Powerplaying: A Guide

From Redwall MUCK Wiki


Power playing, god modding, twinking; these are all names for directly taking an action against another character without a player's permission. They can also include characters who are untouchable, indestructible, never hurt, and never tired.

An Example!

Joe is sitting down eating his bread at a table when he sees Bill come in. The hare mutters something about Bill being ugly, and goes back to eating.

Bill doesn't like that. And being hotheaded, he decides to respond, drawing his sword and growling. He reaches out with his weapon holding arm and chops the hare's ears off.

Joe's ears lower enough to miss the blade before Joe knocks the sword from Bill's paw with a back flip, landing on one of his own paws, sword in the free one, and while doing a handstand, he kills Bill where he stands for his attack.

What exactly when wrong here? This is powerplaying! There are actually two types in this short scene.


It seems reasonable that Bill would be angry about being insulted, but it's unacceptable to take any permanent action (like cutting off Joe's ears) without Joe's player's consent. Unless Bill's player has permission to actually take action such as this, it's a bad idea and it will ruin an RP. It's also just plain rude.


While he was well within his rights to 'dodge' the attack from Bill, he outright killed the aggressor without permission, effectively ending the character. Most players do not wish to get rid of the character that they've worked so hard to mold into their vision. Even though Joe couldn't force Bill to be dead without his permission, it's still wrong. The intent to kill a character is just fine, but the pose must be done correctly, and even then it's not guaranteed that the player will let such an action occur.

Still Joe

Feats of superb agility not only sound cool, they can look and cause some very spectacular effects! However, with that power comes the danger of powerplaying (like breaking the laws of physics). Looking at Joe, performing a back flip might sound easy, but in reality it is no easy task. Now add in the fact that something sharp is coming at him as well as having a weapon in his paw, all of which compounds the difficulty! Now if we add in a few more things such as the need to limber up for such a feat of acrobatics, the condition of footing, and the condition of the landing zone, we have a pretty high chance of failure! However, Joe not only "lands" he lands in a hand-stand still armed and swings a weapon from that awkward position. It's hard enough to swing a real weapon while standing on one foot, let alone on one hand while upside down!


In the end one has to consider a few things before trying to go above and beyond with an act of supreme agility: is it possible according to your characters physique? is it possible according to physics? Could anything move that fast in real life? The best way to do these things in my opinion is to try them out for yourself. If you find it extremely difficult to do even part the stunt that means that it would be just as difficult for a character to do, even if they are an agile squirrel!

Rather than directly posing 'Bill kills Joe' or 'Joe cuts off Bill's foot', try something a little more tactful. Like this!

Bill doesn't like Joe's insult. Drawing his sword, he attacks! With a lunge forward, he attempts to stab the hare through the chest, aiming to kill.

What's the big difference? Simple. 'Attempts' to kill. Wording is everything. If Bill attempts to kill Joe, Joe's player may dodge, counter attack, or even change where the blow lands, like this:

Upon seeing Bill lunge at him, Joe stands, swiftly ducking off to the side. The blade doesn't run him through, but manages to cut some clothing, leaving a light pink scar on his side.

Not only does it leave Joe options other than dying outright, it also shows that he isn't invincible and untouchable.

Concluding Thoughts

Use these guidelines when you're playing to avoid powerplay. I've seen so many characters wade into a bloodbath using little more than a toothpick and some ducttape and emerge without a hair out of place. That is being what is called a Superlative, and it's a horrible form of powerplay. You're invincible. You're the best at what you do, even if what you're facing is nearly impossible to overcome, you somehow manage it unscathed.

While overcoming heroic obstacles is not discouraged in any way, keep things realistic. It's understandable that you don't want your character to die, but remember, in the grand scheme of things... he's just another badger, squirrel, vole, or mouse and everyone dies one way or another. If you go into battle, expect to come out with some scrapes, cuts and bruises. Otherwise, if you do not wish your character to be harmed in any way, do not take part in battles. It's unrealistic to go into a fight of such a large scale and not come out with some sort of damage. Characters are not invincible. Actually, some of the coolest RPs involve a character dying.

Another matter that can be included in powerplay is endurance. Medieval weapons and armor are HEAVY! Swinging around an 6-10 pound chunk of metal for even an hour is just not going to happen easily if at all! Add in the other things that are happening in a combat situation, and that time gets even shorter. Mobility is a big part of combat and being mobile will sap even more of the strength that would be needed to keep swinging! Then if you add in the gear that your character is carrying or armor that brings the time of effectively being able to fight down even further.

See Also