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RP Tip: Turning Sim Environments/Weather Events to Your Advantage

Written by Bear Stillwater

Photo by Kyra Umbra

Well...maybe not your character's advantage...but your stories' advantage. Many Roleplay sims have changing weather of some description, conditions programmed into a HUD, particle rain or snow, or weather charts created for and posted in group notices and on their websites. Even at its most basic level, SL has a day/night cycle, so unless one changes their environment settings, we all experience, at the very least, a visual passage of time.

What about those places that are more in-depth with their sim weather conditions? To steal a quote from The Crow, "It can't rain all the time." Nor can it be a perfect sunny day or a moody, moonlit night all the time. For one thing, it's physically unfeasible and not conducive to life. For another, it makes for very bland storytelling. Weather affects us all in our day-to-day real lives; it is ever-present and can make or break an event, cause us to be late to important functions or play hooky from work, affect our moods and health, and even impair or end our lives. It is an ever-present and uncontrollable NPC that sometimes morphs into an unbeatable boss, leaving a soul with two options: hunker down or run. So, how can you use weather to benefit your roleplay? First, knowing how your character's species would fare in a particular weather event will add depth to your story. While one character may be uncomfortable but otherwise fine in a heatwave, it could spell disaster for another due to species limitations. A whiteout may be the latter characters' time to shine, while the former nearly freezes to death. A flood or tornado could see the community rallying for sandbagging or rebuilding efforts. This all leads to unexpected roleplay opportunities, alliances, and OOC friendships! It also lends itself to more interesting storytelling. While we typically try to play to our characters' strengths, exploiting their weaknesses can create some fun and unique story arcs that may not be feasible otherwise.

Photo by Bear Stillwater

It also allows other players to be heroes, nosy bystanders, or villains. It gives those who may be playing as Emergency Services workers or peace officers something to do. It can be an opportunity to allow someone to see something they wouldn't otherwise. It can also lead to IC consequences for all involved, so it adds to the stories of everyone. It adds flavor to your story and is an excellent reminder that your character is not invincible, regardless of the species you play. But...what if you want to avoid acknowledging sim weather? Most sims don't have a hard rule saying that you have to. Still, suppose everyone else's characters are setting up cooling stations for a heatwave, running into storm shelters due to a tornado warning, or sandbagging before a flood while yours is wandering around, saying that the skies look clear. In that case, the other characters in the scene will look at you sideways and wonder if they should call the nice guys with the butterfly nets to 'help' you. How do you play around this scenario?

It depends on the weather event. Consider how you would respond to a real-life meteorological event and act accordingly. Flooding? Take the high ground, or throw out some sandbags! Nonstop rain? Stay indoors! Fire? Throw a bugout bag together and evacuate. But what if you want to avoid being involved in the weather scenario? Say your character went out of town for a few days, and watch the notices to see when it's over. You can always DM your friends if you have established RPs you want to continue during this time. If it's a scenario you don't care for, you can respectfully reach out to the modmin team and inform them of your thoughts. Just remember that kindness is essential. Weather events can be a fantastic way to unite a community while exploring your characters' strengths and weaknesses, adding color to everyone's stories. The most important thing is to have fun with it!


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