Exercise for the brave: Sharing characters

This article was originally written for an MMORPG community (though I’ve tweaked it to allow it to be better presented out of context), but holds true for any roleplaying that is reasonably personality-conscious. I want to say ‘everywhere’, but I think in some places, people prefer the environment (quests and plot) to focussing on their own characters.

Sharing your characters

If you’d like to try something new and get some insight on your own roleplaying, to boot, consider trading your character – just the non-corporeal, imaginative template – with someone for a day, or a session, or any other timespan you deem fitting.

If you’re afraid they’ll mangle the character, don’t let that deter you – there is no law that says that everything that’s ever RPed absolutely has to be adopted into the character’s?canon.

Why would you want to do this?

  1. Interactivity

    If you’re like me and have several full-fledged characters and don’t like soloing your roleplay, this gives you an opportunity to have them interact, plot-wise. For example, I gave a co-player of mine my main character for a session wherein I wanted?the character’s nemesis (an NPC)?to interact with him.

  2. Perspective

    Chances are you’ve got a very established opinion of how your character ticks, to the point where you imagine how they appear to other people, out of experience. The problem with that experience is that it’s still a level of indirection – a filter, if you so will. Letting someone play your character for a session or timespan gives you a better idea of how they’re being perceived. For example, does the person you shared your character with play them with a more exaggerated trait than you thought your character to have? Well, there you go.

  3. Ideas

    Other people have an other imaginative environment at their disposal, meaning their imagination focusses on different aspects than yours does – at least probably. Whatever someone might do with your character may be something that’s quite canon or potentially canon, but still not something you’d have thought of on your own. You might end up with a fresh spin on your plotline – an invigorating breath of life (or unlife if you’re playing vampires, neh).

  4. Challenge

    Less a motivator for ‘sharing your character’, more of a motivator for ‘playing someone else’s character’. Try something new! Challenge yourself. See if you can pull it off. You might be pleasantly surprised by yourself!

  5. Fun

    If all else fails, it’s a way to stir things up! The worse over the top or mispegged a rendition of a character is, the more likely you are to have gratis comedy at your disposal. Of course, this part means you have to be able to laugh – really?laugh?- at your character, but most people I know aren’t defensive about their characters to the point where they couldn’t do that.

That leaves only one question to answer:

Who would you share a character with?

The answer is fairly simple: Someone who’s largely familiar with your character’s history – and ideally someone you feel you can trust (puts everyone at ease about it, makes it easier to determine whether things are canon/non-canon on mutual agreeance, lets you shape RP together, et cetera). In other words, preferably your best friend.

Don’t misunderstand, though: Strangers can be fun! But if you’re new to the concept of character sharing, that should probably be the last thing you should try. To this date I haven’t character-shared with a ‘stranger’ yet. …though I’m kind of tempted to do that now.

And now you…

Yeah, it’s one of these again!

Have an RP where you traded characters up somewhere? Let us know (1) how it went, (2) show us!?:D

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About pinkgothic

pinkgothic is the primary gamemaster of a freeform cyberpunk IRC RPG called 'Wildcard' that she's run in several incarnations steadily since the end of 2000. Her gamemaster style is more that of a run-away player who's been given a total godmoding waiver. Miraculously, this has yet to run her players off, though she suspects shenanigans (as opposed to skill).

One thought on “Exercise for the brave: Sharing characters

  1. There were a lot of replies to and debate on this topic back when I posted it in the MMORPG context. I don’t feel comfortable quoting them without asking for permission first, though, so I’m going to leave it at a link.

    Note: It was a fairly heavy first-person RP oriented community with only occasional third-person posts, usually solos, where I imagine this idea does not come naturally at all – in fact, the idea was very new to most of them. So keep that in mind while you read. (If you read.)

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