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Woodbine (SuperAdmin) 3/19/2008 10:04 AM EST : Role Play the Smalls Way
Woodbine
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What is role playing with the Smalls Clan like?

Occasionally, we run into fellow players who misunderstand and sometimes are even a little intimidated by our reputation for role play. Through interaction with others, it’s become apparent that many overestimate the amount of role play we demand from our members and associates or the amount of immersion we create with our role play.

Hopefully, we can clear that up so there are no false expectations on the one hand or lost opportunities on the other.

Many of us come from a background of paper and pencil role playing games, like Dungeons and Dragons or Warhammer Fantasy etc.

It wasn’t like a video game where you can see the world. The majority of the setting resided in, and was a product of, our collective imagination. You could only “see” it with your mind.

As such, we learned to tune out any elements around us that weren’t part of the game… not only tune out, but accept and tolerate them to a point where they were a non issue.

These habits have come along with us to Warcraft. It’s somewhat difficult to describe the experience, so I will provides some examples:

We interact with the world around us in character. Basically, that means anything in /say or /yell is done in character.

We sometimes role play as well in guild chat, but its completely optional. We don’t bother with using the ((out of character parenthetical method)) to indicate what is in character and what it out. We leave that to reading comprehension and context. – though at times, we certainly do employ it when speaking with outsiders who do use that method for their sake… to us its sort of like picking up the local accent, while it is not our native way of speaking we do it to be better understood in situations.

We try and treat the peculiar game anomalies as a natural part of the world. For instance “corpse runs” are as natural as the grass and trees and don’t need to be delicately handled or danced around specially, though we avoid the more mathematic descriptions of the game, hence avoid referring to people as being 5th level etc. While we are aware of it, we avoid it in much the same way that we are aware of chemistry in the real word but don’t go around referring to things by their chemical composition or molecular structure casually.

We prefer people to have a simple back story, nothing too elaborate, just enough to give a sense of who you are rather then some mindless drone looking to upgrade equipment. We prefer to know people by their “in-game” deeds rather than by a fictional and contrived history.

Now the thing of it is, while on raids or an instance run, there isn’t much elaborate role play going on because, once again, we prefer a more natural stance.

To us, we approach quests and such as a “job” more or less. When on the job, we talk about the job and how to get it done and that’s mostly it. We don’t go off on random monologues about the grand meaning of it all and how it relates to all Dwarf-dom, at least not at the drop of a hat anyway.

You will see something along the lines of this:

Smalls Clanner: There is a chest over there.
Non-Dwarf: Might not have anything good in it and it’s a tough fight to get it.
Smalls Clanner: So? Your point is?

The subtext here of course is that Dwarves love treasure, especially when it comes in the form of a chest.

You may note, the Smalls Clan do not host any sort of regular tavern night. Though we certainly do attend other people’s tavern nights on occasion, to be honest, in general we find role play taverns for the sake of role play a bit awkward. We prefer things more spontaneous. When we have a reason to go to the tavern en mass and drink, we do. Of course, as a Dwarf, it’s relatively easy to find a reason.

On the flip side of that… we have held impromptu roll play events to teach newbies and lowbies aspects of the game. For instance, we held a role play event to teach people how to use the raid interface and raid icons. We have also given walking tours of Ironforge to newbies to teach them about raid defense. Something so mundane and mechanical game -wise turned into a quite an elaborate and popular event role play-wise. It wasn’t planned… it just “happened” through the cirumstances of the game. Though we do of course have planned events for certain occasions as well... such as guild promotions etc.

Because of Ventrilo, we ironically are less likely to role play amongst ourselves on a day to day basis and thus take the aspect of a PvE guild. However, it does happen that while the players are yammering away out of character on vent about current events or game mechanics or whatever, their characters are having a completely different and “in-character” conversation in game.

Once again, we tend to treat adventuring like a job. When out and about, we would no more expect one of our clan members to be constantly regaling us with an RP plot than we would expect real life Bob the ditch digger to be at his work and spontaneously tell us about his great grand pappy fighting in the civil war. Sure… it may happen. But we don’t expect it or get annoyed if it doesn’t.

This is probably not sufficient enough to give you a complete picture of how things really are, but hopefully it’s a start. To truly find out how things are you will just have to experience it for yourself. The main point is: don’t expect constant and complete immersion in all sorts of elaborate plots and there is certainly no need to be shy or cause to be intimidated.


Characters: Woodbine Cantankerous Danegrim Rotharcog Woodwylde
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