Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Sometimes you just have to vent...

This isn't about housing. This is about roleplay. It isn't a nice piece about roleplay, either. If you don't care about roleplay, don't read further. If you don't want to hear me rant about a situation that happened to me, skip this post.

I've purposely left off names, including the name of the establishment. If you do figure out who and where I'm talking about, leave them alone. While I appreciate that you guys are protective of me, it's not necessary. I'm choosing to let this go. I just need to vent.

For the most part, I spend my time decorating. If I'm not decorating, I'm roleplaying. In general, I have fun roleplaying. I get to put on a persona and pretend to be something I'm not, while other people do the same.

Other times, roleplay isn't so fun. That happens most often when people take in character action for what they perceive as an out of character slight.

It all began when I decided to attend a venue with a name that can be taken as either innocent, descriptive, or naughty. If we were talking about a restaurant, I'd think of a family style barbecue restaurant reminiscent of a summertime barbecue in the yard. But a bar? Like it or not, a bar is more likely to call to mind sexual innuendo. It's something to do with alcohol and how it loosens inhibitions.

I invited a guildmate to come along. Rosaphina was eager to go, as she's still setting up her persona. She's a stuck-up Koada'Dal, and not afraid to show it. We entered the home and went upstairs to the bar, where we ordered drinks.

We had a little bit of private conversation about the bartender's mustache. Jazabelle thought it was to attract human females--perhaps more hair convinced them that the male was more virile? Rosaphina agreed that it was a possibility. Simple, silly banter between co-workers.

The trouble started when Rosaphina referenced that conversation in /say. She informed Jazabelle that their suppositions appeared true. Jazabelle pointed out that there were no human females present. Rosaphina shot back that not all whorehouses only have humans.

The proprietress corrected Rosaphina. The establishment is just a bar, not a whorehouse. Jazabelle pointed out that "the name implies a certain degree of sexual promiscuity on the premises, but perhaps that was unintentional." She then added, "A <removed to preserve anonymity of the establishment> may also imply a family style establishment, as in a <removed to preserve anonymity of the establishment>." That was the last Jazabelle spoke on the matter, aside from an inept apology for the incorrect assumption.

Rosaphina said a few more things, mostly explaining why she came to the assumption that there might be a whorehouse associated with the bar. She then apologized. Finished, right?

Not really.

As you see, I talk about Jazabelle in the third person when I talk about roleplay. Why? Because I am not the one making these assumptions. I knew very well that the establishment was just a bar, even though the name called to mind something naughty. Jazabelle isn't good at interacting with others. You might even say she's socially inept. She's learning, and it's been a learning process over the last few years of roleplaying her. But one thing she's not shy about is discussing mating habits of various intelligent species. She isn't a sexual creature, and finds the mating rituals of others worth study. She doesn't understand why they do it, and she wants to understand. Plus it gives me a reason to take a socially inept character to a bar. What better place to watch intelligent species engage in mating rituals?

I chose to go this route with her because it allows me to be funny while appearing to be completely serious. Jazabelle rarely jokes. For the most part, she's very serious. She takes everything seriously, and says some of the weirdest or dumbest things completely seriously. Deadpan is my preferred form of comic relief.

But that didn't happen here. She wasn't the one who said it was a whorehouse, although that's what it came off sounding like when Rosaphina spoke up about their private conversation. In fact, Jazabelle was the one who pointed out that the phrase used as the name can refer to something completely innocent.

Jazabelle dismissed the conversation after her own inept apology. She and Rosaphina moved on to discussing a "situation" at the office.

Rosaphina is--as I said--a stuck-up Koada'Dal. She's sharing office space with a bumbling, lewd, crude human pirate named Jadirah. Jadirah has a gas problem. Jadirah also has a potty mouth. Rosaphina took the time to complain about sharing an office with her.

Jazabelle pointed out that Jadirah is a filing clerk, and needs to be near the secretary to do her work effectively. She also pointed out that Jadirah is an investment--she's an inventor, and her inventions (when they're not exploding) bring the company good money. They also more than pay for the desks and chairs she routinely destroys.

Of course, not all of this was said. This is guild roleplay that was alluded to while we were talking.

Rosaphina and Jazabelle have a less-than-amiable relationship. Rosaphina hides it well, but she hates her employer in the same measure that she enjoys working with her. Working for Jazabelle allows Rosaphina to exercise skills she wouldn't otherwise be able to exercise. But she resents having to work in the first place.

Jazabelle was very firm in explaining to Rosaphina that she should simply give detailed instructions to Jadirah, and that office assignments would not switch, because that office was the best place for Jadirah.

Then things finally went bad.

See, the conversation earlier apparently upset the proprietress. She was roleplaying about being angry. Jazabelle ignored her, figuring the apologies had been enough. You can't help the assumptions you make, and it's not like they tried to hire whores or anything--not that either character would be interested in that. Jazabelle is not a sexual creature, as I said before, and Rosaphina is a prude. Besides, I assumed her anger was completely in character. Which it might have been, but there are just certain lines you don't cross if you're trying to run a venue.

But then one of the other customers said, "This hussy next to me seems rather mouthy, am I allowed to slap people?"

To be honest, I was extremely confused. I scrolled up and reread all of the nearby chat, wondering what I'd missed. Proprietress being angry? Nope, that can't be the mouthy hussy. Men talking. Probably not the mouthy hussy. Another woman saying the words "dirty wench?" No, that probably wasn't it. Maybe she was talking about Rosaphina, who was mouthing off to her boss about Jadirah? I sat back to see what would happen.

And then the proprietress crossed that line, and told the customer that she was free to slap people. So the customer "/e eats a few dragonflies and slaps Jazabelle across the face hard." Then said, "Quit treatin your client like crap heffer!"

I sat there in shock. First, when you take action against another character, it's generally polite to /e attempts to slap so-and-so. It's considered minor "god modding" to not give someone a chance to counter your action. Second, Jazabelle wasn't speaking to a client. Third, while Jazabelle was firm, she was polite to Rosaphina. Fourth, the proprietress encouraged the customer to take action against another customer.

So I chose to have Jazabelle "evade" the slap and inform the other customer that it was none of her business. Jazabelle wasn't talking to a client.

The customer compounded her rudeness by telling Rosaphina that "You are one of her little city whores, Rosa!" At the time, I had absolutely no idea where any of this came from.

I'm a firm believer in keeping in character issues in character, and not letting it affect out of character. I can easily roleplay an angry person when I'm happy, or roleplay a happy person with someone I detest. I try to avoid the second situation if I can, but I can do it. This however, felt like the proprietress and her friends were ganging up on me, both in character and out.

Not only did the proprietress give the customer permission to act out violence upon my character, but the bartender encouraged it, and took the customer's side when I spoke to Rosaphina about leaving since the venue apparently allowed violence. We'd been unaware of that when we entered.

I couldn't figure out what I'd done to gain their ire. Sure, Jazabelle bumbled a bit socially. Yes, her employee assumed it was a whorehouse. No, Jazabelle didn't assume it was a whorehouse, but perhaps I didn't make that clear in my roleplay. Jazabelle pointed out that it could be assumed based on the name, but that it could also imply wholesome, family style entertainment.

Then I realized that earlier today, after someone complimented my name in a public, out of character channel, the proprietress brought up the fact that my name is very similar to Jezebel. She further insisted that they have the same root. I pointed out to her that while Jazabelle is similar to Jezebel, that wasn't where my name came from. Several other people jumped to my defense. Eventually, the proprietress claimed to love the name, but to hate the base meaning (despite that I had pointed out that Jazabelle is not Jezebel, although the look is similar). "Belle" is the feminine version of the adjective meaning "beautiful" in French. There were a variety of reasons for me choosing "Jaza" as the prefix to "belle." I didn't go into any of that in the chat with the proprietress. I just left it that Jazabelle was not Jezebel.

The name Jazabelle does not appear on any baby-naming websites (or at least, did not when I chose the name about eight years ago in another game). It is a recent name, and each individual who has the name was given it for different reasons. It does not have the history associated with it that Jezebel does. Fine. The proprietress is welcome to think whatever she wants to about my character's name. That doesn't make what she thinks true. If she refuses to take my word for the fact that my name is not based off of Jezebel and the religious references tied to that name, there isn't anything I can do about it.

From her reaction this evening, I'm beginning to think she took it to be my fault that people defended my name. I exchanged a total of one sentence with her (my explanation about Jazabelle not being Jezebel), and left the conversation to the others. I didn't want her to feel like I was encouraging people to gang up on her by participating, especially since I choose my character's names for me, not for other people. I don't care if she thinks it's similar to Jezebel, just don't imply that I am similar to Jezebel.

Then of course, there is the fact that a few days ago, the proprietress advertised a clothing-optional event in a hot tub. I've since been told that that event may have caused quite a few people to accuse the proprietress of running a whorehouse. I wasn't aware of this when I went to the event, nor was Rosaphina. I found out about it later. They may have thought that Rosaphina was using in character as a chance to slander them. If that's the case, why did they attack me?

The proprietress even asked someone to "bounce" me, when I hadn't done a thing to anyone, and had in fact been the recipient of violence at her encouragement. I chose to leave the bar, rather than deal with people ganging up on me. I felt it was the mature thing to do. As I was leaving, she encouraged the customer who'd attempted to /slap my character to stay.

I'm told that once I left, the customer who tried to slap Jazabelle (and would have slapped her, had I not taken offense at the god modding) bragged about "running the hussy off."

It's no wonder that I tend to only roleplay with my friends, unless dragged out to bars. One of the rare times I decide to attend a bar of my own volition, the lack of maturity sends me right back to my houses.

I won't be attending that establishment again. I choose not to interact with any of the individuals who participated in encouraging someone to treat my character poorly.

Am I allowing in character actions to color out of character actions? Yes. In this case, when it appears that out of character actions were allowed to color their in character actions, I choose to end any association with these people. My play time is too valuable to be spent letting other people act nasty to me or my character (without my agreement and permission).

I have had raging in character fights with people, while happily discussing other things out of character. The difference between those situations and this one is that in those cases, warning and permission were given out of character before anything occurred. This was not like that.

Perhaps Rosaphina's player said it best. "This person is running a public venue, and chose to treat someone like shit based on their own OOC perceptions of that person. Even when I was tending my own venue, I tried to treat everyone with respect, even those who upset me. The venue is there for the public, not for the proprietor to wank over RPing with their approved circle."

This is exactly why I will not be attending this event again, and why I will not be interacting with those individuals again. If they choose to use the venue to stroke their own egos, I will choose to attend other venues where I do not have to deal with that level of immaturity.

All right, I'm done venting. Back to your regularly scheduled book and house discussions!

1 comment:

  1. I am a very strong supporter of open roleplay, *especially* on a roleplay preferred server.

    However, I have learned from my own personal roleplay experience, that roleplay revolving around interpersonal relationships is a real-life minefield.

    Too many individuals cannot make the distinction between a player's character, and the player himself. A character's actions are very often taken personally and I have personally seen it destroy guilds and long time in-game friendships.

    My roleplay tends to be along the lines of the romantic notion of the 'crusade'. The Quixotic quest to right the wrong or to stop the evil.

    I have been burned in the past by interpersonal roleplay that got very far out of hand, and now I avoid it like the plague.

    The possibility for misinterpreting is far too great to take the risk.

    The experience is still fresh with you, and your anger will subside. I might suggest that once a few days have passed, that you send an OOC tell to the people involved, explaining yourself, and trying to mend roleplay fences.

    2cp from an old roleplayer.