Inspired Unreality, October 14, 2019, Staying In Character from hairylarry's blog

Lightly edited text chat from Inspired Unreality on October 14, 2019. Initial topic - Staying In Character. Also thanks to Masked and Danger and Jake the Human for an extended discussion in voice chat.

hairylarry at 8:57 PM
Inspired Unreality in the gamerplus chatrooms in 5 minutes. Initial topic: Staying In Character.

sjard at 8:58 PM
i'm one of those who look at roleplaying as being completely unconnected with playacting/thespianism.

hairylarry at 8:59 PM
I see it as very connected to playwriting and playacting.

sjard at 9:00 PM
fair enough. fortunately there's enough room in the hobby for both of us.

Jake The Human (Tavern Regular) at 9:02 PM
Roleplaying == making game choices as a character.
Roleplaying != acting
Staying in cahracter == acting

Opiyel at 9:03 PM
wouldn't making game choices as a character be staying in character though?

sjard at 9:03 PM

Jake The Human (Tavern Regular) at 9:03 PM
different thing
but related

sjard at 9:03 PM
playacting is the fastest way to stop being in character in my experience.
usually because the accent (usually entirely inappropriate to the setting/campaign) takes over and the character goes out the window

Jake The Human (Tavern Regular) at 9:04 PM
One can roleplay while dungeon crawling.  Acting is mostly the domain of dialouge and NPC interactions

Opiyel at 9:05 PM
BUt wouldn't making those choices while dungeon crawling be a form of method acting?

Ivicus at 9:05 PM
everytime the Dm describes something awful and someone at the table goes "Nope." is roleplaying a character haha

sjard at 9:06 PM
but, i have a feeling this is one of those things much like background music.

sjard at 9:06 PM
case by case, and group by group

Jake The Human (Tavern Regular) at 9:06 PM
If I wanted to sound like an Shakespearean Englishman I'd just make my regular speaking voice, but earthier.  English RP came much later than the period fantasy emulates

hairylarry at 9:07 PM
I like background music that fits the theme too. or sound effects like thunder or wind

Ivicus at 9:07 PM
I need background ambience because I have tinnitus and having something just a simple as like a cave dripping helps with my sanity lol
Or bare minimum a box fan

I think it was Mat Covelle or however you spell it that had
  roleplaying (lower-case) = playing a Character in a game but it's essentially an in-game you
  Roleplaying (upper-case) = playing a Character in a game and make decisions based on what the Character would do, not you as the Player
  voices etc. are just extra
hairylarry at 9:07 PM
I don't think you have to do voices to be in character.

Masked and Danger at 9:08 PM
On the other hand, putting an English accent (or a fake scottish in my case, my current character is from Moonshae) SOUNDS better then just talking in my neutral american english

hairylarry at 9:08 PM
Or even act. I think you should be in character in your roleplaying. In what you do.  

Corra at 9:08 PM
I'm the same @hairylarry, that's why I like the definition I mentioned above

sjard at 9:08 PM
and for almost every group i've ever been in, background music/sound effects have been so distracting that they effectively end the game session until removed.

Jake The Human (Tavern Regular) at 9:08 PM
The vocies are fun, but yeah it's all russian pirate by the end of the night. And that's before people started bringing hooch

sjard at 9:09 PM
scottish russian pirate if they're a dwarf

hairylarry at 9:09 PM
I agree Corra. Missed that while we were getting set up.

sjard at 9:09 PM
which isn't exactly appropriate for playing in warring states period china

Masked and Danger at 9:09 PM
I try to mix it up character to character

hairylarry at 9:09 PM
I like to play a character that has my interests so I don't have to pretend I don't know something.

Jake The Human (Tavern Regular) at 9:10 PM
I don't think I'm allowed to do warring states voices anymore :stuck_out_tongue:

hairylarry at 9:10 PM
maybe torpedo noises

Masked and Danger at 9:10 PM
Like obviously, characters should be a reflection of the player.  That goes back to the beginning of the hobby, where the characters literally were the players isekei'd into Castle Blackmoor
But I am a multitude

hairylarry at 9:11 PM
Megan likes to play something completely different
I'm kind of always me but a variation.

Masked and Danger at 9:12 PM
I can play a refined privateer, a poor hedge knight, a fashion disaster wizard

Jake The Human (Tavern Regular) at 9:12 PM
Most of my characters are a small piece of Jake, expanded into the simulacrum of a person

vivian at 9:12 PM
I usually just wing it. Never know what I'm going to do.

Opiyel at 9:12 PM
I generally try and challenge myself by playing personality types outside of my comfort zone

Masked and Danger at 9:12 PM
Granted, there is a circumstantial element to it

hairylarry at 9:12 PM
I need to do more of that.
For a long time I was always a bard because that's so me.
Now I'm playing other stuff. I even broke down and played a fighter.

Masked and Danger at 9:13 PM
In my current group, when I'm playing I'm the idea man and often the voice of reason

hairylarry at 9:13 PM
You know I'm a lover, not a fighter (blues lyric)

sjard at 9:14 PM
i think every character will likely be at least 50% the person playing it. can't help it, but when i play a new character, it takes a while to really fill up the other 50%.

Opiyel at 9:14 PM
I also ask "What would make my character act different from their personality?" rather that "What would my character do?"

hairylarry at 9:14 PM
Motivation. Just like method acting.

sjard at 9:14 PM
there are quite a few game of 20 question type things out there for various rpgs that can help with some of the alternate viewpoints.

Opiyel at 9:15 PM
Yeah there are good resources out there
THere was a book Tenkar had recommended that I got.

Corra at 9:15 PM
I usually give my Characters some bullet points that shape their ideal and stuff, that usually helps me play the Character I'd say. Granted, I'm usually doing it from the DM side of the screen

Opiyel at 9:15 PM
It has a lot of improv prompts that help you really get into the mind of your character

hairylarry at 9:15 PM
Kier uses the word concept. What's your character's concept?

Opiyel at 9:16 PM
I generally bullet point things like traits, quirks, flaws, and ideals

Jake The Human (Tavern Regular) at 9:16 PM
That sort of brings up my pet peeve of people trying to roleplay someone either incompetent or has no place being in combat

sjard at 9:16 PM
d6 star wars had a section on the character sheet for a character quote. sometimes that's all you need.

Masked and Danger at 9:16 PM
Your character should be filled with the experiences you have as a player
With your other characters
Characters unfold like reverse origami

hairylarry at 9:17 PM
So this character's development hinges on past character's development?

Masked and Danger at 9:17 PM
For example
In my warhammer game last week, I found out my players would take a bribe to murder someone if they were told they were evil cultists
They killed them before checking
They were correct they were cultists, but if they hadn't?

Opiyel at 9:18 PM
So playing a coward is definitely something that everyone needs to be on board with. In literature and other mediums, cowards generally grow by learning to stand up for themselves and their friends. So the player of the  coward as well as the other players and GM have to be down with that. The coward has to ask themselves "What would make my character stand up and fight?" and teh players have to ask themselves "Why would we adventure with a coward?" Sadly, cowardly characters tend to be undercooked and played mostly by instigator types.

hairylarry at 9:18 PM
Yeah, I get that
I think killing humans is something to be avoided.

sjard at 9:19 PM
somewhat makes me think of the character Matthew Quigley

Jake The Human (Tavern Regular) at 9:19 PM
@Opiyel yeah,  but is the coward actually useful.

hairylarry at 9:20 PM
At least you know the undead guy is a monster.

Jake The Human (Tavern Regular) at 9:20 PM
It's a game not a novel

Masked and Danger at 9:20 PM

sjard at 9:20 PM
though that's more a variant of pacifism than cowardice

hairylarry at 9:20 PM
yes, a coward can be useful

Opiyel at 9:20 PM
To a degree you are right. Hence why I said the players in total would have to be down with it.

Opiyel at 9:20 PM
So the coward has to have other skills outside of fighting.

Masked and Danger at 9:20 PM
The main problem with a cowardly character is that you have to give them an extra kick to get them into action

Jake The Human (Tavern Regular) at 9:20 PM
There are a decent number of archetypes that are innappropriate for PCs whaic are of literary value

sjard at 9:21 PM
depends on the game being played
they may be quite appropriate for low/no combat games.

Opiyel at 9:21 PM
I don't think there are inappropriate characters, just character types that require more work to fit in, both from the player, the other players, and the GM.

Jake The Human (Tavern Regular) at 9:21 PM
Useful i'd define as "helps us achieve our goals", for which combat is usually a suboptimal solution anyway

hairylarry at 9:21 PM
I think a coward can be useful in a combat game

Opiyel at 9:22 PM
And there are different types of cowards

hairylarry at 9:22 PM
It's difficult to play a coward because I always want to be in the thick of it.

Opiyel at 9:22 PM
You could have one that freezes up against larger creatures.
Or a younger, inexperienced fighter that isn't used to battle (yet...)

sjard at 9:23 PM
i guess it depends on how you define cowardice
some may not technically be cowardice.

hairylarry at 9:23 PM
I try to avoid fighting when I can - not the same as cowardice

Masked and Danger at 9:23 PM
My current character has claustrophobia, which comes up surprisingly often.  Not precisely cowardice, but does lead to good roleplaying whenever the GM asks me to role a wis save to keep moving

Opiyel at 9:24 PM
I like that a lot
I think the important thing though is for the cowardly character to grow their character

hairylarry at 9:24 PM
claustrophobia is a good idea


hairylarry at 9:27 PM
What does my character want. And what is he willing to do to get what he wants.

hairylarry at 9:28 PM
Motivation helps a lot with NPCs - keeping them real.

Opiyel at 9:28 PM
Also, what would it take to go against their wants. @hairylarry

hairylarry at 9:28 PM
as opposed to just a device to mave the game along

Opiyel at 9:28 PM
I think that's a good question to ask about one's character. What would make them act against their own wants or ideals.


Corra at 9:33 PM
I usually write a few sentences on how my monsters will act in combat, I find that helps at the table a bunch

hairylarry at 9:35 PM
Corra, that writing stuff down really helps organize things

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