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Role Play 101: How To Shake The Role Play Blahs

By: Qai

These were originally written while role playing in WoW, but all of the general concepts and advice still very much apply. Even if you've been role playing for years, there are some things in here will likely help you develop even further.

While I take no credit for writing this guide, I cannot actually name the person who wrote it. It is a handbook that has been passed around for a little over 9 years now, the authors have changed (or at least user names) many times over. Though I thought it would be good to share for those who do actively or are interested in role playing.

Role Play 101: How To Shake the Role Play Blahs

I was talking with a friend who expressed that recently she just hasn’t been happy with the Role Play of her main characters. Something just wasn’t holding her interest. With this in mind I decided to put my thoughts down. Perhaps it will help her and others overcome, what I refer to as, the Role Play blahs.

Many hardcore Role Players say they suffer from what they call “altitis”, a collection of too many characters to play. Personally I do not see this as a malady at all. Yes, all ten of my slots are full and every character has their own personality. It isn’t something you suffer from, it is a subconscious attempt to keep the game fresh.

Think of it this way; when the level cap has been met, when the dungeons have all been raided and the loot all gathered, what is there left? For some, nothing. For others, Role Play. Many Role Players burn out on the leveling and raiding and rep grinding very early on. Or at least get tired of it for a while. But if the personality of the character isn’t catching their interest at the moment, what to do?

Well, if you don’t already have another character that interests you more at that moment, you roll a new one. Perhaps a different race or class. Perhaps a different gender. These are the basic items we look at first.

I learned long ago, though, that quite often the relief comes in a completely different personality.

From Flat to Fun

My first character was Merlinne, the aristocratic mage. I have many great Role Play memories with her. But on occasion her prim demeanor is not what I want to play. The stuffy gets old, the prim gets tiresome. Someone with impeccable manners and practiced tones doesn’t always catch my interest.

When this began happening in earnest the first time, I created Megaly. She was a warrior with a foul mouth, randy nature, and outrageous sense of humor. There was no topic sacred. There was nothing that couldn’t be said. She was wild, out-going and completely the opposite of Merlinne. She gave me back the spark I needed.

Now while I didn’t choose a different race for Meg, I did choose a completely different Role Play style. For you, it may be the opposite. Perhaps you have a wild and outrageous character and you want someone that is a little calmer on occasion. That’s perfectly fine. Even the fun and the funny can get you tired out.

I tell my friends I can’t play Gentlewind for long stretches of time. It takes so much effort to keep her up and outgoing and running full steam. Rest is needed, even for the most ambitious role player. Role play should be fun, not work.

The Path to Change

After playing a certain type of character for a while, it can be hard to switch to a drastically different personality. Don’t rush it. There is time to get it right. Sometimes it might take a few days to get fully into the personality. Sometimes it is difficult to just get it started. I went through that with Meg, but once it is started, it will often just flow.

If going from a reserved character to a mouthy one, don’t bother asking yourself “Would XX say this?” Just say it! Drop out whatever comes into your head right off the bat. Being bold will often garner greater reaction around you than being timid. Be prepared for the consequences though. As in life, words spoken in Role Play have them. If your character is a devoted elf-hater, be ready for lots of Role Play difficulty.

Going from a bold character to a reserved one is exactly the opposite. Take time to think through your words. Don’t worry if it seems to take too long to respond. Many people mull over their thoughts in real life before spouting out the first thing to come in their head.

Different Personality Traits

Now you do not necessarily have to go from prim and proper to a foul-mouthed harlot. Personality traits can be laid out on a wheel much like colors. Every trait has an opposite. Some are funny, some are boring, some are wretched, but they span an incredibly wide range.

Perhaps your character is timid and quiet because of some great trauma in their life. Turn to the other side of the wheel. What kind of character would be created if they had no trauma in their life? If everything went their way. Spoiled? Possibly. Overly optimistic? Also possible. Let your imagination run wild.

The character could also try to be well behaved and a well respected member of a society but some outside force prevents it. For example, simple dwarven lass that tries to be a good hunter, but has a reputation around the cities because of the excessive gaseous emissions of her bear… that is always quite proud of sharing himself with others. Something out of the character’s control could bring that bit of laughter, interest, and spark not only to you, but to others around you. It could lead you to meeting new people to Role Play with. It could lead to meeting new friends! Now wouldn’t that be a great way to keep the game fresh?

It is all about doing something different. If your characters all have the same type of personality, it isn’t going to be easy to escape the blahs.

Avoid The Trauma Trap

Trauma does not necessarily make a character more interesting. Let’s be honest here; there are so many trauma lamas out there that it is old hat. It is stale in and of itself. You may find some interest at first, but as others around you lose interest in the trauma lama, you’ll find yourself losing interest too. After all, how interesting is it to spend all day Role Playing with yourself?

Now I am a firm advocate of play what you want. Truly. But the most fun in Role Play does come from interaction. If you’re going to play an ass, a trauma lama, attention whore, etc, be prepared for the consequences. The same personality traits that drive people away in real life will drive them away in role play too.

If you want to bring interest back, just rolling a new character isn’t enough. The personality has to be different enough that you can switch gears and give yourself a break from what is giving you the blahs. At this point, some others might say “But don’t go overboard!” I say, “Why not?” If this character is over the top and outrageous, then let them be. Try going overboard. If you don’t like it, or can’t keep it up, you can always throttle back some.

The whole goal is fun. Use your imagination. Let it loose. Don’t create characters like you have always had. Try something new. And if you don’t succeed at first, try again. Altitis is not a malady, but a cure.

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