How hard should staff enforce theme?



  • @Arkandel said:

    If it's Shadowrun for example they can't play an evil robot from the future but maybe enough cybernetic parts will do the trick?

    Tangentially related: I once played in a shadowrun game where there were good robots from the future. By which I mean Milspec Street Samurai that were designed to be tough enough to take on a Horror long enough for an artillery strike to come in and finish it off (the horror. They were also designed to survive said artillery strike).

    This was also the game where people shot themselves in the Dermal Plating to show off to Vampiric Minions that no, they didn't need silly magic to be immune to bullets, thankyouverymuch.


  • Politics

    @Ghost said:

    Thus, it is important that all of the staff agree in the range of what is or is not important to the theme, make a synopsis of that available for incoming players to read, and then require players agree to roleplay within theme.

    It is practically impossible to do this. This would require staff to imagine the range and breadth of goofy shit they will have to encounter. It is more reasonable to simply inform players that staff may have to call you into a meeting if they feel you are RPing outside of the game's theme and/or setting, and may remove you if you refuse to abide by the directions and/or recommendations they provide.



  • I once played a Star Wars game where a Mandalorian Bounty Hunter walked around in designer blue jeans, a tee shirt that read something like Mandos Do It Best, and had a vast assortment of lip gloss colors.


  • Pitcrew

    I have altered the scope of the theme. Pray I do not alter it further.



  • @Ganymede said:

    It is practically impossible to do this. This would require staff to imagine the range and breadth of goofy shit they will have to encounter. It is more reasonable to simply inform players that staff may have to call you into a meeting if they feel you are RPing outside of the game's theme and/or setting, and may remove you if you refuse to abide by the directions and/or recommendations they provide.

    Or that, but if you don't agree as staff and make it somewhat clear what the theme should be, you're inevitably going to find some player complaining about your game on some online gaming site about how shitty your game is for not letting them play a sun-immune vampire who is a daytime stripper.

    Not that we have online gaming forums where these things happen. Constantly.

    :neckbeard:


  • Pitcrew

    I'm with @Misadventure to approach a theme breaking player OOC first, and apply consequences, be they OOC or IC, afterwards. I like to think the faux pas is unintentional unless proven otherwise.

    The hobby is not always kind to new players unaware of the finer ins and outs. WoD shows rough disdain for someone a bit muddy on the rules, and it can't hurt for helpful admin to pull aside Merry and let her know changelings tend to be sterile. Harry needs to know throwing fireballs in the street at the meter maid is not kosher for the local Consilium and yeah, we need a paradox roll for that.

    If a game is sandbox, how much theme enforcement is really needed?

    Non-sandbox games need enforcement at different levels. Staff who don't approve every silly concept under the sun are the first gatekeepers. Have no fear to say 'You can't be a Japanese swordsman in our 16th century lords and ladies game, even if historically plausible.' Theme matters for a reason. Characters made to fit it suffer when unthematic concepts and RP become the rule of the day.

    I can't tell you the number of times I've seen someone throw a fit because the Masquerade / rule of shade / lex magica got enforced. As long as it's clear we all play by a given set of rules and assumptions, hold those ICly accountable. All those IC power positions like sheriff are there to help enforce. NPCs in power positions are ways to keep theme intact. Or use RL laws and common sense consequences for shooting up Main Street.


  • Banned

    @Ghost said:

    I once played a Star Wars game where a Mandalorian Bounty Hunter walked around in designer blue jeans, a tee shirt that read something like Mandos Do It Best, and had a vast assortment of lip gloss colors.

    Canonically, Sabine Wren from Disney's Star Wars Rebels is like this.

    However, this may only underline to you just how much Disney has wrecked the canon.


  • Admin

    @BallisticOrange said:

    I'm with @Misadventure to approach a theme breaking player OOC first, and apply consequences, be they OOC or IC, afterwards. I like to think the faux pas is unintentional unless proven otherwise.

    That's a good idea. Sometimes people do things wrong not because they're trying to break the rules or troll but because they misunderstood the theme, MU* etiquette conventions or simply don't know the rules well enough.

    I think it was noted recently there's a big difference between how the same game is played on table-top, where PCs are often mavericks, special or the exception to the rule and on MU* where by definition the deviation from the mean is smaller. It's easy for someone to simply log on not knowing how things are done 'round here.



  • @Cirno God damn you.

    To note, though, this was maybe 10 years before Star Wars Rebels, and IIRC she was also a space stripper/expert pilot/space pirate/Mandalorian/SithFucker who made a lot of Earth pop culture references.

    Fuck, now I'm wondering if that player now works for LucasArts.


  • Pitcrew

    Sabine isn't that bad. She wears Mandalorian armor with a custom paint job and has dyed hair. She's just a teenage dirtbag, baby.
    EDIT: The only other teenagers we ever saw in the movies were Luke and Anakin, one was a whiney farmboy and the other was a space creeper.



  • @tragedyjones said:

    Sabine isn't that bad. She wears Mandalorian armor with a custom paint job and has dyed hair. She's just a teenage dirtbag, baby.

    So long as she doesn't play with LEGOs, make Ronda Rousey references, or sing Kanye West songs, I think she's alright.


  • Pitcrew

    I feel bad because I did have a Star TREK character who was a big fan of 20th century terran rhythm poetry and would occasionally freestyle.

    He was an Andorian.



  • @tragedyjones said:

    I feel bad because I did have a Star TREK character who was a big fan of 20th century terran rhythm poetry and would occasionally freestyle.

    He was an Andorian.

    YES, but Ice Cube is canon for Star Trek. It is totally within theme for an Andorian to go into a HoloDeck, don an LA Raiders cap, and blast "Str8 outta Compton, a crazy mothafukka named Ice Cube".

    EDIT: In fact, I would welcome this and die laughing if a half-Vulcan did it, citing a working thesis on twentieth century Earthen ethnic minority music styles during late twentieth century sociopolitical crises

    Whereas in Star Wars, Earth is far, far away, sometime in the distant future



  • A long time ago, ...



  • @tragedyjones said:

    EDIT: The only other teenagers we ever saw in the movies were Luke and Anakin, one was a whiney farmboy and the other was a space creeper.

    Leia is about two minutes younger than Luke, so include her. We are one-for-three in 'teens who have their shit together'. Possibly more, once we know about all the new folks from the original trilogy greatest hits album.


  • Pitcrew

    @Jennkryst said:

    @tragedyjones said:

    EDIT: The only other teenagers we ever saw in the movies were Luke and Anakin, one was a whiney farmboy and the other was a space creeper.

    Leia is about two minutes younger than Luke, so include her. We are one-for-three in 'teens who have their shit together'. Possibly more, once we know about all the new folks from the original trilogy greatest hits album.

    Totally right, but I guess she never comes off like a teenager, where as Luke totally does. While Leia is being a badass space boss/rebel, Luke is playing with toys and complaining.


  • Politics

    @Ghost said:

    Or that, but if you don't agree as staff and make it somewhat clear what the theme should be, you're inevitably going to find some player complaining about your game on some online gaming site about how shitty your game is for not letting them play a sun-immune vampire who is a daytime stripper.

    If I am running a WoD game, I should not have to explain how your example is out-of-theme -and-setting; it's self-evident.

    If they want to put up a stink about it, that's fine with me; I'm not the one looking like an idiot.

    As staff, my time is better spent running stories and communicating with the players that are in theme and setting.


  • Pitcrew

    I wish more games were willing to enforce theme. I think most of the time people are afraid of being the Fun Police, ect...but here are my observations of people incapable or unwilling to play to theme:

    • They are too lazy to read news/bbposts/the wealth of online resources for established RPG systems (such as WoD).

    • They are behavior blind and do not pay attention to what other people are doing.

    • Often, not always, this is a learned helplessness game, and while it's all well and good to deal with that now and then, it does wear and tear on staff and players over time.

    • The tipping point to theme destruction comes quickly. The more you let those "nice" people simper about being new and not knowing anything tee hee on channel and in scenes, the more you train people (including those who should know better) to do the same. Most good folks if they fuck up will go oh damn, sorry about that, I will do better next time, what are my consequences?

    • I agree with Surr that you should NEVER EVER give super special princess attention to the people that constantly fuck up. They live for it, they draw it out, and somehow they magically pipe down when it dries up. Someone fucks up again with major attitude and aggression towards the wrong vampire who can take them down? Torp them for a month. No drama, no fuss, but they can chill in time out, life moves on, when the sentence is up no drama/no lecture untorp, go away now and have fun, next time you get ashed. Ect. I am really tired of people getting lots of one on one attention and drama scenes for stupid behavior. They tend to not be very fun anyway, since the people who cause them, well--for the above reasons. Cannot give and take, only think about their own stuff, really just want an audience, not a scene.

    I played on WoD places before I bought a single book. I have little patience for people who clutch their pearls and fan themselves about how oh I'm a noob so of course I didn't know gangbanging a bunch of hunters in Ely was /wrong/! I assumed a little too much about how powerful the old Changeling "leaders" were until I observed for awhile and played with people and got a sense of it. Also I read boards. When I played in small town settings I'd bother to look up the general area. I played on Battlestar games and I never watched the series because it's fucking boring except for the eye candy. And guess what, I did not need anyone to tell me that it was stupid for a marine to be sobbing constantly about people being shot in a war and gender roles in that universe were pretty moot (because OMFG I read the theme section of the wiki). Nobody knows everything about any theme, and there's no reason to become a dickswinging asshole about it. However, if you cannot even be bothered to take an extra day or two to READ the material available to you on a game you wish to play on, and you make it other people's problem, then honestly, the game doesn't need people like that.

    I don't think that there needs to be super detailed rules about it. I wish staff would take back their power in that regard. Unless you're an idiot, you KNOW when someone's just made a logical but erroneous assumption vs. a TEEHEE blush Oh my Goodness Gracious You caught me!!! Where's my spanking?!? People. And if the person is aggressive "Nobody told me I had to obey my commanding officer/Not blab the secrets of our Secret Society to people who want to kill us/Not get to indiscriminately kill people in the street with no consequences, how dare you, UNFAIR UNFAIR UNFAIR I'm new!!!" can we all just agree it's okay to kick their ass out the door?


  • TV & Movies

    In answer to the original question: Very, very hard.

    Theme isn't something decreed by staff at the beginning of the game. Theme is "living" and evolving. If someone doesn't enforce the theme, then that becomes your theme. Does player X drive through the city in invisible cars and nothing happens to him? Then your game's theme is now one in which you can drive through the city in invisible cars and nothing will happen to you.

    The theme that the books set out is one in which "everything happens for a reason". There is a reason a sphere has a rule against X, Y, and Z. Because when you do X, Y, and Z - bad stuff happens. If I get into your game and do X, Y, and Z and nothing happens, then those rules mean less and less to me each time I get away with it. No different than RL, really. So if I'm breaking thematic rules ICly in private and no one finds out, that's fine, because no one found out, therefore no one knows to apply the consequences. But if anyone does find out and no consequences are applied, I'd be less and less concerned about following those rules. The same goes if I see other people breaking those rules and nothing happens.

    Having the Masquerade in place wasn't just for the cool factor of being a vampire. It was because there would be consequences for all vampires if the world at large acknowledged the existence of vampires and therefore, vampires policed themselves harshly for breaking the Masquerade. As a result, the enforcement of the Masquerade led to many other rules/policies being in place, politically and socially, and was a major part of being a vampire in a civilized society. So if you lose a major pillar of your theme to non-enforcement, many other pillars collapse as well. For example, if breaking the Masquerade isn't important in this city, what does it matter if I make childer and set them loose without proper instruction? (This is a very, very elementary understanding of Vampire from many editions ago - but I think the point still gets across.)

    I can't tell you the number of times there were reminders in nWoD Changeling that Changelings were supposed to be very secretive and shy away from public attention because of True Fae and Loyalists when the reality of the game was that there were beaches of glitter flooding the streets of the city from Glamour being thrown around with abandon in public and no one was ever, EVER carted off back to Arcadia from being tracked down by True Fae, Loyalists, or anything else. But when a PC was killed by another group of PCs and the promise of actual consequences was a reality, PCs got real secretive, real quick, and turtled up with friends for protection (exactly how the entire sphere should have been acting, according to the established theme) - except neither side of PCs were Loyalists, just feuding.

    The supposed theme was one thing, the actual theme on the game was something else entirely. What it all came down to was consequences.

    So theme enforcement should happen. How varies. You can go with direct staff intervention, NPC interdiction, or if you're brave enough - PC enforcement. But your theme will be what it will be, with or without you.


  • Pitcrew

    Most fiction focuses on the exceptions to the standard rules, it should not come as a shock that quite a number of players will want to play this.
    If you decide to vigorously enforce theme that is the staff's call to make but just realize it will be a full time job. And each time you are tired and decide oh I don't want ot bother with that know you will lose the theme you want just a bit.