just looking for a simple detective scenario, you are looking for a lively 1940s urban environment with a community of people in which your PI scenario would be just one of the unfolding stories. Makes a lot of sense. In fact it sounds pretty damn good. All the pieces you need including cars, structures, furnishings, weapons, clothes and hair are already out there–just need to be pulled together. To be honest the other one I’d really like to do would be Las Vegas in the 1950s.

    And yes you’re right, the key is leadership of a unique kind that is hard to find irl, let alone this pixelated vale of tears. I find the best ones for this task are usually the people who take it on reluctantly. Those who are eager to be in charge all too often are the last folks you want doing it.

    I also like the points made about continuity–how you have people who disappear completely or who have rl intrude for awhile–so yes, a mix of scenes played out both in-world and through the medium of text based continuing or concluding “chapters” (or other text-based devices such as “letters” “reports” or “journal entries”) can help keep a story line from simply frittering out.

    *picturing you in a fedora and rumpled trench coat*

  8. She’s right, you know.

    I’d add one more thing: in addition to all of that, what you need to realize is that much of RP on SL is still very rote–and very basic. There are not a lot of complicated stories out there; complicated stories, by and large, do not seem to fare well.

    This is not a problem on behalf of committed, earnest players, whether or not they have time free–imaginative, interested people can generally be convinced to follow broad thematics, chime in on group journals, leave prims saying “Note found under a branch” or “Speeding ticket for the Mysterious Stranger” around and about…the problem is, frankly, everyone else.

    What they seem to want–and note, I have more experience with the sf/fantasy side of things, not the more realistic RPs–is essentially adult roleplay. The slaver with the heart of gold. The damsel in distress who will be oh so thankful. The tortured victim. The alien breeder who wants to propagate with anything. The demon searching for home. The wild camp of neko Amazons battling vampires…and losing.

    The venue changes, the sim changes, the wants and needs remain the same. And keep in mind, I have no problem with erotic content–but I want story, damn it–I want more reason for it than just “Lookit poseballs! LOL!”

    And by and large–though I have met gameplayers in world that are wonderful at what they do–a great many people fall into that “Lookit poseballs!” mentality. In and out of RP sims.

    What you may need to find is others who are committed to gaming for the sake of the game, rather than tatters here and there to embellish a porn scene.

  9. I find RP in second life works best when played inside your head Head 🙂 I tried conventional RP but found the same problems as you . To me it was very much like watching a bad play acted out and scripted by the audience who all wanted to be the lead character. I mentioned it on Youngs blog about the guards outside the door and how they would have to just stand there . If RP was to be adheared to strictly then the minor roles would be very boring. thats why it must be difficult for it to work . I tend to look at SL like one big RP after all the majority of us tend to differ are looks from are RL selves. Somewhere in the back of my mind SL becomes this amazing world in another dimension (which it is in a way) where you can meet any sort of creature from other dimensions the past or future a little bit like the series slider. So although I am myself all be it a prettier version 🙂 I find no problem in meeting or interacting with a vampire from the 16th century or someone called Nobby the Nutter from Manchester . They are all just the characters in my head. If Nobby wants to talk about his huge RL motorcycle thats fine , to me he is just visiting this world and maybe not understanding how it works or maybe he’s just missing his RL as you would in a strange new world . I don’t know if you would call it RP but to me I am playing the role of myself but in an open ended multi faceted play and it does seem to work that way for me most of the time. It does help having the blog and building stuff to sell as this gives me I suppose my role as an explorer and maker . It might be that I haven’t seen RP done the way it should be this is like you the first MMO i have played although it dosn’t feel like a game .
    To tell the truth the fun bit for me in any drama I’ve been in has always been the dressing up bit and of course the applause after each scene . So I’m going to give you a round of applause for The Lost Journal because I’m thoroughly enjoying it and although the rest of the audience are being rather quiet I know they are enjoying it too (well at least Nobby the Nutter told me he was ) 🙂

  10. Good point about challenge of providing the necessary secondary and supernumerary characters, as well as the main actors. When it does happen, it’s because you have a community in which there are at least some people with sufficient dedication to making each story work, that they will take turns in being being the guards, lookouts, cab drivers, maids, butlers, newsboys, waiters, bartenders, faro dealers, streetsweepers, plumbers, and yak herders. They might do this with an alt dredged up for the occasion, to support and facilitate someone elses’s storytelling.

    They may even do it on a consistent primary basis. Often the people who do that tend to be from a community’s leadership. You’d be astonished how often that scullery girl scrubbing the regimental latrines or the smiling bartender slinging watered-down drinks is actually the sim owner or an admin.

    The hard part in this, and why you don’t run across it that is often, is that having an arrangement in which people are cheerfully taking on secondary roles by turns requires that you have a certain number of people who are not rampaging narcissists, which of course, substantially narrows the portion of the SL population you are drawing from. You need to be able to find people like Miss Orr, who, bless her heart, not too long ago was willing to play the role of a lady’s maid for a couple of well-born European tourists visiting Deadwood, and help make the scenario work. It just wouldn’t have felt right if those folks hadn’t hadn’t had some kind of staff with them.

    The other thing that is necessary, as HB touches on, is a shared history. The players, both primary and secondary, have to know what is going on (which is where tools like a community newspaper, as well as good old “stand around and gossip” sessions, come in handy.

    I think we all agree that looking at our general travels through the grid as an overall kind of free-form rp experience like Miss Nishmip describes, is a lot of fun and a reasonable way of enjoying SL. But the nature of the platform is that it leads many different kinds of people to think about what kinds of environments they can create to immerse themselves in and what kinds of stories they can tell for the edification and delight of themselves and other like minded individuals. And creating a cohesvie immersion experience requires a canon of some sort. The players need to not only understand the history of what has happened or is happening, they need to have an understanding and awareness of the context and details. Some source material has to be available in which they can derive knowledge of technology, vocabulary, social structures, fashion, and values o the time and place in which the stories are being told.

    One remarkable possibility here would of course be to create a completely new universe that you could explore and interact within. Theoretically this is possible, but the really hard part would be to communicate to other players and potential fellow travelers, what that universe is and how it works. The canon has to be accessible. It doesn’t need to necessarily be something that everyone already knows and shares, but they have to be able to get at it easily and gain the necessary insights into how to talk, think, act, and react.

    This is probably why some of the rp communities that have some longevity are those like the Goreans, who have Professor Norman’s odd little books to draw on; the Star Wars folks, who have the movies and ancillary literature; or the some of the Old West towns which have a mixture of well-established mythology and actual historical material to work with. Otherwise you are trying to tell stories in an ill-defined and ever-shifting world, with anachronisms and silliness and Stuff Which Just Won’t Work colliding with and bogging down the narrative.

    And as much as we sometimes would like to think otherwise, yes, as has been discussed before, there has to be someone enforcing the canon, tactfully reminding the players that Imperial Stormtroopers usually are very professional in their demeanor and generally don’t say things like “OMFG U r HAWT” while ravaging a rebellious planet, or that most historians agree relatively few destroyer droids were present on America’s Western frontier in the post-Civil War era.

    And as Miss Orr, says even when an rp community does, against the odds, function and develop some depth, and have some staying power, it ain’t always pretty. Even the best situations have their ups and downs, and mixed results, with the periodic oasis of sublime storytelling in the midst of a vast desert of less successful experiments, and goofy encounters. They also all have a life span and will eventually implode from the effects of narcissism, unbridled lust, the pressures of rl and plain old burn-out. Sometimes they will recover from these implosions, and sometimes not, but it is the nature of things.

    That said, simply because things will not always work very well, nor will they survive indefinitely, it does not men we should not try the experiments, and savor the experiments that work, even if only briefly.

  11. *laughs*

    Miss Kuhr: I’m noticing more and more I’m mainly pointing at what you say and saying you’re right! 🙂

    But it’s true. I am fine being a secondary character. And when I was paper gaming, even when GMing I never ran the Traditional Immortal Quest-Giver; I’d run some little homely business that had an old map that the characters run across, or a traveling wagon that leaves behind something that bears further investigation. Drunk in the tavern of an evening, telling tales of the abandoned manse down the road.

    I’m intrigued by the concept of Second Life-as-roleplay; seen in that light, everything I do becomes story, which…well, isn’t far from the truth now, oddly. But that can be said for my RL life, as well.

  12. *smiles back* it makes a world of difference looking at your rl journey as a story–it can be part of how you step back from it and seek ways of making sense of it.

    And yes, Hon, there is a great deal to be said for being a secondary character much of the time. You can be the one who adds the surprise twist, comic relief, or facilitates action–you’re not trapped by the unfolding story like the heroes and heroines may be. Or you can do what I like to do, be something in the manner of a Greek chorus, filling out the crowd while narrating and commenting on the action and the personalities of the main characters.

    Besides when you’re functioning as the Choryphaeus, you frequently get to deliver those great “See? I told you so” lines.

  13. Hello Nish, Emilly & Dio – so sorry for the lack of response over the weekend but family duties cut my online time to the minimum required for the show on Saturday and some more photos for the blog (all about Sally and coming to the blog over the next few days).

    Thank you all for such wonderful and thought provoking comments – I’m glad to see that I’m not the only one who struggles with making RP in SL fit and work, but you guys are really restoring my faith in it.

    The problem of minor roles or NPCs has always bothered me too Nish. Often a good RPG is only as good as the world and the people that inhabit it – if they work, so does the game. In my dream 1940s PI sim, who would be the vital shoeshine contact or the store owner across the street from the murder scene?

    But the solution you, Dio, mention where Emilly took on a minor role is both inspired and desirable. In the 1940s PI sim I’d love to play more than one role – especially if that helped other people’s RP take off and develop and then they did the same for the community.

    I think that Deadwood seems to have it worked out in that for a pre-written plot (if such a thing exisits), notes and costumes could be handed out and arrangements to be online or communicate could be made by players whereas for a free-form plot then it kinda would be the same, but looser. Players would discuss what to do, do it and play it through. The only danger is that you wouldn’t need SL for that, it could all be email planning and blog realisation, but that cuts out a vital part I (and obviously many, many others including the Deadwood community) would want to keep in(1).

    Could playing a minor, background character be rewarded somehow? This might attract newbies who want to get to know how to RP before jumping in as well as paying them a small wage to help them develop? Sort of like a better, healthier version of camping. Just an off-the-cuff thought.

    I think you say it well Nish – maybe being in SL is RPing, just in a vast unplanned, unscripted and unthemed way. And then RPing in Deadwood or Steelhead or my PI sim is just moving to a more rarefied that experience for a short while before returning to the wider game. This would make RP games/sims games within a game. Even though SL isn’t a game, obviously ;-D.

    I don’t know about you, but I marvel at the folks who run these things – they must have to put up with an extraordinary amount and breadth of crapola, and then almost never get the same benefit from all their hard work that the players will.

    I suppose the bottom line is that yes it’s imperfect, yes it can be a victim of ‘drama’, yes it can be messy and confusing, yes it can be hard work. But it is also fun, vital, passionate and a labour of love. And from these ingredients and conditions rises something wonderful – RP you can fall in love with.

    hba
    ***

    p.s Briefly on the subject of adult themes, by which I mean sex really. Whilst I understand how that could come into a RP storyline, I doubt I’d ever be in a mindset to RP it out as the missus, who reads the blog, would cut my balls off. the ladies of SL are safe from HBA 😀 I have to say that a lot of Vampire and Gorean stuff, whilst not in my sphere of interest, puts me off anyway because of the over sexual gubbins that goes with it. But that’s just me, a boring married man 😀

    (1) In fact that’s what’s hit me hardest about Darien’s removal from SL – I no longer have the chance to arrange scenes for photos with Jeremiah, leaving just text posts on the blog. Not my style – I like to play it out in both worlds 🙂

  14. A thought I missed out in the comment above:

    Humour seems to be a huge part of many RPs and communities, with the emphasis given to amusing, quirky storylines rather than gritty hard ones.

    Is this a way of avoiding potentially ugly things entering our second lives which are often our oasises?

    Also, is it also a way of getting the largest ‘buy in’ of participants – avoiding egos building and ‘drama’ erupting?

    hba.
    ****

  15. Well, but the conversation continues, so time is immaterial. 🙂

    I don’t think the problem is sexualized RP, whether or not one is allowed to play online (and I’m fully supportive of those who think online interaction is the same as off; it’s all still *you*, in a certain sense, and you must do what you feel comfortable doing); I think the problem is the *thinking* behind it. To wit: we are in a culture (at least in the US) where everyone wants to be the next Laurell K. Hamilton. “Erotic fantasy”, most of it barely even engagingly written, has taken over to a great extent because it sells, at least initially; it’s all short-term thinking among publishers.

    This is in force in SL, along with the curious quirk of the grid that seems to ‘lag’ SL culture about five, ten years behind RL culture, in many ways.

    There’s also the concept of RP as therapy (both bad and good): people bring their issues with them when they join the grid, where those issues are frequently displayed in sharp focus, in and out of RP. Humor does keep things moving, a lighter touch on the reins of the play; some players will sidestep this anyway, in favor of darker psychological horrors. (Sometimes, without even knowing it.)

    I admit, I do like the concept of all SL as play; an oft-repeated life motto is that the point of existence is to figure out the game we’re all playing. Advanced students, of course, get the additional challenge of figuring out their role in said game…

    1. A friend and I once commented that SL would be a *fantastic* place to play in the Amber theme. All of those diverse sims would just be Shadows to visit. 😉

      1. And oh, how I love this idea. Both the actual concept, and the larger philosophical concepts.

        Because actually playing a specific character when I played in Lumindor (and then Valruna) was not something I’d done to date, per se, I began to refer to them as “pocket universes”. The concept caught on for a while, and it became oddly fun to have time accelerate or slow, depending on need, because a pocket universe wouldn’t have to run on the same rules.

  16. Wow, interesting thoughts and questions all around–as far as humor goes, it comes up a lot in my own rp. To some extent it’s a habit–I can’t help it because that’s just the way my fucking brain is wired. It’s like the profanity–I spent too much of real life working with and around soldiers, cops, firefighters, EMTs and priests. And I think both my inclination to cuss and my tendency to share my odd sense of humor with those around me has an interesting impact on my life in the grid. Though, yes, it sure as hell can make rl business meetings get dodgy real quick.

    Anyhow, I think Emilly’s right about how many of us use periodic comic moments or commentary inserted at carefully chosen times to help balance out the heavy drama that is standard fare in the rp. it’s kid of like comic relief in a film or play–think of the grave diggers in Hamlet. It helps prevent the audience being so overwhelmed by the huge great drama of the piece that they feel like cutting their wrists when it’s over.

    As far as HB’s pondering of the sexual element, yes, sex is one of the great motivators driving many stories. At the same time, I’m a firm believer that you can have that element influence and shape the action in a realistic way without having to flaunt naughty prim bits flopping around right out in front of everybody. “Get a room” as they say.

    And for that matter, those players who are working sex into their storyline don’t even necessarily have to play it out privately, unless they really want to.

    Here’s a link to one of our story sequences we built off Deadwood characters while some of us had to be away from the in-world action for a bit:

    http://www.theroadtodeadwood.com/forum/index.php?topic=1898.0

    This story (which several of us involves one of our female characters, Doc Keli, being sexually assaulted by some drifters up in the hills. While sexual assault is one of the standard elements of soooo much SL rp, almost to the point of being an annoying cliche, I liked how this was handled in the storytelling in that no one felt compelled to actually describe or act out the assault itself. Nonetheless, when we all returned in-world, that aspect of the story gave us some challenging and moving scenarios to play out, as Doc Keli and others dealt with the emotional and physical consequences of what had happened.

    So yeah, it’s in the realm of heavy-duty, drama, but it didn’t require any representation or recreation of the specific sexual activity to have it’s impact and to inspire some fun writing and some good rp in-world later on.

    Besides, bumpin’ uglies in SL seems to usually require extensive messing around with attachment bits and the pose balls to get them do what you want them to do, and you still end up with having some feckless goober poke a prim scwhanstucker in your nose. And if that ain’t a mood killer….

  17. I think sex in RP is fine… but not for me. I don’t mean adult themes which reference or allude to sex (implicitly or not), but rather actual written descriptions of it. I wouldn’t feel comfortable writing it, let alone sitting on my chair after my missus had slapped my giggle stick betwix two bricks.

    I also tend to be an emotionally contained sort of chap not given to wanderings and explorations of the hidden parts of my mind (if there any… hang on… YIKES! There’s a reason that Keep Out! sign is there!) so I rarely go above the level of cliché & the familiar. It’s not to say I wouldn’t, but I think I’d have to know and trust my fellow players first.

    For instance, the example of the incident in the hills given in Dio’s comment would be an area I would RP only after some serious discussion and planning so I knew what I was getting into. I don’t see this as self-censorship, but rather as self-protection 🙂

    But the story is the thing! And the fact that the ‘hills’ storyline was played for the story whilst avoiding any voyeuristic or traumatic pitfalls excites me greatly. It gives me a lot of hope to know that there are many mature minded folk RPing in SL 🙂

    p.s. Amber is right, Eugenia – but where would the pattern reside? In Philip’s head?

    p.p.s. Having a strap-on happy wand made of the finest prims Xcite have to offer does not seem to have deterred my neighbour who has been happily nailing, banging and screwing his little pixelated arse off for the last 18 months non-stop and without, as far as I can tell, coming up for air. The man’s a freaking dynamo with inhuman robot piston hips!

  18. well hopefully he’ll never find out that at least 6 of the saucy young maidens he was happily thrombulating were in fact alts of my friend Murray, an 80 year-old retired bagel salesman from Newark.

    1. *snickers* People are too caught up in gender anyway.

      More to the point, though, your wife sounds very strong-willed. And somewhat scary. She doesn’t have access to power tools, does she?

      As far as RP goes, I’m not going to say *any* storyline, specifically, *requires* sex–unless we’re talking Necronom VI–but that so many, as a course, tend to play into that a great deal. Not because there aren’t inventive, enthralling writers and performers on the grid–but more because it’s easier, it takes less time, and frankly, it doesn’t take a lot of thought or planning for most people.

      I have friends who rarely leave RP sims, because they just wander around seducing other avatars, and that’s their life on the grid. I don’t *mind* thematic sexual elements, but I’m also wanting more from RP than that–if there isn’t an overarching storyline, at the very least, then it’s just no-strings (or at least few-strings) fun, diverting, but as personally involving as junk food.

      We have a lot of junk food on the grid. We have few well-cooked, impressively presented examples of haute cuisine, to carry forward the metaphor. Unfortunately, most on the grid don’t seem to know the difference.

      1. Oy. Where are you people finding all this sex? I took a lovely alt to a capture RP sim and NEVER GOT LAID EVER NEVER EVER EVER EVER!

        I must just scare the hell out of people.

        *laugh*

        1. Okay, I admit, part of it was the character I was playing at the time.

          For several months I ran around two sims clad mainly in leaves and long hair. 😀 It *could* have been my fault.

        2. LOL! Don’t look at me – most folks don’t want to boff a half-gazelle man… I think the horns put them off or the fur tickles their nipples or something. I’ve had to be rescued twice by frinds from ladies who were getting far too interested – I’m a typical fella and sent out an SOS IM much to the amusement of my friend who got it 😀

          Thiss wasn’t in RP, just every day stuff – it makes two more times than I’ve been hit on in RL though ;-D

        3. Well, as far as the disucssion of gettin hit upon or not…you know, it’s funny, HB and Eugenia, not that many critters o’ the opposite gender hit on me either.

          Might be something to do with my frequent and casual discussion of castration as a progressive social policy, or that fact that I’m habitually armed to the freakin’ teeth….

          …or it could be that if some broad-shouldered pinhead does attempt to get frisky with me, I generally suggest in a most tactful manner that he back the fuck off lest I feel compelled to cut his goddam heart out an feed it to the coyotes, as well as possibly makin’ saddle ornaments outta his dangly bits…

          …providin o’ course, that they’re o’ sufficient size…

          …which they most likely ain’t.

          For that matter Eugenia, Aldo from the Falling Anvil has told me he has watched you magically splatter an irritating greenhorn or two halfway across the grid, just cuz they kinda rubbed you the wrong way…

          heehee, sounds like I’m just a sweet ol’ pussycat compared to you, Hon

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