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 What do you like about RPs?

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Xellious Noon
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PostSubject: What do you like about RPs?   Wed Oct 03, 2018 10:25 am

I'm simply curious. I could guess for a long time but it's easier to just ask everybody.


I'll give my own answer here too, but later, I need to think on it some.
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PostSubject: Re: What do you like about RPs?   Wed Oct 03, 2018 3:20 pm

It's a story that isn't about me.

People do and come up with things I never could have, and it all helps me become a better writer and flesh out my characters - and their powers - more. To this end, letting go control is one of the most fun parts for me.
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Allen
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PostSubject: Re: What do you like about RPs?   Wed Oct 03, 2018 4:21 pm

A lot of what james said is true, but it's also more. It isn't just letting go, but it's a communal story. It evolves as people introduce more plot elements, twists, or derail events. It changes elements I had planned but am willing to change to suit the new changes, and makes me rethink my own plans to accommodate this further down the line. It's about building something together and it's very cool. But it's also about building a story I think others might find cool too, constructing scenarios and seeing if they play them out or rip them apart and adapting to that, and so on.

It also teaches me. Seeing how other people do things and trying to adapt to their pace and make things more meaningful and interesting for them, as well as easier to parse, forces me to be more creative. The recent spike in rping recently forced me to learn a lot of what I had forgotten in the downtime again, so I'm glad to have that.
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PostSubject: Re: What do you like about RPs?   Thu Oct 04, 2018 1:40 am

Since I'm cynical, my response will be similar...yet different, to the above.

A lot of what Allen said applies to me, albeit probably not quite as strongly since I'm not as passionate a member of the writing craft. And the relinquishing of control that James mentioned does bring some of that spontaneity that this throbbing pain known as "life" desperately needs. I like the unpredictability. It's a team activity, too. You do it with friends, which makes it twice or thrice as good. The Forum RPG (Ring a bell?~) dialed this up to eleven by making us all collaborative writers. I'm not exactly aching for a return to it, but it was perhaps the purest incarnation of this unspoken mission statement.

Since I have to be that guy, though, I'll say that all of these strengths can also just as often be irritating drawbacks. A communal story where it's difficult for everybody to keep up...well, we've seen all the ways that plays out. When an RP dies midway through, or it's stuck in a state of "maybe canon, maybe not". The potluck nature of it is nice. Until someone brings an Angel as their +1. The unpredictability of things makes battles a real hell to write, so you get all the fight choreography and pacing of two cars crashing. I could go on. But, then again, remember when battles went 20 pages? Those of us who grew up on Dragon Ball Z are excused, to an extent.

As a way to tell a story, it's probably...assuredly, not the best. But there is merit to it. And merit in the mere attempt. We do these things not because they are easy, but because they are....fun?

Anyways, more important than any principles or goodwill, it lets me act like a cool anime character.

And if that ain't the sweetest slice of pie...!
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PostSubject: Re: What do you like about RPs?   Thu Oct 04, 2018 1:20 pm

I agree with most of Python's points, positive and negative. Honestly I had a hard time coming up with reasons I liked RPs, which may just be my brain doing what it does on a normal basis or just be related to my somewhat cynical perspective on them I've gained in the past year or so.

I've found D&D tends to hit more of the notes that I enjoy about rolepay, provided you're playing with the right group of people. Limiting everyone to one character apiece makes those characters more meaningful, their interactions and relationships more meaningful, and allows for a certain depth that the collision of personas our RPs are has difficulty achieving. Moreover the story is more guided, thanks to the presence of the DM. There's still that opportunity for side-stories and personal objectives, but the over-arching saga tends to move forward a bit more smoothly when you don't have to fight your way through a torrent of posts to achieve it and having a facilitator to keep things on track.

I feel like the Forum RPG days were the RPs I enjoyed the most, as I think it allowed for everyone to have total control over where the story went, to be as involved with everyone else's activities or their own as they desired. And in some ways, since it gave everyone that freedom, it helped to limit the number of things people would try to do as well.

Personally I kind of tend to get frustrated with people introducing their own side-plots into a large saga. I feel like it detracts or gets in the way of whatever the main orchestrator has planned. But then again, I tend to view things from a "D&D is 'better'" model, or, when I didn't have D&D, I didn't think of myself having that kind of creative freedom in RPs. The thread was about what the creator originally intended for it to be. Figuring out where that was going to go and how to get there was entertainment enough.

I love the fantasy fulfillment. I love the stories and character interactions. But the chaos tends to get a bit much sometimes.

as with any time i try to address a serious topic this feels disjointed as hell and incomplete but whatever
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PostSubject: Re: What do you like about RPs?   Thu Oct 04, 2018 3:05 pm

Well, that's comparing apples to oranges. We've also had plenty of small scale rp's, with just the set of characters, but the reason it doesn't work out the way DND does it because most don't put the backbone into it that we do with DND characters.

It's actually something I've had a huge problem with in trying to make RP's, everyone keeps everything about their characters super close to their chest so it's hard to actually write a story that personally affects them or their history or anything they're involved in when they stick to their own, don't interact with others unless they have to, and their players basically keep all details of their origins, their home lives, their friendships and their interactions with who and what to themselves. So then you end up having to wing it and let players do what they want in hopes it'll spur some kind of interaction.

In DND, your DM knows everything about your character before you do and plans the entire narrative around extrapolating on those, they build plot hooks based around these characters, something you can't really do in current forum rp's because everyone keeps their characters so close to their chests. We could easily pull off what we do in DND if our characters actually had any kind of rapport with each other, which is also why I try to make Allen interact with everyone.

If everyone's character origins, powers, and relationships were all out in the open and we were willing to be more flexible with established ideas with them, we could easily do some fun Avengers or Justice League type stuff involving different groups of characters, but right now we go for spectacle above all else because that's the only thing that draws anyone out of the woodwork.

It's hard to drive social interaction when half the cast plays "Quiet Loner who stands in the corner". It just doesn't seem like a problem in DND because you're basically forced to sit together by the DM and are told to play nice for there to be a game at all. There's countless horror stories of the plot getting completely sidetracked or the teamplay in dnd completely falling apart, so it's all about what you're bringing to the table, not the format itself.

If we actively trended toward making our characters interact more, I think we'd see less of a problem. And I also don't think having more than one character is the problem- it's more how many characters are in a single scene. During an event like the war with the architect, it makes sense there'd be multiple groups, but having them all be separate groups with their own interactions can actually help to create different sets of relationships and interactions that can be extrapolated on.
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PostSubject: Re: What do you like about RPs?   Thu Oct 11, 2018 8:35 am

Thanks for the input... after reading your posts, I found points I didn't even consider when posing the question. I guess that means I learned, then? I'll probably echo a lot of your points, though I'll try to add my own view of them.

..... as usual, I have to apologize to you guys for my signature wall of text. >.> I also colored the main points for the sake of TL;DR.

I like RPing for creating a story, one post at a time. I like waiting for new posts to push it forward so I can find out what happens next, like turning to the next page in a book or loading up the next episode or stage in a video or game. It's more immediate and unpredictable than a finished book/video/game though, because it involves all the people in the RP and we can actually affect where the story goes, and with everyone adding their own twists to it, come up with something no one person would've made alone.

I like the fantasy aspect of it too, a world full of magic and different races and people with superpowers, RPing as one of them and going with friends on long adventures and dangerous world-saving missions. I get attached to the characters like the protagonists from my favourite series, but again they are closer for being connected with actual people I know, people I can call my friends.

I like that everybody in an RP brings something into it that is uniquely their own, even if it's not obvious at first glance or something hard to put into words. It's like reading a book with multiple authors and realizing that you feel like certain parts of it were written by different people, because there's just some small difference in how they feel. It can be a change in focus, a different narrator (distant or closer, more objective or more subjective), humor or its absence, references to the classics or modern entertainment, etc. People can do it on purpose or simply add it without trying, but when I spot details like this, well, I appreciate that they're there.

I like getting to know people through RPing. Of course, people can RP any number of ways, but there's usually a style that is just closer and more natural for them. It shows in battles, how some characters take it cautiously while others prefer the risky approach, and though one person can roleplay both kinds, it feels different to read them RPing in a style unlike what they've done before. Or, it shows me a new side of that person, and that's fun too.

I like character development, in most forms it can take, getting to know the characters more by learning more about their backstories, seeing them interacting with others or inner monologues that reveal details of their personality. This also includes learning about their powers and how they function, again similarly to book/video/game characters, to really gain the feeling that I understand this character I like so much.

I like when all those details join together into a bigger whole, like how different characters become a team, how one character's powers combo together, how separate clues reveal the solution to a puzzle, or how events in a story build up until a proper climax. It can take many forms, but in general I just like seeing how things (or people) connect together, plus there's some element of mystery and guesswork when it happens over time.

A lot of this stuff can be undone by randomness, unpredictable twists and deliberate counter-intuitive developments that happen in RPs. I don't like randomness, honestly, and seeing where a character, event or story was going suddenly change from an unpredictable development makes me sad. Still, the new direction might prove interesting in its own right, and then I'll be glad that the change happened, in retrospect, after I've had some time with it to compare the two and not blindly cling to what I'd known before. There's a few changes so big that I wouldn't get over them (like 'blowing up the Earth' big) but that would upset everyone, I imagine.

In a similar vein, what Allen said about adjusting plans to accomodate what others offer and reacting to a story getting derailed or going in a brand new direction, that's something I don't enjoy, normally. When I spend time thinking up a plot I tend to get attached to the story already in the planning phase, I make it 'my story' and hold it close to my chest, trying to show it off to others and even leaving little room for actual interaction. I don't know whether that's because I'm a control freak or a writer trying to always fill in the blanks, but it's not fun for me to railroad people just like it's not fun for you guys to go through it either. In a way, the less I plan for an RP and the more I focus on responding to others, the more flexible I can be with it and just adjust on the fly, not getting so attached to anything. It's easier for that kind of story to wander off at random, but I can always change gears later more easily than give-up on a pre-planned story to improvise one instead. I also tend to take this approach when I throw in one or more characters for the ride in an RP somebody else runs, where leading the story isn't my responsibility at all.

I like planning, though. That's the kicker, really, I like planning stories and characters and worlds and such, but then I do it too much and I become too attached to them. I'm still figuring out what to do about this, though 'planning to leave room to improvise' and 'planning for a couple alternative paths I can't use all at once' seems to help. Maybe I'll learn from how you guys' deal with it, at some point? I hope so, it's why I keep my eyes open for options during everyone else's RPs.

I'm sad to see RPs die, for any reason, whether it's because a member leaves, or everyone just loses interest in it, or it ventures into that state Python called "maybe canon, maybe not".

I like what Allen suggested with the Avengers or Justice League. It just feels like the versatile cast of characters we have would naturally lend itself to that sort of storyline. Kevin even threw that idea out there with the Mercenary Guild in UB, right? I would love to see something like this set up as official canon at some point, when all the characters are connected, beyond just knowing each other, they have their own personal relationships and attitudes and reflect on each other instead of just going about their own business all the time. I don't know what's the problem with doing this, other than it hasn't been suggested IC and the... the negotiations for it weren't done. Also settling the matter of who would be the 'leader' of that group, if anyone, and who would be the sponsor/host... Allen has his Whaleshark, Python has his own base and many vehicles, Stanley has his lab(s) and a whole company, so there's a lot of possibilities. Buuut, that's a subject for another day perhaps.

I have some fond memories of the Forum RPG too. I remember always feeling kind of nervous during it, because back then I was afraid of doing stuff with people's characters that would make them sad. I usually wrote posts trying to make everyone as awesome as possible, which let me enjoy even characters like Rorek's infamous Godslayer... it felt like hijacking somebody else's power fantasy, if you want to call it that. I was also somewhat nervous giving control of my characters at times (I remember specifically writing after DesertBandit at one point, to have Book immediately cover up his eyes the moment he dropped his glasses) but in general everyone handled them either just fine, or not at all (and focused more on what their own characters were doing). I did try to get as many characters involved in each post as possible, to practice controlling them and also to give them that much more screentime, even if it was a short tidbit. I think of it fondly, plus as a learning experience, but... I don't know if we could still run something like this nowadays. I have serious doubt whether it would be practical.

I'm a fan of DnD and its system, and I still wish that one day my schedule changes so I can join you guys for a campaign from start to finish. That said, I look at DnD and our freeform RP as two different animals. Both are fun, but they're fun in different ways and I approach them with different expectations. Having just one character you control in DnD and interacting with a DM who knows all the secrets and controls the world and all enemies, plus has a big-picture idea for the story, that sounds really relaxing to me, to just hop in and enjoy the ride, without taking as much responsibility for where it goes, other than my character making suggestions here and there. Perhaps more than just knowing that stuff, like Zags said, the DM can guide the story in the direction he wants it to go, and while others can have their side-quests too, they never completely derail the main story, they take up just enough time and space for their function - that's something I would definitely enjoy. The fact that DnD has levels and all related mechanics to limit what characters can do also sets up expectations. Sure, I might not bring in an otherworldly demon or ancient dragon onto the team, but I know that the others won't, either, and we're equal across the board, so that's fair, and for that reason, very relaxing.

I don't know whether we could follow that sort of lower level RP in a freeform style though. I think it sort of ties back to what Allen said about people using the same characters for years and holding them so 'close to their chests' that you can't really change anything meaningful about them. I know that I hold my characters close that way because I've grown attached to them, but there are characters I like that I'm holding slightly less close. Neville in UB is one example of that, one I've sketched out in basic terms and just waited to see how he changes from interacting with others... sadly that RP is currently dead, but him and other new characters I could let go in this way. It's harder with characters that I kept longer, although... Allen knows that Migotliv changed significantly through such character interaction, even if that happened off-camera, it's had IC consequences ever since then. It may be just one detail about him, but it's had a powerful impact and I consider it a great change to have happened, and all the more valuable because, without Allen I'm certain I wouldn't have thought of going through with it - and for that reason I'm in favour of seeing more changes like that, in principle.


.......... okay, I know this post is way too big already and I can't think of other points at the moment, so I'll end it here. If you made it this far then you get a cookie. *puts a plate full of (::) for the taking*

Really though, thank you for your time and input, everyone... I don't know where we'll go from here, but I'm happy that we're having this discussion. It definitely felt like time well spent, to me at least.
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PostSubject: Re: What do you like about RPs?   Thu Oct 11, 2018 4:51 pm

One of the biggest thing about RPing to me is that it personifies one of the Golden Rules of writing as a whole, which is never get too attached to an idea. Keep yourself open to change and evolution or even leave the door open to scrap it completely if it doesn't work. Otherwise you're just jamming a square peg into a round hole like some kind of toddler.

It's what has always kept the RPs fresh for me. The way it's always changing and plans are impossible to really make. You can only plan so much before somebody who isn't you does something you never could have anticipated. That's when the best stuff happens.
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