I had a very strange dream the other night that has inspired a series about role-playing in general. This is a useful series, since part of the goal of Mind Weave is to create a play environment where most of the game mechanics are handled by a program. This frees up the players and GMs (Master Weavers) to become more immersed in their characters and spend more time role-playing in character.
To that end, players in Mind Weave are going to get a lot more enjoyment from the game if they have more interesting characters. The purpose of this series is to help players know how to make their characters more interesting to interact with, that way we all have more fun.
One part of the role-playing series will be how to role-play the character’s emotions. This week I choose being angry because in the dream certain non-human characters were being angry with each other in interesting ways. At first I considered including the idea in a Mind Weave Race post, but decided it was too general and better covered in this kind of a context. Today we will discuss anger.
A lot of players only role-play anger in one way: violent, shouting, attacking rage. While this is certainly a common and archetypal reaction, only a small percentage of people often react in this way. I guarantee that other people get angry, so it is worth asking how they get angry. In our discussion today we will consider two kinds of anger: instantaneous reactionary anger and extended feuding.
This is the kind of anger your character might be expected to display in reaction to isolated acts: getting cut off in traffic, having his purse stolen, being swindled by a shop keeper, being insulted by a street urchin, being snubbed by a prostitute, losing an arm wrestling contest, and so on. Creative ways to express reactionary anger include:
- Shouting and gesticulation
- Brooding silence
- Empty threats
- Breaking things
- Crying or otherwise becoming emotional
- Becoming confrontational and defensive
- Holding it in until a later trigger
- Petitioning a deity to smite/curse the offender
- Declaring short-lived fueds
Reactionary anger is either toward a stranger the character will not likely meet again or toward someone the character will quickly forgive when the moment has passed.
This is the one that came up in my dream. Extended feuding is what your character does when he really loathes another person. Many people role-play feuding with a long string of reactionary anger outbursts. More realistic feuds are much more interesting:
- Not using the feudee’s name (e.g. “A certain elf fell asleep on his watch.” or “Good work, rogue.”)
- Hiding the feudee’s things and/or replacing them with insulting substitutes (e.g. replacing an enchanted sword with a shoddy orc sword, replacing a helmet with rotting vegetables, or replacing gold coins with copper ones)
- Desecrating the feudee’s things (e.g. inverting holy symbols, painting things in blood, defecating in them)
- Doubting the feudee’s abilities
- Refusing to be alone with the feudee
- When the party splits, always go with the group without the feudee
- Repeatedly recount the event that triggered the feud (e.g. “Try not to poison dart any friends.” or “Don’t get caught deceiving them this time.”)
- Refusing to speak with or acknowledge the feudee
- Sabotaging efforts on the part of the feudee
- Bad mouthing the feudee to others
- Constantly criticizing the feudee
- Demanding satisfaction in the form of a duel or other repayment
- Refusing to allow the feudee to borrow things (especially within the party)
- Repeatedly imploring a deity to smite/curse the feudee
- Plotting to kill the feudee (and maybe succeeding)
Extended feuding is probably directed toward someone the character knows well and encounters often. It can often be an ally or even a party member. The feuders can usually still work together, but sometimes tensions can get in the way.
Was this helpful? Let us know in the comments below. Can you think of other ways to show reactionary anger or extended feuding? Other types of anger? Please share them below!