Clock's Guide to NRPs
Hello internet personas, my name is Clock, some of you may know me, I've been here for some time. This guide will be introducing people both new and old to NRPs. I will do my best to keep a non-biased view of things (aka all the things I do as a GM will not be presented as "normal" NRP standard) in hopes of introducing more people to the NRP community. I've spoken to several people about why they don't do NRPs and answers I get are usually "I don't know what an NRP is" or "I don't think I'm good enough". Hopefully this guide can dispel some of those thoughts and get people more into the wonderful world of NRPs.
Here are some common questions that I've seen/thought up in the hopes of clearing some things up with the use of massive wall of text. If you have questions that aren't listed here, then I will try to answer them myself and maybe add the question to the list.
Q: What is an NRP?
A: NRP stands for Nation Role Play
Q: How does NRPs differ from normal RPs?
A: In most RPs you take control of a single person (or maybe a few persons). In a NRP, you take control of a nation/faction instead. Your posts no longer just revolve around a single person but how the nation as an entity is yours to control.
Q: That's nice, but I don't really understand?
A: Don't worry, its a bit of a confusing concept for many first timers. If you've played/watched any sort of strategy game like Civilization, Europa Universalis and/or Age of Empires, those sort of games, then you already have a leg up in understanding what NRPs are. You can think of it as playing a round of one of those kinds of games but through RP posts.
Q: What kind of settings can NRPs take place in?
A: Any setting that any other NRP can take: fantasy, scifi, post apocalypse, modern-esque, etc. You can even have them set in certain fandoms or copy certain universes like Warhammer 40k, Mad Max, LOTR, etc. I will admit that certain universes work better as an NRP setting than others.
Q: What do I need to know to NRP?
A: Generally I advise people who know history and government/national politics to NRP. Basically if you know how a nation is run you'll do fine. Even if you don't, you'll learn from the others who already NRP. There's a lot of minute stuff that can also go into an NRP, but that is a discussion for another time. NRPs are actually a pretty good way of learning new things as you research stuff.
Q: What kind of posting standards are necessary/acceptable? I've heard its like advanced and posts can be really long.
A: Actually, NRP posting standards aren't all that high in my eyes at least, if you can write 2-3 well written posts (about casual standard I think), you should be able to write good NRP posts. Its also surprisingly easy to go beyond that number if you are into it. NRPs like Precepts of War are not considered to have "normal" post lengths in this regard (trust me, most people who do NRPs can't write nearly as much as the people in PoW can).
Q: So what do I write about in an NRP post?
A: You write about the going ons of your nation. Maybe you're started production on something new or are training soldiers. Perhaps something big has shaken up your government. There's two "styles" of NRP posts I've seen in my exprience, Character Based and After Action Report style (AAR).
Q: What are those two "styles"?
A: Character based means that your posts will focus on someone in the nation as an individual like the leader or a politician, a soldier on his way to war or a civilians seeing at how fast everything has changed. AAR style is based on a style of post commonly found on forums dedicated to strategy games and wargames where the writer will recount what has happened in a round or run of a game and may sometimes add story-like elements to improve it. In terms of NRPing, AAR style basically mean that your posts focus on the nation as a whole with stuff like new government policy, military training and foreign relations.
Q: What am I looking at right now? I haven't figured that part out since I'm not actually reading this stuff lol
A: Pixels on your screen jackass, if you don't know what this guide is about after reading up to here, there's littler help I can offer you on that aspect.
The Nation Sheet
Perhaps one of the most important aspects of you being an NRP, the Nation Sheet (NS) is basically your character sheet in which you put in to apply to an NRP and gives other players an insight and info into what you are in the NRP. Although both a NS and a CS (Character Sheet) have many similarities, some NRPs handle NSs differently than normal NRPs. For example, some GMs will allow players to post Work In Progress (WIP) NSs into the Chars tab and just have the players update them at their own pace. Of course some people also just post their NS in the OOC tab (this action is often done to cement a claim on the map, something we will talk about soon. Now, let us dissect some common sections of an NS skeleton usually provided by GMs.
This is self explanatory, what is your nation/faction called? You can have it be either an official name or a common name (think China vs People's Republic of China or American vs United States of America).
Again, pretty simple, what banner/flag/symbol represents your nation on the global stage? You can usually find some good ones in google search, I know that there's communities dedicated to vexillology (study of flags) on DeviantArt.
9 times out of 10, the GM will provide a map which players will "claim" land on for their nation. Such claims will often dictate what kind of resources and population you can support. I will say that having large claims isn't always the best idea as some GMs who prefer heavy realism will hit you with nerfs such as transportation issues or security issues. Plus you probably won't use all the land in most setting to its fullest (think of the Siberian wilderness in Russia or how most of the heartland of the US is just farm land and not urban like its coasts).
In more historical NRPs, demography sections are there to list your population size and maybe some other ethnicities within your nation. In more scifi and fantasy NRPs where other races are allowed, Species/Race sections are used to describe your race, very helpful when you're creating your own species for scifi NRPs.
Simply how your nation is run. It can be as simple as "we have a king" or it can get more complex. While you're more than free to copy off an existing nation's form of government, just saying "oh we have the government of country X" is a bit immersion breaking.
What is the economy like in your nation? Use this section to describe your natural resources, industrial capacity, trade partners, etc. If you want to go into more detail, you can also go into more minute details like the growth of the economy in your nation and the currency and stuff.
Think of it as your nation's "personality". This is by far one of the more difficult aspect simply because many people don't have a solid grasp on their own culture irl. The best way to start with this is to think of what would sterotypically apply to your people then add on things such as holidays, cultural quirks, etc.
What is the legacy of your nation and its past deeds, major events and big discoveries? Most of the time the history can only extend back a hundred years or two at the most before things start getting irrelevant. The best way to think of it is your "modern" history (when talking about the history of France, you don't really bring up the Romans most of the time do you?). Its also generally encouraged to have overlapping histories with other nations to help make the world feel more alive.
Sometimes meshed with culture, other times a stand alone thing, the Religion section is self explanatory: what do your people believe in (or in some cases don't believe in if they're atheistic). Add in holidays, pantheons, rituals, etc to help liven section up.
Sort of the same idea as Religion, sometimes its bundled with culture, sometimes its not. Technology isn't always seen in NSs but the idea behind it is pretty simple, what kind of tech level do your people live in? There's two sub-branches of this section, Civilian and Military. What I've been saying so far is referring to civilian technology (what the the majority of your people live with). Military tech is focused on weaponry and defensive stuff, things you would expect to see in an army. Also, people tend to have "tech races" with each other to give them that slight edge over everyone else. Personally speaking, do not ever, ever do this, its basically subtly power playing and generally just makes things more complicated OOC. There's a reason why tech races are also more commonly known as "showing off your tech dick" and other variations.
The military section holds special presence in the hearts of many NRPers as its the section where a great deal of time can be spent. Basically the armed forces of your nation, some NRPs/NRPers will only care about the numbers of troops while other will let you go into great detail about how your soldiers are trained and armed, what their weapons and uniforms are like, how the tanks work etc. This section is usually divded into 3 subsections of Army, Navy and Air (liable to change depending on the setting of course). Like technology, this section also tends to be a dick size competition with people trying to make the best armies and stuff without flat out saying they have immortal demigods with nuclear annihilation cannons and Flaming Bastard Swords of Brutal Skullfucking +99. Please don't be like those kinds of people.
Where you put everything and anything that hasn't been covered. I honestly don't know what goes here since I never use it. National anthem maybe?
Additional Miscellaneous Stuff
This is where all the stuff I want to say but don't have enough for a full on section/don't fit into any of them.
- Learn BBCcode formatting, it helps to make stuff look pretty and there's a cheatsheet at the bottom of every page as well to help you learn.
- Do not GM a NRP without first having been in one or two. This just ensures that you knows the basic ins and outs of NRPing that I can't cover here.
- Like characters, don't be afraid to reuse nations for different NRPs even if its in different settings. Some people who do NRPs may remember that one nation I keep coming back to is Fuso, a notJapan like nation that has been in both world wars, the medieval era and even in space. Yes, I brought samurais to space, sue me.
- Going to be blunt here, there are some assholes in the NRP section. I won't name names but its just best to ignore them. Most people should be able to tell those kinds of people pretty quickly though.
Hope you found this helpful, have fun NRPing!