The Concept of Decision Making
Great, I'm happy that you're giving this guide a look, in this guide I'm going to further discuss a matter I just grazed in another guide, which is making decisions.
You might be wondering what's the purpose of this guide, why would I need to elaborate on a concept as easy as this. Well things are much more complicated than it seems at first, depending on how experienced you are. First things first, I've got a few questions I'm going to answer.
What is decision making?
How does this involve Role play?
What's the importance of this?
Now we have the explanations:
What is decision making? Decision making is the process of making a selection from a set of available options, when you're confronted by either a situation or a question. It can be very simple, or very complicated or maybe a mix in between. To give a few examples, picking what clothing you chose to wear today was making a decision. Getting out of bed was a decisions, as was choosing to shower and the manner in which you spoke to a friend.
How does this involve Role play? It has everything to do with Role play actually. Role play is the act of story telling and stories are filled with decisions, some of them are blatantly obvious and some of them are really subtle. Most commonly, you see them as big options that are like, whether or not to save the princess from the castle or skimping out and getting a beer with some friends instead. Your character is bound to be making decisions and this plays a key role in Role play.
What's the importance of this? Making decisions has a lot of influence in how things carry out. How many times have you seen a movie when there's a killer behind a door, and you cringe when you see the protagonist begin to open the door, shouting at the screen to walk away. That was making a decision as well, opening the door could have resulted in the protagonist getting slaughtered, while avoiding it or grabbing that knife to defend yourself before doing that could have resulted in something else.
Great, we've answered the questions, but if you're still lost let me continue. Making decisions isn't that difficult, we do it all the time. However, when it involves Role play, you're not exactly yourself and you're playing a character, so you have other things influencing your decision. The purpose of this guide is to shed light on a dismissed topic and hopefully improve the Role play experience for you, and everyone who comes along with you.
Getting In Character
Yes, this is a very crucial part of Role playing and making decisions. Simple as it sounds it's amazing how often this doesn't happen. To get properly in character, you need to remember that your character acts a certain way and might have a different personality from you. They might have different experiences, tastes, and even morals.
All of those things affect how your character thinks, therefore it affects how they might handle situations and the decisions they will make upon those situations.
Getting In Character might be a bit tough at first, but the easiest way to do it is to first of all Role play something you're truly interested in. Don't go for that over powered vampire slayer character unless you're sure you're going to enjoy Role playing as that character, rather than doing it for the lol's and seeming badass in front of everyone. We could always use a relaxed house wife that bakes cookies, or the angry old man who yells at kids who play on his lawn. Just do something you enjoy.
Now that you have a character in mind, keep in mind several traits your character has and picture them to the best of your abilities. Maybe your character dislikes frogs, loves the color blue and adores long walks on the beach. Maybe your character loves frogs, hates the color blue, and would prefer partying in a club. Maybe your character could care less about either of the things I mentioned. Point is your character has a certain personality. Remember that.
Some tips on getting in character is asking yourself a few questions and answering them the way your character would. Picture the things they like, the things they dislike and if possible, why they feel that way. Remember if your character is morally good or evil, if they're willing to steal or if they'd rather work for the money.
Just, get In Character.
Point of View
Hopefully by now you know how to get In Character. Next step is to remember that there's a different Point of View for your character. You might see the world from a third person point of view, but they see it from first person. They have senses of smell, hearing, sight, touch, and taste. All of these affect them, but remember that your own senses shouldn't affect your characters. Just because you dislike the color blue, it doesn't mean your character does as well. Basically, just remember you have separate points of view.
When it comes to making decisions, Point of View is a huge factor in influencing them. Something you might find awkward or weird could be cool and fascinating for you and vice versa. Situations can be viewed in two different ways as well, an OoC one and an IC one. Now we'll discuss distinguishing them and keeping them in check.
To just give you a bit of an example of Point of View being important, let's portray a simple sort of situation. There's going to be an OoC Point of View, and an IC one.
You ran out of fuel, and you've been waiting for around half an hour, it's getting pretty late and your friend was ordering pizza and rented a movie. Your friend isn't picking up when you call him, so you're pretty much on your own for now. Considering walking over to the nearest gas station, you don't want to leave your car alone for too long because there's been recent reports of Car Theft, and decided to wait it out and hope someone drives by.
(( Going to use brackets to separate the situation from my chatter. Alright, so there's the situation. We're going to have someone drive by and offer you a ride. The predetermined choice is going to be to decline, but we're going to see how Point of View affects the reasoning behind the decision. This can ultimately be the difference between breaking character, and remaining In Character. ))
Once the name tag comes into view, you realize it's "Vampire_Guy" and you sigh. He asks you if you want to come inside the car, since you seem like you need a ride. You remember that one time in which your friend told you about, where Vampire_Guy drained them from blood, rendered them unconscious and stole some items from them. Deciding you're not about that life, you decline and tell them you're fine.
(( Now that was really bad wasn't it? You just MG'ed and broke Rule 2 right there. Chances are it's also going to cause some conflict with the other player. Now let's try the same decision from an IC point of view, with proper decision making and reasoning. ))
Lucky for you, the headlights of a car seem to approach you, and as you wave and call for it's attention it pulls over beside you, and the window rolls down. There's a sharply dressed man with a bright white smile, seemingly a bit more pale with a weird sort of vibe about him. He asks you if you need a ride, and waits for you to respond.
You look at the male and that creepy vibe seems to grow stronger the longer you look. He doesn't seem like a trustworthy sort of guy when you take everything into account. He's got that dead sort of feeling about him, and you recall that one movie where a girl hitch hiked and the guy who gave her the ride slaughtered and butchered her. On second thought, you tell him you're fine and wait for the next person to come along.
(( Now that was a proper way of making a decision. Your character took into account past experiences, and made decisions accordingly to their feelings and personality. There's way the situation could have turned out differently. Maybe if your character was Brave, they would have accepted, but you get the point. ))
Here's the juiciest part of the steak, hopefully you're keeping up with everything I've said so far. Now we discuss actually making decisions!
Alright, let's drag it back a little, we all make decisions right? Sometimes they affect us, and other times it was rather pointless and didn't afflict us by any visible way. That's very true, now let's take that In Character. When you Role play, you are bound to come up with decisions that are going to affect your character in obvious ways, sometimes positive and sometimes negative.
Here is when actually Role playing becomes clear, some people think that Role play is all about winning and making the best decision possible for your character. To some extent, that is arguably true but not entirely. What's been happening a lot lately, is players are making decisions for their characters in an OoC manner, to further your character into power of higher social standing. That isn't correct.
Role play isn't about winning and becoming the best you can be. It's about creating a character and watching them interact in a certain environment, and watch the story of their life develop right before your eyes. There is bound to be times when they make bad decisions and times when they mess up, along with times when they prosper and make a lucky call.
Your character doesn't know everything you might know, and try to keep it that way. Allow your character to make the decisions not you. Think of it this way. Your character isn't always to accomplish what he wants, he's not always going to win, just the same way when there's moments when life seems unfair to you, it's bound to be unfair to your character.
Maybe your character is a bad mood and doesn't want to hang out with Phil, don't let OoC reasoning affect your decisions because you know Phil's player creates some fun RP. Your character is going to have moods, they're going to have discomforts, they're going to experience life. There's going to be times when they're sick, when they're injured, when they're ill, and times when they're healthy, when they're happy and such. All of those things are going to affect what your character chooses as a decision, and why they do.
To shed a bit more humor on some jokes I've had made about me, and a somewhat relatable topic to some. Just because you know that if your character acts a certain way with someone else's character, there's a chance they might have sex, that doesn't mean you should do it. Sometimes OoC desires influence people's decisions on Role playing their characters, making them a bit more flirty or act differently to improve their chances at getting laid. It sounds a bit funny, but yeah it's happens quite a lot!
Your character isn't always going to get the best outcome from a situation, Role play doesn't have a walk through. I can assure you, you'll have much more fun Role playing the bad from a situation and watching your character develop and learn from the bad, rather than OoCly doing some shit to make your character win.
To summarize the entire guide, making decisions is very important when it comes to Role play. Don't allow OoC reasoning to affect your decisions IC, because it can generally make you look bad in front of some people. I've made this mistake frequently, but after seeing the err of my ways I've been trying to fix it and decided to help everyone out by making this guide. I truly duly hope you enjoyed this, I spent a bit working on this and hope it can help you all the same way it helped me. Thanks for reading.