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Forums » RP Discussion » Why Does No One Seem to Like Playing with Toons?

Trying to get people to play a game with my toon character has always been like pulling teeth. It's so rare that anyone ever actually wants to step up and play with them unless they've already played other games with me for a long time. What is it about these original cartoon characters that is so unappealing that so few people want to bother try it?

Of those few apparently brave souls who have seriously tried it, no one has ever come back and said that they hated it. It's honestly at the point where I'm legitimately frustrated. Can anyone relate? Anyone else have games they can just never get takers for?
Alright, I'm just gonna give my two scents after having done a passing glance over their profile if you're still looking for answers. I think a big part of it is... they're just not appealing? I'm not trying to be mean, I'm just being brutally honest here. No harm intended. Screw it, I'm gonna make a list of turn offs for you that might help you spot issues:

1: What Genre???: So usually on here, the vast majority of characters on here usually fit into one of three genres. Modern drama/romance, Sci-fi space opera stuff, and adventure fantasy. Just looking over your characters' I have a hard time putting them into one of the three. What do they fit into? On most characters it's immediately obvious, but on yours its... fuzzy at best. Also, them being "Toons" doesn't help with this.

2: Jank Art Style: I'm not trying to be mean here. I know they're "Toons" and all but... How they're designed does not make me want to RP with them. There's a fine line when art for characters is worse off than just having a description panel and letting one's imagination run wild. And I'm sorry to say but yours most definitely crosses that line.

3: Unpopularity?: And thirdly, I believe its due to the fact that "cartoon roleplays" just aren't a big thing in general. I've never dreamed of making a "toon" character before and I probably won't ever do so. In fact I think this is the first time I've ever seen the concept of one.

That's just some points I could think up after looking them over. I hope you were able to find some answers off of that.
I had never heard of this concept of 'Toon' characters until this post, so I can bet the main reason is that most people have never heard of it and therefore aren't super interested. As a lot of people have established settings, and types of characters and such they are used to playing and don't often venture out of it unless it really catches their eye.

It appears Toon, or from what I can tell, vintage style cartoon themed characters, is a very niche RP sub-genre. Since I have never seen such a thing on RPR before, I can certainly imagine it's hard to find people to RP with your Toon characters, because you're one of the only people on RPR who even knows of such a thing; and as I said, people send to stick with what's familiar.

I find the concept interesting, but personally wouldn't be interested in RPing with your Toon characters as they are just not something I am interested in, in a 'want to write with' way. As I prefer different types of characters and settings that Toons don't appear to fit into.

When it comes to niche sub-genres, even just fandom RP, it can be difficult to find writing partners, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't try and hopefully find someone to write your Toons with!
I wouldn't say no one likes it,perhaps they have never tried rping with toons,and think they wouldn't be good at it. I have the same problem when looking for someone who likes rping with transformers,but those are rare as well.

I do like the idea of cartoon rps,its just that toons(Like Looney Tunes) have sorta lost popularity,and as I said before,most probably think its not their forte or some may have never even heard of it.
Kim Site Admin

I've never heard of RPing as toons before, and I think one major thing that would hold me back is confusion. What does it look like to RP as toons? Is it identical to any other RP but there's different art on the profiles? Do we drop pianos and anvils on each other? I would have no idea what to do or how to participate if someone asked me to RP with toons.
I think you and some people underestimate how broadly popular "toon" themes are. Genres don't quite matter in this subject, all one need is to take a quick glance at your profiles to realize what settings your cast belong to. And you have a good mix, too; fightingleaf, Maxwell, Burbotous and Ratcher are all unique and quirky in their own ways, some while some of them are not quite cartoony. But they already establish what kind of settings are you willing to delve into.

Then there's the issue with popularity about cartoon-styled characters. I don't think any of you have heard of Cuphead, Steve Universe, Star and the Forces of Evil, Hazbin Hotel, Undertale, and etc etc etc, that sort of stuff. Those are cartoons, after all. Even though these examples approach more serious themes than the kind of lighthearted scenarios you would see on Spongebob or Looney Tunes, they're still wacky at its core and full of unexpected surprises and jokes, much like the subject at hand, 'toons'.

The problem that I see is that it seems you're advertising your cast solely by the premise that "ThEy'Re aRe tOoNs" while, taking a look, some of them have no redeeming qualities by themselves. Since cartoons are more of a visual/audible experience, you really have to compensate the lack of these through your writing, and I don't even say it grammar wise. And it looks like you're not quite succeeding with it. The why's have already been mentioned, but frankly, if I were the CEO of some high grossing kids media TV studio, I wouldn't even bring myself whatever your pilot would look like, assuming that the writing on that profile translates to a script.

Then there's the fact that the majority of the characters on RPR revolve around other kinds of roleplays, and its players tend to gravitate towards darker themes and gratuitous plot drama. That profile simply doesn't have what it takes to 'feed' this hunger for moody edgy themes, but it's not like that in itself is a negative point - that's more about target audience.

And if somebody thinks Conan is the only person that use cartoony characters on this site, I'll be gladly offer examples of great profiles to get my point further across. Some of these I had the pleasure of roleplaying with while others I look forward for it.
The Inkbrush Crew (played by ConnanBell) Topic Starter

I confess that all these dashes of cold water, while not always pleasant, have been helpful, and I hope no one will mind a little bit of ranting on my my part. I'll try to be brief. Skip ahead if you don't feel like listening to a big baby.

BEGIN RANT

I've played through many a dark and gritty storyline on this site. I've been here for years, and I love this place, but there is one thing that I've learned from experience both inside and outside of RP: Dark and gritty is easy. Comedy requires great skill.

I don't mean simply running around and acting like an idiot. I mean the careful buildup and payoff of jokes, the crafting of the humorous personality, and the maintaining of proper tone. That's what I try to aim for with my toons. I just want to try something a little more lighthearted from time to time that's something more than holding hands and rubbing noses together.

END RANT

Back to more productive talk, I suppose there isn't any way to teach folk that there isn't much to playing with toons. They have quirks and make choices like any fantasy character. Any tips for conveying this, or is it even an issue? I would assume that it is an issue from some of the above comments saying that people wouldn't know how to play with a toon (much less as one).
I’m inclined to agree with Church up there; I’ve seen the ‘toon’ premise pulled off through darker themes and through light. I’ve written for a couple of settings and OCTs revolving around that very concept. It’s out there, and fairly popular! But also generally requires some legwork, too!

What I’ve learned while helping run a science fiction setting for a couple of years now: people gravitate to modern fantasy and generic sword-and-sorcery a LOT. Making characters outside of one’s usual comfort zones in order to play by new rules can be tough - and a lot of your open threads either seem to require your partner to make something new to fit the toon idea, or to make compromises in their existing worlds and canon, if that makes sense!

And when you’re making ‘toon’ characters for active RP or OCTs, I feel like you should have a few things in mind while you do it:

1) The strength of the characters; you can pull off quite a bit if you know your character well and just trust them. It shouldn’t matter what they are, and wondering how to convey that may be the wrong question to ask.

That being said, you do have a racial benefit and challenge with what you’re trying to do. Toons are memorable when they’re giving it their all - like Church also said, you’re now in a unique position where you’re going to have to compensate for the lack of audiovisuals, of sounds, poses and animation acting.

2) The setting itself: are you placing a living cartoon into your partner’s expected setting? Or are you pulling them into yours? Is everyone in it a toon? Are you wanting someone to make a new character to fit it? Is it a setting where toons are casually existing alongside flesh and blood folks? How weird would this toon character be to the other characters with whom you are playing? Is there severe class disparity a’la any version of Roger Rabbit or Bonkers? Or is every toon a known celebrity in this world, working for a paycheck - more to the tune of the Warner Brothers live-action crossovers like Space Jam, or Looney Tunes: Back in Action? Context matters, as it informs character interaction; WB's crossovers are diametrically, thematically opposed to the allegory Disney/Gary Wolf set up with Roger Rabbit - someone will react very differently to Bugs Bunny in each of those universes. In WB he's a celebrity; in Roger Rabbit, he's a second-class citizen, likely looked upon with derision by most humans when he's not entertaining them, and Toontown is a segregated slum. Are there any washed up, has-been toons? Do cartoon bubbles float out of their mouth, only to crumble at the feet of all present (a constant pain for those cleaning up after them)? Do they melt at the first dip of paint thinner?

In short; I don’t think people are balking at “comedy.” There are plenty of comedic characters on this site and in the variety of settings it hosts! And I’m certainly not about dunking on moody and edgy themes to elevate comedy, either - both require great skill to pull off in a satisfying manner. Neither are easy.

What I see is missing in this case is a clear direction or real acknowledgment of a potential partner or context. RP at its heart it a cooperative hobby, and as noted by the questions above, there’s just not a lot there yet, and enough “missing” - what world are we in? What do you expect of your partner’s character? You clearly want someone to react to your toon, but what context do they have for this? - that the ‘hook’ may just not be there for many folks, at least at this time.
To me personally, I think I find the world itself and how the toons function much more intriguing! Like on one hand you have "this is a super strong rubberhose guy who really likes milk, and operates on toon rules", which is a fun concept to write or watch! But compare with: "this is a whole civilisation of cartoon-based people, how are they even alive? What are they made of? How does their society work? How did my character get here? I wonder how my character would react to finding themselves in that world? If I made a toon, what kind would they be?" There's a lot more for the other player to work with there!

I feel like a good way to help with this problem is to perhaps start a group where you can invite people to make their own toons ? That way, you can establish a set of "rules" (think like Roger Rabbit and his "only when it's funny" rule, or "you can walk on thin air as long as you don't look down", but with dice rolls so it's fair), and maybe create different races or regions (for example, one for Rubberhose characters, one for Tex Avery characters, one for Hanna Barbara type characters, etc.). Considering you have a DnD type character sheet for them based on cartoon abilities, it seems you might already have some those ground rules set! Rigby's pretty much covered it well already as far as the world-building questions go. As for your characters, they would work great as guidance characters for new members to ask questions to and interact with, or for you to host RP events with!

And yes as mentioned, this premise has worked before, and very successfully! A great frame of reference is the Toonkind DnD homebrew race by YunisVerse , which, going by your own character sheet, is very similar to what you have in mind. They have different types of toons, and while they are wacky and fun to play, the abilities they can do are clearly listed on the sheet; they aren't OP. Going by their podcast, while wacky and cartoony with 4th wall breaks, they have their very heartwarming (and heartbreaking) moments too.

I think also people might just not have a character that will fit the cartoony theme, which is another great reason to invite people to make their own. Like, looking through your open rps: This is a really interesting premise! Encountering it in a Looking for RP, I'd be a little confused because even if I made a character specifically for that RP, I wouldn't know what they can or can't do, what kind of background they should have, and so on. But this would be the perfect event to start up a group with, where you can sort of act as a DM (and still rp with your characters of course).

And if you don't want to make a whole group (understandable as it can be a lot of work!), then yes as mentioned: maybe create a page that explains the setting and how all toons function, as well as what you expect from the interested player. I'm sure you will find people willing to join in if there's clear direction!
The Inkbrush Crew (played by ConnanBell) Topic Starter

FishyFrisk wrote:
A great frame of reference is the Toonkind DnD homebrew race by YunisVerse , which, going by your own character sheet, is very similar to what you have in mind.

This is the greatest and best thing I've ever seen on the internet. Thank you very much for this reference!

I've never had any long-term success with Group RP in the past, but I do like your idea of starting a Toon Group. The problem is that I've tried explaining these things before, but still takers were few. Is a group type of setting a better place to get into the finer details without overwhelming potential members?
No problem! :D
Toons wrote:

I've never had any long-term success with Group RP in the past, but I do like your idea of starting a Toon Group. The problem is that I've tried explaining these things before, but still takers were few. Is a group type of setting a better place to get into the finer details without overwhelming potential members?

I imagine it would be, as you can put down the basic information and anything more elaborate could always go under collapsible tags?

As someone who occasionally browses the groups, the front page should be a basic yet exciting introduction and welcome to the premise. The first page I check after that is the rules and requirements for joining. If you have a character sheet you should explain how to roll or put down their stats, if it's not based on any known system!

Also I think in the case of toons in particular, you might need a "can/can't do" or "abilities/weaknesses" section. Cartoon characters seem to be able to do just about anything, so it would help to know where the boundaries are! Like how much is just cartoon behaviour and how much would be stepping into godmod territory?

Hypothetically, those would be the first pages I check because it would tell me if I would be able to create a character for that setting or not. Then, once interested, I would start reading up on the environment and finer details. It's just a matter of prioritizing information!

This page seems really helpful concerning the responsibilities expected when running a group, and how to present your setting, but as far as what goes into actually building a group page I'm afraid I don't have the experience to tell you much else! I'm not sure how to go about recruitment and applications and such. Hopefully there's someone here who can reply to this as I'm genuinely curious myself.
I whole heartedly agree with Churchary on their points. I meant to comment much, much earlier, but honestly I just didn't have it in me to confidently say what Churchary said and just couldn't get together an argument without that sort of gumption. So, I do also want to bring up one point that's more or less benign but I don't think's been mentioned yet: The character sheets imply that they're apart of a TTRPG. The issue with a TTRPG aspect is honestly nothing genuine, just that D&D has kind of taken over the market, and for a variety of reasons, a lot of people are hesitant to try other things. That's made it difficult for any TTRPG that ISN'T D&D to thrive without some struggle. This isn't saying drop the TTRPG you chose, absolutely not, but maybe drop a link or its name and a clarifying statement on how that TTRPG might come into play haha.
Phew, I could tell you a couple of things not to do when starting a group.
Things like... Telling people exactly what to expect from your group, and then failing to deliver; telling people about your group before you've made it, and when you don't know what you're getting into; and also, inviting a bunch of people into your group and then trying to figure out how to make it. :P These are the main problems I had in the past. While it did make me a few delightful acquaintances, I think I probably let a few people down when I told them I was starting a group, only to realize I'd bitten off a little more than I could chew. Still, it does tell you who will stick around, haha. At least a little. Umm. So basically, try to make sure you know what you're doing, is my advice, and don't give up if you're dedicated to it. It seems like it could be a really rewarding prospect.
There are some really good pieces of advice here, and an interesting discussion to read through! :o
Because toons are usually associated with children stuff, and although some adults do enjoy cartoons, you can't expect anything serious of it. Rather than writing a roleplay story, they seem more adequate for a children's book or a children's tv show.

Its just as some other people said. I dont think many are attracted to the idea of writing a story with absurd charactera that drop pianos and anvils on each other, flatten themselves under cars and similar themes. And if those themes are not recurrent, then the whole idea of Toons is out of place. They just dont fit in most genres people want to write a story about.

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