For once, I'd like to see you play the role of well socialized human beings
It's not everyday that I try explaining something to roleplayers. Or do any myself. I like roleplaying. It's fun to tell stories. It's fun to pretend that there is context for the fantastic in my imagination to infect someone else, and gestate, so that it might grow into suicidal ambition.
Anyway, I was on the City of Hero boards, because, apparently, I am a hypocrite, and I wandered into the Virtue forum (unofficial RP server, just so you know) to post a missing persons bulletin, and noticed a thread by a frustrated person. A person who was going to stop roleplaying for a while.
What could POSSIBLY have motivated this young thespian to betray his own art? What trauma had he suffered?
as it turned out, it was other people that ruined it. Which is typical of the experience. Don't get me wrong, you get 5-10 people together who are roleplayers, examine their lives and personality, listen to evidence from their friends and family, and you will most likely conclude that they are great people. They might even *be*. But it's a well known law of thermodynamics that everyone is a flaming asshole. Because the universe was dense at its inception, but has since expanded, and this prompts everyone to metaphysically pucker to conserve heat. If you are caught in the snow far from safety and warmth, clenching your ass shut tightly will forestall death for a full minute. It may also lead to the strangest charlie horse you've ever had. I imagine you'd prefer a snow mobile and a ski resort filled with loose women or men. But not loose assholes. Though, as per the beginning of this paragraph, men and women are assholes, and so we've come full circle.
This gentleman's personal complaint was that people tell him what's up too often. Which is to say instead of the phrase 'I made a world with my own two hands, and on that world, I placed two people, but I don't know where I put the world, I seem to have lost it, as well as most of my power', a person says something like 'I am the Lord Your God, and if you don't kiss my ass like there's no tomorrow, you're going to be toast'.
The idea is that, instead of a give and take in which a story comes together with individuals writing different characters, a clique forms and a couple individuals, or a group, begin dictating the reality for everyone, whether they've been around or not. There is a fine line, of course, since one might be dictatorial in order to preserve a story when a large number of random individuals comes to participate without invitation. That is similar to heckling, and a response is usually necessary to keep up the momentum of the RP. But more often, that *kind* of rationalization becomes a mantra and a way of play for RPing individuals, especially when they're familiar with each other. They make a point out of trying to preserve, first, their story arc, then later their status, and finally their primacy. RP groups of all kinds run into this problem. Whether pen and paper or on the computer. Beyond this mechanism is one of the fundamental human behaviors; that of division into antagonistic groups.
People are predisposed not simply to form groups, but, upon identifying groups, they behave in a way similar to any other biological defense system. They establish a pattern which they declare to be the individual and then defend it against what they determine to be foreign. The body does this as a defense mechanism against invaders, but the body is not omniscient, and fundamentally, it attacks what is *different* and not what is dangerous. A disease which camoflouges itself with the correct linkages and chemical passcodes to go unmolested will not be attacked. Meanwhile, the body may launch a massive, self-destructive response to things which are exterior and foreign, but pose no real threat. Allergic reactions are behavior of this flavor.
Because any social unit requires identity, or else naturally develops it as a result of its own structure, the members of the group concentrate on reinforcing mechanisms and do not favor the inclusion of truly external processes and concepts within the group. The group can generate new ideas internally, but without the proper mouthpiece for the ideas, the group is fundamentally hostile to them. New members of the group can be consumed, but their acceptance is a result of bearing recognizable elements which the group consciously approves of. In some cases this is formal, and in some cases it isn't. Whether the veneer of belonging to an organization or bearing a title exists or not, the acceptance of the group is a controlling factor. Arbitrarily being 'in' does not mean anything, and, if the group becomes clearly divided, it is simply not a single group anymore'. As with all things, truth is macroscopic. One cannot point to anything specific, because the act of doing so change the information under examination. By drawing attention to some 'fact' or datum, the datum changes, and becomes part of the set of concepts supporting a given argument. It is possible only to say that, overall, that a group is a whole, and there is no such thing as a divided group. Individuals may change sides, be consumed, or alter their opinions, but groups are whole entities for the purposes of most discussions.
Which is the point. Regardless of how useful you think the concept of a group as a whole entity is, in order to move on from this point working with the concept of a group, you have to accept my point at face value. You would determine that, whether you agree with my evaluation of what a group is specifically, or not, the words I'm using to try to convey the concept means that you must say to yourself 'first I find a social structure which is an undissenting singular unit, and then I call that thing a group'. Not 'I know what *I* call groups, so I must pick from them one that seems unified'. If you did the second, then no one would ever be able to communicate with you, since no new concepts could enter your mind. People purposely choose to ignore a contingent affirmation as a part of cognitive dissonance. What they want does not agree with what they know, so they alter what they know. If I say that a group cannot be divided, and they are personally in a situation where there is unwelcome division in what was or what they wish would be a single group, then they claim that my concept of a group is wrong, because it would force them to conceive of a version of events which they are actively engaged in rejecting.
After all that long winded crap, here's what happened.
I went to the 3rd page on this thread, and someone made a joke about there being too many angsty vampires running around. Someone named 'something-Raven' replied 'what's that supposed to mean, eh?' in what sounded like continuing jest, prompting the first party to reply that the angsty crowd can be off putting, and is somewhat numerous.
The pro-vampire contingent replied that they weren't angsty, that the 8 or so vampires who were regulars were all pretty nice, and not typical Goth impersonations of the stylishly undead. I interjected that, I'm sure they were, but whether they're happy shiny people or not, they're vampires, and that seems rather angsty.
What folowed was a nice, polite, highly detailed description of the personalities involved. 2 of the vampires shared an apartment together and were expecting a child (this is, obviously, according to the RP). Some other ancient vampire was quite motherly, because she was 10000 years old, and that carries with it a certain amount of experience. These vampires didn't drink blood in a bad way, they sucked them out of packets, or took iron supplements, or used tinfoil helmets to keep their naughty thoughts of sucking from reaching their fangs and causing them to do something unfortunate. This is all well and good...
And completely psychotic.
I wasn't condemning anyone. Just pointing out that that quacking waddling feathery duckey thing was a duck. The reaction struck me as defensive, and I replied with the following:
you're missing the point I think.
I'm glad you're nice. Nice is nice. I'm pro nice. I think being nice is the nicest.
I'm just saying that because you're a *nice* cursed undead character who has to drink blood to sustain an unnatural existence, even if you drink it from a baby bottle, and it comes from people who are affected with a rare disorder which means they have *too* much blood, and you are, in fact, saving lives by drinking it, and you, yourself, spend most of your time as a bunny rancher extraordinaire, giving out presents to little children, and teaching courses at the YMCA in literature and world history, because of your intimate personal knowledge thereof... you're still angsty. Because you're a vampire.
If you're not a vampire, but just something sort of similar to a vampire, then I suppose, you could be less angsty. But it's like saying a circular saw is actually kind of cuddily. Sure. It *may* be. Perhaps someone upholstered the circular saw in fur and fluff, making it the *cuddilyuddilywuddiest* circular saw in existence. Maybe you'd give this circular saw to your daughter as a present.
It would still be a power tool.
I mean honestly people. I get the friendly thing, and the unique experience you're trying to craft here. It's great, but you can't say "I'm the angel of death, but you have to forget everythign *you* know about the angel of death--because according to this story that *I'm* telling, the angel of death is a rasberry flavored lollipop who doesn't actually have anything to do with death at all, and is really actually just a lollipop'. I mean, sure, it's whimsical to do that, it's even brilliant. The guy who made the joke about vampires is just saying, in general, there seem to be a lot of angsty fallen hero types--especially of the Anne Rice set.
Whether you're in the phase of angsty struggling with the meaning of your existence where you live in the sewer and eat rats, or the phase where you're married, have an apartment in Talos, and frequently show up at neighborhood cocktail parties and barbeques, his point is that, rather than pick a character basis like 'Irish American who dreams of greatness', you picked 'walking corpse or parasitic entity which, in its natural environment kills and feeds on human beings'. If you picked something which *doesn't* fit that description, than you shouldn't be calling yourself a vampire. Instead you should decry any such claims to place you in that category as spurious and founded upon superstitious nonsense. Perhaps you're just a mutant leech with flourescent pink flesh who partook of a lot of cosmetic surgery at Icon. Perhaps you're a symbiotic organism who breaks into people's homes at night, and innoculates them against small pox with special medicine secreted from their fangs, which, themselves, are medically sterile--and this benevolent activity has been mistaken for vampirism. Maybe you discovered you had super strength on the day that your boyfriend asked you to give him a hicky, and you accidentally overdid it, nearly killing him, but he recovered and you were married and lived happily ever after, fighting crime. These are all possibilities which allow you to have fangs without angst. Also there are a large assortment of wolf, dragon, cat, or alligator type creatures you could claim affinity with, which, themselves, aren't particularly angsty.
Maybe you want to say you're the devil who appears as a little girl carrying a basket full of homemade marmalade which you made for people you like, and you're sweet and kind, and really just misunderstood, and never mean or do anything to harm anybody. You would still be from hell.
RPers are too defensive, more than anything else, which I think goes to the core of the original poster's complaint. People feel the need to say 'no you're wrong, this is *actually* what's going on' when, really, there's nothing requiring clarification. The idea that someone else might interpret what you're doing, rather than sit there and let you spoon feed them your existence, is slightly out of reach. I don't mean you guys are that tigh-wad about it, I'm saying that the tendency is to explain yourself more than necessary. Part of it, I think, is clarity of purpose. If you let other opinions filter into your character, you find you're changing major attributes twice a week; it's schizophrenic. I sympathize. Personally I can't stick with one thing for too long. I alt it up.
But explaning to me bullet-pointwise the *exact* reasons that the people in question are nice, because you think that some people (including me or the previous poster) might accidentally be thinking something about your characters which isn't quite what you would want us to think, is overboard. The comment about the angst by the first guy was clearly a light hearted jab at people who are silly and take their angsty-gothy poorly rendered characters online to talk about digging their own grave and then vomiting in it, or whatever. There are also arrogant people who think *they* can craft an image of human suffering better than anyone else. These people are usually annoying or intolerable. If you don't htink you fit that bill, then don't worry about it.
Anyway your response of 'hey now, hehe' was fine, and playing along and funny. It was jovial and joviality is basically wonderful. I can never get enough jov.
Even Brother_23 here, I think, is trying to play along to an extent. 'either you're with us or against us'. Clearly it is silly to be against you, so the statement is satire. I'm amused. Thank you Brother. That hit the spot.
But if you *did* intend for the list of nice vampires to be a joke, I didn't get it.
The point here is that the 'i kill you with my sword' crowd isn't the godmodding problem. The godmodding problem comes more often from people who band together socially and control the way the RP goes. To the point where you throw away basic assumptions of language and attitude that help people play with each other. Language is something we agree on, and when you isolate a group of friends, and agree together what you *really* mean by certain words, you exclude everyone else. Maliciously or not, this is still exclusion, and frustrating. When it comes to RP, feelings are usually pretty delicate. Possibly because that's the personality at work, and possibly because playing with emotions and roles just puts you in that frame of mind. But something as simple as telling me why I'm wrong about vampires being angsty is cliqueish and silly. You like these people. That's great.
But vampires are still angsty. Even as the sun is *hot*.
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