Author Topic: A Word on HRPTs  (Read 9053 times)

Bakha

  • Posts: 493
A Word on HRPTs
« Reply #25 on: November 04, 2003, 07:05:48 AM »
Once again, I agree with Rindan on this one. However, I think that LoD's suggestions are definitely worthy of pursuit. They might even be fully implementable in an ideal world. I'll just put down my thoughts on them:

1) Instant Enemy: this seems to be broken down into two parts. One being the source and background of the enemy. The second being the numbers of the enemy.

The first I'll say that I think the staff does a good job on. I don't want to go too IC, but the events leading up to this major event have been going on for upwards of 6 months in real life. There have been tons of preliminary events involving PCs, many of which PCs probably aren't even aware of.

The second, again, I agree with in theory. That is, it would be nice if the events had quantifiable numbers. However, there is no exact science to it, due to the virtual population. Additionally, there is no way of knowing how easily the enemy will be mowed down by the "good guys" when the event goes down. Let's put it this way: is it more important that it work like a math equation (kill X amount of enemies, and win) or that it work like a movie (drama, near-death, harrowing experiences, final onslaughts, etc.)? By maintaining flexibility and going with the feel of the participants and what's happening on a dramatic level, the staff is more able to enrich the storyline. If they said, "We're going to throw X amount of bad guys at them" what's to happen if the defenders slaughter X amount of bad guys in 5 minutes? That's not much of an HRPT. Keep in mind that combat on this scale isn't something that is easily practiced or predicted. (edit: I have no idea if the staff has a set amount of enemies for this RPT or not. I'm just arguing from a theoretical perspective).

2. Word from Above: I definitely agree with the sentiments behind this. I think that the staff also tries to not interfere too much, except when necessary. For instance: Player leader A is leading a large cohort of PCs. He makes a "bad" decision and leads the entire group away from any action. Now you have a group of 20 PCs who are logged in for this HRPT and they're all going to be spending their time in Timbuktu, twiddling their thumbs, because their PC leader made a decision that the staff's allowed to stand.

Finally, the root of all the problems, to me, seems to be the virtual world vs. the PC population. As CRW said, the PCs account for something around 170 beings in a world that has a population of over a million (not counting various buggy types). How to account for this huge discrepancy without demeaning the efforts of the player base is a neverending push and pull and was a consistent topic for discussion among the staff while I was active.
ack to retirement for the school year.

LoD_Snarf

  • Guest
HRPT scale.
« Reply #26 on: November 04, 2003, 10:14:03 AM »
I understand your points on trying to micromanage virtually thousands of entities on the field while simultaneously react to player's independant and resourceful actions.  It's hard.

My suggestion is to make the HRPT's less grand in scale.  I have never really been a fan of the high-fantasy plots of Armageddon, because it basically alienates a good deal of the populace from having any real sense of involvement.  Wyverns, dragons, sorcerers running around with wild abandon causing havoc, burning, and mass death.

I would much rather the HRPT's be around a mundane force on the world, such as a gith army, another civilization, territorial disputes, a race to occupy a certain location or obtain a certain object, a revolt of the populace.

Many of these things happen, and have happened, in past HRPT's and smaller RPT's.  I have a lot more fun when the numbers are in the 100's instead of the 1000's of what is being faced.  When my actions, and those actions of the players around us, feel as if they have more weight to the outcome of the conflict.

The events rolling up to these conflicts inherently have a lot more possibility for mundane and simple interaction.  Scuffles, meetings, threats, and promises can be exchanged.  Players can be encouraged to go out and be a part of what is to come, without it needing to be some crazy lightning storm with hordes of alien creatures roaming about to blanket the world in darkness from the all-powerful being flying about.

It may be a difference of opinion, but I just don't get the same satisfaction from those style of events as I do from something that doesn't land in high-fantasy trap.  What are plain people supposed to do against such a thing?  I feel that the higher the ceiling is raised on what you're up against, and the higher the fantasy level - the lower the real involvement of the players can be.

I'm not saying that the events are unappreciated or even unwarranted considering what is being done, but I think a world in which the HRPT's are not centered around the higher-end powers of the world would be more interesting the players as a whole.  And that it would solve some of the problems discussed in Rindan's message regarding how Imms should handle the virtual numbers as well as the 'effectiveness' of the playerbase on the events unfolding.

LoD

Bogre

  • Posts: 3281
Re: HRPT scale.
« Reply #27 on: November 04, 2003, 10:48:56 AM »
Quote from: "LoD_Snarf"


My suggestion is to make the HRPT's less grand in scale.  .

LoD


Yes, but sometimes different amounts of troops will be fighting. For instance, in a war, you have hundreds of small skirmishes between 20-100 troops or so.

But sometimes you will have a massed battle, with massive casualties and death. This is enhanced by the fact that an army with a lot of 'sid will want to have all the advantages, and so hire magickers/magical beasts etc.
I tripped and Fale down my stairs. Drink milk and you'll grow Uaptal. I know this guy from the state of Tenneshi. This house will go up Borsail tomorrow. I gave my book to him Nenyuk it back again. I hired this guy golfing to Kadius around for a while.

The7DeadlyVenomz

  • Posts: 8729
A Word on HRPTs
« Reply #28 on: November 04, 2003, 11:15:48 AM »
Regarding virtual numbers:

This is a relatively simple problem to navigate. Simply sit down and decide how many people are in each place. It is said that Tuluk and Allanak each have around 400,000 people, at the moment. Sit down and decide exactly how many around is. Now, do this for every tribe and every city, village, etc.

For Allanak, for instance, decide how many folks live in: Allanka Central, the Lab', the three surrounding villages. Add those together. Do the same for Tuluk, Storm, Storm East, and all the other places and locations. Now, decide where every single virtual IMM-created tribe is. Decide their exact numbers as of this day, IC, week. Decide exactly how many scrab there are, spiders, mantis, lone magickers, etc.


You will end up with a very long list. There is no need to manage the PC numbers here. The PC numbers count for nothing in and of themselves. All we need to do is take care of the VNPC numbers. Here is how we do this.

Every morning, for a RL week, an ordained staff member rolls dice to decide how many folks were born and died in the IC week. We can switch this duty off from week to week to ensure that no one IMM gets tired of it. Adversely, perhaps once a RL week will be better, since that is only one month IC. At any rate, this is the rundown on the accounting of VNPC population.

For each 0-100 in a population, we roll one six sided dice for both death and birth.

Do this for every population other than the PC population, and suddenly, we have a very detailed account of population. Now, there is no problem with knowing who can bring who to where.

PC population is not the issue, since we are a very small portion of the world and thus of no individual account. This fixes the problem of VNPC population.


(NOTE) John, if you are reading this, how hard would it be to put together a simple utility that the IMMs could use for this, where one might simply put a name and numbers in and the program randomly adds and takes away numbers constantly, but in a fiar manner, using the concept of dice for it's internal rolls?
Wynning since October 25, 2008.

>craft newbie into good player

You accidentally snap newbie into useless pieces.


John

  • Posts: 4065
A Word on HRPTs
« Reply #29 on: November 04, 2003, 11:34:26 AM »
Quote from: "The7DeadlyVenomz"
how hard would it be to put together a simple utility that the IMMs could use for this, where one might simply put a name and numbers in and the program randomly adds and takes away numbers constantly, but in a fiar manner, using the concept of dice for it's internal rolls?
Dead easy. In fact, you could build it in an hour tops.

What you'd do is have:
* City name
* City population

for each city. Store it in a normal file. Click "update" which would grab those numbers, do a random number for people who were born. A random number for people died. Add and subtract. Rinse and repeat for each city. Show details. Update original file.

But I think it'd be fairly pointless. IMO most cities would have 0 growth with a stable population (sure it might flactuate, but over 100 years it'd be exactly the same).
Quote from: RogueGunslinger
On Zalanthas most sweat would evaporate instantly and cool you easier, because there is no humidity. The extra air-flow of a kilt would also keep things dry.

Rindan

  • Posts: 2825
A Word on HRPTs
« Reply #30 on: November 04, 2003, 12:52:31 PM »
I don't really see the point of keeping populations up to date.  It isn't a random number job.  It is a job based upon the situtation.  Allanak probably has, as John suggests, close to zero population growth.  The city is well over a thousand years old and has not grown in size for ages.  Tuluk on the other hand is probably booming.  Luirs.... hahaha, just kidding.  The issue in any battle is not who has the biggest population, it is who has the biggest and the best army.  Again, it is something probably best left to a small amount of fudging if for no other reasons then for dramatic affect and to take into account the many variables.

Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed the latest HRPT a lot.  Anyone who was apart of the ‘rinth battle who isn’t messed up and gun shy of magik needs to get their head checked.  LoD_Snarf brings up a good point about the nature of HRPTs.  I think I actually tend to agree with him.  I do like the supernatural element to Armageddon, but I also truly like lack of it too.  You can go a life time and never see any magik other then a templar calling a cute little ball to float around his head and light the way.  In many ways Armageddon is much lower fantasy then even its Dark Sun roots.  I don’t mind the undercurrent of magik, but I prefer it how when magik comes into play most of the time it is subtle and not too in your face.  That isn’t to say it is bad when you run face to face with a delfier awash with magik, just that such experiences are best when left rarer.  It is one thing to fight an army of gith lead by a delfier.  It is another to fight the hordes of a supernatural hell.  You expect magik to be apart of any battle field, and you expect it to play an important role, but it is something more along the lines of Lord of the Rings in terms of its role.  The role is major, but doesn’t overshadow the mundane combat and struggle.

I personally like mundane struggles.  I think they can have the same scale as magikal hordes.  The battle for Tuluk was a good example of that.  There was magik involved, but it never really overshadowed the larger struggle that went on.  Magikers were the siege weapons and shock troops of combat, but it was won and lost through bone and obsidian in the hands of normal humans.  You don’t have to ruin the surprise that throwing a little magik in brings.  An inventive enemy can pull off ‘magik like’ effects, but because it was done through mundane ways the ‘oh wow’ factor is even higher.

One thing that I wish this HRPT had done a little more of was finishing off the aftermath.  At one point we reached a suitable conclusion, but it would have been nice if the rest of the city had felt the effects a little more bluntly.  It would have been great if during a battle a constant stream of echoed people were dragged off and wounded NPCs started to fill the tavern.  It would have been great if after the battle when everyone goes to sit down and think and think, they return to a tavern covered in dead in wounded.  In fact, more dead and wounded in the general would have been nice, even if they were just NPCs and room echoes.  It gives the battle more of a feeling of consequence.  You could even make a smaller RP session for those who didn’t participate in the major battle to simply deal with the wounded.

  • Guest
A Word on HRPTs
« Reply #31 on: April 27, 2004, 12:19:28 AM »
*bump*

Some good things to remember for the upcoming HRPT :)

Akaramu

  • Posts: 6751
A Word on HRPTs
« Reply #32 on: April 27, 2004, 05:48:18 AM »
Would be great if this could be archived.

sarahjc

  • Posts: 1779
A Word on HRPTs
« Reply #33 on: April 27, 2004, 08:00:01 AM »
This is an awsome thread.. I wish more had this kind of clear-minded, well thought out responses and ideas..

LoD made a few really good points here...
Quote from: jmordetsky
Sarah's TALZEN Makeup Bag–YOU MAY NOT PASS! YOU ARE DEFILED WITH A Y CHROMOSOME, PENIS WIELDER! ATTEMPT AGAIN AND YOU WILL BE STRUCK DEAD!
Quote from: JollyGreenGiant
"C'mon, attack me with this raspberry..."

Bogre

  • Posts: 3281
A Word on HRPTs
« Reply #34 on: April 27, 2004, 03:56:23 PM »
On the topic of what players will affect...it varies so much. I believe that players can radically affect the outcome of whatever happens, but that they can also not do a damned thing. Its just like real life. Sometimes a person will be able to do something, other times one person will be nothing but an extra body. It all depends on the situation.
I tripped and Fale down my stairs. Drink milk and you'll grow Uaptal. I know this guy from the state of Tenneshi. This house will go up Borsail tomorrow. I gave my book to him Nenyuk it back again. I hired this guy golfing to Kadius around for a while.

jmordetsky

  • Posts: 2026
A Word on HRPTs
« Reply #35 on: April 27, 2004, 06:36:18 PM »
Quote from: "Bakha"


is it more important that it work like a math equation (kill X amount of enemies, and win) or that it work like a movie (drama, near-death, harrowing experiences, final onslaughts, etc.)? By maintaining flexibility and going with the feel of the participants and what's happening on a dramatic level, the staff is more able to enrich the storyline. If they said, "We're going to throw X amount of bad guys at them" what's to happen if the defenders slaughter X amount of bad guys in 5 minutes? That's not much of an HRPT. Keep in mind that combat on this scale isn't something that is easily practiced or predicted. (edit: I have no idea if the staff has a set amount of enemies for this RPT or not. I'm just arguing from a theoretical perspective).



Here I think the drama for the players depends on math equation. Other wise it feels overly engineered. While I completely agree that predicting the effects of X "bad-guys" on Y "good-guys" is going to difficult, I pose another question,

Is it better that what drives the drama for the players not know what is going to happen in the chaos of the unfolding battle, or is it better that what drives the drama for the players is not knowing what has already been decided?

For instance lets take the hypothetical that tommorrow Nak is over by an undead Army of Gith from Steinal (if that will/has happened I'm sorry I seriously just made it up.)

To me, if there aren't enough enemy troops and the players and NPCs defending Nak wipe out all zombie gith in a few minutes. Not much of an HRPT? Well, yes and no. I little anti-climatic, yes, but in my oppinion amazing because for those few minutes the fate of Allanak truly did rest in the balance of the player's taking part in HRPT. The plot can then change according to this outcome...bending the plot in a certain direction is a matter of creativity.

The difference in the effect for the players being, "OMG Are we going to be able to kill all these Gith? Is this the end of Allanak?" as opposed to "OMG are the imms really going to destroy Allanak?"

An earlier post used the DM example, that in a table-top RPG, your DM decides there will be a war and the DM decides that an army is attacking your castle.....And players are cool with this, especially on arm because players can often trigger these things into happening.

What I'm trying to say, and what I think others are getting at is that we don't want the DM to decide if the castle is going to be over taken at the end. We want to be able to effect this outcome, otherwise, it is just a movie, not a game.
If you gaze for long enough into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.

www.j03m.com

Raesanos

  • Posts: 1113
A Word on HRPTs
« Reply #36 on: April 28, 2004, 04:00:09 PM »
Most plots are scripted to some degree.  If they aren't, things get messy very quickly.  However, a lot of plots are written in a nonlinear way.  There is a healthy degree of "If the players do this, x happens, if not, y happens."  This includes, in particular, the game plan depending on the outcome of a battle.  This allows for the support and effective storytelling of a scripted event, without making events completely predetermined.  

The things that are predetermined tend to be things that players are not a part of.  Like, if Tektolnes decides he wants to attack Tuluk today, well, he's gonna do it.  But the outcome is a different story.  If Allanak has 500,000 soldiers and Tuluk has 1,000 (totally contrived numbers), then Allanak is going to win.  If the outcome is uncertain, we try to allow for multiple outcomes depending on how things actually go.

I can think of some events in recent history where players have had a major impact on the game world.  So I think the way things are done now has been pretty effective, especially given the many, many difficulties involved in having a handful of people run an event for almost two hundred.

Slipshodolio

  • Guest
A Word on HRPTs
« Reply #37 on: April 28, 2004, 04:51:55 PM »
It seems to me as though we should think of the HRPTs like those 'choose your own adventure' books.  There is an overall, general structure to it, and even if things are preconceived, the story can still move in a number of planned out ways based on variables.  Just because we start at point A, doesn't mean we have to go on to B, C and end at Z.  We can go from A to T, and end at Yellow.