Notify Message
Forums
#5713467 Feb 28, 2012 at 01:12 AM · Edited 7 years ago
316 Posts
I humbly request that the guild adopt a "No Using Major Lore Characters In Your Backstory/Writing" policy.

Back in WoW, my guild and several others treated Major Lore Characters like they would another person's roleplay characters. We pretended "Blizzard Entertainment" was just another player instead of a gaming company and that all Major Lore Characters were RP characters that player thought up. You wouldn't do anything with a Major NPC that you wouldn't do with another person's character without getting their explicit consent first.

I believe we should treat Bioware's characters the same way.

I'll be totally honest in that it was Sulail's recent story involving Satele Shan that made me think of this rule, but I want to clarify that I do not think Sulail wrote Satele Shan in an awful manner. Sulail's writing just happened to be the thing that reminded me of this rule which was in place for many RP guilds back in my old WoW server. (Sorry Sulail! T_T I swear I'm not trying to harsh your squee.)

I also want to clarify that I don't mean that your character can't be influenced by events that occurred because of a Major Lore Character or that you can't make brief mention of a Major Lore Character somewhere in your story. I just think it's unwise for us to be writing out the actions/words/thoughts of Major Lore Characters ourselves.

After all, there is a huge difference between mentioning that your character has it out for Grand Moff Kilran ever since Kilran became the "Butcher of Coruscant" and saying that Grand Moff Kilran himself has it out for your character ever since you nearly shot him during the Battle of Coruscant.

There are three reasons why it is unwise for us as roleplayers to write out the actions/words/thoughts of Major Lore Characters:

1) It sets a bad precedent where anyone can write any lore character doing anything.

Sulail did a fine job writing out Satele Shan in a realistic and understandable manner. But what do we do if a new member in the future decides his character was specifically chosen by Satele Shan to save the universe from titanium, rocket-powered space dragons that blow up planets using laser beams from their eyes?

Or that they were picked by Satele to assassinate Mikael? Or that they're Satele's adopted daughter/son/bodyguard/brother/sister/secret spurned lover?

Where do we draw the line between an acceptable thing for the lore characters to do and a bad one?

Back in WoW, there was a troll player who RPed he was the adopted son of Voljin and was next in line to be the leader of the trolls. He wasn't a bad writer or RPer, but he couldn't for the life of him figure out why it was so bad for him to be Voljin's adopted son. Not even when I said "It's a huge server. What happens if you meet 10 other trolls who are all the adopted sons of Voljin and are next in line to be the leader of the trolls?"

2) Not everyone on the server or even in the guild will agree with the way you've written a given lore character.

Pretty self explanatory. There will always be at least one person who doesn't quite see eye to eye with the way you've depicted a certain character. This will throw people off when they're faced with the decision to either accept what you have written about a major lore character as 'canon' or ignore it. Either way, it disrupts RP and breaks people out of their immersion. Worst case scenario - they are forced to ignore what you've written and will have a harder, if not impossible time, RPing with you.

RPing is like writing a huge book with multiple writers. We all sort of have to have the same general idea of what the world is like in order to write a 'book' that makes sense. If someone writes a Major Lore Character in a way that doesn't quite line up with everyone else's view of things - the book becomes less coherent and eventually falls apart - weakning the RP.

3) It gives the guild leadership extra unnecessary work.


If everyone can write the actions/thoughts/words of a Major Lore Character, the guild leadership will eventually be faced with the task of having to monitor everyone's writing to make sure members don't write something that is entirely unrealistic or out of character for a specific lore character (like my example of Satele ordering someone to hunt space dragons).

It also burdens them with having to figure out where exactly to draw the line between a good characterisation of a specific lore character and a bad one, which can get super messy super fast.

Instead of forcing this responsibility upon the guild leadership, simply treating all Major Lore Characters like player characters will make things a million times easier and give the leadership one less thing to have to worry about.

Again, I hope no one is offended by my suggestion. I am not actively trying to target anyone and I don't think anyone in particular has written a lore character in a terrible way. I just think it is safer for us to decide upon this now then later when a problem might arise.
+2
#5713543 Feb 28, 2012 at 01:37 AM
Militiamen
141 Posts
Have to say Tiergan pretty much summed up my feeling on the matter as well. The only thing I might add is that one of the reasons I avoid Lore characters is because Bioware has their own story already written for the characters and where they're going to be going with future patches. Anytime we use them we run the risk of having to reton our stories in the future.
+1
#5713614 Feb 28, 2012 at 02:04 AM
9 Posts
#5713467 Tiergan-Lurial wrote:


I also want to clarify that I don't mean that your character can't be influenced by events that occurred because of a Major Lore Character or that you can't make brief mention of a Major Lore Character somewhere in your story.



I believe one should go no farther than that when including major lore characters in backstories. So yeah, I pretty much agree with what you're saying.


+0
#5713815 Feb 28, 2012 at 03:13 AM
316 Posts
#5713543 Calthan wrote:

Have to say Tiergan pretty much summed up my feeling on the matter as well. The only thing I might add is that one of the reasons I avoid Lore characters is because Bioware has their own story already written for the characters and where they're going to be going with future patches. Anytime we use them we run the risk of having to reton our stories in the future.



Well said! This is an especially huge deal because of how story plays such an important role in this game.
+0
#5714130 Feb 28, 2012 at 04:52 AM
Commander
252 Posts
I knew many felt as you have felt Tiergan haha. Where there is one there is always another. I don't use major characters myself simply because I don't use anything major in most my stories other than historical events. I'm a very lore deficient individual who wants to still roleplay well. I find this policy pretty fine with me.

If others do too, we can totally make it a rule; I'm usually a very lax individual so that's why the guild doesn't have any rules other than the tenants. So this could be our first guild rule haha!

"The Sith's only weapons are Darkness and Lies. They Deceive and are Deceived."
+0
#5714806 Feb 28, 2012 at 08:14 AM
18 Posts
I can agree with this idea, though it can also be a dangerous concept. Granted its there to avoid those who make really silly ideas or have these Major Characters suddenly say how X is paragon of truth and justice ect. I'll say nearly everyone of my characters are intertwined in some way and as such are the major characters of their own backgrounds.

BUT, some of us cannot help but have said Major characters become a part of our backgrounds in a direct manner through influencing a major event in some way, shape or form. Cause honestly its fairly difficult not to include certain characters such as say Satele for Jedi or Garza for Soldiers ect. Cause unless you're gonna start making characters to sit on the high council/Council of the First watch/Command of Spec Force ect it becomes a really big..jumble of..well..jumble xD
+0
#5714838 Feb 28, 2012 at 08:22 AM
Vanguard
395 Posts
I might be slightly guilty of this seeing as I had Ararius's orders to launch an investigation come down from General Garza (Canon wise, she's the current head of the the Republic Military's Special Forces). I didn't delve specifically into the character, just simply that the orders came from her. I actually felt quite comfortable that those orders were in line for her character though... considering any trooper can tell you she is quite willing to give extremely questionable orders.


+0
#5714869 Feb 28, 2012 at 08:31 AM · Edited 7 years ago
Battlemaster
143 Posts
I think it is a fine idea. I would also add, bringing in Major plots points of your class story into your characters RP is never a good idea. After all there is only ONE jedi knight that can save the day(trying to stay spoiler free). It is one thing to take a idea from it, for instance romancing Kira revealed lore on Jedi marriages that I ended up using in Mikael's RP.


"A Jedi whose lightsaber is guided by the Force need not fear the outcome of any battle."
+1
#5715225 Feb 28, 2012 at 09:41 AM
Vanguard
122 Posts
While I agree that we shouldn't assume a character role for NPCs that currently exist, I disagree that they shouldn't be used at all. The source of my personal RP story was written after reading the SWTOR Holonet biographies on both Satele Shan and General Garza. What I wrote in my story was straight forward and did not assume anything on the parts of the two NPCs at all. I never had either of them leave the setting they were in during the time that I joined the vanguard, and I also kept the interaction with Satele Shan very brief so as not to assume too much.

So basically, I believe it should be acceptable to write key figures in to a degree, I also agree that it is a fine line to walk and should be tread upon very carefully and with the proper knowledge on the NPC used.
+0
#5715410 Feb 28, 2012 at 10:17 AM
87 Posts
Agreed that it should be steered clear of in backstories. As a whole, I think MLC's should be used sparingly, if at all. Maybe only for major guild story arcs (and even then they shouldn't take precedent over a PC since we have a quasi-militaristic structure & chain of command)?

Personally, I don't want to put words in the mouth of anyone but my character.
(Even though my RP has been mostly reactionary from happening upon or coming in at the middle of different characters' stories).

That being said, a character established before any rule is made (if one is) shouldn't have to retcon their story up to that point.
Demons run when a good man goes to war.


+0
#5715434 Feb 28, 2012 at 10:22 AM · Edited 7 years ago
Battlemaster
143 Posts
Here is the problem; not everyone will put in the time and thought you did or Ararius(with Garza). I liked your use of Shan in your story, but I see other less skilled and informed RPers not doing nearly as well a job of staying true to Bioware's characters. Rules, Laws and Codes are in place to help guide and protect the less.....experienced....while they can limit those that are have more knowledge, skill and understanding unfortunately.

Also I will not mention any names but before the game was even released someone used Malgus as part of their character's back story, and completely butchered his character. They put very little research into his character other then what was shown in the trailers when there was an entire novel based on him out at the time. Thankfully the person scrapped their "official" background so many times it never became guild "canon".


"A Jedi whose lightsaber is guided by the Force need not fear the outcome of any battle."
+1
#5716845 Feb 28, 2012 at 02:14 PM
Militiamen
141 Posts
#5715225 Sulail (Talrol) wrote:


So basically, I believe it should be acceptable to write key figures in to a degree, I also agree that it is a fine line to walk and should be tread upon very carefully and with the proper knowledge on the NPC used.



I will still have to disagree even with proper knowledge it can become problematic for a few reasons.

1. Why would the Key Figure be involved at all? Most Major Lore Characters are busy doing what Bioware has set up for them. Garza is planning a war, Shatel is leading the Jedi and organizing operations, Malgus is trying to destroy anything in his way, and Watcher One is doing his best to keep the Empire from falling a part.

2. If it's accepted it can give a player "authority" over other players. For example "I have my orders directly from "X"!" Jedi players know that Shatel is the current Grand Master and Troopers know Garza is a General. If a player starts saying their in-game RP is directly from a Major Lore Character then it starts putting other RPers who recognize that Major Lore Characters authority into an awkward position of having to listen to this player.

3. It can be used as a get out of jail free card. "Its not my fault "X" ordered me too" A trooper gets attacked by a fellow commando. Defeats the commando and does the whole interrogation thing. Finds out that "Garza ordered me to kill you." Whats that player to do? Can't really do anything about Garza at at. Can't confront her about the accusation or anything. Just leaves that player kind of in limbo.

4. Special snowflake syndrome. We all know this one. Most of the time it is someone claiming to be the first Skywalker or the unknown son of Malgus and Shan. Something wacky like that. However in cases where a player directly interacts with a MLC for their RP it you have to ask yourself "Why would the MLC give time for my character and not everyone elses?" Generally if the answer is "They wouldn't unless my character was special" then you're probably getting close to special snow flake area.

Now that's not to say that MLC can't be used an an influence. Your Jedi went dark because he/she wants to kill Malgus for destroying the temple or your Trooper signed up for the military because he/she heard a rousing speech from Garza.


TLDR Version: MLC. Good for influencing your story. Bad for directing it.

Note: Any use of the world you is meant as a general you and not directed at any one individual.


+1
#5717217 Feb 28, 2012 at 03:12 PM · Edited 7 years ago
316 Posts
#5714806 Jereth wrote:

BUT, some of us cannot help but have said Major characters become a part of our backgrounds in a direct manner through influencing a major event in some way, shape or form. Cause honestly its fairly difficult not to include certain characters such as say Satele for Jedi or Garza for Soldiers ect. Cause unless you're gonna start making characters to sit on the high council/Council of the First watch/Command of Spec Force ect it becomes a really big..jumble of..well..jumble xD



I agree. That's why I said "I also want to clarify that I don't mean that your character can't be influenced by events that occurred because of a Major Lore Character or that you can't make brief mention of a Major Lore Character somewhere in your story."

When I say 'direct use' I mean literally writing out a major lore character's actions, dialogue, motivations, and emotions. It's the difference between saying "my character was there when Satele Shan became the Grand Master Jedi and built a new Jedi Temple on Tython, thus inspiring my character to follow her example" and saying "Satele Shan single-handedly picked my character and a handful of others to be part of an elite Jedi squadron that carries out her every order."

#5715225 Sulail (Talrol) wrote:

So basically, I believe it should be acceptable to write key figures in to a degree, I also agree that it is a fine line to walk and should be tread upon very carefully and with the proper knowledge on the NPC used.



Again, this runs into the problem of forcing the guild leadership to have to monitor everyone's use of MLCs and then having to split hairs on what is an acceptable use of one and what isn't. It can get REALLY uncomfortable when some people see the MLC as being in character while the rest of the guild doesn't, let me tell you.

And when EVERYONE but that one person who wrote something can see the use of the Lore Character was all out of wack, it can still be a clusterfuck.

I can tell you from experience in my old FFXI guild that it's NOT fun to have to be the one to tell someone "You know that 10 page story you wrote using a Lore Character? Yeah, it's not something characteristic of that NPC at all and you clearly didn't do enough research or know enough about them before writing them in. Why aren't I bothering Sulail and Ararius about things? Well, they did a better job with it then you did."

During one of the many times I had the 'talk' in FFXI as an officer, one player was a professional writer and had written a literal 250 page novel for her character's backstory in the span of one month before joining our guild. I had to tell her that she couldn't use it because it made flagrant, strong use of a ridiculously important lore character in a way that not everyone would agree with.

Not. Fun. Conversation.

I would not wish that upon any guild leader or officer.

#5715410 Bron Cuthus wrote:

That being said, a character established before any rule is made (if one is) shouldn't have to retcon their story up to that point.



I agree with this too. So far, no one has gone totally bonkers with MLC and it would be too disruptive to people who have already written things into their backstories. However, I do think that if this is established as a rule, it should mean that from that point on, those who have integrated MLCs into their backstories/stories should strive make very minimal use of the MLC or weave their story in a way where the MLC no longer has such a strong presence in their story.

We're all super creative people here and I'm confident that it shouldn't prove to be too hard.


#5716845 Calthan wrote:

All of the awesome points Calthan made!



THIS.



+0
#5718055 Feb 28, 2012 at 05:24 PM
29 Posts
Weighing in here, for...well, whatever it's worth. I don't know why, really. Attempting to get more involved? Yes, that's it.

I pretty much agree with Lurial, because I remember some of the same individuals. I also have something slightly different to add!

Using MLCs Limits Your Story

I don't care if you say your character is the secret genetic link between Admiral Ackbar and Greedo. In character, I'll assume you're a crazy person. I'm very good at this. I will say things like "beep boop, I'm a robot" and call you "Dark Lord Fluffernuts", and I will do this in character. It does not bother me.

It does, however, bother some people. I bet they're not in this guild, but I've got a word for them:

Assholes.

Can I say that here?

Anyway, these people will spend all day looking down their noses at you for not having a 250 page bio for your character. They will also belittle you in and out of character for saying that Shan gave you a direct order, even if this is entirely reasonable. If you go further, they get nastier. They will make it their mission to make sure no one else plays with you. They will make sure that people avoid your guild. Hell, they will make you so miserable that you quit. And the worst part is, they are your fellow RPers.

I've seen too many people chased from too many games because other people that RP are, frankly, assholes. I'm not usually a fan of appeasing these people, and if you feel like your character should have a tangential, minor connection to someone (Arjay, this one time, might have shaken someone's hand), more power to you. If you go major, though, it makes it harder for all the rest of us to jump in and defend you.

Seriously, I like you guys. If I ever see someone in a channel talking badly about CV, I will jump in there. But to make sure that you give 'em less ammo and give yourself a better chance to interact with the small but growing community on Shien, think about how what you write looks to outsiders.

If you'll excuse me, I'm going to write about how Arjay is going to time travel and have Exar Kun's man-baby.
+2
#5718412 Feb 28, 2012 at 06:29 PM
Militiamen
65 Posts
My simple two credits...

I've seen this done really well when main characters are no more than 'cameo' appearances.

But I've seen it done so poorly so often that I have to agree with the OP. Can make for wretched continuity craters.
+0
#5719496 Feb 28, 2012 at 11:20 PM
Vanguard
122 Posts
There have been some decent arguments regarding this. I still have to say that my gut reaction to making this a rule is to say "no I do not agree." I do agree that there are those who would take the NPC too far out of character, or incorporate them too much into their story that there becomes no separation. In all honesty I could easily modify my story with made up names of some Master and some other General or commander, but that takes away the realness of my characters flash backs.

If someone in our guild happens to go over board with using a MLC in their story it wouldn't be difficult to curb it in quickly and constructively.
+0
#5719559 Feb 28, 2012 at 11:38 PM
68 Posts
My character's journal is reactive to her experiences as she does the quest lines but I've been very careful to change the names, even changing the names of the companions. Instead of my Kira and Keeghan's Corin, we use Karis and Sean. The main JK master Calily has dealt with is Master Gorus (moving Orgus letters around) and my Sith Maurader's master is Sirab (which is Baris) backwards.

Every game makes your character the "star" of your questline, and while I don't ignore it, I prefer to make it just a footnote. Example, Calily is going around mopping up messes when the Republic looses a weapon that has fallen into Empire hands, because it's convenient for them to ask her help just because she's already in the area on her prime, personal mission, she and Keeghan are freighting food and medical supplies to the forgotten wartorn families on all those planets they are trekking to.

What bothers me about someone using a main NPC character, without changing the name (like from Baris to Sirab, etc) is that it takes liberties where the next person can't do the same because you've laid claim to that NPC's time or relationship, or you've attributed an action to that NPC that may conflict with how another would have them react.

One person might do it really well but the next person may not and if a guild chooses to do a "case by case" judgement rather than a pat rule, then the one who gets the case ruled against will feel singled out and treated unfairly.
+2
#5719890 Feb 29, 2012 at 01:40 AM · Edited 7 years ago
316 Posts
#5719496 Sulail (Talrol) wrote:

There have been some decent arguments regarding this. I still have to say that my gut reaction to making this a rule is to say "no I do not agree." I do agree that there are those who would take the NPC too far out of character, or incorporate them too much into their story that there becomes no separation. In all honesty I could easily modify my story with made up names of some Master and some other General or commander, but that takes away the realness of my characters flash backs.

If someone in our guild happens to go over board with using a MLC in their story it wouldn't be difficult to curb it in quickly and constructively.



Like Bron mentioned, it would probably be a good idea for the rule not to be entirely retroactive so that it doesn't force people retcon entire swaths of their backstories. It wouldn't really be fair to people who've already used MLCs to have everything get fubared half way through.

That said, what about using an MLC instead of an NPC of your own creation makes flashbacks feel less 'real'? Other then being characters that everyone is already familiar with, I'm not certain I see how using your own NPCs would somehow cheapen or lessen the impact of a good story. With NPCs, you have full control over every action they make, every word they say, all their thoughts, motivations, and emotions. By extension, you also have more complete control over your story. In a way, it could result in a deeper, richer tale then one where you have to tip-toe around the use of Bioware's already established characters.

Also, and I don't want to come off as rude or confrontational, but is there something more to your disagreement other then a gut reaction? I don't doubt the sincerity of your feelings and can understand how this puts you and a few others in a really uncomfortable bind. However, I feel as though there needs to be a more concrete reason why we should not make this an RP policy in light of all of the drawbacks and problems that so many have highlighted thus so far.



+0
#5720770 Feb 29, 2012 at 07:07 AM
Vanguard
122 Posts
You have not been rude at all here, so no worries, we're simply discussing adding rules to govern how people RP. That is where my gut tells me NO! Once we start telling people that they can or can't do a thing then that thing must be policed, those who police a thing are going to upset someone at some point. I submit that creating any rules regarding how a player chooses to RP leads us down a path of elitism such as Arjay submitted in his reply.
+0
#5721508 Feb 29, 2012 at 10:13 AM
Prime Consulate
68 Posts
I'd just like to throw my weight in here, too, 'cause I feel like it.

I'm supportive of making this a rule. Fact is, Sulail, that if you do or do not make it an official rule it does not change any future confrontations. Aiden is not going to run around, reading every word of RP in every single conversation the guild players have with a fine-tooth comb searching for mentions of MLCs and waving the red flag the moment he sees one. I understand your concerns for governing or funneling people's RP in a certain direction, however.

Perhaps we can achieve compromise. Instead of settling on the first 'rule' which thereby sets precedence to make others (which is, I think, mostly what Sulail is really worried about here) we can delineate it somewhere as a guideline on the forums, asking people to please avoid using an MLC in their storylines. That way, if someone does, we can kindly point out that is already frowned upon on the boards, and ask that player to simply make a name switch. No 'policing' is therefore necessary, no rules are in fact present, but our qualms with this issue are clear and it will make it easily referable in the future. i.e. in Luri's scenario where the leaders would have to engage in the unfun conversation with the hypothetical liberal RPer.
+0