tanglebones

Extremely Mature Scenes and Consent.

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Hello, everyone.

This is a somewhat difficult subject for me, and I believe there are others who may have similar feelings and regard in the mix of extremely mature roleplaying scenes and the knowledge of consent. There is an ongoing roleplay scenario where, though the originator of the idea was okay with his alts being tortured, a good portion of those who are involved are not okay with the mature theme that represents.

Of course, there are detractors who read this and will say to themselves, "Why is this even a problem? If they don't like it, they should have the balls to walk out on it." That line of thinking is not an accurate snap assessment. Those who have participated in some of these scenes involving the torture scenario did so out of a sense of obligation, not from actual consent.

The scenario comes from an idea that had stemmed from Eternal Aegis and Jade Lion attacking Vol'mar on an RP patrol night. There was a outcry for retaliation, and a player came up with an idea of having an Alliance toon captured and tortured. This player also had volunteered another alt for more torture based upon a prior story involving Twilight Cultists and their machinations. Both of these alts were intended, without discussing this with the whole of the Coalition, to draw the Alliance RP guilds together for roleplaying in intertwined stories. The intertwined stories are a good idea but the method used for promotion and how this has involved parties, who by their definitions of honor and commitment, are put into a position that has gotten progressively darker and darker. The scenes that have been created for these purposes pervert the focus of the roleplay, which is to provide the enjoyment of all with combined storytelling.

This all has to do with consent. Though people have participated in the prior scenes it was only due to a sense of obligation to the roleplay- to state out otherwise would ruin the scene and break the immersion. Roleplayers have faced this time and time again. You all shouldn't have to have these scenarios hoisted into your roleplay without your consent. Though the person who wants it done may consent since he or she are presenting it, any of you shouldn't have to feel obligated to join in. The scenes of molestation, rape and torture (of all kinds) are mature themes that shouldn't be foisted upon others who aren't into that kind of roleplay. Keep it Action Movie PG 13 / dip some into R, but keep the NC17 and XXX out if people haven't talked about participating in that scenario.

Dumping / tricking others into an extremely mature scenario is not cool at all, and if the intention is to induce more roleplay involving such things then keep it to private and not have it affect the major plot / story. To do otherwise will not only ruin the story, it'll have the opposite effect and chase away the roleplayers from getting involved in any plotline whatsoever.

No more tricking others into a sick and perverted scene that gets someone's rocks off at everyone else's expense.

Let the flames begin.

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I may have been guilty of this tonight. I didn't ensure everyone present was okay with the type of content that certain players had already established. I regret it and will be more thoughtful in the future.

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I know sometimes people might not actually be aware of what they are comfortable with until presented with the actual scenarios. I myself was one of those. I asked to witness (private garrison) RP because I thought it would be fun to see first-hand so I could participate in the story later.

As it was happening, I found myself responding emotionally in RL to what I was witnessing- it's something like reading a really good romance novel where you get the tingles and if you can, you go seek your significant other (or maybe that's just me?)- except this was not in a good way. I wanted to jump in and help the consenting "victim" and retailate against the "bad guy".

I excused myself from the situation, and I believe both people involved were understanding. This is why OOC communication is so important. You are never bothersome if you ask me OOCly a million times over if something is ok with me. Everyone is different, everyone enjoys different things and is open-minded to different extents. I'm sorry that anyone was put in an uncomfortable situation, but all it takes is a quick word to fix it. None of us willingly hurt each other. Everyone wants everyone else to have fun- we are a community, and for all intents and purposes- I sincerely believe we are a family.

/hugs to all.

~Kerala

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When I first began to read the original post here, I was all ready to point out that all of us involved in the torture scenes were very careful to 'check in' with Skylah and make sure she was ok with something before it was introduced into the RP. I was pretty sure this was about her hand, or what happened with the guard. (The first of which was her idea OOC, and the second was left up to her decision.)

What I didn't expect to read in this thread and what I had not even really considered was the other people around her and the audience. And that made me open my eyes to what kind of position this puts everybody else into. In particular, the Alliance guilds who are directly influenced by the story and everything that's happening to the prisoner.

I think this story arc in particular is a pretty extreme case, and we don't often see RP go down a path this dark in such a large scale manner. (A cross faction, multi-guild plotline that pretty much impacts everyone on the server to some degree.)

I, also, apologize for not looking beyond the group I have been directly RPing with. I've checked in with Skylah, but never thought of checking in with her guild, family members or friends. I think, though, that none of us imagined it would progress this far at the beginning of the plotline.

Personally, I think having Skylah as a captive has gone on plenty far enough and there's nothing more that can really be added to the building of this story by keeping her in The Grim's hands. I actually think it would have made a lot more sense if she was rescued last night during the transfer, since The Grim did lose that fight. But it's really up to Skylah how she wants to see this chapter of the RP end. The arc can continue- there can be plenty of RP-PVP skirmishes and world pvp encounters without having someone locked in a dungeon.

Dumping / tricking others into an extremely mature scenario is not cool at all, and if the intention is to induce more roleplay involving such things then keep it to private and not have it affect the major plot / story. To do otherwise will not only ruin the story, it'll have the opposite effect and chase away the roleplayers from getting involved in any plotline whatsoever.

No more tricking others into a sick and perverted scene that gets someone's rocks off at everyone else's expense.

Let the flames begin.

This part though, I found incredibly rude and offensive. The rest of your post was well thought out, you made really solid points and I think we all learned from it. But this part pissed me off and just became an unnecessary attack. No one was 'tricked' into anything. Those of us involved in the torture scene are very sorry that we've upset anyone, but to say we are tricking people or 'getting our rocks off' is completely uncalled for. I'm going to assume, though, that you are just speaking from a place of emotion and frustration and got a bit carried away.

Last night, when we did the prisoner transfer skirmish, I was blown away and incredibly proud of how well this community works together, particularly cross faction. Everyone has been amazing, friendships are being built, I haven't seen ANY bickering or snarkiness like I've seen in the past. This is healthiest I've ever seen this community and I love it. I'd like to see that continue. :)

Thank you for making this thread, Tangle. Communication is incredibly important in cases like this. By you bringing up the issue, this is something we can all consider when participating in large plotlines, going forward.

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I agree on a few points. For the torture and whatnot everyone should be a consenting party. (I was unaware anyone involved didn't consent to the torture bits.)

However I do have a few counterpoints to what you said below.

Both of these alts were intended, without discussing this with the whole of the Coalition, to draw the Alliance RP guilds together for roleplaying in intertwined stories. The intertwined stories are a good idea but the method used for promotion and how this has involved parties, who by their definitions of honor and commitment, are put into a position that has gotten progressively darker and darker. The scenes that have been created for these purposes pervert the focus of the roleplay, which is to provide the enjoyment of all with combined storytelling.

Part of the basis of RP is putting characters in varying situations where they are forced to react to whatever alignment you have placed upon them. That is the very basis of RP development. Do they break the mold? Stick with it? What forces will cause them to change?

Part of a good story is not always knowing where things are going. The amount of times Zanas has been drawn into RP without fully knowing what's going is countless. As always I reserve to right to say "nay" if I dislike something something and generally RP him out of the situation by acknowledging personality traits of him.

RP is not always self-centered.

I think you have some good points in that open OOC communication is important. But you've also stepped over the line into attacking people for having RP that doesn't cater to your ideals for your character. That itself is folly. Communication is a two way street.

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I know that reading some of the things involving the Skylah arc have been upsetting to me in various ways. On one hand, I knew the Grim have an IC reputation for extreme violence (despite being some of the nicest people OOCly, omg), but on the other I wasn't prepared for the level of detail some of these torture acts were described with. Several instances physically turned my stomach while others just seemed to be gore for gore's sake.

That being said, I am all for people writing what they want to write, RPing what they want to RP. It's important to not step on anybody's creative toes as much as it is to keep your audience in mind. Perhaps we can reach a compromise for future stories, both in this arc and future ones? Maybe those who are willing can gloss over some of the worst and graphic details (sometimes this is more effective for storytelling purposes than describing the act/result in great detail), and those who understandably don't want to change their story style can simple include a content warning at the top of the post (maybe even with a summary of events for those who choose not to read but still want to keep up with general events). Donnelly and I put this warning system to use several years ago when we collaborated on a story and arc that involved a brutal attack on my rogue. We went into detail about the combat and the events leading up to her almost-violation. Because things were somewhat detailed and could have triggered an unsuspecting reader, Donnelly prefaced the story with an initial, separate post that stated the following story was created by both of us and with equal consent, but that it contained excessive violence against a woman and that we encouraged people to proceed with caution if this upset them. Obviously individual posts in an existing thread wouldn't have a separate post before them, but the warning idea remains the same.

I kind of lost track of the rest of my point with this (typing from my phone does that!), but I think I got the gist of it. :)

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I have not been party to the actual torture RP, and would not really care to. (Beryl remained upstairs during whatever transpired in Fenris Keep, last night.) As I posted in the other thread, some of the posts were "cringe-worthy". I did not consider how others may be reading the posts. :( We all need to remember that some forum members are under 18, or just not interested in gore; and that many players are the same. Even if not directly involved in the RP, they may be within "hearing" distance.

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Consent is absolutely important in RP when it comes to things that could bother people OOCly. Unless you're an asshole, you don't want to make other people feel uncomfortable, disgusted, or unhappy, and you don't feel entitled to it such that you put it on others to have to opt out; it should always be opt-in. Graphic threads should have warnings; graphic in-game scenes should ensure the consent of all present before proceeding. That's where I messed up and where I will be more considerate in the future.

That said, Skylah and those involved in her torture scenes (and other torture scenes that have been played as well -- this isn't the first, nor is it limited to Horde-side) did not actually have an obligation to check with their family, friends, and associates to ensure they would be okay with the plot happening.

Would it be considerate? Absolutely. But are they obligated? Absolutely not.

Roleplay and writing are art and self-expression, and if this is what the participants really wanted to do, they are free to make that choice. They have to be willing to accept the consequences -- disappointing or dismaying friends and other roleplayers who don't want to participate in such stories and would rather they didn't happen at all -- but so long as they're not forcing anyone to participate, they've done no wrong.

Some might argue that they are in fact forcing players to participate who have characters with strong bonds established and when they feel the most in-character response would be to participate. However, even in that case, the unwilling player is choosing sticking to how they feel their character would act over avoiding the story. That is their choice. It is an unfortunate one, and this is why I say it is considerate to think of those in such a position when deciding what story one wants to play; but there is still no obligation. The other players still have the choice to not participate, and in the end, no one can tell you how to roleplay and express yourself.

I, personally, have been in this situation. Elek and I got a lot of flak for choosing to take our characters in a direction that others in the plot didn't personally like when we came up with the Stratholme nightmare world for Elek and Tassha (warning in case not self-evident: mature content in that link). But that was really something we wanted to write and we weren't forcing anyone else to participate in any way. It saddened me that it disappointed others, but it made me sadder that they didn't think we should have expressed ourselves even if they personally had no taste for it.

Not everyone is cool with characters actually being dragons, time travel, multi-classing, or 1,000-year-old Highborne, either. Sometimes, even smaller, non-mature, arguably stupid stuff can drive the same wedge between people who have different creative visions. But hopefully we can not judge one another and find ways to enjoy each other's company when our interests do line up. ...Which is a hell of a lot more often than I'm making it sound. We're not torturing our characters all the time! Really!

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For what it's worth, I absolutely and wholeheartedly agree with the original post.

I don't really have much else to say publicly on the matter, aside from after this, I don't know if I want to be involved with it any longer.

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I agree with both sides to some extent here. I think consent is very important, and getting everyone on board is an admirable, if not always attainable goal. I also think forum posts, in general, constitute a bit of a reader beware condition. To my knowledge, we're all adults here. And I think a certain degree of resilience is necessary to deal with the topics of late, or some degree of ability to accept "other people like this, I don't care for it, but there it is."

At the same time, I know that there's some things that really pushed the envelope for me here, and to be fair, I probably should have stepped back a little sooner as they began to occur. I'm happy to have my characters involved, period. But it also entails a certain necessity of exposure that I'm not wholly comfortable with. And like it or not, I think the problem becomes that when so much of the core premise revolves around graphic torture, it can be difficult, for me or anyone else, to really interface and still have an insulating barrier of comfort necessary to enjoy oneself. That's more of the problem I think is being issued and addressed in OP's post. not so much that consent isn't being sought, but that to get involved with the storyline at all, there's not an outer ring in which one can attach themselves to.

I'm enjoying this plotline. I think the context of the original post speaks to the difficulty of wanting to RP, but, and perhaps this is more true of Alliance than Horde, the storyline being directed towards an avenue that people did not initially agree to, yet find themselves drawn into it anyway. I'm not sure how the Coalition is supposed to work, but I believe a core issue is that these sort of actions necessitate reprisal on behalf of the Coalition, and the poster feels that this make people *have* to interact with topics they've chosen not to.

It would be a bit like agreeing to go to the movies, but then at the end of the moving, also having to eat really spicy food. For some, that's a great treat, and a pleasant surprise. For others, they didn't even want the movies, and aren't faced with that dilemma. But agreeing to one thing (in this case, the Coalition, or Alliance/Horde conflict) does not imply an okay to the things following after. If you agree to the premise of "We should help members of our group as part of our mythology and storyline," it shouldn't entail being exposed to details you don't want to. Some skin could be a little thicker, but I ultimately see the point. We're a *really* small RP community. It sucks to be given the choice of "deal with it" or "don't RP."

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Throwing in my two cents, I understand the need for labeling and fair warning on posts and in-game rp when they contain/may contain mature themes and the like. In the past, I've considered putting ratings on my posts for such a reason, but I shied away from it because I'm not very good at discerning the difference between the ratings and I also don't focus my writing to be directed at any particular audience. I run with what I feel should be in my story, and whether the themes of it are intense or silly depends on how I'm feeling. So, I suppose what I'm trying to say is the rating feels like a limiter on my story as opposed to a label. This may just be my own lack of finesse in the writing department, but I'll definitely do what I can to warn anyone who may read it with a little label in the title from now on, especially on the TNG and sanctum. But I'll use it more as a warning than a rating so as not to limit an audience to an age range or something like that.

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To be fair, there is a lot of space between "deal with it" and "don't RP". I know I was phrasing things in black and white, as though it's a case of either be yourself and alienate your stuffy, judgy friends, or let others dictate your roleplay and smother the beautiful flower that is your true self, but it doesn't have to be like that. The plot creator can be willing to take certain steps to respond to others' feelings with consideration while not feeling like they're compromising on what they want to do with their own character and writing. I wanted to establish the rights of the individual roleplayer in my post, but there is a lot more to this discussion than that and it's fair to bring it up.

An "outer ring" would in fact be the basic idea, where other players can respond to the events or general purpose of the plot without having to be involved with the pieces they're not comfortable with. In Skylah's plot, some of that is being offered. No one had to read or participate in the torture scenes to be involved with yesterday's skirmishes or the effort as a whole to determine what happened to Skylah and rescue her.

However, messages with torture content were specifically delivered, and those should probably have been cleared with the recipients first. You can't just lob that at people without establishing if they're comfortable with it.

Overall, a thoughtful division between public, unobjectionable content offered to everyone and more controversial content only offered to those who are interested in it is a considerate way to help alleviate the problem. Unfortunately there will always be some who feel content they don't personally like shouldn't occur at all, but there's nothing that can be done about that.

Notably, there is less outer ring stuff on the Horde side, since Skylah hasn't asked anything of the Horde other than to be the villains. I'm not inclined to point fingers, though, as that was all those who originally agreed to the plot expected, and no GM can ensure everyone is completely satisfied. I've been in that position and tried, but people can only do their best. If players are unhappy, they can try opening up a civil discourse with the plot owners to shed light on how they feel in a way that isn't about shaming the GMs for their choices, but asking them for alternatives that suit the concerned players better, or even offering ideas and brainstorming story opportunities for the plot of their own.

But since the plot owners are not actually obligated to provide anything, the players shouldn't be coming from a place of entitlement. Would a really thoughtful and considerate GM do their best to see and provide for all needs and wants without needing to be asked? Absolutely, but again, folks can only do their best, and the only person any writer or roleplayer really owes is their own muse.

Lastly, any plot or storyline only exists because someone created it and others signed onto it. If someone doesn't like any of the storylines currently going on, and feels like their only option is to not RP at all, they might want to consider *making* the kind of RP they want to have, and seeing who joins them. We're all here to enjoy ourselves, so that's what people are going to do.

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However, messages with torture content were specifically delivered, and those should probably have been cleared with the recipients first. You can't just lob that at people without establishing if they're comfortable with it.

This, I take full responsibility for. It was Shaelie's idea to film the torture and send it to the Alliance. That action was a direct and very aggressive psychological attack on the Alliance. But in being caught up in the story, it didn't occur to me how that forced pretty much the entire Alliance RP community into something that they had no opportunity to opt into, or even opt out of. I will remember that in the future.

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I've definitely made mistakes too. Stuff like this can be tricky. On one hand, we were *asked* to be evil villains, so it can be easy to forget not everyone signed up for what we were asked to bring. On the other hand, we absolutely still have to ensure everyone we bring that to consents to it. I myself have a tendency to get carried away and assume everyone is on the same page just because I really want those feels, when that's really, really not cool of me to do. =/

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I believe most everything has been covered here, but I would like to chime in before it is to late. I apologize to any one who felt that they had to take part in something they weren't comfortable with. That was never my intent. I agree mostly with Nikaa's post. Points are solid, though the end was a bit...uncalled for. That said, I do not generally write anything pertaining to gore, but when I came up with the idea for this arc in July/August, I knew that I would have to. I don't do this "to get my rocks off", but more because this is how I imagine things would play out in a real scenario. I wanted people to be true to their IC selves, and even some of the Grim were surprised that I was willing to give such leniency. But I believe it has to be this way to make it authentic.

I agree that we could and probably should have put a mature audience warning in the heading. Again, I will apologize for any who felt they had to be subjected to anything, and I welcome anyone to whisper me without worry. I wanted mostly to get everyone involved in something. And since this arc idea predated the coalition, they were not responsible for my actions and wants, but the creation of such a group did play into my arc perfectly. Just like the Caravan being so close to Horde territory. Perfect! lol But what I can't apologize for is what has been written. I do not wish for anyone to change what has been written, or what will be written, I want it to be true, even if blame may be laid at my feet. And let me repeat, I agree with the primary thought behind the OP. I hadn't thought the torture was so bad to read so I hadn't thought it would bother others. That was very much my mistake. I have an upcoming journal entry that I planned to put a mature warning on so I definitely see where everyone is coming from.

For myself, I think the biggest lesson learned is to notify everyone if a pending arc or plot may contain such mature themes, and to definitely put a warning in parenthesis or something in the title of the forum post. I will always hope for the greatest turn out for anything that I do, so if ever a discomfort arises, please notify me in whisper or PM. I try my hardest to be accommodating. I thank you OP for bringing this to my attention.

And another thanks for everyone participating. You guys have been great.

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For myself, I think the biggest lesson learned is to notify everyone if a pending arc or plot may contain such mature themes.

This isn't always possible, depending on the people involved. There are some RPers (such as myself) who dislike "pulling punches", so to speak, when depicting scenes that should be shocking and appalling, though that's less of a "We should do a thing because it's cool" sort of thing and more of an instance where I want to portray the real horrors of what characters are doing to each other. I get that some instances of evil are truly horrific, but these instances are things that, I feel, can serve as a foil for the more "heroic" characters we have out there.

Where possible, there should be some warning, especially if you're going into detail, but that doesn't mean that something like that is going to be entirely possible as a story drags on. None of us truly know what direction a story will go in and we need to keep that in mind as we continue to tell these stories.

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Thank you all for the replies.

I have to say that I'm just as guilty in participating with this scenario. While the last few statements were the "finger" pointing at those who had their parts in this, I had three "fingers" pointing back at me based on my own part in the torture scenes. I am sorry that I had given my own spin on it, and I am sorry that I have singled out people (wasn't naming names, but it was figured out anyway) and made you feel angry and frustrated with me about my barb. Please forgive me.

As for those who had felt remorse, it's okay. We're a roleplaying community, we've got big people britches on. There's nothing to be sorry for.

Nikaa, you do make a good point with the assessment of my last few sentences. I was angry and frustrated with the entire situation. However, I also invited the flame so that can be discussed about properly, which you have kindly provided. I do know and understand that many horrific and terrible things happen in times of strife and war, like battlefield rapes, torturing prisoners for information or for sadistic tendencies, murder for various reasons, and predations of the old, weak and the young. I understand that there are players who don't mind roleplaying the event of such things and then play out the aftershocks of that event. Thing is, if I want to read up and vicariously go through the same awful event and experience the feelings that result from that, I'd open a history book or read Wikipedia (despite how off base it is) or watch the various documentaries, movies, or TV shows that show that kind of brutality. It's there, it's available for free or cheap, and it's abundant.

Now, the subsequent posts after yours, though profound and thoughtful, missed one aspect of my request in the OP: I was asking to keep it PG 13 to R, and to avoid NC17 to XXX if at all possible for main story arc plots. I'm not saying that people shouldn't just stop their way of roleplaying. That's too much for me to ask and it does come off as arrogant. I am sorry, but I can't think of any other way to word my request. Take that as you will.

With consent, I was frustrated more with Skylah's idea not being put up to the Coalition vote for a multi-Alliance plotline. The reason why EA and a couple of other guilds (with varied levels of participation) were pulled into it had to do with the creed and ideal of these guilds- to help the weak and defenseless. That roleplaying impetus is what got us drawn in, and all of a sudden we're all mired in the muck. I was hearing the disappointment and dismay in peoples' voices in Teamspeak over participating, but due to how prior profiles have been set up as guidelines for some players it locked EA into a commitment that was getting pretty dark. Watching that descent, so to speak, led me to think that this was a set up for just one person to enjoy. That made me feel anger, and I had to speak out.

Skylah, I did assume it was just for your enjoyment and I'm sorry I offended you with that assumption. But the way the Alliance guilds were pulled in without a prior agreement to pursue that plot, transplanting the Twilight Cultists angle into a standoff to rescue a tortured Alliance prisoner who could only be found by performing torture on a captured Horde member came across as shady. However, what's done is done. I'm letting the resentment that I felt go and it can be worked out to a satisfying conclusion based on what has already happened.

I know that there will be storylines where abductions with possible rape may happen, and I do know torture scenes will continue. Though I'm not okay with it, if it's shown that it's an important part of plot movement please stay aware and let others consent first. A lot of people don't want to be confronted with such things, especially after what's recently been happening in real life. Please don't let the idea of "we don't know where the direction of the story will go" be a catch all excuse to not let people choose or not choose to participate.

Thanks all for reading and discussing this topic.

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Skylah, I did assume it was just for your enjoyment and I'm sorry I offended you with that assumption. But the way the Alliance guilds were pulled in without a prior agreement to pursue that plot, transplanting the Twilight Cultists angle into a standoff to rescue a tortured Alliance prisoner who could only be found by performing torture on a captured Horde member came across as shady. However, what's done is done. I'm letting the resentment that I felt go and it can be worked out to a satisfying conclusion based on what has already happened. .

I'm honestly really confused by this particular part being directed to Sky. I'm 100% sure Skylah did not even know about any of the above and if EA(?) had an arc involving the above, it must have been something they decided to do and not something Skylah set up. Which is completely fine by me because arcs spawn other arcs and that is part of the fun of RP; seeing what other people do in IC response to situations. I just feel like Skylah is getting a lot of flak, and I do find it rather unfair. I certainly don't mean to come off as rude though, so I will apologize now if anything comes off that way.

I will agree that content warnings could be put on stories/RP and mature RP should be kept to private consenting parties but, I won't agree that any person or guild -had- to be involved because of creed or ideals. There can always be an IC reason agreed upon as to why your guild wouldn't be involved in this, even if they are in the Coalition. And of course, OOCly I'm sure people will be very understanding if a particular type of RP isn't your cup of tea. I understand the frustration but, I feel like the issue of feeling obligated to join could have been avoided with some OOC communication instead of disappointment and dismay in Teamspeak, where Skylah couldn't address the concern.

Sky, I'm really enjoying the arc plot and it has elicited some amazing RP that I have loved! And I have met some really cool Horde players~ But please let us rescue you soon! xD Brianna misses her sister. <3

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Mackenzie:

Skylah mentioned that offense was taken with the end of the phrase, "someone getting their rocks off." That's what I'm apologizing about. It was an assumption I was very wrong in making, and I have no qualms about admitting when I'm wrong.

Now, the whole torture scenario had snowballed from when the kidnapping happened from the Cup and Blade Caravan to the present plot point. It was found out later that it was a plot arc brought forth by Skylah to interject an intertwined story arc affecting many guilds on both sides. The way the plot unfolded wasn't brought forward to the roleplaying representatives of the guilds that made up the Coalition in order to be discussed. It was a spur of the moment idea that had repercussions affecting those who privately objected; just because they felt obligated in not breaking the flow of the story does not mean they liked it or wanted to participate in it. In roleplaying, a hierarchy of some sort still forces obligations that people intrinsically follow, and if an roleplaying leader says "we're going this way!" despite the objections of others people are still going to go with it. That's the basis for involving consent for that kind of roleplay, Mackenzie.

EA has an inguild story involving Twilight Cultists, and there were some parts prior to Skylah's kidnap / torture that were brought up where there was torture of a captured Twilight spy. This happened after a seriously profound scene where children of a town in Arathi were kidnapped and sacrificed to the Old Gods to power a dark ritual. The manner of that scenario was pretty extreme, but not to the point of where it was getting personally graphic. It was after some fresh roleplayers who were invited to join in on the plot did it go from just a run of the mill Lovecraftian horror story to rewriting the Marquis De Sade's handbook. That... was a pretty shocking mess. I won't go into details, but it was pretty gruesome. The thing is, people went along with that despite the way it was presented due to how the story went. That particular scenario was hashed out amongst the members of EA afterwards and will not be so public again. However, that session opened the door for the current intertwined plotline and to see it pervert the focus of everyone's enjoyment, something had to be said.

The reason for EA's involvement has to do with the premise for that organization- to protect others who need protecting, to avenge those for justice, even if it's scofflaw vigilantism.

That is the kind of pull that has an obligation on those who roleplay under this guild's name to participate in a variety of story arcs, including the current one. However, there are people who don't like to be "ambushed" into an extreme situation where they or someone they know IC is getting raped (or tortured or molested) right before their eyes (or even OOC, the effect of horror is the same) and then they have to roleplay it out despite how they feel personally on the subject just so others who're watching also catch the experience. That's not something people want to be triggered on (to borrow an SJW phrase). It's not just some of the members of EA who feel this way; there are others who have responded to this post in a loud voice too, members of both Alliance and Horde guilds.

That's not fair to the person who hasn't consented to that kind of RP, Mackenzie. Because you like to see how people respond in character to situations, I feel you should at least let them know ahead of time about what's planned and let them agree or not agree to roleplay it out. If they're okay with that, then there shouldn't be a problem. I understand it's to reflect some really horrible things that happen in the real world that some people find fascinating and want to recreate that intensity. But to just arbitrarily dump it on those without warning chases away the inexperienced roleplayers who have no clue in how to handle that and the experienced roleplayer who gets disgusted over it and quits the plot entirely, shrinking the amount of involvement for all.

The objections didn't really occur until it looked like poor Skylah was going to get quartered by whatever ideas the participating players who captured the priest came up with to do it. By then it was already too late to stop the arc from working out its course. However, based on what happened it needs to be said that for future plots people or guilds who don't want to be part of should have the "roleplaying space" to come up with an IC reason to not be in it.

I hope this clarifies my position on the matter. Please all, consider keeping the RP at Action Movie ratings of PG 13 / some R; if / when possible keep the NC 17 / XXX in private or a private scene and be courteous about asking if it's okay. That's all I can ask of the community.

Thanks again for reading my wall o' text.

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Mackenzie:

Now, the whole torture scenario had snowballed from when the kidnapping happened from the Cup and Blade Caravan to the present plot point. It was found out later that it was a plot arc brought forth by Skylah to interject an intertwined story arc affecting many guilds on both sides. The way the plot unfolded wasn't brought forward to the roleplaying representatives of the guilds that made up the Coalition in order to be discussed. It was a spur of the moment idea that had repercussions affecting those who privately objected; just because they felt obligated in not breaking the flow of the story does not mean they liked it or wanted to participate in it. In roleplaying, a hierarchy of some sort still forces obligations that people intrinsically follow, and if an roleplaying leader says "we're going this way!" despite the objections of others people are still going to go with it. That's the basis for involving consent for that kind of roleplay, Mackenzie.

I wholeheartedly disagree.

It is true that there are forces and atmospheres within roleplay that many persons feel compelled to follow or to endure in spite of their own personal inclinations. However, the end decision of whether or not to participate, and even the degree of participation, are utterly the responsibility of the individual in question. The traits we imbue our characters with, and their pasts, will often dictate how they respond in kind to certain circumstances. Said characteristics and consequential reactions are not the fault or responsibility of those who lay out an arc for the public to partake in. Furthermore, none may force any person to roleplay in a scenario with which they are not comfortable with. No situation has the power to force anyone to roleplay along with it should they not wish to. It has been pointed out within this thread that the organization of this arc lacked elements of communication to all parties. Communication must come from both sides, and silently wading through something one does not wish to be a part of isn't a favor to anyone. Felt obligation due to one's character or not wishing to "break the flow" of a story does not shift the responsibility of choice. Such are constraints we place upon ourselves. The feeling of obligation and the ensuing uncomfortable atmosphere may be quite real, and that is unfortunate, but it in no way truly forces one to consent. Uncomfortable choices are frequent in the gauntlet of roleplay, and there are times when we should be stalwart in what we will play a part in.

In addition to this are there always constant options to either mitigate or entirely circumvent participation within any arc or story. It may be as simple as stating OOC that you are not comfortable roleplaying the given situation and themes. Absolutely no one would blame a person for this, as it is their choice and preferences, to which to be looked down upon for maintaining distance from discomfort is as unreasonable as it is unfair. There is no shame in simply refraining from participating. It is also completely understandable to withdraw from an arc should one become uncomfortable with what is unfolding, regardless of the depth of one's involvement. Now, of course that should be done with careful consideration depending on prior promises and the doings of one's character, yet this may all be worked through as necessary. Should your character indeed be of the inclination to participate in spite of OOC preferences may one conduct their character's doings from afar. In example, one may state to their colleagues that their character should be considered "present" and would aid in so and so way should X situation occur. As well, to consult them should an action or new situation be presented for which their "present" character may be met with. Alternatively, one may simply enact an IC scenario which will keep their character busied for the foreseeable future. Azeroth is rife with an abundance of issues for which any one character may see themselves aiding, not to mention any creative issue a player may create for their character to personally contend with. There are a plethora of available options. It is easy to be caught up in the heat of the moment, or to duck one's head and simply walk along, but nonetheless do all choices of participation rest with the player and thus must they hold themselves accountable.

Situations may pull, compel, and even pressure both individuals and groups of people to lengths they may otherwise prefer to refrain from. This is a very real phenomenon, as with many things, but it should absolutely never be presented as having incurred a loss of choice. Momentary discomfort to explain personal standings is a small price in the long run. Even if the intent is good and to facilitate further bonds is it a disservice to one's self and those presenting an arc should one decide to become a resentful participant. That is unfair to those enjoying the progression of story as it will most often eventually be felt and lead to conflict.

Should there be more in depth communication/organization between directly and indirectly involved parties prior to an arc? Yes, there should be to some extent. This will vary and does not need to always be full disclosure. Should there be direct warnings in the event of mature content? Yes, this is a courtesy and helps to avoid affronting others. These are some of the most prevalent issues thus far and I already see them being improved upon. But, regardless of how compelled anyone has been is it of my opinion that we should not let the responsibility of choice and participation fall with the wrong person(s). It may be likely or certain that a character will involve themselves in a dire issue, but should grievances be held by the player must they come forward with them. Speaking of obligations we envision due to a menagerie of reasons in this world we have constructed as if they leave us without the ability to shape our own decisions does nothing for the community or ourselves. The Coalition was meant to strengthen the bonds of the roleplay community, to increase mutual participation and communication between guilds. It should not be regarded as a chain as members should be allotted understanding for that they present or decline equally so.

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Hi All,

I am not involved in this RP, but I just wanted to thank and applaud everyone here for keeping things civil and working things out. It makes my little evil heart grow two sizes seeing people working things out for the betterment of our little RP community.

Kudos, especially to Tangle for bringing up their concerns so that this and similar problems can hopefully be avoided in the future.

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