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All the World's a Stage: Plot points for draenei roleplayers

Anne Stickney

All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players. In World of Warcraft, that player is you! Each week, Anne Stickney brings you All the World's a Stage with helpful hints, tips and tricks on the art of roleplay in WoW.

Of all the Alliance races you could theoretically play, the draenei have to be the least developed in terms of lore. This is a constant point of contention amongst those who love the draenei as a race and wish to see them further developed (like me!). However, the lack of draenei lore at this point shouldn't be looked at in a negative light. Most of the time, when something is left deliberately vague, it's because it will be expanded upon later in some fashion or another -- so hopefully, we'll see more about the draenei soon. Like, say ... in the next expansion or two.

In the meantime, there's still a lot out there for draenei to think about. I know, I know -- how exactly do you come up with plot points for a race that doesn't have much at all in the way of lore, a race that hasn't really been developed since it was first introduced? What can you possibly make out of all of that? How do you tie that into anything that's going on currently and have it be at all meaningful?

Stranger in a strange land

What happened The draenei were originally eredar that had their home on Argus, but they had to flee as a result of the Burning Legion's sudden intervention. Since then, they've been a largely nomadic race, finally settling on Draenor for a time ... with less than ideal results. The native orcs of the planet were easily corrupted by the Burning Legion and turned on the draenei, mercilessly slaughtering them in what was essentially a bloodbath. So the draenei fled once more, this time crash landing on Azeroth.

How this affects your character Chances are extraordinarily high that your draenei had a family member, a friend, an acquaintance, or somebody who died as a result of the slaughter on Draenor. The slaughter of the draenei was a major event, with major consequences for the race -- and Draenor was the one location that the draenei felt was safe enough to settle on. Now they've settled on Azeroth, but the question is for how long? Will the draenei remain comfortable with staying in one spot for long?

What to consider The draenei are fairly nomadic, when you take a look at what has happened since they first fled Argus. Was your draenei affected by the losses on Draenor? Did he lose someone close to him? How does he feel about settling in one spot? Does he trust the Alliance, or is he simply waiting until the day that they too, turn to the Burning Legion as the orcs did on Draenor? Does he have an established home on Azeroth, or does he prefer to wander the world, much as his people wander the stars?

The Sunwell

What happened In The Burning Crusade, Kael'thas Sunstrider was working very hard to find a solution to the blood elves' addiction to magic that came about as a result of the Sunwell's destruction. Part of his hard work included capturing a naaru and shuttling it off to Azeroth for would-be paladins to feed on, as well as hijacking Tempest Keep, a former naaru fortress. After his alliance with the Burning Legion was uncovered, Kael'thas was sent packing -- and resurfaced on the Isle of Quel'Danas, where he sought to bring Kil'jaeden to Azeroth. His plans were foiled, and the Sunwell was reignited by an unlikely source. Prophet Velen used the heart of Mu'ru, the naaru captured by Kael'thas to reinvigorate the Sunwell -- and now it shines on as a beacon of Light and arcane energy.

How this affects your character As a draenei, you're a member of the Alliance. However, the blood elves are members of the Horde. Your leader just helped out the guys on the other side of the faction line -- not to mention the fact that these blood elves were led by the insane guy who was in part responsible for your sudden crash landing on Azeroth. The Exodar was once part of Tempest Keep, and Velen took it right out from under Kael'thas' watch -- but blood elf stowaways on the ship guaranteed the flight wouldn't last very long.

What to consider How does your character feel about blood elves? How does he feel about Velen's helping the blood elves out? Is he impressed with Velen's compassion for all creatures, or is he wondering why Velen would help people that are, in fact, enemies of the Alliance? Does he worry about how other members of the Alliance will view his race in light of Velen's actions?

The upcoming war

What happened Velen has made several hints that a major war is in the making -- the war between the darkness and the light -- and ground zero is going to be Azeroth itself. There is something special about the little planet that the draenei crashed upon, something unique that sets it apart from other words in the universe, something that draws the darkness to it even as the odd, short-lived mortal natives of the world continue to fight back.

How this affects your character As a draenei, you aren't just wandering the world with no purpose, you are training -- training for the big war that Velen's been talking about. It's not something to discuss out loud and at length at the moment -- goodness knows Azeroth has a lot on its plate right now and can certainly use your help -- but the thought is still there in the back of your mind, in the back of every draenei's mind.

What to consider Is this war something your character is outright preparing for? How is he preparing for it, and how does the knowledge of what is to come affect your character? Is he quiet about it, continuing to train in the face of everything that has occurred since the Cataclysm? Is this something he discusses with his friends -- the possibility that there may be something far worse on the horizon that what has currently come to pass?

Immortality and you

What happened Let's be blunt here: The draenei are aliens the likes of which Azeroth has never seen before. Unlike the orcs of Draenor, the draenei are nigh immortal, their lives extending to impossible lengths. The lives of their allies, in comparison, are so short as to be incomprehensible. The life span of a human passes in what for most draenei is the blink of an eye. The closest thing Azeroth has to "true immortals" are the night elves, and even they had their immortality granted to them through magic; even the oldest of the night elves is still a child compared to Prophet Velen.

How this affects your character Looking at the mortal races of Azeroth is like watching a video on fast-forward. Major events in the lifetime of a human are like the intake of breath for a draenei. It's apt to be a little disconcerting, at best. Your character is trying to make meaningful connections with people that are only alive for such a tiny, infinitesimally small amount of time that it seems like you're burying them just after saying hello.

What to consider It's a disconnect -- a really major disconnect. The reality of Azeroth is that the races present upon it aren't at all long-lived by draenei standards, and yet they have what they call "full" lives. Trying to reconcile the fact that the new friend you just made is going to be dust in the blink of an eye is one of those inner struggles that can definitely affect how your draenei relates to the people around him. Is this something he thinks about when he speaks to his friends? Is it something that affects him and bothers him to some degree? Or is he entirely unconcerned with it?

Outside looking in

What happened This goes hand in hand with some of the points raised above and almost directly relates to that lack of draenei lore. As a draenei, you're an alien -- the world of Azeroth is still somewhat strange and unfamiliar, its natives moving frenetically throughout their lives. Given this, you haven't really had a chance to make your mark on the world because chances are you're still trying to figure the world out. The history of each race, the history of the planet itself, its curious origins, the Titans -- it's all a lot for a person to grasp. As such, there may be an overwhelming sense of separation between yourself, your race, and the natives of the world. Despite being around for a few years at this point, the draenei still don't really seem to fit. Due to their longevity, they haven't really spent more than the space of a few breaths on Azeroth, relatively speaking.

How this affects your character It's like walking into a social event where everyone is intimately familiar with everyone else but has no idea who you are. They may be friendly enough, but there's still that sense of separation, that sense of I don't really belong here, do I? that haunts the back of your mind. To some draenei, this may not make a bit of difference at all; to others, it may affect the way they relate to people. Conversations about common events known to everyone in the Alliance -- the rise of the Scourge, the insidious nature of the Black Dragonflight -- these are the sorts of conversations that you may feel left out of. You weren't there; you didn't experience them. Making any kind of commentary may be overstepping your boundaries.

What to consider Is your draenei eager to learn as much as he can about Azeroth? Is he open and friendly, constantly asking questions and trying to learn more? Does he feel as if he belongs here on this odd little planet, or does he feel like that outsider who just doesn't quite fit with the rest of the world? Is he nervous about speaking up with opinions, or does he expect everyone to listen to them?

As you'll notice, most draenei "plot points" are more points to consider when interacting with others, introspective points to think about than outright events in draenei history. The draenei hold a unique spot in Azeroth. Alien, undefined, immortal and connected to a far higher purpose than the random traveler would know about or even begin to understand, the draenei have yet to really make their mark on the world of Azeroth beyond the restoration of the Sunwell -- and even that might not sit right with their Alliance peers.

There's been a serious dearth of anything draenei-related since The Burning Crusade first launched, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. Rather than focusing on and bemoaning the lack of lore, you can instead use that lack of lore to further your character's story, whatever that may be.

We as players don't know a lot about the draenei. Consider the possibility that this exists because the characters in game really don't know much about the draenei, either. If that is the case, a lot of draenei roleplay isn't so much about a certain event happening and a character's response to that event as it is the reactions of a race that is alien and incomprehensibly long-lived, trying to define and come to terms with a strange new world. And that's an interesting position to play around with.

All the World's a Stage is your source for roleplaying ideas, innovations and ironies. Let us help you imagine what it's like to sacrifice spells for the story, totally immerse yourself in your roleplaying or even RP on a non-RP realm!

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