RP Philosophy Topic: How to villain in the context of Arelith?

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Nevrus
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RP Philosophy Topic: How to villain in the context of Arelith?

Post by Nevrus » Sat Jul 13, 2019 4:40 am

There's been feedback threads about similar topics, but I wanted to ask it here.

In the context of Arelith, how can you successfully pull off a villainous scheme plot arc that actually has interaction all the way through?

A classical antagonistic arc would be something like this:
1. Something is wanted
2. Gather allies
3. Perform groundwork, let the recipients know something is afoot
4. Observe reaction
5. Orchestrate response to overcome reaction
6. Move plan forward, leave visible effects and make stakes clearer
7. Observe reaction
8. Orchestrate response to overcome reaction
9. Complete plan, overcoming resistance and getting the thing wanted
10. Resist reaction
11. Either keep the thing that was wanted or have it taken away

The problem, as seen, is that bored max-level characters with pvp builds will make the reaction to the groundwork... overwhelming force and destruction

Which leaves the options of either ignoring death as a penalty or just ending it there to give them a win

Because of this, the human response is to... Not leave clues, not preview what you're up to, just skip right to the end where you go for what you want with everything you can, which isn't an arc, it's an episode

Does anyone have advice, input, examples of how to successfully pull this off, specifically in the realm of Arelith isle proper (because Andunor and Skal are their own beasts where it's either expected or the response is expectedly more muted)
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Re: RP Philosophy Topic: How to villain in the context of Arelith?

Post by The Rambling Midget » Sat Jul 13, 2019 5:51 am

Have a goal that exists outside of the boundaries of PvP, so that if your plan is set in motion and you're killed, it will still happen. Utilizing fixtures is one of the classic ways of creating visible groundwork that other players can interact with even when you're not available, and it's a sign of good faith that you're interested in more than PvP. Overwhelming and violent reactions are often a result of uncertainty as to an opposing player's intentions. Too often, we have large groups going to hostile territory for no reason other than to look for a fight, and it's made everyone very shy about risking interaction and forfeiting the initiative.

I could talk about this for days without giving you a clear answer, because there isn't one, so I'll tell you a few things about an admirable villain of Arelith's past, instead. *puts on rose tinted glasses* There once was a Kobold Warlock called Vippin, who was bent on a variety of malign goals, and pursued them, typically not through direct action, but by gathering support on his end and creating a series of mini events wherein meetings would be held, rituals would be carried out, and machinery (fixtures) would be set up to put his terrible plans into motion. For the most part, RP was created for his confederates, with the opposing characters having to seek out either him or his creations to get involved. Along the way, he died many times, but every time RPed out a painful process of regeneration, and a period of weakness, as well as altering his tactics in whatever way necessary to avoid another such incident. (This was long before modern death stat penalties.) Much of the fear surrounding him came not from his combat prowess or successful overarching plans, but from his ability to amass support through sheer charisma and the determination that he displayed along the way. No one was afraid of him popping out of a dark corner and bopping them on the head. What terrified them was the knowledge that his will couldn't be stopped, and something would eventually happen beyond the power of any individual to stand against. At that point, stopping him wasn't a question of PvP, it was a matter of gathering information, outmaneuvering, and actively countering every development through RP.

Ultimately, his magnum opus was the destruction of Benwick, but to say that it was his alone would deny the efforts of the dozens of characters who had joined his cause and actively supported it. All of this took months, and the success was not in the final battle, it was in the countless hours of roleplay that were generated through the process of planning and preparing, and it was possible because he, as a leader, was willing to wait for a distant goal rather than trying to show up at the gates of old Benwick with a party of PvP bruisers, and take the city by force.

The lesson to take from this, in my opinion, is that the best way to get your opponents involved is to make them want to come to you for interaction. You don't have to leave out specific clues to your master plan. What you need is their attention and their respect. Demonstrate your ability to engage in hostile RP that doesn't involve direct conflict, and more players will be willing to give you some leeway in setting up your denouement.
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Re: RP Philosophy Topic: How to villain in the context of Arelith?

Post by Sea Shanties » Sat Jul 13, 2019 6:35 am

I think you'd do a lot better here if you switched 1 and 2. Don't go in with a goal looking for allies. Gather the allies first, get to know what they can/want to do then start making goals that you know others will share interest in.

If you want to be a villain with longevity and reach here you should realize there are a lot of people with the same idea. Don't try and compete to be the leader right away, try to be someone who facilitates meetings and hookups. There's a lot more power in being a go-between for different settlements or factions than in running a district or leading a little army.

Truth is there are probably more evil characters running around at any given time than good ones. The good ones are just better organized, have lots of friends and tend to stick around forever instead of deleting after 3 months.

Of course you could disregard this advice and try to be the charismatic leader Vippin was. But do you think the person who played a mastermind like Vippin would need to ask this question on the forum?

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Re: RP Philosophy Topic: How to villain in the context of Arelith?

Post by Aodh Lazuli » Sat Jul 13, 2019 8:11 am

Nevrus wrote:
Sat Jul 13, 2019 4:40 am
The problem, as seen, is that bored max-level characters with pvp builds will make the reaction to the groundwork... overwhelming force and destruction
As seen in feedback threads or as seen on the server?
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Re: RP Philosophy Topic: How to villain in the context of Arelith?

Post by xanrael » Sat Jul 13, 2019 8:54 am

I'm going to go about this another way. Instead of having a plan and hoping people get involved with it look at other events, factions, etc and think about how to work with their preexisting roleplay. Start as a minor character in someone else's RP and then after time has passed begin to be a villain from within the context of that RP.

Imagine watching a movie about a news organization, which of the following is probably more fitting:
A. A reporter wants to be the one getting the front page spot and begins plotting shady methods to accomplish this along with hard work in writing articles.
B. Demonic invasion.

B is going to lose everyone. Maybe A seems petty, but people playing out the newspaper RP should be receptive to it, especially if it is done as a way to build on instead of nix their RP. Continuing to build from there it could lead to forming a propaganda campaign that vilifies rivals, gathers support/blackmail money, and says great things about a puppet that eventually wins a settlement election. Probably its going to go south or shift direction somewhere in there as other factions become involved but you can work with their RP to move towards your PC's path to villainy.

At each step though you're getting involved in the RP of others, letting the spotlight shine on them and being receptive to their RP even if it isn't exactly your cup of tea. That shows them you're genuine in wanting to RP with them instead of at them and they're more likely to want to be involved with you and your PC's actions.

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Re: RP Philosophy Topic: How to villain in the context of Arelith?

Post by Red Ropes » Mon Jul 15, 2019 4:50 pm

i usually just play in the game and try not to overthink what i'm doing

im not afraid to fight with characters if it makes sense

also memorize this

https://youtu.be/670ZGMBjrPI

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Re: RP Philosophy Topic: How to villain in the context of Arelith?

Post by thief of light » Tue Jul 16, 2019 7:36 pm

make your log in Red Ropes.

done.

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Re: RP Philosophy Topic: How to villain in the context of Arelith?

Post by Red Ropes » Tue Jul 16, 2019 7:42 pm

thief of light wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 7:36 pm
make your log in Red Ropes.

done.
LOL

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Re: RP Philosophy Topic: How to villain in the context of Arelith?

Post by Cortex » Tue Jul 16, 2019 8:20 pm

Red Ropes has played many of the most memorable villains ever since he's started playing Arelith. If you who his characters are, they'd make for good role models.

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Re: RP Philosophy Topic: How to villain in the context of Arelith?

Post by Seven Sons of Sin » Wed Jul 17, 2019 3:24 am

The Rambling Midget wrote:
Sat Jul 13, 2019 5:51 am
Have a goal that exists outside of the boundaries of PvP, so that if your plan is set in motion and you're killed, it will still happen. Utilizing fixtures is one of the classic ways of creating visible groundwork that other players can interact with even when you're not available, and it's a sign of good faith that you're interested in more than PvP. Overwhelming and violent reactions are often a result of uncertainty as to an opposing player's intentions. Too often, we have large groups going to hostile territory for no reason other than to look for a fight, and it's made everyone very shy about risking interaction and forfeiting the initiative.

I could talk about this for days without giving you a clear answer, because there isn't one, so I'll tell you a few things about an admirable villain of Arelith's past, instead. *puts on rose tinted glasses* There once was a Kobold Warlock called Vippin, who was bent on a variety of malign goals, and pursued them, typically not through direct action, but by gathering support on his end and creating a series of mini events wherein meetings would be held, rituals would be carried out, and machinery (fixtures) would be set up to put his terrible plans into motion. For the most part, RP was created for his confederates, with the opposing characters having to seek out either him or his creations to get involved. Along the way, he died many times, but every time RPed out a painful process of regeneration, and a period of weakness, as well as altering his tactics in whatever way necessary to avoid another such incident. (This was long before modern death stat penalties.) Much of the fear surrounding him came not from his combat prowess or successful overarching plans, but from his ability to amass support through sheer charisma and the determination that he displayed along the way. No one was afraid of him popping out of a dark corner and bopping them on the head. What terrified them was the knowledge that his will couldn't be stopped, and something would eventually happen beyond the power of any individual to stand against. At that point, stopping him wasn't a question of PvP, it was a matter of gathering information, outmaneuvering, and actively countering every development through RP.

Ultimately, his magnum opus was the destruction of Benwick, but to say that it was his alone would deny the efforts of the dozens of characters who had joined his cause and actively supported it. All of this took months, and the success was not in the final battle, it was in the countless hours of roleplay that were generated through the process of planning and preparing, and it was possible because he, as a leader, was willing to wait for a distant goal rather than trying to show up at the gates of old Benwick with a party of PvP bruisers, and take the city by force.

The lesson to take from this, in my opinion, is that the best way to get your opponents involved is to make them want to come to you for interaction. You don't have to leave out specific clues to your master plan. What you need is their attention and their respect. Demonstrate your ability to engage in hostile RP that doesn't involve direct conflict, and more players will be willing to give you some leeway in setting up your denouement.
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Re: RP Philosophy Topic: How to villain in the context of Arelith?

Post by malcolm_mountainslayer » Wed Jul 17, 2019 2:17 pm

Something that has actaully always been a mystery to me is how does one making scheming/meetings have real substance. Like the kobold's actions led that led to the fall of Benwick. When did the DMs go, "hey, we are deciding this is real". What is said at said/done st these meetings before they are given real substance?

Did they have rituals at locations arbitrarily decided by themselves and hope the DMs happened to watch and agree said rituals were real and had an impact?

I just never understood how one can make others want to come to you to undo your plots if your plots have no real substance to back it via having an impact on the world around you.

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Re: RP Philosophy Topic: How to villain in the context of Arelith?

Post by The Rambling Midget » Wed Jul 17, 2019 11:17 pm

malcolm_mountainslayer wrote:
Wed Jul 17, 2019 2:17 pm
I just never understood how one can make others want to come to you to undo your plots if your plots have no real substance to back it via having an impact on the world around you.
You just do.

The way you've phrased your question implies to me that you're looking for some guarantee of success, but you'll never have that. A lot of the famous plots throughout Arelith's history have started for the benefit of those involved, and no one else.

Someone in the BBEG group gets the idea to do a ritual to summon a big demon or whatever. So they have a meeting to plan who's going to be there and when and where it's going to be. But someone was scrying or spying on that meeting, and they pass that along to their contacts in the goody-goody groups. They can't let a demon be summoned because that's bad, so they start making their own plans, and they step up their surveillance. Maybe they even send agents to keep an eye on the usual suspects or take out some of the people they know are involved. Skirmishes break out, security steps up, news spreads, more people get involved, the UD hears there's an unstable situation on the surface and decides to raid a settlement in the chaos, and all the while, the DMs will be hearing little tidbits that they may decide to act on. "Nothing" has happened yet. No demon has been summoned. But the island's in an uproar. Maybe that demon never gets summoned. It doesn't matter, because RP was created and notoriety was gained.

The beautiful thing about Arelith is that you generally don't need the explicit consent of a DM to add to the game world. I honestly prefer it when they don't get involved, or when they only add a sprinkle of atmosphere and VFX to an otherwise player driven plot. You do still have to remain within the bounds of what's possible for a PC, and what you can physically change in the world, but there's a huge range of possible activities in there that are often overlooked. You don't need to build a castle or open a volcano in the center of the island to have a real impact on the RP environment around you. The aforementioned Kobold created a giant weapon in the UD that was meant to blow up the Surface. There's no way it would have ever worked, because the staff would never destroy the entire Surface to support a single character's plot, but even knowing, from an OOC perspective, that it would never be a real threat, it still created a huge amount of RP, and in all of my interactions surrounding it, never was there a DM involved.
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