Author Topic: [Player Aid] Words You Should Know  (Read 1538 times)

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Offline DarkCompanion

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[Player Aid] Words You Should Know
« on: May 15, 2012, 04:50:23 PM »
= = Player Aid = =
Words You Should Know

Hey everyone. After a recent discussion with a few forumites, I decided I'd start focusing some attention on the role play section of the forum. That said, there are a few terms that I'd like to acquaint people with. These are words directly related to role play, and knowing these terms will directly effect the game itself. Players who invest time in learning these words will ensure that the game goes smoothly and players don't get upset by certain actions... or even the game master.

Feel free to ask questions below the post! Just reading a post isn't going to eliminate all of your questions, but I'll try to write it in a way where everyone understands it. Unless of course you don't read in English.

Meta Gaming
Meta gaming is, to put it simply, having your character know something about another character or situation without having gained that information through conventional means. In other words, if your character doesn't have, for example, mind reading as a power... and they suddenly know the name of someone without the person ever introducing themselves or your character asking for a name.

Meta gaming can also be described as knowing about another character's history, whether a character is good or evil, knowing if a character is preparing to do something evil without them giving out any warning signs, knowing that something is happening on the other side of town even if no noises were made to hint something happening, etc.

Basically, meta gaming is having your character know something that they shouldn't know.

Role Play Example
(My Character) Fredrick approaches the mysterious hooded figure wandering the streets of the market district. The figure has a quick movement to them, though their cloak hides their entire body, including their feet, so it's hard to tell if this person is power walking or if they're just really tall. Still, Fredrick doesn't like that this dark hooded person is walking through a vibrant and colorful marketplace where he stands out like a sore thumb. He catches a sight of something shiny in the character's right hand and assumes it's a dagger, so he approaches the figure in an effort to draw more attention to the man. Hopefully the dagger won't be used if more people notice him. "Hi there Jason", Fredrick says to the hooded character.

The two meta game faults in the example above: The player says "Hi there Jason" without knowing the character's name, and the player mentions a few times that the hooded figure is a 'he' after mentioning earlier that the cloak hid their entire body. There was no way the player's character, Fredrick, could have known these things.

God Gaming
Also known as "Godmodding or God Modding", God Gaming is when your character has God-like powers, infinite health, the ability to open sealed doors just because they can, or just generally the 'Cheat Mode' of role play. If you've ever played games where cheat codes are available to the player, you'll notice that using said cheats gets rid of the fun of the game pretty fast (unless you have a tremendous god complex). If you're playing a first person shooter and you can just run up to your foes and shoot them in the face without taking any damage, it might make you feel good or make you laugh about being all powerful... but it doesn't teach you how to play the game, how to take proper cover, when to take the shot and when not to, and generally it just doesn't make you a better player. The same applies to God Gaming in role play.

If your character is given a power that other players (or the game master) will view as a cheat power, or ability, or whatever... one of two things will happen. Either 1) The Game Master will tell you to change the power a bit (best case scenario), or 2) Other players will tell you to get rid of the power entirely (worst case scenario).

God Gaming can also be applied to you, as the player, directly influencing another person's character or making something happen in the story that you have no control over. This is actually referred to as 'power gaming', which will be explained below.

God Gaming can also be doing things like dodging attacks when they're at point blank range. God Gaming can be using a power that, if your character hasn't mastered, would likely rip your character to shreds but you somehow miraculously don't take any damage at all. Basically, God Gaming is when you do something that is otherwise impossible to do.

Role Play Example
Fredrick flinches as he hears a loud roar of thunder through the sky, seemingly directly above him. The sound is deafening and shakes the very ground he stands on. He and his companions start to bicker among themselves that they should get to cover, and after a short discussion, the group heads into a clearing in the woods. They could see some of the sky through the leaves in the canopy, and the trees were spaced out just enough so the group could avoid getting hit by aftershock should one of the surrounding trees get struck. Fredrick realizes that he and his team will not last long if they don't get some real shelter... so he uses a power that nobody knew he had, and he starts dashing around the woods grabbing random sticks and debris from the wind and the storm. He returns to the group with the wood which has, for whatever reason, been turned into solid planks. He starts rushing around the group in such a speed that he cannot be seen, and somehow even without having any nails or glue, he gets the planks to fuse together and make a small shelter for the storm.

Now, do I really need to explain where the God Gaming happened?

Power Gaming
Power Gaming is another variant of God Gaming. Power Gaming is when you, as the player, take direct control over another person's character or the area around you. Suppose you and your team were facing off against a group of bandits that the Game Master set down in front of you, but you, as a player, didn't feel like typing out some huge combat sequence. So instead of doing a battle, you say, "Fredrick starts to draw his sword, but then suddenly a boulder comes crashing down from the surrounding mountains and crushes all the bandits at once." This is Power Gaming the environment. A boulder doesn't just come out of nowhere and crash on people; it needs to be influenced to move in a certain direction by another force, be that a player or something else that happened in the world.

Now taking the same example written above, let's say your team is still facing off with the bandits. You still don't want to write a huge combat sequence, so you instead write, "Fredrick looks over to Joe Bob and nods his head. Joe Bob (another player's character) takes the hint and starts to run away from the group. The bandits don't chase him because there's still the rest of the group to fight the bandits. While Fredrick and the others prepare to face off against the bandits, Joe Bob has climbed up the mountain and is pushing a boulder over the side of the mountain. Seconds after the boulder starts moving, it comes crashing down and smashes all of the bandits at once." This example alone would have done two things. You would have power gamed the environment and another player's character, and you would have pissed off the other player because you made their character do something.

9/10 of the times when you take control of another person's character, you'll end up doing something that the player's character would never actually do. Players often spend a lot of time writing their characters, and when another player suddenly decides they want to make your character do something that you know is not something the character would do, you'd likely get very upset with the person.

Point is... the only person or thing you have any control over in a role play environment... is your character and whatever they happen to be carrying. If their weapon is taken from them, your character loses control over the weapon. If a boulder comes crashing down, you don't know if it's going to land on you or anyone else. If a pie is thrown at your face, you can't control where it goes and can only control whether or not you manage to dodge.

Power Gaming is closely tied together with God Gaming, as I said. Another big mistake is you, as the player, saying something like "Fredrick swings his club at Joe Bob and manages to hit him in the left shoulder, then hits him on the other shoulder to make Joe Bob unable to do combat." Role playing combat can be difficult when you're dealing with things like Power Gaming and God Gaming, but you should at least try not to do these things. In this particular example, the God Moding and Power Gaming were put together. The God Gaming was saying that immediately after the weapon hit, you were able to hit Joe Bob on the other shoulder without giving the player a chance to have their character dodge or strike back. The Power Gaming was saying that you hit them without giving the player a chance to react.

In a movie, when someone draws a sword on another person, the other person doesn't just stand there with a stupid look on their face and just let the other person stab them. Unless the movie is a comedy or something (like Pirates of the Caribbean), the person who is being threatened with a weapon will always try to find a way to defend themselves... be it by finding another weapon (like Mal in Serenity grabbing a screw driver to fight a guy with a sword), or by running to find shelter until they can get a weapon to retaliate.

So saying "I take out my weapon and stab you in the right shoulder" would be both God Gaming (ensuring that the weapon hits) and Power Gaming (making it so the other player's character doesn't try to get out of the way, thus ensuring the weapon hits).

Character Balance
Also referred to as just "Balance". Giving your character strengths is great and all, but you also need to give your character weaknesses. A good way to go about giving your character a weakness is to give them something that would directly influence their greatest strength. For example... let's say your character is a master engineer, but their greatest fear is of spiders. While working on something related to engineering, if a spider were to come crawling out of the gears and onto your character's arm, they'd jump up and start freaking out because of their tremendous fear of spiders. If this were a situation where you needed to open a door in a certain amount of time, your character may be confident that they can open the door... but as soon as that spider gets on their arm, the confidence goes out the window and the character starts brushing themselves and jumping around in an effort to get all of the spiders off of him (even if they're gone).

Many people don't like having huge weaknesses, but believe it or not, giving your character a strong weakness makes the role play a lot more interesting. If your character is absolutely terrified of being in the dark without any lights, your character would be a burden on the group if they were to go into a dungeon and their torches go out. Or let's say your character is an ace pilot and he's flying a ship to dock it somewhere. The ship has taken severe damage and your character is the only one who can land it safely. On his way to the planet, he receives a message from his wife and she just says she knows where you are. Your character turns off the message, then he's nervous and flinching about every small noise after that because he's terrified of his wife and what she'll do to him when he lands the ship. Your character, despite knowing that the ship absolutely needs to land, will start trying to delay the landing as much as possible just to avoid his evil wife. I'm sure you get the joke there, but the point is, your characters need to have a fear that will absolutely cripple their greatest strength beyond reason (as in people can't talk them out of being afraid).

Of course, there are ways to bypass these things. The forums have a private message system and you can always decide whether or not your character knew about something that happened to another character PROVIDED you ask the other player if knowing that is ok with them. Doing things like power gaming is acceptable IF you get approval from the other person before posting.

In other words, you can't make a post that says "Hey DC, I'm going to take control of your character for this post. Sorry if it upsets you." In that particular case, you wouldn't be asking if you can take control, you'd just do it and make a half-assed apology about it. You know the other player is going to get pissy if you take control of their character, so please, be considerate and ASK before doing anything. Making a disclaimer won't make it OK.

There are a few other terms people should know, but these are the most crucial.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2012, 05:11:38 PM by DarkCompanion »
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[Player Aid] Words You Should Know
« on: May 15, 2012, 04:50:23 PM »