Thanks Mark for getting the forum work. I think it's cool that Smartmonsters wants to offer players space where the theory of playing (and other OOC stuff) can be discussed.
I would like to begin the conversation here by asking a few questions: How do you discern your characters' personalities from your own? Have you used different methods? Have they or have they not worked, and why?
Do you like to have your chars somehow connected with your RL personality? How do you deal with emotional tensions possibly created by this?
For me, names are a good way to identify yourself with your characters (the thought "I am Muentzer" does miracles for my world of experience), still offering an easy way to get distance from them by just starting to observe situation in third person in your mind (like: "Wow that Muentzer really is offensive and sick!".
For me it is very important that I am able to same time feel one with my char and still know that whatever he experiences, I am perfectly able to take off the role when I want to. Actually, I think that is a precondition of any serious storytelling. You mustn't let the story invade your real life, your real personality, your true world of experience -- and at the same time story must be allowed to flow without repressing its dynamics.
Well, there are some of my thoughts. Come on now and share yours! ))
I regard playing a roleplaying game as acting in a movie or something, except there is no script. I'm surprised to see that people here are generally unable (or unwilling) to separate character from player. That's just like being unable to separate a character in a film from the actor. One reason I was attracted to this game in particular was because of its target group, smart grownups. Players that get offended by a character that even has a description saying "This man is a raving lunatic" don't belong there, I think. In fact, I'm wondering why they're playing an RPG at all.
Joined: 2003.06.02 00:00:00
Location: Kalaheo, Kauai, HI
My characters are so separated from me personally that I doubt you can name them.
I strongly encourage you not to make judgements about who belongs and who doesn't. That's not your decision.
In my opinion you're free to explore whatever interests you when you play. That's not the same as saying you're free to impose your interests on others. By the way I read your message, that seems to be what you're trying to do. Please don't.
In fact it's the other way around. The reason I wrote about this is that I've been criticized about August's behavior and until now haven't defended myself. It's the freedom to play my characters as I wish that I'm defending, and it seems like you agree with me on that.
Note: Before the funeral I personally emailed Mark and asked if there were any IC language restrictions. He told me no.
Kristofer: You're not role-playing the way I personally like to role-play.
In my opinion the reasonable response is: so what? It's not up to you to tell others how to role-play, or imply your disappointment that they're not "smart grownups" according to the way you personally define those terms. Again, please don't.
BTW, the argument that "daddy [Mark] told me it was ok to call women 'cunt'" is pretty silly, IMO. I doubt it's true, and I'm certain it's not relevant.
I think you should cut that last part to "You're not role-playing". Then it would be more accurate, even though I didn't respond at that time. Also, you don't differ between player and character here. And that is really what this issue is about. The issue is that players get offended by what is said to their characters. I don't think the best solution to that problem is to censor what characters may say.
By the way, I think it's highly relevant since as far as I have understood, Mark is one of the creators of this game. I think he knows the rules.
Let's assume that the example argument is an actual occurrence. The hypothetical woman's credibility ends when she responds to a valid statement ("You're not role-playing the way I personally like to role-play." with a dismissal. Because of this, I find it remarkably easy to dismiss any complaints of offense in kind. If this woman were to treat Kristofer's reason for behaving the way he does with the same respect she wishes to be treated, there would be more room for negotiation. In addition, calling someone's argument 'silly,' and misrepresenting it only further reduces your argument to a personal attack, as opposed to part of a rational discussion.
To clarify, Mark has established a relatively open world, and the only 'rule' that applies here is #3 in the rules we all agreed to before joining (regarding sexual harassment). As I understand it, there has been no complaint of sexual harassment as such, just complaints against language, and outside of the stated rule, there are no guidelines regarding which words to use or not. If there were harassment going on, presumably you would have reported it, and Mark would take the appropriate steps.
As a philosopher, I give myself consideable leeway in what I think and imagine, and therefore I easily detach myself from my characters, treating them as if they were a group of possible people. When I play them, I am merely trying on possibilities, like costumes, and while I'm playing I just let the character's identity take the place of my own. There is a certain necessary connection, as I am mentally unable to discard my own identity (to do so would probably drive me insane). However, any connections I make are on a mental plane, as opposed to emotional. When a character dies, I am frustrated because I spent a bit of time developing him, not because 'a piece of me died with him' or such. The word roleplaying implies that one is an actor, and thus, the idea of self, for me, is left at login screen. Admittedly, I have bad days, or lazy days, and who I am in real life carris over. And, in some ways I can't avoid connections - my level of intelligence in RL determines how intelligent my characters can behave, for example. Your comparison to storytelling is apt, as I do the same when I write - I put myself into the character, leaving self behind, but allowing a connection to lead me back.
Joined: 2003.06.02 00:00:00
Location: Kalaheo, Kauai, HI
I'll tell you something about how I role-play. You can decide for yourself what this has to do with your specific questions.
I always role-play male characters. I've done this for years. I hate the experience of playing female characters. RL men treat them with such (RL) patronization. For instance, they can't stop offering un-asked for instruction. "Do you know how to find food?" "I'll be happy to lead you to the donation room." (All variations on, "Can I carry your books home from school?" Not unlike the instruction in how to properly separate RL from role-play which has been gratuitously offered in these forums, as if anybody had asked.
I don't identify myself during the game. I don't want my characters associated with the RL me. As soon as RL men know there's an RL woman at the keyboard, their behavior changes.
I play to have fun, and to explore new ways of creating literature. In RL I teach literature and have known Mark and his game writing for a long time. I like the literary side of things, but in the end I play to play. To be entertained, and maybe to entertain other players. If I'm having bad experiences I try to stop them. If they don't stop, I either go to a different game, or I try to organize players who agree that the experiences are bad. This is why I'm writing this now. I don't think two rude players should be allowed to ruin the experiences of others.
I often play violent characters. According to stereotype this is unusual for RL women. I find it emotionally satisfying to put the whammy on people who are being dicks. When the Forum or whatever it's called is ready in Triad City I'll look forward to kicking August's pathetic butt.
I seldom participate in RL forums like this one. I want to maintain a distance between RL and my characters. I usually only jump in when I feel there's something seriously wrong, as I do now.
I don't really want to say more about my role-play, because I fear that saying more will make my RP more difficult. I'll just say that lots of people RP in different ways for different reasons. It's not acceptable to be told by one or two arrogant players that we're doing it wrong.
I think Kristofer's concern of people not being able to make the difference between character and player is understandable when you consider how this discussion started. It started in the Character's Bulletin Board where Daisy told she didn't like August's behavior at all, but instead of Daisy talking about August it was pretty clear that Daisy's player was talking about Kristofer and saying some not so nice things about his 'mental age'. And suddenly all the harmless character's Kristofer has played in TC were forgotten and he had become a 'bad guy'. Enough to make anyone frustrated, I think.
You say you enjoy playing violent characters. How would you feel if someone would (referring to your RL person) say based on only one of your characters, that you are a violent person?
All I'm saying is that maybe some of Kristofer's 'arrogance' concernign the way other's role-play echoes from the fact that he himself first didn't receive any understanding concerning the way he role-plays.
And as for Juha... in his own way he is trying to keep up a discussion that he feels is an important one. I think he shouldn't be punished for that.