Interview with FC4
FC4 is one of the most active role-players on the Bethesda Official Forums. In addition to being helpful and active over there, he is also a great member of TESFU. I recently came up with a few questions I'd like to ask, and he eagerly answered.

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January-April

By Hendrix

TESFU: What do you view as an enticing role-play? Does it have a good premise, or a good bunch of people running it?

FC4: Now I know that they can be whittled down to just those two categories, but there is more to an enticing Role Play than that. Most rps I have joined were created and run by people I knew and respected. I felt I could trust them to not abandon their own rp.

The people participating are also important. No matter how dedicated the creator or how good the story, the rp will fail if the players abandon it or lose interest. I join rps pretty early on, usually, so this is rarely a factor for me, but I like to be in rps with players I have rped with before, and know are good, dedicated, and fun to be with. Most of them seem to join the rp after I do, though.

The big enticement factor for me though is the story. If it is presented in a manner that makes me interested to know how it plays out, I will likely join. But that isn’t all. The method of storytelling is important. I have a soft spot for rps that have an intriguing plot and yet allow me to be open-minded and creative. Rps with new lands, new sceneries, or special features like unique spells or powers, offer me a chance to be insanely creative and detailed, and entice me into joining. Those rps in which I can see immense chance to flex my creative muscles are enticing to me.

TESFU: How often do you role-play, and what made you interested in role-playing?

FC4: To quote Illusionary Nothing in the summer of 2007:

“You Breathe Rping.”

To date I am a player in eleven different rps, only two of which are not on BGSF. Stored on my hard drive are over twenty six different character sheets, nearly every one used at least once in an rp. Of those, over fifteen of them are active characters in role plays, and this is not counting those sheets stored that contain more than one character in the word document. Combine that with NPCs I control in my own rp, and the characters I control for other rpers in their absence, and I have well into twenty different minds and personalities being rped, mayhap even more. Each is unique in at least one aspect of their character, some so drastically unique that friends are amazed the same person is behind the minds and personas. On BGSF, my largest volume of posts is in the Fanfic forum, even though I do post often in other boards. Of the Rping community of BGSF, I am the only Patriarch –six stars beneath my name and over 10,000 posts- and at least half to three quarters of those posts are in Fanfiction section. I was once told by Elgen that of all the rpers on the board, he had never seen someone posting as frequently as me. And to be fully honest… I never even realized until now just HOW many characters I was rping. I am honestly surprised with myself.

I cannot recall exactly what got me into role playing but I am certainly willing to take a few guesses. I do remember that it was mid October, and I was getting bored in-between my classes in school. They issue laptops to students and have a wireless network at my charter school, and so I had joined BGSF –then it was TESF, as Fallout boards were not added at the time- in early October. In my boredom I lurked around the Fanfics threads, having never heard of this ‘role-playing’ before and intrigued by it. It seemed as if the rps set themselves within the Oblivion game world, but as I read through the posts a little I found they did not limit themselves with the game engine. In fact, it read almost like a novel.

I pretty much ignored most of the rps, and paid most attention to Blood of the Ancients, made by Illusionary Nothing. To be clear, long before my rping beginnings I was creative, having begun and given up on a story at 13 years old and having a comic story planned out to over three chapters. So I have always been creative and interested in imagining things. Blood of the Ancients was the only rp that really peaked my interest, because it was the only rp in which players were allowed to make their own plots for their characters, and powers called Old Blood powers allowed for near super-hero character abilities. I was very uncertain though, and so it took a week or so before I finally got the guts to make a character, based on my Oblivion character, Wain. He was, as usual for new rpers, uber as hell and I played him uberly. I am rather ashamed of him, actually, and his character sheet does not exist on my hard drive at all.

However, I am quite glad I made him, as his creation led me to being one of the most charismatic rpers on BGSF. I believe, however, that what drew me into rping was the creative outlet I felt it would provide –and it has- and my boredom at the time. Now rping has become almost a way of life for me.

So… Do you think Illusionary Nothing was correct?

TESFU:  What do you view as the toughest aspects of role-playing for a newbie?

FC4: A new rper could quickly be taught how to design a good character sheet, and post with good grammar and spelling and without controlling other people’s characters.

However, in the realms of being uber and unrealistic, that is where most rpers, inexperienced or otherwise, stumble and sometimes even fall. Making unrealistic relationships, or an unrealistic situation, or having their character react in a way that is not consistent to that character’s personality, can be common.

However, the worst thorn in new rpers’ rumps, and even the rumps of more experienced rpers, is uberness. That neigh indefinable word, different in meaning for each individual. It still haunts me today, as I can myself on occasion be uber. I remember distinctly in my early rping career (which wasn’t that long ago) that being uber was my biggest trouble. There were times where others would openly tell me of my uberness and instruct me to correct it, and I would end up taking a week break or so in a huff, and trying to figure out what it was I had done that was uber. It was a very hard thing for me to define, and to this day I probably don’t have the most adequate definition for it. The concept of uber is definitely the hardest of all rping concepts to gain true understanding of.

TESFU: Do you role-play in your Elder Scrolls games, besides participating in forum role-playing?

FC4: No, I do not. The games are very restricted by the game engine, so I am very limited in how I can role play and how creative I can be. Without downloading ridiculous amounts of mods I find rping within the games to be very restrictive and disinteresting.

Aiding that is the fact I can’t even PLAY Oblivion on my current working computer, and don’t have the time to play even Morrowind. The closest I came to rping within the confines of the game was in Bloodmoon, because the sheer thrill of being a werewolf opened up doors for my imagination in ways the rest of the game did not. Granted, I do minimal rping within the game: it is an RPG after all. But I don’t rp with the ferocity I do on the forums.

TESFU: Who among your peers do you greatly respect as role-players?

FC4: One name immediately stands out when I think of an answer to this question: Illusionary Nothing. She was the maker of the first rp I ever joined, Blood of the Ancients, which was so unique that no replacement can ever be made; even Blood of the Ancients II failed to replicate BotA’s magic. I was brand new, and she –along with Elgen, another rper I hold great respect for- took me under her wing and taught me how to rp, correcting me when I did something wrong. She influenced me to focus more on the character development aspect of rping, rather than the combat aspect. I was very disappointed when she left come January of 2007, but elated when she returned in February from her hiatus. Despite the fact I had grown immensely better in my rping since her leave, Illusionary was still my teacher and mentor, and her thoughts on all matters rp were important to me. Before she left with finality in Christmas of 2007, she was the first I turned to when I had made a new character I wanted reviewed. She was always eager to comment on my new characters. She was also wonderful to rp with, her characters very unique. It was with Illusionary’s character of River that I had what I consider the best rp relationship, as her character and my own, Jericho, went through thick, thin, a vampire and a traitorous group of relatives before finally realizing the bond they had forged between one another and falling truly in love. I have yet to experience an rp relationship that can outshine River/Jericho. She was very supportive of me, and even though I took criticism rather badly often, she was not unwilling to speak her mind if I did something she felt was wrong. Needless to say, I fought tooth and nail to keep her on the forums in the winter of 2007, but she left nonetheless, and it soured my vacation quite a bit. I consider Illusionary Nothing to be the mother of my rping career, for I would not be what I am today without her guiding, almost motherly hand. Some say the student surpasses the master, but I will never surpass Illusionary Nothing.

I hold deep respect for many other rpers that I play alongside, but Illusionary definitely takes the cake as the most respected. It does not take much to lose my respect in the real world, and a lot to gain it, but it does not take much to gain my respect in the rping community. There are simply too many for me to name. The list would be too long. Basically, anyone I have enjoyed rping with and have rped with on several occasions I hold respect for. Most are on Bethesda Game Studios Forums (BGSF).

TESFU: Do you role-play in different settings, besides simply TES ones?

FC4: Well, no… not yet anyways.

I have been considering for quite some time, however, joining the Man’s Odyssey Forum hosted by Uglius Maximus (from BGSF). It is a role play set in space, with new planets and solar systems designed by the players and focusing around the discovery of a material that can be used as a space-travel power source. While I haven’t delved deeply into it, I have made a race with its own technology and history for it, and when I do join I shall be ready.

I also am planning on TES Fiction forums a Diablo II based role-play. Taking place after the final battle against Baal in Lord of Destruction, I have always wondered what the result of the Worldstone’s destruction would be. The final cinematic even stated that the Archangel had no idea the result of this action, and combined with the fact that Baal’s Soulstone was never explicitly destroyed in the game’s plot has left me with a massive amount of imaginative wiggle room. So far, transferring the hack-and-slash classic’s skill trees and item/leveling systems has proven a challenge, but I hope to have it made within the year of 2008 and I foresee a great rp stemming from it.

TESFU: What other hobbies do you have aside from role-playing, and the elder scrolls?

FC4: Other hobbies besides Role-playing…

Well, I am an avid Fan-Fiction writer. I have written the still uncompleted Blood of the Elders and Dragon’s Saga Novel Version. I also have the short story Three and began my fanfic writing by commandeering Insurgence of Solsthiem from Redsrock when he lost interest in the story. I have sadly lost that one, however. But I have also begun work on a co-authored fanfic Cross-Fire with Redsrock, which I must say is turning out very well.

I am also a modder, or I was before my computer farted out on me. My work is still on TES Nexus, actually, as well as on Oblivion Real Estate. Back then, of course, Nexus was TESSource. Champion’s Mansion is the name, and the first version was a wreck, with all the containers being respawnable and people losing their stuff. The second one wasn’t much better, but the third one was the best version, with portals that lead to small environments where the player could train. I am rather proud of it, even though it has not been updated in forever. I am also involved in a French mod called the Third Moon. It is still very well into development but is very promising. Being the only English speaker of the team was and still is difficult, but I have helped by providing concept art and designing the interiors of homes within the mod.

I have also been involved in the Lore of Elder Scrolls, paying attention to it for the purposes of my rps. However, I also find ES lore simply fascinating, and even before getting into Elder Scrolls I had a love for magic. That love is what translated into my writing of the Forum Scholars Guild article Mechanics of Magicka, which is my pride and joy alongside my Dragon’s Saga role play. I am by no means a lore expert, though I certainly know a thing or two.

Aside from anything Elder Scrolls, I am a video-gamer at heart, and each Saturday set aside two hours of the night to go on Diablo II: LOD and play with my father on Battle.net. We both love the game, and I must say it is the greatest father-son time I ever get to have without needing to fly up north. Not to mention it is always fun. I recently finished Doom 3 as well, which was a fantastic game. I hold a love for RPG and FPS games, but don’t really go for RTS or Sims.

And then, along with all of THAT, I am an active member of the Boy Scouts of America. It’s not so much a hobby as it is a way of life. A member since the Cub Scouts when I was six years old, I am working on my Eagle project and hope to acquire the rank of Eagle, the highest rank in Scouting, before my 18th birthday. First I have to survive leading my troop as Senior Patrol Leader, of course.

One thing that was a major hobby that has fallen wayside, but pops up occasionally, is drawing. I used to draw like crazy; dragons, demons, all sorts of fantasy creatures. I do a lot less of that now, but I still draw sometimes, and have a drawing planned in my mind right now.

That about wraps it up. Thanks for your time FC!