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Morrigan

 Membership Opening up beloved characters for adoption

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So there is often a debate within roleplays on "who owns" a wanted character. I've always been in the camp that the person that creates them owns that "version" of the character. I basically consider it AU. However I'm an advocate for adaption/changes if ported elsewhere. For example, I don't want my character's dad to be ported and expect someone to pick up my personal character on that site. An adaption/10% change needs to be made at minimum to be fair to me as a roleplayer and to make sure that my creativity isn't stifled because someone thinks I stole an idea from a player that's using a character I originally created.

 

I have personally reached out to RP partners before including them in backstories or as NPCs in the future of my personal character if there was a significant enough influence on my character to warrant adding something.

 

Now, that being said lets continue.

 

I don't mind asking for wanted characters. Characters with some plot and some fun lets do this however, I'm having a problem putting a few up right now and I want advice. These aren't frivolous wanted ads like "I want a character to fill XYZ role, I expect this sort of history between them and I'm leaning toward A or B dynamic." I'm talking relatively fleshed out, I NPC these characters regularly, I have a specific dynamic, specific character interactions etc. Not just that, but I'm not the only person that has expectations from them. However I was asked whether they would be adoptable and I had never thought about it because "why?" but I can see the benefit but I'm trying to weigh the cost to benefit ratio.

 

My cons are:

  • How do I handle if these important people to my character are played in a way that doesn't work for the character?
  • Will anyone pick it up if I'm too strict about it?
  • Why can't/shouldn't I continue to NPC them?
  • What is the benefit to let someone else play them other than for other players on the site interested in some interaction with that specific character?
  • Will I lose interest if this character is played wrong?
  • I would have limited NPC ability over this character now.

 

My pros are:

  • I wouldn't have to NPC this character which means one less thing to think about when playing with other players.
  • I would get to experience more of the character with someone that fleshes them out more.
  • I would get to see a thought baby played outside of my perspective and possibly get further ideas for mental development.

 

Now I know not everyone is pro-wanted ad but I'm looking for advice. Do I try to set out on the world and let this well kept character out there to be tried on by another brain or do I keep the brain baby and maybe just make them into a personal PC for me?

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This is a really major concern and I absolutely understand this so I've tried to answer with how I do things and what I might suggest!

 

My cons are:

  • How do I handle if these important people to my character are played in a way that doesn't work for the character? – Important people should be listed as such. They can be made adoptable, but I would star them, or put a disclaimer on them that indicates you have major expectations for this particular wanted character that you can point back to when confronting the person about how they’re not living up to the standard. “Hey, I wanted to ping you after your last post. The other writers and I don’t feel that you’re quite fitting into the role as we wrote it originally. Is there a way I can help you write more toward what we’re looking for from this character?”
  • Will anyone pick it up if I'm too strict about it?Yes! Some people might be turned off by it, as most roleplayers are lazy and they really like breaking rules and doing whatever they want – but there will be another portion of players that really like the challenge of living up to a canon character! I for one absolutely thrive under stricter requirements – but you have to make me aware of them upfront! I get personally devastated when a canon is yanked out from under me because I’m not living up to standards I was unaware of.
  • Why can't/shouldn't I continue to NPC them?You can! NPCs are the meat of the universe. You can’t expect every important person to be played.
  • What is the benefit to let someone else play them other than for other players on the site interested in some interaction with that specific character? – Players love interaction. They like the ability to feel important to the story, and interacting with important characters adds to that.
  • Will I lose interest if this character is played wrong? You might? I can’t say how you’ll feel about the character not being played to your vision, but I personally don’t give a hoot how my adoptables are played. Sure I have parents, siblings, lovers etc all put up for adoption, and I have bullet-points and lists for how I envisioned them and the history they have with my character, but if they’re played differently than I originally imagined, I’m the one that kind of adjusts. Humans are complex individuals, and as long as someone plays them with my key points in mind and just add their own quirks, I never fuss.
  • I would have limited NPC ability over this character now. I do make the distinction between NPC and ONPC. For NPCs players are not allowed to assume what they are doing without my consent. ONPCs have a lot more freedom in that players can dictate what they do on their own without my input.

 

My pros are:

  • I wouldn't have to NPC this character which means one less thing to think about when playing with other players. – Maybe? You’ll probably think about this a lot more! An NPC can be forgotten and sort of written around, while an actual player you would get to interact with!
  • I would get to experience more of the character with someone that fleshes them out more. – YES! This is my personal favorite part. People interpret things so differently, and even if you are thorough this character will grow in exciting ways you might not have expected. I love being able to interact with my characters against an adopted out character because then I feel like I’m not playing games by myself and reading everyone’s minds!
  • I would get to see a thought baby played outside of my perspective and possibly get further ideas for mental development. –Totally! Humans can’t create in a bubble. Our creativity is often able to grow wider and more nuanced when we have others submitting ideas and obstacles for us to work around. I love when a good adoptable gets kept and played. It brings me a great deal of satisfaction and joy, even if they don’t play the character the way I might have!

Additional Advice I have for you:

Create Adobtable Rules. Make sure you have contingencies in place for if/when people don't play the character well. Also, make sure to have rules in there for if/when the character falls inactive stating clearing that they will be returned to the owner/admin either to be reposted for adoption or worked out of the story. Don't leave yourself and your players hanging on the probable chance that people take up the character and then vanish.

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Your points commented:

  • How do I handle if these important people to my character are played in a way that doesn't work for the character? - You communicate with the other writer and tell him where is the problem.
  • Will I lose interest if this character is played wrong? - Maybe. Or better you can take it back, because it is your adoptable, not the other's creation.
  • Will anyone pick it up if I'm too strict about it? - Yes, but only a good writer. Some love writing cannons/ premade bios.
  • I would have limited NPC ability over this character now - this is an advantage 🙂 
  • Why can't/shouldn't I continue to NPC them? - You actually can, if you want - see my way of dealing with it below.
  • What is the benefit to let someone else play them other than for other players on the site interested in some interaction with that specific character? - It's first for YOU, not for other members. You would like more someone else writing the character yours is interacting with. Because if others want the interaction, you might write him in scenes with them. In my case, when I write the whole thread myself, I keep it low priority and it will last a century. If I owe the post to someone else, I will reply timely. Besides, it gives a creativity boost.

WHAT DO I DO? I don't give the NPCs for adoption, but I keep them open to be written by anyone. You are encouraged to write him in a thread, when you have time. If in the next thread you are busy or not interested in said thread (eg you wanted to write that character before because it was a fight or a love scene and they are your best, but you consider work scenes boring and aren't interested in that one) then either I keep writing him, or someone else who has time then is interested for that thread.

 

My reasons for not giving the NPCs for adoption are that: 

1) NPCs are less-screentime characters. They won't have as much interaction as to justify their adoption and the work of filling in the application for a temporary character. People would better make a temporary character of their choice which will get enough interaction with the others, and let NPCs only for supplementing characters when needed. Because always a ship or a town has far more people than we might get characters, be them temporary. How often could a governor be involved? Attending a party, a dinner, an audience or a public execution, how many posts can mean and how often might he be used? If he has to make 4-6 posts every 2 months, let's say, it is obviously not enough to justify his adoption.

2) as NPCs, they may be used by everyone, and this is also an advantage meant to save some plots, when somebody needs a back up, a message-deliverer, an adversary or a companion. 

3) Supposing a NPC gets adopted and that writer leaves after a while, the plot remains blocked and the character can’t be used anymore. If written by anyone free and willing,, this helps furthering the plot, because the reoccurring NPCs are less often appearing, but important for the setting. Also waiting several days to receive somebody’s approval to write a NPC lengthens a lot the posting time and kills the muse. As long as the NPC is written according to his/ her character traits expressed in the bio, anything else is a welcome addition (to the bio too.) 

 

Why it isn’t advised that all NPCs to be written by the staff (who may write as many as they want, equally like any other member):

- a staff member has plenty of other duties to the board besides writing their own characters, while a member is able to focus completely on the NPC and bring it to life;

- another writer may give the story a completely different perspective of the NPC, while still keeping him IC, giving all those he/ she interacts with more ideas and material to work with; 

- the writers can help with developing any details regarding the NPC's bio; 

- when the writer is finished writing the NPC in that thread, (if we are speaking about a reoccurring one) the end product will be a more fleshed out character with greater personality, making it easier for the others to write the same NPC better in the upcoming plots/ stories; 

- NPCs are an important creativity tool for most types of writers. They might rise to the occasion with a brilliant performance: cautious writers might enjoy the freedom of using a "disposable" character, bored/ uninspired writers might enjoy playing a different character for a change, shy writers might roleplay better a character with an already existing personality. 
 

A writer is recommendable to take a NPC for a thread when he/she:

- is without a character of his/ her own in that group/ location and this is how he has the opportunity to get involved in a certain plot, 
- has a PC unable to act for some time for IC reasons (e.g. for being injured, in prison, etc.),
- is very active and waiting for answers in other threads
- has temporarily more free time for RPGs, while aware that it won’t be permanent
- writes usually totally different characters and wants to branch out to another group.
 

Edited by Elena

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To further explain, as I obviously wasn't clear @Elena

  • This is a character(s) that can and would be plot important. They aren't side characters that only meet my means but can actually benefit many other players as well. I NPC them as they are a personal family member to my personal character and I've never considered anyone else playing them. I haven't considered this primarily because I'm terrified of the outcome. This character is well developed in my head, their interactions, their prejudices. My issue here is that people don't like having prejudices, they like to make their characters softer and for this character, I couldn't see that. Not even with time. None of the characters I want to offer out are that way.
  • I disagree. They are my personal NPC, if someone used them without telling/asking me I would actually be upset. I didn't make them for other people to interpret or use.
  • I agree, and that's why I'm asking for advice on this. It's my character, inherently, and it will always default back to me but when do I say "your posting is not enough"?

I'm not a staff member on this board, I don't intend to be. I'll be real. My responsibilities on the Initiative alone overwhelm me and that's enough. I don't even allow the staff of this site to NPC these characters.

 

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If you don't allow anyone to NPC these characters, then you have your answer. And they are actually more to you than NPCs, at this degree of possessivity 🙂 Which, in this case, is perfectly OK). 

 

They are only yours and nobody can write them to the level of detail in your head, so keep writing them.

Edited by Elena

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I don't see how that answers my question. I want to release these to be adoptable but I'm scared to. They have full character dynamics that I don't have time to play out or really develop. My fear is that the well established lore, personality and character dynamics will be washed away in some players "I'm going to play it my way" thing.

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Personally, I'm more inclined to just write them myself. But that aside (because it's not helpful XD)

 

My inclination is to keep the character open only to people who are known and trusted by yourself and (potentially) any involved. This person should probably already be invested in that character and know who they are. I would also ask the potential writer to write with you privately, just to get a feel for the voice. You can copy that 1:1 onto the forum if it's working out well.

 

I would not open them up to all and sundry because I know I would start to feel horrible if this character was being mischaracterised. It's just not worth the drama and you just know that the odds of it working well with someone unknown to you probably isn't good.

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@Morrigan  This is a great and timely topic! I am facing a similar conundrum at a site where I play only - am not staff, nor do I wish to be. In brief, a trusted friend joined with me, couldn't deal with posting templates and decided to give me his character and leave. His character and mine are best friends with histories tied into one another. I have to decide whether to keep his character or offer him for adoption. Gah!

 

So for each of your cons....

 

How do I handle if these important people to my character are played in a way that doesn't work for the character?

  • This one is the hardest. Once the character is surrendered to someone else entirely, I'd question "our" right to dictate its play. I don't see how, logically, there is a right to tell them how to write it - hence my serious conundrum regarding releasing my character for adoption. 

Will anyone pick it up if I'm too strict about it?

  • Probably not. Most people do not want to be told how to write a character. The best way to handle it would be like site's do with fandom canons. Ask that they treat the character like that and write it as in-character per your guidelines as possible. It's likely that you will have to allow the adoptive player a great degree of creativity with the character.

Why can't/shouldn't I continue to NPC them?

  • There is no real reason not to except for time and inclination. 

What is the benefit to let someone else play them other than for other players on the site interested in some interaction with that specific character?

  • If I am understanding everything you've said right, then it sounds as if this character would need upgraded from NPC to, at least, supporting character status allowing everyone more opportunity to interact with him/her. The other major benefit is that RPing is meant to be interactive. There's also the potential that the character will develop in ways you did not anticipate when you had total control of him/her.  This, in turn, would potentially inspire even more development between your character and the adopted NPC.

Will I lose interest if this character is played wrong?

  • Impossible to predict what emotions would be engendered by seeing the character played differently than you had in mind when you created it.  It's a risk that you would lose interest or even be upset. It's a main reason I'm having an internal debate about releasing my friend's character to be adopted. He is so integral to mine...what if Newbie doesn't play him based on my mind picture? Could I live with it?

I would have limited NPC ability over this character now.

  • IMHO only, if you were to put it up for adoption, it needs to be either the whole enchilada. Otherwise, list him as a shared NPC mainly controlled by you.

I'm not a whole lot of help, am I? LOL.

 

In the end, the best advice I'd be able to give is - do what feels right to you!

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@Morrigan You can pick someone you like on the site! You can always reach out to your fellow friends/players and ask if they are interested in the character because you know they'll play them well. If you're still frightened of the whole throwing them out there just for anyone to adopt, seek out players you already jive with and know can write to your vision. 

 

If you don't yet have those people on the site that you've got a good writing relationship with already, maybe do a mini contest so those interested in the character can write What Would Character Do If X? and see who "wins" in your mind? 

 

I like that you're interested in putting them up for an adoptable, but you totally have the freedom here to be a bit picky. Maybe you could ask the admin on the site who they might recommend as a good fit? 

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