It’s been a very eventful past few months, but I figure I’m long past due for a post here, and there have been several subjects on my mind as of late. We’ll go with the one that’s been the loudest as of late: role playing.
I’m sure that the few of you who didn’t get linked here from my LJ either stared at that one or debated closing the window (or already did close the window, but if you did you wouldn’t be seeing this sentence anyway. Moot point). Even if you’re not into RP, bear with me here – I’ve been seeing this for a bit (read: the two years in which I’ve been RPing), and I think it’s about time I got it down.
The basis is pretty simple: people play their characters in the same way they themselves react to the game.
Posting that single sentence on my LJ got me a nearly unanimous “…what?” response, so this post is for elaboration.
I’m going to start with myself as an example. I play in and mod two multifandom LJ RPs. I have relatively similar character sets in both games, and I’ve been playing one of them for the full two years I’ve been on the RP scene. After hanging around for that long and cycling through a few muses that didn’t fit me as well, I can see a trend in the characters I like to play: they’re all confident (sometimes to the point of arrogance), determined, and in it to win it. Some of them have these qualities to lesser extents than others, but they’re all present in every character I play. In real life, I am – you guessed it – confident to the point of arrogance, determined, and in it to win it. As anyone who has ever played a game with me can confirm, I do not like to lose. I’d assume there’s a similar factor for everyone who RPs – after all, in order to play a character, you have to be able to relate to them in some capacity. Pretty easy to see where I’m going with this one, right?
But wait, there’s more! From what I’ve seen, most if not all RPers have what I tend to call a “main muse.” It’s the one character that you connect with most, the character that you play just about everywhere (or more than others, at least), the character whose reaction to events in game is first and loudest in your head. (Some people have more of a main character type than a certain muse – one of my fellow players specializes in the strong female types.) My main muse is the one I’ve been playing for the full two years. Personality-wise, we’re more alike than we are different, and it’s always easier for me to post for her than for any of my other characters. She’s confident, involved, and compassionate, with the tendencies to get overbearing, bossy, and loud. Guess how I tend to mod my games.
Thing is, from what I’ve observed, I’m not the only one who does this.
For example, there’s the history major who plays the private-detective-slash-wizard. Both are meticulous about keeping track of events that happen in game, though I’d imagine the player’s notebook has a good deal more information than the muse’s notebook. The character is Johnny-on-the-spot a good amount of the time and, though snarky and sarcastic enough to choke a horse, he’s involved, level (most of the time), and helpful. The mun is the first to propose new theories and has run more player plots than anybody else, and I will be gobsmacked if he isn’t snarky and charming in real life as well.
Then there’s the player with the “new kid” muse. The character is pretty cool, very friendly, and can be outgoing – but if something big goes down or if the character loses confidence or feels like they’re not helping out, they have no idea how to handle it. The character’s been known to get a bit moody if that happens. The player’s the same way: sweet, sharp, and tons of fun, but when gigantic plot goes down in game, they freeze up. Part of it is because none of the player’s characters tend to be as right-here-right-now as the aforementioned wizard, and part of it is that’s just how the player reacts. It doesn’t take long for both player and muse to get back into the swing of things, however, and more often than not they both come back with renewed determination to do something.
Then there’s the player with the forceful muse. The character’s default setting is ARROGANT (and believe me, it deserves that emphasis) – they’re rude, prideful, and want to take action more than anything else, and they have the raw power to back it up. The player, by contrast, is great in chat and friendly (though they have been known to flip tables on occasion when they reach the limit of their patience – I should know; I’ve prompted it once or twice). The similarities here aren’t so much in personality as they are in expectations and style. The muse would rather have a knock down drag out than a strategy session (though strategy is fine, so long as something happens afterward). It’s the same with the player – one of the RPs is playing out more like a puzzle/strategy game at the moment, and it’s driving them up the wall. They want something big to happen. They want an action scene, same as the character.
And finally, there’s one of my fellow mods who plays a relatively happy go lucky teenager. The muse almost always has a smile and makes friends easy as breathing. God forbid anybody try to harm those friends, however, because the muse can be pretty hardcore when it comes to defending them – but aside from that, they’ve always got a smile. The player and their modding style is the exact same way – they’d love everyone to get along and they themselves get along with just about everyone, but I have seen them when our players get targeted in the anon meme or the secrets community, and they can be absolutely ferocious in both defending the hurt players and trying to find out just who the hell committed that injury. They’re an awesome character and an awesome mod, but I wouldn’t cross either of them.
And so, given these observations, I challenge anyone who RPs and is reading this to look at yourself. Who’s your main muse? Do you act like them? Do you play the game the same way they would?
I’ll be interested to see your answers.