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  1. Just played around with some ideas for a new hexagonal part you could use for tabletop-games like "Settlers of Catan" etc. By the way: Please support my "Life-Sized Human Skull" project on LEGO Ideas (if you haven't done jet)! :-) Thanks! --- UPDATE 01 --- Some more experiments with my hexagonal building bricks... @DraikNova: As you see above you can easily extend the distance between the "bases" by inserting plates or bricks inbetween them (so you could easily place a 4x4 round plate or brick on top of them). By using bricks with side-studs (as the green one in the bottom-left corner) you could also add extra playfields you could step or build on. The spacing betwen the hexagonal bricks would also allow to make "impassable gaps" (as you can see at the blue brick on the right side). --- UPDATE 02 --- Slightly updated my design by "drilling" holes in the side-studs and changing the connection on top of the brick (1 stud instead of 4, so the 2x2 round plates can rotate freely). As Eurobricks-user Philo mentioned there might be a little problem in connectiong the pieces directly, but if you build "bridges" between them, the connection should work just fine - and you can also place different bricks on the inside of the triangular spaces (in this example a 2x2 round brick with plate on top).
  2. Brethren of the Brick Seas (BoBS) Introduction and Starting Thread (Just looking for the Master Index?) What is it? The simple answer is that it is a building community on Eurobricks that is open to all who wish to join. We tell stories about a maritime-oriented world where the technology level is parallel with the historical Age of Sail. There are currently four factions. Each member joins a faction, and builds to win points (Gold doubloons and influence points) for their faction, themselves, and to better their building skills. At any given time of the year there may be one or more building challenges in which a builder may win recognition and sometimes prizes for themselves. On top of this, there is also a game mechanic that allows players to earn more gold and power for themselves and their faction. Background: The year is 615 AE (After Empire) and this is the dawn of a new era. For the first time in the history of the continent of Halos, new lands have been discovered. Even more shocking, the Halosians are not alone in the world. Once thought to be a flat plane, where monsters roamed the edges, the world is now believed by most geographers to be most certainly round. This was proven first with the discovery of Terraversa by the Mardierian explorer, Ardmond Basker. For 100 years the Mardierians have held Terraversa as a far off gateway, keeping all others out and not allowing the information of the world to the east, or New Terra, to permeate into the rest of Halos. At almost a 1000 miles from the next island in the Sea of Storms, the island remains a most crucial point on the voyage into the unknown. As time went on, other nations of the Madrice Peninsula began to search the seas for other islands and their potential riches. South of the Basker Islands, Corrington took Tiberia, an unforgiving rock just outside of the much more lucrative tropical zone. Oleon found LeBellan, the jewel of the Sea of Storms. LeBellan sits right inside the tropical zone, and produces sugar in vast quantities. 56 years ago Eslandola took possession of An Holli and An Toli, two smaller islands south of LeBellan, both sugar producing as well. Despite gaining footholds in the Sea of Storms, the other Madrician nations were unable to voyage beyond Terraversa. This all changed with the death of King Harln of Mardier, and the vast civil war that began in the country in 595 AE. Instead of looking to gain territory from Mardier’s mainland, the Eslandolans approached the Viceroy of Terraversa and paid him handsomely for permission to trade at the island. The Viscount took it further and allowed ALL nations to pay for the privilege to visit his island. Twenty years later, as the civil war continues, Terraversa has become a defacto independent state. The Viscount’s son, Miro Oldis, now runs the island, and his father’s policies live on. It is not certain if the Mardierians will reestablish their colony or not after the war, but it may be too late. In 597, intrepid Eslandolian explorer Cato Calrelli sailed east from Terraversa into the unknown. It was thought to be suicidal at the time, but he returned 70 days later with the news that he had found more of New Terra. He claimed the land for Eslandola, and soon the Kingdom of Eslandola was the leading nation in colonization. In 605, news circulated throughout the Madrice Peninsula that the Eslandolans had found gold on their island of Nellisa, and this set off a thirst for expansion and exploration never before seen. With Terraversa as a launching spot for new expeditions, Corringtonians, Oleanders, Eslandolans, along with some Garvans, Mardierans, and Carnovans made their way towards New Terra. Many found themselves unable to find supplies at Nellisa, the Eslandolans baring even some of their own from landing on the island. These vagabonds headed south, where a new isle was found, one with few resources, but great defensive harbors. Soon, the Sea Rats had a home. Angry that they had been dispossessed and had not found aid, many turned to vengeance on the Eslandolans by becoming pirates, and many of these pirates began to prey on all nations, and even their fellow pirate. Besides Terraversa, where the Atwi tribe lives, no new natives have been found yet. The islands beyond Terraversa have so far all had strange abandoned settlements upon them, and some sailors say that there is a whole new nation of people in these far waters, but no one has recorded seeing a non-Halosian or Atwi person yet. OW NORTH Series Map This brings us to the present. Oleon and Corrington have both issued rewards for the first permanent settlement “Beyond the Line” (beyond Terraversa). They are willing to bring their navies to New Terra if they only have a settlement to resupply at. Eslandola is calling for its own people to venture into the unknown and find wealth and fortune in the its name. But the Sea Rats lurk in all the waters of New Terra, waiting for opportunity, and despite the world seeming more round than ever, some say those old sea monsters still exist in the uncharted lands of the East. All factions await new souls to take on a role in the New World. Who will win in the end? Nobody knows, but for sure the sea will play a large role in deciding the fate of these rich new lands. She can be a cruel mistress to those who do not respect her, indeed, and the only guarantee in this world is that salt will run through your veins as you become part of the Brethren of the Brick Seas. The Crossing Series Mapd How this works: Builders pick a faction - this is your faction until the next “open period,” so make sure to pick a character you like. You will be able to change factions with enough personal influence points (PIPs), but that take a while. Your builds do not have to display your signature figure, but we encourage it! You also may build MOCs in other faction’s territory, so building is not limited to one style. There will be an “Era” of story and challenges, which will end with winners being determined in a few different categories. The contests and stories told during an era will influence the map, the history of the world, and future challenges. When a era is completed, points will be reset, but Factions and builders will keep their “gold doubloons.” (DBs) Builders and factions alike seek fortune. This project setting revolves around two currencies that are earned by building and winning competitions. This is the economy of the project. We understand that not every builder will want to play this game, and a builder can opt out of playing altogether, or only participating in the game when they choose. Free Builds that enhance the community’s story are always welcome. Even if a builder opts out of playing the "Economic Game System" (EGS), their freebuilds will earn their faction Doubloons and Factions Influence Points. Please see the rules thread for more details on how the economy works. Factions: The Kingdom of Eslandola STATUS: Open for new members SCORE: 0 DBs | 0 FIPs The Empire of Corrington STATUS: Open for new members SCORE: 0 DBs | 0 FIPs The Empire of Oleon STATUS: Open for new members SCORE: 0 DBs | 0 FIPs The Sea Rats STATUS: Open for new members SCORE: 0 DBs | 0 FIPs What you need to do now: Take a look at the faction threads. Pick a side and sign up in the faction thread with your signature figure (sig fig). It helps to have a back story! Can I have more than one character? Yes! Although one should be your sig fig and your main character, you can have as many other characters as you wish. The world needs populated after all! A starting challenge: This is open to everyone to complete once, and 25DBs will be awarded to the builder for completing the task. Build your sig fig and place them in a setting in our world. It can be in the colonies, in the motherland, at sea, anything you would like, but make sure to show the figure clearly and demonstrate the profession you have chosen for them in some way. (IE: if you decided to play an explorer, maybe you will place them on the bow of a ship looking out to sea with a spy glass.) Any profession that existed during the enlightenment is fine, along with a few other professions that would be a reasonable fit. If you are playing in the EGS, then there are a few character traits that you may want to consider here. How are scores kept? Each month, a pinned thread will help us keep score. After you complete a build (which should have its own thread, no matter if it is a free build, a duel, or a challenge build) you need to post in this score keeping thread and use a leadership-supplied link to a webform to help us keep score. In the thread, post your name, faction, and a link to your build (and the challenge it belongs to) in the thread. Please only use one post per topic, and just edit the thread when you build something else. At the end of the month, a project leader will tally up the scores and update the “Hall of Fame and Score” post for each faction. Please be patient for updates, we are not being paid for this. Scores will be displayed as follows: Name: DBs, PIPs, (PIPs achieved this cycle) IE: Skaforhire: 5DB, 5PIPs, (2PIPs) Current faction score is kept by adding all member’s totals within the parenthesis minus any expenditures the faction has made during the cycle. What can be bought with points and doubloons? A lot. The list will grow over time with more specifics, but since we are just launching this project, here are some of the examples without specific details: DBs: Position within trading guilds, rank in certain factions, a letter of marque to join another factions war against a third faction, a licence to sail a vessel in the raiding action, gamble, etc… FIPs: A newly discovered island, win a war between factions, buy DBs for the total score, open up a new portion of the map just for your faction for a few months, etc… The Map: The map is a part of the storytelling mechanism. As you can see, it is not totally defined yet. This will change as time goes on. New portions of the New World (and some of the Old) will be uncovered through events, challenges, and other parts of the project. New islands will be claimed, older territories will be taken in war, and the map will stay dynamic throughout the story. Builders will have the map revealed to them over time, and they will help decide what lands are conquered. With that said, the first part of our story will take place in New Terra. Your character should probably have some feasible connection that would lead them to that region, or it may be hard to really participate in the early challenges. A baker back in Eslandola’s capitol city is probably going to have little interaction with things going on in New Terra. We will eventually have challenges that happen on the mainland, and different story events “back home,” but we are emphasizing the pirate theme and its nature primarily in the first part of this project. Once a firm piratical lore and history is established, more aspects of Enlightenment era politics, war making, and commerce will emerge. Rules Thread History and Background Thread The Scorecard Thread
  3. 2014 Note: Since it has been mentioned various times that Guilds of Historica is "hard to understand as a new builder" I thought I would revamp this a little. I originally wrote it before I was one of the guild leaders, and it is still unfinished, but any comments on things to add would be appreciated. 2013 Note: Since this has been mentioned countless times in the last two weeks, I started it. It is not finished, I just wanted to get the basics up. Please feel free to comment critique, and to add to it. I will try to keep it regularly updated. Guilds of Historica New Member Guide Hello fellow adventurer, it looks like you have decided to move to the land of Historica to join us in our quest to flesh out one of the greatest Lego stories ever told. I have prepared this guide to help “ease” you into the guilds project. Perhaps the first question we should answer is “What is the Guilds of Historica?” The simple answer is that it is a building community on Eurobricks that is open to all who wish to join. We tell stories about a land called Historica which currently has five guilds. Each member joins a guild, and builds to win points (Gold Darics) for their guild and to better their building skills. At any given time of the year there may be one or more building challenges that a builder may win recognition and sometimes prizes for themselves. The current official description by ZCerberus is: “The Guilds are a Castle MOCers paradise where builders can connect with other castle fans to build in a connected world of five distinct Guilds, each with their own territory, history, and geography. The world grows as builders compete in challenges to win prizes, enhance their building skills and progress the official lore of Historica. Guilds score gold by competing in challenges and by "free building" in their own guild to grow their world.” Table of Contents 1.0 Choosing a faction 1.1 Choosing a Signature Figure 1.2 Common starting questions 2.0 General Guilds of Historica Guidelines 2.1 Where are we now? 3.0 Some links to important Guilds of Historica information. 1.0 Choosing a Faction The first thing a new builder needs to do is choose a faction. Currently four of the five guilds are open to members. Avalonia – A land of that reminds us of Arthurian legend and classic European medieval style. Kaliphlin – A land where desert culture has become king, but also one of the more diverse styled guilds ranging from Mediterranean to Middle Eastern, and from the Far East to pre-Columbian American. Mitgardia – The northern guild, which is more akin to Norse tradition along with some of the other northeastern European styles. Nocturnus – A guild of pure and dark fantasy for the most part, but elements of each of the guilds in its own twisted style. As a new builder you should decide to join the guild which you feel the most akin to. Are you looking to step outside of your building comfort zone? Are you looking to stay within the bounds of your own collection? These are all questions you might want to ask yourself. For example, conventionally, you may need a lot of tan pieces to build in Kaliphlin, you may need a lot of white pieces to build in Mitgardia, or a lot foliage to build in Avalonia. (There is no rule that says you need any of this, but there is a common consensus that these elements make it easier). If you think your lack of a certain type of piece will slow you down, maybe another guild is right for you. I personally would suggest joining the guild that most interests you and to start building your collection in that direction. Others will suggest the opposite. Currently Nocturnus is the guild with the least members, and probably needs the most new blood. However, any guild is willing to have you. (April 2014 Update: Mitgarida is the largest guild, where the other three guilds are roughtly even. Nocturnus still probably has the lowest active builder count.) 1.1 Choosing a Signature Figure After choosing a guild, it is time to choose your signature figure. This figure represents you in the builds that you will be making and in the builds of others (with your permission, of course). You will need to introduce your signature figure in a post in the homepage thread of your chosen guild. Most members post a backstory to their “sig fig” in their initial post. This can really be anything, that is the beauty of the Guilds of Historica – although there is some “cannon” history, it is open enough that whatever you make can stand. IF you want to be an ex-slave looking for a new life, you can. If you want to be a high lord of Avalonia, you can! If you want to be a peaceful farmer, you can! Please remember that your signature figure doesn’t have to appear in your builds, but you do need to have one for scoring purposes. (It is also good to have an “In Character” voice to speak with.) Some guilds have a few rules for their members. For example Avalonians tend to claim land, so make sure you don’t claim any titles that are already claimed (see the map on the first page of Avalonia’s homepage.) The other guilds do not “claim land in the same way” But most members have a “headquarters” location on the map. 1.2 Common starting questions: Can I have more than one character? Yes! Although one should be your sig fig, and your main character, you can have as many other characters as you wish. The world needs populated after all! Can I join Valyrio? No, not at this moment. That guild is available for anyone to build in, but it does not have an open membership. Can I be a wizard, mage, witch, omnipotent death god? Well, errr…. Yes? You have to remember since this is a community, it might be hard to get everyone on board with a superhuman being that could “consume the Avalonians with fireballs from his eyes, and bolts of lightning from his bum.” ~ Victor Revolword. Which guild is the best to join? They are all the best! Pick whichever you have the most interest in. What kind of challenges are there? 1) Overarching story line challenges are: civil war in all the guilds in turn which give you a couple of months to build. 2) "Mini challenges" set as a contest within your guild in between the civil war challenges, with lower stakes (?) And typically shorter deadlines, such as the Sultan's Gate community build. 3) Ongoing skills development challenges like the ages of Mitgardia or the Albion community build. These are basically open ended and which are measured by your own progress rather than in competition with other builders. Participation in any of these is entirely optional and up to you. Some people do all of them, some do one only, some do one and skip a few and then do another. I am lost, there is so much history to learn! There is already a lot of history, but the Wiki along with our very helpful membership base is willing to help you out along the way. Also, as I said before, there is so much Historica, if you just start creating, it is unlikely you will come into conflict with other storylines. Lastly, there is always some good bedtime reading buried in the many threads of the forum. Wow, I want to get into GoH, but I would like to learn more, where can I go? I am glad you asked, here are some helpful links: Some people here have a shield tag with the colors of their guild. What do you have to do to get such a tag? Those builders participated in Book I challenges. We are currently in Book II, but those who participate in these challenges should also have a chance to earn a special shield. The Historica City Guide The GoH Wiki(not a Eurobricks link) Nice Marmot's map-making guide A good post by Gabe on how to get your small collection to a more useful collection when just starting off with GOH Some fun, ongoing projects that you can join right away! The University of Petraea's Doctorate of Historica Program University Tracking Thread Age of Mitgardia List of Historican Settlments
  4. Thanks to Sandy for the banner! Introduction “Ah! Hello there! You must be the new class of students. Welcome, welcome! I’m Bilbert Wigglepike, adventurer, playwright, and actor extraordinaire! Of course, as theatre enthusiasts, you must have seen my gripping yet hilarious comedy, The Life of Beasley? No? What about my romantic classic Gnomeo and Harriet? Rated eight thumbs up by that unlucky critic who took the Zeigfried girl’s seat! Really, no? Well, surely you caught my dear friend Elphaba’s autobiographical musical Wicked during her short time here? No?!? My goodness, you need more help than I thought!” “I can teach you to bewitch the mind, to ensnare the senses, to pull at the very soul of all those who see you. Not through sorcery, trickery, alchemy, but through your own quirks, history, and emotional honesty." "I warn you: it will not be easy. Crafting interesting characters is a work of intention more than of luck. It requires concentration, focus, and determination. But for those who persevere...well, generations of actors have hungered after the joy of performance, the adulation of a pleased audience. And some small degree of that unique, exquisite satisfaction...can be yours.” “And let me say this: acting, or, as I prefer to think of it, role-playing, is Serious Business. I will not tolerate any foolishness...” “...hijinks...” “...shenanigans...” “...or tomfoolery of any kind in my Theatre!” “...Oh, who am I kidding?” “*Sigh* Welcome to Heroica Theatre...” Heroica Theatre is an Out-Of-Character discussion topic, where various thoughts, ideas, and advice about portraying your character can be discussed. Along the way, Bilbert and his troupe of performers (including several familiar faces!) will illustrate some of the concepts being discussed. But don’t let that stop you: any topic related to any aspect of roleplaying is welcome at any time. And feel free to be creative; who knows? Maybe you will be the Heroica Theatre’s next great star... Opening Night: The Roleplaying Basics Act I. Creating an Identity: Character Story Inspiration “This man was crushed by anvil. I...never seen thing so gruesome.” “I understand, Hoptet. After all, murder is…heavy stuff.” YEAAAAAAAAAAH! “...” “...” “Wanna get a banana burger?” “OK.” To sum up the acting technique of “transference” pioneered by the great actress Uta Hagen, one might say that “Acting is about finding ourselves within the character, and the character within ourselves.” Roleplaying is much the same; though the form and style may be different, it is still about taking elements of ourselves, combining them with elements we consider to be not of ourselves, and using them to create an entirely new character to display to the world. The primary difference between acting and roleplaying is, in roleplaying there is no set script, and the players together combine their talents to breathe life into the world. Even the greatest players in the world can’t play a character that is undefined, however. There’s a reason we don’t read books about speechless, lifeless, immobile statues; it would be dull and uninteresting. A character without their own defining traits has little more life than one of those statues. Roleplaying great Waterbrick Down once said this: If you get stuck, remember some of the basic questions: who, where, when, why, and, later on, how. Who was my character raised to be? Where was he/she born, where did he/she live before coming to Heroica? When did my character leave home and come to Eubric? Why did my character leave home and come to Eubric? Remember, too, that great characters are defined by contrasts, the difference between who they should be and who they are; consider: the sacrilegious, irresponsible paladin with a drinking problem, the ex-bandit ogre with a noble spirit, the wacky, comedic magician marked by darkness, the 200-year-old Elf with the maturity of a teenager, the rogue with a heart of gold, the quirky chicken sidekick who’s actually a demon of darkness, the honorable orc who becomes a paladin. Real people are messy and at times inconsistent; your character should be, too. Above all: your character should make sense to himself. All of our quirks and inconsistencies have some sort of reasoning or story behind them. You don’t have to know everything, but if you can have a few defining moments of their life set before you start playing, you’ll be in a good position to start off strong. If you can, from your character’s perspective, examine what you know about their history and find it reasonable and believable, then you’ve got a good base upon which later roleplaying can build. Coming Soon: Crafting a Back-Story: The Present as a Key to the Past Act II. Weaknesses and Strengths: Believability in Relatability: “Verily I say unto thee, Hoptet: he who had the less strength was the greater Hero.” “...” “What? I was channeling an ancestor of mine! Sheesh, kids these days...” Let’s be honest: a character that always succeeds, has no flaws, and never makes mistakes (or worse, who blatantly disregards their failures) is rather unlikeable. There’s an entire trope about Mary Sues and Marty Stus that cover exactly how they become unlikeable in far more detail than I can here. On the other hand, a character that tries to pour on the angst by constantly failing is no more likeable. The key is to find a good balance between the two, in order to make your character actually likeable. In all honesty, writing a believable, relatable character is kind of like trying to plan and host a game or a Quest; the key word here is balance, making your character strong enough, within reason, to believably handle themselves in the dangerous world of Heroica, while at the same time keeping them weak enough to, well, fail once in a while, which the dice WILL cause from time to time. This is doubly important in non-dice-based situations, where poor roleplaying can make you look quite silly indeed; if you’re a brand-new Hero who’s just arrived at the Hall, and you pick a fight with an experienced Hero with an Advanced Class, you are not going to be able to knock them out in one hit, no matter how poetic your description of the event; it’s just not believable. (This brings up another common roleplaying problem, one we’ll cover more in Act III.) Remember when we were defining the broad strokes of the character, adding depth through contradictions? That’s also a great example of balanced, relatable believability. Consider Lord Lawrence Boomingham, a mighty Paladin of Heroica. He is strong and hardy, as a Paladin he defends himself and his allies with his shield while also possessing the ability to heal them and himself when injured; a potent combination, to be sure. Bravery (bordering on impulsiveness and recklessness), combat skill and strength, and magical healing abilities are his strengths. However, he also has his weaknesses: he’s a chronic alcoholic, he’s brash, arrogant, rude, self-centered, racist, and, perhaps most tellingly for a Paladin, thoroughly irreverent. His strengths are balanced by his weaknesses, and though he may not always be likeable, he can be at times, and above all he’s always relatable. Let’s consider another great example: Althior Emorith, Sage. Armed with plenty of great gear, a magical sidekick, an Evoker girlfriend, and every single elemental Gem in existence, at first glance he may seem unstoppable, but he’s balanced out by his weaknesses. For one thing, Finnegan is incompetent, and in-character Althior isn’t much further behind. He’s a bit impulsive, has an ego the size of Jupiter, and takes himself and his work way too seriously. Althior also exhibits a different kind of dramatic balance; he straddles the line between “serious” roleplaying and comedic relief, at times the noble, troubled magician marked by the demon Abraxas himself, at others just a goofy loon. Character flaws are important, but this final observation is even more so: none of the best players in Heroica try to win all the time, and this is key. Good players let the dice fall as they may, and, when their character fails, they use it as an opportunity for character development. In Quest 4: Taming the Lions, De’kra the Shade Echo faced a string of horrifically bad luck. Rather than complaining, he used it as an opportunity to become more humble, even roleplaying his own “death” as a way to develop and flesh out his character. Likewise, in Quest 15: Hoisting Down the Jolly Roger, the Norse Barbarian Eric (and the entire party, actually) had to deal with short supplies and luck so terrible that the majority of the party went down in almost every battle! In a feat of great roleplaying that must be seen to be believed, Eric allowed this event to develop his character so much that it changed which Advanced Class he decided to take back at the Hall. Opportunities for character development can be rare, so failures are a welcome blessing in that regard. In short: don’t be afraid to fail! You might just end up more interesting because of it. Most importantly: don’t tell us all at once. Roleplaying requires patience; we don’t want to see the character’s whole story in an hour-long episode, we want to see it unfold over weeks, months, years. Coming Soon: The Road Goes Ever On: Playing your character for the long haul Act III. Characters in Conflict: Playing a Jerk Without Being a Jerk “All right, auditions for Elphaba’s yearly revival of Wicked are open once again, which means it’s time to figure out who is going to play who. Let’s see who we have here first. Roll call! De’kra?” “De’kra is present.” “Harriet? Mehmet?” “Harriet the Super Sleuth is here for the poultry and applesauce.” “As is Mehmet Attabar.” “I, Hoptet, ready.” “Drake?” “I’m here.” “And I’m here.” “And I’m here.” “And I am!” “Well, I was here before all of you, so...” “Shut up, Drake, you KNOW I was here before even you were.” “Please, Drake everyone knows all of you were here after ME!” “Hey, I’m here, too, you know--” “Uh, you guys do realize that multiple personalities do not qualify you for multiple roles, right? And, contrary to popular belief, it does NOT in itself make you more interesting, so--” “I disagree!” “Me too!” “I disagree as well!” “And me!” “*sigh*” “You and I are actually the same person, does that count?” “No, dear, we’re here as a joke, so we don’t count; we’re not real characters.” “NOT REAL CHARACTERS?!?!” “My parents are dead!” “Uh...sir, stories of familial death are rather overused as well, perhaps you should consider--” “DEAD!” “*sigh* Do none of you understand? Bizarre, over-the-top quirks of your personality are not what make for interesting characters! It’s conflict! Quirks define the personality, and conflict develops it! When used within reason, conflict can--” “RAAAAAAAH! HULK HATE PUNY GOD!” “Uh-oh.” “No, no, you've got it all wrong! To use conflict, you have to--” “HULK SMASH!” “That’ll teach you to run around with that no-good tramp Harriet!” “OW! I said I was sorry! OW! Finnegan made me do it! YEOOOOOOWWW!” “Well, at least SOMEONE'S using conflict right. Humorously, granted, but right.” “OW! OW! OW! OW!” “” “Ooh, looks like fun! Can I join in, Bilbert?” “ No, Harriet. No you may not.” There are three elements to every successful story: character, conflict, and creativity. We’ve already learned how to define the broad strokes of the character; now we move forward into the area that will bring your character to life: conflict. To explain why, let’s do a quick review: We’ve figured out what makes your character unique, we’ve made sure that the character’s quirks make sense, we’ve made efforts to keep the character believable, and, importantly, we’ve learned not to rush the roleplaying, but instead to keep things in reserve and reveal them over time, when the opportunity presents itself. You now have the makings of a deep, interesting, fun charcter--congratulations! There’s only one problem: how to reveal this? Where ARE the opportunities for character revelation and development? The answer, of course, is conflict, but there’s one more thing we must observe. Why ARE the rather annoying, overdone character aspects we saw a few moments ago so particularly prevalent? (Granted, these examples were rather over-the-top, but they are still remarkably common.) Why do new roleplayers perceive them (incorrectly) as THE go-to fixes for roleplaying*? Ironically, it’s because they instinctively recognize the importance of conflict, but fail to see opportunities for it outside of their own “bubble.” Conflict comes in two flavors: internal and external. Internal conflict occurs when two aspects of a character’s personality come into conflict; it’s an essential part of a realistic, honest portrayal of a character, but it is NOT the place to start your development. For one thing, internal conflict as a primary motivating factor is much better suited to novels, movies, and other works involving a single protagonist. In a world defined by the interactions between characters, external conflict is far more important; as roleplaying great Zepher once put it, External conflict, on the other hand, is not only a great opportunity for roleplaying, it’s also part of being a generous roleplayer; after all, since interaction with someone else’s character is a valuable opportunity for you, it stands to reason that it is just as valuable an opportunity for the other party. Character interactions are the heart of an open roleplaying community, and if you make an effort to help others’ characters grow, their own responses will return the favor. A word of caution, however: pets and other “companions” are NOT sources of external conflict; it may defy logic, but interactions between any characters played BY you are considered internal conflict. To put it another way, when two (or more) of your own characters interact, no matter what happens, YOU have determined the course and end result of the interaction; unless you are a superb roleplayer, there is little risk of anything happening that you didn’t already expect. By contrast, you never know where external interactions will take you; for example, Althior and Arthur’s interactions on Quest 17 led to an apprenticeship that neither party expected. As the old saying goes, “no risk, no reward.” So, how should you go about finding and using conflict? Here’s a hint: it’s not by walking up to another character and randomly punching them in the face, or challenging them to a drinking contest, or accusing them of burning down your home village. Such things, when planned in private with the help and consent of both players, can be dramatic and interesting both to watch and to play, but it’s seldom the place to begin. Just walk around, casually comment on the various conversations and goings-on of the time, and generally just react to things the way your character would. (Knowing to a degree what your character will do or say in a given situation is an important part of defining who they are, the “basic questions” of Act I will help again here.) Sooner or later, your character will say something another disagrees with, or they will say something your character objects to. Congratulations, you’ve just encountered external conflict! Now what? Do you punch them in the face now? Unsurprisingly, the answer is (usually) no. Often it’s best to let the conflicts simmer, lightly disagreeing as anyone would, but for the most part acting with composure and decorum. Only once your character has endured a realistic amount of provocation should they respond in kind. How much is enough? That varies by character. A roaring Barbarian brute would likely be more likely to lose his temper in an argument than a diplomatic Knight, but what of a Knight whose dead lover was an Orcish maiden, and the boisterous Cleric at the bar is boasting of his superiority over those “worthless greenskins”? In any case, the key is to wait for the right moment. Roleplaying is, really, an endless string of compounding reactions; for the most part, you can let the world itself get the ball rolling. One final tip: anger is not the only response to conflict; it’s simply the easiest. Using the example of the Knight with the dead Orcish lover, a new or intermediate roleplayer’s reaction might be to leap from the bar and deliver an angry tirade against the racist, self-righteous Cleric; a more seasoned veteran’s response, on the other hand, might go something like this: Kelwyn Greycloak felt an empty burning sensation in his gut, one that had nothing to do with the spicy meal Schezerade had set before him. He looked up across the bar at the arrogant Cleric. “Judge not what thou hast not seen,” he remarked coldly. Dropping a few copper commons on the table for the--ironically Orcish--barmaid, he set out for the balcony. Three years. Three years it had been since Kelwyn had lost her. As he reminisced about those happier days, he felt the Cleric’s eyes gaze contemptuously upon him, and he turned away, his body language declaring to all his desire for solitude. Not only is this a more unusual and interesting response, but it also allows for a more reasonable third party--perhaps a reassuring Ranger like Skrall, or the mostly-goofy but occasionally wise Mage Althior to speak to the Knight, showing a somewhat different side to their own character and allowing Kelwyn, in turn, to reveal more about his past to them. The reaction of Kelwyn to the Cleric allows other characters to react to him, and him to them, and so on and so forth. Less obvious choices like this one are more difficult than instinctive reactions, but they also allow greater opportunities than mere arguing or fighting. And make no mistake: good roleplaying is hard. But at the end of the day, it’s a greatly rewarding experience, and well worth the time and effort. Unusual roleplaying choices are often linked to characters with an unusual perspective on a given situation. Players who encounter difficulties in creating such unusual perspectives are encouraged to read about De’kra the Echo (played by Tanma), Cronk the Orcish Paladin (played by CorneliusMurdock), and the devious but not necessarily evil Lady Wren (an NPC played by Zepher). Coming Soon: Rush Hero: Exercising Patience in Roleplaying. Act IV. Burnin' Love: Cheap chocolates and rushed role-playing This Act has its own soundtrack . “When you meet the someone who was meant for you, before two can become one there’s something you must do.” “Do you pull each other’s tails?” “Do you feed each other seeds?” “No! There is something sweeter everybody needs…” “ I've been dreaming of a true love's kiss, and a prince I'm hoping comes with this, That's what brings everaftering so happy!” “ And that's the reason we need lips so much, for lips are the only things that touch. So to spend a life of endless bliss, Just find who you love through true love's kiss!” “ Aaaah, aaaah, aaaaaaaaaaaah!” “Aaaaaugh! Aaaaaugh! Aaaaaaaaaaaaugh!” “She been dreaming of true love kiss?” “And a prince she hope comes with this; That's what bring everaftering so happy.” “That reason she need lips so much?” “Yes, lips are only thing that touch.” “ So to spend a life of endless bliss, Just find who you love through true love's kiss!” “ You're the fairest maid I've ever met, You were made...” “ finish your duet!” “ :sing: And in years to come we'll reminisce...” “ How we came to love,” “ And grew and grew love,” “ :sing: Since first we knew love through true love's kiss!!!” *applause* “Ahem. Yes, well, done good show everyone! There’s just one’s all absolute poppycock.” “Did someone say cock?” “*sigh*” Love. For some reason, it’s one of the most popular attempts at roleplaying. “I’ll say. ” You get out of here! Now, as I was saying, roleplaying romance is extremely common, to the point of being overused. The thing is, almost no one knows how to do it right. Here’s the thing: there’s more to love than rushed roleplaying and cheap chocolates. Love between your character and someone else’s should flow naturally out of good roleplaying in general, it’s not a “quick fix” for a character-developing interaction. How many couples do you know of in the real world who fell into instant, everlasting love at first sight? No, Haldor and Jess and Althior and Alexis don’t count. Now, if I had my way, no one would even try to roleplay relationships, it would just happen between characters--or not. However, since few people are willing to let such things develop, let’s go over some of the common romantic archetypes, and how to use them correctly. First up is the ever suave ladies’ man. This character is completely uninterested in long-term relationships and focuses primarily on the physical aspect of relationships. Note that, despite the term “ladies’ man,” this archetype swings both ways; Harriet the...playwright/actress is a prime example for those seeking to fulfill this archetype. Granted, she is rather unsubtle about it, but if you’re the type to try and force a relationship for your character then subtlety is most likely not your strong suit. One final note: the dramatic arc of “woman meets a ladies’ man and slowly but surely ‘tames’ him with her love” has been done to death. Don’t do it. Next up, we have the “dark but sexy” type, a.k.a. the “bad boy.” This character feigns indifference, which somehow just turns the ladies on. Gods help me if I know why. Expect to see a LOT of skin-tight leather, especially if the character is a woman. By definition, most of these characters will be Rogues, but others can pull it off. This, too is overused, particularly for men. More often than not, you come off looking like an Edward Cullen knock-off, so keep that in mind before you try it. Finally, we have the desperate, failing nerd. This one is less overdone than the others, and is more forgiving as well, but take it too far and you could come off as obnoxious. This is best used as a jumping-off point for other interactions; i.e. as the final stroke of bad luck that sends the character down a darker path--as a defining character trait it gets stale fast. Really, roleplaying love is just like the real thing; if you try to force it, it’ll fall flat. Also, like characters themselves, relationships need flaws and foibles to make them more interesting--a pair of jaded, bitter exes are far more interesting after the breakup than they were during the “honeymoon phase.” In fact, generally speaking, relationships, whether they’re still going or not, are more interesting in retrospect. The start of a relationship is slow, awkward, and honestly difficult both to go through and to watch. Characters who have been together for a while (or who used to be together in the past but aren’t anymore) have a history and background together that lend each other an added depth. This is, at its heart, the purpose of good roleplaying: to give the other characters, through your own actions, and extra dimension of depth and interaction with which to work. In the specific case of relationships, the backdrop of the romance (or the loss thereof) lets the other character reveal aspects about themself that they might not otherwise get to see. And that leads us to my final point. Roleplaying relationships fail (in this case, “fail” means “to become uninteresting”, not necessarily “to break up”) for the same reason so many real ones do: the participants fail to realize that relationships are more about giving than getting. Relationships, when done well, are one of the single most effective ways to add depth and interest to your character. The thing is, you have little control over it; when you choose to build a relationship with another person’s character, you are putting your character’s own development in their hands, and they in yours. Those who recognize this responsibility, and who exercise it with care and discretion, are truly roleplaying greats. Despite my earlier, joking disparaging of their relationships’ origins, Haldor and Jess and Althior and Alexis are both excellent examples of this side of roleplaying; they really do bring out new aspects of each other, and open each other up to unexpected interactions that might not otherwise be possible. You all would do well to learn from their example. Curtain "Well, that's it for Opening Night! We hope you enjoyed it. Be sure to drop by often--I...erm...we're coming up with new plays all the time, and we're always open to comments and criticisms. Enjoy your time at Heroica Theatre!"