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Erran

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This is a comment written for the post at
http://www.thetangledweb.net/forums/...aracter-ponies.
I could not publish it there.

~
Hi Lake ~ I thought I saw something, in what your post describes, of how I with my first character, Errandûrr, were perceived; what we must have reminded of. I believe that your opinion is representative for a way of doing things in the rp-world that I would like to understand better. And dialog here seems like a good opportunity. But how could a comment of mine arouse your interest?

Suppose that I, leaving anything personal aside, would speak on behalf of that kind of player you refer to. Would you then like to stand for a greater receptiveness of the role-players you represent? Or perhaps, would you like to just neutrally explore alongside me what might go on inside that kind of player, that which makes them behave differently? Otherwise, would you be interested in making more clear to that kind of player who does not fit but would try to adapt, the aspects of rp interaction you are good at?

This could be an opportunity for such a player, as well as for me to learn more. But yours is a blog post and, as such, it may not be intended for starting a dialog. Therefore please see my comment as free of expectations, in spite of its style. I hope you will not feel that I step with it too far out of line, while trying to go beyond one-sidedly agreeing or disagreeing with your point of view.

~
This kind of player you refer to seems to belong to more than one category, and it would perhaps be good to differentiate between them.

One first distinction is between the one who chooses to stick with expressing through a single character, and the one of whom you speak at points 2 and 4: the player difficult to deal with. I´ll call them OneChar and TooMuch respectively.

Then, I am wondering - Which kind of OneChar did you have in mind: the one who chooses to dedicate to one type of character, at one time? or a player who repeatedly approaches team play with a particular combination of class-and-backstory? In the first case, further differentiation can be made between one who is just starting out and one who has the experience of having participated in a few campaigns. The more experienced they are, the less adaptable they probably become.

Now, with the OneChar, in general, it may not be a matter of limiting their possibilities, but rather of already having limited possibilities. Whether it is the case of a freshman or of a player with years of practice, the limitation you mention at point 1 may be their only means of giving structure to their expression.

In the introductory paragraph you said ¨it´s (...) their choice¨ and called that an ¨idea¨. But my experience makes me believe it might be a matter of feeling, before thinking, and of a choice already made for them through their emotional build-up. It is much easier to take on a variety of characters if one keeps their (deeper) emotions out of the game. The OneChar seek to express something of their soul through their choice of character and to connect with others at a soul level; and not necessarily as a TooMuch, who may constantly seek others´ attention through a separate show. The care given to their character can be the same as that with which they would approach others´ characters.

One of the things you mentioned is the ¨novella¨ backstory. It can make a OneChar seem like a TooMuch, but I believe that can be averted, with just a little care from everyone. It´s how it is used that can cause problems.

One extreme form of misuse is to get lost in the character´s past and depths of personality, thus losing contact with the group and the GM´s story. I do have difficulties imagining that, but I think the conditions of tabletop play can make even milder forms of the above unbearable. And yet... there seem to be so many steps to the ladder of making reference to a long, in-depth backstory. I don´t see why people should focus on the bottom of it... A player who takes only quick or shallow dives now and then, keeping the personal in balance with the others´ priorities, should prove to be a good play companion. And you know, Lake, I may be wrong, but I feel it is the not caring, even a little, for the other´s story that makes people ¨groan inside¨...

And one last aspect: With novels, it´s usual to have the characters gradually defined. That, I believe, is not hindered by a long, in-depth backstory. Instead, the backstory provides a useful foundation for later developments. I, for one, am unpleasantly impressed by a character who, in spite of having an alignment and some personality traits defined in the sheet, disregards them with no clear motive. The long, in-depth story can serve to keep that in check. Also, it might allow the character-conscious player to focus on the interactions with others instead of trying to put story things together during play; without that support of being able to make reference to past decisions. And I assume that in tabletop play the difference can be more acutely felt than in pbp.

Just a few words now about that TooMuch from point 2 (if possible, dissociated from the OneChar concept): If one character cannot face a story´s challenges alone, then how can its player behave like a TooMuch? or how can the desire to shine like a ¨gem¨ interfere with playing one´s role in a team? Aren´t the skills and abilities keeping one from trying impossible things, limiting action to what is more probable to succeed?

It may be that some players give themselves exaggerated importance through how they behave towards others... Or it may be that they tend to participate with a much greater amount of detail than others; like in my verbose older blog posts. The likelihood of this to happen should be greatly reduced by each player having presented their preferences before the game starts. And if things go wrong later on, I believe that the possibility of a TooMuch not realizing the hurt it causes others and being willing to course-correct is worth a chance, and the effort of amiably discussing things.

The Story of Errandûrr, should it have grown by now, would perhaps have been useful in illustrating how a OneChar, who may seem like a TooMuch, can offer pleasant and inoffensive playing companionship; even without conforming to a usual rp way of doing things. Without that, my words have to remain just the reflection of mentally exploring the topic from your post. There must be some mistakes throughout. Hopefully, something good might be in here also.

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  1. Alcazar QZR's Avatar
    Hi! I see...

    But what if OnChar and TooMuch have naturally occurred together in the same person in LakeThePondling's experience? That's what I had understood: OneChar+TooMuch=One Character Ponies. Besides, and not to sound jaded, some people will simply not change personal character traits such as unwarranted self-importance and general egocentrism, even after amiably discussing things. I think many of us know the type: people that would only engage in conversation to stroke themselves and their egos. I do not want to bore you with personal anecdotes, but let's say that I have learnt to stay clear from such types the hard way: befriending one. Incidentally, in Argentina we call them "tilingos", is there a word in English for those? I may just be reading too much into this, though.

    As regards the 'novella' backstory, I think we all are entitled to write whatever creative vomit we want. So I'd say to that player lucky enough to be in a very creative mood: "Go ahead, Felipe, knock yourself out! Write away to your heart's content! Also, etiquette indicates you should leave an excerpt for those who are busy: If the premise is good, I am positive they'll click on your Google Drive file to read the extended Director's Cut version!" Or something like that, you know? I think of it as turn-taking: you can hold the floor for so long before coming off as rude, right?

    Rereading your comment makes me think that your reply to LakeThePondling's blog entry does not refute it, but rather qualifies it, and that seems to be your intention. Am I correct? Consider my comment to be written with the same goal in mind.

    Cheers!
  2. Erran's Avatar
    Hi, Alcazar ~ Thank you for your comment, and welcome to the conversation!

    I will just briefly address some of your points directly, to help make our communication as clear as possible. But please see the rest of my reply as an indirect, complementary answer to them.

    - I agree that it is possible for one to meet, and have to deal with, a OneChar+TooMuch combination. I add that it can be useful to differentiate between the two types, even with reference to the same person.
    - I feel I must specify, in accordance to my intended purpose for this dialog, that OneChar and TooMuch were labels adopted only with better understanding in mind, and that there isn´t (in my awareness) any derogatory or otherwise potentially damaging connotation to them. A term like ´tilingos´ seems opposite in effect.
    - I agree that some people, most people - if you´ll allow me, will not change some personal character traits after one amiable discussion, or ten, or one hundred such. I add that the discussions can play a useful social role, nonetheless.
    - I agree that it is good to have a shorter version of the long backstory; I seem to have had the inspiration to write one while preparing Errandûrr´s story, so that can be an example.
    - I can, however, only with great caution approach the employment of such syntagmas as ´creative vomit´. The reason is the same as in the case of ´tilingos´. Again with that clarity of communication in mind, I reserved a separate section below for what I understand ´creative vomit´ to express.
    - I agree with the idea that my comment to Lake´s blog entry does not try to refute it, and I say that perhaps ´qualify´ is a suitable word for what my comment-blog post has achieved. I acknowledge your intentions, but can only do so with regard to what I wrote.

    I will most likely elaborate, in the continuation of my reply, on the above affirmations. If not, or insufficiently, perhaps amends can be made in later parts of the conversation.

    In the continuation, I anticipate that all influences to my thoughts will be blended together to a great degree. They will probably have lost too much of their independent, original nature to offer place to distinct, isolated references to what someone has said. Thus, I must relieve myself of the promise to explain what ´creative vomit´ conveys to me, here, before I go on.
    - The syntagm seems to indicate, in the specified context, displeasure towards a piece of writing which is regarded as intellectually undigested, and consequently unrefined. The choice of term could also be determined by having to deal with too much of what one person puts of the emotional self in writing; in which case social, beside intellectual, standards may define good taste. What the word does, additionally, is transfer the sensation of disgust to the author. -
    My hopes for what a conversation such as this one can achieve prevent me from attempting to bring arguments either in favor or in disfavor of employing a syntagm like ´creative vomit´, or a label like ´tilingo´. But the essence of using such terms will be brought into consideration in the following paragraphs.

    (continues in the next comment)
  3. Erran's Avatar
    (the previous comment continued)

    Our posts share a theme, the foundation of which I understand to be a separation of players into opposite groups: those who conform to a general way of socializing, through and around playing, which works, bringing mutual satisfaction, and those who don´t conform, usually causing disturbances in the dynamics of rp and inter-players interactions of the first group. It may also be the case that the first group represents a majority in the rp-world, but I don´t feel that such a fact should influence someone´s decision to fit in: To get along with people already of the first group, in spite of individual differences, would primarily be a matter of wanting to be together, instead of separate. However, as in the larger context of societies and real life, it matters that the majority determines the laws of acceptable behavior. And laws are there to decisively settle arguments.

    Through a discussion such as this one, I believe, people are given the opportunity to move away from points of argument and counter-argument and to explore that space in between the two groups, perhaps also to populate it with thoughts of a neutral nature. Although it is possible that lawful players might make occasional, small allowances for the sake of chaotic ones, it is the members of that second group who have to take on the most part of the adaptation effort; including personal sacrifices (or what might seem like such). It is that empty space in between the two groups that the chaotic players have to cross by themselves, and, through discussions such as this one, the lawful players can come to meet them as already equals; in terms of the partnership which can be established within a rp team. It can, basically, be an opportunity to avoid looking at the differences in order to see better what people have in common.

    I mentioned the neutrality of thoughts shared. I believe that to be necessary, but it may not be sufficient. The intention conveyed by the words of the lawful players should, I feel, appear as neutral. But there may also be need for a personal touch, for something which causes difficulties to be thrown in, only to be, then, neutralized; something small, in each case. Such devices would serve as examples of overcoming difficulties for the lawfulness-aspiring crossers of the space in between social groups. They could be demonstrations of the personal left aside for the sake of law-conforming benefits; and that being-left-aside can appear as sacrifice, failure, outgrowth, and perhaps other things. The personal touch could help players of the two groups relate on a humane, faults-challenged and mistakes-exposed level.

    Change can be very difficult and take a long time: difficult, because the one to change is asked to let go of something which they defend as their own life and in which they know to be able of finding (usually by themselves) the most amount of satisfaction; a long time, because becoming one of the others implies the formation of a new such something that now gets in the way. I am referring to what people call the ego, and which appears synonymous with the self in a syntagm like ´self-centered´ (I am not quoting you here, Alcazar - the use of this syntagm corresponds to a common view on things). I add that the association ego-self probably reflects the fact that the human soul is mixed with the ego; perhaps inseparably. In a functional human society, individuality is present and plays an accepted role; with both the good and the bad. The misfit´s individuality doesn´t. And there are two ways to bring it into play: either ¨kill¨ it, letting the person to cross a void of personal satisfaction while learning to conform - or slowly, bit by bit, transform it. Discussions like ours can help in each case.

    I mentioned the reason I think best for willing to change: to be with the others, instead of separate. But where should the strength behind a willingness maintained all the way come? Certainly not the ego of separation, or the soul ridden by its faults. I believe it is from the heart presence of sharing and of togetherness. The amount of good and of bad in the mixture which appears as one´s self is, in my experience, decided by the interplay of these two human centers: the ego and heart chakras. If the heart dominates, the ego can become a useful tool. Nothing, big or small, was ever achieved without the ego´s participation, including relationships; even if the ego´s role was only passive. And sometimes the ego is broken. What appears as bad behavior may be a sort of malfunction, instead of the effect of the ego dominating the heart. The ego must be repaired or strengthened in order to use it well. It follows from the above that the lawful players, who come to meet the chaotic willing to change, should have in view not only the ego´s adaptation but also the empowerment of that person´s heart.

    ¨Self¨-empowerment of the heart takes place through selfless acts and through self-detachment while relying on the heart energy (a sort of meditation way of life). This process, which in my experience can be very long and often difficult to fit in with to the competitive aspect of life in society, can be helped by expressing love in some way towards that person. The coming to meet by participating to such a discussion already is an expression of love. The neutrality of the approach, including being ready for not achieving any immediate result through dialog, gives to love the quality of being unconditional, which matches the energy of the heart, sending it in that direction, instead of the ego. And then the soul would be fed from the heart.

    I wrote a lot, but I feel like the topic could never be exhausted. There can never be enough such talks, I feel, or enough people participating or making reference to them in their own judgment. I may have just repeated something that the reader is aware of. This is what such discussions can do, as I see it: repeat, in different ways for many different people.

    Anticipating that I have your approval, Alcazar and Lake, for the content I put forward as part of this conversation, I thank you for making it possible by giving a start to my own thoughts. Otherwise, I am open to criticism. I thank the anonymous reader too, for enduring with me through all these long paragraphs. ~
  4. Tiger's Avatar
    There is one thing the same with every single thing you write.
    I admire consistency but here it's just bad.
    So Imma just state the following, which is going to go for about 99% of the people on this site:
    TL/DR
  5. Rellott's Avatar
    I have attempted to read several of your blog posts, and I have to agree with Tiger. I can't bring myself to finish any of them. I have an MA in English, and I'm a teacher, so I'm used to seeing verbosity, hedging of arguments, and grandiloquence (both attempted and successful, though success with it isn't something I would consider something to be proud of). At least your more recent posts have paragraph breaks to help separate your ideas into more manageable chunks.

    But this isn't academia. We're not the ivory tower. We are people trying to play a game and talk about a game we're passionate about. Even in forums where people go really in-depth and form a sort of academic study of the game, they rarely write in a style like yours because it's really unnecessary (notice that I could have easily used "superfluous," but that would have been unnecessary).

    While you've been hanging out in the blog section, you've missed the opportunity to join several games in several different systems. There is currently a 5e game recruiting (recruitment ends on Sunday the 8th) that you should apply to with one of your characters that you've made. There's also a game using a system I'm unfamiliar with, that seems a lot more open-ended, free-form, and rules-light. Check it out. I know others have recommended you read through some of the games and recruitments here. I would reiterate that. Notice that pretty much no one goes on and on forever or uses such academic jargon. If you really want to learn and get involved, put your money where your mouth is and join a game. You'll never really learn how to play D&D by only ever playing by yourself. Even if you manage to get the rules down-pat, it's still not really the same game when it's just you.
    Updated 04-04-2018 at 10:29 PM by Rellott
  6. Erran's Avatar
    Tiger, I can only submit to the staff´s decision. Please let me know if Heroes of Eattwe is acceptable within the blog section. I intend to publish a new episode on Sunday; and it is about 2k words long. I can restrict my blog presence to that story.

    Rellott, you may be right about learning through actual play, but things can also go wrong if I am insufficiently prepared. I don´t want to ruin everyone else´s experience. Heroes of Eattwe is my current means of making sure that I can play along others.

    Role-play was to me, from the beginning, a means of interaction with others; not something to end up doing by myself. I was fascinated by the perspective that imaginative interaction seemed to be offering to self-expression. I now find myself still trying to adapt to what you are used to. This, and the reflection of difficulties in my soul, is what ¨really want¨ comes down to, right now.

    I don´t have the necessary resources to join a campaign at the moment. If you like Heroes of Eattwe, perhaps we can remain in touch through it. I leave all the rest to the passage of time.
  7. Rellott's Avatar
    I don't think Tiger was making an administrative edict - he was expressing his opinion about your writing. He, like me, thinks that your posts are really long. Your most recent reply is much better.

    There are many people here who are happy to help people learn the ropes if you're not prepared. Ironing wrinkles out at character creation helps clarify a lot of things that you'll need to know to play, but learning those other things in play shouldn't slow the game down or mess anything up. You're here; you're persistent; you've been around longer than many newbies to the site, and you're still not even in a game - most people would have left by now, frustrated.

    If you are waiting until you're fully prepared, you'll be waiting forever.

    I've said my piece. I hope to see you popping up in the recruitment threads soon.
    Updated 04-07-2018 at 12:34 AM by Rellott
  8. Erran's Avatar
    I saw this movie once, about a WWII soldier who avoids capture and ends up living with the natives; somewhere in SE Asia, on an island. I think it was Nick Nolte who played that role. By the time a British military expedition reaches those people, they had made the soldier their king. One day, a quarrel is brought before him, something to do with an unwanted child. The natives´ solution was to kill the infant, but the king takes him (or her, I don´t remember) in his arms and says something like: ¨This is my child now¨, ending the argument. The leader of the British expedition, who witnessed the scene, expressed his admiration, then, with such words: ¨Now, for the first time, I saw you as a king¨.

    Your reply reminded me of that movie, Rellott. It is the kings and queens inside people, that I dreamed of reaching all along, here. Their company is the home to return to, regardless of the furnishings of writing style. I am honored by the nobility of your choice of meanings and words; and I receive them as from everyone at TTW. For now, I know them to be breathing new life into my Heroes of Eattwe project. For later, when I will be considering joining a game, they will be all the memories by which I will trace my soul´s way back to this place.

    In the eventuality that my last comment cast an unfriendly light, I apologize to you, Tiger. Your official capacity overrides, in my understanding, the status of just being one of the people at TTW. I assumed that, by writing here, you take action in order to protect them. My intention, as I hope that my answer showed, is the same.

    One thing in favor of excessive wording is that it gives more chances to the avoidance of misunderstandings.
  9. LakethePondling's Avatar
    No. Excessive wording is like a pomeranian. A lot of fluff with a very delicate skeleton. Precise wording is a bulldog. not much fluff and a lot of impact.
  10. Tiger's Avatar
    For Pete's sake!
    ​TL/DR!
  11. Erran's Avatar
    Lake,

    Did you mean
    to contradict my
    ¨excessive wording (...)
    gives more chances (...)¨?

    In that case,
    the comparison with dogs
    can´t be sufficient argument.

    What if someone would write:

    ¨It´s possible, but...¨
    instead of
    ¨No.¨

    and ¨can be like¨
    instead of
    ¨it´s like¨?

    Impact
    may not always be
    the intended effect.

    Between a kite
    and an airliner´s means,
    I´d choose a bird´s flight.


    Tiger,

    I hope you don´t refer to
    my Heroes of Eattwe.

    It is my last means
    of imagining
    a connection with your world.
    Updated 04-11-2018 at 01:27 PM by Erran
  12. Gith's Avatar
    Erran I think you just keep missing the point of the suggestion to join into a game. Everyone starts at 0 somewhere. I have several players that have never played before and are learning going through level 1 to whatever we end up as. Making mistakes and learning in a kinder social setting helps out a lot to learn the system. I have been playing TSR games from way back and still am learning every time I get into my games here about new and unusual mechanics. As much fun as I am sure you are having with your solo written blogs, I would follow Rellott's suggestion and get into a game on here. Otherwise, you are just playing with yourself by yourself and that is not really the point of being on a PbP system, is it?
  13. LakethePondling's Avatar
    Impact Important
    Without, No one Reads your words
    Brevity is the king
  14. Erran's Avatar
    Maybe not ¨No one¨, Lake,
    but as it seems,
    just a minority of people,
    on this Earth.

    People who´d treat each other
    with something more mild
    than impact,

    and for whom brevity leaves
    out so much of what they
    feel can be shared.

    Yes, kings have strength,
    but that is not what
    makes them kings,

    it´s something of their hearts.

    To read that which is more than brief,
    and to see meanings not impressed
    with impact in the mind,
    one must care about them
    who wrote, first.

    Thank you for this dialog.
  15. Erran's Avatar
    Gith, I do avoid joining a game, but I don´t think I miss the point of the suggestions.

    No one starts at absolute 0. Your players have in common things, and use social skills which help them get along. I have to improvise the equivalent of these.

    Not having joined, so far, is not about understanding a system, the game mechanics. The mistakes that I would not make, in actual play, are of improperly fitting the usual of interactions.

    There is a distance between my soul and what I see people express of themselves in the games; and outside of them. I am still here, trying to cross that distance, because of the initial attraction of role-play: the potential of interacting in imaginative ways.

    I can´t know whether the hurdles of my blog presence have helped my progress, or not. But I see on this page also intentions which remind of that kind social setting you mentioned. I thank you all for your support.

    As little as Heroes of Eattwe might resemble pbp play, the story offers me the benefits of a simulation. At the very least, it allows me to gain a sense of team work.

    I don´t have fun playing by myself; there´s just the pleasure that inspiration brings, occasionally. To write the story is, mostly, to put effort into obtaining something I and everyone else might like.
    Updated 04-13-2018 at 12:36 PM by Erran
  16. Gith's Avatar
    There is no need for comment. You have missed out on several recruitment posts - even one for LMoP which is being run by a novice DM for a novice group of people. Join in
  17. Erran's Avatar
    It looks like LMoP already started. Anyway, I just browsed through what was written so far. All the difficulties I am aware of were there, in front of me. They weren´t dispelled just by following your advice.

    When I said I don´t have the resources to join a campaign right now, I also referred to the energy needed to overcome those difficulties. It´s something that my soul may have to find somewhere else.

    In limiting my presence on this site to Heroes of Eattwe, I also intend to take a break from ¨learning¨. Then, at some moment, I may be able to look with fresh eyes at the games, and maybe find inside something of that enthusiasm Rellott spoke of.