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Roleplaying - Making/Playing a Believable Char

alkwyzheir Apr '20  /  edited Apr '20
=== First Bit ===
Hello. I feel like I wanted to write something about roleplaying for people to read. If anyone has any comments or argues to what I'm about to say here, I will tell you forefront that I'm not a perfect player either. I just wanted to write something for Fabletop players to have as food for thought.

So, what is a character, you say? A character is an entity in a setting that acts and behaves, acting as a part of force that moves a story besides other elements (nature, logic, etc). A character can vary in attitude, behavior, history, appearance, strengths, and weaknesses, giving many possibilities of unique interactions. In Fabletop, these characters act as GMPCs (Game Master Player Characters), NPCs (Non-Player Character, albeit it's still controlled by GM in FT), and PCs (Player Character). These characters are fictional characters that is used for roleplaying in tabletop games such as Fabletop.

There can never truly be a horrible character. The only thing that makes it look bad is the lack of research, lack of execution, as well as vagueness towards making decisions as a character. Like food, a character can be enjoyed and can be horrible to one's taste. But with the same logic, the taste for a character can depend on what players there are, as well as the settings (medfan, scifi, etc: For example, you would feel weird eating japanese food as an italian).

However, putting the specifics of taste aside... Players use these character to enjoy a game at a table/campaign. There are some that don't put a lot of thought in making their characters, and that's fine. You're not often being forced to make plan your character thoroughly, as long as you and them can have fun, it's all good!

I'll be telling the things I believe is important to make your characters favorable or likeable for other players. I noticed some players have had problems in roleplaying and didn't think anyone liked their character, and that's why I'm here.
(it's going to be long.)
So let's get right on to it.

=== Second Bit ===
The things to notice:
1. Believability, Consistency, and Characteristics: The three of these have something that ties them together. A character normally acts because of his/her own... well, characteristics. You need to understand that a believable character doesn't always follow what their player wants them to do. A solid character have some sort of guideline they follow when they act or talk. Their history also affect their characteristics too.

"Linne is a nice girl. She probably has never been involved in killings before." Although this is the normal presumption, it can always be the other way around: Kind because has seen too much violence, kind because she is hiding something, etc. From here, we can conclude that a character can act a certain way because of their past, present, and future.

To tell you why keeping a certain characteristics is important... it's a valuable tool to give other players a clear idea about what your character is. The more consistent behavior/action your character does, the more clearer your character is to other people. It makes it easier for them to engage you in conversations. The longer your party engages with each other, the more they understand each other's characteristics.

alkwyzheir: So I'm going to tell them to not drink too many drinks and go to bed.
The party: Yeah, alk's character has always been that "doting".
alkwyzheir: U wot mate?

These characteristics tend to become clearer overtime, that each player doesn't have to explain these characteristics. They just unanimously know that "this specific character is like this".

For example, if say... Boolean is a greedy man, and one day he randomly throw away his coins, the other players are like, "?". This is how people are. They try to find a rational explanation to foreign or strange behavior something makes. And what Boolean did can be a clear characteristic, but it was not explained WHY he did it. It's up to you to clarify the reasons behind this actions.

As a possible explanation, Boolean had to threw away all his coins because there was bugs swarming them. He is scared of bugs.
So, if you want to show that to other players, you can do it with something like this:
Boolean: --he rummages through his sack of gold before flailing and jumping wildly-- AAH! BUGS! Get it off me! --he says that as he threw away the gold that was covered in ants--

2. It's okay to be hurt: Okay, this may sound a bit perverted, but I'm referring to a different thing. Players often treat their characters like their son and daughter, giving them their best and want them to be successful. It's not wrong to want this since it's natural. However, if you protect them too much, they will never be able to grow and show their beauty. What I am referring from this is the idea that you don't want your characters to cry, to be angry, or to be upset about something. You don't want your character to be hurt or to express it.

From hundreds of hours playing a game called Rimworld, I often categorize this aspect as Softcore players and Hardcore players.

a. Softcore Players: Players who are uncomfortable with their character's being hurt or die. Would try to persuade for a retcon or revive them.
b. Hardcore Players: Players who are used to their characters get hurt.

I will say this once more: I am not endorsing you to become hardcore players. Both gameplay styles are acceptable as roleplayers, and we're all having fun in tabletop games. But as a less exaggerated suggestion, you still have to accept the fact that your character can be hurt emotionally. They can be angry, sad, frustrated towards a change, an addition, and a loss of something important to them.

You have to be ready for the day when other characters lash out at you. As your character is human-like (referring to not-mary-sue), he/she will have conflicting feelings towards collective decisions your party makes.
(For example, your party is asked to hunt down all dragons. You, as a character, are a dragon lover. You can't just be silent and let them do it. The idea of dragons extinct worries you... frustrates you to the fact you shouted at your party. Even worse, you slapped one of your most likable friend for joking about killing dragons.)

...for when the time comes, you have to be ready to act as your character's desire instead of your own.

3. Engaging in Events/Conversations: This may be less obvious, but you have to not be scared to engage in conversations in anyone. Your GM is not the only person/character that you can talk to in a table/campaign. The players are there too! You can try to engage in conversations with other characters regarding recent events or give your thoughts about something, and it will also work as a way for other players the chance to show off their character (in like an opinion/thoughts-like).

What I learned from my experience roleplaying before Fabletop, I learn that you have to be both engaging and be ready to engage when interacting with other players. I've roleplayed a few years in Twitterponies, a My Little Pony Twitter roleplaying community. From that group, I've realized that your character doesn't have to be the most beautiful, talented, or even the most powerful character for people to crowd you. The only requirement that they need is that you have to be engaging and be ready to engage in other people's approach.

Conversations are never always about you, so if they want to talk about their life story, you have to listen to them in exchange for you telling yours. Two-way Roleplay has always been a mutual relationship and you should try to not be too full of yourself so they can enjoy it too.

*GM and the Party has just cleared out a mob of bandits in a forest. You and the party are currently resting or walking towards the next area. Meanwhile, you talked to one of the players, Grok, a strong orc.*

"Wow, you really outpowered those guys without a scratch. I couldn't even hit them at all! How did you do it?" you asked, in a way that gives room for the orc player to give more room to talk about themselves.

"It wasn't that hard," he brushed off. "I've spent years training as a soldier for the kingdom."

...and you can guess where this is going. Conversations don't rely on having the GM to be present in order to be engaging. As long as you have a topic or an idea you want to bring, thoughts and opinions will show up.

(Side Note: Also, keep your talking in moderation and try not to overdo this when the GM is trying to emote/explain something important. You can't talk about the best tea while a meteor is about to hit you.)

4. Acceptance, Denial, and Change: As a living character, this is an inevitable thing for mortals who are living in progressing time. Your time is not eternal, and neither it is static. It moves linearly whether you want it or not.

How does this relate to the good character? Characters grow over time. As much as you want to have the same willy-nilly happy-go-lucky character, it isn't always a good idea to keep it that way. A character's mindset can change over time because of present events. The things that happen to your character builds and change it.

For example, you can compare it to things like tree and cement.

A tree is planted at soil and grows over time. At one point, it will grow very big and provide oxygen for people unintentionally. However as time goes on, it will get old. It will get weak, rot, and wither to nothingness. To explain the analogy, your character were born from something. All it had to do was to grow without other purpose than to live. But as time goes on, your character grew and became stronger, and it ultimately made a change to other people. Depending on the "weather", your character can be weak at dark days, it can be strong at bright times, and it can nearly break at hard times. And as times goes on, he/she keeps growing and growing until death.

A cement is another way to explain action-effect thing (causality). A cement is originally powder-like. It's not fully solid and can scatter everywhere. However, once it gets mixed with things like lime, sand, and water, it will solidify into something concrete (please note I don't fully know how cements work). If you relate this to how a character change, a character can start off as something that can turn into a lot of things. Your character can be a knight, a farmer, archer, or a bandit if he/she chooses so. However, the mixing of concrete hits and the change solidifies over time. Your choice slowly becomes one path that you ultimately choose. This analogy can be interpreted in a darker way too. Say that you want to be a knight, but then the knights that you loved so much killed your parents. It has solidified your heart as solid as a cement.

...that got a little bit dark. Let's just move on past that.

These aspects work similarly to how a character can change. Your character can be in denial towards some change, or accept it. However, as a human, your character will never be eternally the same. What changes your character can be a dilemma, a life-changing event, or something similar to an ultimatum.

*Adelis is a kind girl. She has believed she has done her best to do the right things for the sake of the world. However, one day, her party is in the brink of death and she was given some choices: She could choose to abandon her friends and live; She could accept the power of devil to fight for their lives; Or she could die to let her friends live. Although she was kind, she didn't want to die, so she didn't immediately choose the last choice. She didn't want to take the offering of a devil either. However, she could never abandon her friends after all they had done for her. Because of this, it puts her in a conflicting choice that will change her*

A change is not always a change. It can sometimes be a way to polish your character and give more clear edges about what your character stands for.

So, please prepare your heart to give room for your character to change. To be beautiful is to grow. If you only keep them the same forever, you will never see the other beauty your character can show.

=== Final Bit ===
For now, this is the part where I'm out of ideas. I will sometimes try to update it if anything new occurs to me, and I'll try to change it if my explanation doesn't reflect reality.

Do note that my advice are not absolute. All rules can be followed and be broken to make a good, fun, and enjoyable character. This post is meant to help new players as a guideline if they have problems playing a text-based roleplay in Fabletop.

If anyone wants to comment or to add their own suggestions, they are free to do so.

Have fun, community~
fremkun Apr '20
Boblin the Goblin best character
alkwyzheir Apr '20  /  edited Apr '20
=== Creating a Lore/Backstory for your character ===
This part is made specifically because of a certain player. With this bit, I am hoping it can help new players to understand how to make relevant story for their own characters.

=== What is Story? ===
A story is an event that is happening, explained in a narrative form. A story can have character, location, and natural events, as well as conflicts within said life. In Fabletop, a story is something a person can tell to reveal information about a history, or most of the times... their character.

A backstory works similarly, as it's a story that happens in the past. Backstories are past events that is reflected from a character. It can tell you about their story, how they grew up, what happened to them, as well as the decisions and events that revolves around them.

Does a backstory have to be perfect? No. For people to enjoy them, a backstory only needs to be plausible, a word that refers to "believeable" information that any player can understand. A backstory has to have a foundation to build from. If anything that a backstory tells was not shown or proven in any type of way, it will have no relevancy to the character.

*As an example: Finril's dad is the type of guy that takes care of Finril. He takes her to school all the way until her graduation. Finril's dad wouldn't mind giving Finril money if she ever asks for it.*

Do you see what's the problem here? This backstory is supposed to be about Finril, not her dad. It doesn't show anything about Finril nor does it show what kind of character Finril is. From that backstory, Finril could still be anything: She could be a girl that is wasteful, or she could be shrewd. We DON'T know that unless the player explains it. This is what I am referring as plausible backstory.

To make a relevant/plausible backstory, it has to reflect on the character's history as well as their decision that shape history.
(Continued below)
alkwyzheir Apr '20
[Character Action] x [History]
Both of these intermingled and have cycled relationship that builds one another.

To correct the Finril story, you could shape it in a way that orients around her.

*Finril is a lousy child. Her dad has always pampered her to the point where she didn't need to do anything in her whole life. One day, the parent went broke and lost all of their fortune. Even still, her Father kept giving Finril the money she asked. This shocked Finril.*

...now from here, Finril can act, behave, or react to the situation/condition that changes. We know that she is lousy, and we know she is pampered. But there is a potential that shows she could also change.

If you want to make a backstory, make sure it is reflecting on the character in any way: What his/her friends are, how he/she behaves, what events that affected his/her life, how that affected him/her, and what he/she aspires. You can't just make up irrelevant backstory like, "Alkwyzheir once ate using the wrong side of spoon." What? How is that relevant to Alk's backstory?

=== Sticky Notes ===
Here are some guidelines in case you don't know what to put in your backstory.
(please take note that I will be mentioning 5W 1H a lot)
[Who] [What] [Where] [When] [Why] [How]

1. Who/What is he/she? (a general explanation of the character. Can refer to their appearance as well.)

2. Where/When/Why/How was/is she born? (can refer as the character's birthplace, how they were created, what time they were born, and a reason of why the character is born. e.g: Her parents wanted a male successor; he was created by power of magic; the squirrel was born when the fire nation attacked, etc.)

3. What/Why/How does he/she do? (refers to the character's action within the backstory. e.g: Steals stuff; becoming a priest, etc.)

4. Who/What/Where/When/Why/How is X affecting him/her? (refers to external force that changed the character. This can be a person, an event, their health condition, etc. Works as a reason to do an action. e.g: Her parents died by bandits, so she became a paladin to vanquish all evil.)

5. Who/What/Where is his/her goal? (refers to their ambition as well as what they have done to reach it. Includes a person of interest (who), his/her motives (what), their destination (where). e.g: Damian wants to be a priest, so he spent 12 years studying in church; Skye has a crush on Damian, so she joined a church despite her hate for it; Alexa wanted to go to Despatico to do something.)

=== Why This is Important ===
These events reflect a character and ultimately affect how he/she behaves, what decision they will make about X, and how they will do it.

For example, Y'lomir has a backstory of being a bandit because he was so poor he had to resort to thievery. On present time, when he saw that the party was about to kill a kid that stabbed one of the players, Y'lomir hesitated. He didn't know why the kid had done that yet and asked. The kid tells him that his mother was taken hostage because she sold herself. With the backstory of knowing what it feels to be poor, Y'lomir sympathized with the kid.

And that's why backstories can be important in the kind of way that it is the direct equivalent of the character's spirit.

=== Ending Bit ===
...something like that.
trotrigar Apr '20
Preach! Very nice guide Alk!
alkwyzheir Apr '20
=== GM-Player Etiquette ===
Now this part specifically I am not fully knowledgable to input enough information, but I will share all I can for the newcomers.

What is etiquette, you mean? I am referring to keeping yourself disciplined in a way to keep the game smooth and not messy. What I am referring to is something like this:

GM: --is making a matt after combat--
Player 1: --sees GM is putting Vase item while his chat bar is yellow-- I inspect that brick.
GM: --doesn't see the text since he's MAKING the map--
Player 1: --rolls Wisdom 3--
GM: Wh-

There are times where being in a rush can only clutter the roleplay experience, which in this case, distracts the GM from doing his thing. I can assure you that each GM's etiquette is never the same, so you'll need to consider asking the GM about his/her preference.

Here are the most commonly shared etiquette:
(A side note: None of these are definite or absolute. These lists that I am mentioning can be varying from each GM, but will point to the commonly debated attitude that can bother the roleplaying experience. Do not be afraid to ask if the GM allows any of these.)

1. Dice Rolling without being asked: There are some GM that allows you to diceroll without him/her telling you, but there are also some who doesn't. It takes time for a GM to emote a paragraph-length of what happens when someone acts, and the GM is babysitting from 1 to 6 players at the same time. At the most part, the GM should have about the same typing speed as you, so his emoting/Gming speed is limited. Don't be afraid to ask the GM if you can roll before he asks you to, since communication and mutual agreement is beneficial.

2. Interacting In-Character while GM is making the matt/map: When a GM is drawing a mat, he doesn't always have every pixels planned. They take their time and patience to plan out the locations for their maps. This is why some GMs prefer to prepare a mat before the session starts. Please note that you shouldn't try to make actions that the GM needs to attend to. During mat changing, it is still acceptable to talk to each party members since it does not directly bother the GM.

3. Interacting In-Character while GM is emoting: Again like list Number 1, the GM has a limited typing speed, so if he/she is trying to write a paragraph of emote for a certain character, you can't also expect them to attend to you at the same time. Take patience in consideration, cause when 6 players are emoting things that the GM needs to attend (for example, 6 people is SHOPPING), most GM would find it very difficult to multitask things. Wait out until the GM finishes attending to one player before doing yours, unless your action demands interruption (for example, if someone is trying to jump off a cliff, you can interrupt them and try to save him.)

4. Sharing/Posting your table at another table: This is a definite taboo. You are heavily encouraged to not talk about or show off another player's table while a session is going.

5. Keeping things In-Topic: This depends on some players. There are times in session where you want to share a picture about your turtle...
...while a Tarrasque is attacking you with a fire breath.
Please take in consideration of when is the best time to talk about unrelated things to the session. It's allowed, but keep it in moderation, as Out-of-Character talks can break the player's enjoyment In-Character. When the GM is changing a mat, you can go wild with them talks.

6. --be right back-- and --away from keyboard--: Do not be afraid to tell anyone about this. Any GM would thank you for saying this instead of calling your name multiple times when it's your turn.

7. Campaign Involvement: This is a weird and vague topic, and I'm only bringing this up for food and thought. Some GMs have strict rules and have pre-set table that they have planned ahead, and some allow the players to put in their own ideas to shape how the tableworld works. What I am referring by this is something like...

Player: So my character is a prince of dragons, so your world has a kingdom with 16 dragons.
GM, whose table is about steampunk: Uh...

Even if the theme is Medieval Fantasy, please take into consideration that you should not push your ideas forcibly towards a GM. A Game Master hosts a table because he/she wants to enjoy it; They host it because they want to introduce an idea or a world concept to the players that they've made. The act of forcing an idea to change someone's world can be considered insulting. Understand that some GM DO indeed allow changes, but it doesn't mean everyone is. Try to ask if the GM is allowing you to make a character that directly influences the table somehow.

8. Public talk and message talk: Both of these are fine. I have nothing to add about it. Just note that if you are asking a question that other players could be asking as well, it's better off asking the GM OOC instead of going through the /msg command. The GM wouldn't want to answer 6 times about how to tap "mana", am I right? --laughs--

=== Last Bit ===
Ree.
alkwyzheir Apr '20
(As a side note, this forum became less and less about Ccing a character and more about roleplaying the more I put stuff into it. It's better than spam making a new forum for each category)

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