Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Into 2019!

A new year has come around and it's time to both look back at the old and onward to the future of Evennia, the Python MUD creation system!






Last year 

Last year saw the release of Evennia 0.8. This version of Evennia changes some fundamental aspects of the server infrastructure so that the server can truly run in daemon mode as you would expect (no more running it in a GnuScreen session if you want to see logging to the terminal). It also adds the new Online Creation System, which lets builders create and define prototypes using a menu system as well as big improvements in the web client, such as multiple window-panes (allows the user to assign text to different windows to keep their client uncluttered) as well as plenty of fixes and features to help ease life for the Evennia developer. Thanks again to everyone who helped out and contributed to the release of Evennia 0.8!

On a personal note, I spoke about Evennia at PyCon Sweden this December, which was fun. I might put up my talk and make a more detailed blog post about that in the future, but my talk got a surprising amount of attention and positive feedback. Clearly many people have fond memories of MUDs and enjoy seeing they are not only still around but are possible to create in Python!

This year

Now we are steaming ahead towards Evennia 0.9! Already we have had a large number of contributions towards this release. A coming change is a much improved central way to make typeclass information available to a website as well as central ways to do various common operations like creating characters and linking them to Accounts. Much of this functionality is today hidden in the various default commands. In Evennia 0.9 they will be moved into more easily-findable locations as library functions everyone can just trigger without having to copy functionality.

The biggest change for Evennia 0.9 is however that we will now finally move Evennia over to Python 3. This is now possible as all our dependencies are now sufficiently ported. As discussed in the community for a long time, this will be a clean break - we will not offer any mid-way solution of Python2/3 but will drop Python2 support entirely. We will at the same time move to Django 2.+. In Django 0.9 we will however probably not use any special Python3 features yet. It should hopefully not be too difficult for our users to upgrade, but we'll of course publish extensive instructions and help when that time comes.

We will likely support a minimum of Python 3.6 and maybe 3.7.  This work is currently happening in a separate branch develop-py3 which will soonish merge into the current Python2.7-based develop branch and become Evennia 0.9 when it merges into master branch at an unknown time later this year.

There are a slew of other things planned for Evennia 0.9 and you can follow the progress from our project page. If you want to help out you are of course also very welcome. If you are new and are interested in getting your feet wet in helping out with Open-source development, we have a list of good first issues you could jump into.

Onward into the new year!

Fireworks image courtesy: U.S. Air Force photo by Zachary Hada

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Evennia in Hacktoberfest 2018

Like last year, Evennia, the Python MUD creation system, takes part in Hacktoberfest, a yearly event run by Digitalocean in collaboration with GitHub.

The premise is simple: Sign up at their website and then contribute with 5 GitHub pull requests during the month of October. If you do, you'll win a unique T-shirt!

You can help out any OSS project to win, if you want to help out Evennia, I have marked a bunch of suitable issues with the Hacktoberfest label for you to sink your teeth in. 

Code on!

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Evennia 0.8 released

After about a year of work and almost 540 commits from close to 20 contributors, Evennia 0.8 is out! Evennia is a Python game server for creating text-based multiplayer games (MUDs, Mushes, etc) using Django and Twisted.

Some of the upcoming improvements have been covered by previous dev blogs, such as the completely reworked server infrastructure:

as well as the new Online Creation System that allows for editing in-game prototypes using a powerful menu system:

Other improvements are in the web client, which supports split-panes out of the box. The user can split the output area in any number of panes, resize as desired and then assign different types of content to each pane. You can also have panes that absorb "all the rest" or "all" of the content.

There are still some bits which are a bit shaky and there is still much to do with the web client (for example, not that many outgoing messages yet defaults to being tagged in a way that the webclient recognizes). But it's a step forward!

There are many other improvements for developers, such as easier tools for running debuggers and a lot of new utilities and helper functions. The menu-creation tool (EvMenu) has seen a lot of improvements and also sport a few new decorators for quickly creating multi-page menus with full functionality to flip through and select large numbers of options.

The community has also chipped in with a large number of optional contributions for developers to use for their own game, such as a full turn-based combat system (divided into convenient chunks for the dev to pick and choose support for everything from magic and potions to equipment and ranged attacks).  There are also a range of helper functions for creating simpler menus and build commands as well as auditing tools and additions making better use of Django's very mature security features. 

The more detailed list of improvements and changes can be found in the announcement here. As usual, please report any issues to the issue tracker on github. 


In the immediate future, we'll focus on resolving any bugs that may have slipped through the cracks and also resolve some other issues in the pipeline. 

But beyond that, work on Evennia 0.9 will begin. And before you ask - yes Evennia 0.9 is the version where we'll move fully to Python3. Our dependencies have now reached a point where this is possible and there will be no intermediary Python2/3 version. There is no timeline for the 0.9 release but it should hopefully not be too tricky for the community to make the jump when the time comes.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Inline building in upcoming Evennia 0.8

Evennia, the Python MUD-server game development kit, is slowly creeping closer to its 0.8 release.

In our development branch I've just pushed the first version of the new OLC (OnLine Creator) system. This is a system to allow builders (who may have limited coding knowledge) to customize and spawn new in-game objects more easily without code access. It's started with the olc command in-game. This is a visual system for manipulating Evennia Prototypes.

Briefly on Prototypes

The Prototype is an Evennia concept that has been around a good while. The prototype is a Python dictionary that holds specific keys with values representing properties on a game object. Here's an example of a simple prototype:

{"key": "My house",
 "typeclass": "typeclasses.houses.MyHouse"}

By passing this dict to the spawner, a new object named "My house" will be created. It will be set up with the given typeclass (a 'typeclass' is, in Evennia lingo, a Python class with a database backend). A prototype can specify all aspects of an in-game object - its attributes (like description and other game-specific properties), tags, aliases, location and so on. Prototypes also support inheritance - so you can expand on an existing template without having to add everything fresh every time.

There are two main reasons for the Prototypes existing in Evennia: 
  • They allow you to customize individual objects easier. For example you could have a 'Goblin' base prototype with inheriting prototypes  Goblin Wizard" and "Goblin Chieftain" - all using the same Typeclass, but with different Attributes, equipment etc. 
  • Prototypes can be manipulated and scripted by builders without needing full Python access. This means that while the Typeclasses are designed and supplied by the Python developer, the builders can then use that typeclass to make very different types of object instances in-game.


What's new

As said, Prototypes have been around for a good while in Evennia. But in the past they were either manually entered directly as a dict on the command line, or created in code and read from a Python module. The former solution is cumbersome and requires that you know how to build a proper-syntax Python dictionary. The latter requires server code access, making them less useful to builders than they could be.

Note: If you are visually impaired, each image is also a link to a text-only version.

OLC index

In Evennia 0.8, while you can still insert the Prototype as a raw dict, spawn/menu or the new olc command opens a new menu-driven interface.

Select a prototype to load. This will replace any prototype currently being edited! ___________________________________________________________________________________________________  Select with <num>. Other actions: examine <num> | delete <num> Back (index) | Validate prototype | Quit   1: goblin_archer      5: goblin_archwizard                2: goblin_wizard                                          3: goblin                                                 4: archwizard_mixin
More importantly, builders can now create, save and load prototypes in the database for themselves and other builders to use. The prototypes can be tagged and searched as a joint resource. Builders can also lock prototypes if others are not to be able to read or use them to spawn things. Developers can still supply module-based "read-only" prototypes (for use as starting points or examples to their Builders, for example).

Found 1 match.   (Warning: creating a prototype will overwrite the current prototype!) ____________________________________________________________________________________  Actions: examine <num> | create prototype from object <num> Back (index) | Quit   1: Griatch(#1)

You can now also use the menu to search for and create a new Prototype based on an existing object (if you have access to do so). This makes it quick to start up a new prototype and tweak it for spawning other similar objects. Of course you could spawn temporary objects without saving the prototype as well.

The Typeclass defines what 'type' of object this is - the actual working code to use.  All spawned objects must have a typeclass. If not given here, the typeclass must be set in one of the prototype's parents.  [No typeclass set] ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________  Back (prototype-parent) | Forward (key) | Index | Validate prototype | Quit   1: evennia.contrib.tutorial_world.mob.Mob                 7: evennia.contrib.tutorial_world.objects.TutorialObject    2: evennia.contrib.tutorial_world.objects.Climbable       8: evennia.contrib.tutorial_world.objects.Weapon            3: evennia.contrib.tutorial_world.objects.CrumblingWall   9: evennia.contrib.tutorial_world.objects.WeaponRack        4: evennia.contrib.tutorial_world.objects.LightSource     10: evennia.contrib.tutorial_world.rooms.BridgeRoom         5: evennia.contrib.tutorial_world.objects.Obelisk         current: (1/3)                                              6: evennia.contrib.tutorial_world.objects.Readable        next page

Builders will likely not know which typeclasses are available in the code base. There are new a few ways to list them. The menu display makes use of Evennia 0.8's new EvMenu improvements, which allows for automatically creating multi-page listings (see example above).

There is also a new switch to the typeclass command, /list, that will list all available typeclasses outside of the OLC.



Another new feature are Protfuncs. Similarly to how Inlinefuncs allows for calling for the result of a function call inside a text string, Protfuncs allows for calling functions inside a prototype's values. It's given on the form $funcname(arguments)where arguments could themselves contain one or more nested Protfuncs.

As with other such systems in Evennia, only Python functions in a specific module or modules (given by settings) are available for use as Protfuncs in-game. A bunch of default ones are included out of the box. Protfuncs are called at the time of spawning. So for example, you could set the Attribute 
Strength = $randint(5, 20) 
to automatically spawn objects with a random strength between 5 and 20.

prototype-key: goblin, -tags: [], -locks: spawn:all();edit:all() -desc: Built from goblin prototype-parent: None      key: goblin aliases: monster, mob attrs:  desc = You see nothing special.  strength = $randint(5,20)  agility = $random(6,20)  magic = 0 tags:  mob (category: None) locks:  call:true();control:id(1) or perm(Admin);delete:id(1) or perm(Admin);edit:perm(Admin);examine:perm(Builder);get:all();puppet:pperm(Developer) ;tell:perm(Admin);view:all() location: #2 home: #2   No validation errors found. (but errors could still happen at spawn-time) ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________  Actions: examine <num> | remove <num> Back (index) | Validate prototype | Quit   1: Spawn in prototype's defined location (#2)       2: Spawn in Griatch's location (Limbo)              3: Spawn in Griatch's inventory                     4: Update 2 existing objects with this prototype

When spawning, the olc will validate the prototype and run tests on any Protfunc used. For convenience you can override the spawn-location if any is hard-coded in the prototype.

The system will also allow you to try updating existing objects created from the same-named prototype earlier. It will sample the existing objects and calculate a 'diff' to apply. This is bit is still a bit iffy, with edge cases that still needs fixing.


Current status

The OLC is currently in the develop branch of Evennia - what will soon(ish) merge to become Evennia 0.8.

It's a pretty big piece of code and as such it's still a bit unstable and there are edge cases and display issues to fix. But it would be great with more people trying it out and reporting errors so the childhood issues can be ironed out before release!

Building Image: Released as Creative Commons here

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Kicking into gear from a distance

The last few weeks I have reworked the way Evennia's startup procedure works. This is now finished in the develop branch so I thought I'd mention a little what's going on.

Evennia, being a server for creating and running text-games (MU*s), consists of two main processes:
  • The Portal - this is what players connect to with their clients.
  • The Server - this is the actual game, with the database etc. This can be shutdown and started again without anyone connected to the Portal getting kicked from the game. This allows for hot-adding new Python code into the running Server without any downtime. 
Since Evennia should be easy to set up and also run easily on Windows as well as on Linux/Mac, we have foregone using the linux process management services but instead offered our own solution. This is how the reload mechanism currently looks in master branch:

Here I've excluded connections irrelevant to reloading, such as the Twisted AMP connection between Portal and Server. Dashed lines suggest a more "temporary" connection than a solid line.

The Launcher is the evennia program one uses to interact with the Server in the terminal/console. You give it commands like evennia start/stop/reload.

  • When starting, the Launcher spawns a new program, the Runner, and then exits. The Runner stays up and starts the Portal and Server. When it starts the Server, it does so in a blocking way and sits waiting in a stalled loop for the Server process to end. As the Server and Portal start they record their current process-ids in .pid files
  • When reloading, the Launcher writes a flag in a little .restart file. The Launcher then looks up the Server's .pid file and sends a SIGINT signal to that process to tell it to gracefully shut down. As the Server process dies, the Runner next looks at the Server's .restart file. If that indicates a reload is desired, The Runner steps in its loop and starts up a new Server process. 
  • When stopping, everything happens like when reloading, except the .restart file tells the Runner that it should just exit the loop and let the Server stay down. The Launcher also looks at the Portal's .pid file and sends a SIGINT signal to kill it. Internally the processes catch the SIGINT and close gracefully.
The original reason for this Server-Portal-Runner setup is that the Portal is also reloadable in the same way (it's not shown above). But over time I've found that having the Portal reloadable is not very useful - since players get disconnected when the Portal reloads one can just as well stop and start both processes. There are also a few issues with the setup, such as the .pid files going stale if the server is killed in some catastrophic way and various issues with reliably sending signals under Windows. Also, the interactive mode works a little strangely since closing the terminal will actually kill the Runner, not the Server/Portal - so they will keep on running except they can no longer reload ...
It overall feels a little ... fiddly.

In develop branch, this is now the new process management setup:

The Portal is now a Twisted AMP server, while the Evennia Server and Launcher are AMP clients. The Runner is no more.

  • When starting, the Launcher spawns the Portal and tries to connect to it as an AMP client as soon as it can. The Portal in turn spawns the Server. When the Server AMP client connects back to the Portal, the Portal reports back to the Launcher over the AMP connection. The Launcher then prints to the user and disconnects. 
  • When reloading, the Launcher connects to the Portal and gives it a reload-command. The Portal then tells the Server (over their AMP connection) to shutdown. Once the Portal sees that the Server has disconnected, it spawns a new Server. Since the Portal itself knows if a reload or shutdown is desired no external .restart (or .pid) files are needed. It reports the status back to the Launcher that can then disconnect.
  • When stopping, the Launcher sends the "Stop Server" command to the Portal. The Portal tells the Server to shut down and when it has done so it reports back to the Launcher that the Server has stopped. The Launcher then sends the "Stop Portal" command to also stop the Portal.  The Launcher waits until the Portal's AMP port dies, at which point it reports the shutdown to the user and stops itself.
So far I really like how this new setup works and while there were some initial issues on Windows (spawning new processes does not quite work they way you expect on that platform) I think this should conceptually be more OS-agnostic than sending kill-signals. 

This solution gives much more control over the processes. It's easy to start/stop the Server behind the portal at will. The Portal knows the Server state and stores the executable-string needed to start the Server. Thus the Server can also itself request to be reloaded by just mimicking the Launcher's instructions.
 The launcher is now only a client connecting to a port, so one difference with this setup is that there is no more 'interactive' mode - that is the Server/Portal will always run as daemons rather than giving log messages directly in the terminal/console. For that reason the Launcher instead has an in-built log-tailing mechanism now. With this the launcher will combine the server/portal logs and print them in real time to easily see errors etc during development.

The merger of the develop branch is still a good bit off, but anyone may try it out already here: . Report problems to the issue tracker as usual.

Friday, January 5, 2018

New year, new stuff

Happy 2018 everyone! Here's a little summary of the past Evennia year and what is brewing.

(Evennia is a Python server- and toolbox for creating text-based multiplayer games (MU*)).

The biggest challenge for me last year Evennia-wise was the release of Evennia 0.7. Especially designing the migration process for arbitrary users migrating the Django auth-user took a lot of thought to figure out as described in my blog post here. But now 0.7 is released and a few initial minor adjustments could be made after feedback from daring pilot testers. The final process of migrating from 0.6 to 0.7 is, while involved, a step-by-step copy&paste list that has worked fine for most to follow. I've gotten far fewer questions and complains about it than could be expected so that's a good sign.

Working away on the boring but important behind-the-scenes stuff made me less able to keep up with more "mundane" issues and bugs popping up, or with adding new "fun" features to existing code. Luckily the Evennia community has really been thriving this year; It feels like new users pop up in the support channel all the time now. The number of pull requests both fixing issues and offering new features and contribs have really picked up. A bigger part of my time has been spent reviewing Pull Requests this year than any other I think. I would like to take the opportunity to thank everyone contributing, it's really awesome to see others donating their time and energy adding to Evennia. The Hacktoberfest participation was also surprisingly effective in getting people to create PRs - I have a feeling some were just happy to have an "excuse" for getting started to contribute. We should attend that next year too.

One thing we added with 0.7 was a more formal branching structure: Evennia now uses fixed master and develop branches, where master is for bug-fixes and develop is for new features (things that will eventually become evennia 0.8). This is simple but enough for our needs; it also makes it easier to track new from old now that we are actually doing releases.

Now that Twisted is at a point where this is possible for us to do, we also now have a sort-of plan for finally moving Evennia to Python 3. I won't personally be actively working on it until after 0.8 is out though. I don't expect both Evennia 0.8 and 0.9 (which will be pure py3) to get released this year, but we'll see - so far contributors have done all the work on the conversion.

At any rate, this coming year will probably be dominated by catching up on issues and edge cases that are lining our Issue tracker. One side effect of more newcomers is more eyes on the code and finding the creaky-bits. At least for me, most of my Evennia-time will be spent resolving bugs and issues. The fun thing is that unlike previous years this is not only up to me anymore - hopefully others will keep helping to resolve issues/bugs to broaden our bandwidth when it comes to keeping Evennia stable. The faster we can handle the backlog of issues the faster we can focus on new shiny features after all.

Finally, a continued great thank you to those of you contributing to the Patreon. Even small donations have a great encouraging value when working on something as niche as a Python MU* game server in 2018 - thanks a lot!

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Getting a MUD Roleplaying Scene going

Getting a MUD RP-scene going

This article is a little different from the normal more technical Evennia-specific content of this blog. It was originally published as a light-hearted addition to the Imaginary Realities e-zine many years ago. While IR is still online it has since dozed off. So I'm reposting it here to bring it to a new audience.

In roleplay-heavy MUDs (and in other categories of text-based roleplaying games), the concept of scenes become important. A scene in this concept is simply a situation big or small that involves you and your fellow players in interesting role play. A scene can be as simple as two players meeting in the street and exchanging a few words to the dramatic conclusion to a staff-driven quest. Whenever role player-interested players meet, a scene may happen.

But sometimes scenes won’t come naturally. Sometimes your favourite game has only a few people online, or most of them are hovering in private areas. It’s time to go proactive. Below I offer some archetypes, tropes and ideas for how to get a random Scene started and people interested. The list is based on one I did for a RP-heavy MUD I played some time back.

Some terms used in the list:
  • Character concept - The general idea behind your player character (PC), like “The scarred veteran”, “The grumpy old magician” or “The swashbuckling bounty-hunter”.
  • IC/OOC - In-Character/Out-Of-Character.
  • Emote/pose - This is the common way to roleplay in MUDs. This displays a free-form action to the room, such as “The tall man sighs heavily”. Some MUDs offer a slew of special commands for particular actions or special syntax to decorate poses. Some games use specific “say” commands for verbal communication whereas others make say’s part of the emote completely.
  • Action/static pose - a pose that “lingers”, such as The tall man is sitting by the bar. Commonly static poses remain assigned to your character’s description  until you change it or exit the room, meaning that new people entering will immediately see your current status.
  • NPC - Non-Player Character. Also known as a “mob”. An in-game character that is controlled by the computer, such as a bartender or a city guard.
  • vNPC - a “virtual” NPC. This NPC does not actually exist in code but they should be there. Even though there are only two Players and a City guard in the central plaza, that place is actually packed with people most of the day. Most RP-heavy muds ask players to imagine vNPCs being all around them and have it influence their roleplay.
  • Godmodding - this is considered very bad form. Godmodding means to include another Player’s character in your roleplay in a way that takes control away from them unfairly. Depending on the game, disagreements on how to resolve a situation may be down to skill checks, die rolls or calling in a staff arbiter.

Scene starters

Scene starters are for when you are alone in a room hoping for others to join you (we've all done it). It is considerably easier to run Scene starters if there is some OOC way for other players to know where to find you (such as a list showing who's interesting in roleplay and where they are in the game). If not, it’s best to prepare your starter in a commonly visited central location or hub. You normally trigger the starter whenever another Player enters.

The Scene starters below are intended as ideas and suggestions, but are also examples of archetypical behaviour I’ve observed myself.

The Barfly

A role playing mud classic since time immemorial. The barfly is alone in a tavern and tends their drink, waiting for things to happen. A passive role, but trivial to setup and easy for other players to jump in on - they just slide up to the bar and ask what's up. Fun variations is the drunk barfly or really, really sad/happy barfly, states which immediately give other Players things to ask about and work with.

The Strider

This is the "dark stranger in the corner" variation of the barfly. It is simple to execute - just sit in a dark tavern corner looking glum and mysterious. Often used by newbie players unsure of the game’s commands. The problem is that unless they know the Strider from before it's hard for other Characters to include him/her in their roleplay in a realistic way. The whole IC point of this trope is after all to avoid attention.

The Busybody

The busybody is keeping busy in this room. Most commonly they are performing their job. If they own a bar or run the shop, they tend it. If they are guardsmen they are standing on patrol. If they are wee jesters they are making fools out of themselves. And so on. This is a great starter since it is both natural, realistic and in-character all at once. The nature of their work may occasionally make it easier or harder for other Characters come up with reasons to interact with them though - it might be harder to motivate why some characters would strike up a conversation with a guardsman than they would with a street vendor.



 The Demagogue

This more involved starter involves striking up a loud conversation with an NPC/vNPC. Whenever another Character enters, the Demagogue plays out a small scene where they are "arguing" with the NPC, playing both roles. The argument could be "continuing" or just starting as the new PC enters. It could be about anything from tavern prices to refuting a made-up insult. The advantage of this is that it gives immediate character to the demagogue and to the NPC both. It also makes it easy for the newcomer to get into the scene just by taking sides in the debate.


The Damsel in Distress

This starter, which of course works both for male and female Characters, sets up the damsel as being in a dependency situation to whomever enters the room next. It involves describing the damsel in a sort of precarious situation that clearly requires an extra hand to resolve. This could be anything: Having their hands full and nearly dropping stuff. Chasing a dog that is running off with their book. Being accosted by vNPC ruffians (which should bugger off quickly, unless roleplaying completely “virtual” combat is your cup of tea). Either way the newcomer has an ongoing scene to react to, and roleplay immediately ensues.


The Organizer

This starter requires that the game has a developed in-game message- or mailing system. If so - use it to explicitly and in-character invite  people to a scene! If the organizer is in a position of in-game power, this could make good IC sense - like the lord calling on their vassals to attend some sort of function. But anything from calling in a favor to suggesting a business opportunity or looking for a job works. Throw a party. Get drunk and send an ill-advised love letter. This starter works exceptionally well in combination with Stage director or Aggravator for getting selected Players into a memorable scene.


 The Aggravator

The aggravator starts off on the wrong foot with people. Maybe they lash out due to some perceived injustice or they are just grumpy. This starter does not fit all character concepts. The aggravator should accuse the newly arrived PC for something. It could be something from their common history or something made-up out of the blue. It is an active starter in that it leads the way and forces other PCs into roleplay - if nothing else in order to defend themselves. A simple example is to chide the newly arrived PC for not stopping the vNPC that just ran past them out the door. It's important not to take the aggravator trope too far, especially not when using vNPCs. The idea is to get a scene started with some tension, not to get the other (possibly random) PC into real trouble. No god-modding, remember. If the two Characters are actual enemies though, it may be another matter ...


The Stage Director

This is a more sophisticated starter that is halfway to improvised theater. It sets up a whole little scene involving some event with a number of semi-named vNPCs. The stage director could be directly involved or be a spectator (in which case other PCs can walk up to them and ask what's going on). The event could be anything from a trite bar brawl to a domestic dispute in progress. Or why not a marriage proposal between two vNPCs in the middle of the street! If the stage director is threatened in some way, this is a large-scale version of damsel in distress.
The nice thing about staged scenes like this is that it gives depth and personality to the game and is often highly appreciated by other Players. If done well, the stage director could give everyone involved a true feeling of being in a living environment.

The scene could continue to be played out around the PCs also as they interact, making this starter potentially  demanding on the stage director. If the other Players are experienced they should pick up on this and maybe even contribute their own vNPCs to the scenario (or the stage director could actively invite other Players to do so). It's important to remember to avoid god-modding here - never dictate another PCs actions, let other Players react as they see fit.



The Lazy Bum

This is unfortunately the most common of starters and we've probably all done it one time or another. It does not involve anything but simply standing in a room. No action set, no nothing. Just being there, the Character staring blankly into space until something happens. Yeah.


Scene entrances

Here are some ideas on how to enter a scene/room with one or more other PCs already involved in role play. It should be noted that if other PCs already have a scene going they might be OOC annoyed if the newcomer muscles in with some room-changing entrance. So you as a Player have to show some consideration here. Check the land and eventual actions set on people in the room. If a great scene is already in progress you shouldn’t need to start your own - instead try to get in on the action!

The Mouse

The most common of entering schemes. The Mouse walks into the room/area not drawing attention to themselves. A simple, passive setup that fits many situations and Character concepts. The mouse is a useful way to enter an already running scene. It is a bit overused though, possibly being The lazy bum of entrances. It seem to imply that it is up to others to notice and respond to the mouse. If really aiming for anonymity, the mouse must emote explicitly that they are not drawing attention to themselves, making it clear to other characters they need not go out of their way to be courteous and notice the newcomer.


The Ignoranti

The ignoranti acts as if they do not  notice the other Characters in the room. This entrance variant is useful for crowded or large locations. It is also realistic - just because the “chock-full” tavern has only two PCs in it, it doesn’t mean you would actually immediately notice them. vNPCs are everywhere. The ignoranti must emote their ignorance explicitly, with something like "S/he does not notice the others yet". This entrance makes for a nice variation by allowing the ignoranti and other PCs to "accidentally" bump into each other later in a very natural way.



The Walker

The walker is just "passing through" this area. This entrance is useful for outdoor areas or minor streets were many Character concepts probably have no real reason to be hanging about more than necessary. The walker is really heading somewhere else and just happens to stop to chat with people in this room. It's an effective entrance that allows for quick, logical exits as well (they just have to 'be on their way'). This is far better than the more common approach of just congesting onto a street room and start greeting people as if all you do is stand in the street all day.



The Planned Visitor

This is a variation on The busybody and the opposite of The walker. The planned visitor needs to come to this room, and that is not in order to chat with random PCs. The visitor will start to perform whatever they are here to do and interaction with others is mere a side effect. The classic take on this trope is to read message boards or to order food and drink. More imaginative ones could be to ask the NPC barkeep for a job, look for a vNPC (which turns out to not be here), repair something, do some sort of inspection or setup for an artistic performance. If done well, others will have plenty of opportunity to ask The Planned Visitor what they are up to. It also makes for a thematic way to exit the scene once you declare your business there done.

The Wet Kitten

A classic that involves entering a scene drenched to the bone, shivering from cold, gasping from heat or otherwise be dramatically and visually affected by whatever weather or situation reigns outside. Common to taverns everywhere. For some reason this entrance rarely instills as much sympathy as one would think - but at least it opens up for other Characters to comment on the weather. Taken to the extreme, this becomes a variation on Damsel in Distress.



 The Third Wheel

This is an active, provocative entrance and a variant on the aggravator. It should directly interrupt and involve other PCs in the room entered. The trivial confrontational way to do this is for the intruder to muscle or elbow past other PCs in a rude way, maybe even (attempting to) give them a rough shove (remember to avoid god-modding). This is sure to start off a scene! The more common third-wheel approach is to walk up to another group of conversing PCs and simply jump into their conversation mid-sentence. How this is received depends on the situation and Characters involved.
In both cases it's important to make it clear that your actions is a conscious RP choice - it’s your Character which is inconsiderate, not the Player behind it. In other words, emote something like “... He/She does not seem to notice or care that s/he is intruding...

The Theatrist

This is an on-the-fly version of the Stage director or demagogue. Only use if it's clear the currently ongoing scene allows it (so its often a good idea to follow a few emotes in the room  before setting this one off). Just like stage director, it starts some sort of background action in the room based on vNPCs. Maybe a brawl, an argument or some other event like a happy announcement. Maybe a vNPC starts hitting on a PC. Or, like the demagogue, the theatrist gets involved in a discussion with an NPC/vNPC. Bartender NPCs are classically useful targets for this. Again, the theatrist must be considerate here, and perceptive so as to not take over an already running scene. Some PCs might forcibly choose to ignore the events going on in order to focus on their ongoing RP, so don't shove it down their throats (no god-modding!)

The Non-sequitur

This, strangely rare, entrance involves running into a crowded room, shouting "Monkeeey!" and then run out again. This one will at least lead to roleplay for the confused people in the room you just visited. And no, don't do this unless you have a very specific and suitable character concept, kids.


 The Newbie

The classic newbie entrance involves walking into a room and saying "Hello" to no one in particular. Bonus points if this is done while ignoring the fact that the room's on fire and the PCs within are all involved in mortal combat. Luckily this entrance trope screams newbie so clearly that players may be urged to pity and lenience. It may in fact be the trigger for getting a more experienced player to take the newbie under their wing and explain a thing or two.