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Why Do I Roleplay?

Well, due to a chemical imbalance in my system (or defects in the brain stem, depending on which leading expert you believe), I don't feel emotions that come naturally and unbidden to most other people. Only one or two as an entire range and those muted; I get an intellectual sense of satisfaction at having completed a particularly long task, and feel dedication sometimes, but anything else is just a way to act, learned over years of careful observation. Frankly I never thought I was missing anything - from the sound of it, they weren't worth it. Say what you don't mean, but if you mean something, don't say it. How utterly illogical. In order to impersonate those emotions convincingly though, I had to find out how they worked. I tried duplicating their effects in an extension of myself (that is, I took my reactions, and filtered them through a set of decisions to determine what the end result would be, then sent THAT through the extension), and then observed their reactions to judge how successful I was. After a year or so, I realized my mistake - I had applied all the emotional logorithms, at once.

There was no way to tell which of them were accurately replicating which emotion, and anyway it could be a mixture. So I began testing each one at a time, until I felt I had mastered it. First eloquence, then pessimism, with small forays into others to test what I should go for next. Now, roleplaying itself, in which I drew on what I can best call the collective subconsciousness, and knew things only the character would know; it could be just me having instant access to my pictographic memory, only while roleplaying, but I was knowing things I had never learned. I also, while roleplaying, overthrew some of the other traditional limitations; I could think as though I were as smart as my character, by devoting more of my time to thinking in character.

Since my thinking speed is already greatly accelerated (thus the 'calculator' nicknames, like 'tape recorder' for those with instant access to their memories), this in effect gave me the ability to simulate higher intelligence by thinking faster, coming up with more in a shorter amount of time. I also was able, when I roleplayed so deeply as to truly become the character, to feel emotions - in a sense. The character was feeling the emotions, and I simply had become the character. There are those who would insist that I am voyeuristically experiencing their emotions through roleplaying, but such is not the case; before roleplaying that deeply, I always lose two things as a player. Any vestiges of conscious thought, and any sense of (self-)awareness, including presence in the 'real world' to any extent. Upon regaining those abilities, I can feel those emotions only in the sense that I can recognize what they were. However, I still maintain the hope that someday, I may be able to use this knowledge to help me better understand or even replicate other emotions. Emotions such as joy, one of the key elements in having fun.

Roleplaying allows me to compensate for 'real-life' difficulties; if my character isn't hungry, or tired, or suffering from a headache, I can sink a little deeper into character and operate as though such were not true for me. I can also draw upon aspects or even full portfolios of any of my characters, if needed, for instance if I am distressed I will touch upon the mind of my monk, who is at peace, and has a well-disciplined mind; my own thought patterns instantly begin conforming to this, relaxing me. I draw upon her full portfolio, in a way, by creating a sense of self-identity within me that, though hers, says 'I am a monk.', and allows me to set foot on holy ground without undue discomfiture.

I embrace the concept of roleplaying, and am completely dedicated to it (see my Quantum Roleplay Theory, below). I feel a loyalty to all my characters, who exist on their own but not within the MUD interface unless I play them; they have a right to live, and I owe it to them to make sure they do. Fun doesn't enter into it; unless you count the satisfaction at a job well done, as I continue to accurately play my characters, and on a few occasions even gain further insight into them, learning how to play them

Message# 2409 (I think), and edited slightly for less confusion
Date: Fri, 7 Jan 2000 15:11:06 -0700
From: "Edited even more to protect identities."
Subject: Re: Thoughts on role-playing


Item 1: All the acerbity on this list (regardless of whom it is directed at). I am working on a solution. Please be patient, as I had to interrupt doing so to write this, and I can get back to annoying most or all of you as soon as possible.

Item 2:

"Here I quoted someone saying mundane"
"character histories are perfectly fine."

Hmm, like it or not, all of you are about to receive the wisdom of myself, as garnered over many years of playing. Please feel free to hang up at any time, or reach for some rope to hang ME up.

Character Histories: Your character belongs in the world, and unless they have total amnesia, they probably have a history, consisting of all that happened in their life before the player factor entered the equation. The character did not spring into full-blown existence the moment you were given that player-file. You, the player, were given access to that character, who not only already existed in the world, but did so without your intervention. So, with that in mind, do not *create* a history, *remember* it. Your character has a history, all you have to do is *be* the character enough to realize what that is. This point of view will definitely seem odd to many of you, and I predict about a third will recommend that I seek psychiatric help, and the rest will want to grab that rope and look for a tall tree. Those of you who are still reading, good. Those of you that now have the rope, please continue, as you will then have motivation to cut down the tree (extra firewood, and a stake).

The world exists without the players. Somewhere, there is a world of "MUD name", and even if it isn't in this one, perhaps it is electronic. But it is also more than that. It has taken on a life of its own, as many worlds do that are played in for some time, and it can be reached from other worlds. This, is called roleplaying by those from other worlds, and those that can fully pierce the barriers between these worlds, so that there is almost no seperation at all mentally (some is needed, as is explained later) between themselves and whoever they are trying to connect to (also explained later), are given the cosmic title Role-Players. Those that are especially gifted in this, can see into more of the world than most others, and they usually develop this gift into an ability to predict/manipulate (they often believe it is manipulation) (and sometimes it is) the actions of other people in the world, and thus become Game Masters. The 'players' have a link to the mind of the character, but, since they are not as gifted as the 'Game Master', they are unable to discern what actually occurs in the world, only what the character's intentions are.

If they were to make a false presumption as to what actually happened, they might lose the connection with the character (who, existing seperately from the player, has a different knowledge of what happened, and the mind of the player is no longer completely 'in sync' with that of the character; a situation which must swiftly be rectified), and most (there are rumored to be a few rare exceptions) wish to prevent this from happening. And thus they depend upon the 'Game Master' to tell them what occurs, and make sure their perceptions are fully (to the extent possible; they must keep a small part of them aside, to 'translate' what the 'Game Master' says, and feed it into their senses) synchronized with their character's. Role-Players can also, upon occasion, attempt to reach out specifically for one person in the world, to make contact with them instead of at random, and thus gain some measure of control over who they become.

Sometimes, the person they are reaching out to is so uncommon they cannot be found easily, and they need the help of the 'Game Master' to insure that if they feel a connection with such a person, it is truly within the proper world. If the 'Game Master' can see this being within the world, and they see that the Role-Player might indeed be able to forge a connection with it, they give their 'approval', which significantly improves the Role-Player's chances of doing so, by augmenting their ability to penetrate the barrier between worlds.

There are, sadly, those Role-Players who abuse their abilities, and tell the 'Game Master' that their character's intention is to say something which the character would truly not say, and this can throw off the 'Game Master', as they often act in faith that the 'players' will tell them the truth about what their character is thinking, so that they can free up concentration to see more of the world. However, these people soon acquire the reputation of a 'Bad Role-Player', and no 'Game Master' will tell them what happens in the world, and they lose the connection with the character.

One might wonder what benefit a Role-Player receives from this, for, it is argued, if they do not benefit why bother? Few will comment, but a surprising number agree on one thing: through their connection with their character, they find they know things which they did not know before, but the character did. Cases have been made that this is merely a subconscious self-hypnotization process, allowing the Role-Player to access memories that have been (long) forgotten, a process which is activated by their belief that they KNOW something. The gods of each world, for some inexplicable reason, have not yet interfered with this, though whether they cannot even sense it happening (an unlikely event in the extreme, given their power; some speculate an outside force shields the Role-Players from notice) or merely refrain from action, is unknown. Thus can this strange, symbiotic relationship continue.

As your reward for reading this far (unless you just skipped down to the bottom of the page; shame on you!), I was just joking about the cosmic title :)

Staff Comments

As of 24/08/2003, this, and all other articles authored by FireCat which are held on this site, have been released into the public domain. Please feel free to use them as such.


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