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    What is ICA=ICC?

    ICA=ICC stands for “in-character actions equal in-character consequences.”

    This concept is used in roleplaying games (RPGs) to signify that the actions of a player character (PC) within the game world have consequences that are consistent with the game’s setting and rules.

    It encourages players to think about the potential outcomes of their characters’ actions, fostering a more realistic and immersive gameplay experience. The principle helps maintain the internal logic and coherence of the game world.

    The origin of ICA=ICC can be traced back to the early days of roleplaying, when game masters (GMs) and players realized the importance of consequences to ensure meaningful, engaging storytelling. It has since become a fundamental aspect of narrative-driven roleplaying games.


    How does ICA=ICC affect roleplaying?

    ICA=ICC affects roleplaying by ensuring that players’ decisions and actions lead to logical outcomes within the game world. This encourages more thoughtful and realistic decision-making, enhancing the roleplaying experience by adding depth and realism to the game’s narrative.

    Can ICA=ICC be applied to all types of roleplaying games?

    While ICA=ICC is applicable to most roleplaying games, its implementation may vary based on the game’s setting, genre, and the preferences of the game master and players. It is most commonly found in games that emphasize storytelling and character development, such as roleplaying-heavy MUDs and MUSHes.

    What happens if a player disagrees with the consequences under ICA=ICC?

    If a player disagrees with the consequences of their actions under ICA=ICC, they can usually bring it up with the game master (GM) and possibly other players. The GM has the final say, but a good game master will consider the player’s perspective and strive for fairness and consistency within the game world.

    In more structured games with competition and conflict between PCs, the game itself is often the arbiter, deciding outcomes based on the characters’ stats and skills. However, there may still be a system for contesting or appealing coded outcomes if the player feels they were unjustified.

    For example, a player’s character is killed by a physically stronger rival. The rival says it was because they were insulted. After considering this, the game master comes back to reverse the character’s death, saying that insults are not sufficient to kill off another player character.

    How can game masters effectively implement ICA=ICC?

    Game masters can effectively implement ICA=ICC by clearly communicating the game world’s rules and logic to the players and by consistently applying consequences fairly and logically. They should also be prepared to explain the reasoning behind specific outcomes to help players understand and accept the consequences of their actions.

    Myths about ICA=ICC

    One common myth about ICA=ICC is that it is designed to punish players or limit their freedom. In reality, ICA=ICC is intended to enhance the roleplaying experience by adding depth and realism to the game world. It encourages players to engage more deeply with the game and consider the implications of their characters’ actions.

    Another misconception is that ICA=ICC leads to overly harsh consequences and can ruin the fun of the game. When applied fairly, ICA=ICC can enhance the narrative and make the game more engaging and rewarding for all participants.

    However, in intensely competitive roleplaying games, players may sometimes use ICA=ICC as an excuse to get the upper hand or enact revenge. These players are usually more concerned with “winning” than with facilitating a fun story.

    When the fairness of an in-character consequence is called into question, it is usually up to a game master to determine whether there was any foul play involved.

    See: Investment, stakes, and conflict in RPIs.

    ICA=ICC examples

    • A character steals from a powerful merchant (ICA). As a result of that in-character action, the merchant hires bounty hunters to track down and capture the thief (ICC).
    • A player decides their character will insult the king in front of his court (ICA). Consequently, the character is thrown into the dungeon for disrespecting the crown (ICC).
    • A character chooses to save a village from bandits (ICA). Grateful villagers then reward the character with a feast and a valuable gift (ICC).
    • A player’s character openly uses magic in a town where magic is forbidden (ICA). The character is then arrested and put on trial for breaking the law (ICC).

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    About the author

    Andruid is a writer, roleplayer, storyteller, and nerd who tries to live by Bill and Ted wisdom, i.e. "Be excellent to each other."