|storylineday (storylineday) wrote in rp_tutorials,|
@ 2013-04-26 23:28:00
|Entry tags:||! resources, question: character creation, resources: communities, resources: tutorials|
Lets Talk About Gif/Icon Chats verses Para/Threads and Characterization
Before we get into the differences I want to define these two methods of conversation:
Paraing or Threading
Its not a complete cross-over but I think Icon Chats and Gif Chats are pretty easily equitable. Yes, there are different ways of indicating "locked" posts and open ones, yes there are different lengths--but by in large they are closer to being similar than, say, either of them and Para/Threads.
So what's the big deal?
Something I think a lot of players have trouble with, and something that took me forever to figure out in my very first game, There often needs to be a disconnect between how a character would interact face-to-face para/threads and in gif/icon chats. Gif/Icon chats are sometimes face-to-face, yes, but they are not always--they function within a gray area until the players decide what's going on--are they writing or having a discussion from a distance? Or are they right next to each other?
And in that disconnect, in that way that there is nothing but dialog/dictation and an image, there needs to be a difference in manner of communication.
Because you are presenting your character interacting in a different space and an different way. Also, people don't interact the same way through different mediums (at least not always). Think about how you write a letter verses talk on the phone or text message. The same should be true of your character.
There is also the trouble that through gif chats and icon chats you simply don't have the space (provided its not a short para with an icon) to over indulge in the quirks of your characters. While you shouldn't make your nervous character, for example, the class clown... a player needs to strike a balance between conveying the character's mannerisms and being able to make headway within a conversation. In overindulging in the quirks you can easily ull a conversation because characters and players don't have as much to draw from. While some added indulgence can be viable in a para or thread it is simply not as useful in the short dialog/dictation of the icon/gif chat format.
Most recently I've been playing Regulus Black within a scope of being extremely socially isolated and under high levels of stress with a support system of... one. If I played him solely as a neurotic nearly homeless man: I would have only one or two lines, possibly less due to the flux line involved in any group roleplaying game.
But that's boring. That gives only a few characters something to bounce off mine. It would make Regulus Black a virtually useless character who provides little for his own plotline and even less for anyone else. So to be able to (hopefully) allow him to influence and interact I had to create a disconnect between gif/icon chats and para/threads. This is the same character, but what aspects of that character I put forward depends on the conversation medium I am utilizing.
More directly: I'd say in gif chats my portrayal of Regulus may seem more put together, a little weird, but also to the point and sometimes vicious. In Para's he's still vicious--but he's weirder and the description is clear: he's practically homeless with borderline self-harm habits which he uses to attempt to focus. His dialog is often circular and his movements are agitated.
Half of the latter can't be accurately portrayed in gif/icon chat even if I changed his Play By or Face Claim. If I played him the same in both places A ) there'd be more circular conversation (which there is already some) B ) he'd be a lot less clear with a lot more start and stops in dialog which would make it less fun/less easy for for others to play against him.
So am I playing two different characters? I mean, I’m saying here that I’m portraying him differently in two different modes. Isn’t that bad characterization?
I’d say no.
Much of what I have Regulus say in Gif/Icon chats is similar to what he’d say in Paras or Threads. The only difference is that I clip it more--I make the dialog more pointed, less disorganized. Regulus is still neurotic, still nervous, still vicious--but different modes of conversation in game require different finessing.
And that is something I think it takes a while to understand (because, lo, the first time I played Regulus Black it took me six months to make in game connections and have fun). It’s something I’ve heard others mention before, too. This is not isolated and its not something that only "bad rpers" do. Its something that takes learning, finessing, and working out your own way of differentiating.
But! You say. But! My character has a distinctive speech pattern. They have mannerisms or wouldn't say more than x.
In this I think you have to give a little. Lets say your character can't say the letter Y. Its in the application--but you know a lot of players don't read the application (sorry, its true). So how do you address the letter problem? Do you display it in the gif/icon chats dialog every time? I'd say no. Certainly do so during some of the chats. Do so when it would be most pronounced (under duress, for example, or excitement) but eventually that quirk would be part of the window-dressing. It would be understood. Let it be known but don't get hung up on it.
This is especially true when that quirk would limit the conversation capabilities of a character.
My character wouldn't say more than x.
Alright. So. You're in a situation where your character won't spit something out. This can be great fun to play--but its also really difficult to do in gif/icon chats. Having 2000 posts of "Yes/No/Yes/No/Yes/NO" just doesn't quite hit as hard as it could in, say, a para or thread. You can’t see the inner conflict of x character even with the very best Icons or Gifs used just for this reason--and it makes it harder for other players to feel, if only tangentially, involved in your characters troubles.
So my advise is to condense,
In a Para you have a lot of room to explain a character's mindset and for them to cycle through thoughts and ideas before another character can respond. In a gif/icon chat: you don't. So you need to be able to sacrifice some of it. Here's an example of Regulus talking to Marcus and whipping between emotions: