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How to not stare blankly at people when you want to RP


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Hey, how do you go about plotting with people?

 

I ask this because I'm tired of wanting to RP with people but never having any good ideas.  Like I'll post in people's plot threads (or they post in mine) and I'm like, "My character is Bob.  He's an astronaut who likes fish and I think he might think your character is a doofus" or whatever, but then that's not much to start with as far as creating a thread and setting, etc.  I don't like having "cafe threads," if you will, so I want something more than just two characters running into each other . . . but I'm not very helpful.

 

It's not a lack of interest in RPing with the people or the characters, it's an stumbling block of trying to figure out how to make the thread mutually beneficial.  I guess I've shied away of coming up with something concrete for years because I didn't want to make any member feel like they're forced to RP what I want, but the end result is that I don't really know how to do anything but shrug and say, "I don't know - what do you want?"  I'm not a huge pre-planner (as in, I don't really pre-plan anything except how to start the thread itself) because my characters have minds of their own.

 

I'm thinking about putting together a personal list of ideas for threads I'd like to see my characters in, but keeping them open ended.  Like, "A thread in which the character loses her wallet" or something.  But I'm also trying to come up with ideas so that my characters develop rather than having a conglomerate of random meet-and-greets in mundane areas.

 

Any suggestions on the topic would be nice.  I'm not asking so much about "which plotting page style" do you use, or whether you use plotting pages at all - it's not a discussion about which style is better.  It's more of the next step on how to make the thread come to life.

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I also read the other character's bio and I think if they could have met before and be already acquainted.  History, personality, interests are all taken into account. Then I find a way to have one of my characters interact with them. From "ours are both sailors, they should meet on the docks or in a tavern and realize they had met before on another ship" or "exchange travel stories until a brawl starts", to "if your character is newly arrived in town, have her get lost and ask mine for the way to the inn." Or anything which can connect them.

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I choose to make a history with the people I want to interact so you can eliminate the "hi how ya doing" shit personally. At least for the most part. I find common denominators, do they work together, go to the same cafe whatever. Give them a reason to have already done the blah blah blah.

 

Then from there I decide what sort of relationship I want (however I can say this doesn't always work out it at least gives you a starting point). If he would think that "your character is a doofus" how does bob feel about doofus'? Does he find them endearing and funny/good friend material? Or does he find them obnoxious and annoying and they have to overcome it.

 

If it's the former "I want our characters to be friends. Lets start with him being a doofus and go from there".

Or "My character would hate that. He should do it and see how annoyed he can get Bob."

 

Honestly I find eliminating the "hello, nice to meet you" threads to actually really get me roleplaying because then I don't have to RP the same scenario with every single roleplayer.

 

My alternative is I use really whacky out of this world ideas. "Lets start the thread by having my character knocked over by dogs that a dog walker has because they have a slim jim in their pocket"

 

Good luck.

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I just approach people and say “I want to write a thread where my astronaut Bob smacks someone in the face with a fish. Would you be interested in a thread like that? If not, it’s cool.” Then they say yes or no, and we build on the scenario from there until we have some solid thread ideas. I wouldn't ever go into it with an idea of what someone else's character would do to contribute or react to the scenario, just my own. I guess I’ve always just figured that if it wasn’t mutually beneficial they wouldn’t agree to thread so I’ve never given that much thought.

 

I agree with @Stormwolfe about creating generic goals. Going in without planning is fun, but can sometimes fizzle out if there isn’t an end goal in mind. I usually try to go into every thread with an idea of where I want to end it, even if I don’t know how I'm going to get there AND even if the goal ends up getting thrown out the window during the course of the thread because characters do their thing. It's never set in stone, it just give me something to write toward.

 

I think that’s my biggest problem with meet-and-greets is once they’ve met and exchanged names, that was basically the goal so what happens next? Though sometimes meet-and-greets can be saved if writing partners are cool with throwing in random events (aka “suddenly an earthquake destroys mankind and with it every structure except, for reasons unknown, the small café where our two strangers happened to literally bump into one another, spilling the first one’s coffee”) without warning.

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I tend to get a sense of what the other character might need from any previous plots or encounters I've seen them in, or based on ooc chatter about characters and plots going on. From there I can better craft a suggestion based on what characters might be able to meet those needs, or the contrary, what skills might they have that could meet one of my characters' needs. "X is running from evil corps right? need a ride?" or "my character needs a mechanic, and I can see from your bio that Fred has repaired several cars." Aside from mutual gain plots,  there's also mutual conflict ones. "your character is a thief, well mine has something worth stealing." or "my character's a policeman, he should catch your rebel in the act of some crime." Lastly, I can use site wide going on's as a model. If there's a zombie outbreak, a political coup or any other big thing that can bring characters together, using the event creates an excuse to unite against a common enemy, be pressured into picking sides, or end up in a wonky situation that's also relevant to a greater story.

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Me every single time I join a site. I either always do try and plot with zero effort in return, or just blank stare like OP.  Recently I just read the character's bio, history, etc and try to base an idea round that somehow. I so far have either gotten no response or actually got a thread going. :) 

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See, I think the issue is that I'm afraid of taking over the entire thread or creating a thread that meets my purposes without worrying about what the other person needs from his or her own character.  

 

After reading the advice so far, I'm going to try to approach it more for storytelling rather than just a "plot with every character out there" sort of thing.  I get a bit overwhelmed when someone has a plotting page up, and everybody's going through giving suggestions with all their characters, and then I feel like I have to do the same thing, but that means that rather than having one solid suggestion with one of my characters, I instead have four mediocre suggestions with four characters.

 

Out of curiosity, do administrators not RP with everyone on their site?  Because I'm really not that picky about who I play with because I want to make sure to RP with every member, but I feel like I need to do it right away so that the new members don't feel like they've been shunned or whatever.

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47 minutes ago, Uaithne said:

Out of curiosity, do administrators not RP with everyone on their site?  Because I'm really not that picky about who I play with because I want to make sure to RP with every member, but I feel like I need to do it right away so that the new members don't feel like they've been shunned or whatever.

 

When I was a mod/admin of sites I RP'd with whoever I could. Sometimes not everybody did get a chance due to them leaving or IRL getting too hectic for them.  Also some people may not be into the mod or admins character(s), and this is fine.

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1 hour ago, Uaithne said:

See, I think the issue is that I'm afraid of taking over the entire thread or creating a thread that meets my purposes without worrying about what the other person needs from his or her own character.  

 

Out of curiosity, do administrators not RP with everyone on their site?  Because I'm really not that picky about who I play with because I want to make sure to RP with every member, but I feel like I need to do it right away so that the new members don't feel like they've been shunned or whatever.

 

I do write with everyone, indeed. I want to get them integrated into the story the quickest possible. :)

And by discussing with the other writer, I make sure that the thread would meet the purposes of both characters, or if not, at least mine this time, yours next time :)

 

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I don't think every admin needs to engage every new player, but that at least one admin or long time member should engage each player. On the site I admin, I tend to be quick to jump in to plotting with or suggesting plots with newcomers. I am willing to pick up the slack with a new member who's not getting much play, but I also know that I'll burn out if I try to take everything. If I know that I'm not the best fit for a particular player at a particular time, I'm likely to suggest someone else who might be a better fit and draw them into the conversation. Once a new member has found their niche and have some plots going with their friends, I know I don't have to join in to every plot, cause they have a good story going already.

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My suggestion is that if it's going to be a "meet and greet" thread, at least make it an interesting one. Your characters should be doing an activity or caught in some sort of environmental situation that they have to deal with together. Instead of just sitting and chatting and getting to know this stranger, give them an activity to do together. Give them a common enemy they have to overcome. Make it fun. Make it interesting. Meet and greet threads that aren't interesting are kind of pointless. And nobody has fun writing them.

 

As an admin, I definitely don't rp with all my members. Not that I don't want to - if someone wants to do a thread then I'm totally down - but I don't actively seek out threads out with everybody. Not unless it makes sense for my characters' stories. It's not my job to hold everybody's hand and get them settled in all nice and comfy. They should be taking initiative and making friends. As an admin, it's my job to make sure they have everything they need to be able to do that and that the community is welcoming. 

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Hey, how do you go about plotting with people?

I go "YOU, ME, PLOT NIEOW. ;D"  However, I find it most beneficial to propose a few ideas, however big or small - long-term or short-term - just to get the feet wet. It's really quite the burden on me (and makes me not want to plot/thread with whoever is asking/demanding) when someone keeps pushing for threads and plots yet never contributes anything all while expecting me to come up with everything. It's quite frustrating and not a very pleasant transaction.

 

So, start small if you have nothing. What do these chars have in common (work, location, online hobbies, etc.) that may cross paths with one another?  Sometimes you can propose a totally random encounter, too if you think it might go somewhere (like bumping shoulders, knocking the other down, forcing the two to interact, etc.). Sometimes, if it seems really hard, I propose doing a series of mini-scenes in a thread where the two characters keep meeting each other. Usually a couple posts each. After that, something naturally might unfold itself.

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