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Random question...

Besides those I've interacted with in the days of yore... how many of the writers on my flist have done online, realtime, text-based roleplay, via MU*s or some other 1990s net format?

I'm asking because I know full well that my literary strengths and weaknesses are strongly impacted by 10+ years of experience in almost nightly roleplay. Having to blat out paragraphs describing what one's character was doing and saying, in order to move a scene forward, gave me a lot of practice writing dialog and gesture, and atrophied what little ability I had to carry a plot. It also emphasized description, since we were having to establish setting, atmosphere, and pacing of the scenes on the fly. I think I was very lucky that I was on a MUSH which required character applications as proof of writing competence. They got too nitpicky and hidebound about their rules, as nearly all online comms do, but it ensured that the writing was vibrant and you were challenged to respond with good writing of your own. Also, for the most part, people on that MUSH typed extremely quickly and accurately, so we were all chunking out 2-10 line paragraphs nearly at the speed of conversation. It was improv theater via fingertips, and made the roleplay stunningly immersive.

More specifically, the character I played was essentially a shaman, so I'm extremely comfortable with an animist world-view and precise descriptions of magical healing, spirits, elemental forces, the dead, prophecy and dream sequences. We worked a lot with interaction/correspondences between the physical and spirit world, ordinary people and supernatural forces.

So anyway. Have you MU*ed? Do you find that what you learned in MUing translates into other forms of writing? For that matter, if you've done bulletin-board style RP, where posts are longer and have to cover more per chunk, has it helped your traditional writing?



( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 25th, 2008 06:16 am (UTC)
The closest I ever got to real-person RP was playing Legend of The Red Dragon on a BBS for a few weeks. I named myself Princess Lamp Post and all I did was fight. I'm always wanted to RP, though, and in early December, I'll be playing my first d&d campaign. I'm excited.

http://ffmux.savingthrow.org/wiki/index.php?title=Main_Page This game has also caught my eye, but I have very little idea of what I'm doing when it comes to MUX/MUD.

I came to fandom after years of writing original stuff. And I hadn't written anything in the fantasy genre for about 15 years, so it's fun to get back into this world.
Nov. 25th, 2008 08:03 am (UTC)
Oh my goodness. Your first D&D game? How adorable!

I played it in '78. I was very young. Dice with more (or less) than 6 sides were a brand-new invention at the time.

I think modern D&D is almost unrecognizable from the early rule systems I remember. I don't think I've played D&D in 15 years!

The MUSH I played on from '93-2002 or so was garouMUSH, which is still going scarily enough. It was actually used to playtest the beginning of the World of Darkness series of games; a pity the developers stopped consulting and interacting with us to see what worked and what didn't. Parts of the Werewolf/World of Darkness series are annoying, but with the right group of roleplayers an imperfectly-constructed world can be amazing. One of the character races were modern-day descendants of the priests and artisans of ancient Egypt, secretly keeping alive the old ways. They also had Great Gobs of Angst. Since I've been hooked on Egyptology since the cradle, that was a great sandbox to play with.
Nov. 25th, 2008 10:39 pm (UTC)
Oooh, you did concept WoD testing? That's completely awesome. I've always been a Mage girl, myself, but I do a regular Vampire: the Masquerade LARP and I'm starting up a Demon: the Fallen game.

Werewolf: the Apocalypse was always my least favourite of the old games; but at least it didn't abbreviate to WtF as new-Werewolf does. XD
Nov. 25th, 2008 11:09 pm (UTC)
I got to GarouMUSH about the time the WoD rep stopped logging in -- Sam Chupp or something. So no, I hadn't any part of play testing, which was mostly while Garoumush was in beta before it opened to the public. Though I've got friends who freelanced for WW, and very old friends who developed an obscure game series called Aurora.

I was the "hey, do you know the Greek for X and Y?" emergency contact for a friend of a friend at WW, which unfortunately means my real name is listed on the web as a research consultant for a couple of werewolf tribebooks. Golly gee, that looks great on an academic resumé. (Even worse, the Greek I gave got mangled, so I look like a CRAPPY research consultant.) But at least I managed to browbeat someone up against a deadline and a freelance developer gone AWOL into letting me sneak some of my meta into the original Strider tribebook -- including the back cover, which still makes me smug. What little I wrote for that sourcebook has probably been chucked out now; they made an artform of continually coming up with new additions and revisions to existing manuals so they could force you to buy more.

I adored Ars Magica, the predecessor to Mage, mostly because of all the Latin in it, but I haven't really paid much attention to White Wolf in a decade. I realized finally I disliked Werewolf, I just liked my character's tribe and the particular batch of characters/RP that I'd fallen into. When the latter morphed through the vicissitudes of online community, I drifted away.
Nov. 25th, 2008 11:36 pm (UTC)
I am so incredibly unsurprised that your Greek got mangled. One of the covenants in Neo-Vampire is named Lancea Sanctum, and I cringe every time I see it (and have taken to correcting it when I speak aloud, which amuses my boyfriend no end.) There is such a thing as gender agreement in Latin, guys, just like Spanish and French!

Yeah, WW's constant revisions make me slightly nuts. I think they've gotten a bit better about it in their more recent game lines, since they killed the old WoD and launched the new, but I've been avoiding the new one (I don't have money for all those books) so I'm not completely sure.

I have a really good face-to-face gaming group that runs the gamut from White Wolf to D&D to Shadowrun, Mutants & Masterminds, and a dozen others, so there's always something interesting to be had.
Nov. 25th, 2008 09:19 am (UTC)
Never RP'd, really. Tried - but the inability for me to force the action was driving me mental. True, I could have come out and had my character say: OY, TIME FOR SMEX, NAO...but that would not have been in character.

Which does imply that in my writing the characters do the worst of all worsenesses and make Great Leaps of Understanding Other Characters without the text to back it up.

The closest I get to RP'ing is the occasional cracktastic comment thread. Which, in the case of Balthier/Tseng/Rufus, lead to fic under karanguni's direction.

I DM'd once, as a twelve year old, and that was about it. I tried playing my brother's mage character with my cousins when my bro was absent, but they wouldn't let me throw rocks at the monster because I wasn't strong enough, and I had no magic to cast a spell. So I kept staring at my character sheet and eventually I said: if I'm strong enough to carry eight rocks, why can't I /throw/ a rock?? But they ignored me.

I like me my authorial godmodding.
Nov. 25th, 2008 11:43 am (UTC)
This is why I graduated from D&D many, many years ago. The MUSH on which I played had a very, very basic stats sheet with strength/intelligence/dexterity... basically the usual six stats, magic power, and rank 1 through 5, plus spells/abilities. That's IT. It was up to us to use and flesh out the realism of our character in a responsible and plausible manner, including deciding how things happened in combat, or things like "my character has lived on the street for five years, so she's a fairly effective pickpocket". It was very much an honor system that we would allow our characters to get beat up (or even killed), do give and take with other players so as not to hog all the glory, look for ways to build the scene and help everyone be a part of it, and not pull "I summon a skyscraper-sized Golem who stomps the army flat" out of our asses, unless we talked it over with the GM -- who was more like a moderator than a director.

And there was a lot of sex. Oh yes. Despite the motto, "There is no sex on GarouMUSH." But except for one or two only-there-for-the-cybersex players, most of us let that develop through character friendships (or occasional plausibly promiscuous characters) over the long haul.

Edited at 2008-11-25 11:46 am (UTC)
Nov. 25th, 2008 03:44 pm (UTC)
I *miss* that DnD game I used to run for you & company.

I've even found myself missing MU*ing lately. Worlds keep spawning in my brain, but I have entered that phase of life where everybody's grownups and has no real time for gaming.

Gaming will probably come back as we all start hitting retirement age...
Nov. 25th, 2008 07:55 pm (UTC)
Augh, what a thought. That's a long time to wait.

I've fallen back to writing because I prefer to be able to come and go on my own time, but I do miss that group! I have Moy Ruadh -- the fig -- with me still.

I wish you could get a group. You were such a good GM.

Nov. 25th, 2008 05:07 pm (UTC)
I used to RP freeform in Yahoo's chat rooms, which in retrospect were horrifyingly bad but at the time were tons of fun, and are probably the reason why I type at such blinding speeds now.

I'm not sure that it really affected my writing elsewhere, though.
Nov. 25th, 2008 07:56 pm (UTC)
Yes, typing fast is a gift of chat/MU.

Edited at 2008-11-25 07:56 pm (UTC)
Nov. 25th, 2008 10:36 pm (UTC)
When last I clocked myself, my speed was 130wpm with 98% accuracy. I pretty regularly terrify people who don't know me, the first time they see me typing.
Nov. 25th, 2008 05:53 pm (UTC)
didn't do it via MU but I did some chatroom and email roleplay back in the day for some Star Trek groups. It think it did help in some ways but not wholly for my style. I think I went through some odd writing periods of overuse in description and internal thought processes than dialogue. When I became more of an observer of people, I think that's what helped me merge my love of detail-oriented writing and elaborating with dialogue and even slipping in visuals like body language while not focusing on the perceptions or inner thoughts of a character to move the story along.
Nov. 25th, 2008 07:56 pm (UTC)
Yeah, RP really helps break you of the "my characters are telepathic!" syndrome. You gotta get across what they mean via what you can SEE, just like out in the real world!
Nov. 30th, 2008 03:36 am (UTC)
Well, you know about me.

It doesn't really help me in other forms of writing, but then, I'm not really a fiction writer otherwise.

(Amusingly, after I quit for a few years, I went back to Garou, and now Kaz is, uh, well, Alpha. But oddly, I'm managing not to put insane amounts of time into it.)
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
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