Roleplaying Basics

There are a few things which everyone needs to know to be a successful cast character.

  • Enthusiasm: A cast member must be enthusiastic about every role which he is assigned. Even if the cast member really doesn't want to play the goblin for the fifth time in a row, he has to play the part as if his whole heart is in it. Cast members will put forth this effort because they know that when they are a player character another cast member will be doing the same thing to ensure their enjoyment.
  • Volume: The greatest problem is a lack of volume when roleplaying. Many great roleplaying scenes are lost because the player characters cannot hear. All cast members must be taught to project their voices. Cast members who cannot project properly must not be used as plot characters.

    The cast must be cognizant of sound when staging up a scene. They must realize player characters who are moving in a group will not hear what they are saying even if they are shouting. The bodies of those in front, block sound for those in the rear. Movement of groups of player characters through any kind of brush or leaves will obscure sound for everyone. In these situations, player characters who are only ten feet away may not hear the cast character.

    When walking on a moving adventure, the cast character must walk in the middle of the group and turn to the rear often when he speaks to ensure that his voice can be heard by all members of the adventure groups. Hooks who walk in the front of a group will not be heard by those in back.
  • Rehearsal: The key to successful roleplaying is rehearsal. A writer must have his cast characters rehearse pivotal roleplaying scenes before their execution. The rehearsal for standing and moving adventures is generally done in the walk through. The writer coaches each cast member on how he wants them to perform.
  • Improvement: At the scene level, every time that a scene is run cast members should strive to improve their roleplaying. The crew on a scene should talk to each other and help each other. The last run of every adventure should be amazing!

    At the upper level of the Writers Guild, it is the task of every experienced writer to constantly strive to improve the roleplaying atmosphere through writing and training.
  • Flexibility: Roleplaying is often situational dependant and what works in one scene may not work in another. It is so situation dependant that what works in one scene may not work in the scene with a different group of player characters. Cast members need to be flexible and role with the scene.

Roleplaying Specific Characters

Cast members will be required to play a number of roles throughout the event. Each role is important and the cast member should try his best to role play his assignment accurately. Those who do well will be given the more weightier roles.

  • Ability: It is important for the cast member to understand he is playing a character to the best of the character's ability and not to the best of his ability. This means even if a cast member is an excellent swordsman he should not use his superb skill while playing a character with inferior sword skill.
  • Consistency: Generally, a specific type of beast or being will have role playing guidelines that explain how the stereotypical character acts. It is imperative that the cast follow them. The goal is to allow the player characters to determine the monster type by the way it acts. For example, zombies will moan and shuffle their feet, while goblins never look a person in the eye, are soft spoken and move with a cunning grace. By role playing these peculiarities, the cast brings the world to life.

Roleplaying Beasts

Roleplaying a beast is a unique challenge as the character must understand and seek to portray the nature of the beast. Beasts are non_intelligent beings ruled by instinct and cast members playing beasts will fall into a non roleplaying combat mode must easier with beasts, than while playing other types of characters. Often it seems that putting on a beast costume turns a cast member into a single minded killing machine, whose only goal is to call out as many actions as possible before getting killed. This kind of dismal scene is prevented in two ways: 1) Strong writing which focuses on placing the beasts in natural situations and 2) Strict roleplaying directions during the briefing of the scene. Writers must write scenes in believable ways and not group beasts for the power of their skills. Beasts should be encountered in their natural habitats performing natural actions. This makes the world believable and contributes greatly to the roleplaying environment.
Example: Wolves and ravens coexist naturally. Ravens actually play with young wolf cubs. Ravens often lead wolves to dead animals allowing wolves to scavenge in lean time, while wolves will share their kills with ravens. It is common to find them feeding on the same kill. A powerful and believable scene can be written by placing these beasts together around some bones. The characters disturbing the meal would then encounter aggressive beasts. Buzzards and hyaenas enjoy a similar relationship.
Writing a strong scene is just the start of roleplaying beasts properly. When going through the adventure briefing it is imperative that cast members be given clear roleplaying instructions as to how the writer wants the beast portrayed.
Example: The writer explains his vision of the scene, " I want the wolves to howl as the player characters approach. I want the raven to screech and high fly around the player characters. This will be disconcerting for them. The wolves will growl, make a brief attack and run off twenty yards into the woods." He points out where they will run to and checks to make sure running and combat will be safe. He continues his explanation, "The wolves will howl again and then attack any player characters which followed them. As the remaining player characters are occupied with the high flying raven, the wolves will come back and attack. When the battle is joined the raven will swoop in attack."
Beast Battle Line: The worst thing that can happen in a beast scene is the battle_line of beasts. This is the most ridiculous roleplaying blunder and utterly invalidates any realism in the adventure. In the natural world the bear, spider and hound do not fight side_by_side on a trail as a team, supporting each other with skills. Carefully written scenes which are excellently briefed, will sometimes end up as mind numbingly unrealistic combat encounters because cast members fall back into the, "I am a cast member and I want to kill," mind set. A writer must always conclude his beast briefing with an explanation of how foolish the beast battle_line looks and encourage the cast members to continue to roleplay the beast even after combat is initiated.

Roleplaying Lesser Beings

Playing a lesser beings generally requires a cast member to be familiar with the lesser beings and to roleplay them accurately.

A main problem with roleplaying lesser beings is that everyone wants to play his version of the lesser being. The bully goblin, the timid ogre, the gremlin who doesn't like tricks and so forth, are the "original" ideas which writers and cast members think of when they want to use these creatures. The problem arises because their idea is not original and after time these overdone "original" variations erode the nature of the lesser beings within the game world.

Writers are required to write scenes which use lesser beings with stereotypical personalities to reinforce the game world, instead of creating "original" personalities which degrade the consistency of the game world. A writer should never write scenes which break from the stereotype.