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What do you do when you feel like it's a dead-end?

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I'm sure everyone gets that feeling sometimes. I've kinda hit it too at the moment. 

Where they feel like they've let their character go stagnant. Maybe you've started to doubt your own ability, maybe you just don't feel your character's involved enough. Maybe you just don't like the way they turned out, in the end. 


So what do you do when you hit this point? What's the best option, really? Retconning is unfair to others. 


Killing off the character is a viable option, and will enable you to fantasia/name change to something new. 


Searching and finding it difficult to find anything involving to get into is one of the worst feelings; where you particularly don't feel very good about any of the potential prospects. You odn't feel like you can interact with others. You start to feel like your character just doesn't have any way of interacting. 


So I suppose I should ask, what do you guys do when you get to this point? Anyone with advice would be more than welcomed.

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I think the first thing to do is look at why you feel that way. Have you written yourself into a corner? Is it a case of writer's block? Are you burnt out on the game? Does something about your character make it hard for you to find role-play hooks? Have bad experiences made you reluctant to interact with others and seek out new connections? Are the people around you or the role-play in XIV just not delivering what you're wanting out of role-play?


Feeling stuck is a symptom. Knowing the best way to fix it involves determining the cause.

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I've experienced that years ago with my main on another game. If you don't want to just kill off your character then there's a symbolic death/renewal you can do ~ see if you can organize a meeting with someone's character knowing that this character will be able to bring major changes for your character to adapt, evolve and become someone different. 


It's always better if this evolution happens when you let other characters improvise and lead you in a way you might have not imagine, but if you don't have any joy anymore to play your character then maybe you can figure things out to justify a turning point in its life you would fancy.


Maybe if you share details on your character's story people would have suggestions for you to consider?

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I've definitely felt this way about Steel. I took a hard look at what was making me unhappy, and then tried to throw myself at the problem.


In my case, it's general comfort with item level and not caring about the grind that's led me to a state of stagnation. So, if adventure can't be found in-game, then I figured the best way is to make adventures happen for my character. Specifically, force myself in to things that might be going on with my FC, or make some connections that would bring my character the sort of adventures she craves.


I also, personally, found running an alt or an entirely different game to be a nice bite of ginger, so to speak. A palate cleanser to recharge and refocus might be just the thing the doctor ordered...and if things are as stagnant as you say, then people won't notice your disappearance anyway. Which can make your return even more impactful.

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I try to expand on the character more.


I'll pitch moral dilemmas or such and try to work out the character's reaction. I'll likely do this multiple times with multiple situations. Once I feel that an area of them has been sufficiently fleshed out, I try to brainstorm a plot, encounter, or dialogue that would lead my character to discuss or display the expanded traits or beliefs.


If the problem is more deep-seated in that you don't like the character concept, try to gradually shift it. Even if you continue to dislike the concept, if you're attached enough to the character to not discard them then you may be able to find a middle-ground where you're comfortable with playing their present personality.

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Usually, I take a step back from the character and try to consider another angle for them that make use of the connections and activities I've already had them play.


For instance, when I was just starting out with free form forum RP, I played in an X-Men game, though I actually didn't know that much about Marvel comics other than the basics. I had to study up considerably to be familiar with various characters and references to things that happened. Since all the characters were young, naturally, my first angle was "A skeptic who sees the X-Men as child soldiers and slowly comes around to Xavier's ideals." When I managed to play that out, I looked at what I'd established about his family life. At the time he was a distant, genius stranger sort. I wanted to make him feel more personable as he got closer to other characters, so my friend and I who had RP'd together before many times built a surrogate sibling relationship between our characters. When that had happened, I had the tools in the background to give him a "sense of loss" storyline, because he had a sibling who died in childbirth and that would help elaborate on why he was so protective of his friend. Later, after a massive time skip, I tried to take the angle of "filial piety" for him because of his relationship with his family and their sordid past of social control and experimentation. So from the start he went from a know-it-all leader type to a strategist, from a sensitive, quietly wounded boy with survivor's guilt to a responsible older brother, and much later, hardened by his experiences (He wasn't totally wrong about the whole child soldiers thing.), from a fervent believer in a peaceful future to an aspiring tyrant with good intentions.


Of course it was a game played when we were all pretty young and there was considerable excess. I was committed to not playing more than one character, so I had to load a lot of these things onto a single plot line. Some of these ideas worked better than others and thus the length of each character arc is inconsistent. This is why the use of alts can help a great deal.


If you look closely and compare the background of your character to the experiences they've gone through in RP, you can usually find one or two potential story lead-ins that will be engaging to you as a writer. From there on you can explore aspects of your character that perhaps did not receive as much attention before. At the very worst it'll help you recognize that you have an idea you want to play, but it'd be better suited for one of your alts if you make any. 


If none of these solutions work, then you can quietly retire the character, but I personally try to avoid this as much as possible. I like characters to have an end, and having them slip away into obscurity because I fall out of love with them is something I plan to avoid when I create them. They need to have themes or aspects that I fundamentally find interesting, and room for growth.

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Your characters are your creations, and you are god. Some gods let their creations live and strive freely, curious to see where they end up, and some gods play tyrants all the time and provide rigid plots on rails for them to live. 


Whatever you are, one of both or in between, you are god, and if something you don't like appears, then you can crack the celestial hammer and shatter your character little whims and dreams in pieces.


Make them suffer or whatever is warranted and put them in life changing situations.

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  • Get a makeover, new hair and outfit!
  • Go to some new places, meet new folks!
  • Do things they would not have done before!
  • Make this a "mid life" crisis for the character if you want


What do I do if that does not work?

  1. Send the character on a sojourn, out of the way.
  2. Play with some alts 
  3. Try other games
  4. Then you either come back to them because their story wont let you leave them alone, or you have found something else you would rather play

This may be more about you the game and those you play (or not) with than the character.


Retcon in my view should be used sparingly and is generally where there is no option, say due to other players messing things up. Even then, I would use it to preserve the character and not create a different one. All our characters have interacted, try to limit how much a retcon effect will ripple through folks.

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Two and a half years here and I still haven't really met that end. My character is married and working, but still searches for that "great adventure" I promised him when he was first created. There's still a lot I haven't had my character do yet, it's down to finding the right time and people to do it with.


However I have come to a dead-end in other games, simplest option is to take a break or try another game. I always found killing characters off is a last resort, or the lazy way out. You can be more creative than that if you're bored with your character.

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I was there for a long time. In my case, I cut ties with people who were no good for me IC or OOC. I don't believe I should have to play a character that carries the baggage that came as a result of her interactions with characters belonging to people I no longer wish to have any connection to OOC. So I rolled my character back to before I met them.


Chances are, you'll upset someone no matter what option you choose. Don't worry about pleasing other people, It's your character and you should do whatever you need to do to enjoy yourself. Talk it it over if you can so your friends know what to expect and how you've been feeling about the situation. Good friends/RP partners will be understanding of your situation/decision and work with you on changes.

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I think the first thing to do is look at why you feel that way.


This is absolutely the most important thing about feeling dead-ended! Too many times over the years I've seen people toss aside characters for the wrong reasons. Sometimes many times from the same person!


Part of it is figuring out what kind of storyteller you are.

Do you write better in shorter, fully-wrapped-up tales? Then sometimes a good "and they were whatever ever after" and a character change is the right answer.

Do you write better as an ever-changing reacting thing?

Do you love being the person who adds a little flavor to other people's RP even if you're not involved?

and so on-


Figuring out what you like and what you're not liking is harder than it sounds in theroy, ha. X3

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Sometimes I take a break and make a new character. Sometimes I pour gasoline on that character and set them on fire with some real messed up plot crap and destroy as many IC lives as I possibly can while doing so. Other times I just off them because I'm like, yup. Ok. Done. Out with the old, in with the new.


Other times it's like an art block (which I severely have one of those right now HURHUR I CAN'T DRAW HALF AS WELL AS I COULD A YEAR AGO AHAHA ;o; AHAHAHAH) and you just have to RP through it. You just have to push your character out there no matter how boring or dumb you think your character is and you might just be surprised with where you end up.



...Maybe that last part didn't make sense. Mmm. Well, I like to do this thing where I think of my character as a secondary character, when I get VERY bored of them. I try to find a character to make a 'main story character' and kind of support whatever kind of plot they have going on. Or what their FC has going on, whatever. People looooooove when you want to RP what they want to RP. I mean if it's within your character's boundaries and you're not doing much with your character anyway, where's the harm in it? Also a fun way to find an 'out' if you want to kill your character off. But be selective. Don't toss your beloved character's head to the nearest edgelord for no reason and with little plot development. It's like ERP. Make them work for it.

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I step back. If something's not flowing right, it's my problem, not my character's. Therefore, I usually take a little break from the game, or at least that character. I play an alt, or another game for anywhere from a day to perhaps months until I figure out where I want to take Raeje. When I take a step back, I often work on other writing, such as my book, or my poetry. I basically ignore the fact that Raeje exists for a while, because trying to force a result rarely gets me anywhere. I just let my ideas come to me whenever I feel inspired. Whenever I finally do get that burst of inspiration, I jump back in the game, get back into Raeje's boots, and continue living her life. That's the way I deal with all of my game characters when I have problems, and coincidentally, it's also how I deal with all of my other creative outlets. I just set them aside, and only passively think about them. I don't force anything seems unnatural.

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