What is Metaposing?

Metaposing is the practice of narrating others' actions either explicitly or by implication. It is strongly frowned upon — commenting on and characterizing their actions ICly is just fine, but that must be handled in what your character says instead of in your written narration of the scene. Some players feel this limits creativity, but really in most cases where metaposing is being used, there are easier ways around the situation that can come out to mean the same thing without being rude or claiming empirical knowledge of another's intentions.

Please read the following examples:

Charlie Brown walks up to Linus with a menacing scowl.

  • Metapose Response: Linus retreats from Charlie Brown and his violent streak.
  • Good Response: Linus retreats from Charlie Brown, clearly fearing intended violence.

In the metaposed example here, Linus was assuming something based on Charlie Brown's pose that is pure inference. After all, perhaps Charlie Brown is scowling because he is angry at the person he just got off the phone with and intends to vent his frustrations verbally at Linus.

Sally says, "<long emotional speech.>"
Lucy says, "Huh."

  • Metapose Response: Sally, hurt by Lucy's insensitivity, storms out of the room.
  • Good Response: Sally takes Lucy's response badly and storms out of the room.

Here, again, Sally is drawing conclusions — which are at their heart IC — about Lucy's response to her speech. Even if she objectively feels it was insensitive for Lucy to just say 'huh' after her long emotional speech, it is not really her judgment call to make or narrate that beyond Sally's IC perception. Lucy might just be taking a moment to process it all, after all, before coming out with a coherent response.

Charlie Brown says, "Hi."

  • Metapose Response: Lucy greets Charlie Brown with a hug and a kiss on the cheek. "Hi."
  • Good Response: Lucy greets Charlie Brown with an offer of a hug and leans in to kiss Charlie Brown's cheek. "Hi."

Here we get into poses that imply action on the part of other people. When engaging in physical actions that involve others, it is best simply to pose intention and to let them pose response. In the good response example above, for instance, Charlie Brown's next pose might include: Charlie Brown, accepting both the hug and the kiss, does <action>. Or it might be something like: Charlie Brown doesn't seem to want to be touched and dodges both hug and kiss. You never know until they get a chance to respond.

The one major exception to this would be when you work out action/response via negotiation, usually in a fight scene, where for instance someone might agree to get lifted off the ground, allowing you to pose that your character lifts them rather than just posing that they intend to lift them.

Keeping to posed intent/response tends to keep the action and posing flowing even in the most difficult to negotiate action scene, and should be the rule of thumb in all other scenes as well.

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