Role play in The Wastelands has been around as long as the estate has existed. It has only mutated a few times in it's early years, before arriving at the accepted methods and lore we have established to this day. It's important to point out that role play in The Wastelands is vastly different than most other role play experiences in Second Life, and because of that it's better and has far less drama -- or at least we've been told that.
The first and most significant difference is there's no centralized admin, game master, or overlord dictating how people should play. Instead the following guidelines are generally accepted by the majority of the role players on the estate, without the need for oversight or permission from estate management. Role play is still sponsored and supported by the estate, but as estate managers we won't enforce rules or settle disputes. Because we don't police role play here, that means you can role play whatever you want, whenever you want, however you want. But typically, if you're not following the lore, these guidelines, or you're power gaming -- you will be ignored by other players until you get on the same page as everyone else. If you want to be on the same page and part of the "official" greater story, you should try to follow these guidelines and stick to our established lore. There's not many rules, so without further delay here they are...
The Golden Rules
Respect the Lore
Role play in The Wastelands has been around for over a decade, and so have many characters and ideas. You MUST adhere to our already established role play lore, playable races, and general canon. There's no exceptions to this rule. This also means that you should create your character so that it fits into our setting, and not try to shoehorn an already established character concept into our lore. While Mad Max, Fallout, and sorts of other post-apocalyptic media have inspired us to create The Wastelands; their ideas and concepts have no place intermingling with our established setting. For example you cannot be a guy wandering around in power armor, or a gal driving a big rig across the desert. These ideas are greatly conflicting to what the players have already helped establish over the past decade, and some are even protected copyrights and trademarks.
In-Character (IC) and Out-Of-Character (OOC)
This shows that you're In-Character, also known as IC, to other players. Without this other players cannot know if you're In-Character or not, so they don't know how to react to what you're saying or doing as characters themselves. It is equally important to avoid talking out of character while you have this tag on. But if you need to, it has generally been accepted that if you're going to say something Out-Of-Character aka OOC: ((You should say it like this)). If you'd like a free group tag, just join the group Ruin Nation: Official Wastelands RP.
Watch, Learn, and Make Friends
Before you role play, you should take some time to lurk and watch other role play events or interactions that are happening on the estate. That way you can get a feel for what's going on and how it's done in real time. You should also want to try to meet people and make friends as individuals, before you do so as characters. That way you can cooperate together and make a better role playing experience.
You Were Not There or The Past is Past
No character remembers the "old world" or the way things were.
We're Not Mind-readers
You should only role play what your character is actually doing or saying, but never what they're thinking. No one is a mind reader, and players shouldn't have to read things that they can't rightfully interact with. If you have something to say or a feeling to convey, you should convey it as a 3rd person would witness it. If you're sad, frown. If you're furious, smash a cup into the ground. If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands.
Communicate and Cooperate
With that being said you should never role play what happens to another player or what another player is doing or saying, unless previously agreed upon before hand. For instance you shouldn't just say that you break someones hand with a club as a punishment. This is referred to as "Power Gaming" or "Rail Roading". In the rare situations like this where tensions are high because of conflict, you should always give the other person the opportunity to resist or accept what is happening if it wasn't a previously planned action. As an (bad) example: "Mr. Blud draws his club while trying to hold Sauls' hand down on the table. A look of malice washes across his face." From there Saul has a few ways to role play this out. He could role play that he struggles to break free and does, or struggles and doesn't break free, or even throws a fist full of sand in Mr. Blud's face with his free hand. All three options cue Mr. Blud as how to react next. The most important part of role playing a story is to agree among each other what is going on, not how your character affects everyone no matter what the other characters want. Real world examples of this: Improv Comedy/Acting and Professional Wrestling
Extra Credit Bonus Round! (+50 role play points)
Adapt and survive. Roll with the punches. Be like water. Even the best GMs in real world tabletop games cannot predict what their players will do. The things you say and do may not illicit the reactions you would have expected, and you might be caught off guard as to where to go from the corner you've painted yourself in to. I have found the best way to approach role play is to come to the table with some ideas of what you want to accomplish, but just leave all the finer details at home. If the opportunity arises where you can push your idea along, all the better. Take that moment to improvise the finer details of the idea in the fly, and don't be afraid to let others input affect it. The best role play scenarios are always the ones where other players can affect the outcomes, so be flexible. Who knows? It might become it's own beast or a plot point in the near future!
While role play and playing the game are both opt-in activities, over the years it has become increasingly accepted that one should wear a game HUD while role playing, or that one should be willing to put a game HUD on at any point. The game itself is more of a tool and sometimes a catalyst for role play. It allows people to trade resources, settle disputes, or deal with Developer sponsored role play events. So while role playing and wearing the HUD isn't mandatory, it is generally accepted that the game helps push role play along and vice-versa. The HUD has even been updated to show whether or not you're IC or OOC depending on the group tag you have active.
History and Setting
Our role play universe has no historical or geographical links to the world the player lives in now; it is a tabula rasa -- a clean slate. NO ONE remembers the "old world" or the way things were. At best, they only know of the world they were born into, or a handful of stories from one or, at most, two generations ago. Written words are still a rare form of communication, and not everyone grasps that skill. Simple symbols and glyphs as more prevalent and usually convey only simple ideas. Spoken words tell myths of generations ago, when the world was still angry and falling apart. Almost all "documented" history is preserved through the spoken word, and - much like a game of telephone - it is almost always totally wrong. Keeping track of time is also pretty new: the seasons control the ebb and flow of regular events in role play. When creating a character pick a couple facts from our history category, and twist its interpretation a bit. Above all, please don't try to be a scholar on what has REALLY happened. Nobody currently living was there, nobody saw it, and nobody was frozen before the Fall of Civilization. Period.
The Wastelands is a semi-realistic post apocalyptic area. There are NO supernatural powers or beings. For the things that are weird and sort of "out there," we try to base them on our real world examples. For instance, the Botan race could be evolved carnivorous plants, and Ghouls could be explained by an advanced form of the cordyceps fungus. Technology can, at best, be described as the Middle Ages -- but instead, made from the remnants of a once-advanced culture. Think of it as if it were the middle ages, but all the resources were made from recycled goods: Junk-Punk if you will.
If you're looking for something to wear that fits the theme of the estate, Aposiopesis scoured the Second Life Market place and has made a HUGE 1000+ list of of stuff to wear, categorized by just about everything imaginable. Give the forum thread a look, and the list a gander!
Players can choose to have their characters be Humans, Mutants, Ghouls, Manimals, or Botans. These are the only valid choices. Animals or creatures of of any other type are not allowed. At. All.
Tips for character creation
- Design your character after becoming familiar with our universe. Trying to design a character beforehand, then shoe-horning them in, usually results in utter failure.
- Do not try to role play being all-powerful or perfect. The beauty of having a flawed character is that you get to play on your strengths and weaknesses, and thus create a better story to tell.