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Character Feedback: Leonid Myagmar


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Man, this place doesn't get that much attention.
It's a shame, because all the threads I've looked at had pretty solid advice. In that vein, I'm making this post as opposed to just DMing a couple of friends because I think RP really shines through when you can rely on other writers around you, and not just yourself. I also think a lot of (fair) feedback goes on without the player always knowing - I find in-game OOC chats to be an occasionally toxic, but also very honest environment, where people say what they think. It's not always constructive, but often still somewhat true. I think I've managed to avoid any bad blood though, so I wanted to open up the conversation a bit more and tap into that feedback.

I think my more recent characters (Gentle Wind, Publius-Au, to name) have been proof to myself that I can do character concepts just fine. The issue I face with Leonid stems more from the points I'll try and outline below.

He was the second character I ever made just about at the start of this year, and have played fairly frequently ever since. Some people may even remember how long I was a Cadet (Previously Leonard Scheller, changed name due to lore accuracy) just because I was scared of 'screwing up' a higher role. The consequence of this is that I grew rather attached to him and the Investigator role, still considering him my 'main' today.


What has become painfully obvious in the last few weeks, though, is that he's not much of a fully-rounded character, or at least his concept isn't. He has a competent backstory that I figured out backwards, but I've yet to feel like he has much of a personality these past rounds, at least not when compared to the rest of the department he works in. I've thought a lot about this topic for a good month now, and I don't think it's an issue of me being demotivated or jaded. It's simply hard for me to reconcile my attachment to him as a somewhat long-lived character when compared to his blatant lack of personality, and then try and improve his concept, too.

To that end, I was hoping I could get some honest reviews of both him and how I could work on this. Should I lean into certain aspects more? Should I avoid others? Should I let go and try other characters completely?

If you need more info to help, such as backstory or such, I'm willing to provide it in DMs with the understanding that I may yet keep Leo around for later, and all OOC confidentiality expected as a result.

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I've had some limited experience with Myagmar in security as my (similarly named) Leona Raszeur. I think you've seen me around in a limited capacity when I'm not observer flying around and preying on unfortunate souls.

First impressions are everything, and at face value what I see is a character that (I assume, intentionally) is abrasive and outwardly hostile towards others. Automatically on the attack and such. Playing a character that's aggressive or otherwise sour to interact with is a very delicate balance of playing into that personality while ensuring they're still likeable. I know this well from playing Raszeur, the first impressions I got, and the route in which I had to carry her character, which influenced precisely how I realize her on the server. By nature of the way this medium functions, you'll usually always have further impressions, but you'll be working off a foundation that you set from initial face value interactions. This is kind of my thought process behind keeping those interactions consistently interesting, either for first meetings or repeat encounters.

Part of toeing the line between "this is a controversial, morally gray, but interesting and likeable character" and "this is a villain and I want to see them defeated" is very much allowing a variety of caveats and gaps in the offenses a more hostile character puts up. A well tailored backstory can help a lot with this, but you have to put your mindset with this character in the present; what do they want? What are they willing to do to get it? How might they be screwing that up? What precisely are they neglecting in the process? From an OOC standpoint, then consider; how is this affecting others, characters and players alike, and how can I respond to bounce off those reactions in a constructive way? With these three easy steps you can actually become completely deranged and fall down the rabbit hole of your character's stupid fucking psyche- (this is a joke teehee).

In all seriousness, carefully considering how your character is going to slip, let people in, and adjust to interpersonal feedback is really important. If you're static and telling people to fuck off at every turn, it won't be too much help. Part of realizing this is the basic fact that by roleplaying we, of course, all want attention and to have our creative efforts here praised. Be bold with incidental vulnerabilities here. Go off a little too hard and a little too personally. Reveal details in dramatic little ways. After all, if you're going to play someone whose already got the presence of a pipebomb, you might as well put some honest and true feelings in there. This is theater, after all. If a character is too wilful to be friendly, just be mindful of why that is, where they can make mistakes and allow people in (and especially the larger effect those people might have on the characters life as a whole), and where they move the posts to express willingness. A lot of characterization in the specific realm of roleplay can be strongly backed up with interpersonal theory and such. (Which you should read about, because it's all a pretty important life skill anyways).

That being said, if nobody can have an effect on you, positive or negative, and ride the emotional rollercoaster that is an explosive, assertive personality, you're going to lean the needle more towards dislikeable rather than likeable. You won't always win, either. Not everyone OOC will understand the nuance you're trying to put down with an idea, and that can happen a lot with disaster characters that are largely unpleasant to make acquaintance with. Mean (or evil) things should be approached with some measure of reprehension. Consider that line of questions above, and the sort of moral recoil being a hostile entity can incur. Being human is important, and funneling that into a complicated character can help a lot. It all comes down to feelings.

I would give more examples via Raszeur but I don't think they would really help at all. This is just sort of my thought process behind creative efforts, gauging player and character reaction and what's going to be the most interesting for the folks I want it to be interesting for. Ultimately, you're playing to an audience, and answering those questions specifically for Myagmar and his relation to that audience will be more helpful than hearing Raszeur's answers, or so I imagine.

I hope this was a helpful response, and I also just want to be super clear that I don't dislike Myagmar (I haven't experienced enough of him yet, but again, first impressions are everything, right?) and that I'm just going off what I know about him and what you might be going for. I am open to being peppered with questions, obviously, and I hope to see Myagmar more in the future. (Shout out to my boy Gentle Wind).

 

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I was going to wait until more replies, but I realize these threads take some time to gain those (and also more playtime) so I'll just post while it's still fresh in my mind.

The feedback you've given on how to structure a character is something I appreciate a lot. I think I have raw experience with RP and writing, but not a lot of it has been ever been given that much structure in my head, so this has already been really useful. Thank you!

I think the most recent round I've had with Leona was the only one I can remember, and you mention this lack of interaction too - not that it detracts from your points. I just think it's important to say how that was an edge case within his overall playtime, as the round had a unique twist which ended up with him in a particularly vitriolic state, mostly thrown at another colleague who reacted differently (played by @Scheveningen, I think, to who I don't hold any bad blood to.) I think this is a very interesting example because it was a moment where I felt a lot more characterisation come through - a human reaction that was ultimately fueled by his backstory and personal prejudices. It felt good to be in that position, even if I was doubting myself a lot throughout it, because it is not how I played Leo for the majority of time before that. Usually, he is very casual and perhaps a bit foul-mouthed, but not ever offensive or even interesting, that being the main issue. I've come to realize I am very susceptible to the 'audience' as it were, and the crucial first interactions that you mentioned. There is this sentiment that I would rather leave a boring, unoffensive first impression than mess up with a bad 'extreme' one. Yet again, with other characters, I am not so much afraid of this because I have a concept that I feel confident in writing and executing. With Leo, it has always been slightly nebulous.

To illustrate and maybe help along the discussion, the concept as is right now goes something like this: Leonid is meant to be the personification of Vysoka's (and maybe the Coalition's) shift from the rural, traditionalistic lifestyles into the more corporate-dominated and increasingly jaded ideas of a new generation of Frontiersmen. I tied in various aspects of Vysokan lore retrospectively with the gracious help of the planet's writer (including the name), plus a connection to Eridani society for future development, thinking I had enough to stand on as a character. What I found out quickly is that 'Corporate Investigator Leonid' and 'Jaded Host-Rebel Leonid' are two very different people, in a way that, to me, often seemed very hard to reconcile and play off of. The 'flow' from one side to another never felt realized, and I think that's part of why I saw him as lacking a personality or unique charm at times.

A good friend described this to me as a 'struggle to display uniqueness', in that there is a somewhat worthy concept here, but it feels nigh impossible to show it with confidence. To that end, what do you (and literally anyone else who wants to chime in, even without experience with this character, since this is still a very general question) think is the best way(s) to display this dynamic? Is it even possible to shift the character around effectively, considering how he has already 'established' himself with some regular crew?

Edited by Lucaken
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