I started to be interested in Role Play in SL some years ago. I spent a whole summer exploring Sims and reading notecards, then joined an Italian one. It was summer… there was very little going around and few people to ask advice, and I admit I felt quite lost. The Sim closed in autumn. End of story.
After that, I forgot about it till this autumn, when Pionia Destiny lured me, with my enthusiastic consent, to Artstonia.
I liked the Land, a sort of medieval village:
- It’s a one-Sim-Land. Smaller lands are better in my opinion: it’s easier to meet people and thus to integrate faster in the community.
- Role Play is not centred on fighting, there is a lot of everyday role-play, small little stories going on.
- Action is not always GM* lead. Most of the time a sort of input is thrown out there and then everybody contributes to the story to go on.
- It’s well organised: they give you classes to understand and learn to role-play, but at the same time is relaxed.
- You do not find around people not role-playing, a thing that I observed in other Sims and that I founded very disruptive
- There are some great roleplayers, and some are also great “integrators”, people who naturally, instintivelly help you to integrate in a community (thanks, Alexius and sir Edge).
Therefore I decided to stay and to give it a try. So… first of all, role play classes and creation of a character. This, the creation of the character, may be the most difficult, the most useful, and the most interesting part of the rpg**. In short, you sit down with a piece of paper in front of you and ask yourself: who am I and who I want to be. And write down a story of your life, explaining, with facts, why your character is the way she is.
Now, you can understand that it’s rather intimidating, and in this short time I’ve been role-playing I’ve seen more than one giving up at this stage.
My little advice is to start form the avatar. Create it. Don’t buy a ready made one, make it, make the body yourself, look for a skin that fits on that body, looks for hair that fit the skin and the body, then look it in his/her eyes and ask him/her what he/she wants to be. You will get a rough idea, only then, dress him/her.
Now I see already many of you turning up your nose at the idea of being someone else. Well – and this is a personal opinion- I find rather absurd people who want to be themselves in SL, who make the avatar “look just like them” or even want to have their “real” name in Second Life. I personally prefer to explore my many selves, and to observes how avatars with different aspect influence my behaviour and that of other people. I like to play with identities, and I like to observe how I develop a bond, a sort of affection to this or that of my avatars, while others let me rather cold.
To be “other” gives you more freedom. We language teachers use this trick sometimes in class, above all in discussion about conflictive topics. We divide the class in two groups, one in favour and the other against something, give our students time to decide who they are and ask them to think as well about the reasons of their stand. Usually people react a bit negatively when first asked to do it, but then enjoy a lot the dynamic of the game, find themselves participating more, and the discussion heats up. In the end we all laugh and are still friends, although we might have quarrelled quite harshily in the “game”.
The same th9ng happens here. To be “another” helps you to put a filter between your real self (or should I say your real selves?) and what is happening to your character and to remind you that’s a game. Because, for a game to be fun, there has to be conflicts, there has to be evil characters, there has to be tension and dramatic events. I mean, if we all are constantly nice to each other… what a bore!
As you play, and observe you to play, however, you will be surprised to see how much of you there is actually inside your character, and it’s interesting to watch you from the outside. For instance, I discovered that I’m rather chatty… who wuold have ever thought it!
*GM: Game Master, person who are somehow responsible of the Sim and that sometimes creates storylines involving all the roleplayers.
** rpg: role play game
Wants to know more? Here you will find a very instructive post.