Roleplaying

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Role Playing

In the ULTRA system role-playing is stressed above all else. It is the reason why we play this type of game and the driving force behind all the work that everyone does to bring an ULTRA game to life. Even for the people who enjoy the action / adventure aspects of the game over any other part, they are role playing as well and are just as much role players as a person who enjoys the chance to get into a different persona for a weekend and interact with other players. Ultra ultimate goal is to support any style of play in one system. With both types of role players in mind, and all those who fall somewhere in between, Ultra suggests the following to help you enjoy your role-playing as much as possible.

  1. Play a character – not yourself in funny clothes
  2. Keep anything that is out-of-game strictly out-of-game and anything In-game only In-game
  3. Always play the game by the intention of the rules not necessarily by the exact wording – If you have any questions on what the intention of the rules are make sure to clarify any possible misinterpretation with a marshal.
  4. Practice – practice – practice. Language, casting, combat and almost every other part of this game will be much more enjoyable when done well and this is directly related to how much a person practices
  5. Know the procedures for problem resolution – not every situation is going to be an ideal one and sooner or later a problem will arise. Don’t be afraid of going to a marshal and let him take care of it. Realize that this might take time depending on the problem and try to be as patient and cooperative as possible so that the problem can be gotten around as quickly and as fairly as possible.
  6. There always is someone who is quicker, faster, more experienced or just plain luckier than you are. Don’t evaluate how well you play by someone else’s accomplishments, standards or goals.
  7. Challenge yourself – One of the greatest satisfactions is to accomplish something that you believed you couldn’t do before you tried.
  8. You only get out what you put into it.

Role Playing Hints

Here are some more hints to help you become a great role-player:

  1. Stay in Character. If you make the effort to stay in character, and react to things as your medieval/fantasy Character would, not as a 21st century citizen would, this will add to your gaming experience. It is also addictive to the other players around you. The better you are, the harder they try.
  2. Know the Rules. Make it a point to know the rules and follow them. They are designed to allow Players to stay in character. Arguments over the fine points of the rules of the game take away from the continuity of the game itself. If everyone remembers and follows the simple guidelines set down in this book, then game play will be allowed to flow uninterrupted.
  3. Learn about magic. Even if your Character doesn’t use magic, know what the effects and duration of certain spells are. Play will be interrupted by asking, “What does that do?” In the middle of a battle. You don’t need to memorize the entire list word for word, just a basic working knowledge of what might be thrown at you in combat.
  4. Talk to other people. This means the barkeep, the town guard, or the seemingly unimportant settler alone in the corner of the tavern. Everyone has a story to tell. Know your Characters history and share your past with other Players. Have an opinion and voice it often.
  5. Explore – The age-old expression about curiosity killing the cat doesn’t explain how much fun the cat had in the process. Finding out new things about people and places can be a very rewarding part of your game, but only if you explore those options.
  6. Make friends, allies or enemies – There are many other players in game doing the same thing you are. Get know them and see how much they can help you out. Even sometimes making an enemy out of another player can put an aspect of competition into your game and theirs too, But do remember that someone might make an enemy out of you to and after the game is over what is in game is only in game.
  7. Stay Active. After a big battle with whatever is trying to destroy the Outpost this cycle, it’s nice to sit in the local tavern and down a smooth pint of ale. But, don’t sit around for an entire event waiting for adventure to land in your lap. Search the forest behind the graveyard, talk to other tavern patrons, or find the man who killed your father. Find a job, join a guild, start a guild, DO SOMETHING! The Game, like life, is what you make of it.

Costuming

There is a lot that you as a Player need to do before you are ready to play the game. The first is getting a costume ready. The ultra system is set in a Medieval/Fantasy arena. Costumes are important to maintain the integrity and feel of the game. You need to decide whether you want a more historical look or if you want to go with a more creative fantasy look for your Character. There are Renaissance Festivals and plenty of on line catalogs of historical clothing for your costuming needs. Links to some of these sites are available on our web site. You can find armor of all types, shirts, pants, tights (if you prefer), doublets, bodices, skirts, kilts, and all the accessories to go with. If you want to create a more fantasy look for your Character, you can do this by looking at yard sales, consignment/second-hand shops or your local Salvation Army outlet. These can be the perfect places to find the “raw materials” to create your own look. This method will also save you some coin. Old leather coats or vests can easily be made into armor. Old over sized belts are perfect for costumes. Check out the jewelry too, sometimes the more tasteless and garish the better. It is best to have an idea of what you want your Character to look like before you start buying up old clothes. A quick look in your own closet may be a good place to start. The part, it seems, that most people put the least amount of thought into when creating a costume, is footwear. You could be the meanest barbarian in the world, but it would be silly to see your character in a loincloth and Nikes. Many players will cover their existing shoes with faux fur or fake leather, which can be used to make boot spats. Try to stick with black sneakers or hiking shoes at the very least. Craft shops can be a great place to find fabric remnants. You can find bits and pieces of faux fur, fake leather or a sturdy bit of wool or cotton. Even if you can’t sew there are fabric glues, iron-on strips like Stitch Witchery, and plain old safety pins. With just a few dollars, some imagination, and a dash of ingenuity, coming up with a costume is one of the best parts of the game. Certain characters are required to wear items that designated their race. Elves have pointy ears and wear them the entire event. An elf could wear a floppy hat to cover his ears, but cannot remove them while in game. A dwarf could not remove his, or her, beard when it gets hot out. Before you choose a character that has to wear these race designators, be sure that you wish to do so. Poor wear of racial prosthetic will disqualify the player from choosing characters other than human. No wigs, beards or other prosthesis are allowed unless you start your character with them.

Speaking in Period

The ULTRA system greatly encourages the use of period language. This adds much to the atmosphere, almost as much as the costumes, and makes getting into character and staying there much easier.

ULTRA realizes that this will add to the complexity of the game, but it is felt that the advantages gained by using such language is well worth it. Speaking in this style also helps to differentiate out-of-character conversations with in character ones. Don’t worry about sounding silly, everyone else will be talking like that too and they will realize if you are just starting out that you won’t be able to spout like Queen Elizabeth at your local faire.

Attached is a list of some common phrases that can be used in game. This list is by no means complete and it is greatly encouraged that players seek out other sources to increase their in-game vocabulary.


Alas – Oh well Gramercy – Thank you M’Lord/M’Lady – Sir/Madam Morrow - Day
Vexes – Troubles Huzzah! – Hurray! Thee/Thou – You Hither – Here
Thy/Thine – Yours Dost – Do Gentels – Commoners Morn – Sunrise
Tis – It is Midday – Noon Enow – Enough E’en – Evening or Even
Oft – Often Eve – Sunset Nay – No Knave – Ignoble Person
Aye/Yea – Yes Privy – Washroom Ne’er – Never Prithee/Pray – Please
Yonder – Away From Mine – My Yon – Those Arroint – Away
Wherefore – Why Verily – Truly Mayhap/Perchance – Maybe Fie/Pox – Curse
Wench – Waitress Sirrah – A demeaning form of address Comely – Attractive Cur – Coward
Art – Are Forsooth – In truth, indeed Hither – Here Betwixt – Between
Ken – Knowledge Hark – Listen Methinks – I think Alack/Alackaday – Oh no
Marry! – Exclamation of shock Poppet – A young child Carouse – Party! Belike – Possibly
Ere – Before Forswear – Lie or cheat Oft – Often Prating – Talking too much
Stay – Stop or wait Tosspot – Drunkard S’wounds! – Wow! Nonpariel – A beauty
Pray pardon – Excuse me By your leave – Please


Speaking in period is the first step; the second step is the accent. Of course the words above will likely be learned with a proper accent, as they aren’t ones we normally use in everyday life… well most of us anyway, but some everyday words when spoken in period will need to be spoken differently. Some examples are:

Long ‘a’ sounds such as those in the words make and baker would be pronounced with an ‘eh’ sound. So the word take would be pronounced ‘tek’. These are only words where an ‘a’ and an ‘e’ come together to make the long ‘a’.

Words where an ‘a’ and ‘e’ come together to make a long ‘e’ sound like those in stream and speak would be pronounced with a long ‘a’ as in day.

When saying Want, you want to pronounce the ‘a’ as you would the ‘a’ in And. This goes for most any word with that ‘a’ sound in them, give them a nasal twang.

The aye sound we normally associate with words like fly and by would be pronounced with an ‘uh’ before the ‘ee’. So aye would be pronounced ‘uh-ee’.

When saying words with an ‘ow’ like down or cow, you’ll want to add an ‘oo’ to the end and pronounce the ‘ow’ as ‘owoo’.

Words ending in ‘ed’ such as stopped or balked should have the ending ‘ed’ pronounced as a full extra syllable. So a single syllable word like stopped would become stopp-ed or a word like leaned would be lean-ed.

Here are some common phrases that put some of these words together.

How fair thee? – How are you?
Hail and well met. – Hello.
Excellent well. – Very good.
Dost thou knowest the hour of day? – What time is it?
I bid thee well. – Good bye.

Remember; use as many words as you can to get your point across. Add words like ‘right’, ‘well’ and ‘most’ to your speech to complicate phrases. Also add endings such as –eth and –est to your verbs. The more words you can use to get your point across, the better.

Thou art most marvelously skilled with thine sword, m’lord.
His visage doth appear right horrible unto mine e’es when he waketh most grumpily in the morn.
Thou dost manage yon cunning knave most marvelous well.
Prithee m’lady, dost thou dabble in that most illustrious craft of lutery.
M’lord, we runneth out of time quite quickly fast!
I knowest not about thee m’lady… but as for my humble personage, I thinkest thy sister to be most beauteous fair.

The best advice for a new role-player wanting to speak in period is practice… practice… practice! Don’t be self-conscious, especially at an event… that’s the perfect place to practice. People generally won’t make fun of you for any mistakes and will in fact be delighted that you’re making the effort at all. And third, speak slowly. Think about what you’re saying and what you’re about to say, don’t rush through it… take your time.

Also, look for other resources be they online, in print or on audio or video. The last two may be the best of the group since you not only get to learn the words but also how to say them and in what context. Rent or buy copies of Shakespearean movies, not the modernized versions, and watch them over and over and over. Loop them while you sleep, listen to plays in your car on the way to work on CD or tape… whatever works for you.

Cursing

Everyone will want to curse out another LARPer at one point or another, and the usual harsh and unimaginative form of the modern day curse word is hardly appropriate for your character to be spouting. In fact, the target may take curse words of such a nature as out of character on a Personal level rather than on the level of their in-game character as it should be.

Have fun with your curses, they were generally better thought out and definitely more stinging than anything you’ll run across in today’s ‘four letter’ society. In fact, you may find yourself wanting to use these in venues other than role-playing once you wrap your tongue around a few… they can be oddly gratifying.

A few examples of curses:

You bottle ale rascal!
Away you rampallion!
Thou art the son and heir of a mongrel bitch!

Here are a few words to throw around in the heat of your temper… Just take a phrase from each column of the list on the following page and string them together, or use them independently as the situation arises.

artless base-court apple-john
bawdy bat-fowling baggage
beslubbering beef-witted barnacle
bootless beetle-headed bladder
churlish boil-brained boar-pig
cockered clapper-clawed bugbear
clouted clay-brained bum-bailey
craven common-kissing canker-blossom
currish crook-pated clack-dish
dankish dismal-dreaming clotpole
dissembling dizzy-eyed coxcomb
droning doghearted codpiece
errant dread-bolted death-token
fawning earth-vexing dewberry
fobbing elf-skinned flap-dragon
froward fat-kidneyed flax-wench
frothy fen-sucked flirt-gill
gleeking flap-mouthed foot-licker
goatish fly-bitten fustilarian
gorbellied folly-fallen giglet
impertinent fool-born gudgeon
infectious full-gorged haggard
jarring guts-griping harpy
loggerheaded half-faced hedge-pig
lumpish hasty-witted horn-beast
mammering hedge-born hugger-mugger
mangled hell-hated jolthead
mewling idle-headed lewdster
paunchy ill-breeding lout
pribbling ill-nurtured maggot-pie
puking knotty-pated malt-worm
puny milk-livered mammet
quailing motley-minded measle
rank onion-eyed minnow
reeky plume-plucked miscreant
roguish pottle-deep moldwarp
ruttish pox-marked mumble-news
saucy reeling-ripe nut-hook
surly rough-hewn pigeon-egg
tottering rude-growing puttock
vain rump-fed pumpion
villainous shard-borne ratsbane
venomed sheep-biting skainsmate
warped spur-galled strumpet
wayward swag-bellied varlet