Role Playing Games: An Imperian God's Tale
by Megan Elizabeth
I have played both offline and online role playing games for a very long time, and have been in charge of running quite a few as well. I have created villains and heroes, Deities and worlds. I have designed political structures and monetary systems. So creating and evolving a character in an online text-based role playing game was not anything new, and I became heavily involved with my text game characters first in Achaea and then in Imperian. I still remember that one of my earliest goals when I first started playing Achaea was that I wanted to ascend to Godhood. I even remember telling one of my guild mates in the Druids, “I’ll be a Goddess one day.”
It took a few years, but I did eventually get accepted as a text game Celani, not in Achaea, but in Imperian, the second Iron Realms game I stalked. For those of you who do not play Imperian, there is one big difference between the two when it comes to Divine; Imperian has a static Pantheon. No losing Gods, no adding Gods, you have to pick from an existing role, most of which have been around history wise long before mortals. I had spent years creating role playing game God concepts and ideas, thinking of how I would set up my Order, and I was accepted to an online role playing game where none of that mattered. It was an amazingly great opportunity for a few reasons.
No need to deal with creativity block.
Create a God? Sure, no problem, that is until you get down to the deadline. I had it in my head I could somehow convince Avasyu and Dranor to let me create my own role playing game God eventually, but while working on my Celani tasks I realize I had hit a total block when it came to creativity. I poured all my energy and thought process in trying to create “the best Celani made area ever!!” (I was a very enthusiastic Celani) that I would have never been able to come up with an original and fun idea for a new God even if I had tried. Sure, if I had to think of one I probably could have in the time it took me to go from Celani to Demi to full blown God, but I feel like my area ideas would have likely suffered, not to mention the little role playing game experiences that I was initiating around in the text game world.
Someone else’s character.
No matter how I look at it, I am playing someone else’s character. They took the time to think of the idea, set the role, and get the ball moving on the virtual-body that I now inhabit, and the mind that I must form myself to fit. Is this a bad thing? Not always. I know those of you who play Imperian are now thinking “Oh, you lucked out and got a ‘playable’ role,” but that might not be the case! A lot of the appeal behind being a God in an online role playing game is not for the role you get, but what you can do once you get here. I think the vast majority of my interactions have been through mobiles (text game NPCs), some of which have been dire opposites of my God-role. In the end, I chose a role that I felt was close to characters I had played previously and that I felt would be an easier transition to accommodate myself.
Already have followers... usually.
Having played Achaea, I cannot imagine how some Gods keep their spirits up when creating new Orders. I was in an order that no longer exists, which is the only reason I ever even considered leaving. Orders become such an integral piece of people’s role-play that once they make that decision, it becomes near impossible to leave without having your character go through a mid-life crisis of sorts. I wracked my brain trying to decide if it was truly a betrayal to join a new order if my previously worshiped text game God no longer existed. That said, I did not come into my role with many followers, and most of those were inactive, but they were there. But, they were there, and they helped me understand my role. I watched them, listened to them talk to other people about their Divine, and got a better feel about how my role may or may not have interacted with them in the past.
Finally, it is OK to change a little!
Here was the hardest decision have had to face so far: what parts of this role do I change, and what parts do I keep the same? It is a given that for the most part, my role and my purpose as a role playing game God in Imperian stays the same. However, I can tweak here and nudge there to refine or make vague certain things, which gives me a lot more freedom. I can change my shrines, rearrange my temple, switch up my order, there are many things I can do to give myself a little foothold in this role. A little bit of ground that lets me say, “This is my character, and I care about the decisions I make in this role playing game.”
In the end, we are all playing a role. You created yours, and I learned a part to play in order to attempt to make your experiences in Imperian better… at least that is my hope!
Megan Elizabeth plays a text game God on the best role playing games at Iron Realms!