Tag Archives: RPG

On roleplay: interview with Sir Edge, the battlemage



Anna: I think that the average age in SL is 35. Are you younger or older than 35?

Edge: older..around 45

Anna: What is your mother tongue?

Edge: Portuguese.

Anna: When did you create your first avatar, and why?

Edge: It was in 2008. I heard about SL and decided to see what it was.

Anna: Where did you hear about SL? Do you remember it?

Edge: On TV, they mentioned that Second life had ended a couple relationship and said something about avatars.

Anna: *Smiles* So you came in to end couples relationships, right *giggles*

Edge: No. I came in because of the avatars *smiles*

Anna: *Smiles teasing him* fine, fine. Did you study or learn English before entering SL? If yes, what was your level, more or less?

Edge: I did study English at school and I took 5 years of it , but I learned more when I went to England to work.

Anna: So your English was pretty good when you arrived in SL, I guess. Much higher than other Portugueses of your age

Edge: I’ve always enjoyed English more than the other languages in option.

Anna: Do you speak other languages?

Edge: Some French too and some Spanish.

Anna: *nods, staring at the man with curiosity… then shakes her head and asks the following question*: Has your English improved since you joined SL?

Edge: Of course ..It has been brought alive in the writing as it never did before.

Anna: But well, you had been living in England, you said: a much more immersive environment than SL *giggles*. Your answer surprises me, I have to admit it

Edge: Yes, but when we speak we communicate with sounds and I had to guess how to write most of the words

Edge: ..writing helps me spelling the right way

Anna: So.. you sort of learnt to write in English in SL *smiles* that’s interesting…

Edge: Yes.. you can say it revived the English with more accuracy.

Anna: Ah.. from your coming back from England and your creating your first avatar.. how many years did pass?

Edge: …oooh, many. I stayed in England just for a year, in an hotel.

Anna: *giggles* Me too, but only 6 months … I learnt a lot in those 6 months..

Edge: nods* That was 15 years ago.

Anna: Then your English, when you entered in SL, was not the same of 15 years before, right?

Edge: Was nearly forgotten

Anna: Like mine *nods*.

Anna: How long did your English take to come back, after you entered SL? More or less, of course.

Edge: Well, two weeks after that I was surprised of myself .haha

Anna: *laughs* Very quickly!

Edge: yes

Anna: And  why and when did you start roleplaying?

Edge: Well. I started in SL with another avatar and then I created this one, came right to Artstonia and I’ve been in this RP Sim since then

Anna: You hadn’t roleplayed before? And why did you come straight to Artstonia?

Edge: I looked for a medieval place and a new meter system, because I was in CCS before, with fire guns, and I wanted something more in the earlier ages

Anna: You were already fighting but not roleplaying, right?

Edge: nods* True.. but I saw folks Roleplaying, and somehow I sometime was amused by how they emoted and created plots. Hihi.. but all I ever did was killing. I was good at that.

Anna: Well, you are still a wonderful fighter, one of the best here in Artstonia for what I know.

Edge: There’s always one even better …..

Anna: Of course, otherwise it’s boring, to fight with no foes to defeat.*smiles* But let’s go back to the boring language topic *giggles* Since when you started to Roleplay, have you attended any course or engaged in other activities that could have helped you improving your English (reading, movies, trips etc)?

Edge: No, I never did any language activities but writing.

Anna: Do you mean that you write in English outside SL?

Edge: Ah!  No

Anna: Do you practice English only in SL or in other contexts as well (work, leisure, other virtual worlds or communities)

Edge: No. I live in Portugal. Just in SL so far.

Anna: How many hours do you spend roleplaying? How many hours in SL (in general,  RP or not).

Edge: Lately no more than a couple hours a day.

Anna: And before?

Edge: I spent much more hours, like 4 or 5  a day.

Anna: Do you see any difference in the language you use normally in SL and the one you use in Rpg?

Edge: Not me, but I notice many Rolplayers changing the way the write and speak. Ones with symbols, and others with short ways of writing.

Anna: Can you explain it better?

Edge: Hmm.. Some Rolplayers try to transmit accent on through their writing.

Anna: And what do you think about it? Do you think that it affects you? You may risk to learn a sort of “wrong model”, or it could affect the way some people might use the language?

Edge: Yes, it may affect the way some people that speak other language get the wrong English way , but those Rp players are not that many that can do great damage to the English.. But we may catch some wrong words as we are under the influence of each others.

Anna: Also because there are many whose native language is not English. Did it ever happen to you to learn a word and then discover it was not “English”? I’m asking it because it happened to me in RL, hanging around with Spanish people while I was in England.

Edge: Well.. it just needs to change one letter of a word to make the sentence means another thing, that happened to me many times. The result is not English nor any other language ..lol

Anna: *giggles* Yes, creative English, I call it.

Anna: Most rpg are in chat, that is people do not “speak” but simply write what they have to say. Do you feel comfortable with your spoken English? Do you know many words or expression in their written form but not how they sound?

Edge: nods* I’ve been learning words every day,  but I know that my spoken English is rusty as I haven’t spoken it for years.

Anna: You do not use voice in SL? Never?

Edge: I did long time ago ..was funny. But I don’t see the use to do that

Anna: What do you mean? You have micro…

Edge Yes, but not in every Sim one is allowed to speaking. At least in the ones I go.

Anna: *giggles* That’s very strange for us language teachers. Most of us almost only communicate by voice..

Edge: hehe… It makes it more simple yes?

Anna: Well, you  can walk and talk.. at least *giggles*.

Edge: hihi.

Anna: Can you remember and share with us a language learning situation in Rpg? A moment in which you realised that you were learning something new? Or a moment you were aware of some language learning taking place?

Edge: The RP classes are a good example of that here in Artstonia.

Anna: Ah.. why?

Edge: Because we learn RP and read the correct English writing

Anna: Yes, when one starts there is a lot of reading.. and well.. later too, if you join a guild, the tasks you have to do to go up in the ranks..

Edge: good thinking ..nods*

Anna: Would  you recommend to roleplay in SL to improve one’s foreign language?

Edge: Why not? It’s one of the best places. Otherwise is more gestures and symbols.

Anna: Thus you think that someone with a decent level of English could actually learn the language by roleplaying?

Edge: I’m positive about that .. I did and I believe I still have much to learn * smiles*

Anna: Is there something, language related, of course, that I did not ask you and that you would like to add?

Edge: I just hope my answers may be an help to someone new that wants to explore RP. It has been great, thank you

Anna: I’m the one who have to thank you, Edge, *smiles* it was very interesting to interview you.




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On roleplay: interview with Sir Soltel’vayas, the drow

Sir Sol, a wonderful, snobbish, intelectual drow

Anna: I think that the average age in SL is 35. Are you younger or older than 35?

Soltel’vayas: I am younger, with my 21 years of age.

Anna: What is your mother tongue?

Soltel’vayas: I speak Portuguese as a first language.

Anna: When did you create your first avatar, and why?

Soltel’vayas: Of when I cannot actually give you a straight answer, but I think it was at the last months of 2006, I saw a notice on TV news about Second Life and made me curious enough (mostly about the building possibilities at first) to create an account to “check it out”.

Anna: Did you study or learn English before entering SL? If yes, what was your level, more or less?

Soltel’vayas: I had English in school since 4th grade, sooner than most my age, but if I am not mistaken currently, it’s on the schooling system since 3rd grade. I took an English course during summer after I finished 7th grade. I wouldn’t be able to level my English, but it is above Portuguese standards I am sure.

Anna: did you have any difficulties with the language when you arrived in SL? Or did you feel immediately at ease with everything in English?

Soltel’vayas: shakes his head “No, I didn’t find any sort of trouble upon arrival. I cannot say my English is far better now than it was when I first joined, but my vocabulary is. I mean, my English most certainly has improved, not as much as constructing a grammatically well formed sentence, but my vocabulary has improved greatly, I have learned a whole lot of new words”.

Anna: I have the impression that one learns a lot of colloquial expressions…

Soltel’vayas: laughs “Well here’s a learning moment now, as I am not familiar with the term “colloquial expression”

Anna: Those expressions you use in your everyday life, with friends and family. Not those you read in school books

Soltel’vayas: scratches his chin “Within a role-play scenario, I must disagree with that statement. I’ve read the most beautiful pieces of well arranged words, almost daring to say, professional work.

We express ourselves the best we can, when I lack the knowledge for better I stick with the simple, but it’s not for me so interesting to read”.

Anna: *shakes her head* no, we did not understand each other. For colloquial expression I did not mean “simplified language”. Let’s make an example: you go to a bar with your friends. Do you speak like your history book or do you use another kind of expressions and register there?

Soltel’vayas: smirks “While how I speak with my friends is casual and laid back, the form of speech I use for role-play is tailored more carefully. These are two different environments.”

Anna: Because your character is.. let’s us say.. a snobbish intellectual..

Soltel’vayas: Ha! Indeed.

Anna: I have a student like Sol: clever and snob.. but he differs from Sol because he’s a nice person, not an evil drow like you *giggles*

Soltel’vayas: He sips his wine reading a book, can’t get much more snobbish

Anna: Why and when did you start roleplaying?

Soltel’vayas: He smirks reading the question, turning his gaze to an empty space… remembering how his roleplaying journeys in SL began. “I was building in a sandbox, when I was approached by a fine dressed female avatar, questioning me about my intention to become a vampire (bloodlines noob hunter), I curiously accepted it as a challenge. I started playing the role easily, it was a goth casual society, I quickly raised in their ranks, ups and downs eventually ended into discovering new forms to express myself in a roleplay and I discovered the combat systems, at the young age it seemed just like a multiplayer videogame.” chuckles “I’m drifting already… let us carry on.”

Anna: *smiles at the mention of “at the young age” but decides to carry on with the following sentence*  Since then, have  you attended any course, or engaged in other activities that could have helped you improving your English (reading, movies, trips etc)

Soltel’vayas: The seek of knowledge, either for a personal research or for a roleplay kind of information always makes me read in English, I would rather do so as most of the articles I see in Portuguese are simply translated, and sometimes simplified from the English written ones. Movies, series, programs, all of that helps, I watch cable TV most of the time, it implies I learn more, sometimes even laugh my way when the subtitles get it wrong. There is also music, that teaches me a lot, as I do not dare to headbang my head to the sound of lyrics I do not understand.

Anna: Do you practice English only in SL or as well in other contexts (work, leisure, other virtual worlds or communities)

Soltel’vayas: SL is without a doubt the place I keep my English the sharpest, curiously I only know a Portuguese individual here, and yet we speak English with each other. Both of us have learned a lot of words with each other as well.

Anna: How many hours do you spend roleplaying? How many hours in SL (in general,  roleplaying or not)

Soltel’vayas: I log averagely everyday for a while, lets say 4 to 5 hours, unless I have others affairs I am logged in SL, usually in a roleplay Sim, if I am not roleplaying I am building or/and chatting on private channels. Even then RP might just engage on its own around ones location, that means get your prims collected and raise a brow looking superiorly around.

Anna: Do you see any difference in the language you use normally in SL and the one you use in Rpg?

Soltel’vayas: Well that would very well depend on the character and theme you play in. Eg.: a person playing a different race than human might have a different language, also a person playing a commoner might use a more rudimental language, lets say “Ye aint go’in t’take me wine cos yer a fo’okin wench”, apart from that there is of course the emoted behaviour, roleplayers end up using it on a casual conversation as well, demonstrating their body movements and voice tones, their reactions *cleaars his throat and shrugs* got it? *laughs*

Anna: don’t you think that this “strange” English could be a danger for a learner?.. you can pick up expressions that are not real English for instance… or that nobody says that way anymore..

Soltel’vayas: No I don’t think it truly influences the way I learn, it’s easy to understand that, the way those character speak is not the standard model, I see it as very interesting and a different source, for also different knowledge.

Anna : I found very challenging the “emoting”, I mean, that a kind of language we do not usually use when speaking in RL. Language used for describing facial expressions or movements or many other things. Did you remember if you had any difficulty with it at the beginning? and do you find it useful to “RL purposes”?

Soltel’vayas: The fact one can manipulate words to describe actions is, I believe, divine. But apart from your self-satisfaction, and verbal gratification, I don’t see a casual use for this in real life, cause we don’t say “coughs” when in fact we do so. Since the beginning I found emotes as a magnificent way to express yourself in SL, and of course, the roleplay. I actually emote in a casual typed conversation *laughs*.

A good example of an emote taken it’s way to our casual speech is the “lol”. Here in Portugal the teen folk use the abbreviation like it’s a Portuguese word. Instead of laughing at a joke, they vocalise the word LOL.

Now how funny is that?

Anna: well… technology is changing our everyday language.. yes.

Soltel’vayas: *nods*

Anna: most rpg are in chat, that is people do not “speak” but simply write what they have to say. Do you feel comfortable with your spoken English? Do you know many words or expression in their written form but not how they sound?

Soltel’vayas: You got a point there, though, me personally, believe I don’t speak the so called “voluntary typonese” too often, if I have doubts I usually try to go around the subject through another sentence. I’m surprised it seems to me that I type better than a lot of persons I’ve met in SL that have English has their first language. I know a lot of words and expressions both on their writing form or sound, I do have trouble pronouncing them out loud, I don’t do voice in SL under the fear of swallowing my own tongue and dying.

Anna: you never, never use voice in SL? never did? Neither outside Rp?

Soltel’vayas: laughs “Actually, no. There were times I tried, short lasted ones. I might on occasion turn the mic on and play guitar, I don’t have trouble maintaining a typed conversation with someone that is using voice, but I just have such a terrible accent, like I said before I tell you now as a fact “I fear I might swallow my own tongue””.

Anna: *laughs* well… I assure you that I’ve a terrible accent and I’ve never swallowed my tongue. And good to know that you play guitar on the micro… may I book for your next live session?

Soltel’vayas: HA!

Certainly not, but I’ll play a little someday, never did in the pub cause arts doesn’t have the sound on.

Anna: Can you remember and share with us a language learning situation in Rpg? A moment in which you realised that you were learning something new? Or a moment you were aware of some language learning taking place?

Soltel’vayas: I honestly cannot recall any particular event, it’s like a friend says: -When in doubt, IM and find out. So right she is, that is exactly what I do, when I don’t know the meaning of a word during RP or casual ooc conversation I just send a private message to the person who used it. You can only learn when you seek to do so, or are tricked into doing so.

Anna: Would  you recommend Rpg in SL to improve one’s foreign language skills?

Soltel’vayas: I am aware it could be used to do so, but I wouldn’t recommend it based on desire to improve ones vocabulary, but I do agree it helps on that level. I just wouldn’t roleplay with that as a main goal.

Anna: is there anything that I did not ask you and you would like to say? Something language related, of course

Soltel’vayas: No, not that I recall at the moment. *laughs* Oh there is one thing: be warned, translators are evil scripted objects in SL.

Anna: Lol, I know. I hate translators in SL.

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Let me introduce to you Anna, the role player

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!

Anna-the-roleplayer is between 17 and 20, she is uneducated, naive, fearful and trustful. She is a little animal, very natural, curious and impulsive.

*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.



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Analysis of hands-on workshop – 2

For my second hand-on workshop observation I chose a Role Play class, for two simple reasons:

1 – it’s something that always interested me.

2 – it’s completely different from the other one I attended.

I chosed Astoria Village: Role play character development.

As you can read in the advertisement of the event, it’s the second class of a series of four. I decided to attend anyway because in my last virtual job, with Languagelab, they asked me a rather complete report on Role Playing in SL and on possible applications for language learning.  For this reason I had already some knowledge of the development of a RPG character.

I have to admit that I arrived late (10 minutes), because the teleport of the “notify me” button brought me to a place (where I waited 10 minutes), and the teleport of the event advertisement brought me to another location where nobody knew nothing about the class. I decided therefore to send an IM to the instructor, who at last teleported me to the right location.

the class
the class

But let’s take our grid and analyse this class

Workshop design: planning and preparation

Spatial design and layout: emulation of RL.

Instructional design: the learning objectives, outcomes and goals are stated in the event advertisement: “This week we will explore building a strong back story and adding depth and personality to your character”.

Organisation of instruction and discourse: prepared in advance on a notecard but with plenty of spontaneous chat.

Physical organisation of learning material: this and the previous session material could be bought for 0 linden from a beautiful trunk.

buying the content of the trunk one gets the material of this and the previous class
buying the content of the trunk one gets the material of this and the previous class

Business model: donation to the Sim.

Maturity level/development version: it can be considered still in Beta, since this was the third time she gave this class.

Workshop implementation: delivery of instruction

Assessment of prior/required knowledge: I do not know for sure, since I was late, but since nobody asked me anything when I arrived (but since in the advertisement it was said that this one was a second class on a single topic) I would say “informal”.

Pre-prepared activities to met the knowledge requirements: for what i could see from this workshop, students are given some “homework”. But again, nobody will give you a low grade if you did not do your homework.

Prior knowledge: sometimes recalled and connected.

Preparation of user interface and viewing controls: none and not needed

Technical preparation of participants: none and not needed

Conversation flow: pre-prepared text plus free and improvised

Communicaton dynamics: mostly tutor ->learner, sometimes as well tutor<-> learner and some common discussion.

Movement of learners and teachers: students seating and teacher standing but without moving.

Presentation of outputs and results: presented as examples of RPG characters in the class material.

Delivery of learning material: at the beginning, using automated tools and scripts.

Use of tools to deliver both content and instructions: basic SL chat facility.

Use of media to enhance teaching: basic use of SL text chat and sense of virtual embodiment.

Concurrent learner activity: activity exclusively centred within the 3D world.

Personalisation of learning: it’s possible to ask question.

Pedagogical approach: Reflective, focused on concepts, process oriented.

Implementation of the workshop: follow up and evaluation

Provision of guidance, support and feedback: on demand, via back channels (possibility to turn in “homework”)

Monitor of student progress: structured monitoring (homework)

Quality of feedback: formative

Assessment model: informal assessment, on demand.

Implementation of the workshop: recall and transfer of learning

Recapitulation: none

After session resources: none

After session activities: individual activity + group activity (homework + class on the story of the RPG village), both not compulsory.

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taliking with the teacher-2

This time my interview with the teacher was much shorter, but not less intersting. It was late, there were crash problems, and so I put aside my inborn couriosity and asked only few questions.

Here they are:

the instructor

the instructor

anna Begonia: Is this course still in beta?
(my impression was that it was not, but I have to ask to fill one of the point of the grid)

Tammy Connolly: Yes it is actually.  This is only the 3rd time we have run it.  I’m still fine tuning it bassed on everyone’s comments and questions trying to make it as clear as possible.  But it is near the end of beta testing.

anna Begonia: well, it does not look like look very well tested. By the way, are you copy /pasting form notecard?

Tammy Connolly: Yes I copy and paste it.  I wrote the lesson about 3 weeks ago and have been fine tuning it since then.  This was officially the last Beta test of this lesson.  It is now ready for other teachers to teach it after I make final revisions to it tonight

anna Begonia: what are the most important aspects of delivering a workshop successfully?

Tammy Connolly: Well my point of view on this comes from my RL experience.  In RL I am a corporate trainer and teach training seminars.  For me the most important part of delivering the lesson is making sure there is interaction and that people get the chance to ask questions during the lesson.  I want my classes to be involved and be a part of it.

anna Begonia: yes, i noticed this in your class, and here in SL it’s not very usual,  many just deliver they content and go home. I really liked it.

Tammy Connolly: yes I know I have sat through many of those lessons here in SL.  here when I teach a lesson I alot for at least 30 minutes of extra time formyself incase I have a class with a lot of questions.
anna Begonia: and my last question: do you have any advice for giving clases in SL

Tammy Connolly: Be Prepared.  If you didn’t write the lesson you are teaching do research on the topic it covers so that you are prepared to answer additional questions outside the scope of the lesson itself.

anna Begonia: like in RL :o))

Tammy Connolly: Yes!

Anna Begonia: thank you very much for your time and attention.

Tammy Connolly: you are welcome.

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