- I am not an admin or any level of staff for that matter, so regardless of my past nothing I say here should be taken as if I am.
- While this is posted as a guide, everything within it is ultimately subjective opinion. I am presenting what I believe to be best, but I am not going to pretend my opinions are hard facts
- And finally, these guidelines are for going above and beyond the RP expectations set by the server, not something anyone should be absolutely forced into doing.
First off, decide on the species and other physical characteristics such as age, disabilities as well as the various quirks they may have
example so far
It’s going to be an older model with monochrome screen, perhaps a prototype model that never made it to production. Let’s go with a surplus prosthetic and fragile too since that fits this bill.
Next up, decide on some key personality traits or defining mannerisms that you will abide by while playing this character. You do not need a backstory, just a few basic points to start from and a lot of times the character will write itself as you are playing or continue to think about it.
same character continued
No sense of humor isn’t very original for IPCs, but it is always a fitting choice for a robot. Let’s say it doesn’t even understand the joke behind its “name” (420-69 in roman numerals). We’ll still go for emotions, or at least attempts at them.
Due the very run down state, lets make the primary directive self-preservation, to the point of complete cowardice.
A fun trait to combine with that would be total arrogance. A now severed connection to a wildly inaccurate database makes it very stubbornly sure of its knowledge regardless of how incorrect it is.
IPC named CDXX-LXIX
Humorless, Arrogant and stubborn, but also cowardly despite their somewhat provocative nature born of the first three traits.
Finally, what are their potential roles on the station? Somewhat unique to SS13 RP, the isolated and episodic nature of rounds allows this to be very fluid, but there are still often some roles that won’t suit your traits without breaking server rules. If you are totally unfit for a job, unable to do the job or otherwise “NT would never have hired you for this position”, then you should absolutely not pick that job as this will clash with rules.
Also to consider, but covered in more detail in the next section: Do you specifically want this character to have dedicated growth? Potentially start as an assistant with no specific interests before moving into a department and eventually heading that department.
wrapping up this character
Given this is an old robot approaching “retirement” which is stuck in its ways of doing things, this one is probably not going to advance their career at all, and is a pretty bad candidate for head of staff and security. If they’re going to be stubbornly drawing on incorrect data as a character trait, engineering is risky and will be pushing on self-antag. All other roles are fair game, but the character is probably best suited to a service type role, a janitor that insists water is better than space cleaner, or a chef that insists a human diet is good enough for any meatbag and that people are just being picky. in fact let’s take that on a dumb turn and add a character trait: Dumb robot views every non-IPC as and insists they are human regardless of their race.
Old and fragile IPC with a mismatched prosthetic limb
Chef or Janitor
Humorless, arrogant and stubborn
Cowardly when confronted with any form of conflict
Views all non-silicons and non-IPCs as humans, racially blind to individual needs as a result
- Insist plasma people are rude for wearing helmets
- Insist that oozelings’ fear of water is a mental disability
- Moth wings, cat ears and tails are all just weird props
- Lizards have very unhealthy skin conditions and medbay should be alerted of potential diseases
(All in all, this has the potential to be an extremely annoying character if handled incorrectly, but more on that as this guide goes on)
First and foremost - always remember to put your character’s personality traits to the test. How would they respond in this situation based on what has happened and they have witnessed so far in the round? If their appropriate response is in conflict with server rules, try to find an alternative or speak to an admin before acting. Failing both of those, be 100% certain your actions are carried out in good faith and be prepared to explain and potentially be corrected by admins.
LOOC can be your friend in explaining shittery that makes IC sense.
Old fartbot answers to an oozeling at the kitchen counter
Oozeling: “Does any of this food have water in it?”
"Nearly all food contains some degree of water content within it"
Oozeling: “Can you make me some dry food, I can’t consume water and I’m hungry”
"This is false. Humans are approximately 55% water and must consume it regularly."
Oozeling: “I’m not a human, I’m an oozeling. I can’t have water”
CDXX: LOOC: My character recognizes all organic lifeforms as humans, none of the food laid out actually has water
"No data on record for 'oozeling'. My purpose is to provide sustenance for the humans employed by Nanotrasen on this station.
Oozeling: “Alright look, Nanotrasen used to employ only humans but there’s a lot more diversity now, surely you can tell by looking at me”
"Your skin condition is none of my concern. I am concerned only with providing sustenance to humans and my own self-preservation"
Oozeling: “Tell me, is upsetting the ‘humans’ you are supposed to feed good for your self-preservation?”
"Negative. Upset humans are prone to acts of violence"
Oozeling: “You are upsetting me by refusing to accomodate my bodilly needs.”
CDXX slams the shutters
"Security, I believe I am under threat of violence by a fellow employee! For the sake of self preservation, the kitchen is closed until further notice."
In this specific example, depending on which foods are available there may be a conflict of rule 3. While the character is being obstinate in the interaction, it’s still important to actually have or to find a way to prepare some food for special needs. Character conflict should not escalate to player conflict in most cases.
Second, respect the unknown. Not what is unknown to you as a player, but what would be unknown to your character. You as a player probably have a much wider scope of knowledge than the character you’re playing as, unless you’re still new to the game… but you’re only new to something for a little while and then you get to understanding it more as time goes on. You should play and act like a professional within your own field, but not within others’ fields of work. This is mostly re-iterating one of the server’s rules, but it is really important for a character to have some weaknesses of knowledge instead of being an actual know-it-all.
No old fartbot this time, just basic example
The supermatter crystal is delaminating and you’re the chief medical officer on the station… you have 200 hours of playtime in engineering and you’re sure you can save it… but does it make sense for your character, a medical professional, to understand the inner workings of the ship’s engine? No: so just let it go and curse the engineers that failed you and everyone else. Stay in-character instead of trying to win.
Another tie in with server rules: fear for your life as your character would. Defend yourself if attacked but you should almost never try to be a storybook hero or seek vengeance when someone retreats, instead opting for evacuation and saving your skin. If you are playing a character with a particularly heroic personality, they should probably be a security officer, captain or head of security; if you are playing any other role with heroic character tendencies be very careful how you approach conflicts because it will very easily be perceived to be valid-hunting regardless of what justifications you may have.
As a footnote to fearing for your life: depression and anxiety are both supported mechanically by the game and can easily lead into playing with disregard for your own life… albeit not in a heroic sense at all. If you’re going this route with a character, don’t just use it as an excuse to suicide out of rounds and I would strongly advise against suicide without sending an ahelp to say you’re building toward it due to the semi-frequent use of it to leave rounds by lazy players.
Fartbot, but as a janitor cleaning maints this time
A door opens and someone is dragging a corpse down the passage
Sus guy: “Uh, I just found him like this”
"Corpses should be taken to Medbay and reported to security"
Sus guy: “Yeah, I am taking him to medbay now”
"Understood. I will report to security after I have finished cleaning the blood. Please cease dragging the body."
Sus guy: “No no, I’ll take care of talking to security, please just leave and don’t tell anyone”
"Your behavior is highly suspicious. Self preservation drives me to state 'I have witnessed nothing'."
"I will resume my duties elsewhere, please do not harm me."
CDXX quickly leaves
CDXX: (over comms)
"Has Nanotrasen ever implemented a witness protection program? This query is hypothetical."
As a final tip for this section - keep your character 100% in character at all times and you will gain a great reputation for it. If people are making wall-breaking references, stay in character and treat them like they’re crazy - don’t play along with it and become part of the problem. If you roll antagonist, don’t have a sudden and drastic change in how your character behaves; it makes things incredibly awkward for anyone who has gotten used to playing with you. Be an antagonist, but don’t suddenly be silent and efficient. If you were afraid of the dark before, continue to RP that you’re afraid of the dark and play along when someone uses it against you.
Fartbot commits a crime
this is the internal thought process as I would imagine it, I’m not quite so dumb as to actually say these aloud
"I need to avoid direct combat at all costs. I will purchase a toxin kit, sleepy pen and storage implant to hide the evidence"
"Yes, this lethal mixture of toxins should allow me to incapacite and quickly eliminate my objective, Navy Nelson"
Given that Navy is an oozeling, a lethal mixture intent on dealing toxin damage will not kill them. Organ failure still could depending on the exact choices, but there’s no fun to that interaction at all then. Keeping in mind that CDXX views all organic lifeforms as humans, they will be unable to fathom why the lethal mixture has failed and shenanigans involving both players can follow, most likely resulting in the death of CDXX given the cowardice in the face of combat.
SS13 is an episodic RP setting - every round is unique and isolated in such a way that no events from a past round are ever relevant or directly referenced once a new one has started… this can make it somewhat challenging to incorporate growth into a character, but doesn’t make it entirely impossible.
You are at the liberty to change up your character slightly, or even drastically between rounds. The best way to grow a character over time is to incorporate major events into their personality without ever making direct references to the past rounds.
event: character encounters a nightmare, loses a limb or limbs to it.
result next round: Give character a prosthetic limb and/or fear of the dark. Don’t be specific in what accident led to the trauma when in-character and remember you should not have any IC knowledge of nightmares given the fresh round.
event: character is exposed to a radioactive event
result next round: character is bald now, perhaps temporarily. Radiation storms are a known hazard in space so referencing a recent radiation storm should not cause any conflicts so long as you aren’t specific about the previous round.
event: Promoted to acting captain / head and saw the station/department through crisis
result next round: Swap job preferences around and treat it as an official promotion.
This also works in reverse - if you screw up badly while in charge, swap preferences around and treat it as if you had been demoted and maybe add some bitterness or jealousy toward the current head. As before, just avoid specific references to the round/shift, and don’t push the bitterness too far. The demotion thing works especially well for antag rounds where you get forced down from head positions, especially if you are willing to retire the character for good afterwards
In addition to incorporating actual events into character growth, you can of course just make shit up between rounds and make slight alterations as time goes on. Gradually age over time, or even suddenly be younger because you’re a fresh clone.
How do you even tell when a good time to retire a character is? Nobody can definitively answer this question, but there’s a few different aspects of the character’s growth and change you can look at to determine this, as well as keeping the level of meta-play you’re experiencing at the forefront of your mind. Don’t be afraid to poke admins (via ahelp, not discord) if you are wanting to retire a character in a way that might brush against rules. If the character is being retired for good and you have a solid reasoning behind it ahead of time, chances are fairly high you will get approval.
- Has the character fallen from status, demoted to service position or even worse, assistant over the course of their run? Perhaps it’s time to toggle antags on and get some revenge (when you get antag). Go out with a bang, whether it be that you died fighting or took out all of your grudges on the station before leaving NT for the Syndicate or otherwise.
- Again, the inverse is also possible - perhaps your character moved up through the ranks and you’d like to act as if you were promoted to Admiral (bonus points if you became an admin, as the character can actually make occasional appearances)
- If you have been aging your character over time, perhaps they have just reached a retirement age and leave space station life behind quietly? Make some wishful prayers and have the gods diagnose you with a heart attack just before you could actually retire.
- Have a depressed character and nobody seems to have any time to care anymore? If you can just find a chair and some cable, nobody will have to care anymore. Don’t forget to leave a note of some sort, spray paint if it’s a short enough message.
- If you really want to torture yourself, play a “hardcore” character. Start out as an assistant and see which department you can convince to let you in to help out. Try to progress your character through the ranks appropriately as rounds go on, gaining or losing permanent status within a department as different events shape your character… and if at any point that character dies (even to grief or otherwise) and doesn’t get rescued, they’re dead for good.
- And finally on a bit of a downer, if you find yourself extremely popular/unpopular and on the receiving end of obvious meta attention, it is probably time to move on. Accusations of being part of a metagang based around anything except for race is a pretty solid indicator of needing to move on, even if you aren’t requesting or reciprocating the special attention.
All good stories must come to an end, some dramatically and others in anti-climactic ways. How you choose to end a particular character’s story is always going to be up to you, if you even agree with my thoughts on rotating characters out at all.