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.
- 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.
- The emotes are sometimes separate from text, and sometimes incorporated in it.
- 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!)
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!
Comments Off on Recommended Read: Consequences
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!
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?
November 10, 2009 – 6:21 pm
This is by the estimable Tarquin ap Danwryith – who posted it today on the Wildfire Riders boards. It’s an excellent example of interacting with Lore characters without turning them into something they’re not. It’s also a very cool way of looking at the Wildfire Riders and how they interact with Old Town – the part of Stormwind that they both haunt and are fiercely proud of. Many of the Riders actually live or rent apartments there. In short, it’s awesome, and I hope you all enjoy it.
Edgar Pomeroy rested his back against the long-dead king who gave Irandun’s Way its name, wiping the sweat from his brow. It was a crisp November day, but of course he’d started sweating the moment he put on his bloody armor. It was one of those things that came with the job – no matter how high they promoted you, how many keen young watchmen snapped to attention when you walked down the hall, foot patrol was still a sweaty, tedious mess punctuated by brief and usually deadly excitement. And any proper watchman wouldn’t have it any other way.
Foot patrol had its rewards – how else was he going to get to see children playing in the streets of Old Town, safe because he and his men and women kept them that way? There were maybe a dozen boys and girls, grubby in the way of all children of a certain age, festooned with bedsheet cloaks and pot-lid helms, armed with sticks and bright ribbons that apparently stood in for the bursts of battle magic. As Edgar watched, one boy cast his face in a horrible rictus, gave a convincing shriek of despair, and toppled to the ground beneath the assaults of the others. The throng imploded around him, cheering at whooping at what was apparently the defeat of the dreaded Kel’Thuzad. The officer restrained himself from applauding and shattering their hard-won immersion as they clustered ’round a tall boy with pale hair drooping out from under an oversized, wide-brimmed hat.
Then they started planning the next one.
“Alright,” announced the boy in the bolero. “Let’s do Riders an’ Trolls next. Everyone switch off.” He pulled off the hat and held it over his head as a small thing shaped like a tuber leapt and made a grab for it. “Gerroff, Pen!”
“I wanna be Tarquin!” the root vegetable declared in the voice of a girl of eleven or so. “You gotta be a troll this time, gimme the hat!”
“You can’t be Tarquin,” objected a lad about half again the size of any of the others, pushing a makeshift eyepatch back from his forehead indignanmtly. “You’re a girl.”
“Well I ain’t a rottie neither!” the girl snapped. “But I hadda be Great Widow Fareena, an’ before that I was a, a Verskul shield-woman!”
“That’s different.” The big lad folded his arms over his considerable belly. “Boys an’ girls is always different.”
“Fine,” Pen spat. “Gimme the eyepatch then, Joan. I wanna be Ceil. You been Jolly-ster for two games now.”
Another boy interjected, a weedy specimen with one hand holding his cracked spectacles together. “If we’re gonna do Trolls, Andry needs the eyepatch so’s he can be Sly Degmarlee.” He spoke with the sober voice of a future lawyer. “Sly Degmarlee wore an eyepatch, I read it.”
A fourth boy sneered beneath a covering of grime, significant even by his cohorts’ standards. “Nah, you watch. Pen-el-o-pe‘s gonna let Andry be Tarquin again, an’ then she’s gonna kiss him.” He snickered dirtily, and the girl turned on him with a fury.
“You better shut up, Billy. You gotta be a troll this time an’ – an’ you know how Ceil sorted out them trolls.” She glared ominously beneath carrot-orange brows.
“Alright!” Andry waved his hat in the air and spoke with crisp authority despite his reddened face. “Here’s how we’ll do it. I’ll be Degmarlee. Johan can be Matt-soojin. An’ Pen can be Ceil, cos’ she din’ wear no patch til the Butcher took her eye out, right? So whoever plays Nimjull gets to do that.”
There was a cacophony of responses, the children claiming the likes of Bricu Bittertongue, Genise Crownsilver, and Ulthanon Kaidos or their opposite numbers “Day-jeeya” and “Ockerth.” The grubby boy shouted over and over again that he would be the Butcher. Pen scowled as she thought about it, then nodded and shot a seething look at her dirt-caked tormentor. “Alright. But only if I get to kill Nim-jall!”
The bespectacled boy spoke up again, albeit cautiously. “That’s not how it happened, Pen.”
“Yeh, well, that’s how it shoulda! So shut up, Wesley!” Several of the others joined in on her last three words, making thin Wesley cringe back into the roughly circular mass of the group.
“Alright!” Andry declared again. “Fair. So who’s gonna be Tarquin?” Before anyone could claim the mantle of notorious crimelord for this round, a filigreed gauntlet descended and plucked the hat from Andry’s grasp, and the stern face of the Law loomed among them.
Commander Pomeroy took his time in silence. He was not by nature an ill-tempered man, so his rare angers tended to master him. The children, meanwhile, were accustomed to interruptions by nagging parents, irritated shopkeepers, their rival gang from a block over, and the odd familiar watchman grumbling for them to go to school or something – but never an officer of the Watch in his blue and gold enamel, his clean-shaven face pale with anger. They shuffled their feet and exchanged nervous looks until Andry swallowed and mustered his courage. “Is somethin’ wrong, sir?”
Edgar breathed in through his nose and kept his voice steady. “Lad, do you and your friends always play Riders and Trolls?”
“Nossir!” Andry replied quickly. “We jus’ played Riders an’ the Scourge of Nacksarammis, an’ before that we did Vrikkul, an’ I think we done…jus’ about everythin’ else, sir. We use’ta do Riders an’ Roses sometime, but this big girl ‘Cosia said she’d bust all our noses if she caught us actin’ like that again.” The boy scrunched up his face and shrugged. “Wasn’t that fun anyway. Everyone knows they’re both really good folk.”
“Do you never play Heroes of Stormwind? Highlord Bolvar, Reginald Windsor, Gareth Orson? Do you argue over who gets to don King Varian’s crown for an hour?” He looked incredulously at the cluster of wide-eyed faces. “Do none of you want to be watchmen?”
The resulting silence was positively eloquent.
Finally, young Andry managed to stir his mouth into action. “Watchmen’s good, sir. An’ my mum says the King’s just what Stormwind needed. But the Riders…” He struggled to verbalize concepts his mind was only beginning to grasp. “We know ’em, sir. They’re from Old Town. The stories is different when they got people you see every day in ’em.”
The big lad, Johan, spoke up hesitantly, pronouncing a Northern name with care. “When Sir Jolstraer died last week, my da’ let me have a cup of wine, and he said even children get to drink when a hero dies.”
“I saw Miz Annalea sing at the Lion’s Pride!” This blurted out by a tall, gawky girl hovering uncertainly in the back of the group, and of life at large. She looked around defiantly before saying, “I tole’ her she had a pretty voice, an’ she said that with a little practice I could be a bard too!”
It was the argument over roles all over again, the floodgates bursting open as each of the children claimed their special link to the criminal scum of Old Town:
“I saw Lady Crownsilver goin’ to a fancy ball -”
” – gave me a penny an’ told me to learn how to bluff -”
” – an’ he let me pet ‘is wolf – ”
” – tole me I’d make a good paladin, like her – ”
” – kissed me on the cheek, honest, an’ said I was brave – ”
” – turned into a bear and chased her around the block!”
When the hubbub faded, Andry spoke again, voice comparatively solemn. “Last year, my mom took me to the funeral for all them died when the Scourge come. Said that Dad woulda wanted it. She pointed at Mister Tarquin an’ said that if it wasn’t for him, we’d of all died in Old Town. Cos’…” Pomeory could see the boy’s mind working, struggling to draw a line that put the world on one side and somehow, himself and the men and women of the Black-and-Red on the other. “Cos’ they’re like us. They’re jus’ people what dress up as heroes an’ then put it away an’ go home in Old Town. I like that better’n kings, sir.”
Edgar Pomeroy had never liked ships; the motion of deceptively solid wood beneath his feet made him feel rootless and disconnected from the world he’d sworn to fight for. He felt at sea now, among these children who argued over which of the thieves and murderers and monsters of Stormwind shone as the brightest star in their little sky. He lowered his hand and returned the crumpled hat to the towheaded boy, who watched him with a wary respect that he saw on all too many faces in Old Town. “Go back to your game,” he said, and forced wooden lips into a smile. “And don’t put each other’s eyes out, now. You’ve only got the one patch.”
They mumbled their thank-you-sirs and Light-blesses, and watched quietly as he turned about and continued on his patrol. He felt their eyes on his back all the way down Irandun’s Way, fancied he could feel them through all the twists and turns of the next quarter-hour. A grown man knew that the fantasies and willful delusions of children shouldn’t concern him. A watchman knew better; knew on what ground the battle for the hearts and minds of Stormwind’s subjects was fought.
He thought of those children in ten years as men and women, in thirty as citizens of consequence, in fifty as the guiding wisdoms of Stormwind. His steps carried him past the sprawling white barracks, to the snug and unmarked wooden structure that housed Stormwind Intelligence.
I wanna be Tarquin!
Edgar Pomeroy hesitated, but not for long. Then he was at the door, shouldering past the surprised bruisers loitering out front, calling for Mathias Shaw to come and do his duty by the city that they loved.