Status: Incomplete, last updated on July 23, 2006
Section I: Introduction Edit
In an interactive roleplay where your main objective is to slaughter the competition and overcome the odds to become the sole survivor, what purpose does taking a short time-out for realism have? Survival of the Fittest is a roleplay that prides itself on realisticness. However, unlike a lot of Battle Royale oriented roleplays out there, SOTF is not a stat-based roleplay, and your character doesn't die because their HP has dropped to 0. As such, this roleplay requires each participant to have a grip on reality, and a bit of common sense.
In order to perform satisfactorily in a roleplay such as this one, reality must be taken into account in many different aspects. In order to make an impact upon the game, your character must "feel" real to the readers: both in description and in personality. "Keeping it real" also entails reacting and replying realistically to events that affect your character, whether it be a fight in the pre-game roleplay or a shootout in-game. Taking reality into account isn't limited to your character themselves and their actions, but also the consequences for their actions. Each of these topics will be discussed more in depth below.
Section II: Realistic Portrayal of your Character Edit
A. Appearance Edit
What does the way your character looks have to do with keeping it real, you ask? Quite a lot, actually. The very basics of reality begin here, at the character's appearance. Rewind (or fast forward, in some of your cases) to the time when you were an awkward 15 year old kid. Were you made to walk the catwalk or pose in Abercrombie? Probably not. Most of us weren't. While there are always a select few students who possess stunningly good looks from a young age onward, most of us didn't. As such, this should be taken into account when you create your character. Of course, as we grew older, most of us found our niche... what looks good on us, what we shouldn't ever be caught dead in, the style that best suits us. The older your character is, the more likely it is that they've found their "look". Age is a large factor in defining a realistic image of your character.
Several issues concerning appearance and being realistic while creating a character have been covered in detail in Chapter 1 of this guide by Naki. To reiterate, think about body proportions as you're creating your character. A female standing at 5'9" and weighing 110 pounds is going to be sickeningly thin. A guy standing at 5'5" and weighing 260 pounds is going to be a lot more fat than muscle. Girls who were an extra small t-shirt and size 1 jeans aren't going to have enormous breasts. Keep factors such as those in mind when working on your character's appearance to ensure that their appearance is believable.
B. Personality Edit
How on earth do you go about giving your character a "realistic" personality? On some level, this is merely common sense. How many social recluses do you see having an enthralling conversation with the popular crowd? How many times have you seen the head cheerleader harbor a crush on the ugliest guy in your class? Exactly. The real key to avoiding unrealistic personalities is to stick with the "personality type" you have assigned your character. Avoid stereotypical characters such as the silent but deadly martial artist or the coniving and deceitful popular girl unless you are confident in your ability to play them, and play them well.
Other key to making sure you keep portray your character's personality realistically is making sure that you keep your character... in-character. Everyone undergoes events that help to alter their personality, whether it be slightly or drastically, but know that these changes should be gradual. Your character generally isn't going to go from a wild and crazy "slut" to a holier-than-thou church goer overnight. Keep that in mind as you are developing your character's personality. People will change, inevitably, but not all at once.
C. History Edit
Your character's history and the events that lie therein help shape the character you are portraying, and as such, should be realistic. People's histories affect the way they act, think, dress, and live in present day. Keep your character's past on a realistic level. Standard character ages in SOTF are between 15 and 17 years of age. How many 16 year old kids do you know who won a Purple Heart, served as the King of England for two years, flew to the moon, had their own television show, and road on horseback into the sunset in their short lives? If you know one, I want to meet him.
Keeping history realistic is hard, because people want their characters to stand out. They want people to read the profiles they've written and go "Wow, this guy's really cool!" or "How sad, I feel really bad for that girl...", and that, my friends, is why people's pasts tend to be over-the-top. Many people who're overly concerned with their character making an impact will line said character's history with a bunch of useless filler about the incredible things he or she did, like skydiving at 5 and picking up a car at 7. Here's a word of advice while writing your character's history: if you don't plan on using a certain event to directly affect something about your character, don't put it in there. Most kids lead relatively normal, carefree lives. Most of us didn't grow up in child labor camps. Remember that.
D. Habits Edit
Wiggling your nose, biting your lower lip, fiddling with your glasses, twirling your hair, biting your fingernails, drumming your fingers on the table. Everyone has weird little quirks and habits that they do without really thinking about it. Habits can be good or bad, and have a variety of ranges. Some people chain smoke when they're nervous or aggitated. A bad habit, yes, but a habit nonetheless. Habits make us unique, and set is apart as an individual. Keep this in mind when you're designing your character. Remember... everyone has quirks.
Section III: Pre-Game Edit
A. Interactions Edit
The best way to decide whether a character is acting realistically with another is to place yourself in that situation. If someone ran up to you, grabbed you by the shoulders, and screamed "Omigod I know we just met but let's be bestest friends forever and ever and EVER!" would you back away slowly? Some of you are probably going "No, I'd get the hell out of dodge and fast." Think about that when you're portraying your character. If you'd be weirded out by your character's actions, avoid them... unless of course weirding our your fellow handler is your intention. Remember that this isn't supposed to be anime or some cartoon, it's based on reality. It's generally a good idea to not have your character do things that you wouldn't see normal people do.
Another word of advice on being realistic with your character's interactions with others: PM or contact the handler of the character you are interacting with to plan out and go over any details of what will occur over the course of the interaction. This way, you won't be working toward one angle while the other person is working in the completely opposite direction. This will make both the interaction and your overall posts flow much smoother. It's okay to have an unrequited crush or something on a character, but most handlers wouldn't take too kindly to being forced into a corner.
B. Relationships Edit
Boyfriends. Girlfriends. Crushes. Significant others. Soulmates. Ex's. For many, that's what high school was all about. Relationships in roleplays tend to be very unrealistic at times. Why? People don't take into account the harsh realities of them. Reality #1: Not everyone is having sex. Whether or not a relationship has become physical depends on the age, mental state, and personality of your character. Fourteen year old kids generally aren't physically involved, while seventeen year olds are much more likely.
Reality #2: Relationships aren't perfect. People don't get along with one another 100% of the time. Relationships go through their ups and downs. People fight, be it silly squabbles over trivial matters or full-on fist fights over something unforgiveable. It happens to everyone, and all too often, the "bad" side of relationships are blocked from existence entirely. Everyone knows the story of how the prince rescues the princess and they live happily ever after, right? It's a fairy tale for a reason. Reality doesn't work like that. People have disagreements and spats, they go through trials, and all too often, this is not portrayed.
Finally, one more thing to concern yourself with while portraying a character involved in a relationship is that it is here that characters most often wind up taking a back seat, and one or the other winds up focusing all of their attention on the more dominant partner in the relationship. Do you think about your significant other constantly? Does every thought that runs through your head concern them in some way, shape, or form? While some people do have such obsessive personalities, the majority of us do not.
C. Situations Edit
In SOTF's pre-game roleplay, just as in real life, there are countless situations in which your character may suddenly find themselves. When suddenly thrown into a new and unfamiliar situation, the best way to respond to keep a realistic hold over your character is to keep them in their original element. For example, if your character is a poet who spends a lot of time alone, odds are, if someone jumps him, he's not going to bust out some crazy Jackie-Chan style kung-foo and obliterate his enemy. Likewise, if your character is a fairly dimwitted jock, he's not going to suddenly sprout a brain when the kid he's picking on flings a high-intelligence insult at him. Oftentimes, we let reality get away from us in our eagerness to jump headfirst into topics. If your character didn't even know how to turn on a computer before, odds are, they won't turn into the school's best hacker in the next post. Just keep that in the back of your mind as you're roleplaying.
D. Actions and Consequences Edit
In my own personal opinion, this section right here is one of the most important in pre-game RPing, and it is often overlooked. Actions have consequences, people. This is an all-too-often forgotten fact. SOTF is based on reality, and in reality, anything you do has consequences of some sort. If you walk up and shoot somebody in the face, you're probably going to jail for a very long time. Think about the consequences one would face in real life by committing an act before you even consider having your character do it. A fist fight on school grounds could very well result in suspension. The teacher probably isn't going to blow it off. If you're caught somewhere you aren't supposed to be, you're going to be in a lot of trouble, it isn't just going to be shrugged off.
If you broke a law, you'd go to jail, or at the very least get a ticket. People don't ever get away with anything and everything they do in real life. Perhaps some things, but not everything, all the time. Take that into consideration. Likewise, take other characters' actions into consideration and decide how it would affect your character. I don't care who you are, if someone smacks you in the head with a baseball bat, I don't think you're going to just get up and walk it off. It generally doesn't work that way, unless you're the Juggernaut.
Section IV: In-Game Edit
A. Awakening Edit
Though this is a minor detail in the long run, I felt it worth noting in this section of the tutorial, simply because, as stated in the "Introducing Your Character" section of this tutorial, your introduction post is a very important post in terms of defining yourself as a roleplayer. If you simply post "Greg woke up on the island and ate some crackers" as your introduction, people aren't going to be too interested in Greg. So, what is there to worry about keeping realistic in your introduction post? A surprising amount, actually. If you don't make at least some mention of your character looking through their student handbook, or at the very least their weapon's instruction manual, there's a good chance that someone will jump you when your character mysteriously knows every aspect about a gun they've never fired in their life. Understand?
Also, it never hurts to go into detail about the cuts, scrapes, and bruises your character received during their trip onto the battle field. For example, Version 1 took place on an island. Even if you were thrown at low range, falling out of a helicopter is going to sting. Tremendously. Not to mention the fact that your character has been thrown onto hard ground, not a nice, comfy mattress. It's feasible and quite possible that they'd wake up with minor injuries at the least. Also, considering they were gassed and unconscious, they could quite possibly be suffering some sort of grogginess or hangover feeling from the gas. Of course, this isn't completely necessary, just food for thought.
B. Battle Edit
Sooner or later, your character is going to wind up fighting for their lives. That much is a given. This is the time during which reality really needs to be taken into account, but sadly it is quite often neglected. So, how do you make battle roleplays more realistic? There are a number of ways to bring a sense of reality to the battle. First and foremost, if your character is battling with a firearm and they've never fired one before in their life (and honestly, how many high school kids HAVE fired them extensively?), what's the likelihood that their aim is going to be perfect? Nil. Unless you're firing at point blank range (which is considered powerplaying anyway... that's something to note), there's always a chance that your character could still miss.
Of course, this can always be taken into account when being fired upon as well. The characters involved in this roleplay are high school kids, and the majority of them aren't proficient with firearms. However, if you fire a chamber full of bullets at one target, at least one of them is bound to hit. Make sense? Make sure you're being realistic when receiving damage as well. Your character isn't a machine, and you can't dodge every single bullet coming at you. You're going to get hurt, you're going to bleed. You aren't a superhero, your only weakness isn't kryptonite. Keep that in mind.
C. Wounds Edit
Being realistic while receiving wounds has already been addressed, but that brings me into my next topic. Ever fall off your bicycle when you were little and skin your knees? Remember all the dirt and grime that entered the wound, and remember how mom freaked out and poured alcohol on it to disinfect it? What would've happened if mom hadn't bothered to clean it? It would've scabbed over, festered up, and gotten infected in all likelihood. And that was just a scrap that barely punctured your skin.
Keep that in mind when your character receives a bullet wound or a stab wound. If you don't clean wounds, there's a very high chance that they'll get infected. Infection can do a number of things, from making the wound fester and puss over to actually making you physically ill depending on the severity of the infection.
In the same token, if you receive a bullet wound and proceed to stumble around the island with a hole in your stomach, you're probably going to succumb to blood loss eventually, wouldn't you think? You can't realistically walk around oozing blood everywhere without feeling the effects. That's some more food for thought while roleplaying. While I'm on the subject, I'll cover one more thing. After receiving stab wounds, bullet wounds, etc., your character is not going to be able to prance around like they were just dropped from the helicopter. They're going to be feeling those injuries, and pretty badly. Be realistic about them, and remember that.
((Please note that this tutorial is currently incomplete and is currently in its first phase. If you have any questions, comments, complaints, or ideas, feel free to PM me (Megami) and let me know. I'd love feedback, and expect updates and the rest of this guide to be up soon!))