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In online play-by-email (PBEM) games that follow more of a free-form bent, the act of power-playing occurs when one player speaks for and/or acts for another person's character that assumes a given reaction to his own posts- often, it is simply abbreviated as pp or pping.

For example, if two characters, named Randal and Chudd in one game and Hannah and Gregor in the other, each controlled by two different players, were duelling in the castle throne room, the following would be power-playing...

  • Randal sneered disdainfully, easily parrying Chudd's unskillful strike and retorting with a series of his own cuts. "You picked a fight with the wrong Imperialist, human," the man spat, turning aside his opponent's final parry and scoring a long cut along Chudd's midsection.
    (tag- Chudd
  • She continued to look away, but Gregor would have none of this. "Hannah," he murmured softly into her ear, "he's gone. Forever, as far as we know. Why stare at the stars and look for love there when you know it will always be here?"

    The woman glanced back at him, uncomprehendingly at first, but realizations clicked quickly as she realized just who he was referring to. "I've always loved you, Gregor," Hannah responded, sliding further into his embrace...

Same characters, players, and situation- these examples, on the other hand, are not power-playing.
  • Randal sneered disdainfully, easily parrying Chudd's unskillful strike and retorting with a series of his own cuts. "You picked a fight with the wrong Imperialist, human," the man spat, turning aside his opponent's final parry and cutting at Chudd's midsection, aiming for a telling blow that would show just how badly the boy was outmatched.
    (tag- Chudd
  • She continued to look away, but Gregor would have none of this. "Hannah," he murmured softly into her ear, "he's gone. Forever, as far as we know. Why stare at the stars and look for love there when you know it will always be here?"

The exact nature of power-playing depends almost exactly on the feelings of the other players on the subject. In some games, you can speak for other players' characters and they can speak for yours; in others, though, the only time you can assume a reaction of any kind is if you know the person and character personally; even then, you often need permission from the other player (and a statement as such) on the top of your post.

Historically, PP is more of an important concept in the faster email games. In slower-paced PbEMs, when posts come at a rate of once weekly or slower, PP is almost unavoidable- a conversation over dinner if each player sends out a line or two of words every week, could last for months at a time- which, understandably, can be a bit frustrating. Such conversations are often either collaborated on between posts in off-list emails or written by one person, critiqued by the other, and changed until it fits and THEN sent out.

In games where it is less necessary, PP is often considered one of the highest crimes- certainly the other person behind that character can speak for themselves, don't you think? Often, repeated power-playing is punishable by character exile or outright banning from the game- often, both at once.

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