Sunday, August 14, 2011

Relational RP

From a 2011/08/13 "Tolkien style and Culture" live presentation at Second Life's Tirion Forest

I've been researching a bit into what elements make RP successful or unsuccessful. Interestingly, they follow the same guidelines for relationships as a whole. Morton Olman MD wrote a successful series of lectures and articles about doctor-patient relationships in 1995 -2010.... summarized in a quirky little article about how to succeed in marriage. Main points extracted below, it applies nicely to business and even fantasy relationships.


::: Ben Franklin said, "The sting of another's criticism usually comes from the truth in it." Thus, When criticized, look for the truth in it and disregard the false. Apology is almost always helpful, even if you're not wrong.


from Ogden Nash (reprinted from the June 1994 issue of Readers Digest, p.130) that states this point very well:
To keep your marriage brimming
With love in the loving cup,
Whenever you're wrong admit it,
Whenever you're right, shut up!

I'd like to underline something a little strange about when in Role Playing: First, there is no drama like messing up a relationship, using any one of these methods. However, other players may confuse your IN CHARACTER flaws for your own real character flaws. Then you get , not only unhappy characters ( a lovely source of interesting play), but unhappy players ( a nasty source of needless drama )

One little trick we use for physical damage is the prior private Instant Message:
"My character intends to attack yours. Are you willing to play this battle now?"
Sending in an IM before you damage the other in combat draws the distinction between player and character well and keeps the other player happy.

NOW... what if your character intends to damage a relationship? I'd like to suggest the same IM tool for this equally upsetting act:
"My character, for reasons unknown to you, intends to insult you and make your life miserable. May I begin this now?"
For that matter, you might warn your friendly players whenever you intend on a new course of action.

Before quote the other relationship destruction methods, though, I wanted to make this clear: Noldor elves DO argue and quarrel among themselves, more than any other elven race, and at times, quarrel more than even humans do. However, some of the nicest folks I've ever met are in quarrelsome roles here. While not one of them IM'd me to say "I need to quarrel with you", I knew that that was the way they should play their parts, so no harm done to our real friendships even while our characters do not deal with each other well.

#7. BE UNFAITHFUL, perhaps better translated to RP as
#8. BE SUPERIOR, which Dr. Orman expands thus:
If you want to destroy any type of relationship, be sure to think of yourself as smarter, prettier, cooler, hipper, or more worthwhile than other people. Make it your habit to put other people down in order to feel good about yourself. Always strive to win any competition, and never give anyone an even break.
Interestingly, one of the hallmarks of Noldor elves before any others is that we do strive, we do compete, and we never give up an advantage. Even among the Vala, Aulë is the most competitive of the lot, and most argumentative.

Elf-maid: "What!--surely not--valaier aule!"
Aule waggles a finger.... "Vala Aulë, please."
Aule: "'valier', you just called me a bunch of women."
Elf-maid bites her lip.
Aulë laughs out loud!


"Controlling" is clarified thus: Try to intimidate others, dominate them, and keep them from behaving in ways you don't approve. "Certainty" thus:
Never let doubt or contradictory evidence creep in. Never ask for guidance or support from others. And above all else, never admit any shortcomings that might make you appear weak or stupid.
Always appear to know exactly what you are doing, even when you don't have a clue. This will insure you never learn anything new or useful. It will also guarantee that people who love you will get totally frustrated in their efforts to help you succeed and be happy.
Imagine what would happen if you turned to a newbie and asked, "how do I look to you?" Even if the new player thought you looked wonderful, you'd have a new friend in short order. If the new player happened to mention a few things that might look better, then you insult him and make excuses and run him thru with your dagger. ☻ And then send the IM:
"Sorry, I'm RPing a nasty character right now. Are you okay?"
Doctor O adds this important little note to his article:
It is important to acknowledge that all of the patterns discussed in this report have positive as well as negative aspects. For example, being right and being in control are often necessary to succeed in our jobs or professions.
There's much more to this article here and admittedly, the fellow is attempting to sell a book, but it's engagingly written and sensible, I think.

1 comment:

  1. Comments from those that heard this presentation live:

    V: Pretty much all the points are also necessary for a successful relationship in good measure

    E: What about this: If you IM each other, you could always say you didn't give your permission to role play in a certain way, and invalidate the play they do.

    Reply: the ONLY RP around here that must get prior permission between players is scripted battle. If my character must argue or leave you or call you names, I can simply do so. That's the nature of free-from RP. BUT you might feel more kindly toward me if I IM you that it's character to character, NOT player to player. So failing to get permission to be nasty doesn't make the play you did disappear. The point is that the act of asking about it privately makes the bigger picture happier.

    V: calling names can be a important tool in rp. You can't be a dwarf without insulting a few elves :)

    Reply: In simplest terms, you CANNOT decide how the other player must act: that's for them to decide, but you DO get to decide how YOU act and how you REACT to what they do.