Powerplaying and How to Avoid It

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Powerplaying and How to Avoid It

Post by Resonated Echo on Thu Dec 15, 2011 6:40 pm

Powerplaying: A Roleplay Guide


So you want to know about powerplaying (pp), do you? Well, you've come to the right place. Powerplaying is, in short, a player controlling someone else's character. Done, right? That's all there is to it, right?

Hahaha NO.

Pp can come in a variety of forms. It can be something huge like dictating the other character's actions in a fight, or something small like having the other character follow your character through a door. The smaller form of pp is often somewhat subtle, but it's still there. More importantly, it's still annoying. Don't be that guy. You know, that guy. Controlling the other person's character prevents them from having a say in what that character does, which, needless to say, is wrong. Because...it's their character, not yours.

Let's have some examples, shall we?

In the following instances, Bob will belong to Player 1, and Fred will belong to Player 2.

Bob swung his fist with all his might and knocked Fred's teeth in.
Wrong! Player 1 has no right to say what happens to Fred; that's Player 2's decision. Here's what it should look like.

Bob swung his fist with all his might, aiming to smack Fred in the jaw.
See how that leaves the outcome open? It's now up to Player 2. Player 2 could follow by saying:

Fred barely dodged, moving at the same instance to trip Bob.
And it's back at Player 1 now. Conversely, Player 2 could have written:

Fred moved to avoid the blow just a little too late; it connected with his face and sent him staggering backwards.
Either way, the point is that only the character's creator gets to decide what happens to that character. Keep in mind that a character can not dodge every blow or continue fighting forever; they have to get struck at some point. Unrealistic ability is called godmoding (gm), but that's an entirely different guide.

For now, let's look at some of the more subtle instances of pp.

Joe snuck quietly along the branch. He didn't realize, however, how far out he was going; the end of the branch, being too weak to support him, started to crack. It quickly gave way, and both it and Joe fell on Fred with a whump!
Bob noticed how hungry Joe was and looked briefly down at his own food.

"Here," he said, handing it to Joe. As Joe ate, he continued, "Don't worry about me. I've eaten enough."
What if Player 2 didn't want Joe and that branch to land on Fred? What if Player 3 (who just arrived) wasn't going to have Joe take the food, on account of Joe being so proud? They don't get to choose. Powerplaying.

Now, completely contrary to everything I've been saying, there are instances where powerplay is acceptable. They are, wait for it, only when the other author gives you permission. Repeat that in your head. Powerplay is only acceptable when the other author gives you permission. And, once more for good measure, POWERPLAY IS ONLY ACCEPTABLE WHEN THE OTHER AUTHOR GIVES YOU PERMISSION.

Alright, that's about all I have to say on the subject. Now that you're armed with knowledge, you're free to cc/rp to your heart's content. Have fun!

And never write permission-less powerplay.

Resonated Echo
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