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11 June 2006 @ 10:33 pm
To help you folks out with applications, and be more useful as a moderator.  
Hi again, guys. This post is being made for the sake of clarifying three things that I'm realizing (thanks to a couple of people IMing me questions) that we haven't really explained very well yet. They are as follows:

#1: About Roleplaying Samples

After receiving a question or two about what exactly we're looking for the in the roleplaying samples, (though none we've received thus far have been bad), we cobbled together this explanation:

What we want to see is your ability to make a coherent post detailing your character doing something-- doesn't have to be anything big-- that you think makes sense for the character to be doing. (mundane activities are just as acceptable as, if you were applying grown-up Cyclops, for example, saving Jean from the Dark Phoenix's control. Just some small action that you can detail in the character's definitive style.) If your character's more likely to be silent, it might be best not to include dialogue as you (and we, too) want to get a feel for what it'll be like for you to play as that character. It doesn't need to be much; for Lance, I had written a short sample where he checked the fridge, found it empty, and (after knocking over a pile of empty soda cans near the door) gone outside for a walk, disgusted and annoyed. As far as actions go, it was pretty minimal; in a single post, you don't want to have too much since of course, you want to allow others to respond to what you're doing. (But you know that.) Lance's didn't have any dialogue, but that's because I was assuming it as a scene in which he was not actually interacting with anyone.

Things you don't want to do when writing the sample would be-- say, doing lots of things in a short paragraph, especially if you're not applying Pietro. you also want to avoid dictating what other characters are thinking, saying or doing in your sample post, as well as in actual posts when roleplaying. since that's basically powergaming, and unfair to other players, it's good to show us that you know how to play just your character, without forcing other characters to react to your character in any way that they might not feel is true to their characters.
#2: About Powergaming

Powergaming can be a bit of a problem. There are a few basic ways that it can tend to manifest, and since this is a consent-based roleplay (that means that characters can't summarily destroy each other without an agreement between two characters to do the destroying and allow the destroying to happen), it's important to try to be careful when roleplaying not to powergame.

First, remember that ICA = ICC. This means that In-Character Actions result in In-Character Consequences. For example, if Lance were to try to steal from the Xavier mansion, he would be perfectly welcome to do exactly that. However, the action he'd chosen to perform would necessarily result in the consequence that the Xavier Institute's heavy defenses, including laser canons, electrified fences, angry young X-men and Professor Xavier himself, would all be triggered and focused on Lance. If he was not reasonably capable of escaping (or surviving, if they were responding with the intent of killing him for whatever reason), then I would have no right to complain that it was unfair for them to capture or kill Lance if they had the intent and means to do so. Because I put myself in danger, I have to deal with that danger.

Second, remember that you cannot develop powers magically which you do not actually have. Mutants in this world generally have only one power, or two very similar powers, one of which is significantly less powerful than the other. As such, In-Character Consequences cannot be dodged because, continuing the earlier example, Lance suddenly learned how to teleport, or stealthily blend into the scenery and manage to miraculously escape the Xavier Institute unharmed with the thing he snuck in to steal. Your powers (unlike in the show) cannot become a Deus ex machina that are, for no particular reason, suddenly both stronger and more effective (regardless of the likelihood of a lack of control over them) in order to help you get out of a jam, either. This applies to less powers/combat oriented scenarios as well.

A serious problem in social-scenario powergaming arises when players materialize 'NPCs' (non-playable characters) as yes-men who act as faceless extra bodies, agreeing with themselves or purveying their own sense of being cool, popular, desireable sexually or of exceptional talents or intelligence. NPCs can and should exist in most settings, especially public settings in which the player-characters likely only represent a small fraction of the actual number of people present in a building or a room, but NPCs do not exist to serve as plot devices for player-characters. They should be treated as fully developed, thinking people who have their own opinions, and as such can be somewhat draining to maintain. Just as NPCs should not be used to agree with oneself to prove a point, they should not be used to create a massive amount of faceless enemies, either. Treat NPCs as people, and not just proof of your character's special traits.

Thirdly, and very similarly to the problem with NPCs in social scenarios, it is very important that players never dictate the thoughts, actions or speech of other player-characters. If you do not play a character, you can not make any definite assumptions about that character's inner thoughts, what he or she will do or say if you perform a certain action, or degrade another character by deciding that he or she is of lower intelligence, aptitude, adaptability, (etc). than your character. While your character is certainly welcome to have opinions, those opinions must be treated as exactly that: opinions, and not fact. You can not force your desired outcome in a scene onto other players-- as players, it's our responsibility to do our best to work with each other to roleplay in scenes that are actively affected by everyone participating in them, allowing all players to have a fun time without causing any players to feel boxed in or controlled by other players.

Obviously, one of a very FEW exceptions to this sort of rule is if Professor Xavier exerts the use of his mental powers to control the wills of other people, but even he must behave with discretion, and will not always succeed in his goals. Though it's not possible to ensure something like a perfect roleplaying game in which nobody disagrees, it is a lot easier to minimize difficulty with player relations by avoiding powergaming completely, both in gameplay and your applications.


#3: About Revisions (and why they are not bad at all)

This is perhaps a more minor point, as it has to do specifically with revisions to applications, but it is definitely very important. Revisions to applications can, will, and are being asked for by the moderators of this game. When we ask for revisions, this is not in any way a negative response-- on the contrary, asking for a revision is nothing like a rejection, but rather a hopeful invitation for a little bit of polishing of your character's concept and application prior to re-application. Being asked for a revision means that the mods liked your application well enough to ask you to fix some minor details, and try again.

We may well end up asking just about everyone who applies to revise their applications, but this is by no means an insult to player ability, integrity, or creativity, and we hope that players will take it as a positive sign when they are sent emails asking for revisions to help better fit their characters into this setting.

Please direct any further questions in the form of comments to the earlier post meant to handle this capacity! Hopefully this helps potential players out. Good luck, again, and happy gaming!
 
 
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