Abolish the Penal Legion OOCly

  • Storyteller [DM]

    I think we've argued this to death, but I'm going to argue it again.

    The cloak is nothing more than death by boredom at this point, and I would have preferred death OOCly to the continuation of my character. I've already retired one character because it was difficult to get her out of the cloak - she literally saved the city - and now I've got another character in the legion, so I've been doing some reflection.

    The legion is not fun OOCly. It is not fun for the same reason that sitting in a jail cell is not fun. Unless you have a character for which the cloak is a specific character trait (Prowl, for instance, became an interesting character because of/despite the cloak), it's just a yoke that you have to deal with for what swiftly becomes the rest of your character's runtime.

    I recall that the Reborn Sun guys used to have a program where they would rehab people wearing the cloak. There would be RP associated with it, a whole order dedicated to reformation. However, the actual use of the cloak nowadays is basically: "This person is evil/hard to control, cloak them so we can give them orders", and that's the end of it. You're told not to commit evil deeds and to obey the orders of the militia absolutely, or you die. Paralysis just means that you also get the indiginity of being beat to the ground a few times beforehand.

    There's also the fact that I notice a disturbing trend that I'm not certain if anyone else has noticed or not, but it's that the good guys act more evil than the bad guys. The bad guys do things like raise undead, cut people's arms off, and laugh manically while killing some fey people or NPCs or opposing you in an entertaining way. However, my recent experience has left a sour taste in my mouth. Evil people entertain you before you die, and the good people just kill you.

    Lawful people, good people, should not be flogging people through the streets, offering to break their legs so they cannot run, mocking them, threatening them, or frothing at the mouth to murder unarmed people in cold blood - I mean, yes, it's Okay in my opinion to do some gloating, everybody loves gloating, but there's gloating and then there's taking it a bit too far. If we're to the point where everybody just knows that the Legion is slavery, and everybody is okay with reducing another human being, however evil, to someone who must listen to your orders absolutely, you need to start throwing evil points around at some of the "good guys" to remind them that slavery is an evil institution that they should not be supporting.

    This has been a disconnect of mine for at least five or six characters now. The Legion is an evil institution. Every time I have interacted with the Militia, the Militia has been some sort of shade of evil towards the Legion, which is understandable, but this happens with frightening regularity. People have noticed this IC and tried to change it, and it doesn't seem to want to go away, so I'm going to start complaining harder about it from an OOC standpoint.

    I guess what I'm saying is, I don't think people play it well when they're given that much authority over other people's characters. I've seen people specifically app to play legion characters because they enjoyed all that derision, and that's the only exception I've seen. The Pit was better. Losing levels was better. As it stands, escaping the cloak is just another excuse to kill you immediately.

    A while back I had an experience with FearMoho on one of my militia characters that was unfair and left a very sour taste in both of our mouths. I hated killing Abbas Saladin from an OOC standpoint even if it was the right thing to do ICly at the time. The thing I hated about it was that I was 100% taking away his autonomy. He even had an escape widget he had been given to use and didn't get to use it. Death. Paralysis. It's the same thing, essentially. I mishandled that situation, but the tools existed to allow me to mishandle it, and I made an honest mistake there. I'm not saying that people are going out of their way to mishandle situations. But the tools shouldn't be there for that type of mishandling.

    This isn't the fun that it was meant to be and someone needs to re-examine it as an OOC tool for stories, because as it stands, it's too hard to get out of, too dependent on PCs who aren't willing to let go of the leash - people have literally saved the world as Legionnaires, and not been released - and it's bad form. That it might be a little better nowadays is a moot point, because just because it's being run by 'better' people doesn't mean that the OOC system itself isn't flawed and prone to mismanagement.

    Replace it with fines. Replace it with the pit. Replace it with some sort of magical geas or something cast by a War Wizard. Find something more creative than selling people into actual IC-sanctioned slavery, or do something to represent that Cormyr is a Lawful Good nation, not a Lawful Evil one IC to put some pressure on this because it's pretty clear that Players are either disinclined to do so (not the case historically), or it's been too onerous to change via NPC fiat.

  • Admin [DM]

    The legion is not fun OOCly.

    That's all you really needed to say.

    Good concept, but it's executed in a way that makes it frustrating. It's meant to be a way to avoid character death for criminals, but it usually ends up being a fate worse than a satisfying death.

  • Storyteller [DM]

    Sorry, I get wordy. >_>

    TL;DR: The legion is not fun OOCly.

  • Positive suggestions on ways to improve or better systems to implement are a lot more helpful than repeatedly bashing the one we have in a thread where you’re asking for us to change something.

  • Storyteller [DM]

    Okay let me distill positive suggestions from what I wrote, since I know I wrote a good chunk there.

    • A system like the reborn sun had, where you lose chains based on deeds. (This leads to plot and story).
    • Allow for bail. That might help.
    • Bring the pit back and throw people in there. You can even take the monsters out. Just have people mine rocks and increase the sentence or something.
    • Replace it with a quest or something, like a War Wizard casting Geas on you. They're capable of that. Have it be DM enforcable - which, before you complain, is not troublesome. You already have to be present if someone's trying to break out of the cloak, you can also afford to half pay attention to whether someone is breaking their geas or not.
    • Make the Legion app-only.

    That's what I can drag out of my post off the top of my head.

    A quick fix would be to make the Legion app-only if you want to create one, and if you get it IG have a DM be the one handing the cloak out, take control of the legionnaires out of the hands of players and put it in some sort of point system like the Reborn Sun had, or a bail buyout, or something that doesn't rely on the observably slim kindness of the rare Militia person or PC official who might possibly be inclined to help you, but only after you single-handedly kill a primordial with your hands tied behind your back while carrying the tune of "Cormite Brave" in a bucket with your teeth.

    It's just not fun to be that stuck in the mud.

  • Storyteller [DM]

    Legion should have a set condition. For example you do this task you get free, or you are sentenced to two weeks etc. if it’s “legion for life” kinda deal it should be a choice. “You much choose execution or legion”

  • If the population of the sever increases significantly with E.E's implementation. I'd just bring back the pit. The whole problem with the pit was lack of population to support it.

    I like the idea of the petty criminals being thrown in the pet, and emerging from that ecosystem as hardened ruthless wretches. But you need enough players to make that environment feasible.

    As for the character gloating, I think it's just a question of player experience. They'll learn better.

  • Reborn son one could be cool and I have nothing against the Pit myself.

    A war wizard geas is actually a lot more work than that. Instead of giving a PC the means to check it through agency, we must spawn an npc war wizard, be interested enough in this criminal to design a custom geas and quest like you suggest for every person (which will lead to complaints from those who feel they get a worse result) and having to rely on the player having an honour system to not break that at all since we’re not omnipotent. Plus, players hate being forced to roleplay a certain way. That’s the whole point you’re making.

  • Storyteller [DM]

    @latoksinned said in Abolish the Penal Legion OOCly:

    Legion should have a set condition. For example you do this task you get free, or you are sentenced to two weeks etc. if it’s “legion for life” kinda deal it should be a choice. “You much choose execution or legion”

    It used to be that but it isn't anymore. Now you end up in it for minor crimes as well as major ones. I ended up in it recently for "association".

    There should be something more minor like the pit that doesn't involve serve-or-die choices, or at least gives you some chance or other. The thing I liked about the pit is that it was IC punishment that wasn't boring. You could rp a change if you wanted, you could choose to become the hardened criminal, whatever.

    But the type of RP I get out of the cloak is more akin to a case of IC Stockholm's syndrome where if you don't do as you are told, you die. Lack of militia pcs is not an adequate excuse to offset the cloak being as powerful as it is, and given out so lightly.

  • I decided that Penal Legion was a tool to extend the life of a character who OUGHT to be by all rights dead, because I literally recognized the problem you described. Good Characters kill Evil Characters just like THAT. Done. Poof. Over. Where PCs would be languishing in jail awaiting trial, or killed off, instead now they could play their characters for weeks, even months longer.

    Ironically, because there was not mechanic to execute Legionaries then, Kraegus Thune was eventually murdered by a Penal Legionnaire.

    Should the Penal Legion be abolished? Yes, if it has outlived its usefulness. But from the post made by OP, it has not. But it definitely has evolved and changed. Getting Cloaked was a DEATH SENTENCE, merely delayed, that is what it is supposed to be. Death by Combat.

    People were able to get out of it, seek redemption and become free of the Legion, but that requires actual Good PCs running the show, and DMs understanding what is going on intimately. I can name several examples of this happening. I can also name several examples where people died in the Legion, trying to be the exact same character they were before.

    The Legion DOES need more control, as determined by the DMs, to provide more protections to PCs. It could be more in partnership with a Church, like the Reborn Sun was, or more You-can't-be-evil-dude protections from evil Militia PCs who use it to abuse.

  • @redgallant said in Abolish the Penal Legion OOCly:

    It used to be that but it isn't anymore. Now you end up in it for minor crimes as well as major ones. I ended up in it recently for "association".

    Aiding Criminal acts and Abetting Criminals

    ! -The act of aiding and abetting criminals is a crime. The charge is always one decree lower than the severity of the worst crime committed by the culprit, thus ranging from petty to a serious crime.

    Assuming it was the charge above, what was it? Petty, Minor, or Serious? I ask because the cloak has a finite time period unless the crime was Capital.

    -Petty: 10% current gold + 200 gold or 2-5 stock time. Penal Legion not approved
    -Minor: 15% current gold + 350 gold. Penal Legion for 1-3 days.
    -Serious: 25% current gold + 1000 gold. Penal Legion for 1-3 weeks depending on severity.
    -Capital: 50% current gold + 2000 gold (only for capital crimes limited to fines). Execution, No sentencing limitations on the Penal Legion.

    If someone told you the above was your crime and that Penal Legion was permanent you were incorrectly informed. There are limits to being forced to wear the cloak...

  • Storyteller [DM]

    This is less about my current situation and more about a desire to see this system pass by the wayside, replaced by something else.

    I am old enough here to remember the Merciful Sword and people actually languishing in jail. That system made sense ICly. We couldn't support it anymore and it had glaring flaws, but it was straightforward. It sucked being in jail (been on both sides of those bars) but at least it didn't leave me with a sour taste in my mouth like the experiences I have been having last two characters.

  • I hope my own gloating didn't play a part in your experience, especially since i said ic i hoped you'd be out soon.

    I agree with you, getting a good death is better than legion 99% of the time because people tend to misuse legionnaires. Hell, Jaesede said the legion was the best thing that ever happened to him recently, because we made him come with us EVERYWHERE, on everything we did (he'd learn secrets he could make use of etc), made him quest with us, and just had him involved in everything we were doing.

    But of course, Jaese is weird, we all know that! ( luv ) but the point is, it CAN be fun if done well but it is an extremely hard line to walk and even when done right, not everyone will enjoy it. I've never been a fan of the Legion but i've usually made it a point to try and make it fun for the people i've put there.

    But i understand your predicament completely.

  • I made an entire faction based on being badass prisoners in the Legion. What I found out was that it's not fun and that players go out of their way to make the game as unfun for you as they can.

    I agree with Gallantry. Remove the entire concept from the game and just have executions again. It's better.

  • I have to agree here. Having been on the receiving end of @Lord-Bhaliir bassicly saying "Cloak him, we'll figure out the crime later" just because he didn't trust information I was giving him I can attest that it's being used outside it's original intended purpose.

    Originally I saw the cloaks as a way to get close to team good while they thought you were helpless. But having Been in one now it mostly just slowed my concept to a crawl til I was out of it.

  • My understanding of the penal legion from what DM's told me and when I was in the militia is that a trial overseen by a DM MUST HAPPEN and that the charge MUST BE capital crimes. If the legion is being used outside of this, it is being used improperly - unless that's changed?

    And if this isn't policy, it should be - the penal legion is currently, effectively character ending. A DM overseen trial gives the PC in question a chance to fight back, get out of it, or even end the career of the law enforcement PCs. If you're going to do something to ruin another PC, you should be facing possible risk that you may lose instead.

  • @SteveLichman You were to be cloaked when everyone identified you as THE associate of Manzahar who was literally just out feeding everyone lies to cause mayhem. There was no "figuring out" later- that's false.

    The cloak is not the problem but the stigma that comes with it. And that can be changed IG. As a concept It's honestly a fantastic way back in to civilization and an opportunity for people to serve their sentence while still being able to play the game. It's way better than exile, way better than execution. It just needs to be re-branded, that's all.

  • The thing is, the threat of magical death at any moment from merely pushing a button is an anti-plot function. I like to play risky, but I don't like throwing characters away for nothing.

    Go with the bodyguard concept instead for PC Legionnaires. And they don't have to be bodyguards but they can be, it'd be whatever relationship and use the master has.

    Also, give the ability to execute that Legionnaires to only it's master or the warden that way you don't have rando guards that just like to be abusive that's running around making life miserable and the game unfun.

  • I had a lot of fun playing a legionnairre. Also, only sergeants or higher get execution devices, so you are not under constant threat of execution.

    I do think it should only be used for Capitol crimes as a life sentence, so players can opt for death instead.

  • @lord-bhaliir you had to be prompted, twice,
    By the militia captain before you acctually came up with a charge.

    But I won't go into that at risk of derailing. The point is I was cloaked once, it was attempted a second time, and at no point was I put on trial. Hell, the first time I was cloaked PENDING my trial for something.

    If the cloak is being used prior to the verdict it's being improperly used.