This was authored originally by Viswanath.
It was first retrieved by Edgeman.
It is now brought here by LightningTurk.
What is Roleplaying?
This is by itself a very difficult question, and the answer is subject to much debate. However, from prolonged discussion and by incorporating various opinions, we can define role playing as "the fine art involving the use of a character, real or fictional, along with other functions of state, and a combination of real, historic and fictional events and scenarios for the promotion and extension of one's game such that all events that take place in the natural course of a normal game are represented adequately and with reasonable limits of realism via the in game communication features such as letters, pacts, treaties and articles."
What is a character?
The character can be a head of state, minister, general or any other persona you use to represent your state in the international forum within a game. There can be one or more characters, used in combination or individually, and with varying story lines and background stories which may or may not be adopted. Your character will represent you in all state affairs, whether it be the sending of diplomatic messages or posting of articles, or negotiation of treaties and pacts. Your character will also be subject to any events that take place during the game and will have to be played within reasonable limits of realism.
Example: Tsar of Russia Aleksey Mikhailovich I (head of state), General Alex Summers (chief of armed forces)
What are functions of a state?
This list can be neither complete nor exhaustive. It includes any and all functions of a nation, like declaring war, peace, trade pacts, military alliances, Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), holding military exercises, diplomatic communications, official press releases, declaring ultimatum, state of emergency etc. These events must be used realistically, such as they would in real life, and in conformity with the game rules, as playing realistically without regard for the constraints of the game is not viable.
Example: India and Russia holding a joint military exercise. To be realistic, both nations release units to the said territory to hold the exercise. However, since this will involve a morale drop, it will be concluded quickly, in keeping with the constraints involved in the game mechanics. The conclusion is not because of a rule of thumb, but because not pulling your troops back will cause them to lose morale and become ineffective in combat, which is a situation you must avoid. If it means nothing to you, you may leave your troops in neutral territory.
What are events and scenarios?
Events are the occurrences that are controlled by a single nation. The appointment of a new Air Chief Marshal of Italy is an event, that is cast by the player controlling Italy, using his various state functions and his character. It cannot be influenced from outside directly, though diplomatic pressure may be put off the player to cast events favorably to other parties.
Events can, however, influence other players actions, by working to change the balance of power.
Example: Italy declaring the dissolution of parliament is a event. It may be forced by another country, remaining anonymous, by way of diplomatic pressure, and to avoid further damages, which will relegate Italy to a weaker position according to the game mechanics, Italy may conform. The importance here is that the event is the en-action of the action Italy would take to avoid incurring damages that would otherwise happen, and the original action being something that would take place in the normal course of a game, RP or otherwise.
Scenarios are group events, which influence and are influenced by more than one nation/player. Such events hold much greater influence on other players than a normal event, as they serve to change much of the prevalent Geo-political scenario on the map and shift the balance of power considerably. Hence, they are herewith termed 'Scenarios'.
Example: Forming an alliance between two nations. Such an action would have a widespread impact, as players seek to either form rival alliances to counter them or seek to gain the favor of the nation’s currently allied to each other. It will serve to create much tension and fuel further events and scenarios. Such actions will be taken in response to these scenarios because of each player wish to either maintain the balance of power or shift it in their favor.
Events and scenarios combine to form the basis of the game, and create tensions and fuel further events and scenarios, which will provide the material for further RPing the game. They must be used with care and realism, and at the same time in a manner that will not be self-defeating or serving to subside the predominance of the game mechanics.
Example: Making an event whereby a player gives all his resources to another is possible, however, such an event is not realistic, and will stand harsh penalty from the game mechanics. On the other hand, giving resources to appease a player and gain peace is both realistic and true to the game mechanics, as avoiding war might be favorable in future consideration.
*note from Turk: I would like to request this be pinned to the roleplaying games thread page. This is a foundation for all new roleplayers to learn and develop from. If ever another forum is created, someone should take this and move this there as well. *