Role Playing (RP). Two simple words with a simple abbreviation. With these two simple words comes an array of different meanings to different people. Merrian-Webster defines it very simply as “To act out the role of” or “To represent in action.” When used as a verb, it is “to play a role.” So, if, at its base, role playing is simply taking on a role and acting it, why is there so much confusion around it? Well, the simple fact is, how we role play changes depending on our context. It is the context in which we play that is the most important.
Chi Tau City is an RP community. What that means is that when we come to the city, we are coming in a role. For many of us in Second Life, we live our role. The avatar is an embodiment of who we think we are. What we want to do. It may be close to who we are in the real world, or it could be completely different. After all, how many cybernetic shapeshifting snowleopardesses have you heard of in the real world? RP is not mandatory in Chi Tau City, but it is highly encouraged. You are more than welcome to come to the city for the community, for the dances, for the sex, or even the RP. For those who do choose to RP in Chi Tau City, we do have guidelines that must be followed.
There are those who have experience from video game role playing games. You take on the role of the main character of main character of the game. That character may be pre-defined, or one you create yourself. Because of the virtual nature of Chi Tau City, there are those who think that this is only a game and try to treat the other people in the city as they would a non-player AI in another game. This absolutely is not the type of role play in Chi Tau City, and if you play this way, your actions could potentially lead to a ban if you refuse to respect others or the city.
There are those who are heavily interested in BDSM Role Play. That is where you might take on a scene such as a school teacher and student or some other fantasy power dynamic. This type of role play does have a place within Chi Tau City, but this is not what we are talking about when we talk about role playing in Chi Tau City. If you want to participate in that style of role play with one or more partners, go for it! Have fun! Just make sure that the participation is mutual, even if it is mutual rape play or forced play, or your actions could potentially lead to a ban.
There are those who have played table top role playing games, such as Dungeons & Dragons. These have a set of rules as well as “house rules” set up by the Dungeon Master (DM) or Game Master (GM). The GM is the arbiter of the house rules and the one who leads the players through the adventures they have dreamed up. The players create their character and fit their character into the setting, often times with help from the GM, who knows the world in which the players will find themselves adventuring in. In the case of Chi Tau, Ancilla and Trasee are the authors of the city and the history of Chi Tau with additional feedback from Meri. Meri is the GM of all RP within the city and lets those who choose to participate in the RP know how they can build their character. She is able to let players know what is acceptable as well as what isn’t.
There are those who have played role playing games through MUDs, MUCKs, MOOs, or other text based role playing environments. These environments are heavy in rules about what is and what isn’t role playing. They include in character (IC) and out of character (OOC) information. It includes such words as metagaming and godmodding. Metagaming is taking information that a player knows and letting the character have that information as well. Godmodding is making a character so powerful that he or she cannot be hurt or killed. Some role play areas within Second Life are set up with a lot of these rules. We even have some of these rules in place in our city, but not to the level that you would see in other areas.
In the context of Chi Tau City, we do not metagame. We don’t know a person’s name before we are introduced. We don’t know that Joey is an alternate avatar account of Janey. If Janey finds a secret room in the city, Joey does not know where that secret room is. Joey also would initially have no reason to look for that same room. Those are all examples of metagaming.
In the context of Chi Tau City, we do have some exceptions to the godmodding rules. For example, we have completely unrealistic cocks that would kill a person if they were fucked with it, but does nothing to the slut who receives it, except giving massive pleasure. Some can be cut, dismembered or even killed, yet be “right as rain” a few minutes (or a few days) later. These are certainly examples of godmodding that we are ignoring because we are a fetish fantasy city. Of course, there is godmodding that we don’t allow in our city. When you come to the city, you are unknown in the city. If you have wealth or fame before coming to the city, it means nothing in the city. It doesn’t give you any special rank or privilege in the city. You cannot be someone important in the city right away. You cannot be a crime lord, a tycoon, nor a god. You cannot be tied into the city backstory. If you want to eventually be a crime lord, a tycoon, or tied into the city backstory, that could happen with approval, but it absolutely will not happen right away. This is also why we do not allow sit-teleport or flying in the city, those are more examples of godmodding that is not allowed.
When you come to Chi Tau City, you are considered to be in character (IC). There are some exceptions that are more lax when it comes to being in character. First is the bus station, where new visitors arrive. The second is Stray Cat Lounge during a DJ hosted party. When we have our monthly admin round table and even most discourses are more out of character (OOC) than they are IC. Why are these less IC and more OOC? The bus station is where people arrive for the first time. They may not yet know about the city. They may not yet be ready to embrace the RP of the city until they walk out into the greater city for the first time. Stray Cat events have people who are there for the music and the dancing, so they may not even be interested in the RP aspects of the city, and we shouldn’t force them into it. The admin round table and many discourses often blur the lines between Chi Tau City and the real world and therefore falls more into the OOC than the IC. This isn’t to say you can’t be IC while you are in these locations at these events, but simply recognize that the blurring of lines exists there.
Now, you might learn something at the admin round table. We tell you that there’s a mysterious door appearing in the city certain days out of the week. We tell you “go look for it.” That brings up the question, is it OOC or IC? Traditionalists will argue that it is OOC information, therefore if you look for it arbitrarily, you are either OOC when you do it, or you have no reason to look for it IC. The problem is, as I already mentioned, we’re all IC in the city, which on the surface, sounds like a contradiction, especially to the traditionalist. Chi Tau City is not traditional, by any stretch of the imagination. For that reason, something that involves searching the city can certainly be considered as IC. Some traditionalists may still desire to split them apart into what they (the player) knows and what they (their character) knows, which is absolutely acceptable, but that doesn’t have to apply to everyone. This also applies to the paths. The paths are a type of scavenger hunt that you, as your character, is undertaking. You were told to do that by someone in the citizenry group, fraternity group, or the sorority group. As you are your character, doing that scavenger hunt, wherever it may lead, is still considered part of the greater RP. Again, some will still desire the separation of what their character knows vs what they themselves know, and that’s perfectly acceptable, but not everyone plays that way in the city, which is acceptable as well.
So, as your stay in the city continues, you will find yourself doing more and more in the city. Yes, there’s plenty of sex to go around, but the city is far more than that. As we mentioned, Chi Tau City is an RP city. That means we have roles in the city. They are kind of like jobs, but they’re fun. You could decide to be a barista at the coffee shop. You can work behind the counter as people enter and order coffee with extra cream, and you know what type of cream I’m referring to. There are two ways you can approach this and both are acceptable in the city. First, you are just taking on this job and having fun with it. You aren’t taking a new role, you are just expanding who you are. The other, equally acceptable, and comfortable to the traditionalist, is that this is a new role for your character. You might be wondering if there is a conflict there. The traditionalist will absolutely say there is, but the RP in our city doesn’t always follow traditionalist rules. As long as you are both staying in character, whether you are just being you, or being your character, it shouldn’t really matter.
We will be providing hunts where you can find information and history about the city. We want that information to be found and used. If you want to do the hunts out of character, go for it, as long as you’re having fun. If you don’t differentiate there, then go for it, have fun. That is why we built the city after all. We want the secrets to be found. Some might be harder to find, or locked behind an unknown code, but unless it is a private residence, places are meant to be found.
So, what does all this boil down to? Role playing in Chi Tau City has some very simple rules when it comes to metagaming and godmodding. We are not traditional, so there will be things that a traditional role player wouldn’t find comfortable, so they are more than welcome to apply those rules to how they choose to RP. The point of RP in the city is to have fun. Whether you are always in character, or you separate it, you should still have a place within the city.