Author Topic: The Massive Conflict Thread  (Read 9725 times)

Taven

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The Massive Conflict Thread
« on: December 01, 2016, 09:47:44 PM »
The Massive Conflict Thread


I think that there is not enough conflict in the game. I think this lack of conflict is leading to a lack of plots, which is leading to a feeling of stagnation.

As a result, I have analyzed most of the open clans for their positions, goals, and why ultimately the conflict that involves them isn't working as well as it should.

I have also proposed solutions that staff could implement to better increase conflict opportunities, and thus better enable plots.

I would be curious to hear everyone's thoughts on my analysis, the troubles, and proposed solutions. What conflict sources do you currently see? What conflict opportunities could you see?

For those who want a TL;DR version, your best bet is to just skip to the section about the problem and the solution, in each section. Short of that, I have nothing for you.




Borsail
Assets: Slaves, primer House status (political influence)
Interests: Expanding slave stock
Dislikes: Oash, magick

Oash
Assets: Magickers, wine production
Interests: Expanding magickal knowledge or wine offerings
Dislikes: Borsail, people using "their" magickers (some templar friction)

Fale
Assets: Popularity with commoners
Interests: Parties
Dislikes: Tor, magickers, stuffy/serious people


The Goal: To encourage conflict by having a House set up where the Houses dislike each other and want to compete for political supremacy

The Problem: There is no built-in competition. Borsail has slaves, Oash has wine/magickers, Fale has parties. None of these things happening makes it more difficult for another to happen. While they have reasons to dislike each other, there is no asset gain for the House in conflict. If there is, the scope would make it largely virtual or NPC-based.

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).



Templars: War Ministry
Assets: Power of the Highlord, massive political might, control of militia, possible better connection with combat roles (Byn?)
Interests: Expanding influence of the Ministry, projects to increase power base
Dislikes: Criminals that they can't use (some are manipulative), others trying to limit their power
Drawbacks: No direct trade or city building influence

Templars: City Ministry
Assets: Power of the Highlord, massive political might, control of city building projects, possible better connection with builder support (Borsail?)
Interests: Expanding influence of the Ministry, projects to increase power base
Dislikes: Criminals that they can't use (some are manipulative), others trying to limit their power
Drawbacks: No direct control of martial forces or trade influence

Templars: Trade Ministry
Assets: Power of the Highlord, massive political might, control of city trade, possible better connections with trade sources (Kurac, Kadius, Salarr, tribals; possibly nobles who have trade goods such as Oash)
Interests: Expanding influence of the Ministry, projects to increase power base
Dislikes: Criminals that they can't use (some are manipulative), others trying to limit their power


The Goal: To encourage PC templar conflict and expand templar opportunities beyond the scope of merely war

The Problem: Any given PC templar is limited in what they can do. This was the same problem in Tuluk with the Jihaen/Lirathan orders, and why they were ultimately combined. There are not enough templars to have inner-Ministry conflict. A lack of activity of a single templar can drastically limit plot opportunities for others (as odds are only one PC templar can do any one thing).

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.



Arm of the Dragon
Assets: Combat capabilities, templar back-up
Interests: Keeping Allanak supreme, enforcing laws
Dislikes: Criminals (Guild, rogue 'gickers), low races (breeds, elves), outsiders (northerners, tribals)
Drawbacks: Strict expectations of behavior, often reactionary for plot focuses

The Byn
Assets: Combat force, can hire any race, work with any group that pays
Interests: Securing contracts and coin
Dislikes: Lack of coin
Drawbacks: Oftentimes must rely on others for plots


The Goal: To enable roles for combat-based PCs. Byn: To enable and facilitate the combat plots of others. Arm: To provide an answer to crime, as well as opportunities for patriotic combat and assist in Allanaki harsh flavor.

The Problem: Both are reactive, in that they rely on the actions of others (Byn: People who hire them, AoD: Criminals or templars initiating plots) to have opportunities, the limits of crime-code, and the lack of crime scale (generally 'criminal secretly used by templar' or 'we want them dead').

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.



Kurac
Assets: Luirs (trade outpost), Fist's martial strength, spice, desert goods, tribe relations (sometimes), possible criminal connections, knowledge of rogue 'gickers (declared persons), warehouse for MMHs, can hire anyone (no race restrictions)
Interests: Expanding wares (desert gear, spice)
Dislikes: People trying to threaten their sovereignty (Allanak at times), people who try to interrupt business, gith
Drawbacks: Semi-iffy Allanaki status, less prestigious then other GMH

Kadius
Assets: Large variety of wares (clothing, furniture, drinks, catering, jewelry, aimed at high and low class), access to wood (primary in Morin's), access to higher political persons
Interests: Expanding wares, events that increase trade
Dislikes: People who try to interrupt business
Drawbacks: No real martial strength (no hunters), possibly harder to connect with very low society

Salarr
Assets: Armor, swords, primary supplier for combat characters, northern Salarri-only outpost
Interests: Expanding wares, conflicts that increase trade
Dislikes: People who try to interrupt business
Drawbacks: No real martial strength (no hunters)


The Goal: To provide mercantile-based opportunities (crafting, politics), with some conflict and competition

The Problem: There's not really any competition. The wares of any given Houses are carefully tailored to not overlap any others, all the treaties are designed to avoid House wars, and everything is pretty settled. The former goal was resource competition, but this has been outsourced (which indy group likes which House best). There's no reason to dislike anyone, because selling to them makes you money.

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.

As of February 2017, I no longer play Armageddon.

Lizzie

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Re: The Massive Conflict Thread
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2016, 10:15:44 PM »
I think there's plenty of conflict, just not plenty of "significant" conflict. There's lots of little squabbles, minor disturbances, petty jealousies, moderate ladder-climbing toe-stepping conflict. But nothing that speaks "crunchy nuggets" in my mind.

There used to be HARD-CORE conflict, back in the day. Scary OMGWTF kind of conflict. But that was back when sorcerers were a thing, the HK was a thing, the Archives were a thing, the Red Fangs were a thing, so many things were a thing. It was those factions that created and drove the conflict, while everyone else scrambled to maintain or resolve the conflict.

People think that splitting up the population is bad - but we've condensed the population, and it's feeling more or less stagnant in terms of "hard-core conflict." Back "in the day," there were more clans, more spots to pop out of the Hall of Kings, fewer players - and yet - more conflict.

That's proof right there, as far as I'm concerned, that "close clans and condense player-base" does not equal "more conflict-based plots" and "keep crazy insane things open and available, if limited" does not equal "bad thinning of characters."

Open all that shit back up, and put caps on each of them. Make sorcerers - full-fledged head to toe sorcerers - a thing again. Maybe just no more than 2 at a time. Make it TEN karma so you can't even special app it til you have 7 karma. Or make it by invitation only as a fluff role. Or hell- make it a rule that at any given moment, someone on staff has to be playing a sorcerer role. You can pick straws to see who gets to play it.

But we really do NEED that kind of nitty gritty over the top significant conflict. We need someone WORTH chasing after, someone WORTH risking our citizenship and maybe our very lives in exchange for alliances and friendships with monstrosities loathed by everyone.

Toss in another Thrall...

Seriously. This is the kind of stuff I miss SOOOOOOOO much in Arm, that got me hooked in the first place. We don't need 24/7 of this stuff - but we really do need some of it back, at least on occasion.
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Riev

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Re: The Massive Conflict Thread
« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2016, 10:22:20 PM »
I remember my 0-day warrior just traipsing around the Tablelands (... why? God, so newbie). Some "weird creepy guy" came up to me, and RP'd a bit, then started attacking me with something clearly magickal in nature. I almost killed him just because of stats and good combat rolls.

I later found out it was fucking Falcon. And I almost shit myself ICly and OOCly. That kind of weird shit doesn't "just happen" to my PCs (still doesn't).

Paying off Red Fangs. Hearing through a friend how they were basically battling a goddamned Dragon's Thrall. Columns of fire burning the undead. Clutches of mantis screeching and assaulting outposts at the behest of some ridiculous sorceror. Undead rising from Post-Flood Tuluk. Almost dying to Kust the blue eyed Halfling NUMEROUS goddamned times. That one time I had to fight wezer, got knocked out, and woke up -just- in time to escape as one of like 3 from the original 9 that went in.

Now? Well. I guess sometimes TWO spiders attack...
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Hauwke

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Re: The Massive Conflict Thread
« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2016, 10:41:00 PM »
Ive not been here that long, about two or three years, and in my time here I have done some fairly badass things, but it was small scale badass. I once met a guy who was thrown from his mount afew times. We later found out it was all a joke organized by some bored nobles (memory is a little hazy, noble shenanigans were involved though), once had an -epic- dungeon crawl rp session.
But thats about all the insanely memorable stuff consists of that I can talk about(even in passing)

The thing is I too see a lack of conflict, I see lots of fun being had but no conflict, there is no repurcussion for doing something.

Recently a thing happened that icly made zero sense, people died and stuff happened. And there was no real repurcussion despite one side having both means and motivation to straight up WTFPWN the ever loving shit out of the other team. Im not talking he stole my sweet role conflict im talking 'holy shit why are lettingthese guys get away with this' conflict.

I havent seen a sorceror IG despite being around long enougg for them to have been a thing intheir full glory. Ivenever even had magick used on me offensively. Now I play characters who have a good knack for inflicting violence but not the disposition to do it, so I dont see raiding etc but I hearvery little about it even so, like too little considering the game world.

BadSkeelz

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Re: The Massive Conflict Thread
« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2016, 10:48:48 PM »
Nice post Taven.

I don't think there's any real answer to the "lack of real, meaningful, sweeping conflict" other than Staff intervening to drive it. Dragonthrall, sudden Tuluk invasion, spider rampage, gith assault, what have you.

There's not enough conflict of interest among PCs to drive conflict. A better source is to create an enemy that PCs, of multiple clans, have to unite against and overcome. If it can be made so that PC clans have secondary and conflicting goals, so much the better. The plot "We must overthrow the sorcerer, but make sure his magickal trinkets don't fall in to the hands of our allies-of-convenience" has more potential than "We must overthrow the sorcerer."
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Delirium

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Re: The Massive Conflict Thread
« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2016, 10:48:55 PM »
Massive conflict seems hard to sustain when minor conflict gets so ruthlessly stamped out.
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Dunetrade55

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Re: The Massive Conflict Thread
« Reply #6 on: December 02, 2016, 02:25:28 AM »
Massive conflict seems hard to sustain when minor conflict gets so ruthlessly stamped out.

Indeed. Also, there've been nerfs and such to my understanding to skills that once would have saved your ass from massive conflict (potentially) so you at least stood a chance. Nowdays it's like, randomly spawned spiders/gith/what-have-you with RNG mega stats end tiny plots before they can turn into something bigger. It's the circle of ~liiiiiiife.

But damn is it depressing and embarrassing.
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Synthesis

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Re: The Massive Conflict Thread
« Reply #7 on: December 02, 2016, 02:29:57 AM »
Massive conflict seems hard to sustain when minor conflict gets so ruthlessly stamped out.

Seriously.  I had a mildly abrasive encounter with some rando in the middle of nowhere once, and next thing I know a fucking templar is all up in my business like EXPLAIN YOURSELF SCUM.
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650Booger

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Re: The Massive Conflict Thread
« Reply #8 on: December 02, 2016, 02:39:05 AM »
I've been witness to some pretty massive conflicts.  Nothing long term, but definitely some crazy flare ups.
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Hauwke

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Re: The Massive Conflict Thread
« Reply #9 on: December 02, 2016, 03:00:47 AM »
I've been witness to some pretty massive conflicts.  Nothing long term, but definitely some crazy flare ups.
Thats pretty much where I am at, my only issue is that things just die, there is just an ending and no real resolution to events

Lizzie

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Re: The Massive Conflict Thread
« Reply #10 on: December 02, 2016, 06:24:35 AM »
Massive conflict seems hard to sustain when minor conflict gets so ruthlessly stamped out.

Massive conflict isn't meant to be sustained, first of all. It's not something you'd want to have to deal with for a RL year. Perhaps a couple of RL months.

Minor conflict won't ever last all that long because it's easy to stamp out.

Compare your reactions:

An ant is crawling on your leg. You could let it crawl, it's just an ant, no biggie. But could just brush it off your leg - also - no biggie. But you'll probably kill it. Why? Because you can, and it's easy to do, and you're not fond of ants.

Now - you're surrounded by a pack of wolves. You can't let them close in, because they're ants. This is a biggie. You can't just chase them away - again - it's a biggie. You could try and kill them, but you'll probably get eaten alive unless you strategize - and FAST. It's not easy to do.

Now - there's an ant on your leg, AND you're surrounded by wolves. Do you really think you're going to give a shit about the ant crawling on your leg? You'll probably forget it's even there. It's insignificant.


Minor conflict is an ant crawling on your leg.
Significant conflict is being surrounded by a pack of wolves.

Minor conflict is your character's boyfriend having sex with a half-elf.
Significant conflict is a sorcerer leading a clutch of mantises to your outpost.

Easy to get the half-elf killed, or your boyfriend, or just tell your boyfriend to cut it out, or break up with him.
Not so easy to stop the mantises and kill the sorcerer.
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Harmless

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Re: The Massive Conflict Thread
« Reply #11 on: December 02, 2016, 06:58:45 AM »
This might go somewhere. I have some ideas:

1.) The risk/reward ratio for starting conflict is dismal, with way too much risk. Synth is talking about this with the "EXPLAIN YOURSELF SCUM" line; if you try and stir up conflict generally you will be crushed, even if the conflict is very minor, such as when you just happen to mess with the wrong player with lots of strong allies. Obviously, the ultimate risk is character death, which is extremely significant when you realize that it takes hundreds of hours ("5 days played") to even have a chance at being dangerous, so dying means starting from scratch with that. Obviously, this risk is less so with the addition of karma allowing for "character creation points," and giving us the ability to boost skills in places that allow us to skip some of that grind. But is that enough to offset the risk of starting conflict?

    solutions: A.) Create further incentives for being a conflict-generating character by giving MORE CPP for certain roles. For example, create or re-open a conflict generating clan, one with lots of enemies such that you're practically hunted on sight from character creation onwards. To reward a player for choosing this despised role, give them like 5 extra CPP just to use for skill boosts so that they have very little grind and can start generating conflict immediately, and churn through PCs with moderate threat to the playerbase and stimulate some action.
                  B.) Create more clans/groups where the risk of dying from conflict is offset by strength in numbers. I recall the glorious Tuluk v Allanak conflicts with large scale battles, or patrols into enemy territory with groups of 5 or more, where injuries from archery or poison can be protected by the group's coordination. (Had a great time as a gemmed being dragged from combat unconscious by an AoD Lieutenant).
                  C.) Invent more conflict modalities that aren't necessarily lethal. I have to hand it to whoever is trying to start up Bloodball as a thing, as it's a good example of that. Also, political/economic conflict, as already suggested above, since the risk is "less economic influence" instead of "dying and starting all over."

What I DON'T want is to end permadeath... but maybe limiting it a bit more by bringing back ways players can cheat death... i.e., Nilazi.

Anyway, the point is that when the risk of making conflict is an immense inconvenience to the player, it discourages conflict.
   
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Taven

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Re: The Massive Conflict Thread
« Reply #12 on: December 02, 2016, 08:41:37 AM »
I think it's interesting that most of the replies are aimed at combat-centered combat, and nearly all of them want some sort of external force to team up against.

Sure, the sorcerer is scary and we all want to kill him. But not all conflict is meant to be in reaction to external forces, and not all conflict is about joining together against the big baddie.

The game is supposed to be providing reasons that clans dislike and want to outdo each other. This can provide political conflict, which is better at scaling progressively over time then regular combat, especially if players are given a goal to obtain (or a range of goals, starting small and escalating).


There's not enough conflict of interest among PCs to drive conflict. A better source is to create an enemy that PCs, of multiple clans, have to unite against and overcome. If it can be made so that PC clans have secondary and conflicting goals, so much the better. The plot "We must overthrow the sorcerer, but make sure his magickal trinkets don't fall in to the hands of our allies-of-convenience" has more potential than "We must overthrow the sorcerer."

I think your complexity of plots (allowing both internal and external conflict in reaction to the same event) is a good distinction.

However, I also think we should be examining why there's no PC interest in driving conflict with each other. As mentioned in my massive post, part of this (I feel), is a lack of things to react to or a lack of smaller conflict goals to focus on. This is something staff could provide.

But even if that was provided, would it help conflict? Or are PCs just extremely adverse to having any sort of disagreement and political maneuvering against each other? I'm curious on everyone's opinions.


Massive conflict seems hard to sustain when minor conflict gets so ruthlessly stamped out.

Seriously.  I had a mildly abrasive encounter with some rando in the middle of nowhere once, and next thing I know a fucking templar is all up in my business like EXPLAIN YOURSELF SCUM.

This is the other thing, too. Conflict generally doesn't have a lot of range. All too often it's "ignore them" or "BRING THEM IN LINE" or "MURDER THEM"!

I think it's easier to have conflict when you're part of a group with reasons to have political conflict, but even then I've literally seen some of the parties go "Let's just murder the other PCs until we get a replacement that will make a treaty we like".

That's pretty discouraging.
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Taven

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Re: The Massive Conflict Thread
« Reply #13 on: December 02, 2016, 08:43:07 AM »
Also, if anyone actually quotes and responds to any of the ideas (goals/problems/proposed solutions), I will be both pleased and impressed.

I'd also be curious on people's thoughts about the specific solutions I proposed.
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nauta

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Re: The Massive Conflict Thread
« Reply #14 on: December 02, 2016, 09:06:50 AM »
Hi Taven,

There's a lot to process in your post.  Let's focus on the possible solutions:

Nobles

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?)

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.)

o The third sentence -- not sure what you mean.  Do you mean more conflict to generate more conflict, hehe!

Templars

Quote
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.

Byn/AoD

Quote
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.

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.

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?

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.

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.
[/quote]

I would treat GMHs (now that they are without hunters) exactly like we treat Nobles in terms of conflict.
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Dunetrade55

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Re: The Massive Conflict Thread
« Reply #15 on: December 02, 2016, 09:28:57 AM »
It boggles the mind. I can find conflict straight out of chargen, and usually do, just by being there, and it only continues to escalate, until the Synthesis scenario where it's like, huh? Is this really warranted? It's like, Rando somewhere, call them a stump and they're like U WOT M8!? And the next thing you know the Guild and half the noble houses are trying to crawl up your butt. Like, really?
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Riev

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Re: The Massive Conflict Thread
« Reply #16 on: December 02, 2016, 09:37:20 AM »
The Byn
Assets: Combat force, can hire any race, work with any group that pays
Interests: Securing contracts and coin
Dislikes: Lack of coin
Drawbacks: Oftentimes must rely on others for plots


The Goal: To enable roles for combat-based PCs. Byn: To enable and facilitate the combat plots of others. Arm: To provide an answer to crime, as well as opportunities for patriotic combat and assist in Allanaki harsh flavor.

The Problem: Both are reactive, in that they rely on the actions of others (Byn: People who hire them, AoD: Criminals or templars initiating plots) to have opportunities, the limits of crime-code, and the lack of crime scale (generally 'criminal secretly used by templar' or 'we want them dead').

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.



I'll respond to this, as I've had a couple Byn Sarges before, and many of my combat-focused characters spend time in the Byn because "hey, they had 300 coins".

Byn is incredibly reactive to the needs of others, and it honestly isn't a main focus of many "leadership" PCs to come up with a goal that both satisfies their own needs AND utilizes a clan like the Byn. In fact, often times INVOLVING another clan like the Byn ends up with scheduling conflicts or diminished force size because of playtimes.

Allowing for Byn Leadership to run "their own" contracts once in a while is helpful, such as getting water from the Mantis Valley, or "someone" asking for a dozen gith skulls. These funds come out of a Sergeant's own pocket most of the time, which usually means the clan has to have already been doing well, and the Sergeant needs to know these things are possible.

IMHO, Byn is best when the client has a target in mind, has done "all the legwork" and just needs 5-6 strong arms to move in. In the classic example, Byn aren't particularly fans of going 'on a hunt', but they are more than willing to go 'with a hunter' who does all the work, and then just needs able bodies to fight. There are already "trade route" contracts that can be done, but few think to pay the Byn to keep them clear (What, you think the fact that there are no beetles in Storm is an accident?!). Even with the Fangs around, people would want to take a Trooper with them just so that 'someone' can be thrown at the enemy while the client gets away.

Unfortunately, just like the AoD, the T'zai Byn is a militaristic clan without a noted enemy. Byn wants coin, and if they find the opportunity, I'd expect them to shovel shit or work as rock haulers if the coin was right, its just that for a Mercenary to consider such low slave-style work, the coin better be worth the embarrassment.

What staff can do:

Understand that 1-2 "big contracts" a year might net a trooper about a large in total, depending on size. A GMH Hunter (used to) gets about 400 a month. So to make being a Bynner "worth it", they should be making 1500 coins a year. Try to come up with some 'simple' contracts from the virtual world that normally go to a vNPC warband to supplement the slow times.

Be more clear on the "smaller" contracts that can be run, how they are run, etc. (You know the patrols I'm talking about). The onboarding process for a sponsored Sergeant shouldn't be -all- that different from a Promoted Sergeant, but it seems that Promoted Sergeants get the short end of the stick as far as onboarding information.

What players can do:
Tell your staff in your weekly reports that you are struggling to find contracts, or Runners, or etc. Ask for advice. If they won't give it, ask to speak to your NPC Lieutenant for advice instead. They are far more likely to say "Get off your ass" than staff are, most of the time.

Come up with unique ways to serve the PC base. The Mercenary role that recently got put in is a great way to be a field aide to a Noble, or an extra caravan guard for a merchant hauling their wares. Not just for Byn PCs, but 'regular' PCs too, understand that not -every- Byn contract requires a Sergeant and 2000 coins. Do you -need- to make the full 5000 coins on this trip, or can you sacrifice a cut for realism, playability, and fun for another PC?

Allow the Byn to be the "gritty" mercenaries they are. Beating someone down in the streets shouldn't be a Templarate-level affair requiring more coin to bribe than should be received from the contract. Have more fights with people, demand duels and then hire a Byn to be your second. Byn aren't -assassins- but they'll kill someone for the right price (or should). Realize at their core, a Bynner wants to be rich, and filled with battlefield glory. Throw 50 coins at a Trooper and have them beat the ever loving piss out of a half-breed. Bynners, -offer- to do those things. BE gritty and harsh, refuse to move a muscle until coin is in the mix. Let Leadership roles deal with the Templarate/Law issues :)
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Harmless

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Re: The Massive Conflict Thread
« Reply #17 on: December 02, 2016, 10:20:48 AM »
Combat isn't the only form of conflict, but all conflict can escalate to become combat, therefore consideration into how combative conflict actually plays out is important. Lots of political intrigue will eventually include an assassination or maybe just the threat of it. Being able to properly defend against assassination attempts has to balance that threat or else nobody will care to stir up shit in the world.

Riev made an excellent post above. I think maybe removing some of the restrictions on Bynners that all business had to be done by a sergeant, giving mercenaries independence, is a lot of why this change was a good one. Similar removals of restrictions on interactive possibility is a good general rule that promotes conflict development
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Reiloth

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Re: The Massive Conflict Thread
« Reply #18 on: December 02, 2016, 11:42:13 AM »
Massive conflict requires the right place, right time, right people. Right Staff, right Players.

Arbitrarily injecting Massive Conflict is just as bad as having no Massive Conflict, IMHO. Seeding in conflict to become a Massive Conclusion is what I think we, as players, enjoy the most.

Involving many different groups without it feeling forced is incredibly difficult, but I think should happen as often as possible. Pitting people against each other as enemy is a surefire way to escalate conflict.

I think the Byn has finally shifted away from 'we're all buds with each other'. Mercenary companies should be hired, split up, working for different people, killing people they trained with. This isn't a bunny hugging fluff ball of a world. Yes, people die, people fight people they don't want to, people maybe refuse to fight people they like and create more trouble for themselves. I always hated that the Byn was 'either working for Tuluk or Allanak', and either way, they fucked themselves politically. So dumb.

Conflict escalation is a careful process. I think we as a playerbase have reverted to Defcon 10 as the only answer, but it kills plots and conflict immediately.

I agree with Delirium -- If we can't manage to handle small scale conflict, how can we handle massive conflict? My answer, with the help of avid and willing Staff members who want to be the unseen guiding force. Staff really is the key to massive conflict, and without them, we are forced to wallow in minor conflict drama. When Staff took their foot off the pedal and said 'Player Initiated Plots Only', I couldn't think of a more boring time in the game. Now that they've committed to Staff Plots, and Player Initiated Plots, I think the world has resumed its dynamic course. It may take some time to really feel the effects.
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boog

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Re: The Massive Conflict Thread
« Reply #19 on: December 02, 2016, 11:51:24 AM »
So, I'm curious:

Do we or do we not want staff interfering? There's never any consensus on this and the opinion sways from one end of the pendulum to the other so drastically that it's hard to keep up... especially when the only board I ever frequent with regularity is OOC.

Isn't this is the point of having leaders in clans? To create plots? I thought that's why those roles had staff to support them and for staff to possibly run their own plots, which lately has been based off of PC in/action. (Like with the recent ball of fire in the sky and other things I've seen on a clan level.)

I don't know why these solutions in the original post are aimed only at staff. Isn't it kinda... leaders' jobs, too?
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Reiloth

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Re: The Massive Conflict Thread
« Reply #20 on: December 02, 2016, 12:08:05 PM »
So, I'm curious:

Do we or do we not want staff interfering? There's never any consensus on this and the opinion sways from one end of the pendulum to the other so drastically that it's hard to keep up... especially when the only board I ever frequent with regularity is OOC.

Isn't this is the point of having leaders in clans? To create plots? I thought that's why those roles had staff to support them and for staff to possibly run their own plots, which lately has been based off of PC in/action. (Like with the recent ball of fire in the sky and other things I've seen on a clan level.)

I don't know why these solutions in the original post are aimed only at staff. Isn't it kinda... leaders' jobs, too?

I think that's a given -- But the people supporting leaders are Staff, so it ultimately draws back to Staff involvement. Leaders kick things up the chain to their Staff. Leaders can most assuredly create minor conflict, and sometimes even seed major conflict, but whether or not that seed grows into a major conflict is entirely up to Staff support.

That isn't to blame any of this on Staff -- I was against this 'survey' from the beginning, and I think it has skewed metrics to serve a opinion piece, as proven by Taven's few posts following the survey results. I think there is minor and major conflict abound, it's just a matter of finding it and stoking the flames.
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Miradus

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Re: The Massive Conflict Thread
« Reply #21 on: December 02, 2016, 12:27:14 PM »

Just like real life, you can step off into a big batch of conflict REAL QUICK without suspecting it was there.

The thing is ... if it can kill me then it's big conflict. It doesn't matter if it's a stronger-than-usual gortok prowling the road, or part of a giant sinister plot of the High Lord to breach Tuluk's walls and enslave all their people.

Dead is going to be dead. I'm just as satisfied with small plots that endanger me as I am with large, world-shattering plots. Maybe I'm a minority in that.

Reiloth

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Re: The Massive Conflict Thread
« Reply #22 on: December 02, 2016, 12:31:29 PM »

Just like real life, you can step off into a big batch of conflict REAL QUICK without suspecting it was there.

The thing is ... if it can kill me then it's big conflict. It doesn't matter if it's a stronger-than-usual gortok prowling the road, or part of a giant sinister plot of the High Lord to breach Tuluk's walls and enslave all their people.

Dead is going to be dead. I'm just as satisfied with small plots that endanger me as I am with large, world-shattering plots. Maybe I'm a minority in that.

No, I think you're right. Massive conflict (at least to me) is 'Incredibly Dangerous, Volatile Stuff Happening'. That can mean a Sewer RPT for the Byn, or a traipse about the Eastrook Mountains. Massive conflict (as it is referred to in this thread) I believe refers more to Global Scale Conflict. Involving multiple groups of people, and basically what we've termed "HRPT" Level conflicts.
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Taven

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Re: The Massive Conflict Thread
« Reply #23 on: December 06, 2016, 01:14:20 AM »
Nobles -
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.


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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.

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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).


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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?


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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?


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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?

As of February 2017, I no longer play Armageddon.

Taven

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Re: The Massive Conflict Thread
« Reply #24 on: December 06, 2016, 01:17:10 AM »
I'll respond to this, as I've had a couple Byn Sarges before, and many of my combat-focused characters spend time in the Byn because "hey, they had 300 coins".

I didn't have a lot to add, but I did just want to say that I enjoyed your post. Great contributions!  :)
As of February 2017, I no longer play Armageddon.