I'm a first time poster on this stack but have been using it to help out with some online text-based RP.

A new player in our Second Life roleplay group is coming in fresh to the online world. He is a writer and has been presenting a rather unique problem.

In our community we encourage a variety of playstyles, however there is a set of rules of thumb that everyone follows when interacting online, that are learned by experience, observation and tips from your RP partners. This player, while he is great at writing text, doesn't seem to be familiar with our standards of interaction.

Worse yet, when approached, he insists he is a great roleplayer and that what he designed as his style is completely valid. He is both right and wrong about that from my point of view: sure, a new playstlye is great, but unfortunately it doesn't mix well with what everyone else here expects. He has stated that he wishes to change the structure of our established group in order to suit his needs. I would call him a know-it-all.

I want to help him to integrate into our community. What methods can I use that would persuade him to learn a standard playstyle before continuing to develop his own?

Background info

This is a roleplay in the Second Life virtual world, very much 'freeform' with a hint of optional dice rolling. This is a medieval based roleplay with an admin team, approved storylines, and an admin developed lore. There are lax rules in place. You have to play an approved character, and you can only play one character, and it must be balanced.

In Second Life, there is a general standard of how to interact. This player has his own notion of what roleplay is and is unwilling to adjust. He doesn't understand the intricacies of how people in Second Life generally approach roleplay... The best way I can describe it is that it would be like me sitting down at your D&D 5e table and insisting that I be allowed to use my Magic: the Gathering deck instead of creating a character.

What I want is advice on how to convince him to adjust to our standards. I don't feel that listing all of our standards or specific examples of his interactions would be helpful. It's simply a matter of a player who is too hard-headed to listen to everyone else. I will feel sorry for him if it comes down to ejection.

More Specific Details

He doesn't understand how we roleplay. This prevents him from anticipating how others may react.

Today for example, he came to the center of the city, with no warning, no discussion, expecting no consequences, and generated a band of NPCs, who then rushed into the town and took over the local tavern. There are several problems with this:

  1. He wasn't actually playing his approved character (a minor noble of one of the outlying areas).
  2. He was godmodding the town guards, which we could get over, except…
  3. He didnt seek approval from his lead, or the lead of the city he invaded.
  4. And lastly, when approached, he insisted that we were not roleplaying correctly and that we needed to change our structure and rules to suit his unique playstyle.

As a general rule of thumb, a huge change like the above to the sim storyline is something that should be discussed beforehand with the admin team.

His particular issue seems to be that he can not think ahead and understand why attacking the tavern is a bad move to make. When I told him it would create all kinds of problems he said something to the effect of “You can't godmod my RP style, I can play however I want” and yes, he specifically used the term ‘godmod’ to refer to me suggesting things OOCly.

In the end, he hasn't done anything 'wrong' per se, however, he has not done his due diligence research into what is considered 'right'. He didn't observe at all, he hasn't taken any classes. It doesn't seem like he has asked for help from anyone, and likely hasn't done much 1 on 1 roleplay. (This was my first thought, invite him to roleplay privately. It didn't help.)

I think it's important to note that I am not an admin or anyone special in this roleplay. I was simply looking for info that might help me to in the future deal with a player like this and could not find anything on this Stack. So it might be something that can be valuable to others who are approaching a similar player.


3 Answers 3


tl;dr: This is a problem the sim staff (host, admins, group managers etc) have to deal with.

First of all, I know from own experience that Second Life (SL) does seem to attract a lot of different folks. Powerposers meet people that extensively use try, paraposers meet one-line-say-emoters, third-person-view meets first-person-view. And of course, people that think they are the greatest and can't be held accountable by rules.

But SL also has some basic stuff you always should remember:

  • Everybody in a sim or parcel is a guest of the one paying the rent (the host) for it.
  • If the host declares rules, it is expected and good manners to uphold them - just like in real life.

So, we have established the basic principle we need to rely on when dealing with RP in SL: householder's/domiciliary rights. The host usually establishes a council of responsible people as admins/staff for the game on his land and together they should formulate guidelines and rules. They are kind of the underlying social contract of the sim.

Example of sim rules:

Often these sim rules are pretty explicit and contain punishments that are used on people breaching this. I have gathered some of these rules in a document here. Exemplary, these were the sim rules that had been used on Tython from the SWRP community between ca 2010 to 2014:

Upon entering our sims for rp you are agreeing to act as an adult, you understand we are here to rp, have fun, and build stories and characters not just be all powerful. If all you want to do is win all the time this is not the sim for you. We will NOT tolerate sore losers. If you get beat rp it out, DO NOT complain or tp out directly after a loss this will result in a Ban. DO NOT just run up and fight with no rp, this will be considered harassment and will result in a Ban.

Respect the on going stories here, do not just think you will come in and do whatever you want with no regards to what we have going on, failure to do so will result in a Ban, as previously stated we are building characters and stories here. Do not be disrespectful to staff or other players here failure to do so will result in a Ban. Take all excessive ooc chat to im's when rp is going on failure to do so will result in a Ban.

Leave all of the ooc drama somewhere else do not bring it here, you also understand that ic and ooc are not the same so DO NOT take what is said, and what happens ic personally ooc. Understand that you are playing a character and what you do ic will have ic consequences, and that the person playing against you is also playing a character and will re-act as per their character, failure to do this will result in a Ban.

I know this all should not have to be said but it does because in swrp it is often forgotten and the stuff that goes on everywhere else will NOT be tolerated here. Though we are on staff we are here to rp also, so we DO NOT want to, and WILL NOT spend our time in childish fights and arguments we will simply rid ourselves or your bullshit and rp with people who are here to have fun and not cause drama. ALL GROUP LEADRERS BRINGING YOUR PEOPLE TO RP HERE PLEASE POLICE THEM, IF WE HAVE TO STEP IN OUR DECISION WILL BE FINAL.

Upon getting banned: first offense will be re-viewable in two days. This gives everybody time to cool off and the offender to learn how things work here. I believe in a second chance so everyone will get one, however after this chance is given a permanent ban will be laid on you. If you have any questions on how to rp or rp etiquette, please refer to the box in our welcome center titled "so you want to swrp".

If you have any issues with a staff member DO NOT insult simply log the incident and submit the NC to myself [name redacted].

The other rules are pretty much standard rules for swrp

[rules about combat/combat meters]

Breaking any of the rules and practices of the sim while rping on Tython or Naboo will result in the pre mentioned Ban process. Thank you and enjoy your rping here.

What happened here?

So first of all, you need to establish the following:

  • Did he break the sim rules?
  • Did he disturb the game in a manner not adressed in the sim rules?

In either case, there are several things you can do:

Remind him of the rules. They are (or should be) stated somewhere. Reminding him that he broke the rules might help in that he rereads them and adjusts his play. It would be better though if the sim's staff does this as a mediation (see below).

Deny him to play with you. If he comes to play and continiues to impose his vision of RP on you, tell him ooc-ly and in public chat (so others notice and you may quote this later) that you don't wish to play with him like this. Do so in a civil manner to prevent being called badmouthing. If he follows you around after you told him you have no interest in playing with him, go to a place where you or your peer group has the domicilary rights - your base of operations for example - and deny him entry on the base of the sim rules and domicilary rights.

Don't fight back with fire! Do not become a bad sport and powerposer against him because of a bad sport. This is a downwards spiral. If it is allowable to powerpose for Staff to enforce the worlds reactions is something many playstyles dispute about.

Contact the staff team of the sim, and it is best to provide logs of the incident for this. However, keep in mind that Linden Lab's ToS does not allow disclosing your IMs with somebody without consent of both parties. Once staff is aware of the situation, they should handle it according to their procedure. Usually that includes a warning, and if the player does not adhere to the rules after that a (temporary or permanent) ban. Sometimes this includes the inability to return to the game ever because they are banned from the land.

Escalation of steps

Just to make it entirely clear: Ban is (usually) not the first but the last step in this, this is a situation of careful escalation. (Suspension is pretty much Ban-light)

  1. Try to explain to him that there are rules in the sim, that dictate what you can and can't do, even if it is freeform.
  2. Try to ask staff to mediate.
  3. Exclude him from your RP if he is disturbing - for example by asking him kindly to leave your scene.
  4. If he continues to be disruptive and blatantly breaks the established rules, even after staff mediated, then at staffs discretion the ban will come. If the ban can be repealed, when or how often this is possible is entirely up to staff.

You can only do so much as a player. If he doesn't listen to your reason, then your only way is to address staff and let them handle the problem.


Second Life is a mixing bowl of people from various backgrounds. Some of them are good sports, some bad sports, some don't speak even English and then there are griefers. In this vast mixture and with only the ToS of Linden Lab limiting what is possible, it relies on the host (=sim owner) and those he delegates it to (=staff) to establish the guidelines and rules to play in. It is up to the players to play in the rules or break them. However, the only tools Staff has to enforce their rules and thus protect their community are twofold: Mediation (aka trying to explain) and the Banhammer.

Only if the rules are enforced by some means (and there are only two), the RP can flow freely within the established, consistent world. If the rules are not enforced, disruptive players who powerpose and godmode will crop up with ideas of why they are overlord over everything and why the others should do what they say. Those will drive away the players that actually wanted to play in the world that was established. It is the duty of staff to protect the game and community, and this can mean that sometimes it is needed to get rid of a player. But it is up to the host and staff to decide where to draw this line and cut the losses, even if that might make their (now former) problem someone's else problem.

What about hurt feelings?

Make yourself no illusions, there will be hurt feelings on both sides, no matter how you tell them to reread the rules, change their playstyle or to ask them to leave the game. There is no way around this unless they can endure like Mahatma Gandhi.

Staff can try to lessen the blow by mediation and keeping the process clear. As a staff on a telnet based game myself and having been close to the former staff of several past iterations of the Tython sim(s) I know pretty well that rejection of someone's brilliant ideas will hurt the feelings on the player side, as will talking against the brick wall of a player will frustrate a staffer.

I believe though that Mr. Gandhi would have read all the rules and guidelines and familiarized himself with his surroundings before acting.

  • \$\begingroup\$ A well presented answer but it dosent address the main issue, how to convince him that he would have more fun if he learned how to play? Phrased another way, how to get him to discard his fabricated style? \$\endgroup\$
    – pfifo
    Dec 15, 2017 at 21:51
  • 7
    \$\begingroup\$ @pfifo you really can't. the sim's owners and admins are the only people that could really demand he either shape up or ship out. the most you can do is ask nicely, report him, or listen to what Trish provided you with. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 15, 2017 at 23:39
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Sadly there are just two outcomes: point to the rules... and either he adapts, or he has to leave. \$\endgroup\$
    – Trish
    Dec 15, 2017 at 23:40
  • 6
    \$\begingroup\$ @pfifo Clear rules and escalation of steps are the keyword here before you pull the banhammer, but SL only provides two tools to deal with disputes: talking with them and banning them from your land. Sometimes you got to pull the line and cut your losses, even if that might make your (former) problem someone's else problem. There WILL be hurt feelings, but sometimes punishment (like a bad grade or temporary ban) is the best to teach that somewhere is a limit. \$\endgroup\$
    – Trish
    Dec 16, 2017 at 1:32
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Good answer, but I am not sure if the rules document you quoted is a good example. It is written in a very hostile and angry tone. It gives me the impression of a deeply dysfunctional community ruled by a power-hungry and elitist cabal of admins who immediately ban people for the slightest infraction. I certainly would not want to participate in such a community. \$\endgroup\$
    – Philipp
    Oct 17, 2018 at 14:34

I think the main problem here is a communication problem between the problem player and the rest of the group.

Without properly communicating the rules, the player can not know what is and is not appropriate behavior. You can not blame someone for not following rules they were never informed about. When your group has unwritten rules, then it is about time to formalize them and write them down for everyone to read.

Make sure you include all players in that formalization process. Due to the informal way you've used to communicate your rules so far ("learned by experience, observation and tips from your RP partners") there is a high propability that many more players have different ideas about what the rules in your community are (maybe someone even told the problem player something wrong, resulting in the described misunderstanding). The formalization process can help you to bring everyone on the same page.

By the way: Such an official rule document can also be a great recruiting tool. It allows interested players to check what your general idea of roleplaying is all about and use it to decide if they are interested in participating.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Would you mind backing this up, for example with Sim Rules or providing where you have played in the past? \$\endgroup\$
    – Trish
    Oct 17, 2018 at 15:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ There are roleplay classes offered by various communities so you can learn the flow of the roleplay, dos and donts, and practice developing your style. It is completely OK to assume everyone entering a sim like this has taken this kind of class. This person did not take such a class and to make the issue worse, he perceived any help that anyone would give him an assault on his intelligence. He wanted to do something completely different from everyone else which put everyone else at a disadvantage. \$\endgroup\$
    – pfifo
    Oct 18, 2018 at 21:55

It seems that his play style does not fit the play style of your group. My advice is that he be freed up to find a group that fits his play style.

This is a pretty clear case of: "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few (or the one)".

Everything in your follow up edits simply reinforce my answer. Get rid of him before people you enjoy playing with start to leave.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Second Life only allows a parcel owner and people empwered by him to kick people from a land. \$\endgroup\$
    – Trish
    Dec 15, 2017 at 19:10

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