Lirra On Roleplay by Creating
Friends and Family
Welcome to the Friends and Family seminar. This is one of many in a series of similar seminars that we may be holding for players on Legend Mud. Today, we'll be focusing on various techniques and tips on developing your character, surrounding any various people that you'd like within your character's lives.
Most players believe that they have to kill off their family members in order to 'strike' out into the world and role-play their character effectively. This is a common myth, mostly coming from people who've come to Legend or other MUDs. The most effective resource that a character has is his or her family and friends.
Families, friends, enemies, loves, acquaintances, etc.. can drastically effect the lives of your characters, and are a great resource for plots during various stages of your lives. The key to having them is to create a background with various twisting curves showing the different relationships you might have had with certain people.
For instance, you could have a brother and two sisters, and there's a heated sibling rivalry between all of you. Or, you are a farmer's child who's been apprenticed to the blacksmith, only blacksmithing isn't what you wanted to do in life, you aspired to be a gleemen, so when the first one you asked accepted you as an apprentice, you took it, running off with him when he left the town, causing not only your parents to come after you, but the 'Master' blacksmith as well.
Most people opt to keep their family and friends in their backgrounds, and bring them out as NPCs from time to time, but the other option is to bring them in as PC characters, so that you might have a family to role-play, set up a business, have fights, make up, or do other things with. The best way to do that is to advertise what types of characters you are looking to fill in your life. But first, you need to decide what type of character you have, and who the people are within your life.
Once you have a 'map' or idea of who you want in your family, you need to decide some sort of background for them, though keeping it vague enough that they can fill in their own life histories as they see fit.
For instance, I have a character who ran away from home at an early age. She has a brother and two sisters, one of which is her twin. She's had a special bond with her twin ever since she can remember, and feels guilty for having left her behind. Her parents are still living, and very worried about her. Since her brother is older than she is, they've sent him to go find her. Now, normally, I'd keep everyone in the background, but since my parents have sent my brother out to find my character, I'd really like to do something with him. My options are either to make him into someone I refer to and control myself, which gets a little daunting because its hard to role-play with yourself if you just want private scenes with him, or to have him be created as a PC (Player Character).
I'd set up a few minor details concerning his background. If my character is sixteen, he'd have to be older than mine, so eighteen or nineteen would be a better age for him, giving him justification for being the one going after her, since any younger might be pushing it. He could be older if I found a player that wanted to take him over and wanted him to be older. I'd then decide the family relationship between he and my character. In this case, he was the favorite of the family, and my character is rather jealous of the attention he's always getting.
This makes things a little difficult and does not kill any role-play that might happen right away. Certainly, if she ran away she's not going to be happy to see him right off, however if she has more incentive -not- to want to go back with him right away, it makes the scene more interesting, and allows it to drag out a little longer. It also gives my character a reason to be rather stubborn and hardheaded. Other scenes and role-play could revolve around that. I'd be more inclined to want to have my brother as a PC, but could make due if he were simply a puppet, using the puppet for the public role-played scenes, and simply inferring arguments and discussions between them happened in the background.
I'd normally post to the various RP related boards, giving a few background details and asking if anyone is interested. Generally, if you give someone an idea of what type of character they're being asked to role-play, they might be more inclined to nibble at your requests. I'd then give them the situation, and have them work out the details of their own background, working out how, exactly, their relationship developed, then work out the exact details of why he's there. For instance, he could be looking after my character for his own reasons, and really having no intention of taking her back home, instead wanting to join the city guard or some other military organization to get away from home, which he finds too restrictive with his parents hovering over him all the time.
This gives even more background information to help the two characters play off one another, and gives them a chance to develop some really interesting discovery scenes between the two of them, assuming this information is new news to each character. They could even find that they've had something in common all along, not even realizing it.
What I just mentioned is an example of how you could get togther with other players to synchronize your backgrounds and make them workable. What I'd -like- to do, if you are interested, is help you get a head start on your families, on your backgrounds, on finding friends or even enemies, so that you have PC's in your lives that you could interact with. I'd like for you to get together in groups of two or three, or more if you'd like, and discuss what sort of people are involved in your character's lives, and whether or not you'd like them as PC members. You might also want to consider what nationality your character comes from. This involves a little bit of thought, so it's understandable if you don't want to hash this out now. We'll have other similar seminars to help players get together as well.