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Old 10-25-2004, 09:02 PM   #1
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I've seen LOTS of people roleplaying their own age group - or maybe just a little bit older. But it's much rarer to find roleplayers who take on roles as young children and old people.

Why do you suppose it is? What does it take to play these kinds of characters successfully? Or do you even try?
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Old 10-25-2004, 09:20 PM   #2
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It's probably the same reason that most characters are described as thin and good-looking. Fantasy games are escapism. Most people seem to like to escape into a person who is better than themselves, but contains enough elements of their own personality for them to be able to just play and not have to think about their responses.

Plus of course, you can't do naughty things if you're eight years old
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Old 10-26-2004, 10:35 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Auseklis @ Oct. 25 2004,20:20)
It's probably the same reason that most characters are described as thin and good-looking. Fantasy games are escapism. Most people seem to like to escape into a person who is better than themselves, but contains enough elements of their own personality for them to be able to just play and not have to think about their responses.

Plus of course, you can't do naughty things if you're eight years old
I don't think it's a bad thing that old people and kids are rarely played. I'm certain that players prefer (as a whole) to play fit and/or nubile characters for the reasons you mention. But I'm also certain old and young characters can be played well by decent roleplayers - and I'm really looking for input from them about what they do to immerse themselves in such roles.

Personally, I've played a wide variety of ages - including at least two kids and a dozen "old" characters. The old characters actually helped my characters *avoid* romantic entanglements, but I got an admittedly sick sort of satisfaction playing these characters as crotchety and rude. Of course, I've got a habit of playing characters designed specifically for everyone else to either hate or mock - and many normal players want acceptance and friendship. I've never pretended to be a normal player!
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Old 10-26-2004, 01:50 PM   #4
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Actually, for me ... whats more intriguing is the nature of the character - and that will usually tell me what age the character should be. Kinda like working backwards ...

Now that said, one of the reasons I do like running what would be considered 'younger' characters - and lets say for me thats early to mid twenties - is that , at that age period, the character has (in many cultures) just reached an age of relative independence, and is often standing on their own for the very first time or finally starting on their own journey through life. As such, the events that then happen in the characters life play a major role in shaping their personality, outlook and the direction of their eventul destiny ... and thus the choices they make during roleplay.

Add to what Lee, Lifeson and Peart excellently put forth as a true insight in the psyche of a young person just starting out, and you have the excellent ingredients of an adventuring persona -

Learning that we're only immortal for a limited time

To put it in another way, starting with a so called younger character provides a strong opportunity for growth, development and change, which is one of the things that separate a character that is very believable from one that is thinner and less dimensional.

That is not to say that this cannot happen with older characters ... save that, by their very nature, older characters would have certain behaviors and beliefs set, based on their previous (unplayed) experiences. It lets you experiment with the truth or falsehood of the old adage of whether or not an old dog can be taught a new trick.

True younger characters are probably the hardest to run well as a player character as opposed to an NPC ... having to tread that fine line between being an effective and enjoyable character that allows you to accomplish what you need to to participate and enjoy the game versus the tendency for a "child" character to be artifically advanced in knowledge, mannerisms, skills and cultural influence.
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Old 10-26-2004, 09:14 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by
True younger characters are probably the hardest to run well as a player character as opposed to an NPC ... having to tread that fine line between being an effective and enjoyable character that allows you to accomplish what you need to to participate and enjoy the game versus the tendency for a "child" character to be artifically advanced in knowledge, mannerisms, skills and cultural influence.
True, which is why - to date - I have only ever played one character under the age of 14; I'm just not sure enough of myself to be comfortable in the knowledge that I won't goof and make the char seem too mature for their age.

That's also why I don't play very old characters either; I don't feel like I know enough about how someone very old would act, and I don't want to muck things up by accident.
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Old 10-26-2004, 09:57 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Rytorth @ Oct. 26 2004,20:14)
Quote:
Originally Posted by
True younger characters are probably the hardest to run well as a player character as opposed to an NPC ... having to tread that fine line between being an effective and enjoyable character that allows you to accomplish what you need to to participate and enjoy the game versus the tendency for a "child" character to be artifically advanced in knowledge, mannerisms, skills and cultural influence.
True, which is why - to date - I have only ever played one character under the age of 14; I'm just not sure enough of myself to be comfortable in the knowledge that I won't goof and make the char seem too mature for their age.

That's also why I don't play very old characters either; I don't feel like I know enough about how someone very old would act, and I don't want to muck things up by accident.
It's kind of ironic you'd feel hesitant to play an old human, but you're pretty comfortable dropping into the role of a walking, talking reptiloid!
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Old 11-02-2004, 02:13 PM   #7
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I've always thought of doing either of these two types of characters-I guess I should try an under 15...seeing as I am. The problem with older characters is that they must understand what has gone on before, and know it. And I know I really couldn't do this
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Old 11-28-2004, 12:38 PM   #8
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Probably my most interesting twist on this was playing a young character playing an old character once. Specifically, playing a young con man pretending to be an old blind beggar.

I think one of the things that's really key in playing a believable character of either great age or youth, or strange races, is to get a clean handle on what characteristics are strongest in the character. What actions and reactions define someone of that age.

Take Roen, a six year old on Chia (not played by me). Her defining characteristics are a clinging lovingness and screaming tantrums. Where an adult might moderate a negative reaction for decorum, she as a somewhat undisciplined child goes into full screaming rages.

Basically, I suppose what I'm saying is that part of the key is to find what's *different* about the actions and reactions of a character of a different age, and keep those in mind when you play the character. Overall, beings are remarkably similar no matter what the age group.
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Old 12-12-2004, 11:22 PM   #9
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Personally, I love playing fat, greasy, old dwarves with a generally unappealing appearance. It makes it all the more fun to play someone who is not some attractive person like everyone else. Try playing a fat ugly dwarf or an elf who isn't very good looking. I think most people have a dream about their favorite character, and they want to be the perfect hero that their dream is. But the thing is, your dreams aren't generally very believable. Play a normal person every once in a while, its fun, and it takes an ordinary person to be a hero.
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Old 12-13-2004, 10:09 PM   #10
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Hey, I've totally played a senile, old hag before who didn't do anything but instigate, talk about herself, and sit around drunk moping about the past. When she wasn't begging for money with which to buy her booze.
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Old 12-13-2004, 10:12 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Steel Leopard @ Dec. 13 2004,21:09)
Hey, I've totally played a senile, old hag before who didn't do anything but instigate, talk about herself, and sit around drunk moping about the past.  When she wasn't begging for money with which to buy her booze.
Man, thats exactly what I do dude. I love playing beggars and old people who get drunk all the time. You've basically listed half of the characters I've played. I didn't even think there were other people out there like me. Thats pretty cool.
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Old 12-13-2004, 11:17 PM   #12
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Well, being a younger person myself, I sort've have to play older people. All my chars have been average age for the game, which is certainly older than me.

-Gabe
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