The Character Motivation Thread

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cxl
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The Character Motivation Thread

Postby cxl » Tue Feb 25, 2014 1:20 pm

In order to try and tackle some of the problems in this RP, I've decided to make this thread, for the purposes of stating, reviewing, critiquing, and refining the driving motivations of our various characters.

So, before we jump in, let's just take a look at what exactly the problem here is.

In order for RP to be interesting (at least, the way I see it), there needs to be a sense of agency. Otherwise, it's a game of passive observation and you'd be better off reading fanfic. The fact that you get to interact with the people and the setting is a key defining point of what makes RP RP.

But interacting with static level geometry is, for lack of a better word, boring as fuck. You can't spell interaction without "action", and you also use that word to spell "reaction", and that's exactly what's needed. When you kick something, it falls over (or you hurt your foot, if it's big enough and/or heavy enough). Think about the NPCs in your typical cRPG - they have the same handful of lines of dialogue, stand in the same place, and provide the same services day and night. That shopkeeper's not a person, so they don't warrant a second thought. They're basically a gold-coin vending machine.

Let's have an example. I call it EoP: A Text Adventure

Code: Select all

You are a SQUISHY HUMAN. You are in a GENSOUKYOU. You can go NORTH, SOUTH, or WEST.
> West
You encounter a WILD NUE.
Nue: ehrnhrrnnmrhrhrnurnrrmrrrrwrrw!
The NUE attempts to bite your legs off.
> Flail arms
You FLAIL your ARMS at the NUE. The NUE claws your face off. You are DEAD.


Oh poo. We became a statistic. Let's try this again.

Code: Select all

New Game > y

You are a SCARY YOUKAI. You are in a GENSOUKYOU. You can go NORTH, SOUTH, or WEST.
> West
You encounter a WILD NUE.
Nue: ehrnhrrnnmrhrhrnurnrrmrrrrwrrw!
The NUE doesn't do anything to you, because you are both YOUKAI.
> Flail arms
You FLAIL your ARMS at the NUE. The NUE claws your face off. You are DEAD.


See how this quickly becomes predictable? The Nue here could be replaced by a d10 that kills you on a < 5 and there'd be very little difference in how you act. In fact, dice would be more efficient as you wouldn't have to do quite as much typing. What does this Nue want? If all they want to do is randomly murder people on the streets, then A) They're an environmental hazard, not a character, and B) it seems like any real "characters" would quickly try to do away with the problem.

This person sums up the problem rather nicely, but let me quote for emphasis.

readingwithavengeance wrote:An active character changes their environment according to their own will.


That means an active (which for the purposes of an RP, we can define as "good") character does two things: Firstly, they want something; Secondly: They do things to get what they want.

And hence this thread. I want us to take some time to look past the volumes of backstory, the earth shaking (or pathetically unimpressive) powers, the mythology, the lore, and the theme songs, and examine the key motivations of characters. These could be fundamental parts of their personalities, or spur of the moment whims, but either way, a character's desires form the driving force behind all their actions.

Also, just to be clear: This thread is supposed to be PARTICIPATORY. It's not an encyclopaedia. If you think something doesn't make sense, or that a character doesn't seem to actually act as described, then please do speak up. It'll help the person playing the character to either explain themselves better or fix the problem (if they really have a problem).

So, now that we've looked, let's leap.
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Character Motivation - Tiandao

Postby cxl » Tue Feb 25, 2014 1:21 pm

So, to get this ball rolling, and to give people an example of what we're trying to do here, I'll start with one of my characters. (Apologies in advance for not having a better example - most of my characters are either isolated, or strange loners, so very few people will have met most of them)

Xiangdeng Tiandao
It's a bit of an esoteric one here (as I said, apologies for the bad example), but at least it'll give me a chance to show how I derived this from the character sheet.
Driving motivation: Investigating the curious aspects of personal growth
Tiandao is almost an archetype of a "sage" character in some ways - it's incredibly powerful and insanely old. It's probably already done all of its character development, got bored of it, did it all over again, and finally dismissed the whole process as being a bit silly.
But quite possibly the most diverse thing in nature is people - everyone, from the simplest human, to the most eldritch youkai, is a potentially inexhaustible source of interesting possibilities. If you give someone a gun, will they become a vigilante against injustice, or will they put a bullet in their annoying neighbour who's always playing his music too loud? What will happen to them then? Will they try give the gun back?
Tiandao is fascinated by people, and as such goes around giving them challenges and chances, in order to see what they'll do. When it's being nice, it'll give someone a rope to pull themselves out of a hole; when it's being mean, it'll give them just enough rope to hang themselves with.
To a casual observer, its actions might seem almost random, but it always tries to choose people who could become catalysts for further change - because change means different things, different things are new things, and new things are always interesting.
Examples
  • Tiandao arranged for Patchouli to acquire a car sized hakkero - because what would be more interesting to someone who experiments with magic than a vast source of magical power? The Hakkero promptly went into storage and Tiandao promptly began ignoring the situation, since it was clear nothing would come of it.
  • Over the course of several months, Tiandao began showing Nue some of the potential results of a youkai's evolution, leading to her trying to push the limits of her power, consequently going a bit nuts, and eventually attacking the Hakurei shrine. This could potentially lead to rising tensions in Gensoukyou, which might spill over into further violence, and would affect many people. (This is an example of things going right - now if only people could lose the OOC drama about it)
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Character Motivation - Rika

Postby Setvilioux » Tue Feb 25, 2014 2:09 pm

Mm, I certainly see and understand the points when they're explained like this. Gotta confess to being guilty of that more than once, so let's see if I can't change that, eh? I'll go ahead and start with probably my simplest character.


Rika
Driving motivation: Technological knowledge, and improving herself as an engineer.
Told you t'was simple. Rika's main driving force, why she gets up in the morning etc is that she wants to learn how, and why things work. She wants to know why connecting Gizmo A into Doohicky B makes all those pretty lights and sparks happen. Life is short, and Rika wants to make the most of what limited time she has left, to leave some sort of... impact, on Gensoukyou.

Which comes to the second point; improving her own skills. Since her first invention, Rika's gone nowhere but up. And she wants to stay that way. She wants to learn how to make new, fantastic contraptions, that would make her more than 'some human with a wrench'. Not famous, per-say, but respected!
Examples:
  • Repairing, and upgrading Ruukoto. This was a pretty big thing for Rika, seeing as she'd never really worked on an artificial intelligence before, so being able to repair, let alone upgrade Ruukoto has been a huge step forward for her improvements.

Basic, simple. Rika hasn't done too horribly much, and there's only so much a village-confined lass can strive for. I'll do ones for Yuki and Amaya another time.
Rika - Yuki - Amaya Kuroku - Scamallach Niwl


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Re: The Character Motivation Thread

Postby Firefluff » Wed Feb 26, 2014 12:54 am

Saiseibai Kuchinawa

Driving motivation: Attainment of the secrets of power, subjugation of youkai.
Really, what Saiseibai does is hang around Youkai that are known to be somewhat powerful, and from there, she watches them, trying to figure out what about the things that they do makes them effective. If she can't glean that sort of information from them, then she is more than happy with trying to talk her way into a position where they might consider her an ally. It's much easier to get people to do things for you if they figure you will do the same, after all. But why does she want to gain power? Protection? Pushing people around? Well, to put it simply, youkai have more respect for other youkai that are powerful and are capable of accomplishing things on their own. Saiseibai would use that 'respect' in order to gain a force of youkai that she can do whatever she wants with, sort of like a small militia. Attacking the village is a sure-fire way to get into trouble with the sages, but it doesn't seem to be as strict in regard to other youkai, meaning she can go and force groups of youkai to join her, making her more and more influential.

Examples:

  • The Nue
  • Byakuren
  • Mamizou

Because she hangs around at the temple quite often, Saiseibai is able to observe all three of these powerful individuals, but she cannot say that she has learned too terribly much. Byakuren doesn't often show off any force, and the Nue seems to just be obsessed with attacking things. Although, she could possibly come to the conclusion that because Nue attacks people so frequently, that is the cause of her power, seeing as how many youkai gain power from fear. As for Mamizou, well, Mamizou is in a similar boat as Byakuren right now, but at the very least, she shows a bit more promise.
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Re: The Character Motivation Thread

Postby null » Wed Feb 26, 2014 1:23 am

Holy Helix Fossil, I have a lot to do here.

Kageki

Driving Motivation: To ensure the survival of, and further expand, Daraku no Rakuen and its inhabitants - for himself, for his daughters, and in effort to impress Shinki. He sees the lot of them as his sort of family, and Rakuen as his home. He's always curious of how he can further expand his home, and will often try new ways to do so as a result. This may sometimes lead to some trouble coming his way, but he's prepared to take risks and is quite sure in his ability to lay down his life, if need be, to defend all he's accomplished.

Examples:

* The whole EPoBD ( or something ) plot was a prime example of him trying to extend his reign. It got shot down rather well, but that was a thing that happened and the forest is probably still recovering.

* In the effort to bring more servants into the forest, or create new creatures and help expand the forest, Kageki has plucked someone from the village in order to make them into a youkai of temptation of sorts. Someone who will go and continue to bring back humans to experiment upon.

Kemuri

Driving motivation: Admittedly, this one is hard, because Kemuri is sort of a run-of-the-mill youkai. Aside from the usual survival instinct, really all she has is to make sure Karutate is kept safe. If something happened to Karutate, then she'd probably lose herself.

Fumei

Driving Motivation: To give those that are near death another chance, so that their identity is not lost to the dirt of the earth. Fumei is, essentially, just someone who exists for others. It is other people far more often than it is itself, in order to make people who would otherwise fade away into the afterlife happy.

Examples:

* The hundreds of spirits it houses. Some unwilling, most are kept in a sort of sub-conscious place where they can live and manifest in Fumei as they'd like. Some still visit their families, friends, others just enjoy taking some time to walk around in mortality again. Should they get bored, they are released.


Ludivine

Driving Motivation: While her goal was once to be a traveler, being a sort of art-merchant and trying to stay her way from Dilith, her settling in Gensoukyou brought her to prefer staying settled as opposed to going back to the advancing outside world. She does plan on travelling around Gensoukyou, but her recent run-in with youkai may have made her a bit more hesitant. However, with Amaya now in the picture, she is rather happy to stay at home now, being as hospitable as she can to anyone who finds her little home.

Sunyata

Driving Motivation: It's really just as simple as to get the most he can out of existence. He enjoys taking pleasure in the smallest of things, while playing the big things off as something small. He values existence as a whole, and honestly enjoys trying to bring lightheartedness to any one existence. He'll poke something he probably shouldn't with a stick just to see what'll happen, making example for the notion ''you never know until you find out'' and pushing people to see how they'd react. He hopes that people will follow by his example and make some good of it.


Seija

Driving Motivation: To overturn the status-quo. Perhaps it's just her nature, but she despises how weak youkai are so much lower than powerful ones even by nature's command. Therefore, often she will treat the weaker ones with some small sliver of respect, while treat those powerful with very little at all. I've yet to really do much with this, probably because I'm waiting for more DDC characters to be picked up.

(( Well, that's it for tonight. ))
"An honest scowl over a dishonest smile, expressive ranting over silent fuming; for if you let a person go on thinking they are pleasing you, then all they'll learn is how to annoy you more."

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Re: The Character Motivation Thread

Postby Plushy » Wed Feb 26, 2014 4:26 pm

Rikako Asakura

Driving Motivation:

As a child, Rikako became fascinated with the sciences, leading her to pursue multiple independent experiments, and tracking down various textbooks to learn from. She's still hungry for more knowledge in subjects such as Chemistry, Biology, and Physics, and has only a slight interest in the fields directly regarding engineering. After a time, she had learned enough to satisfy her for a while, and thought that she could spread what she had learned in any way possible.

Examples:

- Becoming a teacher. After Rikako developed the urge to teach others about the wonders of science, she sought to apply for a job at Keine's School, where she became one of the two teachers. Due to her role as a teacher, she's also been opening her shell some, and even bonding with the students, to a degree.


(More later)
"Never forget your past, but don't let it hurt your future"
- I like to say that I said it, but I'm honestly unsure.

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