Not including the ones in the title. Anyway. There’s a saying about the 5 R’s of computer repair (retry, reboot, reinstall, reformat, return), and how if you’re having a problem with something, you try things in that order to get them working again.
Sometimes, like computers, a character just quits working.
You get tired, your friends quit the game, your character’s significant other rerolls the opposite faction and never logs in any more – there are LOTS of things that can take the spark out of roleplay and suck the life out of what used to be a fun, creative experience.
So what’s the process for refreshing and bringing back the spark to a character? Follow the Five R’s!
- Relax and Rest
Creativity waxes and wanes, as does your ability to focus on one character over the others. Don’t stress out if you’ve hit a lull, everyone has been or will be there at some point. All characters need rest, and all players need rest too. Don’t force the cycles of activity and rest, or you risk your character becoming an albatross around your neck.
Take a break, let the character rest, and go back to it after a break and see how you feel.
As I’m sure you’ve heard me harp before – RP happens WITH you, not TO you. And RP doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Get involved with other RP, get other people involved in a collaborative story, or just sit around with friends and shoot the bull in a tavern some night. You can do a lot of good for a character just getting them back involved with others.
This isn’t even about committing to participating in a big story – this is about helping your character reconnect with other characters in a way that takes the pressure off of other commitments.
- Refresh the Character
One of the easiest ways to fall into a rut is to do the same things over and over again. Eventually, both you and your character will get bored. So do a little refreshing – toss your character into a totally new situation. If you always RP with the same four people, go find some pick up RP in town some night and see what happens when you put the character in a place where they don’t have to be the person other people expect.
Just like humans sometimes need a little shaking of the status quo to keep things interesting, so do characters. When I was totally stuck with Angoleth, she met Russ – and Russ (as silly as it sounds) saved the character for me. He also provided her with a lot more RP opportunities, and brought her story back to something I enjoy playing again.
You’ve tried everything, you’re frustrated, you’ve RP’d yourself into such a corner that you can’t possibly find a way out of it… sometimes you can salvage the character by going through and doing some personality surgery.
To do this well, you’ll have to figure out just what’s got you stuck, which isn’t always the easiest task, but sometimes altering a backstory can change a lot about a character. In fact, sometimes just changing one former interaction from “dead” to “presumed dead” or “lost” can do a lot for a character’s mentality… especially if you then throw said presumed dead friend/lover/family member at them.
And then we get to the end of the rope. There is no salvation for this character – they are so stuck, you’ve tried everything else. Time to cough up the $25 for a character reskin (new name, new face, possibly new gender) if you like the class, or just make them a glorified bank alt and sugar daddy for a newly rolled little alt.
In fact, this can be less drastic than it sounds – sometimes the best way to refresh your “main” is to spend some time working with an alt, especially an alt that has a totally different character and personality. And if that results in your having a “new main” – well, so be it.
I’d suggest against outright deleting the character until you’re very very sure that they’re never going to be something you can work on again.
Five ‘R’s of Revitalizing a character. Much like the five ‘R’s of computer repair, they may not actually work – but it’s someplace to start. Of course, you’re not required to do these in this order, or any order – or even at all!
But if you find yourself stuck, remember those five R’s, and know that it’s not the end of the world.
*Image credit Elvinstar
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