Make ‘Em Laugh

11 Feb

Don’t you know everyone wants to laugh?

In roleplay there are witty scholars, battle-hardened soldiers, shadowy rogues, champions of the light, and chatty socialites. Then there are the clowns and the court jesters. I love being a part of funny roleplay. If it’s wrong to make yourself laugh, then I don’t want to be right.
There are different kinds of humor in roleplay. There are characters that want to be funny and like to crack jokes, and characters that are funny without meaning to be.

Ambika and I have written a lot of comedy roleplay. Let’s look at some examples! Hammaryn and Veldarin have a budding relationship. Veldarin often finds things hilarious that Hammaryn doesn’t (I’m not sure she actually has a sense of humor).

“Reflex is just thinking sped up,” he said, and grinned at her. Digging around in his pocket, he pulled out a handful of small change and nodded at Gravy for another sandwich.

“It’s not thinking, it’s bodily. Muscle memory.”

“Thinking at a cellular level. It’s fascinating.” He talked around a mouthful of chewy bread and salty meat. “Anyway, as I said I’ve been thinking and I’d like us to be more intimate.”

Hammaryn spat a stream of burnwine on the counter, dropping her shot glass on the ground. “What?!”

In that example Veldarin made a comment Hammaryn wasn’t expecting, and we get the ‘ole spittoo reaction. The next example contains a character both making themselves laugh and being non-intentionally funny.

“Hammaryn. If I drink any more I may become permanently and irrep– irrip– irreparably stupid.” He drank the last bit of alcohol anyway and chucked the bottle into the path of the nearest perpetually street-sweeping broom, where it broke into a million glittering pieces. “Make yourself useful,” he said, and chortled quietly to himself.

Hammaryn rolled her eyes. “I’m not entirely sure that you haven’t passed that point.”

“I can only hope that you will be so kind as to wipe the drool from my chin once my mind is gone,” he said, and promptly smacked into the wall of the chapter house. “Oh, we’re here already.”

My character Fenniel is often the butt of jokes. I have more laughs playing and writing him then I do any of my other characters. He loves to eat (maybe a little too much); one day his friend Ysani hauled a sack of muffins over to his apartment, and hilarity ensued.

In the Legerdemain, they ate one delicious baked good after another, washing down every other bite with spicy mulled cider that was just making its seasonal debut. Waitstaff and barkeep alike watched with growing amusement, then alarm as the bag of muffins deflated and the pair just kept on shoveling it in.

At some point, Ysani’s enthusiasm for crumbly, cinnamon-candied sweets began to wane.

“Urmph,” she said to no one in particular, as she waved away the server who’d come to refill their cider mugs for the umpteenth time. “I think imma be… imma be sick.”

Fenn stopped mid-bite to look at Ysani. “Are you okay?”

An enormous belch was her only answer, and it appeared to make her feel slightly better. If nothing else, she was less green.

“Uh. I’ll be fine.”

She pushed away the unconquerable half-eaten muffin and Fenniel eyed it. “Are you gonna eat that..?”

“Go for it.”

She ordered a glass of cold water and sipped at it while he worked his way through the last half-dozen candy-studded confections. He didn’t even appear to be slowing down, and that was pretty fascinating to the redheaded girl. Such fortitude! Surely she should strive for such staggering stamina. When the last crumb was gone and he licked his fingers for the last glittering bits of crystalline sweetness, she smiled.

“Let’s go outside, I could use some fresh air.”

Fenniel nodded in agreement. “I’m kind of full.”

One time Fenniel fainted. He has an awkward relationship with Ysani. They’re well suited to each other but Fenn has a “she’s out of my league” complex, and Ysani is just plain oblivious. One day they went out to the desert to dig for pottery, and Fenn didn’t handle the heat well, or his friend’s…assets.

Ysani beckoned him over as he closed in, slowly, on her position. She stood up and wiped her forehead with a bare forearm, gingerly holding a curved hunk of pottery in her gloved hands. Her shirt was tailored to hug her curves and her assets were all too apparent as she turned toward him with a grin and called out, “Found some!”

Fenniel took his glasses off, wiping his forehead from the sweat that was dripping into his eyes. “That piece could work.” He shoved his glasses back onto his nose, and his eyes went from relaxed to dinner plate size as the pottery and her… assets… came into focus. “Ysani.” He clamped a hand over his face. “You…your…”

“You have to see this! I’ve never seen anything like it.” Ysani moved in close to her friend, examining the heavy ceramic chunk as she turned it over in her hands. “There aren’t even any hairline fractures, it just cracked in one piece where a stone fell on it. It’s pretty incredible, and dense too.” She seemed utterly oblivious to Fenniel’s discomfort.

“Ysani…you just…your shirt…” he turned a vivid shade of red.

“It even feels cool to the touch after having been just two inches under the sand, and it is HOT down there!” She grabbed his wrist and put his hand on the smooth pottery. It was downright cold. “This is so amazing! I wonder how they managed it in such a primitive culture? We need to find more of this, there’s just so much we can do with material like this. Imagine what kind of insulation you could make, you could keep engines from overheating ’till doomsday–”

Fenniel teetered a bit and lowered his hand from his eyes. “Ysani, I kinda um…I kinda…” He fell over unconscious, plumes of sand flying up as he hit the ground with a solid THUD.

“Oh, Light…” Ysani dropped the relic. The impact sent more sand flying over Fenniel’s prone, sweaty body, but the piece stayed miraculously intact. “Fenn, you’re supposed to stay hydrated! Oh dear, oh dear…” She unhitched her belt and slid a full canteen off of it, kneeling over the victim as she poured some of the shockingly cold water over his forehead and neck. Luckily, she was somewhat trained to deal with heatstroke, and once she’d given him a bit of water she hooked her arms under his armpits (LIGHT is he sweaty!) and began to drag him toward the meager shade of a partially exhumed stone wall.

Fenniel’s eyes fluttered open as Ysani drug him through the sand. “S’okay…” he mumbled semi-coherently. “I always wanted a waterbed.” He smiled contentedly up at her.

Ysani grunted as she dragged him along. He was heavier than he looked, and she was really starting to sweat. By the time she finished propping him up in the shade, her clothes were completely soaked through. “Are you okay, Fenn?”

Fenniel pushed himself up to sitting with his arms, nearly falling over again. He blinked at Ysani, rubbed at his eyes, and blushed again. “There’s um…” He took a deep breath. “I think I’m fine. It’s just uh kinda hot and your um…there’s something with your…”

Ysani looked down. Her shirt was clinging scandalously to her entire torso, almost sheer in places with moisture. She turned bright red and stood up quickly, crossing her arms over her chest to hide her fairly apparent nipples. “…Oh.”

Fenniel averted his eyes to the sand. “Yeah.”

Roleplay can have some slapstick to it. Here a couple excerpts from a story I wrote with friends, entitled SHUNK.

“Well,” Verdus said, “might as well keep it moving.” His form fluidly shifted from that of a large Tauren and reformed as a tawny, leonine cat. “See you on the other side.” Dashing towards the edge in a burst of speed, he easily cleared the first gap and resumed his natural bipedal form on the other side. “C’mon, Fenn! You can make it easily with that levitation spell on you!”

Fenn nodded. “Okay.” He aimed for the pillars Verdus went through, kicked his feet in the air and soared across the gap, then lodged between the two pillars with a resounding SHUNK. “Oh crap.” Fenn’s voice rose in volume. “Oh no.” He tried to wiggle through the pillars to the other side, getting more solidly stuck in between them. “Nononono.”

There came a strangled sound from the darkness beyond as Ambika tried to control her laughter and only partially succeeded.

“Oh, sweet Earthmother…” Verdus muttered. “Fenn, just relax, okay? It’s all right, we’ll get you out of there. Just stay calm, don’t panic, and for the Earthmother’s sake stop wriggling!”

“Light, what the hell is that noise? Is he stuck?” Dorri squinted, looking across the short break in the pathway.

“Please someone help me out, oh crap.” Fenn wiggled a bit more. “I promise I’ll lose twenty pounds, someone just please help me.”

Later on…

“Oh no.” Fenn kicked his feet. “Just pull. Or something. I don’t know.” He groaned. “It’s not a crime to like food!”

“Is it a crime to leave him there?” Ambika mused.

“Hells, just get him out before he brings all of them down on us,” Dorri said.

The troll emerged from the shadows right in front of Fenniel and examined the pillars to each side of his suspended bulk.

Fenn tried kicking his feet again, and a cascade of ammunition clips and traps fell out of his quiver onto the ground with a massive clattering sound. “Oh crap.” One of the traps went off, scorching the bottom of his boots. “I don’t wanna die. If I die like this, please someone tell my sister this isn’t how I died.”

Verdus couldn’t help but facepalm at the comedy of errors unfolding before him. Or at least it would be a comedy if it were happening to someone else. This was a tragedy of errors, and he could picture every cultist and drakonid in the entire cave system breaking out their war drums and heading straight for them. “Fenn, calm down, okay? Just calm down and stop squirming, we’ll get you out.” Moving over to the beleaguered hunter, he grabbed one of Fenniel’s arms and started to tug. The Farstrider didn’t budge.

“This is bad,” Fenn said.

I polled some friends for their favorite funny moments from our RP, and I wish I had the space to post all of the examples. As much as I love making myself laugh, I’m even happier that I’ve been able to make them laugh too. Humor is one of my favorite elements of roleplay, and when things get too serious, I’m always itching for a way to make it funny. It can be campy, it can be witty, it can be ridiculous, but make ’em laugh!

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One Response to “Make ‘Em Laugh”

  1. Verdus February 11, 2011 at 3:37 pm #

    SHUNK! 😀

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