Roleplaying your Empath     

by Lylia Ravenbane-Rashere        

Roleplaying: A method in which participants act out roles relevant to real-life situations.

Role: A part or character played by an actor

I found this in the website Insanity City (GS3 website) under guides, empath guides, (an EXCELLENT Guide i might add). As i have been a long time admirer of Lady Lylia and her words of wisdom, I wish to present to you, her comments and helpful suggestions on Roleplaying as an empath as well as in general.


Empaths are both the easiest and most difficult characters to roleplay; easy, because an empath will often have a great deal of time that he or she isn't out hunting furiously and can thus interact with others, but difficult because they're so frequently deluged with OOC behavior that they drown in it. Although I play a sorceress primarily, I have played an empath for over a year now (she only remains nameless because I prefer that people don't treat her differently because of who her sister is) and would like to address roleplaying as it concerns empaths in particular.

1. How to Deal with OOC-isms Without Losing your Ten-per

Empaths are often barraged with requests to take a "10-per neck" or "-56 HPs." These numbers can't possibly have meaning to the empath herself, yet the empath's player realizes that that character is asking for help and may die without it. It's easy simply to take the wound and go about your business, but that contributes to an Elanthia that is nothing more than a chat room with monsters. If it's at all possible to be heard in the crowd, you might choose to say something like, "I don't understand what you mean, but with that horrible hole in your neck, it's no wonder you're babbling." If that doesn't suit your style, you could whisper some friendly advice to the person. Some empaths make the acronyms into a pun and say, "Sorry, I don't have any aged peas," which can get the message across with humor. Other empaths even choose to ignore anyone who talks in numbers completely; it's harsh, but sometimes effective.

Then there's the other side of the coin---other empaths who give ":::RT hugs:::" and feel free to be OOC in guild speak. The same rules apply to empaths as to their patients; a quizzical peer, whisper, or jest might get the point across that you'd prefer to stay in Elanthia while you're playing rather than be catapulted into a chat room atmosphere. Always lead by example; remember that everything you type is what your character says and make sure his or her voice is clear, coherent, and free of chat-room keyboard shortcuts that have no place in speech.

2. Bedside Manners

Having played both an empath and the patient of empaths---the latter much more than the former, I'll admit---I can say that I love it when there's a connection between healer and patient, however brief. Whether you do it before or after healing a person, you should make some attempt to interact with him or her as a unique individual. If you know that a particular warrior hates being seen as weak, commend his bravery in limping all the way to Town Square on a broken leg. If you know that a certain sorceror refuses to ask for help, offer it in a roundabout way. Even if you have no time to carry on a lengthy conversation, a smile or a "Safe travels!" is a nice touch. Get to know your patients when you can; it makes everyone's life in Elanthia better (and your tips will be much larger, for the mercenaries among you).

3. Your Sucking Chest Wound or Mine?

The etiquette of healing is covered elsewhere, but I'd like to make a brief statement here about whether there's even time to roleplay when there are so many other empaths grabbing up wounds while you're still smiling sweetly at your prospective patient. If you find yourself typing "trans Bleederman any" before you even look at the guy, you're one of too many empaths. Find somewhere else to be for a little while until the herd thins. The game doesn't start becoming "fun" when you reach level 20, 50, or 100; there's no sense in rushing to get to a high level if you don't take the time to enjoy the trip (not to mention making it enjoyable for others). And who knows, if every empath started to take the time to interact and roleplay with their patients, we might not all have to rush for that tasty gangrenous limb at the same time.

4. Giggle 'Til You Puke?

The profession of Empath has room for every kind of person, from the grim-faced, battle-weary combat medic to the serenely smiling hospital nun to the cold, clinical anatomist to the kind-hearted and noble servant of all races to the wild-eyed zealot who sees her arts as a gift from her god to the poor, sad soul who sees it as a curse to feel another's pain. Why is it, then, that so many empaths spend their time just giggling and tickling and biting one another repeatedly? The simple answer is that it's easier. Everyone already does it; you don't need to put any thought into it, just follow the ethic of "monkey see, monkey do." There's no law that says empaths must giggle and scarf down chocolate and no law that says they can't; you should decide, though, whether your actions are truly your own or just keeping up with the Joneses. Think of what kind of person your empath is---is she cheery? Is he gloomy? Is she reserved? Is he emotional? Respect your character enough to make him or her something special.

Most characters in Elanthia are far more shallow than they could be; I think it's because consistency has been drummed into people's heads to the exclusion of common sense. Maintaining a single emotional or mental state that persists regardless of one's situation isn't consistency,it's insanity. People in the real world get locked up for biting strangers and giggling about it; likewise, people in Elanthia are likely to lose a limb or be bound for it, depending on who the target is. Rather than decide, "I'm going to play a giggly, happy person", choose a range of emotions that that character is prone to and stick within the range. That will give you something on which to build the subtler aspects of your character's personality.

5. "I Feel Your Pain" --- Situational Awareness

This is a topic I'll cover in my own roleplaying guide at a later date, but I'd like to discuss it here as it applies particularly to empaths. By "situational awareness", I mean the capacity to interact with everything and everyone in Elanthia instead of just in the vacuum of some anonymous cyberspace, as is the case in a chat room. Your character isn't just floating in some void (unless she's angered a sorceror), she's in a forest, desert, or town. She has a body; the people around her have bodies. What she eats and drinks have scents and flavors. When she's injured by taking someone's missing leg, she can't stay standing (oddly enough, once it's missing she can stand on it again, but we won't get into that here). Some players of empaths imagine that their characters become immune to pain completely, others that they simply learn to bear it; regardless, they are aware of their injuries and should make an attempt to take all that screaming and falling to the ground into consideration, not just ignore it completely.

Granted, there usually isn't time to roleplay your injuries, and if every empath did it all the time the screen scroll would be horrendous. Still, it's hard to imagine that someone who's bleeding from every pore is flirting, gabbing, and cracking jokes as though nothing had happened to her at all. Try to keep in mind that serious injuries should have some effect on your character, even if it's only to make her wonder aloud where she misplaced her left leg.

6. To Know You Is To Love You

There are so many factors that go into creating a vivid, whole persona that I couldn't begin to talk about all of them here. Race, age, profession, training, intellect, demeanor, likes, dislikes, and quirks all play their part in making up a memorable and enjoyable character. Remember that roleplaying is paramount---all your other choices should stem from your image of what you want your character to be, not what will make you most powerful or fastest to reach level 200. As an empath, you may be a weak hunter and too poor to afford vultite until you're level eighteen, but you have just as much opportunity to become renowned for your unique style as anyone else---more, if you consider how much time empaths can spend socializing instead of doing maintenance tasks like hunting. Know your character thoroughly; write a history for her if that's your cup of tea, imagine how she'd handle various situations, give him or her traits that you admire or loathe to see how things look through a slightly different pair of eyes.

In closing, I'll just add that people who neglect roleplaying are only playing half a game. Invest some time and effort in it, and you'll get far more than your money's worth from Elanthia.

~ Compiled by Lady Lylia

Thank you Lylia!

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