Reply To: The importance of RP in TSN

Terran Stellar Navy Forums (OOC) Division Development The importance of RP in TSN Reply To: The importance of RP in TSN

Adele Mundy

Fair warning: this might ramble a bit.

I’ve read people’s posts, and they’ve been going round in my head, so now that I’ve had some sleep and some time to mull things over, I’ll add a longer opinion on why I value RP.

Artemis is a fun game, but as people have pointed out, it isn’t so difficult that beating the game would be enough of a satisfaction – even if I were a completist (I have some tendencies in that direction, tempered by laziness and lack of time), and had the time and the opportunity to play every bridge station until I achieved what I considered satisfactory proficiency (hint: nowhere near where I am), on every type of ship, at every difficulty level, I would probably get bored before getting to that end stage.

What really makes the game for me is the interaction between officers. And this is where the RP comes in. I’ve played a few times with friends, in the same room, without RP, and the game just loses some flavour as far as I’m concerned. When the bridge stations are simply game posts, the game is, well, a game. We’re not risking our lives to protect anything or anyone, we’re moving pixels around to switch off other pixels. Might as well play Tetris.

I’m not saying that I really believe we’re in a spaceship. Do children waving light sabres at each other really believe they’re Jedi? We step in and out of RP all the time, when we get up to make a cup of coffee in our real kitchen (but see, Matsiyan has a coffeemaker in RP, and now it’s part of his character) or when we struggle with real computer glitches – but we’ve worked out a way to talk about those in RP terms too, and it allows people to have fun. The Matsiyan-Mundy psi-link is an RP solution to why we’re able to know what the other one is doing when we’re on different ships.

Some people enjoy the RP more, and some treat it more lightly. I wouldn’t want to impose strict RP guidelines on anyone, if it was going to ruin their game. I definitely think that to “punish” people for approaching the game differently from me would be inappropriately dictatorial. I do think that we should stick to RP in the Briefing Room, partly for the practical purpose of quelling the chatter that otherwise might drag on too long, and make the briefing difficult to follow; partly to give a sense of community, as TSN officers working together. Outside the Briefing Room, RP is pretty much by consensus, and each ship is different. RP-ing the ranks serves the same practical purpose of keeping the ship and crew on task; how much each officer is a fully realised personality is a separate question, and much more about personal enjoyment.

I’ve been on ships with almost no RP. I find it disappointing, but it’s only for the length of a shift. There are other ships. Just because someone doesn’t enjoy RP as much as I do doesn’t mean I don’t like them, or I don’t like being on a ship with them. As a beginning player, I learned a huge amount from commanding officers who don’t RP much, and I appreciate them for it. Someone in the posts above (and I’m trying not to lose my train of thought, so I’m not going back to check who it was) said part of the fun is being on a ship with friends, and I agree. Where In Character and Out Of Character friendship begins and ends is one of those wonderfully indeterminate areas.

There may be people we like more, and people we like less. We can deal with that in RP, in fact: if Hornblower, or Harrington, or Aubrey had never had to deal with difficult superior officers, or insubordinate crew, or any difficulty at all in their personal interactions, guess how many people would have read the books? I’ve put some of that in Mundy’s logs, with the excuse that they’re her private thoughts, and she can express anything she wants there, even if it’s undiplomatic or downright disrespectful.

And as for how much of ourselves is in RP, that’s one of those great universal questions: some, of course. Mundy is much more organised than I am, much more technically competent, to say nothing of a much better shot and a much better fencer… (I haven’t touched a foil in mumble mumble years, and a sabre in even longer) She has a much more dramatic background than I have, of course – I’ve tried not to go Goth with her, it would be too easy to have her endlessly moping about Paragon and her brother – but I can’t help giving her my snarky sense of humour.

Having said which, she’s not me. I don’t think there’s the side of me in Mundy that comes out when I GM… the side of me that has my Firefly players fully believing the naive girl they saved is grateful to them, while, after nearly getting them killed twice, she’s infiltrating their family and business network, setting up ambushes on them (damn near misses that caused them physical harm and cost them money) working out where their friends are hiding, arranging for several of them to be kidnapped as a lure to a secret facility where they will be used as guinea pigs for an experimental new FTL drive that has so far resulted in the deaths of many skilled pilots. Oh, and she’s working on turning one of the player characters over to her side. I think she’s mostly there. I’ve been lying to my players for about six episodes now. Mundy has A Strict Regard For Truth.

That’s what RP is for, sometimes, I can be a much nobler version of myself… Also, it’s relaxing to go along with somebody else’s story, and just have one character to think about.

I suppose the TL; DR version of this is, I come back to the TSN week after week because of you lot. May you always know where your towel is.