Pitfalls of RP: Inappropriate Sexy

When the hell did so much online RP become erotic roleplay (ERP)? When I started running games in a public forum, when I opened up a campaign to include people I’d never met, I began to encounter a style of play I had never seen before. Players contriving reasons to have their characters be naked, or falling all over each other dramatically. Literally rolling around on the ground screaming about their feelings while other PCs or NPCs were standing around with question marks over their heads. Breathing into other people’s faces with “kiss me you fool” and the like.
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Pitfalls of RP: Bad Representation

Sometimes people are offensive because they are made out of garbage. Sometimes, it’s because they are operating from a position of ignorance – and possibly amenable to education and improvement. If you want to play characters who are different from yourself without perpetuating bad ideas, let’s talk about it. I love it when character groups are more diverse than the players themselves, as long as it’s done right!
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Pitfalls of RP: Personality Conflict

RPGs are an unfortunately social pastime. I say unfortunately because a statistically significant number of humans have social difficulties which make them extremely incompatible with the significant number of humans who are made out of elbows. It would be a lot easier if you could get the same experience out of a cluster of artificial intelligences, but there is a reason person-to-person play persists as a hobby in an age of video games – the technology ain’t there yet.

Often this is just a matter of people having incompatible personalities. As in the example at the top, an introvert and an extrovert could be quite bad with each other. Political differences can spill into a game, with predictable results. Someone could have a punchy sense of humor while another is sensitive to insult.
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Pitfalls of RP: Character Creation

The Pitfalls of RP series is examining ways people can ruin their own fun in RPGs. This will be focused on players and PCs / player characters, but by the time I’m done may include GMs / game masters. RPGs, as I said before, are the pinnacle of escapist entertainment. They can be great, but unlike passive entertainment – TV, movies – we can personally mess up the experience so many ways.

Right at the outset, some players set themselves up for problems. People create characters they quickly come to hate, or that never feel comfortable in the PC party. You’re playing a game to enjoy yourself. While one would assume that means “do what you feel,” sometimes what we feel could use more careful consideration.
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Role-Playing Games

Role-Playing Games!  Not the computer kind, I speak of the kind with sheets of paper and dice and what the hell is the appeal?  I have spent and continue to spend far too much time in Game Mastering – running these imaginary scenarios so groups of players can pretend to be cool heroes and do interesting stuff.

It is the very pinnacle of escapism and such a big part of my life, I must write about it from time to time on my bloge.  All of these posts will be tagged “Gaming.”  I’m starting with a series about ways players can screw up.  In fairness, I should eventually get to an article or two about my failures as a GM.

There’s different interfaces for RP in this modern age.  Luddites can use books and papers, chill in someone’s basement with the wood spiders.  If you’re using the internet, you can recreate the Luddite experience through services like Skype.  A more common way to do things, I think, is PbP (Play by Post) or using a chat interface.

That’s what I use.  It has an awesome advantage:  The text record cuts down on the need for GM notes.  About ten years ago I got into RPing regularly after a long time without.  I found that I needed a record of game events, and it quickly became a total mess.  With a text record, I can Ctrl-F a relevant term and find out about any past events I please.

The other thing about text-based RP that is interesting: it becomes more like writing prose.  “Live Action” RP, or LARP, is basically improvisational acting.  Text-based RP is a lot more to my liking, as an act and as an art.  And the extent to which it is like writing invites comparison and criticism from a literary point of view.

All that said, I’m going to try to dispense with terminology and explanation of the basics on future posts.  I’ll start making them soon.