Author Topic: KILLKILLKILL!!!  (Read 20234 times)

Niamh

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KILLKILLKILL!!!
« on: September 24, 2009, 01:58:05 PM »
As a staffer, I've noticed that death seems to be a very common solution to people's problems.  Amos hates Malik, so Amos kills Malik.  Jack the Elf steals something from Bob the Bynner, so Bob kills Jack.  Rinther Jane insults Lady Fancypants, so Lady Fancypants has Jane killed.  Lord Templar Hardass hates Lord Silkybottom, so Hardass kills Silkybottom.  Red Moon the Soh wants that awesome sword that Big Dummy half-giant has, so Red Moon kills Big Dummy.  You get the idea.

Yes, death is one solution.  However, it is not the only solution, and I'd like to encourage players to get creative with their hatred and revenge.  Perhaps death is too good for that thorn in your side, hmm?  Here are a few other viable options:

--Find a way to use your enemy, directly or indirectly.  There is always a way to turn the situation around to your advantage and his disadvantage.  It's just a matter of finding it.  Manipulate them, their friends, family, anybody they know into serving your desires.

--Make them miserable by tormenting them.  Sometimes the occasional torment is satisfying, but sometimes it's more gratifying to be relentless about it.  This can be especially effective when your enemy doesn't realize that you are their enemy, because they don't realize that you're doing what you're doing to torment them.

--Ruin your enemy's reputation.  This is especially effective in high society.  Bringing shame upon someone when image is crucial can strike a tremendous blow, and do all sorts of damage.  Turn their friends/family/coworkers against them.

--Steal from your enemy.  Take anything and everything you can from them, whether it be material possessions, relationships, their dignity, and so on.  Maybe they know it's you who's robbing them.  Maybe they don't, and you can sit back and laugh from the shadows while they lose.

By leaving your enemy alive, you open the doors to so much more fun and interesting roleplay for both you and your nemeses.
Eastman: he came out of the east to do battle with The Amazing Rando!

Cutthroat

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Re: KILLKILLKILL!!!
« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2009, 02:10:46 PM »
Punishing someone with death has its place, but I find a sort of eye-for-an-eye approach works best for a rational character. You could solve things evenly, or concede to your enemy, or escalate tensions with your enemy.

Example:
Jack the Elf steals something from Bob the Bynner.

Objective:
To get the thing back.

Solutions:
Concession: Buy the thing back from Jack.
Even: Steal the thing back from Jack.
Escalation: Find Jack at the Gaj, brawl with him a bit until he gives up the thing, leave him bloodied on the floor.

Now with all these things, Jack stays alive. But with the first solution, you potentially open the way for Bob to make friends with Jack, and with the other two solutions, you make things between Bob and Jack even worse.

RogueGunslinger

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Re: KILLKILLKILL!!!
« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2009, 02:16:10 PM »
Signed.

Gimfalisette

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Re: KILLKILLKILL!!!
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2009, 02:20:42 PM »
Death sometimes has its place, but it's definitely overused as a solution.

However, I also find that creative vengeance is difficult in ARM, because lots of things I would like to do to other PCs just aren't coded (curses, non-poison substances, practical jokes), and/or they would require staff support, and/or they are not subtle enough to work inside the culture (*cough* Tuluk), and/or authority figures overreact to every little thing you might want to do to another PC.

True story: Once upon a time I played a bard in Tuluk who followed a (commoner, half-elf, non-clanned) PC who dissed her from bar to bar, singing annoyingly at him. My bard's friend was there and decided to beat the PC up in a non-lethal fistfight at the Tooth. My bard later got reprimanded by a templar for this incident--even though technically all she had done was be annoying at a complete social nobody. WTF?

I have also on multiple occasions when playing a clanned PC been ordered not to annoy or anger or mess with other PCs. I have always found this ridiculous. This actually encourages PCs to escalate violence in order to get it done with--a quiet, quick, simple kill rather than the other option, which is often to do nothing.
I'm gonna go all Gimfalisette on you guys and lay down some numbers.

Halcyon

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Re: KILLKILLKILL!!!
« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2009, 02:27:42 PM »
I think something other than killing makes for better story, but I dont think its always the rational choice for a person who is afraid of, or vulnerable to counterattack.   There has to be a very specific story setting to to catch and punish killers while less strenuous legal and social controls are placed on other avenues.  For the average or even "middle class" Zalanthan, I dont see this being the case.  The first person who can resort to an assassin or a templar probably wins.  It would take a certain arrogance to repeatedly act against a capable enemy who has -any- chance of figuring out the source of their troubles.
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Niamh

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Re: KILLKILLKILL!!!
« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2009, 02:28:12 PM »
Sometimes there are consequences, and you either plan for them, or deal with them as they come.  It's important to keep in mind that things aren't always going to go your way, and that you'll have a lot more fun if you accept and work with that.  (And also that your PCs don't -have- to do what they're told.  Not everyone is the fit in and play nice type.  Again, plan for consequences.)  If one way doesn't work, try another.  Or, you and your PC can sit around stewing about it.  Where you go is entirely up to you.

Remember, you're never in trouble if you don't get caught!
Eastman: he came out of the east to do battle with The Amazing Rando!

Adieren

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Re: KILLKILLKILL!!!
« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2009, 02:34:24 PM »
In my ah... like... seven/eightish months here at Arm. I've never killed anyone. If I get mad, I get even. Make their life bad so that they WANT to die. Or at least, sometimes that is the intention.

Gimfalisette

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Re: KILLKILLKILL!!!
« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2009, 02:40:39 PM »
Both the coded and roleplayed environments of ARM reinforce PKing as the most-efficacious solution to conflict, is what I'm saying. So long as that is true, PKing will always be preferred by the playerbase; exhortations to ignore the coded and roleplayed environments may have a temporary effect, but the pendulum will always swing back toward PKing since we continually get new, younger players and lose more-experienced, older ones. The problem, fundamentally, is the system--not the players themselves. The players are just applying a rational, min/max mindset to the problem of enemies in ARM.
I'm gonna go all Gimfalisette on you guys and lay down some numbers.

Cutthroat

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Re: KILLKILLKILL!!!
« Reply #8 on: September 24, 2009, 02:48:51 PM »
Here's something I actually have had a problem with a few times: you solve a problem non-lethally in some way but it ends up crippling your enemy (physically, or socially). The enemy ends up storing, or even suiciding. Is it possible to solve a problem without killing but be doing "too much" in the process - so much so that it discourages the player from playing his or her character?

brytta.leofa

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Re: KILLKILLKILL!!!
« Reply #9 on: September 24, 2009, 02:53:46 PM »
For simplicity, I'm going to present my personal opinions as fact here. :D

Murder is something that few, if any, of us would ever contemplate seriously in real life.  Yet we know that most of Zalanthas' societies are quite violent, even bloodthirsty.  Because real violence is so far removed from our experience, it's not always easy to grasp where this comes from and when violence is appropriate.

Life is cheaper in Zalanthas, but much of the cheapening comes from tribalism and from extreme differences in social power.  Leaving aside cess-pools of ultimate desperation like the Labyrinth, the average commoner is extremely reluctant to kill someone like himself.  A Bynner who murders another Bynner, almost regardless of the provocation, is a psychopath: it is not normal behavior to kill within your own stratum.

Justification for murder doesn't start with the actual offense; it starts with an excuse for de-personalizing the victim.  For a commoner in Allanak, perhaps it's enough that he's a Filthy 'Rinthi.  For a soldier, it's that he's proved himself to be Criminal Scum: he hurt your buddy, or he's always up to "bad" crime (the kind you can't skim from).  For a noble, he's shown himself to be outside that small group of commoners who speak couthly and don't smell and are able to amuse you.  For tribals, human, elf, or otherwise, it's someone born outside the tribe and ignorant of how The People comport themselves.  Note that depersonalization based on social order works in only one direction: Trooper Amos is a non-person to Lord Fancypants, but the opposite is not true.

Besides all this, most people shouldn't be considering murder outright unless the offense is extreme.  But it's the conjunction of both elements--a grievous threat or injury, and by an un-person--that puts murder within the reach of the sane and non-criminal.
The sword is sharp, the spear is long,
The arrow swift, the Gate is strong.
The heart is bold that looks on gold;
The dwarves no more shall suffer wrong.

Oleupata

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Re: KILLKILLKILL!!!
« Reply #10 on: September 24, 2009, 02:55:33 PM »
However, I also find that creative vengeance is difficult in ARM, because lots of things I would like to do to other PCs just aren't coded (curses, non-poison substances, practical jokes), and/or they would require staff support...

Warning: Personal Opinion Only Proceed With Caution
I, personally, very much enjoy helping out with creative solutions to problems that reflect the putative world about PCs, even when the necessary bits have not been coded. Whether this involves supporting use of vNPCs (e.g. you catching a box o' roaches to let loose in your enemies' apartments), supporting actions that have not been coded (e.g. a gemmer trying to put the evil eye on someone), or any other creative means of furthering things, I'm interested.

I suppose I should put a caveat on that, though: staff work together. It may be decided that your gemmer in fact does not have the ability to put the evil eye on that nasty militia corporal, despite the persistent rumours about magickers; it may be decided that you just don't have the ability to dig a tunnel underneath the Oashi estate, using just a jasper spoon, so you can eavesdrop on their secret meetings; either way, though, I won't just ignore you.

X-D

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Re: KILLKILLKILL!!!
« Reply #11 on: September 24, 2009, 03:03:08 PM »
In this case, Gimf is correct.

Very few PCs can afford to leave a possible enemy alive, Templars and a few others, call it 5-10% of the PCs.

And no matter what anybody says. Death is and always will be the only perm solution.

And Niamh might not have an alterer motive for such a post, but I often feel that such posts by staff do.

Something like "Please stop killing my plot PCs!"

The first word in the arm theme is after all Murder.
A gaunt, yellow-skinned gith shrieks in fear, and hauls ass.
Lizzie:
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MarshallDFX

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Re: KILLKILLKILL!!!
« Reply #12 on: September 24, 2009, 03:05:43 PM »
a rational, min/max mindset to the problem of enemies in ARM.

Definitely defined a utility function for my PC, including a term for pleasure from vengeance. I then took its total differential to find the "marginal propensity to increase utility in exchange for another player's life".  Now, I can compare this to the marginal utility gain (pleasure from vengeance) of alive, tortured enemies.  I'm likely to say that I'd enjoy tortured enemies more.. But, this is the hang up.  There is a negative function, Trouble, which is a function of bad activities, and alive enemies..  For simplicity, I'll ignore other factors affecting utility, and just just involve the terms that include enemies.


U = utility
VP=vengeance pleasure
de = dead enemies
T = trouble   (note that dU/dT would be negative, or more trouble is bad for utility)
ba = bad activities
ae = alive enemies (note, assume all alive enemies are tormented by PC, thus, ae has a positive effect on VP but a negative effect on T)
 Therfore U= VP(ae,te) + T(ba,ae)
dU = VPde*dde + VPae*dae + Tba*dba + Taedae

note: Tae<0  (more alive enemies, negative effect)
also note, to Niamh's credit:  VPde < VPae

But here's the real trouble.   |VPae| < |Tae|
That is, the total effect magnitude of the alive-enemies is greater on trouble than on vengeance-pleasure.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2009, 03:12:24 PM by MarshallDFX »

brytta.leofa

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Re: KILLKILLKILL!!!
« Reply #13 on: September 24, 2009, 03:06:27 PM »
I have also on multiple occasions when playing a clanned PC been ordered not to annoy or anger or mess with other PCs. I have always found this ridiculous. This actually encourages PCs to escalate violence in order to get it done with--a quiet, quick, simple kill rather than the other option, which is often to do nothing.

Partly this is because of Small PC Population Syndrome, where everybody is important to somebody.

The closest I've gotten to being involved in an assassination (which, AFAIK, didn't happen) was probably four years ago.  A certain 'rinthi crime boss had, for reasons unclear to me, threatened the life of a Borsail aide.  The aide was, of course, an item with the Borsail sergeant, whose mostly-unknown connections made him nigh untouchable.  The obvious solution to us grunts was: "A 'rinthi threatened to kill Kiri?  And we're servants of the First House?  Exactly how much trouble will we be in if we dice him up in the Gaj?"

But of course the 'rinthi was also the preferred spice dealer of one of the Ladies Borsail.

(Mind you, this was actually a case that worked out correctly: people took time to investigate the social implications of what they had in mind.)
The sword is sharp, the spear is long,
The arrow swift, the Gate is strong.
The heart is bold that looks on gold;
The dwarves no more shall suffer wrong.

Gimfalisette

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Re: KILLKILLKILL!!!
« Reply #14 on: September 24, 2009, 03:09:11 PM »
I, personally, very much enjoy helping out with creative solutions to problems that reflect the putative world about PCs, even when the necessary bits have not been coded. ... either way, though, I won't just ignore you.

That makes me happy to hear, Oleupata. I have on a handful of occasions attempted to pursue non-lethal vengeance against other PCs, with the agreed-by-email support of staff, and the results have always been that I simply haven't heard back once I've done the part I was supposed to do. (Nor were there any apparent results in game.) It really put me off of trying to do interesting stuff to PCs, so much so that now I pretty much always choose to play PCs who don't give a crap about doing anything to enemies--since it feels like such a waste of energy and attention to me.

Here's something I actually have had a problem with a few times: you solve a problem non-lethally in some way but it ends up crippling your enemy (physically, or socially). The enemy ends up storing, or even suiciding. Is it possible to solve a problem without killing but be doing "too much" in the process - so much so that it discourages the player from playing his or her character?

I've had this happen too. With the aforementioned bardic encounter, the PC who got beat up was knocked unconscious and I stole all his stuff--with the complete intent to give it all back once I'd coerced an apology out of him. But he woke up, stormed off, and apparently suicided (he ranted about it later on the GDB). I don't have a good solution to this overall issue. Most players just do not like anything negative at all happening to their PCs.

wise stuff

Yeah. Well, except that your rationale would pretty much justify all upper-crust PKings of lower-crust PCs, and I think they are actually just as often unjustified--usually the result just of boredom on the noble or templar's part.

Partly this is because of Small PC Population Syndrome, where everybody is important to somebody.

Yes, but also no, because often even picking on a complete social nobody elicits the same STOP THAT! response.
I'm gonna go all Gimfalisette on you guys and lay down some numbers.

X-D

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Re: KILLKILLKILL!!!
« Reply #15 on: September 24, 2009, 03:15:58 PM »
Oh, and I would like to add.

90% of my PKs have been forced on me by the Victim. The other 10% were gonna happen anyway.

Many players understand this. When I've played in the Arm or Legion, you would be amazed how often a templar intends to leave somebody alive but the other PC makes it impossible to do so.
A gaunt, yellow-skinned gith shrieks in fear, and hauls ass.
Lizzie:
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Gobbleneck

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Re: KILLKILLKILL!!!
« Reply #16 on: September 24, 2009, 03:19:37 PM »
I personally think it's more fun to have my char brood and feel like shit about being insulted rather than >killing the person over it.
It's actually a pretty interesting RP experience.

However, if it's a grave insult... I'll probably do something more drastic if it's IC for my guy.

FantasyWriter

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Re: KILLKILLKILL!!!
« Reply #17 on: September 24, 2009, 03:43:26 PM »
Sometimes you try and try and try to work around death, but the killee just leaves you no choice.

I would tell stories, but they are all too recent.
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Grebber - One who grebs.

Aaron Goulet

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Re: KILLKILLKILL!!!
« Reply #18 on: September 24, 2009, 04:37:22 PM »
Personally, whenever another PC takes mercy on one of my PCs (especially in the case of nobility or the templarate), usually the last thing on my PC's mind is revenge.  Most people, I imagine, would be thankful to have been mercifully allowed to live in the face of (almost) certain death.

This, of course, is subject to your character's personality, but overall I think it comes down to players better role-playing a sense of mortality; while you, as a player, know that there is always another character concept around the corner, death is final for your PC, and the realm of Drov/the fiery hellpits of Suk-Krath sound pretty shitty to me.
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AmandaGreathouse

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Re: KILLKILLKILL!!!
« Reply #19 on: September 24, 2009, 04:38:35 PM »
My opinion on this may be a bit skewed, but I -love- it when my PC's get tortured/disfigured/maimed/made to wish they were dead.

It brings more conflict to the table and adds more to the story.
Cut my pc's up in public? In private? Make their lives a living drov? Yes please.

I actually took a week to completely quit Arm because I was so burned out on it. Every single person plotting against my pc was plotting death. Oh wooo. It gets old when it feels like all the plotting is the same thing. Srsly, get more creative.

I would love to see some of the pointless, senseless PK stop. If you really want to get to them, kill thier mate and kids, oxshit people into hating them too much to talk to them, bribe people into randomly shaking them down or whooping their ass. There are entirely too many ways to increase the conflict and get even or fuck someone up without bringing PK (or even slavery or serious mutilation) into the picture.
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No one on staff is just waiting for the opportunity to get revenge on someone who killed one of their characters years ago.

Except me. I remember every death. And I am coming for you bastards.

Aaron Goulet

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Re: KILLKILLKILL!!!
« Reply #20 on: September 24, 2009, 04:44:55 PM »
Sometimes you try and try and try to work around death, but the killee just leaves you no choice.

I would tell stories, but they are all too recent.

Agreed.  So long as you made that conscious effort to try the alternative route, however, nobody can fault you.  :D

I have some recent "success stories" relevant to the topic as well, but they, likewise, are too recent.  I suppose it all boils down to player trust.  And I trust you people.  Most of you.
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When in doubt, play dangerous, awkward or intense situations to the hilt, every time.

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Majikal

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Re: KILLKILLKILL!!!
« Reply #21 on: September 24, 2009, 04:58:16 PM »
I've been guilty of letting the realism of a scene slip in order to let a scene end without a beep, even when the most obvious ic route would be a swift or better yet, a slow and painful death. I often find myself regretting the decision shortly after, but I do aim for the more enjoyable route of extended conflict or the joy of knowing I played possibly a more entertaining part of their pc's history in the scene given.

Oh.. and let it be remembered...
Killing is roleplay too                                            Killing is roleplay too                                                                               Killing is roleplay too                                                                                                                   Killing is roleplay too                                                                                                                                                       Killing is roleplay too                                                                                                                                                                                           Killing is roleplay tooPlenty of RPI's out there with respawns.  ;)
A staff member sends you:
"Normally we don't see a <redacted> walk into a room full of <redacted> and start indiscriminately killing."

You send to staff:
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RogueGunslinger

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Re: KILLKILLKILL!!!
« Reply #22 on: September 24, 2009, 04:59:10 PM »
I suppose it all boils down to player trust.  And I trust you people.  Most of you.

To play this game you absolutely have to trust your fellow players.  It would never work otherwise.

Gimfalisette

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Re: KILLKILLKILL!!!
« Reply #23 on: September 24, 2009, 05:02:14 PM »
I suppose it all boils down to player trust.  And I trust you people.  Most of you.

To play this game you absolutely have to trust your fellow players.  It would never work otherwise.

Have to say, I don't trust approximately 78% of y'all. Sad but true. This is why when I do play I pretty much avoid any and all authority figures until they have definitively proven themselves. (Same goes for hooded figures.)
I'm gonna go all Gimfalisette on you guys and lay down some numbers.

Majikal

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Re: KILLKILLKILL!!!
« Reply #24 on: September 24, 2009, 05:05:28 PM »
Have to say, I don't trust approximately 78% of y'all. Sad but true. This is why when I do play I pretty much avoid any and all authority figures until they have definitively proven themselves. (Same goes for hooded figures.)

New templars (newplars) scare the living shit out of me until they've been around for a bit.
A staff member sends you:
"Normally we don't see a <redacted> walk into a room full of <redacted> and start indiscriminately killing."

You send to staff:
"Welcome to Armageddon."