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Community Highlight: Thrautana

By Qog - Posted Jan 22, 18

Community Highlight: Thrautana

It's time for another Community Highlight, and this time I managed to persuade the wonderful Thrautana - also known as Vaken, Information Central, and Empress only knows how many other names - to answer a few questions. 

Thrautana is a profilic roleplayer on the Darth Malgus server on both factions. Currently their open initiatives include The Vaken Project, the Concourse Market Day, and The Dealer's Den, all of which are organized with the awe-inspiring hivemind that is The Concourse Commerce Coalition. This group of players drive a lot more roleplay than many likely realise and their work is well worth checking out. 

Thrautana is also working some Enjin magic by being one of our community thread organizers on the DMRP forums - obligatory shout out for all their hard work. If you have read it, Thrautana has likely already catalogued it. 

Keep on reading for the Q&A!

Why did you begin to roleplay?

A simple enough story. I've heard about roleplay in the past and it struck my interest before, but I knew smack blow bugger all about anything of it: I knew nothing about tabletop games nor MMO or pure text RP. Though I always had a fondness for fiction and adventure stories, which made the idea of roleplay so much more exciting to me back then.

It all began when a friend of mine whom I used to play competitive games with decided to play another MMO-RPG with me. He asked if we could play on a roleplay server and I said: "okay, let's give it a shot". I didn't think at the time that that night of terrible, terrible roleplay would result in the consumption of vast amounts of my social & gaming life!

Who are your characters?
I'll just go over a few.

Right now, people probably still remember me as Rala Heivoor - the wacky Sith Lord who claims to be a witch, among other things that will leave her company questioning what the hell they just encountered or what they’ve been drinking that night. Rala simply loves slinging insults and and seemingly enjoys receiving them too. She's crazy, but there's a lot more sense to it than is obvious on the surface.

Lord Vaken is also one of mine and she's simply many things: a ranking Sith Lord in the Ministry of Logistics, a cunning politician, a demanding manager and an authoritative mother. She's a traditionalist trying to cope with the changing galaxy, but believes that this changing galaxy will be her daughter, Tazine's problem more so than her own, therefore has raised this daughter and apprentice with the composure to weather times as they are. She came toe-to-toe with politics early in her life and has, for a long time, remained in the background while events shifted the foundations of their Empire around her, until recently when she's chosen to cast all of her chips into something mysterious and ambitious. While accumulating support and investments, she's most aware that the cost of failure is her life.

Though more commonly of late I'd be found on Aneia Vaksher on Imperial side, my free-thinking Imperial with questionable motives and questionable values in comparison to traditional Imperial customs. She keeps little company and is really just content to be by herself and listen in on others' conversations while she lurks in the contents of her holobooks. She may seem inattentive, but she's very much aware of the shenanigans going on around her. She's an outcast in a way and doesn't mind suffering it alone, for a good many reasons.

There's also Vance Avlaash, my hotshot Imperial pilot. He's the sort who's more familiar with the cockpit that the world out of it - which has a tendency to confuse and embarrass him, but he handles it with an awkward mixture of amusement and revulsion. His folks are both proud ranking Officers in the Imperial Navy, leaving Vance with a lot to try live up to, though he fails miserably as far as conduct is concerned.

Another fun one has been Redwick - a bit of a silly Sith whose heart is usually in the right place, but his lack of potential impairs him from truly making a difference. He's somewhere in his early twenties and has reached that stage in his life where he really wants to figure things out in order to map his way forward. It's both a spiritual and practical conflict, because he knows that he can't change an entire society, but has resolved to try find the means to protect the things which he values most, because of all his many weaknesses his sentimentality is and has by far been his biggest. As of lately he's kept himself hidden until he feels he's strong enough to face the galaxy again.

On the Republic side you could probably catch me on Vee Thrautana or Missy. Vee is a concept I very much like: a student at the University of Coruscant who was raised in wealth, trying to fit in with friends and partners who are from the middle to lower society of Coruscant. She deliberately tries to avoid the subject of her family's wealth in fear of being criticized as privileged in the eyes of Coruscant's hard-workers. On the other hand, Missy is from a middle-class family and she's got hands that jumps for credits. She's everything stereotypical and not to mention the meanest person you'd ever meet if you get her angry.

Then there's Alex Daron, a grim Republic Army soldier who's been at it for almost half his life by now. He's weary and has seen a lot, but feels duty-bound to remain in his role. His lot is the depressing tale of one who is tied to something that he hates, but that thing which he hates is the only realistic option for him. Despite this being his only possible occupation, he portrays a lack of pride.
You have mentioned being a part of the Concourse Commerce Coalition. What does this group do?
Much, much more than everyone sees on screen! Originally it was compiled of a few players who came together in the Dealer's Den on a regular basis, back when it was quiet. Friendships developed and so did a great number of characters and stories, leading to countless hours of fun role-play scenarios, but when we looked back into the Dealer's Den, it was reduced to a bleak highway with tumbleweed spinning across it and ergo we formed the CCC as a small solution: A group created to portraying the Average Jons of Coruscant in our favourite setting: the Concourse Area in the Old Galactic Market - this place has everything a role-player could want. I suppose that this stemmed out of a fondness and nostalgia for the place after we began taking our stories off of Coruscant and having our frequenters be strangers to the local place. Now we're back with fresh inspiration and fresh concepts to complement the setting and to provide for players who happen to catch us online. A great number of our concepts now frequent Coruscant or the Old Galactic Market as their go-to hub for business or interaction.

Out of the public eye? They deserve a lot more credit than I think they receive! These are the same players in both our other guilds; The Author's Hand on Imperial side and the Tales Between the Pages on the Republic side - here we dump all of our other concepts which aren't related to a particular themed guild. We come up with a lot of wacky ideas, most of which don't see the light of day, but some do.
I may be the one who posts things most frequently, but we conceive most of our plans and events as a team - it's one hundred percent a group effort and we all manage our guilds together as coordinated and like-minded team.

As for what we intend on doing - is to bring regular public events to the Concourse area on the Old Galactic Market, something we’ve recently resolved to do from time to time.
What is a character concept you have always wanted to try?
"A character concept," As in singular? That is difficult, but I’d say a recurring villain in some long-term plot. Your typical Bond Villain archetype with an exaggerated everything. Everything from dramatic chair swiveling, observing the bold heroes from a room that looks as though it’s made of screens, to an outrageously silly accent.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to organize a community project or event?
Don't be put off - a lot of ideas that are brought into the community are demotivated by a lack of interest or criticism - these things are utterly natural when devising something and shouldn't be cause for you to give up. Instead be cooperative and coordinated, not distant and obstinate. There is however a degree of backbone that you should be capable of bringing to the table, because not all criticism is justified and if you're too flexible someone may run over you and your idea will cease to be what you intended, at some point you should be able to put your foot down otherwise you will cease to enjoy what you're trying to create. Though never cease to keep an open-minded approach.
No matter the size of the crowd you draw, you should simply continue to do what you're doing. Role-play may not happen immediately and it may not live up to what you expected it to be, but that's no good reason to pack up and go. A friend of mine once told me that when you role-play you should try to be entertaining to those around you - I adored this advice enough to put thought into it every time I try to create something.

Having been a lurker in this community for three years or so before actually popping out of my shell, I've been witness to some projects that died the same day they were established and some gradually over time and I've sat there, watching the comment section develope, at times feeling genuine sympathy for the project/event creator under all the pressure they must be feeling. Keep in mind that a community of over seven hundred and fifty people's collective opinions aren't determined by five or so people, and that you can't satisfy everyone around you. When you create something, at least one person will always be unhappy about it(especially on the internet) and these people may just so happen be more vocal by nature while those nodding in approval choose to do so in silence. Patience and tolerance are both important attitudes in any community, because you can expect to find a large variety of personalities clustered into one place. At the same time, you should be capable of the reality that you may be wrong in places and to react with compromise. It's embarrassing, yes - but giving up is more so. Even George Lucas once said "I may have gone too far in a few places."

I think that this is a vital one to touch on for any event/project organiser: be a firefighter, not tinder. There are politics and drama in every community - this much almost goes without saying, I believe. It should be the responsibility of an organiser to attempt to avert this drama before it gets out of hand and draws "first blood," and to keep it in private channels rather than out there in public - this is a good procedure because in public spaces you can't manage a debate while it grows increasingly uncontrollable as more people get involved and pick sides. Though in the spirit of good cooperation you should try to avoid fall outs with other groups and if it doesn't go well - at least you tried!

Next up: it's dangerous to go alone. If you feel unconfident, have a friend or several help you in the event and be there in character with you - that way it can never be a blunder if it doesn't catch on, because you'd still get to RP with your buddies and that's a rewarding consolation. Keep in mind that something continues as long as there's interest and if your circle is small though dedicated, someone else is likely to take note and pay greater interest. It's absolutely paramount that you yourself don't lose interest, because that's when things begin to crumble. Be absolutely certain that you're prepared to fully commit if you're intent on doing something long-term, because yes - that is a commitment in spite of the fact that this is on the internet.
And finally - tell us one of your fondest roleplay experiences, swtor-related or otherwise.
There are so many to choose from, but I think I know just the one.

About a year ago(or so), two characters belonging to friends of ours had a wedding, but it wasn't your average wedding. Everything about it had beautiful criminal undertones, because it was a wedding between a pair of dirty spacers, officiated by a dirty spacer and attended by criminals of all sorts. This gathering was amazing and it was all so well portrayed. When it came to the pronouncement, I believe that the officiate said: "By the power vested in me by your dirty money, I now pronounce you..." And I just lost it - you know who you are, you rascal, if you're reading this. That's not all however! So, our crew are all standing in a line, looking as sharp as they can while all this goes down around them, when suddenly murmurs of presenting the happy couple gifts were made. Our characters (including one straggler who might as well have been crew!) came to the horrifying realization that none of them brought gifts! They had to slip out sneakily, I believe we said that we left it on the ship, then hurried to the market on Rishi and proposed to buy the happy couple some booze. Classy. While everything else was going on back at the venue, our characters were arguing amongst themselves as to who's willing to put how much into buying that bottle. It all ended well, but I chuckle when I remember this.
Psst! Know someone who needs a highlight? Get in touch and let me know - I will add them to the ever-growing list!