A funny thing happened on the way to the forum… I learnt an important definition of a style of roleplay in SL: Build RP where folks build things to roleplay with.
26th August 2009 EDIT: To clear something up in one of the P.S. paragraphs below I have edited what could be read as negative views about Steelhead’s management because they weren’t meant like that – they were supposed to be positive, but hey ho I was tired and not thinking 😀
When written like that I realise it sounds obvious, but what I’m putting down here is not that I have found a new style of RP, just its definition. And that is important because it helps understand further how RP, the various styles RP, work in SL. It got me to thinking how could I define my style and what others could I spot. I therefore present my shortlist of RP styles-please let me know what you think and feel free to redefine and add more 🙂
Build RP is where folks actively build places and things for others to interact with and that is how the story is told.
To give my style a definition, I’d probably use Written RP. In Written RP folks concoct storyline in-world but generally develop them outside in blogs and forums.
On top of that I guess you’d have to have Social RP. In Social RP folks generally live as their characters, interacting with others as their characters would.
All these then go to make up Community RP where a community builds, writes and lives the RP. Of course no one is confined to one style, we all crossover from one to another, but it seems most folks prefer, or find their strengths, in one style over the others.
p.s. This post came about because of a very interesting event in Steelhead – someone from New Babbage opened a factory that was going to cut down all the trees around Steelhead and there was a protest. Eventually a storm hit the city and, ironically, a large tree blew down and crushed the factory. The New Babbager who started the venture returned to Babbage complaining about the tree huggers from Steelhead (I am paraphrasing, of course). Now to many this smacks of RP, but to some in Steelhead this form of RP was new and that fact, combined with the management’s decision to deny all knowledge to ensure the tale seemed real and fun, meant that not everybody in Steelhead felt they could/should take part. This forum post explains more, but really it’s a learning exercise for all – Steelhead maybe an old city in SL terms, but it’s a small one that has grown slowly and it is a city of written & social RP rather than bulid RP. Build RP *does* exist in Stelhead, but not really in a big RP sense – but I suspect this is about to change 🙂
p.p.s. Change is a funny old thing. I really don’t envy the job of Steelhead management. The city started off as Wild West, quickly moved to Weird West and is now more Gaslamp Fantasy with a curious blend of real life (like Deadwood) and fantastical (werewolf for a sheriff, dragon taven owners, evil tiny kitty cat geniuses) where RP is just about to take off in what feels like a big way. This is not to say it hasn’t had RP before, but it feels to me like a tipping point to a more RP-themed community is close, and this makes some of the residents feel nervous – not everyone in Steelhead wants to RP or feels confident enough in their skills or social place to get involved. Management are looking at ways to allow folks the chance to get involved (and the example above was a learning curve for them too) but I can’t help but feel that as with so much in life, to RP means that at some point you have to stop looking at the half-open door waiting for someone to open it and just walk on through all by yourself.
p.p.p.s. Social structures are a funny old thing too. Part of the heffalump in the room in the Steelhead forums (and even in my last paragraph if I’m honest) is that of people feeling they are not in, or have access to, the people in the group that makes the city work. There was an unspoken undercurrent in the forum post that actually some folks felt they were less important in the grand scheme of things and therefore would never be invited to play. I think it’s a half-open door again where you have to reach out to folks and build honest friendships, but also sell yourself a little. I dunno, I find that to get noticed by the folks that run things, you have to a) approach them and b) prove you can do it, whatever it is. Most groups are open to new folks coming along in my experience and that’s how I always approach new groups – like I’ll be welcomed politely but kept at a distance until they’ve worked me out. Basic pshychology isn’t it?
p.p.p.p.s. I may be rambling now – it’s 5am and I’ve had 2 hours sleep tonight on top of not much sleep of late thank to jetlag and a toddler who now won’t sleep alone after his holiday bed with mummy & daddy. Oy vey.