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 Creating a speciesist character on the Island
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Aer
 Tuesday, December 29 2015 @ 11:47 PM UTC (Read 8069 times)  
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The title is more serious than I plan on making this thread, so...

Maybe it's just me, but I'm noticing that Islanders (myself included) come in two flavors: the superficially-flawed, and the absolutely perfect in every way. To that end, I'm aiming to write Aer a little more raw. By that I mean, she'll no longer engage civilly with mutants and kittymorphs (i.e. she'll either cuss them out or flat-out ignore them). That's the extent of the 'racism' I want to write into Aer, as well as the beginning of me trying to inject some internal character flaws into my Islander.

This thread serves two purposes: to assure my fellow writers that any ire your characters get from Aer isn't personal (at all), and to ask fellow writers for ways to improve my writing these imperfections into my character.

Cheers!


 
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CavemanJoe
 Wednesday, December 30 2015 @ 01:21 AM UTC  
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I edited the title of this thread to make it more accurately describe its contents.


 
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CavemanJoe
 Wednesday, December 30 2015 @ 01:26 AM UTC  
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My input: there are plenty of Islanders who have to put up with this sort of bullshit every day in their real lives. To come home, log on and get another dose, from you, on their character - I don't think it'd go as well as you think it will. If this is the route you want to take, I would advise much caution.


 
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Lea.wolfsfeld
 Wednesday, December 30 2015 @ 03:54 AM UTC  
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I'm gonna put my two cents where it doesn't belong.

I kinda can see where Aer is going with this. It is a common flaw in human personalities and it is used quite a bit in literature. The big problem is how does one manage it when literature and human interaction are mixed?

I suppose we're gonna have to step back and take a look at human nature and what is presented to us when someone comes to the island in character for the first time (in Canon).

Kittymorphs - Cat people with a strong dislike of clothing and little to no understanding of personal space.
Zombies - The undead stereotype. Most folks would have been raised to see them as monsters from the very beginning and the state of undeath is unnatural.
Mutants- Grotesquely deformed beings that apparently spout equally horrible poetry.
Squats - Short ass scums of the earth that would rob you blind and spit on you for your trouble.
Robots - Hoo boy. The player is, from the very start, told that the robots were bad. They were the reason the world was forced to resort to drastic measures. A lot of people would have bad memories regarding robots. Introduction of enemies like the Foebots and the fact there is tension in story because of them adds to it.
Jokers - In canon they are random and it's entirely possible for them to swing from shaking your hand to snapping your neck, all because of the outcome of a coin toss. It would be illogical for there not to be initial distrust. Especially after reading the Jill and the Joker stories.

The thing is, not only does discrimination against species exist in the story already, it has a solid foundation and mounting evidence to support the beliefs. I mean yeah, a character who has spent a lot of time around the various types of people will learn to not jump to conclusions but it's almost illogical to expect that characters wouldn't at least be wary or distrustful of beings they didn't think could of existed prior to coming to the island, especially with the examples of said races presented in canon.


Anyway, I wanted to voice my thoughts and this is probably just incoherent babbling because of how tired I am.


 
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Count Sessine
 Wednesday, December 30 2015 @ 08:46 AM UTC  
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An experienced moderator's take on this:

There are many situations where "improv storying" with randomly-met other characters can be a lot of fun.

This absolutely is not one of them. Because -- what CMJ said. It's going to feel like a great deal of not-fun for any players on the receiving end who aren't in on your plan. Moreover, to anyone passing by, it's just going to read like you're breaking Rule One. There will be petitions, and mods will have to step in, and what the mods will say is what we always have to say, so I might as well just say it here.

Go ahead and write the story of an Aer who is now being rude and rotten to kittymorphs and mutants. It could be a good story. Could even be very funny, if you play it that way... if, say, the kittymorphs and mutants in question aren't intimidated and fire right back. But get clearance beforehand! Make sure all your story-partners want to write that story too, and are up for it.

A thread in the Enquirer isn't the way to arrange that. Talk to them individually via distraction, or set it up in Banter.


Also... I know I don't need to say this to you, Aer, but I will anyway because someone else may come along and read this thread a year from now. To that future reader...? The nastier your character gets, the more distant from the really public spaces the storying needs to be. There are Places and remote map squares. And don't ever let it leak into Banter! Roleplaying an unpleasant character isn't a license to be unpleasant to your fellow players.


 
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Aer
 Wednesday, December 30 2015 @ 10:02 PM UTC  
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I agree with and have considered all the points above.

I'll repeat/rephrase it again: when I write such instances of...what, we're calling it "speciesism?" I guess?...it'd be wholly passive. Aer isn't going out burning effigies of the Watcher on the front lawns of Kittymorph Places, nor is she going to cuss out or act aggressively towards Kittymorphs/mutants in Story (and especially not in Banter. The worst that I intend to happen is for her to actively turn down work from Kittymorphs/mutants, and maybe talk some insensitive crap about them behind closed, locked Place doors. Hopefully, her venting that ignorance to other contestants will get those same contestants to show her the error of her ways.

Yeah, I get it: I.I.'s supposed to be a safe space and such. And that's awesome and all (and I totally support it! I wouldn't have started this thread if I didn't!), but writing for 4+ years with the rose-tinted glasses on isn't helping me (or anyone else) explore their characters any better. I intend to explore a foil in Aer's character, and eventually have her come to terms with it. This isn't meant to be a permanent characteristic, but something that I can use to show (mostly myself, but also) others that Aer is growing as a person.

So, I'll repeat: I'm not going on any anti-species crusades and the like. The point of this thread is simple: if a seasoned player (because I'm not going to be mean to a noob, dear god, no) posts in Banter, "Aer, why are you being such a pissant in Story?", I'll point them to this thread. If they don't like being actively ignored/grunted at in Story, they have only to say so in Banter and I'll remove Aer from the scene. It's that easy.


 
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Count Sessine
 Thursday, December 31 2015 @ 02:33 AM UTC  
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That's excellent. That is exactly how it should be handled! In fact, I'm going to point to this thread as an example, too, if someone else wants to know how to approach writing this sort of character.


Another point: If a character is going to say something nasty or mean, it's possible to use the wording of a comment line to tell readers, in context, that the narrator does not endorse what the character is doing or saying. You can also use this technique to indicate that your character is lying.

I have no practice at it, I'm afraid. I sidestepped the whole issue by making Sessine a very reserved understated sort who's almost painfully truthful but goes all silent and uncomfortable when he's feeling something he thinks he shouldn't say.

I have seen it done masterfully, though.

Perhaps someone else would like to chip in to illustrate how it's done.


 
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Sillie
 Friday, January 08 2016 @ 05:46 AM UTC  
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This thread reveals to me why I see almost NO zombie, mutant, or Squat characters in story. Instead, I see 0-DK angels, demons, and gods. I am now having second thoughts about my practice of trying to role-play my game characters in story. Until lately, my characters have been very washed-out versions of the canon races. Example: a mutant that had gotten a mutant benefit (high intelligence), was comfortable with his lot, and did not reduce people around him to tears with poor-poor-pitiful-me poetry. I am now trying to play a real Squat's Squat (Smyth), and I have a hard time getting those pre-agreements to play with me. Maybe I'm a fookin' fool for even trying, with less than 1 year of Island play?

What was Joe thinking when he invented these races? Were they not intended for Story?

The Rookie Advisory says we should play Island characters, instead of characters pulled from movies, TV, and literature. We are told there plenty of other sites to play those folks. But, a rookie playing Island non-human races with accuracy risks upsetting people and driving them away. So, maybe the Rookie advisory should be changed to actively recommend playing banal nebishes like Tin-Tin and C3PO, and save the Squats for later. Much, much, much later.

Am I way off track here? I can't tell.


 
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Aer
 Friday, January 08 2016 @ 05:54 AM UTC  
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To buffer Sillie's point, I find the whole "I'm a 0-DK player who joined less than a month ago but goddamn look at my fire powers!" to be excruciatingly annoying...to a point. I contend that, while it detracts from the whole "Improbable Island Canon" to have demigods, demons, SPEYZ MUHREENZ, etc. waltzing around in their infinite (unkillable) glory...well, at least those (lovable) fucks are writing! They're contributing! Just...not necessarily how the canon dictates.

Since I'm not a mod/CMJ himself, I have no right to say what people should or should not story as. But (in my opinion), you are less likely to be taken seriously coming to the Island as anything more powerful than some ex-military veteran who found themselves on the wrong side of the ocean. After you get 10 DKs under your belt, go hog wild. But if you cannot grasp the basics of text-formatting yet, I personally do not have any intention of spending time trying to work out your Clannad-based robot character...or whatever. ("You" as in "you all," not "you in particular," Sillie.)

As for playing alternate races: Kittymorphs and humans seem to be most popular (to me), followed by Jokers and robots. Mutants, Squats, and Zombies are...interesting to story. It's a challenge to write your character as your character while denying them the things that once made them physically "your character.

But this is all for another thread, not here.


 
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Count Sessine
 Friday, January 08 2016 @ 11:43 AM UTC  
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As mods, we are not, nor do we ever want to be, responsible for encouraging adherence to Island canon. Our job is much smaller: we're here to keep players treating each other with respect and consideration so that everyone will stick around and have fun. (This is mostly quite easy, except for the few times it gets hard.) There are good, solid reasons for this, which I have elaborated on many times and won't go into again.

In this context I'll just say: A sufficiently-good writer can pull off anything and make you love it. Also... writing skill has very little to do with DKs.


 
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Aer
 Saturday, January 09 2016 @ 09:30 AM UTC  
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Agreed that writing skill has little to do with DK-count. But veterans (or maybe it's just me) are less likely to play ball with a well-written-yet-Mary-Sue'd character resting at a scant 2DKs.

Maybe that's just me. Can we move this to another thread? Big Grin


 
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Sillie
 Saturday, January 09 2016 @ 08:02 PM UTC  
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Seconded. How? Suggested subject expansion to "Should bio information be allowed in story?"


 
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Count Sessine
 Saturday, January 09 2016 @ 08:08 PM UTC  
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Quote by: Aer

Agreed that writing skill has little to do with DK-count. But veterans (or maybe it's just me) are less likely to play ball with a well-written-yet-Mary-Sue'd character resting at a scant 2DKs.

Maybe that's just me. Can we move this to another thread? Big Grin

A 2-DK character could be an alt for a player who's been around even longer than you. And a good writer will have created that out-of-canon character for different reasons than a clumsy one.

Best to ignore the DK count altogether. You can tell about writing skill by reading what's already written. If that appeals, if there's potential for some fun storying, why deprive yourself? If it doesn't, 50 DKs wouldn't make it any better.

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Seconded. How? Suggested subject expansion to "Should bio information be allowed in story?"

Can you expand on this? How do you mean -- characters somehow knowing the content of another character's bio without having learned it in-story? That seems like a writing mistake to me. Though, not something that should be "not allowed..." because people do make mistakes.


 
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Sillie
 Sunday, January 10 2016 @ 06:19 AM UTC  
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RE: bio information.

When I was new to the Island, I blithely assumed that the info in the bio was there to be used. It leaps right in front of my face when I click on a name in the story channel. How was I supposed to know I should pretend I don't know that? Is the "do not use" instruction in the bio? Is it in the Rookie Advisory? Is it in the Story Help? Is it in Basic Training? If it is not supposed to be used, maybe it should be more hidden (exiled to the wiki?), or flagged, or at least not so in-your-face to a rookie. Maybe the Customize Character page should have text that says "put here what you want players to ignore, and you should ignore what you see in bios", though that would still be too late for raw rookies.

Am I missing something I should have seen?


 
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Count Sessine
 Sunday, January 10 2016 @ 09:47 AM UTC  
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Oh. Well. Now you put it like that...

I suppose it isn't self-evident, especially not to a new player. Corporal Punishment doesn't help, with all that talk about a heads-up display. Sorting out exactly how much of the confusing whirlwind of text ought to be apparent to your character's senses, and how much you should assume only the player knows about... yeah, I guess it really isn't instantly obvious.

It's not a rule rule. It's just the usual roleplaying custom -- you're supposed to imagine yourself in your character's place, and ask yourself, "Okay, so how would my character know that?"

When you're new to roleplaying, I suppose the Island isn't the easiest introduction. For all a new player knows, everyone's walking around all the time with luminous signs hung from their necks giving all of their bio information including childhood memories! Hey, the place is weird. If you can beat a lion with a spork... It just doesn't happen to be weird in that way.

Anyway. If it's a mistake it's a little one, and easier to make than I'd realized. I hope nobody made you feel bad about it. There can't be a blanket "do not use" rule, or any sort of mechanical solution, because bios are free-form. People can put whatever they want in them. Some of the details they often include would be perfectly fine to use in RP because they'd be obvious on first meeting: a physical description, for instance.


 
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Aer
 Sunday, January 10 2016 @ 09:49 AM UTC  
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Oh dear, Sillie! I'm sorry that function of the site kinda caught you unawares.

That's why I made my bio very (tongue-in-cheekily) uninformative: I've seen new writers come in, know WAY too much about Aer by her old bio, and been very frustrated when I can't reciprocate or control that information anymore.


 
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Iriana
 Monday, January 11 2016 @ 07:17 AM UTC  
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I've had some amount of roleplaying experience, so it never crossed my mind that some people might (very understandably!) get confused and not realize that information in the bio shouldn't automatically be known by their character. I've also never had issues with it, though now my bio has no actual character backstory in it and just has a snippet of writing. I do see how that would be an easy assumption to make, though.

I know many people take their writing very seriously, and that's usually not a bad thing, but it doesn't kill me if I'm writing with an inexperienced roleplayer if they look at my character's bio and then write something that their character shouldn't have known. It's a little weird, but that's what Banter is for--asking "Hey, how does your guy know that about my guy?" and explaining that it doesn't necessarily work like that.

A good explanation should minimize any confusion, and the whole group can just move past it. It sort of sounds like a non-issue to me. Has your guys' experience with it been different? Is it so rampant a problem that there ought to be something put in place in the bio section to stop it?


 
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Aer
 Monday, January 11 2016 @ 08:20 AM UTC  
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Not to my knowledge! But like I said earlier: my bio is devoid of that kind of information intentionally.


 
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Aer
 Tuesday, March 01 2016 @ 02:16 AM UTC  
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Also, I wanna go back to something Sessine said earlier. (Yeah, this thread is long-dead, but I have HONOR to uphold or something! Big Grin )

I -- and many other RPers -- use DK counts as badges of seniority, mostly -- a way to determine if a character is, in some way, "badass" or otherwise "intimidating." In effect, veterans are expected to "carry themselves" differently than noobs, and DK counts are the clearest way to determine that without having to write out, "Aer tromped into the outpost like the survivor of ten thousand hard-fought battles" every time they enter New Home.

It's not meant to put one ABOVE other players. It's to encourage a perspective of writing, a wariness for people who are out looking for a fight, as well as a welcome source of "know-it-all-edness" for people with no DKs at all. That's how I use the DK system in story, at least.


 
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Genevieve
 Tuesday, March 01 2016 @ 04:31 PM UTC  
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Quote by: Count+Sessine

That's excellent. That is exactly how it should be handled! In fact, I'm going to point to this thread as an example, too, if someone else wants to know how to approach writing this sort of character.


Another point: If a character is going to say something nasty or mean, it's possible to use the wording of a comment line to tell readers, in context, that the narrator does not endorse what the character is doing or saying. You can also use this technique to indicate that your character is lying.

I have no practice at it, I'm afraid. I sidestepped the whole issue by making Sessine a very reserved understated sort who's almost painfully truthful but goes all silent and uncomfortable when he's feeling something he thinks he shouldn't say.

I have seen it done masterfully, though.

Perhaps someone else would like to chip in to illustrate how it's done.



Carl is a dick. My character is a huge, pretentious asshole. I use her narrative to make sarcastic commentary on how silly it is all the time, like Sessine describes above.

An example would be:

Pirate Queen Carlynne shakes her head "Wull gae t'th'med tent then eh? I've nau vitamens! I've lickar an' jauce!" She pats Haru heavy-handedly "S'awright lass, y's new. Y's alsae prabaly an idjit sae I dunnae 'old et against yeh." She assumes this of everyone.




Carl also hates robots. Cannot stand them. But I use this as a reflection of her own inadequacies as a person. (She hates them because she can't rile them up, which is immature and silly of course)

The reason this has never been a problem for me in my past (to my knowledge, I mean, I would never know if I bothered someone and they never told me) is that I'm also really polite out of character. Also because Carl will still interface with robots, if begrudgingly and with much whinging.

Essentially if your character is to be a dick you've got to counter that with really good out-of-character manners so that if you offend someone (which may happen) you can establish that you are, in fact, a nice person and are merely writing a dickbutt character.

On the subject of drive kills: Some people just much prefer to write and can find it immensely frustrating when their characters are inherently disrespected because of that trait.

I had 87 Drive Kills on my old character and when I came back to the island with Carlynne I decided that I didn't really enjoy the jungle aspect as much so I didn't focus on it. Spent all my energy writing and place building. I am sure plenty of others feel that way and so using it as a baseline of 'strength' and 'seniority' is very exclusive to people who just don't have the patience to Jungle.

When it comes down to measuring how badass a character is it is really a sort of case-by-case basis where your character has to be impressed. If your character is only impressed by DKs, so be it. But some people may dazzle you with their writing! Who knows!


 
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