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Some personal notes on role playing in New Babbage

On Wednesday we had a meeting in the Old Imperial Theatre to catch up on what role plays were going on or about to start in our fair City. There was a good turn out of urchins at the European timed event, no idea how the US timed one went, hopefully as well. There were a few adults there, which was good. One of them was a chap fairly new to NB role play though not sl who was asking some very good questions about how we did rp here. I though a few notes about my recent rp might be useful.

Back last autumn, Tepic got it into his head that something was up at the Asylum, and started keeping a closer eye on it. The end result was he broke in on a number of occasions, either by himself or by convincing other avs to help. There was no real organisation to this, it was just letting a few people know, asking if they would join in, and seeing how things played out. The one thing that was noted as a limitation was that Tepic was not going to be killed or die.

The rp culminated in Miss Beatrixe Rouse, the insane mouse architect, being badly injured during one of the break-ins, losing limbs and an eye – this was agreed to by the person running Miss Rouse, but as Tepic’s typist, I did not know this was going to happen! It was a very intense, character driven episode, each person reacting to events within character, very spontaneous, and although tragic within world, hopefully enjoyable for the participants.

This lead into Mr Canergak and Miss Bookworm making an agreement to keep Tepic out of the Asylum and out of trouble by convincing him he was responsible for Miss Rouse’s medical bills, and without treatment she would die. The meetings where they planned this were unknown to me, they set them up and made the arrangements, then invited Tepic to the meeting. They did not know how I would have him react, though they had given me the bones of what they were going to do. We do know each other’s characters, however, so what the result was going to be was somewhat predictable, but the route and the accusations and threats that were thrown around were very spontaneous, and very entertaining!

They got Tepic to agree to work at one of the factories Loki had set up, with the factory worker HUD, a nice linking in with another rp story-line. Then the fun really began! I thought about how Tepic would react to working on an insurmountable task in a factory environment, very alien to his hard-working but very independent and self-reliant character.

It began by occasionally spouting the factory slogans while in conversation with other urchins and people rping working in the factory. Then, over several months, I changed Tepic’s appearance, gradually making him thinner, duller looking, generally ill. When I attended events such as the Aether Salons, I would be slow in communication, talking in factory slogans, curl up asleep in a corner, and just re-enforcing the idea that there was something wrong with Tepic. It worked very well, I think, with people commenting on it, talking to each other about the poor condition of some of the urchins, and joining in with the idea. None of it was officially organised, I just turned up and followed where things were leading.

At the factory, Tepic’s behaviour got more erratic, packing non-existent tins into boxes, being found sleep-working, at one point speaking in French while insisting he didn’t speak French! Jimmy and Myrtil joined in these ad-hoc rps, along with others, showing concern for their friend. When Tepic was not around, they ran their own rps, talking with the doctors at the hospital, Miss Bookworm and several others. This expanded the number of people involved and helped move the rp onwards. They arranged for Tepic to be hospitalised, though naturally he escaped and returned to his work at the factory – this occurred several times in fact, including a rather fun bit where Tepic drugged his urchin watchers so they wouldn’t worry he was back at the factory!

Eventually, and without prompting from myself (though I did have im chats and input into how things were going forward) Miss Bookworm, Mr Canergak and several others came to a rp agreement on how to release Tepic from his promise to work. The first few tries were unsuccessful, due to how promises work for Tepic’s character, but finally he was released and rapidly returned to his usual self.

It was wonderful how everyone involved played encounters within their character, some helpful, others obstructive, all creating what for me was a fascinating and involving rp. There was no overall plan, things could have petered out at several points, but it didn’t. We had blog entries by lots of different people, which kept the rest of NB up to date on events, allowing others to join in as they felt. No one jumped in with instant fixes, or guns blazing, possibly because it was all rather low key, but presented thoughts and ideas that could be discussed and tried out, letting things flow very naturally. I do think there was a high level of trust among the participants, with the belief that none of us was going to force impossible situations on the others (at least I hope that was the experience!).

We did try to include anyone who was around, and several visitors may have had some slightly strange encounters with what must have seemed to be completely insane urchins! Hopefully they took it in good part, certainly they mostly did join in, making suggestions and offering help and advice.

During the rp, Tepic was not available to join other rp stories that he would normally have taken a major part in, and it was nice to see other players step up and create their own rps to take them forward. I do think maybe Tepic was involved in rather a lot, possibly to the detriment of other characters, and maybe it is a good idea to step back at times!

I think one of the keys to it working was that it was not some earth shattering event, or invasion or grand villainous scheme, it was just the plight of a single urchin, so there was no pressure to react to events, they could just be let grow.

So there it is, my perspective on what I think was a successful rp. Hope it gives you ideas and thoughts, and lets see what happens next!

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