Online Text Adventures: Five Things to Do Before Joining a Family
By Teresa Harlan
Typically, you create a character in a text adventure game with a general concept of who he or she is. While you certainly anticipate external forces from the interactive world you are throwing your character into to influence how he or she develops, the idea of placing your character rather permanently into the storyline of another's as his or her son or daughter and, consequently, having him or her placed permanently into your character's life so early in your character's experience, often seems like too big of a commitment to make too quickly.
So, how do you get the benefits of family roleplay in a text adventure game while mitigating the potential downfalls of agreeing to be the child of someone in a text adventure game that you will later regret associating your character with? While there is really no fool proof plan, but here are some suggestions that should be considered.
1. You are fully entitled to say 'no'.
Due to the nature of character creation in many text adventure games, the process of becoming a member of a family typically blurs the in character and out of character lines. Often, through some means of out of character inquiry, the player of an older character that has interest in bringing you into his or her family, will approach you. Many times that character has already helped your character out quite a bit, or a relationship has already been established between your character, and his or hers. Regardless, you are still entitled to politely deny the request for whatever reason you choose! Do not let someone else guilt you into it.
2. Do your research.
Even if you are inclined to believe that the text adventure character that has asked you to be his or her child would be a suitable parent for your character, do your homework. Anyone who is going to be a good person to roleplay with in a text adventure game, will be perfectly happy with you asking for time to mull the decision over. Check out his or her bloodline to see who your siblings would be. A red flag is a character who has a lot of kids with various other characters. Is there a pattern to the children they have bloodlined? Take the initiative to ask around a bit about the family in the text adventure game community. Are they known? What are they known for? A good deal of the time a couple will approach you. Observe their habits with each other and with their children.
3. If you have done your independent research and are still unsure, dig some more!
Ask the player about his or her family and try and gauge his or her vision of how your character would fit into it. If the player is serious about family roleplay, and not simply collecting children for his or her bloodline as some are, if you ask him or her about his or her family, they will have stories to tell. The way he or she talks about his or her text adventure game family should give you some perspective as to how the relationship between your character and his or hers will go. Further, ask him or her how he or she views the familial relationship developing between your character and his or hers.
4. If you decide to say yes, spend some time developing your character's childhood with your new parent(s)!
Family roleplay in a text adventure game can be incredibly rich, not only for the experiences that your character will have with his or her family in-game, but for the experiences you can imagine they had when your character was a child, before you started playing him or her. Consider what kind of child your character was before you started playing them in the text game, and talk it out with your new parents so they have some stories or a general idea of what their characters went through raising yours. For example, was your character a troublemaker? Make up a story with your new parents about a time when your character as a child gave them the run around. Does your character have any habits now that they would have had as a child? Let your new parents know about them!
5. Do not forget the siblings and extended family!
Finally, if your character gets bloodlined to a family that is well established, get to know the rest of the members as well! Siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins are all different avenues for you to develop your character's background and future development. What overall traits do you find are common throughout your new text game family? Perhaps you can incorporate them into your character's persona. For example, is your family composed of several people from a certain Guild or House? Even if your character is not of the same organizations, your character could have an appreciation for the ideals and practices based on his or her family's affiliations with them.
Choosing a family in a text adventure game is a rather big commitment. Many players regret not considering the full extent and roleplay implications of that commitment as they progress. That being said, family roleplay can be one of the most fulfilling varieties of roleplay. Through family roleplay you can develop your character's past more fully, interact with characters you otherwise would not interact with, have a network of support behind your character, and develop conflicts and motivations for your character that add another level of complexity to him or her.
By Teresa Harlan
To find a text adventure game family of your very own, check out some top-notch text adventure games today!
Teresa Harlan is a text game enthusiast and currently plays games from Iron Realms.
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