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Raidou's Unwritten Rules of Roleplaying with another (Feedback?)

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Putting my thoughts to paper, in a place I can easily refer back to them.

  1. Make a character extremely good at something, it doesn't need to be important but it defines them
  2. Make a character extremely bad at something inversely to offset the good.
  3. Balance is key, depending on how powerful the characters strengths are, the weakness should match. If adept at multiple, then the flaws are minor.
  4. In the same vein, having bad ass moments (Animeme moments) should be offset by strange and quirky ones.
  5. Make a character have an weak point (Food, Reading, Animals, pretty things) that can be used to break them from common behaviors.
  6. When writing with another party, take careful mind to the background picture they are trying to paint. (Your unlikely to see a flower girl in a graveyard)
  7. As a reader its ok to read inner monologue, but its important to make the distinction and forget about it all when writing your own reply. Likewise if you feel like something shouldn't be made common knowledge, hide it.
  8. Create chronology, refer to things that you were not even a part of. (If someone drops a empty bottle on floor 7, find it at random.)
  9. Haste brings waste, its common for people to forget things or make exceptions when a decision is made rashly.
  10. Being a snowflake (No two are the same) even when using the same skills, how they activate/operate and respond to them should be different.
  11. Characters are not subject to change without outside intervention except through extraordinary means, usually only a change happens when an issue is made obvious.
  12. Stick to your guns, not every character will get along with another. Play it out how it would flow, even if it means they end up being incompatible in the end.
  13. Optimal isn't always better, what is important is that what you pick (Enhancements/skills/mods) reflect the person they are attached to. They can be just as defining as the characters flaws and virtues.
  14. Body language is powerful, when a character is uncomfortable but doesn't say so the use of movement holds gravity (Adjusting glasses, clenching fists, gritting teeth etc.)
  15. Building a typical day of the character helps create an easy landing in a thread, roughly estimate what the character would have been doing prior and play into that.
  16. Every character has a past, a present and a future. The past is already written and should play into their actions. The present is where they are and how they are striving toward a future. The future should be left unclear and vague, ever changing by who they interact with.
  17. Mechanical kills and the plot attached to it do not need to be contained together, the characters face extraordinary foes and combined strengths leave a more satisfying end. Having one player kill last hit everything is boring, but when the characters work in tandem to fell a foe it leaves a lasting impression.
  18. Threads are not segmented, other parties exist within them. Although time frames are short, work with the team and stretch those "paired" strikes. (It takes two to tango)
  19. Losing a character that is important to your character does not mean an end to that plot element. All too often players lose interest and threads die, but if you pretend it canon and then make them vanish without a trace. What would your character do? Look for them? Assume them gone? If they return would it rack their heart?

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A character will rarely ever notice that slight tic of theirs, but others will. 3rd person limited, the perspective of choice, works well for this. Nervous characters may reflexively wring their hands, someone constantly adjusting their posture may have been brought up with strict rules, and many others. But just because the habit is there and may be obvious, you don't have to stay that your character has a history of doing it. Maybe a phrase describing what they are doing and it can portray a lot about the character's current behavior. More showing, less telling.


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Like this list and the input Axios gave as well. However, I will say that not all characters can or should be extraordinary. There is a demand for characters that are well rounded, and may not be particularly extremely good at any one thing. They may instead have a myriad of talents that haven't been brought to full fruition yet. This can play into certain character personality types as well (such as characters that lose interest in things quickly, or tend to give up when things are challenging). However, character development on characters like this can bring about unexpected skills or talents, or even a steady progression of skills or talents on multiple fronts. That being said, yes, generally you'll want to have a character that has a specific skill or personality trait that sets them apart from the crowd, as well as a glaring flaw that accompanies it.

Overall good input here, and hopefully a valuable tool for people who feel a bit lost in their writing, or who are just starting out. Even people who have been writing for a long time may look at a list like this and be reminded of techniques they have been neglecting, or perhaps may not have even considered. I know that this was a good reminder for me.

Thanks Raidou.

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I don't really agree with these rules? Some are alright and spot on, but a fair few of them feel not uncalled for but way too 'template'. You shouldn't make a character as a character, they're more of a 'human' that you control. Adding a great strength and a great flaw is very one dimensional to me- you could be good at several things like Bahr said, and at the same time master of none. Likewise, some characters could be made with no 'talent' to let them grow through hard work and be more interesting.

I'm also not a big fan of doubling down on badass/quirky moments. This honestly heavily depends on the writer's wants for the character but there is no need for balance or even either to exist. 'Badass' moments can exist when they're earned without needing any 'payoff'. Likewise, quirky moments can just be there without trying too hard. Adding too many 'badass' moments just makes the writing edgy, while adding too many 'quirky' moments makes the character an absolute goof. While such characters exist, said moments aren't something every character needs.

By this point I'm just pointing out which parts I disagree with, but, I'll also say the 'optimal isn't better' doesn't hold value. It depends on the writer again, but you can make an interesting character work regardless of their skillset. Do you want to weigh the game more, or the roleplay? Because they're interlinked. It's less so "don't do what's optimal all the time" than "don't go too far out of your character's comfort zone".

Also on the note of chronology, that's incredibly hard. Not everybody has the time to look through all threads or ask around for extra flavor, although it should be more of a 'side goal'. So if somebody already knows, they should refer to it. Not just go out of their way for it I might be saying what you meant but that's how I understood it at least. And the last note I'd like to make is character development isn't necessarily caused by 'external' reasons. A character may notice something they do wrong and come to a realization themselves. The change can come from inside just as much as it can from 'outside', that's just how humans work.

Overall my notices are in the way I use characters. To me, they're not 'characters' as much as humans I observe and control with an idea in mind. From there on out, I work on them however I feel is most proper to each scenario. So in my opinion it boils down to 'are they a character, or a human' to every writer. Those are my overall observations. But a lot of your points agree with overall etiquette- to number them and not lengthen the post much longer, those would be 3, 6, 7, 12, 14, 18 and 19. 19 especially.

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