A message to elitist RP'ers regarding headcanon

Argent Dawn
02/11/2018 13:25Posted by Chíeun
The lore is a platform. Be mindful of it and you can build wonderful things on top, but break it and it all falls apart.

The difference between breaking and building is a subjective one, sadly. Someone's pretty little headcanon built upon the lore will always be seen by someone else as a horrible delusion that shatters the lore.

All you can ever do is try to stick to a perception of the lore that satisfies the people that you like to roleplay with and try to maintain your suspension of disbelief whenever you roleplay with people that perceive the lore in a different way to you. If suspension of disbelief is impossible, then the only sensible course of action is to part ways and refuse to acknowledge or participate in each other's roleplay.

Roleplaying requires tolerance, respect and consent from everyone involved. Once any of those are taken away, it transforms into something awful.
02/11/2018 11:13Posted by Xianhe
tl;dr


TL;DR.
02/11/2018 13:55Posted by Zasnok
I'm kinda wondering, was there any specific event that made you write this thread? Genuinely curious.


I believe it's from Avaraak's Arakkoa thread in which an accumulation of questions and answers surrounding "Why is your Arakkoa Alliance and not Horde" that got Bertel to make this thread... I think that was the trigger but i'm pretty sure the powder has been accumulated from other sources than the Arakkoa announcement thread.

I'm pretty much of both sides... I can accept headcanons as long as they don't go against the very foundations of the lore it's inspired from... But I certainly won't accept any silly concept either because someone just felt like being a special snowflake among special snowflakes .
Just to throw in my own two cents, I think a lot of it boils down to common sense. Obviously canon lore can’t describe everything happening across Azeroth at any given time, so it generally falls to us to fill in the blanks.

In terms of RP, everything is headcanon, just to different degrees. Brandelwyn Brassfizzle isn’t an official canon character and never will be, neither will the hundreds of other characters on AD. This isn’t to invalidate RP, but just a reminder that even the most devout lore following characters will still, technically, be headcanon.

Of course, the fact you can RP anything is a big old double edged sword. One of the more amusing examples I’ve seen was a fal’dorei in Stormwind who would ignore anyone rightfully distressed about the matter IC; while there’s no explicit passage that says that King Anduin passed a law that banned fal’dorei from entering Stormwind, common sense dictates that as a universally hostile race they wouldn’t be welcome.

Something more reasonable I’ve seen in the realms of “headcanon-ish” RP was a pair of goblin traders, also in Stormwind. While this might seem a tad outlandish, the fact that goblin vendors can be seen in Alliance cities and the fact that the entire Steamwheedle Cartel is/was unaffiliated with the Horde made the existence of these goblins reasonable enough, and the RP that stemmed from them being around was fun.

Going back to Bertel’s example of the arakkoa, I think this is an example of a good headcanon that can bring a bit of life and diversity to the city. Arakkoa refugees are present in Shattrath and are neutral with no apparent bias to either faction, meaning that the Alliance would probably have no reason to be hostile towards them. Stormwind, as a large trade capital, is a desirable place for travellers to visit, and I find it unlikely that civilian members of non-Horde neutral races would be denied passage as visitors.

At the end of the day, the Warcraft universe is vast and diverse, and it’s always cool to see that represented. But when playing an exotic race and concept, make sure you can justify it without mental gymnastics or saying that “<Lore Character> allowed it” when it never happened in canon.
02/11/2018 13:55Posted by Zasnok
I'm kinda wondering, was there any specific event that made you write this thread? Genuinely curious.


As I actually did mention in my OP it's basically a slightly rewritten reply to another thread, originally written as response to a post in the Arakoa thread, though the post I replied to was rather sober and reasonable formulated, and in fact not anything like the zealot hellfire and purging promising Chosen Champion of Good RP responses that pops up from time to time in various threads.

Just got me thinking about the issue in general and thought I had some valid points on the matter to offer.
I think the largest problem regarding headcanon in RP isn't some overwrought diatribe about how bad it is, but rather the lack of consistency that it can create among players. This is especially true when it comes to server lore (which AD generally angrily opposes), where it's simply impossible to make sure everyone is both aware of the lore and agrees to it.

In small groups, where it's not forced on anyone else and it doesn't intrude on the canon, I think it's perfectly fine. It can add flavour to the RP and helps to flesh out a world that Blizzard very rarely does well. But when it gets to the point where it's clearly contradictory to the actual canon, then it becomes something to avoid.

But mostly, live and let live. We all play for fun.
02/11/2018 12:36Posted by Bertel
02/11/2018 12:16Posted by Nerathion
I cannot speak for other areas of RP, but I know Night Elf RP has been plagued with wild headcanons that make no sense, or attempt to be flavourful and enriching to the scene while instead becomes just wildly tangential to the actual lore.

And I don't think that's 'good RP'. I'd define it as if you had to go into the grey area, you wouldn't stray too far and instead add tidbits that make sense. Excusing yourself with the 'well it's the grey area, you can't say it doesn't exist!!' is also poor - equally you cannot prove it does exist.

In my opinion, filling out the gaps is fine, and a lot do more than just fill it. They overflow the gaps until the canon is hidden. Restrictions don't mean you cannot be creative. You absolutely can, and restrictions can be helpful as well. Endless freedom is a source for the dumbest of ideas.

In the end though, we all pay the same amount for the game. If you want to role play as a new member of some new made-up dragonflight with hi-tech weaponry, go for it. If you want to be an Archdruid who can blow up cities, so be it. That doesn't mean I have to accept you, and you don't have to accept me. It just happens that the majority usually doesn't want to accept you either.


My point is not that restrictions are bad, my point is that you should see them as a supportive framework rather than restrictions.
Without that common framework role playing would become impossible.
It is what makes it possible for us to play together and interact with each other in the same world, having the same basic references, after all.

I also agree with you that head canon can definitely be taken too far (though I am quite sure I already made it perfectly clear in my OP that I was talking about well founded headcanon), but doesn't agree that you at all costs should avoid elaborating on lore that is not specifically and officially pinned out.
Not doing so contradicts the very fact you agree on yourself, that you are sometimes forced to fill out gaps with your own applied imagination and logic and make decisions based on inconsistent official lore in order to even be able to RP properly in WoW.

Of course any such elaboration should never contradict the proper consistent official lore that we do have, but I honestly don't see an issue with making up new lore as long as it builds on a foundation of logic and common sense applied to already existing official lore and otherwise fit well into the WoW universe.

In fact I consider such additions valuable and welcome contributions.


But to my knowledge, there are no 'good RPers' who object to well-founded and tasteful headcanon. Small tidbits, events and places, objects and stories, list goes on - neither headcanon itself or the goodRPers are a problem when it comes to the type of headcanon you're championing for. No one is 100% stuck in the canon lore, and I've seen no one thus far.

You could even argue that by roleplaying our characters themselves, that already isn't canon - unless you're RPing as a NPC, and that often can be badRP instead.
02/11/2018 11:36Posted by Hârold
02/11/2018 11:13Posted by Xianhe
tl;dr


101 how to be a douche when someone tries to make a point on a well known issue.

Keep on your good work Bertel.


When writing a long slab of text it's proper form to include a summary at the end.
Expecting that isn't douchey in the slightest.
I blame the night elves! They started the lore downfall with female druids and male priests. Blasphemy...
<span class="truncated">...</span>

My point is not that restrictions are bad, my point is that you should see them as a supportive framework rather than restrictions.
Without that common framework role playing would become impossible.
It is what makes it possible for us to play together and interact with each other in the same world, having the same basic references, after all.

I also agree with you that head canon can definitely be taken too far (though I am quite sure I already made it perfectly clear in my OP that I was talking about well founded headcanon), but doesn't agree that you at all costs should avoid elaborating on lore that is not specifically and officially pinned out.
Not doing so contradicts the very fact you agree on yourself, that you are sometimes forced to fill out gaps with your own applied imagination and logic and make decisions based on inconsistent official lore in order to even be able to RP properly in WoW.

Of course any such elaboration should never contradict the proper consistent official lore that we do have, but I honestly don't see an issue with making up new lore as long as it builds on a foundation of logic and common sense applied to already existing official lore and otherwise fit well into the WoW universe.

In fact I consider such additions valuable and welcome contributions.


But to my knowledge, there are no 'good RPers' who object to well-founded and tasteful headcanon. Small tidbits, events and places, objects and stories, list goes on - neither headcanon itself or the goodRPers are a problem when it comes to the type of headcanon you're championing for. No one is 100% stuck in the canon lore, and I've seen no one thus far.

You could even argue that by roleplaying our characters themselves, that already isn't canon - unless you're RPing as a NPC, and that often can be badRP instead.


Agree with what you say there, all except for the part about no one objecting over well founded and thought out headcanon.

It happens, and did in fact happen in the thread I originally posted my OP in as a reply to one of those objections, even if it being one of the more civil and non aggressive objections of it's kind.

<span class="truncated">...</span>

101 how to be a douche when someone tries to make a point on a well known issue.

Keep on your good work Bertel.


When writing a long slab of text it's proper form to include a summary at the end.
Expecting that isn't douchey in the slightest.


Yes, when you write an essay, doctorate or similar containing a lot of pages, eventual also having a highly complex and advanced theoretical content, it is.

Not when you write an otherwise well arranged forum post with proper paragraphs, space and grammar containing merely 28 lines.

Hell, even newspaper and magazine articles spanning over several pages usually doesn't end with a summary, unless being a review or something similar where it would make sense.

Books usually doesn't come with a summary either and if they do it will usually be considerably longer than my entire post.
There is no solution most roleplayers have a headcanon which they believe is correct. The issues and all the drama flares up when different headcanon clashes and people become less-than-friendly with their discussions and arguments.
I think the best way to handle this is unfortunately simply enough not to seek roleplay with that person or that group, I know it doesn’t fix anything but that’s all what can be done.

One way I can imagine to fix this would be by server-based lore and that’s something I believe Argent Dawn is not really interested about, it would require a certain consistency between guilds and that needs actual cooperation (without OOC divas ruining it) and it is also very time consuming.

I know that a lot of people are already using past player-made events in their roleplay (which is by all means headcanon) which makes every clash about headcanon between roleplayers rather silly because roleplay is fanfiction.

What I want in my own RP’s is that lore is followed as much as possible – but also playing with the lore to a limit to keep things interesting (I have no interest in Game of Thrones in World of Warcraft).

So the current best solution is simply to find a group of people, whatever it be guilds, friends or whatever that wants the same thing as you and stick to them (while also remain open for new people and welcome them).
Normally I'm pretty open to alot of weird concepts, but when I saw the "Half Cow/Half Draenei" in Stormwind who was looking to be "milked", I lost it.

There's border that are not to be crossed.

PS: Do not play LotR/Warhammer characters. That's what has cursed other rp realms to death.
When it comes to head cannon, the way i see it all our characters and there actions are technically head cannon. Roleplay is about immersing ourselves in a fantasy environment and being someone else for a while. Most of the "goodrp" brigade tend to be people that want to make others fit there box, there very tight and uninteresting, filled with plot holes and changed on a whim box. But if you look outside the box you will find the fun and interesting. Yes stick to lore as it's presented but don't stick to it like glue. I may not like Chiuen but she's right the lore is the framework to build your own interesting and fun character. People have a go at me all time because "plush don't exist", or "Radios don't exist" in the lore. But to be honest what do they detract from the fun i am creating for others with Telia's plush? Whats wrong with having a goblin made radio to scream help down when some twit thinks attacking a kids a good idea? If you stay close to the lore and use it as a building block you can create some wonderful roleplay experiences! The hard part is finding the balance. But if you do, the world is your oyster!
While I am not a big fan of people invoking headcanon (Looking at you, Server Headcanon), I do think it is something that could be looked at and waved at with an unsure expression.

I am probably not gonna mind too much seeing an Arakkoa walking around, because there were neutral Arakkoa in Outland and also in Draenor, so there's a good chance one or two might've slipped through the portals, but I am gonna be suspicious of seeing people trying to bring in elements from outside of the game and try to implement them as something that could actually exist.

Popular example would be trying to suggest that your weapon/armor was crafted by a super rare mineral that totally exists, but was never documented somehow. Meanwhile the person saying this is a pretty low-key noble type of character, and not a guy who has access to a Trade Prince's vault that could afford something to be custom-made for him out of a rare mineral. I mean yeah it probably isn't out of the realms of possibility, but a lot of people really pull it off poorly.

Ultimately, I follow this kind of rule: Do whatever you wish, as long as it has a good explanation for it, and isn't conjured from someone's fever dream.
What I see head cannons, as Chieun said, lore is base. Build it from there.

Of course, you shouldn't go absurd levels with it. Something small. It brings great RP all together. It can be expanded to some level. Not to "Yes, my Death Knight can shoot light without getting hurt by it!" cause lets be honest, why?

What I mean is "Yes, I am death knight and I believe in light but it won't answer me. Glory to light!" Might be bad example but still, example. If goes levels of good, it can go.
head cannon

...go boom?
02/11/2018 18:17Posted by Leachlainn
I blame the night elves! They started the lore downfall with female druids and male priests. Blasphemy...
But you....
There is a difference between filling in the blanks, which is all headcannon should ever be, and making your own lore up:

How do DH's sheath their glaives on their back, crossed over? Who knows! It makes no sense that they can but they can so if you wanna say your character uses magic to do it or just uses leather straps, go wild.

Horde aligned High Elf born on Pandaria and part of the Shado-Pan? No. That isn't filling in the blanks. That's straight up bad.

Lore is permissive. It tells us what is and can be, and the fact there's nothing saying something could not happen is not evidence for that thing being possible or happening. It's like Russell's Teapot:

If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense.


Telling me that because there's nothing saying you can't do X in WoW means you can do X in WoW is simply incorrect. And regarding the Arrakoa issue that this thread was originally in reply to... Having Arrakoa on Azeroth, let alone in either of the factions, is not "filling in the blanks."

Until anyone can cite me a source saying there are Arrakoa on Azeroth then you aren't just headcannon-ing, you're going against the lore.
03/11/2018 15:08Posted by Lonecreek
Having Arrakoa on Azeroth, let alone in either of the factions, is not "filling in the blanks."

Until anyone can cite me a source saying there are Arrakoa on Azeroth then you aren't just headcannon-ing, you're going against the lore.


What about my proposed idea that an Arakkoa could've stumbled on to a portal and found themselves on Azeroth, or met a friendly Mage willing to teleport them there? No? Oh, okay then, so unless Blizzard say so, then it will be legit...

Well... Here's something for you. Arakkoa on Azeroth Land. https://www.wowhead.com/npc=55181/arakkoa-visitor

You could try to debunk this by saying that Darkmoon Island isn't part of Azeroth and it's part of some pocket dimension, but I doubt that. Because I haven't seen anyone mention that the Darkmoon Island is in some alternate dimension, and... Well... The place may be magical and mysterious in nature, but it's hard to believe that it's anything beyond that.

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