Getting over. Or: The basics of getting a desired reaction.
Part One: Faces and Heels
So I feel like I should walk back what I started with. I need to give a bit more depth on the whole wrestling = freeform RP concept. At its core, both these things deeply embody storytelling, often in its basest forms. Neither is very interesting without that. And to that end, wrestling results to some tactics that can be applied, to some degree, and with some adjustment, to RP.
So today I want to talk about the basics of getting reactions from characters.
It's all a matter of what you show to other people, and how to get them to react or respond in the way you want them to, so you can show them something fun or create interesting participation.
The ultimate goal of a wrestler is to "get over." This means getting the crowd to react the way you want them to when you're performing.
Let's talk about heels and faces. Now, this concept has gotten a bit muddled in wrestling these days, but the basic idea still comes to the fore and it often works better when this concept is followed properly.
A face, or a "babyface," follows all the rules, and generally does nice things. They're supposed to be a role model, or at the least, likeable and relatable; respectable. They follow the rules and oppose those that don't. They use very flashy moves to get the crowd excited. They're heroes and underdogs. "Getting over" means being cheered and chanted. Crowds pay to see them succeed.
A heel is a villain. He cheats. He lies. He steals.
A heel resorts to unfair or over the top tactics. Some avoid a fair fight at all turns. Others fight fairly but will brutalize their opponents. Heels generally slow the match down when they're in control, preventing the face from doing any of their crowd pleasing moves, and often try to humiliate their opponents. The heel gets over by being hated. They wants you to boo them. Despise them. After all, you'll pay to see them beaten up.
Even when wrestlers don't' go by heel or face, they generally have a "gimmick" or something they can be recognized by, some sort of character trait or something memorable about them. For instance, let's look at Undertaker, one of the more well known, old school wrestlers out there.
In his early days, the Undertaker was portrayed as an otherworldly, undead wrestler. He had ripped clothing and was dressed like a mortician, and had pale, unhealthy looking skin and stringy hair. He never spoke, back then. All of his moves were a bit stiffer and when it looked like he was out for good, he'd pop up to a sit like a zombie. Other wrestlers made like they were absolutely terrified of him. Everything he did went towards the idea of what he was.
The point of all this is that it's a good idea to get an idea of both what you want to convey and the reaction you want to incite in the other players and characters. Pay attention to the reactions you get, and see what works and what doesn't in terms of the reaction you want. But here's a few basic ideas.
Do you want a character that's liked? Find some way to make them relatable. Try to have them avoid being insulting, or if you do, make their actions reflect their better nature. Limit the brutality or ruthlessness of their behavior. Have them be reasonable and agree and try to follow rules, and do nice things for other people.
Do you want a character that's hated? Give them a severe character flaw, like trying to steal everybody's stuff or being insulting at every turn. Have them interfere in other people's conversations and incite people to want to attack them or avoid them. Never ever have them deviate from that unless you want to show that there's more to that character.
Above all, have some idea what you're going for, and adapt to the situation. Next article will be more about how to adapt when what you're doing doesn't work how you want.