Friday, December 3, 2010

Conversation about RP with Sekhmet

This came about last night with an old friend of mine.  I've probably mentioned a few times this person.  But anyways, I had asked Sekhmet about the Catwalkers, and then on into RP in general.  It was a great discussion, and I asked if she would let me share it here on my blog, and she said yes.  So here goes the discussion as follows:

Question:  Did you ever ponder where you might have gone with things, with the CWs, if Sekhmet stayed?

Sekhmet: Nope lol.  I would have gotten bored.  There's no point to RP in SL.

Question: Why do you say that?

Sekhmet: Another way to look at it is, in SL, people RP or they combat in RP sims.  They don't RPG

Question: Like in the whole dice and all that?

Sekhmet: It's not the dice. The dice are just a means. In today's computer world, the dices are all rolled by the server. But it's not the dice that make RPG good. Most of the time I GMed, people got boared with the dice quick.  No, it's the challenge created by a plot.

Question: SL RP lacks decent plots?

Sekhmet: There's no GM so there can't be a plot. Making your own plot as you go cannot create a challenge other than one you already know about, and which of course invariably leads to drama and god modding eventually. I mean you can RP it. Which is basically theatrical improvisation. And can definitely be entertaining. But not my cup of tea. Not on a regular basis anyhow.

I prefer to be in a situation I try to overcome where I am not in control of the outcome. Correction, where nobody is in control of the outcome. lol. Therefore, a challenge needs to be put forth.

Comment: GMs become more of sim moderators, rather than putting out plots, but I would think freeform would somewhat make that possible, but, eventually, someone does step in and try to run the show

Sekhmet: True and not. Freeform is how you do it. RL is freeform. Nobody is telling you, "Sorry, can't do, your STR is only 12." Nobody is controlling what you say either, or how you say it. This last point is also better because overcoming the problematic is not dependent on the oratory skill of the player or how fast the player types.

Comment: Yeah, in RL, can't break into brackets to differentiate IC and OOC

Sekhmet:  Hell, you could even do it all OOC. I mean if the plot does not catch your emotions enough that you want to be IC in the first place, the plot prolly sucks. The plot failed to include you as a character.

Players WILL be in character you know when? When the get into a point in overcoming the plot and they go "OH SHIT!" Then you know.

It doesn't matter how much IC or OOC things they said. At that moment you just know (As a GM), that they are in. They are feeling real emotions for something that doesn't exist

Question: So you mean, when they care about something that's just fiction?

Sekhmet: I mean it doesn't exist because it's happening here in VR. And most importantly, in their minds.

For instance, they just lost 10000cr. But it's not real money, yet they are pissed off. And no matter that they are pissd off. They hurry back home the next day after work to quickly log in and experience more of it.  Just so they can feel. Make-believe. 

Comment:  Like reading a good book and wanting to know what happens to the characters, but, in the case of RP, you are the character.

Sekhmet:  Exactly. And you're not in control of the book.

How you do it is easy.  You take a bunch of people.  You give them an amount of tools to use to solve the problem.  You reward players with points or items.  That's on top of emotions. The whole principle is as old as the world. Every MMO uses it.  But SL is full of intelectual elitists who want to control the show so that it's all about them.

Question:  More quest-based then?

Sekhmet:  You can call it quests. It's just a word. Objectives. Goals. Score. Acheivments. Missions.

Comment: I had an argument with one former friend about the necessity of goals, and she said there shouldn't be any, essentially. And, ironically (or unfortunately?) this same person happens to be the previous Matron of the CWs. <.<

Sekhmet:  Right.  Well, the reason some people don't want that is because goals implies there's a way to "win." And if here's a way to "win," there's a way to "lose." And some people are afraid of losing. Alternatively, they want to con you into thinking they won. lol

Comment:  True.  And, I suppose that's what happened,as much as I counted leaving the CWs of Midian a loss.

Sekhmet:  There's a way around it.  Around the problem. You need a multi-plot. Basically saying, "The plot thickens." And it gets so complicated that nobody is in control. Nobody fully wins. Some wins are team wins too. You make it more global.

Now, I am not saying RP in itself can't be interesting.  I think the problematic is that people who RP want EVERYONE to RP.

Comment: But it's good to have variety.  Yet, lot of people make it more singular.  So would be interesting to see a more team style RP rather than just simply a leader leads and all must follow sort of deal.

Sekhmet:  Right. Well,.variety doesn't work so well with RPers. Their sense of immersion is very tied with everyone staying IC.  This is what gives them THEIR feeling.  They get a kick out of RPing in itself.  But I personnaly have a hard time pretending I'm an assassin if there's nobody to assassinate. lol
Or even simpler.  Pretending I'm a restaurant ownr if there's no cash in the register at the end of the night. I mean it's fun once, like playing a piece. But who wants to play the part of a restaurant owner day after day with no point whatsoever? What motivates you? Should you hire more personnel?  Fire someone?  Get a new menu?

Comment:  Well, that's where at with the Insurance company. Sure, can go out and gain clients, or recruit, and actually hired someone who quit >.<

Sekhmet:  Of course people quit.  Why should they stay?  What's for them to accomplish and is going to make a difference in their lives?
Now, put a leader board out. That shows who made the most sales this week. And you'll see people get busy. Some will even get to hate each other for it.  LOL!  Bingo! Emotions. And the emotions will be so strong people will even forget it was a game, i.e. SL.

Drama.  Isn't that what that really is?

Comment:  Well, I had hired someone in administration. Gave them free reign to build up the administration side of things, but, eh.

Sekhmet:  Did you give them clear objectives?  And a reward if they succeeded?

Comment:  Well, she basically was in charge of recruitment, and hiring the administration staff.  So, she would have her say in the development of the office work side of things.  But yeah, suppose needed more clear goals and objectives.

Sekhmet:  Ok here's the trick. Close the insurance company. lol
Open a publishing firm.  Then make one of those SL magazines. But all in RP.  About the world you RP in. Make a newspaper.

Comment:  They already have a newspaper in Perdition though.

Sekhmet: Hmmm.  Well, it's just an example.

Comment:  But, could incorporate publishing maybe.  Like for books or magazines.  Play into the publishing business itself

Sekhmet:  Maybe.  Hmmm. Gun shop.  And actually make guns.  But RP it.  Gas station.

Comment: Publishing is fairly similar to Insurance, actually.  Same concept about how to do business, but, instead of assess risk, assessing marketability of books.

Sekhmet: Well ok, but why would people wanna buy insurance?  Aside from pure RP reasons.

Comment: Well, Properties and Casualty - essentially homeowners and business properties, even  vehicles. Then life for estates, heath for personal and group.  Basically, providing a sort of realism to owning businesses and properties.

Sekhmet:  Those are pure RP reasons.  Nobody is actually in any danger of losing anything.

Comment:  Had one place I insured catch fire.

Sekhmet:   lol

Comment:  But yeah, need good Rpers that don't mind taking such losses.  Actually was both health and property on that, since she was in the building when it caught on fire.

Sekhmet:  Hehe.  Anyways. I think I was having fun as a Catwalker because as a player my challenge was to create and grow the group.  And then I was enjoying coming up with plots for the gang to tackle.  Like:

"Ok cats, we need more food... so 4 of you go sneak into the sushi shop and steal some fishies."

Of course I went to Baal and told him to put 3 cases of fish behind the counter. And Baal told the sushi owner guy that it was is supply for the week.  So, of course the guy was not too happy when he caught a 'walker running off with a crate of his and started running after us. And the police got in the melee. And the whores bitched. And the people at the counter went, "Hey, how about my sushi?" And the dogs rented protection service to the sushi bar. And we walked around for a week with fishes in our mouths. lol. Brag, brag, brag.

Comment:   Yeah, I see how it works.  I'd like to get something like that going.  The insurance can be a vehicle.  Like someone buying a life poicy on husband or wife, simply to off them after a while for the pay out. Then you get the cops involved and all that.

Sekhmet:  Go ahead and raise hell.  Insure a business. And then hire an arson to burn it. lol

Then claim it was criminal so you won't pay until the matter is resolved. That is, if the police can catch the perp or find out who it is.

Comment:  Hehe.  Well, it would have been interesting if I got framed for the fire of the business that had the fire, but that didn't happen. But anyways, I have to head out. This discussion gives me a few ideas to go on.  Maybe try them out in the upcoming weeks.

Sekhmet:  Be my guest.

Comment:: If you're interested, plenty of openings for an insurance agent. lol

Sekhmet:  lol Kinda busy right now.

Anyways, hope you all get something out of that.  Having come to know Sekhmet is one of the cool opportunities I did have back when CWs was halfway decent to be a part of.  I learned something about the history of the group that none of those cats in there now, and very few before then had such an opportunity to be enriched by.  


  1. I'm posting my response to your Flickr post here because i think its equally appropriate:

    Having learned from past experiences one can establish the status quo in such a way as to promote harmony rather than a lust for power.

    Recreating a Neko group is in some ways like a re-enactment of things past. The CW's are done, a shadow of what they used to be, simply Ayami's plaything, now. To me, anything resembling a group of Nekos in a cyberpunk/post-apoc setting wanting to clump together in a Family smacks too much of going through the same motions again.

    I mean lets try keep some perspective here: felines in RL are NOT sociable creatures, with the exception of Lions (who form Prides) and house cats (who sometimes but not always form loose Colonies). Cat Colonies form around a reliable food source, but it is by no means the kind of family lions exhibit...fights are common and there is no Alpha male/female leading pair (like in a Pride) to keep the chaos to a minimum. I would say the Catwalkers are/were a Pride in name only, as the leading Alpha female/s never seeming to be able to keep the status quo (with the possible exception of Rith). In a Pride of lions, troublemakers are usually EXILED from the group, and this was not done nearly often enough. Young male lions only fought the Patriarch when they sensed a weakness and only if they figured they stood a good chance of lose meant EXILE. The threat of expulsion should have been very real, forcing players to mind themselves, but it was not. Instead players forced Democracy on the Pride, and thus the concept of succession and promotion. With that came politicking and lying amidst a general shuffle for power. And so the Catwalker Pride became a Catwalker Colony without its members even realizing it.

    As a Colony, members could ignore anyone who posed as an Alpha leader long enough to create dissent and turn others against the status quo, because those leaders were now much less inclined to simply kick someone from the faction, as the Democratic process involves voting people in or out rather than a dictator-like expulsion. So the Colony devolves into the same chaos found in RL cat colonies, with constant fighting, bickering, vying for positions of power and politicking. This is exactly what happened to the Catwalkers after Rith resigned.

    In my (by now learned ^.^) opinion, a "family" of Nekos needs to pay attention to its social structure all the time. A status quo needs to be set and maintained, with set rules of conduct and consequences of breaking those rules. Those who formed the group should take primary positions of power, and those positions of power are not to be made available for succession except under extreme circumstances (RL death of founding player or inability of founding player to maintain RP presence anymore after several years of attendance, for example). Players join knowing they are "spear carriers" and that positions of power beyond those required for the day-to-day working of the group are simply not available in any normal timescale. They join because they gain a group of players to RP and socialize with, an environment conduciveness to setting goals and storylines and safety in numbers. They do not join with the ultimate goal of becoming "leader of the pack". Positions of title do exist, but they bring little or no real power ICly or OOCly. They are there for RP purposes, and for low-order social purposes only>>>

  2. >>but also fulfill vital functions for the continued functioning of the group. Skills are the deciding factor for any title: a doctor or medic is entitled to be the person who fixes characters up after combat, and looks after their general health. NO ONE ELSE can, that means no other players are allowed to have medical skills, period. There is NO WAY to receive proper medical treatment other than from a recognized Stitcher, thats it. This forces players to be careful in combat RP as they're never too sure if their Medic will be around to help them with their wounds, and the medic receives prestige and general kudos for saving lives. The faction leader/s acknowledge this and reward the player with kind words or something useful. Soldiers are skilled with weapons and battle tactics and receive a title and perhaps privileges that acknowledge that. Other players who's characters do not have decent combat skills, who are not COMMITTED to combat as a way of life, look toward these Soldiers for protection and offer them the prestige and recognition they deserve for putting their lives on the line to protect those weaker than they.
    The list goes on...

    Furthermore, a social system of some kind could be instituted which would gain members Prestige. Prestige is independent of title in the sense that it cannot be used to buy titles, but each title bestows a minimum degree of Prestige. Prestige is essentially a system for tracking and recognizing service to the group and can be used to buy favors, cancel debts, hire help for a specific task and maybe even be traded in to either an admin or the faction leader for temporary increases in ability, if such a system could be properly worked out.
    In this way, players are more inclined to compete for the actual benefits that Prestige can bring rather than the perceived benefits that a ranking title of power brings. Titles are therefore kept relatively safe as the politicking, if any, is focused elsewhere, and any players found guilty of breaking the social rules can still be kicked out of the group. In other words, its a case of "play for real rewards but at your own risk". Players who do not partake in battles for Prestige are simply not seen as being socially high-profile, and would not receive certain rewards possibly, nothing more. Simply doing one's job (as a Stitcher or Soldier etc) well gains a character Prestige, anyway. Thus, the Ayamis and Baileys of the world can achieve and bask in as much functional Prestige as they want, all without endangering the lead title, for as long as they're able to not commit acts that breach acceptable protocol that get them booted from the faction.

    They literally live and die from the results of their own actions, all above board and there for all to see.

    The faction leader fulfills all the usual tasks leaders face, mediating, rewarding, punishing, instigating storylines for the faction, guiding, listening to advice and watching carefully that everyone sticks within the acceptable rules of behaviour, whilst exiling those who don't.

    This is the kind of Neko faction I'd like to join. Or create.

  3. All very interesting ideas. As far as system of governing, whether dictator of democracy, I think that the concepts are very similar. Voting mainly just takes away from having to set up a coup d'état in a violent overthrow. To show what had been my initial idea for the governing of CWs when the first coup that we both knew about back in the Days of Rith, I'll post something up about it in a new blog post here after responding.

    For some people, lust for power is a driving IC, and likely also OOC purpose in RP. Let's face it, for the most part, those people that think they are leaders, or think they can handle such a position are prone toward that. They are the same people that vie for head roles in committees or for president of a club or whatnot in RL. For the most part, having such people that have the disposition to lead in such a role is a good thing. At least, in as much as they are actually somewhat decent in the job. The reason for most coups and call for votes is because these leaders are not meeting the status quo. Either the violent overthrow or the ousting out with votes is what poses either passing of the guard. I have no problem with that either way. Because it's RP, and trying to make a campaign or start an internal war are things that could potentially make for interesting RP. However, I do also believe that rules of engagement need to be met too. And, while common sense would have a person say that it is not practical, nor realistic to, every time there is a problem with leadership (they 'weren't nice to me', they didn't listen to me, the didn't like my cloths, etc. and so forth) to push for votes or start gathering a coup. All legitimate coups in history had high minded reasons for starting them. Maybe the dictator was too demanding and asking for too much with too little incentive, or brutal measurements that were highly oppressive, or the president is continuing to spend way to much and the positive results, if any, do not measure against the cost of his spending. So, thusly, a coup looks to start a campaign and state these important reasons and rally troops for the coup, or, in the president circumstance, either wait for the next election cycle, or, assuming getting a certain number or percentage of support, call an emergency vote.

  4. Both ways result in campaigns being made. The only difference may be the measure of violence, and how it is taken out. Coups would be the rebels fighting the status quo and lead to internal warfare. Maybe the rebels will need to set up a secret HQ while they gather their numbers and recruits. On the other hand, the democratic way would lead to a different sort of campaign, though similar in some ways. The difference is that the leader of the one who opposes the president is going to recruit votes, make speeches, and exercise that right to protest out in the open. However, neither way of ousting a leader is going to do away with back stabbing, nor OOC metagaming. OOC metagaming, though hard to catch sometimes, is something that needs to be dealt with. RPers have every right to react to the RP in the IC. But to go off and slam opponents OOC for the benefits of IC is wrong, not just in a group/faction, but in RP in general.

    As for felines, yes, Nekos are part cat, but they also have humanoid aspects as well. From my perspective, it plays of a theme of the union of humanity and the animal kingdom, particularly with idea of instincts of a cat. In many ways, at least theories and theologies have this sketchy agreement that humans themselves are part human and part animal, in general and excluding particular views upon exact details of what is believed to be 'human', and what is to be 'animal'. And this has been argued for as long as humans have begun to hold opinions and make ideas, which may be beyond recorded time. * shrugs* before my time anyways. <.<

    So, to me, while we can argue about the particulars of make up of humans and nekos, there's enough similarity between them to say that there is diversity of ideas and concepts that, if anything, can lead to more of the metaphysical and philosophical aspects of 'high RP' that are important to many aspects of both why people may have OOC conflicts with each other, as well as serve for character development and overall story that may interest a person to RP in. It's more a global psychic distance, rather than a personal element, but still good for overall development. But, even Socrates had to find his way out of the clouds to be able to talk with people in the agora, or the forums/among the people in the market place. So, basically, it goes back to need for interaction and shared experience to put up those ideas in a market, whether or not the market allows free trade of ideas or not. =~.^=

  5. I would also like to add briefly that Ayami is a bad example. Hir 'rise to power', which, to be quite honest, from what I hear, was more like a stumble into it. Seriously, to have the CWs so screwed up that, when it came to make a choice for new leadership that the prime reason that shi's made a leader is that shi was the only one left is pretty pathetic, regardless of if either a dictator or democracy. Honestly, who would want to be told they were picked because, out of all that is left, you're about as good as can be expected? It would be like this scenario in a presidency:

    Excuse me, Senator Obama, I would like to congratulate you on your candidacy for president. As it is, the Republican Party has their heads so far stuck up their ass post-G.W. Bush, and the Democratic Party also duly notes that their heads are equally as stuck up their ass, if not further (competition, you know, to see who has the bigger ass in their party), that you, Senator Obama, are really about the only half-way decent candidate, and thus concede that you might as well be President. Just try not to screw things up any more than we already expect you to.
    Seriously, the only thing more pathetic would be to be ruler of your own island, and the populace of it only consists of you and a coconut tree. But, from what I hear, the CWs are pretty much nuts anymore anyways, so... *shrugs*

    Not my problem any more. *grins and purrs content* ^^

  6. Yeah one of my friends who still RP's in Midian a bit says it was months sometimes between seeing one CW from another. Linds is an complete loser for giving Ayami the title of Matron but its also funny knowing there was literally no one else to give it to!
    Its worse than affirmative action! *lulz*