[Discussion] Fear, bravery and cowardice.


Fear and cowardice are among the most difficult things to roleplay, next to getting your own character maliciously ridiculed. That's why most people in this thread go "My character is fearless, but MY MANY ALTS always show fear!"

Not that I would demand people to roleplay fear that much in WoW either. It's a game of heroic fantasy, and the characters are supposed to be above average citizens in what comes to nerves. Then again, if you choose to play a commoner character, the concept is greatly enriched if you also portray its weaknesses.

I wish I could give a personal example, but I don't have a commoner character. Waywatcher's failings are at intellectual level (not being too bright - and stubborn to boot). In courage, he isn't too lacking. Then again, he does have things he fears, such as Gnomish Technology. He's worried that a Snaponographer or a communication device will steal his soul, and that the Deeprun Tram will take him to some hellish dimension. He has a natural amount of fear against other things as well, such as dark magic. These fears have never yet stopped him from acting, but they've made him very reluctant of performing some duties. He has slowly overcome one fear (flying) during the history of the Ironforge Mountaineers.
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83 Human Priest
960
Hae wouldn't be Human if he didn't feel fear. If the odds look to be against him and he's taken a mauling, you can bet he's going to try and scramble the hell out of there. He tries to set an example to those in his following, though, so to answer the questions: Hae does feel cowardice and fear. But he's equally scared of showing them.

I believe most RPers show reluctance towards playing fear because it draws high amounts of hate towards their character from others, using Jhen's story for an example. If she had sprinted in there like an idiot, public opinion of her would increase. But because she used realism and her character's morals, people criticized her for being an idiot and a disgrace to the watching profession.

A great example of Hae's fear was when he was captured by Dawnherald. He was trying to reason with them because he "thinks that all Light-worshiping races should respect priests". In any normal situation, Hae would've -demanded- some respect from them. But because he feared torture and further capture, he endeavored to appeal to their common sense rather than get himself killed in the process.

"I expected better from a priest of the Light" - He's still Human, and he feels fear. Get over it. Being a priest doesn't make him an unemotional stone.
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88 Human Paladin
7245
My main Trynian is utterly scared of death and being harmed. When surrounded with people he trusts, he'll talk and blame and be brave, but I have often crawled away on all four to get away from a fight, dragged myself through the dirt or offered people gold to leave me alone. Meanwhile he often played a commanding role.


My Wallwrecker characters are less scared. They are meant to be. In return, however, I am prepared to kill them off whenever the situation calls for it.

So if fear of death makes part of my characters, I'll do anything to keep them alive.
If fear does not make a big part of my characters, I'll be a lot more willing to see them die.
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90 Worgen Hunter
14120
04/03/2012 22:29Posted by Jhen
What part do you think bravery or cowardice play in roleplay - either in general, or in a particular character of yours? This could include fear of battle, fear of enemies, fear of death or fear of something else, such as a phobia.


A -very- large part. 99% of the population has fears, I'd say. The truly fearless are -extremely- rare. To face down one's enemies might not be rare, but to have no reservations about doing so makes very little sense for most people. Feranos fights for his faith every day (almost), but not a minute goes by that he doesn't fear failing in his tasks.

04/03/2012 22:29Posted by Jhen
How do your characters portray their fear? Most of the roleplay I've seen surrounding cowardice has a 'funny' slant and seems to be played for comedic effect, but I'd be interested to know if anyone has played it out differently.


Feranos fears his own faith, even though he "knows" it to be true. When he becomes aware that a task he has to do (related to his faith) might not be a success, he freaks out. In addition to that, he also greatly fears trolls and their faith, because the Loa can reaaaally screw with your mind and body, and he got to experience it first hand.

04/03/2012 22:29Posted by Jhen
Why do many characters - even well-played and well-rounded ones - rarely appear to shy away or fear things that are potentially dangerous? Does the setting have an extreme effect upon this?


People are far too eager to roleplay "fearless" characters. But people also fail to understand just how -horrible- some of the things in WoW truly is... I mean, think of the average ghoul. Sure, one one hand it might just kill you. On the other hand, it could also slice open your stomach with it's claws, and while you lie there bleeding and twitching on the ground, it would have all the time in the world (well until you die) to feast on the contents of your guts, prolonging your suffering and leaving you with the nice sensation of being eaten alive. Not a pretty image, is it?

Most "fearless" people are, I'd say, actually far too ignorant and casual about what even a simple creature can do to one person. Saying "oh, the people of Azeroth are used to this" makes no sense. The average farmer or baker does -not- have to actively fight off gnoll raids every day, or watch their relatives be half-way devoured by undead before becoming undead themselves, or even having to deal with crazy fanatics who stalk the streets!

Ignorance of the enemy you face is not the same as being fearless.

04/03/2012 22:29Posted by Jhen
Have your characters ever expected irrational bravery in others, and how would they go about compelling or encouraging it? What is their response to others displaying doubt, anxiety or cowardice?


Feranos worships dark gods, whom he is convinced will, no matter what, one day rise from the bowels of the earth, violate everyone's souls and either drag them into oblivion or raise them into greater, ascended beings. To Fera, to -not- show fear doesn't show that one is brave; but rather that one is so great a coward that they cannot truly bring themselves to comprehend the terrible fates they have in store... To not fear is to either be the greatest coward that ever existed, or to be so blissfully ignorant of the truths inherent in Azeroth, in Fera's eyes.

So Feranos expects people to do their jobs, but he completely understands if they are fearful. He expects people to be sensible and to be aware of just how fine a line they're walking on. If Feranos sees doubts, anxiety or cowardice, he pays it very little mind unless it means they try to flee the scene.

04/03/2012 22:29Posted by Jhen
Have you ever felt pressure to underplay cowardice - either through any pressure applied by others, or to ease the flow of roleplay? If so, how and why?


Yes, I have felt pressure to do so. People expect officers and leaders to be fearless it seems... I'd like to think that Fera's not one of those guys. He fears for his life, his family, his friends and his brothers and sisters of the faith... but more than everything else, he fears the true power of his dark and eldritch gods. He might not always show this, however. While Feranos fears many things, such things are not easily visible... especially since he often wears face-covering helmets when facing his enemies.
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85 Worgen Warlock
9280
As with many things, it's all about balance. I've touched upon my character's fears quite often in a role-playing environment, though never cowardice. I think it's important to piece together things that one's character may be terrified of due to past events whilst ensuring there is room for them to become scared of new threats that emerge.

To use Caelheim as an example, he is fearful of the undead. They - the forsaken - are responsible for killing and injuring many of his friends and neighbours. Some even met the fate of being reanimated and forced to serve the enemy. Then of course there's the grotesque experiments being conducted by their apothecaries and the desecration of his beloved homeland.

He's also terrified of reverting back to a feral state. Whilst he is glad to have gone through the ritual of Tal'doren, a doubt at the back of his mind makes him question whether it will wear off someday.

Oh, and he's pretty scared of spiders as a result of stumbling into the Blackwald and getting bitten by one as a boy. If it wasn't for the intervention of a Harvest Witch who happened to be gathering herbs in the area, he likely would have died then and there.

As a strategist though, he's long since been reserved to the simple fact that he may very well die during a campaign. He isn't keen on dying if he can avoid it, of course - but at the same time he's seen enough horrors since the invasion of Gilneas that he's adjusted to it all.
Edited by Caelheim on 05/03/2012 08:53 GMT
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85 Dwarf Warrior
5830
A peculiar couple of questions!

What part do you think bravery or cowardice play in roleplay - either in general, or in a particular character of yours?


Both Twilight cultists and some of our enemies would know that I hardly ever engage in emote RP. I've...been doing it a lot on my previous character years ago, and grew somewhat tired of it - even though my guild obviously fights a lot.
The solution that I worked out initially was rather simple - Innatus, being an old and revered person in the Cult, simply does not risk his life fighting yet another hero. In most of the situations when our HQ or our processions were attacked, Innatus always fled, sometimes even leaving his "colleagues" to fight for him. I've got a number of tools to roleplay such a disengagement.

With time, this method grew into a whole IC storyline. Only a few chosen cultists have seen Innatus fight or actually use force on anyone (he prefers to order others to use force), so there's always a small discussion within the cult of how strong really Innatus is. Is he just a skilled demagogue with little actual magic? Is he hiding some power behind his mask of a polite Dwarven old fart?

Then again, such a position of mine would be compeltely impossible if not for the great respect of the guild members towards their prophet. ;)
Edited by Innatus on 20/03/2012 22:03 GMT
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85 Blood Elf Paladin
4580
Vandar does not display cowardice openly, but his actions are pretty obvious when looked at. While he's (theoretically) capable of beating most peers in a duel with a blade, he's not going to charge headlong into an army alone or stand against a dozen armoured men if he has a choice. He's an extremely vain character that doesn't show weakness openly - his arrogance would've killed him already if he was as fearless as any other great 'hero'.

It's perfectly normal to be afraid of things, and I can understand a Paladin, say, for not acting like a coward. But a huntsman facing off a huge beast? To quote my Firehail; "When th' tauren start comin', 'ah get runnin'." He's a love for beef when it's dead and on his plate, not encased in half an inch-thick plate armour with a huge axe above its head. Same goes for my rogue, he'd rather go poof when he can't shoot something dead.

I think it's mainly so that nobody wants to portray their character as weak, for the fear of attaining less fame or respect; perhaps something that their character is largely built upon. Or perhaps it's stubborness; they don't want to lose where others will succeed, they want to be famous and have their name shouted in the streets. But at the same time, everyone's focused on the big fight, or event. They get no roleplay if they sit and hide: or at least they're not at the center of attention.

Now I can't think of anything else to write.
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85 Worgen Warlock
9280
I don't think it's to do with a desire for fame, I'd say it's more down to misguided values spawned by the mainstream media. We're effectively brainwashed into believing that the good guy should always win, even though things do not pan out like that in real life, unfortunately.

Though even fiction has long been plagued by that mentality. Sometimes I'll find myself rooting for a well written morally grey villian only to be bitterly disappointed when the cliché 'hero' ends up surviving and overcoming even the most carefully laid of plans set up by his or her enemy.

Same applies to role-play. Sometimes I'll find myself cringing whenever a typical hero arrives to foil the manipulations of the bad guy for the hundredth time.
Edited by Caelheim on 05/03/2012 09:19 GMT
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After reading the whole thread, I've plucked up a few quotes that I thought could lead to the development of the discussion.

05/03/2012 07:46Posted by Waywatcher
Fear and cowardice are among the most difficult things to roleplay, next to getting your own character maliciously ridiculed. That's why most people in this thread go "My character is fearless, but MY MANY ALTS always show fear!"
This actually made me chuckle. It really is 95% true, isn't it? :P I've written three or four things in reply to this now and none of them really seem to 'fit', so I'll give it some more thought and maybe come back to it. I'll gladly open the floor to anyone else that would like to respond with their thoughts on the matter while I get my ponder on.

So if fear of death makes part of my characters, I'll do anything to keep them alive.
If fear does not make a big part of my characters, I'll be a lot more willing to see them die.
An interesting compromise to make, and one I've never really considered before. What do other people think of this?

Only a few chosen cultists have seen Innatus fight or actually use force on anyone (he prefers to order others to use force), so there's always a small discussion within the cult of how strong really Innatus is. Is he just a skilled demagogue with little actual magic? Is he hiding some power behind his mask of a polite Dwarven old fart?

Then again, such a position of mine would be compeltely impossible if not for the great respect of the guild members towards their prophet. ;)
I spent a fair amount of time doing something similar with Cerelia due to my intense dislike of emote fights, her opinions on 'friendly fire' and a few other bits and bobs besides; she surrounded herself with loyal, skilled fighters and generally avoided sparring or extensively scrapping with her kin or allies. This led to some speculation that she's actually not a particularly skilled fighter, although recent clashes with the Horde seem to suggest otherwise and have led to further uncertainties about her motives.

05/03/2012 01:57Posted by Thunderbraid
Though I do have the tendency to have Thunderbraid not react to a raid warning that would normally warrant a somewhat fearful reaction as previously described whilst the rest of the guild does, in order to give off the impression that Thundebraid as a character is in control and provide a solid base for the guild to rally around in order to continue roleplay.
That last part is what interested me actually, and is a little of what I found curious. A couple of people have mentioned toning down their character's urge to run screaming into the distance for fear of seeing melodramatic or distracting from the RP around them. Have other guild leaders, officers or other roleplayers felt compelled to roleplay a cool, calm head in a frightening situation to allow others the freedom to portray their own reactions more fully, or to simply ease the situation on an OOC level?

I've experienced both sides of this, really. Although I wouldn't consider it out-of-character, I'll gladly have Cerelia more confidently stride into a potentially frightening situation if it aids the progression of a DM event and encourages others to move from place to place. On the other hand, OOC comments and complaints that have expected me to contrive bravery while playing Jhenevieve are generally met with a resounding, "No. Please stop pestering me."
Edited by Jhen on 05/03/2012 10:09 GMT
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90 Night Elf Warrior
8185
The issue with fear is, again, nuance. In my opinion. At least shown publically. Some characters do fear, but keep it to themselves, but that essentially makes it seem completely similar to utterly fearless characters. The other end of the spectrum is running away screaming, which maybe IC, but it also essentially shuts you out of whatever roleplay was happening. That is another hurdle to overcome. Do I roleplay my character as I think he/she should be and thus possibly miss out on the rest of the night's events, or do I tone it down and stay with the group. I think a lot of people go for the latter, in such a case. Not only does being fearful lose you respect, but it can lose you a lot of RP, too.

I'll admit that I stick to Nymi's fear being mostly personal, since roleplaying some sort of officer with the urge to run away just isn't a concept I'm all that thrilled with. I'm sure someone could do it, but realistically they wouldn't be an officer very long if that was the case. It has to do with the fact that officers IC are often the same OOC, or even the guild leader. They want to come off as a solid rock, both for the guild's OOC health, and for people to ICly have someone to rally around.
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88 Human Paladin
7245
Effectively, when I played a coward guild leader in a guild that sees quite some evil, there was a coup against me, by an officer who appeared a lot more fearless.

It makes sense for officers to not show fear where they don't expect their members to show fear. Though it's easier to compromise by assuming a very tense or nervous stance, that indicates you're atleast moved in some way about the potential of death.

You can only shut out all signs of fear once you assume a self-destructive position or are overly confident of your abilities. The former is one you normally get once the fighting starts, the latter comes down to arrogance blocking out all the rest.

Or well, I'm sure we've all seen the movies where they say "A hero is not fearless, he's the one who conquers his fear and does what he has to do regardless."
Edited by Barabas on 05/03/2012 10:44 GMT
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04/03/2012 22:29Posted by Jhen
  • What part do you think bravery or cowardice play in roleplay - either in general, or in a particular character of yours? This could include fear of battle, fear of enemies, fear of death or fear of something else, such as a phobia.


  • They have always been pretty integral I think, this is after all a setting revolving around conflict. In the case of Eragorn, he has had many fears throughout his life, age and experience have lessened his reaction to some while increasing his reaction to others.

    04/03/2012 22:29Posted by Jhen
  • How do your characters portray their fear? Most of the roleplay I've seen surrounding cowardice has a 'funny' slant and seems to be played for comedic effect, but I'd be interested to know if anyone has played it out differently.


  • In the past I would portray extreme fears with inaction, hesitation or an obvious inner conflict being represented in facial expressions and body language (Ex; The mere sight of the monstrosity before him turned his mind to ice and his body to stone. ).

    My roleplay has changed somewhat as my character has, as I have only ever really invested in Eragorn here. I've had the opportunity to evolve his character and how he reacts to various things differently as he ages and changes both mentally and physically.

    More abstract and non-immediate fears such as fear of loss are shown through choices, or conflicts of emotion, such as Eragorn's desire to remarry but his refusal due to fear of harm coming to those he cares for and a past where such did occur and he was unable to protect them.

    04/03/2012 22:29Posted by Jhen
  • Why do many characters - even well-played and well-rounded ones - rarely appear to shy away or fear things that are potentially dangerous? Does the setting have an extreme effect upon this?


  • The setting is fairly light and the characters within the lore reflect this, lacking the complexity and darker aspects that you might find in more mature fiction. There is definately an effect from this.

    However I also think the overall maturity of the community, being mostly a younger playerbase, has the added effect of watering down more complex emotions.

    04/03/2012 22:29Posted by Jhen
  • Have your characters ever expected irrational bravery in others, and how would they go about compelling or encouraging it? What is their response to others displaying doubt, anxiety or cowardice?


  • Yes, Eragorn expects irrational bravery from those he respects as warriors or soldiers, because he wants to rely upon them and have them set an example to others.

    04/03/2012 22:29Posted by Jhen
  • Have you ever felt pressure to underplay cowardice - either through any pressure applied by others, or to ease the flow of roleplay? If so, how and why?


  • Certainly, however I try to resist the urge to let convenience dictate my characters response, but sometimes you have to compromise for the sake of others.
    Edited by Eragorn on 05/03/2012 11:21 GMT
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    90 Pandaren Hunter
    6625
  • What part do you think bravery or cowardice play in roleplay - either in general, or in a particular character of yours? This could include fear of battle, fear of enemies, fear of death or fear of something else, such as a phobia.
  • Depends on the character, really. Someone who's been on the front lines or has years of experience in a field where the possibility of death is ever-present is not likely to clam up and panic -- in a place like Stormwind City where crime is sadly rampant and we're constantly sitting on the brink of a civil war of sorts, guards and any remotely militant units would be trained and educated in that fact, whereas people, normal civilians, non-militant units, people who are not trained in battle or forced to engage in such on a regular basis are likely to freak out. But panic has a funny way of poking its ugly head up without proper reason, too.

    To offer a real life example, I used to work in an intense care unit at a major hospital -- stabbings, shot people, people having seizures, all flocking there. The nurses there were obviously trained to receive and tend to such patients yet there was a case where a young man was severely stabbed and bleeding out and one of the more experienced nurses just froze because she herself was a mother to a son around that young man's age. There are many things that factor into fear, even if a person is experienced and "used to" fighting, battles, blood, death, you name it -- it just needs a trigger, perhaps something familiar, something close to the person's heart.

    In Estelle's case, she has no fear of death -- she's deeply spiritual, and believes that there is a "better place"; Heaven if you will; beyond death. Given the fact that medics, priests, druids etc. in the Warcraft setting possess the ability to bring a dead person back to life with relative ease (of course depending on the manner in which one dies), there really is no reason to fear death as far as she's concerned. However, death in a violent manner is often preceded by pain, which I believe is a more viable thing to fear because I don't think most people are too keen on being on the receiving end of pain.

    The only things Estelle is truly afraid of is her daughter or her Lord being harmed. She is perfectly willing to die protecting either of them given they're the last two things she has left in her world.

    Oh, and water. She's afraid of water, because she can't really swim.. and because I, as her player, am terrified of water to a point where I can't do Vashj'ir quests, so... XD

  • How do your characters portray their fear? Most of the roleplay I've seen surrounding cowardice has a 'funny' slant and seems to be played for comedic effect, but I'd be interested to know if anyone has played it out differently.
  • Estelle overreacts and lashes out, which has been witnessed several times when Eragorn's been harmed or she believes he's been harmed. Caution is thrown to the wind and she'll just relentlessly attack until either Eragorn is released or she herself is beaten to submission. The same goes for her protectiveness of her daughter.

  • Why do many characters - even well-played and well-rounded ones - rarely appear to shy away or fear things that are potentially dangerous? Does the setting have an extreme effect upon this?
  • Again, depends on the character. Certain characters have little choice but to face potentially harmful situations. Soldiers, for example, can't really go against the order of their Lord, can they? If they're ordered to fight until the death, it's their sworn duty to do so.

  • Have your characters ever expected irrational bravery in others, and how would they go about compelling or encouraging it? What is their response to others displaying doubt, anxiety or cowardice?
  • Yes, there have been heroic measures taken to rescue Estelle from situations she herself has put herself in, for no valid reason perfect strangers going all gung ho. Estelle is understanding of cowardice and anxiety, but she doesn't really *tolerate* it. She may comfort the person when they have a moment of doubt, but she'll definitely berate them later for it, especially if the person in question is one of the Home Guard. She doesn't tolerate such fatal flaws in her men.

  • Have you ever felt pressure to underplay cowardice - either through any pressure applied by others, or to ease the flow of roleplay? If so, how and why?
  • Not really. Sometimes people whisper me to back down because Estelle's behavior makes no sense when she presses on an irrational attack but I'd hope that the people I RP with and habitually clash with already know Estelle's way in battle and accept it -- in other words, I'm often pressured into being more cowardly. She's relentless until told to back down. It's the way she is, and I don't appreciate people telling me how my character is supposed to react to things just because her behavior doesn't go along with how they want situations to play out.

    I'm not sure if this answered the questions very well, given I'm tired and rambly, but I hope it offered some insight!
    Edited by Estëlle on 05/03/2012 11:43 GMT
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    90 Goblin Priest
    10920
    04/03/2012 22:29Posted by Jhen
  • What part do you think bravery or cowardice play in roleplay - either in general, or in a particular character of yours? This could include fear of battle, fear of enemies, fear of death or fear of something else, such as a phobia.


  • I think cowardice can be quite amusing in roleplay, and I think even with the biggest of battles, it'd be unrealistic or just plain odd, if no characters whatsoever showed any fear for what was coming ahead.

    See with my characters, with my goblins, I portray most of them as being pretty 'hmm, small chance of survival? No gold? Nahhh', with my troll hunter, she's brave in terms of not being scared of huge animals with big claws and teeth, but she's never been in a battle situation.

    When I was Alliance; my warrior Adrastaia was quite 'brave' in terms of arresting them and back-chatting them in RP, but my priest Celeira (Fizz as was) was quite...neutral, and even though she had her dagger, she didn't like to use it and wouldn't really put herself in harms way. She liked the talking side of things rather than the fighting.

    04/03/2012 22:29Posted by Jhen
  • How do your characters portray their fear? Most of the roleplay I've seen surrounding cowardice has a 'funny' slant and seems to be played for comedic effect, but I'd be interested to know if anyone has played it out differently.


  • Carrying on from above; I portray Fizzlaia as being quite, I don't know really, she can be pretty evil in a talkative sort of way, but when it comes to physical violence or battles, she tends to stand well back, perhaps participate if it's necessary and there is a high chance she won't die and will get paid well, but otherwise will make her excuses and disappear. She's quite...vain I suppose, and she's a 'fashion designer' so she's always making nice robes and things, so she hides behind a somewhat dainty persona as a reason for not fighting and being brave.

    Celeira (as was) was not a coward a such, but she preferred talking to fighting and used to be found hiding with Jhen and not wanting to participate. As she was a priest, I used her devout beliefs as an excuse for not taking part and tended to RP healing people up afterwards. If there was a Watch confrontation, she'd stand back and wait for Amarae or some 'brave' Watcher to come save her.

    04/03/2012 22:29Posted by Jhen
  • Why do many characters - even well-played and well-rounded ones - rarely appear to shy away or fear things that are potentially dangerous? Does the setting have an extreme effect upon this?


  • I think people don't like to portray their characters as what they perceive to be 'weak'. Even though, with the Twilights and everything that's happened in the game setting, I think the potential is still there to be scared, but people don't to roleplay it because they have the view that it's not as exciting.

    04/03/2012 22:29Posted by Jhen
  • Have your characters ever expected irrational bravery in others, and how would they go about compelling or encouraging it? What is their response to others displaying doubt, anxiety or cowardice?


  • One of my goblins, Trixlie, is a rogue (literally and figuratively) so she makes fun of cowardly people (IC ofc) calling them a 'mook'. But I think the goblin traits make it more comical than malicious. She expects bravery from orcs and trolls, mainly because they're bigger than she is, so she can't understand why huge people are scared when she's tiny and isn't. However, she does like to wind up Tauren's for being peaceful.

    On the other hand, pretty much every other character I have either displays doubt, anxiety or cowardice themselves, or is the reassuring type, telling others it'll be okay.

    04/03/2012 22:29Posted by Jhen
  • Have you ever felt pressure to underplay cowardice - either through any pressure applied by others, or to ease the flow of roleplay? If so, how and why?


  • Sometimes, occasionally when I was in SCW. Mainly because, what I could never understand (and what I boggled at reading Jhen's initial post about reactions) is why people didn't understand that the Watch really was only there for comical effect and a show of policing around the City. We tried to enforce rules, and arrested people, but usually someone ended up getting hurt and the humour was usually in the mishaps. The amount of times someone threw me in a fountain, or knocked me out with a rolling pin, or made me run in circles round the city on a wild goose chase...that was what the Watch was. I could never understand why people expected the guild to be 'brave' and 'mighty'. It was supposed to be a contrast to the Stormguard in their shiny plate, I mean really, the Watch uniform is -cloth- forcryingoutloud! We were never going to be battle-hardy, even when we got riot-gear before Cata, it wasn't much...a mail chest and a mail coif helm thing. I think sometimes I felt like I had to be 'braver' than I wanted my characters to be, because people didn't really seem to understand what we were about. And that was a shame, I liked the dysfunctional set up!
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    90 Night Elf Mage
    0
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but shouldn't all characters be afraid of something? Fear is a natural feeling and a 100% "brave" and "fearless" character is in my opinion a sociopath.


    Back to the topic!

    04/03/2012 22:29Posted by Jhen
    What part do you think bravery or cowardice play in roleplay - either in general, or in a particular character of yours? This could include fear of battle, fear of enemies, fear of death or fear of something else, such as a phobia.


    Irrational bravery -in my opinion- just kills all realistic elements in some role play.

    Example: The bleak sigil role players gave an excellent example in this case (and it made the event so great), every single one of us was terrified (but showed the others that they weren't), what if all of us were brave and didn't give a damn? It would have made the event and the story so obsolete and petty.

    Fear however is used to add depth to a story or RP, it shows the magnitude of a situation, I'm not talking about silly fear or comic relief induced fear.

    Example: In Alethia Mystral was so afraid of death that she did things (you know what things, Jhen ;) ) to avoid this fate that felt inevitable.



    04/03/2012 22:29Posted by Jhen
    How do your characters portray their fear? Most of the roleplay I've seen surrounding cowardice has a 'funny' slant and seems to be played for comedic effect, but I'd be interested to know if anyone has played it out differently.


    Mystral lies to herself and those around her when she's afraid, by pretending to be fearless herself, she also prays out loud, but if things get real it's fight or flight! (Then blaming someone else).

    04/03/2012 22:29Posted by Jhen
    Why do many characters - even well-played and well-rounded ones - rarely appear to shy away or fear things that are potentially dangerous? Does the setting have an extreme effect upon this?


    In my opinion, it either a failure to understand the setting itself ("An old god?" *laughs* "I'm Mystral FFS, they stand no chance") Or fear of public opinion ("I know that an old god is something so terrible and evil and powerful but they'll make fun of me if I panicked! So I'll just smile and nod").

    Another thing that was so well played by the RPers I've met in the bleak sigil was subtle fear (see what I wrote above).




    04/03/2012 22:29Posted by Jhen
    Have your characters ever expected irrational bravery in others, and how would they go about compelling or encouraging it? What is their response to others displaying doubt, anxiety or cowardice?

    Irrational bravery is something so idiotic in Mystral's opinion, she'll try to discourage it (or encourage it, if she hates your character).
    Mystral is a hypocrite, so she'll tell people that they're cowards and whatever, on rare occasions she'll play the comforting maternal stereotype.

    04/03/2012 22:29Posted by Jhen
    Have you ever felt pressure to underplay cowardice - either through any pressure applied by others, or to ease the flow of roleplay? If so, how and why?


    Yes >.<, I felt pressure to act in a more subtle manner (even when surrounded by walking horrors and certain death), I felt pressure that I must match certain role players' footsteps in dealing with dangers (who just didn't give a damn) and I felt pressure to create fear emotions that weren't silly and comical.
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    90 Human Warrior
    11545
    A lot of the characters I choose to play with these days are horrified by events that unfold around them and react to it in different ways.

    There is the worgen who became entirely mute because of the traumas he faced, the priest who seemed to be so afraid of his own nature that he lashed out and killed a man who was being tortured, the ranger who was so concerned about her companions that she broke down and wept.

    The biggest compliment you can pay a storyteller is to have your character cry during their event.
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    88 Human Priest
    7435
    Picking up on the leadership point:


    Though I do have the tendency to have Thunderbraid not react to a raid warning that would normally warrant a somewhat fearful reaction as previously described whilst the rest of the guild does, in order to give off the impression that Thundebraid as a character is in control and provide a solid base for the guild to rally around in order to continue roleplay.


    That last part is what interested me actually, and is a little of what I found curious. A couple of people have mentioned toning down their character's urge to run screaming into the distance for fear of seeing melodramatic or distracting from the RP around them. Have other guild leaders, officers or other roleplayers felt compelled to roleplay a cool, calm head in a frightening situation to allow others the freedom to portray their own reactions more fully, or to simply ease the situation on an OOC level?

    I've experienced both sides of this, really. Although I wouldn't consider it out-of-character, I'll gladly have Cerelia more confidently stride into a potentially frightening situation if it aids the progression of a DM event and encourages others to move from place to place. On the other hand, OOC comments and complaints that have expected me to contrive bravery while playing Jhenevieve are generally met with a resounding, "No. Please stop pestering me."


    Personally I tend to prefer the opposite. As a leader, instead of staying calm, confident and fearless in the face of danger I think that it can be very helpful to show concern and fear. Not only does it act as a guide of sorts to the other members on how to react to something, but also eliminates their worry of being seen as too weak, cowardly and/or dramatic - if the leader can be like it, then I don't have to worry and can RP my character how he should be played.
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    90 Night Elf Death Knight
    9835
    Bravery and cowardice are two ways to deal with fear. Bravery is when are able to fight for what you love, in fear of loosing it. Cowardice is when you don't have that ability to fight.

    If you fear that the human kingdom will fall, then you in your bravery will defend it, or in your cowardice will ignore it.

    If you fear that your best friend is slowly being corrupted by the Old Gods, then you shall confront him in your bravery to see if he is still safe, or in your cowardice you shall ignore it.

    What a lot of people take as a coward is someone running away from the battle as it is about to begin. Often they think that's because he doesn't dare to face the orcs, or the undead or the rest of the Horde, but that's not true. He fears because he feels that he's about to loose something he loves; his life.

    All fear stems from that fact. Fear is a reaction of your brain only there to protect yourself. The only difference between bravery and cowardice is; how do you answer the call of fear?

    Will you fight, or will you flee?

    When someone asks you this, you try to think of the best of those two actions. If you don't think that, then you do not value your life. Simple as that. Always being brave (always fighting) is a flaw. Always being a coward (always fleeing) is a flaw, but when directly in between, always choosing the right one of when to fight or when to flee, is not a flaw.

    I see allot of you discuss about people never fleeing. It's simple why they don't do it; They do not value the lives of their characters, and why should they? They're not real lives! A good roleplayer does understand his/her character's position and -will- make the right choice to fight or flee, because they understand that to their character, there do is a way to die.
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    In my past experience (as a stagehand and occasional spear carrier in amateur theatre) any competent actor can play the hero, it takes real talent to believably portray fear, cowardice or a broken spirit.

    Roleplay is a form of acting that falls within the category of improvisation. If someone chooses to play a character in such a light and does it well they should be lauded (OOC of course). Anyone trying it for the first time should prepare beforehand to react to negative IC queues from other roleplayers, it's a natural part of the improvisation. Soldiers, militia and citizenry alike are unlikely to react well to unexpected displays of fear or cowardice; though they might react symathetically to someone who is well known to them if that character is known to have a broken spirit as a result of a traumatic experience. Experienced healers will have seen the results of trauma many times and are most likely to be sympathetic in all cases; whereas inexperienced healers are liable to be just as judgemental as the common soldier or ordinary bystander.

    If you want mostly negative reaction make your first display of fear or cowardice unexpected. If you want a mixture of negative and sympathetic reactions establish the basis for your behaviour in advance.

    But most of all have fun. You're not getting paid to do it so make damn sure you enjoy it :)
    Edited by Panamat on 05/03/2012 15:52 GMT
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    85 Night Elf Rogue
    3115
    I enjoy role playing fright both humorously and seriously, but unfortunately feel that playing the fearful character is sometimes selfish.

    Of course a compelling character has fears, in my opinion fear belongs in any storytelling as it's one of the most basic emotions, but I feel that to be the frightened character in a role playing situation is selfish because it kind of demands the general attention of others to your character, more so than some other things.

    A frightened character needs encouragement, support and consolation, or deserves to be mocked, or must be commanded back to the line and collect themselves, and to "demand" other characters to give such attention to one's character by RPing fearful is not something I always feel comfortable role playing, especially with people I don't know.
    Though of course, role play is based on different interactions between characters, so there shouldn't be anything wrong about this, but maybe it's just the way fright makes your character the center of the RP for the moment, that makes it seem selfish.


    Fingon seeks to hide his fears as much as he can, as he doesn't want to be stamped a coward. He highly values other's opinions of himself, and tries to hide his weaknesses even if sometimes they are glaring obvious, so he doesn't always succeed in acting brave either.
    He doesn't fear many things, thought. Not a battle, certainly, not even one against impossible odds, but avoids getting into such situations of course, because choosing not to fight when chances to win seem low is only logical, but there is no fear involved in fleeing such battle.
    Though when he isn't afraid he can be foolishly brave, or stubborn, or just willing to show off, and might even take a chance with fate if he knows people he wants to impress are watching.
    What he fears then, is hostile things he doesn't understand and doesn't know how to fight: ghosts, forces of magic, and the like. Fingon is a highly logical person, and if he knows he can kill it with the tools at hand, he doesn't need to fear them. Problems arise when he doesn't know how to fight something. This is also why he hates it when he gets sneaked up to: he dislikes surprises, he can't repel that which he couldn't see coming. Also a reason he has honed his senses to spot hidden enemies, and be always highly aware of his surroundings. An invisible enemy strikes anxiety in him more than a visible rampaging gronn.
    Then there's his moderate fear of losing control in certain kind of situations.
    He also has an intense fear of something more specific, relatable to phobias, as it is more illogical fear born of trauma.
    Edited by Fìngon on 05/03/2012 16:17 GMT
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