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What is Free-Form Role-Playing?


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Free-form role-playing is less like tabletop role-playing and more like a collaborative fanfic. In this sort of game, each player creates one (or two, or three, or ten) characters, writes for those characters, and develops them throughout the game. (Most of these games don't have a character limit, so create as many as you want, but make sure you can keep track!) 


Free-form games don't really have a goal. There may be a loose plot (for example, the What Happened in Oregon series center on the destruction of Oregon in the Epic turf wars) but there aren't really campaigns. Most of the time, it's difficult to say what will happen three or four pages out, as long-term plans are loose at best and subject to change. As a result, these games are highly character-driven as opposed to event-driven—that is to say, characters determine what will happen next by how they interact with their setting and with other characters. 


When creating a character, consider the following: 


  • What happened to him/her before they joined the story? 
  • What is their personality like? Are they grouchy or cheerful, kind or cruel, focused or flighty, idealistic or cynical? 
  • What are three positive traits of this character? (If you're creating a complete monster, think of traits that help him or her—intelligence, determination, ambition, etc.) 
  • What are three negative traits of this character? (Flaws that make a character imperfect, like pettiness, self-absorption, judgmental attitudes, etc. It's been said before, but clumsiness is not a character flaw.) 
  • If a genie offered them three wishes, what would those wishes be? 
  • How would they react if they went to the store to satisfy a craving for Cocoa Puffs, only to find the store was out? 
  • What would they do if they went to the laundromat and saw the one person they could not stand had taken the last machine? 

In other words, who is this person, and what would they add to the story? The point of free-form role-playing is much like the point of good storytelling: Don't focus on creating the most powerful, most brilliant, or most amazing character in the game. Focus instead on creating an interesting character. Create a character who feels like a person you might sit down and have coffee with: You might enjoy talking to them, or you might not, but the idea is to create a character who feels real.


It is highly recommended you read the thread you want to join. If the thread is long or Real Life doesn't give you much time for reading, ask current players for a summary. However, reading at least a few posts of characters in the thread you want to join will allow you to answer these questions: 


  • How would my character react to my favorite character in this thread? 
  • How would my character react to my least favorite character in this thread? 
  • How would my character cause problems for the other characters? 
  • How would my character solve problems for the other characters? 
  • How would my character make their grand entrance, and how would the other characters react? 

If you answered the problem-causing question with "Not at all," go back and add a few flaws. Free-form RPGs are about telling a good story and having fun doing it, and stories are all about conflict. Flawed characters cause conflict and are interesting to read about. Perfect characters are rarely interesting. 


Once you have a good character in mind, PM me and the thread starter and go from there. 


Some notes on Epic characters: 


In canon, teleportation is supposed to be rare. As many teleporters were created before this was known, Oregon is rather saturated with teleporters now. If you are creating an Epic character, please stay away from teleportation as a power. 

Edited by TwiLyghtSansSparkles
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