RP versus PvP – Why Neither is Mutually Exclusive in an RPG Setting

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RP stands for roleplay, and it is the primary purpose behind RPGs. It means to play a role, and in Achaea as the scroll HELP 15.6 ROLEPLAYING and OOC explains, “,,,roleplaying means that you play as if you were your character. Achaea is a roleplaying game: some level of roleplaying is required.”

But there is another side to roleplaying games and that is PvP, also known as Player versus Player. In Achaea this is also known as PK, or Player Killing. PK is such a common aspect to Achaea that the administration has compiled a set of guidelines that allow people to explore the combat side of playing the game while respecting the right to roleplay such in character lifestyles.

Comparing and Contrasting Mentalities

There are some areas of the game where RP and PvP are exclusive and rarely ever mix. Let’s take for example the city of Cyrene in Achaea, where one house is decidedly RP-based, and another is more focused on PvP. Here are some details about each.

The Wardens of the Cerulean Spire

Ty Beirdd, the House of Artists

This house has dedicated itself to preserving knightly ethos, while progressing forward into the future. They serve the city in roles that are both military and constabulary in nature. Here is a bit about what life is like for each stage of house membership. Ty Beirdd is a house of artists who pride themselves on their talents. They have won more Bardic and Artisanal contests than any other house. Every New Year’s they hold a concert in Cyrene. Here are details about each phase of house membership.
Novices – These newer members to the Spire go through basic newcomer information material, which is largely based on house ethos. Otherwise the basic training is mostly geared towards helping equip novices and teach them survival basics. Novices – These little bardlets are expected to prepare for their interview by learning the bare basics of survival. The other part of their preparation for sponsorship to House Rank 03 requires preparing an artistic audition for a path of study.
House Ranks 03 and 04 – Passing through these ranks involves passing one large trial. It is difficult and involves comprehensive exams based on combat. The members who hold these ranks live and breathe combat, and must know things like curing, limb damage, venom locks, and similar PK-related terms. House Ranks 03 and 04 – Graduating beyond these ranks involves passing a path of artistic study. Aside from the basics of anti-theft and self-defense, all of the requirements are artistic in nature whether the path is based around dance, poetry, lore, music, or theatrics. The house has a combat path, but few ever sign up for it.
House Ranks 05 and Higher – After passing the lower rank requirements and passing the big test, members enter the Cyrene City Guard and swear fealty to a Knight. Then more roleplay is introduced that, if done correctly, seamlessly blends with a new layer of roleplay. This roleplay is based on embodying Knightly virtues and ideals that provide a foundation for the house. House Ranks 05 and Higher – After graduating to House Rank 05, house members in Ty Beirdd are free to begin another path of study, join the ranks of leadership, run for city office, or do most anything else they please so long as they do not violate house and city laws. Regardless of what the members choose, you can be sure that it is almost always based on roleplay before combat.

Despite the fact that these two houses are both located in and dedicated to the city of Cyrene, it is obvious that each one is very different from the other. One is dedicated to protecting the city through use of bloodshed, while the other is dedicated to preserving the culture of the city through events and other artistic endeavors.

Neither house is wrong in what it represents, but someone obsessed with PK is not going to have a happy future in Ty Beirdd. And likewise, someone who hates combat would probably be miserable trying to suffer through the PK-related requirements necessary to advance in the Warden house. There are exceptions to these generalizations but they are few and far between.

It Takes All Kinds

As you can see, even though one house revolves around RP and the other is very PK-heavy, neither is mutually exclusive. That is because just like in real life, your favorite RPG takes all types to be a success. Imagine how boring the world would be if everyone chose the same class, race, and city. Part of what makes Achaea fun is the free will to try new things, and if it doesn’t work out, go on and try something else.

If you are a die-hard PK player, sheath your weapon and enjoy an RP event that doesn’t involve bloodshed now and then. And if you are a bard, take that dusty rapier out of your pack and get off the stage and into the arena. Even if you end up completely hating a walk on the other side of life, at least you can say you tried!

About the Author

If freelance writer and college student Seth Grayson had his way, he would game from the comfort of a hammock hanging between two palm trees on a tropical island. But since he doesn’t have the benefit of playing his favorite MUD game while being waited on by cabana girls in grass skirts, you can probably find him in his dorm room after a long day of studying. Working as a barista in an off-campus café helps to support his gaming habits.


I've always felt the height of Achaea conflict is when there's an RP goal for the PvP. I enjoy meaningless, Saturday morning raids as much as the next PvPer, but having an event to go along with it is +10.

Having an RP reason makes raiding much more enjoyable than when the only reason is "lolpk."




and others!










Challening someone to a duel because of rp is much more than "Wanna fight?"

It just doesn't fit quite as well if done that way. If there is some rp reason for it, no matter how small, it makes the challenge that much better.

to take it out of the arena as well.

hi dortheron!

makes it much more enjoyable for everyone.

I agree!

i agree!

Agreed, I'll really be looking into getting more involved, having more RP reasons to fight would add so much depth. Still stuck a bit in sparring all the time, for now

Most fighting/sparing in Lusternia has built in RP reasons. A mag never has to look far for a reason to fight someone and if no one wants to play, start some mayhem and wait for a someone to appear.

rp that leads to pk is sexy

problem is, achaean events are so few and far in between.

And I love the different aspects of the game.

And yeah, it's nice to mix it up. Except for bashing - bashing is dumb.

Bashing may be dumb but it's not nearly as dumb as some high level player killing lower level players just because they can. PvP could be an alright idea if there's plenty of RP involved in it. Guess I just don't understand the concept of attacking other players for the hell of it, especially if they are much weaker then you.

Save for a select few, I haven't noticed this happening much... unless it's during raids, in which everyone takes every excuse to kill everyone and claim it was part of a raid... lol



bashing is pretty mindless, only really getting attention if you are fighting something way out of your league. But PvP by it's nature is a rather more intense, and should have more of a reason as to why you are doing it. Doing spars/duels because you are seeking to become a better fight is way better than getting easy xp because you can, or you like to troll



too much spam, and you're too much at the mercy of a whole bunch of players and who they decide to target next. And I never grief - it's stupid and cruel and its only purpose to... i dunno. Feel validated if you can't PVP? One on one, sparring or otherwise, however, I LOVE. I'm gonna start working this into my character's RP. He may become like one of those ronin who is only interested in improving his skills. Anyway, he already feels sorta bleh about the whole war thing.

bear fight!

I wish bashing actually required a modicum of brain power. Then getting essence wouldn't be such a horrible time.

I agree. Bashing is mind-numbing. Sometimes you do just want to mash F1 for a while, but other times it could stand to be more challenging.

Being able to afflict mobs would be the best.

No it wouldn't, you just think it would. People would just script it and itwould make mashing even more a grind. You'd also lower the player base.

Bashes the post!

I feel like dnd proved this long before any kind of game

Though I've certainly had my characters fight others before in it.

That's because D&D focused on interesting PVE.

Though I've also had interesting PVP in it. RP-driven, no less :P

Stealing someone's soda in a table top game IS NOT PVP





nice article

I feel like even within those two houses there is quite a bit of overlap

I would play Achaea way more if that were the case.

I share your sentiment.


I would be eternally indebted to the Wardens of the Cerulean Spire if they let my character in. But they have rules and stuff. :/



yay, new article






PVP is an integral part of many's RP, in my opinion.

But also not, for some. Different strokes and all that.

Hehe. +1


Hmm interesting articles


don't like ty'beirdd




but they are nice!

Well, it was the Bard's Guild then :)



Great article; I try to RP as a combatant but I'm hardly good enough at either yet!



I'm the opposite! I'm trying to learn to fight as a roleplayer!

goodluck with that!

Is not easy. I feel your pain!

good read


because of waffles I assume

I thought it was obvious.


I think if I had a choice I would stay away from pvp and stay strictly in the rp vein but I realise that these games come with a heavy dose of combat so I will do my best to stay competative in that aspect.

I absolutely agree. I'd love to stay comepletely in the RP vein, but RPing a character who serves nature means she'll have to fight and die to preserve it, too.

A good point!


It ought to be a given.

Very true.

Good read, I've only fought to defend right now so the RP reasons are easy enough to come up with, but I'm going to try and continue that trend when I get further into combat.

I wonder what would happen to PvP if the loss of XP was removed but the time to ressurect was made longer.


There are plenty of people that don't do combat becuase of how intimidating it is, but would more people at least try it, if there were less of a penalty?


I say this only becuase in my opinion PvP is a critical part of RP.

there need sto be some risk



I understand killing others for an RP reason, but constantly being a target just because can get tiring. This usually isn't a problem, but I've found as you stick out more, you're more likely to be targeted! 

And that loses its luster quickly!

I'm running out of generic, productive comments to make

That more people could balance it out without encroaching too much on each other. Killing isn't a bad thing in a game like these. It's when the killing is constant and pointless and has no true motivation besides wanton desire to kill, well... That can suck the fun out of it.

I agree, although the fun is still there regardless. I don't let anyone ruin my time. I just see it as pointless and pure idiocy without a valid reason. When I see no such thing, I already know they must be very young children :D


I wish I had your temper control!

it is nice to think about "why would my character do this?" Are you killing for spite, for honour? Do you hunt indiscriminately, only animals, only undead? Why?

That's why I kill. Precious, precious XP. :P

you don't need artefacts, systems, or anything like that just the will to do it... combat takes a lot of work and at least a basic knowledge of coding

I think most of the games have features that help, like Lusternia's firstaid which will cure afflictions, and autocuring. You won't be the best but it helps people to survive longer than a minute, at least.

Not everyone can roleplay. Have you talked to some of those yahoos? Not all of them are up to the task.



But I get your point.










PvP without RP is just puzzle solvine, RP without PvP just feels like you're making your own rules and have no objective way to determine who "wins" if you're doing anything competitive.

I agree. Though with RPing certain things the mechanics can hinder rather than help.

During group PvP (raids), I always appreciate those who are leading or present and take time to shout out substancial things for the other faction to hear (before, after or even during), to add flavour to the raid. When  the followers of Babel were raiding Cyrene some time back, I recall Tanris doing this, and it would help add to the atmosphere of the conflict.

I'd appreciate that as well!


For those players who do not rp at all or barely and focus on combat solely, I guess it says something about how deep the combat system in iron realm games can be, I wonder if they make a pk focused game it could increase their audience :o but I am skeptical about more IRE games since it tends to split up the community a little

Most of the games could use more players as it is. Achaea has plenty, though.

I'm not very into PVP

I always think that players should find a balance between PVP and RP. They both exist and to some extent you should base you character around how well you can fight. Otherwise, you'll just seem like an arrogant jerk. (Which possibly could be your RP).

Good point





i used to have a block abot combat but now i love it and it certainly fits in well with my rp


Definitely need an RP reason behind PVP - otherwise it just becomes a day-to-day thing without a goal you'd like to achieve in the end (ie, "someday I'd like for us to make x and x happen in pk on a day to day basis").

I think you left off the 'I', else it seems like you're trying to apply the statement to everyone.

I fully agree, even if I am not a fan of extreme PvP myself!

Credit comment.

But still yay.




free credit



very intense post

and is has nothing to do with lusty :(

i'm kind-of pvped out tonight

cyrene never gets raided

When player's RP is limited to RP events, then there is most likely a clear distinction between RP and PvP, but when a player treats RP as a way of life of his character, then there is no distinction between RP and PvP and no exclusivity is even possible.

I've made a pretty good career out of being a pacifist though.


Credit comment.

They may not be mutually exclusive, but PvP tends to absorb a lot of time for practice. Time that could be used for RP.


is not for lazy people, it takes a while to learn the basics





Credit comment.

good stuff