OngoingWorlds blog

News & articles about play-by-post games, for roleplayers & writers

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Role-playing-games – are we playing a role, or writing a character?

Puppeteer

The social aspect of play-by-post games can be a bit tricky. For as long as I’ve known, some roleplayers like to hide behind a character, and pretend to BE the character. I noticed this first a long time ago on a Star Trek game I was part of, where lots of the out-of-game chatter wasn’t necessarily out-of-character. People would still chat as if they were the characters. 

And that’s fine. Of course it’s fine. This is the internet and people can do what they want. In fact many games rely on people chatting in-character, and that’s fine.

But it can also be a bit misleading. If I chat to someone OOC, I’m very clear that I’m chatting out-of-character (that’s what OOC is after all). I’m David, I’m a guy who lives in Derbyshire and likes cheesecake. I’m not a Starfleet Ensign trained in piloting, or a super-posh Ambassador who lives in deep space, or whoever I’m writing about.

On OngoingWorlds there’s the distinction between a player, and a character. That’s deliberate. It allows you to log in to the website and join loads of different games and control different characters without having to keep logging in as someone else (something the Twitter roleplayers must have a nightmare with!).

I just wonder (and I’m not saying anything is right or wrong here) why I still see roleplaying websites where players are pretending to be a character even in OOC (I’m including Twitter in that too). Perhaps leave your opinion in the comments below, and we can get a discussion going about it. Is OngoingWorlds more progressive for doing things the way we do? Or is it better to pretend to be a character all the time?

  • crimsyn

    Regarding the title question, I say neither. There is nothing in roleplaying that isn’t teamwork, so I try not to think of it as us playing our individual characters. Really, what we’re doing is telling a story together. And I believe sometimes that while sometimes that involves stepping into your character, it also involves stepping outside your character and asking what is good for the story as a whole.

    As for OOC chatter, I just find it weird when people pretend to be their characters OOC. If I want to talk to someone OOC about whatever, I’m going to want to talk to the person, not to Tom Cruise photoshopped into a starfleet uniform with jpeg of some rank pips.

  • Elena

    I agree with Crimsyn. We are writing a character or several characters in an interactive story, and those who don’t ask themselves what is good for the story as a whole can’t have the whole writing experience.