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Creating Distinguishable Roleplay

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I saw a topic that peaked me curious, it had me pondering on the status of roleplay and how you integrate it with your personal experiences or those soaked up vicariously. There's a ton of roleplay that I absolutely adored during my tenure here. Whether running a coffee shop, or creating a character for a story arch that would remain dormant until an unfateful event brought them back. I've witnessed a ton of great roleplay that has steered me towards some amazing character development performed or written out by many of my characters. To begin this guide, I'll begin with a couple of my characters and use them as a preface to the narrative of the topic. The main purpose of this topic is to help others find the meat of their roleplay whether through dynamic development or static engagements.


I. Why You Should Create a Character


Creating a character isn't like starting a new save on a game. Sure you have atypical functions of starting fresh or revisiting journey's but the purpose must remain altruistic to a cause or an embodiment of something unique. I usually recommend to stay away from linear arch's such as typical military cop or 'fuck 12' criminals in an urban setting. When you break down Los Santos you get the following:


  • Crime riddled enviroment
  • Lack of urban support
  • Lack of government
  • Highly militarized and oppressive police force
  • Trickle down economics where rich stay rich and poor stay poor


You must ask yourself, what does that enviroment reproduce? Words such as negligence, systematical oppression, struggle, chaos, come into mind. As should they, the city, and the state are a fictional mess. Why introduce another character with similar traits and attributes into the server if it wasn't a necessary expansion?


Creating a character is like creating a new parallel universe where your real life self and his or her real ambitions, personalities, and tangible actions are creditably possible. Escapism at its finest, being someone who you can't or won't be in real life while adding your own perspective and humanized self into the character. It's like creating the next king pin with a flaw that weakens or hinders him or her, or creating a private sector civilian who isn't all mighty rich or powerful. If creating a character is justified for stat-transfers or disposable means, than you're better off just sticking with your current character(s) who have the aforementioned traits who bring quality and quantity into a server filled with like minded individuals.


Let me give you an example.


I had about 10 characters spanning 4 servers, 3 of those were used to mess around, DM, and create generic roleplay for the masses. When I began genuine roleplay was boring, I started going on a roleplay server after my high school friends recommended I join one with him. We went on, hopped on buses and started fighting with Mexicans, provoking shootouts, and causing a boatload of problems in-characterly and out-of-characterly. Afterwards after little to no development we decided to switch from white businessmen, to 1% bikers in our own M.C. We immediately felt the affects of the world around us. People hated us because they feared us or they wanted to stop us. We had no fucking idea what we were doing but we did it because we loved grabbing ahold of guns, beefing with others, riding in a formation, and shooting at others. They eventually quit but I was hooked. I found out about the LSPD and I instantly knew I wanted to become a cop. Not just your run-in-the-mill ordinance cop, I wanted a fucking bad ass with traits and personable agendas like you, me, and the next guy who would take up such a daring duty.


I went out of my way to learn real laws, laws relevant to police enforcement. It helped me so much after weeks of researching lives and ramifications of the duty of peace keeping. I learned more about PTSD, after-action reports, accountability, and the real struggles endured in a cop vs all world. I surpassed the quality of roleplay compared to those who created generic "robocops" who came on for pursuits, shootouts, SWAT activations then log off until the next shootout. That was 2010, I went from cop to lawyer to public defender, judge, chief justice, governor, private-eye and everything in between. You learn so much and you output that for your peers to see and soak in. Let me tell you about Charles. A veteran who suffers from PTSD. A lawyer drafted into the army during the Gulf Wars, plagued with demons of his past. People who have interacted with him or know about his legacy know that he went from military soldier to cop to sergeant, commander, chief of detectives, commander, chief and again, everything in between. Numerous times.


Some even know his dark past. How he murdered his wife after suffering from a mental breakdown. How he killed so many during his line of duty. How he killed innocent and condemned the serial killers to death through painful torturing. A truly messed up character who fit right in the city of sin.


I've roleplayed a lot for curiosity or for the satisfaction of experiencing or cultivating critical success.  So in a nutshell, be original, be someone or something new that is beneficial to the dynamic of roleplay, be the outlier among friends who doesn't just roleplay something new but someone who roleplays it amazingly. 


II. Accept That Your Roleplay Will Take Time


Some people aren't willing to develop their characters properly or justly. Some want to skip through loops to get there without putting in time. I urge everyone to roleplay actions and events properly. During the time of the earthquake I held a workshop teaching dozens of people how to react to the world around them. I was fortunate enough to teach those to fear death and to fear the unknown. I was even more fortunate to witness those go out of their way and roleplay these things, people who saw it fit instead of betraying the canon of the natural disaster. It is one of many examples that I can give but the most common is the disappearance of a community member. Whether they leave or they no longer appear. Does their character vanish? I would like to assume so in one way or another. How does your character react to this missing chess piece? How was he or she relevant to your agenda and how close were you?


Would you:


A ) Roleplay the void of his or her character meaningfully through actions or inaction. Looking for him or her, trying to figure out what happened. Would you mourn his or her disappearance?


B ) This is a game. I'll just stop paying attention, completely forget about his or her character and move on like he or she never existed.


If you're consciously playing out a scenario in your head, congratulations you've got a great imagination and chance are you'd bounce that feedback onto your characters progression.


Handling minuet day to day activities such menial to some but others get a thrill of doing commonality. It gives them that cognitive link between their real enviroment and their portraying enviroment. It's totally an optional thing but if you carry that concept forward and apply that to you handling physical / mental ailments from car accidents, shootings and deaths. I takes time and sometimes it requires abysmal amount of work but it PAYS off. Knowing that you've got some fresh life in your character and your character stands out in substantial fashion it prepares you for anything. It also instills a sense of relevancy to actions and concepts that you engage in during your average scenarios on this server.


Don't be afraid to be that person who roleplays a leg injury. You don't have to roleplay the years of rehab and stress, but you will always be encouraged to roleplay the effects of it so it is ingrained in your characters development.



III. Your Safe Zone Isn't Safe


Reverting back to my earlier point. Roleplaying something that is found in a high ratio should be deterred. If you see your friends or community members roleplaying something don't just join them because they're you're friends, join them if you want to contribute something that they aren't. Something big. Something that will truly stand out and wow the fuck out of them. Don't be a corrupt politician because you see it in movies. Don't be a hurting cop if you have nothing to hurt about. Don't be a gang member if you just want to kill cops. Explore something new to challenge the status quo and your personal capabilities as a roleplayer in a server filled with traditionals. My next point will focus on development from an infrastructural aspect but remember, playing it safe isn't always the best way.


IV. Character Development & You


I've witnessed a ton of forced character development on this server which makes no sense. No one should be subjected to unwarranted ridicule for roleplaying rich or what not since that's completely out of their controls. #FuckVM


However if you're forcing character development or incorrectly developing your character complications will occur because of the lack of thought out actionables. It's like me writing a story about a child losing both parents at a young age, developing the story arch, and write in that the parents didn't die.. they never existed neither did I! Spooky shit but this isn't an M. Night Shyamalan, it's a roleplay server where you mesh fiction with non-fictional as much as you possibly can. When creating or developing a characters development or immediate future I recommend you consider the following things:


  • How are you feeling about your character? Are you comfortable keeping him or her alive after all they've lived through?
  • What are some static historical engagements he or she have gone through that hasn't been experienced on the play-server?
  • If you would like to write-in a background; Will that ever be looked at or will you keep it a shrouded mystery forever?
  • Look at your current character map. What would you like to expand upon next? I.E next car accident; if bad enough will damage his or her kidney or rib cages.


Read these questions, if you have an answer you're one step closer to putting theory into practicality. Never force anything because you feel like you have to. Organically implement it into your roleplay while integrating new plots and arch's methodically. 




Charles went from Chief of Police to Commanding Officer of the Office of Criminal Intelligence. He loved investigating homicides and getting a fix from putting the pieces of a puzzle together. A COP by DO on the fly due to a chain of command restructure, he stepped down at the perfect time, a serial killer was murdering random people and placing their bodies on random rooftops inside pentagram. Jayden, his fiance, a Detective Sergeant and former partner teamed up with Charles to catch the serial killer. We caught him eventually after crazy amount of roleplay -- then other copycats sprung up which lead us to catching 3 other serial killers. He hates pentagrams now and always has nightmares after those events transpired.


Another example.


A band of normal looking priests were satanic cultists who performed sacrifices inside a building located the LS cemetery. After weeks of investigating a small team sneaked into the cemetery and attempted to arrest the cornered priests and priestess. The ring leader set the place up and immediately blew up the part of the building they were in. The team survived however inflicting Charles with shrapnel wounds that never healed properly. The priest ended up barely surviving and roleplayed have a disfigured face for months before dying in prison. These are the type of roleplay events that mold character dynamics, your experiences may differ but that's the best part about roleplay, things aren't always static and there's always something unique about their interactions.


Those are your keys to success. Creating distinguishable roleplay starts with you. Whether it's roleplaying eating cheerios every morning or getting that dark coffee no cream at 5:30 every swing shift in the LSPD.


Note: It's late, I went around asking for feedback, thanks for those who responded. If you see any grammar issues, I apologize, point it out and I'll fix it. Thanks!

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Just finished reading. Couldn't finish it earlier because my professor had to remind me that I was on my phone in the middle of a lecture lmao.


OT: Agree with pretty much everything you've said, esp with forcing char dev. A lot of people don't understand that the characters they want to be literally don't exist. Everyone has a reason and a social life (with the minor exception being sociopaths). Many people don't wrap their heads around that fact.

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