Sunday, 1 February 2015

Roleplay - If you don't like it LRP probably isn't for you.

Everyone has role play traits that annoy them. For me, it's people saying huzzah and using archaic terms. It jars and feels unnatural. Its not what I'm there for. There's been a post on Reddit suggesting that there are no good games that combine combat and roleplaying well. It's referring to American games, and my initial reaction was that this is something we have achieved. Here in the UK I'm aware of games that do have a good balance of fighting that you can get caught up and a decent world to play those characters in. However, I'm also aware that people would be able to pick holes in the way we fight (I've heard both that we're not violent enough, and that we're too violent. Recent discussions about headshots showed how divided people are about these things). 


Games in the UK tend to have the combat designed into them. We work out how the role play and the violence will work together. It's established through economics, back story and especially the way that healing works. It creates a nice game that encourages people to role play through situations and react IC and appropriately. Think of the hero calls you can get at Empire - For example, 'Stay with me' requires 5 seconds of roleplay. It's a skill you're only likely to use in a combat situation. Ensuring that medical attention can be given in a timely fashion enables people to stratagise to include people that can heal and work out getting them to people that need them. It also turns battles into a more resource dependent game. That's just the roleplay actually based around the fighting. 

Over excited black lab/collie cross.


Roleplay is about choices. You can choose your actions at each step and they lead to more or less interaction as you progress. A good game should present you with innumerable choices, often without you being able to see the consequences, and without there always being a clear 'Win' situation. It's nice to win sometimes, but the only victory conditions in LRP are the ones you set yourself. For instance, you could start a game with a few win conditions, one of which is to gain control of the mcguffin. You know that player x has the mcguffin and doesn't want you to have it, so you'll have to manipulate other players into getting it off player x for you and handing it over. Winning also doesn't necessarily mean that other people lose, or that the game is over. If you've chosen your win conditions in such a way that they end the game for you then you've probably done badly. If you've chosen them so they end the game for everyone I hope you've done it with style. Worlds should end gloriously. 

In a world where people are playing real, believable characters there will be people playing characters who aren't all good. Sometimes they'll do it badly and sometimes they'll get caught. There is an instinct to resort to violence and kill people who've wronged you at games. It's nice and tidy, clears up the body etc. However, it shuts down role play for you and for them, and it's also a cheap and nasty way to do it. Killing people isn't nice, and even when we're pretending to be hardened killers, disposing of life in such a cheap casual way isn't a normal response IC (In Character), and utterly shuts down the role play for the character you're killing. IC consequences are normally interesting.

There's no achievement at a game if everything is easy. Your actions determine the difficulty of the challenges faced by your colleagues, and I've been really lucky to be part of a group of people who spend a lot of time thinking about their role play and who are mostly awkward, irritating bastards. It makes the games more interesting as typically I'd need to be equally inventive to be able to have some impact and achieve my own goals. Giving thought to your IC goals helps a lot with working out how to play a character, and can help you bring more interesting role play into situations were you'd normally be less inclined to play that way. Near impossible goals mean that you're vastly less likely to achieve things in one day and then have to rethink your presence in the world.

I don't really care how you roleplay. If you like saying 'huzzah!' etc then that's fine. It might annoy me a bit, but that's my issue, not yours. Just, give it a little thought and try and make things happen. It typically makes a far more interesting game for everyone.