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Dragons, Gods and Demons: Why?


MHertz
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I have to admit, this is something I do not comprehend. Why do players feel the need to portray characters who are even greater than superheroes? You're already on a path to becoming an Incarnate, one of the most powerful beings known to exist. But your character must be even bigger than that, right out of the gate. A god, a vampire, an unkillable assassin, an angel, a demon, a millennia-old super dragon, a reality-bending alien, a cruel and mysterious fae creature from the dawn of time, or (as some bios would have it) "the fastest person / best psionic / strongest hero / whateverest whatever" in existence.

 

And I ask: why?

 

From a roleplaying perspective, doesn't this make it harder for your character to take an interest in the trivial inconsequential daily lives of citizens in Paragon? Why would your character care about a single purse snatcher, or a pitiful plot by the Freakshow to hold a crime competition? Doesn't this backstory require jumping through some hurdles to explain why your ultra-powerful ancient evil dragon is struggling against level 2 Skulls at the start? Are you trying to create a character with power on your terms, without any weaknesses unless you permit them? Is it because super-beings play for much higher stakes on a heroic scale (savior of the timestream, guardian of the universe) and much lower stakes on the emotional scale (can never be hurt, never touched by mortal loss or trauma)? Or is this an OOC (out-of-character) thing, where you feel inadequate unless your character is somehow better than those of other players?

 

I don't know, I don't get it. Characters with limits and flaws are so, so much more interesting to me, and I have a hard time relating to (and RPing with) characters who fill this "god mode" role. I prefer characters that need help. Characters that cooperate, rather than dominate. So why do you choose a god-mode kind of character? Please explain the appeal. I'm willing to understand, here.

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The original @Hertz, creator of the Stan and Lou audio series on YouTube. Player of City of Heroes for yonks.1

 

1A yonk is a very long time.

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There's probably as many answers as there are players of those types of characters.  With regard to vampires, dragons, angels, demons, and gods, specifically, I'm guessing it has a lot to do with the fact that these are common anime tropes and anime is hugely popular these days (you can toss cat-girls in here, with this lot).

 

Regarding power level, some people are big fans of cosmic powered characters in comics (Thor, Silver Surfer, Phoenix, Guardian, etc.) and want to imagine playing a character of that type.  Given that your PC essentially becomes unkillable (deathless badge) around lvl 50, according to the canon game lore- and practically unkillable because there is no perma-death mechanic in the game- there is really no distinction between RPing a god and RPing an Incarnate (or, perhaps even playing a character into their middle to high 40's).

 

My personal peeve with the vamps, demons, and cat-girls is that there are so many of them (old hat) and they're rarely done in a way that brings something new to the concept- either visually or lore-wise.

 

Having said that, each player has the right to play whatever sort of character they like, as long as it doesn't violate the player terms of agreement rules, so I try not to worry about it overmuch.  If it really chaps your ass, I recommend finding a good RP group (The Black Hand, for example) that focuses on low to mid-tier or "C-list" heroes/villains just trying to get by and make a buck.   

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My water/dark corrupter is a fallen god whose whole story is about how he’s been forced to bond to a cast-out Skull and the two are clearing their way to the top to take their perceived “rightful place” because a delusional sense of self-importance with just enough validation to be somewhat justified in their outrage over being cast down is a fun villain story. Along with the conflicts which will grow between divine patron and mortal host.

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, Cancrusher said:

If it really chaps your ass, I recommend...

No, not really. People play what they want to play; I don't have to like it.

 

It comes up because I try to build my base with RP hooks in mind, enough to satisfy people with different backgrounds and hero origins. There's this problem here for magic users and enemies of the Circle of Thorns; there's that problem over there for necromancers and other death spirits. There's another problem for people with natural origin or technology.

 

But then someone inevitably comes along and says, "Hey, I'm a time-bending super alien overlord, and I'm also the god of magic, plus I'm a playboy billionaire, let me just blink my eyes and fix it all. And if you're interested, I have pheromones that make you want to have sex with me." And inevitably the person is a god, a dragon, a super demon from beyond space and time, the guardian of the universe, or whatever. I wanna say "No, dummy, that's not what I'm trying to do — I'm not looking for a solution, I'm looking for engagement in finding a solution."

 

I want to stress that I have met some lovely RPers who have engaged in the story hooks I have put into the base, and, yes, some of them have been such beings. I'm not trying to complain about them, because they were very collaborative in coming up with a solution. But I have met others who are, let's say, a little pushy in wanting to be the be-all end-all solution for all problems (and sometimes a little pouty when I'm not interested in a super-savior).

Edited by MHertz
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The original @Hertz, creator of the Stan and Lou audio series on YouTube. Player of City of Heroes for yonks.1

 

1A yonk is a very long time.

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Why do you assume that all of us who choose to create and RP these types of creatures do so with the intent to be even more powerful than supers already are? I'm sure there are some out there, but I feel like they would be in the minority because it can be kind of boring to RP with a Mary Sue type character. Why do you assume my dragons and aliens are "god mode" or that they wouldn't be interested in studying humans and finding fascination in them? Including developing an affection for them that might even include helping them with mundane tasks? Or maybe my dragon is a klepto interested in re-stealing the purses to get the shinies in them, or returns the purse with the expectation of being rewarded with a shiny.

 

I'm a boring old human in real life; City of Heroes has an amazing character creator, why wouldn't I take advantage of that to live out some of my fantasies? 

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Global: @Valnara1; Formerly @TigerGoddess on Live

I primarily play on Everlasting, but you may occasionally find me on Indom. 🙂

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I will start out by saying that the original post feels… Biased. I’ll try to answer best I can while addressing some of the points written. It feels as though you’ve had several bad experiences with players roleplaying as these concepts, and thus, put them in the same boat. Which honestly feels rather unfair to me.

 

No with that preamble out of the way:

 

6 hours ago, MHertz said:

From a roleplaying perspective, doesn't this make it harder for your character to take an interest in the trivial inconsequential daily lives of citizens in Paragon? Why would your character care about a single purse snatcher, or a pitiful plot by the Freakshow to hold a crime competition? Doesn't this backstory require jumping through some hurdles to explain why your ultra-powerful ancient evil dragon is struggling against level 2 Skulls at the start? Are you trying to create a character with power on your terms, without any weaknesses unless you permit them? Is it because super-beings play for much higher stakes on a heroic scale (savior of the timestream, guardian of the universe) and much lower stakes on the emotional scale (can never be hurt, never touched by mortal loss or trauma)? Or is this an OOC (out-of-character) thing, where you feel inadequate unless your character is somehow better than those of other players?

 

I don't know, I don't get it. Characters with limits and flaws are so, so much more interesting to me, and I have a hard time relating to (and RPing with) characters who fill this "god mode" role. I prefer characters that need help. Characters that cooperate, rather than dominate. So why do you choose a god-mode kind of character? Please explain the appeal. I'm willing to understand, here.

 

First off: Dragons, Aliens, Demons, Vampires, Fae, etc. are not greater than superheroes. They are, like depictions of superheroes and supervillains, character concepts. A lot of which have actually appeared and integrated within the genre of superhero comic books, such as, but not limited to:

  • Superman, Martian Manhunter, Lobo (DC Aliens), Yondu, Venom, Mantis (Marvel aliens)
  • Batman (Earth 43) (DC Vampire), Morbius (Marvel Vampire)
  • Etrigan the Demon, Raven (DC demons), Sammael, Zarathos (Marvel demons)

 

And many, many more. This is just a small list I compiled from a very brief google search, and a lot of those characters I don’t even know. I don’t read that many comics. I invite you to make your own research in the future. However, I do know that some of these characters have joined forces with humanity or otherwise want to see to its destruction for reasons of their own. Or just happen to be spacefaring bounty hunters looking for a mark that happens to be on Earth. To say that these character concepts are “Even greater” than superheroes is really just your personal bias, to be blunt about it. They’re characters, part of expansive universes in which some people shoot lasers from their eyes.

 

Really, you could make a Pyrokinetic character and just slap a mystical coat of paint on them, and name them an Elemental Spirit or something. One of the joys of writing and art is creativity.

 

So let people create, I say.

 

As for Incarnates… Well, honestly, I see Incarnate being thrown around a lot in RP as though it were the single be-all, end-all. It isn’t. Incarnates have varying degrees of power levels, and a lot of it comes at a cost. Or, a long-time investment and slow power crawl in order to avoid great costs. It is a path to power. An option. Not every player will want to portray this in their characters, and thus the in-game missions shouldn’t be forced into a player character’s background if they wish to portray something else. Variety, y’know.

 

For example, my character Leylathiriel, is a Sloth Demon. She doesn’t care for being an Incarnate, because it’s frankly too much work at too high a cost. So she stays far away from the Well and its business.

 

 

(I didn't know how to quote more because I'm not used to this forum interface, lol. Pardon my derpness.)

By MHertz:

From a roleplaying perspective, doesn't this make it harder for your character to take an interest in the trivial inconsequential daily lives of citizens in Paragon? Why would your character care about a single purse snatcher, or a pitiful plot by the Freakshow to hold a crime competition? Doesn't this backstory require jumping through some hurdles to explain why your ultra-powerful ancient evil dragon is struggling against level 2 Skulls at the start? Are you trying to create a character with power on your terms, without any weaknesses unless you permit them? Is it because super-beings play for much higher stakes on a heroic scale (savior of the timestream, guardian of the universe) and much lower stakes on the emotional scale (can never be hurt, never touched by mortal loss or trauma)? Or is this an OOC (out-of-character) thing, where you feel inadequate unless your character is somehow better than those of other players?

 

I don't know, I don't get it. Characters with limits and flaws are so, so much more interesting to me, and I have a hard time relating to (and RPing with) characters who fill this "god mode" role. I prefer characters that need help. Characters that cooperate, rather than dominate. So why do you choose a god-mode kind of character? Please explain the appeal. I'm willing to understand, here.

 

 

Character level is a tool for gameplay progression, and not a tool for roleplay/storytelling. In comic books, superheroes/supervillains do not follow a level progression like that. For an easy example, Superman. I’m pretty sure his abilities are tied to his alien physiology rather than EXP and arbitrary progression as showcased in video games. Pretty sure he just came into having his powers simply by existing. Which makes sense, considering that it is the norm for his species.

 

To be quite frank, I am very, very, very tired of this Gameplay=RP mentality. It doesn’t, and shouldn’t. Sure, you can use gameplay to tell stories. The AE is good for that. However, if you only abide to those gameplay elements to inform your storytelling, you’re limiting yourself intentionally. Make use of your writing chops and creativity like a comic book artist would. Make your own stories. CoX just happens to be a convenient vehicle within which people can roleplay within a superhero genre.

 

With that little bit out of the way: Limitations can breed creativity. Leylathiriel, my Sloth Demon, can be considered powerful, sure. Why would she care about the crimes you described? She doesn’t, not really. But as part of her character story arc, she was magically bound to a MAGI handler, which severely limited her personal freedom, but also put her on the path of helping random citizens with those kinds of crimes. To her, it was how she was allowed to stay on Earth, where she was (previously) just taking a break from the politics/life of Hell. So, she gladly accepted those restrictions on her personal freedom in order to linger in a more pleasant place.

 

Hurdles and hoops? You could see them that way, sure. I rather call them “Storytelling opportunities”.

 

Oh, also, despite being powerful, my character also likes to cooperate. There are skills she simple doesn’t have. Example; modern technology. Long ranged attacked. She’s also rather slow on foot, and not all environments have enough space to make flight a viable option. A lot of her magic are ritual-based, things that will demand time and resources to be successfully cast. Meaning that in the heat of battle, she is more limited and has to rely on her physical capabilities more. She can be outran, restrained, boxed in, outperformed, etc. That she’s a demon just happens to be a species. She is, essentially, a person whose physiology, perception on things, and culture somewhat differs from humanity. And she does have emotion. Even is in love with a human being.

 

So, as you can see, not all people who play these character concepts just want to “God mode” or “Dominate”.

 

 

Tl;dr: Don’t blame bad writing on the character concepts. You’re doing yourself a disservice. And please allow yourself to actually write stories with others, yeah? Gameplay is only just that; the playing of the video game.

 

Edited by Bleuception
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2 minutes ago, Bleuception said:

I will start out by saying that the original post feels… Biased. I’ll try to answer best I can while addressing some of the points written. It feels as though you’ve had several bad experiences with players roleplaying as these concepts, and thus, put them in the same boat. Which honestly feels rather unfair to me.

 

No with that preamble out of the way:

 

 

First off: Dragons, Aliens, Demons, Vampires, Fae, etc. are not greater than superheroes. They are, like depictions of superheroes and supervillains, character concepts. A lot off which have actually appeared and integrated within the genre of superhero comic books, such as, but not limited to:

Superman, Martian Manhunter, Lobo (DC Aliens), Yondu, Venom, Mantis (Marvel aliens)

Batman (Earth 43) (DC Vampire), Morbius (Marvel Vampire)

Etrigan the Demon, Raven (DC demons), Sammael, Zarathos (Marvel demons)

 

And many, many more. This is just a small list I compiled from a very brief google search, and a lot of those characters I don’t even know. I don’t read that many comics. I invite you to make your own research in the future. However, I do know that some of these characters have joined forces with humanity or otherwise want to see to its destruction for reasons of their own. Or just happen to be spacefaring bounty hunters looking for a mark that happens to be on Earth. To say that these character concepts are “Even greater” than superheroes is really just your personal bias, to be blunt about it. They’re characters, part of expansive universes in which some people shoot lasers from their eyes.

 

Really, you could make a Pyrokinetic character and just slap a mystical coat of paint on them, and name them an Elemental Spirit or something. One of the joys of writing and art is creativity.

 

So let people create, I say.

 

As for Incarnates… Well, honestly, I see Incarnate being thrown around a lot in RP as though it were the single be-all, end-all. It isn’t. Incarnates have varying degrees of power levels, and a lot of it comes at a cost. Or, a long-time investment and slow power crawl in order to avoid great costs. It is a path to power. An option. Not every player will want to portray this in their characters, and thus the in-game missions shouldn’t be forced into a player character’s background if they wish to portray something else. Variety, y’know.

 

For example, my character Leylathiriel, is a Sloth Demon. She doesn’t care for being an Incarnate, because it’s frankly too much work at too high a cost. So she stays far away from the Well and its business.

 

 

(I didn't know how to quote more because I'm not used to this forum interface, lol. Pardon my derpness.)

By MHertz:

From a roleplaying perspective, doesn't this make it harder for your character to take an interest in the trivial inconsequential daily lives of citizens in Paragon? Why would your character care about a single purse snatcher, or a pitiful plot by the Freakshow to hold a crime competition? Doesn't this backstory require jumping through some hurdles to explain why your ultra-powerful ancient evil dragon is struggling against level 2 Skulls at the start? Are you trying to create a character with power on your terms, without any weaknesses unless you permit them? Is it because super-beings play for much higher stakes on a heroic scale (savior of the timestream, guardian of the universe) and much lower stakes on the emotional scale (can never be hurt, never touched by mortal loss or trauma)? Or is this an OOC (out-of-character) thing, where you feel inadequate unless your character is somehow better than those of other players?

 

I don't know, I don't get it. Characters with limits and flaws are so, so much more interesting to me, and I have a hard time relating to (and RPing with) characters who fill this "god mode" role. I prefer characters that need help. Characters that cooperate, rather than dominate. So why do you choose a god-mode kind of character? Please explain the appeal. I'm willing to understand, here.

 

 

Character level is a tool for gameplay progression, and not a tool for roleplay/storytelling. In comic books, superheroes/supervillains do not follow a level progression like that. For an easy example, Superman. I’m pretty sure his abilities are tied to his alien physiology rather than EXP and arbitrary progression as showcased in video games. Pretty sure he just came into having his powers simply by existing. Which makes sense, considering that it is the norm for his species.

 

To be quite frank, I am very, very, very tired of this Gameplay=RP mentality. It doesn’t, and shouldn’t. Sure, you can use gameplay to tell stories. The AE is good for that. However, if you only abide to those gameplay elements to inform your storytelling, you’re limiting yourself intentionally. Make use of your writing chops and creativity like a comic book artist would. Make your own stories. CoX just happens to be a convenient vehicle within which people can roleplay within a superhero genre.

 

With that little bit out of the way: Limitations can breed creativity. Leylathiriel, my Sloth Demon, can be considered powerful, sure. Why would she care about the crimes you described? She doesn’t, not really. But as part of her character story arc, she was magically bound to a MAGI handler, which severely limited her personal freedom, but also put her on the path of helping random citizens with those kinds of crimes. To her, it was how she was allowed to stay on Earth, where she was (previously) just taking a break from the politics/life of Hell. So, she gladly accepted those restrictions on her personal freedom in order to linger in a more pleasant place.

 

Hurdles and hoops? You could see them that way, sure. I rather call them “Storytelling opportunities”.

 

Oh, also, despite being powerful, my character also likes to cooperate. There are skills she simple doesn’t have. Example; modern technology. Long ranged attacked. She’s also rather slow on foot, and not all environments have enough space to make flight a viable option. A lot of her magic are ritual-based, things that will demand time and resources to be successfully cast. Meaning that in the heat of battle, she is more limited and has to rely on her physical capabilities more. She can be outran, restrained, boxed in, outperformed, etc. That she’s a demon just happens to be a species. She is, essentially, a person whose physiology, perception on things, and culture somewhat differs from humanity. And she does have emotion. Even is in love with a human being.

 

So, as you can see, not all people who play these character concepts just want to “God mode” or “Dominate”.

 

 

Tl;dr: Don’t blame bad writing on the character concepts. You’re doing yourself a disservice. And please allow yourself to actually write stories with others, yeah? Gameplay is only just that; the playing of the video game.

 

 

I agree with the ideas behind this. Especially in that supers come from a variety of background and that the writing, the portrayal of that concept in the situation of a super [hero or villain or neither], is the big thing. And can be tricky. Look at Superman: Alien who could dominate everybody just because his body reacts to our sun differently... But is trying to work within the moral, legal, and other philosophical constraints of the United States. Will he have to break a law to get the bad guy off the streets? Will he finally have to kill someone and avoid becoming his Justice Lord counterpart?

 

But a well written character, such as one who could be the sum total of the solution but is part of the solution [see Superman collaborating with another JLA character], is more than their concept.

 

And as another example to go with Bleu's, my villain Ra-Akhnaten was a powerful priest back in Egypt but, because of being bound in an artifact for thousands of years, he has to slowly rebuild his knowledge/energies into the body he's possessing so he can be better than before. And to ensure he's got control of the host body, he has to wear a suit of armor that, in turn, limits his output a fair bit in return. So he theoretically *could* fry a passerby like an egg on the sidewalk, depending on where in his storyline he is, but wouldn't be able to right away near the beginning or necessarily interested later on ["What would that get me? Would it prove that I'm worth worshiping? No. It would make people want to kill me."].

 

Similarly, a villain I created recently, Infection Point, has to limit himself in a similar suit of armor because he is literally radioactive. If he steps out, he'd essentially poison everyone within the immediate area. And has to be in the Rogue Isles because he's better able to get parts and lots of quick money there for parts, medicine for his mom, etc. He doesn't WANT to do bad but it's the only way for him to handle things. He has to cooperate with other villains to get to his goals.

 

Also, yes, I agree 100% that game level should not equate to RP power level. It doesn't accurately represent where the character is at in their story or if the person is able to write a character. And as such, it should be treated as just a game mechanic, not the measure of your writing and creativity.

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I wouldn't automatically assume a player is intending to go for RP Power by choosing to portray a god, or demon, or dragon.

 

They might be looking at the mechanical power their character is going to have when built out and be choosing a background, in their minds, which explains and is consistent with that power. After all, a fully built out level 50 incarnate can be incredibly powerful.

 

Also, I wouldn't assume that a "God" is necessarily a supreme being come to Earth; perhaps they're a create from a parallel time or dimension which is powerful enough to be mistake for one, or which has visited before and been considered one, and may have significant weakness and limits, as others noted from other comic literature. 

 

And a demon need not be the agent of the supreme evil or the personification of some sin as they are in our various mythologies; just very different creatures from other realities. Similar with dragons. 

 

Sometimes a player will choose such a background because the theme interests them, or they had a costume idea that felt creative, or so on.

 

And yes, they're all tropes that are done to death; but isn't just about everything in this genre? And who is to say that the one playing a character isn't having a great time and exploring the concepts that may be quite novel to them.

 

Sure, there's character concepts that I see that give me an internal sigh, but it's on me to get over it or not. Sometimes I can't, and that's okay - I'm not the one who decides if they're having fun with it or not. And it's not just Gods, Dragons, & Demons that do this -- I remember, on Live, meeting a character who was RP'd as the rebellious teen daughter of Mother Mayhem and Tyrant, and the player seemed to have Praetoria's lore all re-written for their head canon.  I'm sure they were having a great time, but that isn't my idea of fun storytelling, and I stayed out of it.

 

But sometimes, when I do give folks a chance, I'm surprised with something interesting and fun. 

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, TygerDarkstorm said:

Why do you assume that all of us who choose to create and RP these types of creatures do so with the intent to be even more powerful than supers already are? ... Why do you assume my dragons and aliens are "god mode" ...? ... I'm a boring old human in real life; City of Heroes has an amazing character creator, why wouldn't I take advantage of that to live out some of my fantasies? 

1. Because very often I try to RP with a person who is playing a dragon, or a fae, or a god-being, it's no surprise that they invented for themselves a bunch of extra magic powers that aren't in the game. This isn't just me making up a bunch of assumptions, this is me asking the question after numerous eye-rolling encounters. There's a pattern here. I'm not claiming it is universal, because I have met numerous nymphs, dragons, god-beings, fae, and so forth, that are good RPers with well-defined characters and who play well with others. Nevertheless, the correlation is pretty persistent.

2. I don't know you, and I don't assume anything about you.

3. There's nothing wrong with that.

 

I'm not saying that "every person who plays a god, demon, angel, or dragon is a power-gamer." I'm saying "why do people want to play power-gamed RP character [which is typically one of the aforementioned beings, but not always, as I point out in my OP]?"

 

Or to simplify: I'm not asking why all X in the game play like Y; I'm asking why people play like Y in the first place [and are usually one of X]?

Edited by MHertz

The original @Hertz, creator of the Stan and Lou audio series on YouTube. Player of City of Heroes for yonks.1

 

1A yonk is a very long time.

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, Bleuception said:

I will start out by saying that the original post feels… Biased. I’ll try to answer best I can while addressing some of the points written. It feels as though you’ve had several bad experiences with players roleplaying as these concepts, and thus, put them in the same boat. Which honestly feels rather unfair to me.

Your post contains a ton of incorrect assumptions about me, my writing ability, my ability to write content with others, my experience with comics, and so forth.

 

  

5 hours ago, Bleuception said:

So, as you can see, not all people who play these character concepts just want to “God mode” or “Dominate”.

And this is just wrong. This isn't what I said at all. It's totally backwards, as I pointed out above. I didn't ask "why do all people choose characters like X and then play like Y?" I asked "why do players want to play like Y, and sometimes happen to be X?" As you'll note in the OP, some of them are human but they happen to be superior to others.

 

First: yes, I'm biased. I was a PNP GM for 20+ years, playing a multitude of superhero-based campaigns. Power-gaming RP leaves a bad taste in my mouth due to a particular example (let's call him Sheldon) who always had to have the characters in the game who were the Best at Something. The fastest, the wisest, the strongest, the hardest to kill, so he would never be at any disadvantage and would always have the best characters to call upon. And not just the best, the ridiculously over the top extreme champion, so nothing was ever a challenge. I didn't understand it then, and I don't understand it now. Doesn't it get boring when you're always the best at stuff?

 

Yes, those kinds of beings appear in comic books, where the writing and the plotting is controlled so those beings can be as powerful as the story requires them to be. This is a role-playing game where you have to play with other people. There's no writer or GM in charge to moderate those impulses. So I'm asking "why do people choose to play a character that is defined to be more powerful than the other characters?" What do people get out of that? Why do I encounter so many people who RP such characters so poorly?

Edited by MHertz
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The original @Hertz, creator of the Stan and Lou audio series on YouTube. Player of City of Heroes for yonks.1

 

1A yonk is a very long time.

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3 hours ago, Andreah said:

I wouldn't automatically assume a player is intending to go for RP Power by choosing to portray a god, or demon, or dragon.

Please see the above messages where I explain this is not my position. But thank you for pointing out the logical converse of my point.

The original @Hertz, creator of the Stan and Lou audio series on YouTube. Player of City of Heroes for yonks.1

 

1A yonk is a very long time.

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4 hours ago, MHertz said:

Please see the above messages where I explain this is not my position

I want to point out, which I hope you can already see from the majority of responses, it is how you came across. 

 

4 hours ago, MHertz said:

Or to simplify: I'm not asking why all X in the game play like Y; I'm asking why people play like Y in the first place [and are usually one of X]?

 

And this doesn't clarify it much at all, to me. 

 

Are you asking why people play concepts you don't like? Are you asking why people play concepts that other people, in your opinion, have tried before and failed to do a satisfactory job? Or are you asking why, when, in your opinion, character type X's have a certain low reputation, why do people who should know better keep trying to play them? 

 

4 hours ago, MHertz said:

Because very often I try to RP with a person who is playing a dragon, or a fae, or a god-being, it's no surprise that they invented for themselves a bunch of extra magic powers that aren't in the game. This isn't just me making up a bunch of assumptions, this is me asking the question after numerous eye-rolling encounters. There's a pattern here. I'm not claiming it is universal, because I have met numerous nymphs, dragons, god-beings, fae, and so forth, that are good RPers with well-defined characters and who play well with others. Nevertheless, the correlation is pretty persistent.

See, this is what I'm having trouble with. First off, not only do I not have a problem with people adding powers and characteristics beyond what the game engine implements, I see those as generally being signs of imaginative and capable roleplayers -- it's not a bug, it's a feature. Yes, it could be abused, but I find that rare, not common. 

 

Then, you say it's not everyone, but then you add these statements about it being numerous, or persistent, and the like. Frankly, I'm not surprised you got the tone of responses you did.  If I had a dragon character and I read your opening post, I might have felt obligated to respond just to defend myself.

 

4 hours ago, MHertz said:

I was a PNP GM for 20+ years

You'll find our community is filled with people who have similar experience, and for some, much more. 

 

4 hours ago, MHertz said:

yes, I'm biased

 

I think you will find your answers in there, and not from our responses. I can't know who you have been interacting with so many unpleasant interactions to feel this way about CoH today, but I will offer that my experience is that the great majority of people who play such concepts do so fully aware of the potential pitfalls and do a creditable job of avoiding them.

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Everything said by @Andreah in the previous post, really.

 

 

To me, the original post came across as an open ended question to those that play such characters, (and given the kind of responses you did get, it seems others have thought similarly) and not as specific as you made it out to be in your ( @MHertz ) response in the following posts.

 

If you want to know why these specific players/characters which you described play these characters the way they do, then I suggest asking them privately. I can't answer for other people, and frankly I don't know who you're talking about anyway. And I get it. It can be quite frustrating dealing with people. But... An open forum thread doesn't seem like the best place to vent. I encourage you to do such venting with friends who will lend a sympathetic ear, and of course provide context too.

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2 hours ago, Andreah said:

I want to point out, which I hope you can already see from the majority of responses, it is how you came across. 

 

 

And this doesn't clarify it much at all, to me. 

 

Are you asking why people play concepts you don't like? Are you asking why people play concepts that other people, in your opinion, have tried before and failed to do a satisfactory job? Or are you asking why, when, in your opinion, character type X's have a certain low reputation, why do people who should know better keep trying to play them? 

 

See, this is what I'm having trouble with. First off, not only do I not have a problem with people adding powers and characteristics beyond what the game engine implements, I see those as generally being signs of imaginative and capable roleplayers -- it's not a bug, it's a feature. Yes, it could be abused, but I find that rare, not common. 

 

Then, you say it's not everyone, but then you add these statements about it being numerous, or persistent, and the like. Frankly, I'm not surprised you got the tone of responses you did.  If I had a dragon character and I read your opening post, I might have felt obligated to respond just to defend myself.

 

You'll find our community is filled with people who have similar experience, and for some, much more. 

 

 

I think you will find your answers in there, and not from our responses. I can't know who you have been interacting with so many unpleasant interactions to feel this way about CoH today, but I will offer that my experience is that the great majority of people who play such concepts do so fully aware of the potential pitfalls and do a creditable job of avoiding them.

This here. Andreah and Bleu expressed their opinions so much better than I was able to. And even your reply to me was confusing and contradictory. You come across as trying to control and define what and how other players are allowed to express their imagination and creativity in CoH. 

Global: @Valnara1; Formerly @TigerGoddess on Live

I primarily play on Everlasting, but you may occasionally find me on Indom. 🙂

Notable Characters: Apocolyptica - Demons/Storm MM; Human Mosquito - Water/Sonic Corruptor; Elfvira - Human-Form WS; Environmentabot - Bots/Nature MM; Illiana the Shroud - Fire/Dark Controller; Kincatic - Beast/Kin MM

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On 4/17/2022 at 2:24 PM, MHertz said:

I have to admit, this is something I do not comprehend. Why do players feel the need to portray characters who are even greater than superheroes? You're already on a path to becoming an Incarnate, one of the most powerful beings known to exist. But your character must be even bigger than that, right out of the gate. A god, a vampire, an unkillable assassin, an angel, a demon, a millennia-old super dragon, a reality-bending alien, a cruel and mysterious fae creature from the dawn of time, or (as some bios would have it) "the fastest person / best psionic / strongest hero / whateverest whatever" in existence.

 

And I ask: why?

 

From a roleplaying perspective, doesn't this make it harder for your character to take an interest in the trivial inconsequential daily lives of citizens in Paragon? Why would your character care about a single purse snatcher, or a pitiful plot by the Freakshow to hold a crime competition? Doesn't this backstory require jumping through some hurdles to explain why your ultra-powerful ancient evil dragon is struggling against level 2 Skulls at the start? Are you trying to create a character with power on your terms, without any weaknesses unless you permit them? Is it because super-beings play for much higher stakes on a heroic scale (savior of the timestream, guardian of the universe) and much lower stakes on the emotional scale (can never be hurt, never touched by mortal loss or trauma)? Or is this an OOC (out-of-character) thing, where you feel inadequate unless your character is somehow better than those of other players?

 

I don't know, I don't get it. Characters with limits and flaws are so, so much more interesting to me, and I have a hard time relating to (and RPing with) characters who fill this "god mode" role. I prefer characters that need help. Characters that cooperate, rather than dominate. So why do you choose a god-mode kind of character? Please explain the appeal. I'm willing to understand, here.

An interesting take. I usually have…decent characters. Powerful, but powerful because they honed their abilities. And even then, still human, still with some caveats( most of my 50s are magical in nature/casters, so…mana issues.). I have 4 characters who are, in my own headcanon, simply the most powerful beings to ever live in creation. But, due to that being no fun, a simple limitation I put is the veil keeping them just at the level of the local denizens( so, an incarnate now.), plus…they’re young adults and…okay it’s a whole lore dump but to get to the point, I personally think like you OP, it can be more fun to work around flaws. 
 

But, to toss those players a bone, I think it can kinda be viewed in the same light as those who like to play blatant marvel knockoffs or tell Marvel esque stories:

 

It’s fun for some folks.

 

EDIT: Also, minor point of interest I’d like to add, and a slight derailment. Overabundance of villain stories that should place the character firmly as a villain, or at least a rogue, but they’re heroes? Yeah ok. But, that’s probably my bias coming through. I have Rogues n Vigilantes, and at most…4? Hero-heroes

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I posted basically the same thing @MHertz in another thread last month: "I think it's better for roleplaying if you're of moderate level superhero instead of Galactus. I actually think that level of power is a real trap for actual roleplayers."

 

And of course one of those roleplayers took offense, because of course they did, and basically said "how dare you post in our subforum!"

 

So yeah. When you ask people why they think roleplaying means "power-tripping and trying to lord it over other people", people get upset and attack, instead of actually considering the possibility that it's a real question. An important question that, if they actually thought about it, could actually improve their roleplay sessions for everyone.

 

And that's all I can say because I guarantee that this post will be reported and a moderator will be reading it just looking for an excuse.

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Men get arrested, Skulls get put down!

 

Being constantly offended doesn't mean you're right, it means you're too narcissistic to tolerate opinions different than your own.

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2 hours ago, PeregrineFalcon said:

And that's all I can say because I guarantee that this post will be reported and a moderator will be reading it just looking for an excuse.

 

 

You're very much going into this with a very confrontational attitude, to be honest.

 

People enjoy different things... And when people are being told they should do X differently because this is how ACTUAL Roleplayers should do things, of course people will be offended. The phrasing is, uh, pretty aggressive there. It implies they are not actual role players, because they enjoy something you define as a "trap".

 

And believe me, despite playing a "powerful" characters, I too tend to dislike RPing with people who casually claim to defeat Statesman/Lord Recluse/Deific Entities on a regular basis. But, there's space enough for people to coexist. There are people I dislike, so I avoid them. I let them enjoy themselves. And if they happen to be role playing with somebody I wanted to interact with, I simply wait for my turn.

 

 

"Being constantly offended doesn't mean you're right, it means you're too narcissistic to tolerate opinions different than your own."

 

Your words. Not mine. Take your own advice, please.

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*dusts off their hands.* Alright, so let me explain a few things on this topic. Just like humans, not all dragons are the same. The same thing can be said about fae, fallen gods, what have you. How the players represent those characters they created is up to them, but I tend to lean on a very limited aspect for my dragons, the same with my elves, angelics, demonics, whatever I happen to be playing. I don't believe in playing overpowered characters, in fact I do my best to avoid going that route because it is in fact the most boring, poorly written and least dimensional style of play I've ever seen/and yes, played at some point in my younger years as a teen. Just because a character is a dragon/fae/god/demon/angelic, doesn't make them all powerful in anyway. And if you take the time to really talk to the characters players, you might actually discover this for yourself. I have zero problem proving this point, I do it every time I login and play with pretty much anyone that I get along with and feel like rping with. If this troubles you, that someone else chooses to play something other than plain jane humans, then maybe it's not us you need to be really analyzing thoughts and opinions of. Maybe the issue is there is a lot of creative people here, and every one of them find enjoyment playing pretend with a game world full of other people doing the same thing.

 

*reviews the post and nods.* I see no problem with it, if a character is too powerful, or states to be godlike in power strength, maybe it's time to ask them why, rather than cornering all of the other players doing their own thing, enjoying their own stories, into your category here of "OP" characters.

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On 4/17/2022 at 3:24 PM, MHertz said:

I have to admit, this is something I do not comprehend. Why do players feel the need to portray characters who are even greater than superheroes?

 

I don't know.

I don't understand why the incarnate system needed to be about realizing that you are a god.

 

On 4/17/2022 at 3:24 PM, MHertz said:

A god, a vampire, an unkillable assassin, an angel, a demon, a millennia-old super dragon, a reality-bending alien, a cruel and mysterious fae creature from the dawn of time, or (as some bios would have it) "the fastest person / best psionic / strongest hero / whateverest whatever" in existence.

 

It's about character conception.

And, I have to say, most these things that you have mentioned do and have fallen under comic book/superhero genre from the beginning.

 

Vampires have shown up in comics as heroes and villains.

Unkillable assassin (you are only immortal until someone kills you) - Blade of the Immortal? or are you talking more like Wolverine or Deadpool?

Angel? Sure. All the time in comics. Phantom Stranger? The Specter? tons of others

Dragons? Yeah sure. it happens.

Reality-bending Aliens? I could probably pull 3 or 4 comics that came out this month off the racks in a comic store any given week.

Sidhe? Sihde? You think they aren't in comics?! What? ... wait. Have you ever been to a comic book store?

 

I am not one that feels like my character has to be the Lord God Emperor of City of Heroes throughout Time and all Dimensions. It is too long to pick as a name at any rate.

 

I do believe in character conception, and I do have characters that are vampires, angels, devils, reality-bending aliens, fae creatures (though not cruel or from the dawn of time).

 

I did have an ancient dragon character before the sunset (that started off being a Dhalsim clone)

tumblr_luk60ljcS01r6oqvoo1_1280.gif

 

But, yeah, costume slots ... can breath fire, so, yeah, a dragon form.

 

On 4/17/2022 at 3:24 PM, MHertz said:

And I ask: why?

 

Because being a superhero/superpowered is about being more than a normal human could be. You are already a demigod compared to humans.

 

841ff-bible-samson-true-freethinker-apol

Samson

hercu1.jpg

Hercules

Gilgamesh.jpg?version=1&modificationDate

Gilgamesh

 

This can be raised to different levels.

 

Batman has the superhuman amount of money to be a superhero because he felt the calling to bring wrongdoers to justice and to stop them from inflicting the kind of pain on others that he felt when he saw his parents killed in front of him.

 

It is about character conception.

 

Why do some people want to take it to the extreme?

I think it is because they need to take it to that level to make them feel good about themselves.

I mean that is all we are really doing with our characters is a wish-fulfillment thing.

 

On 4/17/2022 at 3:24 PM, MHertz said:

Why would your character care about a single purse snatcher

 

I had to break it to a friend of mine, that we could never get to a mission if he kept stopping to fight every purse snatcher we ran into in Atlas Park.

I think you need to get some perspective.

 

On 4/17/2022 at 3:24 PM, MHertz said:

Doesn't this backstory require jumping through some hurdles to explain why your ultra-powerful ancient evil dragon is struggling against level 2 Skulls at the start?

 

Are you the only one that doesn't know about doorsitting AE farms and power-leveling?

 

On 4/17/2022 at 3:24 PM, MHertz said:

Or is this an OOC (out-of-character) thing, where you feel inadequate unless your character is somehow better than those of other players?

 

I have to say "keep it in your pants".

This kind of comment is kind of uncalled for.

 

This is a comment that you are better than other players because you play differently than they do.

Just get over it and enjoy playing the game or move onto a game or whatever bring you bliss.

You are getting aggravated for no good reason.

You don't have to read their bios and you don't have to game with them if you don't like their bios.

You can even put them on ignore in order to avoid them if you are really feeling that badly about running around with any characters that you feel don't fit into your mold of what is "right".

 

On 4/17/2022 at 3:24 PM, MHertz said:

Characters with limits and flaws are so, so much more interesting to me

 

You think it's them being about "me".

You see, you are about being "me" as well.

 

On 4/17/2022 at 3:24 PM, MHertz said:

I have a hard time relating to (and RPing with) characters who fill this "god mode" role.


You don't have to.

If you don't want to, then don't interact with them.

No one is forcing you to do so.

 

If a player was creating characters that were all apparently about defecation and urine, I wouldn't complain to the player.

I would put them on ignore. I don't want to interact with them so I don't. Such crude behavior is beneath the dignity of the City. 

I think that is much worse than someone putting in their bio that they are the UberL337st SuperGodForm Ultimate Omni-powerful Being of All Space and Time.

 

But to each our own.

And I think that is the key.

 

 

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If someone posts a reply quoting me and I don't reply, they are most probably on ignore.

Some of them even know that I have them on ignore.

But that won't stop some of them from bullying and harassing people, because some of them love to do it.

It's who they are. There is a group of them that have banded together to do it. They think that it is acceptable.

Ignore is a tool to improve your gaming experience. Don't feel bad about using it.

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Here's what I have to say;

I personally raise a brow at the amount of certain types of characters.

That's as far as it goes. It is not my place to dictate what a person roleplays. It is not my place to dictate what is and isn't good, interesting, or whatever Roleplay. This might sound odd, but what I mean is that what is good to me is not the same to everyone else. What is funny is that DC & Marvel have their fair share of non-human characters. Thor, Zeus, Hercules, Apollo, Athena, Odin - all of these and more are apparent in DC, Marvel, and even loosely in City of Heroes.

DC has Etrigan and Trigon. Marvel has Mephistopholes. City of Heroes has the succubi, the Circle of Thorns demons, and more. Demons aren't that far fetched to be quite honest in the realm of superheroes! Neither are dragons, because honestly? In a comic book world where the multiverse and all things magical/folklore is real? Boom, easy. I can't judge someone for playing what they deem to be a cool character concept. More power to them for having fun!

Here's another thing with The HC/COH RP Scene; None of the background or power of another character matter all that much. Now if it comes down to what you want to RP with? Cool, just make sure to be polite about exiting an area/scene. Otherwise, why does it not matter? Because a big component of roleplay is lacking - that being character v character physical conflict. Now, I may not be active so I've missed on if there has been examples of this actually happening! But how powerful a character is does not mean immersion is ruined in a world where Prometheus of Mythos has appeared actively reaching out to High Class Supes.

Powerful can exist. Do you have to interact with it? No. Wild mystical fantasy things like fae, dragons, or demons can exist. Do you have to interact with it? No.

Problem solved.

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i am the forum cop.
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@MHertz  So, after reading your replies, I think your question is (to put it succinctly) why do people sometimes (perhaps often) fall into powergaming/munchkinry when engaging in roleplay in online games?

 

I don't know if anyone can really know- or if one blanket answer can apply to most of the people that do this.  However, if I had to guess, my guess would be that they do it because they feel powerless in real life.

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Wohhh! Someone pointed me at this post and there's a TON to go through!

 

First of all, there are some things about your initial post that I want to address.

On 4/17/2022 at 3:24 PM, MHertz said:

You're already on a path to becoming an Incarnate, one of the most powerful beings known to exist. But your character must be even bigger than that, right out of the gate. A god, a vampire, an unkillable assassin, an angel, a demon, a millennia-old super dragon, a reality-bending alien, a cruel and mysterious fae creature from the dawn of time, or (as some bios would have it) "the fastest person / best psionic / strongest hero / whateverest whatever" in existence.

 

Not true! First, while as far as the game is concerned you are on the path to become an incarnate, there are two major things you forget. The first is that MOST people are not and never will be incarnates regardless of how naturally strong you might be. As far as we are made aware, the Well of the Furies responds to "Strength"...but we don't really know much more than that. What draws its attention to you? Is it just pure raw physical strength? Strength in the form of wit and intelligence? We don't know. If there were a huge number of incarnates compared to normal heroes (ie: incarnates are inevitable), the Praetorian invasion would have been far easier won. They wouldn't need to haul you from Kings Row to Steel Canyon during the invasion because, if they were in great number, every district could be afforded a squad of incarnates. Heck, we should remember that, in the canon, there ARE gods! There are Fae! If all it took was strength, why isn't the world crawling with Incarnates? Put simply: it's not inevitable. And ALL of that is ignoring the fact that, back on live, you couldn't even participate with incarnate content unless you were a subscriber (or perhaps if you had a high enough vet level but I don't remember exactly). If it really was inevitable, it sure as heck wasn't on live.

 

And now we get into the second part of that initial sentence. One of the most powerful beings to exist. I mean...yes? But you're looking at the ultimate end result. Incarnates are more powerful than they might be without that incarnate influence, but the only way you start as an incarnate being one of the most powerful beings in existence is by diving head first into the well and effectively losing your free will to it. While the slow method exists, quite frankly, we don't know what a fully powered slow-growth Incarnate looks like because...we never got there. Hybrid, if I remember correctly, was the last incarnate slot to be finalized before sunset and was only half way to the top. What I'm saying is that, in canon, we weren't Statesman yet. Who knows if we ever would have been.

 

So! With those two things in mind, it kind of...negates the entirety of what follows. If a character is already powerful out of the gate, that does not necessitate they become an Incarnate. If anything, the issue you are concerned with here is not the strength of a character but instead power creep. This drive to just keep making a character stronger and stronger with each advancing roleplay plot.

 

On 4/17/2022 at 3:24 PM, MHertz said:

From a roleplaying perspective, doesn't this make it harder for your character to take an interest in the trivial inconsequential daily lives of citizens in Paragon? Why would your character care about a single purse snatcher, or a pitiful plot by the Freakshow to hold a crime competition? Doesn't this backstory require jumping through some hurdles to explain why your ultra-powerful ancient evil dragon is struggling against level 2 Skulls at the start?

 

Excellent questions! Well, on the offset, figuring out why your character is getting involved is a legitimate question one should ask themselves. If anything, it is also a concern characters likely have. The question of "why are they getting involved" was likely asked in reverse to Statesman who then had to explain to people that he has bigger threats to battle; all the while they look on as the pain of the crimes done to them weighs on their minds. It's a very Superman sort of dilemma. In fact, it might very well have been something Paragon Studios could have explored with future incarnate content! Something that might escape people's notice is that, as the game progresses, you are actively working alongside NPC heroes less and less until, once you're in Peregrine Island, you're mostly working alongside people like Penny Yin or Manticore. You've become a big boi and now you play big boi games. By the time you get into Dark Astoria, you aren't even fighting alongside the big names anymore. Your only equals are your fellow Incarnates and Incarnate level threats.

HOWEVER! This is where I have to slam my foot on the brakes because you seem to be missing the point of levels. Your character's level only mechanically determines how strong you are to your enemies. This is because this is an MMO made in the mid 2000's and the idea of an MMO without a simple level progression system had barely been considered (CoH was released months before WoW to put that one into perspective). Your level, as a matter of fact, is not actually how strong you are. It determines your capability of taking on a certain level of threat. This isn't as clear now, but back in the day it made it very clear that your level blue side was your "security" level where as red side had a "threat" level. Basically, as you leveled up, you were proving that you could handle bigger threats. We might not be fighting Skulls at high levels, but your question of explaining why an ultra-powerful ancient evil dragon struggling against a level 2 skull gets kind of confusing when you consider enemy groups like the Snakes exist at very low levels, disappear for a while, then are a threat again in Grandville arcs at level 50. And that question itself begs the question of "why is your ultra-powerful incarnate struggling against non-incarnate scalies?"

And NONE of this is getting into getting leveled down for taskforces. Why is your Incarnate getting wrecked by Vhazolok in that Positron TF?

 

Like...let's separate IC story from OOC mechanics for a second here. You're asking legitimate questions about why certain characters are getting involved with certain threats, but bringing game mechanics does not accomplish much beyond muddying the waters.

 

On 4/17/2022 at 3:24 PM, MHertz said:

Are you trying to create a character with power on your terms, without any weaknesses unless you permit them? Is it because super-beings play for much higher stakes on a heroic scale (savior of the timestream, guardian of the universe) and much lower stakes on the emotional scale (can never be hurt, never touched by mortal loss or trauma)? Or is this an OOC (out-of-character) thing, where you feel inadequate unless your character is somehow better than those of other players?

 

I don't know, I don't get it. Characters with limits and flaws are so, so much more interesting to me, and I have a hard time relating to (and RPing with) characters who fill this "god mode" role. I prefer characters that need help. Characters that cooperate, rather than dominate. So why do you choose a god-mode kind of character? Please explain the appeal. I'm willing to understand, here.


I'm going to come off as a little cold here, but while you did certainly clarify later that you are not saying that all gods/vampires/fae/etc are cringe and that you were absolutely focused on powergaming, your original post not only cast an immensely large net, but the snippet above puts off the tone of someone not asking a genuine question but someone that already has their answer and probably has a bias against general concepts that people enjoy playing (ie: dragon/vampire/etc).

You want to know why so many overpowered characters are gods/vampires/fae/etc? It's because bad actors have an easier time breaking them and hand waving away how powerful they are to people that don't know better than to take offense. You want to know why people like to play powerful characters? Power fantasy, out of necessity (to make the concept make sense), being unaware how powerful their character is in the grand scheme of things, and definitely more.

Why do people powergame and play characters that are so powerful they are unstoppable? This post is already long enough that you don't want me to get into that too deeply, but...

 

47 minutes ago, Cancrusher said:

However, if I had to guess, my guess would be that they do it because they feel powerless in real life.

Basically this. Presuming they don't have some sort of narcissistic or otherwise toxic personality? It's usually just looking to have some agency in life...even if it's all virtual. Sad, but that's at the core of it.

I don't think your post was malicious. I don't think you just assume people that don't fit your mold of RP are bad roleplayers. I just think you worded things very poorly in such a way that gave the appearance of writing the worst into people's intentions, people took you to be hostile, and then all of the above hit. I hope this post helps clear some things up.

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@MHertz And some of us.. simply like dragons! I can't stand being human in rp. I always prefer beast forms. I play everything from a lil king cobra kidnapped from India and gene-modded by crey. To a time-dragon child of Oroborous. But one thing my characters have in common, I avoid the typical human models.

To me as long as characters have rational limitations, even if they are a god, they can be interesting to play. The problem children are the ones who think gods cannot have limits. In fact it can sometimes make for a more interesting story.. when the character is sitting, looming with all this power.. and something trivial about what they are.. some limitation on their aspect of being, hamstrings them from doing something trivially simple to your average human being.

The key to handling those kinds of characters is story writing. Developing a consistent lore. Being able to integrate it into the world and social environment in a meaningful and not-entirely over-whelming way to others. Which is why whenever I write my characters a key question is at the forefront of my mind, "What are my constraints. How do I not make everything this character does a triviality?"

But not everyone will be at the same level of skill or talent on that so your mileage will vary.. just as it does with almost everything else involving a multitude of minds interacting in a mostly immaterial and imagined medium.  There's a niche for everyone in COH, and that's what makes it beautiful.

Edited by Maelstrom Vortex
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I'd like to start off by saying that I'm not here to police @MHertz's language over what is fundamentally pretty clearly a vent thread.  I feel like his argument got very caught up in the aesthetic baggage of fantastical (invariably loosely Magic-Origin) character tropes, but in turn that meant that this thread likewise got caught up in those aesthetic trappings rather than what I feel is his most salient point, and what is closest to the core of the vent, from the second post:

 

On 4/17/2022 at 6:07 PM, MHertz said:

But then someone inevitably comes along and says, "Hey, I'm a time-bending super alien overlord, and I'm also the god of magic, plus I'm a playboy billionaire, let me just blink my eyes and fix it all. And if you're interested, I have pheromones that make you want to have sex with me." And inevitably the person is a god, a dragon, a super demon from beyond space and time, the guardian of the universe, or whatever. I wanna say "No, dummy, that's not what I'm trying to do — I'm not looking for a solution, I'm looking for engagement in finding a solution."

 

This is a real problem that I feel keenly in Everlasting's casual-RP scene, but it's hardly exclusive to Everlasting roleplay; it's something that I was inundated with back when I was still doing forum play-by-post, for instance.  And it happens because there's no ground-level understanding - no "Session Zero" - between roleplayers about whether we're telling a shared story that follows narrative convention - as, say, Vampire: the Masquerade or FATE attempt to do - or whether we're playing escapist avatars to inhabit and live out a power fantasy, as older editions of Dungeons and Dragons and many video games do.

(And as Vampire: the Masquerade is often played in practice, but that's neither here nor there)

 

To the first group, melodrama and narrative conflict are very much the point, because the expectation is that these characters exist in collaborative pursuit of story beats: "Once my character is created, I divest their fate to the input of the group on what would make for good conflict."  To the second group, melodrama and narrative conflict are a betrayal of the appeal; "I play this game to have fun.  Is it so wrong to want to live out the fantasy of being a wizard who can ragdoll Lord Recluse? If I wanted to be a powerless, traumatized chucklefuck who struggles to pay his bills I would just go outside."

Obviously, these are hyperbolic exaggerations of the "camps," as it were, and there are definitely players who land in the in-between spaces (we see a lot of them in this thread!), but the different philosophies exist, and friction is inevitable.  Story-first players are going to get disappointed when they run up against characters who lack conflict because they're intended primarily to be standees for the author to hang out and vibe in a cool avatar.  Power-fantasy-first players are going to feel put-upon when they try to pursue what the game has promised them - getting to be a hero who saves people - and have their presumptive damsels in distress go "but that was a character flaw I didn't want resolved, why don't you understand my story?"

 

Certainly, what guidance City of Heroes itself provides directly caters to the power fantasy camp, not the collaborative-narrative camp..  At level 50+ Incarnate, you are the most powerful being in the game world, more powerful than the literal gods of the setting.  The natural counterpoint to the 'I can't take players who play Gods seriously when they struggle with Skulls' argument is that eventually that character, and all characters if played enough, become powerful enough to beat down Statesman and Lord Recluse, to beat down Cole, to beat down Mot, to save and/or destroy the world singlehandedly.  That's a ringing endorsement of "this is a game for you to live out that power fantasy," and while the game tells you in no uncertain terms that you can kick Lord Recluse's ass by blinking hard enough, it never once tells you "by the way, make room for other players and make sure you're not too powerful or else you'll piss people off."  That would be a betrayal of the very triumphant feeling that the game writing is shooting for.  People roleplaying as the game tells them to play aren't necessarily less valid than "Narrativist" roleplayers such as myself and the OP, and they're not inherently "roleplaying wrong."

 

That said, I'm going to concur with the following, but I'm also going to bounce off of it:

 

On 4/19/2022 at 4:25 PM, McSpazz said:

You want to know why so many overpowered characters are gods/vampires/fae/etc? It's because bad actors have an easier time breaking them and hand waving away how powerful they are to people that don't know better than to take offense. You want to know why people like to play powerful characters? Power fantasy, out of necessity (to make the concept make sense), being unaware how powerful their character is in the grand scheme of things, and definitely more.


I agree with @McSpazz's take that high-powered and especially Magic characters are much easier to powergame in a way that trivializes other players' input. Although certainly a Tech-Origin super-scientist or Mutant or Natural Batman-alike can pull new capabilities out of their ass to defuse any narrative tension, it's a lot easier to write, and a lot more tempting to jump into as the first resort, if it's already preestablished that the character is a being of limitless or near-limitless power and agency.  Magic caters to that particular fantasy better and with less dissonance than the other Origins, because Magic is by its very nature indefinable and infinite.  Certainly, I think it's no accident that, as of Homecoming's polls a couple of years ago, Magic Origin dwarfs all other Origins in popularity, because there's so much more you can do with an Origin that's completely unfettered from mundane notions of scope and common sense.

 

So, to take that one step further, I see a lot of the "woah there, aren't you painting with a broad brush there, @MHertz?  You're catching us innocent dragons and gods and demons and vampire lords in the crossfire" rhetoric in this thread as a little bit forest-for-the-trees.

 

These are character concepts that, although they can be roleplayed well - ❤️ and indeed are unilaterally roleplayed well by all of the lovely people in this thread who I wouldn't dare to impugn in a million, billion years ❤️ - are popular and powerful tools in the hands of godmoding roleplayers because of the greater utility that such a character concept naturally offers in the pursuit of godmoding.  I don't think it's an accident that the OP latched on to high-powered magical creatures for his hypothetical godmoding bugbear, and "well, but can't a player godmode with any concept?" is begging the question in bad faith.

 

I don't think it invalidates anybody's dragon, or vampire, or God, to acknowledge that just by the basic logistics of how godmoding works, you're going to meet a lot more godmoding Literal Gods in the roleplay community than you're going to meet godmoding Street-Level Mutants With a Day Job, and that does lead to an increased wariness when dealing with those character tropes among roleplayers like the OP but, also, myself: a sort of "Schrödinger's Godmoder" if you will.  OP is pulling emotively from that paralytic paranoia-of-intent that I often feel when a character introduces themselves to me as "Hello, I'm Coolname Cooler'Surname, I'm a half-god half-god (both my parents were gods) who is also an archmage; please tell me about your character conflicts."

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On 4/18/2022 at 7:01 PM, PeregrineFalcon said:

I posted basically the same thing @MHertz in another thread last month: "I think it's better for roleplaying if you're of moderate level superhero instead of Galactus. I actually think that level of power is a real trap for actual roleplayers."

 

And of course one of those roleplayers took offense, because of course they did, and basically said "how dare you post in our subforum!"

 

No, what you said was "I'm interested in actual roleplaying, not just a bunch of 15 year olds power tripping, so [...] I don't roleplay in City of Heroes."

 

I asked why you post in the roleplay subforums if you don't roleplay.

Tanking is only half the battle. The other half...

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