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Dragons, Gods and Demons: Why?


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5 hours ago, TwoDee said:

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.


The number of ambivalent responses(12) outnumbers other groups(10 and 11), so one should not make a decision based on that number. Furthermore, the presence of a large number of neutral responses indicates that anti-magic/pro magic grouping is not sufficient to describe this thread.


However, I agree with your later response: "Do step on someone's toe" / "Don't step on someone's toe" may be a better alternative to describe this thread.

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12 hours ago, TwoDee said:

Speaking of victims, let's talk about Psi.


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.







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.

To me, all Mind Control requires OOC consent to participate in that kind of manipulation and story. It requires a bit of trust and knowledge among participants and comfort with the topic.  This all of course varies by player. It does not require global consent among the entire group. Just between the controller and the controlee.  It is however, best to avoid if someone is uncomfortable with it ooc, but that may mean breaking up the group so how that is handled needs to be decided if someone just isn't okay with it and the others still wish to continue. It is not my belief a single dissenting view should stop all of a playstyle from proceeding, but needs to be tactfully decided how to arrange what is effectively a change of scenery for those who don't want to be involved temporarily.  I do not impose my discomfort on others who have comfort with a playstyle in common, I would not expect the same to be done to me. 

To state my own personal views on PSI and how I engage those kind of encounters: In my case, for a good story, I'll allow mind control. For example, this allowance is strengthened if I know my character is at risk to it or not particularly resilient against it. But ooc I will want to know the operator of the other player is a story-writer.. and not just someone looking to be an abusive jerk and if they are willing to collaborate on where the mind control goes.. awesome, that helps me feel comfy. I only trust a very few people with mind control without strings attached. Some of those are my very best friends and my beloved who plays with me I trust wholly. Koduoa plays Siryn.. a sea dragoness in the vein of Sirens of Greek Legend who can string along Chrontion with audial hypnosis like a puppet and has made him do several fun and goofy things.

It boils down to, like any other RP tool. Psi's not bad, it's the user you got to watch out for. Trust and consent are key.

Edited by Maelstrom Vortex
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  • 2 weeks later

Well a thought that never comes up, theres also plot alignment and character theme alignment to.  Some characters of mine aren't compatible with others for sure, but it's true of anyone.  I think it's smarter for higher flexibility in some ways, as I couldn't help but feel bothered by a conversation one toon had with another(though I let it pass, as I don't involve them in active plots anymore and haven't for a long time);


like say, Toon A makes claim x problem is already solved, end of story.


Toon B says otherwise.  Player of toon B is put off by Toon A and potentially rper A.


It's even more-so if Toon B in rp's very internal struggle is affected by X problem, a core part of there motivations in life, the reason they exist and were made by roleplayer B.  That many of the characters behavior is affected by that issue, and it's not something easily resolved(or even intended to be).


Which can create frustrations, of course there are different ways it might be resolved, discretion or otherwise, like Roleplayer B may just decide to use arms length.  Or may already be doing so ahead of time if they know Roleplayer A already and figure plots incompatible or even serious RP not very compatible(for any number of reasons).  It likely isn't a big deal in such a case.  In the event someone's taking part in plots actively then there likely needs to be an agreement made.



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