LESSON Five Inconvenient RP Truths

Discussion in 'ROLEPLAY MECHANICS' started by Revision, Sep 9, 2012.

  1. Five Inconvenient RP Truths

    As roleplayers, we revel in the written word. It is what carries us in a scene, gives us our background and details our motivation. We are writers, one and all. Even those RPers who just do tabletop and never pick up a pen are creating, and thus suffer the same problems as those who describe in prose. These problems may be easy to overcome or seem nearly impossible. However, chances are that you will run into the following truths somewhere in your RP career.

    Everyone Gets Writer’s Block

    Even you. Haven’t had it yet? It will happen. Suffering badly from it now? Give it time, it will break. Some people say just keep writing, others say to distract yourself. Find what works for you.

    Incompatible Moods Happen
    Your character is a bubbly, happy girl and you feel like writing about a loner hardass gunslinger. Yet, you need to post for the bubbly, happy girl. It can be annoying and spawn writer’s block if you don’t find a way to handle it. My suggestion? If there is no one to RP your loner badass with, write a short drabble or vignette, use it to get in the flow of writing and then post for your bubbly girl.

    Incompatible Characters Happen
    Somewhere in your career, you are likely to have a character you just can’t write well. Something is off between their personality and your own and it just makes sticking with it more like torment than fun. You have to be able to make a tough choice here:
    -Keep going and hope it gets better. Often, looking at the motivation behind the character will help with this.
    -Tweak the character. Make them a bit more compatible. Like pruning a tree, this should be done a little at a time so that you don’t cause major transformations. Be sure the other RPers in your group know you are doing this.
    -Rework the character. Full makeover and reimagining time!
    -Lose the character. Often a difficult choice, the choice to shelve a character sometimes must be made.

    Triggers Will Show Up
    Everyone has them and they are going to show up, eventually, in RP. No matter how careful you are to let everyone know that you can’t handle certain things, someone is eventually going to not read or slip up and mention or describe one. You can take two routes to deal with triggers:
    Be sure you are RPing with people you trust and that the RP is not going to contain triggering events. This is difficult and limits your options for RP choices.
    The better option, IMO, is to ask the GM and other players what triggers might be mentioned and ask them to gently let you know when one is going to be coming up in a scene. Some people might even spoiler tag them for you. I’ve honestly begun to find working with RPs with triggers cathartic, so long as I am informed ahead of time that one is going to be coming up or that the game will be full of them.
    Finally, you can hide triggering events behind spoilers with warnings or request that the players in the game do the same. This is the preferred option for many people.

    The Story Has to End

    Otherwise, you have a story that just keeps making up ways to continue on, like a cobweb. It gets disorganized and feels bland. Ending the story while it is going strong is the best way to go out. And if you really liked it so much, you can always do a sequel. Be careful, though. Too long in any one universe with the same players can get stale. Just think of how many many many Star Wars books there are now. When you are so out of things to do that you have to turn a legacy like Star Wars into a deadly soap opera, it is time to at least look at a new angle or find new characters to follow around in an unrelated storyline. Don’t fall into the trap of loving your characters so much that you only want to focus on them for all RPs ever for all time. There may be other characters in other settings waiting to tell their stories.

    Well, that’s it for inconvenient RP truths for now. Can you think of any others? Which of the listed ones affect you most often?
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  2. The Third Wheel
    In a group roleplay, there may come a time when your character feels like he/she/it is just the third wheel, and has no influence whatsoever. Other times, it can feel like you;re being outright ignored. I find that the solution isn't to make your character draw attention to themselves - they could be interrupting something. Just post to make sure people recognise your character is still there, until otherwise stated.
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  3. Plans go Awry
    You plan with your partner, all excited, and then... something different happens, either due to easier flow, better characterization, or even just the whim of the writer.

    Talk it over with your partner, find out what they were thinking, or even just go with it. Sometimes the best-wrought plans can feel too stifling or just not end up being feasible for the characters or story.
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  4. People Drop Out
    It doesn't matter if they promised to stay loyal to the RP. It doesn't matter how excited they were to get started or how diligently they posted for the longest time -- people will drop out. Lots of times, it isn't even their fault! Maybe they got too busy, maybe life caught up to them -- maybe they were suddenly without internet for a couple months, you never know! But even if it is just a player losing interest, you can't blame them for that, either. You can't control how inspired someone is or force them to stick around. You can try to spark some new ideas, if that's what they want, but if someone has decided they want to leave? Just let them go. Not only that, but be thankful that they warned you ahead of time -- not everyone does.

    Speaking of which -- you will drop out of roleplays, as well. You'll find that you're too busy, or just not interested anymore, and that's ok. You don't have to feel guilty about it. I know you promised to be a dedicated RPer, but that sort of thing just isn't practical. If you're not interested anymore, then you're not interested -- and you shouldn't have to force yourself to continue doing something you don't like. Just remember to say something if you're planning on dropping out. I know it's hard and you're afraid of hurting people's feelings, but, trust me, it'll hurt so much more if you disappear without a trace. Wouldn't you rather your partner be honest with you, rather than silently leaving and making you wonder what went wrong? Just accept that you're not a bad person for leaving and that there's nothing to be ashamed of, and be sure to say your goodbyes before parting ways. Oh, and GM's? Don't try to fight it, either. Just let players leave if they want to leave, and figure out how to move on without them. It's sad, it's disappointing, but it's an inevitable part of RPing. The least you can do is let it happen with dignity.
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  5. Sometimes you have to bitch.

    whether someone hasn't read your roleplay search correctly. or someone broke one of your limits and is being an ass about it. Sometimes you just have to be plain about it. Someone did something that you warned them multiple times about (tell that you are done and walk away). People ditch and then come back (take them back but if it happens, be done with them). Even if it feels like some of your rules might turn potentional partners away, then do it. It's your search and you do it your way.

    Dominant and Submissive

    Sometimes even though you don't want to do it, you'll have to get stuck playing the dominant role to someone who plays submissive if you don't know how to do it, then try it. If someone doesn't like then explain why you don't like doing it.
    #5 Delusional IIV Idol, May 30, 2016
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 8, 2016
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