Author Topic: Grittiness and Harshness  (Read 30780 times)


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Grittiness and Harshness
« Reply #75 on: May 06, 2005, 12:35:18 AM »
ale six:  Yes, obviously there is some sort of "umbrella" of protection provided by the position.  But it isn't the might of a noble house...  it's more like having a few well-placed friends (maybe).  Your examples are good ones and very realistic...  but remember, in messing with -any- commoner, you might be messing with someone who's got dangerous friends.  That has nothing to do with being a house guard, except that you might have more clues from the house-guard.

And house guards have the added burdens, expectations and pressures exerted by their employer (the Jr. Noble), who may or may not back them up in the ways you suggest, depending on lots of factors (political climate, cost, his own value to the Jr. Noble, etc.)

I'm not saying there is no value to being a house guard.  I'm not saying there is no responsibility for your behavior as a house guard.  You're definitely representing Lord Jr. Noble who hired you, and he'll definitely care about how good you are at your job, and whether or not some random commoner is interfering with your duties.  I'm just cautioning you that the scope (on both sides) is smaller than "all of Borsail will back me up" or "if I mess up, all of Borsail will crumble into ruins forever."

-- X


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« Reply #76 on: May 06, 2005, 12:36:49 AM »
Quote from: "Xygax"
You might well expect some polish, style, subtlety, or whatever, from your Atrium-trained aide.  But your bodyguard's job is to stand around looking rough and ready (no, BEING rough and ready), not to impress people (beyond impressing them with the belief that he can and will crush their skull), and they shouldn't be expected to behave otherwise.  Yes, they're professionals, but they are professional grunts, mercenaries, or soldiers, at best.  And none of those are roles requiring skills in ettiquette!
Great :D I've been avoiding playing a guard for this very reason. It's got all the limitations of an aide, but none of the duties ;) Might not be the truth of the role, but it's been what it looks like. Although having said that, I think there have been problems in the past with nobles using PC guards as aides ;)

Quote from: "Xygax"
Nobles:  stop demanding perfect behavior from your guards, _expect_ them to be bullying, crude, socially clumsy, downright mean, whatever.
This is a great point :D I think somewhere before someone complained that guards are unbribable. They'll never do anything bad towards their noble they have to guard (or at least, will very rarely do so). However if they're not all prim and proper, I can see a guard being bribable. Now he aint going to kill his lord. But for the right price, he might let slip some unimportant stuff "oh I had to guard Lord Fancypants while he met with Lady Noshirt. They were talking for hours."

Quote from: "Xygax"
No question, they are probably smarter (read: more cunning), more ambitious (read: more bloodthirsty), and possess more perseverance (read: brass balls), than many other commoners, that's why you hired them.
Is this how they differ from Bynners? Bynners aren't as cunning, as bloodthirsty and their balls are decidedly smaller? They aren't as strong as house guards?

Quote from: "Xygax"
This sort of over-achiever, in my opinion, would be a relatively rare thing on Zalanthas altogether, and downright one-in-a-million for a muscle-bound thug.
I think the clan docs themselves say something to effect "You must be on your best behavior if you're a guard. You're the best of the best, act like it" for Borsail and Winrothol at the very least. That should probably be changed ;)

Quote from: "Xygax"
More likely than not, Joe is going to be on his own, or his Jr-level Borsail boss might even fire him (or eliminate him in some other way) for being more trouble than he's worth.
Actually, this option isn't available unless you're in your first month/year. Once you're in Borsail, you're in for life. No leaving. Ever (not for PCs anyway). If someone ever did leave, it would be very noteworthy. There's various options open to your superiors to try to make you into a worthwhile guard, but if they fail in this, firing isn't an option. Ever. Only killing. This probably has a lot to do with why guards do act on their best behavior, no-one wants to die. Armaddict touched on that point in his last couple of posts. How are us players going to change our behavior without our employers getting pissed off while the mud becomes grittier?


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Re: McDonald's Rules!
« Reply #77 on: May 06, 2005, 12:37:37 AM »
Quote from: "ale six"

I don't know if I agree with this. If I'm an unaffiliated commoner acting out against Joe the House Guard, I think I'm being pretty stupid. I know if I piss Joe off enough, Joe is going to go get his buddy guards Jim, John, George and Bosco and come settle things with me. I also know that if Joe's liked by the nobles he serves, and asks for a favor, all it takes is one bribe from Joe's punk junior noble to some punk blue robe templar who wants to be friends with that noble, and I disappear. Joe doesn't NEED to wield the might of House Borsail against me, because the position he's in already makes it far, far easier for him to screw me over.

One of the best benefits to getting that coozy guard job (besides the food and water and pay and whatnot) is the measure of safety it provides from the common populace. I don't think that should be taken away, or that taking it away makes the game any more gritty.

Some problem with this logic.  First off, no junior noble is immortal.  Why would a noble "do a favor" for some lowly guard that might turn around to bite them in the ass when the person they have knocked off happens to be a Guild agent.  Or, more likely, when the Templar then turns around and asks them for a favor in return which will cost them time, influence, coin, or a number of valuable things.  

Now, Guard Joe calling his buddies for help is definitely possible.  No doubt about it.  One advantage of being in a clan, is you've got some friends to back you up in some cases.  But you shouldn't assume that nobles will go out of their way for some commoner grunt.


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Re: U
« Reply #78 on: May 06, 2005, 12:47:08 AM »
Quote from: "John"
Quote from: "Xygax"
No question, they are probably smarter (read: more cunning), more ambitious (read: more bloodthirsty), and possess more perseverance (read: brass balls), than many other commoners, that's why you hired them.
Is this how they differ from Bynners? Bynners aren't as cunning, as bloodthirsty and their balls are decidedly smaller?

Definitely smaller balls.  No, in practice there probably won't be that much difference between the two outside of particular lifestyle preferences.  House-guards will be less irritated by hanging around with dainty, silky, noble-house types.  :)

Quote from: "John"
Quote from: "Xygax"
This sort of over-achiever, in my opinion, would be a relatively rare thing on Zalanthas altogether, and downright one-in-a-million for a muscle-bound thug.
I think the clan docs themselves say something to effect "You must be on your best behavior if you're a guard. You're the best of the best, act like it" for Borsail and Winrothol at the very least. That should probably be changed ;)

Not really.  Remember, we're dropping everyone down at least one full rung.  You're still the best of the best; it's just that the best isn't all that good.  I know this sounds trite, but it's really the whole point here.

Quote from: "John"
Actually, this option isn't available unless you're in your first month/year. Once you're in Borsail, you're in for life. No leaving....

Again, the goal is to lower both the level of polish, AND the amount of polish expected.  If one lowers before the other, there may be a few more arena matches, for a while.  ;)  Also, most clans' "life oath" is a pledge by the employee which prevents them deserting at anything other than the House's convenience.  That doesn't mean you can't be dismissed upon outliving your usefulness or as a result of one-to-many-embarassments (for houses where this is specifically contradicted by the documentation, that may need to change, or perhaps those houses will remain exceptions)....  but the idea is that the House, by paying what they pay, expects permanence.  You, as the employee, don't really get to "expect" anything along those lines.  You can absolutely be fired from most clans, noble or otherwise.

-- X

Angela Christine

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Re: U
« Reply #79 on: May 06, 2005, 03:01:25 AM »
Quote from: "Xygax"

Definitely smaller balls.  No, in practice there probably won't be that much difference between the two outside of particular lifestyle preferences.  House-guards will be less irritated by hanging around with dainty, silky, noble-house types.  :)

Quote from: "Xygax"

You're still the best of the best; it's just that the best isn't all that good.  


I remember reading that when Krxx first redesigned the Byn he intended for them to be a very sharp, elite mercenary company.  The best of the best.  But the Zalathan Marine corps was not to be, in implimentation they were taken down a few notches and grittyfied to fit in with the world better (my appologies if I'm mis-remembering).  Long-term success in the Byn means complying with one of the most restrictive sets of rules of all the clans, yet despite that compliance the people who are successful and make Sergeant or above that I've seen usually maintain a good level of grittiness.  A Sarge or Lt. may have to interact with Jr. Nobles, Blue-robed templars, and wealthy commoners about contracts, so he has to have reasonably respectful manners when dealing with those potential customers -- yet he doesn't become a silk-clad candy-ass.  So it is possible to show proper respect for your betters without becoming a highly polished diamond.

There is a difference between mercenary hired thugs and your own personal highed thugs that are a long-term part of your House: if all goes according to plan your house guards (hired thugs) are going to work for you for their entire useful lives, but next week that Byn unit could be working for a rival, or even an enemy.  So while you trust the Byn to do -this- job right now because betraying you durring a contract would ruin their reputation as mercenaries, you aren't going to trust them with information that could be tactically important to your enemies later.  You might have something like a non-disclosure clause in your contract, but you really don't expect much discretion from the rank and file.  Your own trusted guards at their best are furniture, tools, part of the landscape -- you wouldn't share every aspect of your plans with them (after all, some of your rivals are within your own House) but you trust that they aren't going to do anything to seriously harm the House (a certain amount of corruption is expected and even useful).  The most important qualities of a House Guard are competence, trustworthiness, and loyalty.  Polish is a nice bonus, but hardly a necessity.  If a particular guard is too crude, simply forbid him from ever speaking in your exalted presence.   :wink:

Angela Christine
Treat the other man's faith gently; it is all he has to believe with."     Henry S. Haskins


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Grittiness and Harshness
« Reply #80 on: May 06, 2005, 07:10:19 AM »
Heh, was thinking about this tonight and came across a mental scene.

Junior noble A from house A is meeting with Senior noble B of house B.  Junior noble A's guard, the grizzled, sharp eyed guard, has been silent as hoped for the entire time while Junior noble A and Senior Noble B discuss important matters.

The grizzled, sharp eyed guard makes a blank expression, then breaks into grating chuckles as he farts loudly, and a stench permeates the surrounding air before he bustles forward with a warning scowl to intercept a commoner approaching the table, who quickly nods and backs away upon realizing he was interrupting.

Senior noble B glances up with a perturbed expression to the grizzled, sharp eyed guard, then exhales deeply before looking to Junior noble A and saying flatly, in sirihish:
   "Our guards are finest lowborn around.  Commoners.  Can't live with them, and without them, we're doing all the menial tasks I'd really rather not deal with."

Junior noble A nods sagely.

Is that more along the lines of what you mean by don't expect so much out of your guards? :P
She wasn't doing a thing that I could see, except standing there leaning on the balcony railing, holding the universe together. --J.D. Salinger


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Grittiness and Harshness
« Reply #81 on: May 06, 2005, 08:03:10 AM »
I still disagree.

The Noble Guards are polished and with manners and all this because that is what clan-docs say they should be. If you want to play less polished, less mannered guy, find a some other work then "the Guard". Or join the Byn. Or be a hunter of some Merchant House. Or stay independant.

If Noble Houses train slaves for such work, will these slaves be rough and without manners as well?


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Grittiness and Harshness
« Reply #82 on: May 06, 2005, 08:13:55 AM »
I have to agree with Lindel - the nobles drive a lot of our behavior and as I posted before have to take a lot of credit / blame for the way the world works.

1. Nobles shouldn't be hanging out in the Barrel - the Trader's is the fancy place.  Hanging out in a commoner's tavern requires all the commoners to present themselves appropriately to the nobility (no swearing, fighting, wearing bloody gear and getting into bar fights).  Nobles shouldn't be openly enjoying the music of a bunch of elvish bards / thieves.  It's not proper (re: everything I've read in the docs about nobility / elves.

I don't know if the situation is the same in Tuluk, but after I raze it to the ground, there will be little problem with the RP there.  ;-)

2. Nobles (and other higher class folk) shouldn't be surprised when (should they decide to slum it) that commoners fart, belch, swear, puke or get into scuffles.

3. Expecting everyong to up their presentation to for a noble (who typically will make a PC's life hell if they don't) means that everyone is afraid to act dirty, gritting and, well, common.  

4. I have to agree with Xygax that the whole armor thing is over the top.  Isn't it enough to have a cloak / patch? Do you need a full suit of spiffy gear for your typical house guard?  To me, that should be left for the Captain or Lieutenants only.

5. Finally, almost _ALL_ houses should get rid of their life commitment thing.

6. The reason life for the militia and Byn is gritty is directly related to the way they are paid.  I don't want to get into anything IC here - but those that play those roles know. You _work_ for your coin.  No one hands you a fat bag of coins without you needing and working for it.  Not to mention that the uniforms for the Byn and Militia are pretty oocly lame (aba/patch/seeves or just a cloak) and ICcly awesome.

Other clans can achieve this level of gritty RP by changing the way their pay is handled, the way their uniforms are worn, and having the nobility lower their expectations about how their men/women should act.  Heck, you send aides to training for reason.  You don't expect your guards to be house servants in that sense!

Ok, I'm done ranting, gotta get to work!
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A pair of free chalton leather boots is here, carrying the newbie.[/quote]


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Grittiness and Harshness
« Reply #83 on: May 06, 2005, 09:21:14 AM »
Economy Grittiness & Harshness

I would like to drag the discussion a little away from the guard business to our rather problematic economy, which I believe -if improved- will add more "grit" to Zalanthas. Here is my suggestion to solve earning unrealistic sums of money that might worth considering it:


- Every shop and independent npc merchant should save their items and available money after each transaction takes place and their list should remain as it is regardless of crashes or regular reboots.

- Each item (or combination of items, or a special type e.g. bone weapons and armors) has to have a demand & supply equation (determines the current price level), which will change according to vnpc (a predetermined number, but adjustable if needed) and pc (adjusting continuously) buying & selling decisions (inflation & deflation).

An example:

For simplicity, lets assume that this example bothers only a shopkeeper who is selling weapons (not capable of crafting), a pc weapons crafter (this will represent the player effect on the economy), a group of vnpc weapons crafter (this will represent the predetermined supply for the economy), and the rest of the world who are demanding weapons.

At the initial moment (time=0): According to the supply & demand equation for weapons the market price sellers (shopkeeper) is 100 sids and for buyers (customers) is 200. The shopkeeper has 0 units of weapons but 1000 sids to invest on new weapons (this will change at each period - if he doesn't buy new weapons he won't be able to meet with customer demand and lose some possible profits). The pc weapons crafter arrives and sells 2 units weapons to the shopkeeper and earns 200 - 2X, X= (unit cost of material, time spent, and skill). The group of vnpc weapons crafter arrives and sells 8 units. First realized supply is 10 units of weapons.

- Note that at t=0 there is only two slots available for pc crafters, the remaining open slots were filled by the rest of the crafter population (controlled by AI).

Second moment (time=1): Now the shopkeeper has 10 units of weapons. At this moment the shopkeeper won't be willingly to buy new weapons for 100 sids, he would rather prefer to pay 50 sids (calculated by the supply & demand equation) for each new item brought by the independent weapons crafter. At t=1 virtual customers arrive and buy 6 weapons and pc customers arrive and buy 2 weapons. At total they spend 1600 sids on that transaction. First realized demand is 6 (predetermined) + 2 (pc determined) = 8. The shopkeeper's inventory (value 100*2=200, possible gain 200*2=400) started to accumulate by 2 units of weapons

Third moment (time=2): The pc crafter arrives with two more weapons (he was able to sell two units at t=0 so he expects the same). The shopkeeper wishes to pay 80 sids for each of the 6 weapons he is going to buy, because he already have 2 units of weapons and knows from t=1 that the demand was 8 units. Plus he has usual 1000 sids for new investment accumulated from t=1 (1600 - 1000 = 600, wage earned at t=1, for the shopkeeper). Now there is a 40% fall in shopkeeper's demand for buying new weapons. He used to demand 2 units from pc crafter and 8 units from vnpc crafters and now will demand 1.2 (=1) unit and 4.8 (=5) units correspondingly (assume that the demand & supply equation always round up or down the ratio if exists). As a result of this the shopkeeper will spend 480 sids on buying 6 units of weapons. His new inventory will value 200+480=680 with 85 sids/per unit cost.

To continue the shopkeeper has to decide on his next step:

=> He can still choose to sell for 200 sids.
=> He can decrease the price and generate new demand.
=> He can increase the price at the cost of losing some customers.

We can solve this problem with different methods; one is by assigning probabilities to each option and let AI (the shopkeeper) to decide what is going to happen next. To maintain such huge information might seem a little difficult but it is not, especially not for Zalanthas. Not much information is worth for keeping the track of it. The theory of expectations in economy suggests that people mostly care about past two periods. With that simplifying assumption we can get rid of the data concerning the very last periods and base our decisions by looking at just few periods.

What are the possible benefits of such a model?

- Out there, in the economy, there are items that can be sold at high prices to shops. Most of those items have less or no demand at all but still you can sell 5 units at a time. This creates unrealistic high sums of money supply in the economy (IRL this creates high inflation and we can also implement this if it is going to worth to do). This absurd money in the economy breaks all the balances and helps some people to earn more then they should. The model I discussed above may help to stop circulation of that absurd money by lowering the number of such units that a shopkeeper demands from players within the limits of the reasonable and player & AI driven economy.

- Also, in the economy, there are items that are highly demanded but still we can only sell 5 units at a time. Generally this type of items has lower prices (because of high demand). Thus implementing the model may move the economy to a place where people craft more of highly demanded items, which should be the normal case.

- In the long run, the items that are not demanded at all will disappear from the economy; the items that are highly demanded will open new crafting and supply options.

P.S: This is just a very simple model that may solve some of our problems and it obviously needs much more study and brainwork. I would like to hear from you on how we can enhance the model and create a suitable one for both code restrictions and playability.
"A few warriors dare to challange me, if so one fewer."
"Train yourself to let go everything you fear to lose." Master Yoda
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Grittiness and Harshness
« Reply #84 on: May 06, 2005, 12:33:30 PM »
I have been following this discussion for some time now, watching the responses, and I think I'll weigh in now.

Grit is a relative term, honestly. Nobles do not experience grit when it comes to living conditions, and they should truely not have to. They are nobles, and their life should be that pristine thing that all dream of.

You can not truely expect players to dumb down their characters to be more dirty and gritty. This is something that has to be supported by code and Imm interaction and action. Raising the price of food and water, or reducing the amount of coin that one can make from hunting or crafting or whatever, making more places law-relaxed, or lawless in some cases, reducing or erradicating the types of commoner-unusual clothing in NPC run shops, making heavy, ornate armor do what it actually should do, IE: Sapping endurance, agility, etc, introducing things that threaten but do not in themselves kill players, such as better dehydration code, exhaustion, bleeding, packs of point-a-bite creatures, intoduction of better documentation in some cases regarding guidelines concerning standards, weather that tears down your clothing and maybe your hit-points but doesn't blind you, and of course the current lose-your-way weather we have now. I could go on, but that was one really long run on sentence.

Points that others brought up are things that I would have suggested, but it's pointless now, because they are already in the fore.

As to what we players can do, it really boils down to this, I think. We can easily promote the harshness of the world in our actions and attitudes, but the grit of the world is something that we do not control nearly as well as you Immortals. Grit is the quality of hardness, not harshness. If we hunt and begin to accumulate a lot of coin, are we realistically supposed to stop hunting and start barflying? No. We should have to hunt to survive, and the easiest way to acheive that is simply to say that that item will not be purchased for as much as it once was. Life should be work first, play second.

One suggestion that I might have is this. Right now, eatting is absolutely annoying, and that is because it takes like four eats to consume a bowl of soup and you have to eat like 5 to even be full. That's unrealistic. So, make food fill you up depending on your body weight, and make them larger portions when you use the eat command. So, instead of the four eats and 5 bowls, you have 2 eats, and 2 bowls. Then, make hunger occur more rapidly. Make it so that you need to eat every day. Then, instead of taking HP damage for the next four days, make it stat damage, until every single one of the physical stats are poor. At that point you can kick into hp damage, decreasing the max and current equally, as opposed to simply the current. Water is good right now, actually, besides for the fact that you should get thirsty more often.

One flaw with the above suggestion is that the messages concerning your hunger and thirst are limited. Let's get messages for getting thirsty and hungry as well.


This thread is absolutely great.
Wynning since October 25, 2008.

>craft newbie into good player

You accidentally snap newbie into useless pieces.


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Grittiness and Harshness
« Reply #85 on: May 06, 2005, 01:06:50 PM »
Just a couple of quick notes.  As I stated before, I'm all in favor of making guards a lot more thuggish and common.  This is a definite change in mentality not only for the players, however, but the immortals as well.  I may still have a copy of the email I received from my clan immortals during my tenure as a noble telling me that House guards were not to be used for common thuggery.  This "added grittiness" is something that's going to have to start from the top and trickle down, because I believe the spit-and-polish image of the noble Houses is something that has been perpetuated by the immortals.  I'd like to believe that most players, especially of special app roles, are willing to be compliant with whatever guidelines the clan imms lay down, so if the top brass tells the nobles to ease off on the shiny image, the nobles will ease off on the guards, and we'll get the grit we're all looking for.

I once had a guard that -was- brutish, common, and a glorified thug.  I truly enjoyed the character, and OOCly, I thought the number of complaints I got about his behaviour (particularly from members of another noble House) were silly.  Complaints about breaking orders were one thing, but again, the majority of those wouldn't have come into play if officers -expected- that the men they're working with are largely a group of drunken sots whose only real redeeming quality is that they're pretty handy with a weapon.  Yes, sometimes this type of character is more of a pain to deal with, but you can't complain about that and then turn around and whine about the lack of conflict in the game ;)
quote="Larrath"]"On the 5th day of the Ascending Sun, in the Month of Whira's Very Annoying And Nearly Unreachable Itch, Lord Templar Mha Dceks set the Barrel on fire. The fire was hot".[/quote]


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Grittiness and Harshness
« Reply #86 on: May 06, 2005, 01:07:37 PM »
I don't think having you be hungry every IC day is very convenient.  It would be so annoying to have to stop and eat every hour of play time.  When a meal could take an hour, if your interacting with people while you eat.

I do think that you should get full faster though.  Its insane to eat 5 loafs of breads before you're full.


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Grittiness and Harshness
« Reply #87 on: May 06, 2005, 01:54:03 PM »
I thought I would weigh in on the guard's discussion.  Where we are now has been an evolution.  I'm going to give a specific example, to highlight that this was in fact what happened.  Fortunately it was 7 or 8 years ago RL, and should not be too IC.

My character at the time was lucky enough to join Tor.  It was pretty clear at that time that I worked for the two junior nobles who were around at the time.  It was also clear that perhaps their understanding of the House was, hmmm, in development.  At that time, seemed like a lot of the previous history had been forgotten, from an OOC standpoint (could be wrong, that was just my perception).  Things were a bit..different, then.  My noble shot arrows at my character (I am guessing it was too see how brave he was, not twink his archery skill, right?) at one point early on, but my character survived and became a full Scorpion.

It was pretty damn cool when my noble gave my character a greatcloak, when he joined up.  It was red.  That was about the extent of the affliation that particular item had with the House.  Other people could get that item, easy enough.  But it still had significance.  After he became a full Scorpion, he still didn't have jack from the House to wear.  When he was first promoted I think it was, he got a spiked bracer, that was in one of the House storerooms at the time.  God damn cool.  At some point my character found another spiked and some anakore gloves by himself, and was pretty decked out, for those days.

Around that time, my nobles had hired an aid, and started coming up with a uniform.  Slowly, my character was equipped.  Some leather leggings and sleeves at first.  Then some armor for the chest.  Eventually I was able to trade my spiked bracers for some that were emblazoned with the House crest.  At that point I was pretty damn decked, as far as I was concerned.  A few custom House armor items, a few obscure or hard to get items I had gotten myself (at that time, sheathes and such!), some custom weapons.  Of course, by that time my rank was freakin' Commander.

My point is that it took my character a lot of time to get decked out in full (and hell, it wasn't even full by today's standards) House regalia.  And it progressed with the promotions he had.  He started out a dirty little nomad, and slowly as he gained rank learned about politics, became more polished, and gained House gear.  Seemed and still seems pretty reasonable.

Now, at that particular time, we were in a player mindset of "being powerful is bad".  My particular character, being a guard, and being combat oriented, was one of like 5 Noble House guards in all of Allanak (2 or 3 of which at any particular time were in our House), there were essentially no Merchant House guards as all of them were normally in other cities, and the Byn was closed.  My character was also fairly visible.  So my character dies.

Next generation of guards comes along.  Mindset changes to using skills is okay, so more people play guards.  I see a lot that seemed like copies of my character at his end game.  They always bow or salute a noble or templar (something I started doing 100% of the time only late in the career of the character for a specific reason).  They are polished.  Their clan imms have already created all this great custom House guard gear, so they are given it right away.  Next generation after this copies what they have seen before.  And it totally changes.

I saw this happen.  Things were grittier, but there were only really a few examples of guards around.  And as items were built, obviously more of a bias towards giving them out.  Taking examples from guards that had been around awhile (when I died, I think every guard in Tor was at least a sergeant) to create the perception of what a guard should be...I saw that clan change drastically in its perception.  Part of that is that history started getting developed afterwards I think, but the skew had already happened.

This illustrates the problem with grittiness at its core.  The documents only give so much information.  At some point, we do have to take certain cues from other player behavior (especially true of social situation, again especially before a year or two ago).  In situations with limited examples especially, we may see a character, as perhaps happened above, at the apex of their career/influence/development, that had gotten away from the normal for IC situations, and develop the perception of them as the norm.  I think this is extremely relevant to forming perceptions about nobles, merchants, militia and guards.  If we form our perception from an exeption, rather than the normal (a noble/merchant with more influence, or more perception of influence than he has, a guard officer rather than grunt, the well connected psychotic militia grunt), our own play in the future can be warped by what we mistakenly took as being the norm.

The process of returning grittiness is really about resetting what our (the players) perceptions of normal is.  Only by doing this, and perhaps on a fairly detailed level, can we avoid simply building on and carrying forward those generated by a PC culture that has evolved over many generations of PC characters played by players who may or may not have had the right idea in the first place.
Evolution ends when stupidity is no longer fatal."


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Grittiness and Harshness
« Reply #88 on: May 07, 2005, 12:18:15 PM »
I would like to see silk made -extremely- difficult to come by. Those worms or plants or whatever can't be that easy to foster.

In my opinion noble houses should have a number of hand-me-downs from their mothers and their mother's mothers and fathers, where applicable. These can be kept in a storeroom and shared by whomever resides in the house at that time. I'm talking completely out of date and it would be cool if items from 5 or 6 years ago could be found which would reflect how styles have changed. Some of the finer things would be threadbare.

But what would kadius do? As a merchant house, I would suggest that there is more to sell in the world than clothing.

In regards to welan's and pretty much every other clothing shop, I'd like to see a lot more items obviously used and with a past. Read: used clothing stores. Once I had a vest that came with stains which were apparently blood. I loved it. It had a past, and thus, in some way a soul, and was more real to me than most any item I've come across.

I'm not just talking about the tags that get hooked on when you run too much or get in a bad fight. I'm speaking of items that have descriptions based around the fact that they're well made and servicable and therefore have lived a long life.

There are those of us who feel that the high fashion outlet of being part of the nobility adds a lot of drama and color to the world by way of contrast. I think this contrast should be mainly restricted to longer-lived nobility. Junior nobles should have fairly new clothes and that should be enough. Newish, clean. Cotton, linen, embroidery. Sometimes beadwork. That's certainly quite fancy.

We've just hit this stage of opulence in dress that can't possibly reflect the starved, drought-ridden, hard knocks world we so love.
Do you kill your sparring partners once they are useless to you, so that you are king?


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Grittiness and Harshness
« Reply #89 on: May 07, 2005, 12:31:18 PM »
Just sliced out another chunk of posts, sorry if one of them was yours.  Some posts are being removed not necessarily because they're wrong or even off-topic, but simply because they don't contribute beyond what's already here; again, my apologies.

I'd say we've been thoroughly over the silks discussion, and I think "indy vs. noble-guard" and "noble-guard attitude and attire" have been covered pretty well.  Obviously there are some documents that have some misleading phrasing in them, please e-mail me privately to point these out (docs that directly contradict the general overview I laid out a few posts back, or that would make a life like Twilight's Tor guard impossible).  Also, some interesting questions have emerged that still need to be addressed, and there is a lot of work to be done by the staff.

I'll probably go ahead and shut this thread down for archiving in the next couple of days, so if you have some final thoughts, please feel free to contribute, but try to stay away from things that have already been covered (especially the ones I mentioned just now)



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Grittiness and Harshness
« Reply #90 on: May 07, 2005, 01:58:45 PM »
My last thoughts in general:

Overall, Armageddon's "harshness" is awesome. It's what keeps me coming back when I lose a character. To me, "winning" the game is if I can get my character to survive long enough to become involved in really neato things. I haven't had that many characters; in fact I believe my current count is 14. But that's over around 3 years of playing. With the exception of the one character I stored within the first RL week of playing her, all my characters have experienced, witnessed, or learned of some pretty awesome stuff.

The frustrations with code quirks aside, I think the staff and other players do a bang-up job, and I look forward to each opportunity that comes my way, and each "new neato thing" that gets implemented, and each new moment when I see "Halaster the Fluffy Cuddle-Bunny of Death" on the WHO list and wonder if I'm next.


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A few thoughts
« Reply #91 on: May 07, 2005, 02:26:03 PM »
I started playing Arm several years ago and this thread has caused me to think back, and compare what we had then with what we have now.

Back then, the level of RP was pretty horrible compared to what we have now, IMO. There was also a lot more dying (PCs) and a lot more physical conflict. It was a struggle to survive as an independent, not because of a shortage of coin, but because it was very likely your (PC's) life would end at the hand of some other PC before too long. To live a long time was a remarkable IC and OOC feat. From memory, there was still a bit of metal stuff around, but a lot less silk and other luxury-type stuff. I can only remember one PC templar from my first several PCs, and no militia PCs ... the law in the cities was virtually all in the imms' hands.

Nowadays, the level of RP is good and the IC realism has improved a lot, but the game seems to have changed somehow. There seems to be a lot less dying and a lot less obvious conflict ... and I don't know if this is related, but there seems to be a lot more political manoeuvring and scheming. There are wagon loads more templar, noble, and militia PCs than there used to be. A lot more PCs seem to be in clans than there used to be, and it seems like people (PCs) are living a lot longer--and with less apparent trouble in doing so. There are a lot more luxury items around (silk clothing, jewellery, etc.).

Not in any particular order, but a few thoughts ...

(1) It's become a lot easier to survive and live a long time. Join a clan, don't be an idiot (i.e., don't get fired), and you're more or less set. Living a long time feels like a lot less of an achievement than it used to. Now, I'm not advocating that the imms load up a few thousand gith NPCs and set them loose, but a higher PC turnover would IMO help the game feel a lot more gritty (not sure if that overlaps with harsh, but if it does, so be it). One basic goal might be to make the independent life more attractive, not less attractive. Still make clan jobs attractive (IC realism), but keep restrictions (e.g., loyalty or death, and make it easier for clans to hunt down deserters unless said deserters truly live away from civilisation). The more people playing independents, the more people taking risks to get ahead in life, thus the more people possibly dying. That's not a completely thought-out line, just a brief idea.

(2) As a few other people have suggested, anyone in a job should be working to earn things, whether it be money, social recognition, cool equipment, or whatever. Maybe a noble House might issue more than one uniform item upon joining, but for every other clan, I think a cloak or some other obvious uniform item is enough. No one, unless they're nobles, templars, or other very high up ranks, should be walking around in a complete set of matching, logo-emblazoned gear. But I digress. IC work should have an IC effect ... at the moment, it feels (from what people are saying) like most PCs' work basically has little net effect on their clan's prosperity. When this happens, people (OOCly) start thinking "what's the point?" People (PCs) need to be working to earn what they get, to get that sense of achievement. At the moment, it seems like all you have to do is live (not do anything plain stupid), turn up to socially RP, and hold out your hand for the coins to flow in. But I have to stress, this is just the impression I get.

(3) Conflict. It's one of the basic tenets of the game, and yet it feels like it's decreased. It's more PC versus NPC now, than PC versus PC. Maybe one idea would be to decrease the number of hostile NPCs in the wilderness. This makes it safer for any PC to go out. This encourages PCs to become raiders. This leads to more PC versus PC conflict. Let the PCs enact the dangers, more than the NPCs. I've only just thought about this, but I like the sound of it, if I do say so myself. ;)

(4) Last point: I think we should remember that PCs represent a spectrum of both IC and OOC (player) personalities and goals. We shouldn't restrict all noble House guards to a certain 'more gritty' form, just as we shouldn't restrict them to all being elite troopers. And I'd say the same for Byn-type mercenaries and most other groups. I think that the higher (socially) you go, the more homogeneous form should be, and the lower, the more heterogeneous (nobles are pretty much like each other, at least on the surface; independent mercenaries can span everything from the drunken slob who knows how to wield a sword to the serious soldier who just missed the cut on getting into a House).

So, to summarise:

(1) Make it harder to live longer, with the aim that more PC deaths makes the world feel grittier. To do this, encourage more PCs to be independent of clans, or at least make it a more viable/attractive option, without losing the desirability of joining a clan (for which there should be decent competition to get in, but it's not total utopia when you do get in--you still have to work for your living).

(2) Give players a sense of achievement in their IC work. What PCs have to do shouldn't be easy (though still feasible), so that the players feel like they've achieved something when their PCs finish some work. At the moment, it feels to me like PCs are largely unnecessary in the IC world.

(3) Encourage more PC to PC conflict (helping point 1 along) by actually decreasing the danger/hostility of a lot of the wilderness. This would encourage and make it easier for PCs to themselves take up the 'antagonist' roles currently filled almost completely by the gith and friends. (Quick aside: what happened to all the raider clans? No need for them any more, maybe that's why.)

Just a few quick thoughts, and I freely admit I haven't read every other post in this thread carefully, so apologies if I've repeated something. Also, I should stress that a lot of what I'm saying is based on my personal 'feel' from reading posts and observation of general trends. I could well be completely out with some of what I'm thinking. :)

As always, all IMHO.



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Grittiness and Harshness
« Reply #92 on: May 07, 2005, 09:32:07 PM »
I'd like to bring up a point that perhaps nobody has thought of, but Swordsman's post on PC on PC interaction brought it to my mind. I felt that the game had so much more grit and hardness to it when the War was going on. I felt that the open hostility enhanced the feel of oppression and detriment. Why did everyone start getting along? I remember when the Northern Templars told us to stop bugging the Southeners, and when Northern folk began to be invited as bards to the South.

I most certianly did not approve, and I still don't. I remember when two Northern Houses had conflict, and while I can understand the subtleness required for that, it seemed to be a great thing in concept, as far as establishing grit. Everyone are not buddies.

So, why did the Southern/Northern goverments start accepting the other side? I understand and truely agree that the Merchant Houses need to be excluded from the violence and open discrimination of conflict, but I most certianly did not like it when folks began just meandering around the world again, city-hopping if you will.

The two cultures are decidedly different. In one goverment's sight, the other goverment rebelled, throwing off the yoke, while in the other culture's eyes, the opposing goverment oppressed and repressed for fourty years, at the cost of many noble lives. Bring that back, and this time, do not tone it down and dumb it down. If you start in Allanak, you should not parlay in Tuluk, unless you have a good reason. Luir's should be the neutral meeting grounds, or Red Storm, or some other little place controlled by neither the North or the South.

That old conflict brought so much to the game, in terms of PC-PC interaction and roleplay.

I do not think the desert needs to be toned down at all. I still can not seem to run into anything to kill, and beleive it or not, I like killing NPCs for an IC reason. It's fun. But I digress.

Bring my conflict back.
Wynning since October 25, 2008.

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Grittiness and Harshness
« Reply #93 on: May 07, 2005, 11:50:59 PM »
I entirely agree. All the buildup to battle was awesome. The battle itself was usually a letdown if you were the one auto-targeted by a million npc's, but it was still cool. As for raiders, I seem to remember the imms obliterating the Blackmoon because they raided too much. Being an indy raider -IS- impossible unless you one-hit kill someone, due to the look command. I don't want to hear about this 'I saw a guy once rp it' because you know that is one pc out of 500 who did it, but props to him at least.

I see no reason the south isn't attacking the north again. I see no reason the south doesn't crush Luir's once and for all for all the dead militia in the past. I see no reason the northerners don't come down and start raiding caravans or something.
Except.. mostly everything needs an imm behind it.

I think the turnover rate is a good suggestion as well. I personally think that having a character for much longer then six months (Thats half a year people, think about it) is pretty bloody long. If you're a merchant who likes to sit and talk, and love your character, all well and good. But for clanners who are guards and hunters, the character can only get taken so far before their imm should take them out, lest they feel the urge to go lone-ankeg hunting.
-That last thing would entirely be opinion of the player, but there should still be the option of going out in glory, instead of wishing for a heart attack.
'm not spamming, my character is having a montage.


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Grittiness and Harshness
« Reply #94 on: May 08, 2005, 02:40:59 AM »

(3) Encourage more PC to PC conflict (helping point 1 along) by actually decreasing the danger/hostility of a lot of the wilderness. This would encourage and make it easier for PCs to themselves take up the 'antagonist' roles currently filled almost completely by the gith and friends. (Quick aside: what happened to all the raider clans? No need for them any more, maybe that's why.)

Hm.. interesting..

One of my early characters met a notorious half-giant defiler.  Everyone wanted to put him down.  Fortunately, he caught me using 'gather', and after a bit of "you will be my apprentice/spy, or else" type "roleplay," he left me alone instead of killing me like he did everyone else...  I didn't tell anyone for a good many years.  And it added character to his history - survived an encounter with X beefy guy.

Yeah, players can add a good amount of 'danger' or 'harshness'.  And buzz.  Definately more buzz than 'oh, we ran into a couple gith bunched together'.  That's a good thing.  Makes the game much more personal, memorable.

But, on the other hand, if you make the wilderness easier, it becomes much less difficult to go out and powergame your melee character.  Becomes much easier to skill your caster.  The average skill level of the 'twink' will be greater.  I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not.  It may add 'harshness' for people playing the way the game has evolved, but it may not be the right ''harshness.'

It should also be pointed out that the game is a multi-user game.  If the wilderness becomes trivial to explore in single-player mode, you lose something.  I think this tips my opinion to mild disagreement.

It's probably worth considering what the intent of the wilderness is.  The staff wouldn't build 20k rooms if they weren't meant to be explored, so the difficulty should be at some median point between easy and hard, which most posters seem to think is currently about right.

Regarding raider clans (or raiders in general), my experience is that they tend to attract griefers with minimal intent to roleplay.  This statement is from the point of view of having played with Black Moon a long time ago, and may or may not be accurate now...


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Brief clarification
« Reply #95 on: May 08, 2005, 05:19:19 AM »
I, too, would disagree with making the wilderness easy or trivial to explore. What I was trying to raise was something against the current trend, which has been for the desert to become harsher and harsher as time passes (as far as I can see). The harshness is good, but maybe it's gone a step too far by 'cutting into' the niche of the PC antagonist? I don't say yes or no, I merely raise this point for consideration. Certainly, we don't want to encourage reverting to the old, twinkish days. Balance, as always, would be the key, and I leave that in the hands of our trusty imms. :)



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Grittiness and Harshness
« Reply #96 on: May 08, 2005, 11:38:11 AM »
Oh...we just have to try harder as PC antagonists now.

And not to cut too much of a joke (although I am serious) I'll add a little.

It's -hard- I roleplay some grit and harshness that we could do better. I struggle with the question of...if my character can survive better...isn't in -his- best intrest to acheive the best that he can? Although the example of the rinther foraging for salt is on the extreme...along more minor lines...I want it enforced on me.
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Grittiness and Harshness
« Reply #97 on: May 08, 2005, 02:50:21 PM »
I do realize that it's a game. But it's a game that fills different needs for different players. Not everybody likes conflict, but they deal with it when their character has to deal with it. I see a minor but general trend among players as they gain experience with armageddon to start to play characters who live in a life style fitting to that character, and to enjoy doing just that. If that character doesn't stir the shit, that's fine. There is absolutely nothing that says everyone has to die within 5 IC years of starting their character, or under 25 days playing time. People do live long, and with game time as it is today, long IC can be very LONG RL. And then there's the people that still play characters who live on the edge, the trouble makers, pushing the envelope constantly and often dying before too long has elapsed. There's a place for these characters too, and some players tend to enjoy them more.
(PS. I do wonder how these characters ever made it past childhood, but they must have just been lucky.)

Death and conflict isn't the only thing that makes a character struggle in the world.


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Grittiness and Harshness
« Reply #98 on: May 08, 2005, 03:41:55 PM »
Examining another line of thought, although briefly, is the issue with the wilderness. It's great as it is, IMO, but if there ever was going to be a change, I think it should actually be much rougher in terms of terrain and weather. Think about how much different Zalanthas is compared to Earth; even the Sahara would be almost impossible to live in for a long time alone, and even in a tribe, it would still be a daily lifethreatening challenge. The weather alone should be enough to give people plenty of trouble, not to mention the presence of dangerous animals. (Maybe a topic for a different thread would be the flucuations in temperature that occur in Earth's desert; a problem that could kill people who aren't prepared, though I don't see much of that in Zalanthas...)

I'm not saying you should make the desert impossible for new hunters to travel in (it should be if they are alone), simply that if there were going to be any changes, the desert should have a more rugged feeling to it, and more dangers that could potentially injure, but not necessarily kill the wary such as the temperature fluctuations mentioned above. NPC animals are good, but I'd like to see more of the dangers in the terrain, like sudden holes in the floor that were covered up in sand, or to have more movement lag when trudging through harsh sandstorms. More ups and downs, and huge dunes that you have climb to get across. Things like that, that will make an ordinary trek from Allanak to Liur's or Tuluk a -hell- more exciting, even if you don't meet a single PC or NPC along the way. That, I think, would make the game more gritty for alot of people, despite the frustrations that it could bring.

Change in the desert would effect people who travel, but wouldn't really effect thoughs based in cities, rather the rooftop level in cities would aid in solving that. Also wanted to bring out briefly the need for corruption in all levels of society.

One last point to address, it seems lately that alot of diseases were defined and added into the documents, but there needs to be more occurances of these sickness and a few instances of far-reaching plagues (like the Black Death of Europe). It doesn't necessarily need to kill people, but simply give the feel that PC's can be sick, in pain, and aren't all above the NPC population.  Considering the lack of hygene in much of society and the overcrowding, I'm surprised a large epidemic hasn't wiped out a quarter of a city-state's population yet. It would probably take abit for diseases to be coded as more frequent occurances for all I know, but the payoff would be well worth it, IMO.
Here is only one admirable form of the imagination: the imagination that is so intense that it creates a new reality, that it makes things happen.  -   Sean O'Faolain


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Grittiness and Harshness
« Reply #99 on: May 08, 2005, 04:00:28 PM »
On the disease matter, the diseases would have to be quite different to our own earth diseases, the desert climate and lack of large water supplies would destroy two of the main vectors of carrying disease.