[ This is one post in a series of several where I talk about old and not-so-old drama. Why "Mama Bear"? Apparently I am one. Who knows. This post will be long and contains screenshots. The subject of this post is denoted in various shades of green, and names are blocked out where I deem it appropriate. If you're in this post and you want your name blocked out, please e-mail me and I'll do just that! Some screenshots have been trimmed, others contain bits that are duplicate - sorry!
I do not speak to, engage with or otherwise give the time of day to the bad RPer highlighted here and I do not intend to any time soon. ]
Once upon a time, there was a young Orc Rogue who had a very distinct idea of personal honour and Things One Does Not Do. She decided to attend a tavern one night, and lo!, she discovered activity that she Did Not Like: a Sin’dorei ranger was tossing flares at a Goblin rogue, for reasons she did not see, hear or understand, and she called the man out on his juvenile behaviour.
With a laugh, the man decided to challenge her to combat, and he walked away. The Orc, vexed and insulted, also left – fully intending to come back and answer that challenge when she was strong enough to do so. She put up flyers all over the capital cities and asked around until, one day, she happened upon an old Orc sneak who agreed – after some finagling and word play – to train her. It was tough work! Far tougher than any training she had ever gone through before – but she progressed and became quite good at what she wanted to do, and reached a point where she would be able to safely meet the Elf in a one-on-one fight. Even if she didn’t win, she’d at least feel like she had given it her all – and that was what mattered.
It certainly sounds like an interesting story, doesn’t it? A young woman is shoved into a situation where she must better herself, and she does! The next step in the story should be that the woman faces her “tormentor” and answers the challenge that was given, with a loss resulting in further character development… or a win causing her to walk away, triumphant and content that her hard work was worthwhile.
It is not that simple, though.
First, let’s drop the storytime trappings. Yes, in-character, Thomi the Orc Rogue called out a Blood Elf Hunter on his shenanigans and he challenged her to a fight, then walked away, giving her time to bugger off and do her own thing. Was he serious? She had no idea, but, being an Orc, it did not matter because Orcs take such things very seriously. A challenge to combat is a challenge to her honour, and turning down such a challenge would be very bad for an Orc!
The Hunter himself was known, OOCly, for being the type to pick on low-level characters. He would not accept duels with at-level characters (after all, he would probably lose) and tended to respond to such things with typical Elven snobbery IC. This is all well and good, but leads to the start of the actual Drama Portion of this tale.
Not long after the duel was declared, I decided that I would not be leveling this character from six to 85 – I had an unused level 81 rogue that I could race-change into Thomi the Orc Rogue and be within the Ranger’s range far quicker. I did just that, with the intent of roleplaying the training period as if the character was going from a typical inexperienced whelp to a somewhat decent rogue. It was a tad sneaky of me, I admit, but I felt it fair – it gave me the opportunity for some interesting roleplay and it would make the Ranger have to deal with a character of similar strength to his own.
This, however, was not to be.
When the Ranger realized that Thomi was no longer well below him in levels, I received the following series of whispers as I was leveling on Mount Hyjal:
I was not going to back down out of character, and I was not going to allow him to back down that way, either – I was determined that this would be handled in-character and in no other manner.
Hindsight is 20/20.
As soon as the conversation ended, I added the character to my friends list and found…
… that, as I had thought, he was in the same zone as I was.
The Ranger was known for hunting characters down and forcing in-character interaction. I knew this. I had seen it. So, I high-tailed it to the underwater Hell and continued leveling there. He did not follow me that time and I knew it would not be the last time I’d hear from him.
Some time later, at level 84, I asked in the shared OOC channel if he was planning to attend the tavern that week. The following conversation ensued:
I was vaguely amused, but did not intend to drop it. The following tavern night, I parked my rogue at the tavern well before it opened and logged on again when the crowd had filled in. This was Thomi’s chance to prove herself! Regardless of the outcome, it would prove to be interesting.
She went out and attempted to engage with the Ranger:
Nothing – at least, not directly to Thomi or to myself.
Not even a “fuck you”. Before Thomi left, she declared the Ranger a coward to the crowd at the tavern, and vowed that she would not trust one of his kind ever again – not that she trusted elves beforehand, anyway.
For many months after this, Ranger’s player made a good show of being fairly bitey at me on several public and private occasions. I cannot say it wasn’t deserved – I did, after all, post the original incarnation of this post with the screenshots that I had here, and my characters did not bow down and worship Ranger’s character like they should have! It was a terrible crime.
I went through several personal things during this time that are still ongoing, all relating to my mental health, my family, etc., so I may have been meaner than I needed to be. In general, I reacted to what was said, and my characters continued to be themselves – contrary to the belief of many people in the community.
Hey, just because I’m not fond of someone doesn’t mean my characters are all suddenly going to dislike them – but when that character is repeatedly a dick, they will react accordingly.
Fast-forward a bit. At some point, Thomi referred to the Ranger as a coward at the tavern, and one of his friends approached her. The friend’s conversation with Thomi is logged below:
It seemed that there would be some manner of progress! This was something I did not expect.
A week or two later, Thomi showed up to the tavern to follow up – and, lo and behold, the friend of the Ranger got his attention and the little group walked away from the tavern to do what needed to be done – duel! Below is the lead-up conversation and what happened immediately after:
I decided to thank the participants in the OOC channel after:
Oh. Right, then. Fair enough!
That marked the end of that particular Drama – but not the issues with Ranger’s player.
The lesson I had hoped that they would take away was this: if your character does something, expect the consequences to happen in roleplay, not out of character.
I am a firm believer in the idea of in-character actions leading to in-character consequences. I realize that some OOC communication is required in many aspects of roleplay, however, the majority of the dealing should occur in-character except in circumstances where the in-character situation causes the player(s) involved a great deal of mental and emotional trauma.
I did not see that in this situation. I saw a player throwing a tantrum because they were not getting what they wanted, which was for their character to look like a complete bad-ass. I do not operate that way.
The player still thinks I am the equivalent to the devil, or something, and has their friends convinced that I am the biggest bully ever, but I fully expect that sort of thing. Shit happens and nothing of value was lost – I mean, this is the player that guilt-tripped the hell out of a friend of mine and has pulled a lot of utter crap before, so I was not entirely surprised when this storm blew up.
As far as Thomi is concerned, however, the entire thing is over and she does not have to deal with the Ranger ever again.
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