Jump to content

How much should you put in your RPC wiki?

Recommended Posts

So as I've finally caved and begun making wikis for some of my characters I've run into an issue. I generally loathe such things as it's my opinion that any sort of information about a character should be learned by interacting with them, but it almost feels like a prerequisite for anyone on Balmung to take you seriously these days so I went ahead with it anyway. My issue stems from deciding exactly how much information should be put there, as even if the website is supposed to be used as an OOC source of information it's not unusual for the information learned there to seep into how people behave IC.


My most recent conundrum has come with my trying to create a profile for my Garlean who is for lack of a better word undercover in Eorzea. Should his status as a Garlean be listed on the RPC, or his cover story? His 'fake' identity? I've seen more than a couple people with similar premises coming out and listing their character was a spy or something but I'm not sure it's the right way to go.


What do you guys think?

Link to comment

If your goal is to value the immersion of other players, then framing the wiki in such a manner that it's as much a surprise to others OOC as it is IC is a good bet. In that case you'd make the wiki about publicly known information related to the character's false identity and not much else.


The downside of this is that it could be logistically difficult to keep track of the two sides of the character's identity; say, for example, that the relationships section reflects the character's public opinion of somebody, while you keep track of his actual opinion in private. That can be a bit of a headache, but it could work.


I am also legally required to advise you that some players who see playing secret Garleans as [insert pejorative here] will probably get annoyed if they find out they've been playing with a secret Garlean all along and didn't have fair warning. That's the price of valuing immersion, I say, but there it is.


On the other hand, if you want to value collaborating with other players and setting up story ideas, you can be open about the Garlean backstory in the wiki - perhaps including the "secret" stuff behind a spoiler tag for modesty's sake - and include an OOC section in which you discuss possible points of connection between your Garlean and others. "Here's how you might reasonably know the character's public identity, and here's how you might know their private identity." People won't be surprised by the reveal, but they'll be approaching you with plot ideas of their own. Either route is feasible, and which is preferably only depends on your goals as a player.

Link to comment

You can really share or hide as much as you like, in my opinion. If you are posting information beyond say, physical attributes/basic bio, I'd add a disclaimer that the knowledge is strictly for OOC purposes and maybe have a section for rumors or RP hooks if you want ICly public things that people could pick up on.


Regardless of whether it's on a wiki, tumblr, blog post or just something someone saw in game while OOC, metagaming has a chance to happen. But that's also why RP is a collaborative effort that involves a certain amount of trust in other people to not overstep any boundaries or "cheat" within the system.


As for Garlean/Cover story, I like to treat my wiki as public knowledge. So if I've written a post or RPed it, it's fair game to add to the wiki. (I have been debating removing my history section, as it's years out of date).

Link to comment

I only very recently completed most of Heidrek's wiki for the first time and I did struggle with how much information I wanted to put out in print for all to see. Eventually I realized that brevity is more my style so I picked a template that completely omitted sections for history and background. Don't feel compelled to write all of it down because some or even most like to go into great detail. I'd rather find out your character is a spy through some sort of dramatic scene then go into it ahead of time because I glanced at your wiki once.

Link to comment

Hell, do something different. Have a series of conversations between different denizens about your character. Use written notes, or actions done in public. Weave together a profile from bits and bobs, perhaps with a disclaimer that it's in a limited narrative.


Buck the system. Do something that works for you.

Link to comment

One primary purpose of most RPC wiki pages is to facilitate RP with the character, yes?

[The other being documentation of past RP developments, but that's not what the OP addresses.]


I think the aim is to strike a balance between providing enough information to hook people in to wanting to RP with you, without oversharing and defeating the point of anyone ever talking to your character.


I try and mentally run by "will this add to new RP partners' experience of this character, or take away from it?" before I add a detail or section to a character's page. For me, this means leaving off a lot of backstory stuff and just focussing on what's possible for people to find out about my characters; for someone else, this might mean providing the full backstory and history and social networks so it's easier for potential partners to find an "in".


As far as including the Garlean thing or not is concerned, I think it depends on what tone you want to take towards it as your character develops.


Do you want it to be a genuine OOC secret that people find out in play ("FOIP" is a shorthand lots of my larp friends use for if someone's being too nosy OOCly about an IC secret, haha) through leads and hints you place, with a dramatic reveal at a plot-appropriate point?


Or is it something you're open to being approached about by other players for advance plotting purposes, e.g. someone messaging you and is like "hey my character is Garlean too, could they possibly know each other", "hey my character is a Grand Company agent, could we run a plot where they're on your trail but ultimately fail to convict you", etc etc etc.


You definitely don't have to fall into any trend if you don't think that suits your character and their situation, so think on what you want out of the page's existence and make the decision based on that.

Link to comment

I mostly just built up mine as a reflex. I treated it as a writing exercise to help brainstorm for myself, and if it gained interest from others or appreciation for its format, that was fine with me. Back when I did forum RP, my character sheets had similar amounts of bloated background and bio details, so it's essentially force of habit for me. If I start writing on something that interests me, I can easily lose track of several hours just rambling. My posts on this board are evidence enough of that. 


The tl;dr of it is that essentially, the wiki is part leisure, part reference guide, part advertisement, part style demonstrator, part interview... there's a lot of parts, but basically for me it's all those things. The rest of my post is just elaboration. All you need to know is that if your wiki succeeds in entertaining you or others, and is useful to you in any way, whether it's improving your writing or gathering other RPers to you, it has served its purpose. Before that things like stylistic consideration or level of detail are immaterial.


I come from a pretty different environment than a lot of RPers in terms of forum culture, and there was never any real fear of spoiling something because the basic assumption was that RP was collaborative writing, rather than acting or competition. Thus a certain degree of transparency was necessary; even to enter an RP thread, a person needed to draft a character sheet that supplied sufficient information to the GM to convince them that they could free a slot for you. You didn't need to spoil absolutely everything, but the basic concept of your character was almost always bare for everyone to see, and if you planned anything outrageous the GM was supposed to know and would work with you behind the scenes if they felt it fit their story. Nobody meta-gamed, period. There wasn't an atmosphere of paranoia. Generally players trusted each other, and many players were welcome to participate in a variety of events, despite clear differences between writing and storytelling proficiency. There was rarely any sense of rivalry or dispute over style or what kind of character was appropriate, since the GM decided these things. Still, there were clear favorites due to visibility and style. Obviously this is the result of playing in a small, intimate community, but there was never the xenophobia that accompanies these either. It's a cliche, but because of our clear channels of communication, we were able to entangle our characters' backgrounds and work together to move in the direction we wanted to for mutual aid. Also, there was never a sense that they were humoring you, or harbored secret disdain. We were all amateurs, and feeling superior was pointless.


Considering all these things, I can see why showing most of the character's backstory is probably irregular with FFXIV RP. There is an update coming, and I'm probably going to spoiler a lot of it for brevity's sake, but also to allow others to show as little or as much as they feel they ought to see. That being said, I wrote my wiki with the intention of being used, both for myself and for others. I write it to organize my thoughts and have a reference sheet to work with when I forget things, and I am quite forgetful. I come up with additional material for people to work with in RP to cover gaps in the lore, and to give scenarios and background info that will be useful to myself and others. I give people the benefit of the doubt to not know about things that are obscure logged on my wiki, particularly aspects of Virara's background. (Though I still appreciate surprising people, so I did keep some details closed.) Though I get the feeling it generally only gets brief glances from most people, I want to entertain them even with my wiki like a lot of the wiki (Mostly for now inactive characters, sadly) did when I was thinking of getting back into RP. It was a successful enticement for me to play with them, so I definitely think regardless of the style, an appealing wiki serves that purpose at the least.


Most important to me is that the wiki should encapsulate all the major ideas and themes I want to explore with my character on some level, or at least hint at them. There should be the basis for almost all decisions my character makes and elements of my character's ongoing plot within. That is why I often say I don't do any RP frivolously as I'm always pursuing some kind of agenda, whether it's to gather more people to her, or to foreshadow future events, or just to display elements of her personality that hint at her prior years of life. 


Another detail that shows my bias though, is that I don't really believe in "immersion," as I see it as a catchall phrase describing a wide variety of subjective factors that a player likes about a story or narrative. Usually it centers around details that "take you out of a story," so it means that something specific to your tastes disrupted your suspension of disbelief. You see something that doesn't make sense to you personally and it distracts you. While useful in determining how to play with notches and levers to make the perfect toy for your collaborator at the time, I personally am skeptical of how useful a term it is for evaluating anything but your ability to appeal to that specific RP partner. I really try hard to never seriously use soundbite phrases when critiquing. You know the ones, you see them online all the time. "Cringeworthy," "edgy," "immersive," "forced." These qualifiers all share one thing in common, which is no two people will have the same barometer for what qualifies as the qualifier.


But it does demand a certain degree of respect; you're working with others, and pushing or pulling them too much will ruin their experience as much as it will ruin yours. Becoming aware of those boundaries is something a wiki can be a useful tool for. You get a feel for a potential partner's style before you even play with them. Writing a public work is simultaneously intimate and public; you write as if you are addressing one person, but you also are writing for a crowd, and it is impossible to satisfy a crowd fully. I've always been able to enjoy something as a consumer who takes the story as the author wishes me to understand it, and at the same time critique it from an arm's length. A lot of people take the concept very seriously, so I do my best to satisfy their individual tastes, so that they're not distracted by elements of my wiki, or my in-game RP, that they can't ignore.

Link to comment

I have enough information given to not give godmodders fodder, then again I usually keep to my circle most of the time anyways. To learn what makes John tic or to learn Alex's motivations and ambitions in life are to learn and meet the characters. To me, it takes away from the experience if you learn literally everything about my characters and there's nearly always information the character doesn't learn which is how life is really. Some mystery.

Link to comment

As much as you want, I suppose.


My character wikis will end up with *a lot* of detail in the Biography section. In all honesty, I mostly do it as a reference for myself. If I had a perfect memory, my character bios would be a lot slimmer.


However, I do keep in mind that other people might use the wiki page as a reference, so I'll include detail based on the "story role" I intend to have my character in.


For instance, should I want to play a "villain", the wiki will only have "publicly available" information on it. Potential PCs could justifiably say their characters did research, and use the wiki accordingly.


My most recent character is meant to have more of a supportive role. As such, her wiki will have a bit more detail when I'm done, so potential DMs have more to work with, should they desire it.

Link to comment

Whatever you put, don't list the Garlean story, only the cover. I imagine your character would only reveal that to people that are trusted, yes? A measure of OOC trust is needed, too, in order for the player not to think: wtf? and then become distant.


I do the same thing with my character. There is something about him that is very secret that might make people not give my character a second look. So... I RP as normal and the secret would only come out to someone absolutely trusted.

Link to comment

It's up to you! I personally feel like you want to have enough on there to entice people, and to show whether or not your character is someone they'd be potentially interested in roleplaying with. This can be as brief or in-depth as you want.


It'll require them not metagaming on you, but you can always call that out if it occurs and remind them gently that that is not information they would know IC.


I personally use my RPC wiki as a way of keeping track of information for myself as well.

Link to comment

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in

Sign In Now
  • Create New...