Understanding Power Play

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Understanding Power Play

Post by TS Sailor Cronus on Tue Sep 13, 2016 11:27 am

UNDERSTANDING POWER PLAY
THE DOs AND DON'Ts
OF ROLE PLAYING

Power play is a method of role play that is generally unacceptable. The reason it is unacceptable is because it takes a large amount of power away from other players and puts it all into your own hands. It is considered a form of sabotage. It ruins the fun of role playing for other people, often causing others to quit, thus ruining your own fun.

The reason I say it is "generally unacceptable" for you to use power play is because it is permissible to do these things if-- and ONLY IF-- the other players involved agree to let you. Terms can be negotiated, and it is temporary. For example, one character may have the power to manipulate the movement of other people; therefore an agreement to allow such control may be agreed upon for a limited time, and most likely a limited number of players (perhaps one or two) will agree to be a "puppet". If you agree to any terms of power play, HONOR YOUR AGREEMENT. Do not add another form of power play contrary to what you agreed upon, do not extend the length of time/ number of posts you will be in control, and do not change any conditions you agreed upon or else you will risk angering and losing your RP partners (as well as a warning or possible ban from forum administrators).

There are multiple forms of power play, and it is important to understand each kind before entering into any RP.


Last edited by TS Sailor Cronus on Tue Sep 13, 2016 1:31 pm; edited 3 times in total
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Re: Understanding Power Play

Post by TS Sailor Cronus on Tue Sep 13, 2016 11:46 am

GOD MODDING

Probably the most taboo of all the forms of power play if done without permission. "God mod" is short for "god-like modification" and it means to take control of another character's words, thoughts, or actions-- basically, "playing God." You should not include any of these things in your RP post-- even if you think it is harmless-- if you don't have the other player's permission to do so.

I will give an example of god-modding (which was allowed) in a 1-on-1 RP I was once in.

During a series of misfortunes, my RP partner's character enchanted my character to grow a mermaid's tail. In her post, she described the effects of the enchantment: the legs melding together, the scales slowly forming. The process took about three posts between us by the time it finished and my character was able to breathe underwater.

As previously stated, this was an instance of god-modding which was allowed for that RP. If it had not been, the above scenario would have been a breech of trust because my partner would have forced changes on my character which I might not have been willing to allow. Thus it should be easy to understand why god modding (and other forms of power play) is generally not allowed.


Last edited by TS Sailor Cronus on Tue Sep 13, 2016 1:58 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Re: Understanding Power Play

Post by TS Sailor Cronus on Tue Sep 13, 2016 11:53 am

AUTO-HITTING

To auto-hit is exactly that: you attack someone with the intent to automatically succeed, even against all reason. You must give your target the choice to dodge, defend, or take the hit on his turn. Even in close combat, you must give your target a choice. Just because you think your character is super-powerful (or super-smart, super-fast, super-accurate, etc.), that doesn't mean other people agree with that opinion. (It's also conceited to believe your character gets to be better than other player characters, but they don't get to be better than yours in some way.) Your character is expected to have flaws, and that includes occasional misses. Again, you should not include auto-hitting in your post, even if you think it is justified.

And don't think it's justified because you're doing it "for a good cause". For instance, consider a scenario where a person has been severely wounded. If you have a character that can heal others, it is okay for your character to go through the motions of healing, but it is up to your target to decide whether the healing worked. Do not include words in your post such as "The blood disappeared and the cut sealed shut." It may be important to the other player that the character remains wounded. What if the other player wanted to let his character die, so that he could further his story through a ressurection (like a phoenix-based character), or merely wanted to get rid of that character and replace him with a new one? If you attempt to auto-hit with your healing-- or with any other desired tactic-- you will force that person to either start all over again on his original work, or to auto-dodge in retaliation.

I was once caught in a similar scenario where one person attempted to heal an entire group of characters. All of us had chosen our particular plight ourselves: in fact, it was partly the basis of the story line of the entire RP. Our leader tried to explain how this tactic would fail, as one of his minions was there to protect at least my character. The healer argued about the total infallibility of his healing device and proceeded use his device anyway. What he attempted to do was to auto-hit with his healing. Because it was actually important for every character to be wounded, and the healer did not have permission to heal, all of our characters were unfortunately forced to auto-dodge.
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Re: Understanding Power Play

Post by TS Sailor Cronus on Tue Sep 13, 2016 11:58 am

AUTO-DODGING

Same as "auto-hitting" above, but instead refers to dodging. This tends to be less offensive than auto-hitting in that you might get away with it a couple of times, provided you redeem yourself by taking a significant hit later. But don't count on it.

As an example, I once witnessed an RP where one character, a hero (nonmagical), was being flanked by two villains-- close enough that they all could have hugged. Both villains, each on their turn, charged up an attack and fired bolts of energy at him. In his post, he "dodged" the attack (how he dodged was never described) and continued to fight in close combat, completely unscathed.

This is problematic for a few reasons. For one, dodging any attack at such close range is impossible-- unless your character is DC Comics' The Flash. You could possibly make the argument that he ducked/ jumped/ side-stepped enough so that he only received a partial blow, or even that he was only struck with one of the attacks (although that's still a stretch), but being able to completely dodge both attacks and suffering no penalties was (when you think about it) impossible.

Additionally in such a scenario, dodging both attacks would have forced both attackers to strike each other in the crossfire-- which may be realistic, yes, but it is uncalled for to force that on other characters. This would have effectively been an auto-hit in the hero's favor, despite the attack not being directly his own.

But isn't it the fault of the villains for forcing the hero into that situation in the first place? After all, they were flanking him and attacking at point-blank range. Isn't that the same as attempting to auto-hit?

Well, possibly. You could make the argument that only one should have attacked, not both at the same time. But consider the fact that the hero allowed both villains to approach and stand as close as they did. And villains, being villains, tend to attack heros. If you ever place your character into a situation which makes it easy for others to auto-hit, you should really expect your own character to take that hit. It's only natural.
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Re: Understanding Power Play

Post by TS Sailor Cronus on Tue Sep 13, 2016 12:03 pm

OVERPOWERFUL CHARACTERS

An overpowerful character is one who so far outmatches his opponents that it is almost impossible to defeat him.

In the Dragonball Z series, certain characters achieve the ability to gain so much power that they transform into what are known as "Super-Seiyans".  At this level of power, a Super-Seiyan's opponent can throw his entire body and strength into dozens or hundreds of attack strikes-- pushing beyond his usual limits of energy and capability-- while the Super-Seiyan merely stands motionless and blocks each strike precisely with only one finger. Some characters in that show are even able to blow apart entire moons or planets.

Unless you are specifically in a Dragonball Z role play, you definitely SHOULD NOT do this!

Be aware of the strengths and capabilities of the other characters involved in the RP. Your own character should stay fairly well within the same average range of power. If other characters are unable to blast apart entire planets, your character should not be able to do so, either.
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Re: Understanding Power Play

Post by TS Sailor Cronus on Tue Sep 13, 2016 1:27 pm

MARY-SUE AND GARY-STU

"Mary-Sue" originated in a satirical Star Trek fan-fiction story called A Trekkie's Tale by Paula Smith. Lieutenant Mary-Sue was a prodigy with exaggerated abilities and virtually no flaws. She was incredibly attractive, and Captain Kirk instantly fell in love with her and placed her at the helm of the ship. She was the kindest person with perfect manners, the ultimate hero of the ship who earned multiple awards for bravery, and died a tragic but heroic death.

The typical Mary-Sue, especially as seen in fan-fiction, has a majestic personality. She is better than Barbie. All people who meet her adore and befriend her.

Well, all people except all the "bad" people in the universe, because they are insanely jealous of her perfect beauty and personality, that she has the most coveted boyfriend, et cetera. These people become her enemy and spend their energy tormenting her and trying to make her look bad, to look guilty for doing things she was purely innocent of doing. The only form of trouble that ever follows her around is trouble other people cause-- because precious Mary-Sue is too pure and honest and sweet to ever do anything wrong.

When you read the above paragraphs, did you groan, roll your eyes, slap your forehead, cringe, or laugh with derision? You should be warned that if your character is too much of a Mary-Sue (or the masculine counterpart, Gary-Stu), that is probably what your role playing partner does every time you post.

You may believe that giving your character tons of good qualities and little to no weakness makes him a strong character. Rest assured, you are completely delusional. Razz In fact, the opposite is the case-- a character who has significant flaws is considered to be a strong character.

After all, when watching a movie, who cheers for the happily married, upper-middle class teetotaler living in the comfort of his large, cushy home when, as per usual, he chooses not to drink liquor?

Nobody.

No, we cheer for the husband who has unexpectedly lost half his paycheck, works late nights and weekends to make up for it, then one day discovers that the constant neglect of his wife and kids due to his overworking has pushed his wife into having an affair. In his depression, he stops at a bar and begins drinking heavily-- and falls back into the old days of when he was a drunkard who sabotaged many of his relationships in his younger days.

We cheer for him not when he is drinking or blurting out snide remarks at people, but when, after everything that pushed him to depression reaches a climax, he begins to climb out of his misery, taking valuable life lessons out with him, and genuinely seeks forgiveness for his attitude, victoriously overcomes his addiction, forgives his wife for her sins, and they begin to actively work together to overcome problems, rather than each dealing with their frustrations separately.

In the end, it is not the Mary-Sue character who is strong, but it is the character who struggles against his own weaknesses-- and overcomes them.

When you create a character, set up some significant flaws for him-- and make those flaws appear in RP. If he is strong and athletic, energetic and always winning arm wrestling matches, consider making him poor at bowling.  Somehow he lacks the proper coordination, but for some reason his friends are always inviting him to the bowling alley.

But flaws don't always have to be physical. Everyone has character flaws: bad dieting habits, being late to appointments, pretending not to listen to other people, addiction to alcohol, giving up easily, bad temper, etc. Personality flaws are in fact the most important flaws you can give to your character because in the end, these are the flaws that will show up the most and determine the overall strength of your character.


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Re: Understanding Power Play

Post by TS Sailor Cronus on Tue Sep 13, 2016 1:39 pm

DRAMA QUEEN

Seemingly Mary-Sue's opposite, the drama queen is actually closely related.

Nothing ever goes right for the drama queen. Every boyfriend breaks up with her, she fails every test at school, she can't cook, she's not athletic, her peers and teachers all discriminate against her because she's a Jewish-Catholic, black-Mexican, ghetto-dwelling lesbian, she's alone in her pregnancy with the child whose father raped her, her own parents have disowned her, her right leg was amputated, she struggles with a crack addiction, she suffers from amnesia caused by brain cancer, and in the case of magical-powered RPs, she lost the throne to her kingdom, her powers always fail her at the worst possible moment, and her guardian cat ran away.

Flaws are important, but let's not carry things too far.

Unless you are in a Young and the Restless RP (and even then, I have doubts), this type of character is off-limits.

This character once again yanks all the power away from other RPers and forces it all into your hands-- this time in a passive-aggressive way. It is impossible for anyone to warm up to this manipulative character, and any attempt at healing or helping this character is quickly thwarted by the overwhelmingly cynical powers-that-be: namely the devil who denied her entrance into Hell and the angels who looked down upon her and cried out "Thou sucketh!"

Balance is key here. Remember that.


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Re: Understanding Power Play

Post by TS Sailor Cronus on Tue Sep 13, 2016 1:47 pm

MIN-MAXING

And don't take the previous comment to mean that you can get away with piling on every extreme at both ends, because that doesn't really create a balance, either. It just breaks the scales in half.

Min-maxing is a term originally coined in table-top role playing games such as Champions, Dungeons and Dragons, or Tunnels and Trolls, and is derrived from the words "minimum" and "maximum".

Tabletop role playing games often use points-based character creation, where the player must "buy" desired stats or attributes by spending "character points" or "experience points". Even though there is a maximum number of character points allotted to the player at the start of character creation, there is still a way to increase the total point cost in order to acquire additional attributes or skill levels. In order to encourage adding flaws to role playing characters, there is a point reward given for each of these flaws, which can then be spent on acquiring more power.

However, as with any form of entertainment, there are always those people who will abuse their powers or outright cheat.

An example of using flaws to balance out extra benefits would be creating a character whose background includes losing his sister to a fire, and an allergy to bee stings, and then using the small number of points allotted for those traits to buy a heightened sense of hearing and the power to teleport.

An abuse of this process, min-maxing, would be to create a character with a crippled leg, both eyes missing, full-body scars, frequent hypoglycemia, severe asthma, fear of alligators, fear of mice, fear of ostriches, fear of folded up pieces of paper, he's wanted for murder, and he witnessed fifteen members of his family being eaten by an owlbear during his childhood; and then using those points to buy perfect balance, blind fighting, super-speed, super-strength, super-jumping, irresistible attractiveness, and the ability to conjure blizzards, tornados, and lightning storms with enough power to devastate an entire city (usable only once per day).

Min-maxing is the bastard child of the drama queen and the Super-Seiyan, and as such is best avoided in role play.
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Re: Understanding Power Play

Post by TS Sailor Cronus on Tue Sep 13, 2016 1:52 pm

(TBA... eventually I will remember to fill in this final blank. >.>; )
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Re: Understanding Power Play

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