by The Republic of Sunset. . 42 reads.

Philosophy & Role-Playing

role play
/ˈrōl ˌplā/
gerund or present participle: roleplaying
act out or perform the part of a person or character, for example as a technique in training or psychotherapy.
"study participants role-played as applicants for community college"
participate in a role-playing game.
"one to six players can role-play as any of over 100 characters"

1. An actor's part in a play, movie, etc.
"Dietrich's role as a wife in war-torn Paris"
the function assumed or part played by a person or thing in a particular situation.
"she greeted us all in her various roles of mother, friend, and daughter"

1. Amuse oneself by engaging in imaginative pretense.
"the boys were playing cops and robbers"
2. represent (a character) in a theatrical performance or a film.
"she played Ophelia"
1. a dramatic work for the stage or to be broadcast.
"the actors put on a new play"

If You Can Be Anyone, Be Batman

Leto, Ledger, Romero, Nicholson, Hamill; five different actors, five different interpretations of the character - but all definitely the Joker. The same thing is true of NationStates role-playing; there might be hundreds of Constitutional Federal Republics, each as different as the player who created and plays them. What this means is that there is ultimately an endless amount of room for another Joker - just as there is an endless amount of room for another Constitutional Federal Republic.

Role-Playing and Model Railroads

Hippity Hoppity, Get Off My Property

NationStates Role-Play - especially as practiced on the NationStates and International Incidents sub-forums* - is somewhat unique as it does not have that central element present in tabletop role-playing. This is that of the Game Master, Dungeon Master, Storyteller, or similarly positioned Asshole Behind the Screen. In some respects this is the 'OP' or 'Original Poster' but there is a huge 'but' here. In the traditional tabletop setting, the GM is the ultimate arbiter that can decide whether your character can or cannot, succeeds or fails, knows or does not as the story demands.

Where NationStates is concerned*, you and you alone are the ultimate master of your nation and your characters. No one else can tell you what your nation does, how it acts, how it reacts, how the characters within it act - what they do, can't do, etc. Attempting to force another player's creation to do something is the original meaning of the term 'godmod' - though this has gained other less-distinct usage over the years. However, there are caveats. Many, many caveats. And in this case those exceptions to the rules are almost more important than that central rule because without it, there would be little role-playing done.

That said - and given the title - there is a fairly easy rule; My Lawn, My Rules. If you come onto my lawn - that is, if you want to interact with my nation inside of its 'canon' - you are subject to the rules that I have decided on. Magic exists alongside high technology? Magic doesn't exist at all? My Lawn, My Rules. However, given the previous section, there is no way, no how, not ever that you can make me step onto your lawn. If I do it, it is of my own choice.

This is where it is of vital importance to choose your potential role-play partners and interactions carefully. Because once you make the choice to step onto their lawn, it is their rules - and if you break those rules they are fully entitled to respond with 'Hippity Hoppity, Get Off My Property'. And that's a 'period' at the end, not a 'question mark'.

*What's this? This is P2TM - Portal to the Multiverse. Here the rules are different because the role-playing is actually closer to traditional tabletop or 'pencil & paper' role-playing where someone may run a story-thread as the 'GM' and the players role-play characters that only exist within that story-thread.

The Republic of Sunset