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Author Topic: 'Pretending to be someone else'  (Read 955 times)

droog

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'Pretending to be someone else'
« on: December 28, 2006, 09:55:11 AM »
So, I was reading this thread on one of the sites I visit, and some guy said that people who don't play RPGs think that roleplaying is 'pretending to be someone else'.

But I don't think it is, at least not for me. I don't think the thing RPGers call 'playing a character' is the same thing at all as 'pretending to be someone else', except possibly for a very few people.

What's more, I don't think this is dependent on whether one appreciates the finer points of Sorcerer or not. But I'm not sure that the difference is easy to explain without playing.

What do you think?
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KenHR

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'Pretending to be someone else'
« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2006, 10:29:26 AM »
How would you define each?  I really do think I agree with you, as I've never done the deep immersion thing and rarely speak in-character.  However, I always keep (or try to keep) my player/GM knowledge separate from my character knowledge and try to make my PC/NPC act and react in a realistic fashion.

For example, when I first joined the AD&D group I'm in now, my character was introduced into the campaign as a prisoner about to be sacrificed by gnolls.  My guy was freed by one of the group's members, and told to wait (as he was wounded and weaponless) by a stairwell.  He was not told that one of the group was magically disguised as the evil illusionist dude who had imprisoned him.  It just so happened that the magically disguised PC came running down the stairs.  Naturally, my guy reacted defensively when he saw the person he thought was his nemesis coming toward him.

But I didn't role-play this in the sense of talking in character and using thees and thous and mimicing my fighting stance or any such.  It was more, "Ashar gets in his fighting stance and moves toward the illusionist."

Out of character, I knew that this was a party member, but there was no way my PC would have known.  So I had the PC react in a manner consistent with that.  But I wasn't really pretending to be Ashar, I was more just saying what he would have done.

Apologies for the length of the post, but is that kind of what you're thinking about?
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droog

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'Pretending to be someone else'
« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2006, 10:44:28 AM »
Yes, I think so. So what would you say when someone asks "Is that that game where you pretend to be an elf?"
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KenHR

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'Pretending to be someone else'
« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2006, 10:51:48 AM »
I usually get very mealy-mouthed and non-specific.  "Well, kind of...I mean you can be just about anything you want as long as it fits...and it's not really acting...like, we don't dress up or do the RenFaire thing or anything like that...we just sit around the table with some beer and snacks and...well, yeah, some of speak in character..."

And then I either get all geeky and rhapsodize about how great RPGs are or I stumble verbally even more.  Either way, the reaction is usually a puzzled look and an "I see.  That's...nice, I guess."  Then the conversation moves on.

I'm a terrible evangelist for the hobby.
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JongWK

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'Pretending to be someone else'
« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2006, 10:55:39 AM »
Quote from: droog

What do you think?


"It's like a movie or a tv series, except that you play the main characters."

The above line might not be 100% accurate, but it puts things in a context that is easy to understand.
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jrients

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'Pretending to be someone else'
« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2006, 11:00:20 AM »
Quote from: droog
Yes, I think so. So what would you say when someone asks "Is that that game where you pretend to be an elf?"


"Yeah, in the same way that a guy in a radio drama is pretending to be the Shadow or Tarzan or something."
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Abyssal Maw

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'Pretending to be someone else'
« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2006, 11:24:06 AM »
I've pretty much spent my entire roleplaying career going "D&D is NOT a wargame.." but when faced with a situation where someone is going to act overly critical (or whenever else it serves me) I totally say "Yeah,  we get together every thursday night to hang out, drink beer and play some tactical miniatures wargames!"

Never had a sideways glance for that. In my (current and former) careers, knowing a bit about wargames carries a bit of respect. Oh yeah, I'm totally lying, but if you even came over to watch, you'd see a gridded mat, and usually a few pieces of scenery. And some guys with beer and dice.
 
Now, if I'm outed for D&D early on I just own up to it. "We've been playing once a week for about the last 6 years."

I've been outed three times and it was no big deal any of the times...
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'Pretending to be someone else'
« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2006, 11:46:03 AM »
Quote from: jrients
"Yeah, in the same way that a guy in a radio drama is pretending to be the Shadow or Tarzan or something."


I'd say "the same way an stage actor pretends to be a character"--because its pretty much the same to me. I play the role, sure I also create dialogue and make choices--more improvisation style, but at its heart its about being that role.
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jrients

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'Pretending to be someone else'
« Reply #8 on: December 28, 2006, 01:33:54 PM »
Quote from: Silverlion
I'd say "the same way an stage actor pretends to be a character"--because its pretty much the same to me. I play the role, sure I also create dialogue and make choices--more improvisation style, but at its heart its about being that role.


I use radio because I spend most of my games sitting down wearing street clothes.  Theater invokes dressing up, messing with props, and moving about on stage.
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Silverlion

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'Pretending to be someone else'
« Reply #9 on: December 28, 2006, 01:42:02 PM »
Quote from: jrients
I use radio because I spend most of my games sitting down wearing street clothes.  Theater invokes dressing up, messing with props, and moving about on stage.



True, however the characters get these things via descriptions--stage has advantages in having a prop room and you know budgets. :) (not that I'd want people dressing up) its just the stage is in ones mind for RPG's--but there is still a visual aspect. We don't have a sound effects person, or commercials either for example.
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J Arcane

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'Pretending to be someone else'
« Reply #10 on: December 28, 2006, 03:30:32 PM »
Quote from: droog
Yes, I think so. So what would you say when someone asks "Is that that game where you pretend to be an elf?"
"Yup.  Or a dwarf, or an orc, or just a plain old human."

Damn straight I play RPGs to pretend to be someone else.  That's always been a massive part of the fun for me, with a dose of fun game bits added in.

It's like acting, but I get to play a game at the same time as I'm playing my character.
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droog

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'Pretending to be someone else'
« Reply #11 on: December 28, 2006, 05:31:53 PM »
Okay, so you're one of the few I'm talking about.

I don't understand it myself. I mean, I like to play my character. I like to bear down on the amusing or intense bits. But I don't pretend to be that character – I know that for sure. I'm just trying to find a way to articulate the difference as I see it.
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'Pretending to be someone else'
« Reply #12 on: December 30, 2006, 01:04:52 AM »
I think everyone comes to the table for different reasons.

We had a guy who for years role-played only massively tall characters because of his own desire to be tall, and the fact that in real life he was five foot three inches.

Another guy who still plays to this day plays for the immersion, to become his characters-at least in the way they think, or talk. For him it's about acting out certain aspects of the character.

Both were equally fun guys, in their own ways. We don't demand high (melo)drama from my players, or even from me as the GM, but we do try make each game better, and we strive to help everyone seek their goals-whether it be to achieve some more realism in how we play, or just pushing for more run'n'gun one shots the only thing that matters to me is that we have fun.

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'Pretending to be someone else'
« Reply #13 on: December 31, 2006, 12:40:58 AM »
Quote from: droog
So, I was reading this thread on one of the sites I visit, and some guy said that people who don't play RPGs think that roleplaying is 'pretending to be someone else'.


The irony being the sheer number of people on message boards, chat rooms, MySpace, et al that go out of thier way to pretend to be someone else whilst online.

I'm less worried about being someone else than being somewhere else.  My characters are always as close to myself as I can make them, only born and bred in the environment the game poses.

The people I tend to play with either follow the same approach, or make characters that are raging homocidal psychopaths, as they're usually A) good outlets for real-world frustrations and B) better vehicles for comedic moments.
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