Posted by: Jess Riley | September 7, 2008

Roleplay and Game Mechanics (or, “No Really, I’m Pregnant”)

Sometimes we want to get something across with our characters that is reflected in their physical appearance or ability, but which is not shown on the character models. This can range from scars and body shape (see my  repeated complaints about the models versus the actual canon traits of certain races), to injuries and even pregnancy and child-rearing.

Now, let’s be fair: actually inputting things like pregnancy, little children who follow you around at all times, long-term injuries or disabilities resulting from injury, or even too many more models would just be, on one end of the scale, too much effort to input for the actual number of people who would make use of it, and at the other end of the scale, would use so much memory it might just be impractical. I understand this, and so while on some level I wish some of these things (namely the models) would happen, it doesn’t seem likely.

But how do we roleplay with what we’ve got? Well, there’s a few ways, and it depends on what kind of thing you’re going for and what else you’re wanting to do at the same time. Here’s a few of them, and my opinion of them:

  • Suspension of Disbelief.  Just let people know (either through use of a roleplay addon such as MyRoleplay or FlagRSP, by including information about this in your emotes, or by whispering them when you start a scene) that there’s something different about you and they should just pretend that your model doesn’t contradict that. This works well for the model/canon body-shape disparity, as well as things like scars and state of clothing, regardless of where you are. You can do pregnancy, injury and disability (among others – let your imagination run wild) this way, but it will vary a bit depending on context; in some situations, which I will expound upon next, it can just get awkward.

 

  • Limiting the scene.  Honestly, if you’re playing as being pregnant, disabled, or badly injured, this won’t come across well in most cases if you’re assuring people of this while skewering boars at the same time. To some extent, this depends – while I wouldn’t include heavy combat amongst the things that pregnant women should do, it’s not necessarily completely out of the question, and if your warrior moves with a bit of a limp, that doesn’t completely rule out being able to fight if necessary – but in general, you would only want to include these things in characters that don’t see combat very much. (In the case of pregnancy, I’d say those nine months are a great time to work on levelling your alts, for instance, and keeping the pregnant person to the city; same goes for certain serious injuries).

I’m quite sure there’s many more ideas; these are the ones that occur to me, but I certainly don’t discount there being a wealth of other ways to include these things in your roleplay without it being actually reflected in the gameplay mechanisms. As always, the number one piece of advice is use your imagination and do what makes sense to you and advances your piece of plot in the best possible way.

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