Saturday, July 9, 2011

The importance of communication in OOC

The ooc rp security policy in capture sims is all about SSC. Safe, sane, consensual (SSC), originally imported from the BDSM scene its the common way in role play to protect the players. And yet, it does not grip at the base. Traditionally when we think of roleplay going bad we think of physical attacks, bodily harm. But its a grey zone. Fact is, most roleplayers get hurt by psychological brutality and by verbal attacks. „Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never harm me“? Wrong! The essence of fantasy, or roleplay lays in our heads, our souls. We create a character from our imagination and hence this is where the characters life base is located. This is what must be protected, not the pixel body. The avatars body, as important as it is,( because this is what brings the fantasy to life, this is what makes it real) is yet a hollow shell. We can’t not feel the physical pain, we can only imagine it. But we can very much feel the emotional pain as this pain is without doubt hurting in reality. We are talking about the "The person behind the keyboard".

The approach in every good roleplay must be this: A healthy balance between IC action, supported by OOC communication behind the scenes. This does not mean that we mix OOC and IC . It means that we connect with the other player, that we create a base, a possible trust; but at least goodwill, kindness and respect.

An ideal role play would be this:
Two characters get into a verbal fight. They shout at each other. Call each others names, or more typically one character calling the other character names. Now while this scene goes on, the two players will communicate behind the scene in IM. Sometimes a simple smiley with a wink is enough to assure your fellow player that this is all okay and purely IC, and that OOC there is no problem. No hate, no hard feelings. A simple smile in IM can do wonders. A lot of heartbreak could be prevented, if players from time to time would remember that.
Especially the players who have the upper hand in the game. The player behind the dominant character should always look out for the player behind the submissive character.

What we have to keep in mind is, that a good roleplayer will fall into his/her role. For a submissive, more vulnerable character this is a extreme brave and dangerous thing to do. Yet, it is a natural consequence when a player plays intense and authentic.
The player who inhabits the dominant position must be aware of that. A simple "Are you okay?" in OOC can safe lives. Character death is a terrible thing when done by the own hand of the player who has given up on his/her destroyed character.

Now its usually advised that you should remove yourself from the rp situation when it becomes dangerous or even just uncomfortable. I say, this is not a solution at all.
It can be helpful for the moment but a lot of players are then left with their damaged character and no help at hand.
The ideal situation would be, that the conflict which has occured IC can be resolved in IC. If this is not possible anymore, then it must be taken care of in OOC with BOTH players involved. Again, communication is vital.

And that is really the crunch point.

Most painful rp experiences end with the hurt player breaking off, unable to play on. The result is often more than a broken story line. The hurt player is almost always alone with the pain. No mod helps here because outwardly the situation was resolved when the player removes him/herself from the rp situation.
Yet I know a lot of players, many good and tough ones among them, who had to go through this and had to go through this alone.

This is where we need to improve moderation.

A mod should guide the two parties. Victim and committer. Both are emotionally confused at this point. Communication can heal wounds and, more important, clear up misunderstandings.
Open ends, conflicts that are not spoken about, can damage a character forever.

A topic that always becomes prominent here is the question of drama.
"I didn’t ask a mod for help because I was afraid that I would cause drama."

We have to define the meaning of this word more clearly. And we have to step back from making generalizations. Drama can be good in IC, bad in OOC. But a person who is hurt, should never be cast off as a "drama queen". First we need to investigate and communicate. Not all players want to stir drama. In fact I have met far more people suffering in silence because they wanted to avoid being accused of stirring up things. This gives a great playground for bad people who enjoy hurting others and who can only feel good by making others feel bad. And we get a lot of them in roleplay. Particulary in Capture Roleplay and BDMS.

Another important issue is shame. Usually a player who has been victimized will feel shame and this prevents him/her to seek help. We must strongly work against this. We must emphasize that no problem in roleplay will ever be laughed at. We need more sensitivity here.
For a passionate role player, rp is never a game, it is a play that feeds from our souls. We wouldn’t be doing it if it was not of great importance to us.

The plain truth is: Whenever a character is destroyed, a real person behind it is bleeding.
Good enjoyable roleplay does not have to stay light and humerous to be enjoyable, it’s absolutely fine when there is heavy drama and intensity as long as we remember OOC this simple quotation:
Be excellent to each other!

Gera Heliosense


  1. And I find, yet again, one more reason why this girl is so special and indispensable to my SL. Superb little dissertation, my dear! Wish I could have put it so well. :*

  2. Oh Dunn, thank you! But you did put it well, i remeber the post you published about almost the same topic.
    Well, you know this topic is close to my heart, especially now that I applied for a mod job in DD.