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.)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?).
- 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.
- 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.