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How do some of you manage having several characters?


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Projection, and applying "the fourth wall".

The fourth wall is, in theatre and media, the "wall" that's between the characters and the audience.

However in this case it also serves as a separation between the player and their own character - you are not your own character, you are merely a higher being that controls the life of a character that's part of a universe.

And so, having multiple characters is a matter of establishing exactly who your character is, where they come from and how they would react. For instance - say there's a peaceful ling threat. If it happened to me, IRL, I would FREAK OUT. Sybil, however, would be curious about how it works and want to experiment, while Ashton Murphy would just want to space them and Lua wouldn't care until they prevented from doing their job.

I'll admit that it helps that I had drama class in high school, but yes - the three pillars of having interesting characters that aren't like you are, are as follows: separation of character and player, imagination to THINK of other people as other people, and the empathy to know how they would react.

That's my 2 cents.

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All my characters are built from their own concepts. Be it a young woman trapped in a cybernetic body to an old dog detective with too many rough years to count. Use a basic foundation or concept to begin with, then build the character from that. Like when you're playing that character, imagine their background, their experiences and views then ask yourself 'how would this character react to that given situation?'

I'm pretty sure you'll have it down to a T soon enough.

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Point one, I don't make characters who are super complex at their core. Or rather, I do, but I do so following the mantra that, "the highest level of complexity is simplicity itself." So, whenever I hop back into a character, as long as I remember the core concept, I should be able to remember the rest. I also cheat a little. I usually cycle between characters, and as I come back to playing an older one actively, I may age them up to explain the change in mannerism which is bound to occur as I go through and remember them.

Point two, how to manage knowledge of other characters. Basically, who knows who. Again, I cheat. If I am ever uncertain as to whether or not my character knows another character, I strip my OOC knowledge of the other character to rumor-mill level, and roll with that. I find that it's a good compromise.

And I also do what Gollee does, with some of my characters.

Basically: find a set of tricks, mechanics and cheats that help make it easier for you. I know that some people keep notes, if not extensive records and spreadsheets, for example.

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Most intriguing question, in that it inspires so many further questions.

What is difficult about maintaining more characters, especially if you're one of the people who don't have as much time on their hands as they would like to, is having to choose among them. Realizing mid-round just how many kicks your other character would've gotten out of whatever situation arose - that (for me, at least) can be frustrating to the point where the entire round leaves a bitter aftertaste.

As for constructing characters separate from your own self-

Personally, I usually 'start' character with only a vague feeling about their respective positions on this sort of a spectrum - there is a certain idea of which way they should be inclined (politically, socially, religiously, in terms of assertivity and mannerisms in interaction, etc. etc.).

I'm truly sorry I cannot describe what I consider the core of the character -the one thing that, if remembered, allows one to more or less jump back into its skin even at later dates- better than "a feeling" - but I imagine it's pretty close to what Skull describes. It's not different from the "feeling" you are left after meeting somebody for the first time. You can't yet tell much about them, but you do have a general idea of who they might be.

Of course, there is a whole lot of details that make up a believable personality in the long run, but I don't think it's necessary or even desirable to plan these out (in such cases, one is often inclined to force roleplay in a certain direction, and to be frustrated if denied the opportunity to present his carefully planned out "features" of the chracter).

During your game experience, you will meet situations that will require the character to have their mind made up in one way or another, and often you will find that you could not prepare for these ahead if you wanted to; and that's perfectly fine. In fact, that is really what I would consider the most interesting part of the game, the discovering of the character.

A situation arises, a reaction is required, and you will realize that A) you would probably do this and that, but B) your character definitely seems to be the person who would do something else entirely.

Again with the feeling. I guess the point is - ideally you find yourself in a perspective where you are looking forward to, enjoying, the character on the scene; not for what you have in common, but precisely for how very stranger and different they are.

Allow me to draw a parallel to Game of Thrones; you want to stop being the viewer who identifies with and roots for Eddard Stark, great as that may be, and instead shift your attitude into that of the viewer who is strangely captivated by the sight of Ramsay Snow; sure, you dislike him, you don't necessarily identify with his traits, but you know that FUN and MEMORABLE stuff is going to happen.

I may be seemingly getting a bit sidetracked, but there is a point to this;

I would perhaps like to encourage you to try out characters that branch away from your own self-image, precisely because I believe you would find the discovering of their traits so much fun. There's a challenge in that. The moment you realize your corporate scientist is likely to do something entirely against your own convictions, you are facing a challenge of portraying the emotion behind this in a manner that is convincing, that is, not to dumb it down to the level where others could guess you're "playing an asshole" - no, your fellow crewmen must be convinced you are an asshole. And this, in turn, forces you to empathize with lines of thought otherwise alien to you, which you would disregard as idiotic or mean or morally wrong. Most intriguing!


I'm kind of ashamed NOT to admit that, to this day, my greatest achievement in this field remains the portrayal of Tony Adams' elderly mother.


What truly interests me about your question and what I should like to discuss (perhaps in another thread, if anybody else would share my sentiments) is characterology.

Now, I'm not familiar with the science beyond knowing that there is such a thing, but perhaps we would find, if we discussed this further, that there is something mighty fascinating at the bottom of our...eh... pretending to be 2D spess men?

And maybe I'm just overthinking this. But maybe we could, like, all overthink this, together!

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DISCLAIMER: This is not exactly relevant to the OP's question


What truly interests me about your question and what I should like to discuss (perhaps in another thread, if anybody else would share my sentiments) is characterology.

Now, I'm not familiar with the science beyond knowing that there is such a thing, but perhaps we would find, if we discussed this further, that there is something mighty fascinating at the bottom of our...eh... pretending to be 2D spess men?

And maybe I'm just overthinking this. But maybe we could, like, all overthink this, together!


Regarding this, I've just exchanged a few words with people from Erich Fromm Institute and they had been kind enough to provide me with digital copies of some of his works relevant to the topic, on the simple condition that I shall not distribute them - which is why I'm not providing you with a link.

However, should somebody be similarly eager to dive deeper into the topic, go ahead and PM me!

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I don't really have any tips, Ive never found it particularly hard to play more than one character. The only time I remember have any trouble was when I first got my Tajaran whitelist, and I went back forth playing both human and Tajaran characters on the same day, so Id roll my R's as a human, and not roll them as a Tajaran. So, my tip is, only play one character a day, or if you don't feel like, or can't, only play as one race a day, so you don't screw up how they talk, which Ill admit I still do from time to time.

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My characters typically start with weaknesses and work out from there; the most intriguing part of a character isn't their strengths, and if that's all you have, the character will be very boring. Consequently, this makes it easy to determine which players are emulating themselves because they'd certainly like to think that the idealized version of themselves they've created has no flaws (that, and they become the saltiest when they die.) On the other hand, Jaylor and I have very few similarities - personally, I would like to think I'm a honorable individual. I do not steal, and I am very careful about giving out my word because it's my hope that I will never break it.

The thing is - when I'm role playing, I don't want to be me. I couldn't even fathom how boring the server would be if I tried to play a character that emulated me, because I already go to work as myself almost every day. Why would I come home and pretend to do the same thing? In fact, the reason I have the most fun with Jaylor is because he's nothing like me, and I'm the sort of individual who can slip into another mindset and act out the role, and that's really what I have fun doing - and as far as making the server more enjoyable for others, I've found one particular theme that's always served me well.

Play a supporting character.

The problem I see with most players is that they're always trying to be the center of attention when it can be just as gratifying (if not more so) to be a character on the sidelines. If you're an antagonist, that's one thing - you're more or less forced into a main character role if you want anything accomplished at all - but I've always been mystified at how spotlight-hungry other characters seem to be. Try just being the helping hand, or simply being ready for a conflict instead of rushing out to find it - you may be pleasantly surprised with the results. But if you build your main character around yourself, then you'll be tempted to make them the star of the story, and that's not really what you want to go for.

Try making a character based on someone you don't like - even if you exaggerate their flaws, you'll still achieve a fine result in that you're creating a very human (or alien, I guess) character.

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