Elite Roleplaying: The Official History
Elite Roleplaying was an online RPG group, operating in the Star Trek (Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force) and Star Wars (Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy) universes.
This history has been reconstructed using local backups of the original ERP site and historic page versions retrieved from The Internet Archive (Archive.org).
In September of 2002, a group from a forum called EFMods created a spin-off from a forum based Star Trek RPG called the Virtual Game. ERP's two founding members, Luke and Logalot, took the idea and expanded it to the Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force game, calling it Project: Elite Roleplaying. RPing in Elite Force allowed for the player to perform the actions of their character visually, with text for chat, and thus provided an increased experience. Less than a year later, the group's name eventually took on its final form: Elite Roleplaying.
The group's logo also evolved during this time, before settling on its final blue double-chevron take on the classic Star Trek delta.
Members initially hosted sessions on demand, before the group eventually acquired their own server (the KSI Private Server), hosted by Scooter.
Roleplaying originally took place using maps originally designed for competitive multiplayer ('fragging'), notably on the CTF_Deralict series of maps by James Nukem, the USS Nostromo (complete with orbiting UFO), and the planet-based map Rurapenthe.
The early group members filmed a fully voice-acted video within Elite Force to promote the group to new recruits, embedded below.
The promo wonderfully shows the group's creativity and what was possible, but it also demonstrates the early limitations of game engine - notably everyone always having weapons drawn. Such limitations would be overcome in time as the Elite Force roleplaying and modding community grew.
Maps and Mods
The first major milestone in ERPs life and in multiplayer Elite Force's growth from a standard shoot-em-up to a home for online Star Trek rolepalying was the creation of its first dedicated RPG map - the Keystone - produced by ERP Founder Luke. Numerous other maps soon followed, including the USS Eternal (a Steamrunner-class vessel, also by Luke), and the USS 10to5 by Scooter.
As the years went by, the Elite Force roleplaying community grew, with new groups forming and mappers embracing new opportunities. As map developers became more experienced and were able to implement more advanced functions, new opportunities brought firm favourites from James Nukem and Mr T: the USS Magnificent and USS Serenity map series (the latter named after the leading vessel from the EFMods Virtual Game). Mapping advanced further with the USS Poseidon map series by Will and Anthony of follow roleplaying group ST-RP, who went on to produced some of the finest examples of Elite Force roleplaying maps with the likes of the USS Poseidon-B and USS Enterprise-E.
Though maps were made to increase the RPG experience of Elite Force, it was still a first-person shooter. In 2003, a mod was developed by an individual named Steve called the Federation mod, which removed many of the shooter aspects of the game and implemented RPG items including PADDs and Hyposprays. An updated version was later released called the RPG mod. However, these modifications were not created by ERP. To further the RPG aspect of Elite Force, Phil created his own RPG modification based on the original RPG mod, the ERPG mod. This modification became common place for ERP and other RPG groups in Elite Force for almost 2 years.
For about half the period of this time, a group of individuals under the group name Ubergames - in collaboration with members of the various roleplaying groups including ERP - began work on a brand new RPG mod called RPG-X. At the beginning of 2005, RPG-X was finally released providing a vastly expanded and more enjoyable roleplaying experience. That mod became the definitive one for roleplaying in Elite Force, and continued to evolve over the years - eventually more than a decade later being released as a wholly standalone game by the folks at The Last Outpost.
Elite Force 2 was also at a time provided for with a roleplaying server, but due to the lack of maps, the server went unused and was eventually closed down.
The Virtual Fleet
In an effort to expand on the spontaneous nature of most online roleplays and create a long-running continuous plot line on a Star Trek starship, a subdivision of ERP was created called the Virtual Fleet. This fleet originally consisted of one Excelsior class starship called the USS Silver Flair. While the crew was put together for the initial attempt, the map was not completed and the project was scrapped, but the seed had been planted. Not long afterwards, the Virtual Fleet project was revived through a test on maps available at the time. The test was a success and so launched the USS Castille, USS Ranger and USS San Jacinto were created. Ships came and went over time, the San Jacinto being cancelled after a few weeks, but the others continued to grow and evolve: there was a controversial plot involving a super race, and a brief hiatus in March of 2004, while the Ranger became the USS Peacemillion. Throughout however, people kept enjoying the roleplays.
Participants in the Virtual Fleet roleplayed at a regular time each week, establishing their own character and developing it through high quality, continuing plot lines. Between the weekly roleplays, members continued the plot through posting of logs and forum RP posting.
To allow for more choices in the Virtual Fleet and allow new scenarios, the Starbase Horizon Virtual Fleet station was created in October of 2004, proving to be a success. The Peacemillion briefly became a forum-only RPG before returning to active Elite Force roleplaying, and there was a short-lived adventure for the Al-Batani - an ongoing roleplay open to the general public. The USS Bastet was started but it too fell victim of the low activity in ERP at the time. As activity in the ST division continued to wind down, remaining ships were scrapped and replaced by the totally forum based USS Expedition.
In 2003, plans were devised to create a brand new Star Trek game solely for roleplaying purposes. By 2005, a majority of the game engine had been created and a team had been brought together, consisting of ERP division members and others interested in helping with the development of the game.
In March 2006, the Project Lead and sole programmer, Leia, decided to leave the project which forced it to close. Some community members started working on a new engine in the hopes of reviving the project but production was ceased following the announcement of Star Trek: Online and the lack of progress being made.
Non-Server Roleplaying (NSRP)
To allow other Star Trek fans to join ERP without needing Elite Force, a division was devised solely for forum based RPG. NSRP released to the public in August of 2005.
Originally based in the post-Nemesis timeline in 2388, the storyline centred around a newly discovered system with a wormhole leading to an unknown part of the universe. The division consisted of three RPGs: the USS Hammerhead (Sovereign-class), USS Morning Star (Akira-class) and a Federation Starbase. Together the ships formed part of the 12th Fleet.
As activity declined in both NSRP and the Elite Force based Star Trek division, the two were merged in May 2006.
To permit a greater range of plots, a server was created solely for Klingon RPG plots. While initially popular, interest died off after a week and it was scrapped after just one month.
The People of the Star Trek Division
During its years of existence, many people changed the of face or contributed a lot to ERP.
All the members and ex-members of ERP influenced what was a fantastic and enjoyable number of years. Sadly a complete list of members has been lost to the server crashes, forum hacks, and the annals of time, but the last recorded information can be found on the members page.
Here is a list of just a few notable names:
- Jack Amzadi
- Enzo Aquarius
- Alex L.
- Crusader / Evan / Tycho
- Jane Sanders
- Doc Phil
Server Admins / Virtual Fleet Captains:
- Doc Phil (VF Commodore, Server Administrator, first ERP Commodore)
- Duo Maxwell (Ex-VF Captain, first ERP Captain)
- AlphaOmega (VF Captain, Server Administrator)
- Jason Archer (VF Captain, Server Administrator)
Key contributors involved with NSRP included:
- Carter (Fleet CO)
- Doc Phil / Philip Wells (Fleet Chief of Staff)
- AlphaOmega / Davon Stadi (Fleet Ops Chief)
- Enzo Aquarius (Fleet Staff Advisor)
- Scooter (Staff Advisor)
- Alex L. (Staff Advisor)
- Simmo (Staff Advisor)
Thank you to all the members, guests and visitors for your participation in a memorable period.
The Star Wars Division
As time progressed, with the declining number of RPers in the Elite Force community, a plan was devised for a new division based in the Star Wars universe in the game environment of Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy. After many months of planning, the Star Wars division was made public in January of 2005.
In order to appeal to a new audience of members, and to ease the start-up, an application forum was created which allowed any person interested in ERP to join (the Star Trek division had until then been invitation-only, but followed suit allowing applications a few months later). Additionally, the rules were not as strict as they had been in the Star Trek division.
During planning, a long discussion involved the choice of which Star Wars era the division would take place in. It was eventually decided to use the Galactic Civil War era, before branching out to the KOTOR era in July of 2005. At first, various issues came up that threatened the continuation of the KOTOR era but they were soon resolved.
Following suit with the Star Trek division, a Virtual Fleet was devised for ERP: Star Wars in April of 2005. Learning from the fraught conception of its counterpart and to prevent any issues from occuring, only one Imperial ship was created called the Vindicator and a forum based RPG on a station called Dentrassi station. While the forum based RPG became inactive after a few weeks, the Vindicator was highly popular. After the release of a new map, the Vindicator was switched to the Vanguard in July that year. Eventually, this ceased and was a forum based approach under the name Star Wars: Virtual Galaxy.
The Division Admins took on the Persona of the Imperial High Command while the elected body became the Regional Governors Assembly.
A number of people contributed to ERP: SW over time, including...
Group Leaders / Jedi Masters:
- Alex L / Alède Jalic
- AlphaOmega / Magus Vosh
- Doc Phil / Torvan Raiker
- Duo Maxwell / Kouga Sahalin
- Enzo Aquarius
- Jack Amzadi / Jacam Betri (KOTOR Server Owner)
- Scooter (Group Advisor)
- Wellington (GCW Server Owner)
- Alamy Canew
- Nero Maxim
In July of 2006, the third major ERP division was launched, the Stargate division, having undergone many attempts in the past to be launched. It was initially forum based following the canon Stargate timeline (beginning in season two of Stargate SG-1), before map development commenced and some server roleplaying commenced on the Star Wars: Jedi Academy game, alongside the Star Wars division. Activity in the division was disrupted in 2007 when the loss of the original server and the entirity of the forums. Activiy resumed during the second half of 2007 before dying off in early 2008.
The Division Admins took on the Persona of the White House while the elected body became the International Oversight Committee.
The main roleplay took place in Stargate Command, or the SGC. Along with the location to join the SGC or an SG Team and information on the current plotline, one could roleplay as a military officer in Stargate Command and follow the events in the current plotline.
For off-world adventures and action, roleplayers could join a Stargate team, as part of a team of four. Over time, the division had four teams: SG-6, SG-7, SG-8 and SG-12.
The server based roleplay on the JKA server took place at the Stargate Epsilon Site on the map constructed by Dylan Shuttle. The flag team of Epsilon Site, SG-A, consisted of these members:
- Major Dylan Shuttle
- Airman First Class Kyle Sisson
- Airman First Class Jason Vandez
- Airman Bill Bishop
Other notable members of ERP: SG included...
- Anthony Sewell / Jack Amzadi
- Enzo Aquarius
International Oversight Committee:
- Aidan Jerrow / Scythe
- Dylan Shuttle
- Stulo Mefai
Other known members of the Stargate division are listed on the members page.
ERP Central Command
More details to be completed!