Character & Conflict

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#1
Character and Conflict
Written by Khaleesi & Red Garland




Introduction

It's been on my mind for a while to create a guide about character development and, more than that, speak a little truth about us (community members) and why we really play this game. So, think about what RC-RP means to you. The way I see it, RC-RP is an immersive world we all escape into from our good/bad, boring/exciting lives for a sense of fun we wouldn’t get anywhere else. The immersion of the world we enter comes from us assuming characters we aren’t and, most importantly, cannot be in real life. I think this is why we actually play SA-MP on this gamemode — it's one of the games that simply lets you get creative and do whatever the hell you want to do within the boundaries of realism. Where else could you simply create a character and choose what you want to be out of anything possible (and, hold on, what's impossible anyway)?

So, roleplaying has a lot in common with other escapist-like stuff, such as writing, movies and art. In a way, roleplaying is drama. You get a similar premise: various characters (character) overcoming obstacles (conflict) keeping them from achieving their goals (resolution). This similarity is convenient to us, as we can use various writings and references on drama from the past and examine them for our purpose. I've personally been roleplaying for... years, especially on SA-MP, and I do have my fair share of research and knowledge in this whole game of creating a character and playing as one.

Anyway, back to our drama. In it, you see, you, the author, and you are the sole creator of the world you’re presenting; you’re out to prove a point, or you wish to deliver aesthetic awe to the audience. Whatever your pitch might be, you inevitably have to: handpick your characters, your conflict and your environment according to one criterion — driving the plot to the resolution you’ve chosen. Now, this is where roleplaying actually becomes interesting, because it challenges this whole generic idea. How? In roleplaying, you only select your character. The environment, plot and conflict (for the one which you don’t initiate; more on that later) are given to you and you’re expected to react. Here is where the importance of properly developing your character lies: the way your character reacts to an incident and the way an incident defines your character in the long run, more or less, is what makes people be interested in someone else's character and simply enjoy role-playing around them.

One important thing for everyone to understand out of this is that, quite frankly, your character(s) are your only contribution to the world you enter. If you want to be successful in it and enjoy it to the fullest, you better make sure that your contribution is a worthwhile one. Essentially, developing a character simply means you'll roleplay your character accordingly to the conflicts and incidents surrounding his or her life while reacting to them.

You and Your Character
A roleplayer must understand the notion of "character." and how to go about their characters. You are yourself, the player behind the character in front of the monitor. Your character is the one in game, who is a different person from you, and should never be compared nor brought somehow to your Out of Character self. Don't get attached to your character and realize the fact that whatever happens In Character shouldn't affect yourself in Out of Character. The whole thrill and fun in roleplaying is sitting in the fact that you can do anything else but do things the way you do them in real life, and that's you should avoid linking yourself in any sort of behaviour to your character.

Character & Conflict

There's a pretty common idea that each character must have some sort of background. It's even a criteria when you create a new character on the RC-RP UCP. So from the get-go you’re familiarized with this idea, that whatever it is that you want to do with your character, you need to create for him a story. A background. Something that lasts and defines what you're roleplaying. You need to create for him a personality. But what exactly is a personality? What makes us who we are? That’s a million dollar question I can't answer and we won't dwell on it. What we’re after is a way to create a personality that by all accounts seems real. It’s not real - you HAVE to ink that in your mind. But that's not what we're after. We want a character who only seems like a real, living and breathing human being and we merely want to avoid anything that might break this illusion.

Anyway, all of you might have some idea of how a proper character is made. You want your character to be realistic and to achieve that, you think, you need him to have flaws. It's common practice for people to create a character designated for a certain faction or pre-set purpose, which is usually wrong and conflicts the way your role-play will go on. All you need to do is create a character and, at max, give it a job (so, a cop, a paramedic, a Courts employee, you get it). And that's how you come up with the idea to create your Eddie Caruso character, this beat cop transferred over from the city. Now, you want Caruso to be intriguing for you. To make you feel motivated to log in game and roleplay as Eddie Caruso, and in a moment of insight, you think he should be corrupt. That's his pitch. Whatever he does, Caruso will be a corrupt cop for an undefined purpose, so he can be corrupt for his own good (money, favours, etc), or he can be corrupt to actually serve the purpose of enforcing the law (torture a suspect to admit to committing a crime, implanting evidence to then perform an arrest, etc). It's all sweet until it comes to the execution. What most people will do is create a character story topic and then showcase roleplay screenshots of how Eddie Caruso is doing his corrupt business in a cop uniform by beating up suspects, taking bribe, whatever. You show him going through the horrific fear of getting caught and doing jail time, of struggling against his own conscience, and you add all the dramatic stuff and the cliffhangers between screenshot batches to it. The problem with that, though, is that nobody cares. Look: I don’t care what you want me to think of your character. I’ll scroll right through your screenshots and long background story without paying them much mind. Yet still, as a roleplayer, you are a storyteller. As that, it is your duty to know these things about your character despite the fact, that I’ll promptly ignore you telling me about them. You know why? Here’s a quote that has changed my approach to screenwriting, storytelling and roleplaying dramatically. It's like this:

"What is character but the determination of incident?
What is incident but the illustration of character?"

So, character & incident. You have your character and his existence is defined by incidents, as in things that happen to him, the way he responds to them and the things he makes happen. Right now we see a clear connection between the two and the answer to our initial question of "what is character?" is right in front of us. Character, or personality is what defines the incidents your character creates. Incident is what illuminates your character’s personality to others. I see incidents. Through incidents I shape my own vision of your character and it’s the outside observer’s vision, that matters - not yours.

In a nitpick, all I'm trying to say is that you lot shouldn't keep telling others what your character does or what your character is like or whatever. You make a story and you start roleplaying. Good, bad, ugly, you roleplay through it all accordingly and if you're a fan of showcasing roleplay, you post screenshots of it. If you're good enough to make your viewers (the audience) realize what your character's about, then your purpose as a roleplayer a.k.a storyteller is fulfilled and you can say you had impact on someone. If not, then there's a problem. Show, don't tell. Look: if you want an arrogant character, develop his personality to be arrogant to everyone for whatever purpose (example: some people are arrogant to hide the fact that they're actually sensitive) in incidents this character of yours encounters instead of being all over /me is arrogant, because that's truly not the way you should use that command anyway. Roleplay's about showing, not telling. If the other can't see, then that's not your problem. The true quality of a good roleplayer stands in being able to build characters, and building up is hard.
 
Joined
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#3
Don't get attached to your character and realize the fact that whatever happens In Character shouldn't affect yourself in Out of Character.
Well said.
 

Lee

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fools multiply when
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the wise are silent
#6
im sure this is a good read
 
Joined
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Tavio Castrillo Bizzman
#7
Thing with developing a character is that most of the time people don't do passive roleplay because nobody sees it. It's not only about anyone seeing your roleplay, it's about you developing and having fun doing so. Tavio Castrillo for example. It is my best developed character even though he is my least played character compared to others. As much as some people love to be judgemental and keep on saying non rper. They will never know how much rp actually happends between the lines of Tavio and his family and close friends. But thats fine because all of us are having fun and we see it.
One advice I have towards people wanting to develop. Toggle your PM's off. If a person has your number he will call you. If not he will search of a way to reach you. Instead of doing /pm number? Or shit like that. Turn off your pM's and enjoy. Which is exactly what im going to do when I regain activity on the 15th.
 

jonathan_lai

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#8
Really nice to read but let's be honest, if you don't know this you can't roleplay and probably no one will read it completely. I'm not saying you have done a terrible job but it's a bit unneeded. Telling me that this is good for new roleplayers is bullshit too, since these shouldn't be on the server anyways if they don't know this part of roleplay.
 
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#9
It's obviously good for new players. Most people don't realize the fact that they have to build characters, or those who think they do, actually don't. Refer to the last paragraph.