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Old 09-04-2002, 12:27 PM   #1
Sapphar
 
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I was talking to a newbie a few weeks back who was going from tabletop to text based games. He wanted to know what sort of character to create and said he had mostly played the “knight in shining armor” type in the past. The more we talked, the more it seemed like he was using specific characteristics for his characters that match who he sees himself as in real life. But I’ve also talked with others, perhaps not as new but also not in the realm of “been rping since I was born, thank you”, who prefer to find one tiny element of who they are but not something they really let out normally, and turn that into a character. Or the folks who make characters who are 180 degrees different from themselves.

My question is what tends to come most naturally to folks. Is playing the character who is like you easiest? Or do you find it easier to move as far away from your day to day self as possible? What do you see your roleplay talents as? And how can you apply your experience to aiding new roleplayers when you have a chance to answer their questions and provide guidance?

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Old 09-04-2002, 12:53 PM   #2
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I tend to recommend against playing too close to yourself. That's actually one reason why some people blur the lines between in-character and out-of-character. It's harder not to take things personally when the character you play is closely linked to your personality.

If you play a role that's distanced from your true persona, it's easier to separate yourself when bad things happen.

I actually have the most fun playing characters that are diametrically opposed to how I really am.
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Old 09-04-2002, 02:49 PM   #3
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I usually take only one aspect of how I see myself, and exploit it to form the basis of a new character. I already play "me" in real life, and I want my fantasy character to be something else. In one character, I might take the part of me who used to hang out at the local bar when I was in my last years of college, the down to earth, fairly naive but definitely not stupid type..and make that my cut-up "hillbilly" leathercrafter who lives in a harsher area (politically) than he was brought up in.

My necromancer was the suckup in me. The one who knew she would get ahead more efficiently if people believed she was trying to help (even while she was plotting to stab them in the back).

My other necromancer was more like a conversation with a friend of mine from long ago - I took the conversation itself and turned it into a character personality.

As a GM, I had a blast taking different parts of me and making them live in fantasy. My little girl who loved pointing out the obvious...

>Character glances at the Spirit of Joe.
>Scratching her head, Character says, "You're dead, you know."
>Character shakes a finger scoldingly at the Spirit of Joe, and says, "You should try not to do that too much. Make yer face all squinched up and then ya look real ugly and nobody wanna play hopscotch wit ya no more."

Just total silliness that only a little girl could get away with..and that is also a part of my own personality that I like to let out sometimes.
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Old 09-04-2002, 06:03 PM   #4
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I always have something in common with my characters, I need that link. But considering how complex a real person's personality is that still gives you nearly endless options.
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Old 09-04-2002, 06:06 PM   #5
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Exploring various elements of your personality and extrapolating on them are fine. The danger comes in just trying to be you, which some folks really do.
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Old 09-04-2002, 07:21 PM   #6
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I think what we have established here is two things.
1)Playing yourself is bad.
2)Using parts of one's RL personality is better.

Now, a couple things I should mention before I go on, I have only played five characters at the same MU*, no tabletop experience.

Myself, I have come to like having a couple traits of myself in my characters, it does help to empathize with them. Whether it is in the form of a slight bit of elitism I may have when it comes to some people, to the more selfish parts that examine things on the 'eye for an eye' law.

The problems for myself come when I play characters almost completely unlike myself. There is no common denominator between me and those characters.

The exact problem that I think has been mentioned is when people try to take too many of their own traits and place them in a character. This is bad, quite simply when someone cannot differentiate between 'themselves' and 'their character.'

The common denominator is usually that little bit of personality or experience. That 'spark' that could inspire the character idea. Perhaps it is even based off of one's perception of someone you know (I have not done this though.)

The opposite of this is just having a character that you do not know that well... or well enough to have any real goals or objectives to give.

As it seems I have rambled quite a bit, I really can't put a good conclusion in... hopefully the introduction works well enough.
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Old 09-04-2002, 07:30 PM   #7
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Yev raises some good points, and I'm one of those people who has actually done a lot more extrapolating on personalities of people I know, rather than just aspects of my own personality.

My now-dead defense attorney character - a real weasel and a jerk - was based on someone I knew IRL. Now, in that case, it helped me understand and actually sympathize with the RL person who inspired the character.

But other characters, such as the now-expired Colin Neidermeyer, is the blustering, reporter-hurling, bigger-than-life bad guy that I really could never be IRL - but it's fun to pretend.
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Old 09-04-2002, 08:01 PM   #8
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There's just certain types of chars I can't seem to play, at least on a mud where you have skills and such (as opposed to a mush or something where it probably wouldn't matter as much). For instance it's really hard for me to play a good thief type, because I don't like just sitting around alone practicing...it bores me to tears having to be all secretive and not being able to talk to anyone for any length of time. I'm also not fond of playing fighters, the musclebound mindset doesn't suit me. I seem to be happiest when playing mages, it's in my blood I guess.

As for personalities, I tend to play chars whose main trait is part of my personality, but I try to develop them enough that they don't just do the exact same things I'd do. I mean what's the fun in playing someone exactly like yourself? Sometimes I play kind and helpful (but dirty-minded) chars, sometimes I play someone who's more evil but tries to disguise it. And even with the same trait, there's different outlets for it, and different reasons for it existing. Like take the kind and helpful one. You can be kind and helpful to hide your darker side, to get people to like/trust you so you can manipulate them to further your purposes, because you really care, or because you think they can get farther in life with "advice" you give. (I've probably used all of those from time to time.) One time I played a char who tried to be a manipulative b*tch but didn't quite know how people worked well enough to get what she wanted...she annoyed them more than anything. (She had an interesting history that went back several hundreds of years, when the royal family she was descended from was deposed, and she wanted to start up a new empire but just ended up annoying people most of the time.) She was fun to play, but not very effective in game terms.

What I really like is the chars that just kinda take off and fly on their own, you may occasionally hafta rein yourself in lest they act too much like you, but they don't tend to listen to all the logical plans you've laid out for them. Even if a char is similar to yourself, you can get ic/ooc separation going if the char has enough personality of its own that it does stuff you hadn't even thought about, and/or refuses to go along with what you wanted it to do. Sometimes it's just like writing a book. (Ever notice how I tend to equate a lot of aspects of RP with books? )

Ok, I think I had a point there, but mudding while posting isn't good for keeping a train of thought going.
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Old 09-04-2002, 11:52 PM   #9
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Onyxflame made me think of another thing. (Yes, I do think. )

Myself I think there is some degree of 'chemestry' between the player and character. This doesn't have to be the overattached type, but what it is is more of a general sense of the character.

I'm not the type to plan out every step of a journey, but each of my 'successful' (RP wise, not neccessarily IC wise) characters find a goal they want, and RP towards it. Personally this is my favorite way of getting RP from a character. (As I have advocated before.)

Perhaps Chemestry should be better defined. I think it is where you can be comfortable playing a character, knowing their personality (or a bit of it, anyway), and their general worldview. My human-based character, for example, is rather serious, though he does enjoy a good joke or someone that comes close to his intellect. One of my more alien characters, however, while rather intelligent, doesn't seem to think its worth its while to even communicate with humanoids unless they are some kind of experiment. Similar on one level (they are both rather intelligent and a bit elitist) but different in how they treat others.

Perhaps just rambling again, but I think I should stop, I'm getting into my personal thoughts on character creation now.

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Old 09-05-2002, 10:16 AM   #10
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I generally like to play a character quite different to my own personality. That's not to say that there's nothing of them in me but I enjoy the challenge of playing somebody who I could never be in RL. I suppose that's why I enjoy playing the sneaky thief / assassain type characters more than any others - gives me a chance to indulge some nefarious doings that would probably land me some serious jail time in RL. I hadn't thought before about what Brody mentioned (IC / OOC distinction) - after reading what he wrote it makes sense to me.

Just as an aside I wouldn't agree with what Onyx said about thieves having to be on their own all the time and not talk to anybody for any length of time. You have to be secretive alright but that doesn't mean you have to be a loner. I've talked about this with a few other players and we've all found that our most successful thiefy type character was the guy who mingled with everybody, had a job which paid alright and generally looked very un-thiefy. This isn't possible on many muds as the type of gear you're wearing (gee... I can't wield this longsword for some strange mystical reason) can often give you away but on RPI muds you can usually make yourself look like anything you want. Then, when you go and steal something everybody will point their fingers (including you of course) at the loner guy who never seems to do any work and thought it wise to wander around with the dark hooded cloak and footpads on. Heh... that turned into a long aside. Guess it's just a pet peeve where many many players seem to play thieves as loner guys in the shadows when there is so much variety that can be shaped around them. Ignore me =)

As for Sapphar's question about helping newbies. Well anytime I've been asked about it I usually advise them to think of a RP concept, fit a class / subclass to the concept and go with it. Unless you're familiar with the world I would advise making a fairly vague concept as this will allow you room to grow into the world as you come to understand it. If they only want to play a certain type of character then let them - there's no point playing some role that you don't enjoy at all. I'd advise them to at least give an alternative role a chance sometime - they might enjoy the change of scenery. The mud I play on has permadeath so the choice of making a particular type of character isn't quite as important as chances are I'll be thinking up a new concept in a few months and I'll try a change of scenery. On muds without permadeath the choice you make in the beginning has some long term effects as you could end up with this character for years so it's probably more important for you to be truly happy with the role.
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Old 09-05-2002, 08:12 PM   #11
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About thieves: Yeah I know your thief doesn't hafta be the loner guy, in fact I've played thieves who were very social. However, at least *sometimes* you hafta sit alone practicing, I mean you don't want the whole town around when you're picking locks and such. I usually just ended up having a good friend stand around teaching me, which then looked even *more* suspicious should anyone wander through.
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Old 09-06-2002, 05:24 AM   #12
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Heh... yeah true. Some thief skills can't really be practiced in public places. Getting a friend to come along sometimes is good though. He can be a teacher, lookout or whatever and it makes that part of being a thief a bit more enjoyable. But yeah, sometimes as a thief you do just have to closet yourself away somewhere to learn the finer points of your trade.

The shady looking character in footpads turns and grumbles to the gawking passersby on the main street as he fumbles with the locked door, "Dammit.. fergot me feckin' key 'gain today.. uh.. don't mind me folks."
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Old 09-06-2002, 07:34 AM   #13
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Unfortunately, my RL is never as exciting as my RP is. Sometimes I dream of being a vampire, leaping silently over the rooftops in the dead of night, silently dropping into the bedroom of a sleeping virgin and turning her into a Cainite... But that's just me. :[

I think it's important to put certain aspects of yourself into your RP to make it, well, you. If you play a character who has absolutely nothing in common with you, then you won't be able to play it believably. But don't do too much- it's no fun RPing a sad lonely person sitting in front of a computer for hours at a time, is it?

The reason I RP is to make a version of myself which has a lot more fun than the real me. It's like playing The Sims- you decide that your life just isn't as fun as the life of the little man with the beard running around his own house. In the end you stop living your life and end up living theirs instead.

RP is a fun release from the traumas of life. Just don't get too into it.

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Old 09-06-2002, 10:13 PM   #14
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The type of MUD that I play, and the type of guild/rank I am would get me killed for acting the way I do in real life

For all those WOT fans, think of a cocky Warder. Not too pleasant. Your sedai would kill within the first hour of bonding.

I would really like to RP the kind of person I am, but then again, it would be hard. You are ****ed off, don't want to do anythign really, you RP, and you **** off the head guy in your guild IC'ly... Not a pretty site let me tell you that.
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