Don't do that!

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Re: Don't do that!

Post by Guest on Wed Dec 29, 2010 5:52 pm

I think you guys are misunderstanding what she was saying. I read it as that it's alright to have CSs for your personal use and in fact you SHOULD have a very good idea of who your character is and what they are about before you start - while still allowing them enough room to develop and breathe within the role-play. But just don't share all of that with your writing partner, you know? Keep their motives and history and influences - at least the most indepth parts - to yourself so that while she's writing she doesn't have all this stuff to think about.

Besides, you don't know if ole Random Adventurer Suzy's "dad dying in a car crash while she was young" is going to become relevant in the role-play. If it's going to be a touchy subject for ole Suzy and you're letting your role-play partner know right off the bat, "Here are her buttons and here is what is most likely going to happen if you push them" it gives it a very scripted feel to everything. Because then your partner in deciding how they want to respond to whatever you've written - ESPECIALLY if ole Suzy adventurer hasn't even thought of her dad or brought up that history IC yet - will have a sizable boulder to dance around when it hasn't even come up.

Leave things a little mysterious and surprise your partner occasionally. It's not the end of the world if I don't know everything you're planning to write or if by accident I make us take a different road - it's the mark of a good role-player to flow and adapt to the changes and it's the WHOLE POINT of you even having a well-grounded, indepth character history in the first place. At least, that's my interpretation. I could be wrong.

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Re: Don't do that!

Post by Tartra on Wed Dec 29, 2010 5:57 pm

Nope, that's on the money. Razz
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Re: Don't do that!

Post by Guest on Wed Dec 29, 2010 6:42 pm

I agree, which is why an introductory post, related to the story or not, should be a good way for the GM to test the character in question. It is not that hard to integrate visual and historical details in a stand alone post that has nothing to do with the thread but still also displays creativity and skill.

For instance, say I was applying for a military character with a shady past. Maybe he breaks in to a building and alters his records? The basic information is still there in a mostly C.S. format but also reveals interesting things about the adaptability of the character. I have yet to do that because I am still a bit rusty, but it is a valid concept.

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Re: Don't do that!

Post by Kalon Ordona II on Wed Dec 29, 2010 9:06 pm

The problem of character bio spoilers can be circumvented easily, in my opinion. All you have to do is say that little is known about them, but give a general direction.

It seems to be some sort of unwritten law, in my experience, that if you don't have it in your character sheet, you can't just pull it out of your hat and put it into the RP. Going with the parent's fatal accident example... I think that sort of thing should definitely be in the bio, because it would probably have a profound effect on their life and outlook. Unless it was a mysterious accident, and you say it's mysterious or at least mention a detail that might be interpreted differently later on, like... you could say that the car was found totaled on the side of the road. That leaves it open for how it came to be there.

I think that's how you weave adaptability and mystery into a character sheet. List the important events, list the character attributes, and let the readers draw what conclusions they will. That leaves you room to insert events and foreshadowing and revelations into the RP itself, as the story progresses.

You can also add several ambiguous elements into your character--little tricks up your sleeve which can be applied however you like, either on your own or in collaboration. For example, you could say that your character has been searching for a long lost friend. Or you could say they've been working on some secret project. It depends who you're roleplaying with how much freedom you'll have in that regard, but it can be quite useful and fun.

Another way you can add hidden mystery to your character is to tell the bio from the perspective of people who know the person, e.g. the people they work with know such-and-such details about them---details which might be totally false. *dun dun dunn*

So, while I do think you should have plenty in your bio and should stick to it firmly, I also think there are plenty of ways to allow for any degree of flexibility. Smile


As for my experimental RP structure, I base my faith in it on what I like to call the Poetry Principle--that just as much quality, if not more, can be derived when limits are in place as when they are not. In other words, just as poetry is most pleasing when you've found the perfect words and everything is displayed in a concise, harmonious manner, the same principle could be applied to role-plays. The hope is that, with a limit in place, players will know exactly where they're at, and since the goal will constantly be in sight, that goal is more likely to be reached. The RP, hopefully, would be more likely to finish. ^_^
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Re: Don't do that!

Post by Tartra on Wed Dec 29, 2010 10:55 pm

Elric, yes, that's true, and it does help to avoid over-explaining things because the information would cut off after the guy leaves the organization and you'd be free to ask about the motivations through the roleplay, but it's very easily abused. Gotta be careful with those when it drops in the hands of someone who treats it the way they do with a bad profile (e.g., writing the whole damn family tree).

Kalon, saying you know little about them is the other kind of bad profile. They're there to give general information, and if you leave them with a bunch of unknowns, what's the point of making it? It's a fairly shallow method of making other characters ask about yours and grates on me in an entirely new way. You know nothing about them? Sure, but don't hammer the point in so hamfistedly. Saying you should leave a few ambiguous points is much, much better than giving next to nothing but a name in a character sheet (Remember: in a character sheet, not in the roleplay itself). That's what I mean by leaving mystery; I should know very quickly that you're trying to find a long lost friend, but I don't have to know every intimate detail about the relationship up front. Unless it's something you're trying to hide from me, but in that case, why the hell would you - like Time said - give me something to dance around? Let me fall into it. That's what character development is. If you're worried about it sounding too sudden or out of place - well, that's what the roleplay's for: explaining and telling a story.

A parent's fatal accident... I don't really like seeing those in CSs. Like Weiss mentioned earlier, EVERYONE was an orphan for a while, and I'm so tired of hearing 'Oh, my parents died and I was left to raise myself and my six brothers'. Granted, it happens IRL, but it's dragged to hell and back in the RP world. If it's actually relevant, as in 'a very specific, frequently referred to, truly impacts on the story' kind of relevant, write it in, otherwise 'parents died at age blah-de-blah' is fine. Don't make me weep for characters I don't care about. When I care, I'll ask.

Explaining the details from the POV of someone else should really be done IC. I think you're melding the concept of a character profile with the concept of explaining your character in general. Why put in the effort when you can do it so it adds to what you're writing?

The full point I'm trying to make (and should've made a half dozen times by now Razz) is don't waste my time making me read things about your character I have no interest in knowing yet. What you look like? I'm interested. Your age? I'm interested. That your mind can pop mine open with a blink of an eye? Most likely gonna be interested. Think of it as an interview, because that's really what a CS is: in the first five minutes in which we meet, because no profile should be longer than that (to the point, please), am I really gonna need to know how your mother and father tragically died pulling you from what could've been a fiery grave on their fancy yacht after their sneaky butler put a bomb in it? Down the road, yes, but up front? Possibly, never say never, but under most circumstances, I probably don't need to know.
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Re: Don't do that!

Post by Guest on Thu Dec 30, 2010 12:29 am

Tartra, I would agree with your points about the C.S. and that the information is irrelevant pertaining to the thread, either immediately or ever. However, the C.S. background info is important as a basic competency and consistency check. It is easily fooled because of a basic format and the ability to half ass a decent bio. My point is that at least my set-up is an interesting basic competency check.

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Re: Don't do that!

Post by Tartra on Thu Dec 30, 2010 12:31 am

Yeah, that's what I said.
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Re: Don't do that!

Post by Guest on Thu Dec 30, 2010 12:36 am

Hurray! Agreement! My pet peeve is overly sappy romances or unrealistic warping of the thread's reality. On of the most annoying ones is one i read from the WoW forum (yes, I originated there) far too often. Undead people cannot procreate with living entities in a normal manner. Some bastardized creation of dark magic and demon essence, maybe, but in a normal fashion, no, just no.

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Re: Don't do that!

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