How low can "low stakes" be and still be compelling for RP?



  • @Aria I'm guessing this is the Viking Answer Lady's site?


  • Pitcrew

    @Lotherio Way to be weirdly nitpicky? Nothing I said was wrong: livestock raiding was part of the theme (maybe not much between PCs, but as something we were afraid of from enemies), and your own wiki supported the earlier period in terms of living conditions and fashion. If you wanted to to be 'just be anything in those 6 centuries', you could have said that, but it wasn't how the game was actually presented, so you have to take some of the blame there.

    If I went dirt squabbling goat herder, I'd go 866 York, politics amongst the hirths for who controls what as Ivar moves on with Amlaib to harass Ireland and Scotland. Seeing if players could work together to reach Danelaw with Alfred (886 rl).

    Yeah, it was definitely the players who were hyper anal historians and ruined everything!



  • @kitteh Read all I wrote, that nitpicking as you call it ends with 'I am to blame for lack of theme understanding'.


  • Pitcrew

    @Lotherio Ah, my bad.

    Anyway re both Realms and newer game ideas, I still don't think a 'dirty' historical setup is actually MU-unplayable, a lot of people enjoyed it. You just have to be willing to actually tell the fairy chicks who walk in with their fantasy ball gowns that it's not actually in theme. If they flounce off in a huff, no loss.


  • Pitcrew

    @fatefan It is!



  • @kitteh said in How low can "low stakes" be and still be compelling for RP?:

    @Lotherio Ah, my bad.

    Anyway re both Realms and newer game ideas, I still don't think a 'dirty' historical setup is actually MU-unplayable, a lot of people enjoyed it. You just have to be willing to actually tell the fairy chicks who walk in with their fantasy ball gowns that it's not actually in theme. If they flounce off in a huff, no loss.

    Clearly some issues remain from a game that closed 18 months ago. The fae girl did redact and change logs, descs and bg as asked by staff. Nothing warranted 'banning'. If it's really this upsetting after all this time PM me or go to the pit.

    I'm only offering the goal of realms was not dirt groveling land holders. Again blame me for theme misunderstsndings.

    And I'd gladly play such a game. Vikings would be fun. I named a period but any time period, alternate time period, fantasy or other wise would be interesting.


  • Pitcrew

    @TimmyZ said in How low can "low stakes" be and still be compelling for RP?:

    Clearly some issues remain from a game that closed 18 months ago. The fae girl did redact and change logs, descs and bg as asked by staff. Nothing warranted 'banning'. If it's really this upsetting after all this time PM me or go to the pit.

    No u? (Also I'm confused, why am I PM'ing you? I thought @Lotherio ran Realms)

    I think it's pretty relevant when the question is 'how can low stakes be compelling'. Part of the answer is 'actually keep people on the same page about what they're playing.' The fairy might have been dealt with, but it took long enough that it did damage to the game environment and the general tenor of RP.



  • @kitteh said in How low can "low stakes" be and still be compelling for RP?:

    @TimmyZ said in How low can "low stakes" be and still be compelling for RP?:

    Clearly some issues remain from a game that closed 18 months ago. The fae girl did redact and change logs, descs and bg as asked by staff. Nothing warranted 'banning'. If it's really this upsetting after all this time PM me or go to the pit.

    No u? (Also I'm confused, why am I PM'ing you? I thought @Lotherio ran Realms)

    I think it's pretty relevant when the question is 'how can low stakes be compelling'. Part of the answer is 'actually keep people on the same page about what they're playing.' The fairy might have been dealt with, but it took long enough that it did damage to the game environment and the general tenor of RP.

    The fae princess didn't damage the game. We were still getting new players when we decided to close down because of player bickering. There were other bigger angst issues between some groups than that specific character.

    Keep people on the same page about what they're playing I agree with.

    What I am (also) saying (and use your deductive powers on why TimmyZ is saying it*), is that Realms was never dirt squabbling nor high medieval literary fantasy. A big issue in this argument to understand is that fae were a part of the actual game, as was fae characters, fae nobles, fae knights and even half fae characters. However, we as staff did not want magic player characters because their only balance (time to rest) was countered by the nature of the quickened IC time scale. Fae and Fae chars are part of Pendragon, it was our House Rule to not have fae character. Much as we were not allowing saxons, or vikings or other cultures (for this argument, see all the old Cirno threads flaming the game).

    What a lot of 'complaints' on said character fail to realize is that saying something like 'she looks elfin' really means that she appears small and mischievous and in no way did it ever imply she was fae. The first logs left it ambitious, it could go either way and we curtailed this within the first week of seeing it, speaking with said player. And after the complaints continued because that player used elfin as a descriptor in desc or in poses, we had her even correct using such descriptors. I feel that was ridiculous to appease a small portion of the population, others were reading more into it than implied, yet we spoke to her again to appease a small number.

    I'll grant you, you're welcome to be upset with the character for ball room gown. We as staff we're dealing a lot more with high heels and jeans showing up in descs that we were dealing with over how fancy the dress was.

    And again, the dirt squabbling farmer was player insistence because they equated enfoeffed to dirt hovels (thatch roof, no floor, 6th century abodes) and yes I did say it was closer to this than some of the 16th+ century castles appearing, which staff were working to correct. There was a succinct post on this by Madoc in the first month of playing explaining that the holdings were multiple structures including things like kennels and rockery and walls and towers and moats even. This was ignored by the base that wanted dirt groveling enfoeffed land holders. Yes, cattle raiding was a part of the system either way, regardless if they lived in a manor or a thatched roof.

    And I'll say again, lack of theme consistency is my fault, entirely. But know that dirt groveling landholders was not part of the theme.

    • Yes, I am Sir Kay/Lotherio. I absolutely did not want any baggage of Realms to follow to the new game, and it hasn't. Again, great player base, great stories, and oddly enough, no squabbling over what theme should be. Well, some bickering, and we know who that was too.


  • @TimmyZ

    Keep people on the same page about what they're playing I agree with.

    I think this is definitely an important point, and one I'll have to consider the best way to make blatantly obvious & central for such a game. I mention this in part to help myself recognize that there's a significant difference between "players can do this on X game" and "X game exists to allow players to do (that is, it facilitates RP about) this."


  • Pitcrew

    @TimmyZ said in How low can "low stakes" be and still be compelling for RP?:

    The fae princess didn't damage the game. We were still getting new players when we decided to close down because of player bickering. There were other bigger angst issues between some groups than that specific character.

    I feel like this is a matter of opinion, not fact. For some people her and by extension, her family (who largely supported her in her shenanigans and were pretty anti-thematic on the whole) had an adverse effect on our experiences there. Initially I tried RPing with them, reacting to their behavior because they were shit-stirrers, but they took the IC OOCly almost instantly and it quickly became unfun. In general they proved grating to be around.

    (and use your deductive powers on why TimmyZ is saying it*)

    I really have no idea. You seem vaguely like the same person, but it's weird to pretend you're not when there's so little to gain by it, so I'm just confused....

    Yes, I am Sir Kay/Lotherio. I absolutely did not want any baggage of Realms to follow to the new game, and it hasn't. Again, great player base, great stories, and oddly enough, no squabbling over what theme should be. Well, some bickering, and we know who that was too.

    .... and, ah. I don't know why you'd do this. It's confusing and suspicious more than it helps or separates anything. I don't think anyone ever had bad feelings toward you, it would have been more productive to be honest about the new project and look for help/feedback/etc than pretend it was just some mysterious coincidentally near-identical game with near-identical people.

    Realms was never dirt squabbling nor high medieval literary fantasy. A big issue in this argument to understand is that fae were a part of the actual game, as was fae characters, fae nobles, fae knights and even half fae characters. However, we as staff did not want magic player characters because their only balance (time to rest) was countered by the nature of the quickened IC time scale. Fae and Fae chars are part of Pendragon, it was our House Rule to not have fae character. Much as we were not allowing saxons, or vikings or other cultures (for this argument, see all the old Cirno threads flaming the game).

    I understand perfectly well what the game was. I'm capable of reading a Pendragon book. It's not hard. But there was thematic stuff presented to us in a certain way (on the wiki, with examples), and some people definitely played to it, while other people played around it. Re: fae shit, I'm well aware. I had a pagan alt and went on a Fae-oriented TP. I can bitch about a specific person using an element wrong while understanding that element has a place elsewhere. This feels very condescending.

    The rest of the post mostly feels condescending or overly literal/intentionally obtuse. My commenting on people enjoying the lower-level historic fantasy of Realms in this thread doesn't mean 'I think these ideas are 100% identical', it's merely a comment that there are players who are willing to play in a setting where they're not glittering high nobles. And there is probably a segment that will try and turn it into that. I'm not sure why you feel you have to keep arguing about exactly how much mud there was or wasn't. It's broad ideas (lower level landholders, animal raids, survival) that I was getting at.



  • @kitteh said in How low can "low stakes" be and still be compelling for RP?:

    @fatefan The Realms Adventurous (Pendragon game) tried to do the more 'your goats survive' level of play when it started out (characters were knights, but the... lowest, shittiest, 'your farm pays for your armor and horse and that's it' level of knight), but a LOT of people bucked theme and went for frilly L&L. I think it maybe could have worked, but staff wasn't very big on enforcing anything so you had people basically playing in completely different themes.

    You started with this ^ none of which is entirely accurate. I explained why we stopped Realms, player bickering (ie we're dirty grovelers vs we're glittering nobles; neither of which is accurate). I concur it's my fault. And you keep making jabs, such as the fae char which actually never was far, and even now against that house.


  • Pitcrew

    @TimmyZ How is that not right? The beginning levels of Pendragon are absolutely about characters whose holdings basically support their horse and arms and little more. Only the primary knights were even noble, everyone else was basically a commoner. If you roll badly in winter your horse dies. It's absolutely the survival level of game being discussed.

    I feel like you're being bizarrely revisionist, this was a theme you pushed as much as anyone.


  • Pitcrew

    Well I have a few things to say.

    After-the-fact, I figured out some of the names the aforementioned player were regarding Fairy classes from Changeling the Dreaming. Once I figured that out I realized they were kind of guerilla inserting fairiness into their gameplay.

    Second, and going back to 'low stakes': I'd say low stakes RP should always be interspersed with high stakes plots. Nothing is more exhillarating than the all-or-nothing, now-or-never adrenaline rush you get from knowing your character might not make it out alive. Realms had a lot of that, certainly, and it made for some interesting outcomes in war.

    But Star Crusade also did, although it was 10000x more frustrating, it kept the game moving along, all the while people would plot against eachother in small and petty ways, which can be considered low stakes, with an aim for the highest stake.

    I think most of the problem with "low stakes" is that a preference for it has a root in people being risk averse the more invested they are in their characters' storylines. It is particularly why some games fizzle out; put people's asses on the line too much or too arbitrarily and you'll see people flee.

    It is true that Realms changed hands because of frustrations regarding player bickering, I was there, can attest to that. There was, in fact, a several weeks long discussion over who should get deflowered in the pagan rite of Winter or however the fuck you want to call it. The sheer insanity of that should have burned a sane person out in days. It didn't.

    And no, I am not fucking kidding. It literally was about who would be central to that role.


  • Pitcrew

    I was Madoc on Realms, and I know I tried to emphasize the difference between the enfeoffed knights, wealth, quality of life and the importance of owning land, and the family/household knights, like @kitteh says, but without any more codified or enforced system to track wealth and financial matters it was hard to really get that across, a Knight of course had it better then a peasant, but it was still a rather spartan life at that point in time. If I recall, Chimneys were a 'new invention' in the Noble's Manor, per the game canon, and those without land often slept in the great hall of someone else's house.

    One of the problems I had personally was trying to adjudicate the Pagan squabble, who's paganism was better, who's was right, and a trying to manage a lot of personality conflicts related, it was really difficult to try and police those personality conflicts, and still try to run plots, build new ares (The tourney grounds, etc), that a lot of things like descs, how people portrayed their wealth, and their 16th century castles for manors slipped through the cracks.

    I know I personally made some effort to educate and inform people about matters of theme and setting with bbposts, and Townhall Q&A's and such, but there was a lot on my plate personally.


  • Pitcrew

    @utahsaint If you look at the CK2 interface for Tribal cultures, that's I guess how Pendragon was in that time stretch, right?



  • The dirt grovelers were going for dirt floor/thatched roof concepts. I think it stemmed from Vikings and folks pushing for homes closer to where Ragnor started. In my mind, the period was closer to the homes/abodes of the Jarls. A gathering hall, separated private rooms (solar) for the family, possibly an extension or two. We specifically opened the manor homes with some history in the area, not newly enfoeffed knights given a plot of dirt to build up, they were at least established. The gripes were the few extremists wanting dirt poor and those wanting super fancy, ignoring that most were at about the right level.


  • TV & Movies

    @TimmyZ Er, what?

    I was one of the first people to take a manor on the game, and one of the more consistent players through to the point you gave it up. We might not have been told mud-hut, but we were definitely told we were living at a very low level of development and wealth.


  • Pitcrew

    If memory serves, and it has been a while admittedly, I believe the guidance that was put out was wooden halls, or old roman stone halls in some state of disrepair that would leave the approximately as structurally sound/defensible as a wooden hall, thanks to the loss of knowledge to upkeep the buildings, and to allow some aesthetic license for the various manors.

    I also don't recall anyone particularly being dirt grovelers in mud and thatch hunts or anything, I do believe some played up the agrarian nature of manor life more then others though, which resulted in that rift of fancy lords and ladies and the 'Dirt Grovelers'.



  • Its some of these pedantics and discussion of castles and manors that's part of the larger bickering issues that showed up at Realms.

    Last August on the Historicla Mu's thread, there was discussion about folks discussing the finer points of detail vs the majority of players that just show up for pretend fun time and while to those who enjoy history, the semantics of a building that consists of a few rooms, maybe a wing, down to the invention of the chimney is what drives players away from wanting to wade into historical games. Low stakes seems to border into historical and inconsistency at a smaller level will be noted.

    I take blame for misunderstanding and misrepresentation of theme at Realm, as repeatedly said. But as you can see how it mildly turns to disagreement here, this is foreshadowing what could potentially be expected.


  • Pitcrew

    Eh, that discussion was fairly minor compared to the other shit i.e. neopaganism vs researched pagan rituals, which was a nightmare in and of itself, the fact staff was demanded a structure that was not well detailed in the books that much.
    As positive factors RA had the political roles that got added later on, the Moon Knight/Fae Knight plotlines, the wars. The battle in Wales reminded me of The Last Kingdom a year later, when all the Arthurian knights in Salisbury went there to fight a mercenary's war for the King. That was fun, also deadly, but fun.
    Realms Adventurous was, at its core, extremely high stakes. Your story could end abruptly. This caused some upset in players who thought that 'limited consent' meant their participation in the plots also meant the consequence for the characters could be mitigated.
    All in all, the general backbiting was not as widespread or cancerous as other games. but the fairy debacle and the pagan debacle (which had some overlapping people in common) was definitely most toxic to staff.