Defiance in Narrative Power Dynamics

Ways defiance scenarios can happen in a narrative power dynamic, and my thoughts on roleplaying each way (generally as the constrict, because I have other issues with the idea of playing the principal):

(Note: ‘Defiance’ in this case means any kind of purposeful behavior by the constrict that the principal doesn’t want them engaging in. This includes insulting the principal, not obeying orders, breaking rules, etc.)

  1. The constrict is defiant. The principal tries (in whatever way) to make them stop, but is unsuccessful.
    • While this kind of situation can be very enjoyable to read about, I don’t think I would want to roleplay it. It basically makes the principal helpless and powerless- all they can do is rage futilely- and this is non-conducive to the feeling that they are powerful or even self-possessed. I don’t want that in a scenario I’m playing in.
  2. The constrict is defiant. For every defiance, there is a set punishment, and the principal delivers that punishment. The constrict continues to be defiant, knowing they will be punished each time, and they are.
    • I like this dynamic a lot, and would like to try playing it. It requires a rather self-possessed constrict, and a principal with the ability to be dispassionate. I very much like the former, and the latter is what keeps the principal from becoming pathetic like the one in scenario #1.
  3. The constrict is defiant. With some combination of consequences and threats, the principal ‘convinces’ them to stop it.
    • I think this would be interesting to play, but it would need to be planned out ahead of time. Basically, if I play the constrict, I would need to decide ahead of time at which ‘point’ I will break and become compliant. The reality of this scenario would be impossible (for me, at least) to play out in a safe and consensual manner, because if I’m actually being pushed to the point of breaking, I wouldn’t start complying, I would safeword.
  4. The constrict is defiant. They are physically prevented from continuing this. (So, if they’re refusing to walk across a room, they get dragged. If they keep insulting the principal, a gag is used. Etc. Note that this is not possible for everything- if they are refusing to, say, cook dinner, this method can’t be used (#3 could, though)).
    • There would be two ways to play this one. One, like in #3, C decides ahead of time at which point to be ‘overpowered’. Two, they actually fight and are actually overpowered. Both of these actually interest me, but the second would require a lot of care and thought about safety, both physical (making sure P doesn’t hurt C more than C is alright with, and, if C is actually fighting, making sure C doesn’t hurt P either), and psychological (How OK is P with physically coercing C? Does C feel safe enough with P to allow this?).
  5. The constrict is defiant. The principal acts in a way that demonstrates to the constrict that they are worthy of respect and obedience. The constrict comes to believe this, and stops being defiant. (Note: I actually didn’t think of this one when I thought of the other ones. It was sparked by a reading I did later).
    • Honestly, this is a dynamic that I’m not particularly interested in. While I do enjoy positive-authority dynamics as well as negative-authority ones, I prefer a positive authority to have a cooperative constrict. Also, I am rather bad with characters who are dynamic (change how they are) in this way.
  6. The constrict is not defiant. This is obviously then not a defiance scenario, but it belongs here as an acknowledgement of its possibility/reality. At some point, I might do a closer examination of its subcategories too.
    • This is the only dynamic I have actually roleplayed, and I do enjoy it.

One thought on “Defiance in Narrative Power Dynamics”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s