Role Playing Guide

From Solas Tempus DB

Welcome to the realm of Molten Aether, a distinctive role-playing environment that values collaborative storytelling and character-focused narratives. Unlike conventional tabletop games like Dungeons and Dragons, Molten Aether places greater emphasis on the depth of story and character interaction. Participants engage in a form of collaborative writing known as Free Form Role Play (FFRP). In this style, the unfolding narrative and character development take center stage. While the use of dice is optional and can introduce an element of randomness, it is not the primary focus. Instead, character biographies are employed to encapsulate the essence of each character, providing a narrative-centric experience.

To streamline communication, Molten Aether utilizes a standardized set of role-playing terminology. Terms such as "Autohit," "Canon," and "Metagaming" are commonly used. A comprehensive glossary serves as a singular resource, assisting both new and experienced players in navigating the game's intricate storytelling landscape.

This article serves as an all-encompassing guide for players and authors alike. It offers valuable insights into diverse aspects of role-playing within Molten Aether, ranging from character creation and advanced concepts to etiquette and special considerations. The objective is to furnish participants with the knowledge and tools essential for a successful and enjoyable role-playing experience.

Getting Started

In Molten Aether, the first step toward rich storytelling is crafting a compelling character. Unlike traditional role-playing games that rely on numerical stats and character sheets, Molten Aether uses character biographies. These biographies serve as the narrative foundation for each character, detailing background, personality traits, skills, and other pertinent information. This method allows for a more flexible, story-driven gameplay experience.

Character Creation

One crucial aspect to consider in Molten Aether is the concept of purpose. Players should possess a clear vision of their characters' activities and life goals, even if the characters themselves are unaware of these details. This could relate to livelihood, basic necessities, or personal aspirations. Purpose is a significant driving force for living beings and adds realism and depth to one's character.

Multiple interests and goals often drive characters, ranging from career aspirations to personal relationships and ethical convictions. Understanding a character's purpose not only makes them more engaging but also provides meaningful context for their actions and decisions within the game.

Below is a list of sections that need completion for character introduction (also see the Character Approval page for rules on character creation and approval):

Physical Description
This section outlines essential physical attributes, including age, weight, height, hair and eye color, body type, and race or ethnicity. Any ethnicity-specific interactions should be detailed in the character's background section.
This section describes the character's behavior in various situations, including both positive and negative traits that influence interactions with others.
This section provides the character's history and essential information about their origins, including experiences that have shaped them.
Special Abilities
This section refers to innate qualities or powers the character possesses.
Special Skills
This section outlines skills or expertise acquired through learning or training.
Special Equipment
This section lists any specialized equipment or personal possessions requiring special note or description.

Ability and Skill Level Limits

Another important consideration is the realistic limitations on abilities and skills based on factors like age and educational access. These factors contribute to a more balanced and realistic gameplay experience.

Character Introduction

Introducing a character into the game is an art. The introduction serves as the first impression others will have of the character and sets the stage for future interactions. Whether entering an existing storyline or initiating a new one, the introduction should provide context and generate interest.

Here is a list of concepts important for a successful character introduction:

Contextual Relevance
The introduction should be relevant to the ongoing storyline or setting.
First Impressions
The introduction serves as the first impression others will have of the character.
Personality Showcase
The introduction should showcase personality traits.
Motivations and Goals
The introduction should briefly hint at motivations and goals.
Interaction Points
The introduction should provide points of interaction for other characters.
Setting and Atmosphere
The introduction should fit the mood and context of the ongoing storyline or setting.
Avoiding Information Overload
The introduction should be concise yet engaging.
Out-of-Character Communication
Communication out-of-character with interacting players is beneficial.
Asking Questions
If unsure about how to introduce a character effectively, asking questions can help.

Gameplay Mechanics

In Molten Aether, gameplay mechanics aim to facilitate rich storytelling and meaningful character interactions. This section explores key aspects governing gameplay, participation in existing storylines, and the impact of the leveled ranking system on gameplay.

Collaboration and Communication

The cornerstone of gameplay in Molten Aether is dynamic collaborative writing and communication. The most crucial gameplay mechanic is the act of communication and collaboration in crafting a scene. This process includes real-time interactions between characters, ranging from simple dialogues to complex scenarios involving multiple participants. Whether one is joining an ongoing story arc or initiating a new one, the emphasis is on each player's contribution to the unfolding narrative.

The key to a fulfilling experience lies in aligning a character's motivations and goals with the storyline, thereby providing a meaningful context for actions and interactions. This collaborative approach ensures that gameplay is a cohesive, evolving narrative shaped by collective creativity.

Optional Leveled Ranking System

Molten Aether employs a leveled ranking system as a guide for character development and storyline complexity. While not dictating the outcome of interactions, it provides a framework for understanding relative capabilities. The use of numeric stats is optional, primarily employed to introduce randomness to encounters. This system is invoked only when players wish to use it or cannot agree on an outcome. It helps maintain a balanced gameplay experience, ensuring well-matched characters in terms of skills and abilities.

Advanced Concepts

This section delves into complexities and nuances that can enrich the role-playing experience while also presenting challenges. It introduces character variants, explores the leveled ranking system, examines the role of advanced technology, and provides solutions to challenges, emphasizing open dialogue and narrative checks. The principle of Occam's Razor serves as a guiding philosophy, advocating for simplicity in decision-making. The section concludes with a cautionary note on the risks of over-complication.

Character Variants

One advanced concept in Molten Aether is character variants, alternative versions of a character that exist in different parts of the universe. These variants allow players to explore how different settings shape a character. Mechanically, this is achieved by creating a new character sheet or biography for each variant, detailing differences in skills, abilities, and experiences.

There are two primary types of character variants:

  1. Idea-Based Variants: These are different characters based on the same fundamental ideas but existing independently. They allow exploration of how the same character concept would evolve in different settings.
  2. Longevity-Based Variants: These instances occur when a single character has lived long enough to exist in multiple settings. This type allows exploration of how a character adapts and evolves over time.

By employing character variants, players can engage in multiple story arcs across various settings without compromising the integrity of the original character concept.

Thoughts to Consider in Variants

In Molten Aether, creating a character variant is a nuanced process that hinges on understanding the "why" and "how" behind its existence. Whether born out of chance, the result of a character's long life, or driven by specific plot elements, each variant serves a specific narrative purpose. For long-lived characters, considerations must include how longevity is achieved and what transformative events the character has experienced. In the case of chance-based or storyline-based variants, it's crucial to identify elements that make the characters similar yet uniquely different.

Intention Behind the Variant
The reason for creating a character variant should be clear, whether to explore different facets of the same character or to place them in different story arcs.
Mechanism of Existence
Understanding the mechanism can help define the character's backstory and role in the narrative.
  • For Long-Lived Characters: Consider how they achieve their longevity and what significant events have shaped them.
  • For Chance-Based Variants: Identify elements that remain consistent between versions to make them recognizably the same character, and what elements differ to make each unique.
  • Storyline-Based Variance: In some cases, the existence of a character variant is driven by specific plot elements, adding another layer of complexity to their role in the narrative.
Core Concept
The fundamental idea or essence of the original character should be preserved in the variant.
Setting Influence
Consider how the different setting or timeline influences the character's skills, abilities, and experiences.
Skills and Abilities
Specific skills or abilities that would be enhanced or diminished in the new setting should be identified.
Physical Changes
Any physical changes to the character due to the new setting, such as aging or transformations, should be noted.

Story Creation Guidelines

When crafting a new plot line in Molten Aether, the key is to create a compelling narrative that offers opportunities for meaningful character interaction and development. The plot should be well-defined, aligning with the overarching themes and rules of the Molten Aether universe. Effective communication is crucial; the plot's objectives, available roles, and how characters can contribute should be clearly articulated. Both in-game and out-of-game channels should be utilized to extend invitations, making it easier for both new and experienced players to join.

In a cooperative-writing setting like Molten Aether, agility and openness to evolving plot lines and ideas are essential. While an author may have a vision for the plot, the collaborative nature of the game means that other players will bring their own perspectives, potentially enriching the story. A balance must be struck: be open to input that enhances the narrative, but also set clear boundaries on elements that should remain unchanged. Clear communication of these boundaries fosters a collaborative environment where both the author's vision and the players' contributions can coexist.

Occam's Razor of Role Play

In advanced role-playing concepts, the principle of Occam's Razor finds significant application. This principle advocates for simplicity in decision-making, echoing the 'Keep It Simple, Stupid' (KISS) philosophy. When faced with ambiguous situations, the simplest explanation is often the most likely to be correct. This approach can save time, streamline decision-making, and maintain a focus on storytelling and character development.

While complex systems and scenarios can add depth, they also risk alienating players if not managed carefully. The primary objective is entertainment, and overcomplicating the narrative can deter rather than attract players. Therefore, a balance must be struck to ensure that complexities do not overshadow the core elements of storytelling and character development.

Technology and Plot

The use of advanced technology serves to enrich and diversify the narrative landscape but comes with challenges that can compromise the story's essence. Technology should be integrated in a way that it could be swapped out for another mechanism without altering the core narrative. This ensures that the focus remains on storytelling and character interaction.

Potential Pitfalls

Advanced technology can diversify role-playing but also poses challenges. These include diminishing tension by easily resolving conflicts, inconsistencies with established lore, and power imbalances among characters.

Deus Ex Machina
Over reliance on advanced technology can diminish tension and conflict.
Technology that contradicts established lore can disrupt the narrative.
Excessive technical details can alienate players.
Power Imbalance
Extremely advanced technology can create an imbalance between characters.
Loss of Focus
The allure of showcasing advanced technology can divert attention from character development and plot progression.

Potential Solutions

To address the challenges posed by advanced technologies, several solutions can be employed:

Set Boundaries and Focus on Story
Clear guidelines on the use and limitations of advanced technology should be established.
Player-Author Communication
Open dialogue can help set reasonable expectations and limitations on technology use.
Narrative Checks and Balancing Mechanisms
In-story reasons or in-game systems can prevent technologies from easily resolving conflicts or creating power imbalances.
When in Doubt, Leave It Mysterious
Ensure that any new technology introduced is consistent with established lore.
Counterbalancing with Opposing Technology
Equipping the opposing side with similarly powerful items can balance the use of advanced technology.

Special Considerations

Special considerations in Molten Aether, such as character interaction with socially challenging characters, management of personal resources, focus on character growth, balance in character revisions, and embracing a growth mindset towards writing, serve as valuable considerations in both character and plot development. These elements aim to enrich the role-playing experience by encouraging players to critically assess their characters' social dynamics, resources, long-term arcs, adaptability, and willingness to learn from mistakes. This multifaceted approach fosters a more dynamic, interactive, and supportive role-playing environment.

Don't Be Afraid to Be Wrong

In the collaborative environment of Molten Aether, embracing a growth mindset towards writing is highly encouraged. The community understands that the most effective way to learn and improve is to venture into new territories, even if that means making mistakes along the way. It is a shared belief that errors are not setbacks but rather opportunities for growth and improvement.

In this collaborative setting, the fear of being wrong should not deter individuals from contributing to the narrative or experimenting with complex character arcs. Mistakes are an integral part of the learning process, serving as stepping stones that lead to a deeper understanding of storytelling and character development. The community is supportive and aims to provide constructive feedback, helping individuals refine their skills and enhance their contributions to the collective narrative.

By adopting a growth mindset, players and authors alike open themselves to a broader range of experiences and storytelling possibilities. This approach not only enriches the individual's skill set but also adds a layer of complexity and depth to the shared narrative. In Molten Aether, the philosophy is clear: Don't be afraid to be wrong, for in the act of erring, one finds the path to improvement and mastery.

Living an Isolated Life

Role-playing in Molten Aether offers a broad spectrum of lifestyle choices for characters. Opting for an isolated life, whether in the solitude of space or as a terrestrial hermit, presents unique challenges and opportunities. While such choices add depth to a character, they also risk limiting interactions with other players. Therefore, when choosing an isolated lifestyle, it is crucial to incorporate elements that facilitate meaningful encounters with others, albeit infrequently.

Personal Resources

In addition to the characters themselves, personal resources such as spacecraft, ocean vessels, businesses, or bases of operations introduce another layer of complexity. These resources often necessitate the inclusion of non-player characters (NPCs) for maintenance and operation. When creating NPCs, consideration should be given to their roles, personalities, and contributions to the storyline. These NPCs can serve as conduits for interactions with other players and add depth to the character's world.

Character Growth

Long-term engagement in Molten Aether provides opportunities for significant character growth. Players benefit from having both short-term and long-term visions for their characters' development. Aligning a character's aspirations with these visions not only provides direction but also enables more meaningful interactions with other players. This strategy ensures that characters remain dynamic and engaging over time, enhancing the enjoyment of the community.

Character Revision and Complexity

As players engage in Molten Aether, new ideas and inspirations for characters will inevitably emerge. While continuous revision and addition of new elements can be tempting, a balance must be struck to avoid over-complication. An overly detailed character profile may deter interactions with other players. If inundated with new ideas, players should assess whether these elements genuinely enhance the existing character or are better suited for a character variant or a new character altogether. This approach maintains a focused and engaging role-playing experience.

Community and Etiquette

Etiquette in Molten Aether serves as the foundation for a respectful and engaging experience for both characters and authors. Key principles include open communication, collaborative writing, and respect for boundaries set by authors and fellow players. Characters should understand the game's leveled ranking system, adhere to established lore, and be mindful of technology's role in the plot. Authors should strive for clarity, be open to player input, and set clear boundaries on elements open for discussion. This etiquette ensures a harmonious role-playing environment, facilitating the collective creation of a rich, multi-layered narrative.

Finding and Attracting Players for Interaction

Whether one is a novice seeking to join an existing storyline or an experienced player crafting a new narrative, attracting players for interaction is crucial. Novices can participate in ongoing arcs or engage in smaller, focused scenes as entry points. Experienced players should focus on crafting open-ended plots that allow multiple entry points for other players. Utilizing the game's communication channels to announce new arcs and being open to co-authoring enriches the narrative and broadens the pool of potential participants. Open communication and flexibility are key to attracting players.

Handling Stress and Taking Breaks

The creative process in Molten Aether is enriching but can be mentally taxing for all involved—players, authors, and administrators. Recognizing the need for breaks is crucial for long-term engagement. Communication is key; informing fellow players and authors allows the narrative to adapt in one's absence. Understanding and accommodating the need for breaks is a collective responsibility, and open dialogue is essential to manage these situations effectively.