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Drama Mamas: Roleplaying the system


Drama Mamas Lisa Poisso and Robin Torres are experienced gamers and real-life mamas -- and just as we don't want our precious babies to be the ones kicking and wailing on the floor of the checkout lane next to the candy, neither do we want you to become known as That Guy on your realm.

We fear change. Sometimes change is good, though. Change caused a bit of a problem in this week's letter.
Dear Robin & Lisa,

I'm in a middling-sized roleplaying guild on Argent Dawn (EU). We hold casual RP just about every evening and when we roleplay any combat, it's usually done in the form of an emote battle, with a simple rolling mechanic (/roll 1-100) used only when it's really, really needed.

Then, out of nowhere, our GM and deputy posted up a new set of roleplaying rules on the guild forums. These D&D-esque rules asked that each player pick a series of passive bonuses and active abilities to attach to their roleplaying character(s). Later on, we found out that the idea for and most of the work on this new set of rules had come not from our two leaders, but from a brand new guildie, and that he had worked this out with our leaders on Skype long before anyone else was notified.

It's become known among the guildies as 'the system' and has split us down the middle, with OOC steadily bleeding into IC so that the guild now often RPs in two separate groups:
Some members of the guild fiercely defend the new system, insisting that it promotes balanced RP, that they're 'open to any new ideas' and that the mechanics augment, rather than restrict, our RP characters' capabilities.

Others defend the 'old way' of RPing, saying that the new system is too complex, restricts their creativity, and was 'forced upon them' without any notice by a guild member of the lowest possible rank.

Are the attackers of the new RP system making a valid point in their calls to go back to the more casual emote-battles? How can I reconcile the two groups' differences so that we can be one big happy family again? :(

Rattled Roleplayer
Drama Mama RobinDrama Mama Robin: Hey, Rattled. I feel for you. It's tough when a group that works goes through a schism. As usual, I have some questions.
  • Are you a person of note in your guild? You talk of reconciling the two groups. Do you have the power to make any changes? Or are you just thinking about making an impassioned speech to bring the two factions back together? I'll assume the latter, for the purposes of my reply.
  • What kind of leadership does your guild have? If it's a democracy, than this change was foisted unfairly and those against it should call for a vote. If it's an oligarchy, however, the leaders are well within their rights to enact laws without informing anyone -- using any counselor they choose.
  • Do you have a guild charter? If so, it should cover how disputes should be handled. If not, perhaps the dissenting faction could petition for one to be drafted.
If there is no recourse in the type of government or in the stated rules for some kind of formal complaint, there is still hope. Make your impassioned speech to all concerned and propose a formal debate. Recruit a non-guilded, objective mediator to preside over the event. Convince the leaders to make a compromise should those against the changes win. The dissenters should agree ahead of time to abide by the new rules if they lose the debate. I think the event would best be held roleplayed -- and it could even be fun!

Unfortunately, you may not be able to convince your guildies to settle the dispute this way. In fact, I'm afraid it's unlikely. Schisms are hard to overcome. Still, some fun could be had with the whole thing. The old-school holdouts could form their own guild and become in-character rivals. A whole new storyline could develop making the separation much more palatable, if not preferable. Hmmm, actually that sounds like it might be the best and most enjoyable solution.

No matter how you choose to resolve this, I think it should be roleplayed. I'm intrigued as to how this plays out. I hope you'll tell us.

Drama Mama LisaDrama Mama Lisa: Roleplayed combat can be touchy -- after all, you're putting your precious character at more than little risk. Still, it's disappointing that much of the blame here seems to be landing squarely on the head of the new guy. The way you tell it, the guild leaders embraced and adopted the new system with open arms. If anyone has "forced" the system upon the guild, it's the leaders. Indeed, unless your guild's rules require a vote for major guild decisions, they were well within their rights to develop and introduce the new system under their own steam and in their own time.

Please don't beat up the new guy. He was only excited about his new guild and trying to share what he thought was a great idea. You need that kind of enthusiasm in your guild! Don't let anyone chase him away.

I'm of the same mind as Robin here that a roleplayed solution would be the most congenial and effective way to either mend the schism or separate the wheat from the chaff. Beneath that, though, you must have in place a solid, complete guild charter. Its ratification will be a solemn occasion of importance both in and out of the game, as you've now discovered the hard way.

Let us know how things go, Rattled -- and remember, be nice to that new guy!

Dodge the drama and become that player everyone wants in their group with a little help and insight from the Drama Mamas. Play nice ... and when in doubt, ask the Drama Mamas at Read Robin's section of this post on how to get your letter answered and please remember that we cannot answer privately.

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