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PostSubject: Different roleplay styles   Different roleplay styles Icon_minitimeSun Mar 16, 2008 12:36 pm

It occurs to me that there are a couple of primary roleplay styles. (Though I am sure one could classify them in many different ways and come up with more finely divided and overlapping styles.)

I characterize these styles as "dramatic" and "contextual".

The dramatic roleplayer takes the fundamental material provided by the setting (a game, in our case) and builds a series of dramatic events that may stray well outside the bounds of the setting and backstory, though without actually breaking the backstory.

The contextual roleplayer tends to stay more within the bounds of the setting, and perhaps dive even more deeply into that setting. Perhaps a closer attention to historical accuracy or insertion of the players into a pseudo-historical event.

One way of looking at it, is that the dramatic roleplayer tends to focus more on the art of roleplay, and the contextual roleplayer on the science.

I don't intend this to in any way criticize either style. I thought that recognition of these styles may aid in understanding our fellow players.

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PostSubject: Re: Different roleplay styles   Different roleplay styles Icon_minitimeSun Mar 16, 2008 1:43 pm

One thing I noticed is that some people don't understand that player knowledge should not be confused with character knowledge. If I write a journal entry or a story about something that another character shouldn't reasonably know, that is player knowledge. Character knowledge is something your character could reasonably be expected to know about an event or situation. Say, the rescue of Seamus for example. If you were not part of the story, you could reseaonably assume that your character knew of the raid and maybe a few of the details. But you wouldn't know the specifics......unless someone actually related them to your character.
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Deoiridh
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Deoiridh

Number of posts : 669
Localisation : Belle Isle (Virginia, US)
Registration date : 2007-05-22

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Locations: Belle Isle, New Orleans, Irish Point
Production: Shot, Cannons, Fittings, Powder, Unrest Supplies
Requirements: Saltpeter, Limestone, Doubloons

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PostSubject: Re: Different roleplay styles   Different roleplay styles Icon_minitimeSun Mar 16, 2008 6:40 pm

Yes, I think there are a couple of different styles involved. I would probably give them slightly different labels (but I love this labelling game!), simply because I think both styles can be dramatic. I would probably tend to call them the "contextual" and the "situational." In the first, as you point out, RP tends to respond to the broader outlines of the game/history/story construction. It operates within the broad framework, but isn't necessarily bound by the particulars. In the "situational" by contrast, the RP is shaped by, well, the situation. The strength of the situational approach is that it can often appear more "authentic" by which people usually mean "accurate to the way it really happened." The strength of the contextual approach is that it often allows for a more speculative approach, "what if" scenarios, or exploration of the bits and pieces that "official" histories don't quite cover. You can get drama in both cases, but the situational RPer is more interested in the creativity that has to be generated within tighter constraints, whereas with the contextual its more about, as I see it, exploring roads not taken.

RP obviously has a lot of close similarities with historical re-enactment. So the "situational" equivalent would be a straightforward re-enactment of the battle of Gettysburg, while the contextual approach would explore a more speculative approach: what if the Confederate troops had pushed harder to occupy the high ground on the first day? Amongst WW2 history buffs there is the "1946" approach, which is classic contextual, because it is the realm of "what ifs" (what if certain German technologies had evolved faster? What if Hitler had been assassinated earlier?, etc.)

I think Cathern's point about player knowledge is much more of a challenge for the contextual RPer. One of the big challenges for developing any kind of character or story is that of information flow. How do characters know certain things? When did they know them? Do they know that they know them? Who else besides the character knows them? I think many people are drawn to the contextual approach because it allows for the what ifs (I know I am) but it is actually a lot harder in a lot of ways. I think for example, it's a lot easier to have more knowledge about what we know about history, but it's more of a challenge to know something about what we don't know about history. . .if that makes sense!
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Deoiridh
Merchant Captain
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Deoiridh

Number of posts : 669
Localisation : Belle Isle (Virginia, US)
Registration date : 2007-05-22

Character sheet
Locations: Belle Isle, New Orleans, Irish Point
Production: Shot, Cannons, Fittings, Powder, Unrest Supplies
Requirements: Saltpeter, Limestone, Doubloons

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PostSubject: Re: Different roleplay styles   Different roleplay styles Icon_minitimeTue Mar 18, 2008 11:05 am

Another potential RP pitfall is what I tend to think of as the "foreknowledge" problem. This is the importance of avoiding knowledge of things that happen later in a historical timeline. One of the things that is really noticeable about this RP community is that in general you all are really good at avoiding doing that. You don't see too many references to specific events that won't have happened yet or particular technologies that haven't been developed.

But there's another way this can impact a character or storyline and it's something I've been wrestling with for a while. So I'd be grateful for any advice you all might have.

The game has many historically accurate elements. However it is ahistorical in one very significant aspect. It allows a latitude of action and degree of freedom for women that would have been all but unimaginable to women in the period. It is not that something recognizable as modern feminism is that far in the future (Mary Wollstonecraft's A Vindication of the Rights of Women is coming down the pipe in 1792, but even that is, effectively, a couple of generations). And it is not as if women for centuries haven't dreamed of a world of greater freedom. But even the kind of feminism advanced by Wollstonecraft, seen as the most radical in its time, wouldn't have countenanced the Captaining of ships. Wollstonecraft herself didn't feel that women should be involved in business, for example (nor, legally, could they be in most countries).

I've tried to build this into Deoiridh's plot arc: coming from a very traditional upbringing, disposed by events in her past (most of which have not yet come to light) to embrace a different view of women's place in the world, still shocked initially by what she sees when she arrives in the POTBS Caribbean, but gradually growing into the new role she sees being embraced by the women around her.

Yet I still feel that I'm struggling on occasion with the unreality of it all. It's not that I'm a stickler for realism in the sense of authentic fact. But I'm more interested in people's mindsets, their emotional and intellectual dispositions. . .I guess I'm more interested in plausibility rather than authenticity. But at times the story I'm working through just seems implausible.

Anyone else experience anything similar? How do you deal with it?

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Merchant Captain of Le Rire de Dieu
out of Belle Isle, New France
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PostSubject: Re: Different roleplay styles   Different roleplay styles Icon_minitimeTue Mar 18, 2008 11:25 am

In the specific context of women in historical periods, I generally suspend disbelief and assume that all the women I see are examples of those few famous (notorious?) women who did break the stereotype. They have been present in all ages and places, just not very many of them. That there are so many of them in the games I play is a sort of "alternate universe" sort of thing.

The total lack of death due to disease, acts of violence and childbirth is the fundamental suspension of disbelief we all practice in these games, of course. Smile

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Namo Larkin
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Production: LV, Teak, and Ships
Requirements: Hulls or Parts for Hulls

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PostSubject: Re: Different roleplay styles   Different roleplay styles Icon_minitimeTue Mar 18, 2008 11:30 am

Where I have a problem is when I switch characters in the game. It relates to what Cathern mentions the what I know compaired to what the charactor should know. As an example last night when I was loged into Danivar and saw Cathern on the landing deck I consiously tried to remember had Danivar meet her or was it only Namo. I am pretty sure Danto hasn't run into her but could have some knowledge of her from his interacting with Danivar or Namo. I then remembered that Danivar was actually the first of my charactors to meet Cathern in the Tampa AH. As I recall he had some LV logs he needed to get to his father and had asked her if she could deliver them to him. So I greeted her with the "Good to see you again" I know it is a subtle difference but I try to be consious about it. Then there is the difference of how they do ship battles. Not many have been able to witness it but there is a difference.
I did break charactor late last night in a private message to Fantastic sort of since I don't think Danivar has meet her but it could be because he has heard his Father Namo talk of her.
Deoiridh I understand what you mean about the way women were probably treated back then. I would think neither Namo or Danivar would have any problems with it but Danto being a Naval Officer would find following orders from a female to be almost unthinkable.

Namo
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PostSubject: Re: Different roleplay styles   Different roleplay styles Icon_minitimeTue Mar 18, 2008 11:40 am

Deoiridh wrote:
Yet I still feel that I'm struggling on occasion with the unreality of it all. It's not that I'm a stickler for realism in the sense of authentic fact. But I'm more interested in people's mindsets, their emotional and intellectual dispositions. . .I guess I'm more interested in plausibility rather than authenticity. But at times the story I'm working through just seems implausible.

Anyone else experience anything similar? How do you deal with it?

We've asked the same question over on our side of things recently...

Personally, I've never played/imagined this game as a gender-neutral experience. The crew on my ships is always all-male. All the government officers and military leaders and whatnot are too, in my head. It's not so much an extreme prejudice of women CAN'T do these things, since the game seems insistant that they can, but that women rarely do them, nor do they want very often want to. Obviously women captains, merchants, politicians, and yes, even naval officers are going to exist, but there will always be a certain strangeness about them to me, and might need some RP justification at times.

I think I created four or five NOs, deleting them all, because I couldn't justify their existence as women officers in the navy. It just didn't make any good sense in my head. So the cognitive dissonance remains, I guess. Though I finally did manage one female NO alt, though her backstory is purely a paramilitary organization one, completely untied to the real navy.
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Deoiridh
Merchant Captain
Merchant Captain
Deoiridh

Number of posts : 669
Localisation : Belle Isle (Virginia, US)
Registration date : 2007-05-22

Character sheet
Locations: Belle Isle, New Orleans, Irish Point
Production: Shot, Cannons, Fittings, Powder, Unrest Supplies
Requirements: Saltpeter, Limestone, Doubloons

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PostSubject: Re: Different roleplay styles   Different roleplay styles Icon_minitimeTue Mar 18, 2008 12:44 pm

Namo, I have the opposite problem. I don't tend to roll alts in a game, because I just feel more comfortable sinking into one character; after a while it becomes like a comfy chair, and I've found that when I did create an alternative character it detracted from that. If I feel I've just about discoverd all I can with one character, then I tend to roll another (and in this case I have someone that just might prove useful down the road, depending on how my story unfolds). But as a result I have a terrible trying to remember what I know about everyone else's alts! The first time I attended one of the Grenville tavern meetings and there several people were playing their alts. . .I almost had a coronary. Fortunately many people seemed to know better than I did what I did and did not already know!

In terms of the role of women it is funny, isn't it, how we accept that the game offers a more "liberated" view of women, but there are certain things that just seem wrong? Like Chantilly, I assume all my crew is male, and one thing I've tried to work into my diaries and letters is references to having to overcome the superstitions of sailors about women on board, much cless commanding. But also like Chantilly, I couldn't for the life of me imagine a woman NO even in this "alternative history" (and I like that idea, Bognor, that's a useful way for helping me think through this: a history that isn't radically different, but is shifted one or two places over).

And I guess this relates to my question above. I think what I'm wondering is what are the problems with a game, from an RP perspective, where any kind of activity is permitted women? In order to develop a character (and have that character develop as a person) you need some resistance, some sense of forces pushing back at your attempts to define yourself and act on the world. So that's one reason why, even though the game offers absolutely no support for this notion, I threw in references to crew superstitions, to give Deoiridh something to push back against, to define herself against.

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Deoiridh D'Alembert, Freetrader.
Merchant Captain of Le Rire de Dieu
out of Belle Isle, New France
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PostSubject: Re: Different roleplay styles   Different roleplay styles Icon_minitimeTue Mar 18, 2008 12:55 pm

I usually have and alt or two. My characters are usually different aspects of me. I play Bognor Regis who is the young "me", with a decent education and kind of an easy outlook on life. He's rarely a hard core fighter -- he is an archer in DAoC and a spearman in UO.

Edeor is the "old" me, and has had a life of hardship and tragedy. He is generally the figher of the clan. In UO he was a defensive armsman (sword and board).

Conary Mor is my young dashing fighter. He's not as well developed as the other two.

I have played one female character at length -- that was the Zabrak Bioengineer Asita Ahe, in SWG. There was a long running story between her and Bognor Regis that I really enjoyed creating.

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PostSubject: Re: Different roleplay styles   Different roleplay styles Icon_minitimeTue Mar 18, 2008 3:19 pm

Chantilly wrote:
Deoiridh wrote:
Yet I still feel that I'm struggling on occasion with the unreality of it all. It's not that I'm a stickler for realism in the sense of authentic fact. But I'm more interested in people's mindsets, their emotional and intellectual dispositions. . .I guess I'm more interested in plausibility rather than authenticity. But at times the story I'm working through just seems implausible.

Anyone else experience anything similar? How do you deal with it?

We've asked the same question over on our side of things recently...

Personally, I've never played/imagined this game as a gender-neutral experience. The crew on my ships is always all-male. All the government officers and military leaders and whatnot are too, in my head. It's not so much an extreme prejudice of women CAN'T do these things, since the game seems insistant that they can, but that women rarely do them, nor do they want very often want to. Obviously women captains, merchants, politicians, and yes, even naval officers are going to exist, but there will always be a certain strangeness about them to me, and might need some RP justification at times.

I think I created four or five NOs, deleting them all, because I couldn't justify their existence as women officers in the navy. It just didn't make any good sense in my head. So the cognitive dissonance remains, I guess. Though I finally did manage one female NO alt, though her backstory is purely a paramilitary organization one, completely untied to the real navy.
Yes, you got that right. If and when I ever make a naval officer it'll be a male toon. No way I can justify a woman naval officer in my mind for the time period.
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PostSubject: Re: Different roleplay styles   Different roleplay styles Icon_minitimeTue Mar 18, 2008 3:25 pm

Deoiridh wrote:
Namo, I have the opposite problem. I don't tend to roll alts in a game, because I just feel more comfortable sinking into one character; after a while it becomes like a comfy chair, and I've found that when I did create an alternative character it detracted from that. If I feel I've just about discoverd all I can with one character, then I tend to roll another (and in this case I have someone that just might prove useful down the road, depending on how my story unfolds). But as a result I have a terrible trying to remember what I know about everyone else's alts! The first time I attended one of the Grenville tavern meetings and there several people were playing their alts. . .I almost had a coronary. Fortunately many people seemed to know better than I did what I did and did not already know!

In terms of the role of women it is funny, isn't it, how we accept that the game offers a more "liberated" view of women, but there are certain things that just seem wrong? Like Chantilly, I assume all my crew is male, and one thing I've tried to work into my diaries and letters is references to having to overcome the superstitions of sailors about women on board, much cless commanding. But also like Chantilly, I couldn't for the life of me imagine a woman NO even in this "alternative history" (and I like that idea, Bognor, that's a useful way for helping me think through this: a history that isn't radically different, but is shifted one or two places over).

And I guess this relates to my question above. I think what I'm wondering is what are the problems with a game, from an RP perspective, where any kind of activity is permitted women? In order to develop a character (and have that character develop as a person) you need some resistance, some sense of forces pushing back at your attempts to define yourself and act on the world. So that's one reason why, even though the game offers absolutely no support for this notion, I threw in references to crew superstitions, to give Deoiridh something to push back against, to define herself against.
I often use hints of that prejuidce and superstion in my stories and in my gaming RP even to the extent of RPing what would happen if she ended up pregnant (or when she suspects another is...Chantilly haha). It makes for a nice conflicted character. She wants to be accepted as a woman but has to act like a rabble rousing man sometimes to get respect. Making Cathern a tomboy and the daughter of a man who longed for a son felt a natural excuse to have make a female captain.
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PostSubject: Raises her eyebrow at the comments regarding women   Different roleplay styles Icon_minitimeThu Mar 27, 2008 7:43 am

Bonjour mes amis-

My way of roleplaying is to take part of me, drop it into the world-fantasy and have at it.

I don't think what might be historical, I believe our archetypal memories will take care of making too many blunders in the setting. I don't think how my character might react in a situation- I just do.

I have seen actors of both sexes say they do the same thing- although they do have to remember their lines or they're sunk for acting in any professional role lol. Other actors spend months researching their role, others sit there and go over and over and over their role, working out every nuance of how they will perform.

I feel both the latter ways to be way beyond my ability or should I say personality- I could never study in school either but managed to graduate with a BS and honors. And I did NOT seduce the teacher(s) *blushes and laughs*, although come to think of it.... Mr. Johst, he woulda been, ahhh nevermind.

My history once developed- starts with a French father (who disappeared) and a Pirate mother- who raised me. That is all the premesis I really need to rock and roll in the game, react to situations, laugh, cry, scream and do all those things I do. The rest falls into place.

So- for the newcomer to rp? Do what best suits your methodology. Jump in. Give it a try. If someone says that's not historically accurate- growl at em, spit and slit their throats with your blade or throw them in chains and deliver them to the Magistrate or whatever strikes your fancy, then go have some more fun.

love an hugs
Nicole
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