Help/Hinder, Support/Oppose

by Nathan
(Wichita, KS, USA)

Question: What are the key differences between these two pairs? They seem very similar to me. Any examples would also be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Answer: As defined in Dramatica, the Support and Oppose functions relate to speech, while Help and Hinder refer to other types of action, which is usually more physical.

A character who embodies "Support" will speak in favour of someone's plan or idea. He or she will give someone reassurance or moral support when they need it. They are like a personal cheerleader.

A character who embodies "Oppose" will criticize or speak out against someone's plan or point out someone's shortcomings. This can be useful when a plan is flawed or someone is getting too full of themselves, but it can also be a nuisance when there is nothing wrong with the person or the plan.

On the other hand...

"Help" involves actually doing something physically (or also sometimes verbally) to assist another character's efforts. The ways to do this are endless: throwing the right switch, removing an obstacle, distracting a guard, delivering a message, teaching a skill, pointing out an option, giving a helpful item, etc.

"Hinder" involves doing something physically (or sometimes vocally) to interfere with or impede another character's efforts. Examples would include barring a door, turning down a request, stealing or hiding a needed item, springing a trap, lying, standing in someone's way, etc.

There is also a fair amount of scope for subjective interpretation of these terms. Often
the drama comes from the tension between two opposites more than their exact definition. When your characters have strongly contrasting drives, it makes their interactions far more interesting.

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