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Lirriel
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Joined: 2010-05-18

*Plot changes have made the Dragoons a private military-flavored mercenary company, with far less restrictions than being in a nation's army. However, the info and advice may still be useful to characters with military backgrounds, or those looking at other military-styled guilds.*

Warcraft 3 - Knight

One thing I've noticed in a long time RPing online is the proliferation of Military-style groups. It's an easy concept to keep a group of folks together, with a hierarchy to follow, particularly in WoW. In our case, we ran a military unit dedicated to a particular government with a particular mission.

However, people join military-style RP organizations with little to no knowledge of the military lifestyle, or laws. While drama and events happen and create good RP, not everyone expects the resulting consequences. They don't understand, for instance, why "fraternization" (having a romantic relationship between ranks, particularly in a direct chain of command; or relations with those considered the Enemy, such as members of the Horde) is a Bad Thing. They don't understand that for soldiers, following orders is rarely, if ever, optional, and such actions can be seen as mutinous, or treason. They don't understand why particular actions are considered wrong or even criminal in a military setting.

While the fallout and consequences of these RP situations can make for more great RP, OOC stress and getting upset is not part of having a good time.

Light, informal research can be your friend. While not a perfect resource, Wikipedia has plenty of articles about military life and codes (the Basic Training breakdown of a daily schedule is fairly accurate). Besides, this is fiction; it's close enough for the writing purposes of laymen. Granted, there is no Stormwind Military Code of Conduct out there, but using something such as the U.S. Army values and Soldier's Creed can be helpful to determine: Is this something my character really should be doing as a representative of the Crown?

Reasoning of "not in uniform" or "on personal time" is not enough. Soldiers are discouraged from participating in various public political events, for instance (and absolutely forbidden to in uniform). If a superior sees a picture of an off-duty soldier in a place or action that is not allowed or could reflect poorly on the unit/military as a whole, action can be taken against that soldier (particularly if they've already been warned and counseled about their behavior). The point is: You Are A Soldier. All the time. 24/7, 365. You get allowed personal time, but must always remember your unit and the oaths sworn--and be willing to drop everything and immediately go to work if called, no matter the time or place.

These things should be kept in mind when applying to the Dragoons or other military-style guilds, or when making a military character. Of course, players can't drop everything and come when the officers call. This is a game where folks are paying their own money each month to keep having fun. People are going to decide to do naughty things for whatever IC reason for the fun of plot and characterization--and in theory, be willing to accept the reactions of their fellows and the consequences of those actions when they come to light.

OOC communication and conversation about character actions, plot, and possible consequences is  always encouraged. In my opinion, it's absolutely vital to telling an enjoyable story in a freeform group setting, as is flexibility and compromise. No one in real life is totally inflexible and consistent 100% of the time; it's OK for characters to bend a bit too, for story reasons. But within reason and limits to keep the logic of the military setting in mind, as well as the characters.

If there are questions about plot and character decisions in the game, ask some of the former (or current) military folks around, and try a bit of light research. If nothing else, it'll enrich the RP experience, as well as making sure: Is this character really a good fit for this style? Even if it's not nearly as rigid as an actual military unit, some great RP has come from following military style rules and consequences and how characters are affected - whether by following the rules, breaking them, or finding ways around them. For former soldiers, some of these habits and lifestyle methods are very hard to break.