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Telling Stories: No accounting for taste

Yes, I know, it's a horrible logo. I'm not always good at those.You don’t want your characters to like what you like, usually.  At least not solely. One of the joys of roleplaying is stepping into the shoes of someone different than yourself, which doesn’t work in the event that your character is basically you with a race-lift and possibly a gender shift.  Since one of the things that we use to define ourselves is the existence of distinct tastes from other people.

Of course, the problem there is that you still have to portray the character, despite those differing tastes.  You want other people to genuinely believe that yes, your character likes these things, even if you don’t.  So how do you make your character like things that you don’t when your frame of reference is so thoroughly based upon what you actually like and find interesting?  How do you give a character a new set of tastes being acted out by a person who completely doesn’t share them?

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Telling Stories: Sexuality without the skeevies

Yes, I know, it's a horrible logo. I'm not always good at those.I’ve said before that sexuality is part of roleplaying, because it is.  It’s part of the human condition, it’s a valid thing to explore in roleplaying, and it’s going to happen anyway.  But there’s a line between involving sexuality in your roleplaying and making it the sort of involvement that makes everyone around you look at you with narrowed eyes and intense discomfort.

This has come up a fair bit in the Final Fantasy XIV community of late, for kind of disturbing reasons that serve as an excellent highlight of the issue.  Because there’s a race of adults that are clearly meant to look like human toddlers… who are also very definitely sexually mature.  Which raises a lot of uncomfortable questions about the characters being played in the real world by adult humans.

Fantasy is, of course, fantasy.  But it’s useful to understand how fantasy lines up with and can be influenced by reality, and to understand why one might make the other far more uncomfortable.  It’s important to have sexuality as a component in roleplaying, but it’s also important to do so in such a way that no one gets disturbed by it.

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Hard Project: Otherland

And now the song is in your head, and I'm happy to be responsible.

Wastelands, teenage or otherwise.

There are a lot of things that I really like about Otherland, one of them being the simple fact that it followed the age-old trick of making the future seem real by only looking forward a little bit and making reasonable assumptions.  The story doesn’t take place in the year 1999 on a space liner, is my point.  Sure, VR technology didn’t become the focal point of computing for a lot of reasons, but the world put forth in the book feels plausible.

At a glance, it’d make a pretty cool game.

The Otherland MMO has shuffled developers and publishers more than once, but it always seemed like a really bizarre concept to me based off of reading the story’s setting far too literally.  Not that it’s the fault of the programmers, who doubtlessly just wanted to adapt a vivid and interesting world to play in.  At a glance, this seems like a no-brainer for a project; it’s only on closer examination that you realize the whole thing is damn-near impossible to pull off, and not terribly rewarding if you do.

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Protected: The journey

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Telling Stories: The in-character post

Yes, I know, it's a horrible logo. I'm not always good at those.Having a million more ways to interact with people online than we had back in 1997 has meant that people have gotten creative.  Very creative, at times.  Instead of just doing all of your roleplaying via the game now, you can have in-character journals, Twitter accounts, Tumblr accounts, and so on.  Even I’ve gotten in on the fun; as I’ve mentioned in the past, I’m running an in-character Twitter account for my shaman over in World of Warcraft, largely because the roleplaying communities on my servers have mostly dried up.

The question, of course, is whether or not it’s worth it.

I’m not going to tell anyone they should stop doing something they find fun, obviously – if writing an in-character journal online is a really fun and relaxing activity for you, go for it.  The question, rather, is what you’re getting out of the time invested in making this happen.  Writing stories about your character and sending off tweets take time and energy, and it’s an open question of whether or not it actually contributes to your character or just comes out as the roleplaying equivalent of masturbation.

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