The Basics #2: Live, Laugh… And Love
Setting is extremely important for your character’s immediate needs - a transformer doesn’t exactly need to eat food every few hours, while a human will typically, at the minimum, complain about how hungry they are. No matter how you run things, the realistic expectations for bodily necessity are going to be stretched whether you are a player or a GM, so don’t go overboard on making sure everyone’s had exactly eight hours of sleep and uses the restroom twice a day.
There’s other things you don’t want to go crazy with, like… Um, like eating! Yeah, you don’t want to… Y’know, make your characters have hunger fatigue unless that’s a key element of the story. Because if you’re in a post-apocalyptic survival setting that might apply, but if you’re in Bob’s Medieval RPG That Has Elves it might be less applicable.
And uh, what else, what else… Oh, you can’t forget about, um… Sleep! Yes, sleep is for the weak, and unless you’re playing a self-insert you’ll need it before too long! But you’d be surprised how long your characters can go on if they aren’t aware of the passage of time. If they’re underground, exploring the ruins of an ancient temple, they could be down there for many, many ‘hours’ only to reappear later on with no hunger, no weariness, etc. It’s all how you decide to manage it, GMs.
Uh… There’s gotta be something else… Wait, what about character sheets? No, I already did that sort of. Combat? I already gave a brief overview. Uh… Um… Oh, I know!
So, you know how, uh, there are, y’know, NPCs? Characters you as the player can’t control? Well… You have to be careful not… To, um… Since the GM might not have time, and, uh…
Alright, we have to talk about it. How do you properly write a love scene? Do you plan it with the other player? Is it really awkward if you’re both bros or something, writing opposite sides of a romantic endeavor about two love-crazy peas in a pod? A pod which happens to be situated in an RP about having the most amount of people die in the shortest amount of time? (There’s a couple like that on the boards currently and I’m in them both)
Well, the short answer is… You don’t. Trying to make a love scene occur is almost always going to force an extremely skewed romantic endeavor and make you look like you’ve never had a girlfriend (It’s okay, we know you haven’t). If one occurs at all, it’ll be a natural process of the characters interacting - which, by the way, hardly ever leads to romantic endeavors. If it occurs, though, you won’t have to debate with the other player as to how it’d turn out - write things naturally and have the character react as he would in such a circumstance.
Hey Kyle, how’d you like to be part of a social experiment where I give you a love interest and then pretend it never happened? You wouldn’t? Well, that’s just too bad!
Kyle’s girlfriend, Kylie (the naming department at Ghid Inc. was cut due to how good of a job I’m doing) wants to have a romantic chit-chat. She’s begun by mentioning how the stars are so pretty right now. What does Kyle do?
Kyle kissed her on the lips. “Marry me.” He said, his rock-hard abs glistening in the moonlight even though he was wearing a perfectly modest shirt the entire time.
Boy, are we off to a fun start.
Okay, I think the point about the difficulties in such an endeavor has gotten across well enough. But how do you write the… Other kind of romantic endeavor? The one where there’s no happily ever after, no lasting bond, no positive outcome at all.
You’ve got two characters, Kyle and Kylie- stop looking at me like that, Kyle. You flubbed your only opportunity at a happy marriage and it’s definitely not my fault, so shut up. Kyle and Kylie have been going strong for a while now, and Kylie had the utmost audacity to realize Kyle is a big jerk and she doesn’t want him anymore.
Kyle leaned forward, his hands trembling. “But I want to be with you.” He whispered, trying to find his voice. “We were the only ones for each other - you said that!”
Kylie turned away, bitterly wiping a tear off her eye. “That was before I realized how rotten you are. You’ve stolen from people your entire life… You’ve even killed some of them! No, Kyle, it’s over!”
With a muffled sob she rushed back to the camp, leaving Kyle alone with his thoughts. He had been royally dumped.
And so he had. But now what does he do?
He’s a smooth-talking, cocky, evasive young elf-man who’s very used to hiding behind that mask of charisma. With that cracked, now would be an excellent time to show what kind of low Kyle’s emotions can reach. Go ahead, Kyle.
Kyle froze in place and tears ran down his face.
Ugh… Kyle, if you won’t, I will.
Kyle’s trembling hands slowly contracted to his chest as his heart collapsed. Here was his big chance - his one shot - and the fatal slip had been… His entire life.
How was he to know that his misgivings and petty thievery would keep him from the love of his life? Moreover, how was he supposed to move on? He had promised her a piece of his heart… She took it with her when she left him. And there in the gloom of the forest, the distant campfire waned thin, the tears in his eyes distorting his vision.
His hands caught the drops of blue as they fell. His tongue turned to stone in his mouth. She was gone.
Now what did that tell you? Nothing! Get played, foolish reader!
Okay, it actually did tell you nothing. But it’s the exact same as the post directly above it, and guess what? It’s fun to read. Yes I’m continuing the point I already said I had covered shut up
More specifically, that earlier point - that posts should always be full and rich with content, that you should never say something basic when it can be complex - applies to every single circumstance you’re in. No matter if your character is fighting, walking, talking, eating, sleeping, living, dying, or already dead! There is no limitation to your ability to fully describe a scenario beyond your own ability to do so.
So how do you write a love scene, or a heartbreak scene, or any romantic endeavor? You write it interesting! If it sounds like a literary work, you’ve done it well. And if it blossoms or falls - you win either way.