The Party - Part II
Picking up from last month's issue, the second installment to the Party Concept Spotlight discusses relationships with party members and the breaking of a party.
The party is formed with the social requirement for company in mind, bringing characters together whether they can stand one another’s mugs or not. This need connects players and characters, and who’s to say that they wouldn’t have gained the respect of their previously reluctant companions in the process. It’s an exciting (if not badass) experience when hostile minds come together in order to accomplish a common goal. Through this characters are made to overcome their differences before they conclude their adventures - this theme is commonly shared among many stories, and for good reason. Doing so digs out greater emotional depth with other characters, contrary toward the often linear relationships of tabletop games. This emotional depth is something that we have the benefit of exploring in our platform of roleplay, as conflicting characters are potential to be too distracted by one another to properly address the bigger picture in that moment. So don’t be afraid to portray healthy disagreement among your group.
There’s little telling where characters brought together by their common goal will stand with one another once the job’s done, but exploring their encounters together is a suitable way of exploring your characters’ chemistry at the same time. New things emerge on the surface, some things hide deeper. The purely practical and introverted stick to their job while the social look to form a bond with their assistance. Put these two personalities together and already there’s a conflict of interest, and who knows where that might go. Long-term interaction between two characters almost inevitably gives birth to a relationship, be it a rivalry, a camaraderie or a romance(bow-chika-wow-wow). These shared adventurous experiences are potential to impact their relationship with other these characters, and each becomes a new opportunity to know more about their party members or to reveal something to the rest of your group. Whether through their means of handling and reacting to problems, through downtime conversations or when feelings are moved.
The combination of personalities brings out emotions, clashes, laughter and joy. Characters coming together put themselves in a position to develop and grow in the company of others, possibly allowing them to have an impact on your character and perhaps bring minor or large change. The experience is unpredictable and that makes for something to look forward to in your roleplay, especially if the party had come together fresh and recently. Getting to know unfamiliar characters is a good spice to your roleplay.
There is one last touchy point concerning relationships and that is the unpredictability of bringing conflicting characters together. It isn’t impossible that one of these party members have joined with the sole purpose of betraying the group when it suits them in order to accomplish their own devices. In this way, that party member with whom you have fought alongside becomes your villain or antagonist. The good old plot twist and paradigm shift, an event that flips your story around and leaves the players behind the screen feeling a variety of passionate, conflicting feelings for the truly insane DM to maniacally bask in. Though, this is a touchy matter as it should not be done without the DM’s consent or knowledge, otherwise it may come to out of character issues. Consult with your Dungeon Master!
Everything that begins in roleplay has an ending - or at least an extended break, and this includes the adventure party. Some characters may fade away over time or a disbanding may have taken place at some point through the course of your party’s existence. Not every team was intended to be for the long run and having been potentially designed with a single goal in mind, the party members may seek to go on their way once the experience has ended. It wouldn’t be uncommon either. The split may carry emotional weight or it may be entirely detached, this often depends on the relationship that the group had with one another.
Though the split may be an ending to the party, it isn’t an ending to the characters or necessarily to their adventures. They move on with the experiences and memories that they’ve taken from their adventures together, either seeking something with a semblance of normality or taking part in continued stories with other parties; involving new or old faces. After all, some members of the party may have departed together and continued their acquired companionships. Though the Breaking of the Fellowship isn't always the end; it may not stop the groups from working to achieve the same goal separately, just like the cheeky reference in this sentence.
The split may not have come to be under cordial circumstances either. When emotions are and perspectives differ, the party might be rendered unable to see their goals as common and members may decide to walk away in light of this. This manner of discontent and disagreement is always potential to come to fallouts with other characters and perhaps the leadership, leaving the character’s obvious choice of action to step back from the group; be it in anger or civility. If it cannot be between characters, then it cannot be. A gradual descent in the the leader’s attitude may come to this if it goes unchecked or unchallenged, but unless a character is in some way bound to their leader(if ever there was one), the door may always be an option for them.
Playing with a party is an engaging source of roleplay that provides everything a roleplayer could look for. The combination of adventure, inter and outer drama and relationships makes for a memorable experience that you might end up taking with you for the rest of your life. In my experience, these adventures have had a tendency to become campfire stories with other roleplays - something to chat about and share with whomever you come across later. A social and adventurous roleplayer would no doubt find themselves at home in the party; because this provides action, interaction and drama altogether in a story-based experience driven by the player characters behind it. Write a McGuffin, recruit your team and kick [redacted]. Adventure awaits.