So, in this week’s Monday Meet Me link-up, I mentioned that I write in a couple of role-playing games and a few people were interested in knowing what that actually meant.
Hopefully I’ll be able to adequately explain it in this post!
How did you get into role-playing?
Honestly, I’m not sure. I’ve been writing in online games since I was 13 or 14 – around the time I got involved in blogs (LiveJournal back then!) and writing fan fiction etc.
I think the first game I was ever involved in was a Stargate SG-1 game, and I’ve been involved in a variety of games since then (primarily in the X-Men fandom, but also a short stint in a Harry Potter game).
I wrote pretty consistently up until I started teaching back in 2010 when I stopped (because, you know, teaching is pretty full-on), but I got an email mid-last year that I game I used to write in was starting up again and I would I be interested in joining in again. I feel like I’m in a relatively good position now (with my ability to switch off – sometimes – the inner teacher at home) and so I said yes.
And the rest is… history!
What is role-playing?
First up, it’s not really like online gaming/etc where you have a digital avatar or tabletop roleplaying where you have characters and cards or pieces or whatever (I don’t really know – not an expert in this because I don’t play either of those options).
The role-playing I do is ALL writing-based. The easiest way to describe it is to call it collaborative online writing. It’s usually based on an established fandom (from books, TV or movies etc).
Literally, I write with a bunch (of awesome!) people. We’re each in control of one, or more, characters and are responsible for writing those characters in turn. We plot out stories we’ve got an interest in developing and pretty much go for it.
There’s a lot of collaboration and story development and writing and I love that.
How does it work?
In the games that I’m involved in, you’re in charge of your characters – which means, in whatever plot or story you have worked out with other players, you’re responsible for your character’s side of the action.
One of the games I’m in is more active than the others, but both use narrative as the format.
We use message boards, and stories/plots are posted as threads, and each character’s perspective is added as a new post to that thread in response to the previous ones in the same thread.
For example, in the Batman game, I write Barbara Gordon and Bruce Wayne. If I was going to write a scene with another player using Barbara and Dick Grayson (their character), we would decided who’s going to do the ‘set-up’ post (for whatever it is we’re writing), and then take turns to add and extend the plot based on whatever scene goals we’ve set.
Obviously, the more characters and/or players involved, the more complicate it becomes. I write with some really amazing people, and have developed a rapore with them and we know each other’s writing styles (and we talk a lot about our story) so we can kind of predict the direction of conversations and character moves.
What do you write?
Anything and everything. Whatever we feel like.
Most games DO have an over-arching plot line or theme, but both the games I’m involved in are fairly laid-back and chilled out so we have some leeway to run with stories we like.
How often do you write?
Depends on the game, and the other players. The X-Men game I’m involved in is really a ‘when everyone has time’ game (which isn’t all that often). The Batman game I’m in is pretty active. I usually post 2-3 times a week or more (usually 500-1000 words a post), as long as my scene partners are able to post.
Who do you write?
In the X-Men game I write Kitty Pryde (if you’re curious, I think you can access my scene list here). She’s a character I’ve written in multiple games over many years. She’s my favourite character of the X-Men franchise (except in the films) and this incarnation of her is MY FAV. (The last scene completed we an action-based scene with our Logan and Mystique players, which was SO much fun!)
In the Batman game I write Barbara Gordon/Batgirl and Bruce Wayne/Batman. Bruce was a recent acquisition due to another player leaving and I’d written him informally a few times to finish scenes/move plots forward. In the last few weeks I’ve more formally taken him onboard as a full-time character. I also occasionally write Commissioner Jim Gordon or Lucius Fox.
Generally, I’m TERRIFIED of putting my writing out there for other people to read, but since I was a teenager I’ve published stuff online as a way of trying to combat that fear. Writing some of these characters is easy (Kitty and Barbara) and some are freaking TERRIFYING (Bruce). I have some lovely, very supportive friends who do constantly tell me that it makes sense and to stop freaking out.
Over time I’ve gotten better at letting people see what I’ve written.
Unfortunately I can’t share my Barbara and/or Bruce writing with you guys (the game is a closed/private game), but you’re more than welcome to take a look around Left Turn at Westchester, which I think you should be able to access. If you want to see my posts, they’re all linked here.
I hope that’s answered some of the questions. I’m not sure what people wanted to know, but if you have a specific one you’d like to ask, I’m more than happy to answer it!
(I also have thoughts on educational applications of written role-playing, too!)
Until next time, my friends! Happy Thursday!