Chancellor Elections

  • I'm curious about the player base's views on the Chancellor elections. Good/bad/ugly--whatever--is it worth doing a second election? What needs to be fixed? What's good about it? Etc. If you're going to say you hate something, please consider offering a solution.

    I'm also going to preemptively respond to some criticism that is the result of simply not understanding everything that is going on.

    1). The Chancellor has complete control. This is actually entirely not true. The city is still in the Kingdom of Cormyr, the chancellor can not violate Cormyrian laws, the chancellor's decisions can still be appealed to the king. When we initially set it up, we also had Hawklin appoint the Warden personally so they Warden could not be fired by the Chancellor (the Warden then quit; ceding power to replace them to the Chancellor, entirely IC). The Purple Dragon Army answers directly to the King, they're not under the Chancellor's control at all. NPCs push back against the Chancellor, plans to tax embassies or remove temples from control of their priests failed as NPCs blocked this or Cormyr's laws made the idea impossible. There are checks and balances, and those were in the hands of players and NPCs (only one player gave up right away, the other is still around and has had quite an influence).

    2). PCs can't avoid or influence things, the Chancellor has all the power. Chancellor has no power over Tilverton, has no power over Eveningstar, East Way; they're the Chancellor of Arabel. Sure Arabel is the main focus of the module, but it'd not be much of a story or conflict to give them power over the swamp! PCs in fact, have avoided the Chancellor's adventurer tax by negotiating, conflict, gaining support of NPCs who help. Its entirely possible to avoid or influence things; but not if you approach it thinking point one above was true.
    I was surprised when players didn't bother to riot or attack the tax collectors; especially when the acting Warden refused. There's been very little effort by players to actually influence or push back when there is nothing stopping them from doing so at all; provided they don't do what a few do and break major laws like treason and bring down the hammer of the King.

    3). The Chancellor is untouchable with control of the Purple Dragons and War Wizards. Again, that's not accurate! The Purple Dragons are controlled by Lord Paertrover, with Lord Bhaliir being an Oversword in control of an entire garrison of Blades. However, twice people have attacked the Chancellor and broken Cormyr's laws while claiming the Chancellor broke the laws first (only to fail to actually have any solid evidence). They took a risk, the risk didn't pan out. Cormyr is a LAWFUL and GOOD country, so if the Chancellor is evil, they'll look unfavorably on them but they have to break the laws to be punished.

    We're about two weeks from setting up the next election, so what other feedback is there? Confusions we can clear up? Problems we may need to address?

  • I think the current issue is the "checks and balances" aren't working. As you said, one PC gave up, but no PC who wasn't allied with the Chancellor is in a position of power. While this makes sense from a corrupt government standpoint, it makes it easier to conflict if they aren't united. In fact, I'm pretty sure that's the main reason Verk was fired - because she had to make an enemy that people could rally behind. Of course, that ended up doing nothing in the long term...

    So yes. I'd say that it's absolutely necessary that the Warden/Chancellor/Tiebreakers are not directly allied if the secondary/tertiary positions are decided by DM anyways.

  • Well, I suppose Ill throw in my two cents.

    As to number 1, when the election was run, the IC information available was that the chancellor was in COMPLETE control. I know for my own part, that it was 95% of the reason why I had such a hard time trying to assume the role as warden, and why I eventually threw in my towel. Thus, my suggestion would be to set up the ground rules, ahead of time, rather than post election, if the dm team has the intention of trying it again. It seems you corrected many of these things after I quit, which is cool. But from what I gathered IG and OOC, not knowing the "rules of the game" made it hard to oppose / be involved in.

    Otherwise, I would suggest creating the IC tools for such roles before the election. If there is to be an HQ, faction loot (I would suggest 0 GP shops similar to the Militia Quarter master for it) or other special perks, make them so that people can hit the ground running. I know FearMoho waited a good while for his estate, it took me a good few days to hunt down a dm for equipment, and in a fast pace game world, it feels cool that these things are handled ahead of time.

  • I am of opposite mindset to Olouth. I think the fact that not everything was clear cut and the line very blurred made for a fantastic and chaotic initial period where people were allowed to flex and try and muscle some additional influence over the other.

    The overall thing did seem rushed and poorly followed up on, but i like the idea in general.

  • I think most of the complaints about the Chancellor being made OOC are due to failure to do anything IC... but that's just my opinion. There are still people out there IC resisting but they are doing it from the shadows now because when the chips were on the table... everyone just ignored them and didn't really do anything to actively support. There are several "silent and passive resistance" PC's out there giving aid in the form of some potions and such to those who resist actively but it makes sense for those PC's to not really get involved. There is a HUGE ability for player agency here to OPPOSE the most powerful position IG and not many people are taking advantage of it. Don't like the chancellor position? Maybe have your character do something about it... kick over the tax stands, run the taxmen out of town, graffiti the walls! I'm sure FearMoho would actually have more fun if more people fought back!

  • Think the only way this works is to have a 3 individual parties holding power, with some reason to cooperate, and other reasons to work together. Splitting power is the only way this works, and there has to be some incentives to get people to work together most of the time. For example, there has to be some sort of checks and balances to power, which can be performed by PCs in game, as this is a LAWFUL and GOOD country where coup de'tat can't really win.

    So there has to be some form of INTER-dependency for all major government factions to survive. Like, a circular dependency between Courts, Ministry, Militia, so while they can "fight" each other, they also need to cooperate to some extent, or each has internal problems.

    For example
    Militia might need funding from the Ministry to make payday.
    The Ministry needs the Courts to support their legislations and laws.
    The Courts need the Militia to run the jails and keep order.

    The PDs might be dependent on the Ministry for food and logistics, the Court to judge law in the country, and the Militia for special investigators, since the PDs are good at fighting, but not finding criminals.

    Everything should be a balancing act, and doing things should have CONSEQUENCES.

  • I'll respond with my own thoughts on each point.

    1. Correct, people didn't seem to pay attention to the fact that A) it's an experiment and 😎 Hawklin/Azoun would shut it down quick if it went out of hand.

    2. Also correct. Freya refused and still refuses to pay the tax because of her faction operating as a function of her church and by extension, the Queen of Thunderholme who supported her. Chancellor only has power over things inside Arabel, and people don't seem to pay much attention to that bit. That's just an example to support your statement, however.

    3. "twice people have attacked the Chancellor and broken Cormyr's law" also another good point. Trying to prove Elodie did crimes is all well and good, but the people involved screwed up in the process! While proving somebody is breaking the laws, you don't do that yourself in the process which compromises your case entirely.

    Confusions to clear up: Exactly what the repercussions are for Chancellors doing things others don't like. IE when Thunderholme issued their threat of withholding goods if any dwarves were robbed by the collectors, there was a mistaken belief that a specific entity was a fallback when it wasn't true.

    Problems to address: OOC campaigning. All well and good to make the jokes, but it's known people were asking for votes.

  • There are a lot of people who've made it clear they don't like this, and I have a hard time deciding if its the current sitting character's handling of it they don't like or the idea or the office or what.

    Speaking only for myself, I think the character running it is doing a terrible fucking job, but is so ineffectual they can and should be safely ignored. When someone comes knocking trying to enforce their will, simply walk away or something.

    But therein the lies the problem I see most often: people don't feel they can resist at all. The original enforcers drove off players because it was pvp or obey. Neither of which they wanted to deal with OOC and have said so.

    My reading on this is fairly bleak, I'm afraid: Those that would engage with this kind of roleplay and may even enjoy it don't want to get involved with the attitudes and other ways of engaging with it- like the 'pvp or obey' crowd. Those that would oppose it (like myself) can't be bothered because nobody around them is willing/able to do so in any meaningful way- they want to beat their face against a brick wall or just say 'fuck it, I can'd do anything, I'm not gonna bother.'

    I think what it falls to is perception of power being far more significant than actual power. Kind of like real world politics.

    That said, if a less scummy and more stable character had been elected (none of which ran, I don't think), I strongly suspect this experiment would've gone differently. It's why I suggest giving it another go with the lessons learned, and if it's still a dumpster fire afterwards, then sure, scrap it. There's a small matter of people who /want/ to do this stuff, though, too.

    Tilverton doesn't have a council for the same reason, really-- either people are uninterested in engaging with that kind of thing, or they don't want to get bogged down with the stuff such a position would (appear) to require.

  • I think as with anything new there is some time for adjustment.
    Some people will have a hard time adjusting to another PC being in charge.
    I would guess people will be more relaxed with it in the future.

  • Chancellor is too stronk. I can see it getting tiresome having someone throw their weight around over every poster that goes up. Their should be either a much more active NPC in leadership, or The Warden and PD have more influence and protection. Even just having a DM who enjiys possessing such NPCs for this purpose would be nice. We've had 3 coups this election? And the king is like "Meh, growing pains"

    I love PC leadership, and @Fearmoho12 did pretty damn good. The office is simply too powerful.

  • I said this in Discord but I'll put it here too. I think the single biggest constructive thing that can be done to improve the chancellor position is to either have NPC's react in a more influential way to the actions of the Chancellor or/and to have PC positions that can in some way check and balance the power of the Chancellor without fear of being fired, etc.

    My best example would be that the Warden of the Militia and a PC Arbiter (high judge or however anyone wants to do it) are not under the command or appointment of the Chancellor. This way the Law-enforcement, the Law-Judgment, and the Law-Passing is not all controlled by one PC.

  • Having spent six months on Arelith, and playing chancellor incharge of the largest city, before returning to coa, I have to say I love the ideas of pcs being in leadership roles. However there are three things that Arelith does/has, that CoA does not that I think need be addressed going forward. Also this is not an arelith rules, arabel druuls post, in the event any read it like that.

    1. If a tyrant either good or evil takes power in a settlement on Arelith, you can go to other settlements, that are fully set up to support PCs, and factions, and so being exiled/branded outlaw is not crippling, as opposed to on CoA where having something like that shoved onto you generally leads to OOC boredom, and all too often character retirement.

    2. On Arelith there are no IC forums. If you want to discuss something, send a letter, make a post on a bullitan board, you need to log ingame and write that letter, hand it over to someone to deliver, or deliver it yourself, discuss things in person, or delegate others to do it for you, or walk to the board to post up your proclamations. All this opens yourself up to spying, assassination, having incriminating evidence intercepted, confrontation etc. There are actual "archives" ingame, that you can steal, that contain all the posts made onto it. Too much can be done on coa from the safety of the forums, instead of IG. A chancellor can wield power, and strike at people without ever logging ingame that day. Compared to Arelith, where while players hold total control over settlements, the chancellor/other leadership need to be IG to do anything.

    3. Scripted controls/powers for a chancellor/Figure out how to make position as time light for dms as possible. As things stand it seems paradoxical, that something that was intended to put power into player hands results into a greater need for dms to arbitrate, implament, and react to things. It leads to dms doing stuff they dont have real interest in, as well as instead of running other plots, making the chancellor a main plot, even for people who rather focus on adventuring, and ignore politics.

  • I would be much more comfortable if a PC could also play The Herald of Arabel or some other direct agent of the crown that is overseeing things. No power to arrest, and cannot be removed by the chancellor. Knowing there is a check in the mix makes a difference.

  • @people That's basically Lord Bhaliir's role right now.

  • That is reassuring, thank you.

  • @people said in Chancellor Elections:

    That is reassuring, thank you.

    Also, just for the record, because its a setting thing people get wrong OFTEN even DMs.

    Heralds are trained scribes from Candlekeep who eschew last names and do NOTHING but help efficiently run a city (be that city good or evil or even chaotic) they just work to keep records, handle correspondence, and run things neutrally as followers of Oghma would do. So the former Herald of Arabel, was Westar; but he's in Suzail now as Herald of Suzail. There has not been a real Herald of Arabel since he left.

  • Though every noble house has a herald of its own, right? Atleast according to canon. So basically, during this time, the Herald of Arabel would've been the herald of the Lord of Arabel.

  • @lord-bhaliir said in Chancellor Elections:

    Though every noble house has a herald of its own, right? Atleast according to canon. So basically, during this time, the Herald of Arabel would've been the herald of the Lord of Arabel.

    Wealthy nobles hire a real Herald, poor ones hire someone they may call a Herald. Like a Rolex vs a roleck watch.

  • I'm trying to articulate this without sounding like a whine post, because it's not. I've been having a lot of fun with others during the time I play. That said... my biggest issue with this is the fact that having a PC being the person in charge vs a team of DMs playing an NPC is the fact that time zones are an issue.

    I personally have interacted with FearMoHo's character all of two times since I came back to play near the end of February, and this is with me playing almost from after eating dinner till waaaay early in the morning; Prime Times for EST, CST, MST, and PST.

    The first time was happenstance because I was up near 5AM EST. The second time was OOC coordinated and Fear I believe stayed up later their time so the Golden Guard could roleplay with Elodie. It's important to note that this is not because FearMoHo is purposefully ignoring me, we're just in way different time zones.

    My characters and others in my time zone are effectively cut off from a lot of the plots going on currently because we happen to reside in EST plus or minus an hour or two. I'm in the process of trying to, from a PC perspective, push things during my hour but that's because a lot of server plots can be handled with different DMs same NPCs. That same can't be said for a PC in power.

  • @savn said in Chancellor Elections:

    1. Scripted controls/powers for a chancellor/Figure out how to make position as time light for dms as possible. As things stand it seems paradoxical, that something that was intended to put power into player hands results into a greater need for dms to arbitrate, implament, and react to things. It leads to dms doing stuff they dont have real interest in, as well as instead of running other plots, making the chancellor a main plot, even for people who rather focus on adventuring, and ignore politics.

    overall a smart post, I just wanted to comment on this since its obviously something we would want. The thing was, for an experiment it seemed crazy to od on scripted stuff before we even knew if the idea was going to work.

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