Possible Solutions (from Staff): Enabling conflict over smaller resources and goals, introducing something which all Houses would have an interest in obtaining. Destabilizing one of Allanak's NPC Houses and having the PC Houses have to try to undermine them to steal assets, or work with them to secure political favor. Introducing events that cause more conflict and trade (threatening of resources to force PC Houses to work together or work to undermine each other).
o Small-resources conflict plot. (Examples?)
Okay, examples pulled out of my ass time! Borsail and Oash hate each other, but they each have specific goals. An area of land opens up that the Templars want to grant to a House. Oash thinks it would be perfect for raising Ocotillo GM super food (that's Gemmer Modified for all you newbs) to make an even more awesome wine. However, Borsail has been working on a new slave breeding program where they breed elves and dwarves to make the fearsome new dwarelfs, which are of course perfect for gladiator events.
Now, only one of these two Houses can get this land. They have several options:
- Make offers to the templars, trying to outdo their opponent (PC templars can, meanwhile, try to further their own plots by demanding specific support)
- Undermine the powerbase of the other (Did Oash promise the templars wine batches? Well, let's see how that goes when I hire the Guild to sneak in and spoil it all!!)
- Work together... For the moment. (Oh, sure Borsail, you can take that half of the land... No, no, of COURSE there won't be 'gickery water spillage onto your side, not at all)
You get the idea. They both want the same thing, they have to think of ways to get it. Note that none of my examples includes murder. Murder is easy. Long-term ruining your enemy's capability to negotiate is much more difficult and rewarding.
o NPC House plot. (This makes sense, although I worry it'll just be a PC vs. staff RP, rather than PC vs. PC RP. That is, PCs would file reports, set up a time to negotiate with the NPC house, then negotiate. End of plot.)
Yes, they would file reports and set up times to negotiate. Let me pull an example out of my ass. Good ol' currently-NPC House Tor has hit on hard times. One of their training facilities is getting too expensive to maintain. House Fale wants to take the property and convert it into an epic party center. Borsail thinks that they can work with Tor to get better training for their gladiators, and may invest money to do so. Oash, meanwhile, is trying to decide if Tor can offer them more for their support (they really could use some martial support to secure their Ocotillo-growing locations) or if Fale can offer them more (they could secure all booze-selling rights at the new party center).
Well, staff is in charge of not just Tor, but of other areas as well. Tor may be motivated to negotiate and play both Borsail and Oash against each other, to make the sweetest deal. Kasix hates Borsail and may try to undermine their efforts (how does Borsail know this? Perhaps staff decides to pass a tip to Guild PCs and involve another clan and their interests). Negotiations take place IC, with staff playing the virtual Houses with the intent to build conflict in a reasonable way. PCs must think creatively and work within the overall picture, rather then merely simple PC-to-NPC negotiations.
There's ways to do this and make sure it's facilitating PC conflict. It just needs a combination of staff and player efforts.
o The third sentence: "Introducing events that cause more conflict and trade (threatening of resources to force PC Houses to work together or work to undermine each other)."
-- not sure what you mean. Do you mean more conflict to generate more conflict, hehe!
I mean a specific event that triggers things. Using an actual event this time, instead of something from out of my ass, something like "Copper is found in the Red Desert" is an example of an event that inspired conflict (IE, the Copper War).
Templars - Possible Solutions (from Staff): One option would be to combine all the templars in to a single order that could do all things (war/trade/city), and have PC templars compete with each other for promotions. The other option is to provide more overlap, via having each Ministry do a primary thing and a secondary (War Ministry also does city building, City Ministry also does trade, Trade Ministry also does war), thus enabling one PC templar to do multiple things and increasing conflict.
I'm going to skip the templars. For me, the templars probably could just be stuffed into the AoD as leadership. Plus I don't really understand what's what.
Let me try to clarify for you. The Templars control all of Allanak. That has a lot of sub sections. The commonly-known templar groups (ministries) are: Trade, War, and City.
They each address pretty much what they're named for. The War Ministry handles soldiers and fighting. The Trade Ministry handles the trade aspect of things, including things like trade taxes. The City Ministry handles things like city planning and new construction. They don't always get along with each other, because oftentimes any given Ministry wants more power. This is designed to provide conflict.
However, a PC templar can only belong to one group. We have a max of 3 PC templars at any given time. If a templar is not around as often, it cuts off an entire portion of plot avenues. Even if all 3 templars are active, if one templar just doesn't like you, it still cuts off plot opportunities in the whole area. This is something that does not make for good conflict.
Changing how the Ministries worked to allow more overlap would provide PCs with more conflict options, both inner-Templar conflict and broader conflict.
Does that make a little more sense?
Byn/AoD - Possible Solutions (from Staff): Providing more things which to react to, in the case of the Byn. This could be rogue 'gickers (also beneficial to AoD), more dangerous trade routes (although the drawback is that Kurac may easily clear that up), or other such things. In the case of the AoD, such things would be useful as well. Additionally, providing a very different sort of opportunity could be useful (attempts at expansion?), although that would require the work to make the goal. Expanding the threats Allanak faces or depowering Allanak so that more threats posed a legitimate danger could also be helpful.
Here I have more to say, but from my experience in game this is also an area where conflict is the richest. My one suggestion is to design Byn/AoD plots (the meat and potatoes of Armageddon) in such a way that they could involve other clans. I remember once staff had a Byn plot where they came into the Rinth, and none (to my knowledge) of the Rinth PCs were ever included. I also remember once staff had a Byn plot where an NPC wayed someone in a clan affected. So more of the latter, less of the former.
The Byn is often involved with the most plots because while relying on everyone else for involvement can be a disadvantage, it can also be an advantage. Literally anyone in the game can hire the Byn, so they can be involved in pretty much any plot that requires a fighting force. The downside, as mentioned, is that they often have to wait for others to be involved.
I think sometimes other clans are involved, and I can think of recent examples where the Byn faced severe challenges on a contract due to other groups' reactions. I agree that having more clans involved can make things interesting... Although sometimes also deadly.
o Rogue gickers. Yes. But really staff should be providing more succor to bad guys (bad guy clan 2017).
o Trade Route Dangers. Yes. But again, bad guy clan 2017.
I got into this a little in my Plot Thread
, but one of the issues with "bad guy clans" is that it's... Very black and white interaction.
The goal of everyone else is to kill you. Once they kill you, they win. It doesn't take long for clans to team up and accomplish this. A raider clan would almost certainly face Kurac, AoD, and the Byn right off the bat, and be stomped swiftly and efficiently out of existence.
Allanak is all-powerful. I don't just mean militarily, I mean economically. All of the GMH are dependent on Allanak for trade. Storm (as a location) is dependent on Allanak for trade, certainly the Dust Runners are. The 'Rinth is a little uppity with their crime organization, but ultimately they rely on Allanak for trade as well. It is the nobles paying them protection money and hiring them to kill each other that is enabling them.
"Ahh, but Taven!" You might say. "What about the Pah? The Pah is not dependent on Allanak economically!". This is true. And those elves can also get pretty uppity. But they don't have the martial strength to seriously challenge Allanak. In terms of economics, they do have trade interests in Luirs, and again... Kurac is dependent on Allanak economically (even if they like to pretend they're not).
This used to be balanced out a little by Tuluk. It was an alternative city-state that also was a source of trade for GMH (and possibly still is). However, with the craziness going on inside, it's hard to say how much trade there really is. Staff does not actually know the answer to this question, as Tuluk is actually a giant vague undecided.
Anyways, my point is that a raider clan or Conflict Oriented Group has some pretty large hurtles to overcome.
o "Additionally, providing a very different sort of opportunity could be useful (attempts at expansion?), although that would require the work to make the goal." I can't parse this. Explain?
Everything is always attacking Allanak. Spiders, ghyrrak, other beast creatures too dumb to know better... What happens if Allanak decides it wants to attack? Now, as I've already outlined, Allanak is a pretty powerful force. So picking a plot it could devote all its resources to is just an assured success based on NPCs, and thus no fun.
But what if it was an exparimental process? Allanak has an interest in sending a limited number of forces (PCs, esesentially), out to conquer an area. They're not dead-set on it, so if the PCs fail, they leave it at that. If the PCs succeed, they increase Allanak's holdings (and perhaps spawn off some political resource plots for the nobles, as an added benefit).
The issue is that there's not really a lot of places to...you know...take over. It would require staff effort to make an area with someone that had a force actually worth taking over and securing. The Known is...well...already pretty well know, so new things can be difficult. Still, I think it could be an interesting sort of plot.
o External Allanaki threats. Yes. I've for some time wanted a threat present that every PC straight out of chargen (in Allanak) could include in their RP. The Tulukis were that.
You'd have to severely destabilize Allanak to have any current threat actually seem scary. Because... Allanak is too big to fail. It is the main PC hub. Nothing is going to be legitimately dangerous at this stage, the best you can hope for is interesting and diverting challenge.
Wouldn't it be fun if something awful happened and Allanak actually had something to be scared of for awhile?
GMH - Possible Solutions (from Staff): Possibly doing something that allows for GMH reaction on an NPC level, similar to what was suggested for nobles. Basically, having NPC MMHs provide a source of conflict (stealing or reproducing designs, trying to undermine the House), and having to deal with that conflict politically (are the nobles going to support the NPCs for their lesser prices? Can their resources be undercut? Will the other GMH try to side with the underdog to undermine a different GMH?). However, the largest issue with the GMH is that they're too big to fail or see any real risks. Possibly drawing the nobles into conflict with GMH may work (perhaps an overlap in desires for goods/resources, for example Oash trying to acquire more brew opportunities, Fale deciding they want to do something with spice, or Borsail deciding they want to outfit their own gladiators). Basically, more reasons for conflict, in whatever form, especially which requires political or "social RP" solutions.
I would treat GMHs (now that they are without hunters) exactly like we treat Nobles in terms of conflict.
The thing is that with a noble House, you're expected to politic. You have political standing and influence. Sure, GMH have some standing and obscene amounts of money (for whatever that's worth), but they also have a different set of goals. Those goals are namely linked to profit. The PCs that are allowed in GMH are now crafters and merchants (and soldiers if you happen to be in Kurac).
There's a big danger, IMHO, of the whole GMH system even feeling more like a system of repetitive vending machines. Nobles are not expected to ICly sell their wares to speak of (Oash perhaps a little, but PC slaves are forbidden, so that knocks out Borsail, and Fale doesn't have a trade, they just throw parties).
Noble House minions are typically aides, and thus involved in political maneuverings and plottings (ideally speaking). However, GMH minions are crafters who make stuff, purely utilizing coded skill for coded gain.
So what's the next step? I think it's exactly what you're suggesting. Let's look at GMH more like noble Houses in what they can do. Let's make them more deal-oriented, scheming for how to massively expand their wares.
And, perhaps, let's look at creating more overlap so there's more to gain and more to fight over. Because if we all have our own little niche and stay out of each others' way, where's the conflict in that?