Plotting ahead

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Saito Hajime, Apr 6, 2015.

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  1. When you join a roleplay, just how much do you have planned out for your own character before hand? Do you plan their whole character arc? Do you give them a general goal to achieve? Or do you just type one up and see what happens in character?

    I ask this because I've noticed that some people seem to have definite long term plans for their characters and where they will end up. I don't exactly have anything against this, but it strikes me as odd. Anyone that has roleplayed longer than a month knows how unreliable roleplaying can be. Anyone who I've met that has had plans for their character has seen them dashed in mere weeks. I guess it's just me being cynical to think it's not really worth it to consider any long term plans for a character given how quickly everything can turn to shit.

    Personally, I've found my greatest moments in roleplaying come from working on the fly. Waiting to see how things develop in character, then pouncing on the perfect opportunity to make something happen. After all, how can character development really be classified as anything but reactive? Things happen, they change someone's world view and make them behave differently. And honestly, if I wanted to be dead sure of how everything would pan out for my character, I would have started writing a book.

    All that said, I'm hardly trying to impose my ideal of character plotting on anyone. If someone gains satisfaction from having a complete plan for their character, who am I to tell them not to do so? More recently, my characters have actually had more definite goals, at least compared to my earlier forays into roleplaying, albeit far from the complete plans some people appear to have.

    Anyway, go ahead and explain your own preferences for your characters here. Hope I've at least given you something to think about if nothing else.
  2. I tend to think up future plans for my characters often without even really trying to. My mind just wanders. That said, when I do this, they're usually not so much plans as just... imagined scenarios. I think about things that may-or-may-not happen in the RP's future (oh let's be honest; they're never going to happen) and how my character would react to them. Rarely are these imaginings serious plans regarding what I want to do with my character. If I wanted to make serious plans as to where something would go, I would collaborate with at least one other player about it -- shooting them a PM and arranging something between our characters that we wanted to happen, or just chattering on about stuff in the OOC.
  3. Personally I can plan like crazy for the future of an RP, but I usually don't know exactly how my character will handle it before we get to those parts of the RP. So while we have a story line to follow, the things that happens might make my character try to take another route, then we have to either throw in something that will force my character to take the route they don't want, or we can let them go their own way for a while as a side story or a break and then somehow they're lead back to the route by being convinced that it's the right way to go. So while my character isn't very planned out, we can always manipulate their personalities to go with the ark we've created for them in one way or another :D -I have tortured way too many character in this way o.O-

    But there are lots of roleplays in which I barely plan anything at all. We just follow the flow and throw in random stuff (that fits the theme) and lets the story take whichever route it happens to go into.
    #3 redblood, Apr 7, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2015
  4. I don't do any highly detailed planning, but I do make development plans for all my characters either as I am conceptualizing them and making a CS or after I've started actually playing them. They tend to be broad possible character arcs rather than specific things that I want to have happen.

    For example, I've got a character named Kasim, an arrogant braggart archer, ex-slave emancipated by bloody revolution turned freedom fighter for a couple years before he decided to go off on his own, during which time he became a manwhore and a legend in his own mind. Some of the potential character arcs I had in mind for him were repeated failures leading to a depressed identity crisis filled with risky and self destructive behavior, or repeated successes with no big failures turning him insufferably egotistical and vain, or someone piercing through his exterior of bravado by taking him seriously and treating him as an equal rather than a joke leading to major introspection and realizing that his whole cocky hero facade is just that, or the death of a good ally or love interest causing him to get serious and perhaps have that emtionional wound fester and turn him toward anti-hero or full evil status. Recently that third one came to pass when he was trying to get under a princess' skirts and she told him about her country's courting and such customs and treated him, an ex-slave turned adventurer, as if he had a real chance at winning her hand in marriage... if he could prove that he was worthy of becoming a king, that is. Now Kasim is fighting against his less than noble habits and trying to be a better man.

    So yeah, I do some planning, but it's always this kind of vague branching possibilities triggering some character development.
  5. For events, it helps to plan ahead. It may not necessarily be followed because we engage in collaborative fiction, but it helps guide the flow of the story. Knowing the general flow is essential.

    For characters, I ask players what they want and try to work them into the flow of the story. Character growth is all about thrusting a character into a situation beyond their comfort zone, i.e. beyond their sheet. Character growth comes from exploring the tangents we take in response to events. Whether it ends up reinforcing their personality or causing sharp turns depends on the event and the aftershocks.
  6. I usually plan backward :P I love creating rich backstories and motivations for my character, and I look forward to getting to follow through on some of the elements of those things as the story goes on, so I'm definitely guilty of creating a few plot-pulls for that purpose if the story is in an accommodating place, but I try not to shove main plot aside to explore a character, and I definitely don't try to force it if it doesn't work.

    For me, the joy in roleplay is in not knowing what's going to come next, because half of the input is coming from a completely separate mind:

    Plots occasionally have some stuff that NEEDS to happen for the story to work (in which case I cooperate with my partner and we orchestrate this together) but in terms of my character specifically: I have hopes, I have stuff I look forward to when it comes up/becomes relevant, but I don't expect it to or make a concerted attempt to ensure it happens :P
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