Thank you, Lloyde, for proofreading and suggestions! Introduction: It may not look like much at first glance, but the world of Black Desert is as deep and vast as it is daunting. Promise. Between the game's unintuitive UI, numerous mechanics, numerous hidden mechanics, thousands of side-quests, and the universe's mysterious and extremely messy trial-and-error story presentation, there is a lot of information to digest, especially when you're just breaking into the roleplay scene or simply trying to figure out what the actual hell is going on here. If you're an overwhelmed newbie, don't fret. It's not uncommon―for even veteran players―to gloss over details if not miss them entirely or progress through the game with the feeling that... there's not much to Black Desert at all. I know my first impression of the setting was something like disappointment. The world seemed as (un)inspiring as a shoddy fantasy recreation of the Holy Crusades against the Middle East with an evil red-eyed blob spirit leading the Protagonist around by the nose. Except, instead of fighting for Jerusalem (insert the overkilled Deus Vult meme here), people fought for Black Stones. And not-Jesus. Or whatever. The almost (almost!!) irrelevant opening cinematic did not help with this. Not one bit. Same goes for the gender-locked classes. Blah. But maybe you like the game and/or the setting with all of the imperfections, anyway. It is very pretty with its lived-in Open World and charming Quality-of-Life functions. Maybe you've heard good things about the universe. The game is home to a solid, flourishing community of creative writers. Or maybe your only interest is to understand why people like the lore so much... when finding any consistent, concrete material is arguably more difficult than pulling teeth. What is Roleplay? To roleplay is to adopt the role of another person or character, often in a setting of the player's own design or that of another, and interact through that persona with other characters and the world around them. While there are as many different styles, methods, materials, and foci as there are reasons that people may engage in roleplay for themselves, it is ultimately a joint, social pursuit for storytelling and entertainment. In an MMORPG like Black Desert, roleplay often occurs in the form of text or writing: immediately improvised script that depicts a character's actions, dialogue, and mannerisms. Some partake in light-hearted themes, much like tabletop games. Others explore the darker twists of the human condition and psyche. And still, there are others who dabble in both! Fantastical beasts and Cthulhu won't judge you. The term "roleplay" has unfortunately transformed in modern internet culture to often denote the misconception that roleplayers are supposedly a non-confrontational or salacious people. (Some enjoy erotic-roleplay when in-character relationships become intimate. For those who do, please keep it private.) However, the immediate desire, long-term process, and end goal for many roleplayers—with a healthy amount of distinct separation between the role and the player—is for expression, artistic creation, and reflection. Spoiler: Community Thoughts Davorr —BDRP Discord Mod : "RP is a collaboration between other writers and players! It's important to remember that most individuals base their characters and each character's aspects off of the established lore of the game universe to give their aspects a genuine feeling and, also, validity." Maevynn —Lore Enthusiast, BDRP Lore Keeper : "I do agree [that] a person's character is more important than their ability to recite the lore word-for-word and get all the facts right. Everyone makes mistakes and no one knows everything about a topic. So long as someone has enough common ground with me, then we can make stories with eachother on the fly, and I find that much less restrictive than having to sit back OOC and worldbuild or inform each other about our personal canons before we can continue." Setting a Different Tone The hard truth is that nothing consistent or concrete exists yet outside of recorded Knowledge entries (@BDOcodex.com). Everything is so scattered and serialized that it has taken years since KR and NA/EU release for lore enthusiasts to puzzle out the universe―accounting for some official retcons and translation errors along the way―and we still may not be 100% correct. For BDRP's community, we're lucky and grateful to have an active #lore-chat channel on the site's Discord server, half-a-dozen Lore Keepers, and an involved member base to consolidate, discuss, and analyze information on top of answering player questions. As a result, #lore-chat gets a ton of traffic from both new and veteran folks alike. There's never a dull moment. The downside is that, due to the nature of instant-messaging platforms, every conversation eventually washes away in the ebb and flow—and not everyone is part of the BDRP site. Hence, the development for an F.A.Q. What we do know is that Black Desert's universe revolves around the traditional spirit of the fantasy genre. Throughout its vast landscape, its various peoples, and numerous creatures, we can observe the never-ending struggle for balance and purpose between order, chaos, dark, light, and those who find themselves in the penumbra. Spoiler: Community Thoughts Maevynn —Lore Enthusiast, BDRP Lore Keeper : "We have to understand [that] this is a very new IP (it was rewritten between their alpha and open beta, so arguably it's only been a couple years) and it isn't going to have extremely expansive lore like other series that have been continually written for almost a decade or more. (Dragon Age, TES, Star Wars, WoW, etc.)... The stuff is there, and the translations can be sloppy, but we can still glean the meaning almost every time! There is a ton of knowledge to sift through on topics and even those of us who do lore digging are continually finding new things all the time. We're even working to put together a lore wiki to help people out! Tip 1: Keep your expectations open. Black Desert is an amalgamation that draws from real-world and fantasy themes without leaning too heavily on any particular one. Much of it is fleshed-out, but just as much drops off into ambiguity or a dead-end. You will and will not find points that cross over with other settings—like D&D, Forgotten Realms, Warhammer, WoW, and so on—because Black Desert revolves around mysticism, spiritualism, and both the quantitative as well as the qualitative aspects of the natural world and human imagination. It's frustrating, yes. However! Blurry lines aren't always a bad thing. So, as hard as it is, try to keep in mind that you will benefit most from leaving behind every other setting you have come to know. If you must carry over, focus not on the content but on the essence of what is familiar. Spoiler: Community Thoughts Nerinne —Veteran Player : "Time travel/dimension hopping, steampunk roadrunners and bulls, warfare, religious tensions, high-fantasy and politically geared Elves, and half-pint snarky [child-like creatures] called Shai all exist along the same lines as a very technologically feudal era. While the lore in this game is a wee tricky to find sometimes, it is entricing and very forgiving with amazing and interesting concepts for players to use. "If there is a thing you do not like? Go somewhere else- every city in the game and their RPers within it are different. The feel is different. "It's really cool tbh." Tip 2: Approach from a humanities, anthropological, and academic standpoint. History expresses its depth through evidence, perspective, implication, conjecture, and extrapolation. As with the real world, Black Desert is home to many cultural, sociopolitical, religious, and economic spheres—all of which make for a varied, nuanced, and rich setting of contention and bias. People from one region may have a concept of the world's creation that is completely different from that of another. Alternatively, there are universal ideas, perhaps hints of a collective unconscious or a common origin point, among numerous parallels and intersections and lost information of civilizations past... There are plenty of concrete fragments about the setting, its races, etc. But to really know Black Desert at its heart, you will need to take every detail, every piece of evidence that supports one idea or another, with a grain of salt. (Yes, it does sound absurd—to need an academic standpoint for a video game—but it is both true and encouraged, given the nature of the setting.) Spoiler: Community Thoughts Kahlu —RP Veteran, BD Newbie : "THE GAME REQUIRES ME TO GO ON A KILLING SPREE KILLING POOR PEOPLE? WOW THIS IS DARK." Tip 3: Patience. You will never run out of reading material if you look hard enough—especially in the realm of extrapolation. You will encounter pitfalls. You will have ideas that turn out to be inaccurate or incompatible with every other wedge of the jigsaw. Even the writers and game developers can, have, and will continue to screw things up. It's all part of the process. This is a new franchise that has seen unpredictable, shocking success. Presentation is disheveled, but there is something there—something special—that plenty of us still believe in, real-world business ethics and monetization aside. Spoiler: Community Thoughts Merzelle —BDRP Discord Mod : "Everything is subject to change or deletion with each subsequent patch. Also, the new voices will continuously haunt your soul. —P.S. magic is not illegal." Whitrix —Wikia Admin, Lore Enthusiast, BDRP Discord Lore Keeper : "Never trust Black Desert Lore." Tip 4: Participate! Ask questions! It is imperative for every community to foster an active, inquisitive, and creative environment with a user base whose members are determined to encourage and contribute to one another. Through this, we develop a collective identity and a vast story that possesses significant weight, continuity, and common enjoyment. With particular respect to roleplay within and the lore of Black Desert, questions beget answers; answers beget more questions. We are always searching for strong evidence to support findings and theories. Whether you are lost or seeking clarification, you are always welcome to ask for help, guidance, and discussion. Who knows? Maybe you've even found something new or unnoticed for all this time. If there is a question that you have seen frequently asked or that you feel may be important for entry-level Black Desert lore enthusiasts and/or roleplayers to have an answer to, post a comment! Send a PM! Start a discussion of your own! Spoiler: Community Thoughts Ivelise / Tamair —Veteran Player : "I think we need to do a better job of ensuring that newcomers know that lore abiding roleplay is okay. The reason I say this is because I have been at events where people are just unsure of whether or not it is fine to do something out of the norm and receive backlash for it because of needing to look so hard for lore."