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What brings you to town?

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  • What brings you to town?

    So I notice a few people have been playing for a while and sort of lost sight of this question for their character(s). I also notice that sometimes people create a new character, and don't really have an idea for what direction they want to take their new character. Sometimes it seems people even try revisiting this question after they've replayed for a while and can't think of an answer and so stop playing. It's unfortunate when that happens so I thought I might make a posting in an effort to see if help can't be provided to people with this question.

    First let's consider the first thing of what even brought you to this town in the first place. Luckily the game gives us two really useful aids in picking a direction we would like to take our new characters in. There is when you pick your race. Each race has stereotypes and qualities to them. Do you want your character to be the "classic" version of that animal, or do you want to break the mold in some way? Sure you could pick fox and just roll with it, but are you like the stories say and Clever? Or or you going to take it the other direction and be a bit of an idiot? (keep in mind I'm talking about your character. It's okay to RP an idiot but be a smart person yourself). Perhaps your character is from a noble family and you've turned your back on being a noble. Who knows? Well hopefully you do after thinking a bit about how your character's race has shaped their starting life arriving in town.

    But I did also say that the game gives us two big things to aid us. The second would be your starting careers. You can pick anything you want, but WHY are you picking this career over that career? Perhaps you as a player looked at the skills that a career offered and you said, "ya that sounds fun to play, I'll be that." but hold up here a second friend. That only tells us why you the player want that career. Why did your character start with this career? Was it because their parents were in that career and they are just following in their parents footsteps? Is it that your character didn't want to be "just a X" where X is whatever their parents were, and so went with something more exciting?

    So okay we know why your character picked the career, but for the most part all the new characters coming into town come in at 18. So you've already been doing this career for a couple of years. Is it everything they dreamed so far? Is your character tired now of the career they picked back home and is looking for a change? What's going on in your character's mind?

    Now when you click that create button hopefully some planning is happening here now. Perhaps when you start up your new character you won't just feel like the only answers you have to say are "I don't know" or "I'm a X". Because sure even if you are an X, that doesn't tell anyone if your character has dreams of being a great X one day or something else entirely.


    That brings us to older characters. So perhaps you've been plying at Career X for a while and you are losing motivation in doing anything with that. Or perhaps you've climbed up the ranks and you are now Baron Poofy Pants, and you just aren't sure what you should be doing anymore. Well the first thing to do is step back and remember. This game isn't about "Winning" it's about telling a story. If you were playing it to won and your goal was to become Baron Poofy Pants... good job you beat a game that wasn't about winning. But let's focus on the "what now?" part. Well YOU as an older player are now a driving force for stories. If you are high up in one of the main houses that means you have access to all these tokens and what not, where you get to decide what happens with them. What can you do with those tokens? Well you can for instance come up with plot ideas and then ask for staff with help in running such a plot, using those tokens to get that done.

    Even if you aren't Baron Poofy Pants, and are the leader of a guild you can still get those juicy tokens and drive plots using them. But let's say you have an old character and you aren't the lead of some big house or even a a guild. You just happen to have been around for a while. Well you likely still have the ear of people. If you say I want X to happen someone is likely to listen to you more than they are some new guy.

    But that brings us back to the question of what does your character even want? Perhaps you've read everything up until this point and are nodding and saying 'Sure yes I want to drive stories but I don't even know what my character wants anymore.'

    And that brings us back to those same questions that brought you to town in the first place. Perhaps your goal was to become a Master Craftsman. Perhaps you are now such. Okay well did you enjoy the climb up? Perhaps now your character is looking for a student. But nobody wants to study my character's craft you might say. Well why does that change things? It's still a RP point. Bring it up in conversation. Or perhaps you don't want a student. Perhaps your character sees all these young ladder climbers as having it "easy", well then come out and talk about "back in my day" that too is interesting because you do have new players that don't know all the cool things that used to happen in the game. Tell us about back in your day.

    Someone is sure to ask "Why did it change?" and then you might be starting to say "Well all the X left and after they left, it all went down hill" well... if X is a career or a type of person, then perhaps your character's new goal is to either become that new X turning away from their old path, or to inspire people to become X. You might be saying now, 'but what's the point? Every time I try to do such and such I fail?'

    Well if that is what's on your mind I remind you again, the game isn't about winning or losing. It's about story. If you truly truly think your chacacter's story is at an end, perhaps try to find a successor for your character in your guild or house and then roll up a new character. Sure you might be saying but I put so much work into this character! I don't want to start all over! And that's fine but then you need to ask yourself, why does your character feel the need to cling onto leadership positions? And that can help you once again with what your character's new goals are. Perhaps you don't want to give up your position because you don't feel anyone worthy is about to take your place. Cool. So try to find someone worthy and try to train them up.

    See what I'm getting at here? If you are still about on a character you don't know why you are playing anymore, you need to ask yourself why haven't you created a new character yet, and hopefully that will inspire you to get out and try to RP with more people in a way other than simply saying 'Hello Goodbye' as you rush past a courier and then log off.

  • #2

    You bring up a lot of neat points here. Before I delve too deeply, I'm curious, have you had recent conversations (please don't share names) that inspired this post or are these purely observations on your part? You pose a lot of questions as well as answers, so I am curious to know if any other players have suggestions or thoughts?


    • #3
      I've been playing Skotos games for years, and there are cycles of activity. Similar sorts of things that happen in all of them when people are starting to wonder why they play their character. It's even happened to me before with some of my characters. So when I believe I see some of those patterns happen, I do have concern. I know some people might say things like 'Well perhaps so and so just needs a break' but some times so and so doesn't come back from their break.

      Why my personal hope is that even if someone does need to take a break that they have some thoughts to consider instead just thinking 'Why do I keep playing this game?' over and over again. Be cause if you just get hung up on THAT question, and you can't answer it then it isn't going to help. So the goal here is to perhaps think of other questions that do spark a renewed interest.

      As an example from my own self. I used to play CM on a character that was heavily involved in a certain group. My character got smacked fairly hard in relation to that group though and for a good while I kept thinking Why do I keep playing CM, it isn't fun for me anymore. At the time nobody suggested these ideas to me. All I could focus on was that I had "lost" and someone else had "won". I at the time could not see that the story was still interesting. So I did leave the game for a time, get my breath back. Came back but again still no proper focus for that character. But there isn't anything wrong with that. I created a different character that has entirely different goals. Tells an entirely new story.

      Or take when I came over here to ICO. I tried playing a tailor for a time. For me personally it just wasn't resonating with me. The story wasn't doing anything for me, and I couldn't get attached to that character. So I tried Thais instead. Thais's story did resonate with me. And she has had a couple of wallops too, but because I've felt like her story was one still worth telling I find it enjoyable coming back to her. And heck, if you were to compare Thais of when I created her to now, you would see those times where she's lost and it's radically changed who she is as a person. You would also see her victories and see how they changed her.

      TL;DR on this reply: Yes I have had recent conversations with individuals that have felt there character was aimless, or observed similar sort of behavior in people that didn't have a conversation with me about it.


      • #4
        I'm kinda there with Dasha. I very much feel there's not much point to her any more (not that I ever created a character with the intention of reaching some goal, I create characters with the intention of experiencing some awesome, heart-stopping, thrilling, breathtaking RP).

        What should I do with her now? I feel burnt out, as in not having the energy to start aaaaaaallllllllllll over again on some sort of project and reach a bunch of achievements and what not.

        Dash though has always been a character without many goals, OOC and IC. She lives life from day to day, she enjoys life and tries to do right by her friends and stuff. And she has tried to do things right and serve honour and justice and stuff. But as for a real purpose, no, she doesn't really have one, and never truly did. For a while I could focus on training her to max (which she reached a couple of years ago I think), getting her military rank (where I got caught up in the whole "oh, let's see how cool I can make this" and that thrill of "winning" - but which now is completely pointless - her rank rising - because there's no Counts/Countesses around who can patron her, so no matter how many favour points she gets, she'll never rise).

        So, what's left is hanging out with friends, try a bit of romance here and there, help others and a bit of personal growth story which pretty much is stalled due to lack of conflict, lack of interaction and lack of challenges.

        I've got another alt too who pretty much lost everything, and for a while regaining some of what was lost worked as a goal, but now, it's again gotten kinda pointless - but I think that's mostly because the game is so dead that there's nobody to interact with, or work with, or do politics with and all that, and when you're the only one active in your guild, then what's the point when there's not even any new characters and players around to interact with?

        But as I said, my chars never really came to the city with any goal in mind. They had a backstory that shaped their personality and actions and then I'd usually go by what RP happened to see where their paths went.

        Anyway, how can you "win" a text-based, interactive theatre type of game anyway? To me "winning" is the awesome RP I have with other characters that challenges my character to change and grow as a person. And this I've certainly had plenty of - though it does require people to RP with.
        Dame Dasha di Silvi

        Brigadier of the Royal Rinaldi Army.

        Founder of di Silvi Academy


        • #5
          Originally posted by ThaisTheRabbit View Post
          See what I'm getting at here? If you are still about on a character you don't know why you are playing anymore, you need to ask yourself why haven't you created a new character yet, and hopefully that will inspire you to get out and try to RP with more people in a way other than simply saying 'Hello Goodbye' as you rush past a courier and then log off.
          To answer this. We fall in love with some of our characters and don't want to let them go. They do have friends and social network after all, or had at least. And it's a lot of work to start a new char. Only rarely do I truly succeed in doing it and only for shorter periods have any alt I made beat my two main's. There's an ease and comfort in your good old char.

          Sometimes a break is best, to get that distance and detach yourself from an unhealthy relationship to the game and the characters. A relationship that very often can end up affecting your RL negatively.

          In short to answer your question though. It's a LOT of work to invest in a new character and bring depth to them. And when you're feeling burnt out or down/blue, then you just don't usually have the energy to invest into creating a new char in a way that it'll become fun and successful.
          Dame Dasha di Silvi

          Brigadier of the Royal Rinaldi Army.

          Founder of di Silvi Academy


          • #6
            And Dasha does bring up some good points. I want to be clear, I'm not some expert RPer myself. I'm only sharing things that have helped me in the past. And yes sometimes a break can be the most healthy thing to do. The questions I put forward, might spark something in people that feel their characters are drifting, that is the hope. But if they don't I think we as a community need to be asking:

            If it is more than someone just needing a nice break from the game, what questions do we need to be asking? Not just the person feeling burnt out, but everyone. The hope here is we help each other with answering these questions so that even if someone decides to take a break they can come back with their renewed energy ready to do... well whatever it is they decide to set out to do.