Guide for Barotrauma – Pike’s Roleplaying Guide
Why I Roleplay in Barotrauma
Through the hundreds of hours I’ve spent playing Barotrauma, I have developed a fondness in the roleplaying aspect of this game’s multiplayer mode. It’s no surprise to me since I also happen to be a Dungeon Master for Dungeons & Dragons, but I never thought I’d be that addicted to roleplaying in Barotrauma, though! Look, I even made a guide about it!
Roleplaying is both fun and challenging at the same time. If you act as if you are someone else, then you must act like someone else. That is not an easy task to perform, especially when a character is bound to do the complete opposite of what you would do in real life. Impersonating someone who is entirely different from you gets you out of your comfort zone and forces you to improvise, which always leads to unexpected turns of events. This greatly enhances the “chaos variable” Barotrauma already offers.
As soon as I began playing Barotrauma, I quickly realized this game had a strong potential for roleplaying. Assuming a specific job, communicating and cooperating in order to overcome obstacles are prime roleplaying ingredients. Roleplaying, if done right, can offer you the best gameplay sessions ever. When you and other players roleplay, the game is not a game anymore. You are not in front your computer. You are a mechanic, a captain or a doctor on Europa, trying to make a living while trying to stay alive. You may develop in-game friendships with certain characters. Or maybe you will engage in a rivalry with a stubborn crewmember which will result in violence some time later. You can never know and that’s the best part of it. Roleplaying makes the game more real, more organic, more enjoyable. And that is why I roleplay all the time.
How You Should Roleplay
Here I will not tell you how to play according to an established set of rules. Roleplaying is all about imagination and imagination cannot be without freedom. However, there is one rule I think all roleplayers should obey and enforce.
The Golden Rule
I believe there is only one golden rule to follow when you roleplay, whether it be Barotrauma, Dungeons & Dragons or any other game. Your roleplaying must never impede on the other players’ overall enjoyment of the game. When you play a game, those two words are very important: play and game. Playing a game should be fun and enjoyable for everyone involved. If you are roleplaying with the sole purpose of griefing, you are doing it wrong. I will explore such issues later in the guide, but what’s important here is that you must remember that there are people out there who are having fun while playing the game and it’s everyone’s responsibility to keep the fun going for as long as possible.
Roleplaying For Noobs
Assuming you know what roleplaying means, let me skip to the details. As previously stated, roleplaying should make you become someone else. It should be a character you are comfortable enough to be so you can be capable of improvising as much as possible without referring to your real self. Try to think of a few specific characteristics you could implement in your persona which can help make it unique. Does your character have an accent? Does it have a specific voice tone? Maybe your character has a tic? A favorite curse word? A phobia? What’s its background? Where is it from? Does it have family and friends? Is there a lover waiting somewhere? Kids? Are you part of a larger group such as the Europan Coalition or are you a loner? What’s the long term goal of your character? Is it just trying to make a living or is it in it for glory? What are its motivations? How’s the social skills? Is your character an introvert or an extrovert?
You don’t have to dress an exhaustive list of traits. Just pick a few you’re comfortable enough with to know you can handle them in real time situations and go along with those. In time, you will gain roleplaying skills and your act will be more and more elaborate and you’ll become more and more daring in your approach.
It’s normal for noobs to be shy, especially with strangers. But, that’s the thing: they’re strangers! They don’t know you. They have no idea who you are in real life. Everytime you meet a random group of players, it’s your chance to be someone else. If you make mistakes both as a crewmember or as a roleplayer, it’s no big deal. It happens. Once again, I repeat, the game has to be enjoyable for everyone and this includes yourself. If you are not comfortable, you’re doing something wrong. Maybe you’re trying too hard, for example. If you are shy, just be a character who is even shier than you. You can be rather silent until you break your shell and there’s nothing wrong with that. In the meantime, look and listen how roleplayers handle situations and learn from them.
Roleplaying For Experienced Players
I will of course refrain from giving too much advice to experienced roleplayers. I bet you have already found your own little way of roleplaying. Suffice to say that you may end up carrying others every once in a while. Not everyone is able to improvise at all times and not everyone is capable of becoming someone else in a flash. Patience is a virtue and veteran Barotrauma players ( roleplayers or not ) should always be patient with whatever may be thrown at them, whether it be coming from the game or the players. This includes people who break character, griefers, screamers and people who are just plain annoying. It’s your job to keep roleplaying no matter what happens as long as nothing truly serious and personal is happening to you or someone else. Keep in mind that while you have the abilities to carry others into roleplaying better, you shouldn’t bury others. Roleplaying just for the sake of having yourself at the center of attention at all times defeats the purpose of roleplaying. You will only have fun by yourself if you don’t let others have fun with you. Try to adapt as much as possible to the other players, distinguish their strengths and weaknesses and try to enhance their roleplay experience by engaging their characters. Interaction between two roleplayers is immensely stimulating and gratifying. The challenge of quickly coming up with reactions according to one’s character is pretty much the fuel the roleplayer needs to keep interest in the roleplay experience.
How I Roleplay
The Way I Do It
When I roleplay, I roleplay the hard way. I almost never break character, even in the lobby while waiting for the game to begin. Of course, if someone clearly wants me to drop the act for a minute or two to talk about something specific, I’ll do it, but I do my best to avoid coming back to my real self. Some people can easily jump from reality to fiction, but I need more efforts to do that.
My characters evolve over time after experiencing different events both in and out of my control. When I feel inspired or when I’m tired of the same old roles, a new character is created. Some may die and vanish forever. I like to create little stories for my characters and this includes potential endings.
When I start playing and join a new session, I like to get the pulse of the group before I choose the next course of action. Who is the captain? How efficient is this crew? Is the security officer trigger-happy or lenient? Who is talking a lot and who is silent? Are they having a hard time already or are they too playing too casually for their own good? There are many elements which make me take action or not. Sometimes, there’s enough going on already and I just do my job as a mechanic, tell the captain I’m fixing this or that and that’s it. I think a big mistake for certain roleplayers is to overwhelm the session and be ever-present in communications. Unless you are the captain, you shouldn’t overload the mic chatter with your roleplaying. Being too loud and talking too much can have a negative reverse effect. Instead of going along with your act, people will ignore you and may even harm, arrest or murder you. If you are really annoying, you will get kicked and banned even if you are roleplaying. Remember the golden rule.
When I Act, How I Act
There’s always a moment to shine for everone in Barotrauma. I usually wait for that moment to show what I’m capable of, both as a player and as a roleplayer. It can come in various ways. You have to develop a sixth sense for these things.
Maybe some of the crew went to investigate a wreck and I’m alone with a player/character I thought would be interesting to interact with. Maybe I’ll try to convince him of performing a precise task I can’t do or won’t dare to do myself. Or maybe I will attempt to antagonize him because my character doesn’t like him ever since he laughed at me when I got electrocuted earlier. Maybe I’ll take this opportunity to befriend him and organize a coup because the captain mistreated both of us. Maybe we both like ethanol and we team up to break into medbay to steal some bottles. Or perhaps the diving crew is not responding and casualties are visible, so I take the opportunity to be the hero or coward my character truly is and do something according to my persona. Maybe I was part of the diving crew and I realize I have psychosis – I don’t tell anyone of course, because insane people will believe they’re sane – and come back to the ship as a deranged, unstable individual. Or maybe I am a medic and I’m bored because no one is requiring my services so I decide to feed alien eggs and see what happens for the sake of science.
Which leads us to the next topic!
Roleplaying Vs. Griefing
The Serial Killer
I have a little story to tell. One time I was in a roleplay session and someone began killing people. At the end of the killing spree, only two out of a dozen players survived. I was one of the unfortunate victims! I must admit the person committing the murders had been very ingenious throughout his killing spree – having been killed, I could see how he proceeded. He was a skilled player who mastered the game. The issue however is that he claimed he was a serial killer. I pointed out the fact that serial killers usually have something in common: they usually kill targets with specific traits and they kill them in a peculiar manner. A serial killer in Barotrauma wouldn’t switch welding fuel and oxygen tanks, then proceed to shoot someone with morbusine, kill someone else with a shotgun and plant C4 at the airlock’s entrance to kill the diving crew that’s coming back. My opinion was that he was not roleplaying. He was acting as if he was roleplaying so he could use it as an excuse to grief. To support that fact, he barely spoke to anyone and only interacted with players when it was time to kill them. He also never contributed to anything else, didn’t help at all with the mission.
How & When To Enable Misdeeds While Roleplaying
Psychosis and other forms of madness are good reasons to commit evil deeds, including murder. If your character turns mad, you should normally be able to do mad things. The key here is to not force these things. They have to happen organically. Injecting yourself with substances that will alter your psychic state just for the sake of it because you want it to happen goes against what roleplaying is about. Accompanying a team as they venture in an alien ruin and turning crazy because of what you saw definitely is a good reason, however, just like getting medically treated by someone with low skills and being the prey to illusions in the process. Maybe your character is afraid of clowns and gets more and more agitated if a clown is on board. Or maybe your character is part of a certain husk cult, was brainwashed by the authorities and seeing someone husked has resurfaced those memories…
Little misdeeds usually are tolerated in Barotrauma and rightfully so. I call them shenanigans. Barotrauma is a chaos-induced game thanks to its randomness and the multiplayer experience enhances that chaos tenfolds. If my character is developing murderous tendencies, I like to start with little things that will make the other players think “Welp, this guy is acting weird”. Running around with a fire extinguisher, chopping up dead bodies in a secluded area, turning lights off in a room I’m in, painting the walls red, talking to myself or an imaginary friend and more can be done to give hints as to what’s about to happen. Maybe the crew will take notice and bring you to medbay to treat you. Maybe they won’t. You should modify your character’s story path according to the reactions of the other players. If they take good care of you, I recommend not going any further and coming back to your normal self. Remember that roleplaying is not just about you but also about the whole environment surrounding you and this includes the other characters you interact with. They should have an influence over your actions.
Murdering While Roleplaying
There can sometimes be a fine line to the eyes of many between committing evil deeds due to roleplaying and straight out griefing. In my opinion, it takes a lot of gathered elements to justify murder in Barotrauma when you are roleplaying, but it can happen. What’s important is that you can be able to dress a series of events to explain your actions. Usually, if you are roleplaying right, other roleplayers will acknowledge the path that led you to join the dark side. However, sometimes they won’t. Maybe they were absent while something triggered your character to become aggressive. Maybe they just didn’t notice anything up until when you stabbed someone. It will be up to you to make your case if you need to. A good idea is to tell your victims what you’re about to do to them right before you act, or when you have them incapacitated, just like any bad guy will do in cliché movies and anime. Not only is it extremely funny, it’s also a good way of preventing of getting labelled as a griefer. “Remember when you abandoned me in those ruins, Harry? Remember how you left me to die? Remember how you told the other divers to leave me out there? I survived, Harry, but my best friend, Tom, didn’t. It’s all your fault, and now… you… will… pay.”.
It’s possible that you may end up getting kicked or banned. At the end of the day, your fate as a player remains in the hands of the game session’s admin. Not everyone has the same values and opinions on how far you can go while roleplaying. This is why I say you have to prepare your case by following a series of actions before murdering someone because you might be given the opportunity of explaining how it all came to this either in-game or in the lobby.
Interaction With Specific Players
You will encounter people who play differently than you. A true roleplayer will of course remain in character, but can also adapt according to how others behave. Some people have a short temper. Others are griefers while a few can just be simply annoying. Here I will give you advice on how to act with various types of players if you are roleplaying.
There are people who don’t roleplay just because it’s not their cup of tea. There are also people who don’t see roleplaying as a fun thing to add to the game and even see it as an annoyance. Thankfully, they are a minority. Most non-roleplayers will just be a little awkward with you, the roleplayer. It’s alright. Most of the time, it’s because they are either not that into the game ( at least not as much as you are ) or roleplaying is too cringe to them. My opinion on this is that they are just afraid of awkwardness and don’t want to dare to roleplay, but that might be up to debate.
In any case, people who don’t roleplay shouldn’t be looked down upon by roleplayers. Keep in mind that roleplayers must never break character, therefore you shouldn’t judge a player for his/her lack of personality. Besides, the golden rule still applies for every single player. If they are having fun without roleplaying, cool.
If they are not happy with you roleplaying, however, it might be a bit of an issue. The best way for roleplayers to stay away from such situations is to avoid game sessions that are labelled as “Serious”. I don’t mean to judge those who host serious games, but from my experience I can say that this is where most people get genuinely angry and kick/ban the most. Roleplaying can be seen as annoying by those who are not into it. They’re trying to survive in this game, trying real hard to complete an objective, and there’s this dude who claims to be Luciano Pavarotti reincarnated, singing “La Donna è Mobile” in the ballasts? It might be too much for them.
If you still end up in a game where you clearly feel like the admin is not very fond of roleplayers, you have two reasonable options: 1) Leave the game or 2) Alleviate your roleplay. I think most admins will be more tolerant if you roleplay while still being a highly effective crewmember. If you start behaving strangely because it’s part of your character, you risk getting in trouble.
The Multitasking Captain
Some people have a hard time being a captain because they are multitasking. This is due to the fact that they do not have enough trust in their own crew. The multitasking captains will often lose control of their own game ( they are often hosting and are the only admin in the session ) because their lack of trust in the others backfires on them. Indeed, the players end up not trusting the captain in return. This is when a roleplayer needs to step in. Roleplayers in Barotrauma usually get attention rather easily when they want to. You must kindly inform your captain that he/she must remain in control of the navigation while others manage the rest of the sub. Sometimes, the captain just needs a #2 to issue orders and effectively command the ship while he/she steers. You can assume that role almost by default when you notice a lack of leadership. That’s the power of a roleplayer. We just generate leadership whenever we want. In return, the captain will be less agitated, will be less likely to be frustrated and the mission will have more chances of being accomplished.
The Security Officer
There are security officers who are good chaps. They protect others, kill creatures, watch over potential madmen and distribute weapons when necessary. Then there are those who use excessive force. The second kind can be an issue for everyone, not just the roleplayer. It truly is a case-by-case thing. Sometimes they are like that because they enjoy the power they hold and want to use it as much as possible. Sometimes it’s because they’ve been scarred by multiple griefers and don’t trust strangers anymore.
Roleplaying can sometimes make you create or fuel a conflict with a security officer. It can be a voluntary thing, or maybe not. I’ve encountered officers who did not roleplay and it seems many of them take pleasure in giving roleplayers a hard time because they feel like they are goofing around or something like that. Personally, when I join a random game, I usually try to prove my worth as a crewmember first and see how the crew acknowledges it. This of course includes the security officer. If the officer still stuns me and creates unecessary tension, then – and if my character is the fighting type – I see this as a challenge to overcome. To me, it’s a sign the player wants to engage in some kind of war game with me. I think it’s okay to use force against an officer if it makes sense for your character. Keep in mind however that you still need a solid series of events to justify your actions. I think many officers who abuse their powers are the run-and-gun type. You can easily play mind games with these guys. Roleplayers are quite smart in general because the very fabric of roleplaying comes from imagination, so their mind is constantly at work, thinking ahead of others. Use this to your avantage. If your character is supposed to be smart and capable enough, try to find ingenious ways to demote, arrest, disgrace or even kill the officer. If the admin is a good one, he/she’ll see why you did it and will not find offense in a little coup. Keep in mind however that only your rivals should suffer your wrath, not the random mechanic who just happened to catch you butchering the security officer in the ballasts. If you start killing people to cover up your initial murder, chances are you are the next guy on the list…
Well, we had to get to it at some point, right? Griefers will always be part of this game no matter what happens. You, as a roleplayer, have tools to defuse griefing situations or to the very least make them just a bit more enjoyable and less frustrating for everyone. If a player is acting suspicious, you have different ways of approaching the issue. It depends on your character’s personality, of course, but keep in mind that if the griefer succeeds in his griefing ways, the golden rule is broken. There will be people who will take less pleasure in their gaming experience. You, just like all the other veteran players, have to prevent that. Some griefers are actually players who simply gave up on the co-op aspect of the game because they themselves do not find pleasure in playing with other people. Maybe they simply had bad experiences in the past. Trying to convert a potential griefer into roleplaying can prove to be difficult, but it’s possible. Make them feel like they are part of a cool group. Griefers usually are very silent players. Take those silent players under your wing. Motivate them with your presence. Stimulate them with your roleplaying scenarios. Introduce them to a new way of playing the game.
Sometimes, though, griefers will be griefers. They don’t want to do anything with you. They just want to destroy your sub and kill you and the others. For such people, I say the following: keep roleplaying. See the griefer as yet another challenge in Europa. See them just like you see mudraptors, for example. They are just smarter and more capable of dealing huge damage than a mudraptor. Remember that griefers usually act alone and that you have an entire crew on your side. You have more manpower, therefore the odds are in your favor. Don’t let the frustration take over you. Remember to stay in character in such situations – they are actually a lot of fun when you take things positively. Hunting down a griefer can prove to be the most exciting event in a session. Many sci-fi horror movies have a guy who goes insane and goes on a killing spree. Griefers are that guy. See the griefer as a challenge, not a nuisance.
If you and other players play the right way, roleplaying is a wonderful experience. I cannot even imagine myself running out of ideas and not having fun while roleplaying. There is always something unexpected around the corner. When the game’s not giving you what you expect, remember that you can always give it something yourself. Add a few randoms in the equation and you’ll get a good dose of surprises, screams and laughter.
Work In Progress
I will most likely refine this guide later and add a few images. In the meantime, you can tell me if you are pleased with my guide and if there’s anything you’d like me to cover. Thanks!
I hope you enjoy what we shared today about Barotrauma – Pike’s Roleplaying Guide. If there is anything, you want us to add, please let us know via comment below! See you soon! And thanks!
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