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In many RPs, romance is a goal. In others, players end up bothered by someone trying to force an unwanted romance.

I'd like to know how people feel about crushes that aren't expected to be returned.

In a few RPs I've had with a friend, we've had characters who had one-sided crushes on each other. For example, he has a character who has a crush on the sister of his best friend since childhood, something she originally was repulsed by (mostly feeling that she was above "little kids" who she's actually not much older than) and has occasionally tried manipulating to her advantage (offering a kiss as a trade, for example). And on the other side, a teenager of mine had a crush on an adult of his just because he was basically the first person to ever be kinda nice to her, something his character was oblivious to and not the slightest bit interested in.

I've usually avoided having this sort of thing with others though, for fear that is comes across as forcing a relationship or, if there's an age gap involved, comes across as too creepy to the player.

I know that communication is key, but I've been quicker to just avoid it. But now I'm asking: how many people would actually be fine with that? And do you feel it's important to discuss it first, or is it okay to simply present a one-sided crush and hope it's understood as such, like most of your own character's feelings?
I think if someone started writing crush feelings in without talking about it OOC, I would think that they're hoping for romance between the characters. I wouldn't know it was meant to be just a one-sided crush. But that's just me! I would probably end up asking them myself ooc something like, "in your head, how do you envision their relationship playing out"? or something like that.
I have to say, as a purely romance story writer, that this is one of my favourite things to write with someone. Whether it being my character having an unrequited love for theirs or vice versa. It's the gut of a story that really pulls in some heart wrenching drama.

For example; My husband and I have two characters that are _now_ fully developed into a relationship, but my character Derik had an obsessive love for his character Elise. This lasted for 10 full years. A constant crush, asking for dates, sending flowers (We estimated what he spent on flowers each year; roughly 230k per year for nearly the full ten years. He's a criminal and makes too much money. He wears Louis Vuitton suites on a daily and Hugo Boss underwear, for crying out loud.) So, this was very much a massive unrequited love story for a very long time. I find these kinds of stories to be really really good.

I've written quite a few stories in which characters had feelings for others or my character was ultimately being chased by someone who had feelings. They're fun!


HOWEVER, and that is a very big however, I have found in the past communities I was on that if you were not precisely discussing this kind of information with the other writer you could be easily "black listed" and dubbed a "force shipper" if you wrote that your own character had unrequited feelings or crushes towards another person's character without full consent of the other writer.

While I think it shouldn't be up to anyone else how your own character's feelings develop and mold to a story, I have to push for any writer to ask questions and get the basic "okay" from another writer before doing anything. Let it be known though that some writers may not know what they're really saying okay to, even if they tell you they 100% understand, it can still backfire and someone can certainly make a mountain out of a flat plain and ultimately claim they didn't understand after all and that the communication wasn't clear enough.

As a writer in many communities, I have gone to exhaustive lengths to make sure my writing partners are at the utmost comfort level when topics or plot-lines are being discussed and I will be annoyingly clear about what I'm wanting to do and where I'm wanting to go with a story if it involves romantic plots. I have unfortunately been on the suffering end of the stick in which accusations were battered about me forcing my characters onto another despite gaining explicit consent from the other writer for my character to have JUST A CRUSH and it caused a huge rift in the community I was involved in and I was thus dubbed someone who forces ships and lost a plethora of friends and writing partners because someone wasn't honest with me and spoke ill about me with an entire group of writers who then began spreading that to anyone I began speaking to.

Be honest with your writing partners about what you're wanting, if those wants are changing, and where you're intending things to go. 100% upfront even if it seems like you're beating the subject black and blue. I cannot insist upon this enough, because I would not want this to go badly for anyone in the way that it did for me.
Claine Moderator

When I used to RP my TF2 Scout a lot, I used to hit on all the women characters. All of them.

In retrospect, I'm surprised it went as drama-free as it did. I had one friend in particular who is a good artist so she had lots of art of her cute character. She was constantly had people initiating RP and forcing ships. And she haated it.

However, my luck may have been due to:

The public location of the RP - everybody could see everybody else's RP on their dash. So players knew I wasn't singling out their character specifically.
The fact that I did not RP smut, and stated as such in my rules.
The fact that the character in question is... kind of pathetic.
I went in with the intent to fail.
The fact that many of the RPers had their characters use his clueless infatuation as a mechanism into manipulating him.
Novalyyn wrote:
In many RPs, romance is a goal. In others, players end up bothered by someone trying to force an unwanted romance.

I'd like to know how people feel about crushes that aren't expected to be returned.

I know that communication is key, but I've been quicker to just avoid it.

Communication is key. I'm guilty of trying to outright avoid this, too, because I've been guilted when my OCs don't reciprocate. But I've had folks ask if it's alright for their character to develop an attraction to mine, and while the answer's always "I won't tell you how to write them", I can appreciate someone taking the time to ask. If a character develops a crush, that's fine, so long as it doesn't come accompanied by out-of-character expectations. We can never truly predict RP, which is half the fun of it. Those set on the belief that romance absolutely will happen (disclaimer: romance plots) are possibly setting themselves up for disappointment, or pressuring the other party. But when it's discussed, when both players are comfortable and the characters are just acting per their personalities, there's a clear divide between IC and OOC goals...? There's nothing wrong with it. It's a natural occurrence. Where it goes from there is up to development! I once played a plot where both characters were infatuated with one another, but chose not to act on their feelings due to political obligations and occupations. It made for a very bittersweet story which was great fun, playing that unspoken attraction without obligation or crossing any lines towards involvement. We communicated clearly with one another, both knew it wasn't going to take a serious turn, and both remained close friends and writing partners even when one of the characters became committed to someone else.
Sanne Moderator

Novalyyn wrote:
I know that communication is key, but I've been quicker to just avoid it. But now I'm asking: how many people would actually be fine with that? And do you feel it's important to discuss it first, or is it okay to simply present a one-sided crush and hope it's understood as such, like most of your own character's feelings?

This is interesting!

I've RPed one-sided crushes before, but they were pretty fleeting and didn't matter too much for the plot at hand in most cases. On the other hand, I've also had people play crushes and persistently pursue my character who denied their advances, to the point where it stopped being fun because it was all about the crush and the pursuit, not about the story or character development. In one instance it reminded me a lot of real life advances I experienced where my 'no' was met with continuous pursuit because my 'no' wasn't honored, and it got creepy and ventured into harassment really fast. It's not fun to play this kind of thing in roleplays when that's not my goal for the game, and I think it can be upsetting for people who deal with harassment to rehash this in RPs. So if this topic gets explored, I think it's always a good thing to evaluate what the goal is and to talk with your RP partner about any potential experiences or reasons not to RP crushes.

I personally stay away from playing crushes unless it's the goal of the RP (such as a setup for a romantic relationship) and I'm in a good place. I struggle trusting that people understand the fine line between a crush and obsessive behavior though, so I'm likely to say no unless I'm familiar with the person and know them well enough. That's all part of the communication rule though! There are lots of instances where obsessive behavior is part of the RP and both parties enjoy it.

Libertine wrote:
Communication is key. I'm guilty of trying to outright avoid this, too, because I've been guilted when my OCs don't always reciprocate. But I've had folks ask if it's alright for their character to develop an attraction to mine, and while the answer's always "I won't tell you how to write your character", I can appreciate them taking the time to ask. If a character naturally starts to have a crush, that's fine, so long as it doesn't come accompanied by out-of-character expectations. We can never truly predict RP, which is half the fun of it. Those set on the belief that romance absolutely will happen (disclaimer: romance plots) are possibly setting themselves up for disappointment, or pressuring the other party. But when it's communicated, when both players are comfortable and the characters are just acting per their personalities, there's a clear divide between IC and OOC goals...? There's nothing wrong with it. It's a natural occurrence. Where it goes from there is up to the characters!

I remember when we played our characters together and this came up! It was a really fun and welcome experience, very respectful and adorable all around. :) I enjoyed that.
Sanne wrote:
I've also had people play crushes and persistently pursue my character who denied their advances, to the point where it stopped being fun because it was all about the crush and the pursuit, not about the story or character development. In one instance it reminded me a lot of real life advances I experienced where my 'no' was met with continuous pursuit because my 'no' wasn't honored, and it got creepy and ventured into harassment really fast.

The root of the issue, I see this too often outside of romance plots :( it's important to know when to draw the line!
Sanne wrote:
I remember when we played our characters together and this came up! It was a really fun and welcome experience, very respectful and adorable all around. :) I enjoyed that.

Ahhh I remember, it was very fitting and innocent, made good sense and was executed with complete consideration <3
I don't usually write crushes that are one sided since I mostly write romance that leads to relationships, but I have done it before. Communication is key for sure as everyone mentioned. I prefer for it to be spoken about beforehand and I speak to people about it beforehand. In an RP of mine I have a side character who has a crush on the other persons character who is dating my main character. It's obvious, and it put some distance inbetween the side character and my character because they're best friends so, but it's not so bad since it's been a few months since it all came out.

I do often have side characters of my own that have one sided crushes on my characters. My character Penny's roommate Monica has a crush on her, but it's one sided.

I'd definitely say it's mostly important to just mention it to the other person if you're going to have a character have a crush on theirs whether it's romance themed rp or not; and try not to over-do it where they become a stalker unless that's the plan of course...
I like relationships, any sort of relationship, be it romantic of just friendship to develop organically. And sometimes, as in life, it'll be unreciprocated and you know, that's okay. It adds an extra sort of.. dimension to an rp to have a character lusting after someone they know deep down doesn't feel the same way. That sort of tragic unrequited love can be quite interesting to explore and sure, sometimes they were wrong and something does develop, or they find someone else, but sometimes they just pine.
I like that uncertainty and I like the organic way in which things evolve and such. I admit, I genuinely have never talked to another player about a character getting together with another, we just play it by ear and see how it goes. Sometimes two characters click, sometimes they start something but it doesn't work, other times they grow close over the course of an adventure and sometimes they remain "just friends". Sometimes characters don't get along too, and this is also AOK.

I enjoy the element of realism of having things not set in stone and having characters themselves determine friendships, relationships, dislikes and so on, rather than having it all planned beforehand and forcing characters down a narrow path. Part of what I enjoy about rp is that you don't really know where it's all gonna go and characters DO often have their own minds and whims and will derail stuff on you. I LIKE that, I like both as a gm and a player to be surprised by someone's actions or to have them do something I didn't think of, that's why you collaberate surely? If you wanted everything written in stone and predetermined why not just write a book? andyes, this does mean if your characters starts acting creepy and stalkerish, I WILL address it IN character assuming this was your intention. *shrug* I prefer to hash stuff like that out IC to be honest. i won't tell you how to play your character and I expect you won't tell me how to play mine, if their reaction to your crushing on them is to smack you in the face, well, you are entitled to react appropriately to that (this happened in my long term rp hahah, one of my characters punched a guy for flirting with him, which was an extreme reaction but totally in character. )

I think so long as the other players are aware you aren't gonna plan certain things and make it clear that certain characters may not reciprocate things it's fine. I think as long as you have players you trust and are on the same wavelength with, people who don't expect you to change things for THEIR gratification then you're probably fine.
My current long term rp the three of us know one another's rp quirks fairly well at this point so we don't talk about much, we just do stuff, unless it's something that'll derail current plots or cause issues for a player at which point we'll discuss it, but character relationships don't come up often despite several characters pairing off. Characters just naturally came together, so it made sense from a narrative perspective to have them confess those feelings. Sometimes those relationships don't work, we've had a couple break up and that's all fine. Just like we've had certain "groups" form over time of friends who hang out together more often. (we're all playing a good dozen characters lol)

I LIKE things to evolve naturally and slowly and don't go into anything with a preset idea that "oh so and so will totally pair off with so and so", often I find that very unsatisfying because you end up with a rather shallow superficial relationship rather than a deeply emotional one that's satisfying to write and play out. I also find a lot of people lose interest once the "will they wont they" ends and the characters get together (see most sitcoms for example) but this I think stems from this unfair assumption that there's no interesting drama to come once a couple is together. It's not all happily ever after and honestly, those day to day struggles and conflicts are just as interesting.

Likewise unreciprocated love can be massively interesting and tragic to play out, especially if the character KNOWS it's unreciprocated and knows they have no chance and are trying so hard not to be awful about it because they love this person and don't want to lose them.

I never make assumptions about another player's motivations, it's a bit arrogant to do so. But if you're worried they aren't appropriately divided IC and OOC and getting too emotionally invested, it might be best to have a chat.
Honestly, I believe as long as you have players who CAN appropriately detatch IC and OOC then you shouldn't have a problem. The big problem I think stems from people looking for wish fulfillment, not an actual rp and won't accept your characters behaving in any way other than the way they already wrote out in their brain fanfic idealised version. Most of the people i've rped with over the years wouldn't need to be consulted about crushes in advance, why? because they wouldn't care and having characters behave in character was all that mattered. It'd be dealt with IN character. But of course, I don't think any of us would have gone creepy stalker and derailed everything else trying to force it either *shrug* so... yeah.

I have to admit, there's a cruel part of me that would take particularly DELIGHT in some of my characters having another character fawning over them. It used to crack me up back in "the old days" on like neopets and stuff when young girls would come onto my blind burn victim vampire all "he's so tragic and beautiful" and I was like "uh.. you realise he looks like someone stoved his head in with a brick and then set him on fire right?" lol. oops? He got ALL the girls, it amused me a great deal I have to admit. He was oblivious and generally hated all of them but oh god did it make me laugh my butt off when yet another 14 year old would fall into his arms all "love me!" and he'd drop em.
I'm a horrible person i'm sure.

It's actually this "insta romance" nonsense that led me to create quite so many committment phobic and asexual characters to be honest. Just to be a brat mostly. Ahem. "no lovey dovey kissytimes for you! HAH!"
but of course, that's not always true because one of my ace vampires DOES have a sort of relationship with a mortal now... ahem. But it's a kinda... distant and not very lovey dovey relationship, you just know they have feelings for one another they can't really act on right now because the fate of the world is at stake and neither of them really know what the hell they're doing. It evolved naturally and it's satisfying to explore because while my guy can't give the girl everything she might want in a relationship, he does care about her deeply. He's not about to magically stop being ace, but that doesn't mean he can't feel some glimmer of something else for another person. He's asexual, not aromantic.
Meanwhile on the other side of the room the vampire and the werewolf are in lust ahahaha. It's kinda hilarious having those two awkward losers dancing around the fact they totally want to bone because they're a bit too shy to make the first move. Oh you precious morons.

i like things to be organic and natural, I hate instaromance (just add water) and I just can't pair a character with another till i get to know that character better anyway. Sometimes you think two characters will totally click and they just.. don't.
Zelphyr Topic Starter

Purple_monkfish wrote:
It evolved naturally and it's satisfying to explore because while my guy can't give the girl everything she might want in a relationship, he does care about her deeply. He's not about to magically stop being ace, but that doesn't mean he can't feel some glimmer of something else for another person. He's asexual, not aromantic.
It's kinda stupid how happy it made me to see this. This just whole chunk here. I'm ace myself, so yay people both using it and understanding it!
Crushes are an absolute blast to play - as long as it's all organically developed and purely in-character!

I'll admit to being a bit gun-shy regarding the out-of-character aspect of it, though: I've been on the receiving end of some fairly forced pre-planned romance and marriage with my characters in the past and it never, ever felt right - I could never find anywhere to go if it wasn't something my character would feasibly do in the first place, and things eventually fell the way of abandonment and retcon - as more often than not, the pursuit and the catch appeared to be the point, rather than the aftermath.

I will also admit I don't go out of my way to approach people regarding whether or not my characters could harbor crushes on someone else. When people have asked me, I've typically read all of the approaches as propositions, and consequently I've been afraid to approach anyone regarding crushes because of any potential-perceived "NOW-KISS" movement on my part, and the idea of even approaching anyone about such things felt far too meta for my comfort - so it's ended up a rather self imposed and cyclical thing. (Though I have to admit, the venue - Furcadia - usually brings a lot of context). It's a tricky thing, and I've eventually adopted the approach of sitting back and let the characters do what they do. If things blow up, they blow up. If things work, they work. If someone's set to pining for ages, then they pine away! And if it's something that tragically will never be, that's delicious too.

The caveat here is that it's all well and good as long as the other player(s) also knows you are not someone who pre-plans these things - so I suppose at the end of the day, we've wrapped back around to communication again, even if it's an understood lack-of-it!

The thing is, I don't see playing crushes as something to avoid if everyone's going in with the same expectations of in-character-actions solely being that from the start: crushes happen, as surely as anything else that can happen to a person, and in an ideal roleplaying world the uncertainty about the whole matter would be great meat to push people and plots in unexpected ways - more often than not, the fun of even playing crushes is the disappointment, and what characters end up doing with it!

My Zeta will not crush like my Arron will not crush like my Evren, and so on. One situation is not like the other, one character's approach is not like the other. Set all out-of-character-expectations and wishes aside, let characters be disappointed - and let other characters click.

You might be surprised by what comes out of it.
Purple_monkfish wrote:
I LIKE things to evolve naturally and slowly and don't go into anything with a preset idea that "oh so and so will totally pair off with so and so", often I find that very unsatisfying because you end up with a rather shallow superficial relationship rather than a deeply emotional one that's satisfying to write and play out. I also find a lot of people lose interest once the "will they wont they" ends and the characters get together (see most sitcoms for example) but this I think stems from this unfair assumption that there's no interesting drama to come once a couple is together. It's not all happily ever after and honestly, those day to day struggles and conflicts are just as interesting.
Purple_monkfish wrote:
Likewise unreciprocated love can be massively interesting and tragic to play out, especially if the character KNOWS it's unreciprocated and knows they have no chance and are trying so hard not to be awful about it because they love this person and don't want to lose them.

Your whole post is gold, and I feel it entirely.
Purple_monkfish wrote:

If you wanted everything written in stone and predetermined why not just write a book?

Some of us enjoy roleplaying this way. We roleplay as though the other person is a co-author. This is a very common style. Everything isn't 'set in stone' but we find enjoyment in planning.
Purple_monkfish wrote:
I LIKE things to evolve naturally and slowly and don't go into anything with a preset idea that "oh so and so will totally pair off with so and so", often I find that very unsatisfying because you end up with a rather shallow superficial relationship rather than a deeply emotional one that's satisfying to write and play out. I also find a lot of people lose interest once the "will they wont they" ends and the characters get together.

I disagree with the idea that preplanned pairings means the couple and RP will be shallow and superficial, and can't be deeply emotional. All my RPs started with the specific couple in mind, and plans to get them together but it was still a natural process following the characters personalities, and emotions, and nothing was or is actually forced. If the characters just don't mesh well and aren't falling for each other, then the RP ends rather than trying to push it. There is also still tons of unplanned conflicts and surprise actions in the RP too because characters do have minds of their owns still.

They're all still plenty emotional and deep and satisfying. I have a handful or so of rps where the pairing has already gotten together, has been for a while and there has been no shortage of posts or enjoyment in it.

I don't view planned romance any different than planned conflicts. Just like there isn't anything wrong with not planning, there's nothing wrong with planning things out; and I personally feel what you said was a bit harsh and puts a negative stereotype on it. This post isn't supposed to be judging the way people RP.
Honestly, that's why I love some of the muses I play: their current relationship dynamics (or in the case of one character that isn't here, their aromanticism and/or asexuality) will most likely lead to a one-sided crush or a star-crossed lovers thing between two characters.

For example, one of my characters is so deeply devoted to the loved ones he already has, that he holds no romantic interest in anyone unless it starts to happen naturally. However, this doesn't stop other people from falling in love with him because of his open relationship and welcoming sensuality. This is where I have to agree with Monkfish; I prefer a more natural romance to a planned one myself.

Of course, there is absolutely nothing wrong with a planned romance in roleplay, and writers can pull it off spectacularly to where it feels just as organic and beautiful. But just like going off the seat of your pants in a roleplay isn't to everyone's tastes, planned romance and plots from beginning to end is just not to my own taste. Besides, my muses have a mind of their own. I can't force them to fall in love with someone when they're not feeling it at the moment or at all.

(If my words seem judgemental in any way, then my apologies. I try to be as open-minded about everyone's preferences as humanly possible, but that doesn't stop me from having my own style of roleplay that I prefer either.)

Like most have said, communication is key to executing a one-sided crush. Outside of the reason of your partner not looking for romance, I feel that it gets just as awkward if they do want reciprocated romance and you're not interested in that idea at all.
I think it varies from person to person: mutual respect goes a long way and I think you can get a gauge for preference from profiles + character profiles.


My personal RP style is carpe diem in intents, I’m not too much a stickler about plot communication - it’s nice, but people are human and can fall heads-over-heels into plot and with a character and I accept that, it happens. I live for RP that has you on the edge of your seat waiting to turn over the page.


At roleplay's core we're collaborating by dreaming up stimuli and responding to it with archetypes of circumstances and traits, to my mind, that means there's never a total 100% severance of writer from muse -- which is why I'll always adhere to my partner's communication preferences: it's vital to have genuine mutual respect and understand each other's boundaries.


I would ultimately say that as a writer we’re the sole catalyst of deciding what happens with our character when the theme arises. Between reading and responding: we can decide how to react ICly when presented with this situation and OOC in kind.


If your partner is crossing a line, that’s the cue I would take to communicate and hash out a way forward.
Zelphyr Topic Starter

I've seen some mixed responses about the communication thing. Most folks seem to favor the communication, some don't feel it's needed unless a specific partner wants it, and some express concerns that discussing it can be stifling or even make it feel like it will then be forced and potentially problematic.

I don't like to plan too much myself. I like to have a rough idea of what's going on, and then filling it out organically, accepting if it veers off the original plan.

Do you suppose that a fair middle ground for those who don't set out with a plan for romance would be to note if your character is likely to develop feelings based on hoe the game is going, then let the partner know, "Hey, these circumstances are likely to make my character have a crush on yours. Yours doesn't have to reciprocate. Are you comfortable with the dynamic, would you like to discuss anything about it?"

Basically not planning on it, but using a check-in to ensure it won't make the person nervous, and to discuss how overt it might be and such.
Cass Moderator

To me, it can be a beautiful character growth aspect to have a one-sided crush. :)

Perhaps that's the 'tragic romantic' in me speaking, but those IC connections of an unrequited romance is appealing to me. Especially, when it includes the aftermath when reality sinks-in and the character must move-on and rebuild themselves to their true identity, sometimes it's an emotional process that either develops them - or has the risk of destroying them. It's all up to the writer's interpretation and the character's resiliency.

Some examples of this can be Scarlett O'hara in Gone With the Wind.
Or, Sayuri in Memors of a Geisha.

The 'not getting what you want' end is more appealing to me for character growth.

OOC wise, I think if a writer is expecting a romance plot - that discussion and boundaries are set quickly if the opposite is desired from the other party involved. Whether that be through their own character development or otherwise. It's important, to not grow an attachment to an IC relationship on an OOC level. Which can be difficult. It takes strong boundary-setting as we're creating fantasy worlds.

Perhaps this is an unpopular perspective to admit of myself, but in the past, I've lost friends who had agreed upon something OOC and decided to go a separate way. - There are real people behind these computers and networking through internet connections. There are real existing chemistry among characters and their writers for the beauty of allowing roleplay to exist as wonderfully as it can. Unfortunately, this can also mean that hurt feelings can develop. I find, most people immediately throw the argument in the subject of hurt feelings that it's 'just a game.' I personally argue against that remark - as it takes-out the humanity of a person behind a character. Communication is so, so so so important. Characters develop and change and sometimes this is unpredictable based on writer's whim and creativity - but as I mentioned, it is essential to remember the people who've shared and created stories with you, and to ensure they're part of the conversation. :)
Novalyyn wrote:
I've seen some mixed responses about the communication thing. Most folks seem to favor the communication, some don't feel it's needed unless a specific partner wants it, and some express concerns that discussing it can be stifling or even make it feel like it will then be forced and potentially problematic.

I don't like to plan too much myself. I like to have a rough idea of what's going on, and then filling it out organically, accepting if it veers off the original plan.

Do you suppose that a fair middle ground for those who don't set out with a plan for romance would be to note if your character is likely to develop feelings based on hoe the game is going, then let the partner know, "Hey, these circumstances are likely to make my character have a crush on yours. Yours doesn't have to reciprocate. Are you comfortable with the dynamic, would you like to discuss anything about it?"

Basically not planning on it, but using a check-in to ensure it won't make the person nervous, and to discuss how overt it might be and such.

I tend to like planning the general basis of a storyline. I don't want to predict anything, set something too much in stone, or even determine that something is going to definitively happen. I like basically setting out a plan that I am going for a romantic story, there's a general place and setting the two characters are going to be involved in, and that there's a general goal for the story to have in it aside from the romantic aspect.

I don't like stories that are completely plotted out, but I've also found that when I enter a story where the other writer has insisted on just winging it, that I find myself falling out of interest for the story rather quickly and that there's a dead end in sight unless certain ideas are suddenly forced into the mix.

A very incredible roleplay partner of mine explained the style in which we write in a really easy way and that there is a general discussion for the both of us that we explain what we WANT out of the story and to set that as the goal and generally know where our replies are supposed to be leading, but we still allow the story to form more organically.

I have partners who also use dice mechanics to determine the outcome of the story as it goes, much like a D&D set-up where certain things will or won't happen in some kind of fashion or another if the dice land high or low.

When it comes to the talk about these one-sided crushes, I still recommend 100% on expressing to the writing partner, even if they're someone who prefers just winging a story along, that you have a goal in mind or you have a concept you'd like to aim for with the characters relationship development and get the general okay of the other writer before doing anything.

I say better safe than sorry.
Sanne Moderator

Novalyyn wrote:
Do you suppose that a fair middle ground for those who don't set out with a plan for romance would be to note if your character is likely to develop feelings based on hoe the game is going, then let the partner know, "Hey, these circumstances are likely to make my character have a crush on yours. Yours doesn't have to reciprocate. Are you comfortable with the dynamic, would you like to discuss anything about it?"

I think there's a difference between communicating boundaries with your partner, and setting up a plot - they're two different things that go hand in hand though. Asking your partner if they're comfortable with something seems like a basic form of respect to me, whether you're planning out an RP in advance or you're just free-handing the whole thing from the get-go. I think it should be included in RP etiquette to consider that topics which seem normal to you, might cause discomfort or worse in others, and checking in with someone on the topics you want to include is the best way to be respectful and have a great time with your RP partner. It's like asking someone if they'd like tea before you brew and serve it to them, in my perspective.

I do realize that I'm biased in my focus on consent and boundaries over something that is usually completely benign, and it might seem excessive to some that I'd check in with someone over a one-sided crush. On the other hand, I've had the real-life experience of being on the receiving end of an obsessive one-sided crush, and it wasn't anymore fun in the roleplay version, so I do understand how topics can affect the players when they don't have the chance to prepare or get a say in it. There are topics I can't RP or need to prepare for to RP because they hit close to home, and I see immense value in communicating boundaries. I lose nothing from checking in with someone on if it's okay or not, but I always gain a respectful relationship with reduced chances of anyone getting hurt emotionally.
Zelphyr Topic Starter

I can't quite tell if folks are saying "be sure to ask" or specifically "be sure to ask before you start a game."

Asking a general "is there anything you'd like to avoid or have extra check-ins for" makes sense (and I need to get better about remembering that), but if you're the type who doesn't set out with any specific plan, it seems like there are too many possibilities to ask about all of them until it looks like there's a chance that it might come up at all. Possibilities do get narrowed down with planning, of course, but bringing back my example of my teen character who had a crush on my friend's character, the possibility of that happening never occurred to me until we were well into the game. Had anyone mentioned it, I'd have probably been like "what, haha his character is a jerk and too much older and I don't even know if she can think that way yet."

But I figure asking at the first sign that it could be a thing would still leave room to try maneuvering things away from that before it becomes an issue. If the first sign is before the game starts... awesome.
Novalyyn wrote:
I can't quite tell if folks are saying "be sure to ask" or specifically "be sure to ask before you start a game."

Asking a general "is there anything you'd like to avoid or have extra check-ins for" makes sense (and I need to get better about remembering that), but if you're the type who doesn't set out with any specific plan, it seems like there are too many possibilities to ask about all of them until it looks like there's a chance that it might come up at all. Possibilities do get narrowed down with planning, of course, but bringing back my example of my teen character who had a crush on my friend's character, the possibility of that happening never occurred to me until we were well into the game. Had anyone mentioned it, I'd have probably been like "what, haha his character is a jerk and too much older and I don't even know if she can think that way yet."

But I figure asking at the first sign that it could be a thing would still leave room to try maneuvering things away from that before it becomes an issue. If the first sign is before the game starts... awesome.

I tend to go with a notion of asking at first, and then doing follow up communication during the games as well. I don't think there's really one set way to do these kinds of things in the first place. This is why communication is always key during the entirety of writing with someone, for me at least.

I recommend following any gut feelings. If you notice something is coming up, then give the person a little communication that you're seeing something and wanna make sure everything is hunky dory with the other writer. As far as asking up front, I still recommend getting all the comforts and discomforts a writer might have before starting a game. It doesn't mean you have to absolutely plan for things to happen or even plot, but you can certainly make someone feel a lot better about writing with you if you go ahead and ask "Hey, is there anything you're not okay with in terms of RP?" especially if said writer doesn't have things like that generally spelled out in their rules too.

Again, I don't think there's an exact science to this whole thing, but to follow what's best for you and the general idea of making sure that everyone in the group of the situation is comfortable and getting to know what your writing partner's might be interested in doing can definitely help keep stories moving.

When it came to me writing some of my characters having one-sided crushes on other characters there were a lot of mixed reactions, as this discussion is clearly showing.

Some people find it unsettling if someone's character organically develops a crush on theirs when they weren't intending for the story to head in any direction of the sort. Some people find it perfectly fine and absolutely fun to see it happen without discussion. Some people don't want it to happen at all without discussion.

Because no writer is ever going to appreciate being approached all the same way, it's best to go with what feels right in the moment. If you yourself don't forsee the situation happening, but in the game itself you suddenly notice that your character is organically developing a crush, I recommend in those moments to bring it up to the other person to make sure it's not something they'll find uncomfortable or that it's something they might want to avoid.

Everyone's comfort levels are very different, so? Yeah. It's not really best one way or the other, but it's good to always lay out a little ground work of communication and understanding with a writing partner before getting into a game.

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