Getting the most out of this roleplay Occupation The biggest problem in character creation is not deciding the occupation. How has your character survived so far in this uncertain post-apocalypse? Answer that and all else will follow. Think about where each meal has come from and where you found shelter to sleep each night. Here is s a good list of genre-appropriate occupations. If you want to be a spy, it should go without saying that your character sheet should not list the occupation as spy. Skills Sometimes a character sheet reads like a very boring Facebook page. She likes cooking and writing and animals and fighting. This says very little about the character and takes up valuable real estate space on a character sheet. We have all been guilty of this. Now think of the opposite. Think about Star Wars. Luke used to "bullseye womp rats", and this gave him what he needed to blow up the Death Star. Han Solo had friends on every planet, which won him the loyalty of Lando, the man who eventually saved his life. 3PO was a gold-plated linguist, and this allowed him to masquerade as a god to the Ewoks. It's about taking what you have and working with it to produce great story twists. No one cares if Luke liked cooking and animals and singing. This never meant anything to the plot. Keep your skills brief and powerful - choose them carefully - think how your character could apply these skills outside of their comfort zone. Nation & Culture The outward influences that determine how your character responds to a situation is their Culture. Culture is a thing social, religious and generational. Think of something we take for granted, like googling an answer on the internet. Without such a thing, we would have to seek that answer from an old master, or a library in a city a month's travel away. And what if you can't travel? What if you are the son of the pig farmer and have only other farmers to learn from? Then turn this situation on its head. What if there is a new convenience? Everyone in your community can cast light from their fingertips. No one has to collect firewood, work does not end when night falls, and there is no fear of the dark in bedtime stories. Culture is the weirdness that we take for granted and the weirdness that we go without. Think about this when helping us paint the world of Sunne. If you want to play someone from the Green Realm who shows open disdain for spirituality, then you're probably an outcast or of low status. If you're a man of the Red Empire who believes in peaceful discourse, you probably wouldn't have gotten very far in the macho, Darwinist culture that pervades the desert. If you're a Draken who lives in Pegulis and likes to keep to themselves and solve problems with their fists, then you're probably already dead! So be mindful of the nation you choose, and how the culture of that nation influences its people for better or worse. Genre Bending The golden rule of character building is to trim the fat and build the muscle. Take an idea and see how much you can cut away while still retaining what makes that idea special. For example, Steampunk. Cut away the Victorian setting. Cut away the English accents. Cut away the giant airships, titans and ocean liners. Cut away the cogs and gears that pointlessly decorate people's clothes. What you're left with is the picture of a character who conquers the challenges of her environment with low-tech ingenuity. Now imagine a cat burglar with a mechanized grappling hook. She is Steampunk in its essence, and a fascinating character to boot. If you can move a concept out of its surroundings, place it somewhere else and still retain its intrigue, then you are a good storyteller. We have done this with the three nations. We have streamlined them to simple, powerful ideas. Like so: Kaustir = Genghis Khan in a Communist desert Pegulis = Greek philosophers in the land of Vikings Viridos = The Na'Vi fighting off the Black Death This is like a movie pitch - a tag line - a critic's review. There is a reason that these are used. They capture an idea quickly and powerfully. They fire the imagination. Do the same with your character and your ideas and you are on a winning path. Do not dictate the pictures in other people's heads - trigger them. Give them something old and something new - the familiar with a twist. Scene Dynamics Scenes fall apart when everyone seizes their favourite role (the snarky outsider, the timid observer, the interfering dick, the problem-solving leader) regardless of what that scene actually calls for. Everyone scrambles to be the hero and it ends up as a weak and jumbled encounter. Think about roles and relationships in each scene. There are dozens to choose from. The wise mentor, the bearer of news, the faithful ally, the joker hiding truths with humour, the roadblock challenging all assumptions. At any moment the reader should be able to pause the roleplay and say "this guy wants this; she wants that; this character is here because of this; that character wants x and y". If your answer is "I'm just winging it!" or "My character is just observing!" then you not playing a role, and therefore no use to the narrative. Roleplaying is not a character study. It is a collaborative story. If you know what you are trying to achieve from a scene, then you will learn how to make that scene sparkle and when it is time to move a scene on. Here are some examples: Action Scene - this is a brief thrill, a moment in which we see our characters fighting for what they believe in. It is an argument made physical. And like an argument there should be points to prove. Is the action scene there to show your character's recklessness? Their willingness to sacrifice? Their arrogance? Their distemper? Decide the answer and do ONE thing to show it. Action scenes should not drag. They are short and violent affairs. Like throwing a good punch, only throw it once. Make your actions count the first time. Romance Scene - Romance is a reward for overcoming adversity - a light within the dark. It is all the more sacred for the context it is put in. Lovers must overcome odds and they must learn that love (or sexual joy) is supreme - the counter to violence and misery. Do not jump to romance prematurely. Do not overuse it, or employ it casually. Romance is the kindness at the end of conflict. We will sympathize all the more with your lovers if we know the long path they have taken to get there. Traveling Scene - Getting a sense of time and "epicness" is a concern of many storytellers. But in roleplaying we have a great advantage. Extended periods of travel allow for characters to interact freely and develop. Traveling scenes are a player's chance to converse, debate, and argue with other characters. In Sunne, the three nations have lived in near total isolation for 300 years. Your characters will be experiencing new landscapes and climates and major culture shock. Scenes like this can convey an overwhelming sense of awe at the distance a party must travel. Open Plotting This will be the guiding principle of the roleplay. If you read nothing else in this article, read THIS. Open plotting is the key to making this roleplay awesome. As said earlier, we should be able to stop a scene at any moment and know what the stakes are. And this is something we will be doing in the plot discussion thread. You want to achieve something with your character? Tell us. Tell everyone and ask how we can help. Your characters are not passive observers to events; your characters are the driving force of events. Through open plotting we will craft exciting fight scenes, stunning romances, epic travels, heart-wrenching and exhilarating scenes. Make everyone a storyteller, not a character study. Too many chances are lost in roleplays when people get wrapped up in self-portrayal. Let others share the work. Let them help to define you and in turn be defined. Respect As a final note, it goes without saying that we should treat other players as we expect to be treated. Roleplaying will always take second place to real life. If a scene is stalling due to someone being offline, let the GMs move it forward. Harassing players in the OOC or making complaints will only sour the atmosphere for everyone. Likewise, if you want to hijack or have something happen, let people know. Positive communication, not negative communication, is the engine of this story.