Staff & Credits
The Nature of Roleplay
In roleplay, you take on a role. That sounds obvious. But on SciallaMud,
it adds a depth to your gaming that you may never have experienced before. Our
characters are not "roles" in the sense that the Red Mage in Final Fantasy is
a role. You are asked to create a living, breathing person, who may be
quite unlike you in reality, to use to interact with our game and your fellow gamers.
Though SciallaMud is more heroic than "real life", you are asked to make a
believable character, and stay away from the stock, two-dimensional ones so
often found in video games and movies. Part of this means that you won't
be superb at much at the beginning -- you should roleplay a character
who has a lot to learn still, because hopefully, he will learn a lot
as he lives his life here!
We also ask that your roleplay be character-driven. In other words,
act as your character would act. Don't worry about the other guy being
your AIM buddy or your roommate (or girlfriend). Also don't make the
mistake of playing a caricature, not a character -- this mud isn't
the place for compensation-fantasy thieves like Talen, or for
ninja thief assassin alchemists. Your background is not what makes
your PC memorable or unique--it's his current personality and
behaviors. The challenge in roleplay has always been to make a
collection of digital pixels and words into something human, and
to have fun in the process.
You're always welcome to ask staff to help you improve your roleplay.
However, if you do ask, expect an honest and straightforward answer.
Roleplaying is not some magical mystical "have it or don't have it"
ability; it's a skill that can be learned, honed, and developed with
dedication and effort. It's no different, in that respect, from sewing
or basketweaving. If you're asking, we're going to respect you enough
to think you really want to know. We want you to improve! We want you to
get better! We want everybody to get better! So please know that we thank
you from the bottom of our hearts for even wanting to improve your RP skills.
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Being Part of an Ensemble Cast
Text muds are a lot like a community play. As such, there're
going to be times when the spotlight's on you, and times when
the spotlight might be on others. Be graceful about those times,
and let others have the spotlight sometimes.
As with real life, letting someone else have the spotlight
can mean putting aside your own attention needs for a little
while. If someone is proposing to his ingame girlfriend in the
bar, don't be boorish enough to start talking about how it
seems like everybody is copying your own upcoming nuptials--
unless of course your character is boorish! You may find that
if you do that often enough, your PC may be seen quite differently
from how you intended him to be seen.
This, too, is part of
RP: accepting that your PC's point of view may not be an accurate
one or even a desirable one, and that others will probably see
him very differently. For example, you may want your gorgeous,
sultry female PC to be seen as friendly, sexy, and magnetic, but
people may very well see her as histrionic, attention-whoring,
and oversexualized. You don't get to be upset about this--you
are, after all, the person who makes her come alive, and if your
skills aren't up to making a PC be seen as friendly, sexy, and
magnetic, you have only yourself to blame. Learn to portray
friendliness, sexiness, and magnetism better, and allow others
to draw their own conclusions about your character. You don't
get to dictate their reactions, only your portrayal.
On the subject of "dramawhoring," this mud takes a very
IC-consequences-for-IC-actions attitude toward the issue.
If your PC has to have ludicrously high levels of attention
and crazily dramatic situations all the time, you're going
to find that other PCs veer away from you and that admins
tend not to involve you in plots (or that those plots will
backfire on your need for attention, as one woman discovered
when she took her seriously injured PC into a tavern to
whine and find sympathy; she got immediately force-marched
to a healer, yelled at the whole way for being so stupid as to
go to a frickin' BAR when she was 3/4 dead, and then told
by staff that we expected her to stay there a solid
OOC week due to the severity of the injuries she flat out
said she had). It's up to you, but you'll be a lot
happier if you raise the bar on your own performance by
using common sense and taking into account the logical IC
consequences of your portrayals.
Goal-Oriented and Play-Oriented:
From this neat article
about gaming styles comes an interesting concept in how play styles differ.
Roleplay can be divided into plots that are goal-oriented and those
that are play-oriented. Goal-oriented RP involves PCs working against an
opposing force, with a definable story arc with a beginning, middle, and
end. It can involve investigation, as well. It is less involved with
the building of relationships and community and more about the story arc.
Play-oriented RP is more open-ended, more cooperative in nature, and
may meet goals but doesn't usually have an "ending." It may have
adversarial situations but there aren't sides with good guys and bad guys
per se. It's more make-believe and more team-oriented.
Obviously a game needs both types of roleplay and equally obviously
neither style is intrinsically "better." One style may suit a particular
gamer or group better than the other; a goal-oriented player may feel
very frustrated in a play-oriented plot, and a play-oriented person
thrust into a game-oriented plot may start feeling picked on or pressured.
Scialla's GMs strive to work with players to establish what sort they'd
prefer and get them involved in plots they'll enjoy for years to come.
Inclusive vs. Exclusive RP:
Our game is an ensemble, and that means that we vastly prefer players
to get each other involved by including them when possible in plots and
playtime. By the same token, players are expected to at least want to get
into plots and to reach out to other characters to find plots.
In other words, we reward inclusive roleplay.
A PC who has to be begged and cajoled into RP, such as the prototypical
sullen girl in a bar emoting floppiness, sighs, and expressive gazes,
generally silently begging someone to ask "What's wrong?" so she can
launch into her sob story du jour, is using what's called an
"exclusive" style of RP: she is outside the RP circle, not willing to
reach out to others, but forces others to constantly reach out to her
to draw her out and get her involved. She is unwilling to focus on
others, always wanting the spotlight on herself, and the only time
she gets others involved is when she wants attention for herself (for
example, claiming she just got sexually abused, or threatening to
kill herself). Plots she's involved in will always involve her at
the center, and she simply doesn't get involved in plots that don't
center around her. Let the staff at SciallaMud be clear: This kind
of roleplaying is permissible but won't be rewarded with RPPs or
supported by staff activity except in the enforcement of logical IC
In short, to be most successful on this game, remember that
you are just one player. There are many players besides you,
all wanting their chance to shine. Let them shine, and trust
that they'll let you shine when it's your turn. Don't take
more than you give, and don't expect or ask for everybody
to pay attention to you constantly! Be patient, and you will
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Ideas to Get You Started
Start with a "concept".
Do you want to be a fighter
type? A brewer? A jeweller? Think about what sort of traits that person might
have. Would he be nimble, or smart, or just very strong? What might have
led him to this life? See the Professions Page
for some general ideas of concepts.
Make a background.
This is distinct from the background required in chargen (see
the Chargen Help page for help writing your
actual character application's background). This background is less for us than
for you. Are you a good guy or a bad guy? What made you that way? Do
you want redemption, or do you feel only scorn for those who have changed
their ways? Where are you from, and how do you feel about the old
homestead? Did you like your parents, and did they encourage you or
discourage you? Are you a people person or more aloof, and what made
you that way? Why did you choose your desired profession? How have
you prepared yourself for your upcoming life in
Quirks and drawbacks make your PC human.
Does he have a drinking problem? Does she dream of a knight in shining armor
who'll come take her away from all this? Does he have a total weakness for
red-haired girls? Does she have a thing for older men? Does he refuse to
steal from old people or children? There are cliched quirks, particularly
ones involving "things that killed your loved ones that you are now sworn
to kill", which isn't really a quirk but a device to give you license to
kill stuff (and which will almost always be rejected by the admins as a
concept). Think about your character's history and personality, and think
of things he can do that will make him more three-dimensional. We're not
talking about things like "she's shy but outgoing with friends" or "he's
calm until provoked, at which point watch out!" sort of contradictions that
pretty much apply to everybody and which give a player carte blanche to be
inconsistent; we're talking about those unique characteristics that make
you absolutely unforgettable to the point that someone might not see your
sdesc, but they'll know you by the
quote and emote.
Decide where you are on religion.
99% of the people in Scialla are Haranites,
though most aren't fanatical about it. What does your character think of
God? How flexible is he in his beliefs? Is he a churchgoer? Does he tithe?
What would he do if presented with an actual miracle?
Bear in mind that though healthy skepticism is a hallmark of our society
today, on Scialla, people really do believe this
stuff and really do think miracles happen. If religion is a very big part
of your character's life, or if it decidedly isn't, if he's a passionate
nonbeliever or a quiet agnostic, it can definitely round out your PC.
Decide where you are on science.
Science can be the hope of the Empire, or it can be its curse.
Just like today in real life, there are those who'd rather we were
all back in the Victorian Age--and there are those who live, breathe, and
perspire a desire for new technology. Do you like technology?
Are you from somewhere that had power, and if so, do you miss it? Are
you angry about its loss or stoic? If you've never even seen power in
action, do you think those who miss it are idiots, or do you envy them
their knowledge and experience?
Bear in mind that liking the idea
of science and advancement doesn't mean you can't be a faithful follower
of Haran. Haranism only disapproves when science supplants religion or
tries to claim humans came from somewhere besides the Kiassan Empire.
Decide on a stated goal for yourself, and a "secret" one.
This can be as simple as "I want to become a chemist" or "I want to
make Captain before I die." But everybody has a little secret goal they
want, maybe a short-term goal of "I want to be a chemist, but for right now,
I want to learn Sutalan." Or perhaps
"Sure I want to be a Captain, but I also want to get married and have
a bunch of kids." Having goals gives your PC something to work toward,
something to strive for, something to miss if he can't get it. Goals
can be as realistic or as unrealistic as you wish, and sometimes having
totally unreachable goals can, itself, be a part of your character's
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As with most muds, this one has protocols of etiquette that
are considered polite to observe. If you know the etiquette of
roleplaying here, you'll go much further in the game. It won't get
you in massive trouble not to follow these, but it will make your RP
a lot more fun, and it will make your staff think well of you.
Please wait your turn. Don't rapid-fire emote at someone. Let
them have a chance to respond before emoting again. By the same token,
if you type slowly, make your emotes/says shorter if possible, so
people aren't waiting around forever for you. A good rule of thumb
would be 3 lines or less; more than that and you are undoubtedly
dragging down the action for others.
When you are in a public room and someone else comes in, it's
polite to at least acknowledge that person even if you're not
able to roleplay (or don't want to): emote looks up and
glances at ~leila, but is quickly immersed again in his
conversation with ~farrell. It's perfectly all right
not to roleplay with someone else, but at least emote that
you did see that person even if you're not ready or willing
to roleplay with him. Please be open to inclusive RP if you
hang out in public rooms. Do not refuse RP without a good
Be as straightforward as you can. "Purple prose" will impress
the newbies and high-schoolers, but hopelessly convoluted emotes and
says will just make it harder to roleplay with you by making it hard to
quickly assimilate and understand what you're writing. Save the
page-long emotes that amount to "She walked in, sat down at the small
table near the door, and began wringing out her cloak" for the LJ/PBEM
games where people will have more time to appreciate them!
When taking your leave of a scene, give the other PC(s) a chance
to react to your leaving. They may not react at all, or they may just shake
their heads, or they may say a few words of farewell, but give them that
chance to get closure on the session. Leaving RP without giving others an
opportunity to emote around your leaving is seen by most RPers as
equivalent of hanging up on someone you're talking to on the phone.
This can be hard if you've had a tough scene that's got you a little personally
riled up but please don't neglect etiquette just because you're a bit upset. Like a movie or TV show, there still has to be that closure.
Give folks a chance to emote around you, unless you're in a RL hurry.
Also, if you're the type who likes to quit without RP, make sure you
don't do it to a staffer.
Give your partner your full attention. In other words, if you're in active roleplay
with someone else, don't be working on that Excel spreadsheet, mudding somewhere else, or
having a huge debate about creationism on AIM. I guarantee you we always know when we've
got your full attention, and it's not at all considerate or polite to ask someone else to
devote time to you that you're not willing to devote to them. Don't worry--we'll be here
when you're done with what you're doing and can devote yourself to your RP mates!
Slow down a bit when you travel in case you run into someone to
play with. Often we're in such a huge hurry to get from Point A to
Point Tavern that we walk right past some fun interaction! If you do
see someone who looks like a PC (or even an NPC), it's nice to
acknowledge that person with at least an emoted glance. Who knows?
A staffer might be wanting to get you involved in something!
Your emotes should only cover what you, personally, know and have
control over. Please do not ever "force emote" by making assumptions about
the other person's reactions or abilities. In one egregious example, I once saw
a PC emote: "The scruffy girl mutters 'Damn bitch!' as she sullenly
looks down at her feet. The noblewoman in front of her couldn't possibly
have heard her, she's muttering so quietly." This is not okay. It's also
actually against our rules. You're allowed to emote the start of the
slap, but your target gets to decide if it hits, how hard, and what
happens next. Our roll command (see the helpfile ingame) will help you two
if you want to do opposed rolls to see what happened. If you're told not to
force emote, please take it seriously. These other guidelines are just
that: guidelines. This one isn't negotiable.
Some of these guidelines were suggested by Ashtia of
Shadows of Isildur.
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Concepts are just beginnings.
Unfortunately, a lot of concepts are overused (like that of the very young,
insanely good thief, or that of the human-skin-wearing psychopath). Chances
are if you use one, your app will be returned to you for reworking. What are
some cliches besides those mentioned that we've seen?
A young orphan is taken in by a massively
skilled older person and trained as an apprentice. Why is this bad?
Because very few older craftspeople would a) take that kind of risk on a
kid who is likely a criminal, and b) most apprentices' families pay lots of
money for this signal honor. Alternative: you have a drudge position with
a local craftsman, and might have picked up a few tricks of the trade from him.
OR: Your parents paid for you to be an apprentice.
A young person, orphaned in the woods, lives
by himself till he gets of age, then decides to hang out with people again.
The forest is not insanely homicidally dangerous, but this simply wouldn't be possible.
Other outdoorspeople would know about this orphan and bring him in, even if the
forest beasts didn't kill him. Besides, Mowgli aside, think about how vanishingly
rare this phenomenon is through history. Most kids simply cannot function by
themselves. Alternative: You grew up around the forest, and have spent the
past 10 years or so being fairly anti-social, even for an outdoorsman.
You learned alchemy from your guildmistress
mother, and assassination from your father. Now you're out to make a name for
yourself. This mud does not use alchemy the way you think it does. Also,
there will be no full-time assassins in Valrona.
Further, if you did have one, he wouldn't be STUPID enough to blow his
cover training a kid; if he were, I suppose that's why you're an orphan.
But still, no. Alternative: You're a dashing guard working for one of
the shopkeepers, but nobody knows you steal from the villains you capture,
nor that you've done the odd snuff job at the Council's request.
You worship "the old gods". If you
want to run around saying this, that's fine, but there isn't an "old gods"
religion planned for this mud. We will let you say anything that pleases you,
within IC limits of course, but don't expect support for it without clearing it!
Alternative: You're sure there's more out there than Haran, maybe even more
than the Preservationists, and you're out to find out what it
An old woman living by herself in
a hut in the woods taught you whatever it is you're now expert in. NO.
This is a surprisingly large percentage of apps, and it will not ever happen
on Scialla. Forget the old hermit in the woods who just teaches herbalism to
anybody who walks past. Alternatives: Too many to count.
You hear voices telling you to kill.
Sorry, if you want to play any kind of homicidal lunatic, find a different mud.
We'll only accept applications that look like they'll last a while if played
realistically/well, and that won't unbalance the game. Unfortunately, most
"evil" concepts do unbalance the game. Alternatives: None.
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Roleplay points are an ingame measurement of your trustworthiness
and skill in roleplaying on SciallaMud. RPPs can be traded in for
ingame bonuses to your current PC, or they may be held to use in
making the next PC (we'd rather you use them for your current one
if possible, of course).
Getting that first RPP isn't too hard, but successive ones will
take longer and longer and carry much higher expectations from staff.
Once you get past 4, we start looking at your value to the entire
roleplaying community on SciallaMud. Are you a "resource" for others?
Do you take an active hand in organizing other players and keeping
them busy? Do you share the spotlight graciously? In short, are you
the kind of person we want to hand a lot of ingame responsibility to?
It's okay not to have a ton of RPPs. Some people are perfectly happy
going years with just 1 or 2, and trading them in as they get them for
little perks ingame. If you don't have a lot of time, you might not
even want the responsibilities that always seem to trail along behind
RPPs like hungry puppies.
But for those who want to "go to the next level," such as taking on
ingame responsibilities or even aspiring to become GMs, RPPs
are a necessity. RPPs are also necessary to play PCs of special races
or who have certain abilities.
Community standing is also considered for higher-level RPPs.
Someone who is boorish and crass to others, who is caught lying or
cheating, who can't seem to keep her mouth shut OOCly, will never
see more than a couple of RPPs until she cleans up her act. RPPs
are a measure of trust, not just a measure of your skill.
It's important to note that RPPs have nothing to do with
how "dramatically" you behave or how long your emotes are. RPPs
are an indication of how well you play our game and interact with
your fellow PCs. Playing it like
it's your own personal soap opera and you're the only star isn't
going to impress anybody.
If you ever wonder if you need to be evaluated for RPPs, just drop us a line and we'll
be happy to either revise your total or to explain what we want to see in order to get you
that next point. (Don't ask us unless you're prepared for tactful-but-complete honesty.)
It may sound like RPPs are a subjective measurement, not an
objective one. There's no real way to assure you (without giving
you staff access, of course!) that we really do try to be fair.
But at their heart, RPPs are subjective. There's no way to change
that. What we can promise you is that as long as your goal matches
ours--to create a fun, rich, challenging roleplay community of
integrity and honesty--you'll be all right.
In short, don't worry about roleplaying just to get RPPs. If
you're playing the game the way we intended, you're going to get
RPPs. If you feel you've been overlooked, talk to someone on staff.
We want you to succeed and get tons of RPPs--probably even more than
Regarding RPP Roles and Races:
This game does not allow PCs to enter game as anything but entry-level
characters. In other words, RPP cannot be used to "jump-start" a brand
new PC. This means, for the players, that every PC they see worked his way
up to where he is. Nobody gets handed anything in chargen. This also
means that PCs constantly advance in their fields with effort and that
they give a sense of continuity to the gameworld. And of course it means
that the ingame leaders are competent and knowledgable about their
RPPs can be used to purchase races (see below) and depending on the
race purchase, the character may get certain advantages--especially at
the 4+ cost and above. (See here for a
list of the point costs.)
What Players Can Spend Them On:
First and foremost, you can improve your character with RPPs!
Stat adjustments like increased strength or dex, skilljumps to
your skills (within limits), easier access to custom objects
or ingame homes, special plots, pets/mounts, and more. They
can also be used to purchase the chance for advancement in military
orgs or professional clans, or get admin attention in other
matters (ie, say your PC wants a plot involving his NPC father.
For RPPs, you can get one going). The GM will decide the point
cost and discuss the plot with you briefly before it begins.
Please be aware that if you spend RPP to get your clan leader's
attention, you are not guaranteed that the leader will
give you the advancement--if you majorly mess it up, or make
very poor or ill-advised choices, you may find the situation
goes very unfavorably. If this happens, the GM (as your clan
leader NPC) will talk to you at length about what went wrong,
and see if we can't get you another opportunity. In this way,
we hope to make all promotions make IC sense.
We'd far rather you use your RPPs on your current character, but
you can also save them up to use on your next PC. See
here for a point cost of various
PC races. You can also use them on special roles, but most roles
will be acquired ingame through roleplay, so this will be more rare.
All PCs applied for using RPPs are subject to final approval, and
sometimes we will restrict how many of a race get into the game.
With all this in mind, once spent either on the current PC or
your next one, an RPP is gone for good. You will need to re-earn
them again through clever and inclusive roleplay and OOC community
service. Luckily, we foresee that RPPs will be fairly easy to get
as long as you fit into our guidelines as given above.
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Gender and Roleplaying
OOC, women and men are equal on this game. Sexism and glass
ceilings are concepts the staff won't accept. There will be no
handpats or condescension to our female gamers; they provide an
outlook that cannot be reproduced easily.
Ingame, women are theoretically able to do just about anything men
can do. Theoretically. There are limits, of course; among the
Flameholdans, women cannot be
warriors until they have bred at least once and usually twice, to keep
the numbers up. Sciallans living outside the
Perimeter tend to take a very
frontier view of life, with women relegated to a very housewifey role
unless they choose to make more of themselves.
Even in the cities, a woman trying to take on an extremely masculine
role like that of a City Guard or Quintzel
player might find herself having to prove herself by being twice as
tough as a man. It is encouraged that superiors in such clans, be they
male or female superiors, demand and expect women to show they aren't
fainting flowers. A female soldier who wilts at the sight of blood, or
a Quintzeller who just can't kick a guy in the nuts, or a reporter who
can't get the tough stories because the "good ol' boy" network refuses
to allow her entry, does no good to the clan. Male or female, a clan
member needs to carry his/her own weight.
Other fields tend to be dominated by women, and men are the ones
who have a tough time breaking into the field. Education, the arts,
textileworking of all sorts, fine cuisine, herbalism, and other
such fields are perceived as needing that extra bit of spiritual
awareness and sensitivity that women are reckoned to have in
abundance compared to nasty, brutish men. A man in these fields
may well find he's defending his masculinity almost daily to prove
he can be good at his chosen profession and still be a "real" man.
Sciallan women have a tough time proving themselves in such male
fields, and some overcompensate by being asexual or by being "butch."
Some, though, manage to balance their femininity with the demands of
their chosen professions. Men can have an equally tough time in the
other direction. Such conflicts are the source of RP, and shouldn't
be downplayed or avoided by players. It's okay to RP a
Swordsman instructor who demands a
potential female recruit do twice as many push-ups.
However you choose to RP, the important
things to know here are: It's all ingame. It's not RL. Don't carry
such attitudes into the RL game and don't carry resentment against
your persecutors out of game. If you feel like it's going RL, talk
to a staffer.
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