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Old 09-06-2007, 11:37 AM   #1
Muirdach
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Is it Impolite Not to Share?

I've always subscribed to the "no OOC at all" school of roleplaying thought, where you just do what your character does, so on and so forth. However, a while back someone implied that they felt that this wasn't polite, that if your roleplay plans involve another party (positively or negatively), then these plans should be shared with that party's player.

Example: My character is the guard captain of a certain town. My character believes that the lord is oppressive, inactive, whatever whatever is ruining the town. He and his lieutenants plan a coup that will take place during some kind of event, because the plotters believe that the town's populace will support them and rise up against this lord. Is it impolite in any way to not inform the player of the lord? I mean, his character has no reason to know, unless someone spills the beans in an IC fashion. Is it rude to suddenly spring this negative situation on the player, knowing he will be (like his character) totally taken by surprise?

From my perspective, I'd never have thought I was obligated in any way to let the player know. I think the best way to keep OOC influences out of RP is to not introduce them in the first place. However, some people believe that every individual concerned with an RP "event" should basically be given a full briefing of what's planned. I personally feel that RP should be surprising, off-the-cuff and "live", rather than planned and scripted beforehand like an exhibition.

What do you think?

And to add an extra twist, what if the lord's player suspects something and asks in an OOC manner? Is it rude to say "sorry, not going to discuss RP in an OOC manner" knowing full well that he'll likely be upset with what transpires? And, is refusing to share basically telling that player "I don't trust you to keep IC and OOC separate"?
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Old 09-06-2007, 12:44 PM   #2
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Post Re: Is it Impolite Not to Share?

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What do you think?
I think it's down to what kind of game you're playing. If the way things are done is essentially cooperative storytelling, as if you're all co-authoring a novel while having primary responsibility for one character's point of view each, then to unilaterally cause major effects on someone else's territory without their knowledge is completely irresponsible and non-participative.

If your game is about strictly role-playing a character, without OOC cooperation, that's another story, and not telling the lord what's going on is precisely what you should do.

Refusing to tell when asked is, obviously, only appropriate to the second kind of game, and does indeed say "I don't trust you to keep IC and OOC separate". And in that sort of game, I don't imagine anyone but the most demonstratedly hardcore, someone who can let their favorite character die ignominiously rather than use OOC information, should be trusted to keep IC and OOC separate.

The key is that everyone should know what kind of game is being played up front. Presumably that's not the case in your situation. It certainly appears that the lord thinks he's playing type A and you think you're playing type B.
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Old 09-06-2007, 12:53 PM   #3
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Re: Is it Impolite Not to Share?

Thanks, chaosprime. Just to clarify: (i) this scenario is totally fictional just to illustrate the point (I can't remember what the original scenario was, it was a few months back); and (ii) the MUD is a regular DIKU-type competitive MUD that has roleplaying. It isn't a "non-mechanical" MUD or one that's co-operative/totally story-based.

The way it was put across to me by this individual was "it's a given in all forms of roleplay, from tabletop to MMO, that it's only polite and fair and respectful to script anything beforehand so that everyone's happy with the outcome".
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Old 09-06-2007, 01:07 PM   #4
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Thumbs down Re: Is it Impolite Not to Share?

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The way it was put across to me by this individual was "it's a given in all forms of roleplay, from tabletop to MMO, that it's only polite and fair and respectful to script anything beforehand so that everyone's happy with the outcome".
The usual when people declare things to be universal laws of nature: it's their habit, so of course it's known to be right and good in all places and at all times.

The person in question does not understand that collaborative storytelling intersects with roleplaying, but does not contain it.
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Old 09-06-2007, 01:15 PM   #5
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Re: Is it Impolite Not to Share?

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Originally Posted by Muirdach View Post
I've always subscribed to the "no OOC at all" school of roleplaying thought, where you just do what your character does, so on and so forth. However, a while back someone implied that they felt that this wasn't polite, that if your roleplay plans involve another party (positively or negatively), then these plans should be shared with that party's player.

What do you think?
Agree 100 %. Preplanning roleplay unless it is to create a structured event is not roleplay in the spontaneus improvisational sense.
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Old 09-06-2007, 09:42 PM   #6
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Re: Is it Impolite Not to Share?

Chaosprime really hit the nail on the head when he said you need to establish what kind of game you're playing. The thing is, in muds this isn't stated as much as assumed, with all the other rules (stay IC, etcetera) deriving from this fundamental assumption that's never named.

Here's an article worth reading:

The Forge :: GNS and Other Matters of Role-Playing Theory, Chapter 3

To quote:

Quote:
  • In Actor stance, a person determines a character's decisions and actions using only knowledge and perceptions that the character would have.
  • In Author stance, a person determines a character's decisions and actions based on the real person's priorities, then retroactively "motivates" the character to perform them. (Without that second, retroactive step, this is fairly called Pawn stance.)
  • In Director stance, a person determines aspects of the environment relative to the character in some fashion, entirely separately from the character's knowledge or ability to influence events. Therefore the player has not only determined the character's actions, but the context, timing, and spatial circumstances of those actions, or even features of the world separate from the characters.
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Old 09-06-2007, 09:44 PM   #7
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Re: Is it Impolite Not to Share?

Scripted roleplay has only two places IMO, namely:

(1) full-sized events run by a group of people in positions of authority eg a clan's leadership, a city government, an interest group or the admins.

(2) roleplay within roleplay, such as a theatre performance (which is probably the most confusing sort of roleplay ever, since a player is roleplaying a game character who is in turn roleplaying a character in the play)

In the case of (1), the event should be viewed as an interactive play, where only the performers have a fixed script of any kind and the audience, while they may have a very rough idea what's going on, are free to respond in any way they feel appropriate. This would, I think, include even scenarios where the audience is going to get assaulted by the actors. Otherwise, everyone's going to be on stage and there's no element of 'game' in it at all, just enacting some fixed moves. (By implication, the actors' script can't be all that fixed either, because it must be able to shift to accommodate the entire spectrum of audience reactions.

But whatever the scenario, I believe that there is absolutely no way you can inform everyone of it, or ensure that "everyone's happy with the outcome". Firstly, there will always be some clueless people wandering into the middle of the scene and messing it up - or some jokers messing it for fun. Using your example scenario, all it takes is for someone to switch sides suddenly and bang goes your script.

Secondly, I think it really is a given that there is NO way everyone will ever be happy. Unless you set up such a bland scenario that no one is hurt or insulted in any way, loses anything whatsoever, it's inevitable that horns will lock and someone will come out a little worse for wear. Speaking with some stage experience (back we go to the play analogy) the actor taking the role of a character who is severely insulted and harmed is going to identify with that character and feel royally ****ed off on the character's behalf at the very least. Especially if his counterpart does a great job at the insulting. That is all the more amplified for a gamer who's invested hours, effort and maybe money to gain skills, eq, level, reputation, position blah blah.

That said, here's my personal and unflattering opinion of people who demand to have everything known upfront. SORE LOSERS!!!
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Old 09-06-2007, 10:10 PM   #8
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Re: Is it Impolite Not to Share?

If it the standard DIKU RP-encouraged, or required, or intensive, or allowed, I'd assume it is -not- rude to keep OOC stuff to yourself, with specific exceptions regarding consent for mudsex/torture, and if it says otherwise in their game policies.

If it was a MUSH-type RP game, I'd assume there'd be a policy regarding "sharing" or whatever term they use for it.

Personally I wouldn't play a game where sharing was expected. Even in the non-RPI's I've played, what my character was up to, was her business, until SHE was ready to divulge it to someone else. I wasn't ever expected to inform the player. Except as I said - when it comes to consent. Consent being "I am about to kill you (-right now- not a month from now and not after I've planned it out." Consent to PvP?"
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Old 09-07-2007, 09:44 AM   #9
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Re: Is it Impolite Not to Share?

The problem I see with being strictly IC with respect to the game is the extent to which the game gives the players involved the tools to act ICly without the involvement of the other players. And with probably most games, this is not great.

For example, say you want to steal the king's crown. Is it actually an object you could pick up? That could kill the RP right there. Could you actually get somewhere to steal it? How about guards and other security measures? Maybe it takes scaling a wall. Does the MUD have ladders? Wall scaling code?

In a MUSH with a cooperative RP stance, this can all be worked out between the players. (The operative word is "could" as it depends on good faith between everyone involved.) And that's why I like MUSHes and this style of play--nothing limits the potential story.
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Old 09-07-2007, 10:36 AM   #10
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Re: Is it Impolite Not to Share?

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And that's why I like MUSHes and this style of play--nothing limits the potential story.
I have to take issue with this last statement. Nothing limits the potential story? Everything limits it. Every single player on a MUSH limits the direction and completion of any story. If a player doesn't want to scale the wall, or feels that the wall is too high, or feels that you aren't adept enough, end of story.

A MUSH is only as good as the weakest writer/roleplayer in the game because it is owned and controlled not by code but rather by emotes and how giving/non-giving a player is. I used to play mushes before muds and this scenario was typical:

[bob motes]
Bob flies into the the room and backfists Jake with a punishing blow, breaking his nose and sending him careening into the north wall.

[jake motes--attempting to validate bob's mote, but also his own]
Shaking off the affect of the backfist, Jake wipes his face, clearing his eyes and stands boldly. His nose reforms from his healing amulet and as Bob prepares to advance, he holds both hands in front of him sending a massive freezing vortex surrounding Bob and locking him in place. Jake wanders over to Bob, chuckles, and walks out of the room.

Could this work? Sure. Could it be exciting? Yes. But it is entirely based upon cooperation with the two people involved, which means real conflict is non-existant for the most part. But this isn't a thread about the virtues of MUD's vs. MUSHes, so in context of the thread, I will agree with others: the environment dictacts what needs to be prepared and talked about ahead of time. On a MUSH, I would think it is almost imperative to prediscuss or even discuss on an ooc level constantly what is happening during important or conflict events.
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Old 09-07-2007, 12:27 PM   #11
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Re: Is it Impolite Not to Share?

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Originally Posted by Zhiroc View Post
The problem I see with being strictly IC with respect to the game is the extent to which the game gives the players involved the tools to act ICly without the involvement of the other players. And with probably most games, this is not great.

For example, say you want to steal the king's crown. Is it actually an object you could pick up? That could kill the RP right there. Could you actually get somewhere to steal it? How about guards and other security measures? Maybe it takes scaling a wall. Does the MUD have ladders? Wall scaling code?

In a MUSH with a cooperative RP stance, this can all be worked out between the players. (The operative word is "could" as it depends on good faith between everyone involved.) And that's why I like MUSHes and this style of play--nothing limits the potential story.
A *non* MUSH-style game would certainly not rely on the players to determine if a wall is scaleable. That would be up to the people who created the game. If a king's crown isn't coded in, but the king is an NPC, and a player wanted to steal the guy's crown, and it was assumed he had one - then a request to the mud-creators is appropriate. If the king is a PC, then that scenario would be moot, because the king doesn't HAVE a crown to steal, and there's no need to ask the king's player if you can steal it.

If in a game where such things are coded, there's a door to a treasure room, and it isn't guarded by NPCs or PCs, and the room description doesn't imply that it's guarded, then you can be assured that - it isn't guarded. Now, it might be trapped - but you have no reason to know whether it is or not. You'll have to find out by picking the lock or bashing the door in, won't you? So why would you, the player, need to know? And why would the guy who playes the owner the treasure room need to know you're trying to get in? If it was trapped, then it's already trapped. You don't need to tell the guy to go ahead and put that trap on the lock so it can injure your character. If it isn't trapped, then there's no need for the OOC conversation in the first place.

MUSHes work totally differently, and their "family" of text games. Games that rely on emotes/poses for all movement of the game world are of course more reliant on player cooperation.

But games that have coded doors, coded crowns, actual items, mobs, damage, healing, etc...are not reliant on player cooperation and there's no need to share your intentions - unless as I said previously, there's a matter of consent for rape/torture (not that the torturer has permission to torture someone, but rather whether or not he has permission to act the torture out. The "scene fades to black" is a common OOC construct to allow something to take place, without anyone having to read the details on the monitor).
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Old 09-08-2007, 05:17 PM   #12
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Re: Is it Impolite Not to Share?

I can't say that I believe this is a matter of politeness or not unless it's viewed in the context of the game you are playing. In some games, having OOC information/plans is a competitive ADVANTAGE over players who do not operate OOC. No one should be forced to give up their character's plans, especially not for the sake of politeness.

Information is knowledge, and knowledge is power. This is true for all games, and moreso for RPI, RPE, and ICE games.

Even in a MUSH, OOC knowledge of another character's plan of events can give you an advantage of either impeding their progress or aiding it depending on what you wish the outcome of the events to be.

Anyway, in MOST situations, I think that there's no need to give other people the information, but on a coded MUD-style game, I do think that operating just via emotes would be bad form in a global event. For example, if you're at a party with the king and emote

-> Bubasox steals the King's crown

when you actually have commands to steal something from another player or the King isn't WEARING a crown, then I would believe you were a bit of a party pooper trying to crash an event. In this case, I think you would approach the admins and say, "This is what my character wants to do. Can I do it?" The admin would then provide a coded crown, and you would try to steal it using your thiefly commands. What happens after that is a matter of RP. No player has the right to demand to know what your thiefly character may be up to, but it would be best to discuss the event with the admins rather than pulling out an emote and expecting everyone to go with it. Obviously, in this case, the admin could just emote back and insta-kill your character, which you wouldn't want to happen anyway.
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Old 09-08-2007, 05:46 PM   #13
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Re: Is it Impolite Not to Share?

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I have to take issue with this last statement. Nothing limits the potential story? Everything limits it. Every single player on a MUSH limits the direction and completion of any story. If a player doesn't want to scale the wall, or feels that the wall is too high, or feels that you aren't adept enough, end of story.

A MUSH is only as good as the weakest writer/roleplayer in the game because it is owned and controlled not by code but rather by emotes and how giving/non-giving a player is.
I have to take issue with this mentality. Generalizing about all MUSHes is as bad as generalizing about all MUDs. Not all MUSHes are of the pure consent variety that you're slamming here. Mine, for example, do involve some coded aspects - the facsimile of a tabletop dice-rolling system. Players pose, yes, but the poses are based on what the dice say. You don't get to pull off a John Woo dive-and-shoot-with-two-guns move. You get to try, and if the dice fail you, you fail. And if a player gets petulant and refuses to participate in a scene (this RARELY happens) - well, we write the ending for them, if need be.
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