RPG Guide

Introduction

The main point of Illarion is the roleplaying aspect. We want to describe this principle here to those, who don't know it yet. Also we hope to provide some useful hints to experienced roleplayers.

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What is roleplaying?

A roleplaying game is like a stage play, only that everyone can take part, and the plot is open. What happens next depends mainly on your own behaviour. It is all about improvisation. Our task as "creators" of Illarion is, to provide a set (the game world) and to enable all players to enter this world (by setting up a server and providing the software). Your task as player is to play a person in this stage play and to act - from the person's point of view - logical. A computer software like this can only enable you to do things, that the programmers thought of before, but you will surely have more ideas. So you must overcome this lack of flexibility in the software by creativity, but more on this topic later.

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The game world

The world of Illarion should be like a mediaeval country. To make this more interesting, we added things like magic, strange peoples (elves, dwarves, ...) and a lot of gods to the setting. We thought about a time, before complex machines were created. Besides these changes, the normal rules of nature apply like on the earth. The world is currently restricted to one island. If the population grows and time passes, we will add other islands, which are, of course, already known of and the population of Illarion maintains contact to them.

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Your name

Choose a name, as it might be used in a land like Illarion. SuperHero666 will not be a good choice. In fact a character with this name will be deleted without further notice. Names like Gandalf and Aragorn sound more fitting - but only on the first view. Generally the names are good, if they had been created on your own. If you have taken these names from a book or film, you should be aware of one fact: Other players will know these names too, and have a certain expectation for people having this name. If someone is called Gandalf, all other players will think he is a human, old, mighty and a wise man. You will define your character too precisely and prevent your own development of this character. If you leave the path of your model, other players will be irritated and disturbed in their roleplay. So try to avoid known names.
Choose a name, that fits your race, that can be remembered and be well spoken. Many rules that must be fulfilled can be found on the website.

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Know your character!

There is no script, so there are no fixed roles. Therefore choose a role that you always wanted to play. The only important thing is, that it fits to the setting of Illarion. An engineer of the arms industry would not fit in, while a mediaeval blacksmith would.
Once you have chosen a person, you should think about his personal background. The motivation of your character should be derived from your background: What are your goals? What do you like or hate?
If you are talking to other people, you should be able to answer questions without a lot of thinking. What are the names of your parents? Where were you born? How old are you? What does your home look like? What is your religion? How do you talk? Do you speak with short and precise words or tend to give endlessly long speeches? Are you using a noble tongue or are you talking like a peasant? Do you have any speech defects or are you speaking a dialect?
While working on your game character, keep in mind that the world does not only consist of super heroes. Not every player should be the son of a king or an orphan searching for his lost parents.

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Character creation

After you know everything about your character, you can create a character (game avatar) in the game. To do that you must set some mental and physical attributes. Choose them in a way that fits the character, that you made up, best. Don't distribute the points in a manner that brings the most advantages from the rules system (it is changing often anyway)!

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Atmosphere breaks

Imagine watching a film: A child is walking through the dark forest towards its home. Fog is lying on the small path. Trees are creaking, shadows of branches moving in the wind form various shapes on the ground. The child is singing a timid song to fight his fear. Suddenly - a microphone comes into the picture from above and a cable runs with the camera man behind the child through the setting. The director is shouting "Camera 3 off! micro in picture!".
Before this film will hit the cinemas, the scene will of course be filmed again and will not stay as it is. The same applies to roleplaying, with the exception that we can't film the scene again. It must be right the first time. The microphone that was reaching into the picture is in our case perhaps a character, who's player lets him talk like this "One moment - my telephone is ringing - I will be back in two minutes!". The situation could even be worse, imagine this: A mushroom vendor is lamenting to a customer about her misfortune that the new taxes of the count doesn't leave her enough money to buy her little ill daughter some medicine from the druid. The customer then replies: "Talking about medicine - Do you know a website where I can get a free virus scanner?"

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Out of character (OOC) vs. In Character (IC)

IC refers to everything that is said from one character to another. OOC is used for everything said by a character on the screen, but that is directed from the player of this character to another characters player. The question if someone wants to trade 20 apples against some sheep cheese would be something IC while the sentence "I must leave, I have to watch Star-Trek now." is clearly OOC.
OOC should be avoided generally. If it can't be avoided (you are showing a program bug to a programmer for instance), keep it as short as possible and do it in a place, where no other characters are roleplaying. Additionally mark your OOC sentences to avoid misunderstandings. Mark them by placing the sentence in brackets or add "OOC: " in front. ( "((If I click here with the mouse, it crashes))" or "OOC: I must leave"). If the OOC talk involves only two persons it should be whispered (add a "#w" in front of the sentence), to avoid interrupting other players.
It is a good idea to have some phrases for different OOC-occasions at hand, that your character can say without explicitly using OOC. If you say "Gandalf is daydreaming" for instance, it has the same effect like writing "OOC: One moment - someone is ringing my doorbell". Or you are saying "I will send you a messenger when I have thought about my answer" instead of "I will send it to you via email".

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OOC knowledge / Character separation

Who is taking an active role in the game will use the boards on our website for sure. You will find a lot of information there. You should only use this information in game, if you character was able to gather the information. If a player is describing on the boards, how his character manages to sneak into a guild meeting and listen to it, this would be some information that your character hasn't got for sure. If someone is writing a price list for his little shop on the boards and adds a note to it, that the list is pinned to the flag pole on the market place, your character can use this information.
Similar things apply, when you are playing different characters (not at the same time). Things that one of them finds out, aren't available for the other. Therefore it is generally difficult to play two very active characters. Also no information, goods or money should be traded between the two. It is absolutely a bad style to play a druid, only to mix free potions for the magician from the same player.

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#me

You can only see very limited what a character is doing by looking at the screen, so you have to describe its actions. In Illarion you use "#me" to do so. If the player of Udolpho types for instance "#me bows down to the river und washes his hands in the water" the text on the screen says: "Udolpho bows down to the river and washes his hands in the water.".
You should use this only to describe what others should realy be able to see. The sentence "Udolpho thinks Melmoth is an idiot." is nonsense, because the thoughts of Udolpho can't be seen. More appropriate would be a sentence like this: "Udolpho looks at Melmoth and shows a superior smile around his lips.".
#me-commands are important under many circumstances, to overcome technical drawbacks. On the screen you can't see or hear when a weapon is drawn. Therefore the opponent has no preparation time. The sentence "Udolpho draws his weapon and points at Melmoth." would be useful.

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Player/character level

Learn to separate between these two levels. When a dwarf calls an orc a stinky beast, it would be a conflict between the dwarf and the orc, not between the player of the dwarf and the player of the orc. If the orc player changes to another of his characters, that is a dwarf too, both dwarves could be close friends. This separation also counts for the boards on the website. A misunderstanding of both levels often leads to a disgusting battle between players on the boards.

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Take part in others roleplay

In a game like this all your companions are controlled by real players and not by a computer. Therefore they have the same wishes and rights like you. If you want them to react on your characters actions, do the same for them. If everyone is only playing his own game, you can also play a single player computer game. So if a group of three people catches you from behind and describes with #me commands, how they overpower and tie you, take part in their game (even if it would be technical possible to simply walk away!). If you are extremely strong, you can describe an escape attempt also using #me commands, but don't ignore them completely even it has bad consequences for you.
If you are planning a bigger action, it is a good idea to announce it on the boards before in an appropriate form, to get other players to take part. If you are playing in a gang of robbers for instance, that are planning to raid the village, you can start several days before to post small notes on the board, about some dubious persons lurking around the village, spying on the guards and camping in the nearby woods. This would give other players the possibility to participate so that perhaps 20 instead of 5 person will have fun with this situation. Fun may, in this case, not only mean "win", because the goal is to have fun roleplaying. You may also have fun if your side "looses".

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Races

Behave according to your race. There will always be persons that don't represent their race, but they will be more seldom the more they differ from the "standard behaviour". So don't try to play a dwarf that is seven feet high and that earns his money as a bard. Also don't play an elf that earns his money by digging for worms in the mud to sell them to fishermen. You can find descriptions of the races on the homepage.

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Technical limitations

Try to overcome software limitations with fantasy. When there are no technical possibilities to tie someone up it doesn't mean that you can't do it using #me commands, if all players involved take part. Only because there is no beer, doesn't mean that you can't drink in the tavern till the lights go out. If someone is drunk, he can of course stagger around, even if the server doesn't force him to.
In another online game that I played once, there was no possibility to build houses. We piled up parcels to form walls and used flour to symbolize a sand coast. The result was a town with several dozen villagers, shops and a castle that reached over many screen widths (with towers, a throne room and many luxuries). So don't let yourself be limited.
On the other hand there are logical borders, that aren't yet technically realized. For example you can dig in the ground with your shovel, even if the shovel is placed in your backpack instead of your hand. Also you can walk around always wearing your full armour and a whole lot of weapons without someone noticing. It is up to you, to set yourself a limit here and put away your weapons before entering a temple, take off the armour while goldsmithing and taking the shovel in the hand to dig.

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Always friendly?

The players of Illarion are manually selected, so the most of them are so friendly, that they overdo it a bit. Act as your characters nature is. Therefore the most person may have the one or other outburst of rage - without conflicts it would be boring. A wide spread bad habit is, to give a lot of gifts to new players. This has a few drawbacks, because it takes the fun out of the game for the new player, even if he is happy at the beginning. For many players it is a motivation to achieve wealth in the game that attracts them. If they get a complete high-end equipment set on their first day - what can they achieve more tomorrow? Another drawback is the negative impact on the economy. If expensive equipment is given away for free from some persons, where should the craftsmen earn their money from? The prices will drop to the bottom. If you want to do something good to a new player, than give him something to do. Include him in your roleplay and give him impulses what to do. The good stuff you are doing to him can also be something evil...
It is extremely annoying, if characters that are supposed to be evil (by their background story), quit their evil business for a while to meet with the simple people for a beer in the tavern and give away presents to their enemies and have a nice small-talk or watch a stage play on the market place. The day after they will be murdering and devastating through the village again and will be hunted by everyone. If you want to play an evil guy, be aware from the beginning that you will exclude yourself from the "normal", peace loving society.

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The wrong path

Keep in mind that the goal of Illarion is to have fun roleplaying. If you have other goals or your playing style even violates the rules, you should think about choosing another game that fits your needs better. Especially it is not the goal of Illarion to collect as many points of any kind as you can get. If it is your goal to rise your smithing skill to the maximum in the shortest possible time (even if you are a barkeeper), or if you are a magician, but you intend to perfect your use of great axes, better leave the game. There are enough other games out there that tolerate or even support this kind of behaviour. We use the term "powergaming" for every action of this kind, that doesn't fit the characters nature and is only carried out to achieve technical advantages. An example would be the old and honored wizard that can barely move, because of his illnesses, but is training great axe battle 24 hours a day. It is contrary to his nature (moving does hurt him, he would be rather searching for books in the library and he has to sleep a few hours a day and take breaks). On the other hand, the only goal in this is to achieve technical advantages (he will be able to kill the strongest beasts without using magic after a few days with this training). The described behaviour might fit for a young warrior a few days before his final exams on the warriors school (if he takes a few food breaks and sleeps a few hours). Therefore you can't definitely say if an action is powergaming or not, without looking at the person that carries out this action.

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No fun to play anymore?

If you want to quit Illarion, please don't trade your character to someone else. You have made many friends and enemies in your Illarion life. They have gotten used to a specific behaviour of your character and they have some memories together with you. When you trade your character, the new owner will neither have the same behaviour or language nor know about the common memories with the characters old friends. Therefore he can't go on with his life correctly and is irritating other players. The same applies for giving away a character for a short time.

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Revenge without end

You will love your character after some time. If he dies, a world will break for some players. Therefore we have made the death in Illarion less serious but still hurting. You will be able to keep on playing with some losses. The only permanent death is sentenced by gamemasters, if they find you with a massive rule violation. Therefore players shouldn't make themselves the law and enforce it on their own. So if you are taking revenge on someone and have to kill him because of the seriousness of his guilt, kill him only once. It is not possible to explain logically why someone has to die more than once for the same guilt, so only kill him a second time when he has earned the death again. Also be warned that this "multi killing" is forbidden by the rules and you have to face the consequences if a gamemaster catches you.

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Stay in exercise

To avoid loosing the feeling for roleplaying now and then, keep on roleplaying even if no other character is present. You can moan and wipe the sweat from your head when you are chucking wood, even if no-one is there, that can see this good show. If you don't do it, you will only be working mechanically and will get bored. You will not be able to start roleplaying fast enough if other players come closer.

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Evil guys

The characters that are played with a bad style the most are "evil" characters. To play a bad guy is really hard! Many dull persons just want to kill other people like in other games. They have no reason why they kill and are just killing randomly.
If you are playing a murderer for instance, you won't kill anyone without choice that comes along. The risk of getting caught or killed yourself is too high. He will only kill where he has a motive and will be relatively sure that no one will take revenge. Also he should have a nature that enables him to kill without regret. Even a lunatic would not kill randomly. He also has a story, how he got mad and perhaps there are some situations that provoke an outburst of rage. All this must be logically from the persons background story.
People tend to think of murderers if they think of "evil", even if a murder is perhaps the most seldom crime. What about tricksters? Thieves? Rowdys? Schemers? Spies? Road robbers? Blackmailers? Kidnappers? Badmouthing about the merchant concurrents? Conflicts between neighbours? Peasants that put vermin in the barns of other peasants? Isn't it more pleasing to infiltrate a guild, sell their secrets and set them against another guild, to get rid of two guilds that are concurring with your (third) guild?
Whatever type of "evil" you are playing, play him consistent. Don't be a fierce robber on one day and, as soon as it gets attractive to take part on the life of a simple citizen, play a friendly villager that takes part on the banquette of the king (where of course many people know him as a robber, but don't act against him, because it is so nice sitting together talking).

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