From New Babbage Department of Records and Archives
"New Babbage was never built with the intention of being a roleplaying sim. It just happens to happen here." -Mosseveno Tenk
The City is home to an active roleplay community, but RP is 100% optional here. We strongly recommend reading the Covenant before starting roleplay in New Babbage.
Remember to be considerate in whom you approach for roleplay, and how. For instance, timely instant messaging may prevent any misunderstandings from escalating from In Character (IC) conflict into Out Of Character (OOC) drama.
A number of interesting discussions have been had about roleplay in New Babbage.
Here are some very useful discussions initiated by Doctor Obolensky and others about establishing your roleplay character and storytelling, with many citizen's contributions.
The Best Advice on Getting Started
"Start slow. Start very slow. Make friends with someone and play a sort of a flavor role in whatever they're up to. Don't try to make world-changing plots in your first few weeks in town, even if you're a veteran roleplayer. Work yourself into it."
"Being that RP is a sideshow of Babbage and not the main attraction, it is not likely to ever have any kind of formality or bounds, and because of that, its best treated VERRY carefully. There are RP regions devoted entirely to a game... Those tend to work much better for RPG as there ARE limits. Like most games there are rules, and failure to play by the rules means you will not play. That's how it is, but obviously that wont work with our situation."
Some Observations (of what doesn't work)
Time is a limited resource.
Roleplay in New Babbage is a tricky thing. Not enough of it, and folks get bored. Too much of it, and folks put their land up for sale and move out.
People have often beat their heads on the wall trying to figure out how to get a roleplay going. Sometimes it is easier to say what doesn't work. Here are some observations from Mayor Tenk from things he has seen bellyflop to the bottom of the canals after two years in office.
Anime Tropes. Historically, these are not received well. People either have no idea what you are doing, know exactly what you are doing and pretend not to because it annoys the crap out of them, or are just overwhelmed by the noisy immaturity of it all and close the window. Do not expect people to pick up on anime references.
Anything, even slightly, suggestive of ageplay. New Babbage is a child haven and will always be so. It is a deep part of the culture. If your story involves children and you commonly reference objects or situations that are associated with very adult behavior as it is known in SL, it won't be long before the locals close ranks and run you out of town.
Brothels. You can beg, you can plead, but it ain't going to happen. We got a Very Bad History with these, and considering the new TOS maturity ratings for sims, it really ain't going to happen. Best referenced as an off-camera establishment.
Half-human Vampire Lycans Raised By Gypsies From Another Dimension Named Raven. If this was an original idea, why am I writing about it here? You are telling me that you can't make up your mind and are not creative enough to find interesting solutions to in-character dilemmas. And there is a good chance you are also trying to play (next slide please...)
The Mysterious Bad-ass. This character is a dead end. He doesn't work. You have to give something to get something, and that silent broody stare is not enough to engage your audience. They'll quickly bore of you and move on rather than try to drag your story out of you. Best used as a walk-on character.
Purple Prose Technique. He looks at you, calculating, rolling his cigarette holder slowly between his yellow stained teeth. Languidly, his hand reaches up to the ebony pipe, and lingers a minute before pulling it out from his thin pale lips. His startling teal eyes gaze dreamily into yours as he says in a clear tenor voice "Dude, please. I only have an hour or two a night I can afford to be on SL. Get on with it!" Purple prose is considered rude in scenes that involve large groups of avatars. (cf. Time is a limited resource)
Religion. Tread cautiously, or Just Don't. It is all fun and games as long as we can all agree it is all make-believe, but bring some religion in from the real world, and I guarantee it is going to bring out the missionary zeal in someone. This is beyond unpleasant and will empty out a sim faster than Bob's socks. This is the real sticky point with magic: what is make-believe to one person is religion to another, and that kills more than just roleplay.
Too Complicated. People have attempted to introduce roleplay structures that involved detailed notecards, meters, or objects to make the scenario work. If I need to have it explained to me, it's too hard. (cf. Time is a limited resource)
Too Emo. Stop making it about you. Some things are not meant for public consumption.
Too Subtle. There was once a brilliant villianress in town that told a well crafted, chilling tale, with hints and clues left to follow, and the only reason I knew about it was because she told me beforehand so I would not return the objects before the tale was done. Be aware that you might be telling your story for an audience of one (which is perfectly fine, it's YOUR leisure time!). Do not expect that people will check your outside blog to follow the action as it unfolds.
Villians. Babbagers have very high expectations of their villains. Measure up, or the locals will tie you to the tracks and sip brandy while waiting for the evening freight-train to Bump.
Further Observations (Specific Examples of RP Gone Wrong)
This subject comes up periodically in the discussion forums. Here are some further observations from Mayor Tenk that are more specific to incidents in the past.
I wouldn't "invite you to coffee" over everything on this list, but someone would bring it up to my attention:
Anything that has to do with the Bloodlines game.
The Plotkiller - That busy-body goody two shoes that wants to neatly solve all your woes like *that.* probably travels in a tardis and doesn't stick around very long.
The TMI guy - Hey, I don't need to know about your history and how many alts/characters you run in this town when we get introduced (conversely, I don't need to know about your real life medical history either, you are getting waaaaay too intimate. I am not your support group.)
The guy that wanted to slap a collar on that kid. OK, so maybe it was benign childsnatcher hijinx, but collaring, sadly, is a verb with a very specific meaning in SL.
The guy that thought he could be a villain but had really thin skin and could not maintain objectivity if someone stood up to him, and was probably off his meds too. People like this have no business roleplaying.
Co-dependent Children - This is another level of intimacy issue, it is uncomfortable and creepy. take it to an adoption agency sort of place (there really are such things, ask around the kid networks) or I'll call in Mrs. Foehammer to take care of you.
Disruptive to sim administration - Specifically, acting like a working sl call girl in a non-adult sim to establish yourself as a future roleplay murder victim (yeah, that hurts when you start analyzing that, lets leave it for the philosophers). This was a crew that came in specifically to push the limits of rp, but how they went about it was completely inappropriate.
Perseverating in chat - Like reminding everyone that your grandmother is a goddess three to seven times a day.
Godmodding - Characters too powerful to loose (these do appear as "prop" characters now and then to propel a story forward, but used oh so sparingly). You can't work with this.
Scriptmodding - I've never seen this happen here, but I've heard about it. some folks think roleplaying means you get to completely control the outcome, all the way down to passing out scripts. We DO use something like this to wrap up a story, like in parlour scenes where you expect you will have a lot of onlookers who want to know how things will wrap up, but even then, it is a highly improvised session that works towards an agreed upon outcome.
Demanding Attention - Not everyone is going to have time for you.
Surprise RP - Make sure your targets are the kind of people that want to play, OK? You'll embarass yourself if you do this in front of the wrong audience.
Level of Publicity - I think there was always a lot of roleplay in the city, but before we got into social networking, it was a lot less visible, and therefore, those in the anti-roleplay faction were not aware of the backstory that was shaping up on the streets. What is your motive for RP? To entertain yourself, or tell a story to a larger audience? Is it just something you do to hang out with your friends? If it's feeding an intimate need of yours, do the rest of us have to know about it? I am aware of a lot of tales in the past, some chapters of longer stories, that simply were not fit for print, and I appreciate the restraint of those involved for not bringing it to everyone's attention.