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Playing the Role

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  • Playing the Role

    Hello all,

    CE wanted to use this space to discuss what it means to "play" a character in Castle Marrach.

    Around here you hear a lot about OOC (Out of Character) and IC (In Character) and the differences between the two. The primary difference between the two is that OOC refers to you, the player, while IC refers to your character. Crossing or blurring of this line makes it hard to be part of an interactive story, which is the model of Castle Marrach.

    When describing what we do here to "outsiders" we've found that it's most comparable to improvisational theatre, in that our players are often expected to react to that which they cannot control and by doing so fully inhabit the "role" of their character. As with any social situation, there is a wide gamut of different types of characters (good, bad, corrupt, kind, mean, etc.) and, given Marrach's hierarchical design, levels of "rank" in the castle. It is of vital importance that you keep in mind that the lowliest of paupers or meanest of meanies in Marrach might well be our very best player because of how well they inhabit that role. It has been said time and time again that this game is not an achiever game but a socializing one. The point of Marrach isn't to get the best sword or hoard clothes, it's to try and inhabit a character, to be an actor of sorts.

    This means that if a higher-ranking character or NPC yells at you, you don't get offended OOC, you take it as good RP fodder. This means that if your character gets beat up by a couple of bad Watchmen (just an example ), that's good because it means you are likely part of a plot and it gives you an excellent RP opportunity. This means that if Lady So-and-So throws you over for your squire you, the player, don't get a broken heart, but rather you enjoy the heck out of playing your charís broken heart. You should also understand that the players of those of higher station or Watchpeople or spurning lovers are not beating you up, yelling at you or dumping you, the player, they are playing a role.

    We noticed the recent Marrach Movies ( post in these very forums and think that it illustrates the above point for us. Pick one of those movies and show me a character in it without shades of gray. Does the fact that Humphrey Bogart's Rick, from Casablanca, is hardly a classic hero (I would argue anti-hero) mean he didn't deliver a bang up performance? Does the fact that he ultimately lost (although in a selfless, redeeming way) when Ilsa boarded the plane with Victor make him any less interesting of a character? No, of course not. The movie, the character and the performance hold up as being all-time achievements in cinematic history.

    So it need be in Marrach. In order for good stories to be told, we all need to feel safe in our roles. Safe to play bullies, victims, heroes, losers, etc without fear of OOC reaction. If people constantly react OOCly to an IC action then it simply canít work. After all, how would Casablanca have played if Bogie refused to play Rick because the character didnít get the girl?

    Now, all this is easier said than done as miscommunication is bound to happen. However, it is bound to happen more often if youíre looking for it. When it comes to developing the above stated trust it might help to constantly remind yourself that you and the other players of Marrach are in this game/story together. If you find yourself reacting OOC to an IC action, stop, take a deep breath, and react as your character would. Conversely, if you find yourself wanting to take out OOC angst ICly then check yourself and be sure what your character is doing is in accordance with their motivation and not yours. If you want to RP the perfect villain remember that youíre playing with the other players, not against them. This might mean you tone your act down or it might mean you take the time to provide a quick OOC comment that the char's actions are NOT personal.

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