How the Leak of OOC Information Ended a Plot

Started by Haldol, March 24, 2023, 10:40:12 PM

Hello everyone,

Recently in the feedback thread, you may have read this.

As mentioned in that comment, there were some assumptions following a leak of OOC information. This leak led to the unraveling and premature end of a plot I was running. Since this is a time in what I believe is a low point in trust between the staff and the players, I'd like to explain what happened, who was involved, and the outcome. This is an effort to be more transparent and to give my account of what happened and the aim of my failed plot.


As a part of full disclosure, I know both Ender and his wife OOCly. They are friends of a friend of mine and I've hung out with them and had dinner and drinks with them at past APMs during DragonCon in Atlanta. I would call them friendly acquaintances. To my knowledge, they've never filed a staff complaint against me during my 3 stints as a staff member.

Plot Background:

When the Producers decided to reintroduce sorcerers with their new vision, I volunteer to staff one. However, as a Storyteller, I required an Admin+ to assist me in my proposed plot. Luckily, Halaster agreed and we eventually found an application that meshed well with my idea. Since I was staffing the AoD and the Allanaki templarate, my initial idea was very simple. To provide these clans with someone to fight and serve as their enemy. The current set-up requires an NPC to teach the PC the ways of sorcery. So I invented a powerful sorcerer for the AoD and templarate to fight. Next, I needed a way to explain this person's arrival. When the new race of thryzn were introduced in the game, someone else arrived with them (my NPC sorcerer). To make this conflict more entertaining, I request and received permission to role call a "Team Evil" who would serve under my NPC sorcerer and assist in the conflict with the AoD and Allanaki templarate. This would be a short-term role call with a likely lethal ending for these PCs. Initially, the PC sorcerer was to serve as a spy within Allanak. However, through unforeseen play and a Red Storm RPT I ran, the PC sorcerer stumbled into Team Evil. Other PCs decided to join or were recruited to Team Evil. Eventually, it was time for the AoD and templarate to have their first battle with Team Evil. However, before this happened, several of the PCs that I originally designed the plot for had either killed each other, stored, or been executed for treason. So the PCs doing the fighting were now a new batch of PCs. You never know what is going to happen. I also wanted to give the PCs two "good" battles. The first was designed to be a loss and the next a big victory. I knew my NPC sorcerer was going to die in the second big battle at the hands of the PCs of Allanak. However, there was a chance that some of Team Evil might escape. I needed a plan to provide my PC sorcerer with a new mentor should they survive the big showdown at New Menos. As it turns out, the PC sorcerer did survive and my backup plan for them went into effect.

Previous History as a Player

My backup plan for my PC sorcerer's new mentor originated from a very interesting object based on the story of a legendary character that was played by Ender. I know about this story as a player and not a staff member. In approximately 2013-2015, I played a runaway mul with a huge bounty on his head from House Borsail. This mul should have died many times. However, through dumb luck and good fortune, my runaway mul stumbled first into a PC Nilazi and later a PC sorcerer played by Ender. My mul survived for 1.5 RL years many times on the run or in hiding. Eventually, something of a truce was made between the mul/sorcerer/Nilazi and the PC templars of Allanak. During this time, the PC sorcerer (who at this time I'd describe as neutral good) traveled into the plane of Nilaz and returned alive but changed. The sorcerer that went into the void was not the same when he returned. IMO as a player, I watched him change his alignment to what my player considered chaotic evil. He also came back with an object from the void that became this sorcerer's obsession. It is my opinion that the roleplay by Ender of this sorcerer and his change from neutral good to chaotic evil is one of the best stories I've ever experienced in 30 years of playing this game (yes, I started playing in 1993). My mul died before Ender's PC so what happened next is not completely clear to me. However, Ender's sorcerer was eventually captured and executed in Allanak (not stored) at least that's what the character log tells me today. My use of this object comes not to steal Ender's story but because it became one of my favorite stories in the game. To me, it was a tribute to a legendary character that will likely never be repeated. I knew that both Ender and his wife no longer play the game. However, I (incorrectly) assumed they wouldn't really care what happened in a game they don't play.

The NPC Sorcerer:

Let's fast forward to my NPC sorcerer. The NPC sorcerer needed a reason to capture New Menos. I invented a story of what happened to Ender's object of obsession after his sorcerer died and how it might have ended up in New Menos. This object was why my NPC sorcerer and Team Evil went to New Menos. The Team Evil PCs at New Menos eventually found and obtained this object. The object became part of the loot for the PCs who won the battle of New Menos. Amazingly, the PC sorcerer escaped alive from the battle. However, to continue to learn sorcery, I presented the PC sorcerer with a very difficult challenge. They had to obtain this object that was now inside Allanak and in the hands of a PC noble. This was no simple challenge. Amazingly, this PC sorcerer ended up with the object given to them by the noble. This only proves to me that the most powerful tool in the game isn't a coded skill but instead the ability to effectively lie and manipulate others. Then, I leave for vacation for 2 weeks and leave my clans and plots in the hands of other staff. It is the end of February.

The Problem:

One morning, I woke up in England and I have 400+ staff messages. There has been something of a problem while I'm gone and I'm very confused. When I return 2 weeks later and the dust settles, there has been a lot of OOC change. During this time, another staff member proceeded with my plot while I'm gone. The object in the hands of the PC sorcerer has drawn the attention of what I shall call an entity from the void. This entity has seen Ender's PC on the plane of Nilaz long ago and is imitating this (long-dead) PC. There was a single animation. If things had proceeded, it would have been clear over time that this was not a human but instead something worse and more dangerous. I was in the process of retaking the plot direction when Ender made his above post. At this point, I decided to check the logs and do some research. I was able to make one of two conclusions. Either a staff member was leaking OOC knowledge or my PC sorcerer was leaking his PCs knowledge OOCly. I asked all the staff and no one admitted anything unusual. So, I asked the player and they admitted telling another player OOCly about the plot.

The Result:

This leak resulted in some incorrect assumptions that winded up in the ears of Ender. The animation was not of the dead PC of Ender but was instead an entity of the void (I don't wish to give it a name at this time) that had seen his human PC on the plane of Nilaz. I was going to slowly change this thing from resembling Ender's PC (it did steal his name) into a monster. Along the way, it was going to teach my PC sorcerer much about the void and demand they restore balance to the Known (increase Nilaz and decrease elmentalism). How this played out would have been decided by this player. After the leak of OOC knowledge, I had some problems. Ender felt he was disrespected, there had been a rule violation, and I'd lost interest in continuing the plot. During my discussion with the player of the PC sorcerer, we both decided the best way to continue was to store the sorcerer. The player even said they understood if I decided to reduce their karma. Though I know people have lost karma for OOC rules violations in the past, I don't feel that is helpful in our current environment. I think losing their sorcerer is sufficient punishment if punishment is even warranted. The player did not reveal to whom they told this information to OOCly and I did not ask. The punishment for whoever leaked this information is knowing that they killed another player's fun as well as my own. This is a good reminder that when OOC information is released you can't really determine where it will lead or the consequences of that action.

What next?

I hope this clears up a rumor that might seem like staff disrespecting a former player. That certainly wasn't my intent. I've heard numerous rumors over the past few weeks. You might wonder why we (as staff) don't explain things like this more frequently. My answer is this. It took me about 4 hours to research this rumor, search for answers, chat with the player and staff members, come to a resolution, and write this explanation. This happened on my day off and I planned to complete some building for players in the Guild who are waiting on me. Instead, I dealt with this and their request sits incomplete and unanswered. I apologize to the Guild players whose fun is delayed and to Ender who I had no intention of disrespecting. Though my last plot ended in a fashion I neither expected nor planned, I still want to have fun playing this game. While I was in England, I fleshed out ideas for my next plot...

For those of you who just want to play a game and have fun, the first chapter of my next plot begins HERE