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I am in Flavor Country Part 1: Role-Playing
[01/23/2002] [Phywren]

When I was first asked to start submitting articles for the Electric Samurai, I figured “Hey, why not? I can spew page after page of useless crap in internet forums for days on end. Writing a little article should be about as easy as spotting 10 different pieces of wicker furniture in any given episode of the Golden Girls!” Within minutes of attempting to write about a recent battle field epiphany, I decided to stick with something a bit easier. Something that I have long tried to understand, and even longer tried to avoid...Amtgard “role-playing”.

Despite the attempts of many people, role-playing does manage to occasionally seep into our normally combat oriented game.You may try to just show up and hit people with foam sticks, but there’s always at least a few people in every land that think the game is centered on playing a character that may or may not fight. Usually these “role-play centric” people stay pretty low key with their role-playing, mostly saving it for feasts and court, but there’s always the select few who don’t. For a number players, role-playing was what drew them to the group, and there’s no reason to discourage the flavor they occasionally add to feasts and or court, but what about outside of feasts and court? What happens when they try to bring their zany character onto the field? With a few exceptions for a few people, it almost always turns out badly. Now you might say “But Mr Column Guy! I don’t want to look silly on the field! After all, I am already wearing a dress!”, so to help out I’d like to introduce an idea that was proposed to me called “Minimalist Role-Playing”

Remember that little waiver you signed when you first joined? The one that asked all sorts of questions about where you live, and what size undergarments you wear? After that there was a little space reserved for a description of your character. Some of you may not remember writing anything here, or at least nothing that you’d admit to. Others can remember it verbatim; after all, you did spend hours and hours pouring over your character’s life story weeks in advance of actually touching a sword. If you spent hours pouring over your characters life history since conception, try to bring forward in your mind the few things that really stand out about your character. If you just wrote down “I like swords.” on a napkin and handed it to the Prime Minister, you’re off to a good start. Ok, so now in your mind you have some major and minor details that set your character apart from everyone else; their fears likely to appear in combat, the class that best represents them, their preference between fluffy blue hats and fluffy purple hats. What we have now is a basic overview of how your character would appear to someone that has never met or talked to you before.

This is your field persona.

Now everyone can experience, in tolerable doses, whatever you decided to be in Amtgard, without hearing the story about how your evil bad man rapist vampire cyborg ninja sadist hobbit once stormed the refrigerator to claim the Ovaltine and cookies. After all, you can save that for that feast where your prayers are finally answered, and you get to perform that wacky “Double Axel, Single Handed Cookie Flip While Singing the Theatrical Score of A Streetcar Named Desire” routine that you’ve been dreaming of since the day you picked up your wizard’s sash.

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