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Talk about Holts

Tehaar

I thought this discussion room needed a general discussion on ElfQuest roleplay Holts. This thread isn't for making a new Holt, looking for a Holt, or anything like that. Just a general discussion on what type of Holts people like, where you've RP'd before, and anything that comes to mind.

First I'd like to hear... What type of Holt do you guys like?

I have seen many different kinds of Holts coming and going. At the moment, genre-wise, I think there's at least a Holt where different universes meet (characters from previous Holts), lizard riders, traditional canon-like Holts and more. Style-wise I'm most familiar with forum-based RP Holts where original characters have their adventures, but I think there are also Holts with story writing, drawing and maybe even some mailing list stuff, but that I don't know anything about. What kind of Holt is something that you prefer to be a part of?

I really like forum roleplay, so my Holt of choice is a forum game. It's something that I can wrap my mind around, and I think it works nicely. If it was a chat role play, the messages would get lost in the flood and it would require real time participation. In my experience, there are many different players from many different time zones in Holts, so that's why a forum works well.

Genre-wise, I'm a bit of a traditionalist. I really like canon type settings and canon tribes. What's more, I really like the "original" tribes from the early EQ comics. Not too into Wavedancers since I haven't read much on them. My favourite tribes to RP are instead Wolfriders, Sunfolk, Go-Backs and Gliders. I don't think I've been in a Holt where they've had a Sunfolk type of tribe, but the other three yes. Wolfriders are the closest to my heart for nostalgia reasons, but lately I've really found an interest in Sunfolk.

I used to think Gliders were a little boring too, but at Three Moons Holt there were such interesting plot lines that I really started liking Gliders. Too bad that the fun ended before it even properly started! I think Gliders work well for a somewhat political setting, where they have plotting and scheming. A little bit like nobility... but maybe that's just me.

I don't really like the idea of actual canon game, where some of the EQ characters are involved. I prefer a setting in a similar universe, but with player-created original characters. Other than that, the closer to the EQ lore, the better. :D That's why I'm not really interested in the type of Holts where elves bond with big cats or other animals - I'm most content with Wolfriders.

I'd like to hear your ideas about a perfect Holt too!

Tam

I've never played in anything but round-robin storytelling...Oakleaf is actually my first forum holt, though the mechanics are the same. Before that (there was maybe...a two, three year gap between Oakleaf and the previous holt I played in, though it lasted such a short time that I can't remember the name), it was all Yahoo Groups. Now that I've played in a forum, I don't think I would ever go back to Yahoo Groups...or really any other forum system that isn't ProBoards. The ability to switch between accounts and have avatars that match your character has me spoiled.

In terms of what the game looks like, I definitely prefer to play within the confines of traditional Elfquest. I DO dabble in more worldpool stuff...my Wavedancers at Oakleaf, for example, were originally conceived as cat-riders. And I play a panther-rider at Beacon Call. My second holt ever (not MINE, but one I played in) was an Elfquest/Pern mashup, which was awesome. It's been nice to be able to resurrect characters at Beacon Call...part of the reason I prefer traditional EQ lore is because the foundation is already there to be expanded upon. And while characters at BC come from different...dimensions, if you will, my character, despite being a panther-rider, comes from a more traditional setting. I didn't have to do a bunch of world-building. And that's why I can play at Beacon Call, because I'm in charge of her story. At the same time, Beacon Call is lower on my priority list. Where I consider Oakleaf like a craft, I consider Beacon Call a casual hobby. Not that I don't love both...it's just easier for me to be more flexible if I don't take it as seriously.

I like to be in charge. I'm a bit of a control freak. *laughs* Most of my characters have a story...not many of them are just along for the ride. So I have strong opinions about how things should work. If we're playing in an Elfquest-based world, that isn't a problem, but if it's worldpool, I have trouble keeping my mouth shut. Which is another reason BC works for me...I can tell Pana's story and build her world without interfering with anyone else. This is why holts like RiverTwine wouldn't work for me. I LOVE perusing their site. And I love the idea of how they work. But I would feel really odd letting someone else write for my character...or writing for someone else's.

That said, I really like to work with people and figure out how they can best tell their own stories. I think my need for control comes off as a bit bull-ish sometimes, but it's because running holts is one of the things I'm fully confident that I can do well. Which is why Oakleaf is pretty much perfect for me...and I hope I can make it that way for our other players too.

Eregyrn

River Twine is the first holt I joined; before that, I was a part of Pern fandom, playing in very similar groups. (And I was drawn into RTH by people I was in a Pern group with at the time.) So I definitely have a group "type".

Structure-wise, I've never been an RP person. I prefer writing stories (and making art). Tam mentions being a control freak :) -- and I'm kind of the same, and for me, that extends to the method of storytelling. I'm really happy to build storylines WITH other people, planning them with others and connecting them into larger, overarching group narratives... but I do like that OOC planning, and having a sense of control over how the story is then told.

I don't want to say that I don't like forum-style groups, though, simply because I really haven't experienced them. The way RTH works, where people write stories to advance the plots that have been discussed/planned/agreed on, is the same style as the Pern groups I used to belong to -- what I would call "zine style". (Which dates back to the way groups were organized when I first entered fandom, in '82, prior to the existence of the web or even really of email.) It's what I'm used to and thus what I like. I perceive other styles of play as a little more chaotic (i.e. harder to control), and a little more time-consuming (I can write a story at my own pace). (But I realize perhaps that perception is unfair.)

Subject-wise, yeah, I'm really only interested in old-style canon subjects, and I'm especially interested in wolfriders. (Because my interest in wolves long predates my interest in ElfQuest.) And I'm really only interested in OCs, not in playing with canon elves. For one thing, I think I'd find playing with the canon elves to be too much pressure... but for another, well, Pern fandom was very strictly "make up your own characters to play in the world, never use canon characters" from the beginning, so it's just what I got used to.

But I can definitely see that forum-RP groups seem like the most popular. And I can kind of understand why, even if I think they're probably not my thing.

Tam

Hehe, sounds like we both prefer with what we started with. :) I agree with your assessment that other styles of play, particularly forum-style, can be a bit chaotic and difficult to control.

Also fully agreed with both of you about playing canon elves. I have ZERO interest in that. I don't want that kind of pressure, and I don't think anyone else can tell the stories of the canon elves as well as the Pinis. In Oakleaf, we have a few relatives of canon (a son of Ember and Teir, a daughter of Venka, and a daughter of Scouter and Dewshine), but we've maxed out on those characters...not allowing any more. I feel like in some (not all!) cases, the canon connection is used to...hmm. It's an easy way to legitimize what the player wants the reader to think about the character. I would rather the character earn whatever it is the player wants on their own merit and playing ability than relying on heritage.

Dreamcat

I´m from the pen-and-paper party. I had a weekly table running for over eight years with my buddies, playing fantasy adventures with a good focus on social roleplay. I really like that form of roleplay best, cause it means enjoying chummy evenings with my friends. However, I don´t think EQ quite suites for that kind of gameplay for me, since I really mostly wanna play socail stuff with elves and only little action in between, so in a pen-and-paper game, I think that would soon bore me.

The forum format really works great there for me. I´ve doodled in chats, but the short and quick messaging really takes a lot of atmosphere out. Also I´m used to organic roleplay narration, writing actual stories isn´t quite my thing. I need and want fellow players to communicate with, they are the ones drawing out my role with their characters´ actions, so the classic zine style woudn´t do for me. I can rather imagine to try EQ larp as another rp format.

Either way, when I play Elfquest, I wanna play Elfquest. I can have dragonriders, cat half breeds and other funky stuff like that elsewhere if I want them. Similar to @Tehaar, I don´t even feel completely comfortable with the Wavedancers, cuz they just seem too funky for the WotM in my eyes. I also like actual canon connection to an extend. I´m not really keen on canon characters appearing in the game, but I like to have something that still connects my game to the canon in more than just the setting.
Either that, or the setting has to change as well. I don´t see point in coming up with just one funky new tribe but leave everything else the way canon tells it. So if doing Worldpool, then I expect something more creative than just that.
In those terms, Oakleaf Holt suits me very well, both, in main game and AU.

In contrary to @Eregyrn and @Tam, I like the chaos. I love to start out with a pile of colorful something, get swept up and let myself be surprised by what comes out of it to the point when everything converges and all the random pieces start to fit perfectly into one big image. It´s like a jam session, and it´s best when the groove comes. I think, if I try to keep control, I also keep towering the outcome, but if I just let things flow, it may even grow to something bigger than myself.

Tam

*laughs* I didn't say I don't LIKE the chaos...just that it can be chaotic. ;) I thrive in chaos. As long as it's MY chaos.

Sofia

Great to get to know what other people like about roleplaying!

I've tried a little bit of everything, so I'm not sure what sort of style is my favorite. When it comes to the canon elves I do love to write fanfiction, but I don't think I could roleplay with them; it's so easy to disagree on character interpretations since none of the players are the characters' original creators.

But when it comes to OCs, I love all kinds of rping; forum, Yahoo!Groups, round-robins/zines, tabletop, bring it all! (Though with the changes made to the Yahoo!Groups, maybe not so much that anymore).

When it comes to settings I think my favorite is the "small group that grows larger as new players join" elf tribes. Not that I in anyway hate playing in groups where there's a large established tribe to fill out, but I think there's a bit of an adventure to be hand with elves that for some reason or other have to form relationships with strangers and start relying on them; especially if there are large culture shocks involved.

I love Worldpool stories and what-ifs. While Wolfriders are great, I can't help but love the challenge of different bloods. Many animals don't live in packs, so how does that change how the High Ones and their descendants choose to live and form a culture? And how would elf-blood affect bears, tigers or wolverines? (PS. Since the whole "wolf challenges for rank" and "alpha-beta-gamma-omega" structure of wolf packs was proven to be false long ago, my 'headcanon' for how the elf-blooded wolf packs work in Elfquest is that their elf-blood and the changes that comes with living with and adapting to elves have changed their 'culture' as well).

Most important for me in a game though is that I like my character(s) and that said character(s) have interesting relationships with the other players' characters. Half the fun with an rpg is the OOC-planning and plotting. That's one of the reasons I love to play antagonists; rarely a dull moment :)

Tam

Hahaha, playing villains is the BESTTTTTTTTTTTT.

Dreamcat

yeah, playing the bad or nasty guys is usually more fun. I love playing conflicts, shiny happy people have boring lives.

Sofia

I like being a shiny happy person in real life, but in roleplaying conflict is delicious ;)

Tehaar

Fun to hear everyone's two cents! I agree with @Dreamcat about the organic roleplay. I really like to RP with people and have their characters bring their surprise twists into the game plots. I don't mind some pre-planned plots, but I like to keep the pre-planning simple so that the game can evolve into a surprising direction. I get to know my characters well so it's never a problem to figure out how they'd react to a situation. But it's just so much fun to have my character (and me!) surprised.

This brings me to our other topic, villains/troublemakers. They really bring the edge to role playing. I love conflicts and drama in game. It keeps the gaming interesting and makes room for character development. I like putting my characters through trouble if there's a chance. That said, I don't want them to be traumatized out of their wits. So they're survivors, even if things have gone wrong. Still, they might have a bit of a trauma. I like my characters to have some weaknesses, even if it's just that they're annoying to others... ;) Or maybe sorting through their personal issues. Anyway, conflict with other characters helps to bring out my characters' weaknesses and strengths alike.

Somehow I also like to RP a "supporting character" if that makes any sense. I feel that so many people in different role plays (not neccessarily EQ) have wanted their character to be the main character or important or even a bit Mary Sue... I'd rather play someone who isn't the center of attention, just to keep things balanced. :D I really like balance. That's why I often end up creating male characters - there seems to be a constant lack of them in every game I see! I like to create a character that fills a spot. In many games, I've created an "adoptable" or "requested" character because I just like that sort of thing.

But oh, how I miss the Glider overlord Elyro... He was the best villain! :)

Sofia

I can definitely get behind playing the "supporting characters" as well as villains/troublemakers! I too love to balance out a game, be it with creating a character of an under represented gender, skin color or personality. But most of all I like creating characters that will help keep the game going, either by serving a supporting function (e.g. being the optimistic one that wants to keep everyone together) or by playing the villain or gossip mongerer.

PS. Elyro may or may not have moved to a new Holt in slightly re-modeled form because I loved him so much that I couldn't let him disappear with Three Moons Holt. *cough*BeaconCallHolt*cough*

Tehaar

I sort of do wish I could play a Glider again, hehe. A few weeks back I was organizing my computer a bit and found some old files from Three Moons Holt... The good old times!

I like your ideas of a supporting function for a character, Sofia! I like to keep the game going as best as I can, but I think I could pay more attention to that when creating a new character. Gossip mongerer was something I wouldn't have thought of myself, but now I can see how well that type of character can push plots forward. :D