thread: 2006-01-17 : More Character Co-ownership

On 2006-01-18, xenopulse wrote:

This idea of sharing characters is really not that alien to people who've done collaborative writing before, where you pass the "pen" around and people can have input in characters that others have already established. Now, the danger is, as people have already pointed out, that someone introduces something that makes a character somewhat incoherent with the ideas of the person who first wrote them into the story. But that's really just a matter of shifting perspectives to the changed character. After all, nothing is set in stone until it's written down (or introduced in play), and if you're going to do this activity with others, you have to be prepared for such changes to happen.

Interestingly, we're almost always assuming we know how the character would act even though our actual knowledge tends to be limited—that should baffle anyone who studies human psychology. Even if you have 30 pages of back story, there might be some event, some experience, some mental wiring, that you haven't thought up yet that could easily explain why the character, in any particular situation, acts differently than you would expect with the limited prior knowledge.

For some people, it matters that actions of characters are based on things established prior to that action. But it's just as reasonable to have an action and then seek out the explanation for it post facto. After all, you're making it up either way. This whole "playing the character truthfully" thing is such a strange concept that roleplayers made up somewhere along the way, because it's based on somehow figuring out the "most likely way" the character would act and then assuming that they always act in the most likely way. No real person I know does that.

- Christian


This makes SDL go "I think the idea is..."
...that the traditional "truthful" approach often helps lend coherence to the portrayal of the characters. Lack of coherence can lead to game-breaking confusions, and pre-determining a characters most likely actions probably is just the easist, simplest way to establish a measure of coherence. (Probably not the only, or best though!)

This makes XP go "True. I think..."
it's probably a counter-movement to pawn stance as it was the norm when RPGs developed out of war games. I'm sure that people who wanted to play more "story" games felt they could make characters more like people if they had guidelines for their behavior independent of the player's tactical rational choice.

This makes SF go "Change = breaking character"
The big problem with the fetish of "consistent" characters is that real people are inconsistent, and real people in interesting situations (i.e. story-worthy ones) are changing who are they, often dramatically so.

This makes...
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