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EPI Editor’s Note: This was originally posted in the Players Assisting Players folder on the AOL RDI Boards circa 2004 and re-posted on DM by Panther 2005 with author’s permission.  Please NOTE: The “You” is meant in general and is not aimed at any one player/poster. Thank you.

IC Reality is what our characters see; it is the physical world in which our characters exist. It denotes what is commonly known to all of us; it is something that rarely changes, unless a bad catastrophe wreaks havoc. As an example: The Red Dragon Inn. We know it exists. It exists every night. Sure the interior can change with the seasons, (especially if our lovely tender Dey has been decorating), but the inn proper is always there.

IC Illusion is what our characters perceive. It may not be truth, it may be twisted, it may hold elements unknown to all save one player/character. IC Illusion allows us the players to influence others perceptions on our characters. IC Illusion is based on how we the players wish to paint our characters for others to perceive. I.e. how beautiful or handsome a character is, the influence or manpower the character has established, (like an army or a host of ships). Things we may not yet know about until it is introduced through sharing the IC Illusion. IC Illusion may be things that have been created IC, but since many do not always pay close attention to each others backgrounds, stories, or in-room interactions, IC Illusion becomes fragile and much of what you may have tried to establish may be overlooked.

It is very easy to share IC reality, because it is mostly static. We all know the environment, we all relate to it collectively. IC Illusion is another matter entirely. Just because someone writes that their character is the best, the strongest, the fastest, the prettiest, or the *most* powerful, does not always mean that everyone else will agree and go along with it. You have to be respectful with the illusions you want us to buy into. If your illusions are meant to undermine everyone else, gain control or power over other characters? They are beyond the boundaries of respectful play.

However everyone has a right to their IC Illusions. As long as the IC Illusion remains within a respectful boundary, I am happy to share what others are offering. When another player’s IC Illusions trod all over mine? We have an issue.

Sharing IC Illusion to me is a sign of respect. I respect what you paint as your characters world, but? Only as long as that same respect is handed back to me. No other player has the right to tell me that my IC illusion isn’t valid. I have been online many years, much IC has passed beneath my bridges, I have earned the right to paint my IC illusions through the creation of established foundations. I do not presume that mine are over anyone else’s; My IC illusions are not intended to debase, undermine, control, dominate or infer any kind of power over anyone else. They are based on the stories already told. Just because some may not have read those stories, does not mean that my IC illusion isn’t valid.

Respect works two ways, you offer it to me and I offer it to you. When you refuse to play in my IC illusions? You are in fact telling me that you have no desire to play with me. Your IC illusions will be ignored if they are intended to demean or overwhelm mine.

Let me cite an example of respectful sharing of IC Illusion:

Jane Character: ::The beautiful sorceress steps inside, pausing to push down the deep hood of her cloak. Tired, unfamiliar lines on pale features indicate that she has had a long hard night with little sleep.::

John Character: ::Smiles to Jane, noticing how tired she is.:: Bad night, Jane, dear?

Another example of respectful sharing:

Jane Doe: ::Using all her skills she’s done it at last! Created the perfect illusion spell. Taking a deep breath she steps inside the inn in the magical guise of a young boy.::

John Doe: ::Smiles to the new arrival, a lad he doesn’t know.:: Evening, boy, isn’t it rather late for you to be wandering around on your own?

Let me cite an example of disrespect:

Jane Character: ::It had taken her days to create the illusion, and she’d had to rely on technology as well as magic, but she’s managed it! Jane now looks years younger and appears in the guise of a boy.::

John Character: ::Sees the “boy” and snorts, knowing it is Jane.::<– Disrespectful


Jane Doe: The Company I represent has been around for many years, we’ve taken the time to build our networking and hold a modicum of influence, we are certain to be able to help establish you, sir.

John Doe: ::Eyes Jane, knowing their power was of inconsequential standing compared to most. He and his are the only ones who have any real power or influence.:: You have no idea of whom you are dealing with. <List of past “great” characters/families/groups no longer in Rhy’Din so John player can prove that they are far better and more knowledgeable than Jane’s player. > <– Disrespectful

This above example tells me everything I need to know about the character and player. It is the quickest way for me to place them on ignore. If their IC illusion must overwhelm mine? Then I see no reason to continue to interact with them.

The key here is simple; Play *with* me, not *at* me.

*With* infers that we are doing this together; my IC illusion is as valid as theirs.

*At* infers that I am to be forced to play in their IC illusion, while mine is trampled.

Using the final example let’s examine this one line: ::their power was of inconsequential standing compared to most.::

First of all, since it is in a thought-bubble, it is not written for the character as much as it is written to the player. Yes, this is an arguable point, but it has been established time and time again that thought-bubbles are relating to the players in most situations. This line presumes to tell me the player that what I have worked hard to create for my IC is nothing to the other player; it is blatant disrespect not towards my character but aimed directly at me. To me, it infers that no matter what IC foundation I have built to establish my IC world, no matter the length of time it has taken me to do this either, the other player obviously has no desire to play *with* me in this. The other player would prefer to push their IC illusion over mine. This is an attempt to demean, dominate and debase me, it infers that me and mine are beneath them and theirs. It is their way of saying “Nah, nah, I’m better than you are!”

I would never be so rude to anyone like this, therefore it is obvious that anyone doing this to me earns a resounding ignore for being a disrespectful player from me.

Am I being picky? Am I putting more intent behind it then the context in which it was written? Perhaps… But does it matter if I am? I have the right to decide what I feel is fair and respectful play, if someone does not know how to play within my ethical boundaries I have every right not to play with them. I do not enjoy being played down at. I will not play with anyone playing *at* me. Me and my characters are not online to be used by others to create the illusion that all I have created is nothing in comparison to the greatness of them and theirs. It is not my job to validate other players and their characters when it means I must sacrifice everything I have created to cater to their arrogance and egos. I deserve credit as the player as well as the characters I play for what I have done not some other player with a need to dominate and steal from me so that theirs look *more* than mine.

The same applies to those who want to godmod or powergame mine, force me and mine to take whatever acts of aggression they wish to perpetuate against mine. In the years I have been playing I have found that in many ways, there is a strong connection between the refusal to share IC illusion and the tendency to believe they have the right to do whatever they want to mine. It’s a hand to glove kind of thing: Their IC illusions have dominance over mine; therefore it is easy for them to assume they can do whatever they like to mine. Oh? And that I will just bend over and let them, and then they expect me to feel grateful because they actually played *at* me!

It is the working together, sharing the IC illusion as well as the IC reality, where fun can be had. You share mine, I share yours, and together? We create a shared IC reality between us: we create magic.

How do we work together? Keep in mind respect and consideration. If you don’t want something done to yours? (Like you don’t want someone to walk up and kill your characters?) Then don’t do it to others. If you want others to share your illusion, don’t create an illusion that is intended to dominate over everyone else. Stay open to others IC illusions, play *with* them. Think about what you write, think about the impact it is likely to have, and if someone wrote it at you, how would you feel, how would you take it?

Do unto others… it is a golden rule and when it is used everyone benefits!

Always, always remember if you are walking all over another player’s IC? They are not likely to play to yours!

Just my opinion,