When you are having a good time at the game, sometimes things get weird or heated. Role play can quickly turn in a wrong direction. It is always good to know when an officer should step in to defuse any situation before it could get out of hand.
Sometimes the story gets too much for players. This could stem from concepts or ideas just may be too much. An example would be from a victim of violent crime. The storyteller may be running a scene which matches too close to the original crime. Things happen and we may have an issue cropping up. For more information, on this, see Coord 311: When does IC become OOC.
This example may be hard to detect when it is building up. Often times, other players may notice it and go out of character to assist the other member. If they don’t notice the signs, a Coordinator may have to step in and call for a cool down period. The player can then cool down and potentially return to the game.
As coordinators we are counselors, mediators, advisors, and confidants. This role lends us a unique perspective into our members. As a coordinator it is so important that we get to know your members both in and out of character. The better you understand your members and how they react to different situations the more effective you can be at heading off potential issues and dealing with the issues that do arise.
Most players want to be helpful, but often that can hinder efforts. Using the same example as above, the member is being relocated to cool off. A concerned member starts badgering the affected member on what they can do to help and offering several different solutions.
This can cause more frustration. When you are already in a fragile state of mind, sometimes being left alone is the best thing. A coordinator may need to step in between and be the wall between the two players.
In general, MES has a “no touch” policy, but many players have gray areas regarding the topic. These gray areas are not normally complete and are situational dependent, influenced by what is going on outside of the game.
Communication is the key. It’s best to enforce a predetermined rule of no touching and let individual players make the exception if they feel comfortable with it. This should be clearly stated so the domain is aware and will not cross lines. Requiring permission to touch another player is a common practice. For example in a combat scene player A asks player B; “can I grab your shoulder”.
The players are really into the scene and they are getting worked up. It is wise to check in with the players. An example would be looking over to see a player crying. When you check in with the player they were just getting emotional with the scene.
We have looked at some of the things to watch out for, but how would you step in? There are a couple of rules to keep in mind:
- The best way is to be polite and remain calm.
- Recognise a situation that is escalating and react appropriately.
- Speak with each player privately rather than in front of the rest of the players.
- Don’t be afraid to call for cool down periods.
- Remain polite and ask the player to tell you what’s going on before stating anything about the situation so you are sure you understand the situation, and how it’s being perceived by the members involved.
- Remember that real life always comes first.
It is good to check in any situation where you may not truly know what is going on. Over time you will get to know your players. You will know what will trigger their idiosyncrasies. This will help you figure out when to jump in as well. However, it never hurts to err on the side of caution.