Maelstrom Roleplay Challenges


San Francisco Staff
Roleplay Challenges:

A Roleplay challenge is a small self challenge that we have developed to help us all overcome small bad habits, and tropes that we have developed over years of gaming together. Some of these are just word choices, but language defines thought, and effects our perception, and effects our reality.
These may seem silly, and innocuous, but they add up, and can detract from the overall experience that we are trying to achieve. So as a fun experience in self awareness, and roleplay we have been instituting these usually one per game for the past couple of seasons. And this season is no different, apart form that we are trying to tie as many of these challenges together in this event before we move onto even more interesting, and difficult challenges to put ourselves through.

Some of these may have changed, due to ingame actions/inactions, but they are included here in their original form.

1: Do not use “The T-word (*whispers tavern*).
We did not refer to the …. As the T-word, because ingame it wasn’t at T-word. IT, the location is an underground open space, so the challenge was to refer to that space as “The Hall”. The idea that all “adventurers” always have some sort of establishment that sells them drinks is a bit of a trope so we turned that on its head. Now it is the clubhouse, or the hall, though some players have set up their own T-word, and it is ingame.

2: Period/non standard words.
Always a difficult, but rewarding one, instead of using modern day curse words, there are some pretty good period slang, curses, even available from television, or literature. Cockney has some really choice ones, and there are some great films to watch that have “colorful” metaphors to describe choice situations. Ninker, Buffoon, etc, even the occasional word in another language add a little extra color, and flavor to the experience.

3: Period eating/drinking ware.
A toughie to remember, but easy to do.
The challenge is to find a period, wood, ceramic, leather, even plastic themed drinking/eating vessels. It is easy to shatter the illusion when surrounded by plastic drinking bottles, or aluminum cans. Take the extra 30 seconds to pour your beverage into a period container. You can find period containers at thrift stores, or sometimes rewards for helping with setup/teardown.

4: Storyteller, NOT plot.
Plot is something that happens in a book, or a story, or on soap operas. The word plot, conjurers images of heavily mustachioed men in capes with odd laughs, poor self control, tying people to railroad tracks, and sad self aggrandizing monologues. We as Storytellers are not just working on one plot, but many at any given time, and while some of our villains do indulge in monologues, we have much more complicated, and interesting stories to tell. We Narrate what is happening around, and to your character(s). The word Storyteller has a much more diverse, and encompassing meaning, while plot is a more narrow, and limiting word to describe what we do.

5: Cast/Crew, or Cast Member, NOT npc.
The acronym npc, stands for Non player character. While this is essentially true they are not a player character, this connotation is negative. It implies that our Cast members, and the characters that they do play are somehow not important to the story. Nothing could be further from the truth. Our cast characters are every bit as real as the player characters. How else could they have necessary information, clues, items, become loved, and or hated by the Player characters?
The Cast members work incredibly hard, putting in dozens of hours of work to bring to life not just one character, or monster, but dozens of them to bring to life this incredibly diverse, and immersive world. Cast, and Crew is a much broader, and positive word/definition to what we are all working towards.

6: Interact with everyone, not just Storyteller characters.
In times past Cast Characters were ignored by players. Despite having necessary, and relevant information, goals, etc because they were not portrayed by a Storyteller.
Vital clues, and rewarding experiences were missed out on. So the challenge is to interact with characters regardless of who they are played by, Storytellers, or Cast members, you never know what vital clue, snippet of information, or story hook awaits. Our cast members want to have fun just like everyone else here. Help achieve that goal, and make the experience rewarding for everyone.

7: Maintain your relationships.
Our cast characters are every bit as real as the player characters. Mistreating, lying to, betraying a Cast Character can have some far reaching consequences. Conversely making a point to be a true ally, friend, confidant, etc of a Cast Character can also have some pretty spectacular rewards.

8: Don’t interrupt a scene.
Yes, you may have a burning question, one that clearly the answer to will solve ALL of the problems forever. But, calling out to a Storyteller, or Cast Member out of game, while they are engaged with another Cast member, or Player is disrespectful, and very jarring to everyone around you. Please do NOT do this. If you need to ask someone a question, make eye contact, and patiently wait your turn. If it is a rules thing, find a marshall. Please be patient, and respectful we will get to you as soon as we can.

9: All your actions, and words from this point forward are considered ingame.
When this has been announced I have watched the level of immersion skyrocket, and everyone’ performance ingame, and out of game has ascended to new levels. Let’s keep this up.
Stay in character, if you need to drop out of character please head to the parking lot, put on your headband, and take 5. Or maybe it is time to step into the kitchen, bathroom, or other Out of Game area, and take a quick breather, drink some water. The world is going to react to you as your character if you are talking, making noise, or doing things. Act accordingly.

These aren’t anything that we should not already be doing, but they are challenges to be self aware of as we push ourselves to be better, and better every day.