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New RP Discussion Thread

PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2007 5:16 am
by Curio Agelastus
Salvete omnes,

It seems to me that the best way to get new people into this RP is to make it as clear as possible that this is completely new. I therefore suggest we discuss it all in a new thread.

Re-posted is Marius' last post in the previous thread, in which he posted various questions we should all consider.


Things to think about:

Historical fiction, historical fantasy, just-plain-fantasy, science fiction, some delightful mishmash only we could come up with? <g>

Era: (if historical) Kingdom, Early-, Middle- or Late Republic, Early-, Mid-, or Late Empire? Any particular reign? Any particular circumstance? (exempli gratia: Punic Wars, Plebeian Seccession, Year of Four Emperors, Siege of Rome...) If the game is not strictly historical, we could just describe the context: "For the last several years there has been increasing civil unrest..." vel simile. For both Era and Setting (below), we should pick something that will neither assume nor require a whole lot of background knowledge on the part of the newcomer.

Setting: Whereabouts in the Roman world will the action take place? The City itself, one or more of the Provinces, at sea, beyond the limites? (If the last, I'm all for that "Roman Western" I proposed several years back...but that's just my Texas half speaking; I'm not sure how easy that'd be for a non-Ami to get into.) Many of our prospective players over the years have expressed disappointment in that more of the action was not actually taking place in Rome proper. I'm not choosy myself; but some characters (poets and gladiators, pro exemplo) just do better in an urban setting. If Rome is what newcomers are expecting, maybe that's what we should give them? (For my part, however, it wouldn't have to be Rome--it could be any large city in a Province, and we'd avoid the politics. Then again, who says a Rome game has to be political?)

Tone: I think we've figured out that, while we can sustain a long-running, globe-spanning Epic Quest, it's hard to actually finish one, and they're awfully tricky for any new players to get into. We could swing the other way and do this as a bunch of one-offs, strictly for laughs; but hopefully we can find something in-between: engaging, purposeful, yet not too demanding or serious. Hmm... >({|:-q

Overall plot: What's the story going to be about? The last one was "Get our fine Roman selves to Britannia before Draco's brother (a legionary) and Curio's (a leader of the native resistance) manage to kill each other." (Yes, loyal Readers: That's what that one was trying to get to.) This one should have goals that can be reasonably achieved by graduate students, reenactors, Nova Roman magistrates (Gaius Equitius! Come back...!!!) and a post-op veteran in under five years. >({|;-)

...and I'm sure we'll come up with other elements to consider.



My thoughts:

Genre: It should be historical fiction. The problem with fantasy, sci-fi, etc, is that it opens the door to many innovations that are the brainchild of one writer that may grate terribly with the other participants. I think historical fiction will be good, especially if we choose a specific date.

Era: I think 3rd century BC. It allows us to have a fairly bustling, urban Rome that's growing in confidence, but also anyone can play people from other places - Carthage, Hispania (Mari? :D ) the empires of the Diadochi, or wherever people feel like coming from, and still have some form of independence. Essentially, I think playing at the point of Rome's rise in strength will allow us to have much greater flexibility.

Setting: I think Roma would be a good setting since, as you say, a lot of people wanted more action in the city itself. If we choose a time of great political turmoil, either internal or external, then it gives us plenty of interesting action to choose from, if we want to borrow a historical event or sequence to meddle in.

Tone: I agree that the epic quest didn't work, but I don't think one offs would either. I want our characters to develop a relationship, and to interact over a period of time, not to merely have a series of scenes...

Overall plot: I'm not going to suggest an actual plot sequence, but I do think that if we set this at a time of some turmoil, ideally in Rome itself, then if at any point things run dry, one of us can introduce a contemporary historical event, and we can all react to that, and go from there. Eg, if it was set during the 60s BC(Not really suggesting that, mind you), and things ran dry, we could have our characters react to the election of Cicero, or the antics of Clodius, or whatever.

I think the most essential thing is to get more than three active players. We had lots of people begin the last RP, but then we ended up with just the three of us (Marius, Draco, Curio) embarking on this quest, with the occasional cameo by Piscinus, Equitius Cato, etc, and I don't think three people are enough to sustain a truly active RP.

Regarding Cato, I doubt we'll entice him back - as I understand it, he is once again fairly active in NR.

Thoughts, everyone?


PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2007 9:16 am
by Cleopatra Aelia
Genre: Historical fiction

Era: End of Republic or early Imperial Period (1st century AD)

Setting: Roma

Overall plot: The characters meet in daily life situations, at a tavern, on the streets, on the forum, at someone's house etc.

Genre, Era

PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2007 7:18 pm
by Aldus Marius
Avete amici!

(Don't be alarmed, mi Curio--but I colorised my reposted comments for clarity. No, I do not go around editing other peoples' posts. [Okay, I fixed an URL that other time...but that was it, I swear!!] *sob*)

Genre: Perhaps I'd better take a moment to define "historical fantasy", as I may be the one who coined the term (though not the genre).

In historical fantasy, it's mainly historical (and the more authentic the feel, the better!)...but with one or more tweaks. It can be something as simple as the citizens of Pompeii and Herculaneum developing a civil-defense system after the earthquake of 62, which would then enable them to survive Vesuvius 17 years later; or it can be as complex as the Persians or Egyptians importing magic. Say Catilina won the election, or enough Legionaries survived Teutoburger Wald to bite Arminius in the ass on his way back home. Or... The alternatives can be matters of history, of society, of--really--anything that we might want to be slightly different from the way it actually was.

Our last game was historical fantasy. It was recogniseably the Roman world; but Draco had a mysterious power, Marius was a werewolf who'd served in Texas, and Flavius had a monster in the basement. Newbies asked where to jump in, what was going on, and why it wasn't in Rome; but nobody ever complained about the fantasy elements.

I like this genre because, if done well, it gives you Rome as deeply-textured as you want it, while at the same time opening the valves a little to admit some extra possibilities. It's flexible, and does not need to be tied down to any particular historical events or personalities. I think, of the historically-inclined genres, this one requires the least 'insider knowledge' on the part of the player. Anyone can bring whatever they like best about Rome into the game with them.

The secret to historical fantasy is not to let the fantastic overwhelm the historical. We never actually saw Marius transform in the old game; I was hinting at it all along, but saving the actual change for a climactic moment. Rome with a tweak. Romans believed werewolves existed, so in a historical-fantasy campaign, maybe they do. Romans did not believe (much) in winged horses, so to have Cicero escape the madding crowds by summoning a Pegasus would be way over the top.

Oy...I was just going to tell you what it was, and now I've gone off and advocated for the thing! <g>

Era: It may be deduced from the above that I am reluctant to be pinned down to any particular era. Everything Curio says about the mid-Republic can also be said, much more to my liking, of the Flavian era; you'd have a large, bustling, cosmopolitan City, a growing Empire, liberated women, people from all over...and the Provincials would even be Citizens and have rights. You can see how that might appeal to somebody playing a raggedy Spaniard...!

Too, fixing an era means the player has to do some homework. If you don't know who Memmius was, him getting killed isn't going to mean as much to you as it would have to the Romans of the time. And a strictly-historical campaign just tends to feel so...predetermined, nonne? To use the 60's BC example: No matter what the characters do, Cicero's still going to get elected, Catilina's still not going to like it, and seven Roman citizens are still going to be executed without a trial. We'd be doing nothing but reaction shots. So I'm for something a little more generic.

Other notes:
-- I'd like to avoid a political simulation if I can. Had lots of that in the Other Place...

-- "Characters meeting at a taverna" is a good example of an intro scene (that's actually how we started the last game, and Piscinus' antics about scared my tibialia off!); but it is not a plot in itself. If someone asked you what the story was about, what would you tell them? --That's the plot.

-- Setting, Tone, Plot: No preferences yet...

-- Manning: Let's not forget Aulus Flavius; he was good!

In amicitia et fide,

PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2007 11:52 pm
by Gnaeus Dionysius Draco
Salvete conlusores,

I agree with most of what Marius has said. My period of preference would be somewhere in between the Flavian and Antoninian dynasty.

I think we should definitely agree on one or two central plot points before we start, this time. An unsolved murder case, maybe? An inheritance? An old book? Predictions?


Shall we resume...?

PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2007 7:53 pm
by Aldus Marius
Salvete, conlusores quondam et futura! I thought I was going to return to active duty and find this thing all planned out for me, or maybe even a game-in-progress! OK, OK, I know when I've been missed. I'll haul this one back up to the top of the heap. >({|:-)

I had a good chat with Cleo last weekend, in which she encouraged us to continue, and gave a more-detailed idea of what she'd like to see (mi Aelia, please correct me if I've misquoted you on any of this):

G Cleopatra Aelia
Era: Late Republic or Early Empire (1st Century AD).
Setting: Roma for preference; will consider being part of an itinerant gladiator troupe.
Tone: Daily life; some minor skullduggery (non-political).
Basic plot: ?

As may be gathered from the above, she plans on playing a gladiatrix.
I'll summarise everyone else's stated preferences below (again, correct me, and feel free to expand/expound!):

M Scribonius Curio Britannicus
Era: Rise of Rome, mid-Republic, circa 3d Century BC.
Setting: Roma, preferably when the political scene is getting lively.
Tone: Less involved than an epic, more so than a series of one-offs...
Basic plot: Any original storyline, with occasional historical events injected where needed to keep the action going.

Aldus Marius Peregrinus
Freeform historical (accurate, but not directly playing out actual events) or alternate history (one or more tweaks to the timeline).
Era: No particular era; if one must be chosen, prefers Flavian-Antonine Empire
Setting: Large Provincial town or city; urban life not identical to Rome's.
Tone: Daily life with a purpose; more light-hearted than the last one, but characters still have backgrounds, motivations and goals beyond the immediate.
Basic plot: - any - (except hard-core political or murder mystery)

Gn Dionysius Draco
Era: Flavian-Antonine
Setting: ?
Tone: Intellectual
Basic plot: Deciphering puzzles such as mysteries, prophecies, inheritances...

This is a good time to start thinking about our characters. Last time we pretty much played ourselves...but we don't have to! If this ends up being a Rome game, I intend to bring in someone rather different from Marius the Feral Legionary...someone much better adapted to City life. He will still be somewhat like me, but he'll reflect some different aspects of my being which I haven't had much chance to explore in an RP. He may or may not be a soldier; I'm leaning towards "not"...a laborer, a schoolteacher, a businessman perhaps, a minor magistrate (scribe, city councilman or what-have-you)... He'll definitely not be a raggedy wildman! <g>

And now I must attend to the old RP; it died in an awkward position, and I'd like to at least arrange its limbs before I lay it on the pyre. >({|:-)

Gratias ago ad omnibus for your prior participation and support!! >({|:-D

In fide (and a kind of pietas),

An idea?

PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2008 1:06 am
by Aldus Marius
Salvete, conlusores!

Hei, I had an idea...

In the movie Gladiator, there was a bit of a loose end: When Maximus was attempting to escape from Rome, he had his Legion waiting for him in Ostia. (I didn't catch that until my second viewing.) What do you suppose would have happened if he'd reached them in time, rather than being recaptured by the Praetorians? Would he have marched on Rome and seized the throne? What would have been going on with our characters while all this was playing out?

Na, I'm not suggesting we do Gladiator per se--unless we want to; then I'm game! But an event like this could make a good jumping-off point. It'd put us in Rome, in a popular period (Flavian-Antonine; the Year of Four Emperors, maybe?), with a significant historical event as a backdrop. There'd be opportunities for Senators, scholars, gladiatrices and minor magistrates, priestly types--anybody really--to shine. Not all of it would revolve around the event; we'd be playing our various inhabitants of the City, with something like this going on in the background (heaven knows it happened often-enough in history)...trying to live our daily lives, or to find opportunity in the situation as temperament and ability guide us!

You like...?

Other thought

PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2008 6:34 pm
by Aldus Marius
Salvete iterum, amici Romani!

I had another thought about the Gladiator-spinoff story: If you'll recall, Maximus' final instructions were for Senator Gracchus to be reinstated, all his gladiator buddies to be freed, and (the Emperor having been reduced to Wolf-kibble on the sand) the Republic to be restored. Now here's an opportunity for some military/political fantasy: What would have happened had the government of Rome reverted to its Citizens at that time in history?

Possible roles could be any of the surviving movie characters (Quintus, Lucilla and the rest); one of Maximus' legionaries, centurions or cavalrymen; the honorable Gracchus or any other Senators (who would certainly have their work cut out for them); gladiators; members of the Praetorian Guard... I'm sure you can think of others that would fit a bit of speculative fiction about the "Restoration of the Roman Republic" in 186CE.

Im amicitia et fide,

PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2008 6:43 pm
by Cleopatra Aelia
Good idea. Makes it also for me easy to play at least some kind of a role since gladiators are appearing.


PostPosted: Thu Jan 15, 2009 5:22 am
by Aldus Marius
Salvete omnes!

Say, does anyone in this thread
[Ed. note: CollArt-->Your Roman Life!] enjoy roleplaying games? We had an active RP here in the CollArt until about a year ago, and have been brainstorming a new one. Cleopatra, conditor Gnaeus Draco (who also runs the Ludi Societatis chariot-races), Curio Agelastus and myself were kicking ideas around as far as scenario, locale, time period and genre. Cleo and I are still very much interested, and I'm thinking (hoping! <g>) that anyone who'd like to actually play out "Your Roman Life" might enjoy being part of an ongoing story like the first one.

The original RP Thread (8pp)
Brainstorming for the New RP
The New RP itself already has a thread waiting for it here. It's a Sticky topic, so that even after we get the game good and going it'll be easy to find.

Ite, videte, and let us know if you'd like to help revive an SVR tradition! >({|:-)

In amicitia et fide,


PostPosted: Thu Jan 15, 2009 7:38 am
by M Sempronia Pulla
Salve Marius!

I'm a former RPer and so would be interested in joining an RP centered around Rome.

Your suggested genre of historical fantasy sounds interesting (and awesome for you for playing a werewolf!). Now, I don't know how realistic this is given my very limited knowledge on Catilina, but I once came up with an idea for a short story or whatever that involved his dead/murdered? son becoming undead or something (vampiric or ghoulish) because of his father's heinous debauchery that ended up being truthful. Just throwing the general idea of it out there if the high fantasy aspect is taken because it could be applied to a non-famously connected character or to even someone else's son (Sulla, for instance) and easily vague (My, what cold hands you have!).

My personal period of preference is Late Republic, but I'm down for any. This probably isn't much help, but I think whatever is chosen would be fun as it's not often you get to roleplay something set in Roma antiqua. It's been a while since I've seen Gladiator, but if you guys decide on the fanfiction RP route, that'd be fine for me too. >({|:-D It'd probably require a lot of research for me regardless of what road is taken, but I'm definitely interested.
Bene Vale!

Re: *Your* Roman life

PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2009 12:15 am
by Valerius Claudius Iohanes
Quam bene esset. Re-vivifying the RPG sounds good to me.

I, however, am not an old hand at RPG-ing on the Internet so, if we get this started, I would beg some guidance, and for my gaffs and goofs only relatively gentle chastisements!

Who else is up for a walk on Roman side?

[We need to transplant some of this thread over to the New RPG Sticky, I think.]

Merge Posts

PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2009 4:56 am
by Aldus Marius
Pactum Factum, mi Iohanne.

*((((( LOVES ))))) his new Mod tools!!!!!* >({|8-) >({|8-) >({|8-) >({|8-)

-- the Mighty Mar'

Re: New RP Discussion Thread

PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 12:39 am
by Valerius Claudius Iohanes
Quirites - Nonne ullum habemus qui novum RP filum agere vult? Nemo? Nullum talem Quiritem habemus?

How about that RP? Any takers? Any makers? >({|:-) >({|:-) >({|:-D >({|:-) >({|;-)

Re: New RP Discussion Thread

PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 12:50 am
by Aldus Marius
Salve, mi Iohanne!

There are three of us, four if Cleo opts in, which is about what the steady (regular contributor) population was for most of the last game. (Back then it was mainly Curio, Gn Draco and myself, with Aulus Flavius and G Equitius Cato contributing substantial portions, and Piscinus putting in the occasional plot twist.) If everyone joins who has already expressed an interest, and we agree on a genre/era/storyline, and the first post is a good 'un, and "we few, we happy few, we band of fratres" post consistently, I think the game will be off to a good start! >({|:-)

In amicitia,

Re: New RP Discussion Thread

PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 9:22 pm
by Cleopatra Aelia
I'm still interested in the RP but am very unexperienced in such things so like you, Iohane, I, too need some guidance.

Re: New RP Discussion Thread

PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 1:03 am
by Valerius Claudius Iohanes
Salve, Cleopatra Aelia - We wil learn by just doing it, huh? :D

Have each of us chimed in on the 'Marian Variables' (Genre; Era; Setting; Tone; Plot)?

Way back in 2007, you, Cleo, opted for:
    Genre: Historical.
    Era: Late Republic or Early Empire (1st Century AD).
    Setting: Roma for preference; will consider being part of an itinerant gladiator troupe.
    Tone: Daily life; some minor skullduggery (non-political).
    Basic plot: ?
Marii, you also in 2007:
    Genre: Freeform historical (accurate, but not directly playing out actual events) or alternate history (one or more tweaks to the timeline).
    Era: No particular era; if one must be chosen, prefers Flavian-Antonine Empire
    Setting: Large Provincial town or city; urban life not identical to Rome's.
    Tone: Daily life with a purpose; more light-hearted than the last one, but characters still have backgrounds, motivations and goals beyond the immediate.
    Basic plot: - any - (except hard-core political or murder mystery)
Not to mention your more recent 'Gladiator'-related suggestions.

And Marca Sempronia, I understood these particulars from your post:
    Genre: historical fantasy
    Era: Late Republic, but "down for any".
    Setting: Rome.
    Plot: Catilina: his dead/murdered? son becoming undead or something (vampiric or ghoulish) because of his father's transgressions. Or perhaps one of the 'Gladiator' spin-offs.
My thoughts:
    Genre: Marius's 'historical fantasy" sounds right to me.
    Era: No preference - anything from Aeneas (pre-Rome) to Augustus to Belisarius & Justinian.
    Setting: Town and Country, I think, probably starting in Roma ipsa (could be Alba Longa, could be Constantinopolis, could be - say, what was Ghent's old Latin name?); but I'm flexible.
    Tone: Serious, I think - at least as much as befits the plot. But I wouldn't outlaw comic relief here and there.
    Basic plot: I'm interested in something on the order of a quest - perhaps driven by a mysterious or supernatural element; something that entails travel and travail.

Now, how do we combine this all? Do we appoint a master of ceremony or some-such, a dungeon-master (isn't that the D&D term)? :shock:

Who's running this outfit...?

PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 11:15 am
by Aldus Marius
Salvete, conlusores!

This isn't actually that hard. Think of it as us sitting around a campfire making up a story together. As we're playing our Roman selves, the people we might have been had we lived in the glory days, we already know the basics of our characters, and can develop them further as the game unfolds. As for plot, the last game was completely freeform; once we got started, each author simply wrote how their character would respond to his/her situation and/or to the other characters; then the others would respond in kind. Posts were generally at least a paragraph, but could be any length. Each post would leave something for the other characters to 'riff off of' (to use a rock-guitarists' term). We took turns in an informal, round-robin sort of way; if I posted something, I'd wait to hear from Draco, Curio, and Gaius Equitius before I posted again. (This rule was not inviolate; sometimes it just made more story-sense to go in a different order, such as if my character was in one room alone and two others were conversing elsewhere...they'd do the back-and-forth until I rejoined them.)

An RP usually has an intro/breaking-in stage: Our characters meet; decide, for whatever reason, to stick together (or not); adventure seeds are sown. We don't necessarily need a Gamemaster with a definite plot in mind; any character can dangle an adventure hook. They each have their reasons for being there, and maybe something they want to achieve. Our characters may be uncertain new arrivals, or long-time residents, or people who've been lots of places. My Marius, once a soldier, is now embarking on a new what? Reckon someone'll ask him. He still has one dog, but some might remember when he had three. And he's not dressed in rags anymore...hmm! Tidbits like these can provide excuses for dialogue, or even for action.

If you'd feel more comfortable with someone giving the RP a definite nudge from time to time, I can do that. But most of these games run nicely without a referee. (For a fuller discussion of gamemaster styles/levels of involvement, see CollArt-->RP Thread: OOC Discussion). Even with a GM, each of us is free to contribute what we can.

A few RP conventions...
- OOC is used in a post to mark an 'Out-of-Character' comment, when you are writing as yourself.
- IC is an 'In-Character' post, where you are writing as your RP persona.

It is very important to maintain the distinction between the two; this way no real-life Romans get insulted by the things their characters may say and do to each other. When returning to IC from OOC, mark that section BIC ('Back in Character') so we know to shift gears. >({|:-)

- Moves: In general, 'moving' (writing actions/dialogue for) a character other than your own is frowned upon. ('Background-noise' people like the other bar patrons or people in a crowd don't count--do with them what you will!) Different groups vary in strictness about this; so far, here, it has not been a problem...but I did want to let you know that the custom is out there, before it causes any hard feelings.

In sum, the story is what we want it to be, or what we make it; so if you have an idea, have your character toss it into the pool and see if anybody bites! >({|:-)

Re: New RP Discussion Thread

PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 1:29 pm
by M Sempronia Pulla
Salvete Omnes!

Yes, Caludius Iohanes, you got it right for the most part. :) I am also open to any plot, those had just been a couple suggestions.

Marius, you wrote a up a really good intro! Want to stress the importance of not controlling another person's character (the moving). Used to be a pet peeve of mine because it's other people assuming what your character will do and then your character is stuck doing it when maybe he/she was going to do something else entirely. While the DM or GM in table-top games usually does that, it doesn't work real well on the net. I've played one game that did not have a metagaming rule and it was a little frustrating. Also important to not bring OOC (out-of-character) knowledge in-game. Even if you know what's going to happen, your character might not know, and you must only reflect what your character knows. That's probably common sense, but I've dealt with it in the past too.

Other than that, you get the hang of it really fast. Since these kinds of games are really character driven to an extent, DMs/GMs/STs whatever you want to call them are really not important except for technicalities or throwing stuff out there.

Oh, this is exciting! :)

New Math?

PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 6:42 pm
by Aldus Marius
> ...the 'Marian Variables' (Genre; Era; Setting; Tone; Plot)...

I'm a quintetic equation? --No *wonder* the shrinks can't figure me out! >({|;-)

Romanus Ridens,

Re: New RP Discussion Thread

PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 10:34 pm
by Cleopatra Aelia
I agree with Marius' suggestions of how to get started and about the conventions of our RPG.