Rethinking Conflict

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Cerk Evermoore
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Re: Rethinking Conflict

Post by Cerk Evermoore » Sun Jul 07, 2019 5:35 pm

Conflict has a place. But people with fatigue need to understand while although you are incredibly powerful it comes with the price that when bad stuff goes down, you are the first to get a courier. So every time someone spots 2 drow wandering around the surface. You will get a courier, which will make you tired pretty quick. Especially after irl weeks / months.

Which raises the problem that heroes cannot be everywhere at once, holding back the forces of darkness is a full time high stress high consiquence job. In the end, you cannot kill every surface monster, banite, pirate free every slave and burn every witch. Evil seethes through every crack of Arelith and while some feel the surface is a safe bastion of good, it is farrr too vast to keep evil at bay. There never is any final resolution to evil, only specific villians and conflicts.

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Mr_Rieper
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Re: Rethinking Conflict

Post by Mr_Rieper » Sun Jul 07, 2019 5:59 pm

In summary thus far, the "Do as I say or I will kill you" villains are overplayed and trite. If your villain is continually trying to beat the respect of people, you have to realise that players are weary of that approach. It's an overly simplistic portrayal of villainy. At the same time, I understand that people face a lot of OOC resistance even when they are trying to do things differently, which results in players getting fed up, angry and taking the shortest route.

If your 'good guy' is the "Obey the law/morality of the settlement or I will kill you" type, then you're equally as overplayed and trite. Paladins tend to get a bad rep even when they are a great class option simply because they enjoy browbeating and intimidating bad guys. It's an overly simplistic portrayal of heroism. At the same time, I understand that people face a lot of OOC resistance even when they are trying to do things differently, which results in players getting fed up, angry and taking the shortest route.

Don't automatically assume you are doing people a favor by starting conflict with them. From any side of the alignment or political spectrum. Accept that there will be IC consequences for things. Attacking a well-loved politician even when they are a follower of an evil faith will result in your good character being socially ostracised. Repeatedly butchering people (or associating directly with somebody who does) and expecting them to react civilly towards you when you greet them is unrealistic as well. If your method of dealing with problems is swinging your hammy fists around, expect collateral damage.

If you keep doing the same thing over and over and are not getting a different result, consider that you may be insane. Or try something else. It might be good.

I also agree with Zavandar and Eters. Facing OOC resistance because of assumptions is frustrating, and Eters also delved into the heart of the issue.
CosmicOrderV wrote:
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Be the change you want to see, and shape the server because of it. Players can absolutely help keep their fellow players accountable.

Vrass
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Re: Rethinking Conflict

Post by Vrass » Sun Jul 07, 2019 6:44 pm

Need more conflict both pvp and rp. Things are way to boring now and there is literally nothing to do except wander aimlessly and hope to stumble upon some action which never happens. If this continues much longer i may end up not playing anymore as there is no point for me to log in as nothing ever happens and nothing i or anyone does makes any difference.

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Re: Rethinking Conflict

Post by Zavandar » Sun Jul 07, 2019 6:57 pm

WanderingPoet wrote:
Sun Jul 07, 2019 5:20 pm
Zavandar wrote:the weird spot this puts the server in is that a choice has to be made: accommodate this sizable chunk or run them off.
Don't take the approach of running people off just because they don't like your style of conflict/narrative; be it jumping to PvP on a hair trigger, or IC ostracizing.
don't quote what i say out of context and then misconstrue the point. the SERVER has taken the stance of being harder on outcasts mechanically (and i've seen NPCs doing the same thing). a lot of these people have been run off to the UD
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Re: Rethinking Conflict

Post by Emotionaloverload » Sun Jul 07, 2019 7:33 pm

Hazard wrote:
Sun Jul 07, 2019 3:40 pm
Don't know what surface server you folks are talking about to call it second-life, because it's a constant flow of conflict with pirate, drow, <insert whatever bad guy> attacks multiple times a day for the past few years. That's the real reason evil is ignored on the surface. My character can't respond to every instance of this because they would just be inundated. It's not frightening or surprising, it's just another day, another drow or whatever. Yawn. Give it a rest. Can we do something else for a change?
Pretty much this. People are /far/ more receptive (and have more fun) to more personal plots because more people can be better included in these through personal connections instead abstract ones (ie. law vs. order or one faith vs another). Personal conflicts can stem from abstract reasons, at the start, but end up developing into something more which tends to be more enjoyable than just beating each other until someone gets bored.


As for the OP, I am 100% behind point 3. Settlements have had a lot of their old school sabotages cut over the years in favor of stability and I am rarely in favor of stability because it too often gives the impression that what you have you should be allowed to keep. That is not to say we shouldn't be courteous as players and allow everyone time for their plots, events and conflicts but that they are not permanent or reliable in their existence.



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Re: Rethinking Conflict

Post by magistrasa » Sun Jul 07, 2019 7:39 pm

Similar to what people are saying, I think there needs to be more consequence to people's actions. When penalties are opt-in, you create inconsistencies in the setting, not to mention the opportunity for poor sports holding control over an increasingly less fun narrative. Character death and existential peril will never be as permanent or motivating as some people want them to be. So for those of us that do actually want to leave some sort of impact on people, what should be done to interact immersively and engagingly with other people? The truth is, there are very few ways to leave an impact on other people, and I think the lack of agency or consequence is the root of this discontent. The beautiful promise of Arelith is that the world is shaped by the actions of the players - but rare is the occasion that this promise is fulfilled.

The best fun I've ever had in the server has been through theft and spycraft, because you can directly witness the consequences of those actions. The information you've stolen can provide a new direction to the person you tell it to - a grand conflict can be created or a long-term animosity extinguished in the course of a single conversation, inspired by a single secret. Likewise, some of the most interesting ways I've seen stories started on the server have had to do with stealing some special DM Plot McGuffin - or even just a bottle of Blueleaf Extract - which typically creates a more nuanced form of conflict that rarely ends up resorting to PvP, because, hey, just because you kill someone, doesn't mean you get the thing you want! So you have to get clever and talk to them or make the right friend or bribe someone or hire your own thieves to steal the thing right back. I've seen pickpockets grab special items of sentimental value or tokens of secret allegiance, purely by happenstance, and it spins off into some amazing roleplay.

What with the lack of permadeath, theft and spycraft kind of feel like the only ways to actually inflict consequences on another character. But, understandably, it can result in a less-than-fun feeling on the victim. People who are spied on don't always know they were spied on, so reports can fly on metagaming accusations. Sometimes the victims of theft are merely paralyzed by the state of poverty they're kept in by losing all their valuable, hard-won assets. There needs to be more avenues of consequence that don't run the risk of abuse. Which is where it's hard to really give a good idea. So I'll come up with a couple bad ideas on the spot without much forethought whatsoever, don't @ me:
--- Some way for settlements to steal resources from other settlements? I'd only suggest that if there were more consequences attached to not having enough resources to begin with. Then again, replenishing those resources is... boring. Something involving settlement-centric conflict would be cool, I just don't know how to do it without making it boring for the victim.
--- Somewhat inspired by the druid's -balance system, but what if there was a way for players to create some planar imbalance in certain areas? Fiend-touched wildlife causing chaos as a result of a concerted effort by warlocks and blackguards and evil clerics, giving small bands of UDers a reason to go out into the surface and create a little mischief without explicitly going out and attacking travelers or settlements - and giving those uninterested in PvP something to remain vigilant over, some evil to smite from the world. The crux of this hypothetical mechanic kinda depends on this disruption of balance taking a while and requiring concerted effort to really accomplish - and maybe even limit the mechanic to affect specific areas, or a range of areas past a specific level range? Otherwise one jerk with a Balor Lord is just going to run around all of Minmir, corrupting everything from the water to the wind, and no one under level 20 will be able to do anything until the paladin brigade shows up to clean the nastiness out.
--- Part of the frustration with UDers raiding the surface, on both sides, is the pointlessness of the endeavor. Give an actual reason to raid a settlement, or an area outside a settlement - and, in the same vein, a reason to defend that place - and it might be a little more fun for people on an out of character perspective. It'll feel less like griefing because both sides will understand there's something to be gained from the endeavor, which I think is where a fair amount of bitterness comes from because I'm sure it seems like raiders are only raiding because they're jerks who hate it when other people have fun. You'll probably see less cheap attempts at hostage-taking because that's usually a goal simply to make up for the lack of there being a goal otherwise. To prevent it from becoming an endless parade of miserable two-dimensional raids like it used to be, maybe drop this special something that everyone wants to either take or defend at a certain time of the in-game year - giving it a chance that maybe the forces that might be inclined to take or defend it simply aren't in the position to do so due to whatever ongoing conflict might be distracting them at the given time. Maybe one of these things is on the surface, and a different one is in the Underdark. I'm sure plenty of UDers would appreciate the excitement. (God knows I would, do-gooders please come save us from ourselves.)

You can probably tell I'm reaching for a decent thought at this point. My two remaining brain cells are running on empty. But that's what I got as quasi-suggestions, and that's my hot take.

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Mythic
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Re: Rethinking Conflict

Post by Mythic » Sun Jul 07, 2019 8:05 pm

Zavandar wrote:
Sun Jul 07, 2019 6:57 pm
WanderingPoet wrote:
Sun Jul 07, 2019 5:20 pm
Zavandar wrote:the weird spot this puts the server in is that a choice has to be made: accommodate this sizable chunk or run them off.
Don't take the approach of running people off just because they don't like your style of conflict/narrative; be it jumping to PvP on a hair trigger, or IC ostracizing.
don't quote what i say out of context and then misconstrue the point. the SERVER has taken the stance of being harder on outcasts mechanically (and i've seen NPCs doing the same thing). a lot of these people have been run off to the UD
As Outcasts you start in the UD, if you were wandering around on the surface ignoring the background reasoning for being an Outcast Then yes, You should be treated as a monster and driven out of settlements. Which the Pariah and automatic Pariah system fixes.

But otherwise, Eters hit a crux here, And it's fatigue. I have been playing in the UD recently, and It's a matter of player Mentality, Plots can and should be made that dont involve just raiding and PvPing, Do things like create fixtures and speak with the "Opposite Side" To create an interesting conflict, rather than plan raids to bash settlements and characters.

When playing a "Surfacer" involved in, just about every large scale Raid or camping, or hearing about people getting bashed on roads, or hearing X got taken prisoner when X is the 19th person this year. It does grow to be exhausting, And it's not a wonder that people want to take breaks from these conflicts by playing Alts.

Personally I am of the mindset that Conflict does not equal PvP, and PvP should be used sparingly, because an interesting conflict it does not make unless it is Crux to the story.

Getting back to making fun stories for everyone involved, Instead of what makes the most advantange for "Your side" is to me, what makes an interesting conflict. It's not about winning or losing, its about having fun, And it's not fun when people just want to kick over your sandcastle and then complain you just start rebuilding. And then the next person kicks it over, and the next...

Make Stories, Conflict between players should be at it's heart a co-operative experience, and not a detrimental one.
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Subutai
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Re: Rethinking Conflict

Post by Subutai » Sun Jul 07, 2019 8:17 pm

I want to address two points that have been brought up throughout this discussion with which I vehemently disagree. I won't quote anyone saying either thing, specifically, so I'll just right the general sentiments, as I've understood them, in quotes.
The Underdark is better at conflict because they don't shun people who shake things up. The surface needs to accept conflict from pirates, drow, Banites, etc., like the UD does.
My problem with this is that the sentiment seems to misunderstand the core issue many players have with the conflict. In the UD, all sides are scheming against each other all the time, and coming up with ways to sabotage one another. PvP, from what I've seen playing in the UD, isn't the end-all be-all of conflict RP. Rather, it happens intermittently, or at the culmination of a long series of RP. Drow scheme against drow, evil against evil, etc., and it all comes to a head.

On the surface, there's very little of this, at least as far as good vs. evil RP goes. Rather than the conflict having the potential to be like the UD conflict, if only the surface "second life" players would accept it, conflict between alignments is much more stripped down. To put this in a way players more familiar with the UD might better understand, rather than picturing good vs. evil surface conflict as being similar to drow house vs. drow house scheming, think of something a little different. Imagine that instead of the outcast system, we simply allowed anyone, of any alignment, to start and live in the UD. Now imagine there are multiple factions of good-aligned characters intent on defeating the evil and oppressive Underdark systems. Maybe their RP behind the scenes is great, maybe it isn't, but the result that most UD players see is a paladin, or a group of paladin, or some Ilmaterian clerics and wizards, running into the hub, shouting "Death to all Drow!" and attacking. Now imagine that this happens every single day, multiple times a day. You're sitting there in the hub, hanging out by the portal, RPing away, and suddenly some "hero" is creating "conflict" in the UD by randomly attacking, only to be killed, then come back tomorrow or the next day and do the same thing, along with half a dozen other people or more.

This is what the vast majority of "conflict" on the surface seems to come down to. No schemes, no subtle machinations, no careful plots unfolding over weeks or months. Just random PvP out of nowhere that fades just as quickly. Is it really any surprise that people get tired of this kind of thing?

This leads me into the next point I want to address...
If evil/villainous PCs attack to try to start conflict RP, the onus is on the people who were attacked to create an enjoyable situation for themselves.
I believe this is, to be perfectly honest, very much passing the buck and expecting others to do the heavy lifting. The issue here is that, very often, the people being attacked have already created engaging RP for themselves. This is especially true during events, when players have worked hard to arrange something, and they and everyone in attendance have implicitly stated "this is the kind of RP we want to be engaged in. This is what we'd like to do with our time". To then come in and attack that event, or those players, is saying no less than "No, we're not doing your RP anymore, we're doing mine."

There's nothing inherently wrong with that. Arelith is, after all, a living, breathing community where we have to adapt to changing and unexpected situations in the way we do in real life. The problem comes up when the attacker or conflict creator then puts the onus of making the RP fun on the people he attacked.

Imagine there's a party in real life, and everyone agrees to play Mario Kart. Everyone's having a blast playing Mario Kart when suddenly some other guest shows up, turns off the Nintendo, and says "Okay we're playing Dungeons and Dragons now", then when someone asks him what adventure he had in mind, or what he's planning to do as DM, he says, "No no, I don't have an adventure and I don't want to be DM. You have to make D&D fun, I'm just creating the opportunity for fun".

If people were upset about this, or unhappy, or not having fun, no one would blame them. In fact, it would be fully expected that they would be unhappy, and the person who disrupted Mario Kart would be clearly to blame. They disrupted the fun that everyone else was already having, and then weren't even prepared to make their thing fun. They wanted someone else to make it fun for them.

It's entirely possible that the D&D game could be more fun than Mario Kart, just like it's entirely possible that the conflict that interrupts the Arelith event could be more fun than the event was. But that it isn't the responsibility of the event-goers to make the new conflict fun any more than it's the responsibility of the Mario Kart players to make D&D fun. If you're going to insist that everyone else stop doing what they were doing and do something else, you have to make it fun for them.

This is the key thing about being a villain, especially on the surface, and it seems to be what's most often ignored. Villains don't create opportunities for other people to come up with a roleplay hook that's engaging and interesting. They make the hook. They make it engaging. They make it fun for everyone involved. They have to, because otherwise all they're really doing is knocking over someone else's building blocks and telling them to make something else.

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Re: Rethinking Conflict

Post by WanderingPoet » Sun Jul 07, 2019 8:19 pm

Zavandar wrote:
Sun Jul 07, 2019 6:57 pm
WanderingPoet wrote:
Sun Jul 07, 2019 5:20 pm
Zavandar wrote:the weird spot this puts the server in is that a choice has to be made: accommodate this sizable chunk or run them off.
Don't take the approach of running people off just because they don't like your style of conflict/narrative; be it jumping to PvP on a hair trigger, or IC ostracizing.
don't quote what i say out of context and then misconstrue the point. the SERVER has taken the stance of being harder on outcasts mechanically (and i've seen NPCs doing the same thing). a lot of these people have been run off to the UD
The full quote was:
Zavandar wrote:all of the tools to create meaningful and interesting conflict in "ye olde days" is still here. there is no fundamental difference outside of a shift in the community over time. there is a large chunk of people here that pointedly do NOT want conflict, and their opinions generally will NOT be changed.

the weird spot this puts the server in is that a choice has to be made: accommodate this sizable chunk or run them off. [Emphasis added] we have seen the backlash for things like the revised pariah system and the outcast tag. i believe those mechanics were put in place BECAUSE there wasn't enough conflict, not to stifle it. i know that this may contradict the recent crackdown on pvp, but I believe that that was a crackdown on pvp, not on conflict in general.
There was no lack of context, or misconstruing of your point. There was not even any mention of outcasts until the following sentence which makes your response confusing. Regardless of if your point was misunderstood, my point still stands that running people off the server because you don't agree with their RP is a bad thing for anyone to do.
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Sea Shanties
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Re: Rethinking Conflict

Post by Sea Shanties » Sun Jul 07, 2019 8:39 pm

Re. the "second life" players who avoid conflict, I don't think this is an either/or thing in general and trying to pigeonhole people into one of two camps is needlessly divisive. Maybe, like me, they play for an hour after a long day at work and just want to unwind with the "second life" friends, maybe have a discussion about the workings of magic or just nothing in particular-- I'm bowing out of anything stressful in those sessions but that doesn't mean when I have six hours to play on a day off I'm not ready for anything, rando PVP included.

I think almost all players are going to be OK with PVP, especially if RP dictates its necessity. But perhaps they don't have a lot of confidence in their skills or perhaps they need some reassurance first that it's all in the spirit of the story and they're not being bullied. A lot of newer or casual players are surely intimidated by the PVP-trained antagonists who are well geared with runic equipment they have little hope of acquiring themselves-- if you want them to play ball you may have to be an intimidating badass IC and send a tell or two to say it's all cool OOC.

I'll tell you want though, my favorite times on Arelith haven't been about PVP, they're been about big DM-driven RP events like the Iron Throne or Spriggan War storylines where multiple factions who are normally hostile have to deal with each other on very tense terms to accomplish a goal. I don't know how this kind of thing can be more player driven since DM attention isn't an endless resource, I know it does happen to some degree and wish it would more-- that's what good fantasy storytelling is often about, big events that force opposing personalities or factions to interact. Endless skirmishes between UD and surface has a place and can be fun in the moment but there's a reason it gets old fast, it just feels like a first act event that should lead to something bigger and rarely does.

Lastly or maybe to circle back to the start.. this is a terrible game for PVP, it's very unbalanced and dependent on learning non-intuitive tactics from other players. You can't just pick up the game, pick some spells and/or feats and expect to hold your own against people who've been playing for 15 years and know the value of time stop combos and other dirty tricks. It also takes a very long time to get a character to a point where they're viable in a fight even with the writs system to speed leveling. People who just want action are going to pick a much better game than this, the attraction here is roleplaying and a lot of us are here specifically because we're not interested in a League of Legends or other combat MMO gankfest. Maybe they were even driven away from other games because they were frustrated by constant PVP against people at skill levels they could never hope to match. That doesn't mean these players are never going to engage in it, but if you're asking them to engage in a fight both sides know they will lose it may take some extra effort and reassurance.

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Re: Rethinking Conflict

Post by Irongron » Sun Jul 07, 2019 8:41 pm

Durvayas wrote:
Sun Jul 07, 2019 8:15 am
The surface is a million times more interested in having riddle day in the nomad, handfast feasts in bendir, drinking contests in brog,
There is nothing wrong with any of these things. Many players are attracted to Arelith for the story-telling, and not all of them need involve conflict, especially when it becomes an endless cycle of PvP.

Personally I'm against introducing any 'war' mechanics, as we'd basically be gamifying conflict yet further, and sending a strong message to the player that Arelith was all about the PvP. In an open ended game like Arelith players are often looking for a way to 'win' it, and I think the previous war system sent a strong message that PvP was the way to do that.

I do firmly believe that Arelith can cater to many styles and preferences of play styles, none of them is right or wrong. And while I'm probably best known for having played confict driven characters I'm also not ashamed to say that at times I've enjoyed the more 'social' aspect of server RP in the past. On Arelith 'playing dress up' has always been a thing, as has 'playing house' - not everyone needs to be on board with mass PvP every second weekend.

If anything does depress me it is how often we view conflict only through the lens of PvP, when there can be so much more to it. The great pirates I've seen have been those creating stories, not just murdering anyone that comes within range, the fantastic drow have build up carefully crafted intrigue that have left their friends and foes alike second-guessing their every decision. I think if, on both sides, we all made a better job of these conflicts then a lot less people would be adverse to participating.

It also wouldn't hurt to give one's foes the benefit of the doubt sometimes.

Playing an antagonist on Arelith is a really hard thing to do, not least because sadly many get shut down or stonewalled before they even get through their first few levels. Try performing some minor villainous act and you'll often get swiftly beaten down by one of those magically appearing level 30s, and be exiled from every settlement of the isle, before you've got through the first act of your masterplan. Its little wonder, given how often this has been the case, that many 'evil' players consider their PvP build and grind to 30, before feeling secure in summoning their first skeleton - and that is a terrible shame.

Really it doesn't matter whether one plays in the surface or the Underdark, if one is good, evil or indifferent - we can all manage conflict a lot better by simpler giving our rivals the time and space to build their own stories, and to look to our RP, rather than our PvP mechanics when considering a response.

Yet more mechanics won't do this for us, and while DMS might be able to help a little ultimately it takes a common, inclusive, will from the players.


(And personally I think the OOC nature of insular faction discord groups, and the popularity contest it invariably entails is absolutely a driving factor behind increased conflict bitterness and players responding to it differently today than they did 10 years ago, but that's another subject entirely...)

(Oh, and while I was typing this up Subutai posted to, and it was a corker!)

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Re: Rethinking Conflict

Post by Zavandar » Sun Jul 07, 2019 9:09 pm

WanderingPoet wrote:
Sun Jul 07, 2019 8:19 pm
Zavandar wrote:
Sun Jul 07, 2019 6:57 pm
WanderingPoet wrote:
Sun Jul 07, 2019 5:20 pm

Don't take the approach of running people off just because they don't like your style of conflict/narrative; be it jumping to PvP on a hair trigger, or IC ostracizing.
don't quote what i say out of context and then misconstrue the point. the SERVER has taken the stance of being harder on outcasts mechanically (and i've seen NPCs doing the same thing). a lot of these people have been run off to the UD
The full quote was:
Zavandar wrote:all of the tools to create meaningful and interesting conflict in "ye olde days" is still here. there is no fundamental difference outside of a shift in the community over time. there is a large chunk of people here that pointedly do NOT want conflict, and their opinions generally will NOT be changed.

the weird spot this puts the server in is that a choice has to be made: accommodate this sizable chunk or run them off. [Emphasis added] we have seen the backlash for things like the revised pariah system and the outcast tag. i believe those mechanics were put in place BECAUSE there wasn't enough conflict, not to stifle it. i know that this may contradict the recent crackdown on pvp, but I believe that that was a crackdown on pvp, not on conflict in general.
There was no lack of context, or misconstruing of your point. There was not even any mention of outcasts until the following sentence which makes your response confusing. Regardless of if your point was misunderstood, my point still stands that running people off the server because you don't agree with their RP is a bad thing for anyone to do.
again i am talking about the server's stance on such things. this server is not second life/a social server. this is not an sexy elven fun times server. but we have both happening a LOT

it's not me running people off because i don't agree with their RP. it's the server taking a stance and not being what EVERYONE wants it to be. naturally, the server taking a stance, as opposed to trying to accommodate everyone, will lead to some people being run off.

also i literally talk about the pariah system and outcast tag in that post. why is its inclusion confusing when a lot of outcasts were being too social? it's entirely related.
Currently plays Rick Snyder.

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Re: Rethinking Conflict

Post by Nevrus » Sun Jul 07, 2019 10:06 pm

I'm going to throw my two cents in for this discussion, in how people can create interesting conflict that doesn't involve PvP:

Controversy.

Controversy can be the root of a great deal of excellent RP moments. Controversy gives a large number of people the ability to interact with it, either one one side or another. It gives characters the opportunity to investigate, exploit opportunities, fight in the court of public opinion, and if one side or the other gets fed up about it, finally descend into PvP at the finale to settle a score that can't be settled otherwise.

What is controversy? Decisions, actions, and beliefs that people will vehemently agree or disagree with. The actions usually don't involve PvP, but they can in limited quantities. It's not controversial to go on a killing spree; it's just wrong. It IS controversial to kill an emissary of an evil empire, provoking a war. It IS controversial to execute a prisoner who was promised safety until trial. It IS controversial to kill someone everyone hates in town when you're a guard and get your guard friends to help cover it up.

Situations like these, which might be described as 'morally grey,' become good character building moments for everyone, even those who aren't directly involved. It forces the characters to ask themselves what they would do in that situation, whether punishment is justified, whether the ends justify the means.

Some examples from last year:
A chancellor kicks suspected Banites out of a shop and takes it over for themselves, when the law says they shouldn't do that.
A necromancer is being reformed by a paladin's friends who are desperately holding the paladin back from executing them on sight.
The one with the keys to a guildhall kicks out half the faction that disagrees with them on a position.
A dangerous disease is brought into town in order to be quarantined and cured, potentially risking spread to the population in hopes of defeating it.
A mayor puts an assassination contract on a personal and political rival in hopes of creating a negative peace.
A disgruntled half-orc preaches the benefits of communism and the evils of worshiping deities to the working class.
An archmage who sits at the top level of a wizarding guild is a known necromancer who's made himself partially undead.
A man seeking to spread justice and happiness does so through wild magic, endangering those around him.
A bandit waltzes through a nearly lawless town, taunting those he's robbed and killed because he believes the rules protect him from fighting in town.
A paladin is friends with four warlocks - all of which want to cast off their pacts but lack the strength to do so.

This is all from my own personal experience, and all of this has lead to dozens if not hundreds of hours of excellent RP, all without initiative being rolled.

What's the binding thread of all of these plotlines? They're problems that can't be permanently solved with killing. They're moral, ethical, and personal quandaries shaded by the beliefs of characters that interact with them. Violent solutions are counterproductive, and all parties involved want to find a non-violent solution, and will be heartbroken if the only way to exert their will and beliefs is through death.

So, my advice when making a villainous character: Make killing the enemy a point of failure, not success. Make direct confrontation in battle itself a point of failure, not success. Ride the lines between what is wrong and what is legal. Be more sympathetic than murderous, be more intriguing than infuriating, be more out of reach than in someone's face.

My advice to do-gooders: Death is the worst possible way to make someone pay for wrong-doing. Try to avoid it. Try to make a spectacle of bringing justice or retribution. Let them get away, start small and escalate, outsource small problems to smaller people so low levels have something to do. Build towards a confrontation over many encounters, and make it something that both characters feel they need to do.

My advice to everyone: Learn to love losing. Learn to love having your character eat dirt, suffer, build up mental hangups and personal handicaps, be inconvenienced (or even enslaved) for months. Learn to allow conflict and controversy to make your character the opposite of what they started as. Have your character make mistakes you know are mistakes if they make things spicier. Have your character hold others accountable to their mistakes, change them, and ultimately forgive or change themselves from the new realization of what they can't forgive.

The best characters hit level 30 broken in some way that can't be easily fixed, that was never intended from the start, and nothing short of consistent effort from associates to get them on track will prevent this breakage on the way up.

I hope this helped at least one person!
Smells of saltwater.

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Vincent
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Re: Rethinking Conflict

Post by Vincent » Sun Jul 07, 2019 10:15 pm

Completely agree with Irongron's take on this.

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HoneyMead
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Re: Rethinking Conflict

Post by HoneyMead » Sun Jul 07, 2019 10:56 pm

Look, this thread is An echo chamber of the past, PvP, Conflict RP, Peaceful RP, Political RP arelith is great because it has them all, know what it does not have?

People willing to be patient and put out their RP hooks with their type of bait on it and wait for people to choose to take the hook.

When 130 players are trying to write stories and only 30 are willing to read them it’s slow going, be patient.

3 months my characters been singing about evil people prancing in fright, nothings come of it.. But that's alright, because it just means they are not interested.

Everyone relax, be patient. You can't force the hook into the fishes mouth no matter how much we want too, all your doing is scaring them away.
Last edited by HoneyMead on Sun Jul 07, 2019 11:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
“It was sad music. But it waved its sadness like a battle flag. It said the universe had done all it could, but you were still alive.” ― Terry Pratchett, Soul Music

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Re: Rethinking Conflict

Post by Sea Shanties » Sun Jul 07, 2019 11:23 pm

HoneyMead wrote:
Sun Jul 07, 2019 10:56 pm

People willing to be patient and put out their RP hooks with their type of bait on it and wait for people to choose to take the hook.

When 130 players are trying to write stories and only 30 are willing to read them it’s slow going, be patient.
Awesome point.

I can’t believe people are complaining about those who are deeply into the social aspect of the game. We need the evil people to be confrontational, we need all sides to generate and maintain conflict but we ALSO need people building and maintaining lively settlements and communities to make this world feel lived in. How can you put down hin players having a Safeday celebration or handfasting ceremony? That’s where the characters build bonds that actually MEAN something when war comes and spouses, siblings or close friends are taken prisoner or killed. Even “sexy elven fun time” (which I want nothing to do with myself but hey if people do, whatever) if it’s done in character and within the PG rules serves a purpose bonding characters.

This IS a social server AND an RP server AND a PVP server. It’s an open sandbox and for all the complaining about conflict I think this place works really, really well. Much more than you’d expect when 100+ strangers gather for largely unsupervised roleplaying. Sure, things could be always be a little better but we should really acknowledge this is a pretty special part of the internet as well.

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Re: Rethinking Conflict

Post by Cerk Evermoore » Sun Jul 07, 2019 11:35 pm

House RP is the grass which sustains the herd.

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Re: Rethinking Conflict

Post by Kuma » Sun Jul 07, 2019 11:41 pm

Cerk Evermoore wrote:
Sun Jul 07, 2019 11:35 pm
House RP is the grass which sustains the herd.
i know you think this sounds insightful but i honestly gotta know

what on earth do you mean by that
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Irongron wrote:I do not wish to see another phoney discussion about what is or isn't pg13

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Re: Rethinking Conflict

Post by Babylon System is the Vampire » Mon Jul 08, 2019 1:21 am

The people who said conflict is more then pvp and needs some finality to it hit the nail on the head in my opinion. I think part of the problem is that people think being good at pvp in a 20 year old game means something. It doesn't, anyone can go on discord and get the optimal build for whatever class they want to play. The people that truly impress create a narrative that draws others in and leaves a lasting effect on the server that people still talk about ten years later, and you can do that without ever pking anyone. As for the finality part, well, that is a bit trickier to explain and comes a lot from the way death via pvp is handled on the server. But its hard to suggest anything different then the way it is now as long as the mentality "me got strong build, watch me wreck in pvp" remains part of arelith's culture. No one wants to loose a character to that nonsense.

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Re: Rethinking Conflict

Post by TheDoctor » Mon Jul 08, 2019 3:23 am

Sea Shanties wrote:
Sun Jul 07, 2019 11:23 pm


This IS a social server AND an RP server AND a PVP server.
No it is not.. It is an RP server, period. You want social go to skinfar. you want hardcore pvp go to some action server. You want RP come to Arelith, a place that is an RP server.

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Vatheril
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Re: Rethinking Conflict

Post by Vatheril » Mon Jul 08, 2019 3:45 am

(Surfacer here)

I'm curious, have we lost sight that Arelith is a massive co-op experience? The only reason anyone pays attention to anyone is because it's a co-operative server. This game is all about 'experiences' and interesting experiences are what we will remember the most.

I believe PvP/player death should either be consensual or a last resort. Nobody likes visiting purgatory and no body likes having to wait for respawn-sickness.

Regarding impromptu conflict it should be on the onus of the attacking side to create a positive or memorable experience for defending side.

Long-standing built up conflict however, both sides are deeply and heavily invested therefore each player knows the risks and should hopefully accept the outcome.

That being said conflict doesn't have to default to swinging your irons. The attacking side should give the defending side options. Maybe the defenders can use gold to bribe their way out (be nice though, don't make them go broke). Maybe you force them to tell you a joke or sing an embarrassing song, something that provides discomfort to the victim without resorting to death. After all you've now given them fuel to build off that situation and turn it into that long-standing conflict. (You let the little fish go to catch the big fish later).

As a victim be open-minded and willing to play ball, sometimes your character should swallow their pride in exchange for their life. After all one should RP valuing their life perhaps even pretending you have a Mark of Destiny and you're on your 7th life. (That's when the Oscar awarding winning RP starts to really come out).

Also something to note is that if the victim dies, they'll 'forget' the situation but may unconsciously meta avoiding or ignore you in the future. Time is valuable and I'm sure they'd rather use their time for positive experiences rather than risk another negative one.
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Re: Rethinking Conflict

Post by Tarkus the dog » Mon Jul 08, 2019 3:58 am

What the hell is going on!!!!!

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Mr_Rieper
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Re: Rethinking Conflict

Post by Mr_Rieper » Mon Jul 08, 2019 4:56 am

CosmicOrderV wrote:
Sat May 11, 2019 4:55 pm
Be the change you want to see, and shape the server because of it. Players can absolutely help keep their fellow players accountable.

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Re: Rethinking Conflict

Post by Drak » Mon Jul 08, 2019 6:05 am

TheDoctor wrote:
Mon Jul 08, 2019 3:23 am
Sea Shanties wrote:
Sun Jul 07, 2019 11:23 pm


This IS a social server AND an RP server AND a PVP server.
No it is not.. It is an RP server, period. You want social go to skinfar. you want hardcore pvp go to some action server. You want RP come to Arelith, a place that is an RP server.

...that has Social interactions as well as PvP...

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Re: Rethinking Conflict

Post by MissEvelyn » Mon Jul 08, 2019 6:36 am

I would hate to suggest further mechanics to change how conflict is handled, but I have to agree with Irongron and others who have made a point of how ridiculous it feels to play an evil low-level character, who is accidentally caught having a skeleton with them.

Perhaps exiling should only be reserved for higher levels - or at the very least it should take more exile 'slots' to exile anyone 10 (or 15?) and under. The reason being for this is that they are a nobody and practically a nonexistent threat to the settlement's society, so why should that settlement waste time and resources to have an average Jane or Joe, who happened to pick up an old spellbook in which a few Necromancy spells are found, exiled when there are far, far more important and dangerous adversaries to look out for.

I do see the potential abuse for players who delevel their character, but perhaps this could be a fixed thing that doesn't change once you have leveled the first time past the threshold level of being considered dangerous.

On a side note, what happened to using the court and the whole being summoned to court, when you've committed a crime or witnessed someone doing it? I remember back in the day when that was a thing. Apparently now the court in Cordor, at least, is locked up and seemingly never used.

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