Politics etc.


  • Pitcrew

    Tell me about the time you had the most fun playing the social/political aspects of a game and what made them fun. Details!


  • Pitcrew

    The time I played as a charlatan soothsayer whose bizarre and fabricated fortunes always came true. Turned out she was being stalked by a mage who was using his magic to force the prophecies to happen in the way my character would describe for shits and giggles.



  • @Gingerlily The most fun I've had was playing as the underdogs in RfK. Steele, a Ventrue Invictus who dabbled with the Sanctified, had replaced council power with ye ol' Princely autocracy. It really invigorated the Carthians during his rule. He greatly favored his Invictus fellows (naturally) so they got perks, and that gave us something to rail and plot against. Then Steele burned out and let his character die, and in the political vacuum that followed where territory, positions, power, etc, was up for grabs was delightful chaos.

    A lot of posturing, and scheming, and betraying, and in the end nobody even ended up dead. Boons nobody'd thought about before became suddenly used to secure the reluctant support of character who hated you. One of the greatest joys I had was calling in a Major Boon (itself a bit of effort of collecting smaller boons to build up his debt) on the Big Nasty Nosferatu former Seneschal, and force him to support the Carthians even if he really didn't like my character or the Carthian Experiment at all. :D (And he was delightfully cool about it.)


  • Admin

    @Gingerlily HM. It was surprising because my character - Theodore, a Crone Storm Crow - wasn't political by nature and because the sphere itself was basically unmanned; we had a constantly rotating staff roster who joined and immediately went inactive or did very little while they were there. Rudderless like that, the sphere still flourished.

    What made it work was the presence of several really, really good roleplayers spread across the Covenants. Laibah (played by @EmmahSue) joined the Carthians and turned them from a distracted irrelevance into a dominant force, Moritz played an excellent polarizing bad guy Bishop/Prince, Magnus was great in the Invictus, etc. We had a lot of very talented people who went on afterwards to make games of their own all pouring time into the volatile political environment, all player-driven and unplanned.

    The main reason I still look back and appreciate it all this time later is that it proves - at least in my mind - that although systems and administrative support matter, it is doable for fluid politics to evolve if there's a strong drive of involved players behind it.

    It also shows the importance of both having great people in a game, as sometimes a single really good proactive roleplayer was enough to incentivize and attract others to join their sphere of influence.


  • Pitcrew

    @lordbelh said in Politics etc.:

    @Gingerlily The most fun I've had was playing as the underdogs in RfK. Steele, a Ventrue Invictus who dabbled with the Sanctified, had replaced council power with ye ol' Princely autocracy. It really invigorated the Carthians during his rule. He greatly favored his Invictus fellows (naturally) so they got perks, and that gave us something to rail and plot against. Then Steele burned out and let his character die, and in the political vacuum that followed where territory, positions, power, etc, was up for grabs was delightful chaos.

    A lot of posturing, and scheming, and betraying, and in the end nobody even ended up dead. Boons nobody'd thought about before became suddenly used to secure the reluctant support of character who hated you. One of the greatest joys I had was calling in a Major Boon (itself a bit of effort of collecting smaller boons to build up his debt) on the Big Nasty Nosferatu former Seneschal, and force him to support the Carthians even if he really didn't like my character or the Carthian Experiment at all. :D (And he was delightfully cool about it.)

    A lot of people have mentioned how cool the politics rp was on that game, I never played there. What was in place to make it work so well for so many people? Could it be adapted to something that wasn't WoD? Tell me more about these boons.


  • Pitcrew

    @Arkandel Yeah, proactive players can make a lot happen. So it was just having stumbled across a really good core group that made it satisfying? Good players to both team up with and work against?


  • Admin

    @Gingerlily said in Politics etc.:

    @Arkandel Yeah, proactive players can make a lot happen. So it was just having stumbled across a really good core group that made it satisfying? Good players to both team up with and work against?

    It wasn't planned. But was it random? Only if you exclude the circumstances.

    You know how an idea whose time has come is hard to stop? When HM was around there was no real competition around; very few if any nWoD MU*, not that many non-sex or not extremely niche games around... so it attracted players. It could have still gone terribly wrong, but some of them were actually good and got along OOC even if their IC goals differed wildly - thus the sphere flourished.

    I can't say objectively why ultimately HM failed down the road and it would go beyond the scope of this thread. All I do know is that it didn't succeed on the merit of anyone from staff doing, well, anything other than get out of the way. Hell, not even that - most of the time there just wasn't anyone to get in the way. Things just clicked for a while. No special systems, no code, nothing but involved players who made shit happen.


  • Pitcrew

    @Arkandel I follow. I can glean nothing from your particular story to use but some of my favorite experiences have also come from just having people that I gelled with to play alongside and against, without the staff having done anything to make that happen.


  • Coder

    I'm no good at politics. I'm barely good at social maneuvering, and mostly only when under duress which results in stress for myself and those involved.

    It's not that I don't have good stories to tell, but they're all by association with people who do enjoy or are good at politics or social maneuvering, or when these two things aren't important and people are letting everyone be themselves.



  • @Gingerlily
    It could be adapted without fuss, though it's more for a highly social game that requires methods for enforcing social station and arrangements of favors. A lot of it is about deference to higher social station and holding up your end of promises ICly; if you've played a Lords and Ladies game, or read stuff like ASoIaF or watched GoT, you'll have an idea how it works. Things like status in the setting are often tied to positions and so, a queen says 'do this thing!' and generally people should do it in deference to their position.

    Or boons, which are just a codified methodology of favors, which can be called in to get things done. There are ups and downs to boons, but generally boons are 'currency' to vampires, and not honoring a boon you offered (and it doesn't have to be decided up front, you offer a 'minor boon' and there are things that are socially acceptable as things you can call a minor boon in for).


  • Admin

    @Gingerlily said in Politics etc.:

    @Arkandel I follow. I can glean nothing from your particular story to use but some of my favorite experiences have also come from just having people that I gelled with to play alongside and against, without the staff having done anything to make that happen.

    Perhaps this: Invest in good people and trust them to be themselves. They will solve problems for you code can't.


  • Coder

    @Arkandel said in Politics etc.:

    Invest in good people and trust them to be themselves. They will solve problems for you code can't.

    "It is very difficult to solve a social problem with code; be careful."


  • Politics

    @Gingerlily said in Politics etc.:

    A lot of people have mentioned how cool the politics rp was on that game, I never played there. What was in place to make it work so well for so many people? Could it be adapted to something that wasn't WoD? Tell me more about these boons.

    Aside from having the right mix of players and the proper distance of staff (the Head Wiz eschewed RPing; staff members were prohibited from holding all but the most minor positions of power), the political game worked on the following levels:

    1. Generally low-powered PCs. Most PCs hovered between 50-100 XP, with the big-movers-and-shakers having maybe 50 XP more. This was accomplished with nWoD's GMC/CoD XP system, with escalating beat-costs-per-XP; the more XP you have the more beats needed to get an XP (normally, it's 5 per XP, but it would go up to 6 or 7 with each 50 XP).

    2. Caps on beats for RP. The most onerous part was how you had to claim beats after RP, depending on the kind of RP you engaged in. RP could be categorized as in-theme, general, goal-driven, etc. You could only claim a certain number of beats per week. This did not just throttle XP-gain; it also directed players to try to get into particular scenes in order to be able to claim those beats. Staff on the back end had to review and approve of all the claimed beats on a weekly basis, which was probably super-tedious.

    3. Shit to do. Every now and again, there were crises that had to be taken care of in the city: generally, it was occultish shit, but it could be as simple as a Strix or two. If you took care of anything in the city, that could be reported to the local Harpy PCs, which would then create a report that would be published.

    4. Player-controlled status. The Harpies had the ability to award status, and were player-controlled. You'd think that everyone would want to be a Harpy, except that they were constantly harassed/bugged about status choices all the time, with people wanting to depose them left-right-and-center for being "biased" and "unfair." But this was all IC, and people, I think, knew that. If you were a Harpy that was too biased, you'd probably get your head removed or unseated.

    5. Boons. The Harpies also kept track of the promises people did or did not keep. Although there was code to list boons, these had to be reviewed and approved of by the Harpies. Again, the players had control of this aspect of the political game, and it was important that they did.

    With the above, you had to make friends quick: (1) to get XP quick via RP; (2) to make sure you weren't gacked (which was easier because, again, low levels of power); (3) do shit to get recognized; (4) make peace with and be nice to the right people; and (5) make sure you paid off your debts. And aside from the approval of beats, much of what went on did so among the players.

    You really had to win favors fast. I had an in with @lordbelh, but it came with being constantly scrutinized by his super-paranoid Mekhet and doing all of his shit-jobs. It worked well with my Ventrue handy-man concept.


  • Pitcrew

    @Ganymede
    Pretty good list, but I think you're missing:

    • limited actions, with lower status chars generally having more ability for action than higher status
    • limited resources
    • limit to a single PC, encouraging withitness and engagement, while reducing the amount of cheating that could happen.

    I also want to put this in:
    I think both RfK and Arx, the two politically driven games I've been on recently, suffer(ed) because of commands that are/were over-fiddly and opaque to the new player. The learning curve on both games to learn their systems was steep, and I'm not sure that the complexity added much to player engagement in the game.


  • Politics

    @Lisse24

    I concur with your additional points.



  • @Ganymede @Lisse24

    I'll add a willingness to embrace rather than shy away from healthy competition and factional conflict, and giving the tools to engage in them without necessitating ye telenukes. Messing with territory, or npc retainers, or that kind of thing. And if shit went too far, there was the deescalation mechanic where you just ended up owing a boon. You went from target nr1, to useful tool your enemy was now invested in.

    There's always going to be rivalries. If you're expending your time on ICly appropriate ones, thematic ones, and with satisfactory resolutions to them, you're less likely to just sit on your molehill and stew until it all blows up. Because that happens even on strict all-consent PVE games. Wishing away conflict and competition doesn't make it go away; encouraging it down healthy avenues makes it more likely everybody'll get used to losing once or twice, and conditions people that its okay, and not personal.


  • Pitcrew

    Thanks guys.

    I agree about learning curve etc. I was never on RfK but have been trying to get into Arx and I'm just still pretty clueless about how anything works. Figuring out all the system stuff AND an original theme is a lot, and with my ability to get on sporadic, I just still haven't managed to wrap my head around all of it.

    It seems cool, and people are clearly enjoying themselves. It is just gonna take me a bit to know enough to be able to play comfortably.

    So that's worth considering certainly.


  • Pitcrew

    @lordbelh

    Agreed. Healthy competition makes things fun, and gives people something to do that isn't waiting around for a staff person to ST a plot or a player to run a PrP, players can do it themselves. Having rivals or enemies or whatever engages me, I can get bored easily if I don't. I'm not an aggressive player, I just enjoy having something to work towards in that way.



  • @Gingerlily The important thing is that you have avenues to explore the rivalry in low key ways, that the competition becomes about IC things, rather than OOC pride. And again, that you have ways to deescalate.


  • Pitcrew

    @lordbelh Yeah that's a good point, about trying to keep it more chill and being able to deescalate. RfK clearly had systems for that but they are very grounded in vampire. What do you think would work for something that wasn't WoD?


Log in to reply
 

Looks like your connection to MU Soapbox was lost, please wait while we try to reconnect.