Due to popular demand to separate RP from general chat, the Devs instituted a Roleplay tab in January 2008. In this channel, players write as if they are the characters they play and collaboratively create stories about those characters.
Roleplaying adds a whole new dimension to the game and is as important as the day-to-day operations of trading and combat. After all, flight queues can be hours long and combats only happen every five to ten minutes, leaving plenty of time to explore the world through roleplay.
Apart from chat, there is much written about the world of Skyrates in the Skybrary and in the Skyrate Stories & Creations forum.
Everything typed in the Roleplay tab should be In Character (IC). Unless specified, any text should be interpreted as a spoken statement or action from that character.
Any straight text should be interpreted as a spoken statement from that character. For example, a conversation might play out like this:
Talon Karrde: Hey, Alqaf, have you tried the grog yet?
Yennit Alqaf: Yes, and by Magnus it’s terrible! Pass me some of that Nippenbrau, will you?
Talon Karrde: I was saving it for a special occasion!
People move around and interact with each other, and you can’t have gunfights and dogfights without actions, so there’s the emote command. /em (or /emote or /me) followed by any amount of text will echo that text as an action or pose. For example
/me drains her mug. results in:
» Yennit Alqaf drains her mug.
Most roleplayers will combine their statements and actions in the interest of combining multiple lines and having more detail, for example:
» Josiah lifts Allison's hand to his face, cupping it to his cheek. It feels cold against the side of his face. "You're alright. You're going to be alright." His voice is shaky, unsure, though he believes in the words he's saying with everything he's got, for what else can he believe in?
If players aren't inside The Rotor and Prop tavern, they will also tag their location using square brackets.
» Skyrate [Outside] pauses to look in the window of the R&P.
Out of characterEdit
/ooc followed by any amount of text will echo that text as an Out-Of-Character comment in double-parentheses and italics. For example, if Talon Karrde types
/ooc AFK, tornado everyone will see the result as:
Talon Karrde: ((AFK, tornado))
You can use the /ooc command to prod other players about their descriptions (what species are you again?), give a status message (back in 20), or clarify actions (wait, your fist is coming towards my jaw from the left, right?).
If OOC is dominating Roleplay chat, it's customary to move the discussion to Help chat (providing that nobody else is using Help chat to get help) so that other people can continue the scene.
There are more formatting commands (/b for bold and /i for italics) but they are rarely used as they are all or nothing. If a word or phrase needs emphasis, consider putting it in slashes like so:
» Yennit Alqaf gives Talon Karrde an absolutely /piercing/ stare.
Actions, emotes or onomatopoeias that are short enough to not need a full /em command are commonly put inline with asterisks.
Talon Karrde: What, is there something wrong with your drink? *confused*
/ignore and /unignore followed by a name allow you to completely ignore that player until you unignore them. If the name has a space in it, be sure to put the name in double-quotes, as in
/ignore "Yennit Alqaf"
This method of dealing with trouble is to be considered a last resort – usually used against trolls that are in the RP channel simply to disrupt things. Cooperation and negotiation are far preferable when dealing with a newbie who doesn’t know his way.
If someone is being disruptive, explain why in an OOC comment (and help them learn how to use the OOC command if they don't know) and try to encourage them to play by the rules.
The first and most important rule of roleplay is that it is not a one-way exercise. It generally requires two people or more to interact, and the idea is to collaborate on what is essentially a spontaneous story. Cooperation and communication are the keys to making it work, but the result will be worth it.
The second most important thing in roleplaying is to stay in character (IC). While RPing, the player takes the role of their character and thus should write as if they only know what their character knows regardless of what they, the player, actually know.
For example, a common mistake that new RPers make is knowing everybody's name before you've been introduced. Just because you know what everybody's name is doesn't mean that your character does. Another example would be if two characters are having a conversation in the hangar and your character is in the tavern, you shouldn't be able to hear or respond to their conversation.
Using information that the character hasn't actually learned may be convenient and quicken the pace of an RP, but should only be done with the permission of those involved.
Powergaming is the term for declaring the result of an action that involves somebody else before they can respond.
Instead of describing how you're punching someone clear over the bar and watching them smash headfirst into the bottles and start bleeding (you brute!), try describing how you're throwing the punch, hoping to send that person sailing. This gives the other player a chance to react in a way that makes sense for their character.
Don't be afraid to ask the person in an OOC comment if they're okay with what you'd like to do if it's particularly intense. If the scene is working well, something even better might come of it than what you expected, and everyone will have a better time of it!
Similarly, godmoding is the term for when you do things that your character shouldn't be able to do. For example, your character should not be able to turn back time, use magic powers, kill other characters at all (unless their player has explicitly agreed to it), destroy the surroundings, or control the weather. They should not be able to have dynamite explode in their faces and live through it (though there are a few exceptions to this rule).
If something this severe, unusual, and possibly setting-incompatible truly is justified by the character and the situation, use the same rule of thumb as with powergaming: ask everyone in an OOC comment first. It may seem limiting, but without some preservation of the setting and the rules of reality... well, it wouldn't be Skyrates then, would it?
Please bear in mind that the game should be friendly to all audiences. A large part of the inspiration for Skyrates is taken from the Disney animated series TaleSpin, and though the Skyrates world is a bit darker and somewhat less campy, it's best if the in-game roleplay doesn't stray too far from what would be appropriate to that source. A rough approximation would be the American movie rating of "PG"; if you're not sure whether a line you're about to type would be pushing an "R" rating, then it's probably best to steer clear of the topic. Or, simply pretend that everyone else in the channel is twelve or thirteen years old and consider your actions accordingly.
Everyone wants to be special and really good at things or really popular, but not many people are ninja/ace pilot/rocket scientists.
To make a character believable, they need both strengths and weaknesses. If the character is perfect at everything and never gets anything wrong, they have no room for growth and dominate scenes to the detriment of other players.
A common trap is a character who seems okay on paper (or in your head), but succeeds at everything despite their lack of talent, or else they always knew how but it just never came up before. Flukes and hidden backstories are justifiable, but not when a character seems to be able to do anything despite their mundane appearance.
If you have an idea for a character but aren't sure if they might have problems, feel free to ask other players or try this quiz. If other players are giving you unsolicited advice, you should take it on good faith and try to look at your character through their eyes.
More generally, if you're having trouble getting a solid idea for what your character is like, there's a list of things you might want to consider here.
Proper spelling and punctuation are essential in roleplaying, meaning that you shouldn't use common netspeak or chatspeak terms, such as 'lol'. A simple rule of thumb is to say out loud what you want to type: if you wouldn't say it that way, don't type it that way! Compare:
» Talon Karrde walks across the room and takes a seat at the bar.
» Talon Karrde wks acros teh room & taks a seat @ da bar
Beyond readability, the main purpose of proper spelling and grammar is to keep with scene immersive. Along that line, another point to remember is that actions should be kept in present tense as writing in past tense will break the flow of time.
All this having been said, don't be too nervous. Nobody is perfect and everybody has their own quirks. As long as you are making an effort and not trying to justify gratuitous chatspeak, you'll be just fine.
A more subtle but no less important point of RP form is one of monologue. Frequently, a single character will tell a story that's longer than just a couple lines of text.
As tempting as it can be to pose one's reactions to the story, not only can it be terribly disrupting to the storyteller, but it also makes it even harder for anyone trying to catch up to scroll back and make sense of it! It's not a hard-and-fast rule, but consider keeping brief responses like "*gasp*" or "Yennit Alqaf listens closely" to the obvious start or end of such an extended monologue.
There's a temptation for almost every newbie who enters the channel to come into the bar (quietly in some cases, noisily in others) and expect immediate attention and to be brought fully into the fold right away.
Becoming part of that close-knit group can happen, but it can take some time to become a known entity. This isn't because the other roleplayers are cruel, but because they each have their own rich stories and connections that they're keeping up with. While you may have been lurking and know all about their characters, they know nothing about your character.
Be patient, stay in-character, listen to others' stories, don't get frustrated, and you'll find that over time, there will be recognition and acceptance.
Inspiration for Skyrates was drawn heavily from the TaleSpin TV show and the movie Porco Rosso, so the setting drawns heavily from these stories.
The world exists paralleling the atmosphere of the 1940s. Although guided missiles and jets are specifically disallowed, accepted canon technology is limited to the year 1959. This is a limit, not an average. Most technology should feel like the 1940s.
The skylets of the map in-game are by name and location matching in-character, but in no other way does the roleplay match— e.g. there is not a clone of Lord Gilbert in every tavern in Skytopia. These skylets are told to be several miles in diameter, with a total population of some few million. They are the result of the Great Upheaval, a world-wide event induced by Unobtanium warfare in the pre-Upheaval era.
The default setting for roleplay is a tavern known as The Rotor and Prop, which is located on a neutral skylet somewhere near to wherever you are. If you are roleplaying somewhere other than the R&P, then it is customary to use a location tag. Although, sometimes a planned roleplay may dominate chat and the R&P is relegated to a tag.
The R&P has all the usual things that a real-world tavern might have and all firearms are to be stowed in the weapons lockers upon entry. The bar is self serve, but someone will often act as bartender so that patrons can go about their business without crowding the grog. No payment is required to use the tavern's services, but frequent visitors are highly encouraged to donate supplies when they can.
Skytopia uses a currency known as the G-squig, squig or simply "G~". It is valid currency for any transactions, even inter-faction. There's no definite physical description, but they are usually referred to in RP in the form of coins and notes. The current thought on the subject is that a G~ is the same as $1 US in 1940, meaning 1 G~ is around $13 US today. A simpler method is to use $10 US:1 G~ conversion rate. This has the added benefit of making the math easier as only a decimal point (.) needs to be "moved" (i.e. $100 US becomes 10 G~).
The world of Skyrates is populated by anthropomorphic animals, the most common of which are land-based mammals. Non-mammals (e.g. birds and reptiles) exist but have smaller populations. Keep in mind that while a character may have wings due to their species, they will not be capable of unassisted flight.
Purely fictional species (e.g. mythological creatures or exotic hybrids) should not be used.
Slavery was abolished in Skytopia before most living Skytopians were born. Although, kidnapping does happen and poor/harsh working conditions do exist.
Who's (With) WhoEdit
A spreadsheet detailing the active chat RPers, and some basic information about them can be found here, and essentially acts as a 'cheatsheet'. Not familiar with a name? No problem; just look it up and get the basics, no questions or disruption needed.
It may seem daunting at first, with an unfamiliar interface and so many colourful characters all chatting away effortlessly, but don't be afraid to participate. Watch and listen for a little bit to get the feel of it, jump in when the opportunity comes up, and in no time you'll be an important part of the action. See you in the R&P, Skyrate!