Jay-P Making the Change, Flickr

We have all created characters who live in a carefully constructed fantasy world. This world relies on cooperation between players to make it come to life in a believable, realistic way. This is the reason we all come together- to make this magic of mutual storytelling within our world.

” But, realism?” We say, “Why does it have to be realistic? This is Fantasy! Why does it matter if it’s “realistic” or not? In a world with magic- what realism can there be?”

Plenty! Without realism nothing has a basis and the worlds we create crumble to bits around us. Having a firm grasp on the realistic gives us that common ground on which to build everything else.

It doesn’t make the fantasy elements any less fantastic – it makes them all the more potent.

The Static Hero

Imagine this:A warrior runs over the hill- ten arrows sticking out through the cracks of his armor, blood gushing from a wound in his thigh. His best friend falls down beside him, dying at the top of the hill from wounds sustained in their previous battle. A roar interrupts him-

He has stumbled upon the lair of a massive beast the kinds of which he’s never seen before- tentacles everywhere, a giant lion’s head in the middle and the distinct smell of the undead about it….

He laughs and runs in, fighting flawlessly and slaying the creature and then walks away, never mentioning it- or his friend- to anyone ever again and goes on with this life.

… None of us are Hercules. And even Hercules isn’t that Hercules! He would’ve been devastated if Iolaus died and would’ve had a hard time coping with those kinds of wounds! Heroes that are impervious to harm and fear or grief are simply not interesting. And Characters that are never affected by past events are – simply put- frustrating!

How would you like a TV show where none of the characters ever learned from things or changed from the pilot episode? If one week someone is betrayed by someone or scared of something… and then it never comes up again? We’ve all seen it happen- a writer forgets or it’s just not convenient so they leave it out this week… and it’s irritating! It’s wrong! It’s just bad writing and breaks immersion.

We’re not a sitcom, we’re not a 20 minute show with no continuity. We are epic. We grow and we change. We are intense and emotional with great moments of hilarity. Our characters are alive in our world and what happens to them – matters to them! That is continuity. Reality. That is what makes for Epic RP.

The Realistic Hero

If your Hero has a large gash in their arm, fighting may not be possible! They have find some other way to get out of situations. Can they talk their way out? Will they have to flee? What kind of toll with that take on their confidence? How long will it take for them to recover physically and emotionally from that kind of wound and all that comes after? What is the consequence of the fight?

Perhaps your hero was tortured. Do they turn around and then skip through life like nothing has changed the next day? Or does it leave scars on their skin and on their psyche? You do not (should not) have to be a moping, wounded bunny for weeks on end – but allow for events to make an impact! The tragedy can and should fade with time as your character grows from it

These are the things that make RP interesting! Allow In Character Actions to become In Character consequences! (A key concept often abbreviated to ICA=ICC. Keep an eye out for it!)

Being surprised by something, being scared of something – these are just as crucial as being angry or happy. We cannot forget them because they make fully-rounded characters (and prevent God-Modding)! And these are the things that make our world better and more vibrant and worth coming back to time and time again.

Fun Fact: Not only does allowing your character to be impacted by events make them more real and give them depth, but you it honors the contributions of the other players involved and lets them shape your character, as you also shape theirs!

This kind of cooperation and evolution makes RP legendary and elevates it to a new level.

What kind of changes has your character undergone via RP? What opportunities has that opened? When does that go too far?

I hope these reminders helped you deepen your existing character or shape your new one! Until next time, may your Grid be Peaceful and your RP Epic,

– The Trailblazer

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Written by RP Trail