Which brought me to reading bad_rpers_suck. I often just pass posts by as there are far too many per day, but like I said, I was bored. So I read all about how this application sent in to a GM was so very awful, blah blah. But what got me was that she was immediately deemed a Mary Sue because her character was beautiful and went into a bit of a physical description.
Umm... Look, it's not that I don't think Mary Sues exist. Hell, Anita Blake is the biggest Mary Sue I've ever read about.
But really, is describing how a character looks decidingly Sueish? Personally, hawt or ew, I'd want a description of what a person looks like so I can visualize them. This is why I make it a point to always describe my female character's cup-sizes. *Nods sagely*
Anyway, so I looked up the exact definition of a Mary Sue was with wikipedia out of curiosity. I'm... really glad they discuss why a lot of this is bull shit at the bottom of the page. But still, it started to make me wonder: Just how many people that I role-play with have deemed one of my characters a Sue because of some of this crap?
Okay, so I have this thing. A quirk, if you will. I like my characters pretty. In fact, I like my characters VERY pretty. It became somewhat of a funny with gailadora and me when we RP together. (We had loads of fun making Vampire: The Dark Ages vamps that had 6 in appearance.)
Thing is, a lot of friends I RP with that aren't gailadora are absolutely horrified at this. I lose depth, they think. I put too much weight on the physical, they say. Don't you get tired of this angle, they wonder.
No, I don't. Just like wearing all black has become somewhat of a trademark of yours truly, I thought it would be fun to have a trademark in RP. So this is it. I feel no shame in it. Nor do I find this to be an insult to women because I'm short-changing the average-looking woman. Look, I'm a woman. I'm not a +5. I don't want to be a +5. And the idea that women who are prettier than most causes them to be superior makes me want to smack people around with a fish.
And that's what I always found a Mary Sue was. Someone who was just... better. At everything. Could take on anything without anyone's help. Could persevere through SUFFERING and DEATH and ZOMG HOW ON EARTH DID I LEARN THAT POWER, BUT OH WELL A-HA NOW I CAN BEAT YOU UP, EVIL DOER. And basically, was just there to be awesome and use other characters to make theirs develop.
This leads me to another observation about Sues that seems to hit with what I do a lot in RP. And that's have a tragic past smacked down on my characters.
So, I made this character once. Her name was Shina. She was a bard. She had a great home, loving family; she just wanted to share her yay with the world through story and song! Yeah, Shina got booted after a couple months to be replaced by Kahri - probably the funnest character I've ever played. Sure, she had a slight touch of tragedy in her past, but it's what gave her FLAVOR. It's why she did what she did. And, well, because I enjoy being mean to those that I create.
I tried making another character with a vanilla background... and got so bored that I was so very thankful the RP never got off the ground. *Cringes just thinking of it*
But what it really comes down to is - people have tragedy in their background. In their current lives. It HAPPENS. And it happens a lot. Who wants to play Joe Smith who had a perfect childhood and beams at everyone, singing a dity of how wonderful life is? I mean, sure, it might be fun to try it for a day or two... but then I'd be done.
Now, I'm not saying that Grumpy Bear characters are YAY. Because, hey, people have layers. And so just because someone had something bad happens to them doesn't mean it's going to be stamped on their forehead. But it shapes them. Hell, the positives shape them too.
*Cough* Wow, this was quite a rant.
I guess what I'm saying is... there are Mary Sues out there. But geesh, shouldn't the fun of RP be character interaction with plot from the GM as a guide? If a person plays a character well, and people enjoy what they give to the game, even with their perfect hair and nifty talents, then isn't that what counts?