The Waiting Game



  • Following on a previous thread something hit me and I thought again I'd consult some input from folks like me who have been around the community for some time. Now personally, I remember the time when we were younger and spent a larger amount of time on the games and things happened more quickly. I've gotten older, RL, all that other fun stuff. But this has come up a couple of times for myself as a player and staffer, and friends, so I thought I'd open the box and see what people think. Here is the scenario.

    I'm playing the character of Birgid O'shaugnessy and I really need to get a scene in with Sam Spade. A core part of my character's story is sort of involved around Sam's character and it is kind of tough to get my character to some of the development steps without interacting with Sam. So I page Sam's character and ask to see if we can set up a time to have our scene, and get a 'Sure Sometime' sort of answer. Sam's a busy guy afterall, he's got a Real Life and things to do.

    Well, Sam's playing alts a lot, even Sam himself and I'm making myself available to him. I'm even RP'ing with his partner Miles to help the window into getting with Sam for a scene. Miles has @mailed Sam on my behalf to set something up but still, Sam doesn't seem to find the time to RP with me. He's RPing alts, he's RPing Sam with other people but when I poke at him it's always something else. I don't want to seem rude, or pushy, but it's really tough for Birgid to move her story along without Sam.

    So there's the set up. Here's the questions.

    How long is it appropriate to wait on Sam before shrugging and moving on?
    Is it acceptable to develop Birgid's story and if it results in Sam's Partner getting killed because of his inaction that is acceptable?
    At what point does it become an issue on the wider game scale that Sam Spade, the main protagonist isn't making the time to scene with others who need him their story lines because he's involved with his own circle only?
    As an Admin, how do you address this?
    As a Player, how would you address this?

    Let the constructive examination commence.



  • As a stranger on the internet, I have no issue telling you how wrong you are about everything and how irrefutably right I must be!

    Kidding aside, it's a tough situation. My recommendation is always plain talk. Send an @mail when you know he's active and not idle.

    "Hey Sam, I'm looking forward to that RP we talked about. I feel like we're not on the same page regarding timing, though. I know you're very busy with RL, so if you want to drop this plot thread with Bridgette, that's fine, just please let me know one way or another. If you still want to coordinate something or just off-camera some of it, let me know. RL can be a bear, so if I don't hear from you by the end of next weekend, I'm going to go ahead with _______ plan of action so I can get Bridgette off the bench. Please let me know if ______ is unacceptable, and I can go with Plan B which is ________. Thanks a lot! -Bridgette."

    As a rule I would refrain from doing anything that might negatively impact an NPC 'owned' by someone else. If it's totally critical for Bridgette's RP, then you might mention to a staffer-- very politely-- that you need some plot help to get Bridgette's RP moving forward.

    Good luck!


  • Admin

    @BobGoblin said:

    How long is it appropriate to wait on Sam before shrugging and moving on?

    You can move on at will. You're playing the character to have fun, so do what it takes to do so within the game's thematic framework.

    Is it acceptable to develop Birgid's story and if it results in Sam's Partner getting killed because of his inaction that is acceptable?

    Have you spoken to Miles about this OOC? Communication is key - if he's okay with this possibility then why not? But make sure it's because the story led to that, not to make a point about Sam's player; this isn't about him, it should be about you and Miles' player.

    At what point does it become an issue on the wider game scale that Sam Spade, the main protagonist isn't making the time to scene with others who need him their story lines because he's involved with his own circle only?

    That's up to staff to decide according to the game's rules if applicable.

    Also keep in mind that it sounds like this particular FC is active, just not with you; unless his circle of roleplaying companions is truly small or the FC rules are pretty specific about how accommodating he has to be, it might be difficult to justify removing the character from him.

    It doesn't sound like he's interested in playing with you, though. So the real question is, do you really want to have to force him to?

    As an Admin, how do you address this?

    Not knowing the game's rules on FCs it's impossible to say. Can you provide any information about it? What are the requirements? How small is Sam's roleplaying circle?

    As a Player, how would you address this?

    Let staff know of the problem as objectively as you can. Explain the situation and ask them what they believe you should do. You've made your intentions known to Sam's player, clearly he's aware you're available and want scenes with him. Unless something changes very soon I suggest you move on - either from Birgid or from roleplaying threads which require Sam's active participation.


  • Pitcrew

    I would wait a week maybe two tops before moving on.
    I had planned a more in depth answer to the rest of the questions but Ark pretty much said everything I would have.
    Honestly If I was in that situation and was rebuffed twice, I probably would just move on my story without Sam and if he wanted in later he could come to me.



  • I guess three is my magic number. I would make three attempts total (direct page, @mail, etc) to arrange for RP. After about three days or so I would be fairly certain that the other person for whatever reason was not interested in this bit of RP, and would start making plans to move on, would start making contacts with other characters just in case etc. I would still give the original person one week (after my first attempt) to RP before actually moving on.



  • I actually have a Three Strikes rule with people, too, before I stop bothering asking for a scene and/or RP. If somebody puts me off, misses pages, doesn't have room in a plot for me, has a headache once or twice, that's life. If they do it three times, well maybe that's still life, but also maybe they just don't want to play with me. Or they flat out don't have time, which sucks, but I still need to move on.

    This is hard when your character's story feels tied up in what somebody else needs to do, but sometimes there's just not much you can do but work around it and ask staff to help you.


  • Pitcrew

    @Three-Eyed-Crow I do that as well. Usually, I explicitly put the ball in their court at this point. Like, "That's cool. Let me know if your schedule frees up and you still want to RP," and then I go ahead and move on with my character's life.


  • Admin

    Yeah, those rule of thumbs make sense.

    My own guideline is similar - I make it clear I'm available so there can be no misunderstandings, then... if it's gonna happen it will, else it won't. Sometimes stuff gets in the way, and that's fine. :)



  • Two weeks divided by number of people waiting as a maximum, rounding down. ie, a dozen people waiting I think admin should resolve it same day.


  • Coder

    @BobGoblin said:

    So there's the set up. Here's the questions.

    How long is it appropriate to wait on Sam before shrugging and moving on?
    Is it acceptable to develop Birgid's story and if it results in Sam's Partner getting killed because of his inaction that is acceptable?
    At what point does it become an issue on the wider game scale that Sam Spade, the main protagonist isn't making the time to scene with others who need him their story lines because he's involved with his own circle only?
    As an Admin, how do you address this?
    As a Player, how would you address this?

    1. As a general rule, I'd give it at least a week. If the player were not actively logging in, two weeks might be kind.
    2. I think you and Sam's Partner (Miles?) ought to try to loop Sam in that, at the very least, you two have something planned. Again, if he doesn't respond in a week, then go for it.
    3. I hate to suggest something bad, but is Sam ignoring you, or the community? If a player is in a position of power/authority/importance, I think they ought to respond to everyone, but if it's a specific player, it might be an issue that needs to be dealt with more personally. If, in general, your powerful person (main protag, leader, etc) isn't making time for others, then I would probably want staff to intervene.
    4. A conversation, of course. Figure out what Sam wants, what he's doing, where his time is. If it comes right down to Sam not wanting to play out the story that his position entails, I (as staff) would try to work out a way for him to vacate this position gracefully.
    5. I have been in this position as a player far more than staff, so this is a little easier for me. I would attempt to contact (as above). I would contact staff. And then, finally, if neither produced results, I'd move my own story forward without this main person. If Sam is not shunning just me, but a big chunk of the community, then there's a good chance that others will follow your lead.

    I've played the waiting game on MUs a lot. It's painful, I know. I think, on whole, my experience is that those players that need time will ask for it and work with you. Those players that are simply uninterested will not. It might be a little harsh, but I expect people to respect my time just as I respect theirs. We all miss RP dates, we all have days we don't feel it, but it's just not that hard to say "Hey, I can't do tonight".


  • Politics

    Is generally unwise to make a PC who is so dependant on another PC, atleast in my experiance. You can expect to play with them, sure, want to even. But do not make it so your fun stagnates if they are absent.



  • It sounds to me like you've given this player enough opportunities to hook up and get the scene in that you have asked him (repeatedly) for. If he's actively logging in on other characters, and even RPing on his Sam character, he's being willfully rude and ignorant and you have every right to say 'screw it' and push on with whatever you need to in order to enjoy your character.


  • Pitcrew

    @Olsson Yeah, that's my general rule of thumb. I've found any time that my PC becomes dependent on another PC (or them on mine) my enjoyment plummets.


  • Admin

    @Pondscum said:

    If he's actively logging in on other characters, and even RPing on his Sam character, he's being willfully rude and ignorant

    Other than the fact he said 'okay, let's rp sometime' (which it sounds like it wasn't exactly offered enthusiastically but which can still be misleading) I don't think he's being rude or ignorant.

    No matter what you are never obligated to play with one specific person. Remember, we have no reason to think he's inactive - the OP said he's playing the character with other people. Maybe he doesn't like Brigid's character or maybe he doesn't like Brigid's player but he's not doing anything wrong here other than not communicating more clearly.

    If the implied relationship between the two characters would be romantic or sexual that's even more complicated. Either way there's no happy ending here, would the OP really want someone to play with her because staff forced him to?


  • Coder

    @Arkandel said:

    @Pondscum said:

    If he's actively logging in on other characters, and even RPing on his Sam character, he's being willfully rude and ignorant

    Other than the fact he said 'okay, let's rp sometime' (which it sounds like it wasn't exactly offered enthusiastically but which can still be misleading) I don't think he's being rude or ignorant.

    No matter what you are never obligated to play with one specific person. Remember, we have no reason to think he's inactive - the OP said he's playing the character with other people. Maybe he doesn't like Brigid's character or maybe he doesn't like Brigid's player but he's not doing anything wrong here other than not communicating more clearly.
    ...

    Yeahno.

    If you accept a position of power in the game, if you take on a lead role in a staff-run plot, if you make yourself integral to the continuation of the game, you are accepting the obligation to work with other PCs. If you don't work with other PCs, I'd expect you to be removed from said position, as a staffer and as a player.

    Example: On Requiem for Kingsmouth (a WoD vampire game, for those unfamiliar), you were required to present yourself to your clan head, or your covenant rep, or to the prince. Meeting with the prince was very difficult on account of how busy the prince was (which isn't to say the prince was refusing anyone, simply would have to schedule a meeting out some two weeks). If you had no covenant, you were left with a clan head (and that was common). If the clan head (priscus) does not set aside time to RP with these people who he or she has already agreed to meet with, then dude's gotta go.

    We are all here completely voluntary. We're not obligated to do any single thing except for what we've decided to be obligated to do. Don't want to have to RP with anyone? Don't sign up to be a leader. Don't want to RP with a specific person? Talk to staff. Agreeing to do something then not doing it is rude.



  • @Arkandel said:

    @Pondscum said:

    If he's actively logging in on other characters, and even RPing on his Sam character, he's being willfully rude and ignorant

    Other than the fact he said 'okay, let's rp sometime' (which it sounds like it wasn't exactly offered enthusiastically but which can still be misleading) I don't think he's being rude or ignorant.

    No matter what you are never obligated to play with one specific person. Remember, we have no reason to think he's inactive - the OP said he's playing the character with other people. Maybe he doesn't like Brigid's character or maybe he doesn't like Brigid's player but he's not doing anything wrong here other than not communicating more clearly.

    If the implied relationship between the two characters would be romantic or sexual that's even more complicated. Either way there's no happy ending here, would the OP really want someone to play with her because staff forced him to?

    I think it's both rude and ignorant to say 'sure, we'll RP' and then never be available or always have something else that takes precedence. If the player simply doesn't want to RP, then they should say so. I absolutely agree that nobody can force anyone to play with them, nor do they even have to acknowledge them, but if you convey the message that you're happy to play a scene, then don't dodge the issue. If it were a case of staff having to step in, then I would be long gone. I like to think people RP with me because they enjoy my RP, not because they're forced to.


  • Admin

    @Pondscum said:

    I think it's both rude and ignorant to say 'sure, we'll RP' and then never be available or always have something else that takes precedence.

    No, I agree, and I made the disclaimer to begin with. He should have been clear if he just doesn't want to play with OP for whatever reason.

    @skew said:

    If you accept a position of power in the game, if you take on a lead role in a staff-run plot, if you make yourself integral to the continuation of the game, you are accepting the obligation to work with other PCs. If you don't work with other PCs, I'd expect you to be removed from said position, as a staffer and as a player.

    This isn't a Prince meeting a newcomer once. I had to refamiliarize myself briefly with the Maltese Falcon (it'd been forever since I last read the book and probably longer since I watched the film, which is a shame on both accounts) but the two characters had a turbulous relationship to say the least, and perhaps that's not something Sam's player wanted for the character at this point.

    Not all FCs - or games - are ran the same way, granted. Some require FCs to be played very close to the original material in which case Sam's player might just be out of luck and he might be obligated to interact with Igrid (which is a very bad reason to do so, but them's the breaks).

    On other games though the requirements for FCs are very relaxed. For example if I'm playing Dr. Strange on a game with dozens of FCs around - he's not the 'central character' by any means, just one of many - and someone whose roleplay or personality I don't particularly like for any reason rolled Clea, someone often romantically tied to that character, I wouldn't consider myself to be obligated to play with her. If staff tried to force the issue (which they won't because they are sane) they'll just have to find a different player.

    Games shouldn't try to force interaction. The idea is to encourage it, to make it appealing. "Do this or else" is a laughable practice.

    The right answer in this scenario for instance for staff wouldn't be to come in wielding a baseball bat but to get the two players in touch with each other and figure out what the problem is, if indeed it exists; maybe Sam's player has no idea Ingrid is bottlenecked without him. Maybe his RL schedule prevents him from meeting with her.

    Ideally when FCs who're supposed to be intimate with or particularly tied to existing ones are applied for there should be a mandatory step where this communication takes place ahead of time - that way (for example) could have made it clear his version of the character doesn't like Ingrid that much, they might interact very sporadically but it'll never be A Thing. Or staff could offer to find or run plot for them so there is a different relationship between them, things to do with these two, etc.

    But no, forcing people to play... hahah, no. Why would the other person even want them to? I'd be insulted if someone was told they had to play with me.



  • Personally, if I were in your shoes and haven't rpd with Sam much, I'd just retcon and swap out the names for some NPC that's very Sam-like and get on with life after the first contact attempt failed.

    Unless you're into catching up on Farscape while having a mush window open, there's no reason to put your life on hold around someone else's busy schedule, especially if there are other players who'd like to play with you.


  • Politics

    @Arkandel

    Read the specific scenario above; you're wandering into hypotheticals.

    If I make a PC to play with someone, and that someone asked me to make the PC, I will be downright bitchy if they turn me down thrice and are playing with others. I may even end up tossing the PC entirely and moving on with my life. This has happened to me a few times, so I've learned to always make a PC that is capable of handling their shit on their own; becoming part of a troupe can be tumultuous and aggravating, and unfulfilling even if it pans out.


  • Admin

    @Ganymede said:

    If I make a PC to play with someone, and that someone asked me to make the PC, I will be downright bitchy if they turn me down thrice and are playing with others

    And you'd have been justified to, but where did you read Sam asked the OP to make Ingrid?


  • Coder

    It sounds like Sam's just not into that plot. Forcing it is likely to not get you much satisfaction, as @Arkandel mentioned. It could also be that he just forgot, and another gentle nudge might get clarity on what's going on.

    In general, though, how long you put your own fun on hold for someone else is more of a personal choice. There's no right or wrong answer. Couple of other options to consider:

    • Go ahead with the plot with someone else (perhaps a NPC) in Sam's role.
    • Work out what happens off-camera with Sam so the plot can proceed.
    • Try to pin down Sam to a specific date/time. "How about Tuesday evening" in general works a little better than "Let's play sometime."

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