|becky has a neg 4 to stealth checks (clank) wrote,|
@ 2018-10-30 10:02:00
|Entry tags:||essay, rp writing|
RP Thoughts on Conflict
I have to admit, I sort of love it when characters do something ICly that have consequences and another player calls me an asshole. Not asshole in that I was rude to them or did something to them without permission, but asshole in the George R. R. Martin sense where they really care about characters and are devastated when something bad happens.
But, I also have to remind myself that not everyone likes character vs. character conflict. RP is an escape and a creative outlet. It needs to be a space where everyone interacting in it has agreed upon rules. That can be things like FTB for romance or banning certain trigger topics from a game. But just because something isn't against the rules, doesn't mean you shouldn't handle it carefully.
When Engaging in IC Character Vs Character Conflict
It's never a bad idea to check in with your scene partner. "Hey, I'm really enjoying these two characters lashing out at each other. How are you feeling about it? I think it's driving some great story/line drama! Are you doing okay with it?"
I know, I know. We're supposed to keep OOC and IC separate, right? But I think that doesn't mean we can't check in with each other. This is something I've been guilty of doing myself. I make assumptions.
I had a really great experience with another player the other day. I just wanted to make sure they were enjoying the IC arguing as much as I was, but also offered to tone it down if they weren't enjoying it. The player said, "Actually, if they could get a little closer to seeing one another's point of view, that would be great." And then she related to me some OOC stuff going on that made it harder to enjoy the IC conflict.
So we toned it down, and we still have a line, it's just going in a more cooperative direction which is still great! Also, I didn't know about the other OOC stuff going on and likely this player wouldn't have opened up to me if I hadn't asked.
Check in. Be a good writing partner. Offer OOC comfort when IC conflict happens. There is nothing wrong with that! That is not mixing IC and OOC to be a good neighbor/writing partner!
Unfortunately, because the RP community has beat the drum over and over of not mixing IC with OOC, someone who is made uncomfortable with a conflict may not come forward. Regardless of if you instigated the conflict or not, especially if it's continuous or escalates, it doesn't hurt anything to check in with your line partner.
Some Players Do Not Like Character vs Character Conflict At All, And That Is Okay
Look. I do not like happy relationships. Once you get to a "happily ever after" point in a story, the story is over. I don't understand the appeal. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with players who want to basically "play house" in their writing, it's just not something I can personally engage with for very long.
In a game, you're going to likely come across players like me, the wannabe George R. R. Martins, and players who just want their characters to bake cookies. These players can coexist in a game, I promise. To find out how, we go back to grade school English class.
Character Vs Character is one kind of conflict, but there's also Character Vs Environment and Character Vs Self. I like there being a healthy amount of all three conflicts in any given scene because I think it creates a more dynamic story, but a scene can function just fine with just two. It can run the risk of getting stale with just one, if its the same one scene after scene.
Games typically provide Character Vs Environment, so usually you've got that covered in some fashion. If you're not sure what to do, think of what the mods are trying to accomplish and ways you can use their premise and sandbox to your advantage.
Character Vs Self informs character actions and the other conflicts, but if it's just this type of conflict it can feel attention grabby and other characters may not be very motivated to come in and RP your character's therapist. So use judiciously.
Don't Want None, Don't Start None
Obviously, if you don't like character vs character conflict, you should lean into the other types of conflict and stay away from it. No one wants to be made into a bad guy for engaging with your character, and if it happens repeatedly, they're going to be reluctant to engage.
Don't Be Afraid to Ask For The Conflict You Want
[Note: Crap, my browser deleted this section.] I once had a friend that was embarrassed to ask me for a hurt/comfort PSL. They thought it might be too domestic for me. I thought it was great and I was so pleased to be asked! Usually I'm the one that has to pitch PSL ideas to friends. And there was plenty of conflict! Hurt/Comfort is essentially two characters vs an injury/illness, and you can raise the stakes by adding environment complications. It was really a fun PSL to do and I was so glad she asked and gave me the opportunity to try something new.
Ask! Ask! Ask! Communicate! Check in! Ask!