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I've brought my baby back online after four years hibernation. It's super exciting, and I'm ecstatic that so many of our old crew have chosen to come back. It's actually floored me how much support we've got.

 

Naturally, there are those who don't have the time, resources, interest or desire to play the characters they did four years ago. In one case, a player who chose not to return had characters with intimate connections to many of my characters. This meant I had to consider her characters in updating what mine had been up to over the last four years, and how those situations had changed. I didn't want to write those characters out of the histories, as there were still more characters that were coming back and getting the stories straight would just be a nightmare.

 

I spoke to the player and she offered me the ability to have those particular characters adopted by other players. I declined the offer---I feel there's way too much history for anyone to be expected to cover, and I didn't think anyone would do them proper justice.

 

So my question is: Have you ever been in a situation where you had to exit another player's character from your character's story? How did you go about it?

 

I feel... very rotten in situations where I've had to portion blame for an argument/break up on a character that can't defend themselves. I've tried to make both sides as blameworthy as the other, but at the same time I don't want to throw my character into excessive turmoil for the sake of a player  who isn't coming back.

 

What are your thoughts?

 

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When I've done it in the past, I've communicated with the original writer on what would make sense to their character. Did they ever wish to travel? Do they have family in another country? Could they have gone to work in another country or taken a job that wouldn't work out with their partner? Is their character the sort to ghost the partner if they fell out of love? I go for the blameless route where possible. Sometimes, the other writer is okay with just killing them off, though I feel bad about this in case they ever do want to come back, so I always go for "oh they disappeared into the sunset". I haven't done this too often, it's just having one member with a bunch of characters vanish. So perhaps you can come up with some similar ways of the characters moving away, leaving it open in case they want to come back in the future, and just okaying it with the writer if you feel like they'd appreciate that? 

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I think it would be best to the peaceful route as possible if someone else playing them, or npcing them isn't an option. If your characters aren't essential to those of the players that have come back, you could write those out of the game and start with some new characters.

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Something quick and simple usually works the best. Writing somebody out doesn't have to require a lot of detail. 

 

XYZ could be: 

  • Off traveling the world
  • became a missionary
  • took a pilgrimage to find themselves
  • broke up with you
  • died of some cancerous disease 
  • was murdered
  • etc
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Make sure to choose something that benefits your character, too, and helps with your character's development. Because if your character was emotionally close or otherwise found the other characters to be a big part of life, that character's disappearance would impact your character greatly.

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I prefer giving them for adoption or NPC-ing them when possible (and when really needed for the story), with the initial writer's approval. In some cases, pretending they are there, doing their duty, just the story isn't focusing about them anymore, and writing around them is the best solution.

 

If I have to write them out of the story, because I need that spot in the roster available for someone else to fulfil that role, it's either a fulminant death (since we have battles and shipwrecks) or lost at sea (might be alive but not returning), being transferred elsewhere, having to leave, being sick and remaining in a hospital far away, etc.

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The bane of RPers.

 

I usually just say the moved. I try not to kill other people's characters off 'cause I'd hate it if it happened to me. (CW actually had a huge discussion on what to be done in this situation and the results got weird and varied and it was a hot mess. http://crywolf.jcink.net/index.php?showtopic=11466 if you are interested.)

 

Another site I'm on specifically has people put what they want to happen to their characters if they leave on their apps. (And leaves apps open to editing.) We just opted to implement the same idea in the form of one giant thread with some different options, but same idea. 

 

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I've been the person that poofed (and not because I wanted to). When I came back, I was grateful to find that my rp partner had basically said that my character had traveled somewhere for the duration that she was gone. We worked her leaving into our threading, and it turned out to be a magnificent plot device. I wouldn't recommend killing the character off, however... I was thought to never come back and did, so that was definitely a pleasant surprise. 

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I can't give you the white picket fence, and if I did, you'd set it on fire.

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When I killed characters and the people returned, it was all right, and another plot device - the one who mysteriously survived the shipwreck, and had more adventures until being able to return...

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I've been in this situation more times than I'd like, definitely.  I've played exclusively on speculative fiction sites, though, so I'm not sure if these are helpful in all cases.  Let's see: we've had the other characters move far away quite abruptly, get arrested, go into something like witness protection, simply stop talking to our characters OR break-up with them badly so that it would explain why they have no contact, job promotions that required them to move, missing in action type circumstances, kidnapping circumstances, and deaths in the other character's family so that they have to leave abruptly and can't deal with staying in contact.  

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I think there are a lot of ways to break up a couple without it being horrible.

 

- Spark died

- so-and-so got a promotional and moved

- so-and-so disappeared (the player could bring them back with a dramatic twist!)

- so-and-so "died" (I hate killing characters. So I always make things vague in case I need them again)

 

If they were married that's one thing but... If it was just a romantic relationship you wanted to be end game, serious relationships end all the time after a good number of years for all kinds of reasons and with varying degrees of resentment. ^^

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Yes, @Thyme. My concern for which I choose often dying (or moving when it makes sense,but it doesn't always make sense - for Navy and official functions yes, for pirates and privateers not) is, besides needing always believable victims for the battles, the need for freeing also the spot in the roster, not only the place in the lover's bed (and when married, there was no divorce in 1700s...). Kidnapping had happened too when appropriate. Because if people just leave... it is not in the personality of some of them to do it.

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Guest Archaic Cyborg

I've had to write character exits before, i always kept it low key, didn't announce it as big news, didn't try to turn it into an ongoing major plot where I'd need an actual player for it.

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Sometimes I'll NPC them, sometimes I'll say the relationship broke for some reason. Sometimes I'll say they've gone somewhere, but usually I talk to the member about that if it gets specific. Sometimes I'll fill in the blank - do away with the history and find something similar, start fresh! It can be really fun to do something new with an old character.

 

EDIT: the last one on my list is similar to adopting them out, but I prefer to stay away from allowing anyone to play someone's specific character, unless the character was one I advertised as a want ad first. IE, someone takes my character's brother and starts playing them, but then disappears. I'll put the brother back up, but take only the core personality and let someone do with the character what they want - just like I've done when advertising want ads for characters I've played before. The most specific I get if the character was NOT originally my want ad is filling a similar role.

Edited by Raven
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