Author Topic: To PK or not to PK?  (Read 1036 times)

williamson

  • Posts: 305
To PK or not to PK?
« on: October 25, 2020, 12:56:15 AM »
From "The Allanak Problem Thread", I hear the lamentations of the dead aides trapped in locked apartments and I ask the ageless Armageddon question:

To PK or not to PK?

I want to share the story of one of my all-time favorite characters from over ten years ago. It's an example of what can happen when you do something besides just killing your weaker adversaries. I have been careful not to mention any secrets of the game. Tuluk is closed, burglars and old Whirans no longer exist, the trap skill is gone, and all the PCs are dead by over a decade. I will not mention any names but this my best recollection of past events. Now, let us begin...

The original goal of this character was to become a "master burglar".  I decided to make a half-elven burglar named Bok and give it a try. I started in Tuluk and soon found myself unable to find employment and unable to find a lock pick. Eventually, I stole a kank outside a store and used it to collect herbs from the eastern grasslands. I generally avoided combat. As I found more herbs and my haggling improved, I was able to generate a reasonable profit. At the time, most rogues dressed in all black and wore footpads. I decided to try a different approach. I purchased lightweight but fancy hunting armor. I started calling myself a hunter. Eventually,  I purchased a longbow and quiver. I even added a few arrows for added realism. People started asking me to hunt things for them. I accepted the jobs. However, I didn't hunt anything. Instead, I purchased hides and skins from the markets usually selling them to PCs at a loss. It didn't matter because I was expanding my herb business. As a half-elf, I became a talented rider and started exporting grassland herbs to Luir's then the elven outpost. Eventually, I learned to cross the Red Desert. With multiple mounts and hard riding, I was able to avoid the gith and export herbs to Allanak. 

Business was soon booming. The Tuluki needed things from Allanak and vice-versa. Eventually, I rented apartments in both Allanak and Tuluk. I soon found myself as what would later be called a "wealthy independent". I expanded my business into information. I sold rumors to both city-state merchants and many noble's aides. Selling secrets was easy money and had a 100% profit margin.

I finally acquired a lock pick! I looked everywhere trying to find a lock I could actually pick. It was a monumental task, but eventually, I found a lock I could practice unlocking without a key. As I got better, I found better locks and learned to open them as well. Eventually, there wasn't an apartment that I couldn't break into with my lock pick. I soon learned that being a burglar was like being a shepherd. You can't over thin your flock or you'll be left with nothing.

Bok was already wealthy, so I only took unique or exotic things. I started following rich PCs to learn where they lived, only to strike their apartments later.  However, while shadowing a wealthy noble's aide in Tuluk, I accidentally followed her into a new barracks that I didn't know existed. She promptly quit the game, leaving me stranded inside the barracks. I waited inside still hiding until another PC arrived. However, I was discovered before following him outside the barracks. Soon I was captured by NPC guards.  A PC noble and PC Jihaen templar were summoned and I was interrogated at length...

It would have been completely within the rights of the PC noble and PC templar to promptly execute poor Bok. He was a thief and had been caught breaking into the barracks of a prominent noble house. That might have been the case. However, I decided to beg for my life. I promised to do whatever they want if they'd just let me live. To my surprise,  they gave me a dangerous assignment. I would be exiled from Tuluk until I assassinated a specific beautiful and long-lived Lady Borsail. In addition, I would spy for the Jihaen templar and give him regular reports via the Way.

So I was released and exiled from Tuluk, I headed immediately south. When I arrived in Allanak, I wondered how would I kill such a prominent noble? I couldn't even kill a gith. I decided to learn everything I could about my target. The news wasn't good. It turned out the Lady Borsail was quite long-lived despite her youthful appearance and beauty.  Worse she rarely left the Borsail estate. When she did, she was surrounded by retainers, both NPC and PC it seemed. While watching her across the Trader's Inn, I counted 5 guards protecting her. As just a burglar, I was never going to survive a direct assault against her guards and the assisting soldiers. I felt like I'd been given an impossible task. However, I don't store characters. I decided to keep calm and carry on.

During this time, I regularly reported to both the Tuluki PC noble and the Tuluki PC templar that had exiled me. As time passed, I must have proved my worth because to my surprise they pardoned me as long as I continued reporting and working on killing the Lady Borsail. Soon I was making money again and decided I needed help if I was to ever kill the Lady Borsail. However, making trusted friends as a half-elf isn't easy. However, there are natural allies for thieves if one knows where to look. For Bok, these allies would be the gemmed. I started using my wealth to help the lowly gemmed of Allanak. I paid them to do simple things and obtained rare things they desired. Eventually, I befriended a very talented Whiran. This would prove to be the break I needed. Working with a Whiran, I was able to steal some very interesting things and make even more money.

With the extra coins, I started playing with a skill that no longer exists in the game, trap. A simple explanation is that you'd use smoke powder to make things explode. You could close and trap a mailbox. When someone opened it, the trap went off and injured them. However, there was a catch. When you failed, the trap blasted you. I spent tens of thousands of sids building and experimenting with traps. One day, by accident, I built a very devastating trap. When I mishandled it, I was nearly killed. However, that which does not kill us makes us stronger. I theorized that I could make a trap so powerful that it would kill whoever opened it.

Risking life and limb, I built my first super trap. Having succeeded, I needed to test it. Now, I admit this was cruel, but I needed answers. I went to the market and bought a kank load of gear. I headed out and found a spot on the North Road. There I sprinkled and arranged the gear all over the road, leaving my kank, and my super trap. I climbed over the side of the Shield Wall, did my best to hide, and watched to see what happened. Eventually, an unlucky dwarf rode up and found what he must have thought was the remains of a gith raid. He collected everything, including my super trap. He opened it. Boom, he was dead. I rode back to Allanak with two mounts and a dwarf load of salvaged gear.

Now, I had the skill and knowledge to kill. I also had the perfect plan. I had lamented many times of the impossibility of assassinating the Lady Borsail. This time I reported to the Tuluki noble and templar that I had a plan and would strike within the next few weeks. Of course, I mentioned how dangerous it would be and that I might never contact them again. They must have spread the word because the next day I was contacted by a different Tuluki templar. This one wore a white robe. She claimed to have been following my progress and told me that if I succeeded. I would receive a bounty of 20k. Cha-ching!

I staked out the Trader's Inn for days waiting to spot my mark. Eventually, she arrived to sit at her usual table.  I bolted back to my apartment. I changed into my super stealthy ninja suit. I spiced up. I contacted my gemmed friend and went into my best super stealth mode. I grabbed my super trap and headed back to the Trader's Inn. I peered inside. There she was, heavily guarded by her full entourage.  I wished up to warn the staff. Then I slipped into the Trader's Inn, whispered into the Lady Borsail's ear, and handed her my super trap. Then I bolted in a strange stealthy pattern around the city, trying best to lose any future hunters, before returning to my apartment.  I put up my barrier, drew my best tainted blades, and hid in the corner for a full in-game day. The next day, I walked by the Trader's Inn, peeking inside. To my delight, I spotted the bartender, now on his hands and knees, cleaning a large crimson stain off the floor. I couldn't contact the Lady Borsail. I hit the bars. Word was spreading. I had assassinated the Lady Borsail.

I returned to Tuluk at the invitation of the white-robed templar. She greeted me with her loyal bard who carried a metal sword. We went for tea in the Heart. I told her the story of my assassination of the Lady Borsail, only leaving out the bit about my Whiran friend. I expected to receive my reward and continue as a loyal Tuluki minion.  However, I was instead subdued, tortured, and executed by the templar, her half-giant guards, and the bard with the metal sword.

Bok lived about a real-life year. He went from struggling breed, to herb exporter, to informant, to master burglar, to master assassin. There were several PC deaths and near-deaths in his story. He could have been killed near the beginning of his journey. However, the Tuluki noble gave young Bok an impossible task and he developed into a very valuable minion. I'm sure the dwarf I killed along the side of the North Road died rather upset. He probably thought he was killed senselessly. In fact, he was participating in an experiment to continue a plot that had been developing for over six months. I know when Bok died it left a bitter taste in my mouth. However, this is part of Armageddon and shouldn't complain. I don't know why the white-robed Tuluki templar killed Bok. Perhaps she was afraid she'd be my next target? Perhaps she didn't have the bounty promised? Perhaps she was just an ill-tempered cruel crone? Perhaps she needed the fresh blood of a half-elven assassin who had killed a Borsail noble to summon a wookie? I just hope it continued a story like the dwarf's death did in Bok's. 

Maybe she didn't need more skilled minions when she already a bard with a metal sword? However, she made a critical mistake. Unknown to her, Bok made more than one super trap. He kept another inside his backpack as revenge just in case he was ever betrayed. After Bok's death, it took me a while before making another PC because I'd grown quite attached to him. When I eventually arrived in Tuluk with my next PC, I was delighted to read on the IC board that a certain bard wielding a metal blade had been blown to pieces in a tragic accident. Karma, like an angry white-robed Tuluki, can be a real bitch. 

I hope this post makes other players think a bit differently about when to kill other players and when to try other ideas. To me, this is especially true when playing PCs with an overwhelming advantage such as nobles, templars, and magickers. So before you strike down your next aide locked inside your apartment.  Perhaps give a little thought to a more interesting alternative? You might end up with a useful minion. Bok had two very different interactions with the red-robed and white-robed Tuluki templars. Within which templar's story would you rather play?

Oh, what did I whisper to the Lady Borsail? Well, back then there was a powerful sorcerer called the Plainsman. Everyone knew of him and his exploits. So, I whispered to the Lady Borsail something like this:

"You have interfered with the plans of the Plainsman for the last time. This is your only warning. I think you'll recognize the head."

Then I handed her a backpack containing a head-sized piece of stone + a lethal trap. BoOm!!!

Thanks for reading,

-Williamson
"Let sleeping characters sleep naked." -Azroen

sandandblood

  • Posts: 54
Re: To PK or not to PK?
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2020, 01:59:39 AM »
That was an amazing read from start to finish and some really good advice too.

SpyGuy

  • Posts: 1435
Re: To PK or not to PK?
« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2020, 04:06:46 AM »
Thanks for posting this.  It was great.  Was this from before or after the Copper War?

Jihelu

  • Posts: 2870
Re: To PK or not to PK?
« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2020, 09:24:02 AM »
Some questions

1: Why would this lady open a random bag she was given after being threatened? Seems...dumb?

2: "I returned to Tuluk at the invitation of the white-robed templar. She greeted me with her loyal bard who carried a metal sword. We went for tea in the Heart. I told her the story of my assassination of the Lady Borsail, only leaving out the bit about my Whiran friend. I expected to receive my reward and continue as a loyal Tuluki minion.  However, I was instead subdued, tortured, and executed by the templar, her half-giant guards, and the bard with the metal sword."

This isn't a question but /god/ I hate this part. It's so boring.

triste

  • Posts: 959
Re: To PK or not to PK?
« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2020, 10:00:25 AM »
The part I hated wasn't the white robe killing Bok as much as Bok killing that dwarf. Ultimately Bok got a lot of plot involvement while that dwarf got zero. I feel like I am often that dwarf who gets blown up. I once was killed in a totally pointless way and was consoled a while after by someone saying "Yeah your character was set up and killed, but is was actually useful for you to be killed for a larger plot." Oh cool I was an expendable pawn without even having the privledge of knowing. Uuuuuuuh. Fun? I am sure "Uuuuh fun," is exactly what that dwarf thought as he was blown to pieces.

The key of this post is it is on all of us to create plots and involve players in plots. The "best" person in this story is the first Templar who spared Bok's life. Yes people, do that more! And do it a lot so that the poor dwarf who got blown up without roleplay can have a chance being the hero or anti-hero next time, not just Bok.
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SpyGuy

  • Posts: 1435
Re: To PK or not to PK?
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2020, 12:32:28 PM »
I’m going to be that guy and say I don’t see that the Lirathan did anything all that wrong.  I assume she knew about the Whiran and knew Bok was withholding that.  Also he was clearly a danger.  Easier to make him disappear after he served his purpose.  Lame?   For sure.  Bad play?  Nah.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2020, 01:28:19 AM by SpyGuy »

Dar

  • Posts: 1672
Re: To PK or not to PK?
« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2020, 01:30:11 PM »
In actuality, the amount of PKs being done in this fashion has plummeted by a grandiose amount compared to what was 10-15 years ago..

 Lirathans plot killing power was a well known thing and was one of the reasons why so many people who are currently pining for Tuluks return, used to avoid tuluk like the plague before.

If you'll recount some of the greater leaders that played the game, you'd notice a significant lack of plot stopping killing. And I'm sure at least some noticed a near immediate exodus of people willing to be part of a leaders story when they show themselves to be kill eager.

That is generally a good tendency, but it definitely made things a lot safer. So safer that one unhinged templar that was unconcerned with empire building contacts network establishment (ie Balthazar) created such an immense uproar.

Lizzie

  • Posts: 8366
Re: To PK or not to PK?
« Reply #7 on: October 25, 2020, 04:11:39 PM »
In actuality, the amount of PKs being done in this fashion has plummeted by a grandiose amount compared to what was 10-15 years ago..

 Lirathans plot killing power was a well known thing and was one of the reasons why so many people who are currently pining for Tuluks return, used to avoid tuluk like the plague before.

If you'll recount some of the greater leaders that played the game, you'd notice a significant lack of plot stopping killing. And I'm sure at least some noticed a near immediate exodus of people willing to be part of a leaders story when they show themselves to be kill eager.

That is generally a good tendency, but it definitely made things a lot safer. So safer that one unhinged templar that was unconcerned with empire building contacts network establishment (ie Balthazar) created such an immense uproar.

If only someone had PKed the Lirathan before she became powerful enough to be a plot-killer...

This is the conundrum with PK. If you kill someone, you end -their- plot. But it might help you progress -your- plot. It's also possible that you're "contracted" to kill someone, which means if you succeed, your employer's plot gets to progress, as a direct result of your victim's assassination.

Plot-killing always sucks when it's your plot being killed. But it often means someone else's plot gets to progress, and that is always going to be a good thing for that someone else.

As I've said before and continue to say: the point of Armageddon isn't to see how long your character can live. The point is to see how interesting you can make their death. If your character dies in a spectacular way, then you won. If they die to gith #49982003, you lost.
Talia said: Notice to all: Do not mess with Lizzie's GDB. She will cut you.
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Barsook

  • Posts: 8609
Re: To PK or not to PK?
« Reply #8 on: October 25, 2020, 04:15:56 PM »

As I've said before and continue to say: the point of Armageddon isn't to see how long your character can live. The point is to see how interesting you can make their death. If your character dies in a spectacular way, then you won. If they die to gith #49982003, you lost.


Very true, my longest played PC, in a way, won the game because she was PK'd due to MCB.

Gentleboy

  • Posts: 237
Re: To PK or not to PK?
« Reply #9 on: October 25, 2020, 05:02:18 PM »
I just liked reading the story.

I have come to terms with being PK'd. I've never PK'd someone myself, but, I've pulled a few strings at the same time as everyone else.

Actually, no. I have a story in a few months that you all will fucking kill me for.

I too feel bad for rando dwarf- but nothing is ever that easy. Would we be happier about dwarf's death if an elaborate ambush was set up? Maybe.

Krath

  • Posts: 2635
Re: To PK or not to PK?
« Reply #10 on: October 25, 2020, 05:54:54 PM »
Please bring back trap!
Armageddon is best when it's actually harsh and brutal, not when we're only pretending that it is.

LindseyBalboa

  • Posts: 297
Re: To PK or not to PK?
« Reply #11 on: October 26, 2020, 12:29:44 AM »
I loved the story. And tbh, I'd rather die to a trap in the road than fall off the shield wall, or get gored by a rampaging npc that was around the corner. I'd assume my death was a note in someone else's story, and that's dope.
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Dar

  • Posts: 1672
Re: To PK or not to PK?
« Reply #12 on: October 26, 2020, 01:12:43 AM »
Considering how exceedingly dangerous and expensive it was to trap something to a point of death, I wonder how often it truly caused aimless killing. Though occasionally, finding a blast from the past trapped container and having your plot end is probably daunting.

triste

  • Posts: 959
Re: To PK or not to PK?
« Reply #13 on: October 26, 2020, 05:05:00 AM »
Considering how exceedingly dangerous and expensive it was to trap something to a point of death, I wonder how often it truly caused aimless killing. Though occasionally, finding a blast from the past trapped container and having your plot end is probably daunting.

Yeah, "bring back trap" is literally the opposite conclusion to reach here, laughing my fuckin' ass off.

This thread was literally started to show that random roleplay devoid killing is bad, not good.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2020, 05:06:56 AM by triste »
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You can choose to be strong or you can choose to be weak.

Evilone

  • Posts: 547
Re: To PK or not to PK?
« Reply #14 on: October 26, 2020, 10:00:20 AM »
Amazing story. Thank you.

I think it was a bad way for Bok to die. A lot of people got killed off that way and many interesting plots killed by lame PC death. I really enjoyed Tuluk after that period, and before it's end had thought it was doing so much better, which is why the closure was a big shock to me.
Death is only the beginning...

Kryos

  • Posts: 928
Re: To PK or not to PK?
« Reply #15 on: October 28, 2020, 06:09:20 AM »
OP, this is not a jab nor an indictment at you.  I've been there, felt that.  Know where you're coming from.  But its a point of learning.

Caveat aside, to the meat.

This story perfectly highlights the tension that is intrinsic to Armageddon.  It is a competitive collaboration story and thus there grows a noticeable distinction in 'good actor' players.  Those who probably deserve 1 karma think like OP does:  if I kill someone in a way that gives them no interaction or reasonable understanding of why they are dying it is fine because it furthers my story and my grasping this validates my action. 

However, when this happens to me(the 1 karma) the other players are doing a poor job.

People who have 3 karma should have this experience well in hand and know the implications of their actions for the fun of other players.  They also should have the insight to grasp what type of players they are dealing with.  When a staff member killed one of my half giants by massive gith attack, I was not cross, I was delighted. 

The tension was well built.  It was not simply a 'hahahaha I spawned a bunch of max stat/skill mobs and you die now'.  Other players knew the risks of leaving a half giant to their own devices but were too busy being cowards to care.  Most importantly, it fulfilled one of my primary engagements of BRING ME BATTLE.  I do not know if the staff member who ran that encounter was aware of my lust for combat or not, but hitting that particular nail on the head made the experience for me incredible(I even sent in a staff kudos, if memory serves).  Given that this PC got a kudos or two I suspect his life and death also pushed along the arm experience for other players.  That half giant's death was more satisfying to me, and others,  than the life of some of my other characters.

There's also a whole can of worms about means to cause player death (or not player death but conflict) and a vast need to enhance these options but I feel that's tangent and a different thread.  Also about 'bad faith' players, but that too should have its own thread.

Lastly, PKs happen, and its good they do.  But the driving force behind them and their conduct can be detrimental or positive for the game in that they take away or enhance the experience of all those involved in them.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2020, 06:27:54 AM by Kryos »

Spider

  • Posts: 321
Re: To PK or not to PK?
« Reply #16 on: October 28, 2020, 08:08:17 AM »
OP, this is not a jab nor an indictment at you.  I've been there, felt that.  Know where you're coming from.  But its a point of learning.

Caveat aside, to the meat.

This story perfectly highlights the tension that is intrinsic to Armageddon.  It is a competitive collaboration story and thus there grows a noticeable distinction in 'good actor' players.  Those who probably deserve 1 karma think like OP does:  if I kill someone in a way that gives them no interaction or reasonable understanding of why they are dying it is fine because it furthers my story and my grasping this validates my action. 

However, when this happens to me(the 1 karma) the other players are doing a poor job.

People who have 3 karma should have this experience well in hand and know the implications of their actions for the fun of other players.  They also should have the insight to grasp what type of players they are dealing with.  When a staff member killed one of my half giants by massive gith attack, I was not cross, I was delighted. 

The tension was well built.  It was not simply a 'hahahaha I spawned a bunch of max stat/skill mobs and you die now'.  Other players knew the risks of leaving a half giant to their own devices but were too busy being cowards to care.  Most importantly, it fulfilled one of my primary engagements of BRING ME BATTLE.  I do not know if the staff member who ran that encounter was aware of my lust for combat or not, but hitting that particular nail on the head made the experience for me incredible(I even sent in a staff kudos, if memory serves).  Given that this PC got a kudos or two I suspect his life and death also pushed along the arm experience for other players.  That half giant's death was more satisfying to me, and others,  than the life of some of my other characters.

There's also a whole can of worms about means to cause player death (or not player death but conflict) and a vast need to enhance these options but I feel that's tangent and a different thread.  Also about 'bad faith' players, but that too should have its own thread.

Lastly, PKs happen, and its good they do.  But the driving force behind them and their conduct can be detrimental or positive for the game in that they take away or enhance the experience of all those involved in them.

With you much of the way except for the section I bolded there.  It seems a bit incorrect to categorize a code only PK (granted I am making an assumption here) as a selfish act of furthering only the story of the PKer.  Random muggings/killings do a lot to add to the story of many PCs other than the Pker and Pkee.  Such events give the local law enforcement something to do, instill a bit of fear into PCs which have the appropriate disposition of  being afraid of such things, close friends to the PKee now have a bit loss to RP through, perhaps the PKer made a few coins and can spend a bit of it buying goods from other unsavory types, etc.

I enjoy the game a lot more when during quiet times there is always the possibility of the mantis head without any preamble, and I do not judge those providing such opportunities to the game in a negative way.   I could even do with a bit more of it.  Let's do more battle, cops and robbers style, and enjoy the RP that comes from that.  For maximum enjoyment, nosave off.

Edited to add:

It is unfortunate to me that while you are playing a PC wandering the streets of a starving, desperate, and violent population, typically nothing happens.  Staff could create wandering bands of NPC muggers, or WE could do it.  Whoever makes it out alive will have an interesting PC to play and others to play around with.  Not to mention, we add a bit to the setting of the game.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2020, 08:18:40 AM by Spider »

Bogre

  • Posts: 3340
Re: To PK or not to PK?
« Reply #17 on: November 21, 2020, 03:31:08 PM »


I want to share the story of one of my all-time favorite characters from over ten years ago. It's an example of what can happen when you do something besides just killing your weaker adversaries. I have been careful not to mention any secrets of the game. Tuluk is closed, burglars and old Whirans no longer exist, the trap skill is gone, and all the PCs are dead by over a decade. I will not mention any names but this my best recollection of past events. Now, let us begin...


Wow, this is really amazing and fills in a lot of holes about what was going on at the time. Great story, thank you.

I was playing Otikus - who at that time was I believe was a senior adjutant to the Jade Sabers and Malenthis Jal. He had witnessed an insane man with a trapped bomb explode some years before after what appeared to be mental manipulations, and he viewed things with suspicion. He was tracking the actions of the northern templar, the Plainsman, as well as knew which bard received the stolen metal sword (and who it had been stolen from.)

He was one of the first to arrive after the word spread about the bombing, and was dismayed to see the gore everywhere in the Trader's.

For the rest of the time played (probably 15 or so in game years?), he generally had others open closed packs, and he often emoted glancing at the darkened red patch and bloodstains on the Trader's ceiling whenever he was thinking about the violent machinations occuring in the world.


-----------------

So definitely - these are the winding stories that make Arm worthwhile.


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.