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Squash and Roleplay ethics - Ed's journal
Squash and Roleplay ethics
Just finished a nice game of squash with drivenapart. Actually, I say game, it was more running around a squash court, with me figuring out that actually I'm supposed to hit that little round thing.

Rules of squash:
Hit round thing. Must hit back wall before floor.
Round thing bounces, but not as much as you thought.
It's allowed to touch the floor once after the back wall, before other person hits it.
Easy really.

Sheah right. I need more practice :).

It was originally intended to be a game of Badminton, with another 6 people. Sadly the other 6 decided they'd not be turning up. Pity really. Kinda a let down, when someone's gone to the effort of booking (and paying for) courts in advance.

Anyway, that wasn't what I was going to blither about.

Roleplay ethics.
In roleplay games, there's da rules. There's also a bunch of unwritten laws that newcomers (and to be fair, some established players) don't know. And are frowned upon for it. So I propose we put together the definitive list.

1. Keep it IC.
You are expected to maintain a boundary between in character and out of character. Things you overhear out of charater are never to be used in character until you hear of them in character.

2. If you maintain multiple/consecutive characters, then there should be no connection between them. (Working for the same company or with the same group allegiance may be permissable though).

3. As a player, never drive another player's character without their express permission. This includes 'sharing' things they know, and roleplay when they are not present. The Ref or GM has a certain amount of leeway for maintaining continuity between sessions. Never the less, it is still expected that the character remains unharmed.

It is acceptable to write them out as 'doing something else' and catch up with the player at a later date.

4. The Ref or GM is the arbitrator of the game. That means their word is law. There is always things going on that you as a player are unaware of. If you disagree with a decision on a mechanics point, then it is permissable to check once. If, when once reminded, the GM/Ref maintains their decision, then it is time to STFU. If it _really_ bothers you, then take it up with them, or (if there is one) a more senior ref at a later date.

5. Other players and the GM have lives outside of the game. Contacting players and Refs outside of game time is fine, but you must accept that they may not be able to deal with your query now, or even necessarily before the game.

6. Roleplay games are typically a hobby done for fun. By both players and Ref/GM. If it stops being fun, then they will stop. Be polite and respectful (OC) to everyone else in the game. It's also good form to approach someone OC whom you have clashed with IC after the game to let them know that no hard feelings exist. (Not necessarily so much in a tabletop game, when you already know each other well.)

7. Don't take the piss.

8. The story/game is important. The numbers are not.

9. In a LARP, it is permissable to go OC in order to do things that your character wouldn't. If you go OC you should always seek the consent of players nearby. You should return to the same place when you go IC again (and again, should seek consent once more). You should make it clear that you are OC. There's nothing quite as frustrating as successfully catching/mugging/killing the person you've been hunting for 6 hours only to be greeted with a 'sorry, I'm OC'.

10. There is no "win" or "lose". Therefore cheating is pointless, and ruins the game. Sometimes just for you, sometimes for others. Take your hits, track your wounds, and die when you're supposed to. Remember. It's just a game.

11. Accusing someone of cheating is impolite in the extreme. There may well be something you are unaware of, such as actual stats, numbers of hitpoints etc. If you are really concerned mention it to your GM/Ref (discretely).

12. In a LARP it's hard to create a distinction between different characters who are played by the same player. Getting the wrong person is acceptable, (mistaken identity), but you should treat them as though they are a different person.

13. As 11, disguises in a LARP are not a good idea. It's crossing the boundary between IC 'disguise' and OC 'different character'.

14. Play safe. Applies mostly to LARP. If it's a non contact larp, do not touch the other person without express consent. Just stopping for 5 seconds for a "OC: Do you mind if I swing a punch/grab you" is usually enough. Even with your mates, who you "know" won't mind. If it's a contact LARP, then play safe applies even more. The last thing anyone wants is a trip to hospital.

15. You are never going to be the best at everything. It's frustrating for another player to be confronted by a powergamer who literally makes them redundant. In a balanced system, even being the best at one thing should come with drawbacks. And never forget, if you can do it, so can someone else. Muchacho hardness is just making the GM develop harder characters to maintain the difficulty level of encounters.

16. The rules exist as a mechanic for formalising the roleplay. They are an assistant to the storyline, not a barrier. Therefore you GM and Ref is perfectly entitled to ignore, re-write, or otherwise alter the rules as they see fit. Ideally they will inform you in advance, and make allowances for permanant changes that notably change how your character plays.

17. Say thanks at the end of session.

Suggestions/Amendments if you please?
24 comments or Leave a comment
xarrion From: xarrion Date: October 5th, 2004 02:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
Sound good so far.
I was going to do something similar for generalised roleplay, not just LARP/Tabletop a while back. At the time it was mainly centered on getting the peeps on Thanatos to play nice and encourage them to RP. Unfortuately I fell victim to rule 6 myself. :/
I'll try and dig out the notes I made back then and see if they'll help.

As a general suggestion, I'd keep the rules themselves concise, and either expand later, or not at all. Basically keep to a summary sentence for each one.
The PD (and your) Rule 7 is a good example of this. There isn't a need to explain it further, unless you're talking to a complete newbie or rules lawyer.
In the latter case, the more words, the more they have to work with. Be as unequivocal as possible.

Obviously above you're outlining/explaining them, not listing them, so don't apply the above suggestion to your current post ;)
xarrion From: xarrion Date: October 5th, 2004 02:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
And the bit between 1 and 2 (multiple chars) should be its own rule, I think, rather than part of keeping IC and OC seperate.
sobrique From: sobrique Date: October 5th, 2004 02:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
Agreed; amended.
iamnotramphus From: iamnotramphus Date: October 6th, 2004 02:01 am (UTC) (Link)
Rules 11 and 15 seem to be broken with alarming frequency at the moment in SINergy by certain people.
sobrique From: sobrique Date: October 6th, 2004 02:15 am (UTC) (Link)
As do 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 13, 14, 16 and 17.

Ok, maybe slightly less, but...

Once i'm done with this set, I'll be posting them on the General discussion board...
crashbarrier From: crashbarrier Date: October 6th, 2004 02:14 am (UTC) (Link)
i agree on your multiple character rule..

if you have multiple characters then if you can't phys-rep them talking to each other then they can't. They should be like matter and anti-matter or time travellers (you know if they touch they anihilate themselves). the multiple characters may be aware of each others existance but should not interact cos it ends up in a definate rule 7 violation and it pisses people off no end
sobrique From: sobrique Date: October 6th, 2004 02:18 am (UTC) (Link)
Indeed. In Maelstrom, playing Thorn, it's impossible to be unaware of James Lyrus. But despite the temptation to pick on da' badgers and sacuzza, that's a temptation I'm squishing down.
OK, so perhaps it leads to Thorn being a little more disinterested about some things that he would be anyway, but who's going to call my on Dryad psychology? :)
xarrion From: xarrion Date: October 6th, 2004 05:13 am (UTC) (Link)
Me, as your senior ;p

I'd contemplate joining rules 12 + 13, as they're mostly the same point.
xarrion From: xarrion Date: October 6th, 2004 05:14 am (UTC) (Link)
Also maybe put 2. closer to 12/13 in the list - IMO similar rules should be grouped to make reference easier.

Gah, it's annoying not being able to edit previous entries.
sobrique From: sobrique Date: October 6th, 2004 05:23 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, they were roughly the same. I split them initially, because they weren't quite the same.
Oh, and I re-ordered them because I wanted to keep #7 where it was....
sobrique From: sobrique Date: October 6th, 2004 05:30 am (UTC) (Link)
Senior? Bah. When was Gloam germinated then?
Cos i've no idea when Thorn was...

Or are you meaning the awakening? Then there might not be much in it...

nuala From: nuala Date: October 6th, 2004 06:23 am (UTC) (Link)
Slagging off Americans while an American is sitting at the table is considered poor form. ;o) (American may be replaced with any race/nationality)
xarrion From: xarrion Date: October 6th, 2004 06:25 am (UTC) (Link)
nah. 'Any Americans present should be considered fair game by any other race/nationality.'

sobrique From: sobrique Date: October 6th, 2004 06:34 am (UTC) (Link)
Now now.
Prejudice is not very nice.
This is why I hate everybody.

Purely in the interests of fairness of course...
nuala From: nuala Date: October 6th, 2004 06:43 am (UTC) (Link)
Not if it loses you a kick-ass Ranger.
sobrique From: sobrique Date: October 6th, 2004 08:41 am (UTC) (Link)
ITYM kick-arse.
After all, you'd only have a kick-ass Ranger if it's a mostly American player group, and that'd sort of preclude picking on the 'token' American.

nuala From: nuala Date: October 6th, 2004 08:50 am (UTC) (Link)
But if said Ranger is played by the 'token' American, then it WOULD be ass, not arse. Because Americans sound stupid when they say 'arrrrse'. :P
sobrique From: sobrique Date: October 6th, 2004 08:56 am (UTC) (Link)
Surely kick-a[ss|rse] is not a self imposed description? It's a title to be won, by fearsome bad thing smiting.
nuala From: nuala Date: October 6th, 2004 10:08 am (UTC) (Link)
Now you're just being picky. Of course it's not a self-imposed description. And it wasn't her fault that she got kidnapped by orcs and tortured by being forced to listen to Peter Andre's singing. Just so that's clear.
the_wood_gnome From: the_wood_gnome Date: October 6th, 2004 10:26 am (UTC) (Link)
I feel sorry for this poor donkey...
nuala From: nuala Date: October 6th, 2004 10:49 am (UTC) (Link)

Cute Bagpuss, btw :D
the_wood_gnome From: the_wood_gnome Date: October 6th, 2004 10:53 am (UTC) (Link)
thanks. it was given to me for my 21st, a few years ago now...
xarrion From: xarrion Date: October 6th, 2004 06:24 am (UTC) (Link)
To be sure, O Great Wise Scratching-Post :p
sobrique From: sobrique Date: October 6th, 2004 06:31 am (UTC) (Link)
What is wisdom, but letting the entertainment come to you?
And sharing the joy of the Jaguar with the world.

(and yes, I did thingly the previous, cos of stuff)
24 comments or Leave a comment