This article deals with Roleplay as it relates to NationStates. For more general information, see the Wikipedia article on this subject.
What is role play?
Role Playing is acting, just without a script. If you've ever been in a play or had some sort of part, you have role played, or played a role. Role Playing is more like life, though. You have a part that you play, whether it's school, work, boyfriend, girlfriend etc.., it is unscripted. Role play is unscripted. You figure things out as you go along, putting up with rough patches (not ignoring someone, flamming, or getting your nation deleted over it), and most of all, try and have fun.
Role play on NationStates
Roleplay is an extension of NationStates gameplay. The great thing about NationStates' forums is that they are "free form." Free form means there are no rules regarding Role Play. There are rules governing behaviour in the forums, but not how you role play. That means, you can decided to pick 20 random nations and invade them, yes, this is frowned upon by many, but it is just an example of what free form means.
The role of the forums
On NationStates, a main part of role play is war. These sorts of battles most often occur in the International Incidents forum. There are many happening everyday, yet, none seem to work out well. When roleplaying a war, remember one thing. That is not to try to win. Far too many times, one nation will be losing a battle, when the owner gets mad out of character and goes ballistic and starts to flame. Flaming is arguing beyond the point of a valid debate, and more along the lines of "You fucking n00b! Your mama! GO FUCK A GOAT UP THE ARSE YOU FUCKING HORSE CUNT!" ... Which is really scary when you consider that this game gets to users that much.
The NationStates forum tends more towards character-based roleplaying and sports roleplaying, though wars and battles are also fought there. Each topic there is its own separate roleplaying event: some standalone, others tying to one or more other threads, some as spin-offs or continuations of previous roleplays, etc. Such is the nature of free-form role play - even time itself is a variable. Entry into these roleplays is often more formalized: check the topic title and/or first post to see if it is an Invite RP or open to anyone. There may be both IC and OOC topics for a given roleplay. Make sure you're posting in the correct topic for your type of response.
There is an element of roleplay in the United Nations forum, but often there will be a mixture of OOC comments mixed in with the purely diplomatic comments made IC. The UN is only semi-RP, and posts there are subject to more mod intervention for inappropriateness than in the other two RP forums. The UN Forum is limited to UN business in the context of the General Assembly: if a UN nation is discovered to be in violation of UN resolutions, challenges to that nation should move to NationStates or International Incidents.
Roleplay in the other forums is strongly discouraged, though Gameplay does permit a bit of Regionally based RP in the form of regional ads. The other seven active forums have specific purposes, and the Archives can't be added to even if you wanted to. Stick to NS, I.I., and the UN for your national and in-character roleplaying.
Roleplay also occurs in many of the larger offsite forums and on IRC. Sometimes they are used for planning purposes, and the conversations end up in the NS forums, other times they are complete and separate, although they use NS-related nations and characters. In short, you can roleplay your nation in multiple places with great ease
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The basics: economy, budget, military
A common question new nations ask is "What does a "good" economy mean, what is my national budget, and how big is my military?" Remember free form? All of those things could mean anything you want. Good could mean each person makes one dollar a year, your budget could be infinite, and your military could be your entire nation. That usually makes for bad RP. You want to try and keep it as realistic as possible, no, NationStates itself is not entirely designed to be realistic, but you want to try and mimic real life as much as possible for countless reasons. The main ones are:
- No one will role play with someone that has a military of 500 million people or buys everything in a storefront.
- It really isn't fun. If being an arse is your thing, make your own forums or spam somewhere else.
Ignoring a nation means you do not recognize it AT ALL. It doesn't mean you get pissed, flame, ignore, then harass the next day, it means that to you, that nation no longer exists. And it doesn't mean that all nations owned by that same person are also ignored, just that one. A tip for good role play: Use ignoring as a final tactic if nothing else works.