IC

meaning and definition

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    What does IC mean?

    IC stands for “in character.” It refers to the actions and speech of a player’s character within the context of a roleplaying game (RPG).

    Unlike being out-of-character (OOC), when you’re IC, you’re portraying your character as they exist in the game’s setting, distinct from the your own personality in the real world.

    In-character actions are driven by the character’s backstory, motivations, and the game’s ongoing narrative.

    Staying in character helps maintain roleplay immersion, allowing other players to immerse themselves in the story.

    The concept of being in character has been a fundamental part of roleplaying since its inception. It helps establish a clear boundary between the player’s real-life identity and their fictional persona, allowing players to fully focus on the story.


    FAQs about IC

    How does IC differ from OOC?

    IC refers to actions and communications that occur within the game’s universe, portraying the character’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. OOC, on the other hand, involves real-life conversations, comments, or actions by the players themselves, not their characters.

    How important is staying IC for a roleplaying game?

    How important it is depends on the game. In casual games where roleplaying is allowed but not required, it’s not very important.

    In games that require roleplay, staying IC is essential for maintaining the game’s immersive experience. It helps players stay engaged with the narrative and ensures that the character’s actions remain consistent with their backstory and the game world.

    Can a player’s IC actions affect the game’s storyline?

    Depends on the game. In a casual game or adventure game where the experience is expected to be consistent across playthroughs, a player’s IC actions aren’t likely to have a big impact on the game world.

    In a roleplaying-heavy game, however, a player’s IC actions can significantly influence the game’s storyline. Decisions made and actions taken by the character can lead to new plot developments, alter relationships with other characters, and shape the game’s world.

    What should I do if I accidentally break character?

    If you accidentally break character, it’s usually best to briefly acknowledge the mistake, apologize if necessary, and move forward. You can also work with the GM or other players to find a way to integrate or correct the slip within the game’s narrative.

    Myths about IC

    One common myth is that being IC means you must always stay serious and can never have fun. However, being IC allows for a wide range of emotions and actions, depending on the character’s personality and the game’s setting.

    Another misconception is that players must be excellent actors or writers to stay IC. While acting and writing skills can enhance roleplaying (in tabletop and text-based games respectively), consistency and immersion are more important than performance quality.

    IC examples

    • During a medieval fantasy game, a player describes their character’s actions as they cautiously enter a dark, ancient crypt, speaking in a dialect appropriate to their character’s background.
    • In a science fiction RPG, a player decides their character, a seasoned starship captain, negotiates with alien traders using formal diplomatic language, reflecting their character’s experiences and status.
    • In a modern supernatural game, a player’s character, a detective with a hidden magical ability, subtly uses their powers to gather clues, keeping their actions consistent with their secretive nature.
    • During a post-apocalyptic survival game, a character speaks and acts with visible paranoia and distrust, influenced by their harsh experiences, which aligns with the game’s atmosphere and their backstory.

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    About the author

    Andruid is a writer, roleplayer, storyteller, and nerd who tries to live by Bill and Ted wisdom, i.e. "Be excellent to each other."