A Guide To Planets Roleplaying
Planets.nu, like VGA Planets before it, is complex, intricate, and highly challenging multiplayer strategy game. There is so much to the rules, in fact, that many people don't consider themselves to be competent until after completing several games. True mastery can take years.
But much of the enjoyment in the game comes not from technical expertise but instead from interactions with the other players -- and I'm not talking about just driving your Biocides into his battleships and making things go boom. A great many players enjoy the chat as much as they do the warfare, particularly the negotiations over trades and borders. And many of us like to roleplay some of these interactions, acting out the part of a commander of our chosen race (or the captain of a particular ship that's been in combat, or the governor of a planet with fleets flying overhead -- whatever works).
Here's some tips to remember if you plan to roleplay, or if you happen to run into a roleplayer. Following these guidelines will make things go more smoothly for you and may prevent serious misunderstandings.
This is so important that one of only three site rules covers it. Just because you're playing the Admiral of a dying fleet, it doesn't give you the right to yell, swear, or carry on.
If you're going to take the trouble to act a part, you should have a character to act as. Don't switch from Admiral to Proconsul to Emperor to President. Don't misunderstand; feel free to play all four parts if you want plus half a dozen ship captains besides, but make sure your fellow players always know who exactly it is that they're hearing from.
Know when to break character.
Sometimes, it's so much easier to just say, "I've got to finish up fast and then go eat dinner before the turn ends." Trying to roleplay that is a pain.
Remember you're also you.
There are things that the Evil Emperor would gladly do that any sane and reasonable person would shrink from. These include backstabbing, betrayal, altering deals on the fly, and other odious actions of that nature. All of these things (short of actual cheating) are lawful under the rules and, if you wish to do them, I wouldn't dream of stopping you. Just remember that the Evil Emperor won't be there to stand up for you in the Feed, and while he won't have any trouble sleeping nights, you may.
Some of you who are new to the game, to science fiction in general, or to roleplaying may want some ideas about how best to portray your race in character. Below, you can find a list of the eleven races along with suggestions about how they might behave.
The Federation -
As a representative of the finest democratic organization in the Echo Cluster, you bring culture, tolerance, understanding, and the rule of law to the less enlightened. Oh, they may not appreciate you now, but just wait until after they're conquered. How grateful they shall be!
The Lizards -
People think that being a Lizard is all about stomping around, being huge, tossing boulders about, and munching on the bones of your enemies. And it is! Well, except for the sneaking-around part. Just because you're strong doesn't mean you can't also be clever.
The Bird Men -
The other races may think of you as a snob, but it's hardly snobbish if you truly are better than they are. Who else has developed Advanced Cloaking? Who else has an invisible battleship? And who else sports such a stylish crest of head-feathers?
The Privateers -
They call you names like "pirate" and "thief", but privateering is an ancient and noble profession, undertaken by patriots for hundreds of years on behalf of their native lands. Besides, at least you offer their ships the chance to surrender; they come in, guns blazing, all set to kill on the faintest provocation -- and they get all huffy when you decline to be shot at. This is warfare the way it should be: Strangle their trade and you spare so very many lives.
The Fascists -
The softer races accuse you of cruelty and oppression, but they forget: Your citizens embrace your form of government. There's a war on, after all, and they gladly do whatever it takes to win. Your people are proud to sacrifice a few meaningless privileges in exchange for that greatest necessity, the good of the state!
The Cyborg -
Have you known pain? Have you known fear? Weakness! The Cyborg will free you from them. As a member of this harmonious society of mechanically augmented and improved biologicals, your superior efficiency will win out over those foolish weaklings too superstitious to embrace the power of the machine.
The Evil Empire -
Evil is a state of mind. One man's evil is another's good, and anything that's good for your enemies is, by definition, bad for you. So to others, yes, you are evil, but only because that is the best way to secure peace and order, with victory for your beloved Empire.
The Crystals -
Your ships may not be the strongest, your fortifications not the best, but the symmetry of the Web makes all equal. Let them come, with their fighters and torpedoes and battle fleets! Soon, they will become yours, and you will rain justice upon them, and all will be equal under the power of the Web.
The Robots -
These puny biologicals and their miniscule craft are no match for the might of the Robotic Imperium. Your carriers will launch a near-endless horde of fighter drones, and your minelayers are so efficient and so deadly that they can cover all of known space. Technology shall reign supreme!
The Rebels -
Down with oppressors! Down with the corrupt governments! When your freedom fighters arrive, kindred spirits will rise up to join your revolt against their decadent rulers, ready to cast off the shackles of slavery and oppression forever! VIVA LA REVOLUCION!
The Colonies -
The brave heroes of your fleet will volunteer to fight, to preserve your way of life. You must not shirk; you must not falter. You must be worthy of their sacrifice in this great and noble undertaking, so that someday, you may find the lost home of all mankind, which the legends call "Dirt".
These are just ideas; don't feel bound by them. Be inventive! Have fun with it! And -- I'll see you in space.