Written by | Posted November 13, 2014 – 12:30 pm A Girl and her Dog

The morning of the all hands summon to the Blasted Lands, Aely went for a walk. The late fall air was clear and cool, and leaves crunched under their feet in the less-traveled parts of the streets. She and Roger took the long way around Old Town, south through Tanner Circle and down Bulwarks, across […]

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Blisters and Bandaids – Dealing with Injury in Roleplay
comment 6 Written by on October 28, 2008 – 11:52 am

BXP25997 Injury is one of the natural consequences of people fighting each other all the time. Two guys with armor and weaponry slashing away at each other – the likelihood is that ONE of them is going to end up wounded, possibly seriously.

Game mechanics make this easy to deal with – just cast a healing spell and “poof!” they’re all better. Magical cures and healing are widely available in Azeroth.

But sometimes, for the better development of a story, it works out that a character doesn’t need to get “poof” all better right away. Chronic injury and illness are ways of tempering a character and making them more real – and in a world where all maladies and malaises are cured by a simple “Abolish Disease” spell, it can make “realistic” a little harder to realize.

Characters that never get hurt or wounded – well, why are we fighting then?  Obviously, if you just want to take the PVE approach, this is a game with resurrection mechanics.  Nobody dies, nobody gets seriously hurt, and everything is happy happy let’s try the boss again. But if you are trying to develop your characters as people within this world, and they’re essentially tiny invincible Gods – that gets kinda boring.

Unfortunately, giving your character the Uncurable Illness of Doom can be tedious, as can the Uncurable Wound of Tragedy – especially if it’s forced on people around him or her without their having any way to deal with it.  So how do you fix that, and allow your character to have realistic injuries and responses without being invasive?

  1. First and foremost – TALK to the people you RP with.  Work on a story OOC with friends.  Keeping the communication lines open means you will automatically have a way to work out snags and keep things fun for everyone involved.  (This isn’t always my strongpoint, but I’m getting better.)
    • Figure out just how much healing can do.  For me, I’ve always believed that while healing can fix broken bones and open wounds, some things just take a little time (like bruises and sore muscles).  This is one of those things to work out before hand.
  2. Be creative about injuries and healing strategies.  Aelflaed has a broken foot right now – and it only took a few simple healing spells from another paladin to heal the broken bones.  The problem was, she broke the foot while fighting – and continued to fight on it for three days, so her foot was swollen to the point that she couldn’t get her boot off.  That involved more people, allowed for some creativity and laughter, and made for a realistic injury without it being able to be “poofed” away.
  3. Remember that sometimes just “healing” doesn’t make everything better.  Real life illnesses can linger even after they’re technically “cured”, and injuries of cursed/demonic/spell origin may react differently to healing. Maybe you need a mage to help undo some magic that stuck after a battle, or your character is technically “whole” but retains some elements of the injury.
  4. Keep in mind the consequences of injury – major illnesses, injuries, surgeries, and traumatic events often change people.  Sometimes good, sometimes bad, sometimes just a shift in perspective.  How will what you’re planning affect your character in the long run? Do they get a really cool scar out of it?
  5. Don’t let injuries and scars define a character.  Just like they don’t define real people, they’re just elements of a person’s history and personality.  Keep it real – one dimensional characters are hard to play for long because they eventually become boring.

We play in the World of *War*craft – people are going to get hurt. Full time healers have their hands full, medic tents follow war charges, and there’s always going to be consequences. Can you ignore that, and play within the mechanics, making all healing just a spell cast away?  Of course!  But playing around with your characters to see how they’d react to something like this can be very challenging, but also add an extra layer of depth to a character.

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6 Responses to “Blisters and Bandaids – Dealing with Injury in Roleplay”

  1. “they’re essentially tiny invincible Gods – that gets kinda boring.”

    …can we make it so that it’s as boring to write as it is to read? So much fanfiction would find glorious redemption if only that were true!

    Egos last blog post..Heroic Karazhan. And Stuff.

  2. As a guild of RPing Doctas, we hold weekly clinics to “heal the Horde.” Most of the maladies that come our way are simple in terms of dealing with, i.e. broken bones, cuts, bruises, scrapes and scraps, something that, RP-wise, can be cured with minimal effort and creativity. Other times, someone will come in with something a little more obscure.

    Take my character, for example. He was fighting in Netherstorm and got overwhelmed. The Blood Elf engineers implanted a chip in his head that caused obvious character differences. Instead of being a bloodthirsty, homicidal jerk, he now wanted to do nothing more than fish, even if it was casting his fishing rod into the road in the middle of the Crossroads and catching a black kingsnake.

    People caught on that something wasn’t right and the OOC tells started popping up from the healers. “Do you want this fixed now or draw it out?” “Is the chip obvious to any passerby?” Things of that nature. It is always best to ask the player how they want it cured or even if they want it cured at all. My character inevitably was cured. My purpose behind the story was sort of an IC retcon because it’s incredibly difficult to RP a constant asshat and have anyone want to do any long-term RP with you. So he’s cured and grateful and isn’t quite as eager to draw his blades at the slightest hint of offense.

    TLDR version: Find out what the player wants done with their character and if there’s a more basic reason behind why they’re doing what they’re doing. The motives may not be as obvious as one may think.

    Arrenss last blog post..An Addendum

  3. It was fun coming out to help Aelflaed last night. I tried keeping the balance between the “quick fix” and actual problem-solving, which is why Threnn kept checking the swelling, and working on it bit by bit.

    At the same time, her healing training is mostly with the Light, so it made sense for her to try channelling it at the injury, too – it would have been out of character for her to just call for bandages and aspirin and not use the Light.

    I hope it was kind of what you were looking for – we didn’t trade OOC whispers, but I think we communicated it pretty well IC. And if Aelflaed gets all stubborn and insists on running around before it’s done healing the rest of the way, we can always try again. :P

  4. @Davien:

    It was perfect – I was planning to whisper you about it but… uh… yeah. Someone beat me to the asking. *whistles about Staircase Rogue*. The balance between problem solving (ack! boot!) and true healing was just right, and throwing a pink haired gnome zombie into the mix kept things lighthearted.

    Braaiins? *nom nom nom*

    By Anna on Oct 28, 2008 | Reply
  5. I finds many women is atracted to me scars, and some of thems can totally get into tasty role-playing goodness. Nuthin’ like bit of the old ‘naughty nurse’ game ta spice things up…

    Ratshags last blog post..Kinnavieve’s New Gear

  6. Moo. Still alive.

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