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Old 06-29-2002, 01:10 PM   #1
Sapphar
 
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I tend to play characters who are not pretty.  Not ugly either, just plain.  A few distinguishing features, but usually they are described as the normal looking person who doesn't draw attention.  Then I draw attention through characterization.

This does not seem to be the norm on most games I have played.  Lots of folks go for beautiful women, rugged and handsome men, thin, sexy, in shape, busty, muscled, etc.  Pretty folks.  And if not outright pretty, very interesting and alluring and mysterious looking.  (Yes, I know, there plenty of you folks doing creepy monsters and the occassional other plain person as well)  Now, from a very OOC standpoint, I can understand why people prefer these characters.  The game is an opportuntity to live out a fantasy life, and why not do so as the best looking person you can.  But from an IC stand point, it is just plan odd.  In the games I play, it is an age of peasants and nobles, hard work, hot sun.  And yet everyone has lovely skin, is slender instead of sturdy, and keeps their hair long and flowing freely.  

To add to the oddness of it, there is often an expectation that everyone's characters are lovely.  No matter how simple and plain I make my descriptions sometimes, I still get folks calling my character beautiful.  Sometimes I wonder if they read the description or just are using their usual reponses because most folks are so darn pretty.

Does anyone else find this a little odd to be in the middle of?  And how do you have your character's react?  For me, I tend to make my characters either a) jealous, b) amazed at how lovely city folks are, c) oblivious to what is pretty and what is not.
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Old 06-29-2002, 02:51 PM   #2
Noximist
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My characters often view those sort of people as pampered, somewhat brainless loafers, until explicitly shown otherwise, since they don't tend to believe that people can remain flawless while doing legitimate work.

I've never really felt the need to make exceptionally beautiful characters. When I was playing a Goddess, she was stunning when not wearing the form of a raven or a wolf (which she usually was), largely to keep her followers impressed, but that's about it... I guess I feel confident enough about myself that I don't need to make a perfect person (I'm not saying that this is why everyone does it, but it does seem to happen). I find them a lot more interesting with quirks, although the one-scar-through-one-eyebrow people drive me nuts.
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Old 06-29-2002, 03:23 PM   #3
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Ah, I can take a sigh of relief.  There are others out there just like me.  I take pleasure in making my characters filled with quirks, flaws, and fears.  Most of the time they are ordinary looking, got less than average IC stats, and that's the way I like it.  It may be slightly disconcerting when the character faces a 12 year old blademaster that just has to win at all times in emote combat, just because he somehow got elected blademaster, even though his emotes are poorly formulated and not very descriptive.  Nothing bad about 12 year olds, I know some pretty good role players that are quite young, it was a blatant age-based generalization, I know. But in the long run, I've had a lot more fun with my plain characters that I bring forth through characterization than I've had with the "pretty people" that excel in each and every way.
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Old 06-29-2002, 03:37 PM   #4
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I admit it... I'm guilty of playing "pretty" characters. I have only played humans, elves, half-elves, and faeries - none of those "ugly" races. And most of my characters seem to be decidedly attractive. Some are more plain than others, and a few don't really care about their appearance, but the majority of them are your typical flawless beauty...

Only a couple actually mention something about their suprisingly good looks in their description though. The rest, like Sapphar said, may not depict a particularly beautiful person in their descriptions, yet it is assumed to be so. Perhaps people just expect the goblins, ogres, trolls, etc. to be ugly, and the "prettier" races to be attractive, unless you specifically indicate otherwise in your description.

I also think that the whole element of "fantasy" may play a part in it. Why play an ugly or plain character when you can choose to look however you wish? And I am sure that there were commoners who were very attractive, yet when the majority of them are that way, you're right, it can seem a little odd. I tend to not really notice it in character, as it seems to be the standard, so my character wouldn't really be able to distinguish a "beautiful" character as being any different than the other people around them.
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Old 06-29-2002, 07:20 PM   #5
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Whenever I've created a character, I just described the features and attributes of the character and never went into any perfections like flawless skin, etc. I have noticed that I do respond more positively toward characters that have slight "imperfections" only because the players behind the characters seem to be more confident, and by my experience, they are usually the types who will engage in rp rather than standing around looking pretty.
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Old 06-29-2002, 09:34 PM   #6
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My female celarti character (sorta like a dark elf, but not) was exotic looking. But celartis ARE exotic as a whole, so that wasn't particularly unusually good looking. It was just how I envisioned a celarti female to look like.

My current characters are both human; one male, one female. The male is young, and looks like a typical farm boy. Not overly tall, not "buff" but naturally strong looking. Has a wee bit of a belly since he loves a good tankard of ale.

My female character is a plain Jane. Mousey brown hair, brown eyes, pale skin (I envision her with freckles on the sides of her nose), tiny (only 4'11"), relatively flat-chested, and petite in bone structure.

This was totally intentional. I wanted them to exude personality and knew that if they were anything other than ordinary, people would spend more time staring at them than listening to them. So far it's working
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Old 06-29-2002, 10:45 PM   #7
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If my characters are pretty, it's because they sort of... have to be. Fits them. Prefer personality quirks to physical ones, anyway, buuuuuut...

Saffron has personality quirks lobbed everywhere. She's a character I truly enjoy playing, and as such, I lob a basic description at her and just take off... just go at it personality-wise and not desctiption-wise. Physically, she's short but curvy, has wavy auburn hair, almond-shaped brown eyes, and is actually quite beautiful... considering she USED to be a dancer before shacking up with sorcery . She just looks like... a rather pretty elf. That's where I end it. Personality's more important.

Kyrie just looks like a woman. Average height, lean but muscular, short, light brown hair, typical collection of battle scars (no giant fantastic ones). Mnem... well, I never really payed much attention to what she looked like. Taller than the average human, rather muscular (how many REALLY FIT women do you see?), average looks... only odd thing is the bright (but not coppery) red hair.

As said, I just lob a physical description at my characters and concentrate a lot more on the personality. Makes more sense.
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Old 07-01-2002, 10:14 AM   #8
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I've come to some realization, as I too, do generally lean towards playing the more aestethically pleasant when describing my characters. Keep in mind, in any roleplay environment, there are a few PCs and thousands upon thousands of NPC. Some seen, some not. Is it feasible to believe that there are 20 drow in the entire drow village? Of course not. There are hundreds of thousands that, while not there in appearance, should be assumed to exist.

What separates my drow warrior from the hundreds of thousands of other drow in the city who've lifted a sword. A few things:

Exceptional skill perhaps. A particular driving motive or goal. To be so clearly separated from the pack, as a PC, something about this character should be special, otherwise, he'd just as well be another NPC. In a million, there is always a special one. Perhaps that alluring or beautiful appearance is part of the package.

A skilled and highly trained fighter should, by all rights, have the bulging muscles. He's reasonably gained them through training and hard work. The fact that he's quite handsome beyond his muscles might be what led his masters to train him in the first place. Attractive people have an inside track on things like this. A good looking man or woman is more likely to earn the interest of the best teachers or trainers, simply because they are that, good looking. It is a leadership quality, and who better to train than someone who would become a leader. Charisma, both in personality, and in appearance. Perfect modern example. John F. Kennedy. Was he really that great a leader? Not so much, his administration had it's downfalls. But he motivated people with his words and his appearance. He's noted as having been the most attractive president in US History.

To me, appearance is simply another means by which to separate the PCs from the NPCs. It's an easy way of doing so. There are more complex ways of going about it, and those are best left for skilled roleplayers. I've dabbled it in, as Im sure most of you have. But it takes more planning and theory to do correctly. And why bother if you cant do it right.
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Old 07-02-2002, 07:25 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Pasano @ July 01 2002,10:14 am)
There are more complex ways of going about it, and those are best left for skilled roleplayers.  I've dabbled it in, as Im sure most of you have.  But it takes more planning and theory to do correctly.  And why bother if you cant do it right.
And how can you ever learn if you don't bother? You don't know everyone's personal motivations in roleplay, you probably assume that they would all want to become powerful and have the best training, etc. Not every character has to become a leader. Interesting characters are sometimes those that remind us that we are all insignificant little particles in this world and thus, we should relax and have some fun.
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Old 07-02-2002, 07:49 AM   #10
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what is slightly annoying in roleplay, many people say ' Im ugly.' and with it description of character ends. Very few people actually react to descriptions of characters, and stuff. I know, we all 'go for inside,not outside' and etc, but if you look like an ugly evil monster, even if you got diamond heart, why by the hell noone ever cares about your monstrosity ??
Most phisical descriptions are un backed up by anything. I myself had such problem - my character was supposed to be some happy-go-lucky trouble seeker , but i had bad mood ooc, and in ic was angry like hell and stuff, for about two weeks, until i actually said, *why* i am such ic'ly. Or, there was once a char, with description of a completely repulsive person, but he was surprised when (ic'ly) my char actually didnt wanted to do anything with him.

why ya need these descriptions at all, then ?
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Old 07-02-2002, 09:20 AM   #11
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I play an insane one-eared monk with a twisted grin...
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Old 07-02-2002, 10:33 AM   #12
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On the note of suggesting that playing ugly or less attractive characters was for 'skilled RPers', that didnt come out exactly as intended. But the next post pretty much covered what i was trying to say.

People who describe 'He's tall, he's this, he's that. He's ugly. he smells like feet.'

If you cant put 'ugly' into better terms, do us all a favor and just be attractive. Personally, I think the best way to go, is to put out a description, detail the character's features and let others determine if they think he's attractive or not. Appearance is a matter of opinion. It's dependant on preference as well as a bunch of other differing factors. Perfect example, I think Halle Berry is a dog. i know a bunch of people who drool at the thought of her. It's all preference.

What does help, is for the character to have an opinion on his/her own appearance. A level of self-esteme or a lack of it. You can have a very attractive character who thinks they're ugly, a dog-faced gremlin who thinks he's a zeus or something in between the two extremes.

It might be interesting to RP a beautiful person who is completely conceited and full of their appearance. It'd be interesting to see how others react. Or a character who is fairly average in appearance but thinks he is a beast. Others might go to great lengths to convince that person that the/she is better than their own perception.
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Old 07-02-2002, 03:21 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Sapphar @ June 29 2002,1:10 pm)
Does anyone else find this a little odd to be in the middle of?  And how do you have your character's react?
Does it seem odd? Well, PCs typically spend a lot of time in physical training and combat, compared to the rest of the population anyway. This can have both positive and negative effects. This sort of life-style will tend to put PCs in fairly good physical shape, but can also lead to broken noses, ugly scars, and lots of bruises. Of course there are the effects of magic, herbs, and potions (not to mention medicine on a futuristic MUD) that can counter the negative effects. A truly vain PC would be able to find a way to always look his/her best. That of course doesn't explain why there are so many good looking PCs. In the end I think a large portion of the population possessing super-model looks does seem odd.

How to react? I haven't noticed this as a major problem on the MUD I am currently playing, but typically when I do run into "pretty" PCs with no personality to back them up, I ignore them. Giving these characters attention only encourages more characters of the same variety. If, however, there is a personality to go along with the looks I have my PC react more to the personality than the looks, but take the looks into account to a vary degree depending on how shallow/petty/typically male my PC is.
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Old 07-03-2002, 01:15 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by
What does help, is for the character to have an opinion on his/her own appearance. A level of self-esteme or a lack of it. You can have a very attractive character who thinks they're ugly, a dog-faced gremlin who thinks he's a zeus or something in between the two extremes.
I have one character who is very attractive, yet she has very low self-esteem, and is, in fact, almost ashamed of her beauty. She knows that she is beautiful, yet she shies away whenever someone makes mention of it. It makes for some rather interesting situations...
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Old 07-03-2002, 07:47 AM   #15
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It's human nature I think, when playing a -fantasy- game to want to be the best, look the best, etc. So it makes complete sense that people want to play beautiful characters, just like many want to play the strongest characters, smartest characters, etc. - we are living out our fantasies through a fantasy game. (There are of course exceptions...)

I don't have a real problem with this, although I do think that people should consider making characters that aren't entirely perfect. Everyone, even the strongest superhero in comic books had a flaw or two, and every person in the known world has flaws -- characters in fantasy environments should have them too.

While I don't think it necessarily takes a better RPer to play an ugly person - ugly is just an exterior after all - I do think it takes a better RPer to play a character with faults.

And if you are either beautiful or ugly - on one end of that wide spectrum - then you should play on that yourself - don't expect others to immediately react, you can do it yourself, to show that your character is concious of his/her looks. A beautiful person might prove vain, while an ugly person, even while not being properly reacted to, might shy away from people, covering his/her face on occasion, etc.

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Old 07-03-2002, 08:49 AM   #16
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Exclamation

Heh, this conversation reminds me of some of the controversy at my own mud that i play. We all play elves, and as you know, elves are horribly vain and snotty in general, heh. Id say we got a pretty good mix, there are quite a few i've met in my time there, some are children, some are old, some are stunning, some are average, some are viewed as horrifying because they have a bad rep, making them ugly. Some have beauty on the outside, but inside they have the soul of a rotten apple.  Then there was one..a elf that lived in the sewers. Covered in feces.  Not a redeeming quality about him.  I _loved_ that character  OOC, just because of the reaction he provoked in others.  We can't all be buff and gorgeous hero's and i applaude the character who took it upon himself to be somethiing completely different, it added flare.  Anyone who can bring diversity like that in an RP mud and make you react IC should be cherished. Mho.
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Old 07-04-2002, 10:18 PM   #17
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Arrow

I often play shapeshifters, so they look good because they can control how they look

As for reactions my main char is very appreciatve of all sorts of beauty and has married over and over and over again
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Old 07-09-2002, 04:51 PM   #18
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Angry

One thing to realize is that no person is singular. In the reality of whatever game you play there are THOUSANDS if not millions of people wandering about. They are plain, ordinary and Ugly. The player characters special, they rise above the rest, high enough to be NOTICED, which is why they get a screename and interact freely.

It makes sense for them to be pretty, exotic, extravagant, because that perfectly justifies why they are special enough to have free will. Remember, every mob you pass in the street is actually a living person in the reality of your gameworld.

THEY look at the PCs in awe and wonder. THEY wonder why they can't pick up a sword or spellbook and instead have to use garden hoes to wack weeds.

Enjoy it, your character is special whether you want them to be or not.

...
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Old 07-22-2002, 03:11 AM   #19
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It's also interesting to switch things up - for example :

The elven figure before you is pale, raven haired and slender, almost petite, and fey.

This is a very brief and steriotypical version of my char's description. The only caveat? What gender is this character?
Female, right? Nope. In this character description, i manage to avoid mentioning gender, and find myself initiating several pk maches when other men leer at me, assuming i'm a woman.

Though this is an extreme example, Bishounen characters can get interesting reactions.
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Old 07-22-2002, 04:49 AM   #20
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I wrote a description for my concept of an Illusionist character (whenever that class comes out *crosses her fingers and hopes*) and managed to write the desc without mentioning gender. I hadn't intended to do it that way, that's just how it came out... But, it makes sense, as an Illusionist would be able to change gender and appearance at will, so one might just have a hard time determining what exactly a person is by their appearance.

Also, there was a character on the mud I play who was a female masquarading as a male knight. She/he/it didn't mention gender in her description or in her emotes (which could often times be difficult, as she found out). So, we actually had to work to figure out just what gender she was. It was rather neat, actually...
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