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Dragons, Gods and Demons: Why?


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52 minutes ago, CrystalDragon said:

I suppose the one question to ask here, is what do we consider a "god" in power level, or scaling in character play depiction, but everyone is going to have a very different aspect of view to this, so I guess it's always good to check with your fellow players in your group to see if they share the same view points and are able to uphold to them in story play.

No two players are ever going to agree on this, it's true, in much the same way that no two players are ever going to agree on what Magic is and what its limits are.

 

I'm not coming into this situation without bias.  As I've articulated in triplicate, I've almost-but-not-entirely-exclusively interacted with Gods in a negative context, which was foundational to my original plea that we look at the context of OP's grievance rather than his verbiage.  The magic of CoH is "play whatever you want," but that comes with the obvious caveat that sometimes what you want will step all over other players, and the more elements of a story that a single character unilaterally seizes control over, the closer we get to that endpoint where overstepping boundaries is inevitable.

 

My working roleplay-definition of a God, if a gun were placed to my head, would probably draw on the classical interpretation of gods as surrogates for primal fate outside of human hands, and would be something to the effect of "A supernatural being that is roleplayed as having sufficient power over the shared reality such that they can textually dictate the fate of another character unilaterally, either within a portfolio of specialization (small-g god) or always (big-G God)."

 

The defining feature of a deity, more than anything else, is that it is understood to determine the fate of lesser beings within a narrow or broad scope.  That is why prayers are a Thing: gods would not be prayed to without the assumption that they have control over the request being prayed for.  Power over [subject of prayer] is intrinsic to every common eschatological understanding, or else it wouldn't be a god.  It's gods that steer the hero's ship off-course because a ram wasn't sacrificed and back on-course when appeased, and it's Gods that smite cities and cultures because they fail to embody the God's cosmically-immutable conception of virtue.

 

I'll fully acknowledge that my hard-and-fast instinct is insufficient: it does qualify comic companies' stables of "Random Omniscient Beings," a la the Celestials, the Phoenix Force, the Speedforce, and The One Above All as gods, for instance, but it would also include Superman and Green Lantern when they're being written at their most bullshit-contrived, and disqualify Thor and most of the Asgardian deities, because the Marvel canon treats them as essentially just super-strong powered people even though they call themselves 'Gods.'

 

However, my crappy definition does articulate the risk pretty handily: God as a term is inextricable from power, specifically power over mortals, and without a ground level of "Session Zero" etiquette to establish that Diomedes can just hit Ares with a spear and he'll fuck back off to Olympus, a cosmically-appointed arbiter of complete power over [whatever] can feel oppressive to play with in a roleplay scene just by mere presence, and can graduate to roleplay-killing if they begin to dictate terms to other players, either directly in the "I'll turn you into salt if you don't do what I say" sense or indirectly in the "well, I'll use my control over [part or all of reality's fundamental rules] to provide a solution that is better and makes less concessions than everything we already established" sense.  The latter narrative contrivance has been called deus ex machina - "God from the machine" since approximately 322 B.C. for a reason.

 

It's stepping into the purview of the thread linked by @McSpazz, but it's fundamentally the same problem as playing a zillionaire with a spillion quantillion berjillion dollars, because merely assigning that level of influence to a character biases the player towards its use in a narrative (or else why would you have it?), and when used as a "snap solution," without extensive prefacing and storysetting, that kind of power is overbearing and is going to leave players feeling like you didn't share the story.

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4 hours ago, TwoDee said:

I'm not coming into this situation without bias.  As I've articulated in triplicate, I've almost-but-not-entirely-exclusively interacted with Gods in a negative context, which was foundational to my original plea that we look at the context of OP's grievance rather than his verbiage.  The magic of CoH is "play whatever you want," but that comes with the obvious caveat that sometimes what you want will step all over other players, and the more elements of a story that a single character unilaterally seizes control over, the closer we get to that endpoint where overstepping boundaries is inevitable.

Hey, you aren't alone. If anything, I think actual god characters are generally the easiest to mess up. In large part, I attribute this to the Abrahamic religions giving many people in the modern West the impression that "god" always translates to "all powerful" because that's what the Abrahamic God is supposed to be. Ironically, the only good god characters I have encountered are either generally designed not to be heavily utilized or are limited in their power by some means. Either being the "god" of something means that the character is more so a player controlled NPC or basically carries "god" as a title.

 

The only way you are going to play a god character as most people understand gods is by breaking the number one rule I shared in my post on power levels: if your character starts invalidating stories by existing, you might be doing something wrong.

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Posted (edited)

Ironically, I don't play god characters (folks may be lead to believe I do. But once more, I felt bad for that elf person RPing, since, you know...RP is just for fun/pretendy times). My take on magic is while the magic itself as an element is limitless, doesn't mean the character is. I like to utilize caster typology to create diverse characters with different abilities, desires, cultures, etc.. and of course, intrinsic limitations. A warlock, of which I have 3 I think, utilizes the stereotypical hell-magic, with different twist of course based on the character and their personality. They have their limits, but are offensively in my canon top of the caster food chain. Even my mages with time magic( chronomancy to be official I guess?) have an interesting take on time. Time for them is viewed as an ocean, and usually is forbidden to practice, not because you'll be bustedly OP, in fact they really only can manifest it in subtle ways(temporal manipulation for blasters, so more self support and soft CC), but because it usually drives the practitioner insane( you try controlling a literal ocean and studying every minute possibility in it :P).

 

*Some addendums I wanted to make:

-In no way did I mean to attack the creator of the arc. I don't know their arc from tom dick or harry, so I can't judge what I haven't played.

-Talking of true originality; everyone knows true originality is pedantic and impossible, and utilizing it in a debate is the equivalent of what-aboutism for literature. Differentiation creates what is acceptable originality over repetition. This would require me to go into a diatribe on what I believe constitutes story and storytelling that...honestly I don't think anyone wants another diatribe 😛

-I really did feel bad for that poor individual. Being tight-assed on RP doesn't make an aficionado or good RP,  it makes for an exclusionary experience. People will not partake in the activity if they feel they can't make a mistake, learn, and still be welcomed back in to try again. Remember folks, we're here to have fun! Unless you're writing a critically acclaimed graphic novel from this, don't take it seriously. (Even if you are. don't take it seriously :P)

 

Edited by Seed22
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Posted (edited)

The entire debate of OP's topic is to simply abide by the super basic tenants of Roleplay and that just applies especially to Dragons, Gods and Demons or any other magically inclined Hero or Villain or any omegapowerful character, the three in OP's topic are irrelevant, just the usual outliers who get stereotyped.

 

  • Never create a finalized character, should always allow other characters to help shape yours.
  • Your character needs flaws, yep, even if you're God-level.
  • You have strength in some places and weakness in others.
  • Roleplay is collaborative, if all you RP is your unlimited awesomeness and actual dominion over ever other char, you're going to quickly have no one to RP with.

 

Gods, Demons, Dragons and a multitude of others all follow the same Roleplaying rules as everyone else, except you've taken it upon yourself to be even further scrutinized by other Roleplayers. People might claim they're unbiased against your character but you will for a fact have an uphill struggle to defeat all the negative connotations that come with Roleplaying extremely powerful beings.

 

Edited by Latex
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I have been following this thread with fascination, especially as someone who has been obsessed with dragons ever since I was a kid. I would definitely say that were this about 15-20 years ago, I would have been one of those bad RPers without realizing why what I was doing was wrong (my very first CoH character was a demi-god, d'oh). Now that I'm older and have had some practice RPing (definitely had to make some bad characters before I figured out how to make decent/good ones), it has definitely never occurred to me for any of my dragon characters to be some sort of supremely powerful beings. I design them like I design my more humanesque characters--with weaknesses and flaws, and where they're often up and coming and figuring out their strengths as well. And I'm with y'all, I won't touch making any sort of god character; I might have minions or servants of a powerful figure, but never something as supremely powerful as a god that can stomp on others without question; that's not fun. 

 

I realize this thread and discussion aren't aimed at me, I just wanted to provide some perspective from someone who admittedly loves non-human characters. And I hope the discussion here provides others with insights about character building and interacting with other players in an RP setting in game. And granted, I have not participated in much in-game RP because I get super nervous, or am on a character whose story I have not quite figured out yet, and am not super into the Pocket D scene.

 

I appreciate those of you here who are far more advanced in doing this than I am. I always enjoy learning something new, so while the way the OP phrased their post and their gripes rubbed me the wrong way, the resulting discussion has been very fascinating and definitely given someone like me a lot to think about.

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

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4 hours ago, Seed22 said:

I really did feel bad for that poor individual. Being tight-assed on RP doesn't make an aficionado or good RP,  it makes for an exclusionary experience.


@TwoDee anonymized the individual and otherwise filed the serial numbers off of the story for the point of sharing an anecdote salient to the thread, and the person has not been blacklisted or blocked or kicked or anything so extreme from future events or roleplaying or so on, nor would any of us have either the desire or ability to do so, I'm sure. It was just a moment where others in the scene felt awkward, for reasons I feel already clearly articulated. Like if someone wearing headphones farts in a crowded room.

 

Now, should the person stumble upon this thread, read that post, and go' "Hey, that was me!" I would one hundred percent empathize that it would be a feels-bad moment, while also saying that I think this thread introduces a lot of good points, nobody is nursing a grudge, and it was still an overall pleasure teaming with them.

 

But I take umbrage with the notion that having a standard for what one enjoys in RP makes them a tight-ass. I know of players with characters who have telepathically messaged others unsolicited to say that they've seen the deaths of their other selves. Characters that have told others, "Oh yeah, the guys you arrested died in the hospital of the injuries you gave them so you're a killer." Characters that have given the ultimatum that they'll die if another character doesn't hook up with theirs. Cherry-picked extremes that mystery elf doesn't nearly approach, but that hopefully make the point that, yeah, good RP can result with a willingness to filter.

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12 minutes ago, TorrentYed said:

 

But I take umbrage with the notion that having a standard for what one enjoys in RP makes them a tight-ass.

 

As a minor point of defense, I identified myself as a "roleplay tightass"  a couple posts ago, so I think @Seed22 wasn't trying to insult me: they were just rolling with my own self-description and bouncing off it.  I was describing my own behavior as tight-assed and they were agreeing, rather than calling me that unsolicited.

 

That said, I do agree unconditionally with the sentiment that some level of exclusion can be necessary to maintain a standard of 'quality' (by whatever subjective metric of quality) in roleplay.  As you acknowledge, it's a big ol' feels-bad to not invite everyone always, because we're demographically mostly Xennial and Millennial superhero nerds who fall prey to the Geek Social Fallacies, but no social group, and thus no roleplay, is ever going to be to everyone's tastes.  Nobody is ever under any obligation to spend time with people that they don't enjoy the presence of in the interests of discovering that secret buried facet that will make them click.  My own framing of it as 'good roleplay' or 'bad roleplay' is perhaps disingenuous; it's more that there are different philosophies of roleplay and ours (meaning myself and you, @TorrentYed) tends to be antithetical to that kind of narrative fiat.

 

I agree that I wouldn't exclude Elf Goddess from future events if I were the showrunner, as aside from that one terribly awkward moment, she was consistently pleasant to team with and had a solid rapport with the rest of the team.  But I also don't feel motivated to spend my limited roleplay time having a terse discussion about improving her roleplay by my subjective metrics.  In that regard, I feel I must again thank @CrystalDragon and @McSpazz, who have put and continue to put a lot more legwork into that kind of outreach than I do, for their community service.

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Posted (edited)

This isn't going to be a popular post.

 

I've been reading this thread with some interest, as someone who tends to play Magic Origin characters almost exclusively... and who, in the Live days and on Paragon, had both a dragon (Brightfires, my original global's namesake and a City spin on my late-1990's Shadowland BBS Shadowrun character-) and a certain Strange Old Vagabond (A tattered, dottery old hobo Divinity who'd been abandoned and forgotten by his followers, and couldn't even remember his own name. Hardly the kind of scary, all-powerful being you guys seem to expect every "role-played god" to be-).

 

After reading it all, I know that I'm more certain than ever I made the right choice when I decided to walk away from roleplaying on Homecoming.

 

You may not all have intended it quite this way, but the thread reads as if your "community consensus" is that Magic Origin characters and their players are, basically, unwelcomed on Homecoming. We're all highly suspect, mostly unwanted in shared stories and typically apt to be pegged as BadWring god-modders, poor role players, obnoxious attention-hogs or some combination of all three from the get-go. People that you'd really prefer not to have around, in other words. 

 

I've already bowed to your collective preferences by exiting-stage-left as far as roleplaying here goes, but for the sake of anyone new who wanders in or for those people with magical characters who have stuck around... no matter what kind of thing they're playing... it *might* be worth taking a step back and thinking about how unwelcoming the tide of "OMGMagicPlayersAreBADROLEPLAYERSOutToSpoilOurFun"-posts can read. If I hadn't already thrown in the towel, I absolutely would have after this.

 

 

Edited by Coyotedancer
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Posted (edited)
On 5/12/2022 at 10:38 AM, Latex said:

The entire debate of OP's topic is to simply abide by the super basic tenants of Roleplay and that just applies especially to Dragons, Gods and Demons or any other magically inclined Hero or Villain or any omegapowerful character, the three in OP's topic are irrelevant, just the usual outliers who get stereotyped.

 

  • Never create a finalized character, should always allow other characters to help shape yours.
  • Your character needs flaws, yep, even if you're God-level.
  • You have strength in some places and weakness in others.
  • Roleplay is collaborative, if all you RP is your unlimited awesomeness and actual dominion over ever other char, you're going to quickly have no one to RP with.

 

Gods, Demons, Dragons and a multitude of others all follow the same Roleplaying rules as everyone else, except you've taken it upon yourself to be even further scrutinized by other Roleplayers. People might claim they're unbiased against your character but you will for a fact have an uphill struggle to defeat all the negative connotations that come with Roleplaying extremely powerful beings.

 


I love this entire write up for one reason. It emphasizes a major point.:

The only way to ever successfully play any high powered being inside of an RP context is via social acceptance.

Writing up a high power being is one thing, executing one responsibly is a complete other matter.

@Coyotedancer 

I play among many magic based rpers and I will say that what you're hearing isn't the norm. And for those who literally want to treat all magic players as godmoders, I just omit their reality and submit my own as it's an unfair and irrational perspective, especially given the context of game lore. There's sufficient community out there that is more than willing to accept cosmic and magic rp as long as it is done with some modicum of communal awareness as to their actions and good story writing in mind. It's easy to have bad experiences in this community.. but I have far many more I can count that have been welcome and keep me here. 

Edited by Maelstrom Vortex
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1 hour ago, Coyotedancer said:

This isn't going to be a popular post.

 

I've been reading this thread with some interest, as someone who tends to play Magic Origin characters almost exclusively... and who, in the Live days and on Paragon, had both a dragon (Brightfires, my original global's namesake and a City spin on my late-1990's Shadowland BBS Shadowrun character-) and a certain Strange Old Vagabond (A tattered, dottery old hobo Divinity who'd been abandoned and forgotten by his followers, and couldn't even remember his own name. Hardly the kind of scary, all-powerful being you guys seem to expect every "role-played god" to be-).

 

After reading it all, I know that I'm more certain than ever I made the right choice when I decided to walk away from roleplaying on Homecoming.

 

You may not all have intended it quite this way, but the thread reads as if your "community consensus" is that Magic Origin characters and their players are, basically, unwelcomed on Homecoming. We're all highly suspect, mostly unwanted in shared stories and typically apt to be pegged as BadWring god-modders, poor role players, obnoxious attention-hogs or some combination of all three from the get-go. People that you'd really prefer not to have around, in other words. 

 

I've already bowed to your collective preferences by exiting-stage-left as far as roleplaying here goes, but for the sake of anyone new who wanders in or for those people with magical characters who have stuck around... no matter what kind of thing they're playing... it *might* be worth taking a step back and thinking about how unwelcoming the tide of "OMGMagicPlayersAreBADROLEPLAYERSOutToSpoilOurFun"-posts can read. If I hadn't already thrown in the towel, I absolutely would have after this.

 

 


RP Communities are fickle things, don't let it get to you so much. I know I don't, if I did I'd never have fun. Because there is one thing learned about Roleplayers, everywhere in every game, even PnP. People want things done a certain way and that's fine among them and their friends.

It's when people try to "police" it community wide in an MMOG it becomes a problem and brews elitism and good lord the RP community on Live sure suffered from that particular flaw. I don't think there is any attempt to police on 'what to do as X or Y character' it seems more along the lines of 'these are my general experiences with X and Y character tropes', just feel free to absolutely point blank ignore anyone trying to enforce how people Roleplay.

 

Though in my opinion (opinion mind, this is a public forum afterall!) is that as long as people go by 'what makes Roleplay actually Roleplay' any sort of character is fine by me! Of course, naturally you will gravitate toward characters and groups that fit your narrative or point of view better than those that don't.

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2 hours ago, Coyotedancer said:

This isn't going to be a popular post.

 

I've been reading this thread with some interest, as someone who tends to play Magic Origin characters almost exclusively... and who, in the Live days and on Paragon, had both a dragon (Brightfires, my original global's namesake and a City spin on my late-1990's Shadowland BBS Shadowrun character-) and a certain Strange Old Vagabond (A tattered, dottery old hobo Divinity who'd been abandoned and forgotten by his followers, and couldn't even remember his own name. Hardly the kind of scary, all-powerful being you guys seem to expect every "role-played god" to be-).

 

After reading it all, I know that I'm more certain than ever I made the right choice when I decided to walk away from roleplaying on Homecoming.

 

You may not all have intended it quite this way, but the thread reads as if your "community consensus" is that Magic Origin characters and their players are, basically, unwelcomed on Homecoming. We're all highly suspect, mostly unwanted in shared stories and typically apt to be pegged as BadWring god-modders, poor role players, obnoxious attention-hogs or some combination of all three from the get-go. People that you'd really prefer not to have around, in other words. 

 

I've already bowed to your collective preferences by exiting-stage-left as far as roleplaying here goes, but for the sake of anyone new who wanders in or for those people with magical characters who have stuck around... no matter what kind of thing they're playing... it *might* be worth taking a step back and thinking about how unwelcoming the tide of "OMGMagicPlayersAreBADROLEPLAYERSOutToSpoilOurFun"-posts can read. If I hadn't already thrown in the towel, I absolutely would have after this.

I'm very sorry this was your experience. If my post gave you that impression, I am dreadfully sorry. While magic has special considerations that many overlook, I certainly don't want to give anyone the impression that magic users aren't welcome. I'm not sure what pushed you away previously, but it does upset me that the sentiments I shared could have been a contributing factor.

So, if you will, allow me to give a counter example.


There are two kinds of well written magic. Magic that is clearly explained and doesn't break those rules or magic that is vague but internally consistent. Believe it or not, most of my stories about the worst power gamers and godmodders I've encountered don't come from magic concepts but science and technology. While magic is theoretically limitless, most magic users that aren't bad actors will have the good sense of at least trying to give their magic rules to go by. There's usually at least an attempt to put in some equal exchange.

 

Tech and science based characters, however, can be far worse if they start treating their concepts like magic. The thing about magic is that, even if it breaks the laws of physics, the writer generally still puts together some sort of way the magic works. Most magic concepts, even the overpowered ones, try and utilize some kind of limiting factor be it component cost, element limitation, etc. But tech/science based characters are working under the pretense that they follow the same general rules as we do IRL. So when you have technology that is so scifi is basically becomes fantasy, the writer has no real life analogue to tie themselves to.

 

What you get as a result is technobabble. There's nothing wrong with technobabble, per say! Star Trek used/uses it all the time! However, it can get people to lower their guard and end up giving bad actors all of the expectations of tech based concepts with the clean slate of a magic concept. All of the freedom of magic concepts without the expectation of following any of the rules found in a scifi.

 

As I said before, the issue here is not magic concepts and I'll happily push back against anyone saying that magic concepts are bad at their core. Magic has considerations that often go unconsidered and that's the real core of what I was saying. If anything, I'm saying that more eyes need to be turned towards tech/science based characters for the exact same behavior people are ascribing to magic concepts because, even if magic is easier to break on the ground floor, it's not that much more effort to break everything else.

 

I sincerely hope this clears the air some.

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I watch Critical Drinker who ripped apart the new Marvel Movie, hell it's why I dislike the whole Marvel shtick. I thought it was oddly relevant to this discussion, even the biggest movies on the planet screw up 'power balances'.
 


"This is what happens when you introduce more and more powers and abilities into your fictional world without really thinking of the long-term implications. The Avengers now have the ability to travel through time, then basically anything bad that ever happens now can be undone at the press of a button."

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On 5/12/2022 at 12:44 AM, McSpazz said:

Hey, you aren't alone. If anything, I think actual god characters are generally the easiest to mess up. In large part, I attribute this to the Abrahamic religions giving many people in the modern West the impression that "god" always translates to "all powerful" because that's what the Abrahamic God is supposed to be. Ironically, the only good god characters I have encountered are either generally designed not to be heavily utilized or are limited in their power by some means. Either being the "god" of something means that the character is more so a player controlled NPC or basically carries "god" as a title.

 

The only way you are going to play a god character as most people understand gods is by breaking the number one rule I shared in my post on power levels: if your character starts invalidating stories by existing, you might be doing something wrong.

I mean the not all powerful gods are "gods" small g, like asgardians or olympians or whatnot. very powerful beings but far from all powerful. that's going to simply depend in how the character is handled and so forth, and isn't categorically bad.

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Posted (edited)
20 hours ago, Latex said:

I watch Critical Drinker who ripped apart the new Marvel Movie, hell it's why I dislike the whole Marvel shtick. I thought it was oddly relevant to this discussion, even the biggest movies on the planet screw up 'power balances'.
 


"This is what happens when you introduce more and more powers and abilities into your fictional world without really thinking of the long-term implications. The Avengers now have the ability to travel through time, then basically anything bad that ever happens now can be undone at the press of a button."


We call this "Ouroborus" But if you stop there, yeah, it sounds cheezy. If you add more than just the heroes traveling time.. well, then you have a time war.. and that's actually all sorts of fun if conducted well and things can no longer be "undone at a press of a button". Suddenly there's politics involved.. especially if changes disrupt a balance monitored by a time-monitoring force. Especially if a change in one universe or parallel affects another.. and each has an interest in sustaining its norms.  

The search for conflict only requires a search for greater context and what seems like a gift of greater power may end up an opening to pandora's box. Once again it boils down to, 'how well do they write and how well was it thought through?" I'll pm you my thoughts on MoM once I watch it.

Edited by Maelstrom Vortex
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I don't like secret wars where the characters who participate don't remember it as it does away with any character development that happens, and may as well have not. For RP at least, it works for story writing.

 

If you have a one time oppurtunity that wont come up again to time travel, and use that to undo the end of the world or something, that might work. Just as long as it's not something you coulda done anytime.

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Posted (edited)
On 5/12/2022 at 7:38 AM, Latex said:

Gods, Demons, Dragons and a multitude of others all follow the same Roleplaying rules as everyone else, except you've taken it upon yourself to be even further scrutinized by other Roleplayers. People might claim they're unbiased against your character but you will for a fact have an uphill struggle to defeat all the negative connotations that come with Roleplaying extremely powerful beings.

On 5/13/2022 at 12:23 PM, Maelstrom Vortex said:

I love this entire write up for one reason. It emphasizes a major point.:

The only way to ever successfully play any high powered being inside of an RP context is via social acceptance.

Writing up a high power being is one thing, executing one responsibly is a complete other matter.

 

Thirding this sentiment, because I think it gets to the crux of the difficulty playing any uber-powerful character: it requires buy-in from other players, and if the concept demands some element of power over their character, as a "God of [subject]" explicitly does, that's always going to be a much harder ask from the get-go.  It's always going to strain a roleplay if one player's fundamental character facet is another player's overstep of boundaries.

 

I can only speak to my own experiences, but there are a number of aesthetic trends that I've come to associate with roleplay where I've felt marginalized or that my input was valued more as an audience member than a participant.  That includes the titular 'Demons & Gods,' who get the short end of the stick here both because they're the topic of the thread and by far the most numerically populous on Everlasting.  However, they also include - to reiterate a few of my other prior comparisons from the thread - ultrarich Bruce Wayne/Tony Stark types and "omni-disciplinarian" superscientists.  When dealing with these four concepts - and a fifth, but I'll get to that one later because I think it's a really good standalone example with its own legacy of roleplay baggage - I subconsciously have my shields up, because I'm running off a bad precedent from prior experiences, and that intrinsic tension is going to inform my roleplay regardless of if I aspire to be a perfectly objective logical boy or not.

 

Which brings us to:

On 5/13/2022 at 11:12 AM, Coyotedancer said:

This isn't going to be a popular post.

 

I've been reading this thread with some interest, as someone who tends to play Magic Origin characters almost exclusively... and who, in the Live days and on Paragon, had both a dragon (Brightfires, my original global's namesake and a City spin on my late-1990's Shadowland BBS Shadowrun character-) and a certain Strange Old Vagabond (A tattered, dottery old hobo Divinity who'd been abandoned and forgotten by his followers, and couldn't even remember his own name. Hardly the kind of scary, all-powerful being you guys seem to expect every "role-played god" to be-).

 

After reading it all, I know that I'm more certain than ever I made the right choice when I decided to walk away from roleplaying on Homecoming.

 

You may not all have intended it quite this way, but the thread reads as if your "community consensus" is that Magic Origin characters and their players are, basically, unwelcomed on Homecoming. We're all highly suspect, mostly unwanted in shared stories and typically apt to be pegged as BadWring god-modders, poor role players, obnoxious attention-hogs or some combination of all three from the get-go. People that you'd really prefer not to have around, in other words. 

 

I've already bowed to your collective preferences by exiting-stage-left as far as roleplaying here goes, but for the sake of anyone new who wanders in or for those people with magical characters who have stuck around... no matter what kind of thing they're playing... it *might* be worth taking a step back and thinking about how unwelcoming the tide of "OMGMagicPlayersAreBADROLEPLAYERSOutToSpoilOurFun"-posts can read. If I hadn't already thrown in the towel, I absolutely would have after this.

 

I think that this is a fascinating mirror-reversal of the header topic, in that this thread began with a vent about a player/players feeling consistently marginalized by high-magic character concepts and that phenomenon burning them out on the community, and here we have the inverse, in a player feeling judged for playing high-magic character concepts - in-part because of the hurt feelings of people like the OP - and that motivating them to burnout.  To push back slightly against some assumptions made in this post, I certainly don't think that it's the "community consensus" at all that MagicIcon.png.fb072e8f31a498b43b076bab810ef8d9.png are godmoders who should be excluded.  That doesn't hold up statistically - or else MagicIcon.png.fb072e8f31a498b43b076bab810ef8d9.png would be underrepresented rather than overrepresented in the community - and at least by my interpretation, it doesn't hold up by player attitude in this thread, either.

 

For the sake of the thought experiment, if we conflate the sentiment of "I anecdotally encounter more roleplays where I feel godmoded with Demons and Gods than my baseline; let's examine that and explore the variables as to why that could be," which is how I would characterize my take, with the extremely uncharitable malintent of "AMAB (All Magics Are Badplayers)," and if we conflate the recurring sentiment of "This is not true, as an example of a high-powered magical character concept played well, here is my OC" and/or "It's comic books, deal with it whiner" with "I interpret this thread to be an unreasonable attack on Magic characters," and a combination of those sentiments a la "I like high-powered RP and here is my magic OC but I can understand why you wouldn't like it; try to live with it" with Neutrality, then a very unprofessional cross-section of the thread looks like this:

 

  • Pro-Magic (Post intent primarily concerned with minimizing or invalidating OP's stated grievances and demonstrating constructive examples of "High Magic" roleplay): Sakura Tenshi, Bleuception, TigerEmperor, UltraAlt, Crasical, Bastille Boy, Bill Z Bubba, Qualith, WhiteNightingale, Ashington, Coyotedancer (11)
  • Neutral/Ambivalent (Post intent primarily concerned with establishing distance, through "outside" observation or through "both sides are right/wrong" rhetoric): Cancrusher, TygerDarkstorm, Andreah, CrystalDragon, ShadeKnight, Seed22, Maelstrom Vortex, Blackshear, Latex, Paragon Vanguard, fancy ketchup, Marshal_General (12)
  • Anti-Magic (Post intent primarily concerned with echoing or amplifying OP's stated grievances and demonstrating destructive examples of "High Magic" roleplay): MHertz, PeregrineFalcon, McSpazz, TwoDee, huang3721, SaintD, DrunkFlux, ZeeHero TorrentYed, biostem (10)

 

And I'd like to legitimately apologize to @McSpazz (and, for that matter, myself, and everyone else) here for lumping him in to a category that reduces all critique of the way that Magic can be portrayed in roleplay to "I think Magic roleplayers should go kick rocks," but I think it's important to emphasize that even if everyone in this thread who had something critical to say about A Magic Character was some kind of histrionic bigot, they'd still be outnumbered by the "Hey, I like Demons, Gods & Dragons" and the "I don't care and/or like Demons, Gods & Dragons but I'm choosy about how they're portrayed" camps, by a breakdown of this thread.

 

I'll grant ground to your last point, which is that those two stances don't have as much of a back-and-forth discussion - the "unwelcoming tide of "OMGMagicPlayersAreBADROLEPLAYERSOutToSpoilOurFun" posts," as you succinctly articulate - but that's going to happen any time a perceived issue or break from that status quo is discussed.  People tend not to get discursive about things that they feel are fine, normal, and uncontroversial, as any cursory look at a forum discussing real-life topics could tell you.  Similarly, just as in real life, I don't feel that the sentiment of "articulating that you had a rash of negative experiences with [majority group I belong to] is excluding and judging me" is particularly helpful: it's victim-blaming, albeit the "victims" here are the victims of nothing worse than feeling that roleplayers disrespected their boundaries, and so the stakes are commensurately dramatically lower.

 

Speaking of victims, let's talk about Psi.

 

Quote

When dealing with these four concepts - and a fifth, but I'll get to that one later because I think it's a really good standalone example with its own legacy of roleplay baggage - I subconsciously have my shields up.

 

Psi, I think, is an interesting elephant-in-the-room at this stage in the thread's discussion, because I believe it illustrates a similar social disconnect to what we see above.  However, individualized backlash against it has a much longer precedent in the CoX RP community and tends to be more dramatic because the boundaries that Psi is conceptually intended to bulldoze are much more violating ones like basic character beliefs and actions.  Like Magic, psychic powers are a fantasy that are directly catered to by the text and the mechanics of City of Heroes, with canon psychics in every Origin and psychic powersets in every AT.  Within the world of City of Heroes, it is established precedent that your thoughts do not belong to you, they belong to psychics; Sister Psyche even punishes some fans in the comic books for 'thinking dirty thoughts' about her.

 

And yet, actually acting on that very cool fantasy of getting into someone's head and tampering with their innermost thoughts is a gigantic red flag in roleplay without extremely robust discussion of informed consent and personal limits ahead-of-time, even though the game tells you that you're a "Mind Controller."  And, much more so than Magic, you can see the damage that disconnect causes by just idly clicking bios open in Pocket D.

 

Psi1.png.2200da4a0f500e885d2b6f8197e048ab.png

psi5.png.310efb869ea644f952a2f56178ea7c35.png

Psi2.png.a1e88e21f40fba861b25f9a5627ce9f5.png

Psi3.png.34a0ce8a564d54b12908a3afc363ab23.png

 

I think that this is an analogous, if more extreme, situation to what the OP evinces in his vent about high-powered magical characters.  Most players have a distaste for feeling marginalized or overruled in their own stories, and they're going to run into that more often when encountering characters whose power, textually, is to marginalize and overrule other characters in their own stories.  "I have the power to literally control you and make you do what I say" is a hyperbolic example compared to "I have dominion over [singular aspect of the universe] necessary to solve your conflict", because the the former is explicit and the latter implicit, but they're both concepts that:

  1. Are fully endorsed by the text of the game and completely valid characters and don't let anyone tell you otherwise
  2. Flirt with dictating the autonomy of other players simply by existing while possessing those powers
  3. Will likely invite more scrutiny of the character before people invite you to things, due to the actions of players who misuse or abuse the 2 point, and how much or how little you empathize with this kind of soft-exclusion probably depends on your attitude about whether it's the player's fault for not having a thicker skin.

Psi is a fabulous example because after it reached a fever pitch of misuse back on Virtue you started to see those hardline "if you're a psi character I explicitly opt-out of interacting with you and categorically refuse to play; fuck you" stances emerging, conflating the aesthetics of the character concept with the abuse of players using that aesthetic, and that damage remains in a lessened form on Everlasting.  The impression I get from this thread is that although High-Magic entities with sweeping portfolios aren't quite there yet, we're touching on a lot of the same issues that made Psi such a base-breaker in the City of Heroes roleplay community back in the day, and the best antidote to that - in my opinion - is to tread carefully and be highly self-reflective of whether we're marginalizing other voices when we play powerful psychics or magical wunderkinds or whatever else, and to establish subgroups of like-minded roleplayers with a higher tolerance for fiat roleplay if self-limiting in that way would damage your ability to enjoy your character.

 

To reiterate: I play powerful superwizards with sweeping and ill-defined powers, and psychic mind-controllers alike.  If I were trying to tar all players who portray those concepts in roleplay as filthy morlocks, I'd be at the bottom of my own pile.  However, I don't think that playing high-powered concepts is exclusive to acknowledging that those concepts can also be problematic, and were I to use their powers flippantly to their logical extremes in roleplay, I'd also be stepping on a lot of toes.

Edited by TwoDee
Softened some harsh wording
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Posted (edited)
51 minutes ago, TwoDee said:
  • Pro-Magic (Post intent primarily concerned with minimizing or invalidating OP's stated grievances and demonstrating constructive examples of "High Magic" roleplay): Sakura Tenshi, Bleuception, TigerEmperor, UltraAlt, Crasical, Bastille Boy, Bill Z Bubba, Qualith, WhiteNightingale, Ashington, Coyotedancer (11)
  • Neutral/Ambivalent (Post intent primarily concerned with establishing distance, through "outside" observation or through "both sides are right/wrong" rhetoric): Cancrusher, TygerDarkstorm, Andreah, CrystalDragon, ShadeKnight, Seed22, Maelstrom Vortex, Blackshear, Latex, Paragon Vanguard, fancy ketchup, Marshal_General (12)
  • Anti-Magic (Post intent primarily concerned with echoing or amplifying OP's stated grievances and demonstrating destructive examples of "High Magic" roleplay): MHertz, PeregrineFalcon, McSpazz, TwoDee, huang3721, SaintD, DrunkFlux, ZeeHero TorrentYed, biostem (10)

Okay we may be debating but hang with me here.  Maybe it's something like what OP described but tweaked a little(anger towards the supernatural community?) and then go from there? Might have something that could be put into some form of community RP/intrigue. The whole pro-magic, neutral, anti-magic shtick. Might be an interesting ordeal...

Edited by Seed22
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When it comes down to powers in general, it's not necessarily a matter of how strong your character is versus another that makes much of a difference in the RP. It's what you and your playing group agrees to as the limits as a base line and sticking to that like glue. Even with Psi, there's a limit on how far you can go with that before it becomes too much for another player to deal with as a roleplayer. Finding that fine line and staying on it can be at times extremely hard especially if the fellow players your interacting with aren't open to discuss what they consider too much as a limit and can at times create more trouble than it's worth. This is the same thing I suggest with tech/sci/magic/natural powers. How you depict it IC is entirely on you, but if you are amping your character up to seem godly, or influencing the people around you intentionally without their expressed consent, then there's a huge problem there that needs to be addressed.

 

Every roleplayer is different, has different limits, or extremes they are willing to work with/around. The clear point that needs to be made is simply asking OOC, but not too many of the newer players do that, or even realize they should as a first step to start anything with another player. I get we have some folks that prefer freelance all the way, hell I'm a freelance roleplayer myself but what I do isn't something I teach to newer players because it's contains more layers and tool use (Yes, I use die rolls for specific actions and specific events, kind of the inward DM there still living and breathing in the game.) but I suppose I fancy myself more a story writer and let everyone else play their characters along with the story that's unfolding and taking that into account with each line I put into my characters story. A collaborative effort if you will. But again, everyone does this differently, and for some it's less complex than how I run my stories.

 

My point for the TL;DR section of the community: Just fucking ask, there's no harm in doing so if you are trying to find an opening for RP, or a lead to hook into. Just don't take over the other characters responses and reactions and let them have say on how things turn out. Otherwise, it's less RP, and more writing a one sided story for you.

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On the Psi thing, it's a good discussion but still boils down to the essence of what it means to be a good Roleplayer and being good at RP is something only experience provides. Mindcontrol stuff, well I can see exactly where that would usually go, a character I've never met has no solid reason to read my characters mind (at depth). Infact I'd almost welcome it for a change of pace because I don't think anyone in my time on Homecoming has even attempted to read any of my characters minds, some of my characters would just conjure 'sick shit' in their head till the mind reader got so freaked out they regretted it!

 

But honestly, like all RP. Playing a pleb, God, mind reader, anything at all, you should have courtesy and if someone doesn't like what you're doing offer clear IC pathways out of the situation. I've seen people attempt to write characters into corners where the RP is very manipulated OOC to be inescapable and raising it up in an OOC manner is a very awkward thing to do, it's on the antag or initiator to make sure the other party is comfortable.

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1 hour ago, TwoDee said:

Psi, I think, is an interesting elephant-in-the-room at this stage in the thread's discussion, because I believe it illustrates a similar social disconnect to what we see above.  However, individualized backlash against it has a much longer precedent in the CoX RP community and tends to be more dramatic because the boundaries that Psi is conceptually intended to bulldoze are much more violating ones like basic character beliefs and actions.  Like Magic, psychic powers are a fantasy that are directly catered to by the text and the mechanics of City of Heroes, with canon psychics in every Origin and psychic powersets in every AT.  Within the world of City of Heroes, it is established precedent that your thoughts do not belong to you, they belong to psychics; Sister Psyche even punishes some fans in the comic books for 'thinking dirty thoughts' about her.

First of all, no hard feelings. 🙂

Second of all, this is actually a great point I hadn't considered!

Psionics are really kind of a non-magical magic in the grand scheme of things. If anything, they operate on fewer rules. With psychic powers, you can do all sorts of things! Not just invading someone's mind, but also setting things on fire, levitation, and more. While the same expectations of obeying consent are generally expected, I actually think I've seen fewer people demand explanations for how psychic powers work than magic. In fact, I actually think I myself am guilty of that to some degree.

 

If I had to guess for why, I think it's because there's kind of an assumption that the reason it works is because it's coming from yourself. Reading too much into how your psychic powers work is difficult to do without writing in reasons for other characters. There is definitely room for abuse with psychic powers and, in hindsight, it is kind of wild this is the first mention of it here that I have seen.

 

I feel like telepathy is in large part why psychic powers get such a bad rap. There's not exactly a solid explanation of how psychic powers work in the game. How do they interact with others, what is it like to fight against it, how much can you get away with, etc. I think the closest we got was the mind battle found in the Who Will Die arc, but I could be wrong. As a result, you kind of have a push and shove effect going on. One side that wants to intrude on other people's minds because that's part of their concept and another side that wants nothing to do with it. Pretty sure that could result in an over correction on every side imaginable. But as Crystal said...

17 minutes ago, CrystalDragon said:

How you depict it IC is entirely on you, but if you are amping your character up to seem godly, or influencing the people around you intentionally without their expressed consent, then there's a huge problem there that needs to be addressed.

 

Again, the room for abuse isn't the issue and I feel like the people arguing that magic is somehow special are missing the point. No matter how easily a concept can be exploited to become overpowered, the issue isn't and shouldn't be the ease at which it happens. What matters is the actual act itself.

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Posted (edited)
13 minutes ago, McSpazz said:

I feel like telepathy is in large part why psychic powers get such a bad rap.

 

Of course, because it is the exploitable 'influence/direction on/of another character' power that can 'go above some levels of consent' from a strictly speaking IC manner. There isn't really any other Superhero powers that do this in any media, especially without the 'victim' of telepathy knowing. It's a morally wrong thing to do, I'd consider even Sister Psyche doing it to be justification for putting tinfoil on her head, not exactly 'heroic' to invade others privacy because they felt wronged by you or your thoughts.

 

Many players of Psi characters typically take this and run with it because their characters are willing to disregard the morality of controlling or reading someone else's mind. Realistically any Psi-Hero would be reacted to with great conspiracy and for good reason. I'd imagine it's entertaining and difficult to Roleplay, you'd need to have a cast of players willing to let you dabble in it from time to time and having that cast of players means you need to be trustworthy, approachable and sensible OOC to know your limits and not fully exploit the breadth of Psi-powers without OOC consultation.

Edited by Latex
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48 minutes ago, Latex said:

I'd imagine it's entertaining and difficult to Roleplay, you'd need to have a cast of players willing to let you dabble in it from time to time and having that cast of players means you need to be trustworthy, approachable and sensible OOC to know your limits and not fully exploit the breadth of Psi-powers without OOC consultation.

This right here, nails it all on the head.

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Seed22 said:

Okay we may be debating but hang with me here.  Maybe it's something like what OP described but tweaked a little(anger towards the supernatural community?) and then go from there? Might have something that could be put into some form of community RP/intrigue. The whole pro-magic, neutral, anti-magic shtick. Might be an interesting ordeal...

What, like a "Civil War" type storyline?  🤔  I feel like it'd be hard to pull off without hurting feelings, but that's just my knee-jerk.

  

2 hours ago, CrystalDragon said:

Just don't take over the other characters responses and reactions and let them have say on how things turn out.

2 hours ago, McSpazz said:

No matter how easily a concept can be exploited to become overpowered, the issue isn't and shouldn't be the ease at which it happens. What matters is the actual act itself.

2 hours ago, Latex said:

I've seen people attempt to write characters into corners where the RP is very manipulated OOC to be inescapable and raising it up in an OOC manner is a very awkward thing to do, it's on the antag or initiator to make sure the other party is comfortable.

 

I agree 90% with the sentiment of "It's always the player, not the character," but I think the one can still often inform the other, to the point that an absolutist statement like that can miss the nuances of how context can inform and exacerbate unwelcome roleplay pressures.

 

As a hypothetical, let's say that I design a character: 👁️ Catarax, Demigod of Eyeballs. 👁️  Mechanically, I represent him as an Illusions/Trick Arrow Controller, leaning on the 2x blind powers.  In his bio, I posit that 👁️Catarax👁️ has complete conceptual control over all eyeballs.  Your eyeballs, my eyeballs, big eyeballs, small eyeballs.  He can make or unmake eyeballs on a whim, he can give or remove characteristics like infrared vision or blindness without blinking (he doesn't blink because his eyeballs are perfect), everything to do with eyeballs, he can do by-definition, because he wouldn't be  👁️ Catarax, Demigod of Eyeballs 👁️ if he didn't have control of eyeballs.

 

Now, say I run into someone playing a Daredevil-esque blind hero whose character arc is based around compensating for their lack of sight.

 

Assuming that I am invested in  👁️Catarax👁️  coming off as fundamentally superheroic, that's an easy win to establish 👁️Catarax👁️   as a good dude: I just offer to use my absolute power over all eyeballs to give this poor wretch's misbegotten eyeballs their sight back.  Chemical damage or lack of brain connection is no problem: we're practicing ocular metaphysics here, not medicine.  I'm granting them the platonic concept of eyeball-sight, not sight in any way that a pedestrian doctor would understand it.

 

In this situation, 👁️Catarax, Demigod of Eyeballs👁️ is behaving heroically and completely flush with how I've written him.  But I'm - the player - being a 🍆dick!🍆  Even if I'm not explicitly godmoding - if I'm scrupulously clarifying "((I'm not gonna heal your eyeballs by force because I'm not a godmoder, but Catarax wants to heal your character's eyballs.  Catarax's eyeball-healing powers are instant, have no downsides and come with no catches, and unless there was another deity keeping your character blind there's no reason it wouldn't work!))" - I'm putting the player in an unenviable position of having to explain "((no, I do not actually want you to fiat away my character's core concept, even if logically my character who suffers blindness would want her sight back more than anything))" which is something that shouldn't need to be explained and drags my "offer of help" into a gross OOC conflict over character fundamentals.

 

Now, in that hypothetical, I've unfairly placed the onus on Not!Daredevil, if she wants to continue to roleplay with me in anything resembling a shared understanding, to come up with some kind of equally-overbearing counter-fiat about why   👁️The Awesome Eyeball Powers of Catarax👁️ don't work on Not!Daredevil.  That's a lot easier for that player to do in a polite, diegetic way if I'm playing, say, a specialized optometrist doctor than if I'm 👁️ Catarax, Demigod of Eyeballs.👁️ In the former case, the player has an easy response to the effect of "Hero work waits for nobody - I don't have time to undergo a surgery right now, but I'll take your card, alright?" rather than being imposed upon to write it explicitly into her character bio moving forward that she's specifically, tragically immune to deific beings fixing her life in the time it takes to drink a mimosa.

 

The more 'outs' I offer to the other player by making my own offer of help imperfect and flawed, the more opportunities I'm creating to engage in an interesting and equitable roleplay that touches on themes of blindness and sightedness beyond just being an opportunity to demonstrate how complete 👁️Catarax's👁️ eyeball-mastery is at someone else's expense.  And if I weren't playing 👁️Catarax,👁️ but Steve the Superhero Optometrist instead, those 'outs' would be baked-in to the more mundane limitations of such a character, rather than something I'm having to astroturf on the fly to avoid stepping on other players' throats, assuming I'm polite enough to do that at all.    In this situation, even though 👁️Catarax👁️ is platonically just as "legitimate" a character to play as Steve the Superhero Optometrist, and I would never tell anyone they're not allowed to play 👁️Catarax👁️, 👁️Catarax👁️ has to be played much more carefully, with much more give-and-take and consideration for other players' needs, and I don't think it's unreasonable to extrapolate from that why some players might be more hesitant to engage 👁️Catarax👁️in good faith than they would Steve the Superhero Optometrist.

 

In the above example, a roleplay turns ugly without anyone actually godmoding or breaking "etiquette," and to be clear I am fundamentally to blame for that disconnect, yes, but I'm fundamentally to blame in a way that is not completely inseparable from the concept that I've chosen to bring to the table, because the concept informs behavior and vice versa.

 

Spoiler

And if it makes anyone feel better about it, let's say that 👁️Catarax👁️ has a tech.png.d2e400cb12075c38c6ce3e25430d4dfe.png next to his name.  He's the technological demigod of eyeballs, and he resents it when idiots mistake his incredible eyeball powers for magic.  He's made of alien nanomachines, actually, that can only interface with eyeballs and are programmed with complete knowledge of all eyeballs. 🤖

 

Edited by TwoDee
forums.homecomingservers.com was never designed to handle this many eyeball emojis
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Posted (edited)
18 minutes ago, TwoDee said:

In the above example, a roleplay turns ugly without anyone actually godmoding or breaking "etiquette," and to be clear I am fundamentally to blame for that disconnect, yes, but I'm fundamentally to blame in a way that is not completely inseparable from the concept that I've chosen to bring to the table, because the concept informs behavior and vice versa.

This exactly.  I mean, a lot of the onus in regards to poor roleplay is very much the players fault in lack of communicating intent and clarity - like any media format, clarity isn't always going to be 100% because perceptions change and shift from person to person reading it, but providing an open means to talk over the idea before launching into it is always a bonus because that leaves an open means to question, add, or subject from the scenes provided in active play. You gave a really good example there, Dee, thank you for that.

 

Footnote: When it comes down to very basics in breakdown with the example you gave, contact launched into a field that probably could have provided a long term story line to develop into a possibility of a cure, but player rejected the idea of a cure as it's a core trait - which respectable makes total sense. The cornering of the hypothetical player however would have been a dick move however, as you so stated and could have been framed in a better and more polite manner while giving the player agency of choice. But I do understand the point your making with the hypothetical, and yes, this is a consistent issue in many players on the server which is something I try to address and help work past with the newer folks with @McSpazz. I can't handle teaching in groups anymore, but I can handle one on one lessons and guidance to those that ask.

Edited by CrystalDragon
A bit of post script, but yeah, funny example!
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