Member Guides: Realism Guide

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Everyone has great plot ideas occasionally, and while it can be tempting to run off with these plots and go super crazy, if it's something exotic or brand new, you should check out the idea's realism first!

1.  Why Realism

Realism is a very important element to writing and especially roleplaying. When you're reading, it's bothersome when a book author breaks their written world realism with something that was previously stated as impossible, right? Even in books, games, and movies where magic is allowed, there are still rules that hold the fictional world together.

Imagine if Harry L. Author previously stated blood magic doesn't exist in his wizarding world. Later in the book, Author has the protagonist escape a tough spot by using blood magic. If Harry L. Author does not explain how blood magic suddenly exists, it annoys the reader and breaks the believability of the world. Of course, it is possible in Harry L. Author's world the protagonist is the first person ever (or the first person in centuries) able to use blood magic. If this is not addressed and made clear to the reader, though, it seems like a mistake or oversight on the part of the author.

It's definitely possible to suspend one's belief to accept that magic exists in a fictional world -- but suspending your belief becomes much harder when that fictional world seems to have arbitrary or nonsensical rules. It becomes harder to immerse yourself in the story, and many readers will wind up putting the book down and going elsewhere.

The same thing happens on a much, much larger scale in collaborative-writing environments such as roleplaying. There isn't just one person deciding and adhering to the world realism -- there are many people trying to play in the same world. It's a lot harder to keep things all realistic with so many different perspectives. O:

So -- when you have a cool idea, the first thing you should consider is how realistic the idea is.

Unfortunately, no matter how cool the idea is, if it's not realistic, you'll have to change your idea. Don't be discouraged, however. There is always the possibility of an alternative working out in the 'Soulsverse, and if you cannot think of a viable alternative on your own, the Questions and Help forum can be of use to you!

2.  General Realism

The first thing you should do is research your idea.

  • Before you head anywhere else, though, stop! Check out 'Souls resources. As this our information very specific to 'Souls, you may find the answer you're looking for right here, before you trundle to off-board sites! You are not the first player who wants to have a swordsmith character, or the first to engage in pottery, and we've got some pretty hefty guides for some commonly-found skills!
  • Wikipedia is a great place to start, and for more detailed information, scroll to the bottom of the article and check the sources out!
  • After that, Google is the best place to go!

3.  Consequences and Realism

Remember: you don't necessarily have to map exact consequences for your every plot, but if you know what kind of things you don't want to happen to your character, it would be a good idea to discuss possible outcomes with all players involved! Twinky behavior in roleplaying is important to avoid.

Twinking “conflicts with an established and defined roleplaying setting” or is a “gross violation of believability” (Talzhemir). Twinky is generally used to describe characters that act nonsensically from an IC perspective. It may also be used to describe a roleplayer who plays twinky characters. Additionally, twinky players tend to become upset when their IC actions have unintended consequences. It’s important to remember others are playing, too -- their characters won’t just let yours ravage their homeland.

3.1  Examples

In good circumstances, all of the “wrong” examples could be acceptable roleplay scenarios. That is, when they are plotted out beforehand with the roleplayers involved. Plotting beforehand not only avoids plot holes, it helps prevent dissatisfaction and drama. The key difference between twinking and plotting: twinking is unplanned.

  • WRONG: Azazel enters the Mullen bar and starts a fight with a stranger for no reason.
    • WHY: 'Souls is pretty much a setting where barfights are effectively and immediately ended. A sane canine would never do this for fear of the immediate consequences. An especially twinky roleplayer may want their character to escape completely unscathed.
  • WRONG: Azazel trespasses deep into pack territory to attack Baphomet. Azazel’s player did not discuss this with Baphomet’s roleplayer first.
    • WHY: The premise is unrealistic if Azazel is to survive without retreating. Baphomet can easily summon every wolf in his pack. Azazel would not trespass like this unless he is very unintelligent. Additionally, it is unrealistic for Azazel to even reach Baphomet. Especially in a wolf roleplaying game, where there are heightened senses, Azazel would be intercepted first.
  • WRONG: Baphomet repeatedly enters the Riverside clan territory. Despite fighting several clan members and a warning from the Riverside alpha, he continues to harass the territory. Baphomet’s player refuses to stop trespassing or plot even an injury to Baphomet.
    • WHY: As with the above situation, unless Baphomet is very unintelligent, he would not continue to provoke the clan. If your character repeatedly harasses a larger and more powerful group, it is simply not believable or realistic that its members would allow it to happen. This is especially true if your character is a lone individual. This bad roleplayer behavior can be very irritating in limited consent games where physical consequences are limited.

3.2  Visibility of Plots and Rumors

Even when plots only involve two or even one character(s), it's not impossible other characters can learn what happened. This is true even when those plotting don't want others to find out. 'Souls is a game with multiple players and perspectives, and as in the real world, secrets sometimes escape. O: When you're plotting, it's important to remember this: you aren't "protected" from consequence just because no one knows about the plot.

It is strongly recommended you map possible consequences and outcomes of your plot should it be "detected" by other players' characters.

For example: Baphomet, a member of Inferni, goes off and starts trouble with Azazel, a member of New Dawn. The characters fight, and Baphomet is severely injured. Baphomet and Azazel want to settle their trouble themselves and neither is talking to their leaders or other pack-members about it. But! Baphomet returned to Inferni injured and smelling of a New Dawn wolf, while Azazel returned to New Dawn slightly injured and smelling of an Inferni coyote. Even though neither character directly states what happened, others who met them right on returning to their respective packs may be able to guess what happened.

In this specific example, it's likely the leaders would just drop it and move along, especially if the fighting was mutual. On the other hand, if Azazel attacked Baphomet for no reason and Baphomet seems frightened and traumatized, the Inferni leaders might have to press the issue. In the vast majority of situations, direct IC consequences from these situations will be avoided easily... but avoiding IC consequences, unintended conflicts, and the like requires adequate communication from the players involved.

Let your leaders know what's going on and what you plan to do, and how it will (or will not!) affect pack relations. Remember a leader can ask you to alter a plot to satisfy not upsetting pack relations. In the vast majority of cases, you'll be able to have your plot -- with a minor modification or a request on the leader's part to make sure nothing's going to cause a war!

If you don't let your leaders and others involved know know and don't allow everyone a chance to satisfy things from their characters' perspectives, it can lead to IC exiles and punishments such as rank dumps, or even death. Just like everything else in life, IC actions have consequences.

Romantic plots

  • Yes, your character can have a mate!
  • Remember to check if any past mates still in the pack might become indirectly involved in the plot should they learn of it, or whether a relationship could somehow be cause for condemnation by pack leaders. You wouldn't want to get kicked out of your pack because you didn't do your research!
  • In the case of puppies, perhaps vent your partner for any crazy ex-lovers, and remember your pack might have customs regarding these things! You wouldn't want to gain the omega rank because you have bastard kids! Before you consider having puppies, be sure to read up on the requirements.
  • Remember the shifting gene that transfers also through intercourse and can be passed down by parents.

Rape and Other Sexual Assaults

  • As with the real world, the "spring out of a bush and tackle" sort of sexual assault probably is not as common as a victim/attacker who know each other and are familiar with one another.
  • Rape can have serious consequences for the victim. Sexual assault usually leaves the victim deeply traumatized. They usually wouldn't be fine and dandy and able to date just a month later! It does depend on the character, though, and it is worth noting our conceptions of rape probably wouldn't match a Luperci's very well (e.g., what we see as "date rape" might not be rape at all to a Luperci -- it does depend on how they feel about the situation, as well as their views).
  • It is generally completely unrealistic that they would ever befriend their rapist, though serious mental illness could make it possible - this is where your research comes in!
  • Remember the shifting gene that transfers also through intercourse.
  • Also remember that ICly, many pack leaders take rape very seriously -- if your character is a part of a pack and commits rape, whether a packmate or not, and the leader gets wind of it, there may be serious consequences. Your character could be demoted, kicked from the pack, or worse -- AniWaya is said to remove the offender's genitals and kill them!

Other Violent Acts

  • Violent acts are the type of plots that most often result in unplanned consequences for players, because it is difficult not to get caught:
    • Murder scenes usually hold the scent of the murderer for some time after the act
  • More often than not, violent acts can result in inter-pack tension. Know that most pack leaders try to maintain good terms with other packs, and will likely (but not always, research this on your own!) punish individuals who threaten tranquility or otherwise behave threatening towards a member of another pack.
  • If you want to have your character be the victim/bad guy in a violent plot, make sure you:
    • ask your pack leader for advice
    • make a plot for containing the information regarding the violence so it doesn't spread to ears that shouldn't know
    • map any possible consequences and be prepared to deal with them in case other characters find out

Accepting Consequences

If you don't like over-planning things, you can simply ignore mapping the consequences, and see what happens. This results in a very natural interaction between characters. If this is your choice, however, you should prepare that the more severe the plot, the higher the risk of getting caught, and the more severe the consequences!

4.  Member Tips

Members: Feel free to add your own tips, however brief, here! Remember, you can sign your tip with four tildes (~)

  • Always take into consideration how your character will react to certain situations. Lifestyle, personal and psychological factors all make up reaction in a character. Sometimes, researching different personality types (yes, there are types) can help you to figure out how to play the character in any given scenario. Kiki March 05, 2011, at 08:15 PM EST

5.  More Information and Resources

5.1  Related

5.2  Resources

  • Wikipedia - Research here! You can find pretty much all you need -- check the sources for further information than the article itself.
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