The ethics of IC romance, TS, etc


  • Admin

    Hey folks,

    I'll start this thread with a warning: if it looks like it'll become a dumpster fire we'll lock it and that's that. Please refrain from personal attacks, even though anecdotes to support your argument are permitted.

    So, this is the continuation of a topic that started in a different thread regarding the ethics of IC romance, cheating and TS. I realize this isn't going to be a controversial thread at all but I know we're all going to be adults about it anyway. ( /s )

    Which parts of being in IC relationships, be they romantic and/or sexual or even otherwise, bind the players as well as the characters? For example...

    • If your PC is going to cheat IC on another character do you feel obligated to let your partner's player know?

    • Do you think you are responsible for a character whose roleplay is related to yours if your paths are to separate? In other words do you feel guilty someone else's PC might become quote/unquote unplayable because of your IC choices?

    • Very closely related to the above, what if the choice that takes a PC mostly off the table is OOC? For instance if you stop being active on my PC's spouse to play an alt with Theno's PC. Do I have the moral high ground to get pissed off?

    • When it comes to TS what's the correct way to suggest it? Do you let the RP become more explicit until the big words come out or you get told no? Do you page the other player first and explicitly ask if they want to do it? Something else?

    • Assuming OOC consent between adult players is there anything in an IC relationship, including TS, that you consider unethical? No, I'm not going to give examples since I'm keeping this classy! But you can.

    • Any other choices not found in this short list. I'm sure it's far from complete.

    Well?



  • popcorn



  • @Arkandel theres a call for you on line 2. He says he's Kenny Loggins and something about the Danger Zone?

    • Each player is responsible for seeking out, partaking in, and choosing where and when to involve their character in roleplay. IC decisions need to be dealt with ICly.
    • If an IC relationship requires OOC promises, personal details about the player, details on a player's ooc fetishes, preferences, or kinks involves feelings of jealousy or need for closure, and if PC falling out of IC monogamy is not handled ICly but as an OOC issue...then it's not an IC relationship. It's online dating with sock puppets and cybersex.

    Let's do this.



  • @Arkandel said in The ethics of IC romance, TS, etc:

    If your PC is going to cheat IC on another character do you feel obligated to let your partner's player know?

    Yes.

    Because it might be uncomfortable RP for them. They can 'opt out.' Not they can tell me I'm not allowed, but they can decide: hey, I'd rather our characters break up than continue down this path.

    Gonna CALL SOMEONE OUT here, but not in a negative way, in a 'how this worked out' way. @Ghost and I had characters together on 5th World (and it was awesome; they were destructive but supportive but awesome but romantic and I honestly miss Nitrim and Cyrielle sometimes I will be totally honest). During a rough time in their relationship (when Nitrim was shutting Cyri out because he was going off doing dangerous shit and thought he was doing the right thing by not keeping her in the loop), she went and found comfort in a friend that turned into 'more than' a shoulder to cry on. I was OOCly communicative with everyone involved. The friend knew OOCly that it was just a 'fling' IC. Ghost knew, OOCly, that she was cheating.

    And for all that he talks a big game now, he got anxious back then. But we're talking something that was 7 years ago so y'know what? I 100% believe he's changed and grown and gone through shit since then (I know I have!). But back then I'd totally get anxious, uncertain pages some days of 'Hey, is everything okay? She's not leaving him, is she?' They never felt CLINGY or NEEDY or like OOC BOUNDARIES were crossed, but more like weather checks. And he might feel called out right now (sorry boo), but I share this because I never felt bad responding to them.

    They actually cemented my belief in being communicative is a good thing because in the end, when Nitrim found out about the cheating and they had it out, their fight was epic (esp. considering they both had POWERS) and their road back to their relationship was hard, but holy shit was good RP. I loved every minute of it. I wouldn't change it for anything. And honestly?

    I don't think it would have been achieved if I hadn't communicated with everyone involved every step of the way.

    Do you think you are responsible for a character whose roleplay is related to yours if your paths are to separate? In other words do you feel guilty someone else's PC might become quote/unquote unplayable because of your IC choices?

    Fuck no. See above re: communication. If I communicate it and they don't work out ahead of time that it might be an issue?

    Two poss. scenarios:

    Me: My character is gonna murder these dudes in front of your PC.
    Them: Cool, OK.
    Two weeks later....
    Them: I can't play my character anymore because that scarred my PC for life!

    Nope. Not my fault. They had the opportunity to opt out.

    C-O-M-M-U-N-I-C-A-T-I-O-N.

    Now if someone says 'hey I'm not cool with this' and you force it on them anyway? Yeah. That's on you. Fuck you.
    (But also they prob shoulda logged out and 'Bye Felicia'd your ass.)

    Very closely related to the above, what if the choice that takes a PC mostly off the table is OOC? For instance if you stop being active on my PC's spouse to play an alt with Theno's PC. Do I have the moral high ground to get pissed off?

    It depends? Like did you tell me? Did we talk about it? Or are you avoiding me?
    Like do I get to login every day and see you on that alt? Did I page you a couple times (not advocating constant pestering here, just a page or maybe @mail) to ask 'Hey can we schedule some RP?) to only be ignored?

    Because if you're ignoring me then I'mma move on and get my rocks off to someone else. ;)

    When it comes to TS what's the correct way to suggest it? Do you let the RP become more explicit until the big words come out or you get told no? Do you page the other player first and explicitly ask if they want to do it? Something else?

    Eh. I'm still figuring this one out. Sometimes I will straight up page someone and be like 'yo, I think our chars are compatible' and sometimes I just see if the RP goes that way.

    I have no idea which works better, tbh.

    Assuming OOC consent between adult players is there anything in an IC relationship, including TS, that you consider unethical? No, I'm not going to give examples since I'm keeping this classy! But you can.

    I think this is a ymmv and depends on a whole lot of things. I mean, it depends on setting, theme, the characters involved. You're talking about IC here after all. What one character considers unethical another may not, right?



  • @Auspice said in The ethics of IC romance, TS, etc:

    And for all that he talks a big game now, he got anxious back then. But we're talking something that was 7 years ago so y'know what? I 100% believe he's changed and grown and gone through shit since then (I know I have!). But back then I'd totally get anxious, uncertain pages some days of 'Hey, is everything okay? She's not leaving him, is she?' They never felt CLINGY or NEEDY or like OOC BOUNDARIES were crossed, but more like weather checks. And he might feel called out right now (sorry boo), but I share this because I never felt bad responding to them.

    Hah, nah I dont feel called out. IIRC you were cool with being cautious and TBH IIRC my motivation for asking whether or not your game plan for the character sticking on the train with my PC was more related to whether or not I should have been hunting down other RP or avoiding kicking things off that would have cut off that avenue. I have a bad track record for making IC choices resulting in OOC heat that by that point I'd learned to be more cautious.

    Either way, if your character wants to fuck around? Cool. It ain't my dick. All I really care about is that the story keeps going, even if it's ICly "omfg I hate you for reverse cowgirl with my neighbor".

    I make characters who aren't me and try to let them be who they are, so its the inability to ICly be flawed, messy, and conflicting without it being taken on some animism level that I am that person that gets me.

    We had some good times. Success story. High five. Zero RL tension. Hooray for writing fucking stories.


  • Admin

    @Auspice said in The ethics of IC romance, TS, etc:

    Assuming OOC consent between adult players is there anything in an IC relationship, including TS, that you consider unethical? No, I'm not going to give examples since I'm keeping this classy! But you can.

    I think this is a ymmv and depends on a whole lot of things. I mean, it depends on setting, theme, the characters involved. You're talking about IC here after all. What one character considers unethical another may not, right?

    Just to be clear, what I meant was things happening IC that are wrong OOC, but which both players involved consent to.

    (I didn't know if I should have included that item in the thread - I realize it can derail it. But it seemed to fit, so let's see how it goes)



  • @Arkandel said in The ethics of IC romance, TS, etc:

    Just to be clear, what I meant was things happening IC that are wrong OOC, but which both players involved consent to.

    Players have consented to rape scenarios.
    This is a whole thing on games like Shang.

    If all the players involved are OK with it, go for it.

    I mean, for fuck's sake, I've had a werewolf bring live animals to her vampire lover so they could kill them and fuck in the warm blood and guts. I imagine there are vegans/PETA types who would be utterly appalled by that even if I find it kind of amazing to think about in that part of my mind that loves horror.

    @Ghost said in The ethics of IC romance, TS, etc:

    We had some good times. Success story. High five. Zero RL tension. Hooray for writing fucking stories.

    That story, btw, ended up exactly where I hoped. Like, it's rare you can pull that kind of thing off on games. So many 'romance' stories just go 'RP a few weeks, forever in love, cuddle on couch and fuck everyday.' I love that they got into some rough times, one went off to cheat, they had a HUGE FIGHT DESTROYING A CABANA and had to figure out how to get back on track over the course of months. It was perfect. It's why I miss it.


  • Pitcrew

    This whole thread is yet another reason why monogamy -astounds- and -confuses- me. I don't do it IC or IRL, and it kind of solves all these problems.


  • Admin

    @RDC said in The ethics of IC romance, TS, etc:

    This whole thread is yet another reason why monogamy -astounds- and -confuses- me. I don't do it IC or IRL, and it kind of solves all these problems.

    Understood, but what works for you doesn't necessarily work for everyone. Polyamory is just one such hot topic yet I'd bet there are lines you wouldn't cross but others would.


  • Pitcrew

    I'm not sure this is in the exact vein Ark is looking for, but...

    I had a character dating another one for years. He decided to ask her ICly to marry him, after the other player asked me if that was cool with me. Sure! We got the staff approval, etc, and we actually used the big, flashy proposal to start a little plot arc.

    Marriage was going well, things were going on, and then the other player approaches me OOC about them starting a family. My character was the sort of girl who would want that, so I said sure, we could bring it up IC. Yay, marital bliss. We updated Staff and got the okay, and so on. (It was a comic game, so for an FC you need okay to do things like marry and so on)

    Then I got sick, and couldn't play every night, and big action scenes were hard for me to focus. (yay trying to find the right med for my ills) . So my girl is pretty pregnant, and her husband wants her to go on a space faring adventure, without knowing how long it would take, how her body might react in space, etc. So she erred on the side of caution and said no, she'd be afraid all the time.

    A couple weeks later, the other player comes to me OOCly and says my girl is boring now, and he wants out. He wants to retcon YEARS of IC play and development, because she's not doing action stuff anymore. (She's supposed to be 8 months along, at this point) But in reality, I wasn't TSing him, and someone else was willing to, though I didn't know that at the time (Some mavs made it clear later).

    He OOCly threatened me, said he would ruin the game for me, he'd go to staff, and so on. I told Staff the threats, etc. They said he could have the divorce, but he can't just wipe years of my character's RP. So he went to the news board, and posted how his character came out of the hospital, that it wasn't his kid, etc etc. (Which was not supposed to be done, according to Staff decision). Staff didn't so much as slap his hand. They took down the post and said and did nothing. He went on a spree with all his alts (even ones that had no connection to my character), to do his best to ruin any RP avenues I still had left, and Staff did nothing.

    So yeah. I'm pretty wary of the IC romances at this point. Communication is huge, but understand if you change your mind, it doesn't mean you should/can ruin someone else's whole thing.



  • I'll start by saying I treat romantic and sexual RP like I do any other RP which means I communicate very openly about it. I tend to be an OOC chatterbox that likes to discuss things like RP goals and desires so we at least know what direction we're heading in scene-wise.

    @Arkandel said in The ethics of IC romance, TS, etc:

    • If your PC is going to cheat IC on another character do you feel obligated to let your partner's player know?

    I think so, yes. For me, this is likely to have come up in the "are there any things you'd like to avoid during our RP" parts of the conversation. For some people, cheating can be a very sensitive topic with OOC repercussions. If I'm playing a character who may not be the most loyal I let my partner know that and if they say they'd rather not have that happen in the relationship I work around it. I never want my IC actions to affect someone negatively OOCly and that's where communication comes in.

    • Do you think you are responsible for a character whose roleplay is related to yours if your paths are to separate? In other words do you feel guilty someone else's PC might become quote/unquote unplayable because of your IC choices?

    I would say no, not generally. I think this falls back on communication again. If you're open and honest about the RP and you give people a chance to opt-out then I think you've done your job.

    For example, on my semi-private game Blood Falls we explore a lot of horror tropes but we are always very clear on what topics the RP might involve and give people a chance to either opt-out or discuss things with the scene runner to see if they can modify the content so that it's digestible for them. Everyone has been very cool with either reworking the scene or understanding that, unfortunately, the scene just isn't for them this time around and finding another scene to take part in.

    • Very closely related to the above, what if the choice that takes a PC mostly off the table is OOC? For instance if you stop being active on my PC's spouse to play an alt with Theno's PC. Do I have the moral high ground to get pissed off?

    Maybe? Did I just leave and not tell you? Did I not give you a reason for why I was leaving that character? Did I not give you a chance to find closure for your character and give them a way to move on? Then, yeah, I can see someone being a little pissed off at that.

    • When it comes to TS what's the correct way to suggest it? Do you let the RP become more explicit until the big words come out or you get told no? Do you page the other player first and explicitly ask if they want to do it? Something else?

    I think it depends on the person you're playing with. I've been with some partners who were very clear about their intent and desire for how a scene goes(once when I was playing Batman opposite a Zatanna she was very clear about it and even offered to cast a sex spell on Bruce if ICly he wasn't into her). Other times, I've RPed with people who came across very much like they were not interested in RPing the sex part of the RP and I've paged them with something like "Fade to black" and they've either responded with "Yes, please!" or "Uh, not unless you want to..." This is also a good example of when previous communication could have helped(knowing where RP can possibly lead) and having a +prefs system.

    • Assuming OOC consent between adult players is there anything in an IC relationship, including TS, that you consider unethical? No, I'm not going to give examples since I'm keeping this classy! But you can.

    Providing there is OOC consent between all parties involved then, no, there is nothing I consider unethical in RP.

    • Any other choices not found in this short list. I'm sure it's far from complete.

    I'll throw one out that got me once on a game. The characters are in a relationship, have slept together multiple times, and then I get OOCly informed that the character is pregnant with his child. I was not comfortable with that. To be fair, I never said "no kids" because the topic of getting pregnant never came up. That was a situation where playing my character became very difficult because of the IC and OOC drama related to that RP.



  • @Auspice A lot of that success, i think, is attributed to the fact that it remained IC. All we really wanted was to be relevant in story and just being cool with each other about it. When you said "I think she's gonna cheat" I was like:

    And the more you know the other person isn't hanging on so tightly to things being a certain way, the more comfortable it is. I felt that had I said "I'm gonna do this other thing for a bit" that you would have said:


    ...Without attacking me through OOC bullshit, whispers, etc.

    Why? Because it wasnt an OOC relationship. The more you acknowledge that it's just about story and hanging out, the more it's actually writing a story. You were free to RP where you felt the story took you and I figured either way I'd find RP elsewhere.

    I've seen a lot of OOC angst and feelings involving IC relationships and the more I saw it, the more I wanted to avoid RP with certain people (and as @Derp has mentioned, regular accusation scandal players).

    The tighter you grip, the less oxygen there is.

    Edit: So I maintain my "line in the sand" stance. WRITERS get disappointed and just want it to be a part of the story. ONLINE DATING gets angry and turns it into public, loud, jilted drama.





  • @Seamus ;)


  • Admin

    Sometimes it's unavoidable that someone is going to get pissed off or disappointed.

    When I was much younger and the online RP thing was new I fucked up. I had a character in a WoT MUD who was 'bonded' to a character he had married; that's a pretty tight IC relationship, both on an IC social and mystical level.

    At some point my partner's player's RL husband needed someone to play with him and she volunteered. I handled it poorly back then - with the excuse that my only alt was greatly impacted and there was no way out that wouldn't fundamentally change the character.

    Well, boo-hoo. I still had no right to protest, and I could have made it work in some other way. In this case the other player did have the excuse of real life obligations trumping IC ones but really... it wasn't needed.

    At the end of the day characters are expendable, and if they are not because of the time investment then the problem is investing so much time in the characters in the first place, not the reason that investment didn't pay off. Spoiler alert: Past a certain point it never can.



  • @Arkandel I get the time commitment/investment. I do. Maybe it's just me but MUs come and go so much that I've always approached MUs and characters are temporary time sinks, anyway. You dont keep a MU, you rent one.

    And there are lots of other factors. Once I was RPing IC-relationship stuff with the RL wife of another player on the same game. One night she told me "He's not comfortable with it, can we stop?"

    Me:

    Edit: LOLOL WRONG GIF BUT FUNNY. THIS GIF BELOW WAS WHAT I MEANT:

    But in other cases I've tried to be vague against onslaught of pages about what I feel and what I like and what my promise to them is. My answer was basically "dont know but let's keep role-playing" (because arranging oocly the future of an IC relationship always felt weirdly OOC invasive to me. That and I like surprises. I cant predict where my char will be in 2 weeks). After plenty of clingy and uncomfortable OOC pages I'd be dead-set in RUN AWAAAAAY mode (why? Because I dont want any real estate in other player's well being to the point that feeling like an unrequited proxy relationship always skeeves me out) and politely try to work out through pages an exit from the IC relationship. I'd say after 20 years of MU experience I have a 30% success rate in doing that WITHOUT accusations of being a cheater, a liar, a manwhore, a harem builder, etc etc etc

    But, really, what's the better play? Telling a pushy player with a history of OOC accusations that you're making them uncomfortable and need to GTFO of an IC relationship, or just rolling with it ICly.

    @Auspice and I have a long history of her going "Dude, I warned you. You gotta stick to people you know" with me replying "I KNOW BUT... I should just be able to RP with whoever comes along but but but..."

    My stance is that for a number of people these IC relationships are very real extensions of their OOC insecurities, unfulfilled desires, and personal fantasies. It's risky. It's messy. It's also why the 3-4 people I've connected with over the years with similar stories and "bad reps" because repeat offenders of the "I made it out to be about them being a bad person to get ahead of it being about me being psychotic or clingy" have led me to immediately question the very loud, very vocal, very demanding accusers a bit more. The sudden, knee-jerk "how dare you accuse the victim" has been used as a shield wall more than once, and it's just...so fucking messy.

    Writers want plot hooks and story. Online dating uses a whole different set of words, accusations, and tactics.


  • Pitcrew

    When it comes to on screen relationships, romantic or otherwise, I prefer to engage in the equivalent of defensive driving.

    1. No matter how awesome the Rp and story is, if there starts to be ooc possessiveness involved, I am out. This includes wiki or alt stalking.

    2. If someone complains to me oocly about other partners (ic ones or ooc ones) I am out. It makes me intensely uncomfortable unless I am actually friends with that person.

    3. If I get angry pages or mails or rando shit from a third party pissed at me because my PC is involved with someone they are involved with, I let that person "win." Life is too short than to be forced to deal with someone that I do not play with's emotional ooc vomiting all over me.

    4. If I get calm and respectful communication from someone who is suspecting that someone is lying ooc to both or engaging in impossible RP, it is likely that I will hook up/become involved in RP with that party and kick the wannabe harem builder to the curb.

    I will always err on the "this pc does not want a significant or exclusive relationship with my pc, and the ooc player is not interested in an ooc negotiated story" unless I am told directly and explicitly otherwise. Sometimes this leads to kind of uncomfortable unknown limbo, but that is immensely preferable to me than blown up friendship or nice ooc relationship, and I would rather miss out than presume.

    If someone engages in ic suicidal threats or claims that if I do not do what they want that the character will become unplayable I immediately end things and furthermore I will pretty much not wish to interact with that player again in any guise for quite some time. I guess everyone has their major dealbreakers and I guess that kind of explosion is one of mine.

    I am open to talking to people oocly, I'm not even opposed to negotiation. I just am leery of asking for either, and I try to listen to anything my gut tells me.



  • @Ghost said in The ethics of IC romance, TS, etc:

    @Auspice and I have a long history of her going "Dude, I warned you. You gotta stick to people you know" with me replying "I KNOW BUT... I should just be able to RP with whoever comes along but but but..."

    It's true.
    Oh lawwwwwwwd it's true.

    So many times of @Ghost being like 'hey Auspice check out this red flag'

    Me: 'Dang, that's a big red flag, maybe you should call the play.'
    Ghost: 'But it could be an interesting story.'

    Couple weeks later....
    Ghost: 'Hoooooooooooooooly shit have I got a story for you.'
    Me: .oO(HERE WE GO AGAIN.)

    I love Ghost, but his desire to keep OOC/IC separate makes him ignore some big ol' red flags.

    This is why I do stick to certain people I know and can trust for stuff like relationship RP. Because it's a big ol' field of landmines. Sometimes I step out of the comfort zone and take a chance (and the last time I did that did lead to one of my best damn friends so hey sometimes it does work!), but for the most part, I'd rather leave some of the riskiest fucking RP to where I know it'll be safe.



  • @RDC said in The ethics of IC romance, TS, etc:

    This whole thread is yet another reason why monogamy -astounds- and -confuses- me. I don't do it IC or IRL, and it kind of solves all these problems.

    I don't think this thread said its monogamous-specific. Doesn't the textbook definition of polyamorous include 'with the consent of all partners'? Whether one abides by that or not is sort of the question.

    Personally, I feel this would be the same as GM's changing something about the IC world without telling the players. Like halfway through the save the bank of New York thread, the GM drops out, 'oh yeah, we decided NYC is blown up, we forgot to say but you can't play there.'

    And yes, if players are consenting to have polyamorous characters together, have at it. I do agree though, that it might be too close to home for some folks, their partner/spouse/whatever is cheating on them, I don't think its nice/fair to do this to them without them realizing it when the are doing pretendy fun times for fun and this isn't fun for them. Let them have the option to not play out a 'I caught you cheating', 'oh well, I'm polyamorous, deal with it' or to just move on mutually or whatever.



  • @Auspice said in The ethics of IC romance, TS, etc:

    I love Ghost, but his desire to keep OOC/IC separate makes him ignore some big ol' red flags.

    (LOLing while I type this)

    "I'm just gonna keep it real. Keep it IC. It's cool. Don't worry. I got this. People are just people."

    THREE WEEKS LATURRRR

    "... I'm getting suicidal pages and being yelled at about how theyre in therapy because their husband pulled the same shit in their relationship. What do I do?"

    @Auspice: "Listen to me next time."

    ONE MONTH LATURRRR

    "Hey, Auspice, this person seems cool. I'm gonna start roleplaying with them. They asked me in pages what my kinks are and redesigned their character to be a carbon copy of stuff they think my PC would be into, but WHATEVVVVS people are people and I'm gonna keep it IC and..."

    THREE WEEKS LATURRRR

    "So....."
    @Auspice: "...not much sympathy, guy."

    ((This is the last 2-3 years of my MU life in a nutshell))


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