A Naïf In Neverwinter Nights: Exploring Roleplay In An Erotic Fantasy Server

Role-play has always been a curious concept to me despite spending half of my life believing it was little more than adults wearing fake armor and speaking in phony English accents. When I became obsessed with pen and paper RPGs, I forced three of my friends to try Dungeons and Dragons. Our awkward adventure was akin to four naive boys going on a journey, finding a dead body, and then never talking about it ever again.

But last week I discovered that Neverwinter Nights, the classic 2002 RPG, is not only still popular but also home to dozens of serious role-playing servers. Digging deeper I found that many of those servers are “adults only,” hinting all too plainly at what kind of desires they catered to. I couldn’t resist. What could this virtual Sodom have that was so compelling that people would spend time in a decade-old RPG just to experience it?

I needed to find out.

Names have been changed to protect the privacy of those involved.

Stranger in a Strange Land

My name is Joren Arrenen and I have a leopard’s tail. Later I’ll realize that I look like Anakin Skywalker cosplaying as He-Man, but that won’t be the first time I feel embarrassed or vulnerable this evening. I am about to step into a world of role-play with a taste for the erotic, and I have no idea what to expect.

The character creator isn’t helping keep those expectations in check, either. It takes 20 minutes for me to choose the perfect penis to compliment my character—mostly because I’m unsure of how fully erect genitals will work with any clothing I wear on top. I go with the modest option: a flaccid penis big enough that you’d still tip your hat. With my downstairs sorted, my handsome He-Manakin Skywalker is complete, and I walk to the portal that will take me into Sinthara City.

Stepping through this door means that I’m Steven no more.

My first steps into Sinthara City are filled with trepidation. I’m surrounded by players; some are demon dominatrixes, others wear jeans and fancy shirts. A giant troll strides past me, and I have to naively wonder what kind of erotic fantasy this person is living out as such an ugly character. I realize then how vanilla my sexual preferences must be to some of these people, a point driven further home when I discover I can read a player’s profile. Each one is a surprisingly long and granular description of their appearance and personality. I glance through the profile of an Asian woman with a fox tail and at the bottom is a whole section vividly describing the shape and color of her clitoral piercings. A relatively normal looking girl passes by and I feel drawn to her mundane appearance until I read about the massive penis supposedly concealed under her skirt. Suddenly I worry that mine’s too small.

Below each profile is every player’s “traffic lights,” a system used to list which fetishes a player may or may not be okay with. Green lights are fair game, yellow lights are maybes, and red lights are absolutely off the table. I cannot describe how out of place I feel as I pour through one character’s green light fetishes, seeing entire words and acronyms I don’t understand.

What the hell is “vore?”

A quick Google search later tells me that it’s a fetish for consuming or being consumed by someone—but only in the context of role-play and not to be mistaken for violent cannibalism.

Okay.

It dawns on me that my own profile is empty and I should probably fill that out. Back at the OOC (out of character) Lobby, I find the NPC who can do that for me and spend almost half an hour trying to come up with something that doesn’t sound stupid. It doesn’t work.

“Standing at just under 6″2, Joren moves with the kinetic grace of a leopard—a kind of powerful yet lazy presence that puts others slightly on edge even if they’re not sure why. His bare skin betrays lean muscles, the kind earned from years of arduous labor.

“When he talks, his voice is surprisingly quiet and restrained, hinting at some instinct that draws him inward. That isn’t to say he’s shy. In fact, his intense gaze and refusal to break eye contact suggests quite the opposite. There is a calm yet lethal air about him.”

Combined with my He-Man attire, I’m halfway to a successful career in writing drugstore erotica. But that revelation only depresses me because it highlights how utterly uncreative I am. Around me are all these exotic characters, and I’m that kid in grade school art class forced to hold up his shitty attempt at a portrait—a failure that stings only because I genuinely tried my best.

When I create characters in MMORPGs, I’m not really creating anything. I’m hastily assembling a Frankenstein of body parts that no one is likely to look at twice. But in Sinthara, I’m acutely aware that I’m here to attract people, which means building a character—and personality—that’s interesting to more than just me. I’m 20 years old again and on my way to meet a girl while stealing nervous glances at my own reflection in passing storefront windows.

Back in Sinthara City, I head down the main street, watching as people talk and pass by. I don’t have the courage to approach any of them. What would I even say? I have no understanding of the protocol or social rules here, and the looming sexual proclivity hangs over my head like a giant sign that might as well read “This one’s a virgin!”

I certainly feel like one. I’m barely comfortable in this new skin, I don’t think I’m ready to fuck someone in it.

There’s a group of players talking, and the conversation I’m reading seems candid enough that I decide if I won’t talk to them, I won’t talk to anyone. It’s time to become Joren.

First Contact

I approach the group and open the chat dialogue, shaking my head in shame as I type.

Joren Arrenen: Hello, excuse me, I’m very sorry to interrupt but I…err…seem to be a bit lost.
Darius: *He looks to Joren.* Hey there. What are you looking for?
Nashe: whatcha lookin for hun?
Joren Arrenen: That’s the thing, I’m not very sure. I seem to have wound up in this place…Sinthara is it?

Staring at that sentence I just wrote makes me want to commit harakiri. I imagine my father walking in the room and seeing this. A single tear breaks down his cheek as he presses the pillow harder into my face.

I have no idea how I’m supposed to talk or act. Do I just speak normally? Do I have to invent some mannerisms for Joren to use? I’m an alien in a sitcom about infiltrating human society for which I have no understanding, only no one is laughing.

They ask me what I’m looking for, and, unsure, I hastily inquire where I might get a drink. Emery, a satyr-woman with golden hair, suggests I head to a particular establishment. Her friends are quick to warn me however that the destination is a trick.

Emery begins pouting, her joke spoiled by her friends. I begin to feel some measure of normality – they just tried pranking me and it’s a thread I can work with.

As we chat, there’s a strangely powerful sensation, and I’m struck by how vivid it feels to be a fifth wheel in a group of fictional friends. I’m watching their conversation scroll past as I try my best to participate, awkwardly aware of all the inside jokes and subtext I’m completely oblivious to.

Eventually the conversation drifts back towards me, as Morrinth begins to wonder why I have a tail and am dressed so terribly. I take it in stride, laughing it off instead of revealing that I’m burying my face in my palms for so naively thinking that a cool and original costume for a fantasy role-play server was dressing up like a barbarian. I’m that guy wearing the flavor of the year Halloween costume. This must be some sort of tell-tale sign of a new player—an imagination so depressingly imprisoned as to default to a loincloth and bared chest.

Morrinth, whose interest in alternative fashion is illustrated by her high heels, stockings, and black corset, isn’t having any of it.

Morrinth: You have this freakishly odd metal skirt…
Joren Arrenen: It keeps my thighs from getting lopped off.
Morrinth: Well… you should invest in better armour… because metal skirts never suit a man. Admittedly, there is a sex club or two, which would likely love to have your current attire.
Joren Arrenen: I do feel rather… underdressed. Is there some place I might be able to buy something a little more appropriate?
Morrinth: Mhmm…
Joren Arrenen: Care to show me? Or will I need to find it myself?
Morrinth: I will show you.

It’s at this point that I realize my expectations for this server are likely wildly different than the truth. When I arrived, I thought I was walking into a kind of Sodom. I imagined a place where every street was filled with naked characters utilizing the custom emotes contained in the 15 gigabytes of extra content I downloaded to have lurid sex on these virtual streets. But Sinthara is actually a rather pleasant place to be. Characters stop and chat idly with one another, using asterisks to emote body language too subtle for Neverwinter Night’s engine to display. If it wasn’t for the fact that many of them were half-naked demons of some variety, Sinthara would feel more like a cozy village than a den of depravity.

With this in mind, I follow Morrinth.

The Hand That Clothes You

Morrinth leads us to the waterfront where ships wait to whisk players to far off lands. To our left, a barge has been converted into a bar that Morrinth informs me is for “the furry ones.” We charter a boat and head to one of the Outer Isles. Sinthara is actually four separate servers routing the different characters between them, each with its own aesthetic and theme ranging from prehistoric jungles to sci-fi cantinas.

She takes us to Algon, another city that seems just as large as Sinthara though distinctly less populated. Inside a building, we find a clothing store where Morrinth chooses certain designer brands from an NPC and models walk down a runway and display them for us. She goes through several brands and everything from bondage gear to classical sets of armor walk down the runway.

Her generosity of taking me here makes me feel comfortable with her, and I push myself to inject more personality into my writing.

Morrinth: *She takes a parcel from the model, and offers it to Joren*
Joren Arrenen: *eyes widen* You have to be kidding…

It’s a deep violet shirt and a pair of bootcut jeans. When I put it on, I can actually feel my cheeks flush because of how ridiculous I look. I’m no longer Anakin Skywalker on Halloween, I’m Anakin Skywalker, host of a reality show teaching desperate schmucks how to be “pick up artists.” Morrinth isn’t taking no for an answer, but I do convince her to pick out a suit of armor for me that feels more normal to be wearing in an online world.

After picking out several more ensembles, my least favorite being blue jeans and no shirt (because “this is Sinthara after all”), we head back. Despite how ridiculous three of my new outfits are, I’m beginning to feel like Joren—or rather, Joren is beginning to feel like me. As I settle into character, I’m becoming more talkative, more playful, and the tension between Joren and I is finding its balance.

Sinthara Lonely Hearts Club

We return to find Darius, one of the original group who made it immediately obvious that he was the foul-but-charming rogue. He’s sitting alone.

Morrinth: Did you lose your entourage Darius?
Darius: I did, sadly.
Morrinth: Whatever went wrong for you?
Darius: *He sighs dramatically.* Everything.

We talk for another hour or more. I show off my new clothes and laugh off Darius’s all-too-forward remarks about how sexy I look. It turns out that Morrinth and Darius had a running joke about all men wanting to take their clothes off for her and, without even realizing it, our whole shopping trip was a giant experiment to see if I’d do the same. Evidently my willingness to switch outfits without finding somewhere private first means I failed. It’s one prank that I feel weirdly self-conscious about.

Emery returns to join us, but is later caught up in a devious murder plot she overhears within a group of demons and dark elves. She follows them, apparently finding their bit of violence more attractive than sitting with the three of us as we talk shit and watch people pass by on the street.

It’s almost 12 AM when Darius stands next to Morrinth and puts his arm around her. They nestle into one another, speaking directly as if I don’t exist. I watch them for a moment, hoping to be included back into their conversation, but it doesn’t happen. Suddenly I’m the last person at a party and everyone’s making out. I’m an odd wheel again, and reading their mildly suggestive conversation and emotes is making me overwhelmingly uncomfortable.

Morrinth: *she shifts, going to use Darius as a leaning post instead of the pole*
Darius: *Darius slips his arm around Morrinth’s waist as she leans on him.*
Morrinth: So, not going to watch a murder?
Darius: Nah, not interesting.
Morrinth: Mmm Darius, I have a question…
Darius: Mmhmm?
Morrinth: Would you really do anything if you were asked nicely?
Joren Arrenen: Hey listen, I’m going to take a walk and check out more of the city.

We say our goodbyes and as I leave, I can’t help imagining their relief that I’ve finally excused myself—and I don’t know why that makes me feel guilty. It’s night time in Sinthara, and I walk through an empty back alley and adjoining street, stopping to read the signs in front of buildings. A bizarre thought makes me sit back in my computer chair.

I’m lonely.

Sinthara might not exist, but the feeling I have wandering its empty streets is no less poignant than the nights when those streets were real. It’s a kind of restless, selfish hope that maybe if I walk long enough, I’ll stumble into someone who will be glad to see me.

I continue to explore, doing my best to avoid the street where Darius and Morrinth are standing so we don’t become acquaintances bumping into each other in every aisle of a grocery store. I wish I had a cellphone I could fixate on to pretend I don’t notice them. At one point I walk close enough to overhear their intimate conversation, and as I round a corner, I see them both headed towards a house.

I decide to check out a nearby notice board to see if there’s anything interesting.

“Alpha Female Tehris Seeks Pet(s) and/or Slaves.”

For a brief moment, I imagine myself crawling and meowing on the floor while this woman watches, her satisfaction bookended by asterisks as it spills over my chat window. I consider replying and decide I’m not ready. I’ll go to the waterfront.

The Girl with the Golden Skin

Near the docks, I overhear a conversation between two people. One of them is dressed in a red tank top and leather pants, looking more like a character out of The Matrix than a fantasy universe. The other has ivory hair and horns, golden skin, and bat-like wings extending from her small frame. Threatening spines protrude from her armor, making her look positively demonic.

Joren Arrenen: Am I interrupting anything?
Arianna: You are, but you obviously don’t really care about that! *she smiles to him*
Arianna: I’m just kidding… don’t take my words too seriously. Is there something you need?
Joren Arrenen: Not really, you two both looked like interesting types.

The lady in the tank top departs without acknowledging me, leaving the two of us to talk. We exchange a few pleasantries and then she glares at a passing character.

Arianna: Excuse me a moment… I need to speak to this lady.

She runs off, leaving me alone again. I decide it’s probably time to call it quits for the evening but just as I’m about to log off, she comes walking back.

Arianna: So what’s your name again?
Joren Arrenen: Never told it to you. *he smiles*
Arianna: *answer his smile with her own* That’s what I thought…
Joren Arrenen: It’s Joren. *he says, almost as a gesture of goodwill* Might I ask for yours?
Arianna: Arianna, but Aria can do as well *giggles*… I had mistaken that person for another it seems.

We get to talking and before long, we discover we’re both new in Sinthara (whether this is true or just role-play I have no idea). It binds us together though, and for the first time tonight, I don’t feel like an alien wearing Joren’s skin. Arianna is genuinely funny, and our conversation quickly becomes an exciting back and forth. The weirdness I felt only minutes ago is beginning to melt away. I’m genuinely enjoying myself.

I open her profile, expecting a long list of fetishes to make me uncomfortable, but what’s written there only makes me laugh.

“So cold, yet so warm.”

Shitty drugstore erotica, I want you to meet ’90s MSN messenger display name.

We relocate to a nearby park to sit and talk more privately. Almost as soon as we sit, rain begins to fall and Aria suggests we head elsewhere. Following her lead, she takes me to an ornate building with a painted mural of naked women across its face. I pause briefly to look at the picture and Aria stops just before the door and turns to me.

Aria: *amused* Come.

The Red Lantern

The inside of The Red Lantern isn’t nearly as subtle in its portrayal of the female form as the more classically inspired exterior. The walls are lined with pictures of naked women sprawled seductively, their wanting eyes intensified by the vibrant red decor.

Aria leads me into the back and we find a seat before a fireplace and resume our conversation. We laugh and tease and talk about our lives, a big bang of fiction rapidly expanding to define all that I am. At some point she mentions the suit of armor that Morrinth bought for me, and, for some reason, I decide to change.

I come back wearing the purple shirt and dumb bootcut jeans, and I’m no longer watching two virtual avatars sitting before a fire. I’m on a first date and I’m trying to interpret signals and flirtations, wondering what I’ll do if this goes where I think it might go.

When I first pried open Sinthara’s doors to look inside, I had no intention of actually participating. I imagined myself merely as a documentarian. After sitting and talking to Aria for two hours in The Red Lantern, I know that was naive.

I wanted to do this story because I thought it’d be absurd and funny, a comedy goldmine for readers to enjoy as I studied an island for sexually misfit toys. I imagined that everyone on this server treated it like some kind of virtual sex toy easily taken out and used before tucking back into a drawer. But I also wanted reduce those who did in order to avoid having to understand them. Instead of two people in fake armor speaking in phony English accents, it was two people in latex fondling each other with their words.

Sinthara was supposed to be a place where incomplete people came looking to fill a hole that they couldn’t fill in their real lives. I mean, why else would you want to become someone else? It’s then that I begin to understand that my intentions in coming here were cruel, that I was going to engage with these people while secretly judging them from the comfort of my anonymity.

But I’m not judging Arianna. I’m attracted to her.

Some spark of chemistry has impossibly pushed its way through all the cold pixels and programming—a warmth that finds me in the darkness of my living room.

Aria messages me and, for the first time, speaks out of character. In that instant, the facade we’ve been maintaining collapses.

Arianna: [Tell] It’s 5 am here
Arianna: [Tell] I need to log off, thanks for the rp and see you soon :)

In my mind, online role-play was an escape, a way of shedding skin and becoming something else altogether. This direct message changed that. Aria might not be real, but I am painfully aware of the other human, like me, sitting in the pale glow of their computer monitor.

I wonder if she’s aware of me.

Arianna: Do you want to see… something… special before I go?

I hesitate.

Joren Arrenen: Depends, I guess.
Joren Arrenen: Hell, why not?

I don’t know why I say this. I can’t even look directly at the screen anymore. I’m peeking between fingers like an eight-year-old during a sex scene in a movie, but I’m not curious to see what happens next. I’m dreading it.

Arianna: *Aria hooks her belt with her fingers a little bit and toys with it* Mhmm… I’m too sleepy.
Arianna: *winks at you after teasing you*

She messages me directly again.

Arianna: [Tell] Good day/night *kiss kiss*

As Arianna’s avatar fades away, I know this will be the last time I see her. It’s not because I’m scared, but because coming back would be a betrayal. That, as odd as it sounds, my continued presence in Sinthara would breach a kind of trust.

I understand now that our avatars aren’t a mask meant to hide who we are. It is, in some small but significant way, a window to our raw self – that same awkward, vulnerable self I haven’t felt since I was a teenager nervously peeling off my clothes in front of someone I cared about. The masks Aria and I wear and the characters we play aren’t the foundations of a lie. They are a trust we share to not betray the other—to not suddenly point and laugh at the shitty portrait they’re holding up.

I log out and lay in bed, feeling conflicted and sad.

My wife stirs next to me and I don’t know how I’m ever going to explain this to her.

I wonder if Aria will look for me the next time she logs in.

It’s the worst part of me that hopes she does.

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109 Comments

  1. Premium User Badge

    gritz says:

    Oh dear.

  2. sissyneck says:

    Gratified that you maintained the humanity (yours and theirs) throughout; a much more “real” read than a quick “look at the freaks” drive-by.
    Reminds me of this piece: link to kotaku.com

    • Zankman says:

      test

    • Zankman says:

      Thanks for sharing that; Good read.

      However…

      As I responded to another somewhat related comment down below, I have to say: Are these people serious?

      Am I supposed to believe that *most* of these mods are made AND used – for the “principle” of it? Just for the sake of it? Or to “add realism”?

      That just sounds like a load of bull to me.

      Almost all Skyrim/Fallout nude mods are ones that allow the user to turn female characters into hyper-sexualized Barbies; There are some exceptions, of course…

      As for what they make: On one hand, some want more realistic proportions, while on the other some really go over the top – yet ultimately all of them are supposed to be attractive and appealing to the person doing the editing.

      The main mod mentioned in the article, various sub-mods and off-shots – it is all focused on being able to do this, to create your own “dream girl”… It doesn’t have anything to do with improving the “poor default models” (as lame as those are).

      I’ll just straight-up say it: I am willing to bet that 90%+ of the people that use these mods – downloading existing mods and/or creating their own ones + downloading existing models and/or creating their own ones – are doing so for the purposes of indulging in their sexual fantasies; Creating their own, personal, “home-made” and “tailored” erotica and/or pornography.

      Let’s just start from the beginning: Observe how we all refer to these as “Nude mods”, not as “female character model fixes/improvement mods”.

      The “issue” and, in another sense, the “truth” is revealed right here, right in the widely accepted name for these mods/this modding scene…

      Why couldn’t these mods just make the skin prettier, shoulders narrower and waists smaller/hips wider?

      Screw that – why couldn’t they just give the female models better textures?

      Why did they HAVE to remove undergarments, allow for full-on and detailed nudity as well as gratuitous and detailed butt and bust modification?

      Yeah… We don’t call them “nude mods” for no reason and we shouldn’t gloss over that fact.

      • brucethemoose says:

        The real world seems to face the same conundrum. Many say most clothes and cosmetics are just for style, your identity, to make a statement or whatever… But ALOT (dare I say, the majority) of that attire seems to be designed to make the wearer attractive.

        • Zankman says:

          There is truth in that, sure.

          Personally, I will say that for fiction and in contexts like the one I talked about, it is a bit different – we are talking about large, open-ended sandbox games.

          We are talking about players making those Worlds their own via mods; Creating their own perfect fantasy experience.

          Thus, I am questioning the purpose of the “nude mods” within that endeavor.

          Because, personally, when I thought to myself “Hm, I would like to enhance my Skyrim experience”, I imagined more NPCs, more random encounters and more settlements, for example.

          I did *not* think to myself “huh what if these women were all hot as fuck and had hyper-sexualized proportions? If I could make certain clothes look really tight on them? If I could strip them naked?”.

          Again, that seems to be the line of thinking with these nude mods – and, again, I can only see one purpose for doing so.

          • Press X to Gary Busey says:

            I doubt there is actually much question about the broader purpose if you look further than just the usual crass 5-minute female barbiedoll mod popping up for every game.

            Real-time muscular-greased-manly penile customisation with Schlongs of Skyrim, the tradition of the various sex mods in Bethesda games ever since Morrowind, “futanari” and trans body models, various furry and otherkin stuff and every conceivable sexual orientation and deviation (both ironic and the creepily serious).

            I’d imagine it’s just people indulging in fantasy in the same manner as the billion pages of erotic fanfiction and fanart littering the internet. Created by and for everyone from giggling 12 year olds to creep-pervs and the humanity in between (perhaps the gaming community leans heavily toward the former, thus overrepresented quick-and-crap melon chests).

          • Zankman says:

            @Press X to Gary Busey

            Yeah, I thought so. It does feel like the broad purpose is to indulge in sexual fantasies.

            Oh, and, as someone who is quite vanilla, I don’t think that it is fair to imply that the people that indulge in this stuff (as wide as a concept that is) are either just horny and/or immature kids *or* perverted creeps – regardless of their specific niche and subject matter.

            Indeed, the masses of humanity – the “average” people, the “average geeks” maybe – are surely actually the most numerous in this; It doesn’t necessarily “heavily lean” towards kids nor perverts.

            As you say, it’s the same as those that write and/or read and/or draw and/or paint and/or view erotic and pornographic fiction; I don’t think making and “using” sexual mods in Skyrim is any different, just another means to an end (and a practical one for those that can’t write/draw).

            So, personally, I have no issue with any of this – I was just “calling out” the disingenuous nature of trying to represent this part of the modding scene as anything else than what it really is.

            Oh, yeah: As a 22-year-old, I will say that big melon chests are awesome; They aren’t realistic, but, that *can* be one of the purposes of fiction, no?

        • preshrunk_cyberpunk says:

          Just my personal opinion, but I would have to agree that the majority (granted, not ALL) of clothing is indeed designed to make the wearer more attractive. Especially for women. Notably the majority of women’s clothing is made by women.

          I know there will people who may be offended by such a statement and deny it. I would answer that they are likely deluding themselves.

          • Ragnar says:

            I noticed in school that boys would dress to impress other boys, and girls would dress to impress other girls. That always stuck me as odd.

      • Arragonder says:

        I will point you towards the only “nude mod” I have found that bucks the trend. “better bodies” for the original morrowind, updated models textures hair and rigging for all male and female characters, let you remove the painted on underwear if you wanted or you could keep it, and was the basis for a lot of sex mods, but the base mod made by the base team was just as it says on the tin

  3. Phasma Felis says:

    This is where we all pretend to be surprised that sex and fetishes exist and are sometimes odd, right?

    • Phasma Felis says:

      (Not Steve, I mean, I appreciate his candor. Just that that’s where these comment sections usually go.)

      • Arragonder says:

        yeah that’s where I was expecting this to go, then it took a turn for the humanizing, and I was pleasantly surprised.

  4. Frankenchokey says:

    You wants Deekin?

  5. davethejuggler says:

    That was a fantastic read. Thank you!

  6. BrotherSurplice says:

    Well this was an emotional rollercoaster.

  7. CarthAnne says:

    It makes me feel weird to realize that it feels weird to me that there are people who don’t know what vore is or probably many of the other more common fetishes here on the internet. Are people really that uncomfortable with sex?

    • davethejuggler says:

      Having now learnt what vore actually is I don’t think not having known that is a sign of repression!

    • Arren says:

      For some of us, stuff like “vore” has about as much to do with sex as taxidermy does.

      • CarthAnne says:

        You’ll have to forgive me, I didn’t mean “sex” as a personal practice, but rather “sex” as a set of distinct social phenomena.

    • DragonOfTime says:

      I don’t think not googling lists of fetishes means you are uncomfortable with sex. If anything, it means you are comfortable with the kind of sex you are actually having ;)

    • brucethemoose says:

      People investigate the fetishes that interest them. I didn’t know what “vore” was until now because I didn’t seek it out, but I known more about… certain fetishes I like than the average person probably does.

    • TheRealHankHill says:

      Not having fetishes like that makes me uncomfortable? LOL sure, whatever you say Nostradamus

    • Ragnar says:

      Not sure how comfort with sex has anything to do with knowledge of vore. I’m comfortable with sex and I’ve never heard of the term, or the fetish, before.

      It strikes me as a pretty niche fetish, not common at all. But regardless, I’m not sure how knowing about it is supposed to increase my sexual comfort level.

  8. AlexClockwork says:

    Yep, same here. Brilliant piece of writing.

  9. vorador says:

    Well, that was weird. And interesting.

  10. philigan says:

    This is a great article. I had totally forgotten, but in the early days of Everquest I had a “girlfriend” there – very innocent stuff, but it was kind of emotionally compelling.

    Uh, good luck with your wife.

  11. satan says:

    For a 3d game, NWN has aged pretty well.

  12. Monggerel says:

    One of these days, I’m gonna drop a bomb on the internet.
    A neuter bomb.

    Great article though.

  13. Shinard says:

    That was a hell of an article. I don’t really have much else to say, that was just a wonderful article and I’m glad I read it.

  14. Darth Jimmi says:

    To be honest, i could’nt enjoy role-playing like this. The whole feeling of being a nervous teenager trying his best not to screw up his chances is kind of putting me off. Mostly because i’m 20 and pretty much still in that phase of my life. I have social phobia, so it’s not easy.
    It’s the same for nudity mods for games. I can’t enjoy them because they arouse me. That’s because i haven’t had any IRL experiences yet.
    I’d like to be able to enjoy nude mods without the urge to slip hand down my pants, but i can’t. And that sucks, because the human body is beautifull.

    • Shinard says:

      Hey, if it helps, I’m a 20 year old who’s pretty much at the same stage. I get anxious socially, I’m generally quite withdrawn. I think there might be more people around this age who feel like this than people admit. A good few of my friends do, anyway. You’re not alone.

      But I had my first relationship last year, first lot of things. And it came from somewhere I didn’t expect. Things always happen, eventually. Stick with it, do your best to be social, and remember you’re never alone.

    • Zankman says:

      First, like Shinard says – similar stuff here. It’s all normal.

      Second… I am perplexed – you can’t “enjoy” nude mods in games because… You are aroused by them?

      I don’t understand. Am I missing something?

      The whole point of nude mods IS for you to indulge in them aka to have some “hand-to-man” action aka, you know, masturbate.

      Like, if I am missing something and there are nude modes that aren’t about that… Please explain. What are they? What is their purpose, then?

      It’s one thing if you, like, can’t play the Witcher 3 because you get aroused by the sexual content within that game… That game is not erotic or pornographic, it merely contains adult themes – so, that would be a problem, sure.

      But it is another thing entirely for nude modes – since, again, their entire purpose is to get you aroused.

      Like, the now very infamous Skyrim and Fallout nude mods? Why would people bother to make them if it wasn’t for their own sex fantasies or making “home-made” erotica and pornography?

      What: They want to make certain characters topless or without underwear because… Realism?

      Again, any and all nude mods that I know off are made for the purposes of erotica/pornography/virtual sex.

      I really don’t see the point otherwise…

      If there are other purposes, enlighten me, please! How did you plan to “use them”?

      • Zankman says:

        Oh and yeah, IRL experiences or not, nothing wrong with being aroused by drawn or 3D modeled ladies (or whatever else floats your boat). It’s just fantasy.

    • Ragnar says:

      I think for some people that’s part of the appeal, that they can go through these awkward situations via the comfort and security of playing an avatar in a game rather than doing it in real life.

      I’ve certainly known people who were confident and self-assured online while being paralyzingly shy in real life. Assuming their avatar empowered them.

  15. Belowzero says:

    I had to comment on this. Well written and honest, your emotional response reminds me of the feelings I had as an awkward teenager discovering MUDs and MSN in the early 90s. Thank you.

  16. grom.5 says:

    Bravo sir. For this beautiful piece, but especially for the step back you take. How you understood the first reason and how you change your mind about it.
    This is really… well, Human.

    I spend a lot of time when I was a teenager. Just on roleplaying forum that were less about sex, but as rich in emotions and it let me a warm feeling.

    By doing roleplaying, or we play someone else, or we expose ourselves. What we are, but also what we want to become. And we meet the same kind of people. It’s a subtle game to learn about the others. Who are you, where do you want to go and on which tune ?
    I have met many people with roleplaying and some of them are the greatest friends I have the luck to find. So when people say it’s fake or just an escape, it tends to rub me in a wrong way. It’s so much more than that

    Thank you for bringing back some nice memories.

    • Crowsen says:

      I really loved the story, and I also really liked what you had to say to it. As a matter of fact I met my best friend through roleplaying, and we’re still playing on a regular basis – but also meet, go to concerts or in clubs.

      I think the one thing you’ve got to learn about the roleplaying is that … well it ain’t real. Which is hard enough to learn and definitely not for everyone.

  17. natendi says:

    Interesting and well written! Unexpected subject and surprisingly engaging!

  18. Sinthara says:

    You didn’t even go to the Trap!

  19. socoldyetsowarm says:

    It’s actually sinfar, not sinthara.
    link to forum.sinfar.net

    • WereScrib says:

      He was changing names. Its not exactly hard to hack, harass and cause chaos in alot of older games–and NWN isn’t an exception.

  20. Kaeoschassis says:

    I’ll echo what the rest have said, great bit of writing. This was a heartwarming read, all told, and your honesty was appreciated.

  21. wallstaples says:

    This requires further investigation…someone call brutalmoose!

  22. swatagnat says:

    Great story – thanks for sharing.

  23. tenseiga says:

    Very well written and very honest take on the whole thing. I think this is a case of ‘Give a man a mask and you will see his true self’ kind of thing. I’m glad there is a place for people to act out their fantasies and even form bonds this way :)

  24. Winstons says:

    What a fascinating and well-written article!

  25. Sunset-Sojourn says:

    A nicely written article, well done in letting yourself really try it out, and for your step back in realizing that you’d entered with preconceived notions.

    I’ve been playing on NWN for about 6 years now, (DND for about 17) and many have been playing much longer. I’d say that your one day experience isn’t entirely telling of the habits and notions of all players that delve into the rp game, or Sinfar itself, but you’ve captured a pretty good slice. A lot of people, even experienced players like myself, can feel that shy notion as they walk through the streets of a new server, so it’s great that you got past that.

    I think while we don’t all share the same level of personal connection or characters, what we do share is human curiosity. Our characters can be vastly different from our own personas, and thus allow us to reach out to things that we’d never test or try in real life. And unlike in real life, where walking up to a random stranger is incredibly unlikely with “hey, explore the power of imagination with me”, in the D&D/NWN environment, it’s what each avatar is ultimately there for.

    I actually recognized your “Aria” from the screenshots when I ran into her today. Before my PC did an IC tarot card reading for her, I sent her a tell pointed her towards the article, which she was quite surprised by.

    Thanks for the article, and keep up the good work :)

  26. Christianus Invictus says:

    I appreciate you’re sacrifice in exploring these….worlds, so I can enjoy without participating.

    • Premium User Badge

      InfamousPotato says:

      I second this comment… though to be honest, articles like this kinda make me want to venture into these online communities, not for the sex stuff, but for that chance to travel to a distant world full of wonderfully strange (to me) and interesting people.

      • AronFF says:

        To InfamousPotato and anyone who it may concern, while this surprisingly exciting article is about a server centered on sex, and it’s not something I came to understand…
        Online roleplaying is a wonderful experience and I can encourage you to try roleplaying NWN servers where you can play stories that feel real compared to single player games.

        One such server is City of Arabel. (check out coaforum.ender.com)
        It’s set in the popular world of Forgotten Realms as the game NWN itself is, and you can effect the ongoing and future events of the gaming world with your character. It can be a very similar experience of social interaction as many of us probably envy of this article without the awkward sex-theme. (It’s classical fantasy with wizards, knights, orcs, wars, mysticism, ect.)

        • Premium User Badge

          InfamousPotato says:

          Thanks AronFF, if I get NWN, I’ll be sure to check that server out. The idea of trying out role-playing sounds like a lot of fun. The last time I joined in on an online RP server was… Roblox, about seven years ago. Time sure flies.

  27. Zankman says:

    Excellent article indeed – very unexpected turn of events as I, indeed, expected it to be “haha, what weirdos amirite?”.

    Yet, instead, we got details about your very interesting, reflective, emotional and thought-provoking experience.

    Instead, we got some intelligent conclusions to dissect, understand and remember.

    I do wonder what the ratio between “RPers that just want to explore fantasy and themselves” and “those that just want to indulge in sexual role-play and/or see their 3D avatars have sex” is.

    It is an important distinction to make, after all – your entire article gives me the impression that this is a fantasy RP forum that happens to be open to adult themes, not a virtual sex/porn RP.

    (Note 1: With the custom models and emotes, it definitely supports the virtual sex/porn RP.

    Note 2: You called it “erotic” and implied that it is “erotica”, which it really couldn’t be, I think. If it is so gratuitous, blunt and explicit, it leaves the realm of erotica and becomes pornography – yet, if we are being so semantic, in this case it isn’t even that, since you’re not watching it, you’re participating in it… So, it would actually be virtual sex.)

    • WereScrib says:

      The answer is..? Its intermixed. To be honest, the server in question has sucked up almost everyone from other servers and boasts a rather large population all things considered.

      It’s a strange balance of people seeking freeform RP, away from the restrictions and often lording over DMs of other servers and to explore strange ideas and fun conceptualizations.

      Sex happens, relatively often–but its not as universal as people seem to think. Even locals are surprised for instance, that the furry community of the server is…Really, really mild. Look at their fetishes and its like. A wall of pregnancy and breeding.

      Then look at them actually play, and they chat, flirt, and mostly go off to be sociable. The only RP that truly lacks in the server is…real classic adventure. There’s a lack of ‘big stakes’ by nature of it being a sandbox, and unfortunately PvE is where everything suffers the most. If you ever have a copy of NWN laying around, and for some reason wanted to play some stupid character you doodled in high school, forgot about and occasionally feel embarrassed by when you look in old notebooks–the server’s a cheaper and less frustrating then Second Life way of doing so–and people are a little less weird here.

      • Zankman says:

        Thanks for the insight!

        On one hand, indeed, it does sound like a general RP server, minus, well, as you said, “adventure” and “action”.

        On the other, as you kinda glossed over it… There is still a list of fetishes as a common thing. There are still very sexual avatars. There are still sexual emotes/animations and model elements.

        So, I would say that the virtual sex/sexual RP element is still strong there, still at the core of it all.

        Maybe, though, the server has kinda “evolved” further from there – becoming a more generalized RP server for all purposes.

        Sounds interesting; I don’t have NWN and I don’t really feel like setting something like that up, though.

        • Ashabel says:

          Speaking as someone who participated in a RP community (albeit not a NWN server), “kink lists” are actually exceedingly common even in scenes where ERP is an option and not a focus. It’s often a matter of having one just in case, not because you actually need it on a regular basis.

          As for evolution, it’s really what you’d expect. RP is ultimately a hobby and when you have a lot of people interested in the same thing all in one room, they’ll inevitably start branching out their conversations in order to get to know each other better.

          • Zankman says:

            Fair enough! Thanks for the insight as well.

            I suppose if someone doesn’t have a kink list it is seen as a “not interested in sexual RP, period” type of thing?

          • WereScrib says:

            I can’t directly reply to the one below this. I should probably make it a lil more clear. The server in question, Sinfar, has sex, yes. In fact it has quite a bit of it.

            It’s just…its a sandbox. In a sandbox you’re going to run into everything. I.E. I play a married dog woman who barely has sex with her wife. Let alone anyone else. On the other hand–some of my friends include someone playing a transgendered Tiefling with a tendency to participate in the occasional escapade–and finally, one of my friends plays some kind of horrible fat demon and is into feeding, scat and god only knows what else.–But is quite nice to not exactly put that into other people’s faces.

            As far as kink lists go, it depends on the person. I’ve..never really put in a kink list in any of my profiles because I find it, honestly embarrassing to do so. My primary goal isn’t sex anyway, I rarely do it on any of my characters, and I prefer to fade to black most of the time. On the other hand–some people prefer to put a disclaimer that they’re not really looking for ERP. It may be that, being a furry? People into my chars are more close knit to begin with.

          • Zankman says:

            @WereScrib

            Thanks for your insight as well.

            Indeed, as I imagined, it is just one big sandbox, to be used in whatever ways people want to… I find it amusing that a lot of it is non-sexual-based, tho, given that sex is the original purpose.

            I could see myself having a kink list if I was into that type of RP; Just to make things easier, I suppose (and to write witty nonsense).

            It’s practical, I think.

  28. njury says:

    Although not an adult server, I spent many years on a PW named Nordock. Good times.

  29. malkav11 says:

    I’ve never interacted with this sort of server for games like NWN, nor lasted more than a few minutes with things like Second Life, but I definitely understand the appeal of this sort of virtual roleplaying environment. I’ve just tended to stick to the predecessors – MUDs and MUCKs. I’ve had some really close relationships form in this sort of environment, including meeting my best friend and his now wife over 15 years ago on a MUCK we all frequented and having such a connection develop that I was eventually asked to be the best man at their wedding (and I did – it was the first time I’d met either of them in person, since neither live anywhere near me. One of the best experiences in my life to date.).

    The thing for me is that when you add graphics, that can really improve the experience of a canned, pre-generated gaming scenario, but it’s a huge constraint on the powers of one’s imagination compared to pure text because all anyone needs to be able to do to do text roleplay is string sentences together, whereas once you move into NWN or Second Life or whatever, you’re limited to what other people have put together unless you’ve got 3D modelling and animating skills. And frankly, they’re so low res and unreal looking that they’re difficult to find sexy, at least for me.

  30. geldonyetich says:

    Honestly, sounds a lot classier than Second Life. Which makes sense when you consider Second Life is one giant server that encourages sexual content creation with real money while a Neverwinter Night custom server is far more smaller, intricate, and unpaid.

  31. Premium User Badge

    InfamousPotato says:

    I’m having trouble coming up with a good adjective to describe your article. I want to say “fantastic” or “fascinating”, but I use those words a bit too much…

    This article was a incredible (again, the right word escapes me) look into the communities and worlds we make through video games and the internet.

    There was something special about that moment when you found yourself feeling lonely on a virtual street. I think that could be an article on its own.

    Anyway, thank you for writing this. This is the sort of thing that makes RPS such a marvelous place.

  32. Troubletcat says:

    I miss my NWN role-playing days so much. I never played on adult servers but almost exclusively on RP servers.

    Some of those were a hive of inventive players and good story-tellers. I’m still in contact with a few people that I met through NWN.

    This article touches on it a bit, but it’s very strange just how strongly affecting playing in an RP setting in these games can be once the mental walls come down. I started playing on RP servers in NWN when I was pretty young and continued until a few years ago when my favourite server closed down. It’d probably be considered pretty weird by a lot of non-gamers just how formative of an experience it was for me.

    I hope we get another game like NWN some day, in terms of providing an open platform for people to create any kind of RPG world and experience they want and run it as a persistent server. But I’m not hopeful. Difficult to do and probably hard to sell DLC for. Plus the fact that your game has the potential to live forever is less desirable to publishers now than it once was.

  33. Olaf the Merchant says:

    Interesting read. I wasn’t aware NWN is still doing strong, but given the plethora of modding tools and the once-active modding community, I guess some stars will keep on shining in the Nights.

    As for the fetish/sex side of things, it’s the internet, and sex is an integral part of it, I guess even for roleplayers. Recall sometimes in the old RPG chat room I haunted had some players go about their business in this manner if their characters got ‘involved’. Never got to mind bleach levels, ‘tho, since folks acknowledged that’s not the primary function of the place, and they took it to private.

  34. Don Reba says:

    The thought that Arianna is probably a guy makes it too awkward.

    • Phasma Felis says:

      Internet sex scenes are a lot more egalitarian than you think, gender-wise.

    • 0positivo says:

      Does it really matter, though? In that world, in that context, she female

      • Don Reba says:

        It doesn’t matter if you treat it lightly, I guess. I would have felt like I might learn something about the other sex through even a virtual conversation, and it would have been hollow if it was just another guy’s fantasy on the other end.

        • Faxmachinen says:

          Perhaps, but there is also a lot to learn by RPing the opposite sex if you do take it seriously. As a straight person you’ll learn a lot about your partner by swapping genders with them – not just what they want, but also what you want. Side effects may include realizing we’re not that different, lack of nervousness around opposite sex, deeper understanding of LGBT, and bi-curiousness.

          This is also related: link to eurogamer.net

      • Zankman says:

        Sure, but, if you allow certain thoughts to creep into your head… It can seem hollow and disingenuous.

    • Ashabel says:

      A male player with a female character is actually the rarest combination you can find in the RP scene. Women playing men is considerably more common, but generally the gender you see is the gender you get.

      • Don Reba says:

        It is common for men to choose female characters in RPGs. I find it difficult to believe that they would banish the thought as soon as some role playing was involved.

        • Zankman says:

          I dunno, your average RPGs and MMOs are one thing; Actual in-depth RP is another.

          I personally imagine that the most common scenario where a male player would have a female avatar would be one in which the female avatar represents that player’s sexual fantasy.

          Like: “This is the closest that I can get to making my fictional, fantastical, would-be perfect woman; Now, let’s go and find someone that reminds me of my IRL self (in a positive sense) to have sex with”.

          … Hm, so, I guess you are right; It is just some other guy with his own sexual fantasy – but instead of trying to find some female avatar he finds hot to interact with, he makes his own one and tries to find passable male ones to interact with.

          In that sense, hm, maybe it is indeed a bit disingenuous.

          Otherwise, I assume that there are male players that use female avatars for one of two purposes:

          1. To try and see how things look like from a women’s perspective; Simply for the sake of widening their horizons and trying to understand women better.

          2. To do some homosexual or at least bisexual self-exploration; In that sense, it would be a “gateway method”.

          I do wonder how much this would apply to female players playing as male avatars.

      • Zankman says:

        Why is the female player – male avatar combo common in the RP scene?

        I can see it being common in your average video game where women may want to hide their gender.

  35. SomeDuder says:

    Just no.

  36. Premium User Badge

    InfamousPotato says:

    As someone who has heard much about, but never played Neverwinter Nights, would anyone mind telling me which version I should buy, if I want to play it? Is NWN Diamond the version used in this article?

    • Nymera says:

      Diamond is the complete version of the base game, though private servers like this usually have a large number of mods (called “haks”), you also need to download.

    • Sevvy says:

      test

  37. GWOP says:

    Now imagine if the players in your average multiplayer games were this playful/courteous.

  38. santouryuu says:

    “The masks Aria and I wear and the characters we play aren’t the foundations of a lie. They are a trust we share to not betray the other—to not suddenly point and laugh at the shitty portrait they’re holding up.”

    reaally great article!it’s a relly good piece which i think is able to explore the very meaning of roleplaying because of the nonstandard and somewhat more intimate nature of the setup.
    you know,the more i think about it,the more it seems that stuff like this:mmo’s,online servers,multiplayer etc essentially are just an extension of the social interactions and hanging out that happens in RL.i think that’s the reason i really didn’t get much into multiplayer and mmorpg stuff,as i am not really social in RL either

  39. Nymera says:

    I’m not afraid to admit that I have occasionally dabbled on this particular server; thank you for such an even-handed and respectful article.

    While it’s true there’s a lot of nonsexual roleplay too, the elephant in the room is that, for a lot of people it is a way to act out impossible fantasies, or fantasies too dangerous for real life (this server has a very strict policy against any underage characters or players, but pretty much everything else is fair game).

    Having a community that is very frank anout exploring a wide array of interests, and usually open about discussing them, is quite a unique experience…particularly for us Americans, who live in a culture that tends to shame any sort of nonstandard sexual interests. I’d be happy to answer any questions people might have, as tastefully and tactfully as possible.

    • Zankman says:

      Well, I wouldn’t say that it is an “elephant in the room”; That is indeed the primary/original purpose of the server and, really, there is nothing wrong with that.

      For some, it is a server for RP, in general – to feel like they live in a fantasy world; Nothing wrong with that, it is a fun activity and a encompassing form of escapism.

      For others, it is a server for sexual RP – be it for simple masturbatory purposes as they experience erotica/porn via their avatars (the models looks solid given their age) or full-blown (“deeper” and more personal) virtual sex; Nothing wrong with that – the former is just a means to masturbate (which is normal and it all just depends on what gets you going) while the latter is an interesting short-term (I would hope!) replacement for actual, real-life fucking and/or intercourse.

      Finally, for others yet, is is a server for sexual RP – but for the purposes of exploring themselves: their views, their desires, their wants, their needs… Some may just indulge in fetishes that are impossible to indulge in in real life (be it completely or just practically), while others may go farther than that and explore their own sexuality (I am sure many have dabbled with homosexual or bisexual things); I am also sure that it is a way for many to try and understand things from the perspective of the other gender – so as to understand how they view life, relationships and sex – and that is a most noble and benevolent goal. Nothing wrong with any of those, needless to say.

      With all of this said, I am kinda surprised that they don’t allow underage characters/sexual RP…

      [Note: At this point I went to Wikipedia to read up on the definition of Pedophilia.]

      [Note 2: I then started article-hopping and some 3+ hours later, I am back]

      I presume that it is a legal thing, though.

  40. forddent says:

    This article was fantastic. I did a lot of message board roleplaying (and played exclusively on an RP server in World of Warcraft) so this brought back a lot of memories – like the time I ran into a couple of dwarves getting mad rutty in a secluded section of the Deeprun Tram.

    I think I did my fair share of awkward RP romance as a younger lad, but sort of fell off on it in part because I came to value the friendships more than the potential dirty conquests. I never did get into the ERP scene though if only because it always felt too awkward for me.

  41. aethle says:

    You know, when I first saw the headline, I cringed at first. Being…a participant in these sorts of communities all over…like some others, I was concerned that you were going to take the usual “Tourist gawking at the weirdness” approach that so many articles that supposedly try to ‘understand’ this topic end up taking, either intentionally ( because they feel that humanizing the ‘deviants’ that participate is too controversial) or unintentionally (because the people writing the articles cannot take the subject seriously enough to genuinely engage with it, either as participants or journalists).

  42. HothMonster says:

    Does it count as censoring if you just trace the penis like that? Until I saw the black bar on the nipples in a lower picture I thought the guy just chose to have a giant, featureless solid black cock and balls. Or you cock models were not loading properly.

  43. bunionbell says:

    Articles and comment sections like this are the reason why RPS is the only gaming site I bother visiting. Great work!

  44. StunningToaster says:

    What comedy but with a real point to the end, I did learn something that you did translate very well and that’s not to judge. I really enjoyed reading this and for the first time was grossly engaged with every word :P

  45. NephilimNexus says:

    This is what vexes me when it comes to “adult” material in gaming: With the possible exception of The Witcher and maybe one or two Bioware titles, the general rule of thumb seems to be that games have either 0% adult content, or 100% adult content.

    Which means they either exist in a universe where nudity & sex don’t exist at all, or they’re just straight up porn with no actual game.

    Looking at this article I’m almost tempted to ask “But what was the dungeon crawling like? Have any interesting adventures?” because you know those server have nothing going on other that the porn.

    Again, kudos to Witcher and the handful of others that have finally realized that you can indeed put adult content into a game without having it become the entirety of the game. Just as in real life, sex is something people do, sure, but it isn’t the sole focus of our existence. At least… I hope not. Ugh.

    • Revenant says:

      I played on this server years back. There are a number (small) who absolutely under no circumstances engage in ‘pornography’. They are there purely for the RP, the PvP, or the PvE, all three of which the server has systems in place for. For RP, there is a diverse array of areas that present different settings and even internal rules of conduct. For PvP, there are multiple arenas for team based fighting, areas that allow open world (think WoW PvP server) PvP. For PvE, there are a variety of areas to farm/level as well as end game “Shard Runs” (effectively similar to raiding in MMOs). The best part is that in most areas, you can do any or all of these, to your liking. You are not required to only PvP, or only PvE, or only RP, or even only do “adult content”. It’s a sandbox in the purest sense possible in NWN.

      • Tenvi says:

        I’m genuinely curious about what server this is or how to find it. (I’ve had no luck so far hah) I have a lot of old memories about RP servers and this article went and got me nostalgic. I’d appreciate any info you can toss at me.

        • Revenant says:

          It’s a sandbox server. The adult elements are prevalent, and are the ‘face’ of the server in many ways, but it also has other things to offer.

          PvE is probably the weakest at the moment; the modern Shard Runs are hell on earth to complete and require very specific builds and party composition, and farming/leveling isn’t a particularly fun process, though I hear it’s being worked on. PvP is alive and well, and more beginner-friendly nowadays ever since someone posted a repository of fairly good builds on the forums. The roleplay is usually rather low-stakes; most players reserve the rights to just retcon whatever they please, and the relative power level of characters and the lack of real threat tends to make people not engage in true conflict.

          Other servers, like Amia, Planar Legends, Forgotten Realms: Cormyr, or Ravenloft, tend to provide more “serious” RP, with a variety of tones and themes. What they lack, however, is the level of character concept freedom and visual customization as “Sinthara” has. Googling any server’s name and the word NWN tends to bring up the server’s forum.

          The user “socoldyetsowarm” posted the link to the server’s forums; the game it is run in is Neverwinter Nights, which can be acquired best from gog.com.

          When/if you get the game, you’ll need to request new CD keys from GOG – the installation just supplies you with a set of default CD keys that most multiplayer servers have blacklisted. Additionally, most servers have a set of “haks” that are required for play; these are essentially the modifications the server makes to base NWN. One of the most ubiquitous hak packs is the CEP, which extends the function and content of NWN greatly. There are typically prominent links to the required content for a server on their forums, as well as places to introduce yourself and get newbie help.

  46. Rupoe says:

    There have been a few wonderfully written articles and this is the one that put me over the edge to register. (aren’t you guys lucky?) Very interesting and very well written in my humble opinion.

  47. Chasdiel says:

    Beautifully written. Very earnest and very sad, if only because I too wanted those effortless, uncomplicated bonds without all of the trial and error of a real relationship.

    That’s also why I quit RPing once I got married: decided it was too dangerous a game to play.

  48. gibbousmoon says:

    I think this is the best article I’ve ever read on RPS. (And I’ve read many good ones.)

  49. AyeBraine says:

    Thanks, it was a beautiful article.

  50. Jelmani says:

    I really enjoyed reading this article. Great stuff like this keeps me coming to Rock, Paper, Shotgun. I finally registered an account just to write this.