The Ironsong Tribe

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(or "The Ironsong High-Wire Balance: Reconciling Nasty Characters With the Tribe's Need for Peace, Love, and Understanding")

Hi all!

In the interest of fostering creativity and maintaining guild harmony, I've written the following article. Much of what I'm going to say is reiteration of the Code of Conduct, but perhaps this new spin will be useful.

Ironsong is a roleplay guild. When I decided to form this guild, my primary goal was to create something that enhanced peoples' enjoyment of the game. While I feel that we do this successfully, we can always be doing better.

Evil is a captivating topic, and it is a tangible quantity in WoW, with such factions as the Legion and the Scourge, and of course plain-old run-of-the-mill nastiness. Evil is an important element in a lot of fantasy settings, and while the Ironsong Tribe has emerged as a predominantly good-aligned group, we do see our fair share of evil characters.

This is a Good Thing. I actively encourage all of you to be roleplaying your characters to the hilt. Explore, play, that's what this is for! But in the interest of Tribal harmony, let's take some time for a few considerations.... (btw, this all applies for the less evil, but more antisocial/awkward/unusual characters out there too. Adapt as necessary!)

1. Responsibility to your Tribemates: As members of the Ironsong Tribe, you have a responsibility to each other to make their game more enjoyable. Or at least, to not detract from their enjoyment. You may greatly enjoy playing your character in such a way that makes him/her out to be a scumbag, but remember that others see this stuff too. I have previously stated,

When you read a book,
you're reading a story about one or two or more characters, usually.
These characters are the central focus of the story, and though they
may meet other characters, typically the main characters remain the
focus of the story. This is a pleasant and useful device in fiction
and storytelling, but it doesn't work in real life, and it becomes a
bit clumsy when applied to World of Warcraft. Each of our characters
are central to their own stories... and everyone else's character is
central to theirs. Nobody else loves your character as much as you

I was referring to different issues then, but this is still relevant. What I mean is that it can be very easy to get caught up in telling your own story and forget that others may be affected by the choices you make.

2. Know when enough is enough. I've seen interactions that have made me cringe. Antagonizing other tribe members through constant harrassment and insult is not good roleplay, it's annoying. It can also run the risk of creating hurt feelings OOC, which is not acceptable RP under any circumstances. Your character may be known for her biting, sarcastic wit... does every interaction need to be a case of one-upmanship? Does it really matter if they beat you in a verbal sparring session? What are the consequences for your guildmates? Samuel Clemens said "It is better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool, than to open it and remove all doubt."

3. Develop a realistic concept. This is something that each and every one of you should have anyway. As roleplayers, you need to know your character inside and out. If your character is rude, evil, or just a little snarky, ask yourself why. The why doesn't need to be dramatic, it doesn't have to include being beaten up by the Alliance as a child. It can be simple, but let's make it three-dimensional. Let your character grow, develop, and change over time. Be a character, not a charicature.

4. When in doubt, back off. If you're not sure where to go with a potentially volatile RP interaction, try to bring it to a close. Some players make these interactions work well, and some really struggle with bringing them to a neat and effective finish.

5. Strive to entertain your tribemates MORE than you are entertaining yourself. Look at Damoxian. Everyone loves Damoxian, everyone knows who he is. He is the single most effective example of a well-played nasty character I've ever seen. While he's got a smart reply for stupid questions, nobody doubts his loyalty to the Tribe or questions his integrity OOC. Don't carbon-copy him, because that's lame, but watch how he does it. He's a study in vile, twisted grace.
Since I have been made out to be what one might consider an interesting role model. I will propose a few words on what makes for an interesting *evil* character.

The first and to me most important rule of playing an evil character is this. Your character should never think of himself as evil. The moment you do, you become a walking cliche. Villains who want to be three dimensional should as Sreng mentioned, have fantastic reasons for what they do. Damoxian would never call himself evil. He does terrible things for good reason. Its how he paves his way to hell after all.

Secondly - if you play a character to be a rotten person...why would anyone really want to be around you? If you can't have some redeeming characteristics and find people unwilling to play with you...should you really be surprised? I see a lot of *evil* characters that I wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole for this very reason. A villain needs to be despicable true, but unless your a stooge for someone more powerful, you need to have a certain charisma as well.

Third - If you are a jerk out of character & in character....get out of my tribe. Anyone who talks to me on vent knows that kind of person I really am. Crude, obnoxious and generally good natured. And despite my characters grumbling, he will move tribal objectives forward, provided they can in some way co-incide with his own.

Just food for thought,
I would like to add a specific comment to Damoxians post.

His second point to me is critical. My character, Krell, consisently wonders why all these mean, nasty people would be allowed into the Tribe? What redeeming qualities do they have that makes me want to group with them, or even lift a finger to help them?

Just because you RP an "evil" character does not give you the right to act like an a$$ in my opinion. If you are having a verbal sparring session with a guildmate, perhaps send an OOC whisper explaining that you are in fact, RPing, as some things are taken quite personal.

Personally, while Krell may need agree with Damoxian 100 percent of the time, he is able to work with him because Damo does move the Tribe in a forward direction.

Just some Hot Braised Ribs for thought.



It is unfortunate that people forget thier manners and common decency sometimes with these types of characters. I try to play Heari as sloooowly learning his manners, but when I know he's being obnoxious about something, I try to couple it with an OOC comment (usually in the same line) with a little disclaimer. I also try to put my best foot forward when interacting OOC in general, which I've found helps a lot. I also try to take it easy unless I'm interacting in a small group with people who know more or less what to expect from him.
I'd just like to add my two bits. One key to enjoyable RP for everyone is that you should rarely, if ever, decide entirely on your own the outcome of actions taken in RP. It's something I very rarely see happen, which is great. Try to avoid long-winded actions that don't give the person you're roleplaying with a chance to respond in-character, and take actions themselves. Umu's a good example of what to do - he runs amok with Tribemates, tossing them around and smashing things, but I've never seen him do so without waiting for input from other players. That's fun for everyone, because everyone gets a chance to get involved, instead of one person deciding what happens to everyone else.


That's a good point. I prefer to use the word "attempts" when my character does something destructive, to give the other players a chance to step in. For instance, "Heari attempts to lift Eziror's coin purse from her bag". I know Heari's a terrible pickpocket, and I give Eziror's player (and anyone else who wants to step in) every chance to keep her coin. The other player can, however, allow the event to happen and play with the outcome. Either result is true to Heari's nature, and it makes the interactions more fun.

There are going to be some actions that, for one reson or another, the player will choose to go all the way through without waiting for another player's input. For instance, if I say "Heari lifts Eziror's coin purse from her bag", there's probably a point to him having it, and I will most likely have discussed it with the player ahead of time. It's fine if you use it in moderation, just don't overdo it.

I used to have an article on "godmodding" that I found when I was on a roleplaying forum lo these many years ago. If I find it again, I'll link it.

...Also, throw something at me if I'm rambling, please! Smile
Sreng, Damo and Qaza really have said everything I would on this subject. A lot of people enjoy the opportunity to play a character that isn't a stereotypical hero, possibly preferring a more conflict-driven character or one who is an anti-hero even. That's fine. Just make sure you hold the Ironsong Code of Conduct close while you do so. Personally I think we could use more Tribe unity here in the era of the Burning Crusade, but that's just me.

Follow the CoC and show respect for each other and we'll have no problems. I don't say this lightly - people who have been having issues understanding and following the CoC have been spoken to about it, warned about it, and in some cases we've had to remove them for causing excessive disruption and not taking proffered advice on improving the situations in question. Please help us make Ironsong a fun home for all our digital selves.

I like this guild a lot because of these posts. A whole lot.

Oh, but one thing...

Shillatae Wrote:Please help us make Ironsong a fun home for all our digital selves.


Am I a bad person 'cause I first read that as "digital slaves" and blinked a few times? >.>
Prisom Wrote:I like this guild a lot because of these posts. A whole lot.

Oh, but one thing...

Shillatae Wrote:Please help us make Ironsong a fun home for all our digital selves.


Am I a bad person 'cause I first read that as "digital slaves" and blinked a few times? >.>

No.. because that's what I totally thought it said until now (and I didn't even question it, goodness). <.<