OngoingWorlds blog

News & articles about play-by-post games, for roleplayers & writers


How to tell a Mary Sue to stop Mary Suing

Self-insert comicIt’s a common problem, someone joins your game with a character that’s far too overpowered, or way too “awesome” (or so the writer says). They’re a Mary Sue (Or a Marty Stu, or whatever – there’s actually loads of names for the same thing. Click here for an article explaining the different different types).

As enthusiastic as the new player is, it’s ruining everyone else’s fun. That’s because Mary Sues can be disruptive. A character that’s too over-powered (also called a god-modder) can resolve an interesting story far too quickly just because they happen to have the exact skill, device etc that’s needed at that time (despite being 16 etc).

Your best weapon, communication

It’s key that you communicate correctly with someone who’s being disruptive. Someone who’s roleplaying a Mary Sue isn’t purposefully being harmful, so you don’t want to dampen their spirits. Be nice, communicate effectively and keep in constant contact (I\d follow these rules for dealing with your players anyway). So if you’ve never spoken to these people before, don’t just jump in with a strict message  forbidding them from writing a Mary Sue, warm them up first, get chatting, show them you’re a real person and not just the strict dictator.

Communicate knowledge

After you’ve got the problemmatic player on your side, you can start to help them realise that their actions are causing a problem. There’s quite a few articles you can show them to educate them about Mary Sues, here’s a few:

Lead by example

Of course also make sure your own characters aren’t Mary Sues. New members will look to game owners and other players and follow their lead.

If you’ve got your own tips for dealing with Mary Sues, feel free to share them in the comments below.

Btw the comic at the top of this article is by Kevin Bolk, who drew it for a presentation to show a “Mary Sue/Self-Insert/Wish-Fulfillment Character”.