I think this kind of RP can be really hard to nail down, especially because so many people just go with what they see off of TV or films.
I can give examples from some of my favorite experiences and why the people did a great job. Sorry about the length as always, but hopefully it will be helpful for people.
1. Eric, post wipe, who Lyca mentions. @Dio Brando Eric I feel is one the hands down best depictions of a cannibal I’ve seen. Why? He’s a literal sociopathic killer, and this person did their research, which always makes me really happy.
The characters first murder made sense, in a completely out of it state via hunger/sleep deprivation/malnutrition/dehydration he lashed out at someone and the ensuring noise led to over stimulation, making him do whatever he could to ‘shut it up’.
His first bite of ‘food’ is described as being the best thing he ever tasted. Have you ever gotten really thirsty or hungry? Gone for a long period without drinking water, have cotton mouth and finally get some water? Ever notice how sweet it tastes?
Its various stimulus and the body going ‘I need more of this.’ I found it interesting, because the body will associate foods to memories and make you like or dislike them. Chemo patients are given candy as a treat, but it tastes funny. The reason being, doctors don’t want to give them candy they like, because their brain will start associating that candy flavor with – chemo – I feel awful- bad.
I had the same experience with Barium during a very bad trip to the ER. I was in extreme distress the majority of the time and had to drink Pina colada scented barium. I couldn’t keep any of it down. After that trip, ANYTHING that smelled like Pina colada (even our hand soap in the bathroom) made me gag, feel awful, start to panic, and have to fight my body to try to not throw up. It was awful. Even to this day I dread Pina colada anything.
So first food in a very long time, of course is going to taste phenomenal. In this case, it’s quite fucked up being its human meat. The person is in delirium via starvation though and not thinking, with a valid reason for the delirium. But it’s also specific, its meat from a young female, and the shoulder. This becomes important later, because it’s not just any flesh the person wanted, it was young female from the shoulder.
Character goes on from being homeless to multi-billionaire. Character knows what is doing is wrong, and keeps to illegal means to get what he wants. (Murder and black market). He’s also careful to NOT do it constantly, to ensure he doesn’t get caught.
Now, into actual RP. If anyone had told me Eric was a cannibal when I first met him, I wouldn't have believed it. Why? Because Eric wasn’t just a cannibal, he was a sociopath, and dammit he did a good job of it. Eric was calm, charming, thoughtful, nice, listened, etc. All sociopathic traits, as well as some normal people, which is why it’s terrifying. Eric also did something that is usually what brings about a sociopathic murderers downfall, he got over confident.
He went to a trauma surgeon and said that his finger was amputated by a wolf, when it was very obviously done by a knife. The visual damage would have been very different. This gave my character red flags, and she decided to play along with it due to other odd things happening at the time. In a way she was stroking his ego, and letting him think he was outwitting her. This brought about his downfall. Also, while I’m sure the player knew otherwise, his character never realized the screw up, because we played along with it IC. Letting him think we believed him about it, which made us non-threatening targets with no reason to hurt us.
When he finally did get caught, he tried to deny it. But once the victim came forward, he responded in a sociopathic way. ‘I can do no wrong’ is how they think. He was proud of what he had done and said so. He felt like hurting Lyca’c character was an accomplishment and that he owned her like a pet. She wasn’t human, she was an object he owned. Sociopaths are not capable of love. They can pretend and mimic it to manipulate people, but they are not capable of the actual emotion.
The other thing which I think was very smart- how he went about the injury. For Lyca, he didn’t try to actually take a finger, hand, or other digit. He may have threatened but he didn’t actually try.
What he did was take a massive bite out of her shoulder (I’m assuming with permission). This did two things. It allowed the cannibalistic rp, also following the sociopathic story.
It was his trademark, Lyca’s ch was his long term victim/spouse in his brain. Secondly, it gave Lyca the ability to do what she wanted with the injury. He also then cut off his own finger and tried to make her eat it, letting her freak out until he stopped, not having actually forced her to eat it (please note that would also be power gaming). Though he did turn part of it into a ring which he made her wear.
Thankfully she managed to go running to my character who was able to fix the damage in surgery. She also awesomely roleplayed keeping her shoulder in a cast for nearly 3 months and being unable to use her left arm the whole time (that is how you rp damage).
Depending on how she wanted to play, she could have totally lost the use of her left arm. It could have gotten infected, so many things could happened, nerve damage, muscle damage, twitches, needed amputation, etc. By simply biting, Eric both got the cannibal rp in, but also allowed HER to decide what the consequence would be physically.
I would be much more allowing of someone to say take a bite from my shoulder, leg or side, versus taking a finger/arm/toe/foot/ear/etc. I don’t care their background.
2. Luciano/Lucky- @Lucky1911 Pre-lore wipe. My character met Lucky during one of his amnesia stages. So she met ‘scared’ Lucky. The fun aspect, was that not once did I ever actually see Lucky participate in cannibalism. It was all stories my ch was told, even though pretty sure he did admit to it later, at least being ‘reformed’.
Lucky went into a situation where he had to go under deep cover to infiltrate something. That went incredibly dark due to the people he was with. He did a lot of bad things, but he was still able to play a good character, a very haunted character who still did bad things, but overall wasn’t an awful person. It was great because how he rped the personality, it always kept you on your toes: ‘What does he really want?’ ‘What is he really trying to do here?’
The most frightening part to me was hearing all these stories, and being told over and over to be afraid of him, not to trust him etc. and seeing this scared, skittish, jumpy human who didn’t know what anyone was talking about and was terrified.
Then my character got severely tortured by someone. She was resting in a house where our group was staying, and he walks in. I could tell immediately by how he was moving IC something was wrong. The normally skittish, jumpy person simply walked in with confidence and not being bothered by anything, walked over, dropped a bag onto the opposite bed and was going through it. Didn’t say a word.
I remember the emotional punch and through of my ch going- ‘Shit… This isn’t Lucky… This is Luciano. This has to be Luciano. The one they told me to be afraid of… and I’m alone with him.’
Lucky was always great about balancing on that knife edge of not knowing what to expect. He gave my ch a very emotionless seeming scolding (though I know he wouldn’t have done it if he didn’t care about her). Then without warning stabbed her in the neck with an injection. All she could think of was the stories and even what Lucky was telling her then and there, taking off with people and doing horrible things. She freaked out. Thankfully he had just stabbed her with some painkiller and vitamins, because he felt like caring for her dumbass.
Lucky also did other things. Like when he was sick, he ALWAYS hallucinated. I came to anticipate this. The other problem though, was due to her hair color, Lucky ALWAYS hallucinated that I was one of two people, both who did horrible things to him. The worst time was when he actually tried to go at my character (thankfully someone was usually able to restrain him before) and stabbed her with a paralytic.
My ch tasered his ass (which was stupid as he was epileptic, she actually didn’t know at the time though) and hid before it kicked in. The only reason he did not look under a cot and find her was from a really good dice roll save. Due to being ill and hallucinating, he wouldn’t be thinking clearly enough to do what would be normal checks for him.
The fun part for me was while I had amazing RP with him, my character became his friend. Someone he could trust. She knew he had done bad things, but also saw he didn’t want to be that person. He never actually hurt my character in any way. Extreme character development without actual violence.
3. Batok- @Batok from my understanding Batok was one of the most violent and feared ‘bad guys’ on the server until he got banned during the great chicken tendon incident of 2016.
My character met Batok by accident. She ended up being the wrong person in a major trap for someone else, who didn’t realize what was happening until it was way too late. She’d come to scout and look for a friend, and try to talk to some others she felt were also friends, who she thought were all having some kind of disagreement. That ended up being very, very wrong.
She lied to Batok because she thought he was some random bandit. That did not go over well once they realized what was actually happening. Batok ended up torturing, completely humiliating, and nearly killing my character. Again, this character was known for his brutality, but he always had a reason for it. Until he realized what was happening WAS actually connected, he nearly let me leave, even giving my ch a bag and some extra food due to taking most of her stuff. He did want to permascar as a warning which I denied as I had fully cooperated with him. (minus my oops part)
So Batok did what he did because my character lied to him, honestly it was a mistake, she had no idea he was there for the same reason. He humiliated her because it’s what he did to people. He tried to break them, and he nearly succeeded, she did have major panic attacks and other trauma, as well as a near 3 month healing period. He did also threaten with making her eat someone, or eating her. Thus making her believe he was a cannibal, which he would get mad about her voicing frequently. Hey, you make the comment, you’re going to get believed. He actually was, he just tried to keep it under the radar.
That was fun because I’d never had an rp session like that in 15 years. It was a major challenge and I had a lot of fun. The hilarious part was Batok got a crush on Solace as a result. IC she was terrified of him, OOC I thought it was hilarious and totally encouraged it to see what happened and challenge myself.
Ended up with Batok essentially stalking her and being both threatening and really nice at times, scared the hell out of her. At one point he even got drunk and kidnapped her, she managed to escape due to some serious luck before anything major happened, but it was awesome rp. He was super creepy and never actually did anything cannibalistic to me except left a ‘present’ of human steak somewhere which my ch didn’t trust and refused to touch.
I learned OOC that they followed the aspects as sort of a religion. They ate normal food just like everyone else, human was an occasional thing. Essentially the person had to be worthy of being eaten, and apparently there was a whole ceremony that went along with it. It sounded pretty interesting at the least well thought out.
So in all 3 cases, really good rp from cannibal players, without my character actually being injured (except the last one), absolutely no loss of limbs. Also in a lot of historical cases, people did it literally to survive, not because they liked it. They didn’t enjoy killing or eating others, they did because it was the only way to live. Most people felt sick and disgusted but knew they would die otherwise. If discovered, they were then not only publicly shunned, but also usually put on trial for murder and inhuman acts.
I have to agree with @Brayces too. People just immediately dehumanize the act of cannibalism for their characters. In reality we are raised with a very firm belief that cannibalism is in every way,shape and form, wrong.
nearly every story of someone who had to be cannibalistic in order to survive, found the experience traumatizing and horrific. The only ones who actually seem to enjoy it are the mass murderers that go about for fun.
You don't get to humanize something you spent your entire life being taught just by one or even a couple of small acts. The person is either dead or murdered. And eastern culture taking care of the body in a humane way it is also rammed into our being. Where is you go more western people are more comfortable with more contact to the dead body. Easterners learn it as a taboo.
So you're combining a lifetime is worth of ethically treating a body respectfully on top of cannibalism and murder is bad. And suddenly you're supposed to be desensitized because you had to have a bite of human flesh in order to survive… That is not how it works
I like @Faiths idea about going outside the box and things like blood. But people still have to be careful of the obsessive torture role-play. Again it gets over used for no reason other then because I can. It becomes absolutely childish at a certain point.
I like the rule where you cannot take limbs or Perma scar without the players permission. The problem and it's the same with nvfl- is that people use it to put characters into a corner with decisions that are bullshit on the standards that all the person wants to do is hurt people.
Suddenly you try to fight back even in a hopeless situation because you know the consequences are going to be worse if you don't ,or you try to run and then you get called for being a bad role player.
It's not fair that players who want to simply be violent and do the I have to eat you, or I have to hurt you or I have to torture you basically bully around the people that don't want that.
There is a time and place for all of those situations and they can be done very well, the problem is not in this situation with how people typically play it out