The Consequences of Being a Bastard

By | November 12, 2009


Anna stated here that there is a ton of RP afoot in the Pig And Whistle (on Feathermoon) these days. While the RP is good and powerful storytelling, this does not mean that it is consequence free:

In fact, dear readers, one of the reasons why this particular RP is successful is the ability to deal with the consequences inherent in to the general (ie overall story) and specific (personal plot lines) RP. Let’s recap. The story so far is summarized brilliantly in this piece written by Tarquin and published by Anna. One doesn’t need to know every plot detail from the past five years. What they get is a short bit, that the Riders are Romantic Outlaws. Common folk seem them as ever day people who are far more approachable than Kings, Queens and High Lords. While the authorities have know more about the darker aspects of the Riders, they’ve been content to let them stay in old town. Their continued rise in popularity, however, has made them a very significant threat to law and order. This means the Riders are now suffering the consequences of thumbing their collective noses at the law for three years.

The general story has enough wiggle room for individual Riders to write up how they are addressing their concerns. As one of our own pointed out in one of our channels: This is a great opportunity for individualized fiction about what the Watch Finds in the Pig. Each character is allowed to account for their characters actions in a manner befitting the situation and their character. In this manner, the overall story pushes along individual plots lines.

When plot lines are collectively pushed, it is only a matter of time before they will intersect. For the story to be believable and rewarding, this means that one has to deal with the consequences of interacting with each other. Take, for example Aely and Bricu. Both characters already have a lot on their plates. Aely is dealing with the death of Jolly and the fact that the Watch has ransacked her home away from home. I would also venture to guess that Aely has more than a few secrets left, which is an undercurrent to Anna’s *known* plot lines.

Bricu is also dealing with Jolly’s death, but now he has worrying about the Riders and Tarquin to boot. Complicating matters further: When the watch comes to arrest his Friend (best man at his wedding, god father to his daughter) it is led by the same woman who had him arrested the previous year (not that he didn’t have it coming, but still). How does Bricu deal with these new circumstances?

He pushes, prodes and pokes the Watch. He has the Riders clap on their arrival. He passes out free drinks to keep the Watch from hearing murmurs. He practically begs to get arrested–so he can get out in the Streets of Old Town and protest his mishandling–and ups the Ante when his wife cops to the smuggled liquor that is found in the basement. He ups the ante in two ways: First, he has tries to get the Riders to have an hour of Silence while they mourn Jolly; Second, he lies to the watch about where Tarquin is headed. Both of these actions have immediate consequences for him: Some Riders (chiefly Threnn and Aely) are pissed at him and the Watch puts him under house arrest while they check his story.

Now, as a player, my stomach dropped as I read Anna and Threnn’s emotes during Bricu’s Bastardry. I knew there was going to be blowback for Bricu. Fortunately, I know both players rather well. I started messaging Anna right away with apologies when Bricu was a Jerk. I knew that after the watch left, there would be dedicated Bricu/Threnn time; however, I probably should have kept up ooc chats with Falconesse just to check in with her. Regardless, I tried to follow the rule of communication that we blog about so often here at WTTRP; namely, that conflict between characters has to be clearly explained to players.

As a player, I wasn’t sure who was going to get to Bricu first. Bricu was just as surpised, I believe, when Aely gave him what he had coming. Aely’s blowback was better than anything we could have collectively written. In that one moment, the Riders learned just how strong Aely is. As a player, it was awesome to play the foil that helped define Aely’s moral compass. Yet, as brilliant as it was, and as often as I have talked about Bricus’ bastardry, it was still difficult to watch. I have learned over the years that conflict between PCs can often get messy. However, these were the consequences of Bricu’s actions and he needed to be held accountable for it. To ensure that this IC interaction was not diminished by confusion between characters , Anna and I began to discuss further ramifications of this most recent interaction. In other words: We worked through the consequences of our characters’ actions. As an aside, readers will definitely be able to read how this dispute gets resolved.

In short, everyone stayed true to their character. The situation was clarified between the players, who immediately started generating solutions to the conflict. Individual plot lines intersected and while one character got what he had coming, neither player walked away feeling like they were railroaded.

PC Conflict can lead to powerful stories. This conflict will have direct consequences for all the characters involved. If the players talk, even if the characters are yelling, fighting or worse, the consequences can develop into RP that is best described as Crowning Moments of Awesome. Do not avoid the consequences: Talk them out with your fellow players!

Questions, Comments or Vague Misgivings? Fire away!


Arrens on November 12, 2009 at 4:23 pm.

I so very much wish I could’ve been there to witness it. Of course, Arrens has his own bundle of crap going on right now and probably wouldn’t have been well-served being there.

But still, there are some things you as a player wish you could see first-hand. This is one of them that I’m sorry I missed.

Bricu on November 12, 2009 at 4:24 pm.

@Arrens: Believe me, we’re going to talk. Soon I think Arrens may be in the “Bricu Bittertongue is a jerk” boat.

Jezrael on November 14, 2009 at 4:37 am.

The one time I was brave enough to come and RP a little on my little alt lock it was a pretty quiet night at the Pig. Would have absolutely loved to have been there on this occasion!