Roleplayers of Rank – a post in which I swear. A lot. Seriously.

I’ve never fancied roleplaying in a military or police structure, at least not an authentic sounding one where players take on ranks. Partly it’s my inherent dislike of being told what to do, partly it’s my lack of interest in replicating the intricate structures of organisations I have little (or less) interest in in real life, but mostly it’s because roleplayers seeking rank are almost always insecure, egotistial, elitist, piss-stains of the lowest order and I don’t find being around them to be conducive to my desire to be happy.

Before you get me wrong, I am *NOT* taking a shot at military/police/organisational RP of any era or genre, or the people who take part. Honestly I am not. Many a good WW2 Unit, Roman Legion or Star Fleet Corps exits in SL and I know at least one casual roleplayer in SL who plays as a Navy officer and she is, frankly, lovely. I’m emphatically, totally and definitely NOT talking about these.

No, I’m talking about the type of Jonny Big Bollocks who votes himself the top of the, let’s call it, Castle Defence League or Metropolitan Constabulary and sets about strutting around like said Big Bollocks were something all and sundry should get down and pay homage to. These are the actions of a fool. An idiot. An insecure child. A cock.

To them RP is merely a way of encircling themselves with liggers and dolts who constantly feed their voracious and vacuous egos. On top of that they tend to be shockingly dull folks seemingly incapable of friendly chat & banter and instead cursed by the need to be constantly aloof and superior, an act that does not endear them to me and instead fills my mind with the desire to repeatedly punch them square in their wizened, redundant love-pump until their either their pelvis shatters or my fist explodes.

Why so angry Mr Burro? Why so shouty about these (soon-to-be) dickless wonders? Well, I’m glad you asked. It is because it does me good to be shouty. It makes me feel better. I don’t cope well with bottling things up and of late I’ve been doing just that. Not any more. I’ve popped my own cork, so to speak…

You see, when it comes to play I like collaboration. I want collaboration. I desire it as a randy Mr fox desires a pretty lady fox flashing her come-to-bed-eys and flicking her lovely brush at him. I ❤ collaboration. I believe in friendly, open, enthusiastic roleplay. I want to bring folks in to my stories (and visa versa). I want them to run with ideas other than mine. I want the whole to be far, far greater than the whole. I, dear reader, want people to play together and have fun and not complete.

And yet I find myself surrounded and bested by small minded, jealous, parochial, cliquey cunts who need to create ranks in order to feel they have respect when, in fact, they have confused respect with resentment (not an easy mistake to make given their default feeling to any ideas not their own is resentment, but they make it all the same).

So fine. Great. Be the big old General. Pin the shiny badge on your chest. Just as long as you get to dictate just who can play (and, more importantly I suspect, who can’t) with who and where and when, I’m sure you’ll be happy. Except you won’t. It will end the same way these things always do, but you are just too fucking dense to understand that, aren’t you. When it all turns in on itself, when all the resentment (sorry, respect) and bitterness and back-biting that you surround yourself with brings it all crashing down, you’ll down what you always do and will slink away to find somewhere else to infect like the virus you are. There’s always another sim, another group, another community you can insinuate yourself into and poison.

Stay and fight Burro Boy, I hear a lone voice cry. Stay and see your vision through! No, I answer back. Fuck it. Fuck them. Fuck the horse they rode in on. I’m not a fighter, I’m a lover. Not a lover of virtual lady gazelles you understand, but rather a lover of fun and open creativity and a million concepts Captain Dipshit and his merry band of uniform wearing, rank-wanking numbnut shitsacks will never be able to understand. Fuck 'em all in the eye.

Besides, they’re not the only ones who can move on.


  1. Preach it!!! There are several reasons why I am not involved with established military type RP groups in SL any longer, and you have colorfully defined some of them. Add to the list “inability to grasp the concept of tactical exercises”, “obsession with re-enacting old TV show scripts (pick your Starfleet group)”, and confusing SL with a shoot-em-up video game (vs. an opportunity for tactical experimentation). Seriously, if I want to cowboy around and “shoot more bad guys than you” I’ll just log off and play Left4Dead.

    My approach to the infiltration of the medal-wearing brass hats is generally to smile, pat them on the back, and do my own thing. I’m far more interested in setting up interesting scenarios and running them, or casual “lets sink each others’ ships for an hour” type deals. My rules: if you’re piloting a virtual ship (or running a regiment), you’re a captain! When you’re just fooling around on the beach, you’re a regular Jack Tar (or Tommy, or whatever). Save the gold lace for the Dining In at Christmas. Rolling around in the mud (or bilge) is more fun anyway.

    My two cents.

    Nabila N Peterman (SL Steelhead fixture)

    1. Hi Neb – yep, that kind of RP I respect. Same with my mate Dio, good open, fun RP that anyone with the honest desire to could join. I’ve just had a bellyfull of Little Hitlers and sulking, suck-thumb babies full of snide remarks and sly put downs. We are not at school for fuck’s sake!

  2. I tend to agree with both of you actually. I have been in the RL military and frankly didn’t find that much more special with people who had upper ranks. In the Air Milita thing I had set some ranks but more to have some go to people than order givers. It works much better when the go to person is the expert in a particular skill (best airplane pilot for instance) as they can train or give pointers better then.
    You do need a person who can do some management if its a group, someone needs to help figure out meeting times and make postings stuff and that person should have a different rank name maybe but not be a boss.

    I am not an order giver and have a hard time with that mentality. I don’t do well with do it because you just should do it.

    Anyway I may be a bit looser in thought about what a milita in a VW is than most. I don’t thing there should be role play unless its for a special reason. What most want is to learn to fly, dogfight, hit targets with a bomb, learn to navigate or learn to build so it works flying. You don’t have to roleplay to do king of the hill flight sessions. Roleplay is pointless at that point. What I really hate is how some people will roleplay why they can’t make a meeting or can’t straight out tell you they have a work or family thing happening in RL and try to roleplay a reason. Come on get a life if you have to roleplay everything.

    Roleplay to say you roleplay is pointless also. If you are going to roleplay an event or a attack thats cool but there needs to a purpose and a community buy in on it. Otherwise you will just piss a lot of people off.

    Franky I think being able to fly as a group and teach others to, do some dogfighting for fun, maybe shoot some machinima of it, and march in a parade is about all the at Virtual World miltias are good for, Roleplay is kind of pointless in most cases.

    You will find I don’t take to calling people by rank, thats because in the grand scheme of things I don’t think one person is better than the next enough to be a higher rank. That irked me about other relms I have been in doing such things even about land ownership. Calling someone a lord because they own a sim (small or large) is kind of pointless in my eyes. In many cases it just means they are more willing to take on more debt. We are all people who want to have a community, none are Better than the others. Ranks just promote Cliques often.

    I probably made someone mad in that but hey, its how I feel.

    1. I agree with everything you say and it sounds like you and Neb have just the sort of open, fun approach to these things that should be the norm but it just seems that the louder, brashier crap pushes it out. I think it’s partly because the idiots on the other side of the fence are adept at complaining and shouting and gaining attention. Sigh.

    2. Yeah, what’s with people roleplaying instead of copping to RL issues? You don’t have to give up your A/S/L or whatever just to say: the baby is colicky or I have a migraine or “got to clean the house ‘cuz mum’s coming over!”. Maybe some folks think those RL things are dull and not as interesting for the rest of us as some made-up nonsense. News flash: it isn’t! Being interesting means “engaging with your audience”, whether that’s in a novel or in online chat. Limping your avatar around with crutches and a plaster cast is a big yawn as far as I’m concerned…unless you’ve really busted your leg IRL. THEN I’ll talk to you about it and commiserate.

      As far as the military stuff goes: more iron downrange! Less pompous strutting! In my experience the folks who natter on the most about military prowess and rank and REMF stuff are the least interesting, least competent, least socialized, and least tactically experienced. Luckily I have a wetware “ignore” function that works great.

      1. I’d say my biggest issue has been with other residents being just plain unfriendly, rude & snide. I’ve tried to get along, I’ve gone out of my way to involve & get involved and from my very first email I’ve had nothing but rudeness, objection & sullen silence. It’s got to the point I’m all out of the desire to try and the will to care about the reasons for this (to my mind at least) undeserved resentment. I genuinely think that some folks don’t believe an open armed approach & instead imagine there simply must be some ulterior motive behind it – it’s sad, but I very much doubt I can change their minds and I’m not big on dealing out second chances.

  3. Actually this does sound rather like the sort of fellow that I used to encounter quite frequently in my earlier days, when I was not really sure quite what it was that I was doing in Second Life at all, and was hovering around the edges of many different circles. I must say that the peculiar rituals and superior attitudes did rather put me off, but more than that, the sheer *dullness* – if the “leaders” had been charismatic geniuses, perhaps I could have understood, but it just seemed to be people following bossy middle-managers and doing the same thing every weekend.

    Such folk are often bad payers, by the way.

    1. Oh yes, all three of my bête noires are terrible players – they do nothing, write nothing (or guff at best) and involve no one, merely being content to sit dog-in-manger-like and gather their illusions of influence around them. Mary Sues with naught but small, snide comments to hand out.

      I find their social ineptitude tiring and offensive and their dullness boring in the extreme.

  4. Depends what I am doing if I can be good at roleplaying or not.

    I used to be a very good table top (D&D) roleplayer and won some tournaments even. I find day to day roleplay in Secondlife or other virtual worlds fatiguing and boring actually.

    1. I’m not a fan of RPing 100% of the time in-world. In spells yes (although I’m crap at it – my natural exuberances creep through and I can’t stay in character – I lack the improv mind) but to me RP is more about the setting up and playing out of a shared story, be that through in-world RP (in bursts), set-up scenes for photographing, written chapters and dialogue, anything in fact to creatively bring the story alive and let it run.

  5. I suppose I am fortunate to have run into relatively little of this attitude in SL and in other (online, text-based) RP. In SL, I RP with a lot of different people. Sometimes, it’s relatively organized. Other times, it’s completely spontaneous. Usually, it’s a whole lot of fun. I really like to be surprised by other characters’ actions and then to surprise myself, in turn, by reacting IC.

    I can’t say that I hate the idea of rank altogether, though, as I have found it to provide fun opportunities for conflict. When I played in a prison RP sim, for instance, rank provided a lot of character motivation, which in turn fueled plot. One of my best fights ever (I lost spectacularly, btw) started because a new guard was trying to impress a senior guard. In Caledon, my character is closely affiliated with a ranked group even though she’s not really part of it and has no rank in the group. It creates a lot of interesting situations and conflicts of loyalty. If a GM uses his or her character’s rank to facilitate and move forward rp, then I’m all for it. Of course, if someone starts god modding… that’s just annoying.

    1. Hi mate – I had to re-read that post as it seems like a lifetime ago and 2 weeks after writing it I left Steelhead and 6 weeks later SL itself. I was al right up to that day (well, a few days before as I needed to calm down enough to write it). Up to then I was enjoying SL a lot but then I got a couple of snarky answers to a post on the Ning (both from two of the three biggest tits I’ve had the misfortune to cross paths with) and then found my RP efforts sidelined by someone who couldn’t RP his way out of his own underwear with written instructions. Something inside just clicked and I realised that whilst I had many friends in Steelhead I’d never get the kind of consistent RP experience I craved because of these dickheads so I voted with my feet and left.

      I missed it for a bit. Then I didn’t and now I’m glad I left. I was wasting my time and energy. Best thing about my time in SL and Steelhead was that I made great friends and unleashed a wave of creativity, both my own and shared with others. I’ve got the same in LOTRO but with a more stable platform and a welcome lack of twatty Sheriff’s, stupid Captains and miserable smart-arse Australian pricks 🙂

  6. My one complaint about LOTRO is that in SL if someone pisses me off I can shoot them in the face 🙂
    The ability to shoot, set on fire and orbit twats makes my RP much more satisfying!

  7. LOL – very, very true! Orbiting fuckwits was sooooo much fun! Happy memories if late ’06, early ’07 when I got my first Omega system and cleared out Murray (with help from a few friends) of all the noob cage gunners that popped in there. It’s a wonder our shields alone didn’t crash every sim on that server 😀

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