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Old 09-02-2004, 06:33 PM   #1
Greenstorm
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On Chiaroscuro something like six couples have recently got engaged to be married. Meanwhile, one of my chars in an IC arranged marriage has just had her husband accused of treason and imprisoned for life.

A marriage is a long-term roleplaying partnership, to my mind -- at least if you engage in one with another PC. What would make such a partnership sucessful for you? what would make you unhappy with it, OOCly?

I think my biggest worry about this sort of thing is the opposite player disappearing and leaving a hole where I used to be stimulated towards char development. If the other player leaves, you either have to imagine what their char is doing 'back home' and have your char react appropriately, end the marriage (and given mu* turnover, have a lot of short marriages), or some other option.

What other options have you used? Do youy even bother? I'm curious.
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Old 09-02-2004, 08:26 PM   #2
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Heh. Well in one game, a commercial pay to pay, we had to pay extra for GM-sponsored weddings. So I dished out my half of the $200 (yeah - I was an idiot), got a bunch of neato verbs and custom objects, fun atmospheric echos, and a honeymoon suite in some special place where my character's husband and her did a quickie "fade to black." A few days later, hubby's player informs me via IM, that he has found the girl of his dreams in that game, and he will just pretend our characters got an amiable divorce so he could spend all his gaming time with his new girlfriend's character instead.

When I protested - he said I had real feelings for him and was just jealous. I tried to explain that yeah I like him just fine, but no, this has nothing to do with any real life amorous feelings. It has to do with roleplaying. It just didn't make any sense at all, and I didn't know how to RP it.

That was a real eye opener - finally realizing that the game isn't even remotely a roleplaying game. It's a trading card game where you can buy and sell characters and equipment on e-bay to the highest bidder, and pay extra money for extra perks that you can't get any other way, even though you're already paying for the privilege of playing it in the first place.

So I moved to another game that was RP enforced - and the code did a much better job of supporting the roleplay. I became a staff member after my first month, so I kinda kept clear of any IC relationships with other characters. Favoritism is a nasty thing, and staffers can easily be accused of it when there's even a hint that a staffer's avatar is having a "thing" with another player.

I left that game and went to where I am now, and I have to say they address this in a very unique way. Marriages - official "til death do we part" kinda arrangements, are done mostly for business purposes. To join two clans, or create alliances between noble houses.

Anyone else who wants to have an exclusive relationship is welcome to do so, but in the eyes of the city they live in, they aren't married. And there's no shame in it either - it's just how it is. Many characters will have multiple mates, or mates of the same sex, or mates of both genders, no mates at all, mates of different races, and some will have exclusive relationships with only one mate at a time.

The problem with the exclusive thing, is that it's a permanent death game - and people die fairly easily. So you might think "til death do we part" about your character's lover, but that death thing ends up happening tomorrow and you now have to roleplay out mourning the loss.

Mostly what I've seen is people who will have a "one at a time" thing with a lover - when he dies, say "oh gee, that's a shame," and move on to the next one. Life is too short to embrace the angst, ya know what I mean? Some will have multiple mates - and the game's theme supports the notion so there's no stigma attached to it, and in general jealousy is a waste of emotion in that kind of atmosphere.

So those are my experiences with IC relationships, in three different games.
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Old 09-03-2004, 12:32 AM   #3
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I recently embarked upon an arranged marriage on Chia and, so far, it is going very well. If only I had more time to RP in that character with how busy that I've been in the 'Important' alt. I think arranged marriages are a lot of fun. I've RPed them on more than one game. That way, if you don't click on an IC level, you can always RP being -unhappy- in character - and that can be a load of fun! It can be comedic or angsty, but conflict of some sort always drives RP. Happily ever after, for the most part, is BORING. Give them a little edge, a little something to argue about in character and it'll drive the roleplay.
So far, my Chia alt is turning out to really like her husband, but she has other psychological issues that affect her and provide some obstacles. Her husband has been very patient thus far and I look forward to seeing if he can maintain it at such a saintly level. I'm also looking forward to somehow get the 'Important' character involved with someone - just so they can bicker! Hee.
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Old 09-03-2004, 11:18 AM   #4
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Greenstorm writes:
Quote:
Originally Posted by
I think my biggest worry about this sort of thing is the opposite player disappearing and leaving a hole where I used to be stimulated towards char development. If the other player leaves, you either have to imagine what their char is doing 'back home' and have your char react appropriately, end the marriage (and given mu* turnover, have a lot of short marriages), or some other option.
I had this happen with my first ever alt, Red Wolf on OtherSpace. The player of his wife Teel burned out and left the game, though she was kind enough to leave me a message letting me know she was going so I'd not be wondering what happened to her. Without her, I've really done little with Red Wolf, but that has more to do with his out of the way location and the activity of my alts than solely with her absence.

I've posed her out of scene taking care of the children on more than one occasion. In truth, the biggest thing I lost was two-fold: A really great RP partner, who fit amazingly well with my character; and the catalyst that caused my very quiet and shy character to get into dangerous situations at her side. Without her, he's back to quiet and shy and non-adventurous. Which is what he was to begin with. I miss her a lot, and I don't have the heart to kill her char off even though her char object has long since nuked. So he'll probably stay her husband with her off-screen, a loving though unlikely couple growing old together and caring for their children.
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Old 09-03-2004, 05:14 PM   #5
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Greenstorm Sep. 02 2004,18:33
Quote:
Originally Posted by
A marriage is a long-term roleplaying partnership, to my mind -- at least if you engage in one with another PC.  What would make such a partnership sucessful for you?  what would make you unhappy with it, OOCly?
I’d say the greatest threat to any IC marriage would be one of two things – or both:

1. Getting a REAL attachment to the other party, (not just a RP one)    and
2. Indulging into Mudsex.

Over the years I've seen so much soap opera drama with players who couldn’t separate their real life feelings from RP, that it totally outweighs the rare cases where a couple actually found each other over the net, and moved on to a meaningful RL relation. Mostly the drama ensues when one party is roleplaying being in love and the other is mistaking this for real feelings. But I’ve also seen cases where a couple, who met on the mud, decided to meet in real life too, didn’t hit it off, and then let this poison their mud relation as well. Quite often the entire mud is dragged into the turmoil, taking sides for one party or the other.

I’ve also seen cases when a couple of players that are together in real life start to mud together, and then one of them forms a mud relation with another player and the other one goes ballistic over it, again involving the entire mud in the drama. Or when the former happy couple breaks up in real life and then brings their bitterness and resentment into the mud.

The soap operas can be quite entertaining for the detached onlookers, at least at first, but it is certainly not fun for the parties involved – neither of them. Usually conflicts like this lead to one of the players – or both – leaving the mud, but not until after months of bickering, whining and weeping, and until the rest of the players are heartily tired of both parties and their endless tirades. It is probably a bigger problem in small muds, but then again, most intense RP muds are pretty small.

As for mudsex, I personally find it rather tacky, but that’s not the point here. I am not going to take any moral stance against it; everybody is totally free to indulge in any sort of roleplay they may choose, as long as they are reasonably discreet about it. And as long as it is mainly acted out as a short-term fling, it might work out just fine. But it is usually the best way to kill a long-term relationship. Because after all, mudsex is not the real thing, and there are limits to what you can ‘perform’ on a text screen. Sooner or later one of the parties will tire of the little game, and that’s when the entire relation usually goes down the drain. This too often ends in at least one of the parties leaving the mud, to get out of a situation that has become embarrassing and/or boring. They might try to avoid the issue by secretly creating a new char, but if and when the identity of that char is revealed, the drama blazes up afresh.

And one more thing: Remember that things quite often are not what they seem on the net. That cute blond elf you just hooked up with might be a 15-year-old boy, pretending to be a girl. Or a 62 year old paedophile, stalking the net for prey. I am not saying this to spoil anybody’s RP fun. It’s just a reminder that things aren’t always what they seem.

So, try not to get your real feelings involved in the roleplay. And  - be careful out there.
Always use protection. *snicker*
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Old 09-03-2004, 09:01 PM   #6
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It is probably a bigger problem in small muds, but then again, most intense RP muds are pretty small.
Umm, not really. Many H&S muds have less than 10 people on at once.
SoI sometimes gets up to 50 people at once.
Armageddon has even more.

I'd say that on the whole, if you don't count the big commercial muds, RPIs are relatively pretty big in terms of the number of players.
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Old 09-03-2004, 10:01 PM   #7
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My most unusual marriage experience (I think) was logging in one day to find myself married to a complete stranger.

The game was shut down a while back, sadly before it really had a chance to grow, but I used to play on a game called Glory of Rome (any GoR folks here?). The game was (predictably) set in Rome, and was meant to be somewhat of a sociopolitical game of Roman nobility. All of the characters were pre-generated in complete family units, with a mix of PC and NPC relation slots, and new players picked a character they wanted to apply for and applied.

For my part, I chose a character who was married with 3 (or was it 4?) young children, with the children all NPCs and the wife's part an unfilled PC slot. This continued for about a week till I logged in and my wife waved at me on channels. Venus (one of the admin; love ya V) had recruited me a wife.

So there I am starting out married for about 5 years to a player I didn't know at all. And vice versa for her. I have to say, it's one of the most interesting (and I mean that in a good way) experiences I've had in MUSHing. She and I spent about two weeks not RPing at all, simply discussing and envisioning till we worked out an entire history for the two, their marriage, their close relations, their servants, their children....the personalities of all involved, the early stages of their marriage (an arrainged marriage between their houses, which they were only informed of after the agreements were signed), and how they grew to accomodate each other and even have affection between them.

It's regrettable that the game closed down. It had a lot of real potential that it didn't grow enough to realize. And it's one of the few of what seems to be a dying breed: a historical MUSH, set in a real world real time period. With no magic or elves or vampires or space aliens or other fantasy/sci fi elements thrown in. Not that I don't like elves and space aliens mind you. But I'd best get back on topic...

Basically, the situation was much like a real life arranged marriage, two people trying to get to know each other and live a marriage at the same time, complicated further in the virtual case by the fact that we had to invent what had happened through five years and 3-4 kids to figure out where the pair were *now* in their relationship, not where they started. I had an excellent partner in the journey, who sadly I see very rarely since the game shut down. Our schedules just don't mesh and we're playing different games. But it was a very cool experience from what could have been a touchy situation, made so by the quality of the people involved and the *will* on both parts to make it work.

Any marriage, IC or RL, requires both people to want it to work, to put effort into it working, and to choose to stick together when things get tough. Keeping it IC (both in the realms of not getting real life romantic attachment, and in the area of behaving as your *character* would in a given situation) is also a key.

That's also one of the pitfalls when your spouse character leaves, if you play characters like mine. Most of mine tend to be too loyal to ICly abandon a spouse. So I have three options, and I've used all three at different times:

1) RP as if they're there, always in the background, rarely coming into view in direct RP. Or, if you feel you know the char well enough to do it and want to, emit them in the scene if the other players don't mind.

2) Kill off the spouse character, or otherwise remove them from the scene. Next time the admin have a plague sweep the scene, let your missing spouse be among the dead. Grieve and move on....or grieve and don't move on. Be the morose and everlasting widower who never quite comes to term with his loss, if such a char interests you.

3) Recruit a replacement player. This one will usually require admin approval, but if you know for certain your spouse's player has left, seek out a player willing to take over the role. I've done it when a player just couldn't handle a character any longer, and gave me warning and permission to do so. I know of one char on Chia that's been through 3 players, maybe more.

There's also a fourth option, which I don't think I've ever done myself: Leave your char, and let it fade into obscurity, living happily ever after with the equally vanished spouse. This one generally is only one to do if the spouse is so key to your concept that without them to play opposite of you've nothing to hold interest in the char. Use with caution, as you may regret it later if you make the decision hastily while your emotions are high.
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Old 09-04-2004, 03:02 AM   #8
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My first MUD wife died after we had our second child.  She was resurrected five years later, but she is not part of my RP life anymore. I have had two other wives since then, but they moved on as well and neither produced offpring.

My character, Ntanel StormBlade, is actually the son of two older players. They were king and queen of Cornith. I came on and they effectively adopted me. The family is rather wide-spread on an assortment of MUDs.

My character's family tree can be found at:
http://www.mudworld.org/archives/sbtree.php3
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Old 09-04-2004, 03:16 AM   #9
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I'm the third player of the character Fionnlagh mentions. She's the char I began playing, not knowing the husband except through very casual observation on the channels-- the couple have ICly been in an arrangfed marriage for twenty years, they have three children including one grown.

I find that she's wonderful to play reactively (ie. stuff happens and she responds in role) but I have a harder time thinking about who she is when her family isn't around, especially now that her husband is imprisoned. I guess that's probably partly IC with her. Hm.

I think it would be very jarring to have different people play a character close to one of mine unless there was a reason for some IC personality change -- growing up, a religious conversion, etc. Players just have such different representational styles...
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Old 09-04-2004, 09:13 PM   #10
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I think it would be very jarring to have different people play a character close to one of mine unless there was a reason for some IC personality change -- growing up, a religious conversion, etc. Players just have such different representational styles...
I did the replacement player thing with one character, where the original just didn't feel she could keep up with the character's peculiarities with other things going on. In that case, it was a character I was engaged to marry, a semi-mute halfling bard. Which is to say, due to traumatic experiences, she couldn't talk but she could sing (this is actually known to happen in real life, as music and speech come from different centers of the brain apparently).

In my case, I picked a player I was familiar with who'd been around my character before and chatted with me OOCly a lot. I provided a sketch of the character, along with some logs, particularly the log of the making of their engagement, as it did a good job of showing their interaction. She took over the char, and played it without a hitch and with no significant personality change.
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