zecon rants: The Roleplay Guide.

Discussion in 'Guides' started by zecon125, May 19, 2019.

  1. zecon125

    zecon125 The Lurkler Staff Member Moderator

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    Prologue, and Basics.
    . . Well, here we are. This is the start of, something- More specifically, a series of roleplay guides that I’ll be writing when the mood strikes me. This first installment will mostly be going my basic tips for roleplayers- not just new ones, either- and the ones after will delve into more specific topics in much more detail. For the most part, I will be using pre-existing characters as examples for my lectures. The majority of these will probably be my own characters, just because I have far more experience with and understanding of them.
    . . That all being said, ten points goes to all of those who understand the allusion in the title. And now, the tips! I should preface that these are, more than anything, based off my personal experience. So they might not ring as true for others. But, here they are:

    1. Play characters you would like to interact with. This one is a suggestion, rather than a rule. Playing a character like this is a double-edged sword for some. Itt can lead to characters you enjoy playing more, and more people like interacting with- It naturally leads to people having more fun with them, after all. However it can also lead to characters you can’t understand as well and have problems roleplaying. Practice it with caution.
    2. Be expressive. This point will definitely be tackled more when I get into character design and creation but: It’s easy to wander into the trap of making some stone-faced war veteran with a body count in the fifties that doesn’t know what fear is. There is certainly a spot for these characters, just don’t go all-out with it. People, above all, like to see their actions having an impact, and this goes for character interactions just as much as event design.
    3. Be proactive, not reactive. Far too many people hide away in corners, waiting to be interacted with and wait for opportunity to strike them. This is a major blunder in my opinion. I don’t recall any character for what they reacted to, I remember characters for what they did! No one tells the triumphant story of Shady Dave, who sat in the darkest part of the bar menacingly.
    4. You are the actor, not the character. For a character to be a character, a certain amount of distance between the player and them is required. You’re writing the script, not doing it. That is to say, don’t let in character actions and out of character actions tangle, nor information. It leads to horrid drama, I’ve seen many people start hating each other because of what a fictional person did.
    5. Make a story. Do not be the story. This one is simple, but I’ve seen even experience players struggle with it. Your character is one of many, a persona on their own unique path in life, one that might weave into other’s. That doesn’t mean, however, you should try and assume your character is, or try to make them, the main character of Galaxy Citizen.
    6. Don’t stress, have fun. Personally, I often enter into roleplays only knowing how a character acts, and what they look like. The rest is made up more or less on the fly- I didn’t know one’s age until three or four months after they entered play, and I still don’t know why Jari doesn’t have a last name! Don’t think you need to write some grand epic or construct a story worthy of a Shakespearean comedy. As long as you have fun, and you don’t ruin anyone else’s fun, you’ve already done as much as you can do.

    . . And those are my tips! Up next, we’ll be discussing… either descriptions in and of themselves, or character design.
     
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  2. Yuma

    Yuma New Arrival

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    I love this post
     
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  3. zecon125

    zecon125 The Lurkler Staff Member Moderator

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    Character Design
    . . So! Its at this point that I remind everyone that I am not making this roleplay guide for new players- Surely they can get a kick out of what I have to say, I suppose, but there is more to it then just that. And this is, honestly, a more advanced topic as far as I care to believe. As someone who personally holds around twenty three characters(More if you count NPCs) and has designed the look of several others, I tend to engage myself in both topics a bit more than say, LubricantsGladly, who I only know to have one active character, John Doe.
    . . To begin with, when I make a character of any type- at all, really- I try to get a solid idea of how they’d interact with others, who they are and what that personality entails- What they’d logically own and how they’d dress themselves, too. I then sort of set a limited ‘proto-personality’ in my head, typically enforced by a single scene I could imagine them in, and work around that. The design of a character is perhaps the most visual storytelling most people ever do, including how they move and are described as well. A good design should set a character apart from the rest, and give the viewer an immediate idea of who they are.
    [​IMG]
    . . To give an example: The goal with Moirai’s character was to create a kindly and mysterious oracle, as well as just generally an old lady character. To enforce the nature of her as both an unknowably old woman, and her personality, I decided to make her very small- Moirai stands around four foot two inches when she’s off her carpet. This feeds into most of the traits thus far, old women are known to relatively short and Moirai is an exaggeration thereof, it also makes her non threatening- Both of those naturally feed into the mysterious persona once you see her. The fact that she doesn’t show her face, instead shadowing over it with a hood, is mostly to help the mystique as well. Her carpet is used in two ways, the first of which being to emphasize how small she is by making her body not even take up the majority of her sprite, and the second to enforce that she isn’t just a ‘robed figure’ but that she is, infact, an oracle. The occult artifacts slathered around it help to sell this fact visually. Her pose, too, helps to some degree when all is considered. She sits, indian style, hunched forward with her hands on her knees. This puts her already small body close together, and the way she lurches forward, as if enraptured in a story or interested by what’s before her, pairs well with the fact she nearly always talks about other people, or asks them questions- She’s more interested in them, then herself.
    [​IMG]
    . . Another important facet of character design as I do it is silhouettes. I assign to the idea that a good character design must, by default, have a recognizable silhouette- Meaning when looking at just the outline of their body, one can clearly tell them apart from other characters. Admittedly, this is a little hard to do in Starbound without using custom sprites, though I’ve seen many get away with it. My particular style of work-around- plain and simple using hatter and custom sprites- works well enough for me- But you might need to get creative. To use the same example, I used the carpet chiefly as a way to spice up Moirai’s own silhouette, with its many bits and bobs creating an immediately recognizable outline, let alone the woman herself.
    [​IMG]
    . . That is not to say the rule of silhouettes can not be subverted, I’ve done it myself with a character that was supposed to be unnoticeable, and to call on an early example, LubricantsGladly’s John Doe has a more or less weak silhouette with his shaven head, average body shape, lack of pose and few flares- However, given just what type of character the man is, in his reserved, psychopathic nature and overall lack of emotion or empathy, it fits him well to have as bland a design as he does.
    [​IMG]
    . . To put an example to failure- however minor- the character Hierophant, played by PrivateNomad, possesses a strong silhouette and impressive character design for what he is- The problem however, is a small problem with the visual storytelling at work with the character. Due to the fact he carries a bundle of guns on his back in a similar way to Barter or other archetypal traveling merchants do their wares, he sometimes comes off as a vender rather than a priest- Something that Nomad himself has expressed minor confusion at, though has admitted joy in playing the consequences of.
    . . With all this in mind, it’s probably best to reassert the core tenants of character design as far as I understand them:
    1. Understand who the character is- This one seems evident, if you don’t know what you’re getting into, it’d be much harder to make a design for the character. That, or work backwards from the design.
    2. Make it clear who they are, or who they’re trying to be perceived as, at a glance- Use poses, outfits, and knick knacks to help yourself if needed.
    3. Use silhouette effectively- Whether that means have a rather drab, weak silhouette for the spy character meant to blend into crowds and be nigh untraceable, or have a big, boasting shadow for the undefeatable prosecuting attorney.
    . . And… that’s really it? So long as you achieve those three things, I’d say you’ve got a damn good design on your hands. That all being said, I firmly believe that most of Galaxy Citizen has a decently solid understanding of these rules and goals, as I’ve seen very few people who I can attribute to having a bad design- at least, that can’t be blamed on game limitations.
     
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  4. zecon125

    zecon125 The Lurkler Staff Member Moderator

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    Descriptions, Dialogue

    . . When I had originally planned this category, it was only ‘Descriptions.’ That was before a conversation between myself, Archer(Iamnotanumber2000) and Pinkbat(Pocl.v)- Who actually proofread my last passage, much thanks to them!- proved that there was much more to this thread then just that. So, in this section I will be going over how subtle hints like word choice, sentence structure, and complexity can benefit roleplay- As well as how the actual contents of those sentences can be used to aid characterization. That being said, I like to consider myself a writer more so than anything else, so uh, prepare for this to be a long one!
    . . SO! First things first, descriptions! There are a variety of ways to a sell a character in how they are, both in what they actually do, and how the player describes it. As always, I'll use a few examples from my own roster. In this case, Lesslyn Airgid Luidh Stùiricke II, Peep, and the creature referred to as ¨Barter.¨ I’ll be doing it nice and easy, presenting a full description from the character, then I’ll go about dissecting the differences and techniques utilized in each to present their personality to the audience. Now, let’s get to it!
    . . The Jacobin moved closer, her face scrunched into an almost beautiful expression of distress. Her feathered skin compacted into wrinkles and folds that are much too evenly spaced, much too uniform. Even in trying to imitate outrage, she was gorgeous. The scent of her feather dye, always somehow fresh, reached far around her. She glanced over to her bodyguard a moment, her sliding back into calmness as she stands. Her dual-clicked footsteps echo out the hallway as she left.
    . . For Lesslyn, I often use long-form prose with a plethora of minor details sprinkled in- Going on about how her plumage looks, how she smells like lavender and pungent hair dye, the fact that her pupils are brighter than the rest of her eyes, so on- to sell the mood around her and just how important she makes herself seem. Keyly, I often try and make one remember how every expression she pulls is plastic, too perfect to exist genuinely in a sentient creature. This is mostly because I believe it helps put in mind what sort of character she is, as well as just being something most audiences would pick up on relatively quickly. It seems a good fit, to me at least, that for my domineering fashion designer, I use big text walls and longer words.
    . . Heralded by quick, soft padded footfalls, in entered the tiny fighter himself. Peep looked over the area, before taking a seat at the counter. They tapped the bar thrice, to get attention, before gesturing up randomly at the shelf. Preemptively, the small fellow poured out a couple Thaler to pay for their trip.
    . . For Peep, I often use simple and punchy descriptions. I avoid the typical character descriptions in favor of three or four word descriptions- “Small weapon glitch”, “Tiny duelist robot” or just “Peep.”- and let the sprite itself inform people’s understanding of what he looks like. Otherwise, I often give only one-to-three sentence responses to what he’s doing- Sometimes as simple as ‘*Nod*’, ‘*He holds up his hand in a so-so motion’*, ‘*Shrug*, or so on. Combat, of course, is the exception here. Peep is meant to be a masterful duelist and a tough opponent to fight, therefore I drop the short descriptions, giving way to all the detail I feel the movements need to properly be explained. There is also an element of word choice- I try and use simple, or even cutesy words with Peep. A good example is his footfalls, where Barter ‘drags’ places, and Lesslyn enters with an attention drawing, two-part ‘tapping’ or ‘clicking,’ Peep only ‘pads’ places most of the time. And, while I try and make it no secret that Peep is a boy, I often use gender neutral terms, as I believe he looks fairly androgynous(For a glitch.)
    . . It drags. It enters. It stops. It waits. It is tall. Eight feet. It wears a cloak. Grey. It wears an Orbide shell. Mask. It wears a rice field hat. It stinks of iron. Blood. The tank tied to it is bloody. Dried. Old. It gurgled. It wheezed. It spoke. Its voice was harsh. Its voice was quiet. It didn’t breath.
    . . Barter. The creature. Not like the others. I make a point to change my writing style when I play it. I use short sentences. Simple. That occur in a train-of-thought pattern. Words occasionally show up in their own sentences, thoughts that come across free of the point. Additions. Sometimes this presents a problem roleplaying it. The creature. Details are hard to show like this. Difficult. However I think I make do. I wouldn’t recommend it for beginners though. Too risky.
    . . As always, there are outliers to this. Sometimes it feels fit to treat Peep to a big, bulky description or give Lesslyn only a sentence or two in introduction. And it is very important to note that I’m only referring to the bigger actions when I speak about this. There are ways to make every post a text wall, and if that’s your goal then feel free, however I’m not the sort to find a way to make a thesis on how Lesslyn drinks eats her parfaits.
    . . And now, dialogue.
    . . For my characters I try and reinforce a personality with how they speak, how they refer to themselves or others, what sorts of words they pick out. Sometimes, a race enforces something- Like how Glitch use prefixes, and Florans have lisps/hisses. This can get somewhat taxing to remember, at times, but speaking as someone who played an Arachnid back when they had the accent- You ton’t know tust how horribre it court get. For this pairing, I’ll be using Vagabond, PROSECUTIVEGOD, and… Zenith! Now, let’s get to it!
    . . “...Curious… One wonders what brings a man so… foolhardy… as to trust something as untried a man’s word… Doubtful… Is it a mark of kinship between one and another… to put each other’s lives in nothing more then a few spent bits of vocabulary…? Or… Judgemental… Is it stupidity…? Query… Has it never even crossed one’s mind that… one ways can be betrayed…? Remorseful… How sad a fool… Refrain… How sad a fool... indeed…”
    . . Vagabond is a defeated and self-loathing breed of Glitch, who speaks with the tongue befitting his once-noble position and an analytical detachment that is characteristic of his experience with the darker parts of science. More specifically, he speaks in a defeated, physically broken voice, with large gaps between words at times. On top of that, he uses “one” as a replacement for both himself and other parties in conversation, and utilizes an advanced vocabulary in order to sell his fallen-noble status.
    . . “Your. Wonderful. Magnificent. Everlasting. Eternal. Glorious. Glamorous. Godly. Honor. The PROSECUTIVEGOD. Is prepared. This. Court. Trial. Sustaining itself. For a great length of time. Is. Most certainly. Exceedingly. Unlikely. This one. Requests. To summon forth. This one’s. Primary and forthright. Witness.”
    . . Probably the weirdest out of these three, PROSEUTIVEGOD disrespects the concept of a sentence itself when it speaks. Instead, it speaks in one-to-three word snippets, with a full stop after each. This is due mostly to two things. The first being the ego it possesses, with a constant need to one-up its peers, and the second being the fact it’s a Visitant- And as such does not fully grasp a lot of human concepts. These are reflected by the fact that he speaks in a very unusual way, and furthermore talks using over-complicated words- Altogether sound much more like a thesaurus then a person.
    . . “Unknown entity that bares superficial similarities to unknown entity adjacent to refrigerator spotted. Greetings, Unknown entity that bares superficial similarities to unknown entity adjacent to refrigerator. Are you sentient?”
    . . “You organics really are morbid. Dead flowers make up your dyes. Dead furs make up your clothing. Dead flesh makes up your hair. It is intriguing.”
    . . “Have you considered genetic mixture via tube instead of live procreation? It is a much cleaner, much safer process with much more predictable results.”
    . . Zenith has three up there because I was worried a single line wouldn’t really show him off well. He is, perhaps, the most normal of this bunch. That all being said, he is still a transhumanist/machine cultist archpriest with a fuckton of cybernetic arms sprouting out of a large apparatus on his back. This has, understandably, caused some detachment from him, and a more pragmatic, mechanical view to the world. This comes off in his voice lines with how he addresses normal concepts as utterly disgusting- Such as natural birth. Aside from that, however, he is more or less a normal person. At least, compared to the walking glitch corpse and transdimensional lawyer before him.
    . . I do hope there is something to gain from all of this analyzing into the largely minor details of how each character speaks or moves, after all, a person’s gait and accent in real life can tell you a lot about them, perhaps more so than what they’re wearing or how they present themselves. I.. really don’t know what we’ll be doing next time. I have some ideas jotted out so I suppose I’ll look over them!
     
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  5. Yuma

    Yuma New Arrival

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    What do you use to create the custom texture skins of these character?
     
  6. zecon125

    zecon125 The Lurkler Staff Member Moderator

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    Oh- Hatter for the actual putting-into-starbound, and FireAlpaca for making the sprites themselves.
     
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  7. zecon125

    zecon125 The Lurkler Staff Member Moderator

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    Archetypes, Character Inspiration

    . . Well boys, I was supposed to do Character Creation, Personality as determined by the democratic process. But I’m not! Democracy has failed us! Funny how that works out, huh? Truth be told, I ran into a major roadblock doing that. Because I don’t create characters like that! It doesn’t reflect my method, which is much more focused on common story-telling cliches, tropes, archetypes, etcetera. That’s right! I, zecon125, use cliches! Stereotypes too! I’m not creative! I’m a FRAUD!- In all seriousness though, Descriptions, Dialogue was proof-read by one CaucasianAsian, much thanks to him!
    . . So, when I say ‘Archetypes,’ what do I mean? Well, I’m using it a shorthand to refer to a lot of things, mostly tropes, stereotypes, cliches, story beats, so on! So wait- If I use stereotypes, how come I have… three dimensional characters and not sheets of blank slate paper? The biggest part in how I treat them, and thus how I get actual interesting characters, are the Archetype itself- How it impacts the type of character created, what its used for in storytelling- the Soul put into the character- How the way they’re played and the personality drafted to them change how they’re perceived away from just the stereotype- and how best use Subversion to add in more character by going against the grain.
    . . Oh hey! Archetypes, Soul, and Subversion are capitalized. Does that mean they’re going to be used as headings?
    . . Archetypes!
    . . The actual list of archetypes and tropes is quite, quite extensive You don’t believe me? Go look at TVtropes. As such, I won’t be going through and detailing how to do each well, that’s a fool’s errand on the best day. It is, however, rather important to understand at least the bare minimum of what you’re working off of- supposing you start the character from an archetype, at least, or intentionally draft them into one.
    . . So, what is an Archetype? To put it simply, its a type of character used commonly in storytelling to the point of being easily spotted as a ‘template’ of character amongst many. Most characters fit into at least one archetype, most fit into many depending on how you look into it. They’re a blade with two edges, though- As when handled poorly, they come across more often as bland stand-ins for actual characters rather then living breathing people. An archetype done right brings you to your Jack Sparrows and Han Solos, both of whom are classic examples of the ‘Dashing Rogue’ trope.
    . . An example of an archetype done wrong would be Supreme Leader Snoke, who does ‘Big Bad Evil Guy’ or ‘BBEG’ so very, horribly wrong- Sitting in his golden bathrobe, hiding in front of that massive, seamless red curtain that serves no practical function while he acts powerful and bores the audience, soon after being killed in his first ma- Erm, I’m getting off topic. Where was I? Right, Archetypes.
    . . It’s a careful balancing act, really. Are there any ways to ensure these stereotypes work, or at least… try and improve your chances doing such, you say? Funny you asked!
    . . Soul!
    . . “Now zec,” you say, “What the hell do you mean by soul? That’s esoteric bullshit of the highest order!” And in that part, you’re right. It’s meant to strike a poetic tune, I suppose- But in truth, I’m definitely not here to spout religious or spiritual beliefs into my Starbound roleplay guide of all things. Here, I’m using soul as a term to mean ‘The uniqueness put into a character by means of their specific personality, character design, backstory, and other such character-specific details.’- Pretty useful to have one word to say all that, don’t you think?
    . . Consider a stereotype to be the lowest effort possible version of a type of person- All the base assets you need to be a, let’s say, chivalrous knight- But without the vigor, the valor, the riches, the family feuds or the centuries-long tried history. A base template is nothing with a life to it, after all!
    . . Soul is what seperates a character like Lorch Tigren from, well- The stereotypical flamboyant gay man trope, complete with his love of fashion and tone of voice. Lorch is a bubbly, almost happy-go-lucky fashionista with the exact dialogue you’d expect him to have. A nigh perfect opportunity to just grab the baseline of the stereotype and put no more effort into it than that- After all, I’ve not known many other characters like him to have been played as… people, instead of jokes. But! That’s not the case, actually. Whether through Randy’s characterization of the man, or just how much time the man has had to develop, Lorch is more than just that cookie-cutter. He has loved, he has lost, and he has lived- And it shows! Admittedly, Mister Tigren is cut of a rare cloth, and shows his archetype very, very well. And, erm, if I didn’t get Randy’s permission to comment on him, I would’ve been at a loss for examples.
    . . Subversion!
    . . Subversion! This one actually has a pretty simple definition, and not something I cobbled together from bits and pieces to work! Yay! Subverting an Archetype, as it were, is the act of going against or veering to the side of one’s established character to sprinkle in little hints at something more than just what is said and shown. When done right, it gives characters like Lkzi’oopalsk’kseai, the Alfred to Belle’s Batman(???) and a five-star chef, who just so happens to also be a monstrous ten-foot maggot creature whose own diet consists mainly of McResh, tortilla, and sour cream. Using stuff like that, I hint at an odd pairing of tropes, or a backstory beyond what one might expect.
    . . By adding small details that don’t gel- but aren’t out of character- even if you don’t quite know why you’re doing it or what it’ll lead to, you can make a character seem much more multidimensional. I am often guilty of this myself- Lesslyn’s odd childhood started mostly out of me wanting her to refuse wine from Giorno de Guanciale by saying “I only drink at birthdays and weddings.” for example.
    . . Another good example is Dave- Bet you were wondering when I’d get to him, huh? You knew I’d have to bring him up eventually. It’s really a surprise it took me this long! But anyways- David Ward is a perfect example of subversion! Pretty much everyone can agree that he’s largely a jokey, fun-loving and semi-memey character, being the funny lobster hair man is he. However… I remember my first time reading through Dave’s character sheet. I gave a few chuckles- His middle name is Clammate, that’s funny- and then I got to it.
    . . I saw the CT scan in the bottom half of the file, then the caption. Then I scrolled back up, and read again.
    . . And I was terrified. It clicked with me, how this crustacean loving freak of nature was utterly horrifying- the mystery behind him turning my gut in a way I’ve not experienced with a roleplay character before- To a point where I began to question if David Ward- David, Clammate, Ward, was more eerie then Barter, who I had designed to be creepy- I am not joking- THERE ARE CHAT LOGS OF ME FREAKING, THE FUCK, OUT. I DID NOT EXPECT ANYTHING OF WHAT I READ IN THAT SHEET, I COULD NOT HAVE EXPECTED IT. THAT IS AN OUT, FUCKING, STANDING SUBVERSION OF HIS TROPE.
    . . ...Erm, onto inspiration.
    . . Character Inspiration!
    . . So! Inspiration is primarily how I get my characters done- Let’s erm, let’s get this out of the way early:
    • Marquis - Dimentio
    • Lkzi’oopalsk’kseai - Ice bear
    • Barter - The Happy Mask Salesman\Slenderman
    • Moirai - Impa(From Skyward Sword)
    • Dimitri - Han Solo
    • PROSECUTIVEGOD - Manfred Von Karma
    • Zenith - The Mechanicus
    . . So on, so forth. Every one of my characters eventually lead back into a character inspiration that is pretty blatant when you read between the lines. I do try and differentiate them from it by using the processes I outlined above, though.
    . . Easily one of the biggest things to understand when working with an inspiration such as I do is that you’re making a character based off some pre-existing thing that you enjoy, and to identify what it is that makes you enjoy it- That way you can better capture the feeling you’re after. And, for the love of all that you consider just- Do not just copy the character. For example, PROSECUTIVEGOD’s claim to fame that keeps line with Manfred Von Karma(the better of the Von Karmas) is his perfect record, besides that he turned largely into a joke on the Phoenix Wright franchise rather then any particular character- Flinching and overreacting in court way too much to be realistic. Alongside that, he has a good many traits that aren’t related to this fact, and spur off his position as a Visitant Lawyer rather than anything to do with the game series.
    . . A bad way to pull of PROSECUTIVEGOD would’ve been to just make Von Karma as a whole- Some German(or American, if you’re of a German persuasion) human with a perfect court record, deep demonic voice, and threatening attire who’d do anything to keep his mark on history, and stopping there as far as personality goes. It would’ve been especially bad if I still tried to make him a Visitant with such a personality.
    . . I- I suppose I’m just saying that you shouldn’t try and plagiarize characters. Huh. Yeah- Don’t do that! That’s bad! Consider what race a character is, how they got where they are, what clues it could give you to expand them beyond their source material, then act on it and make them act, look, dress, etcetera, accordingly. A man can still be inspired by Hollow Knight and be a short Glitch noble who disgraced himself out of his lands, for example!
    . . Well, that’s my big jumbling rant going over how I do what I do. I hope there’s something worth learning from in there- Something, at least.
    . . Next time I might try and get someone to help me do Character Creation, Personality. If not that, I’ll find something- Be sure of that!
     
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  8. zecon125

    zecon125 The Lurkler Staff Member Moderator

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    New Player Edition

    . .
    Well! I’ve certainly noticed a lot more new players flooding into our banks, and I figured with the summer months approaching- or rather, already here- only more would come. So I took my time away from writing scenes of women getting skinned alive or whatever it is I do to write up a short passage for all the new boys and gals!
    . . Now- Let me be the first to welcome you all to our little slice of Heaven(?), Galaxy Citizen! There are indeed a good few things you should know or consider before you delve into the deep end of our community. We should probably step right into that, shouldn’t we? No point wasting time!
    . . The first thing to understand in my book would be roleplaying styles- or rather, the marks and symbols used to differentiate things from each other, like actions, dialogue, and out of character talk! There are a good few ways to go about doing this, like these:
    • *This* to mark actions, anything inside the asterisks are actions.
      • -This-, --This--, or nothing at all can also indicate actions. The last can only be done when dialogue is clearly marked.
    • “This” to mark dialogue, anything inside the quotation marks are spoken by the character.
      • You can also just forgo marking dialogue, but this can only be done if actions are clearly marked.
    • ((This)) or (This) to mark Out Of Character discussion, anything inside the marks is neither an action or a spoken bit of dialogue, and is the author of the character talking.
    . . Besides for that, there are still a few more specific and situational short hands for conveying something, the ones I know of go as follows:
    • <”This”> or “<This>” can indicate talking in a code, private comms, or other languages that only some of the characters around can understand.
    • “<:This” or “<<:This” indicates dialogue spoken through a voice disguiser, vocoder, or so on to make it unrecognizable to those who might know the character.
    . . Most people that I have seen often use the combination of asterisks and quotation marks with double parenthesis for out of character. However, I drop the asterisks and instead just use quotation marks and double parentheses, and in the past I had used dash marks instead of asterisks.
    . . That all being said, don’t let any of it discourage you from doing whatever you think is most comfortable! So long as others can understand what is and isn’t an action, dialogue, or OOC talk, you’re fine to do as you please!
    . . Now, beyond just those marks- There are a few more things you should be aware of when you start up- Particularly about how we treat Starbound as a roleplay medium and as a game- Simply put? We don’t use the game part nearly at all. It’s used as nothing more then a platform to carry out roleplay. We use items like custom hats ( Courtesy of https://silverfeelin.github.io/Starbound-Hatter/ ) and drawables to facilitate this function. Drawables are custom items and weapons that a character can hold or use. While both of these are great to have, they are by no means a requirement! You do not need to have a gun drawable or item to use a gun in character. You can find a list of generators, programs, and mods to help with all of this in the Discord channel #modding-citizen, and it is also heavily recommended that you pick up Apple’s Roleplay Tech from the Chucklefish forums.
    . . Furthermore, however far along you are in the progression of the Starbound game means nothing here. Your backstory and character concept prescribe what you have, not your in-game inventory. It is also vital to know that just because something exists in Starbound, that it exists in Galaxy Citizen. They do overlap often, but that is not always the case, and you’d be best to double check.
    . . Besides all that, it’s good to know that the question board on the discord is free for any qualms you have, and you shouldn’t be afraid to make whatever character you want!(Within reason!)
     
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  9. PanKruk

    PanKruk I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. Gold Donator

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    ADDENDUM: YOU CAN ALSO USE [[ ]] AND [ ] TO MARK OOC ACTIONS.
     
  10. zecon125

    zecon125 The Lurkler Staff Member Moderator

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    Villains
    . . Too much? I figured I’d start this one up with something special- After all, villains are a personal favorite sort of character to play, and I’d… liiike to say that I do a good job at it? Who knows. As is, we’ll be covering evil-doers, antagonists, ne’er-do-wells, and all things of that ilk in this edition of zecon Rants.
    . . Now, ‘evil’ characters to me come in three variants, or at least- Three that I can easily quantify. These would be: Villains, who are big, sweeping threats who will do irrevocable, setting-wide damage if left unchecked. Antagonists, who are more local, more subtle threats who may stop individual characters or work against them, but offer no big problems for the galaxy as a whole. And the erm, third category. These are characters like LubricantGladly’s John Doe, and my own Barter. Those of this caste do not actively hinder other characters or work for any greater evil, but are still very much morally in the wrong on many things, and possess a creepy nature. I racked my head for a name for these loonies but I couldn’t figure out one- Sorry.

    . . One of the primary examples of ‘Villains’ work in the ways of the Ruin, or the Black Empire. The big downside of these classifications are that, in a lot of ways, they are too big to fail to the average ragtag team of smugglers and war profiteers you get within the Fringe, meaning that their actual downfall can only really be performed within events. However this can be used to great effect if the goal is to have a villain on whose defeat everyone rides- The Ruin, should it succeed, is a galaxy ending threat for example, its victory means the end of the setting. In this rides a small problem that if used incorrectly- Not properly building on tension or just leaving a threat to linger without updates, like the Black Empire, can backfire and have the threat become very little more than a job.

    . . Antagonists work differently- Keyly on a smaller scale and more often as part of a looser plot, allowing them to be used with much more freedom than their world destroying kin. These plots are more often evolving and growing more curious and more complex as the antagonist, often a single character played by a single person, recruits more allies or gathers more resources. In this way a player can have a free flowing 'Evil' character without needing a set plot in mind or even an outcome planned for if they win. A good example of this would be Randy's Weltons, my own Lesslyn, or Dekerrex's Telroth. All of these characters are undeniably working for their own goals and on a loosely amoral guideline that we can just write off as evil, but because they're not tethered to any one plot or event chain, they can be used in a variety of situations.
    . . That is not to say that all threats of the Antagonist level are universally divorced from events and plotlines, in fact I'd wager that most of the villains seen in our events are from this level, your Mother Dearests, your Brasits, your Aixars and your Magicians. These characters are, whilst attached and introduced in events, capable of branching out into other roleplays and maybe even expanding as characters- Something big factions and major doomsday catalysts are just incapable of.

    . . The last, Nameless category of villain is perhaps my favorite way of doing it- Characters who undeniably off putting and even freaky, but have no real major forces, power, or even a reason to stop people from pursuing their own goals. Characters like this number John Doe, Khaos' Salesman, and even, to an extent, David Ward. It is easy to imagine these characters taking care of others should they have the motive, and the sensation behind it is often that they are a villain of someone else's story. It's an interesting way to explore personalities often only seen in the evil among us- The sociopaths, the psychos, the maddened cult leaders and spoiled god childs, and so on.

    . . But with all this in mind, it takes more than just a classification to make a foe who they are. What are they? Who? How do they strike fear into the hearts of others? Or perhaps they're quite the opposite, weaseling their way into the communities they hate and knocking out the foundations from under the would-be protagonists? It's important to understand how a villain operates. Lesslyn doesn't kill, because she views it as an inefficient way to solve a problem like having detractors, and the Occasus use connections and coercion as much as they do weaponry and gunshots. These set them apart as antagonists and establish them as a diverse group with their own ideologies and motives beyond ‘Evil!’ But, do keep in mind that a lot can be told by a villain's mannerisms- The way Lawrence Welton belittles others almost casually, making a show of his superiority, or the way Telroth checks his surroundings like a cornered animal, ready to pounce and maim the nearest threat. These little quirks easily communicate a lot of the character’s personality- That much is true for all characters, but it’s especially important for the more ill-willed of us, who typically get less public screen time than others.
    . . Just as important as a personality is a ne’er-do-wells means- How do they do whatever evil plans they have in the works? Do they have the charisma to make connections and weasel their way into a place of power without raising a finger? Are they a mad dog, lashing out at what they can and grasping whatever power they can? Old money with enough resources to do whatever they need? Or perhaps they’re a large cult family hell-bent on destroying the galaxy? A character being a public enemy often does mean they’ll start in a more advantageous position then your everyday joe-shmoe, but be aware of the limits of this- Generally anything involving nameless NPCs in large groups or combat NPCs at all should probably be passed by staff. Don’t expect to be able to do whatever you want without any repercussions or staff check-ins.

    . . And that is… I do believe most of what I’d consider part of ‘Villains’ and not part of ‘Characters.’ Figure out what scale you’re working on, what your end-game is, who your villain is, what their personality entails, how they accomplish what they’re after… so on, so forth. Now, I’m not sure what I’ll be covering for the next zecon Rants- Perhaps event hosting? I suppose we’ll see!
     
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  11. zecon125

    zecon125 The Lurkler Staff Member Moderator

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    The Lovecraftian Elements
    . . *Claps* So! I’ve been talking waaaay too much to Archer over the past few days- And two musical-loving, Lovecraftian inspired gentleman discussing their ideas into an empty void only works for so long! But- That’s what Niveus Aquatica is for. More on that later. Here, we’re discussing the Lovecraftian element of Galaxy Citizen and works as a whole- How to properly accomplish that feeling of the unknowable and the alien without making something that you actually can’t comprehend. So, how does one do that?

    . . Well, the first part comes in human conviction- Lovecraftian things merely existing doesn’t do anything for the plot, and the very idea of an HP-like idea means it can’t be just be something that exists- There needs to be a fundamental obsession that draws people into it, or some horrible consequence that draws them to continue on with it. Consider the Music of Erich Zann- That apartment building on Rue d'Auseil, that old German man playing his Viol to the dead of the night, to the window that opens not onto the street- The street that we learn does not exist- but onto an endless, blackened abyss. Consider Erich’s conviction in playing his melodies, those bizarre melodies, to keep the beasts of the abyss away from his window. Consider how his corpse kept the viol going, lifeless as it was, even it knew the devotion it should show to those rhythms. Or, perhaps more main-stream, consider the Shadow over Innsmouth. Consider how the just men of that small fishing village did it all for the bounty of endless fishing hauls and unique, valuable jewelry. Realize now that they inbred with the fish-folk not because of a religious conviction, nor some sinister plot on the deep one’s part, but for the want of money- It only took dollar bills to take this town away from nature itself.

    . . People, I think, often get lost in the idea that Lovecraftian elements need to be these big tangled plot lines of elder gods and blasphemous incantations that work against nature itself. No- This sort of plot line can be done without ever touching the supernatural, or even the bizarrely science fiction. Consider, perhaps, a child- An eccentric child of a wealthy family. For whatever reason, this child takes on an obsession with boxes, and box forts- Card board, wooden crates, whatever he can. Using his parents money, he rents out of a warehouse, then two, then three, and with each expansion, his fort grows larger- From a fort, to a keep, to a castle, to a kingdom, complete with card-board cut-outs of people drawn over with crayon and marker.
    Then, imagine the child disappears- His mother and father hiring a team of investigators to figure out where their son has gone. Imagine as these people lurk about this immaculate kingdom of cardboard and paper mache, these immaculate scenes of people going about their daily life. Imagine them walking past the wooden knights, complete with their wrapping-paper swords, through the composition board throne room to find the child- Dressed up in his kingly gear, sporting even the Burger King crown atop his head and the gift-paper cloak, so long lost in his fantasy that he refuses to leave- Or perhaps, for a darker element, so lost in his own fantasy that he had attempted to each one of the magazine-and-glue painted fruit on his table, and suffocated to death on the imitation apple.

    . . Now realize that none of that requires anything more that a very, very lonely child with a lot of money to burn, and that would make for an outstanding event. You don’t need some clever, earth-shattering revelation to do a Lovecraft plot, you just need an eccentricity taken too far, or something that doesn’t make sense- Something that could never make sense. This is because, at the end of the day, Lovecraft isn’t defined for its eldritch alien monsters and its grotesque forms for its baddies, but by its very real origins. An out-of-date, untaught, racist man, stricken by nightmares and endless phobias, writing his horrors out on the page and submitting them to magazines and newspapers all the like. You don’t need unpronounceable syllables or evil books to sell the atmosphere, even- King Timmothy the Creator with his Yellow Pages works just as well.

    . . Do remember that to sell the atmosphere, though, there needs to be some realistic hook-in, some eerie drop from normalcy into dementia- Some reason for the people to be doing what they’re doing, and possibly for the very thing that violates the laws and structures of this universe to exist and do what it does. You do also need to understand exactly what the thing can do- The players and the people IC never need to understand it, but you, OOC, do, and you might even be expected to apply for it to exist.
    . . I… think that’s as far as this grandiose tangent will go for now. I’m impressed at the speed of which I cranked out this thing, talk next time- Probably about Event Hosting, or I might just do a series of character studies instead! We’ll see. Adios.
     
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  12. zecon125

    zecon125 The Lurkler Staff Member Moderator

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    Character Study, Gary Noose
    . . Well, we’re starting out these character studies with a decently strong candidate! Khaos’ own ‘main’ character, the CEO of Horizon, and biggest folly to the Occasus, Gary Noose. I’d love to say why I chose him to be some philosophical or spiritual decision on my part, but truthfully I just spammed Garlen Drunkard lines until I got something I liked. I’ll be looking at Gary, and everyone else I study, through a few core things- Appearance and Design, Background, Characterization, Relations, and then wrap it up with a Conclusion. Sounds like a recipe for success, doesn’t it?
    . . I do want to state that the reason for doing all of this isn’t really to critique Khaos’ playstyle or Gary Noose himself, but to study a few well-known characters so others can get an idea of what sorts of things get far in GC… or just share a few good characters!
    . . Appearance and Design
    [​IMG]
    . . Now, Gary has two majorly used forms. The first is a Hispanic male of purple hair, often dressing in black-grey tones with a baby-blue shirt underneath. Formerly, he was human- But this form’s purple hands hint at him being something altogether different. Two horns sprout from his head, wrapped in shiny golden bands. As far as working within the limits of Starbound’s default sprites go, this form possesses a decently strong silhouette, some minor but present visual storytelling, and is rather clear as to what’s going on within it. This is to say, it’s entirely passable.
    [​IMG]
    . . But *this* is my favorite of the two forms. Corru wrapped in carapace and an altogether un-human look, it’s easy to see why. I’m a real sucker for freaks, and Obsecrians have always been capable of pulling off some freaky shit. The horns carry-over from the first form, a tell to who is beneath the mask for anyone who might recognize them, whilst the purple of his ‘true’ body has been ditched for more of the baby-blue we’ve seen so scarcely in his other form- To my knowledge, this is meant to ward off Occasus from immediately realizing who this wacky alien is. Perhaps the strongest part of this design, and one Khaos most definitely didn’t realize, is that while its visual appearance is *completely* different, the silhouette isn't too far from his normal-er body.
    . . Character Background
    . . Now this is going to be a little disjointed, as I can’t really say I know the full history of Gary Noose as well as his creator does- However, I’ve hung around Khaos long enough to pick up hints as to what was going on for the most part, and will be attempting to re-tell it from the perspective of a very interested onlooker.
    . . Hailing from a mixed-race human colony somewhere within the greater galaxy, the ‘Rope Salesman’, Gary Noose, was first introduced as a joke character who sold different styles of rope in order to afford his two great needs- Sustenance, and pornography. An interesting footnote of this time in his life is that he was initially skittish to get his first cybernetic, a candy-red mechanical foot with a built in gumball machine, if I recall correctly.
    . . As with most joke characters, Gary slowly clawed his way into being a proper character after some play- Slowly progressing up in the world. If I recall, he was part of the Glasses Gang, whom David Ward was also a prominent member of. Possibly one of the most humanizing experiences for the freshly un-joke-ified Noose was the meeting of Idril, an Obsecrian whose full name I will not even try to guess at. With this woman, Gary had found what seems to be the love of his life- If their ongoing relationship has anything to say about it.
    . . And despite a short-lived spot as a Haven Senator which I know very little about, the current plot line within Noose’s life is the Occasus(a rather vicious doom-cult centered on the reawakening and appeasement of the Ruin itself.). As one of their larger competitors and part of the primary ‘inheritors’ in the Garlen plot, Gary is a thorn stuck fairly firmly into their side, causing something of a bitter rivalry and kill-on-sight rule between both parties. As a result of this all, Gary has slowly becoming rather inclosed, a recluse in plain sight- Hiding what he can behind multi-layered plans and secret chats.
    . . However, with the Prisilite Prix coming back up- An event in which he will be one of the hosts- and a small lull in Occasus activity, one can only question what will happen to this rope vender.
    . . Characterization
    . . Now, at first glance, Gary Noose often appears… normal. He isn’t an eccentric loon, nor does his heart pound valiantly on his bicep like most of my character’s do. Because of this, it takes a bit to peel into his personality. But, once you get to know it all, Gary is a kind yet stressed man who wants to do nothing more than right by himself, and right by the world. He is in the possession of an untold strength of will, to remain so steadily on the straight and narrow when faced with enemy after enemy and foe after foe- Such is the way of the Fringe, after all. However, reconciling his desire to do good with the double crossing nature of the space he’s found himself in has given birth to a small tangent of paranoia within him- One that is not portrayed in the over-the-shoulder looking, hyper-prominent examples we’re used to. It comes across in his affection for eavesdropping, multi-layer plots, failsafes, and even his elaborate private chat rooms.
    . . Now, this isn’t forgetting that even he has his odder tendencies. While he isn’t the most eccentric man ever seen on the server, he is a mostly ‘normal’ human man in love with an Obsecrian- Going as far as to transfer into a Spir, think of it as an Obsecrian android, just to be closer to his mate and being one of the few people who understands their culture without being born into it. And while this makes him seem an entirely heroic being, Gary is not without his vitriol. Consider the various times in which he EMP’d Rose Avalice, during one of which he defenestrated her, and another he mutilated her throat.
    . . A more interesting facet of his character is his relationship with people like Xaguli and Atticus, to whom he is almost a father figure- A perhaps much needed one, as one of those characters came from a near-abusive home, and the other’s father is… erm, entirely absent from their life via the throes of death.
    . . Conclusion
    . . Khaos does a great job in presenting the realized character of Gary Noose- A man who is as heroic as he is paranoid. A reformed joke made into a true person, in the same way David Ward broke free of those shackles, forming real relationships and ideals through the ages- Finding love and founding companies. Perhaps, even, saving a galaxy or two. In the end, this neurotic Spir might be the sort of leader the inheritors need.

    . . Caesar is next. There might be a rant between this and that.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2019 at 9:35 PM
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  13. zecon125

    zecon125 The Lurkler Staff Member Moderator

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    Off-Screening
    . . Okay, so I’m aware this is a pretty odd topic to go on about, however it is my roleplay guide, and you can not stop me. Recently, I’ve been talking with Jester. This has brought up the potential ranting topic of how to efficiently portray something that is happening almost entirely off screen. Obviously, I figured more people would want to hear about this sooner rather than later.
    . . Now, what one needs to realize with doing something off-screen is that while it does not need to come up right away or constantly(although it might), it needs to be present enough to be noticed by others whilst they are in the spotlight. A good example for this would be my own Dimitri Salvinov, a Purgatorian Knife-ear who is a cunning smuggler, ace pilot, middling mechanic and outstandingly lucky bastard. He pilots an ancient bit of machinery loosely comparable to a modern-day spaceship, which he has largely gutted for more smuggling compartments. The issue with this is apparent, and that’s not even counting the fact his ship is supposed to be crewed by around eight people, and he flies it with the help of several crude auto-piloting AIs.
    . . Now, this is all good to hear as a backstory and an explanation for how Dimitri has the money to casually throw out seven fucking EMPs one after another, but how else is it present in roleplay, if at all? A cool element that doesn’t get brought up is a pure loss, after all. But when he is actually brought up in roleplays or texted- Often by IamPointy’s Iaia, who he is close friends with- he is frequently talking in the middle of gun fights, on beaches waiting for some contact to bring him more fuel, or making repairs to his ship in one way or another- The ship, his profession, and the difficulties of it are damn-near omnipresent in his offscreen life. There was even a time where, in response to a text message, Dimitri just responded “HELP. WARP CODES. NOW.” or something equally frantic with worse grammar and spelling, and proceeded to beam his limping, bleeding body onto Iaia’s ship, as he’d bitten off more than he could chew in a fight. This isn’t even mentioning the time he’d taken someone to a ship graveyard to get pieces for his hover-rocket-wheelchair. So, whilst it isn’t really done ‘on’ screen, it is easy to imagine his life is this endless concoction of mishap and misadventure, which is the feeling I like to give him.
    . . This can also, quite obviously, be done for emotional and physical character development too, because there is a lot someone can do in a party of one as far as soul-searching and physical exercise goes. To do this brand of it, you really just need to make it clear to the audience- Whoever that might be- that the character’s behavior has noticeably shifted from the norm, however that may be. A great bard may be acting aloof and shy, afraid to speak his once boisterous opinions, or maybe a cryptic, skittish character is now speaking in obvious truths in loud tones. It just needs to be apparent in your writing.
    . . I think that’s all I do have for you- I could go on about examples with how Dekerrex once tried to have Inkette get into singing, and I was trying to give him this very advice, but I’ve said my major pieces about it. Caesar next, definitely.
     
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