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Old 04-05-2002, 01:56 PM   #1
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Interesting RPG read...

found it at the swcombine.

Author Comment
Hal Breden
RPG Training Coordinator
(1/7/02 5:58:55 pm)

Roleplaying Guide

Roleplaying Guide Ė Draft 1
I admit that thereís quite a lot here, but PLEASE take the time to read it, even if you think yourself already an experienced roleplayer. If you have any feedback you can reach me at
There are several key points to good roleplaying. The most obvious of these is that you should never God Mode. Exactly what may be considered God Moding will be explained at greater length later on. The second key point I would have you consider is originality. If itís been done a lot of times before, think twice before doing it again. Finally, the last of the key points is to know your character. If he would rather die than fire a blaster in anger, stay with that, but also remember that he can develop.
Those are the key points, and Iíll go through each in more detail below. Also there are some minor points that wonít necessarily improve your roleplaying, but will improve your posts. Iíll go through these first.

1. Spelling, Punctuation, Grammar Ė Not too important, but something you should think about. Let me ask you which of these two paragraphs is easier to read:
Ďi entered the bar and went up to the barkeeper ordring a drink when he put it down on the bar i payed him took the drink and went over to one of the tables what was overlooking the place where people were playeing sabacc i saw a table with an open seat and took my drink over to play a few handsí
ĎI entered the bar and went up to the barkeeper to order a drink. When he put it down on the bar I paid him, took the drink and went over to one of the tables overlooking the Sabacc playing area. I saw a table with an open seat and took my drink over to play a few hands.í
If you donít say the second one please send an e-mail to with your full real home address so that I can come around and beat some sense into youÖ
Now I donít agree with the idiots who get picky about spelling (to the point of complaining about the presence/lack of Ďuís in colour, honour, etc) or grammar, but thereís absolutely NO excuse for ignoring it. By the way, if you are one of the picky people, please send the aforementioned e-mail for the reasons stated aboveÖ
Remember that it is not a sin to use a Ďdictionaryí or to type it out in a program with a SPELL CHECKER and then copy it across.
If English isnít your first language, donít worry about it (hey, I took French and German in school and Iíll bet 10 of your local currency that your English is better than my French or German!) and if youíre unsure, ask someone in the Ďhelpí forum. Anybody whoís going to complain or insult you for that reason should have been shot at birth!

2. Layout Ė I have a tendency to break paragraphs often and leave a space between them. It may not be the best way to do it, but itís clear and easy to read. Also remember that EVERY time a new person speaks (either a new person speaking or a person other than the one whose actions you have been describing) they get a NEW paragraph and SPEECH MARKS. And if you break paragraphs while the same person is speaking the new paragraph gets a new set of speech marks but you DONíT close them on the old paragraph.

I think that covers improving your posts, so weíll move onto the key roleplaying points.

3. Read What Has Gone Before Ė Yeah, I know I missed this one above, but itís really important. If you are making a reply then you must always, ALWAYS read what has gone on before thoroughly. If any discrepancies come up then you should clear them up with an OOC query and come to an agreement before continuing. I donít mean you should post ĎOOC: Hey idiot, I wasnít anywhere near the door you say you just opened into my face, so donít Godmode!í and then keep going with what you want. A post stating politely that you werenít near the door and asking for clarification of his point or a revision of his post would be better, then continue IC after, AND ONLY AFTER, the matter has been resolved. Ignoring other peopleís posts is bad RP AND bad manners.

4. Originality Ė Iím sure we all know the plot of the Matrix and Highlander and Blade Runner, etc, so donít make a post that starts one of these stories in your current Universe, donít use characters from another story and donít adapt some Ďspecial abilityí that a character in another story has to your own. Some of the more experienced among you are probably laughing that Iíd even mention this. The most experienced will be nodding in sad agreement because theyíve seen it doneÖ
Also on originality it applies to your actions, ideas, weapons, dress, etc. If youíre going to suggest a breakout from an Imperial detention centre through the sewer, the rest of your RPing party will be forming an orderly queue behind the nearest gunsights to shoot you, Iím sureÖ
The long black leather jacket and shades approach has been done to death (and I admit Iím guilty of it MYSELF, but Iíve been doing for years and thatís the excuse Iím sticking with) but some guy in a pinstripe suit with an umbrella is not something you see often. Carrying a DL 44 blaster just because Han Solo had one? Oh puh-lease!
Think for yourself, do something thatís not been done before or, worst case scenario, do something from a reference thatís OBSCURE.

5. Know Your Character Ė Your character is individual and only you know him (or her) and can predict how they will react. They could be the most evil individual to walk the planet since I left or they could be so sweet and kind they donít like swatting houseflies. It doesnít matter which they are, but YOU have to KNOW which it is. Decide what your character is like. They might be like you, they might not, and again it doesnít matter. Then make all of your characters actions true to this. I know itís a simple point, but if you master this one, youíre more than half way to being a good roleplayer.

6. God Moding (also known as God Modeing, God Modeling, etc) Ė Last and definitely NOT least, we come to the main offence committed by most bad roleplayers. Let me just restate that God Moding is something you should NOT do. Ever. Under ANY circumstances. At all.
Okay, letís define God Moding. To put it most simply, God Moding is to perform any action that is beyond your characters normal abilities. Sounds easy, doesnít it? As a normal human you canít fly or punch holes in steel walls. If you have no medical skills you canít suddenly perform CPR. You also cannot act for another person unless that person is a Non Player Character that either YOU created or that has been placed under your control, such as the barkeeper in the above example. Now someone might come in later and order a drink from the same barkeeper. Thatís fine, they donít need my permission to do so. The barkeeper is a NPC that performs a function that anyone can have performing that function. If someone creates a sidekick character, that NPC is theirs only unless you split up and they give the sidekick to someone. Again, nice and easy.
A lot of people seem to think that God Moding JUST means not controlling another personís character. But letís take it a little further. Not only can you not control another personís character, you also cannot do anything to them without their permission. So I could fire at (for example) Voorís character in a training battle, but I canít say I shoot Voorís character. In Voorís next post, he can then say whether or not he gets hit. If Iím shooting from 30 metres away, heíll probably say I miss, which is fair enough. If I sneak up right behind him and fire, he better get hit or come up with a damn good excuse. If my blaster barrel is all-but buried in his back and he says he doesnít get hit, heís God Moding, because thereís no way his character could dodge the shotÖ
So, to do anything that your character should NOT be able to do is God Moding. A slow freighter canít outrun a group of fighter craft without going to hyperspace. You canít hack the Imperial News Grid with a Comp Ops skill of 1. You canít fire 10 shots at NPC stormtroopers in cover from the far end of a long corridor and expect to hit with every shot. You canít carry 3 rifles, 6 blasters and a dozen thermal detonators and still run a 10 minute mile. You canít fall off a 30 story building and not get hurt without some way to break your fall.
You donít have to be useless, clumsy, slow and weak (unless you want to be!), because thatís not the point of playing a character in the Combine. Weíre all supposed to be exceptional individuals, but thatís not a license to defy the laws of probability. Itís a good rule to say ĎIf in doubt, donít.í

Afterword On GamesMasters:
The God Moding rule does NOT apply to the GamesMaster in any scenario with one. Typically the GamesMaster will NOT be playing a character but will be control all of the NPCs and will direct the overall plot/storyline.
The GamesMaster can do WHATEVER HE WANTS with your character or any other for the purpose of the storyline. The GamesMaster should also be totally IMPARTIAL and act only as the winds of luck and fate.
If the GamesMaster IS playing their own character within the scenario as well, the character itself is subject to the God Moding rule, but the GamesMaster is not.

Most of the above are general rules that apply to all roleplaying and not just the Combine. The following is specific to the Combine:
7. Force Sensitivity - Unless you a) joined under the old system and were told, b) have been identified by an existing Force user or c) have been medically tested (once it becomes available) you must not, I repeat NOT, that's NOT act as a Jedi, Dark Jedi, Sith or Force Sensitive person. Likewise unless you actually own one, you do not have a lightsaber! I would say more on the subject, but I think you should have gotten the point by now.

"Without strife, the victory has no meaning. Without strife, one does not advance. Without strife, there is only stagnation."
―Yuthura Ban
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Old 04-05-2002, 02:09 PM   #2
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Author Comment
Beowulf MacCool
Scenario GM
(3/31/02 12:34:06 am)
Beowulf MacCool's Guide to Character Backgrounds
I wrote this some time ago for my CMG, and now I make it available to you all. This is the original version, with minor modifications, so if you see something specific to my CMG, ignore it. Some of the examples at the bottom were for an ex-member of the Brotherhood, but the principals apply throughout.


Setting Up A Background For Your Character

When setting up a background for your character, it's important to remember the background of the Combine. While it shares a background with the Star Wars movies, the events of the movies themselves never happened. Alderaan was never destroyed, for example. A related point is that none of the characters in the Star Wars movies existed. If your background involves Darth Vader, then we have a problem, because for our purposes, there is no Darth Vader.

So what exactly is your background, and why do you need one? A backstory is bsaically the story of your characters life up until this point. My character, for example, was born in a small colony that was destroyed. He then went on to become a jack of all trades. You need a background of some kind, because your character didn't just spring into existence (unless, of course, your character did just spring into existence, in which case you should email me).

What makes a good background? Well, that's a tough question; the best way to tackle this is probably to ask "What makes a bad background? I'll give you an example : Warlord Khan, a prominent member of the Combine staff, and Members Director has a bad background. In fact, he has a verybad background. Warlord Khan is actually General Rommel, from the Second World War. He was transported in time, and changed his name, so as to fit in. What's bad about this? First, in the Combine, there is no "General Rommel." Nothing that has actually happened happened in the Combine universe. Secondly, using real people as your background is considered bad taste. And finally, the whole idea of being transported in time isn't something that would be encouraged. The idea behind the Combine is that we're all ordinary people in the Combine universe, not superheros who have bizzare and exciting things happen to us all the time.

What else makes a bad background? As I said, your background shouldn't include bizzare stuff that couldn't possibly happen. This is called godmoding. If you were to write a background that included you being raised by an introverted Jedi Master named "Tele-Tubbi," who trained you in all sorts of Jedi techniques, that would be godmoding. If you were to include a brief stint as Emperor of the Universe in your background, that would be godmoding.

Something that I have always found to work is to include a lot of unpleasant stuff in your background. Using my character as an example, his parents were brutally murdered, and he spent his entire life drifting aimlessly, with no goals or friends. He also seems to be a closet alchoholic. An unpleasant background is always more believable than a pleasant one.

One thing that most people might not think of is writing your background to explain your ICIS skills. For example, Imogen Bailey has a high theft skill, and a low strength. It would make sense for him to have a background as a thief. It would not make sense for him to have spent his entire life as a weight-lifter, or a researcher. He also has fairly good computer operations and piloting skills, so if we're to keep him as an example, we can work up a fairly coherent background based on those skills.

Example 1 : Imogen Bailey was born into extreme poverty in a slum on an out-of-the-way planet. He never knew his father, and his mother died in childbirth. He supported himself by stealing whatever he could, and selling it. One day, he was caught stealing something by a major crimelord, Hi'jarra The Hutt. Hi'jarra recognized Bailey's inborn talents, and taught him some useful skills that would enable him to become a great thief. He learned how to use a computer to break into bank accounts, and he learned how to pilot a freighter, so he'd be able to break into one, and fly off. Eventually, he became Hi'jarra's right-hand man. Once Hi'jarra died, Imogen was named his heir. Looking at all the pain he had caused, all the crimes he had commited, he decided not to accept his inheiritance, and instead decided to make amends. After spending 4 years looking for a cause to which he could devote his life, he joined the Brotherhood of All Worlds.

Example 2 : Imogen Bailey was born a nobleman, the Lord of Dhar'mir. While used to luxury, his father wasted all their money gambling. When his debts became too great, his father took a spacewalk...without a suit. Imogen was forced to steal artwork to survive. His only relaxation from a life of crime was racing custom-built space yachts. When the authorities finally caught up with him, they took everything, and threw him in prison. After his release, Bailey knew he had to make amends, so he joined the Brotherhood of All Worlds in the hopes he could help people.

Example 3 : Imogen Bailey was born into a normal, middle-class Corellian family. As a student, he never excelled at any subject, and ended up going to the Imperial Academy, not having any other real options. Bailey quickly became disillusioned with military life, and dropped out. Not having the funds to return home, he was forced to live in the poor side of a seedy town, working days to earn money, drinking away his money at night. Imogen made friends with a group of people who hung out at the local tavern. They came in one night, overflowing with money, and he learned that they were criminals, making their money preying on civilian transports. He compared what they made with wages, and joined up with them that day. He spent 7 years with them, hacking into flight plans to find out where their prey would be, and flying the ship back to port after killing the crew. He was the only survivor of a disastrous expedition where they were ambushed by patrols. He revels in violence and chaos, and joined up with the Brotherhood because he wanted a chance to kill some force-users.

You may have noticed that all three of these examples include dead or out-of-the-way parents. There is precedentt for this, and good reason. Just look at the original Star Wars trilogy. With the exception of Luke and Leia, none of the characters had any living parents. And really, that's a good thing. What would we have thought of Han Solo if he called his mother every month to check in? Would we have respected Darth Vader as much if we saw his father telling him to "Take off the cape, for godsakes, it's hot in here!"? Trust me, parents are a complication that you shouldn't bother with.

I just want to point out one thing Kerobani said : Somehow the suffering of a character in the beginning is quite nice. It adds another dimension that nothing else really does.

Keep this in mind. The more you suffer, the more believable it is, and the more experience you'll get, generally. Not to brag, but in the current scenario (in the RolePlaying Centre), From the Ashes, I won the "Best Post" of the week for two weeks running. And yet all my character did was fly from one point to another.

How did I do it? I made him suffer, and suffer horribly. Thr first post was him reflecting on his alchoholism, the second on his lack of purpose in life and how worthless he was, and the next few all involved him having a horrible accident while traveling, and almost dying.

Now, keep in mind that I did nothing of consequence, and nothing that actually involved the scenario. In fact, most of the stuff relating to my accident was godmoding, pure and simple. Just goes to show the power of suffering.

"Without strife, the victory has no meaning. Without strife, one does not advance. Without strife, there is only stagnation."
―Yuthura Ban
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Old 04-05-2002, 06:21 PM   #3
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Nice rules...except most or all of my charas wouldn't fit, cuz they aren't "ordinary"....

Forum A-Wing pilot of mysterious and indistinct gender. Aresener now and forever.

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