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All the World's a Stage: Plot points for Human 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.

For most players, the initial thought upon roleplaying a Human character is that it ought to be pretty easy. After all, we're all humans out here in the real world, so it shouldn't be a stretch, right? Well ... yes and no. Humans in Azeroth aren't the only sentient race, and they aren't even the most populated -- Trolls win that title hands down. The Human race hasn't even been around that long from an evolutionary standpoint -- and it turns out the Human race itself was simply a mutation of Vrykul, caused by the Curse of the Flesh.

On top of that, the Humans of Azeroth are in a constant state of dealing with strife and war. Since year 0 in the timeline, when the Orcish race first crossed through the Dark Portal and began their lives on Azeroth, the Humans have been thrown into war after war after war. First the Orcs, then the Scourge, then the Burning Legion -- it never seems to end. In Cataclysm, the Humans still aren't getting a break, and that leaves them open to a lot of roleplay potential.

Wrath of the Lich King

What happened The war in Northrend, while successful, cost countless lives in the process. When all was said and done, the number of deaths stood at around 40,000 to 50,000 lives lost. Between the Lich King's forces and the constant assaults from the Horde, the Human race suffered a major blow in Wrath. Yes, the Lich King had been defeated, but the victory was almost a hollow one when one considers how many people had to die to make that happen.

How this affects your character Almost every Human character out there was either involved in Northrend or knew someone who was involved in Northrend. Whether a direct blood relation, a friend, a loved one, or even a role model, the sheer amount of casualties in Northrend were severe enough to affect everyone.

What to consider Was your Human involved with the war effort in Northrend? Did he lose anyone he knew, either directly or indirectly, in the fighting? What does he think of the Horde? Is he aware of the Horde attacks in Icecrown? Does he feel the effort to put the Lich King down was worth the cost, or does he question whether it could have been achieved differently with fewer lives lost?

For Lordaeron

What happened Part of the events up in Northrend included an assault on the Undercity, in order to kill the Forsaken responsible for the events at the Wrathgate. King Varian Wrynn made it absolutely clear that he wanted to see Lordaeron returned to its rightful, living residents -- what few remained, at any rate. In Cataclysm, the Forsaken have risen up like nothing before, wiping the small town of Southshore off the map with an unholy plague reminiscent of the same plague that was launched at the Wrathgate.

How this affects your character It depends on where your character is from -- but only to a small degree. If he originated in Lordaeron or Southshore, he's certainly going to have a lot more to say about the events that transpired there. But Lordaeron was once shelter to thousands of Stormwind citizens who were driven out of their home by the Orcs in the First War. So Lordaeron isn't just beloved by those who called it home -- it was beloved by those that took shelter there during a terrible, dark time in Human history.

What to consider Where is your Human from? If he originated in Stormwind, was he alive and around for the original flight to Lordaeron? Did he originally live in Lordaeron or the surrounding areas like Andorhal? What does he think of the Forsaken? Has he lost anyone to the plague that hit Southshore? King Wrynn suggested taking Lordaeron back for the living back in Wrath of the Lich King, but so far he's done nothing on that front. What does your character think of Varian Wrynn?

Proud Gilneas

What happened The kingdom of Gilneas loudly withdrew its support of the original Alliance of Lordaeron just after the Second War, refusing to help with construction of Netherguarde Keep, which was created to watch over the Dark Portal. Gilneas even went so far as to wall itself off from the rest of the world, convinced that its people were so self-sufficient that they had no need to trade or even contact any of the other Human kingdoms. But now, the Gilneans are back -- and they've changed dramatically from the last time anybody saw them.

No longer the proud, arrogant people who thought themselves so much higher than the rest of the world that they no longer needed to interact with said world, the Gilneans have been affected by a strange curse that turned them into monstrous Worgen. Though the Night Elves have assured everyone that the curse is under control, and the leaders of the Alliance have seen fit to welcome the Worgen into the Alliance, there are still lingering questions that may be on people's minds ... questions of loyalty -- and questions of whether or not the Gilneans could even be considered Human anymore.

How this affects your character Is your character familiar with Gilnean history? Was he alive when the Gilneans haughtily put themselves behind the Gilnean Wall? If so, he may have some strong feelings regarding the Gilnean's readmission into the Alliance. After all, they took off and left the Alliance once before, as soon as it was convenient to do so, without care or worry of whom they left in the lurch. Who's to say they won't do so again? As for the Worgen curse -- well, you have to admit chatting with a talking wolf is an odd concept. Even more so when you know that said wolf used to be a human being, just like you.

What to consider How does your character feel about Gilneas? Does he forgive the Gilneans for their arrogance, or is he simply counting the days until Gilneas decides it is far too good for the Alliance, again? What does he think of the Worgen? Does the curse fascinate him? Does it frighten him or cause him to recoil in disgust? Is he willing to accept the Worgen as allies, or is he secretly hoping the whole race of cursed mongrels would simply just go away? Does he want to know more about the curse, is it something he'd research and look into -- or is it something he'd rather pretend didn't exist at all?

King Varian Wrynn

What happened King Wrynn spent the majority of vanilla World of Warcraft simply ... missing. In fact, he didn't make a return until the very end of The Burning Crusade, just before Wrath of the Lich King launched. In his absence, the outlying kingdoms of Stormwind -- Westfall, Redridge, Duskwood -- all fell into various states of disrepair, with no help from Stormwind whatsoever. This was due to interference from the black dragon Onyxia, who infiltrated the kingdom. But even though King Wrynn has returned, it seems as though there is still little being done about those outlying areas.

How this affects your character If your character was born or raised in any of these regions, the fact that these outlying kingdoms have been treated so poorly over the years might strike a bitter note with him. If not, there is still the notion that perhaps King Wrynn isn't really doing much, in the grand scope of things, to rebuild his kingdom back to its former glory.

What to consider How does your character feel about King Varian Wrynn? Is he aware of the duplicitous dealings of Onyxia, or is he fully in the dark regarding where King Wrynn has been and the nature of his return to the throne? Is your character from one of the three outlying kingdoms? How does the state of those kingdoms affect your character's perception of Stormwind and King Wrynn?

The struggles of the Human race

What happened What happened? Death happened, countless lives lost. All over the world, during Wrath of the Lich King and now in Cataclysm, the forces of the Horde have been pushing more and more, taking more land, killing more Alliance, be they Human or otherwise. The Horde seems to have taken advantage of the world's distress and used it to wage war on several fronts -- and they don't seem to be stopping with Kalimdor.

How this affects your character It is a very difficult time to be a member of the Alliance, these days. The Horde clearly has the upper hand in many of the conflicts for land that have risen up since the Cataclysm; the Alliance simply getting the short end of the stick. As with the lives lost in Northrend, more and more lives are being lost every day in Cataclysm.

What to consider Has your character ever worked with the Horde? If he was with Theramore's forces during the Third War, he's seen what the Horde is capable of, from the standpoint of an ally. He's probably even heard tales of Thrall, the Orc Warchief who is an apparent proponent of peace. Whatever peace said Warchief had in mind has clearly been thrown out the window, because the Horde isn't hesitating to slaughter countless Alliance in their grab for land and resources. How does your character feel about the Horde now? Is he living in constant fear for his life, or does he make it a point to kill as many Horde as he can?

It is definitely not an easy thing to be a Human in World of Warcraft. Since the dawn of the original game, the Human race has been in a constant state of conflict, in one way or another. There have been brief reprieves -- the Third War, in which Alliance banded with Horde, and more recently the efforts during The Burning Crusade -- but for the most part, a Human's life is one filled with strife and loss. The question that Human roleplayers need to answer is how their characters react to all of this. For a Human roleplayer, it's probably the most crucial question to ask, because it forms the backbone of who your character is.

As a Human in Azeroth, daily life isn't largely full of trivial events like it is for us out here in real life. Instead, daily life is about the dangerous situations and peril that these Humans are thrown up against, time and time again. Your Human could be a hero, standing stalwart against the peril and adversity, or he could be a coward, fleeing at any given opportunity. He could take advantage of the fear of others for his own self gain, or he could simply shrug his shoulders and soldier on, no matter what he happens to face along the way.

Though the Human race in Azeroth may be battered and beaten, it has shown that it will not simply lie down and let the world walk over it. Time and time again, the Humans of Azeroth have shown that they have the will and courage to band together when situations are at their most dire. Roleplaying a Human may look easy to most, but between the battered state of the Human race and the political intrigue that surrounds the various races of the Alliance as they are pitted against the Horde, it's certainly one of the more interesting races that Warcraft has to offer.

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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