Characterisation Through Questions

Alright, hold onto your hats, folks, this is some deep nerdery. Around three years ago, now, I was an active participant on Formspring, playing multiple superhero characters as a way of augmenting City of Heroes in-game roleplay. When Formspring went through a scare that almost shut them down, they let us download archives of our characters’ work. With the number I had, I grabbed the long ones, with the vague intention I’d do something with them later.

Well, thanks to the magnificent Adrienne, I’ve been able to turn these multi-file messes into single, easily read streams and I thought these, in particular, were worth preserving somewhere. In order, we have:

New Disaster – A bisexual young neophiliac with a misandrist mother and a coven of literal witches around him. Cole is preserved here more for the historical curiosity of him, and knowing that to at least one person, he matters a great deal.

Snared – Ryker’s story as outlined here was a lot of complex parts crashing against one another. The game didn’t make events work the same way they would in a story – everything happened in this slow-motion floe-like kind of way, it was up to you, the player character, to give your stories a sense of pace. Ryker was trying to take care of a little sister, deal with being orphaned, and a superhero, and an illegal immigrant, all at once. Also, Ryker was created before I knew that cops in America are kind of dicks.

Carceri – I made Carcer in a rush and in response to other players’ behaviour and stories. I never made him fit, he never felt as loved as I wanted him to – a bitter, seething little lump of coal, put on someone’s shelf or in someone’s roster. I loved him dearly, though, and I know there’s no other place he can possibly belong.

Swivel – Cyborg boy with an AI in his head that was deliberately trying to fuck with him. Swivel was a wonderfully nerdy character, and I really, properly enjoyed playing him on Formspring. The character people met in-game either was ‘in uniform’, wore a mask, and was a completely wordless machine of destruction, or was out of uniform and looked like a scrawny dork who had an absolutely deblitating stutter. Taking someone who normally couldn’t speak, and giving him a space where he could talk, and talk about the internet and videogames and such? It was lots of fun.

Cearmaid – And here’s the sort of magnum opus of this. Cearmaid is the character who became the background texture, the landscape, of all this formspring stuff. More than any other character, Cearmaid came to live and learn and be shaped on formspring. More people knew Lock than ever met him. I don’t know how to describe this character now. It’s too big, I don’t have words for it.

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Now I warn you, these archives are basically only interesting if you want to watch my superhero roleplay characters play question-and-answer with randos, or even, sometimes, with one another, which I am sure is onanistic in hindsight. Still, there’s something about these archives I deeply love, some form of expression I can’t see elsewhere, or show in any other way.

Maybe there’s something in here to read or be amused by.

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