Either I'm very confused, or it seems like there are some mutually exclusive rules going on:
First, there is no ICA==ICC on this game.
Here, more formally, from the Consequences page:
Some MUSHes (and players) have a philosophy of "ICA = ICC" ("IC actions equal in IC consequences", used to describe a tenet that amounts to "if you did something IC that deserves punishment, you should suck up whatever punishment someone deems ICly logical"). We firmly reject that philosophy here. It's not about logic — it's about story, and consent always applies. There should certainly be consequences to one's actions — but those consequences should be fun and play-fostering. We feel it's the responsibility of all players to exercise the creativity necessary to make them so — and to exercise the good sportsmanship to ensure that other people can make consequences fun for them without having to twist their characters up in knots.
However, on the consent page, our actual right to consent is effectively limited to these four points:
- Always retaining control over your own character's actions
- Not playing with a certain other player
- Refusing to agree to something dealing with an offensive matter (such as rape)
- Refusing a particular RPG consequence (requiring negotiating an alternative consequence)
So why is refusing a consequence in order to negotiate something more fun to play…."whining"? And in the absence of an actual +compare, how do rules of consequences and consent apply anyway?
Some people will inform you bluntly that they don't believe in consent, and will slap you with whatever they feel they have the authority to do IC. When this happens, any appeal to the pre-existing conflict resolution structure is of very little use. And many situations don't lend themselves to a +compare regardless. Or perhaps, the player base does not know how to make use of that structure. Or doesn't think to use it.
I myself have never yet seen storybuilding used even once (although I've no doubt it has been, I've just never been privy to it.) I have never seen the +compare system used to take a non-combat conflict (such as two people arguing IC to the point they're becoming upset OOC) out of the realm of emotion, so it can be resolved without people just logging out, or damaging a playgroup. I would not know how to lodge a reasonable protest, as described on the protest page, to negotiate a more fun alternative consequence……without perhaps derailing an entire scene at the expense of multiple people, and looking like a whiner in the bargain.
One can of course always just walk away. And one can avoid other players or groups with which one is not compatible. Too much of that, and my mental picture is of hell, as described by C.S. Lewis (in The Great Divorce), people moving further and further apart from each other until each one lives quite alone). One can closet one's self up with those few players one trusts (smaller as time goes by, and playgroups fragment as they always do). The game structure is supposed to facilitate inter-group play, by taking conflict and putting it on things, not on people, to take it out of "I win, you lose" and into "We're having fun together."
I wonder if we need more examples of how to use the conflict system for non-combat conflicts. For example:
Character A wants a relationship, which would be fun to play and maybe even character-developing, etc. A's propco/boss/lord/whatever (B) has forbidden it. There are probably good reasons for it IC, but from A's point of view OOC this simply stifles his play without giving him anything in exchange - no *other* play, just limitations. Maybe there are arguments about it IC (or OOC), which result in bad feelings and avoidance after. Or maybe there are no arguments, just bad feelings and avoidance.
A can always defy 'B' and play what he is fun for him anyway, but then ICA==ICC seems to apply, and you're back to the question of 'just exactly what consequences are reasonable without even MORE play being stifled' and 'how much say does the A have in negotiating an enjoyable, yet true consequence'?
Is there ANY way to bring this into the realm of game-designed conflict-resolution, so that A has some possibility of pressing his case in a dispassionate way, maybe even changing B's mind? And so that if there are consequences, they are guided by the conflict system, and not left to trust and compatible ideas of fun?