Written by | Posted September 8, 2015 – 9:51 pm Descent and Ascent

It didn’t take long to get from Thunder Bluff to the Echo Isles – Ankona took advantage of a wyvern so she could think and plan before getting to her destination. She had information to confirm with the spirits – was Gromnor dead? Was he really in the northern part of the Eastern Kingdoms, somewhere […]

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Being ‘left out’ is part of RP
comment 10 Written by on March 18, 2010 – 6:45 am

No matter what group you are a part of, how many friends you have, how established you are in the group, and how much everyone loves your character, you will get left out of RP.

Other people will write stories in which you will not participate, and they will be awesome and amazing, and you will want to play too, but you won’t be invited, even if you ask. People will leave RP gatherings to do things “in private” and you will get left behind at the bar with nothing to do.

This sounds doomy and gloomy, but it is not at all either of those things, because it is realistic and true to actual people – a sign of characters who have depth and who are tangible and relatable. It happens to everyone – even the so-called “popular” people, and it bugs everyone sometimes.

Don’t let it get you down. Left-out-ness is normal, and not necessarily bad.


RP groups are like groups of people. They’re like real friendships.

You have a best friend or two who are very close, and possibly a spouse or significant other that’s as close or closer. And then you have an ever widening net of friends and acquaintances and random people you saw at the park one time. Each of these relationships has a defined role with your character – and every other character has those relationships as well.

In real life you’d not become instant best friends with someone after a two minute bar conversation or spill out your most intimate and personal secrets to someone you hardly know, so your character probably doesn’t want to do those things either.

So what do you do when left-out-ness happens? (Because it WILL happen)

Use it.

Let it help your character.

Does it make them angry or sad or lonely? Are they jealous of the close relationship between two very good friends or within a couple? Do they resent being left at the bar when someone leaves with a close business contact for a delicate conversation? Do they get warm fuzzies from knowing that the cute elf couple who just left are head over heels in love? Do they try to figure out how to get involved anyway, or what they need to do to find that kind of closeness with another character?

I actually regard left-out-ness as being a hidden, silver-lining kind of benefit to RP groups. It does a couple of things, even beyond character development.

Left-out-ness gives you something to talk about.

If your character is involved in everything, he or she never gets to ask someone else what’s going on, and becomes something of a meta-dictionary. Nobody ever knows everything, and your character won’t suffer from having to ask occasionally, “So what’s up with Jimbob?” Occasionally, gossip can be a really fun part of RP.

Left-out-ness helps you control what your character is or isn’t part of.

Nobody can do everything, and your character will eventually break if you throw too much stuff on his or her plate. Too much drama will result in reclusive behavior – which is great, if it’s a character trait, but not so great if it means a mental breakdown. The natural self-selection of relationships keeps things balanced within a group, and keeps any one person from being too involved in too many other stories.

Left-out-ness lets your character connect to other characters.

When two people leave the bar for a private chat, everyone else there is “left out” of their private conversation (as you’d expect, given the “private” part of the description). This is an RP opportunity, NOT an RP snubbing. Have a conversation with someone else there; chances are, they’re feeling a little left out too, and that’s an instant connection.

Being left out is part of RP because being left out is part of life.

Embrace it, use it to your advantage, and keep it all in perspective.


Yes, I know left-out-ness isn’t really a word. I like it anyway. I didn’t want to use “being avoided” or “being excluded” because of the negative connotation, and because I think a lot of this happens in the mind of the left-out person instead of in the mind of the person(s) looking to have a private conversation.

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10 Responses to “Being ‘left out’ is part of RP”

  1. Considering how I feel about Beltar and the Riders sometimes in terms of difficulty getting him involved in ongoing stuff, this is a very good thing for me to read and remember. Thank you! /lessthanthree

  2. This is a brilliant post, and should be linked in every guide to RP ever. It is such a ubiquitous topic – cliques and being left out, and social isolation in RP, something I see complained about so much. Complaining about natural results of social relationships is like complaining about the wind -_-


  3. Nicely said.

  4. Another excellent post, and a subject I think we can all stand to remember now and then. I know I’ve definitely been on both sides of this situation.

    By Corise on Mar 18, 2010 | Reply
  5. Heh, I guess it’s a hard pill to swallow, but it’s really not that bad. If you want a character to take the spotlight, the best thing to do is act; write, talk, play it up, plan it out. If not, things just kind of roll along, and sometimes it’s even best to let other peoples’ stories play out and remain a non-participating audience member.

    ‘course, this is coming from me, who plans characters with a thought like “this is someone you’d see walk by in the background in insert-thematically-relevant-location-here.”

  6. This also applies to racial languages. It can be easy to feel left out when a chunk of the RPers in an area are all speaking in Taurahe or something, but it’s a totally natural thing, and there’s plenty of ways to react to it ICly.

    My death knight, for example, being of the Argent Dawn, isn’t that bothered and either assumes that some conversations are meant to be private, or he will gamely try to join in, complete with utter butchery of pronunciation and wild guesses at what the words actually mean.

    My shaman, on the other hand, is paranoid, mildly racist, and doesn’t even speak Orcish all that well. He assumes the elves are chattering in Thalassian because they’re either mocking him or planning to kill him.

    Both reactions are incredibly fun to play out (as long as you are respectful to the other players and use discretion), and there are of course a ton of other ways to react, too!

  7. I have a response to this, but the comment has become so tl;dr that I think I’m going to post it at the blog instead, with a linkback to this post. Do you mind?

  8. @ndiayne – I don’t mind at all. All of my blog is free for the commenting on by other bloggers, so long as my words are accredited back here. (you don’t even need to ask permission!) 🙂

  9. For reference – and you can find this in the sidebar – this is the Creative Commons License that applies to this blog: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/us/ (Attribution, Noncommercial, Share Alike) – that means as long as you’re not using it for commercial purposes, give credit back to this blog and to me, and are using a similar license on your own blog (so that my work doesn’t get used commercially by someone who is using work that YOU made where you quoted me), you’re welcome to use it anywhere.

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