Gamers' Corner


So You Got The Girl. Now What? - Exploring IC Relationships in RP

Written by Georgette Tan

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"I don't think our RP would have been half as interesting or realistic if we weren't friends out-of-character," remarked the female half of an IC couple who will celebrate their 1st wedding anniversary this August. "Other players often mistaken us for a RL couple so we must have been really convincing! But I think it helped that we grew as RL friends almost at the same time our characters grew in love. When you are familiar with someone and who they play, you can react to them more realistically."

Occasionally, you may run into handsome Sirs who park themselves in 4 different RP channels at a time and are chatting up a fair maiden in each room. Good for one night stands, but hopelessly shallow and boring in any semblance of a serious IC relationship. Ditto for anyone who ruthlessly scours the RPG for a potential partner and ends up looking just plain pathetic.

RP Liberties
Familiarity breeds liberties. When some IC couples get together, certain exceptions are made on the rules of roleplaying. The most common one is probably an exercise of minor powergaming. As we already know, to powergame is to dictate what happens to another character - a roleplaying sin that would earn you many dirty looks under normal circumstances. Powergaming moves in a IC relationship usually consist of predicting your partner's reaction and acting on it without giving her a chance to object or act otherwise.

For example, John grabs Jane around the waist and pulls her up against his chest. From previous episodes, John's player may already know that Jane will not resist him. He might even know that Jane will wrap her arms around his neck in that move. So it won't be surprising if John's player writes, "John grabs Jane around the waist and pulls her up against his chest. As she slips her arms around his neck, John smiles and leans in to kiss her."

There are other little issues, like things you "know" about your partner. You may not spend most of your waking hours with your IC partner as you might with a RL one, but there is still the matter of knowing about their habits, peeves, and other things that shape their personality and character. It may even be things they haven't even thought of yet. Solution? Ask!!! A quick message on an instant messaging program can be an RP saver. When used correctly, details can greatly enhance the roleplay.

If you worry about stepping over the line of what is acceptable, talk it over with your partner and set boundaries. It is likely that he or she should have an equal privilege over your character. Remember that no matter how familiar you get with each other, good roleplaying manners will always win hearts. It is a consensual issue, rather like sex. Which brings us to another interesting topic in any relationship...

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