#11 – Power Playing

This PSA was made by Gorse at the old website on Tue Dec 18, 2007 9:38 pm.

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To all members, please do not feel completely singled out by this PSA. True, it was partially done because there have been some minor issues lately, but also because I had enough free time and initiative to work on this. It also makes a good article for the Roleplaying section of The Warriors Encyclopedia. ^^;


Intro

Powerplaying is one of the first and most important rules in play-by-post roleplaying. And it’s very simply defined too. Powerplaying is controlling one or more person’s characters without any consent beforehand. However, this definition of powerplaying is very broad, and the specifics can be hard to understand. So what exactly constitutes a powerplay? This PSA is clarification.


Basic Powerplaying

This type of powerplaying is simple, as it is defined by the definition itself. It is also one of the most common, and the most easily spotted. In an in-character post, the powerplayer controls another person’s character without their consent and permission.


Example

Note: In my samples, I will use two characters. Smallspot will be played by “me,” while Hugestripe will be played by the “other roleplayer.” Also note that the powerplaying will be bolded

My post: Smallspot awoke to early morning sunlight. It was nice and warm in her nest, making her reluctant to leave. Still, it was best to get up, now that she was awake. She got up, stretched luxuriously, and padded out of the warriors’ den.

Their post: Hugestripe was already outside, biting into a nice plump thrush. “How are you this morning, Smallspot?” he asked, eying the she-cat as she padded out of the den.

My post: Smallspot purred. “Very good, thank you.” She glanced toward the fresh-kill pile. “Hey, after you’re done eating, would you like to go hunting with me? We need to fill up the fresh-kill pile.”“Sure,” Hugestripe said, nodding.

How is this powerplaying?

In the example situation, I have no right to control what Hugestripe says. He is not my character, therefore, without express permission stated in the post in question, I cannot control what he says or does. Even if Hugestripe would have accepted if left to the other roleplayer, this is still considered unacceptable in roleplaying situations. Hugestripe may have refused if left to the character’s roleplayer. He could have shrugged off the question and ignored her. He could have even chucked the mouse in her face, jumped up, and yowled a sudden vow of allegiance to another Clan. That is why basic powerplays are not permitted in Rps.


Godmoding-type Powerplay (also called Metaplaying)

In this type of powerplaying, your character has the godlike ability to automatically “know” things about other characters in-characterly without being told. For instance, being able to read another character’s mind. The powerplaying character may also instantly know all about a conversation another cat had in secret, that the powerplaying cat was not a part of, nor was told about. Circumstances like this cause some overlap between powerplaying and Metaplaying , another roleplaying taboo. In Metaplaying, the metaplayer uses information they learned in OOC circumstances (across a PM or IM chat, for example), in-characterly to their advantage. However, it’s probably fair to say that not all godmoding-type powerplays are Metaplaying, just as not all Metaplaying is Godmoding-type powerplay.


Example:

Their post: Hugestripe bumped into the she-cat Smallspot just as he was leaving on patrol. “Nice to see you, Smallspot,” he mewed courtieously, although internally he growled, Is it just me, or do you look ugly today?

My post: Smallspot whirled around indignantly. “I am not ugly!” she snapped, glaring at the retreating back of Hugestripe. The nerve of that tom!

How is this powerplaying?

Hugestripe did not say the words aloud. Plain and simple. By making her react as if she heard, Smallspot’s roleplayer (me) implied that Hugestripe did say the words around. Either that, or Smallspot could read minds. Getting a character with supernatural powers such as mind-reading is another matter entirely.


Pre-interpretation Powerplaying

One of the less-noticed (and less-corrected) forms of powerplaying is one known as pre-interpretation Powerplaying. It is also more likely to be seen on character sheets and profiles rather than in actual in-character roleplays, although the latter is not impossible to find. The powerplayer interprets how other characters see their character.


Example from a Character Sheet:

Smallspot is a ginger tortoiseshell she-cat with green eyes. Her tail is extra long and curvy, and her legs are long too. She is very good at several tasks warriors do, especially hunting. Cats of her Clan believe Smallspot is the greatest hunter in all of the forest. She is also very good at running.

How is this powerplaying?

No member of the Clan yet has agreed to such a thing. The powerplayer is automatically assuming the reactions of all their character’s Clanmates. For all the powerplayer knows, the other characters may think she was the worst hunter in the forest.


Example from an In-Character Roleplay:

Smallspot woke up that morning in a bad mood. As she stormed out of the den, any cat who would have seen her thought that she was a good cat to avoid right then. She stomped over to the fresh-kill pile, took a vole out of it, and tore into the prey furiously.

How is this powerplaying?

Again, the cats who may be in the area at the time have not agreed to thinking as such. The powerplayer is interpreting how her character is seen by other characters. Note: Providing an extra amount of detail is not pre-interpretation powerplaying. As long as the character does not directly state how another cat/cats feel or think about them, it does not qualify.


Twinking

Twinking is, simply defined, unapproved actions against another person’s character. In Warriors Roleplays, twinking is most often seen in battle, when a character deals an injury to another without the other cat’s player’s consent.


Example:

Smallspot pounced on Hugestripe’s back and bit into his neck hard.

How is this powerplaying?

The powerplayer did not give Hugestripe’s player a chance to have their character dodge. The powerplayer simply had Smallspot leap onto Hugestripe’s back and do a large amount of damage without permission.


Hindsight Powerplaying

One of, if not THE most complex method of powerplaying, but a method all the same. This kind of method is often avoided by roleplayers who simply not roleplay after a certain event until the event has happened (which is why you often see that certain players on here don’t post after the Gathering until the events of the Gathering are known.)

In Hindsight Powerplaying, the powerplayer roleplays about events that have not happened yet on camera, in a time frame that is in the aftermath of said event (such as Rping about things that happened after a Gathering as a result of things that happened at the Gathering, except the Gathering has not been roleplayed out yet).


Example:

Smallspot is in a patrol that just ran into a badger on-camera. The badger’s appearing is the most recent post that’s been made on the patrol thread. Meanwhile, Smallspot begins roleplaying in a thread that takes place just after the patrol

My post:

Smallspot winced as the wound in her shoulder twinged. She had gotten it from the badger she had driven out earlier that day while on patrol.

How is this powerplaying?

The powerplayer has no idea what the badger will do. It may see the cats on the patrol, realize it’s outnumbered, and run. It may not attack Smallspot at all. The powerplayer also had no idea what the other members of the patrol will do, and certainly has no garuntee that Smallspot was the one to drive off the badger, being injured in the process. The events are not set in stone until they have been roleplayed out on camera. The powerplayer is trying to dictate what will happen in the thread that is not done yet, which is why this is defined as powerplay.


Inclusion Powerplay

A type of powerplay that is only really found on character sheets/profiles. In this type of powerplay, another real character is included in the powerplayer’s character’s sheet without the permission of the character’s player.


Example:

Spottedkit was born to two loving parents, Starshine and Moonglow. She was apprenticed at the normal time of six moons. Once she was an apprentice, she met another cat named Hugepaw. She and Hugepaw were friends throughout their apprenticeships, and became warriors together.

How is this powerplay?

Hugestripe’s player did not give Smallspot’s player permission to use their character in Smallspot’s history. This kind of involvement would have a huge effect on Hugestripe’s roleplay, particularly around Smallspot. Without permission, trying to create such a huge effect is unacceptable.