Thursday, October 6, 2011


The Communicator comes firmly from the improvised theatre style of roleplay. Conversation is their bread and butter and, if left unchecked, entire sessions can disappear into conversations about the most mundane of issues. Especially if you're any good at running NPCs. Believe me, I should know. I am one.

On the plus side, these guys are the most likely to really get into the immersion because they enjoy getting into their character's headspace and anything that assists that will assist them. They're also more likely to be keen to try their hands at Live Action Role Play (LARPing) as costumes, props, and body language are more likely to look like fun to them. Especially if they come from an amateur theatre background (like me).

So what exactly is a Communicator?

They're the guys and gals who'll try to solve things through either negotiation or intimidation. They're not necessarily above stand over tactics but a run and gun method just doesn't suit them. At least, not all the time. Being a Communicator doesn't mean you don't like a good action sequence - far from it - but it does mean that you'll want to get the chance to worm into other people's headspaces and use their own thoughts and feelings against them.

You're a manipulator and, if you've built your character right, you're justifiably good at it. Part of your success in that line of roleplay is that an interesting NPC (or heck, PC) achieves your focus like nothing else. You pay attention to what they say and how they react. Unlike a Tactician, you're not immediately thinking fourteen steps ahead and unlike an Action Hero you're less likely to make assumptions and look before you leap. Oh no, you listen. Why? Because if your ST is doing his or her job right, you're genuinely interested in what makes that NPC tick.

You might prefer the Communicator role if your favourite characters were...

  • Diplomats, negotiators, psychologists, or other people with an understanding of the human mind.

  • Geared towards social skills that were higher than your other skills.

  • The type to draw out conversations with any NPC or PC that interests you and were loathe to end a conversation whose twists and turns surprised you.

  • Good listeners. All the better to understand that particular person better.

  • Irritated when other player characters scared off that NPC that fascinated you.

  • Annoyed when other player characters (or the ST) arbitrarily kept you from using your Social Fu to deal with a situation.

  • Fascinated by surprising or stylistic encounters with complex, or at least interesting, NPCs.

  • The sort to really grow attached to certain NPCs or PCs and become quite protective of them.

  • The type of person who actually tried to convert the enemy rather than destroy them.

  • Always keen to learn about the vices, virtues, and back stories of interesting people around them.

  • Quickly grew bored when dealing with 2-Dimensional or otherwise predictable individuals.

  • Political situations filled with interesting motivations, alliances, and rivalries.

  • Grew and changed over time through both hardship and gains.

  • Had a fascinating character arc involving those changes.

  • Likely to do things - even if it hurt - because that's what the Character Would Do.

  • Had a personality and mind-set that was fun to examine.

  • Particularly complex themselves.
They prefer STs who are...

  • Good at constructing fascinating NPCs with complex motivations and back stories.

  • Capable of talking to themselves by running multiple NPCs at once - allowing the Communicator to see what they're like in public.

  • Willing to accept that more characters than usual will be adopted by the players (all players adopt NPCs, but Communicators do so more readily).

  • Happy to have some combat encounters dealt with through social means.

  • Willing to veto social attempts if it's In-Character for the NPC to fire anyway.

  • Okay with dealing with problematic behaviors from the PC because of In-Character motivations.

  • Interested in exploring the personality of the Communicator's character.

  • Willing to provide encounters, obstacles, and rewards that would deepen the Communicator's character's arc.

  • Enjoy running dialogue.

  • Are quite good at creating easily distinguishable characters through voice, mannerisms, and perspective.

  • Enjoy high immersion games.

  • Are happy seeing characters grow and change.

  • Ensure the NPCs also grow and change in response to the character.

  • Allow the Communicator to shine in social situations.

  • Allow the Communicator the chance to roleplay through deep emotions.

  • Encourage other players to give the Communicator a few moments if the game is more action-oriented.
Fictional Characters that fit the type:

Any con artist, really.

Videogames that support the type:

Noir (focus on reading people).
The Tex Murphy Series (conversational choices).
Dragon Age Series (other party members).

So, are there any other Communicator players kicking around? Oh, and sorry about switching around the Tuesday and Thursday series around. My bad. I will now revert back to the usual programming. Next Tuesday ... The Tactician!

You can find the links to all of the five playing styles over here.

1 comment:

  1. I always find players with strong Communicator tendencies to be... not hard to play with, but hard to construct groups for, because they tend not to co-exist with hardcore Action Heroes. The Communicator playstyle frustrates the Hero, and the Hero playstyle denies the Communicator's (shoot first, talk later - I'm bored, let's kill something). The styles are almost mutually exclusive if unalloyed with something else (like an action hero who doesn't mind investigation, or a communicator who enjoys exploring too). It's not a gamebreaker, but it can feel like one if there's always one bored or frustrated face at the table no matter what you're doing.