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 […]

Thursday Already?
comment 3 Written by on November 19, 2009 – 10:57 am

I’m experiencing the “busy warp” time phenomenon, whereby the busier you are, the more you don’t realize that time is passing. Normally, my mornings involve sitting down with some tea and writing a blog post.  This week, they’ve involved tea and two fiction stories, a NaNo, some character stuff for an upcoming D&D game, and realizing that we had nothing left in the house to eat.

Oops.

Time is weird.

Anyhow – cool things are working, and big scary things, but overall the RP is chugging along and I hope to have some fic for you either today or tomorrow.  Probably tomorrow, since it’s co-written (and that means both me and His Bastardlyness need to be around and writing at the same time).

For now, though, I’d like to point you at two really awesome folks that have been joining us for RP. Shaurria and Windstar (affectionately “The Kitters” and “One and Two”) have been hanging around the Pig and Whistle, providing much comfort and the occasional bout of comic relief, as well as lots of purrs and headrubs.

I’ve seen “all cat-form all the time” Druids played badly, but these two have it nailed down perfectly, and both have plots and personalities out of cat form that Aely’s gotten a chance to take part in. They’re also particularly hilarious when they get together with Skyborne, Yva’s mostly-cat druid, for insanity and kitty wrestling.

It’s fun RP, but also serious and sad – Aely and Shaurria have a particularly close connection, due to some oddly similar backstories (Aely and Arrens too, but that’s a story for another post!). They both manage the line between being “support” characters and having their own plotlines and personalities really well, and it’s been really fun to RP with them. I may have to ask them for a guest post on doing that sort of thing, since they’re both so good at it!

Hopefully, with all the craziness going on right now with the Black and Red, The Kitters will still get to be around. I know Aely would miss them terribly if they weren’t.

Turning a Chat Log into a Story
comment 4 Written by on November 16, 2009 – 11:28 am

Running an addon that logs chat conversations is a huge boon to roleplayers, especially if you want to refer back to them for later or out-of-game writing.

I use the addon WoWScribe, which lets you choose what chats you want to follow – for me, I am always logging /say, /yell, /whisper, /guild, and our in character and out of character chats. It saves the logs as .txt files in your WoW directory, and is really quite simple to run.

But when you go into your logs folder and open the chatlog, what you get is something like this:

11/15 23:38:46.890  Arrens says: Do tell Ms. Mathers I send her my regards, would you?
11/15 23:38:51.421  Aelflaed says: Ayeh – I will.
11/15 23:38:59.718  [5. OOC] Yva: a felhound would appear.
11/15 23:39:01.765  [5. OOC] Windstar: O.o
11/15 23:39:06.937  Aelflaed says: Y’r a ponce, sometimes, y’ ken?  <laughs>
11/15 23:39:10.000  [5. OOC] Dravir: Free lunch for puppies?
11/15 23:39:13.734  [5. OOC] Aelflaed: and it would eat them?
11/15 23:39:16.859  [5. OOC] Yva: oh yes.
11/15 23:39:21.734  Arrens looks at Aely incredulously.
11/15 23:39:26.562  Arrens says: I…I am?
11/15 23:39:32.078  [5. OOC] Yva: flaadhun is a good egg.
11/15 23:39:37.000  Aelflaed says: Yeh – ye air.
11/15 23:39:46.031  Arrens says: I…but…why?
11/15 23:39:51.671  Aelflaed says: Ponce’s… sommat uppity, an’ proper.  too proper.
11/15 23:40:03.234  Aelflaed says: Poofter’s sommat wha’s buggerin’ somebody else.
11/15 23:40:16.609  Arrens says: I…see…
11/15 23:40:22.906  Arrens says: That would explain…
11/15 23:40:26.375  [5. OOC] Aelflaed: Aely attempts to explain Lordaeron slang to Arrens
11/15 23:40:27.671  Arrens says: Nevermind.
11/15 23:40:29.343  [5. OOC] Aelflaed: this should be fun.
11/15 23:40:36.625  [5. OOC] Windstar: >.>

While you get the basic idea, there’s a lot of extraneous… fluff. And text. And things that aren’t in-character conversation. So obviously the first step is to clean all of that out. (The OOC chatter, while amusing, doesn’t actually help anything with making a story in this case, with the exception of one line. I”ll leave that line in.)

Arrens says: Do tell Ms. Mathers I send her my regards, would you?
Aelflaed says: Ayeh – I will.
Aelflaed says: Y’r a ponce, sometimes, y’ ken?  <laughs>
Arrens looks at Aely incredulously.
Arrens says: I…I am?
Aelflaed says: Yeh – ye air.
Arrens says: I…but…why?
Aelflaed says: Ponce’s… sommat uppity, an’ proper.  too proper.
Aelflaed says: Poofter’s sommat wha’s buggerin’ somebody else.
Arrens says: I…see…
Arrens says: That would explain…
[5. OOC] Aelflaed: Aely attempts to explain Lordaeron slang to Arrens
Arrens says: Nevermind.

I left the one OOC comment in, somewhat as a stage direction. It tells me what Aely is thinking/trying to do. Sometimes those things happen in OOC chatter, and it’s good to leave them in a log if you think you’ll need them.

The next step is to consolidate what people are saying, down to one “Soandso says:” per statement. You may also need to rearrange what is said a little bit, especially in a huge group. If there are 12 people talking in three conversations, it’s better to group the conversations slightly than remain true to the chatlog, simply because it’ll make the resulting fiction bits easier to read.

Arrens says: Do tell Ms. Mathers I send her my regards, would you?
Aelflaed says: Ayeh – I will. Y’r a ponce, sometimes, y’ ken?  <laughs>
Arrens looks at Aely incredulously.
Arrens says: I…I am?
Aelflaed says: Yeh – ye air.
Arrens says: I…but…why?
Aelflaed says: Ponce’s… sommat uppity, an’ proper.  too proper. Poofter’s sommat wha’s buggerin’ somebody else.
Arrens says: I…see… That would explain…  Nevermind.

Ok. So now we have a combination of emotes and chat, arranged in proper order, with each person’s “lines” consolidated. This, by itself, is imminently readable, and can probably be posted to a forum or blog and people will get the idea.

Which is good, because doing that for an entire evening’s conversation can take a few hours (no, I’m not kidding!).

The final step is by far the most time consuming.

Because this is a conversation, and not actual fiction, you’ve got a number of things to adjust for.

  1. There are no stage directions. This could happen anywhere, while the two characters are doing anything. It’s a peripheral conversation, and it needs to be grounded in a setting to make sense.
  2. The emotes are sometimes separate from text, and sometimes incorporated in it.
  3. Some of the text is on its own, with no emotion, expression, or movement.

So, once you start working with all of those things, you get something like this:

Arrens looked relieved to hear that she was alright, even if he was getting the news at a pirate hideaway in the bluffs near Stromgarde. It wasn’t the most glorious of safe houses, but at least it lived up to being safe. He managed a weak smile.

“Do tell Ms. Mathers I send her my regards, would you?”

Aely smiled back. “Ayeh – I will.” She paused, an impish look creeping into the corners of her eyes, and she laughed. “Y’r a ponce, sometimes, y’ ken?”

He looked at the paladin incredulously. “I…I am?”

“Yeh – ye air.”

The grin remained plastered on her face; Arrens’ confusion was just as easily written on his. “I…but…why?”

Explaining Lordaeron slang wasn’t something Aely had to do often, but fortunately this one wasn’t hard. “A ponce’s… sommat uppity, an’ proper.  too proper. Poofter’s sommat wha’s buggerin’ somebody else.”

Arrens blinked, color flickering around the edges of his cheeks. “I…see… That would explain…  Nevermind.”

And there you have it. A silly little conversation turned into something that could be used in a story.

Doing this kind of thing is tedious, especially for long conversations. Right now I’m working on the confrontation that happened between Bricu and Aely last Friday night (there were teeth rattled) – and it’s enormous. The chatlog at stage 3, after consolidation and removal of all the extraneous junk, was over 6,000 words. And, as you can see, turning it into fiction ADDS words.

But the end result, when you get an amazing piece of character development out of it, and something more permanent (and sharable) than just retelling “what happened in game”, is definitely worth it.

So give it a try.

Next time there’s a particularly awesome conversation that happens IC, think about turning it into a fiction piece. If nothing else, it’s free blog fodder! (Just check with the other people involved to make sure it’s ok!)

annas

As an aside, chatlog programs don’t work if you’re not actively logging the channels. That’s why I never turn mine off, and just go through once a week and save them as new files. The .txt files are small, and I’d rather be “over logging” than go back to try and find something only to discover that I’ve lost it.

Also, many thanks to Arrens for being my unknowing guinea pig this morning. He’s an awesome RPer, and if you don’t read his blog, you should!

Recommended Read: Consequences
comment Comments Off Written by on November 12, 2009 – 3:20 pm

In relation to what’s been mentioned here, Bricu over at WTT:RP has some excellent thoughts on what’s been going on, particularly what’s happening between him and Aely.

I wanted to hilight this because of some of the RP things that it illustrates.

First – the conflict is between Bricu and Aely.

It’s not between me and Bricu’s Player.

And while I didn’t give him a lot of warning about what was coming when she exploded at him, he knew she was upset and was planning to confront him, and he and I were both OK with that.  If he’d told me to hold her back, or to not have that be right now, or whatever, then I can modulate the character accordingly. There is still IC development, but the OOC communication guides that and keeps us both working towards what will hopefully be excellent storytelling.

This kind of OOC communication is what really supports and brings about great RP. Because of the friendship I have with the other writers in the Riders out of character, in character conflict becomes something that can grow up out of the roleplay and then be dealt with and moved on from, without actually changing how we interact OOCly.

Second, this particular sentence:

“Aely is dealing with the death of Jolly and the fact that the Watch has ransacked her home away from home. I would also venture to guess that Aely has more than a few secrets left, which is an undercurrent to Anna’s *known* plot lines.”

Is absolutely true. What I saw in my character’s head during that whole evening was far more than just her mentally snapping and telling Bricu off. She’s got a LOT running through her mind right now, including a lot of personal guilt over some of the things regarding Jolly’s passing, as well as some friends (like Arrens) who have been struggling. Add to that the fact that she’s buried three friends in six months and lost the person she thought she was going to marry… and there’s a lot of undercurrent there. The idea of losing her friends to the noose? Isn’t particularly palatable.

Did Bricu Bittertongue know all that?  No – he’s living in his own headspace and trying to figure out how to get them out of this mess.  His not knowing that, or not thinking about it, or just generally being a Bastard, meant that it came up and very nearly punched him in the face. And now both Bricu AND Aely will have to deal with that (you didn’t think she’d get off that easy right?)

So – cool things, go and read his post. It’s a really good summary of what and how these sorts of conflict take place, and how to distance the character from the person playing him or her.

PC Conflict can lead to powerful stories. This conflict will have direct consequences for all the characters involved. If the players talk, even if the characters are yelling, fighting or worse, the consequences can develop into RP that is best described as Crowning Moments of Awesome. Do not avoid the consequences: Talk them out with your fellow players!

Because, as all of us that write about RP are constantly harping on – communication is what makes all of this work!

Aftermath
comment 3 Written by on November 11, 2009 – 2:53 pm

Last night was… well, pretty intense. There was a lot of great RP, and there will likely be even more great RP as we deal with the aftermath of it all.

The short version?

[The evening culminated] in a raid by the Stormwind Guard, two near-arrests, three strained marriages, a couple of damaged friendships, and one of the Wildfire Riders’ red-haired paladins telling another of the Wildfire Riders’ red-haired paladins to go fuck themselves, while the third of the Wildfire Riders’ red-haired paladins stood there and shook her head in disbelief.

There’s probably going to be an explicit tag on the stuff that comes out of last night, if only because Aely’s already started with the 4 letter words, and I don’t expect it to get better. However, last night she had what I think definitely counts as a Crowning Moment of Awesome – and I’m still riding the high. Not only did she hit an emotional point where she actually mentally snapped (and you could actually watch the snapping play out on her face over the course of the night), but her confronting Bricu actually made the entire Pig and Whistle go dead silent.

Unfortunately this particular bit of scenery is… way to complicated to hold up to a standalone fiction piece, so it’ll have to just get summarized when some of the rest of the aftermath gets written. Which is already happening.

Which, of course, means I’m planning more RP. <evil giggle>

This whole situation, however, is a perfect example of how RP begets RP – introducing a subject and then letting your friends and cohorts run with it means that it’s no longer just one story – it’s your story with all of these side trails and tangents. And even when those side stories don’t have anything to do with the actual thing that’s going on (Aely and Bricu’s spat is really only very loosely related to the raid last night on the Pig and Whistle), it makes the whole thing more real. Because these characters are not just pawns in a plot – they’re unpredictable, just like people.

And apparently, if you push one particular redheaded paladin past the line of no return, she’ll cuss you out and threaten to break your nose. Go figure, right?

Very First Impressions

November 14, 2014 – 7:32 am

So I haven’t finished the intro quests yet (the server queues from the reduced server capacity due to the DDOS attacks meant I only got about an hour to play yesterday), but I’m finding that Draenor is pretty cool so …

A Girl and her Dog

November 13, 2014 – 12:30 pm

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 …

Counting down to Warlords

November 11, 2014 – 3:09 pm

What a long strange trip it’s been. I’ll be the first to admit that, at the beginning, I wasn’t sure Pandaria was going to be for me. I’ve made clear my dislike of daily quests, and that seemed to be …

Elevation

October 24, 2014 – 12:01 pm

Squire Benjamin William Sullivan stood in the middle of Light’s Hope Chapel in his underpants.

Actually, it was white linen pants and a shift, but the effect was approximately the same. The little chapel was warm, on the edge of …

Introducing the Newest Anna

June 29, 2014 – 4:39 pm

So I’m not really in a position where I should be creating alts. This, of course, does nothing to deter me from making alts when the inspiration strikes. I’ve been really enjoying my Alliance hunter, and she’s my raiding main …

Deconstruction

November 19, 2013 – 4:46 pm

Bad things are happening in Stormwind – and beyond.

The Hand of Lothar, they call themselves.

Yva Darrows was their first target.

Tirith and Aely were their second and third.

They have since… expanded their reach and escalated their methods …

Patrol

November 13, 2013 – 9:59 am

The cathedral bells stop ringing overnight, except for chiming the hours. Three bell strikes, and Angoleth padded softly around another corner of the Cathedral District, staying carefully in the shadows. Trained ears picked up Mogget’s soft breathing – nearly inaudible …

Riders in Lordaeron – Memory

November 7, 2013 – 1:33 pm

(Written by Jolly, Tarquin, and Annalea)

The highlands of Lordaeron were not for the faint of heart; be it the putrescence of the Scourge’s long-lingering remnant, or the rock-strewn hills and valleys that made farmers out of only the most …

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