How to RP Opposition?

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Dravius Stari
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How to RP Opposition?

Post by Dravius Stari » 2012-04-01 05:11

Well folks, consider this my official "give your ideas" thread.

Am I devoid of ideas? of course not, but I wouldn't mind those of you that have run missions (regardless of current or previous mod status) to post some tips, tricks and hints.

Anyone else that has a contribution, feel free to jump in too.

I think this thread could be a handy resource for the site, and if not well i'll be selfish and take whatever help I can get :p
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Re: How to RP Opposition?

Post by Kane » 2012-04-02 14:17

This is a pretty big question, really. It's sort of like asking what makes a good GM.

You have to strike a working balance between going with the flow and railroading.

If you can write interesting characters, you can apply this to enemy characters. A good villain is something to appreciate.

Clarity of intent. Get your message across.

Apply the knowledge you have. If you write opposition for troopers, it helps to know professional terms, ground tactics, and how soldiers behave. But you can make do with what you know as long as you can apply it to the situation. For example, if you like camping and the outdoors, you can tell that things like terrain, weather, and equipment are big concerns. It literally sucks to have armoured boots when you have to march over swampland, and you're likely to get problems with hard lumps and swelling, maybe even fungi.

Perhaps we should give some hands-on examples. I'll see if I can find some posts around the board and write example opposition for them.
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Re: How to RP Opposition?

Post by Dravius Stari » 2012-04-02 15:08

That would be great, thanks chief :)
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Re: How to RP Opposition?

Post by Kane » 2012-04-02 16:44

All right, I picked a fairly straightforward post from Maximus in C1M31. If you want to see how it actually went down, it's in the archives.
Maximus right behind the sargeant in the DT armor. As the young lieutenant exited the LAAT, he quickly suggested over the comms, "I need a group with me to rappel down the side of the building and breach. Then we head for the priorities."

To the young lieutenants relief, the sergeant in the DT armor seemed to like his suggestion. A few seconds later, a small team was starting to rappel down the side of the building. They would drop down about halfway, then they would split in two groups and simultaneously work their way up and down. Meanwhile the forces on the ground and the roof would work towards the insertion team. It was a pretty classical maneuver!

As the group came crashing through the windows, they were able to sieze the initiative on the NR scum! The Sargeant Winters quickly started to lay into the NR-aligned subarks and NR troopers with a passion. Maximus on the other hand, not having DT armor, was taking a more conservative approach. Using the fearsome firepower of the CQRFSW to lay down some crimson rain of death into the enemy. The room they had entered was an office, most likely a judge, that they had entered.

After regrouping near the door they got ready to breach the door...
The sudden violence of an explosive plasma round blew the door off its hinges and threw it into the office's opposite wall, black and on fire. The subarks and NR troopers backing them up had no time to react before something klinked on the floor through the newly created opening. "Incoming!" The NR veterans threw themselves to the floor, while the until recently civilian subarks failed to do so in time. But they were lucky this time, it was just a smoke grenade and a flashbang, obscuring the menacingly black Darktroopers and Lt. Maximus from their views. They weren't so lucky however when the DTs and Maximus opened fire. Their visors allowed them to see through the cold smoke on IR, and the flash was polarized out. Several of the subarks fell to Maximus fearsome CQRFSW before they even hit the ground. One of the DTs then moved into the room, there weren't room for more than one at a time. The NR regulars lobbed grenades. The explosion rocked the room, and the DT fell.

"I'm ok!", they heard him yell over the radio. His armour was intact, a couple grenades weren't enough to kill a Darktrooper. Maxmus lay down suppressive fire above him to keep the enemy from getting to the man, but he had to stop to cool his weapon. The others fired regular blasters to make up for it when one of the subarks suddenly stood up and yelled. "AAAAHHHHH!!!!!", his eyes frenzied from decades of oppression and tyranny. One - two blaster bolts hit him, but he was full of adrenaline and rage, not stopping until he had reached the fallen DT, ripping his shirt open. Then he fell down on the armoured shape, and revealed an entire belt of grenades, just a moment before pulling the pin.

"GET DOWN!"

Maximus didn't know who yelled, but it was good advice. He had already dived to the floor, out of instinct and battle training. The explosion was massive, and hot smoke and durasteel shrapnel filled the room. When Maximus looked up, the DT was gone, replaced by a large blackened spot on what remained of the floor. There wasn't a trace of the subark, and the remaining subarks and NR were retreating on the way out of an opposite door. One subark, tall and grim looking, met his eyes for just an instant, and the grey-skinned one spoke. "I'll see you all in hell for my son when the Yahgs arrive." Then they were gone, leaving Maximus with a room full of grey-black poisonous smoke, black sooth, twisted pieces of steel and plast, weird shaped bloody things that could only be intestines, and a man they didn't yet know if there was anything left of to be found.
Okay then, analysis of my theoretical oppo. One, I've made this into an action scene. Two, I went fairly explicit in descriptions. Three, I put in an enemy outside the norm, a potential loss, and a new enemy character who we don't know much of yet. He also mentions something new, these mysterious Yahgs, before exiting the scene. In summary, we get actions and explosions, a hint of irony, tragic, and a larger backstory, a potentially interesting villain, a mystery, and a cliffhanger.

Feel free to take it apart. Note, for example, that there is very little character development in my post since it was an action scene. That's something to expand upon later, for Maximus, and the new villain.

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Re: How to RP Opposition?

Post by Kurge » 2012-04-02 19:07

Wow! Maybe Ace should do more Opp! :D

I remember doing that post (Maximus) and the actual Opp reply. I will say that the theoretical opposition would be more gripping and better communicate the action going on. Would you have any more examples up your sleeves Ace?

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Re: How to RP Opposition?

Post by jacenwesiri » 2012-04-02 21:51

What I've been doing for Op recently was more along the lines of advancing a story. I know for the last CM I did, I had a lot of opposition planned out ahead of time. (Heck, almost everything that eventually made it into that CM was planned out before the CM started, and much of it was personal. About the only thing that wasn't planned was Fini introducing an infiltrator on the Int.) I think one of the reasons that one worked out so well was that I had so much to draw upon that no one had to wait for anything to do, and that it wasn't so much run of the mill as interesting scenarios. (Like the SD-10 in the embassy lobby. Along those lines, I thought it was interesting to see how Fenyx came up with a way of beating it without heavy weapons.)

I don't think you need it all planned out in advance, but I think a good GM keeps in mind how things are probably going to go forward, at least generally, so there's content that can be delivered as needed to keep things going. Naturally, there should be flexibility to allow the player's actions to have meaning in the overall story, and the original plan may need to be adapted as time goes on.

More specifically, how I do it is I tend to write up a short plot description with what I intend to happen, then I adapt it to what's coming. I find that many times players tend to go in their own different directions, and to some extent I think a good GM will try to guide them along towards my plans for the mission. As an example with that CM, I had a flower girl who was going to be passing on a few pieces of information. I had a character outline for her, and then I ended up having her interacting with Crystala. The main points of what she was conveying were predetermined (Like the color of the flower she gave Crystala), but I actually wrote it trying to keep the tempo with how Fini was writing, and I kept her going for like two posts after I passed along the relevant information because Fini was still asking questions. Yes, I could have ended the conversation, but I figured I'd keep things going until Fini would decide to end it to kinda let him dictate the tempo.

So yeah, I'm probably rambling, so I'll leave it at that.
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Re: How to RP Opposition?

Post by Viktor Zukov » 2012-04-03 01:50

I post with my characters some opposition, usually I use my characters for each branch to swing with my direction, so people get the jist that I'm trying to swing troops in x direction with Bruno, or have Viktor launch an offensive against an otherwise innocous target to push people to act outside the direct progression. So I let people have a piece of action without making it a push to completion. For example I had the mission on Hypori:
Bruno got back up from his crouch, and made his way past his troops. The path was long, and very unexciting. It was actually so unexciting that it was monotonous to keep walking the straight corridor for so long one of his troops became careless yet again. This time instead of tripping a simple repair laser, the troop tripped a shape charge blast. The blast erupted with such force that it slammed the trooper straight through the corridor wall into the room next to them. Which had no entrance on their side at all. Bruno knew the trooper was dead, but his death had opened up a new avenue to be explored. Fate was cruel, but it opened doors for others. Bruno would have to issue the trooper's grieving family the hazard pay they got for sudden death while serving for the New Imperial Federation Army, but now was not the time to think about breaking the news to the family. Sadly that would have to wait till the end of the mission, where also they would reclaim the trooper's lifeless body to be shipped back to his family.

Bruno then drew out his combat knife, and etched another arrow this one pointing into the hole in the room. He was about to ask one of the other troopers for their glow stick, when the dead trooper's armor finally oozed out a bit of his blood into the etched arrow filling it to be contrasted a bit more prominent. Bruno just stared at it a moment and sighed just audible enough for himself and just himself to hear it. He got up and moved to the trooper's body, and gathered up his provisions so as to not have someone else defile the trooper's body for what few precious provisions he carried on him. After Bruno had finished gathering up the trooper's belongings, he went through the hole in the wall the trooper's body made. He carefully avoided stepping on the dead trooper's body, as he passed through and made sure all the rest of the team did as well.

Bruno turned around, as all the troops passed over the rubble and dead trooper, and noticed the room was some sort of lab. He viewed around the room a few times, and the room looked like it had been cleared out. Well, cleared out short of the one box in the corner of the room. Bruno moved over towards the box, and noticed it was covered with layer upon layer of dust. He then decided to play this a bit safer, and backed up a bit and jabbed the boxed hard enough to set of an explosive device, but gently enough not to smash up the contents or break any of them. Thankfully, the box just simply deformed a bit and a few items rustled a bit inside. He then walked over to the box and opened it, sending dust flying through the room. People's rebreathers on their masks began to get clogged with the amount of dust trying to get filtered through them.

As Bruno realized his was starting to get clogged, he reached up and brushed at his. This cleared up a bit of the debris filling up the rebreather, but not all of it. He would just deal with it later, or risk exposing him to who knows how many toxins were sitting around lingering in the lab. He finally peered into the box, and saw it was filled with old books. Not even with flimplast, but old paper. Not the kind from eons ago, papyrus had no managed to survive that test of time expect in highly radioactive and strange isotoped rooms. This was old paper, from before the time of hover cars and even AT-PTs. Bruno was shocked to find relics this old still surviving, but he would not allow himself to get lost in it right now. He simply closed the box, and laid a glow stick on top of it to remind himself when he came back for the body to pick up the box and bring it back so it could be placed into the archives.

Not even moments after the discovery did his comms go off. It was an encrypted comms transmission. "Colonel, this is Fireteam Bravo. We seem to have found a Geonosian hatchery. These eggs are still live, sir. It would stand to reason that there are still Geonosians here, but we haven't seen anything except for a group of droids. With all respect, sir, this doesn't feel right. That panel I cracked to get in here was state-of-the-art. Plus, these eggs are fresh. If this facility wasn't being used, then why would someone go to the trouble of keeping it operating? We're going to see if we can find a computer terminal and figure out what's going on, over."

Bruno clicked in his pass code, and sent a highly encrypted comms burst back to Spyker. "I see. Well be careful not to destroy any, we do not need them annoyed with us when we are trying to save them. We have had very little known data on them until our last mission, so we have no idea if they can smell their young or even the eggs. Also, if you do find out who has been maintaining the facility if it is not indeed the Geonosians. We will need to know who or what we are pitted up against. Winters out."
I added in the part about the old school Driodekas that were lost a long time ago, that was unknown at the first glimpse. But it held a piece of the locations "Canon Historical Value", to our timeline. So that we had some canon portions feeding into what the area represented. I tend to use alot of Historical Canon references when I create my SMs. For example we had Geonosis as well. I used the sprawling factories to push our NIF agenda forward, while still giving the actual uses the planet held in olden Canon times. I find having historical backing in what I make vivid, gives people a creative view and preinsight to what I am trying to "press", or subliminally movitave people to envision.
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Re: How to RP Opposition?

Post by Dravius Stari » 2012-04-03 11:55

Guys this is awesome, please keep it going.

And to those of you that haven't posted, throw your ideas in!
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Re: How to RP Opposition?

Post by Tavish McFini » 2012-04-06 20:39

Oppo? Uh... For me, I usually try to tailor it to the person or people I'm gearing the oppo for. It also depends vastly on the size of the mission, the scope of what's going on that I'm posting the oppo for (as in, a single soldier versus an entire fleet) and any brainstorm ideas I may get.

Typically, however, I try to post oppo through my (numerous) accounts rather than use the oppo account itself. This is 3 fold: 1) it prevents me from adding a bunch of purely oppo posts into a thread with a character who probably isn't participating (best example being Fini who, as a Grand Admiral, has no reason to be around on an army operation though I have done it before, not as a GA mind you... but I digress). 2) it helps pad my posts. Yes, I admit, I fluff up my posts with oppo stuff... Mostly its personal oppo but there are instances when I do gear the oppo for someone else or a everyone else... 3) it encourages me to think up different stuff that could affect both the character I'm posting for and the others around that character.

I will admit there are downsides to that system: 1) By not using either the oppo account or a set character to run oppo, other people might find it hard to find that one bit of detail that affects their character. 2) It could add too much fluff and make the post very long. 4) It may appear as though I'm giving myself an unfair advantage as I came up with the idea so I would naturally already know the best way to overcome it. 5) It causes me to skip numbers. <.<

Generally, however, I simply try to keep the opposition realistic, believable and not impossible to overcome (unless you decided to launch an invasion of Kuat with only 2 Star Destroyers... Then all bets are off ;) ) For SMs that I run, I have a quasi-sensible system that I enjoy using:

When I type up an SM, usually I have a predisposed notion of the level of resources the NIF are commuting to an operation (a task made easier when I pretty much say "here's what you get" right in the briefing but that doesn't exclude people with ships I don't account for especially as I try not to exclude anyone). With that idea in mind, I set up a realistic tally of what the enemy (be they New Republic, pirate, Vong Kane...) would have in the system or nearby. I usually fudge those numbers a lot especially on the fly but that's besides the point. As the mission progresses, I try to stay on top of what's happening and who's posted what. If things look as though they're going too well, or there's not enough excitement/tension, I'll toss in a few of those wild cards and try to keep people on their toes.

And wild cards don't have to be limited to moar ships or troops or dakka. Maybe Lt. Blankly got shot by a skilled sniper just as he was priming that thermal detonator and it feel from his hand and now its suddenly on a bridge that the NIF is trying to defend (do we seriously even care about holding bridges anymore?) Will Sergeant Katarn get to him in time or should everyone get the eff off said bridge before it explodes and takes an entire NIF armoured column with it? ... Dang, that sounds like a good idea that one... *jots it down for later*

Long and short, I try to keep oppo stuff very organic. Yes, I have some predetermined structure to them, but by and large, I'll usually toss in whatever I think will be the most entertaining and fun for those involved. If things happen to get off track, you know what, I'll usually ride with it. It's not like what I had in mind was necessarily any better than the tangent we're off on now! :D

Hope that helps even a little Drav. If not... I'm not sure I can be any more eloquent with what I just said :? Sorry buddy!
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Re: How to RP Opposition?

Post by Dravius Stari » 2012-04-06 22:17

It very much helps. The purpose of this thread is to get some ideas flowing. After all, sharing ideas helps everyone - but especially newer mods.

Thanks Fini :)
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Re: How to RP Opposition?

Post by Jubar Bavvet » 2012-04-18 04:32

I'm either the best or the worst Opp poster in the history of the world, depending on who you ask. :lol:

In all seriousness though, I'm probably not the one to ask, but Drav said he'd like me to make a post, so here she goes, in all her glory.

*takes deep breath*

I'll start with the start, the very inception of the thread plot itself.

I start with characters. I'm heavily character-centric. I don't even like to consider what someone might do until I've figured out why they might do it. Motivation and background, in other words. Not just which side are they on, NIF or NR, but why they made this decision--such as in Jen'vey's case, such a desperate decision his was. I liked how from one viewpoint he could be considered a total lunatic, and yet from a cold, rational standpoint, he seemed to have all the logic on his side. The NIF has been taking over worlds, after all, and not all of them for reasons of good, and the NR really hasn't gone on the offensive. It stands to reason that in a galaxy rife with war a rogue element would arise, possibly spearheaded by someone who was deeply wronged, someone who saw so many of his fellow officers and soldiers die to the NIF. The Bothans seemed perfect for this, and so did the timing with the Caamas Document in canon.

So it's motivation first for me. Once I have that, everything else falls logically into place. The decisions, and how the characters go about acting on them, stem from there, with room always left for surprising character traits/flaws, of course. I do this because I don't like having a mindless nobody just die off like so many "red shirts" in Star Trek or pilots or stormtroopers or Rebels in the SW films. In short, I want it to matter. In my opinion, good opp should add a level of gravitas to the whole story.

This can make for a longer post, one riddled with details, and the approach has caused a wide divide in the past; some either hate it or barely notice it, just glance right over it (for instance, some people would just say "Jen-whatever-his-name-is" instead of "Jen'vey" when commenting on him), while others such as Kyp, JT and Mai were invigorated by it. This illustrates the difference in players, and why Opp posting can be so difficult.

My approach in the beginning of my first CM ever was to have a story element already in place before the players arrived to it. The destruction of a major NIF ship was meant to be part of the predetermined story, something the players could "witness" and react to in-game, but it was always going to happen if only for the tragic element. From there, the story was meant to expand, allow the characters to do what they pleased. That...didn't work out so well, I'm sure you'll recall. I tried my best, but my motives were misunderstood and lack of communication from all sides led to a downward spiral.

Learn from my mistakes. Don't do that again.

However, in The Hour of the Knave, the players were a lot more receptive to it then. Perhaps I coincidentally had just the right kind of players for that style of RPing. Whatever the cse, THOTK was incredibly popular at the time, but I failed to see how others might not be so inclined for such a fast-paced ride. But we've already been through that, no need to dig it up again, just relaying my experiences and lessons here.

Ace's examples seem to fit the format for PBP perfectly. They are concise and they directly address the problems the characters are facing at that moment while granting them room for more play and surprises.

Some I do strive for in my Opp posts is something that makes complete sense. This can be hard, because everyone has their own idea of what makes sense, but here's an anecdote. Mai was telling me about something someone did in a medieval setting she RPed once, where the guy just walked up to the king or queen and wanted to negotiate. When the queen refused, he had his thugs come in and draw their swords. On the queen. In the Throne Room. It's like, "Uhhh...you just drew steel on the royal body. You're dead, my friend." A clear example of something that makes no sense...unless you're suicidal.

I did make the mistake of posting too frequently, which didn't allow many to catch up. I write fast. Very fast. It took me a moment to realize most people don't.

In short, I don't believe my approach is successful, and I believe that for play-by-post Opp needs to be (relatively) short and sweet to suit (most) players. It should make sense. It shouldn't be doled out too quickly, and it should add an element of surprise without totally screwing up the plans of the players, unless of course you've communicated with them that that's what's going to happen and you've discussed it and everyone's okay with it.

I find that even writing this is kind of difficult, because, like Mai, I've never had a single bit of Opposition ever directed at me. Not ever. I always make my own in my posts. I create characters and problems around me. In the CM mission on Sarapin, if you recall, Jubar's drama was tangential to what was going on on Sarapin, yet I advanced my character's story with his mentor's suicide, Jubar's legs giving out on him, succumbing to Naranger's disease finally, and being branded a traitor. I interacted with one or two characters along the way, but was mostly left alone. I never expect Opposition, therefore, I don't know what to expect from Opposition. Not that I'm complaining, I tend to like it that way. That's why I steer clear of it and let others have at it.

I'm more about the telling of a story and not so much the interaction between myself and other players. I know that seems paradoxical to people in the world of PBP, who find writing alone incredibly dull, but I write because I love it, not because I need to know someone else is reading it, or because I need feedback from other players. If I needed social interaction, I'd go on Facebook. I do get that some people just like the surprise of seeing what other people will post in reply, I just don't require that. I only say this because I think this is why standard Opp posting is so beyond me.

In any case, those are my thoughts. I hope my pitfalls and missteps can help others avoid same. ;)

P.S. If you love this site, post often, post merrily, and tell your friends about us.
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Re: How to RP Opposition?

Post by Dravius Stari » 2012-04-18 13:27

Jubar Bavvet wrote:I'm either the best or the worst Opp poster in the history of the world, depending on who you ask.

In all seriousness though, I'm probably not the one to ask, but Drav said he'd like me to make a post, so here she goes, in all her glory.
Thanks for posting. My hope is that we can eventually sticky this thread. I know I badgered you a little about posting, but I feel its very important to have as many tools as possible to help us out.

While there may be differences of opinion around your opposition, I dont think anyone doubts your talent. It would be negligent of me not to badger someone we universally regard as a talented writer to post his thoughts and ideas ;)

That being said, I am definitely looking at others to contribute such as Draaygo, Blitz and Syren. Come on guys, don't make me hunt you down :p
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Re: How to RP Opposition?

Post by Syren » 2013-02-25 23:04

:oops: Drav, you can hunt me all you like :D I do enjoy a rousing game of cat and vic ... er mouse :twisted:

I don't really have anything to add that wouldn't just come across as redundant. I think the other guys have covered this pretty well. For me, personally, I find it very easy to write for certain types of opposition. Such as in the big fleet battles or when there's a full-blown ground war going on. Those are pretty easy to write.

There is one type of opposition that I've always wanted but have never ever had and that makes me sad. I've always wanted a character of mine to have a sworn, life-long enemy, much in the way the relationship between Boba Fett and Han Solo had one. I've always thought it would be fascinating to do a series of threads that show the progression of the spiteful relationship. From the time they met, the event or events that created their ultimate dislike/disdain/hatred for each other, and how they never quite kill each other out of mutual respect - also because deep down, they relish the relationship. It fills them both with vigor, energy, life, and neither wants to lose that euphoric high that no drug could ever mimic.

I'd love to see them encounter each other off and on throughout missions, lounge threads, and even have them forced to working with each other if either of them hopes to survive. That whole the enemy of my enemy is my friend sort of deal.

I think I'd orgasm if I ever got my wish for this to happen. I kid you not! Of course, the person who would be writing the mortal enemy of my character would definitely have to understand that the hatred my character has for their character is just that - story interaction - and that there'd be nothing personal OOCly behind it. Most people get that, but I have written with some who were not able to maintain IC/OOC separation. But still! This is my ultimate RPG wet dream :)
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Re: How to RP Opposition?

Post by Dravius Stari » 2013-02-27 13:53

Thanks Syren :)

The idea of an enemy is quite interesting thats for sure. I tend to prefer a thousand mini stories rather than huge overarching epics, but it was quite fascinating to see this idea put 'on paper' as it were.

I've experimented with this during a mission, i.e. having 'an enemy' but it was on a much smaller scale, it was fun though :)

Blitz, your turn!
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