The 4th Humour
uninfluential words from an uninfluenced man
Bile humour Apathetic hemetic Fluent indifferent Emetic Phlegmatic

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Tuesday, May 20, 2003
NPC Theory, Part 3 -- Role Spaces and Character Relativism

Aziz over at Unmedia totally and completely spoiled some upcoming tidbits in this theory, so I'm going to back it up with talk about Role Spaces (RS) and PC/NPC Relativism.

In yesterday's post, I made the closing remark that two PCs must agree on the "NPC-ness" or "PC-ness" (from now on, let's just call it "Character") of any given individual. That was a flat out lie. (Actually, you'll find I tell a lot of lies, but they're necessary to present things simply and methodically, kind of like how in 4th grade your teacher said you couldn't divide seven by two (even though you KNEW you could, and the bitch would still say you were wrong).) Each individual in an interpersonal interaction has what I call a Role Space. The Role Space is dependent on the environment, as I will demonstrate.

To go back to the shopkeeper example, actions stereotypical of shopkeepers make up his Role Space. Statistical anomalies aside, a shopkeeper NPC is restricted to only saying and doing things within that RS, but only in that shop. You might be thinking, "But why? An NPC is an NPC! He'll be just as predictable outside the shop as inside!" That may be true, but his RS may change, and that's the important thing to consider when evaluating the Character of an individual.

I'm going to briefly turn things around. Imagine you are the shopkeeper and some person walks into the store. A customer. The customer buys a doughnut and a newspaper, gripes about how the weather is getting him down because it's one of the three overcast days of the year, pays, says "thanks", and leaves. What a typical customer. What a freakin' NPC! But get this--that NPC was you. "But...I'm a PC...right? How is this possible?" you yell. In spite of your Character, you nonetheless only fulfilled actions that fell well within the customer RS, such that, to the shopkeeper, you were an NPC.

Therefore it's possible that this stupid NPC shopkeeper is a PC to somebody else--say, his wife--who knows everything about him and has seen him in all possible situations. Or perhaps he's a dear PC friend of yours, and you sit here in his shop and watch him act all NPC-like to all these NPC customers (much to your amusement and his mockery later). Doesn't this seem rather paradoxical and bizarre, given what I've postulated thus far? It seems to invalidate the entire theory by indicating there is no absolute value for Character!

I'll let you all brood on that for a bit before I continue.

Continue on to Part 4