Most of you know how much I love words, but also how much difficulty I have explaining myself at times. Haha. So THIS is an attempt at explaining how and why I RP, (roleplay) in SL. I will warn you though… it’s going to be neither short, nor simple. It’s actually something which has been running around in my head for a long time.
I RP because I love words. I really enjoy writing but also enjoy the challenge of puzzles. To me RPing is a lot like doing a crossword puzzle at the same time as trying to work out a game of chess. It’s a real mental workout and now that I am old and at the mercy of awkward times in life, I don’t have the mental capacity to spend much time doing it.
It used to say on my SL profile that I am an RPer. I had to change that due to some of the random IMs I would receive when I was out and about of the various scenarios that some guys had dreamed up and hoped I might like to join them in. Yeah…. much eye-rolling there! What might start as me turning them down politely, at times would often end up with me having to bare my teeth at their wrong assumption. THAT is not the kind of random RP I mean.
I am… an RPer, but an wonderfully boring one by some people’s standards…and let me explain why. I now RP in SL as a character called Mora Meadowsweet, who is a fairy. Mora is simply a verbal costume that I put on. She’s a character that I drop into the middle of a medieval fantasy soap opera, but I never lose track of the fact that she is just a character… and I am just an actor. It is not a different life, just something I spend time doing now and then. She is NOT me, but is made up of parts of who I am, which have been exaggerated. I have often been told that to be a real RPer, I should create and use a character that is the complete opposite of me…. of who I am. I am not good enough at stepping out of myself completely though. I am just me.
I would rather create a character who feels real to those who meet her. She’s very grounded in who I am. For that reason, Mora will always share something of me, some trace of who I am. For example, Mora will do the right thing, but rather than life, my life, where sometimes ‘the right thing’ isn’t what I myself would want to do, Mora can do it. That’s often liberating. If someone is rude to her, she can simply unleash harsh words, or even slap someone…. things I would try and avoid doing in real life… as much as possible. She’s old and cynical, but also capable of much laughter and prank-playing.
I have RPd as a fairy for a good few years now. I am someone who LOVES nature. I am a very happy person when I can stand in the middle of pine forests and close my eyes, smelling both the pine trees, hearing the breeze blowing through them and carrying the honey-scent of heather down from the mountains. Yes… I spend time up in the Highlands of Scotland when I can. I grew up a nature nerd, I guess. I can name most birds I see in the UK and a good many of the wild flowers too. I have a basic knowledge of which ones are not good to touch or eat, and also which ones might be used for simple healing. It made sense to take all that… and give my knowledge to my fairy who feels most at home in forests.
To role play for me is very much like how I write when I am writing prose. It’s painting a picture with words. It’s not so much the honest words spoken from my heart when I am in conversation with friends… my RP is something fixed… static… and described. I visualize the action, then describe it and the feelings, always responding to what’s been said, then giving something for the other person to respond to.
I realise that in saying I RP as a fairy, many of you might have a mental image of some cute little pretty thing flitting about from flower to flower. I am sorry, but I have to disappoint you there.
To explain a little more of how I RP, I have to take you back to my beginnings in the often bizarre RP world. I am going to try and keep it short though.
I have never done any RP games such as Dungeons and Dragons. The only RP I have ever done has been in SL, but started back in 2008. My best friend at the time and I rented cottages opposite each other, either side of a stream on a woodland SIM. I am sure that if I could find a picture of what it looked like, I would be shocked at the lack of mesh, but the picture in my memory was of a lovely tranquil place.
In the covenant for the place, it said we didn’t have to wear medieval clothes on that SIM.. but when we asked the landlady, she said we would need to wear them if we wanted to go over to the main SIMs where we could learn to use swords, bows… and joust. My friend and I were both on voice at the time and were speechless for a few moments before dashing off to buy medieval clothes.
I had never wanted to be a princess as a little girl. I had always thought it would be much better if I could have been a knight and saved myself. SL gave me that chance. Ah I had some happy days in the Kingdom of Eternity as a bossy human Knight. *grins*
Eternity… ah yes.. The Kingdom of Eternity was a place I called home for many years. I called it home, as I rented a home on the SIM and as I entered into the RP, it became less of a home, and more of a place where people would simply turn up at all hours, shouting outside that something had happened and they needed help. It was exhausting too, now that I look back on it. Haha.
The BEST tool for RP in my opinion is the instant message… the IM window for private messages. I am always just me in those. In open chat I can be shouting at someone, cursing at them and throwing poisoned daggers at them, and in IM can be giggling with them at the smart-arsedness of our words. I get to know people I RP with, bit by bit. I admit that I only really RP fighting with people I know… and people I know aren’t going to cry if I use mean words… they will just hurl something more back and we will both be crying with laughter.
If I might paint you a picture with my words…life in the Kingdom of Eternity was a time of at least two joust tournaments a week, with good friends, some of whom I am still close to today. ‘The Lady Sashay’ is a great friend and confidant. In the RP she was a fellow knight and jouster. She and I would often throw flasks of alcohol between us at tournaments, then mount up onto our horses, who we stated drank nothing but Eternity ale…. and would then joust in heels, giggling all the way. There was no sense of equality back then, for it was often the women who won at the jousts… with much hilarity.
I am still in touch with ‘Sir Jacko Dixon’… and the Elven Lady ‘Kalista Noel’. Kali… LOL… Kali was a most fearsome woman in character. She was an amazing swordswoman and archer. It was a place which used metered combat. We would have battles each week back then, so weapons training was something that was taken seriously. How good it was that nobody could hear me giggling as we went though it all. I knew NOTHING back then. I had to learn to use bows. I have never been good with swords, but would always love pulling out a bladed whip and watching men not know whether to run towards or away from me. Bwahahaha!
Jacko. Dear Jacko Dixon deserves special mention. He was my SL Uncle, even though he’s not there anymore. As part of the story of Eternity, he played the role my Uncle, but as a twist we were on opposing sides. I was the First Knight on the light side… and he was the Dark First Knight. Funny thing was that as we got to know each other in IM as friend, we would often swear and curse as much… and had hot tempers to match. Many times he stormed off over things… and I would stomp off after him. A true friend and kindred spirit, who taught me lots about battle strategy.
It’s interesting though, as I reflect a little… all the places I have RPd in, all the countless people I have met, there’s only a handful who have remained close to me as real friends.
So.. back to Mora the fairy. There’s a side of her which is visually ‘lighter. She uses glamour to appear more human and less frightening. She can also often appear in her true, unglamoured form… darker…. pure energy and sparkle. She carries that side of me which is used to rolling up my sleeves and grabbing a weapon, or whatever is to hand and smacking someone silly with it, if needed. Some who may read this, may have been on the receiving end of when I have often used a wooden bucket to hit someone with, or throw at someone. Haha.
I RP in the lovely land of Briarhaven now. I have been there just over a year now and although I don’t RP much these days, I natter on to some of the people who are there in IM. I have been lucky enough to make some good friends there and already have some great memories. It’s always good to be a thorn in the side of some characters there. *grins*
My RP time is never going to be an excuse to dash off and form new *coughs* relationships with different people to whoever I might be with. Too often I have seen and heard “Oh.. that’s only RP!” To me, I am me. I have one life/ love. RP friends are those who I have got to know OOC (out of character) and who know me both OOC and IC (In character). Sash, Jacko and Kali might not be in SL anymore, but I do keep in touch with their RL selves. ‘Sash’ is still very much a constant in my life… a confidant and strength, the sister I would have chosen. These three have been with me so long, they are stuck with me now 😉
I often hear from people that they could never RP, they are just themselves. I admit to rolling my eyes at that. I am just myself too, but for an hour or two here and there, I exaggerate some aspects a little….. and fly. Honestly, in my almost ten years in SL, I see more upset caused by people who claim not to be RPers, but who suddenly unravel in a storm of lies and deception with a trail of destruction behind them.
I am boringly and honestly me 😉
Mora is simply a costume of words that I put on now and then to go and verbally spend time at a written munitions range. 😉