Who’d have thought that there was an actual difference between writing and roleplaying? Well, a lot of people, really. Those who read the Daily SPUF regularly might know that I do a lot of writing. By “a lot”, I mean at least 500 words a day, often more, and have been doing so for the last 3 years. Lately, I’ve been doing 1000+ words a day simply because someone around here has to keep the Daily SPUF daily rather than weekly. In fact, this desperation to make sure that the Daily SPUF has an article published every single day means that I’ve ended up writing about a lot of weird things. But those who have been around longer though might realise that I’ve never really been that big a fan of roleplaying.
Originally, I was never a fan of roleplaying because I’d spend my time doing play-by-post roleplaying, where people take it in turns to write an ever-flowing story. Having been faced with a horde of people who either weren’t very good or flat out abandoned me when it came to roleplays, I grew tired of them. This weariness of play-by-post roleplaying put me off of more traditional roleplaying like Dungeons and Dragons and Pathfinder for a very long time, until my sister dragged me into a game of hers.
One of the stipulations of playing DnD with sister was that I had to actually roleplay my character. And it turns out, that’s way, way harder than I thought it would be. Especially when you have a specific character. It wasn’t too difficult with my original character, Rhyn’go, who was a Kitsune who spoke and partially acted like an internet cat. That sort of voice is easy to do and it’s a pretty hard theme to fuck up. But my other characters were a little more serious and that made them a lot harder to do.
Roleplaying, you see, means you’re thinking about a lot of different things. You have to consider not just what your characters looks like, but you need to consider how they act and sound as well. Your character needs to have a voice, a personality, a life of his or her own. And frankly it turns out that I’m really fucking shit at acting.
When you write a character for a story, you build them and mold the story around them, all the while only ever having written descriptions of who they are. It’s very easy to describe a tiefling bard/cleric called Khora Kingkii, who was abandoned at the stairs of a church, taught how to heal and then kicked out for setting a priest on fire, before turning to storytelling, prostitution and being a dominatrix and going on adventures. It’s really damn hard to actually act that out, give that character personality and make her real. Especially if you have no experience in being a dominatrix.
Or doing voices. I swear, giving my character a cool voice is impossible. I have basically no vocal talent what so ever, while the siblings can do some really awesome impressions and accents. My vocal range consists of Cat, Derpy Beagle, Stiff Upper Lip Voice Bank from Worms Armageddon, Vaguely German or my standard Half-British Female Idiot.
Thankfully though, the voices don’t always last very long. Normally we get too carried away in our antics to worry about voices, but one of the current campaigns we’re doing is a full squad of charming bards who are all supposed to be able to play instruments and have musical talent. So basically the complete opposite of me. It’s fucking hilarious.
But there’s also a lot more you have to worry about. A character in a story doesn’t have to worry about death unless the author requires it. Elkay Theanon, one of the current protagonists of the Phoviverse, doesn’t have to worry about me killing him off because I don’t need him dead. But Khora Kingkii has to worry about angry DMs, randomness, the luck of the dice and the luck of her companions’ dice if she wants to stay alive.
While writing a story can be done slowly over time, roleplaying is a very heat-of-the-moment kind of thing. There’s no time to think about your actions, what happens in the future and all that. You just go and do it. Whether it works or not.
Really, when you think about it, you end up putting a huge amount of effort into a character that could very, very suddenly die. And that’s quite scary.
That’s not going to happen though. Hopefully. Fingers crossed.