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Old 08-05-2008, 03:31 PM   #1
Violette
 
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a little problem

Why is it so hard to roleplay a persona completely different from mine? Anyone else have this problem? The best I can pull off is to exaggerate my own inherent traits. It seems that to get into a completely different skin takes much more effort, which perhaps takes away the fun of the game. For example now I have to take a few extra seconds to think of a response, and this makes the gameplay much more awkward. For instance, when a character says "Hello", it takes me 15-25 seconds to think of how my character would respond. Meanwhile the other person is wondering why it's taking me so long to respond to a simple greeting.

Anyone understand what I'm saying?
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Old 08-05-2008, 08:16 PM   #2
Mabus
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Re: a little problem

I understand what you are saying, and I have seen this not only in the MUD world, but in tabletop games as well.

There are many, many factors that can go into role-playing a persona. Not everyone (heck, not even two people) completely agrees on "the how to do it". I have never had a problem with "being" the character (might be a psych paper lying around waiting to happen...), but when I play a character I am no longer there. I do not think about how I would react, I just let them react. I tend to use an imaginative method.

Part is understanding the character. You have to know them and their motivations, mannerisms, ticks, likes/dislikes and allow them to "be". How this understanding comes about is as varied as the characters themselves.

You can plan the character, for instance and allow your imagination to let them soar. You can also come in with a slight understanding of them and then let every interaction build them in your mind.

It sounds like you are doing the second, but analyzing whether this is how you (the player) view the character instead of allowing the character's action/reactions inform you of who the character is. If you are then you are using a method closer to method acting.

Both methods are valid, as are others. It is a matter of time and practice in getting better.

Role-play is an amazing field of escapism. Stick with it!
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Old 08-06-2008, 07:24 AM   #3
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Re: a little problem

I've found the easiest way to do it, is to bring part of me into my character's personality. Or leave part of her personality open for me to inject my own personal "stuff." Like, for instance, my lower lip is always a little chapped; in the winter it is bad, even bleeds and cracks. But in warmer weather it just feels a little rough. I like nibbling on it. It perpetuates the dry skin but it's just something I've been doing so many years I hardly ever notice I'm doing it.

I put that in one of my characters once. Whenever she got -especially- nervous, or if she was -particularly- focused on something or concentrating, she would tug at the dried skin on her lower lip with her upper teeth.

When I add even little tidbits of myself into my character, I can see -much- more easily, the layers of personality. It becomes effortless to "make my character do something" because the doing becomes organic. I had another character years ago, in a medieval fantasy themed game who was this big giant brute of a gal, but I played her as being a bit mentally retarded - mild down's syndrome kind of thing. Usually honest, blurted things out without worrying if they were "appropriate", almost always cheerful, giggly, naive, and not overly smart - but with an inner wisdom that would just pop out of nowhere once in awhile.

The part of me in her was the giggling and blurting things out. General irreverence and trying not to take things too seriously. It made things much easier for me to play her, when I plucked these little parts of myself and inserted them into her. It made her come alive for me, and made it possible for me to "see" the game world from "her" eyes.
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Old 08-06-2008, 03:22 PM   #4
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Re: a little problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by Violette View Post
Why is it so hard to roleplay a persona completely different from mine? Anyone else have this problem? The best I can pull off is to exaggerate my own inherent traits. It seems that to get into a completely different skin takes much more effort, which perhaps takes away the fun of the game. For example now I have to take a few extra seconds to think of a response, and this makes the gameplay much more awkward. For instance, when a character says "Hello", it takes me 15-25 seconds to think of how my character would respond. Meanwhile the other person is wondering why it's taking me so long to respond to a simple greeting.

Anyone understand what I'm saying?
Some characters I find impossible to roleplay because I simply don't have the knowledge base it would require to do the character justice, so I try to find character concepts that I can research or have pretty heavy working knowledge in already.

I do understand what you're saying. We have a player who wants to be this really evil, nasty, lying, horrible person. In real life, he's a really nice guy and works with the rescue squad. His problem is that he always gets busted in lies as his character because the player simply isn't a good liar. To be able to realize the potential of the character he created, he would have to be able to perform skills he simply does not have. It was horribly frustrating for him, and it was very hard for me to figure out what the problem was.

I think we had a discussion a few years ago on TMS on how to play characters that you, the player, have no working knowledge of. How do you play a character that is smarter than you really are? How do you play a character that knows more about instruments than you do? How do you play a character that is more likeable than you are in person? How do you play a character that is more diplomatic and personable than you are in real life? I think we settled on the opinion that you end up playing characters with exaggerated parts of your personality with which you can identify, but you can't make yourself into a good liar to play a thief if you're simply not good at lying.

I think what I usually tend to do when I really branch out in characters that don't suit my personality is to have a list written up of a basic guideline for my character. The lists are often pretty simple based on the original design of the character. Then I figure out how much flexibility I allow the character to stray from the core concepts, and then I try to figure out how much knowledge the character has on subjects that come up often. Since I ended up having to play so many characters, I have several of these. It's much easier when I'm invested in just ONE character so that I can have a much more detailed list and time to really learn my character outline.
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Old 10-26-2008, 04:32 PM   #5
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Re: a little problem

I guess I'm not as ardent a believer in the dividing line between player personality and character traits that some players are.
In many cases, I think some of those players are deluded.

With the single exception of roles you simply -can't- play well, such as the aforementioned 'moron playing a genius', I tend to believe that most if not all of the character traits are either enhanced or subdued facets of the player's personality. Arguably, even if one creates a character that is a huge departure from the normal behavior set of the player, after extended play time, it just seems improbable to me that some of the traits wouldn't make it past the 'bleed barrier' in either direction.

Personality traits in players are far from some static behavior set, and as people age, they do change. Heck, part of that (theoretical) maturation process might well have its roots in roleplaying games, which are a barely disguised abstract of some of the formative roleplay experiences we engage in naturally as children.
Cops 'n' Robbers (although no one seems to be playing that any more), Cowboys 'n' Injuns (which has been placed on the politically incorrect endangered list), Tea Party, and my personal favorite, Post Office.

The best I can manage in my RP is to give license to some forbidden behaviors within the structured confines of an RPG in order to play characters that I -like- to think I could never become, or to subdue impulses of my own personality which run contrary to the character's background.

I suppose there truly are some RP purists who are somehow completely divorced from their character's mindset, and are exercising a skill that I lack when they RP. I can't imagine becoming -as- immersed in a character that I don't truly identify with in some fundamental way. I think often that players act out in character as they might in real life if some barriers were removed, but for social grace later claim it was 'all just RP'. That goes for bad behavior as well as truly tear-jerkingly good deeds.
For instance, I've played evil characters, but I don't believe that evil people ever truly know that they're evil (so much for Magneto's Brotherhood of Evil Mutants of yore), but rather, do things construed as evil by others for a purpose that may not be apparent. In that light, it's much easier to play a character that does horrific things, if their agenda is sufficiently watertight enough to permit some rationalizations that make such deeds seem innoccuous, or even necessary.

I'm still working on generating a truly humorless character just to test my theory. Thus far, he cracks me up more than my professional jester.

Go figure.

[Edited to add: My personal peeve: people with no literary nor lyrical skill at all playing bards. I know now why they weren't always buried.]
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Old 10-31-2008, 03:39 PM   #6
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Re: a little problem

Agree with you Violette. There must be some personality characteristics that match. For instance, I play an Ogre pretty well because .. well I like to just zone out and act stupid :P I also have an elf warrior .. more of a "think tank" but its still a warrior nonetheless haha so I carry through with a sort of reckless nature. Not that I would ever spank a group .. on purpose mind you!

Btw Happy Halloween!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Disillusionist View Post
I guess I'm not as ardent a believer in the dividing line between player personality and character traits that some players are.
In many cases, I think some of those players are deluded.

With the single exception of roles you simply -can't- play well, such as the aforementioned 'moron playing a genius', I tend to believe that most if not all of the character traits are either enhanced or subdued facets of the player's personality. Arguably, even if one creates a character that is a huge departure from the normal behavior set of the player, after extended play time, it just seems improbable to me that some of the traits wouldn't make it past the 'bleed barrier' in either direction.

Personality traits in players are far from some static behavior set, and as people age, they do change. Heck, part of that (theoretical) maturation process might well have its roots in roleplaying games, which are a barely disguised abstract of some of the formative roleplay experiences we engage in naturally as children.
Cops 'n' Robbers (although no one seems to be playing that any more), Cowboys 'n' Injuns (which has been placed on the politically incorrect endangered list), Tea Party, and my personal favorite, Post Office.

The best I can manage in my RP is to give license to some forbidden behaviors within the structured confines of an RPG in order to play characters that I -like- to think I could never become, or to subdue impulses of my own personality which run contrary to the character's background.

I suppose there truly are some RP purists who are somehow completely divorced from their character's mindset, and are exercising a skill that I lack when they RP. I can't imagine becoming -as- immersed in a character that I don't truly identify with in some fundamental way. I think often that players act out in character as they might in real life if some barriers were removed, but for social grace later claim it was 'all just RP'. That goes for bad behavior as well as truly tear-jerkingly good deeds.
For instance, I've played evil characters, but I don't believe that evil people ever truly know that they're evil (so much for Magneto's Brotherhood of Evil Mutants of yore), but rather, do things construed as evil by others for a purpose that may not be apparent. In that light, it's much easier to play a character that does horrific things, if their agenda is sufficiently watertight enough to permit some rationalizations that make such deeds seem innoccuous, or even necessary.

I'm still working on generating a truly humorless character just to test my theory. Thus far, he cracks me up more than my professional jester.

Go figure.

[Edited to add: My personal peeve: people with no literary nor lyrical skill at all playing bards. I know now why they weren't always buried.]
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