Fantasy Role-Playing 101: Part 3 - Ethics and Etiquette
Part 3 - Ethics & Etiquette
Like anything, Role-Playing has its own ethics and etiquette. Expected behaviors. A general, often unspoken rule set from which most decent role-player operate off of.
Forcing, Force RP, Rape
One of the most common rules being broken, is that of force RP, or forcing. Just like in real life (RL), consent is usually mandatory if you are going to preform an action which involves another person. The consent may be implied consent, if the person is already a close friend for example, and you went to hug them, chances are that would be fine. But when it comes to unknown reactions, or dangerous situations, consent is usually desired. An example would be the following, in which two strangers are role-playing for the first time.
Person 1: ~winks and blushes a little, a desire fills his eyes~
Person 2: ~steps away slightly, confused by the look she is receiving~
Person 1: ~steps closer, and purrs softly, seducing her as he does. He watches as she melts and steps closer to him.~
The above example is kind of like rape. Person 1 is basically forcing Person 2 into an action. Now some people like 'forcing' RP, and usually any group who is into that, will be well labeled as such. However it is not a popular theme, and should be avoided at all costs unless it is clearly stated that it is desired.
Force doesn't have to be of a sexual nature either. Forcing someones actions, or placing their character into a dangerous corner with no escape, is wrong no matter what. There are some situations which may not seem like force, but actually are. Take the following for example:
Person 1: ~sits on a bench, and picks up a sandwich to eat some lunch~
Person 2: ~sees 'Person 1' sitting on the bench, and decides to sit down next to them, waiting for the bus~
Person 1: ~drops his sandwich, as he watches the bus come skidding towards the bench, the bus comes and crashes into the bench, pinning them both under its front bumper~
In the above example, Person 1 basically just forced Person 2 into a possibly life threatening situation, with no implied warning as to any danger. While yes, a bus could do this at any time, and random events do happen, it may not make for an enjoyable story. Remember, most people RP for fun or enjoyment of some sort, so unless you know that someone enjoys dealing with sudden life threatening situations, generally avoid them unless you hint at them first.
In a similar manner, you aren't supposed to corner someone into a situation they can't get out of. I often RP as a wolf, so I am often pouncing and pinning. This is all fine and dandy, and can add some fun to a situation. But you should always allow for an escape route, or for the other person to push you off. For example:
Person 1: ~jumps and pins her to the ground, growling and biting her shoulder so she cant escape~
That would be generally unacceptable. A more acceptable method, is as follows:
Person 1: ~jumps and pins her to the ground...~
Person 2: ~yelps as she gets pinned, but is unable to move~
Person 1: ~growls and bites her shoulder, holding her down~
In that case, Person 2 consented to the pinning. She could of also squirmed away, and dodged Person 1 if she wanted to. So any actions which may corner someone, or force them, should be broken up into actions which allow the other person a narrow chance of escaping. Notice the ... which indicates that there is some follow through which is planned, but it depends on the reaction.
A more advanced method will be discussed later, in which dice rolls, random number guessing, or riddles are used. These determine the outcome of a force type situation, in which case there are still 2 or more options, but it is chance or skill that determines the outcome, and not the will of the role-player.
God RP is often preformed by people who are very unskilled at RP. They have no situational awareness of the scene unfolding within the RP. They tend to teleport around, from place to place, without role playing that they are in travel. They also will be able to move in matrix like manners in order to dodge bullets or avoid injury, or inflict injury when they are otherwise not in a position to do so.
Sometimes God RP'ers are trolls who just want to disrupt a RP too. It can be quite frustrating and distracting. It can often kill an otherwise good RP.
The key to avoiding this, is to take notes on the locations of all the characters, and any other objects or NPC's within play, and their current actions / positions. I do this in my head, and sometimes by scrolling up to double check things, and visualizing the environment, and then basing my actions around that. I know others who keep a running note pad with actual notes.
This comes with practice, but if you have read this series of posts, chances are you will not make this mistake. This often comes to play in a battle, in which people begin to loose thru fair play, and resort to teleporting or backstabbing in order to gain an upper hand. In most cases I would banish these people or argue their actions in OOC if it looked like maybe they were confused.
Waiting your turn, pacing, rushing
Another common mistake is when people try to rush the experience, and get ahead of their partners, or try to add to what they wrote previously before waiting for a reply. Generally turns are made on a line per line basis. So once a message is sent, you need to wait for a response before sending your next message.
In some cases, if the additional line offers more context to enforce the above line, it is permitted, so long as the additional line doesn't add additional actions which moves the character forward thru the plot. What you shouldn't do, is advance the story even further by changing your original position in the first line.
The worst is when people reply without fully reading or understanding the previous line from their partner. Or without taking into account the current setting, and positions of all involved. In a quick RP, I myself have been known to do this, sadly. So it is easy to do by mistake, but is usually correctable. For example:
Person 1: ~walks through the forest, and discovers a clearing with a lovely steaming hot spring, and stands at the edge of it looking in.~
Person 2: ~jumps in, joining him in the hot spring.~
As you can see, Person 1 was just on the shore, while Person 2 reacted in such a way as to imply that person 1 was already in the water. This is as bad as acting out the other persons moves. It forces Person 1 to either interrupt the storyline by correcting Person 2, which can kill the flow of the story; or play along with it, while he may not of been intending to enter the water to begin with.