First IRC, now forums? Stop teasing and get IG already!
Posts made by --lizard-man--
RE: Role of Conflict on CoA
I like the distinction made between "Conflict" and "PvP" here. The former is CoA's catnip and makes the server explode with player-generated activity. The latter has a chilling effect on the activities of players (not all - as IRC shows, there are some who relish the high-stakes PvP lifestyle).
That is not to say characters should never die, or just endlessly engage in rivalries. It just means be more restrained if you play - by a significant margin - the more mechanically capable character. There is no prize for being the last one standing in CoA.
As an example, these might be responses to capturing a Wyrmguard trying to hunt down your criminal. In increasing order of those which focus on generating Conflict rather than fulfilling PvP.
Killing the Wyrmguard to gain some respite and his loot.
Sacrificing him to your diety will send him off with a bang and net you some juicy notoriety as well.
Making a public announcement of your intentions before taking him down to the ruins in binds and pumping him full of bloodstones will generate public outrage and get an army down on your back. The Wyrmguard will get rescued, and if you're lucky you'll escape with your life.
So why would anyone do the last option? Knowing your luck, you'll get captured as he's getting rescued. I can pretty much guarantee you that it won't last for long, though. You'll be sitting in your prison cell when Demogorgon will turn up, tell you you've got balls and blast you out and deck you with phat lewt and warlock powers, telling you to keep up the evil work.
And then you play the guilt game with this Wyrmguard you forced to devour innocent souls. Goody priests who normally hate PvP get involved and plot redemption missions with him. You become Public Enemy #1 and they make a set of gallows especially for you.
A DM won't even get involved until after you're captured and can easily handle logistics through the forums to make things work.
The biggest reason for doing the former options is that at one point, that is what was promoted by DMs in the heady days of 55/55. Being smart got you places rather than being flamboyant. And it was fun, it was mentally stimulating, it got the heart racing, and it was choc full of betrayal and sudden death. It was something everyone could comprehend - be as exhibitionist as you want, but for your own sake, don't be caught out when the music stops.
In today's player count and with the time and effort it takes to create a character - let alone what it takes to create one that is mechanically capable in a setting which places a horrendous degree of importance on loot and gear - this seems an outdated mode of thought. It is more important (and therefore, the new route rewarded by DMs) to pursue activities that don't start the stakes of the game at "duel to the death" but generate rivalries and hatch schemes to achieve objectives that are bigger than any one character involved: rather than a pitched battle between Tychean and Banite PCs, they can both attempt to garner greater support from the population through feats of derring-do that highlight their absolute devotion to their ideals. And then maybe, somewhere down the line, there will be a pitched battle outside the Lady's House as a Banite mob descends upon it, saluting the Lord of Darkness' chosen son and attempts to desecrate the temple house.
But that won't happen if on Day Two, the Banites successfully catch the Tychean high cleric in the Haunted Halls and decapitate him.
RE: Just my Opinion
I would like to throw in my two cents from the peanut gallery, even though I'm no longer active on CoA.
The serverscape has shifted substantially over the years from one where sheer numbers created appeal - where logging in and walking around was practically a guarantee of a good time - to a situation where players and DMs both can hardly afford to be so haphazard; not because of A&I but just the reality of the substantially reduced population (which A&I may well have hastened, but by no means was solely responsible for). I've no desire to be a nay-sayer because I know I would hardly appreciate some old and disillusioned player telling me "the end is coming" when I'm trying to play, but the evolution of CoA is undeniable.
There is no going back.
I have my own notions of CoA's "Golden Age", of noble houses and civil wars, of Thay and Eclestians. BUT (and a big but it is) I can talk to other players not of my generation, who fondly recall the days of Cassiel and his Sheriffs, of C0G's inscrutable antics and the Fivestar Corporation. There are even a few out there who would give anything to go back to the days when PCs roleplayed their Finger-of-Death gnarled hands at each other, tossing Darkness onto Kanthean bears so they couldn't fight back, playing fetch with the high-druid in their spare time and running for their lives whenever "The Hulk" made an appearance.
There is no going back, and frankly I don't see why anyone in their right minds would want to. In almost nine years of playing I have had the privilege of experiencing tragedies fit to bring a tear to anyone's eye, conspiracies wrapped in so many layers that I have been left floundering within them as some shadowy figure slides in the fatal dagger, the shock of being discovered, the slimy gratification of a scheme coming to fruition…
There is no going back, because CoA's greatness comes from what you create with the resources you have. I wholly agree with the notion of critiquing and working out issues restricting players from achieving what they want to achieve, but this mentality of "the good old days" is as poisonous as it is fictitious. It may seem ridiculous to you that someone may come in and petition to have DMs occasionally drop in a big green monster that goes on a killing spree of the player population like a gardener pruning his hedge with a flamethrower every so often, but there will be someone out there who thinks the days of market-sitters are equally ridiculous - or the days of high-level PCs, or even of a faction like the Eclestians regularly burning sorcerer PCs at the stake with near-impunity.
Those days are gone, period. CoA is not a repeatable story-line, it is not a game you can install and play through ever again. Irenicus is never more than a few CDs away, the isle of Khorinis is always within arm's reach, and the haunting overtures of Morrowind never more than a few clicks to find - but the City of Arabel is the only place among these that will keep you guessing time and again, where the mortality of hero and villain is brutally apparent and any new day could see the next Tobin Sett, the next Lisa Amraphen rise up out of the murky darkness to tell a tale that will never be told again.
Consider what you have, not what you had. There are as many stories left in CoA as there are ideas in the imaginations of its players - and maybe someday you will come across someone wishing they had been around during your own golden age, had had the chance to see first-hand what you experienced. Don't let yourself be disillusioned because some old fogey is trying to tell you "you're too late, it's already happened". If it took them so long to separate "it" from all the frustration and heartache it took to pull through in their own time, what qualifies them to make damning comments on the present, let alone the future? Nostalgia should only ever be allowed to bring you back to CoA; by its biased nature, it is unsuitable for any other purpose - let alone as a benchmark, an expectation to place on CoA.
RE: Mage 101
A singular "Mage 101" could still be useful. However, maybe focus it more on the CoA take on mages rather than simply how to play a mage.
e.g. a handy set of links to things like "spell changes", and a summary of what all the spell-focus feats do, what the new familiars are, how to use reagents/tomes for summoning etc. Even as an old-timer I'm still trawling through the search function to find this information, very often.
Not that I am condoning wizardry.
RE: When a good idea fizzles…
I've usually just dropped the character in such circumstances. What people want from their characters is different each person. For me, unless my character has an over-arching plot line that is controversial enough to polarize anyone I meet into an immediate friend or foe, I tend to quickly lose interest- and roll up a new character.
The best thing you can take from a truly "dud" character, is to try and define: what is it you thought drove you to play,but really was not the critical factor after all?