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Dr Girafferey’s 100% Natural Good-Time Role-Playing Solution

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Dr Girafferey’s 100% Natural Good-Time Role-Playing Solution

Post  FknViktoria on Tue Jul 26, 2011 8:39 pm

Role-Playing all too often dissolves in a storm of pettiness, frustration, and hurt feelings, laying waste to something that once brought joy. This is a list of Principles (in no particular order) that I believe will help make for a better role-playing experience. Take them or leave them as you see fit, reject or embellish. Like so many things in role-playing, they are neither laws nor rules, but guidelines.

1st Principle of Perspective
Role-Playing is for fun. If you keep nothing else in mind, remember this. The reason it is called a Role-Playing Game is that it’s for fun. Really, in the end, it is a whole lot of people playing a very silly game of pretend. It is never, ever worth your sanity or your happiness. If it feels like an obligation, if it inspires dread, if it is a chore, if you are made to feel guilty or unhappy over a game of make-believe, it’s time for something to change. Of course, talking things out and solving the problem is best. However, if the only solution really is to walk away, that may be the best option. If you aren’t having fun, it isn’t worth playing.

2nd Principle of Perspective
Real Life is more important that Role-Playing. If you have homework or groceries or even sleep that needs to happen in your life, it’s okay to walk away from the game and call a break. If you need to go on hiatus, do so. Real people are more important than characters. It isn’t worth destroying a friendship over something in-game. Keep the drama in character and in game — it makes for better games, and it makes for better friendships.

3rd Principle of Perspective
When creating a character or a plot event, keep more in mind than just you. Consider the game as a whole. Does the game really need another strong, attractive hero-type? Does it need another angst-filled teenager? Are there already quite a few pretty, young gay boys? Even if you don’t play one of these types yet, consider the possibility that the game as a whole might be better served by a villain, a crotchety old man, or a big friendly dummy? Is the game in need of another happily-ever-after relationship, or might one that’s on the rocks be more interesting and serve the game more?

Principle of Respect
Every now and then, there are bound to be problems. The important thing is to behave in a mature manner. Treat your fellow players with respect, even when you’re frustrated. Give your fellow players the respect of addressing the problem, rather than sulking and being passive-aggressive. Avoid general accusations in favor of addressing specifics and your own feelings about them. Perhaps most importantly, pay your fellow players the respect of admitting to and apologizing for your own mis-steps. If you feel that you are incapable of being calm and respectful, don’t be afraid to politely call a time-out and return to the conversation later with a cooler head.

Non-Reflexive Principle
You are not your character. Your character doesn’t have to be like you. Your character doesn’t have to have your values, your experiences, or your preferences. You should, of course, be comfortable inside of your character’s head, but your character can and should be distinct from you. Part of the fun of role-playing is being able to play a character that says and does things that you would never do. If you only ever play yourself, where’s the fun in that?

Intransitive Principle
What happens to your character does not happen to you. An in-character insult does not mean that the player whose character gave the insult doesn’t like you. An in-character flirtation does not extend out of character. Leave the in-game drama in game, and the out-of-game drama… hopefully out of the picture.

Principle of Limits
Role-Playing can be a demanding pastime, both in terms of time and emotion. It’s a good thing to set limits. Don’t take on more than you can handle — in terms of scenes, characters, or game-running responsibilities. It can be a good thing to say no. Saying no at the start can save a lot of hurt and heartache in the end. Remember, it is always, always, alright to say no to anything with which you are uncomfortable. Role-playing should never be done out of pressure.

Principle of Adventure
Adventurers try new things and explore new territory. Seek to be an adventurer in your personal role-playing life. Push yourself to try new things. It’s okay to have a type of character that you like to play, but give other types a shot as well. Look around and see if there’s a character type that you really haven’t ever tried, and think about what your take on that type might be. You might bring a new perspective to that character. Seek adventure in plotlines as well. Everyone loves a good relationship, but there are other options. Frienemies, rivalries, familial relationships in all flavors, exes, co-workers… the possibilities are endless. Enjoy the opportunity to explore different aspects of your character. Remember that role-playing is also an opportunity to become a better player and a better writer; pushing yourself to try new things will only benefit you.

Principle of Quality over Quantity
You don’t need twenty five characters to be a good role-player. You don’t even need five. Really, all you need is one character, as long as it’s good. It can be surprising how much you can do with one or two characters, as long as they’re the right ones and played well. Take the time to give your characters depth, and you won’t need to stretch yourself thin trying to get enough breadth to play effectively in a game.

Principle of Mental State
An altered mental state is not a good recipe for role-playing. Don’t play while you aren’t fully in your right mind, especially if you want the scene to be canon in-game. Sleep it off, deal with real life, and then come back to role playing with a clear head. Otherwise, you might wake up to find that your character just slept with his worst enemy and you’ve posted a scene completely devoid of punctuation.

Principle of Character Integrity
Whether you write an incredibly detailed character sheet, or just jump right into playing, the important thing is to know your character, and to stay true to them. Be sure of who your character is and stay consistently in character, and you’ll wind up with a better experience. It will be easier for other players to interact with your character, and you might be led to new and exciting places by your character. A character, if well developed and played with integrity, makes mistakes, changes, grows. Let your character surprise you.

Principle of Dependability
There is little as frustrating as a scene promised, but never manifested, unless it’s a scene that started and never finished. Role-Playing is a project of interaction, and flakiness can be the most aggravating quality in a fellow player. Be upfront about what you can and cannot do, and finish what you start. If you cannot finish, or have to pause, be courteous and let your fellow players know. It’s better to admit that the scene needs a break or won’t happen than to leave your scene partners frustrated and wondering.

Principle of Certainty
It’s very tempting to rush off and start on the next new and shiny game or character the instant you hear about it, but haste is seldom a role-player’s friend. “Character Attention Deficit Disorder”, for lack of a better term, is a constant frustration in the Role-Playing world. A character is established with connections and plots, only to have the player abandon them in favor of the next interesting thing to crop up, only to abandon the next character for the same reasons. This isn’t fair to the characters, the other players, or the player in question. So much work goes into creating a character, it is a great waste to simply cast the character aside because it turns out that you don’t really want to play them after all. There is a simple way to avoid this problem: The Three-Day Rule. When creating a new character or joining a new game, simply wait three days. If you still want to create the character or join the game, by all means, do so. If you no longer really feel like it, more than likely, it’s all for the best. After all, if a character can’t hold your interest for three days, how long would you have enjoyed playing them?

Principle of Limited Control
Role-Playing is an activity in which, by definition, a single player cannot orchestrate everything. If you wish for ultimate control, a novel might be a better pursuit. In role-playing, remember that you can only control your own characters and your own actions — not those of anyone else. Do not attempt to control the characters of others, and always ask permission before assuming anything about another’s character. In simpler words, don’t God-Mod. Remember that you can’t control another player, either. Everyone has his or her own strengths and weaknesses, his or her own areas of specialty. Rather than growing impatient with other players, offer your support and strengths — you may be repaid in kind.

Principle of Conviction
The basis of all plot is conflict, and conflict can only occur when two or more characters are fighting for opposing goals. Plot is therefore only possible if characters fight for, believe in, and want something. Characters without conviction provide plot about as well as cotton candy builds a road.

Principle of Imperfection
Voltaire said, “The Perfect is the Enemy of the Good.” This applies well in role-playing. Perfect characters are not good characters. Perfect characters aren’t interesting for other people, and are usually simply annoying. Flaws are interesting. Not all characters need to be young, pretty, smart, or even likable. Give your character weak spots, give them defects. Remember that not everyone needs to like your character. Rivals and enemies can be as much fun to play as friendships and love interests.

Principle of Balance
Moderation isn’t always possible in role-playing, but at least extremities can be balanced. If one character is an angsty drama-queen, try making your next character a cheery, happy-go-lucky type. Try matching the fluffy scenes with drama. It will make for a more balanced, interesting game as well as a saner mind.

Principle of Organically Occurring Plot
Plot is more interesting and more powerful when it stems naturally out of the developing story. Drama for the sake of drama rarely advances the game as much as the self-indulgence of the players involved. Plot, in an ideal situation, shouldn’t fall from the sky like an avalanche in Kansas; it should come in like the tide.

1st Principle of Causality
Actions have consequences. If your character does something stupid and insensitive, expect appropriate reactions from other characters. As much as you love and adore your character, not all characters will have the same reaction to their actions. Your character is not automatically beloved; they will inspire reactions according to their behavior.

2nd Principle of Causality
While the characters in the game are not real, the people who play them are. Remember that there are real people with real lives and real feelings on the other side of the computer screen. Your words have an effect, positive or negative. Treat your fellow players with compassion; conduct yourself with grace.



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