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Should there be an end?


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Hello everyone! This is a question that's been burning in my mind lately and I'd like to hear some other opinions from people like you. The basic idea is, "Is death the only end or should one's character eventually retire?" Here's a little background knowledge.


Tasa is a very particular kind of character. She was written to be an older, experienced character looking for something specific to do. While she didn't achieve all of the goals I wanted to do with her, through an extended storyline she reached a good deal of closure about herself and her past deeds.


But she's still walking around. Naturally roleplaying is a community effort and I've got lots of great friends who I'm sure love the character. Ultimately though things feel aimless lately.


So if placed in this situation what would you do? Would you merely keep going looking for another storyline to keep the action fresh or would your character hang up their axe/sword/whatever and retire to make way for the next adventurer to take up the reigns?

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I have retired at least a half-dozen characters over the course of my roleplaying career - more than I've stopped playing because they died, if I really think about it. Some of these have been a kind of forced retirement not brought about by choice but because I just lost focus with the character and couldn't think of ideas. In the event I find a better idea for them, I might bring them back, but it's unlikely.


Some, however, have been conscious choices, as the character had simply reached the point where the interesting part of their life was over. Any plots they could have been involved in would have felt extraneous, so off they went. When the characters had achieved a kind of closure, as you are saying Tasa had, it was in fact very satisfying to be able to say the character is "done."


So, yes, I think that if you've hit a certain point where you can't really conceive of anything to do with your characters, you shouldn't feel as if you need to keep roleplaying them. You can find an IC reason for them to not be in-play easily enough, and in the event you're inspired to play them again, you can always bring them back.


Edit: One last point: You mention that you know a lot of people still love the character. Please, please, please never feel obligated to RP a character you feel is "done" for the sake of other people. I've seen that situation turn ugly very fast. Lots of resentment, lots of unfun RP, it's not a good thing.

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I agree completely with Verad but would add onto it by referencing Pen and Paper games. In a game like,  Call of Cthulhu, where death lurks around every corner, it's not uncommon for a player that likes their current character to essentially cut their loses and retire them. For whatever reason, whether they don't want to see them die/go insane or they simply feel, like Verad said, they've done all they can do or they just aren't having fun playing them anymore, the option of retirement is always present.


But, the Call of Cthulhu handbook offers an idea; cameos.


A retired character CAN come out of retirement. A retired character CAN make a cameo to help with a situation the new characters find themselves out of their depth within. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, after all, and if people love Tasa then having her take a break for a while will make her reappearance all the sweeter when/if it happens. Maybe just have her occasionally wander through town, if nothing else.


I personally suffer from Alt-itise in all things. I've a terrible case of it and Tarot is one of the sole survivors of its ravages on me. But I take breaks with him, or have him wander off to do something else so I don't get bored with him. So yes, retiring a character may 'reset' the 'fanbase' if Tasa has one (and it sounds like she does) but even so, people that like a character will either get over it and find out about a new character you create or simply move on.


You're not Paul Sheldon and this ain't a Stephen King novel.

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I have retired main characters in the past, once I felt that their story was complete. But it took years for me to do so, because I usually start them off with plenty flaws, or young, or naivete to work through. I have created characters with a specific purpose or story in mind, and those characters do not last quite as long. They could be side characters to a particular plot or villains, and I expect them to have a finite life. Their ending I have vaguely in my head at creation, and I am happy to say goodbye to them once they've reached it.


But mains, I leave a lot of things to chance and interactive RP because that's what I enjoy. Letting the storyline influence and change the character as they grow. So it takes me awhile to get to that point where I feel that their story is complete. I have said "well, I've done that... but what else can I explore with --" and think up an arc that way.


If no answer comes to you after you say "What else can I explore with--" then perhaps the story is complete. I agree with Verad, do not play for other people's sake, it can get boring. However, I have also taken part in other people's arcs and been inspired by their story, enough for it to move me. And that can serve as a new source of inspiration.


So I guess my answer is, you don't HAVE to retire your character if it is still fun for you to play her, since who knows what will come along down the road. But soon as it gets to be not fun, then put her aside, and concentrate on something new. You can always bring your character out of retirement in the future if a new inspiration hits you.

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Well, maybe try this.. I have done it a few times.


Imagine rolling forward many years to when your character in in their twilight years. Think about the life they have lead and the legacy they have created. Then think about how they got there and how much the grew along the way.


I even wrote the scene of the old grandmother tucking her granddaughter in and telling her another of her far fetched tales, that are the story of her life.


I suppose I am saying that stopping to play a character does not mean death, and in fact that seems a daft ooc reason for them to die. If they have reached the end of a chapter, then give them a rest maybe?

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I echo the sentiments of those above. If you feel there is nothing more to do with the character, then whatever 'retirement' you deem appropriate is entirely fitting. Whether that be death, seclusion, or building a homestead on the beach.


For my part, I invest so much time and effort into a single character that I usually only play that one until I am finished with the game.




If you are worried about losing all the OOC progress on the character itself, then consider simply buying a rename (if they ever become available), and use fantasia. Then you can say it's an entirely different person while not losing all the hard work.

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For me, it depends on the character and the situation. If I'm leaving a game entirely, I'll usually write out my characters and how they end up; for instance, one of my characters in CoH retired from active duty to work at Portal, got married, had a couple of kids, but periodically "put on the suit" to fight great evil (and to show that she still had The Right Stuff). Death isn't the only or even often the right end for a character, but sometimes it has its place.


In a game that I'm still actively playing, I'll usually just set a character aside for a while instead of retiring them completely if they stop being interesting or fun to play. There's lots of ways to do that ICly, including "visiting your homeland/parents/extended family far away," "taking over the family business," "deep cover mission in the East," "got pregnant/got someone else pregnant," or even "just wanted to take a break" -- though that latter one is probably a bit of a stretch for most Eorzean adventurers, given the mindset it takes to actually become an adventurer in the first place. Of course, if you're not RPing as an adventurer, that issue goes away. :) A break like this, where you make an alt your main for a while, can often inspire new ideas and break the grip of writer's block, I find.

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People with far more eloquence than I have posted their opinions above, but I'll throw in my two cents.


Death doesn't have to be the only way to shelve a character, if you feel their arc has come to an end. They can retire to a peaceful life with no interruptions or adventures. I've thrown characters into prison or on a long, off-camera journey in case I ever want to bring them back as a plot device, or perhaps re-introduce them as the same character but with a different personality and motivations. There's a lot of ways you can tackle this.


On the flipside, you can interpret this as a sort of writing challenge. People in real life, too, have moments in their lives where they feel aimless after achieving their goals, or restless because they have no prospects to focus on. You can bring these feelings to your character and perhaps introduce the theme of "Finding a purpose" as a new arc, which might cause your character to seek new acquaintances or places in an effort to find a cause that truly defines them.


-What motivated your character before? Why did it motivate them?


-What has your character learned from their finished arc? How might they apply this knowledge to the people around them?


-It's common for people to feel as if they can no longer grow; if your character feels restless or directionless, how do you imagine they would cope with that feeling? Would this feeling of purposeless lead them to develop new vices or flaws in their efforts to contend with it?


-Your character has reached closure about much of their past. How does your character approach the future? What is their perspective of spending time? Do they think long-term, planning ahead, or do they live day-by-day, taking each moment at its fullest?


Those are just a few questions to think about. However, I'd like to make a point that if you feel as if roleplaying your character has become more of a chore than a fun activity, then please do not feel obligated to play it for other people's sake. If you're not having fun, then there's no point in keeping the character around.

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For me, it depends on the character and the situation. If I'm leaving a game entirely, I'll usually write out my characters and how they end up;...


(at the risk of wandering off topic a little)

That's an interesting point. It is good to not leave other players stories tied into your character if they won't be around (ie you moved on as a player). So find some way to tie things up so they (other player's characters) are free to go their own way.

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I have one character that is semi-retired. Retirement for him came after he had an incredibly rough and unpleasant experience in Limsa that turned him off the adventuring lifestyle completely. Maybe something will motivate him to try again in the future, but for now, he's content to stay safe behind his desk, battling numbers and invoices.


My previous main has been downgraded to my alt but there's really no "end" for him, he's just gone off traveling it gives me a reasonable excuse to still play him and leaves the window open for a later return as my main again.


As it is right now, a happy ending does not look like a possibility for Seiko. She may live an accomplished life but it means nothing to her in the end if she has no loved ones.


It is good to not leave other players stories tied into your character if they won't be around (ie you moved on as a player). So find some way to tie things up so they (other player's characters) are free to go their own way.


I've been on the bad end of this too many times and its an incredibly frustrating and upsetting thing to deal with. If you've gotten your character deeply involved with others, please, please, please give them closure.

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Allow me regale to you a story.


I used to have a character on World of Warcraft. She was a Night Elf druid combat medic- meaning she dealt with the nitty gritty of the worst wounds.


I was asked by someone I actually didn't know all that well to help him kill off his character, as he was 100% done with the character and its plots.

He wanted it done, and we planned to go out somewhere where there would be very little interruption.


Skipping all the gore, he tried to kill his character off during my toon's attempt to pull shrapnel from his heart.


I repeat once more to drive this point home: He wanted to kill the character. He planned this out with me. He was 100% sure that this was the right thing to do.


His guild, however, was not keen on this. In fact, they were SO against this idea, that they were harassing him in whispers not to do it as it was being done.

They were so insistent and so demanding, that he- defeated and actually quite upset -told me to forget it and that he had to retcon his character's death and our scene because of them.


He then killed the character off when no one was online, so that he could do it in peace. In fact, I think he quit/rerolled in secret because he was so put off by the whole ordeal.


The moral of this story, if it's not totally clear, is that you should do what you want with the character.

Do not let others dictate whether you should or should not retire or kill off a character.

It will either end in your boredom and resentment, or you becoming so disillusioned with RP that you quit/take a long break.


I myself have ended several RP characters- some through killing them off, some by giving them a happy ending, and some by just leaving them be in a neutral state.

If you want to do it, do it.

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What an intriguing topic.


I'm only posting here to note that this actually has never occurred to me, not once during my entire RP career. Of course, part of this is that I'm a very light RPer (especially as of late, as most of my attention is on actually playing the game), so I can probably get away with more than most. Part of it, however, is also because I tend to treat my character (singular) like Samurai Jack - she just goes around having random, assorted adventures and doesn't really have anything resembling a character arc of her own. She might have 'episodes' where things happen, but she doesn't really have some kind of overarching story that I'm trying to push her through.


So this thread has given me plenty of food for thought. Would I feel compelled to do something like this if I went knee-deep into some serious RP? I do wonder... it's something I'll have to think on. At any rate, I must agree with the others who state that it is your character, and you are the one who has to decide where they go, what they do, and how they end up at the end of it all. While other players should certainly have some weight on your decisions, particularly where they intersect their characters with your own, in the end it is still your decision, and you're the one who has to make it happen.

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So far in my 5-year RP career I've retired 3 main characters in games I continued to play for a while yet, and a small host of alts and characters that were abandoned in games I did not continue to play, such as GW2 and SWTOR.


For two of them, it was the clear sensation of that they had run their course. There just was no saving them, and both of them died as a result of the plots they were involved in. One of them got so "evil" that she had gone utterly insane, and as a result she was more reckless with her public appearances, making her self traceable in the end. We had a very nice event where a group of five adventurers found her hideout and there was a 3-4 hour fight, resulting in hers and one of the attackers death. It felt right to do, at the time, and I have never since regretted it - I had played that character for 1½ years.

The second one happened after some 2-and-a-something-months after I had created her, and for her it was a mix of not being able to advance her further - She was at and beyond her peak, and also to do story justice, because of her crimes of neutrality (In a setting where being neutral between factions is like being evil) and just out right crimes against other people had her as a desirable target to kill for any bounty hunters and go-happy heroes. Sometimes I regret the way that I sent her off, but I do not regret that I chose to do it.

So anyways, I'm very much in the belief that characters can run their course, and I also think it's important to do something about it before you taint the good memory of that character. Death may not always be the right option though, and if you're doing it in a game where you intend to keep on playing, I would recommend running an alt into position first so as to make the shift more effortless and natural - regardless of if the character is going to die or disappear.

But you need to be as sure as you can be before you do it, if possible have that "time is right" feeling with you, and once you do it, be sure to do it right - Plan as best as you can, and try not to leave unintentional plotholes for people to stare at.


Oh, and to add.. In my experiences it's something that doesn't occur too often. If it does there may be something else causing the problem. And I'm sure there are many characters out there that can last far longer than mine have :)

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I've never explicitly retired a character in any sense. Anytime I've stopped playing a character who I really got into RP with, it's because I've had to abandon them due to anxiety. At that point, I can't even talk to anyone, so there's no way of getting any closure.


Not sure I have any relevant point, just had to get it off my chest.

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