Kessa
 member, 600 posts
 Dark Army:
 Out to Lunch
Wed 16 Oct 2019
at 15:21
Word Choice: What do you call your character?
Hi, folks. I'm having an odd discussion elsewhere and I thought this would be a good place to get input from the TTRPG community at large. I've recently run into more players using the term 'toon' to describe their characters. This is new to me as I've always run the 'PC' 'NPC' route. What are people's impressions of this term to describe characters? As I take my games rather seriously, I find it off-putting and trivializing, but I'd like to hear what others think.
seraphmoon
 member, 116 posts
 OSX10.14; iOS12.4 & 10.3
 Talks lots. Reads more.
Wed 16 Oct 2019
at 15:37
Word Choice: What do you call your character?
Most of the time, just character, since voice inside my head is too long to type out. If I have to get more specific, PC or NPC. In an offline group I'm in, the official term is persona. I've only heard toon used in the context of MMORPGs.
donsr
 member, 1723 posts
Wed 16 Oct 2019
at 16:19
Word Choice: What do you call your character?
 I have  never  heard that, outside of  a cartoon show?... our characters  are classified  as   PCs  and NPCs..never had  anyone vary from that.

 our games   are a bit more   darker and edgy, with , perhaps a bit  comic  relief when it  fits in, so my people  like to keep it that way.
bigbadron
 moderator, 15804 posts
 He's big, he's bad,
 but mostly he's Ron.
Wed 16 Oct 2019
at 16:23
Word Choice: What do you call your character?
"Toon" is a word that seems to be used a bit to describe characters in MMOs.  So maybe it is filtering over into TTRPGs (after all, there are players who participate in both sorts of game).
donsr
 member, 1724 posts
Wed 16 Oct 2019
at 16:27
Word Choice: What do you call your character?
yeah?.. BAron.. I never  thought  about that... that  could be  the player's main back round, so they use that   word.
SunRuanEr
 subscriber, 160 posts
Wed 16 Oct 2019
at 16:51
Word Choice: What do you call your character?
I also find 'toon' off-putting as a term to refer to a player's character, even within the context of MMOs where you see more prevalent use of it. 'Toon' to me implies that the character is a joke, a cartoon, a caricature, something intended to make the player or others laugh - and that is completely inappropriate in the majority of the RPG settings with which I am familiar.
Kessa
 member, 601 posts
 Dark Army:
 Out to Lunch
Wed 16 Oct 2019
at 17:51
Word Choice: What do you call your character?
In reply to SunRuanEr (msg # 6):

That's my issue with it as well. It's certainly clear what the users mean by it... but I just don't like the feel of it for any game I would run or be in. If we are talking about a BESM system or similar setting, that's much more appropriate then, I feel.
soulsight
 member, 282 posts
 Reality is 10% perception
 and 90% interpretation.
Wed 16 Oct 2019
at 18:17
Word Choice: What do you call your character?
A character is a character. I must admit, however, that back in the day I was playing a game called "Teenagers From Outer Space" and the group consistently described the characters as 'toons'. I do believe that, at one point, I was referring to the characters in the game being played as 'mechs'. But I believe these are more specific terms than the OP is referring to.
A character is a character like a canine is a canine. Even though some canines can be called poodles and some characters can be called 'toons', it is no more appropriate to call ALL characters 'toons' than it would be to call all canines poodles.
praguepride
 member, 1513 posts
 "Hugs for the Hugs God!"
 - Warhammer Fluffy-K
Wed 16 Oct 2019
at 18:25
Word Choice: What do you call your character?
Toon is definitely a term used to describe MMO characters. It originates from a very popular early MMO called "ToonTown". Now technically the term has been around longer but it was mixed in with other terms like Alt or PC or Avatar etc. based on the game.

WIth ToonTown came a very popular MMO that had a specific term for your characters that could apply to other games. This was right before the HUGE wave of MMOs like WoW got kicked off so I believe that having a large population of the MMO audience behind a specific term right before some of the biggest names in MMOs were launched helped solidify it within gaming language.

Toon makes no sense for a non-visual medium so it is definitely bleedover from MMOs and has no historical context in text based RPGs be they PbP or MUDs etc.
Kessa
 member, 602 posts
 Dark Army:
 Out to Lunch
Wed 16 Oct 2019
at 18:40
Word Choice: What do you call your character?
In reply to praguepride (msg # 9):

That is super informative! Thank you! I had heard it traced back to MMOs like it's been mentioned here, but I didn't realize where it originated. I've been educated! And I appreciate it greatly! ^_^
bigbadron
 moderator, 15805 posts
 He's big, he's bad,
 but mostly he's Ron.
Wed 16 Oct 2019
at 19:04
Re: Word Choice: What do you call your character?
praguepride:
Toon makes no sense for a non-visual medium so it is definitely bleedover from MMOs and has no historical context in text based RPGs be they PbP or MUDs etc.

Except for the old SJG "Toon" RPG, where the characters are all toons.
Mad Mick
 member, 981 posts
 GURPS beyond measure,
 outlander
Wed 16 Oct 2019
at 22:38
Re: Word Choice: What do you call your character?
There’s an interesting discussion here: https://gaming.stackexchange.c...eir-characters-toons

Apparently it was first used in the MMO The Realm Online, which, like ToonTown after it, featured cartoon-like characters.

I played MUDs in the latter half of the 90s up until maybe 2003, and I never heard the term “toon” used, only “character”.
SunRuanEr
 subscriber, 161 posts
Wed 16 Oct 2019
at 22:56
Re: Word Choice: What do you call your character?
Mad Mick:
I played MUDs in the latter half of the 90s

Ah, MUDs. JediMUD, TrinityMUD, how do I miss thee? *sigh* Oh well.

I actually never heard the term 'toon' used until playing City of Heroes. I heard it a lot in that, less so in WoW, and really never on RPoL - but I still abhor it personally.
donsr
 member, 1725 posts
Wed 16 Oct 2019
at 23:06
Re: Word Choice: What do you call your character?
I have  never heard  it here... I been here  a while. I heard it a couple times  in WOW.. used to play Rubies of Eventide...never heard it there.

I don't like it  either..., but   I am not  in/run  games that  lean towards  'toons'
tibiotarsus
 member, 75 posts
 Hopepunk with a shovel
Wed 16 Oct 2019
at 23:28
Re: Word Choice: What do you call your character?
Never heard that one before, and also find it kind of creepy...I know some characters lack depth, but calling your own PC 2D like they're not solid in what's supposed to be their own world...eesh.
Kessa
 member, 603 posts
 Dark Army:
 Out to Lunch
Wed 16 Oct 2019
at 23:37
Re: Word Choice: What do you call your character?
In reply to Mad Mick (msg # 12):

Thank you! That is an interesting article for sure. I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks this is an odd term to use for TTRPGs.
soulsight
 member, 283 posts
 Reality is 10% perception
 and 90% interpretation.
Thu 17 Oct 2019
at 00:34
Re: Word Choice: What do you call your character?
Oh, wow. We called our characters 'toons' when playing TFOS because we started playing after we saw this cartoon about an interplanetary high school... at the end of the eighties.
We, uh, weren't familiar with MMORPGs for obvious reasons.
Brianna
 member, 2198 posts
Fri 18 Oct 2019
at 06:54
Re: Word Choice: What do you call your character?
In reply to bigbadron (msg # 11):

But Toon doesn't translate that well to online play, IMO.  After all how can you tell if you made your Animator laugh or giggle uncontrollably?  Also you lose the contagion of one person laughing setting off others.  Great game though, and we played some wonderfully giddy ones at GenCon, including one the years was introduced, with the creator.
Uringizel
 member, 27 posts
Fri 18 Oct 2019
at 14:59
Re: Word Choice: What do you call your character?
I've few times referred player characters as 'protagonists'. I don't know how accurate this term is but aren't they just that - the main characters in a game/story?
donsr
 member, 1729 posts
Fri 18 Oct 2019
at 15:13
Re: Word Choice: What do you call your character?
if done right.. all players  are part of the game.. NPCs  help drive the game  along, either  was the main vehicle to move them, or   support around the PCs..or both

I have found , it comes  down to the player ,playing the chatacter  they  wanted, and   flowing with the story to be the biggest focus...some  players cannot  do that..others   thrive in it.
Gaffer
 member, 1583 posts
 Ocoee FL
 40 yrs of RPGs
Sat 19 Oct 2019
at 15:11
Re: Word Choice: What do you call your character?
praguepride:
Toon makes no sense for a non-visual medium so it is definitely bleedover from MMOs and has no historical context in text based RPGs be they PbP or MUDs etc.


Unless it's in reference to TOON: The Cartoon Roleplaying Game from 1984 that had pretty much died by the late 90s.
Gaffer
 member, 1584 posts
 Ocoee FL
 40 yrs of RPGs
Sat 19 Oct 2019
at 15:21
Re: Word Choice: What do you call your character?
In my main game, Call of Cthulhu, the 'proper' term for player characters is "Investigator of the Unknown" or just Investigator (and for the GM, it's "Keeper of Arcane Lore" or Keeper for short). Around the table I've never hear those terms employed, unless ironically.

In my role playing experience most players refer to their character by name ("Jesse opens the door") or as "My guy/gal opens the door." Some people go first person, saying "I open the door."

As a player here, I generally start my posts with my character's name, mostly to prevent confusion.
donsr
 member, 1734 posts
Sat 19 Oct 2019
at 15:32
Re: Word Choice: What do you call your character?
i'm in a 'pulp' game  an  old DM  from other site  started  as I pulled him into our site.

 I forgot what thay  game system calls them.. I just settled  for calling everything  PCs  and NPCs.... 'proper titles ' can be used IC.
Brianna
 member, 2199 posts
Mon 21 Oct 2019
at 10:16
Re: Word Choice: What do you call your character?
In reply to Gaffer (msg # 21):

It's still a great game, but it's modelled after the old cartoon shows.  Now too many of the 'toons are barely disguised advertisements for toy lines.
V_V
 member, 872 posts
 Script like razors
 Absence like wire
Mon 21 Oct 2019
at 11:51
Re: Word Choice: What do you call your character?
I have a toxic relationship with someone I play with (thankfully not for long) who insists on calling not just her character, but everyone's a toon. When asked not to, she says "Oh I'll try, but I will probably forget and do it anyway" and often we have the same conversation.

She says all kinds of things like "well your toon is an AC monkey, so probably let me deal with the damage" and I'm like "Um...first off...no, and...NO....I have simply developed mastery of the heaviest armor one can wear, while you insist on wearing only fullplate or no armor at all. I also have the strength to carry, not pull, not lift, but carry an entire wagon to its brim, so I think hitting hard will not be a problem. Besides, what you're asking me to have high AC. That doesn't require an action. I can ALSO do damage. I'm-a-fighter." "Oh I thought your toon was just an AC Skill Monkey, with some gish thrown in for damage" *facepalm*

I don't honestly know if she does it on purpose to troll. I'm inclined to think even if she doesn't, that she neither cares nor will make any attempt to stop.

On the other hand, she gets upset about other things though. Like having more than one name for your character. Even just a last name. "I'm not going to write all that" Okay, you don't have to. Most people don't call others by their full name, even if referencing them to someone else. "I know but I can't always remember all the names" Um...first off...there are two names, not three or four. Second, it's in the ID. Every time I post, it has my character's name. All you have to do is just...look at the ID. Third, you can also, just a thought, click on the description and see all the sobriquets there, if you so care to know who people are talking about in inside conversation. "Oh I know. I just don't like to waste time if I only have a few minutes to post. I just don't like toons with long names. That's all. :) Anyway don't worry about it, seriously. It's not that big of a deal. You can fix it when you have time. :) I'll remind you later if you want." No. Not really. It's my character's name, and it's only 12 characters long, counting the space in between both relevant names. The names you have to use are either five or six letters long. An example of how easy this is consider "Armor" five letters, and "Damage" six letters. You have no problem writing those. So you're welcome to disregard this advice, but it's there if you ever need the reminding.
seraphmoon
 member, 118 posts
 OSX10.14; iOS12.4 & 10.3
 Talks lots. Reads more.
Mon 21 Oct 2019
at 15:50
Re: Word Choice: What do you call your character?
In reply to V_V (msg # 25):

Sounds like this person is more self-centered than anything else, and somewhat passive-aggressive as well. She's probably not doing it intending to troll or annoy anyone, she's just not taking anyone else's feelings or preferences into consideration and doesn't want or care to put forth the effort needed to.

I'd stop playing with her if possible, and if not I'd just stop interacting with her character.  If that's not possible, I'd most likely try to figure out the things that annoy her and work them in whenever I could. If she's not going to even try and work with me, I don't see a reason I should have to work with her. ;)