Keep Conflict Alive



  • tl;dr version in bold at top and bottom

    I'm curious dear players, how do you think we should keep conflict alive as DMs and how can you do it as players, without stretching bonds of believability?
    Case in point, the Ooze Cult(TM).

    When they first got going, they tried to defile the glade, and the druids hunted them down and kicked their butts. As a DM, when they asked me if they could FD the cult, I took means to let the cultists escape because it seemed far too early to end their story and I had just let the druid who led this group escape from a member of the Cult two days earlier so he could continue his story.

    The conflict built for some time, and then led to an effort by the cult to get revenge on some druids and again, a DM intervened to save the druid this time to help let the conflict and story continue.

    Later, some interdruid conflicts related to the above event did result in the death of a druid PC, which set off even more pretty awesome results. As a DM, I actually helped set up this PvP event knowing it would end in PKing (although I was actually surprised at the results). I felt as a storyteller, that events had reached a point where a confrontation should have serious results.

    After which, the Cult and its enemies have engaged in numerous conflicts, fights, muggings that rarely ended in FD–which as a DM I like because it means all involved get to keep telling their story.

    Recently, the Cult captured a bunch of law enforcement dudes and could have PK'ed them and chose instead to ransom them off--to let the conflict and story continue longer.

    Shortly thereafter, those same PCs who were ransomed off were able to capture the leaders of the Cult--who through their actions obviously should have a BOUNTY on their heads. Yet, the DMs still felt that there was more to tell in the story and didn't want to see it end, so we sought a method to encourage the conflict to continue.

    I'm curious, where to the sentiments of our players lay in situations like this? Should DMs be playing out these stories, can we do more/less, is this more fun and worthwhile? Do you have suggestions on how we can do this without making PCs who need to enforce the LAW(TM) not look incompetent because they're unable to defeat a group that is doing everything the DMs want from our player groups--creating ADVENTURES and INTRIGUES--and thus, a group we don't want to see ended because that takes some of the fun out of our sails.
    tl;dr version–-Should DMs help make sure PvP doesn't end in PKing, even when it may make sense IC, just to ensure that the fun generated by the conflicts continue?



  • Honestly, I thought it made no sense whatsoever ICly when Zrukk got his chance to escape. I'm not gonna give spoilers but I was there for everything but the final part, and honestly it makes no sense to be ICly that they'd give a mass-murderer a get out of jail free card. Certain involved persons were CG and probably would have had an ambush waiting for him when he left, considering that she is competent and has a bounty on her head.

    Granted, I hate PvP, and even though I really like all the players involved with the Cult (cuz they're all awesome), I hate the fact that I can't have fun on the server without being worried that all the RL time I put into this game will be ruined at any moment. The Cult can choose to kill me if they want, right? They can choose to take my hard-earned gear, right?

    But we can't choose to kill them because they provide "Fun" for the server.

    Honestly, I don't support PKing. I don't want to ruin all the RL time other people put into their characters, nor do I want other people to ruin all the time I put into my character. If there was a no-PK rule, that would be okay with me (although that would mean the Cult can continue to PvP and "partial loot" whoever they want without fear of any real reprisal, which makes no sense ICly).

    Now for my tl;dr version: The DMs should be able to do this ONLY if it is fairly applied to all characters. If the Cult (who provides "fun") can't be PKed, then no character should be able to be PKed by them either.



  • @StromwellKnight9:

    ..and honestly it makes no sense to be ICly that they'd give a mass-murderer a get out of jail free card..

    I actually think it made a lot of sense, ICly. People seem to think that Lawful Good implies that good takes priority over law. The strong sense of honor of the Knights demanding a consequence to a rogue action seems very fair, as does the actual duel, which fits the setting. Disputes over whom is right and wrong being settled by martial prowess is very fitting for the setting. Also; Zrukk actually hasn't FD'd a single PC.

    @StromwellKnight9:

    Now for my tl;dr version: The DMs should be able to do this ONLY if it is fairly applied to all characters. If the Cult (who provides "fun") can't be PKed, then no character should be able to be PKed by them either.

    For the record, the only people who have been FD'd by our group are people that have already attempted to FD us. Jacob and Q actually succeeded in FDing two of us after we beat them and allowed them to live. The only other person was O'louth, who attempted to assassinate me in the Broken Bottle, in front of all of my allies, and all of the NPCs. It was evident he was going for a kill, so he was killed in response.

    We haven't FD'd anyone at whim. In fact we've been absurdly restrained, self destructively restrained. It's very likely our faction will not survive because we've been more fair than our opposition. For the record, I am very disappointed in being dry looted, when I've never stolen anything except gold or plot items from those I beat (even then, it was only once or twice out of innumerable fight).

    Then of course, there's the 15 party gank squad, which isn't really a problem. However, due to their involvement in our attempted FDing, all of those dudes we've never seen before are officially FD-worthy. Our rule is simple, when we ambush you and you aren't a major plot enemy, we don't kill you. When you attack us with the intention of ending our characters, or participate in a party who is doing so, we now consider it fair to end your own.



  • I was going to make a large post, but I deleted it, to get to the point.

    Dm's are needed for support, when evil characters start out, else they cannot do much without being butchered by the select few high level, loot heavy faction PC's who spend their time normally slaying dragons and ruling the server on a day to day basis.

    However, if you continue to support said evil characters, the scales will eventually turn, and said evil group will become so powerful that no one can really stop them.

    The example being used, the Cult… They were so powerful that opposing them was more or less pointless.

    With my former sheriff, I felt forced into opposing them, and OOC hated the fact, simply because I knew I was dead meat. ICly, I should have had a small army at my disposal, OOC, I had no way of even scratching them, because No DM support was present.

    I use to love PVP. I loved opposing Pyatt Pree, Raven, Durdyn, The Talons, The Unseen Hand, The Zhentarim. Yet when Team Good is left without any tools despite their levels and their loot, it is either accept defeat, or form cliche Lynch Mobs.

    I have never had so much bad taste in my mouth, as I have had during the last month. I like it, when Dms support the underdog, be it good or evil, doesnt matter. This allows for trying to be heroic, without knowing OOC that being a hero will result in a new application and a whitelighting of your current PC.



  • I don't think DMs should intervene on matters of FDing. However, I think DMs should be shifting the odds in favour to factions they deem much more beneficial to the server, giving them the advantage etc.

    For example: Evil priest of Cyric begins an epic and intriguing evil plot against the city. Team good try to come after him, and eventually capture him in the sewers with a mind to FD the murderous bastard. All IC, makes sense on a narrative level. HOWEVER. Instead of the DM engineering the priest to not be FD OOCly, he instead makes it harder for team good to do it. Perhaps agents of cyric intervene in the last minute, or a curse befalls the attacker. something like that, but less shit than my examples.

    This way the DMs are prolonging the good evil player, but not making it seem wierd and ooc when he is saved from death. Its not too different from intervention, but gets us out of one big problem: People aren't going to go after evil factions if they know they are OOCly favoured by the DM team and won't be able to die.

    I think the decision to prolong a players plot because it's going somewhere fun, should be in the hands of the players. I've know many times a PC has 'let a evil dude go' in order to see where the plot is going.



  • I've been playing here for a while and yet I have no clear answer. I would say "save those characters that are creating fun" but my fear is that things may be perceived as artificial. If everything is handled ICly and then the IC state of things get stretched to save a character, all the immersion is broken.

    While we are here to tell stories, we must be aware that the stories will not end or proceed as we have planned to, but will be a result of our interactions with other stories. That can also mean dieing.



  • @Mr.Moloch:

    tl;dr version–-Should DMs help make sure PvP doesn't end in PKing, even when it may make sense IC, just to ensure that the fun generated by the conflicts continue?

    Short answer. Yes
    Longer answer. Yes, but if possible, come up with IC reasons for what is happening. For example, the situation with Sir William who abused his code. It angers or upsets some characters IC, when they watch Queen Lhal allow a Cultist to go free because of the actions of a player, but it does prolong the story in a way that makes some sense. It will make the Grodd/Devil Dragon campaign more challenging which is a good thing. But, you should also allow the players who wish to oppose Queen Lhal's decision to affect her as well. This becomes more challenging. If you just set up an NPC who refuses to move their position, you frustrate players. If, as I have often seen, you allow a player to influence the position of a senior NPC, yet that position does not fully move or moves in an unexpected direction with unexpected consequences, you delight players who see their characters affecting the NPCs. You also bring in healthy frustration as the players say mentally "Damn! I didn't see that coming. How do I get out of this now?"

    The NPCs should help the server develop and prolong PvP but should allow it to come to an ultimate conclusion.



  • It really shouldn't have clear definition, Foba 83. There's a quote about pornography, "I can't define it, but I know it when I see it."

    It's hard to say when it's appropriate to end a character, or when a DM should step in, best judgement needs to be administered. Consider what should be happening IC, as well as what is fun for all parties. There is often a middle ground, and any person engaging in PvP should always be prepared to accept the bad along with the good.



  • @StromwellKnight9:

    Now for my tl;dr version: The DMs should be able to do this ONLY if it is fairly applied to all characters. If the Cult (who provides "fun") can't be PKed, then no character should be able to be PKed by them either.

    That's what makes us different. We've not killed anyone we've haven't had constant conflict with. IE. The Druids… We're mature [the cult] enough players to not need a DM to make sane actions with our characters, and the character's of others. Granted during the time when my PC [Zrukk] got caught (and terribly looted), I couldn't remember or recall any interactions 70% of the 15+ characters that were there for it. in a moment that would end a character's life potentially there should be characters you have built a conflict with. Not 10 extra Volunteered assassins.

    We've let several people go who have called for our heads and even placed bounties on them. I'm not new to playing evil at all, but I expected everything that happened to us. I just don't like or enjoy the OOC of it all. I'm just here to have fun for two months, then go back to Real Life.



  • I also worry it will make evil factions become OOCly cavalier.

    Playing and prolonging an evil concept on CoA is HARD. You either play it overt and go out in a month or so (a pretty intense month) or slow and considered, backing yourself up with allies and NPCs and choosing your moment to do your evil.

    Knowing that a DM is OOCly intending to keep you alive, will drain the excitment from you, and make you act reckless, winning consistantly until your concept seem tired.



  • @B-Rock:

    Granted during the time when my PC [Zrukk] got caught, I couldn't remember or recall any interactions 70% of the 15+ characters that were there for it. in a moment that would end a character's life potentially there should be characters you have built a conflict with. Not 10 extra Volunteered assassins.

    This is beauty of playing active evil. Everyone is your enemy: mercs, paladins etc that you've never met IC.

    To me it's the price you pay when you choose that evil alignment, and inbalance that is a required vice of the server. Any other alignment in CoA and it's you versus the DM controlled enemies of Arabel, and with evil, it seems to be you versus the server. It's what makes it such a difficult but rewarding choice to play.

    Having said that, I would like to see less of the gank squads. When I played Cyprian Overmar of the militia, I planned a sweet bit of PvP to take down Magenta Flamingo. Knowing there was about 6 of his team online and hanging out in the slums, I assembled a squad of 6 PCs to go after them. The balance in numbers was entirely an OOC decision, to make the end of Magenta Flamingo much more exciting for both of us, having the finale being a tense piece of balanced team PvP. Sadly, alot of other players found out about this (OOCly or ICly, I don't know) and joined in, turning it into a 20 on 6 gank. I was very sad about this, as it robbed the tension for both team law and team evil.

    But I was quite proud of my intentions, and I'd like to see more players pushing the PvP in this fashion. Players mind, not DMs.



  • Yes, I believe the best answer is "we trust the DM or DMs involved to make the best choice"



  • I was the druid PC that was PKed from Moloch's example, and looking back, I am quite pleased how the story of the druids turned out. It's been my best character story ever. The story of Talon would have ended far too prematurely, and the intrigue would have died too soon had the DMs not intervened.

    And to be honest, Team Slime has been further building up another final story arc that isn't possible if Zrukk is killed. And really, when the entire cult goes out in this last blaze of glory, I think the entire server will feel satisfied ultimately. Trust me.

    And, yes, please give back Crey's stuff…



  • @AWESOMEMAN:

    Also; Zrukk actually hasn't FD'd a single PC.

    For the record, the only people who have been FD'd by our group are people that have already attempted to FD us.

    when I've never stolen anything except gold or plot items from those I beat

    You see, I didn't know -any- of this. ICly and OOCly, I thought you were going to FD me when your character said something along the lines of "don't let her go, shes not going to leave here today." I thought the only reason I can even still play Alicia is because I escaped.

    I also thought (from what I heard from other players both ICly and OOCly) that you'd loot significant magic weapons/armor. Apparently not, and I apologize for accusing you of something. Like my character, I'm kind of ignorant at times.

    Honestly, if we're talking from a -purely IC- point of view, the Cult should have thirty to forty man gank squads on the look out for them at all times, due to previous actions. But we're talking about a mix of IC reality and OOC courtesy. Only reason I wanted to FD the Cult was because I figured "them or me". OOCly, I'm completely fine with Cult members not getting FD'd, as long as the Cult can't FD me. That's all.

    I support a no-FD policy for my character, both dishing that out and receiving it, but thats not something I can actually ask for, isn't it? What is NOT okay is the Cult getting DM-saved from FD and then turning around and revenge-killing my character. That I would not stand for.

    I'd be very open to an OOC agreement not to participate in FDing other characters if other characters won't FD me. Beyond that, the OOCness of this is starting to break immersion and I'm not going to argue anymore.



  • There's just something iffy about saving characters who are "making things fun". Seems all rather subjective to the DM's opinion on the player/character. I'd say do it, if it makes sense. Otherwise, let something end - It's really up to the players to keep things interesting for themselves if CoA is going for that 'Players write the story, DMs help you play it out." approach.



  • BG is right, I suppose. If PCs make IC mistakes, they should've be saved no matter how neat thier plot is. They fucked up.

    And again, 'fun' is subjective. Billy Newbie might have made a paladin who is a very minor character, with a small circle and probably doing very little server changing things. But he is having fun, enjoying himself. He gets into a situation where he can capture Crey/Tobin Sett/Pree somehow, but fails because of a ruling that the other player is MUCH MORE FUN THAN YOU AND CAN'T DIE. that would leave a sour taste in Billy Newbie's mouth.



  • The gank of any outright evil faction is inevitable. Yes, the team that attacked them where more in number and some hadn't RPed with the cult previously, my character included. It does make sense for people ICly though to be included in such hunts sometimes and they will join those.

    I don't like the ganking method, I wish someone could come up with something else, I dunno, paying a notorious NPC assassin go after them and then both the cult has a fun enemy to face, and "goodly" characters get what they need..potentially done.

    PvP for me cant be fair with the wider sense. Some enjoy more DM support cause they re fun, no complains there, some have been leveling hard for some time and reached level 10 and a team of level 10 which is well equipped is hard to face with a low level bunch of characters that just started. Elves are such an example we got attacked and got pawned, but the cult didn't loot anything or PKed anyone, I imagine because of the fact it was the first real PvP event between them and they knew we didn't stand a chance from the beginning. They just cut some ears off and created reason for future conflict and RP.

    To conclude, because of the inherent luck of fairness in PvP, mostly mechanically (and assuming every player is mature enough to handle it, frustration may be natural bu no need to let it get to you), DMs to me are welcome to decide on the conclusion, even if it is not during the actual PvP event. How far can they go? Can there be a ruling on that really? The only thing they can do is try to make the most believable IC excuse for prolonging the conflict, I don't think there's an outright correct answer and case by case dealing would probably be best.



  • FD should pass the eye test

    The conflict built for some time, and then led to an effort by the cult to get revenge on some druids and again, a DM intervened to save the druid this time to help let the conflict and story continue.

    Its my opnion that this event should have ended in a FD as it was a calculated and a planned hit. However, the random cultist attacks around the woods should not end in a FD.



  • I agree with this completely. Creating god mode for interesting characters is moot, and kills off anything even remotely fun.

    A group of the Cult -attacked- the lynchmob. Not the other way around. They had provoked an attack, and they walked into what any INT 12 character would smell miles and miles away.

    As to the whole roleplaying bit, and looting… Everything first really became messy when the dms stepped in. If Crey and Zrukk had escaped because their fellow cult members, some of their NPC allies, or whatever, helped them do so, wickedly awesome.

    But when it smells of OOC courtesy, then why wasnt it given to others? That Crey can be allowed to escape and get help, when he tried to gank a group, yet I was left to be executed... It smells of favoritism.

    And no, I am not going to whine. I knew the minute an NPC ordered Crey dead, that it would be either him or me. Hence why I whitelighted immediately after having lost. I took a chance, lost, and paid the price, which I am adult enough to live with.

    Show OOC courtesy, help prolong stories... Yet ensure it doesnt break immersion, and make it consistant.



  • From day one we (the cult) built our characters not expecting to survive more than a few weeks- our level ones picking fights with a level 9 wizard, our level threes picking fights with a level 10 barbarian. Our level fives attempting to defile a glade and subsequently being ganked by level 8s defending it. "And where did this get team evil," you might ask?

    It made us bitter against the mages of the city, it meant we /had/ to do something to turn the glade into an aberrant mess, and then, of course, we HAD to find a barbarian willing to join our cause, due to their destructive power.

    PvP is a great way to define both a character and a faction, and the way it develops is what is important.

    When a good PC is released from a loss(save for paladins), it carries with it the results of that loss. The PC is afraid, cautious, out for blood, etc.
    The same goes for evil. Using Zrukk's freedom as an example- Zrukk as a character, I'm sure, no longer thinks himself an unstoppable force, he may even be a fair bit afraid of the city, now.

    TL;DR - YES. PvP is /NOT/ about "Winning CoA", it's about a great excuse to have your character be the foil of another, and to forcefully develop your PC as well as others. If this means freedom from an FD, then a DM should step in, but only if some sort of IC sense can be made of it.


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