A Game of Thrones • A Song of Ice and Fire NWN2 Persistent World • Low Magic Role Play

The Role-Player's Guide - Pushing the Limits

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Wednesday, 19 November 2008 14:10
Article Index
The Role-Player's Guide
Character Development
Background & Personality
Character Creation
Refining your Character
Speaking & Emoting
Moving in the Game
Role-Playing Out of Game
Common Conventions
Pushing the Limits
Advanced Role Playing
Tricks of the Trade
Additional Resources
All Pages

Thoughts on Breaking Conventions and “Pushing the Limits”

The last section talked extensively about conventions. I’m sure a number of readers bristled at that, thinking, “There are any number of in-character reasons why you might not follow those conventions!” Well, you’re right, there are. As I said, this is just a guide, not a set of rules. But breaking these conventions, even in-character, can definitely cause conflict in a party. The same can be said for creating characters with certain, extreme personalities. Here are some thoughts on those topics.

Breaking Conventions

Breaking conventions is fine, for the most part. But, if you are going to do so, my suggestion is, be sure to role-play them explicitly. This, more than anything, will prevent player-to-player miscommunication, hurt feelings, and disappointing results. Some examples:

Example 1:
You’re the party rogue, and you want to steal some of the better items for yourself. As you loot various chests, a number of party members are asking what you found. You don’t say anything, because you don’t want them to know.

Potential result: The other players can’t tell whether you are in-character, or just being a jerk about the treasure.

Alternative: In the same situation, add some emotes in there to make it clear that you are role-playing and NOT just being a jerk. For example:

Aldrak: Janice, what did you find in that chest?
Janice: *studiously ignores Aldrak and moves to the next chest* (or)
Janice: *hurriedly stuffs something in her jerkin, then turns to face Aldrak* Why, nothing, Aldrak! (or)
Janice: Oh, it was empty.

Example 2:
You’re the party scout, and while the party is camped and talking about next steps, you head off to scout the next area, thinking it will save time and be helpful.

Potential Result: The party misses a chance to role-play with you, and may not know whether you are in character, or just wandering off because you are bored with the conversation or anxious to move on.

Alternative: Add something in there to make your intentions explicit, for example:

Moragor: Ilya, where are you going?
Ilya: I thought I heard a rustling in the bushes. I’ll go check it out. Be on the ready if I shout! (or)
Ilya: I’m sick to death of you people. Leave me alone with my thoughts for a moment! (or)
Ilya: Bah! I can’t stand sitting around here any more while our families are dying! I’m leaving now, and you can stay here and rot for all I care!

As you can see, there are numerous alternatives to following the convention precisely, but the key is to make an extra effort to role-play in these situations to prevent miscommunication between players. That will help stave off hard feelings. Adventuring parties frequently survive conflict between characters, but not between players. This can be particularly important in multiplayer NWN, because on many occasions you may be playing with players who you have never met before, and therefore who don’t know your style or tendencies. This would be a helpful time to go OOC to discuss what you’re up to, or to clear things up with ‘tells’.

Pushing the Limits

Another thing that can kill parties is a character whose personality is so extreme that it causes hard feelings. At the end of the day, there needs to be a reason for the party to stick together. You may need to temper your character’s personality to allow the party to continue to function. Some examples of “extreme” characters could include:

  • The rogue who constantly steals from the party and steadfastly refuses to give up the loot or stop stealing
  • The “hot-blooded” fighter who refuses to consider any tactics and constantly rushes into combat
  • The “loner” who always goes off into different areas without the party
  • The paladin who will not stand for any non-Lawful Good activities in the party, despite the fact that the plot instructs you to break into a crypt
  • The chaotic evil wizard who is only out for himself.

These are all viable personalities, but it takes a little extra role-playing skill to pull it off. It’s quite possible to play a character that everyone hates, but is just useful enough to keep around. So, just keep the role-playing going. If you’re that thief, grudgingly give up a key piece of loot (but perhaps don’t tell them about all of the loot). If you’re the fighter, work out a deal with another party member to role-play him or her physically restraining you from rushing into combat. You get the picture. Don’t forget to really listen to feedback from other players and DMs, particularly when you are playing one of these tricky character types. After all, it’s more important for the group to have fun than for you to be fanatically true to your character.

What we are talking about here is having respect for the other players, regardless of what your character thinks of them. No matter how incredibly well played your character is, this is a game people play together for fun. If the other players don’t find it fun to have your character in the party, it just doesn’t matter how well played your character is. Ultimately, you as a player are responsible for how your character affects the game. No one will want to play with you if you push it so far that it isn’t enjoyable for him or her. Even if you have an extreme character, be willing to meet the other players somewhere in the middle, or you’re likely to find yourself looking for a new group.

Last Updated on Thursday, 20 November 2008 15:07