Blood of Dragons



  • @hamstersonpcp At least a large chunk of them don't get the "this character survives and wins in the end" as a reason to follow their lives.



  • @hamstersonpcp said in Blood of Dragons:

    There's no accusation. Just what I consider an apt metaphor illustrating the problems with that approach in a MU* environment. The characters GRRM focuses on to tell his stories are, almost universally unusual, outliers, exceptional. The tone isn't even that different from numerous graphic novels. I'm struggling to think of even one 'average dude' in the SoIaF saga who's a main focus, or many PoV chars who aren't wargs, the cleverest, amongst the most dangerous, or tiny girl assassin badasses. Every time this comes up people fire back with 'While you wouldn't want an army of X or Y would you?!?' as if it's a logical counterpoint to take 'every noteworthy char is frankly exceptional, and most players (not all) want to be exceptional' and assume everyone would app that identical exceptional trait. If that's lazy, it's not meant to be. It IS, however, geared towards 'simple and equated to an experience in the hobby prolific enough to be almost universally understood'.

    There are quite a few fairly average PoVs in ASoIaF that just happen to end up in extraordinary circumstances -- for example, Catelyn, Davos, Sam, Arianne (a princess, but otherwise not exceptional in any way) and Theon. And what is so special about Ned other than his position in society?

    But yes, there are of course many exceptional characters too, and it is tough to balance it in the right way on a game. I do think it ruins immersion and believability if there's a number of "Briennes" running around, for example, and that's why we made the choice to have quotas on Restricted and Limited concepts. That said, we also say that the basic philosophy is that a player character is by default at a minimum above average in terms of their abilities.



  • To offer my own two cents on the Restricted/Limited concepts as someone who does play here:

    I think it is disingenuous to compare a low-magic fantasy game to somewhere like Marvel. The focus of the game is on dynastic politics, and in a sense we're kind of unique in that way: it's not like people have to play the servants, the blacksmiths, etc. - in fact they're usually dissuaded! Most people are the 1% of Westeros, so to speak.

    So, in this sense, it becomes a little contrived looking if not just the women of Bear Island (a sort of unique culture in canon) can fight, as well as the daughter of Lord Tarth, an important vassal of House Baratheon -- but if the daughters of Lord Arryn, Lord Tyrell, Lord Lannister, and so forth are all on par with great knights, it does begin to break the theme.

    But it's not like most of the population are nobodies. Game policy really is to treat Tier IV, the tier of most players, as "good," and above the general cut of the population. Sansa Stark would be an IV - you can play a daughter of a great lord completely without restrictions; and in fact I did play a daughter of Lord Tyrell with no experience at all as my first character. IVs have driven RP and been really influential at court, too, though it does make sense in my mind to limit roles like the Small Council and the Great Lords of the Seven Kingdoms, like we do.

    I'm basically someone who really enjoys canon compliancy. Maybe I'm in the minority, but I'm more to ask "what's the point" if I'm playing in a parallel universe with alternate Targaryens or where House Tully seizes the throne than living in the canon timeline and seeing the past of Westeros on a smaller scale and all the political intrigue. Not for everyone, sure, but I love it for what it is! :)


  • Pitcrew

    Haha, I knew some PoVs would come up as examples, though in general I don't think they negate the point. I'd also argue Arianne's exceptional aspect is the stark contrast to 'how things are' in the rest of Westeros with the far more egalitarian Dornish. A confident, cunning, assertive woman who's sex-positive and actually in line to rule is in the setting a pretty strong statement, and she's one of the characters I'm saddest was cut from the show. Sam, for his part, is kind of an inverse of that: his exceptional mind and potential inhibited by the attitudes of his society and its opinion on what his quiet, pudgy nature means about his value. Catelyn is exceptional because she's the absolute worst.

    As far as comics not being a fair comparison to a gritty low fantasy, I feel that's a bit narrow. Many runs, stories,.graphic novels are dark, low powered, focused on similar themes. But it's not really the point. Similar arguments are made about everything from Star Wars to WoD. And in each case players on those games argue about whether things contrary to their enjoyment and sense of theme and tone should be allowed. (Just see above, presenting OC Kryptonians <or Green Lanterns, etcetc> as something inherently wrong and cheapening, rather than a preference issue. Heck, I've seen Batman players utterly hostile to the supporting cast even existing-- and you can certainly argue Nightwing and McGinnis or various Robins 'cheapen' your take on Bruce).

    At that point, while I respect the world building intent and generally feel people can play whatever they want and open whatever kind of game they want, I personally have a problem with those kind of systems and caps because while there's merit in the idea that if everyone is strange and exceptional, no one is, applied on MU* I have serious issues with policy that, effectively, make a portion of the playerbase there to highlight the uniqueness of a smaller group in a realistic way. They're not NPCs, and judgement on worth as a player, concept, etc are seldom as objective as we like to imagine, and prone to influence by our personal rule of cool.



  • I do think that perhaps being low-magic does make the "power levels" seem unfair, where it might be better understood in a high-magic game.

    For example, the Wheel of Time. Of the main characters, Rand is the Dragon Reborn and the most powerful male channeler in the world, Nynaeve is a Wilder who becomes Accepted without even having to become a Novice, Elayne is the Daughter-Heir to Andor, Perrin is a wolfbrother, Mat is so lucky due to being ta'veren that he cannot lose a single battle... etc. Now games like Cuen were definitely way before my time but from what I understand, even Aes Sedai "side characters" had a quota and there were limits on being King of Cairhien or the Amyrlin Seat right off the bat.

    In this way, the same sort of logic applies to Brienne, Jon, Jaime, Bran, Melisandre, Daenerys; the first three don't possess the limited magic power that exists in the world but the same role does exist and you couldn't play them easily on the game.

    Also, as far as Arianne goes: we have the option to play in Dorne right off the bat as long as you've read up to book 4. You can be a sexually experienced woman there for sure, and a female heir without any more restrictions than the men: in fact the same is true in Westeros. There's a Lady Selmy and a Lady Goodbrook you can play with the same restrictions we have for male heads, and female heirs to House Marbrand and House Chester that are fully open.

    As for the fantasy-to-comic comparison: I feel that every game has a focus. In the DC or Marvel world, there are probably as many superheroes or supervillains as there are members of the prominent houses in Westeros, right?


  • Pitcrew

    It's just a fact that if you set a "not EVERYONE can play this but some people can" you are setting up bad feelings. Designing them into the game. I mean, it's no skin off my back, I'm glad people are having fun there. I myself would never darken the door of a game that has built in sexism again, just because I'm so done with it IRL.

    But it does seem like, as has been hashed so many times, if there's an arbitrary restriction on # of badass outliers, no one is going to be truly happy with how those are distributed.



  • @kanye-qwest said in Blood of Dragons:

    But it does seem like, as has been hashed so many times, if there's an arbitrary restriction on # of badass outliers, no one is going to be truly happy with how those are distributed.

    This is absolutely true, it is an issue for some (maybe many) players. In our case, we just felt it was a preferable problem to what happens without those restrictions.



  • I'm not sure if the system is arbitrary as someone that does play on the game, btw. The criteria for Restricteds is: "You must know theme well (have read an ASoIaF book), have MU* experience and logs to show, and be willing to lead plots. I know that's a bit more as most games just ask FCs to be willing to lead plots - and I know it may be a bit daunting to the players new to MU who join through their love of the books (I was one!) but I have a suspicion a lot of people here might fill that criteria if they did want to join. :) Female fighters who are more realistically average than Dacey or Brienne can join as Restricteds if they'd like and discuss with the staff they're willing to meet the Restricted criteria.

    When it comes to sexism, I won't dispute that the world is sexist! And it's completely down to you if that's your taste; I know the L+L/Fantasy market in both games and novels etc. nowadays has a more egalitarian slant that's refreshing; but we are based on a strict canon within the books that depicts sexism in this world. It's usually something that's important rather than limiting though and explored through female PoVs quite tactfully and players of female characters are welcome to expand their influence working within the system - and that's without mentioning the female heirs that are completely open.



  • There's different ways of handling that, too, that can make a difference.

    I'm not familiar with the ones in use on Blood of Dragons, or what policies are in place there in general, but a 'there are not many of these things in the world, so the concepts are restricted in quantity; no more than one of your alts may be a thing on the restricted concepts list' sort of policy isn't crazytown in itself.

    It'd ultimately depend somewhat on what's on that list for many folks (which I think is @Kanye-Qwest's objection re: females being barred from certain roles, if I'm reading right). On a modern game, those things may be something like 'supermodel, movie star, billionaire, royalty, rock star, child prodigy, lone wolf stripper ninja' (potentially even with caps per group if scaled reasonably for playerbase size and setting). Anybody could arguably play one of those things on that game, they just couldn't play more than one or overlap them.

    I don't know if that's how it's set up or not, but a setup like that isn't inherently unfair or full of favoritism. Same with 'if you want a restricted concept it takes more app time to make sure it still actually fits the reality of the game', provided everybody has the same opportunity to app.

    It's when only staff favorites get all the shinies or the chance to app for these roles that there's real cause for concern. I have no idea if that's happening or not, but that's the only case in which I'd be squinting at it by default.



  • @surreality I've definitely seen people get approved for Restricted roles without ever knowing the staff before and things have worked out okay. Favouritism might be more of a concern with the probation period that exists for Limited characters, and yeah, trusted players often do get approved, but to earn that trust is usually playing often, thinking up plots, having logs, etc. And some of the most long-standing players have been Open for a decade because the concept works well for them.

    I think the objection is mostly female fighters, right? If this was an Elder Scrolls game, then it'd be abhorrent to bar female players from that sort of thing, sure. But in the world that Martin's shaped, the truth of the matter is that your average Westerosi lord isn't going to educate his daughters to be on par with his sons martially. (Note that women can be good at hunting etc. like in the books, but there's a reason Catelyn was shocked to see Brienne bested Loras, right?)

    Perhaps it makes better sense if you look at our PC system? Most characters, pre-gen or not, stem from pre-created family trees that give a sense of cohesiveness to family dynasties, so you don't have to retcon too much if that long-lost brother turns up which is orthodox in other games; that brother will always be on the tree. We focus on the most important houses in Westeros i.e. the Great Houses and their primary vassals, so it is kind of odd if a large number of women from those houses are warriors. If it could be spread out across different boundaries e.g. having women warriors being from a sellsword company from Tyrosh that may be more realistic... but that would beg the question anyway of why so many women warriors would be at court in King's Landing, getting involved in politics (our main focus), and would be so present in our scenes etc. which would be contrary to the feel of the books that the game tries to emulate.



  • Is there a Domain handling set of rules? Something where you have things to lose and gain by fortune, skill and politics? Healtherier land, loyal subjects, better markets, higher prestige all that stuff?



  • @yyrqun I'm not personally concerned about it. I'm chill with games that go in either direction, for different reasons. Sometimes I like being the <thing> that is an exception, sometimes I like <thing> being the norm, sometimes I like something else that is the norm when <thing> isn't even if <thing> is a concept I normally enjoy. I don't have a preference personally on this specific issue until things start veering toward Gor level extremes, at which point there's frankly nothing about the place I'd find appealing, and I simply wouldn't play on that game.

    For folks who do have a strong preference, I can understand how it would be an issue for them -- in either direction. I'm just not one of them on that particular subject. I understand why some people may want the reality of the books, I understand why some people may want a certain amount of historical accuracy on historical games, and I understand why some people may want something more egalitarian than those things. I don't think any of these people are wrong to want what they want, or make assumptions about their reasoning for it. It's pretendy fun time; different people have fun pretending different things, and that's perfectly OK -- they just need to find the place appropriate for the kind of fun they want to have to have it.

    I was about to type, "I wouldn't go into an Italian restaurant to order sushi," to illustrate this point, but then remembered that some of the best sushi I ever had was at a favorite restaurant that is, actually, an Italian bistro + sushi bar, so here's to analogies that would normally work until 'reality is stranger than fiction' gets in the way.



  • @surreality said in Blood of Dragons:

    I'm not familiar with the ones in use on Blood of Dragons, or what policies are in place there in general, but a 'there are not many of these things in the world, so the concepts are restricted in quantity; no more than one of your alts may be a thing on the restricted concepts list' sort of policy isn't crazytown in itself.

    There's no quota on what we call the Restricted and Limited character types, the quota is on the tier, which relates purely to CG setup. So everyone who has MU*ed for a year and has read at least one book can technically get a lord of any house but the Great houses. But no, not everyone can get an exceptional, high-tier fighter. There's a limited number of those scattered throughout the character database.

    It'd ultimately depend somewhat on what's on that list for many folks (which I think is @Kanye-Qwest's objection re: females being barred from certain roles, if I'm reading right). On a modern game, those things may be something like 'supermodel, movie star, billionaire, royalty, rock star, child prodigy, lone wolf stripper ninja' (potentially even with caps per group if scaled reasonably for playerbase size and setting). Anybody could arguably play one of those things on that game, they just couldn't play more than one or overlap them.

    True, the "what's on that list" is key. You want to play a lord, even a fairly significant lord? No problem, as long as you have MU*ed before and have read at least one book. There's even a few ruling ladies up for grabs, but yes, they are rare. But up for grabs in the same scenario as the lords.

    You want to be a seriously good fighter? Well, at the tier for Open characters (IV), you will be above average (maybe even quite a bit above average after you spend some xp), but if you want to be even better there's quotas based on a percentage of the total playerbase. We've had more than a few people that were new to us and new to the game get Tier III characters, but for II we do want players who have been around for a bit and contributed to the game. Yes, to many that will look like "only staff friends can get it" but in reality it is down to "do we know what sort of player this is?". This has a lot to do with us coming from Elendor. To get a Feature (whether a Book or a Non-Book Feature), you had to be nominated by your local admin, which meant proving yourself a capable player first.

    As for roles for women, yes, they are more limited. It is a very unequal setting (even if Dorne is somewhat better) and we stick to that. We do get quite a few guests who pop on and want to be a female fighters of some variety and most of them leave when they find out that they can't be. The TV show has also setup somewhat different expectations in this regard than the books.



  • @misadventure There's an influence and renown system, which is pretty cool! Deeds for good or for ill, your standing in society, court offices, etc. will affect your place on the charts.

    It's mostly personal, though, so an economic system is more roleplayed out than relied upon code. Due to the canon nature of all houses, the Westerlings and Corbrays will slowly get more impoverished; the Freys will increasingly get wealthier.

    You can also buy certain coded assets out of CharGen with enough XP, and there's also SP, awarded as a "player of the month" thing if you have lots of +noms, where you could e.g. buy a manse in the city as a lesser house if it makes sense. Have a peek at http://www.westeros.org/BoD/Helpfiles/Category:System::Advancement if you'd like to know more!

    @surreality definitely. Sorry if I'm being a Debbie downer on what other people prefer for their own pretendy fun time. Just thought that there was an indication people didn't understand the limit/thought it was unfair and was trying to explain why the game has the policy it does. I apologise if I was wrong. :)



  • @yyrqun said in Blood of Dragons:

    Sorry if I'm being a Debbie downer on what other people prefer for their own pretendy fun time. Just thought that there was an indication people didn't understand the limit/thought it was unfair and was trying to explain why the game has the policy it does. I apologise if I was wrong. :)

    You're fine -- nothing to apologize for at all. It's more... you don't need to explain or justify any of it to me. I'm fine with it being how it is, I'd be fine with it various other ways, too. Other folks may not feel the same, and if they aren't fine with it, they can and should play somewhere else.

    I don't play there myself (hence not having a clue about how things are done there) but it's less any issue like that and more Not Playing These Days + Not Really Into L&L Games In General + Not Being Super Into This Specific Fandom (no offense intended to anyone who is, I'm just not the level of immersed in/familiar with it I feel I'd want to be before playing on any game set in a existing world property -- same goes for Pern/Fallout/etc.).


  • Pitcrew

    @yyrqun said in Blood of Dragons:

    but we are based on a strict canon within the books that depicts sexism in this world.

    That's cool. Not for me, but cool.

    It's usually something that's important rather than limiting though

    what

    and explored through female PoVs quite tactfully

    wait, what? You mean in game there are guidelines to make sure this happens? Because it definitely isn't the case in the source material



  • @kanye-qwest Sorry. I think I definitely could've been more articulate there, and less judgey too. Was just responding to your post because I saw a few people who looked like they didn't understand why the restriction was there.

    R.E. The books, I suppose I meant that there is a certain level of value to a lot of readers about how sexism is presented and how it's something a lot of characters struggle with: so for example it's poignant that Brienne is derided for her ugliness as well as being a woman. But this is getting into literary analysis, which I know is subjective and isn't needed for discussing the game.

    I completely understand why that wouldn't be everyone, though, and actually do tend to prefer the games where things are equal for everyone. Just different strokes for different folks. :)