This morning, I struggled to find an idea to post for WTTRP, so I turned to a key source of RP inspiration in the WFR circle: Fellsie. Here’s what happened:
10:04 AM me: I need your braiiiins. For a WTTRP post
10:05 AM Fellsie: Ooooooh!
How can I halp.
10:06 AM me: help me think of an idea. What RP wisdom should I look for or try to impart
also, I’m totally using this chat session in the post.
RP wisdom, huh.
How about a post on picking up random RP?
10:07 AM me: that’s been done I think
Fellsie: How about one on trying to join established RP? Lots of folks seem to have trouble knowing how to either join a conversation in progress, or eavesdrop/audience without it being creepy.
10:08 AM me: yeah. That ‘s worth a revisit.
So what new insight is there?
Fellsie: What’s been covered so far?
10:11 AM me: communication, not stalkerish behavior. No brooding NPCs
how to talk to people in a bar
10:12 AM Fellsie: The latter was gonna be my suggestion.
That isn’t me, just a regular at one of my old Bars and a regular in the Pig and Whistle…
As a gentleman of a certain age, I can attest to the nuances and differences in Bars and Bar Culture. There are Sports Bars, Juice Bars, Coffee Shops, Dive Bars, Music Clubs, Wine Bars, Gastro Pubs and “Meat Markets,” each with their own rules, customs and specials. Navigating these social morays in the real world is, relatively speaking, easy. You go to the Bar, eat and drink, and eventually leave. Becoming a regular is significantly more trying. One does not become a regular just by going to the bar, the same day at the same time, for weeks at time. No, one has to learn the culture of the bar. Regulars differ by not just by style of bar, but also day and time of day.
For instance, when I was dating my wife and going to stay with her while she worked at a South Side Dive Bar, I didn’t become a regular because I was dating the bartender. As her shift started, it was the transition from the day drinkers to the evening crowd. I focused on the later. So I bided my time by talking music, mocking the north side and buying drinks of the evening crowd. When the bar changed hands a year later, I was a regular.
The rules for working with regulars in a drinking establishment are similar to breaking into an RP Circle. To help draw the parallel, let’s focus on the Pig And Whistle on Feathermoon. Tuesday Nights, most of the Wildfire Riders and Associate Friends come by for a drink, swap stories and catch each other up RP. These people are the regulars. It doesn’t matter if another group of RPers show up on any other day of the week: Tuesday night has been (and will probably continue to be) Wildfire Rider Night at the Pig.
These are the regulars who have set up the tone and the “rules” of the bar. In real life, if someone acts up in a bar, bar-backs and bouncers remove the problem. In an RP setting, people can be reported; however, the most likely scenario is the following: Problems will be /ignored.
By problems, I mean individuals who dance on tables, have their toons run in their underwear and actively try and ruin RP. In essence, they’re griefers. Most people who read WTTRP are not griefers. They actually want to join the RP. So how to join the RP?
Join their conversations: Don’t sit in the corner table and Brood. Standard dive bar culture: Avoid the brooding people, as they’re the ones who are going to throw the first punch.
Participate, don’t dominate: Regulars like to hang out with other regulars. While they’re not opposed to new people, they are also not there to talk to the new people. They are there to drink with their friends. If you butt in on conversations, try to dominate a conversation or draw attention to yourself by being a jerk, you’re going to be at best, politely ignored.
Buy the first round: When in doubt, bribe new friends with drinks. It goes a long way to establishing new relationships. If the circle you want to join isn’t in a bar, bring food. Bring Drinks. Even if it is buff food, it goes along way to transition from “interesting person” to “new circle member.”
Keep coming back: The more you frequent the same circle in their setting, the more you show you are willing to be a part of their circle.
Your stories and your ideas are just as important as the stories and ideas of the “regulars” you want to visit. To share your stories, however, you have to acknowledge the RP that occurred before you joined it. One cannot just walk into a bar and declare oneself a regular. Likewise with an RP Circle. You can’t walk in and declare yourself to be part of the group. You have to work at it and share with them, not RP at them.