Have you ever had a scene you were simply dying to play out? I have. I get all wrapped up in my own stories all the time. I get an idea for a scene and off I dash for the room to play it out… Only to find there’s something else going on in the room already. And my scene… well, let’s face it; I am not the quietest, most domestic player around. My stories tend towards open confrontation, maybe not physically but definitely on the edge of tense and far from quiet and domestic. I like conflict, it moves the story and I also believe every scene should be relevant to my stories. Hence I pack my play with intensity on purpose. I want to invite, inspire, intrigue with what I offer up in public rooms as this is far more likely to get other players hooked into investing in my stories, read my often seen as “Too-Long” posts and, (always my end goal), play with me.
But sometimes the play already happening in the room doesn’t lend to the scene I have inside my head.
The question then becomes: To scene or not to scene?
Our community is founded on RESPECT. This infers a certain amount of consideration for the other players. Room Disruption is a real issue and it can earn players a resounding ignore, which is counterproductive to what I believe we are all seeking when we play in public rooms. Playing in a public room infers that the scene is open to others for them to play into should they want. If that’s not the case, if the scene is obviously closed, (meaning only the players interacting in the scene can participate) then the common assumption made by the player-base at large is that the players’ goals are to either make the rest of the players in the room their audience, (Hog the Virtual Spotlight) or to be disruptive and non-interactive.
So how do we get what we want out of our room play and not be labeled as any of the above?
Over the years many players have addressed this issue, (again and again and again and again, like so many of the topics we talk about here on Evil Plotters Ink…) I am going to attempt to boil it down to this one post. (Wish me luck!)
A lot of folks want to do their scene where it will get the most amount of attention: i.e. in the room with the most people. Unfortunately, that might not be the best choice. If there is a special event, people have put time into planning it. They didn’t put in that time or planning so that another player can come along and hijack their efforts. (In short, they didn’t do it just for you or me to come in and take over.) Respect implies that we players stop and consider the time and effort put in by the other players. Disrupting a planned event with our preference of play isn’t very respectful: unless we are invited to do so or the situation presents an allowance for it.
Before jumping, ask. Before asking… watch the room. On Dragon’s Mark we have a nifty tool in our chat rooms: /back 30. This means we don’t have to lurk like we did back in the olden days on AOL, we can drop in the code and see what is going on immediately. This is a great way to take the temperature of the room. Taking that temperature could be the difference between getting played with rather than getting ignored.
What if there isn’t an event, but just a handful of characters having a quiet night out? The same ideal applies. From the onset of FFRP many players have agreed that those already in the room hold precedence to newer arrivals; this is a player-created principle. Now maybe some may feel that it isn’t fair, but turn it around: that means if you were in the room having your scene first, the same applies to you. You have the right to your scene just as they have the right to theirs; kind of like “first come first serve”. Of course, there are respectful alternatives to this player-created principle.
Ask. Communication is key in what it is we do. I can’t say this often or loud enough. Talking to the other players in IM’s won’t hurt anyone, not you or them but it can open up awesome opportunities for shared play!
Take your scene to another room; easy as pie and kind of obvious. This way anyone who wants to play into your scene or watch can follow and no disruption occurs. Ok, so maybe there won’t be as many there to witness your greatness… that’s ok, post the play! Your greatness can shine on the boards just as much as it can in the public rooms… sometimes even more!
Or you can stay in the room and build your story up. Patience will be rewarded. Don’t launch into the intensity, rather let it linger and simmer on the back burner until the time is ripe, then go into it. How do you know when the time is right? Pay attention to the others in the room. Those who aren’t interested will pay you no mind. But those that are will aid you in building the ambiance which can enhance your scene and clue you in that they want more.
Don’t force attention on those who aren’t interested. If they don’t want to participate in your scene, no worries, there are plenty of others who will want to play. If you are meeting that kind of resistance, the temperature isn’t right; either move to another room or wait. As with all things in life… everything changes, including the temperature in the room, you just need to give it a little time.
Want intense scenes every night, all day long, every time you enter a public room? That may earn you a resounding ignore from a lot of folks, not to mention there will be those that will sit in the Lobby complaining about you, (just being real here folks…) A lot of the people like excitement, but not all the time. If you’ve had conflict every night in the Inn for a week, you may want to take a few days off. Heck, you may want to space out your conflict to once or maybe twice a week. Give the domestic players a break, it’s their Inn too. Besides too much conflict tends to make it less effective and can ruin the intensity of the storyline.
Content is king. Make your stories somewhat believable. Honest, this is no joke. Over-the-top play pushes the boundaries of what the majority of the player-base is willing to invest in. If your character kills 20 people a night, enslaves an entire quadrant of the city every other week, claims massive destruction of any part of Rhy’Din at anytime expect to be ignored.
Fact is, what we create is ours. Having another character or rather player strut in and state they have destroyed what we’ve spent our time creating…well… it doesn’t make for fast friends.
Blowing up the inn and declaring everyone dead? ::laughs.:: Ain’t gonna happen. Keep in mind DECLARING it doesn’t make it so. You need to work with the other players, playing at them isn’t working with them and is likely to get your efforts ignored. I could cite several characters and their players at this point but I believe many who read this could do that for themselves as well. We’ve all faced this: the player who has the need to DOMINATE the rest of us. Don’t be that player. It doesn’t make the character “Better” than all the others, it doesn’t make them stronger or more powerful or popular either. It just makes the player look disrespectful and disruptive.
Timing is everything… and there is time for everything. Being considerate doesn’t cost us anything but can earn us respect and trust within our community and people like to play with those kind of players. Taking the temperature of the room lets us pick the best times for the content we want and keeps us from stepping on toes. It’s all based on what you want out of your gaming. Do you want others to play with you? Do you want others to invest in your IC? Or is it your goal to dominate and declare? If you are looking for domination and control over the rest of us FFRP isn’t for you. That kind of behavior will earn you nothing but a bad reputation and maybe some irritated ignores.