Fights, Arguments and Rows
by Danton Thirroul
This note is NOT having a go at anyone. It is a reflection on some things I have
seen IC (in this sim and others) or been told OOC that happened IC (in this sim
It's about the ever
so difficult idea of role-playing well. It's about that perennial favourite of
all roleplay in Harry Potter sims - "Having an argument with the professor!"
Such scenes are great - they provide drama and tension and action and fun!
Some basic ground rules. If your character just had an argument with a professor -
do not have another for a WEEK. Seriously. NO ONE argued that much in Hogwarts. Full
stop. Even Harry vs. Snape was interspersed with WEEKS in between, months at times. So
when you have more than one argument with a professor in a seven day period -
you are coming across as WAY full on, alright. Expect a serious response IC.
Getting Into Trouble
That is to be expected from many. Everyone gets into trouble at some point (even
Hermione!). The IC response from a character 'in trouble' CAN be 'I am being
picked on'. Totally acceptable. But ONLY for a limited time. That response is
self-destructive to the game - as much as a player might LIKE playing a selfish
brat, it is NOT fun for other players to be around. Dealing with RL selfish
brats, I can assure you that it is a toxic environment that is unpleasant to be
in. Continued and prolonged usage of this character type will create a
environment wherein other players will not like to interact. Given the choice -
creating a environment that most players want to play in or crushing a single
player's dreams of the ideal roleplay situation - I stomp upon the single player
After a response of 'I am the victim', the character MUST show a partial
epiphany. Justification of such a ruling: ALL Hufflepuffs who said Harry was the
heir of Slytherin changed their minds. All the Gryffindors who were horrible to
Harry changed their mind. Malfoy who was a total bad guy, betrayed the Dark Lord
in the end, etc.
Which leads us to the next often scene thing... "I hate the teacher." So did
Harry. Harry Potter - THE Harry Potter hated Snape. Snape hated Harry Potter -
and guess what? HARRY TOOK IT! And guess what? So will you! That moment of 'open
defiance in front of a teacher' is a great set piece. Cool. But afterwards - If
you do not roleplay 'Oh my GOD what did I just do" then you are NOT roleplaying
a Hogwarts student.
You are either showing that,
a - You the player don't take crap from the man!, or,
b - You are working out issues from high school.
To which we smile and say,
a - We do not give a damn - you may not, but your character SO does - if not -
create an damn adult!
b - Call a shrink. Work it out! NOT in our game. Maybe take up jobbing? Have a
A Word of Advice to Professors (and Students Who Interact with Them)
Professors usually do not get into arguments with students. You all remember
when you were at school and teachers would say 'Because I say so'. It was really
frustrating and you would go 'How dumb is that?" and rile at not being treated
as an equal. That is deliberate. We teachers in RL no longer have the right to
gang up on mouthy kids and smash their faces in. SIGH! Those were the days.
So, authority must come now from a series of PSYCHOLOGICAL punches to the face.
One of which is this - and trust me this is a cornerstone of all teaching in all
places... Students are NEVER allowed to be treated as equals to teachers.
Because they are not. If a teacher SAYS students are equals he is just saying it
to manipulate them. In real life schools across the world young people try and
engage teachers in arguments wherein they get the teachers to answer back as
equals. That is what they wish (the actual arguments are unimportant). Even the
best teacher can slip up and argue back. The correct response is to smile,
refuse the argument and say 'Because I say so'. And guess what? They win.
ALWAYS. Because they do indeed say so.
This leads to tool number two - professors/teachers may HATE each other. They
NEVER admit it to students' faces. Students MUST be kept DOWN, in their place
and obeying. Any break in the ranks and guess what? You undermine the other
teacher AND you undermine YOU (Trust me on this - I have had to lecture other
teachers on this in RL).
Now that moment of epiphany wherein folks may have roleplayed a great and noble
rebellion because you were in the RIGHT! YAY! Now be prepared to be crucified
IC. And TAKE IT! Roleplay contrition and a desire to fit in! Yes it may be an
injustice - but that's the horror of young teenagers - they CONFORM! They cannot
help themselves. They conform! Teenagers are after all more conservative than a
room filled with Elderly GOP supporters! They are more reactionary than surf
nazis!!! They conform and blend in faster than 400 stick insects finding a room
filled with twigs!
Please remember - it is fun to have your characters "Dawson's Creek" moment. I
WANT your characters to have their "Dawson's Creek" moment! As long as you
a - Unlike Dawson's Creek, Rowling's characters always paid a price for their
b - CONTRITION is just as important.
Read carefully. I will NEVER allow someone go 'Well, that's it! They said X
about my character! My character will never forgive them!' That is not an excuse
- that is a psychosis. Your character will damn well do whatever the hell you
want it to do. It is merely a imaginary figment of your imagination yeah? So
leave THAT lame ole excuse away from me - I have no time for it psycho child!
Catharsis and contrition are important dramatic techniques. Remember ALL players
- you have an obligation in this campaign - OTHER PLAYERS ARE YOUR AUDIENCE! Please
play accordingly and look towards improving your dramatic techniques always.
Now before folks start responding, please look at the following responses. You
are pwn'd if you say, "He is picking on me! He is having a go at my recent
scene?" Did I say you by name? Nope - I did not. Please get over yourself - this
has been going on for ages and I have said all of this before. Many times. I am
just repeating stuff.
"So the new RULE is that we are not allowed to do THIS eh? But then you
allowed..." OK, no new rules. I do not do rules. I do 'homespun advice'- I leave
it open so that I can ignore this if I wish and use it to beat folks over the
head with if I want. I offer guidelines and practical advice - NOT rules (unless
someone keeps pushing it - and then I will issue THEM rules).
"Hey you keep using canon as an excuse, but you allow X happen and Y happen and
Z happen and that is NOT canon, so that means I can..." No. it does not. Any
canon deviation is usually done after much debate. And chances are it is because
of SL, not by choice. I will argue with anyone who says otherwise. And we ALLOW
you break canon. No one is stopping you. We just insist you take the
consequences IC. NO this is not personal. Stop acting that someone has spoiled
YOUR parade! They have not.
"Actually my IC actions are motivated because of an OOC argument - because
someone is OOC cheating and I..." Stop right now. Bring proof or know all you
have is perception. Everyone is entitled to an opinion. Start saying 'it's
gospel' without proof - it's a smear campaign and I start saying words like
'liar' - yeah? TALK TO ME if there are concerns - but do NOT get upset if there
is no proof, OK. Perceptions and reality are two differing things yeah?
Me shuts up and orders bigger pianos! IM me if you have issues - I ALWAYS am
happy to chat about stuff like this!
Back to top