Roleplaying Bar-Staff is not easy. At least if it is done right it is not easy, and doing it right is not standing static behind the bar drilling up mundane emotes about fetching bottles when someone asks you for something. But it can be rewarding, for you the would be Bar-Staff ‘er as well as anyone that chances upon the bar. Finding roleplay can be hard and a lot of people struggle to get involved in roleplay and don’t have the confidence to walk up tp someone and start a scene. Having a tended bar bridges a lot of that space and makes it vastly more easily accessible for those people to find roleplay as they can wander into the bar, order a drink, listen a minute or two to the ongoing conversations and chip i. Before you know it they are involved and making friends and it’s the more simple and natural thing in the world. And you YOU my brave hero it helps you make those connections as well and get involved. Don’t believe me? Read on.
More Articles in the Beyond the Basics Series:
- Beyond Basics: Loaded Lore – The Horde Part 1
- Beyond Basics: Loaded Lore – The Horde Part 2
- Beyond Basics: Roleplaying Bar Staff
- Beyond Basics: Balancing IC and OOC
- Beyond Basics: All Kinds of Canon
- Beyond Basics: Six Good Roleplay Habits
Not only does staffing and running a tavern provide something awesome for your community as a whole but it can also be awesome for you. Personally we have been running tavern hours weekly within our roleplay guild for over three years now and the tavern stands as part of our cover for our various misdeeds and dealings but it is also ho we keep a public face and involvement in roleplay within the community and how we give something back to that community and help it thrive.
Now, regardless of weither you are running a tavern as part of a guild or a long-standing initiative or if you are just bored and standing in for the night to grab some roleplay this guide will help you create the best from the experience for you and others. If you just stand behind the bar and use bland and vague emotes only and when people ask for drinks you are not going to enjoy the experience and to be honest those customers are not going to enjoy or even notice your involvement in it. We want to be more than an NPC. Sop think about near life, and I don’t mean the crush of popular bar’s and clubs where the Bar-Staff can’t get a word in sideways. Imagine a good old pub of your perents generation, where the owner runs it and he knows all his regulars by name and there is always some banter going on back and forward. That is what we’re aiming for here. So let’s get into it then!
1. Be pro-active; in this situation we are very much the facilitators, as such we might need to be able to offer IC nudges and bridges now and then to keep things rolling smoothly. Good Bar-Staff will keep people talking, if you feel a conversation lulling, ask a relevant question or inquire about something else. The longer people stay and talk the longer they stay and drink. If you see someone sitting by themselves strike up conversation with them, pull in someone else, knit them together then gently ease out.
2. Interact between the staff; remember there are boss-to-staff and staff-to-staff relationship in the play too, and making note of those from time to time can also help create more realistic and cohesive environment as well as drawing the attention and interest of folks outside the guild and watching. It add’s atmosphere it gives customers something to be curious about and ask about if they are struggling to come up with something to say. Shoot each other looks, flirty, warning, snarky, mean and play off those.
3. Your character is still a person and emote as such. Things can offend them, they can react to things on a more personal level that purely doling out drinks, they can be interested in snippets of conversations they catch, even if they don’t act on it every time it is creating an atmosphere and shows character, are they having a good day? A bad day? Are the on form or off-colour? What’s going on in their life and how is it affecting their work. Again all of this generates interest, cohesion and attention.
4. Bring in their lives outside the tavern and use it to generate interest, maybe something has happened that put them in a good or foul mood that day and it is affecting their performance. This also might generate talking points. And remember that all your customers have lives outside the tavern too, ask them about their day and their mood, try and note of they are acting off.
5. Have on hand a list of stories, games or past experiences of your own to share and use to add to conversation or spark one up. If you struggle with starting up random conversations, make yourself a note with a list of things. This can be the current in-world situation, politics, and any other big events just past or coming up, stories, customised legends and fairy tales, games, card tricks, anything at all. I have a documenrt of riddles and jokes set aside just in case that I can call on if needs be.
6. Read MRP’s, they can often highlight a feature that can be a talking point and will impress the customer that you took the time to read it. You can find out a ton of information from an MRP that you might notice with a person sitting in front of you for extended periods of time, so it’s always worth the time to look it over if you can. Then again it might be manic and you might not get the chance. If you can, do. It will pay off.
7. Be interesting and be interested. This is just a general Good Role-play tip. Be interested and invested in what others have to say, pay attention and forum replies that are relevant and involved and either ask questions or lead the conversations on. Nothing will kill RP as fast as dull replies and an inattentive partner. When you are responding to them try and add more to your reply than yes/no answers, try and morph it into a question or a questionable comment. Give them something to work with.
8. We are not just here to emote pouring drinks, create story within the setting. If you have others work with you use that dynamic in the setting. If your character is doing something and you think the others should know, drop them a whisper and suggestion to play along. If they cut off early, turn up late, look bedraggled. Remember that you are not only providing a service but are still characters within a story and generating and moving that story is our primary concern. It also helps generate connections with customers inside and outside the inn. Give them things to know you by, show them who you are. That way when you are next walking around the street all those customers will know you, recall you and no doubt enjoy your company, so you will have created roleplay for yourself outside of that experience as well so long as you make a characterful impression.
Tell me about you! Have you ever rolepayed as Bar-Staff? Have you ever roleplayed as another civilian role? What was it and how did it go?