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 everyone's a rookie
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Waverly
 Tuesday, May 28 2013 @ 12:39 PM UTC (Read 6615 times)  
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Iíve read a lot of opinions about Ďcanoní during the couple of years Iíve been playing on the Island, and the subject seems just as touchy now as it ever has. In trying to establish what is and isnít canon, players try to define Ďgoodí writing from Ďbadí, and in doing so often end up hurting feelings and making others self-conscious and shy. I think this a bad approach. Everyone has their own personal taste in writing and thatís never going to change. Trying to enforce a rigid Ďcanoní where things like foxmorphs and water sprites arenít allowed is not only boring, itís impossible. It would require a level of policing from mods that would quickly kill the soul of the Island- a diverse and creative population of writers.

Yet, the hugely varied range of what people say is and is not canon does bother me. Itís particularly difficult for me to play with people who write their characters from other fandoms. This is usually explained by saying that itís Improbable for them to exist, and so they can. People get upset when CMJ says he doesnít like fandom characters. It seems unfair- because doesnít Improbability make everything possible?

Well, I have a few ideas about that, but the short answer is- no. While fan-based or parody characters are fun to play, and many Island monsters certainly fit into those categories, Improbability doesnít allow for whole separate universes where fandom universes honest-to-god actually exist.

What it does allow for is monsters like the ĎMidget Plumberí or other pop-culture references- because the creatures Improbability generates are greatly influenced by the minds of Contestants (just read the monster submissions page for an example of that.) Matter is being messed with on a subatomic level, and thereís no reason the Drive canít spit out someone who looks and acts exactly like Mario. But he isnít Mario. Thereís a distinction, there, that I think is important.

Iíve read many a bio where the characterís backstory is firmly entrenched in a fantasy-rich world that the Narrator obviously wants taken as fact. A silly example- the distant land of Oggblogg has existed parallel to our world since the beginning of time, and Improbability happened to make a portal between our two planes and now Great Mage Urlgh has come to astound the Island with his feats of magical prowess.

I regard this as game-breaking. For one, it shifts the focus of the Island from sci-fi to fantasy. It also means that anyone can posture their character as being infinitely more badass than the most powerful thing the Island has to offer- a Joker- simply because theyíre magical. Itís god-modding, plain and simple, but it seems unavoidable under the ĎImprobability means anything goesí rule.

My solution to canon issues is simply this- stick to the only concept ever firmly established by CMJ: everyone starts out as a rookie.

Sounds obvious, but think about it: every character starts out as a helpless, butt-naked human dropped from an airplane.

They would have no magical powers. They donít hail from an alternate universe or fantasy realm. They come from the same reality as Jill- a blacksmith- or Mr. Stern, a museum curator. They may have had a boring life as a bank teller or an exciting one as a high-tech military pilot. Maybe they were a conman or an actress. But they were all normal human beings.

Any exceptions would fall under the realm of things created on the Island, like jungle monsters, Drive-split personalities or the rare child born on the Island (yeah I know itís frowned on but it does happen.)
Phenomenal cosmic powers are gained after youíve spent some time on the Island, and are bestowed solely by association with Improbabilty and the Drive- even if theyíre played as magical or supernatural.

Iím not saying this concept could ever be broadly enforced, but I think having it heavily supported by flavor text and the general community would be helpful.

Itís a surefire thing that some players will dislike this idea, having spent many hours developing worlds and backstories for their characters that donít fit into this concept of 'Canon'. The only thing I can say to that is- if the Island doesnít have some more unifying theme, weíre going to continue to split into ever smaller and more clique-y fragments. Iíd rather see the Island placed under a reasonable restriction that gives us a more cohesive player population, than to see it continue with unbridled freedom and flame wars.

ĎDonít be a Dickí is a good rule, but it isnít enough by itself to make a good RPG. Any game needs some basic framework besides Ďanything goesí. I think an ďEveryoneís a RookieĒ rule is just enough to keep the Island distinct as a concept, but also to allow people to keep writing what they like. Itís respectful of CMJís idea without placing a blanket ban on fan-inspired characters. In short, I think it would be A Good Thing.

So... what do y'all think?


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Twosocks Monkey
 Tuesday, May 28 2013 @ 01:04 PM UTC  
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Strongly disagree (as much as I adore you Waves, you know I do)

I like that the Island has a diverse group of writers.

It bothers me to high hell that people play 'off-canon' fandom characters.

HOWEVER.

In the spirit of being non-exclusionary, Island-friendly, I have developed my own defense against this problem.

My work-around for my soul (my canon-loving soul) is that it's all true. Your typo gremlin and my typo gremlin look different, ok.

Your character is blue and has magic powers. Ok.

My character is the rookie from the plane. Ok.

I dunno. I think any extra rules just end up driving away writers, potential income, and honest-to-goodness fun people who just happen to want to write their own wacky world.

Yes it's nice to play in a world where we all have the same rules and expectations.

So those rooks bother you, the jokers from day one bother you, I get it. I REALLY REALLY DO. I just... I don't see regulating that as feasible or desirable.

I just... I don't see nanny-state as ever good. Ever.

(This of course, separate from the overall, always true of CMJ is always right cause this is his place and he gets to say what's right or not).

-Rose


moooooooooo Visit and help me finish the monster list: goo.gl/rpBGe (Ya'll mostly know me as CLOG, fyi)
 
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Docenspiel
 Tuesday, May 28 2013 @ 05:51 PM UTC  
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I don't think a "you must be A with the exception of B and C" rule would work much better than a "you cannot be x, y, or z" rule. Even if there was either rule, there'd still be people who will play superpowered alien warlocks from another dimension anyways.


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shadowkin
 Tuesday, May 28 2013 @ 06:09 PM UTC  
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In canon Dan quests confirm the existence of alternate realities and the malleability of the barriers between them inside the improbability field. Also people who like to complain about somethingmorph whatevermorph thingiemorphs tend to forget that one of the first things you read when joining the island is about a hugenormous oh my god what is that insectlike THING that seems to just be another contestant and has a cheery conversation with the NewHome gate guard.

Personally I find borrowed characters to be bad form for vague intellectual properties reasons. I don't particularly feel strongly one way or the other about generalized alternate dimension characters, but I can see how it presents the opportunity for canon/RP conflict and god moding.


 
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Trowa
 Tuesday, May 28 2013 @ 06:34 PM UTC  
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I'm not really sure how I feel about this matter one way or the other. I like to play in the "everybody's a rookie" side of things, but I can sympathize with the "because Improbability" side. People are always going to need crutches or training wheels in some form or another. For a lot of early roleplayers, it's using fandoms they're familiar with and building off of those, be it a direct character swap or an O.C. from that universe. I would not discourage people from using their training wheels if it helps them become better roleplayers. I speak, of course, only from my own experience as a beginner roleplayer a long, long time ago, and what I've witnessed since.

That being said, it took me quite awhile to really get comfortable in the world of Improbable Island. There is a large chunk of canon already in the NewHome Museum which is quite useful, but there's still more spread around in quests that you only get the more you play, and in The Enquirer for the truly dedicated. It's taken me over two years to finally write a proper backstory for my main character that wasn't just a vague collection of facts. (Fact: Trowa is an engineer. Why? Because I'm an engineer. Fact: Trowa is 30-ish. Why? Because I'm thirty-ish. See how this worked? Wasn't exactly stellar. Razz )

The best solution, in my opinion, to help players sort out their characters in the Improbable Island universe, is to encourage them to read the Enquirer, browse the wiki (of lies), and ask a lot of questions. There's gobs of information around, it's just all sorta... scattered. As someone who's done quite a bit of poking around over the last couple years, I feel pretty confident in my characters now, but I remember I wasn't always, and I can sympathize with those who haven't found the good stuff yet. It ought to be encouraging, really, there are so many eager players jumping into the action as quickly as possible. But, like Waverly pointed out, it will create a rift between those who are working hard to stay within the boundaries of the canon, and those who aren't sure where those boundaries exist. (Not to mention everyone in between who either willfully or ignorantly ignore some boundaries but not others Twisted Evil )

Let us not forget there are also useful tools created by some of our own members, such as:

The Rookie Greeting Guide: http://tinyurl.com/rookie-greeting
The roleplaying advisories in the wiki, and the
Improbable Island Reference Links: http://goo.gl/MRBnb (Many of which go back to the Wiki)


Now, this is my own little soapbox here, so feel free to ignore this or throw rotten tomatoes and lettuce:
When it comes to trying to play with these fan-based characters that don't quite seem to fit, I'm really more concerned about the presentation and writing ability of the player behind them. Simply put, I can't write with people who haven't fully grasped at least high school level reading and writing skills. Call me jaded for saying so, but, yeah... Confused kinda difficult to get along with someone in Story if I can't understand them, their sentence structure makes me cringe, or they aren't comprehending my posts. An age-limit, alas, isn't a competency limit, and any site asking for a writing sample is so stuck-up and obnoxious I never want to experience that again. And really, am I asking too much of people on a silly text adventure website designed for adults? Confused

With that being said, I at least try to play with new people, because I understand that many are shy, and quality posts come with time. I'm willing to put in the work to make friends and have fun, and explore this zany universe with great characters, as long as my writing partners do the same. Big Grin


Something something unintelligible gibberish something.
 
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Docenspiel
 Tuesday, May 28 2013 @ 06:40 PM UTC  
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Quote by: shadowkin

In canon Dan quests confirm the existence of alternate realities and the malleability of the barriers between them inside the improbability field. Also people who like to complain about somethingmorph whatevermorph thingiemorphs tend to forget that one of the first things you read when joining the island is about a hugenormous oh my god what is that insectlike THING that seems to just be another contestant and has a cheery conversation with the NewHome gate guard.

Personally I find borrowed characters to be bad form for vague intellectual properties reasons. I don't particularly feel strongly one way or the other about generalized alternate dimension characters, but I can see how it presents the opportunity for canon/RP conflict and god moding.

The Stranger and Dancer stories also mention alternate universes. The problem with characters from them is mostly that it's an excuse for Character X from canon Y to be here or why the character is Suprim Godkng of Evurywun.


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Skidge
 Tuesday, May 28 2013 @ 09:03 PM UTC  
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Allow me to preface this statement with the disclaimer that I actually don't much like the fandom-based characters, never have, never really will, and I'd like to see them upgraded to or replaced by original characters of the writer's own creation, that suit the Improbable Island world and canon and storyline better than they currently do.

But.

I can't get behind what you're saying, Waverly, for one and only one reason:

...None of my characters, even the ones who WERE dropped naked from the plane, fit the canon as stated.

Not a single one of them.

ALL of my main characters hale from Elsewhere. Most of my supporting ones do. I write a half-paradox, half-time-hiccup girl who bounds about on the Island because that's the place she was ostensibly born, back when she existed.

Even though she never existed.

Heck, Here-Boy is a dog, and he's the closest I come to actual canon. Because he is just a dog, kidnapped from a standard suburban...

Wait, crap, there probably AREN'T any standard suburban homes in the Network-run universe. In any case, he's a dog, so probably he was already knocked out of the running of standard-canon characters.

In any case, I'm not willing to take the Elsewheres out, not even to knock out the fandom universes, not even to kill off the stuff I don't like. Because that would mean...well, frankly, that I'd have to delete all my dudes. And all of their backstory. And take it somewhere else. And I don't really want to do that. Because I like it here!

So I guess I'm just gonna have to accept everyone ELSE'S elsewheres. Even the ones that were written by other people.Even the ones I don't particularly like. Even the ones that are straight-up plagiarized! Because to not accept other people's fun, no matter how it is defined, would mean not accepting my own, and um.

Well, that wouldn't be any fun at all, frankly. Not for me, and not for them.

I've gotten into this with people before, and the standard defense has been - forgive me - "yeah but you're GOOD so that's okay."

Nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnno, actually. Because everyone has different definitions of what makes this thing fun. And everyone has different definitions of 'good'. And my 'good' isn't your 'good' isn't the 'good' of someone who writes erotica isn't the 'good' of someone who writes Serious Plot isn't the 'good' of someone who's on the Island just to fuck around and hang out with their friends. Some people think in-canon is good. Some people think Pokemon-wielding demon-infested My Little Ponies are good. Some people think my time-confused alt-uni Librarian angsty assholes are good, and more power to them! Come on over to my corner and tell me how awesome I am! I like it when people do that!

Bottom line, FROM MY ADMITTEDLY EGOTISTICAL POINT OF VIEW: Accept one, I think you kind of have to accept 'em all. And I do.

I think the more divisive thing would be attempting to define that which is good and that which is canon and restricting anything else, honestly.


 
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Ada
 Tuesday, May 28 2013 @ 09:09 PM UTC  
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Also disagree, sorry. I know the fandom characters can be annoying, I know the imports can be annoying, I know there are all kinds of interesting things to write without jumping completely out of the bounds of CMJ's universe. I am with you on all of these things. But I don't see "everyone starts on the Island as a rookie" as something that would fix any of these problems - if we can call them that - in any meaningful way.

The main reason is this: all those things - fandom characters, Phenomenal Cosmic Power, I Have Forty Swords, robots from space, just plain badly wrought backstory - all of these are still possible to people who start as rookies. They're just things the Drive does to them, instead of things they were born with. It looks like a meaningful distinction from the canon point of view, I will agree with you there - but the surface will not change. There will still be import characters running around. You will still dislike them. So, probably, would I.

The (perhaps better) reason is this: writers love twisting rules.

Here are some characters, some you will know and some you probably will not, who have definitely added to my Island experience in one way or another (some, too, have probably added to yours): Zolotisty, W L Cronkite, Sessine, Skidge, Oscar Charles, Aloicious, CLOG, Carnivora Felidae.

There's a common thread through all of these that I'm sure you've already guessed - none of these characters were ever rookies dropped from a plane.




Edit: well, Skidge posted while I was writing listing hers. Point still stands; now somewhat redundant.


 
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Skidge
 Tuesday, May 28 2013 @ 09:15 PM UTC  
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Quote by: Ada



Here are some characters, some you will know and some you probably will not, who have definitely added to my Island experience in one way or another (some, too, have probably added to yours): Zolotisty, W L Cronkite, Sessine, Skidge, Oscar Charles, Aloicious, CLOG, Carnivora Felidae.

There's a common thread through all of these that I'm sure you've already guessed - none of these characters were ever rookies dropped from a plane.




Edit: well, Skidge posted while I was writing listing hers. Point still stands; now somewhat redundant.



Oh I'm sure she dropped from a plane at some point. Just, you know. For funsies. She did show up outside the guardhouse and interrupt the guy at his crossword, though.


 
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Reverb
 Tuesday, May 28 2013 @ 09:45 PM UTC  
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Redundancy!

REDUNDANCY!

Re-dun-that, see?


"Censure acquits the Raven, but pursues the Dove." "So, that means i'm -always- innocent, right?"
 
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Matthew
 Wednesday, May 29 2013 @ 01:21 AM UTC  
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Quote by: Waverly

the distant land of Oggblogg has existed parallel to our world since the beginning of time, and Improbability happened to make a portal between our two planes and now Great Mage Urlgh has come to astound the Island with his feats of magical prowess.



I think this is the crux of all of this, and the issue that we (or at least I, personally) find most annoying. I don't mind stating unequivocally that characters straight up ripped from another fandom drive me fucking nuts. Someone playing an actual character from an actual fandom and playing as if we're all supposed to take it deadly serious (you guys 40k totally exists in the island canon!) is the number one island-related cause of my forehead meeting my desk at terminal velocity.

Re: Skidge, I don't think there's anything wrong with stretching canon, as you do, but I think what we're talking about here is quite removed from that.

I don't think Waverly is saying that CMJ should come from down on high and decree that This Is The Way Things Should Be, but some flavor text emphasizing the point might be helpful. Then again, it's also very possible that the people who play such characters are going to give zero fucks and do it regardless, so who knows how much that would even help.

Edit: how does one even pronounce 'Urlgh'? I can't seem to bring myself to say it without making a spitting motion and sounding like my choking on my own tongue. Urrrrrrckhhhhhhhlghgh.


 
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Anonymous: Escemfer
 Wednesday, May 29 2013 @ 01:43 AM UTC  


With many a snip and snap...

Quote by: Trowa

....For a lot of early roleplayers, it's using fandoms they're familiar with and building off of those, be it a direct character swap or an O.C. from that universe. I would not discourage people from using their training wheels if it helps them become better roleplayers. I speak, of course, only from my own experience as a beginner roleplayer a long, long time ago, and what I've witnessed since....

....When it comes to trying to play with these fan-based characters that don't quite seem to fit, I'm really more concerned about the presentation and writing ability of the player behind them.


^ This.

Ohhh, I can never roll my eyes hard enough at fan characters and magical mages from the black lagoon, but if my eyes were googly eyes, I might be a step or two closer. However, like Trowa, I remember my beginning forays into roleplaying, as fan characters, as the Maryest of Sues, as dark-and-dramatic souls. I also remember that it took me years to get where I am now as a writer, with fleshed-out original characters that don't have to compete with every other character for the spotlight to be interesting. I'd agree with Trowa's assessment that, in many cases, these non-canon characters are training wheels of a sort. By starting out with something familiar and simple, you can grow into more complex and distant ideas than you could have imagined a year or five ago.

I also agree that the quality of writing is more important than the canonosity of the character. Furthermore, I'd say that the attitude and approachability of the writer is miles more important than either quality or content. I have written with flowery, serious, canon-abiding writers who can paint chapel ceilings with their words, and I have written with silly, cliched, fantastical writers who can't spell to save their lives, and to be completely, entirely honest, while the fancy wordsmiths may be impressive, I have always noticed that the simpler writers were happier, less concerned with their writing, and better at having fun. Some of the most fun I've had writing on the Island has been with circus freaks, puppy dogs, giant bunnymen, and heaven only knows what else.

I love the canon. I think it's interesting. I think there are so many cool ideas to work with that I'd never want to give it up as long as I'm writing on the Island. But I think this idea people have of "fixing" the Island's writing community is nonsense, and imposing rules about what kind of characters you can and can't write would do nothing to make the writing environment better. This site would be so much less charming if the only writers were tired perfectionists, without the liberal sprinkling of carefree nonsense brought to the table by people who couldn't give a rat's ass about canon.


 
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Waverly
 Wednesday, May 29 2013 @ 01:44 AM UTC  
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Let me clarify one thing I donít think I stated properly- Iím not suggesting a mod-enforced rule of any kind. I agree with you, Rose, that would be a terrible idea. But- personal opinion- Iím terribly frustrated with a completely no-holds-barred writing world.

The general argument for characters with non-canon backstories is ďImprobability has no limits- therefore you cannot dictate what is and isnít canon.Ē Thereís always been a disconnect between CMJís flavor text and narrator-created characters for that exact reason.

As CMJ said in another thread:

Quote by: CavemanJoe

...I wrote in a very lazy, half-arsed way, even going so far as to base the whole game around a machine that lets me wave my hand and go "Because Improbability, that's why," because the thought that this might one day be not only my day job but an artistic endeavour just didn't seem likely. If I say to my players, "No you can't do 'Because Improbability' even though I based the whole damn game around 'Because Improbability,'" then that'd make me a pretty colossal tool...

Yes, I want roleplaying on the Island to be a tad more cohesive, but I think the best way for me to encourage that is to carry on writing, not to make up new rules.

...I established, with my mods, the "Don't tell others how to play pretend" guideline (or rather, to me and my mods, the "Don't let players tell other players how to play pretend" guideline) because we were getting a lot of heated discussions about how you can't be a Pokemon (although at the time, they were more discussions about how it's kinda tacky to roleplay laser-eyes and Heather Beams as a level two Rookie). After reflection, I think that guideline only solved half the problem. People complain less, but still feel as though they have something to complain about, that they're now discouraged from talking about.

I don't think it's time to revisit that guideline yet. That day might come, yes - but first, I have to clean up my own act, and strengthen the canon by writing lots of stories and backstories.




I agree with that. Players shouldnít tell other players how to play pretend. But when reading through on the forum what some people want supported as canon- to-the-letter Kittymorphs, Jokers and Midgets- I found that kind of boring. But people can get really worked up about this.
Personally I like the crazy stuff Islanders come up with. But at the same time, I canít play well with people for whom the world doesnít work the same way. Iím not talking about having a pokemon character, Iím talking about how that character became a pokemon. In my mind, allowing for the existence of endless alternate dimensions and realities breaks the mold too far.

If it the general rule of the thumb in the gameís text was a sort of Ďeveryoneís a rookieí rule as I laid about above, I think it would make the Island easier not only because it would discourage a particular kind of godmodding, it would stop some of the flame abuse given by die-hard Ďcanon-istsí. If someone wants to write a fairy magician Joker, someone else canít walk over and say ďHey THATíS NOT CANON.Ē Because if the Drive can make mutants, hell yeah it can make someone look like a fairy princess. But it doesn't also warp space-time to create a separate universe of magical fairy princesses.
If someone wants to play a Hunger-Games inspired character, thatís okay, as long as the writer doesnít treat ĎPanemí as an actual country in the real world off-Island that every other player is supposed to accept as real.

Now look, thereís never going to be 100% conformity to an idea like this across the Island. But for the love of all thatís holy, can we at least eliminate the war on what is and isnít canon? I donít see it ever resolving without this concept, or a similar one, being heavily ingrained into the flavor text. Right now I think itís such a touchy subject because itís been left at ďThere is no official say one way or another, so everyone just do as they please.Ē

I get it, I really do, that some people love the Island because itís left at Ďdo whatever you wantí. But in the long run, does that really make a good, unique roleplay game- or does it make for one massive fanfiction website?

Quote by: shadowkin

In canon Dan quests confirm the existence of alternate realities and the malleability of the barriers between them inside the improbability field.



Oh, while we're here, I hate those Dan Quests. As far as I can tell, they're holdovers from the old LotGD flavortext and I really wish the 'creature from another dimension' references would be changed to 'superpowerful Jungle Monster." The current model doesnít fit the rest of the Islandís narrative.


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Waverly
 Wednesday, May 29 2013 @ 02:03 AM UTC  
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Quote by: Ada



Here are some characters, some you will know and some you probably will not, who have definitely added to my Island experience in one way or another (some, too, have probably added to yours): Zolotisty, W L Cronkite, Sessine, Skidge, Oscar Charles, Aloicious, CLOG, Carnivora Felidae.

There's a common thread through all of these that I'm sure you've already guessed - none of these characters were ever rookies dropped from a plane.

.



Just for the sake of being picky- Carnivora originally was dropped by a plane, but her body is currently being possessed by a jungle monster, and Oscar Charles thinks he's always been a Kittymorph because of Drive Amnesia. I believe CLOG also falls under the realm of 'jungle monster'.


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Anonymous: Escemfer
 Wednesday, May 29 2013 @ 03:15 AM UTC  


Quote by: Waverly

But at the same time, I canít play well with people for whom the world doesnít work the same way.


This can be evaded in one of two fairly simple ways:

a) Assuming your character's understanding of the world is the reality, and that everyone else is simply charmingly insane;

b) Assuming that Improbability just works one way for your character and another way for another. If you take a look at our jungle monsters, and then at our contestants, it's really not hard to see how Mordred the Doom Mage of Mount Parsepon makes about as much sense as your hat turning into a fish and a Bookfaced creature stalking the minute details of your life.

Escemfer simply assumes that everything makes as much sense as everything else, and Pepper assumes that everyone around him is fucking insane. Much like the way gay marriage won't force all straight people to marry homosexually, one person's interpretation of Improbability doesn't force everyone else to play by the same interpretation. You can easily coexist with people who do things a different way than you if you stop trying to make them do it your way.


 
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Waverly
 Wednesday, May 29 2013 @ 06:47 AM UTC  
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(dear god I really, really am sorry for the ridiculous length of my posts)


Alright guys, since the Ďeveryoneís a rookieí idea is being met almost universally with nos, let me put this differently.

Reading back over the responses I see many good points. As far as I can tell hereís all of them:


1. Itís silly to expect new writers not to need an adjustment period, in which they probably wonít be writing much in terms of canon. Enforcing a rookie rule is unworkable at best, mean at worst.

2. Itís both impossible and undesirable to enforce strict canon on writers, because it would result in constant tellings-off by mods and likely, people quitting the Island. It would also limit writerís creativity.

3. Telling people to stick to canon in order to get them to stop writing things I donít personally like is bad, because that would mean getting rid of other non-canon stories that I do like. This is dickish by way of being hypocritical.

4. What people write doesnít bother me, itís how they write it. Quality is more important than content, but since itís impossible to regulate Ďqualityí without being a dick, live and let live.

5. I can put up with any amount of non-canon silliness if the writer has a good attitude. Getting along with others is whatís important, not squabbling about canon or writing style.

6. If I donít like a personís interpretation of Improbability, I can either pretend their character is nuts or I can go with the flow. This avoids any hurt feelings.

I totally get all of this. I even agree with it. So, hereís the thing- how do we make the Island less fragmented?

I have heard many complaints from friends who donít like dragon/magic/demon characters. Itís annoying because they donít know how to react to them. In an immersive RPG, itís highly game-breaking to have this happen (apologies to the friend Iím quoting):

ďI never know what to type when other characters tell me that they're in Starfleet Command and arrived in a spaceship, or that they are a 9000-year-old demon who came here via portal, or whatever.Ē


Iíve listened to complaints from other friends that people who exclude those characters from their writing are hypocritical, since Improbability is supposed to allow anything. Besides, playing fast and loose with the canon (Iím thinking Uncle Bernard, for those who remember him) can be hugely enjoyable.

Iíve read many a forum post from people who say there should be more Ďfosteringí of newer players by vets to raise the Ďwriting standard of the Islandí because itís hard to play with someone who doesnít vibe with your own style, and some people just honestly donít know the basics of RP.

On the other hand there are people, like myself, who have felt the sting of being judged inferior and in need of Ďhelpí by others who like to see people conform to their own idea of how the Island should be played. Before this was pointed out to us, we were very happy with our writing. But these good intentions often result in extremely self-concious players on the receiving end.

There is an obvious rift between player populations on the Island. The general policy is Ďdonít peek over your neighborís fence and you wonít have anything to complain aboutí. Live and let live, thereís plenty of room for all of us, etc.

This is a good idea in theory, most times good in practice as well. But the side-effect of this I see most often is that people do not play with each other. They separate out into cliques, clans, circles, whatever, where everyone mostly agrees on how the Island works- inside that group. Between the groups, there are often major disagreements. Iíve heard players get flippiní pissed off at other players in Banter and tell them Ďif you canít stick to canon, gtfoí. But that player writes an elemental Joker foxmorph or similar, begging the question- what the hell is canon anyway?

When new players come to the Island, what the heck are they supposed to write? Iíve spent a lot of time watching NewHome lately, and believe it or not most of the newbies start out as naked innocents armed with sporks. But when they start emulating whatever playerbase happens to be in the outpost that day, it quickly departs from CMJís rookie canon to ĎOh, these people tell me I need a backstory. Well, what the hell, I dunno, what anime did I watch last week?Ē

The canon of the world outside the Island is almost nonexistent, the largest chunk of it hidden away in the bowels of the Enquirer by way of ďI Am The WatcherĒ. Iíve found that many players who arenít particularly adventurous havenít read through the museum or done many of the major quests, since those often require you to be a specific race or number of DKís. Itís not that theyíre specifically going out of their way to be off-canon, they donít even know it exists.

My idea was that by further defining canon, instead of leaving it at Ďanything goesí, we would get rid of a lot of this tension. It removes that eternal battle of ĎI donít like what so-and-so does, it isnít canoní by including in canon the capacity for a diverse character base. At the same time, it reigns in the underlying story concept of the Island and makes it a heck of a lot more understandable- we all came from the same place, we all ended up here, now thereís bloody toasters growing out of my ears and hey Larry, nice tentacle mustache.

My hypothetical 'rule' does exclude anything that happens to your character once you get to the Island- i.e. the Drive made me a creepy identical twin, Iím possessed by the soul of a Joker, etc. It also excludes alts that are specifically not intended to be rookies by their creators. And it exempts any character thatís played as having originated on the Island- an alt played as a pet, or a child, or anything else.

I am not sure that the promotion of Canon at this very delicate level violates the points made in this thread- not too badly, at least. I still think it is a good idea. I think we could have the Ďeveryoneís a rookieí rule without limiting peopleís ability to go off-canon, if they really want. But hey, they may not want to once they understand the canon. Itís pretty cool- in fact, itís my favorite thing about the Island (you know I love you guys though.)

I strongly feel that having disparate factions of players on the Island is a problem thatís only going to get worse. As more and more people who draw the majority of their roleplay from fan universes for lack of accessible flavortext populate the Island, writing with only the barest nod to canon of Ďbecause Improbability!Ē , we will end up with a fanfiction glut in the outposts and many frustrated vets holed up in their Places, ignoring everyone to be nice.


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Ada
 Wednesday, May 29 2013 @ 08:00 AM UTC  
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I can honestly say I don't know what you're trying to do here. CMJ's canon is well enough defined that we know people from space and Assassin's Creed characters probably don't belong. Rookies know they have been dropped from a plane and either run with it or choose to ignore it. What do you actually propose to change? That we all play closer to CMJ's flavour text? How do you propose that is implemented? How would that change things from how they are now?

Canon isn't defined as "anything goes" - the rules are. And if you don't want the rules to change, what will you do to make the Island's writers change? You pointed out that you've felt the sting of being told you're Doing It Wrong - how do you propose to change things without handing that out to other players? I love it when players improve. I've watched many players rise from "what are they even talking about" to someone I enjoy rping with. I don't want new players to feel like garbage because they're not as good as someone else and someone told them to get better. So how would you/we/anyone do this?

Telling people they have to stick to "the Drive did it" is just going to leave us with the same things that drive us crazy, ie, writers we dislike for whatever reason. There will still be Space Marines and Pokemon. They will just be "people turned by the Drive into Space Marines and Pokemon" instead of "people born Space Marines and Pokemon".


 
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Harris
 Wednesday, May 29 2013 @ 09:43 AM UTC  
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Waves; People are godmoding and writing fanfiction instead of being creative or original so we should make it something like we had in Season One, yes?

(You COULD choose Human, Midget, Kittymorph, Robot, Zombie, or Mutant right out of the gate...right?)

I definitely remember that all of the player races were described as being mutated by improbability somehow (except humans, of course). I like this idea. Now, do I know if that setup turned out poorly in S1, and that's why it was scrapped? No, I do not. But for now, at least, I like it.

I agree on the godmoding and fanfiction as being unfortunately prevalent in an entire society that is *clearly* creative point. However, since even simple story alterations like you propose are ultimately up to CMJ (and not us), I am going to point out the most common solution I've heard (and liked. And remembered.) and that is:

Be a good example. Not just in writing, but in socializing. If you get yourself out there and write one-offs when you wanna write, but have no-one to write with, people notice. If you get out there and write when you really wanna write, and have someone to write it with, people notice that too. If you say "Hello", people REALLY notice.

I've met and enjoyed the company of some of the best people to ever cross this game code doing just that (yes, even though it took weeks of the solo option for me to really get comfortable with the together option).

I even met my girlfriend that way.*


Waves, et. al- I feel reinvigorated enough to spend time in NewHome again.
A LOT of time.
Thanks for that. =^-^=
























*Not makin' any promises, mind. Just sayin' that good things come to those shoes that are on the other foot.


"Ain't nothin' left to do but smile, smile, smile." -The Grateful Dead
 
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Skidge
 Wednesday, May 29 2013 @ 09:53 AM UTC  
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Be it boiled-down or exception-riddled, be it official or tacit, application of the 'everyone is a rookie' rule would still require me to chuck all my characters in order for me to follow it. My natural-born raised-on-the-Island Skillet (or Oscar Charles, who is also a nat-born, but NOT MINE I DON'T WRITE HIM STILL), all of my Librarians, my time travelers, my dog.

Now I know you like those characters, Waverly, Matthew, because you've told me as much. Lemme float a thing, then; there is no difference, no difference whatsoever, between what I do to the canon and what a demonic My Little Pony does to the canon. Except when I do it, you don't mind.

On account of it is, I suspect, not actually the canon or non-canon thing that drives people nuts, so much as the not-particularly-well-done-writing. Which is going to happen no matter what kind of unspoken rule or definition we try to put into play.

What else is going to happen no matter what? Honestly, fragmentation is. People splitting off into different cliques or groups based on what they want to write and who they want to write with is going to happen no matter what. It is not due to canon or non-canon, it's not even to do with skill level, as Escemfer has so nicely pointed out; I have had an equal amount of fun withsomeone whose grasp on grammar is tenuous at best as I have with the chapel-ceiling-painters. Different kinds of fun, sure. Fun is a hard thing to quantify at the best of times.

What's it to do with, then, Skidge? I hear you ask. Good question, hypothetical invisible audience! Far be it for me to disappoint in my response!

Human nature, hypothetical invisible. Life. The nature of the beast, the identifying traits of the species, the behavior of the breed. If given a choice between someone whose writing style matches mine and someone whose writing style doesn't match mine, I'm going to pick the folk whose ideas and goals most closely mesh with mine. Why? Because it is fun.

Someone coming along, even a FRIENDLY NICE someone coming along, and telling me No No No That Is Not Canon will have one of two effects on me:

1) I will feel like shit about it. That is no fun. Or,
2) I will quite cheerfully tell them to fuck off. That is kinda fun, actually, but you know. Doesn't exactly fill a chapterinHow To Make Friends andInfluence People.
It will do nothing about my tendency to skive off into the bushes with my favorite people to write with and refuse to come out and play with everyone else. Screw that, man, they told me to stop doing what I'm doing! Screw those guys!

But Skidge, I hear you say! We're not talking about you! Why are youse self-absorbed! It is not about you!

Oh, hypothetical invisible, I thankyou for that, you are a sweetie. Firstly, yes you are, secondly, see the bit about nature of the beast. Such is the nature of a Skidge, I'm afraid.

But in all honesty, I think probably most people would react one of those two ways, and as much fun as 2 can be, I wouldn't bet on it being the most popular response.

No, I think feeling like shit would be the Winning answer on Family Feud. And I don't care how shitty or annoying the demonic home stuck Troll Twilight Sparkle is;

I am not, WE are not, in the business of making them feel like shit. Not even within our best intentions. Not evenif we don't mean to.

Uhhhhhhhhhh okay I think I am done now. XD


 
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Harris
 Wednesday, May 29 2013 @ 10:32 AM UTC  
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Na, Skidge, I think it really all boils down to the two points of "learn more about your surroundings" and "learn more about the people around you".
How to do that? I say again- *all* of us *should* write when we want to, what we want to- and make sure to say Hello in the process (with, perhaps, the addendum of "read more". Not *everything*- just "more").

I remember getting challenged to write Harris cooking for Skidge. Since it was *for Skidge* , this character AND player I'd never spoken with before... I decided to go through a few pages in the wiki that mentioned her, read her Bio, and lookit a bit in the Gallery of Shame as well.
I was

so damn pleased when you had Skidge devour the ensuing pie. I recall *you* being genuinely pleased with it too. THAT, I daresay, we are in the business of.



(and on that note- time for my nap. Ta~!)


"Ain't nothin' left to do but smile, smile, smile." -The Grateful Dead
 
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