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BlacktotheFuture

Is it "yours" or is it "theirs"?

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So, I'm sure everyone out there likes to think of their characters as unique in one way or another. Think of them as having that special trait that makes them a valued member of the party. It feels good when you're the party healer, the party tank, the only telepath, the only repair guy, etc right?

What about that special piece or pieces of gear that are yours and yours alone? Or maybe that one particular feat or racial passive your character gets automatically? what about just a specific attitude paramount to your character?

Though large and small there are a lot of ways to distinguish your character from the rest of the party. But what about when someone else copies you? gets something similar or even exactly the same as something your character has? I'm sure we've all been in arguments over who gets to roll the warrior of the campaign. We've all tried to call people out for using a knock off of the voice we use for our character. We've all found ourselves trying to defend our territory firmly staked over what we consider our character's "thing".

How far should we go when fighting over such things? How fair is it for us to try and claim things like that?

What's got me ranting tonight is an instance that's somewhat in the extreme. This guy in a game of ours has the class Blue Mage (as in the Final Fantasy kind of Blue Mage). Ever since the beginning of the game he's been doing his damnedest to get big monsters to hit him with the RIGHT kind of magic so he can learn it IF he survives it in the first place. It's hard, dangerous work and the only way the class becomes stronger.

Tonight we got another Blue Mage who'd just started. Low level, no spells. The GM suggests that the first Blue Mage just casts all his spells on the new Blue Mage so that he'd get them instantly and without risking their lives getting it the hard way. The guy who was a Blue Mage first obviously didn't like the idea and was pissed at the prospect of having to hand over what had to work hard for basically for free. (Especially since the GM heavily suggested that he was going to force the issue considering it would help the party as a whole).

Now it's easy to take sides here. On the one hand we're taught to work WITH the party because despite lengthy character bios and descriptions some people tote around roleplaying is generally a team effort to kill the big bad guy and all his/her/its minions. On the other hand why should someone get for free what you had to pay for? and why should you be penalized for your hard work?

But not every battle is over something so core to ones character. Different example is in another (oddly enough) final fantasy roleplay where we had a fighter and a samurai in the same party. Now the samurai class actually has a special ability that calls upon the spirit of a specific sword type, they katana (duh). This effect let him do special draw outs that did special effects based on the blade.

Now the Fighter was a real samurai fan in actuality, and since his class "Fighter" could use any sword-type he declared he was going to use katana's too. Which would mean every time a katana dropped for loot they'd both be bidding for it. So should the Fighter be told to buzz off? Should the samurai HAVE to share any katanas that drop of enemies as they go along?

A third example is even less in scale. It's the ability for your character to fight with their bare hands, or rather MY characters ability to do so. You see I almost always roll some kind of melee class, most famously monks and that sort of thing. But in any given roleplaying system there are numerous ways for a character to have hand to hand or some kind of martial art. Star Wars has echani forms and empty-handed bonuses for lightsaber forms, every class in rifts gets to at least choose A martial art, even in D&D where it's mostly medieval a character can take unarmed strike and improved unarmed strike without being a monk, take levels of monk, etc.

So when I make my focus hand to hand and someone takes a little bit of it do I have the right to get a bit snippy? Does it really detract from the fact that I do it primarily? even if I can do it better than someone who only has a little bit of hand to hand? Should it?

You wanna be unique and feel like nobody could replace you, but how far is too far when it comes to staking personal territory? How much leeway should the GM give you on this if any? Is it really just one of those "tough luck" things or is it much harder to answer than that? What do you guys think?

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  1. Alexander Tau's Avatar
    I have experienced this a couple of times so I do understand what you mean. As a GM I consider what you are describing to be rather pointless. Unless the Characters all started out pre-Training together they have no way to coordinate their abilities and choices. But beyond that I see this sort of thing as proof the people involved are not Role Playing but rather Roll Playing.

    A Character should be made up of a variety of parts each of importance. No matter what is thrown at someone inside the Game they really should go with it. If you are playing a Monk and someone else shows up with big time hand to hand skills then that should be a good thing. The two of you can work together to show everyone that you do not need Spells or Swords to get things done, just fists and feet. *grins*

    But re-reading your post it seems you are talking about Games that are mostly about combat not RP so I see where you could have a problem with duplication. I don't really have much in the way of advice for that sort of Game sadly. Everything I have ever done has been about Role Playing even the combat.
  2. Lowthor's Avatar
    The first two examples you gave had me immediately coming up with ways to deal with the situation in character to improve the game.

    1. The "older" blue mage actually mentors the newer one.
    2. The two samurai actually have a real friendly rivalry and often end up sparring each other for the new swords (which a helpful DM would have drop more often since two PCs are using them).
  3. BlacktotheFuture's Avatar
    So you're of the opinion that people should just share and compromise. 's probably the best way. Though I'm not sure if blue magic can actually be tutored in the same way other magic can...or do you mean something else?
  4. Lowthor's Avatar
    You can always teach something.

    A blue mage to continue with your example could teach another of ways they have learned to better use certain spells, or to mitigate the risks associated with learning new ones.

    I would say that from an OOC perspective sharing makes for a better game, but that you don't have to have it that way IC.
  5. BlacktotheFuture's Avatar
    Huh, I hadn't thought about it like that. Neat. I think I'll suggest that next time it comes up (if the issue hasn't been resolved by then that is). Though the GM was pretty admant about there being no reason for the older Blue mage to hand over all of his spells for the betterment of the party.