MetaRPing: Changing it up for challenge and fun!

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Xindaris, Aug 1, 2010.

  1. I'm just curious whether anybody else has ideas like this, or would enjoy doing it, so I'm laying it out there for some discussion.

    What is "metaRPing", you ask? Well, it's a word I made up, so it's understandable if you don't know. I am referring mostly to changing the way characters are created or handled in OOC--such changes don't directly affect the story, but they do change fundamentally how it's set up and perhaps the way it's narrated.

    Perhaps some examples will help. I once tried to make an RP where nobody created their own character, but instead just gave a few general things they would like to have in a character, and then someone else made their character for them. This way, each person would have to play a character created by someone else, and would have to create a character for someone else under certain limitations. It's primarily a writing challenge, to force people at least slightly out of their character boxes. The parameters are for the sake of making the character just comfortable enough to be played by the person. Anyway, that's an example of changing the way characters are made.

    For an example of changing the way characters are handled, I give you the orbital system. I came up with this system because I noticed that RPs in general, and the system where each person makes somewhere between 1-5 characters (usually), and everyone is expected to RP together or join a group and work together, are extremely DnD and/or RPG oriented--that is, you can often expect an RP to be a quest taken on by a group of people willingly or unwillingly brought together; or sometimes, two groups but you get the point. The system I came up with instead has each player come up with a central character, and then have "orbital" characters who are strongly to vaguely related to the central character through friendship, proximity, antagonism, etc. Ideally, each player would be able to create an infinite number of characters. Everyone is allowed to play by themselves, narrating among their own characters, yet expected to realistically interact with the characters of others. The whole idea is to create a community of characters that behaves somewhat naturally, and it relies on the players to be good at writing conversations and events involving more than one of their own characters, a skill that a solo writer desperately needs. If executed well, the 'orbitals' system would work for a community setting, such as a college or city, as opposed to an 'adventure' setting.

    Okay, that got kind of long-winded. In any case, the general goal of metaRPing is to do something new and interesting for challenge and for fun, and to enhance or focus the writing-skill development that RPing entails.

    ...So, thoughts?
     
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  2. Not sure on people creating other people's characters, but the "orbital" thing I've done quite a few times.

    I normally wait until an RP has already started to join it, then I look at the character sheets (if they exist) or the existing posts of characters (if no bios exist) and if there's a person in particular I'd like to play with, I PM them saying something akin to "Hey can I bring such and such character into your RP."

    For example, in Cheshire, Resurrected Grumpy has a character whose daughter disappeared (in the bio) and his character is trying to find/kill whoever took his daughter. I PMed grumpy and was like "Hey yo, can I play the character that took your daughter?"

    More "normal" examples on other boards I'm on (I know it's hard to beleive, but I do make characters that aren't Q) is when someone says "Has brother that does XYZ" and I play the brother or something.

    It's kind of always seemed like a natural thing to do for me. It's really fun and gets you(r character) integrated into the story a lot faster so I was never sure why others didn't take the same approach.
     
  3. Well, if everyone did what you described no RP would ever start or have a single character, because everyone would be waiting for everyone else to make characters to relate to...which is not to say it doesn't work when most other people are joining on the usual basis.

    But I'm more referring to stuff the GM sets up in the initial rules, I think..
     
  4. I'm not saying EVERYONE should, just that it normally seemed like I was the ONLY one who did.

    Also I don't normally play games where a GM is involved. Apparently 'freeform' means something different on this board, but where I used to RP 'freeform' basically meant 'make it up as you go along'. There was a general setting and sometimes a preferred plot. Sometimes bios were required, most of the time they weren't, and you described your characters gradually throughout your posts, and the plot progressed wherever the participants/characters wanted to take it.

    That way if you started out with maybe a character or two in a gang, you could be thinking of progressing the story toward some type of gang war between rival gangs, but in reality some dude makes a cop character and the rp becomes more of a law vs gangs type of thing.
    Unpredictability is something I liked about those types of RPs.
     
  5. Hey, Q! I do what you do too! :P

    But yeah, I don't think that's what Xindaris meant though... Because in your case, you're still only creating one character, whereas with the orbital system, you would be creating a network of characters which you can integrate with another player's. So it creates another layer of complexity...

    I'm really liking this orbital system. I think it would work well for like a spy or mafia type RP.
     
  6. That's what freeform is supposed to be! :D But a lot of people who mostly DnD sometimes consider anything that doesn't go by DnD rules as freeform.

    I personally don't like people creating characters for me, but it IS a fun challenge or concept! Especially for people who want to try and play something to certain specifics. >:D

    I like orbital style characters and plots too. >:3 But it always depends on how I come in to the roleplay whether or not I have a connection to other characters beforehand or not. I think for strong plotlines, it's a really good way to keep all the players and characters directly involved in the story when they all have some sort of connection with each other. >>
     
  7. I've tried exactly the kind of freeform Q described in the past, with the no-character-profiles and usually having a rule that whatever is stated or mentioned in character (by anyone) becomes world canon, unless the character is clearly wrong or lying, and been told it was "too" open-ended.

    Anyway, speaking of DnD, I had another idea for a character-creation system that's sort of based on it. It goes like this: You don't use stats in the RP itself, you still write things as you would in an RP with your usual character-creation system. But, when you go to create a character, you use something like random.org or a dice roller to decide a set of DnD stats. And then, using the definitions of those stats (i.e., STR being one's strength), you make a character that matches them. The challenge, of course, is that you might get a very strong character when you're used to playing back-row types, or a stupid character when you're used to playing the intelligent. It's all in the rolls or randomizers, and cheating, while easy, would completely ruin the fun of it.
    Naturally, anything not covered by DnD's core stats is still okay for the player to make up as they like, and perhaps for flexibility some kind of bonuses could be incorporated like the seeds in DW3 where you have a few extra points to spend or can remove a certain amount from one stat to put them in another. Perhaps even, you can reroll ALL your stats at once but never just one of them.

    I feel like such a weirdo, being the only one I've seen thinking of stuff like this... I mean, sure, the standard system isn't broken, but there's nothing wrong with spicing things up, eh?
     
  8. I've taken over unwanted characters from other players before. Sometimes it can be fun, but currently I think I'd prefer a lighter character creation exercise in which another player gives me a list of required elements(appearance, mannerisms, key events in the past) but leaves how I use them up to me. At the moment, that would be more up my alley.


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mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; line-height:115%; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} </style> <![endif]--> Re-editing my reply to this part. I wasn't angry, but I was pressed for time, and I think it shows in the callousness of my presentation. I'll be back with something friendlier and more succinct.
     
  9. I don't think I would like the orbital system. How I rp and how I would write a book (though I've never written one) are different to me, and I wouldn't feel comfortable having to control multiple characters, and then have them interact with characters controlled by others as well. It's like a hybrid between an rp and an actual book and it makes me feel uncomfortable, since I change the way I write for each one. I personally like just following one character and then deal with the interactions that come with the other rp characters, not my orbitals and their orbitals, etc.

    However, I do like the idea of someone making a profile or character for me. I think playing different kinds of characters is good, as it not only prevents you from playing the same type of character over and over, it can also provide a fun writing challenge, having to change the way you think in order to match your character. I think that people sometimes get to accustomed to a certain character and it stops being creative and becomes too natural, almost like a second personality. Rp-ing should be about trying on different roles and personalities, not playing the same ones over and over again.
     
  10. I've seen elements of this in other places--even Iwaku before it gained the stigma of assumptions of "avoiding interaction."

    As a system, it sounds like it's just making something that some of the more prolific narrativist RPers would naturally do mandatory for all players. I don't think that would go over well, as the early responses already seem to suggest.

    Some people don't enjoy controlling more than one character, and I don't believe making it a requirement will do much good.

    However, as someone who's actually at at his best when he isn't thinking of freeform rp as being very different from just another type of collaborative fiction-writing, I actually like the idea that there might be a game where it's encouraged as a means of fleshing out worlds and characters to be more real instead of hearing the usual bit about "get out of drama free cards" and shunning other players.

    So, do use the concept, but don't necessarily make it a requirement. Some people only want to control "their guy" and it would only prove tedious to have them do otherwise. I'm not one of them, but I think it safe to say that many Iwaku members are.
     
  11. Orbital reminds me a bit of personal NPCs... characters that are connected to my player character in some way, are not played all the time, but I do not wish to see autoed by someone random person. Personal NPCs being a different beast then GM NPCs or random NPCs.

    Also a lot of personal games I play are freeform. There's only a very basic idea of the world and what's going on when I dive into it. It works with chat plays and what I refer to as easy games. I don't like freeform in serious games and GMs are nice to have to not only give a world it's body but to help when plots get stuck.
     
  12. This.

    Though in my experience, I've seen some overlap between personal NPCs and GM NPCs in a few games. But only with prior agreements usually.


    Oh, and just for clarity's sake, when I used "freeform" I meant as in "no dice or rulebooks involved" as opposed to "freeform" as a sort of open-ended "sandbox" approach to building the rp's story. :)

    Ocha's post just reminded me of the multiple meanings. Off to bed now.
     
  13. ... i thought meta rp'ing is like metagaming.

    as in using info from OOC to know/do stuff IC
     
  14. It really isn't the best term, now that I've come to think of it. :/

    I'm wondering if he meant to imply something like "roleplaying with more awareness" or "taking roleplay to another level."

    *shrug*
     
  15. It needs a new title to make it sound more technical, something like Neo Character Creation Theory, or Hybridized Roleplaying. Just to make us sound better than everyone else.
     
  16. Yeah, metaRPing is just what came into my head when deciding to start the discussion and I couldn't think of a better term, I dunno...

    The only requirement in the orbitals system is that one makes a central character before going to create any others; I'm not one to demand more characters of anybody. Having just the one character in such an RP might put one "behind" a little bit when people are narrating the interactions between their own characters, but it might also give said person more of a break as to their needed posting frequency.

    As far as NPCs go, the system has different "levels" (orbital 1, 2, 3) and each one out (greater number=farther out) is a greater degree of NPC and a lesser degree of PC. Like, you can narrate Orbital 1 characters individually the same way you narrate the central characters, while 2 and 3 usually need to be in the presence of the central or an orbital 1. Characters outside of 1 can actually be the orbital characters of other players at the same time, but the owner/creator of a character (in an outer Orbital) is always the one who says whether another person's narration of them is accurate. The other thing about the system is that players can switch out the positions of characters within the orbitals (move from 1 to 2, 3 to 1, etc.) as long as they don't do it just extremely often. Ideally, once the RP has gone on for long enough, you'd be able to draw a bunch of circles centered on central characters and then a web of lines to indicate the relationships between each person's character and everyone else's, and end up with a web just as complex and confusing as any real-world social network.