Guide to Roleplaying

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Roleplaying is a very important factor of playing on Polaris, and more so than some other Space Station 13 versions out there. Different servers have different play styles, and this guide will go some way in helping you learn about ours.

General Tips

First thing's first, you play your character, not you. You know absolutely nothing that they do not know. If you are an Assistant, you aren't going to know all the things the Medical Doctor does, how to start up the engine, or complicated scientific knowledge. If you, personally, don't know something (like a complicated medical procedure), but your character should because of their role, it is safe to assume that you will be able to perform it. In that circumstance, it's reasonable to ask the staff for assistance or read a guide to make sure that you know what you're doing.

On the flipside, if a situation calls for you character to do something they aren't familiar with (e.g. performing first aid, or working a piece of equipment out of their knowledge), but you do, your character should NOT suddenly gain the appropriate knowledge. Try to roleplay doing something badly (e.g. not understanding a medical scanner readout). Remember, even though things only takes a couple of clicks from your side, they are much more complicated for your character.

You should also try to act according to your position, e.g. be subservient to your superiors. You have no right to ignore the Station Director, unless, of course, you are an Antagonist(or he is and the entire station knows). This is especially true of your direct superiors; you need to try and listen to your departmental head: the Research Director for the science team, the Head of Security for the security officers, the Chief Engineer for the engineering crew, the Chief Medical Officer for medical, and the Head of Personnel for civilian roles.

Use emotions in Roleplay, to bring out your character. Being a completely emotionless, unafraid, Rambo-like character, is a bad thing to do. This goes for the same in serious situations. Do NOT run into an area where a hostage(s) is being kept captive, and try to take out the hostage takers. That is a very good way to get banned.

Use the skill system to set your character's skills! The skills system give you some flexibility when roleplaying your character, giving you a little leeway and some defence for your actions. It's not perfect, but if you don't set them staff will generally assume that you can only do what is expected of your job (e.g. A Medical Doctor knowing how to do medical things and not engineering things).

In terms of metagaming, there are some very bad examples. For example, calling someone a 'Traitor' if you happen to see someone committing a crime is very bad RP. Using terminology like “Changeling” is another example of this.

You probably won't have much, if any, knowledge of what the antagonists are, or what equipment they have access to. For example, your character would really have no idea what a cryptographic sequencer (or “emag”) is in most circumstances. Crying traitor or similar just because you found a mysterious package (which to your character is simply that, a 'mysterious package' and NOT C4) is a big no no too. For further information, see Identifying Antagonists.

Using words like 'cultists', 'revs', 'revolutionaries', etc. is a very good way to have people label you as a metagamer. Don't do it.

Getting In Character

Getting 'In Character' can be hard, but the below should give you an outline as to how to do it.

The first challenge of understanding your character is to get an idea of what they're like. Experienced roleplayers will notice that the personality of your character changes and evolves over time, but it's still useful to start out with a general idea. A few questions that you should be able to answer include:

  • To strangers, is my character shy/extroverted/friendly/arrogant?
  • How much does my character value his job / How obedient is she towards her higher-ups?
  • How would my character react to stress / a combat situation / blood and gore?
  • How much pain can my character take? / Is my character afraid of death?
  • What skills does my character have outside her department?

Ask yourself these questions one by one and answer them. If you can't answer them right away, look at the way your character behaved so far, and use that as your answer.

Now, there's a bit of a special case here. Is your character a person who can stay calm in any situation, regularly ignores orders, doesn't have a problem with bashing in someone's skull with a toolbox if needed, never even feels slightly sick at the sight of gore, can take crazy amounts of pain without going crazy, and is only mildly afraid of death? If most of these points apply to your character, chances are, you haven't been playing your character. You've been playing with your own personal goals in mind, while neglecting the feelings of the virtual entity on the screen.

Sure, you may be playing a character who can take a lot of pain, who isn't afraid of death and who doesn't raise an eyebrow at the sight of someone's exposed intestines. But quite frankly, these types aren't just rare, a lot of the time they're also pretty boring to play.

  • Try reacting to pain. When airflow smashes you against a wall, scream and shout your pain out for a minute. When someone takes blood from you, clench your teeth. When you're injured, lay and wait for help instead of walking off.
  • Similarly, react to hunger. Why not ask your colleagues out for a meal?
  • You're at work, with a strict hierarchy. If you want to carry out a research project, maintain the engine, etc., ask your higher-ups first. People who act on their own and mess up also will take all the blame, and you really don't want to be fired.
  • As a Head, keep your crew in check. Invent things for the staff to do (although you probably want to include unrealistically generous breaks or make it clear it's relatively optional), give out orders, ask people who missed a deadline to come to your office. Punish disobedience with measures such as docking their pay or suspending them from work.
  • Talk with your colleagues about things. This is difficult in-game because you can't talk and do stuff at the same time like in real-life, but really, take the time. Talk about topics like your opinion of people on the station, the quality of food, that hole in the window near arrivals, the restaurant downstairs. Read up on the lore of the universe and ask people where they came from, where they grew up, and so on.
  • If you need help with something that your character is inexperienced with, ask an in-game friend, the responsible department, or a head.
  • When someone is killed in front of you or something equally traumatic happens, scream, run away, cry, freeze up, or otherwise show that this causes extreme emotions with you. Don't just continue on as usual as if nothing happened. Despite how the rounds often play out, things don't always explode and people aren't always dying.

Talking with someone else's character about fictional topics for half an hour and enjoying a virtual beer can be way more rewarding than winning a traitor round.

Antagonists

This is important. THE ANTAGONISTS ARE MOSTLY UNKNOWN. WHILST TRAITORS CAN REPRESENT ANYONE OPPOSING THE STATION, ANTAGONISTS SUCH AS CULTISTS AND WIZARDS ARE UNKNOWN. Yelling 'syndies' or 'traitors' is going to get you reprimanded in very short order. Again, see Identifying Antagonists for knowledge on what you character can, and cannot, identify.

There are admittedly some situations where there is a logical reason to do it. Mercenaries who call themselves Mercenaries are clearly mercenaries. Cultists saying they're a cult of a dark god are clearly... a cult!

As an antagonist, you should also try to roleplay. Killing your targets or converting people without saying anything is a bad way to go about it and will see you seriously punished. Try to make it interesting for the other party. The general rule here is to not annoy the other person. If they believe they had an 'enjoyable' experience, you are much less likely to get reprimanded.

Not Being Suspicious

Not reading this may result in you throwing a tantrum in a brig cell, because you were accused of doing something you “are not responsible for” or is “not that bad”.

Remember that whenever a Security Officer stands besides you and asks “What are you doing?”, or tries to perform a random search, not complying is very suspicious, and it's their job to investigate suspicious individuals, so don't behave like one.

Do your job, and go only where you are supposed to go, unless given an order from one of your heads. Beware what you carry with you, because a barman is not supposed to carry a taser, and that will look suspicious.

ALWAYS COMMUNICATE! This might seem obvious, but you should know that, in a heavy roleplay game, you talk with people around you a lot. Tell them what you are doing, or want to do, since that's how people behave in the real life.

Do not be an idiot and start making art in the ground with the wires while taking off floor tiles and expect security to cheer your artwork, when you are apparently vandalizing the station.

If you aren't doing anything wrong, stop where you are, don't run away. Criminals run away, and you're not a criminal, right? Explain what you were doing. Don't assume people won't understand, don't start calling names, and generally speaking, don't be an idiot.

Developing a Character

Roles

Sometimes it can be hard to come up with an idea on how to play as a certain role. Here are some starting points that you can use to help with developing a character in a specific role.

Command Tips

You're at the top. The highest of the of those around you. The elite of elites. You were elected to this position because you are superior in your career to everyone else, and also because you have the leadership ability that only a few people have.

What the station needs is what you need, and what you command is what happens. The simple tasks that require someone to actually work are not to be handled by you, but instead by your underlings. However, it's not because those are menial tasks not fit for a leader, but because if you lose time with those simple tasks, other parts of the station may end up being ignored and disasters will happen. As a Head, you oversee your part of the station, you don't step in unless absolutely necessary. If something goes wrong, you don't blame the engineers, you blame the Chief Engineer for not supervising them. You take responsibility for everything your team does, be it great advancements or terrible mistakes.

Station Director

With great power, comes great responsibility. Being the Station Director means you only oversee one part of the station. All of it. It's quite a daunting job, and only you can handle it. Be confident, or the crew may doubt you and mutiny may occur. The way you solve situations depends entirely on how you role play, either as an inflexible and rigid Director, or as a caring, charismatic leader. It WILL have repercussions, no matter how you solve it. But that's why you're the Director, because you are the only one with the courage to step forward and manage a whole facility. Always remember the guts it takes to hold this job, when you take on the responsibilities of the Director.

Head of Personnel

You're a bit of a pencil pusher. You're not security, engineering, science, or any department really. You manage jobs and make sure each department is staffed fully. Apart from that you assume the job of Station Director if he is absent, and you handle jobs and positions for everyone else. Total freedom means you can role play whatever you want, but don't expect people to remember you often, since you don't tend to interact much with them outside of your office.

Head of Security

The top in the security chain, you coordinate your team in any crisis. Remember that if there are two situations happening at the same time, you must decide how many officers head to each, and you're the one who makes the plans in a hostage situation. You give tactics and battle experience, and you decide everything that has to do with security in the station. You can role play a battle hardened veteran or a paper pusher with little field experience but that is a brilliant technician and knows a lot of Corporate Regulations, for example.

Chief Engineer

The engine, atmospherics, EVA, the AI, Telecomms, and a lot of repairs to make can be a huge responsibility, but you can take it. You are the CHIEF because you can hold the dam while your team fixes it. You are the master beaver, the one that finds the holes in the dam and knows how to fix them. But you don't do it yourself. If you were fixing a hole, you wouldn't notice the other four that just opened. Instead you have a whole team of “beavers”, your engineers, that will fix all holes you point to, change the light bulbs in any room you tell them too. You have a simple job. Prevent station damage. And that's both serious and hard. That's why you are the CHIEF. Everyone can close a hole. But only you can find them all.

Research Director

You supervise the team that gives a purpose to the station. The science team is a weird bunch, all quite different and with the tendency to not communicate much, since they have more important stuff to do. Which is fine with you since that's what you want most of the time, a productive and working science team. You could role play as the typical paper pusher, since you don't need to get in the labs;. You just need to tell them what you believe is more important right now. You can role play as a rigid director with a limited budget and time schedule, or you can be an eager scientist and a dreamer, hoping to see science changing the world around you, as your team discovers more and more ways to amaze the whole crew.

Chief Medical Officer

The Medbay is your domain. You're the one who knows all the answers when people walk through that door. You know people and how they work. You keep people sane and keep them healthy. Considering the crew you have to work with, this can be an almost impossible task. In times of medical crisis, it's your job to command, control and quarantine. You're an expert in your field, and you need to show it. For some reason or another, you're not seen as important by the other Heads. Next time there's a virus outbreak and everyone is in Medbay yelling for someone to help them, you might be able to make them think otherwise.

Security Tips

Security personnel should not take this job as a joke. At all. Unlike many other jobs, you'll be handling something much more dangerous than bombs, or Supermatter. Criminals. Human minds hellbent on making the whole station go kaput. And why are they more dangerous then bombs and Supermatters mixed together? Because it tends to be them who mix them. You're a trained professional. Act like it. Don't abuse your power, and keep the station safe.

Security Officer

You're well trained, well armed and ready for everything. Most of the time. You may actually be quite the opposite. The only thing you have to remember is that your job may be a bit dangerous, and the most important thing to role play is how you cope with it. Do you show patience with the crew, or do you brig everyone that steals a nickel from you? Do you ask and investigate the crimes or do you threaten and coerce a confession? Are you the good or the bad cop? Regardless, keep the station safe, don't abuse your power, and keep on going.

Warden

You're less about running, and more about securing security. You're in charge of the brig. If someone tried to break in (or more likely, break out), it's your job to deal with it. Any criminals brought in are under your watch. You're there to make sure some over-zealous officer doesn't assign a ridiculous time for the crime. Keeping calm and collected is an important part of the job. Prisoners may hurl insults at you and try to break out. Just deal with it as it comes, and remember that criminals are there to be treated fairly, but firmly.

Detective

You are the prime investigator. You're part of security, but not the running around catching pickpocket type of security. You're there for bigger fish. The high risk theft, the silent dead bodies, the locked room mysteries. Life and crime is one big puzzle, and you're there to put the pieces together. That's the big difference between you and the average security guard. You go into a crime scene and you get the proof. You go to the trial and you make sure the guilty party is locked up.

Engineering Tips

Engineering is the brawn and muscle aboard the ship. You do the hard labor, and without you, the station would fall apart. You give air, power, and stability to everyone else. They need you, and they know it, even if they don't like to admit it.

Station Engineer

You care about the station. The station is your home. And a man's home is his castle. Engineers and the like are know to use their brawn for unarmed combat, and they aren't defenseless. Being frequently exposed to life threatening situations tends to make you bold and as such you don't tend to fear death as much as Chemists for instance. Be wary of attacking engineers. They're pretty tough and fairly close. Taking one out may give you more trouble than it's worth. In the end, it's all about keep the station alive, and you can do that spectacularly.

Atmospheric Technician

They're an odd group. They control the air, which is needed more often than not. They tend to be a bit quirky, or even geeky. Knowing how to decipher the mess of pipes that is Atmospherics can do that to you. You're not an engineer, but you know enough to keep your precious atmosphere inside the station. You're also the main one to call to fight fires that steal away your precious air. You keep everyone breathing. And in the end, that's all the really matters.

Medical Tips

With the exception of some Med/Sci jobs, the pure medical department is rather small. Regardless, your job is to keep the crew alive and healthy. That dealing with anything or anyone that comes into Medbay and treating whatever ailment they have. This is a tough job that attracts a wide variety of people, with a single goal, keeping people alive.

Medical Doctor

You can role play a doctor tired with all mountains of whiners that complaining, no matter how bad they are, but you still stick with them to help. Or you could role play a helpful fella with a smile in his face, ready to be kind and courteous to anyone and everyone. You're a bit of a general medic, dealing with anyone that comes into Medbay and making sure they leave fully healthy. You basically know how to use and abuse everything and anything in Medbay. Chemical mixing, and complicated surgery is probably a bit beyond you though.

Surgeon

All medical doctors have access to the operating theater, and you're no exception. However, delicate surgeries, such as limb reattachment, or eye surgery, are best left to your precise hands. The most patient contact you have will usually be while they're asleep, so you may be a bit abrasive at times. You're highly skilled individual however, so don't be afraid to flaunt it. You're skills are mostly centered on the equipment in the operating theater, but you should know a bit about general medicine too. Just don't go playing around with the cryo cells or other such things.

Chemist

You tend to have your chemical dispenser and consider it your “little world”, caring little for what people do around the station as long as they don't touch that. However, remember that many people, especially doctors, expect you to make some medicines for them. You probably have a very good knowledge of medicines and how they work with the body.

Virologist

(NB: Random virus events are currently disabled) You cure and research disease, so it's unlikely you'll be a social butterfly. However, you're probably good at what you do, and unafraid to show it. When people come in dying of Radian's Syndrome, you're the guy who knows just how to cure it. That might inspire a bit of a 'God Complex' in you. You probably don't have a lot of patient contact, so the practical side of medicine may elude you. You may be called in to help in emergencies however, so you're expected to at least know the basics.

Emergency Physician

A stressful job. You're constantly dealing with patient hovering on the brink of death, and it's your job to tip the balance. With the help of the Roboticist you can operate the Oddyseus and be able to transport critical patient back to Medbay. You're not there to deal with the Janitor who comes in complaining about a burn from touching a lightbulb, but more often than not you'll be pulling double duty. This job attracts those who can deal with the stress, but it's tough. You're probably a bit abrasive and commanding, you need to take control in emergencies after all! At the end of the day though, you're the reason those people are still alive, and others will have to accept that, no matter how grudgingly.

Research Tips

The facility isn't dedicated to research, however a research division is still onboard because NanoTrasen decided it was a good idea. It's your job to develop new contraptions, or chemicals, or any other type of improvement that will help the general well being of the crew.

You are seen as a bit of an elitist group, with the exception of some of the Med/Sci crossover departments, such as Roboticists. Medical Doctors may not have much of a problem with blood and corpses, since they see that all the time, but the Scientist and Chemist wouldn't tend to handle them well.

Also, you are a Science Team. Not a Wrestling Team, or a Shooting Squad. That means you are most likely to run and call security then handle it yourself. You are valuable, and you use your brain, not your brawn. Let security handle the dangerous criminals, while you handle the dangerous chemicals, bombs, and diseases.

Scientist

You have many jobs, such as crafting phoron-based weaponry (especially bombs), dealing with lethal aliens, and creating highly experimental weaponry. You have a dangerous job that can potentially put all the crew in danger. Keep that in mind. It may make you a bit wacky, or more serious, but no matter what, you like what you do (probably, or you're one depressed scientist...). You know the power and responsibility in your hands and you're sane enough to keep yourself in check. Usually.

Roboticist

You're the invisible helping hand of the station. Whenever a bot helps someone, it's because you made it, therefore, you are responsible for another life being saved. (Well, it's hard to imagine a clean bot having that much importance, but you get the point...) However, don't expect people to recognize you for that, since they saw the bot and not you. You main skill is your ability to make robots, prosthesis, and exosuits. These can change the station into a more durable and serious state, since (some) robots are all metal and no emotions, and exosuits increase productivity dramatically. You are not expected to be very emotional or social, much like the robots you make. Corpses don't bother you as much either, since you do some lobotomies from time to time. Performing live lobotomies is iffy. Try to get a Medical Doctor to do it for you. If you wish to undertake it yourself, always, always, use sleeping gas.

Civilian Tips

Civilians have an easy life. Generally, if you role play this, you get to make any type of character, with no restriction whatsoever, but a common characteristic is that you want a simple life. You don't have the brain for a science position, the brawn for security or the know-how for engineering, but you always wanted to go to space. So you ended up as a one of those rather simple roles.

That doesn't mean you are not valuable. It just means you have an easier job, and people don't expect as much of you, so less stress for you. However, that also means that violence, death, and any other strange stuff like aliens and what not tend to make you freak out. Unless you are roleplaying a really bold individual (which is usually bad), or someone with no emotions...

Assistant

This is a completely free role. Roleplay however you want! Just remember, you must have done something to get on a space station.

Bartender and Chef

Essentially the same in terms of function, since they are supposed to provide food/drink to the crew that wishes so. The only difference however is the fact that booze makes you “happy” while food just fills your stomach, making food a more healthy option. Play that card well and you can use it for good effects on role play.

Chaplain or Counselor

Remember this is a role play job only. It's all you do, role play. So it becomes extremely important to know how to correctly role play this. The Counselor is the one in charge of the talking, as in, the discussion of the personal problems of people. Death tends to maim people psychologically, and you'll be needed to help them cope with it. It does not mean it doesn't affect you, but you must be strong and help the traumatized. Less stressing tasks may include someone choosing a new career if they are not happy with the one they have now. While as a Chaplain you may introduce a religious side to your consults, your main purpose is the above.

Janitor

Quite a messy job. Since you only tend to have work when someone messes up. Usually the cause of the mess is long gone when you arrive, so this is quite a laid back job, and you can get quite a lazy life with almost no one complaining. You can role play just about everyone, from a clean-freak that must every spot in the station clean to a lazy fat dude, that walks slowly and cleans even more slowly, since cleaning for him is a distraction from his lunch.

Quartermaster

You are the one that supplies. You get stuff. You give people what they need. They also know you can't give everything to everyone, and as such, you can get a lot of people being nice to you just to get on your good side. Enjoy it as much as you want, and even turn to corruption if you wish, but remember there will be repercussions if the medical supplies ordered by the captain don't arrive...

Cargo Technician

Really nothing more than a bunch of crate pushers and mail men. You do what the Quartermaster says, but apart from that, you're about as free as an Assistant.

Shaft Miner

A bunch of real laborers. They tend to be strong burly types, and generally think of the station population as a bunch of wusses. They risk life on the fringes of a giant asteroid or on a remote outpost all day with almost no interaction with anyone but each other. That can inspire some rather deep connections, or just a bunch of weird loners. Most people don't care as long as their materials arrive on time. It's a tough job.

Botanist

You love plants. That's fairly obvious. Maybe you like cooking to them or talking to them. Either way, you wouldn't have taken this job if you didn't like them. Right? Maybe you like them more than other people and are a rather introverted person. Or maybe you're just a friend to all living things. Just don't expect the living things to be friends back.