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The Flame Badger Company Post Mortem
#1
Intro

     Recently I haven’t had the energy much to be around. Other things have caught my attention, and sl2 fell a bit down my priority list, and with that I felt it was time to cut free my guild, and let the stories of its members float on to their own paths. All of that has already been handled in house, don’t worry, but I figured as this was a near year long endeavor, I might share with you some of the details of how it played out, in case any of you want to try running your own stories here in the wonderful land of sigrogana. So let’s take a look at the Flame Badger Company, the good, the bad, and the petty. For the purpose of this post mortem I’ll be trying to look at the plotline as a whole, rather than any specific characters, such as my own badger Ignis. We’re going to try and keep things chronological, and add context as necessary.

Premise

     Not too terribly long ago Dev added Homunculi as a race category to the game, and I had the seed of an idea. People love created races, but it is far easier to make a character than it is to make their maker, and without a Karaten to just build them like Mechinations, a fair few homunculi would be running around without a backstory. Around the same time I also heard the ever common sentiment of nothing ever happens in SL2, and figured I might try my hand at killing two birds with one stone. I envisioned a backstory element, akin to the histories in some tabletop rpgs, less than a race and a class, but still something that affects your character going forward. SL2 being such a narrative game this background would need a bit more meat, but it was never meant to be a big event chain, just a faction that would show up and play a bit part in other stories, and give context to the world at large.

     Enter the Flame Badger Company, the shittiest mercenary company in the Six. A band of mooks that could show up to any event, look tough, and then fold when a heroic character gave their anime speech, and hit them with a named attack. By day they’d take off the ski masks, shuffle around lamenting the terrible living and working conditions, and maybe even meet a few adventurers they’d have to feel bad about fighting later. I was even open to running events if someone came to me wanting one, though I’ll admit I could have advertised that louder and further, my main focus was to let people I knew who ran events know that we were available if they ever needed filler.

     In house, the Flame Badgers were a band of slave mercenaries, all constructed with the express purpos of being expendable soldiers. Mostly Homunculi, made by a lich to generate passive income as he explored the limits of the akashic. Being a badger meant the only family you knew worked you near to death, wouldn’t let you leave, your needs would be met, but it would take you a decade before you started to get time off, or actually paid. You could of course bend the rules, fudge your time card, steal money to spend on yourself, exercise some independence, but all at the risk of a sibling finding out and getting you in trouble.

Two Italians shouting in town square

     So a few characters made, and a tone in need of setting, we launched the first badger ‘event’. For these breakdowns I’ll avoid using names where possible, since we’re focused more on the what, not the who. An ‘escaped badger’ who we will call Shirly for the time being had run off from the family, and as such the family was sent to recover them. In this case we’ll call the badgers sent after them Butch and Casidy. Shirly got a head start, a chance to ingratiate herself with the community, and drum up support and interest before Butch and Casidy went to try and basically kidnap her with the not so subtle implication that if she was caught she would be killed, terms Shirly’s player agreed to, since Butch and Casidy were never supposed to catch her.

     The first scene was in Tannis. Shirly had been working with a local who was helping her with her common when Casidy spotted them. We’ll call the guy Terrance. So this is a perfect opportunity to get things rolling. Casidy went to Terance, making the argument that Shirly stole from the family, and was too damaged to be on her own. Shirly, who could barely speak common, but had expressed firmly that she couldn't go back and was in danger, panicked, and tried to stir Terance to action. So we have a patented Star Trek moral dilemma. Do you trust the lawful evil knight claiming her sister needs to go back and fight, or do you trust the panicked knight that hardly speaks common, but might be saying she’d be killed if she went back? Terrance decided it was not his problem anymore, clearly, despite both sides insisting Shirly needed help of some kind, that she could take care of herself, and began advertising his guild. When asked later he is quoted as telling another character “Oh yeah she’s fine now, don’t worry”. No one else felt like getting involved, so Casidy let her run off in the interest of not causing too much of a scene.

     The second half of this encounter happened a few days later in Celsvich square. Shirly ran into Butch and Casidy in Celsvich square. Butch stayed neutral feeling sympathertic, and out of character a bit of a scheme was hatched, a PVP match in the middle of Celsvich, where neither player was able to use an offensive move. Cassidy charged and grappled, Shirly blinked away and tried to escape, all while the pair were shouting at each other in Alstalsian, the language Shirly actually speaks. If nothing else, two women in full plate shouting at each other in fantasy Italian, while engaging in a teleporting wrestling match, was enough to justify the badger's existence. We peeked there. Eventually the guards came, and were asked to handle a situation, where no weapon was drawn, and fault was ambiguous. After a debate in Arjav it was decided Shirly would be free to run around Sigrogana, so long as she gave back all of her equipment, and pretended to be dead, in exchange for the guards looking the other way over the disturbance.

     So what worked? Honestly it was a lot of fun. A simple game of cat and mouse one player getting to be scared, while the others sneaky. The encounters were loud, and silly, and using the fight mechanics as an expression of character is something we as players rarely do outside of the arena. People outside of the know didn’t seem to care all that much, which is fine for one event, but quickly became the sad trend of the badgers. People might watch, but more often than not, the assumption is, unless you are explicitly invited, that’s all you can do. Getting others to engage in the deeper, and morally complicated themes also proved difficult, after all it’s silly on the surface, why peel deeper?

The drought and the mountain

     From here things slow down. The three badgers start to grow into twelve, but despite my advertising in and out of character, no one seems to have too much need for a band of mooks to do crimes. There are a few instances of extortion, one even leading to a guard call, but nothing more than that. Even when the guards got involved, the second any defense was made we were given a blanket ‘don’t do it again’ and sent on our way. Perhaps I could have done more, advertised openly that something was actually suspicious, rather than just making sure the organization seemed shady in character.

     So what were the badgers doing with nothing to do? Killing black beasts by the thousand. As a bit of a joke, the one consistent bit of work the badgers got was a benefactor who put a hit out on Seto, and explicitly tasked the badgers with shouting “DOG MOUNTAIN” while defending the towns. Now there was the IC justification, the root of which being, “how someone has enough money to put out a hit on god.” has never been looked into, even when people have asked who is the one paying for it, but it also had narrative utility. It power scaled the badgers as a group who were strong enough to fight black beasts, but weak enough to make a show of fighting black beasts. Given that most of the badgers also hated killing black beasts, it begged the question, why do they do the work they hate, when most adventurers don’t.

A misguided event
     I’m not sure how much I should go into this one. There was a post detailing it quite extensively last fall, but it is still relevant to the Badgers as a whole. After months of dog mountain, seeing the badgers go nowhere for months on end, I was finally approached by a friend on the eventmin team, looking to maim an amalgama, and since we had a few in our ranks I agreed. This eventmin also had a badger, and around the same time expressed that they were displeased with their character, and asked to make a second badger character. Later I would come to find out the two requests were related, and they intended to use my organization for their plot in a manner I was not consulted for.

     After providing the initial stakes, myself and a few other members of the guild worked out of character to try and drum up interest for the event, no one seemed all that interested. The eventmin tried to hand the event to another guild, so they could take the win, but their leader refused. Where I sat it looked like no one was interested, so I suggested the badgers take a more active role in finishing out the plot, since we were already invested, and had done so much of the groundwork to make the event feel real. I also reached out to the other guild leader, unaware of his reservations over the event, and the eventmin.

     While out of character I was trying to manage our involvement, the eventmin’s second badger was killed, opening a rift between the two of us. The details were discussed in that other thread, but for the purposes of this post mortem, the eventmin tried to remove the badgers from the plot and use this as leverage to force the other guild to be involved. Out of character I proposed a solution that would let both parties get a win, and allow the event a clean wrap up, but it was ultimately decided to finish the event off screen, to prevent any damage to any involved parties. Forgive and forget.

     I made a tool, and begged it to be used. I was fixated on getting us content, at any cost, I didn’t realize I was selling us for so cheap. I crafted a ladle, and saw it used as a hammer. I want desperately with this post mortem to leave you all with a message of hope, to encourage you all to start projects of your own, but I must also be truthful. Just because someone is interested in your plot does not mean they share your ideas of it’s narrative utility. People, even people you consider friends, might try to twist your work to meet their ends, even when you go in without ends of your own.

Crab mentality

     At this point the badgers have been around for some time, so let’s take a look at the core philosophical argument of the guild, and how it’s playing out with the community. When dealing with crabs, you do not have to put a lid on your crab bucket, as when one tries to climb out, the one beneath it will pull it back down, trying to get up itself. This is called a crab mentality, when a group in a bad position works to keep it’s members in that situation while trying to escape themselves. Every badger has the capacity to be a normal member of society, but can’t due to the family's rules, and should they try and break them, they risk other members of the family ratting them out.

     I never intended to enforce any of these rules. Oft mentioned time cards, and quotas were there for flavor, the threat of punishment was left vague, and ominous, even dog mountain was a mandate in character, and a suggestion out. I never wanted being a badger to be anyone’s job. This quickly devolved in two ways. The first being that people were generally rude and unkind to the badgers, so well adjusted, empathetic humans that we are, we set story aside to actually have our characters care for eachother, as siblings should. I am just as guilty of this as any other badger, and if you take one thing away from this post mortem, let it be that humans are not so petty of creatures as to inflict suffering on the weak as a matter of course. The other side effect was that since no one tattled, and no one was enforcing rules, most of the badgers treated them as flavor in character to. If you take anything else away from this post mortem, let it be we’re also lazy creatures of habit.

     Generally speaking people outside of the family were unaware of the struggle. A few were told explicitly, be it by our second, and only other run away Clyde, or by befriending a badger and earning their trust. Usually out of character this led to a “Oh sick that sounds cool can I make a badger.” to which the answer was almost always yes, but almost no one ever seemed to care to address this issue of a slave army running around sigrogana. One person did, we’ll call them Amy for now. At first it was a simple matter of keeping Clyde safe and hidden, then it became, keeping Clyde safe, and helping one other escape, then she fell tumbling down the rabbit hole and seeing just how deep it went. So of course the first course of action was to call the guards, a point we’ll cover in the next section. Finally Amy manages to track down one of the few characters in the know of the badgers, but outside of the family, and they get into a deep philosophical conversation about the nature of the family, and the problem with “saving the good ones, and killing the bad ones.” There are no good ones, there are no bad ones, there are people who have never known a life other than the one they are forced into, and the victims are the ones forcing each other to suffer.

     It is at this point, after dealing with Clyde in and out of character for months, spreading lies in character, some light meta gaming, and actually calling the cops, Amy and I finally get into proper contact out of character so I can extend the invitation for her to attack the badgers. Nothing has since come out of it, aside from Clyde being allowed to walk outside more, now that she knew Out of character he wasn’t kill on site.

     Heroes, characters described as lawful, characters described as good, other gangs, guards, all looked at the badgers, and could spare for them at most pity. Even Amy, a character painted as an anarchist, was sooner ready to go to the guard than sort things out on her own. I suppose I made the problem too complex, or I wasn’t clear enough that out of character I was willing to play ball. Should I have put out a wanted ad? “Looking for protagonist to deal with evil army, and sort out the aftermath?”

Deus Vult

     Alright, time for the part where I have to spill tea. I’ve left names out, kept things vague. This is Analysis, historical documentation, not a call out, but the parties involved here are too inextricably linked to the events, that there is no sense trying to maintain anonymity.

     The badgers have had an interesting relationship with the guards of Sigrogana. For an organization that seems to so often complain quietly that they are never involved, and that there is nothing to do, they seem awfully content to let brazen criminals operate in the open at the first sign of back bone. When the same person is called into arjav for questioning, three times on strange charges, and gives half answers, and questionable defenses, one might think an investigation would be in order.

     Eventually one did come about, it was a clearly staged show of being toured about a too clean office. No hard questions were asked, and the matter was dropped. With IC as IC, it was fun, but eventually word got out to me that there would be a far more thorough search soon. Giddy, and having learned from my past mistakes I made sure there was a line of contact out of character between me and a member of the guards who was involved with the investigation. We were discussing terms, dates, and all was going well until very suddenly I was told “It seems the church knights will be conducting the investigation instead.”

Karidan, a member of our GM staf, and the leader of the church knights decided he wanted to be involved. To this end he made no attempt to contact me, instead contacting another badger, and insisting it was the church's business, since homunculi mean necromancy, and the church has a problem with necromancy. I’ve since found out that he in fact had another character involved with the Badgers which I personally view as a conflict of interest. When eventually he realized he had to contact me, he insisted on coming in, in such a rush that I wasn’t even home, and had to pass the situation on to one of the high ranking badgers.

     The over tuned church knight commander, who has been granted numerous buffs befitting an eventmin’s npc, located without help, and entered the badger’s headquarters asking to speak with whoever was in charge. Politely, and in a matter of fact tone he effectively said “I know you are all slaves, point me to your lich, we are going to kill him and you will all be free to go.” A statement that is full of so many deep leaps in logic, and pieces of metagamed information, that is only made more hilarious when you realize if he’d bothered to look even a little deeper he’d realize the person he was talking to couldn’t possibly know the answer to the question he was asking. He also got the lich’s name wrong.

     While the badgers were never going to have an ongoing event chain, they did have a few background points that would eventually need resolving. The main one being the lich that started the organization has been missing for eight years. No one has seen him. Sure he used to take long breaks, but never this long, and more importantly new badgers keep showing up anyway. Turns out he’s been dead for eight years.

     I tried to give him the opportunity to do some detective work, figure out the mistakes, work for the win, but quickly realized the effect such a brutal attack from a GM, on our organization, as a direct result of metagaming was having on the players I swore to look after. I asked kindly that he step away, and he agreed, citing his other character. Apparently it is only a conflict of interest after the first shot misses.

     To me the badgers have always been a domino chain. Something to knock over, and enjoy the spectacle of it falling over. A slow cascade of reactions where each piece matters in the chaotic breakdown of an ordered system. While this wasn’t the last straw, someone coming to me begrudgingly, asking for permission to throw a molotov at my dominos, because it was made clear they couldn’t do it behind my back, was enough to send the badgers on auto pilot for a very long time.

The not so grand finale

     So all good things must come to an end. Make no mistake, though there is a lot of negativity here, the badgers were a good thing, and to the capacity they still exist, they still are. After teases and hints dropped like bread crumbs, and enough angst filled scenes of glorious role play it was finally time for a select few badgers to go on a quest to seek out their creator, and ask him the meaning of life. “Why were we born, was it just to suffer?” And seek they did, hunting down one of his old workshops, and breaking in, hoping to find him there, or a trace of where he had gone. After a few trials, they found instead his broken phylactery. Their father was dead, and has been for eight years. Out of character it was always the case, a fact that made Karidan’s demand to find him all the sweeter. It was a deeply personal event, with just a single party who largely didn’t know the twist going in.

     The thing that made life as a badger hell was never their father. It was always the organization, at the center a Dullahan with the soul driving focus to keep the business running, and growing. Like a rogue A.I. it killed the lich when it realized the organization would run smoother if it didn’t have someone skimming off the top. From the beginning Adamant Chronos had been there, the one to hand out orders, the one to wake new badgers when they were freshly made, the one to handle punishments. Ask any badger, “Who is responsible for keeping the organization running?” and the answer is always Adamant. All the more reason to be disappointed when I’m told “Give me your lich, if I kill him you go free.” He’s been dead almost a decade, and the badgers are still slaves to his memory.

     Unfortunately this is where scheduling comes in. I’d wanted a last hurrah, but days became weeks, and weeks became months. Even when people are invested it can be hard to get everyone together. It was decided in the end that word got out, and led to unrest in the wider badger organization. The looting, and riots of the nameless npc badgers was enough to kill the organization, and with it, Adamant Chronos, who lost his purpose when his hard work melted away.

     Now the badgers are free to roam as former badgers. Try to adjust to a life without their shackles, but also that support of family. They get to ask the questions now, and decide the answer of who they are, and where they go. In the end it is fitting that the badgers managed to free themselves. After all, for most of their run, they only had each other.

Conclusion 

     So what have we learned? Over the past year when it comes to sl2, I’ve learned you cannot be the change you want to see in the world, but you can create the things you enjoy. People will always be there to offer support, but if you leave yourself open, some may take advantage of you. No one will talk to you, you must be proactive, blunt, and explicit, and even then they may still go behind your back. If something seems strange, ask about it, in or out of character, you may stumble down a rabbit hole into some actual intrigue. Finally and most importantly keep yourself open to change.

     I suffered setback after setback with the flame badgers. I was constantly met with indifference, apathy, hostility, and scandal. Not a single thing worked in the way I designed it, but you know what? I had fun. It was worth it. So many characters surprised me, and people took takes on my initial pitch that I never could have dreamed of. For every instance of hair pulling, over the bullshit, there were ten beautiful scenes that couldn’t have happened if I never tried. Seeing all the characters sprout up and interact with the community, seeing them clash, and come together and show each other familial support, seeing the special few who investigated finally put the pieces together, it warms my heart. It was worth the pain for me. Go out and make something.
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#2
I'm not exactly the best person to explain our perspective as guards at the time, given that my character's involvement with The Badgers was minimal at best due to him being much more concerned on Black Falcon, (It was Varen, in case anyone needs to know) but I will do my best anyways to hopefully clear up some of our parts.

For starters let me address one of the direct points made:

Quote: The badgers have had an interesting relationship with the guards of Sigrogana. For an organization that seems to so often complain quietly that they are never involved, and that there is nothing to do, they seem awfully content to let brazen criminals operate in the open at the first sign of back bone. When the same person is called into arjav for questioning, three times on strange charges, and gives half answers, and questionable defenses, one might think an investigation would be in order.

I agree with you that we had little in the way of force at the time, I will attempt to defend my colleagues as best as I can, but at the time in question I believe there was still Black Falcon nonsense going on, reaching its apex rather quickly, a couple of us were solely fixated on that, while the remainders could focus on your situation with the Badgers, I want to also note out that we have been in an ongoing overhaul with the Guard chat for over 18 months now, only sparsely being propelled along when we are graced by Chaos' presence every half a year, please understand that we only have a few guards right now who actually care about the job deeply enough to respond, and be active at the time.

I would very often mention that we are more of a fan of constant contact, but you lead into that in your next paragraph.

Quote:Giddy, and having learned from my past mistakes I made sure there was a line of contact out of character between me and a member of the guards who was involved with the investigation. We were discussing terms, dates, and all was going well until very suddenly I was told “It seems the church knights will be conducting the investigation instead.”

For one let me just thank you for having done so, very often are we subject to not being contacted for things we should be in the know about, especially if someone were to desire our presence and characters to be involved with the situation that is being created. People often like to forget that the guards are a very heavily communicative role, we require as much input and reaching out to as players might when it comes to offering our unique roles to a situation.

Our role in the matter was cut very abruptly by the presence of the Church Knights, when we got a message one day that had asked us to quit handling the situation and instead hand over information on the subject to the CK Commander at the time, anything after that wasn't within our realm of stopping anymore, I'm certain you already know that though.
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#3
I appreciate you taking the time read through this admittedly long and rambling text. As much as I am disappointed that the guard rarely got involved with the badgers, aside from the aborted raid, and a few instances of yelling at Ignis for insisting people pay protection money. Every guard player I've had to deal with in relation to the badgers has been lovely.

Like the badgers themselves, the system is at fault. A system that thankfully is already undergoing a rework, even if that rework began long before the badgers began, and has since out lived them.
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#4
(01-30-2022, 08:01 PM)jintheblue Wrote: I appreciate you taking the time read through this admittedly long and rambling text. As much as I am disappointed that the guard rarely got involved with the badgers, aside from the aborted raid, and a few instances of yelling at Ignis for insisting people pay protection money. Every guard player I've had to deal with in relation to the badgers has been lovely.

Like the badgers themselves, the system is at fault. A system that thankfully is already undergoing a rework, even if that rework began long before the badgers began, and has since out lived them.


Hi hello. I played Julien. Now, the reason for the raid not happening was largely in part due to two reasons which I feel I am at liberty to state given that this absolutely influenced my ultimate decision AGAINST going to bat with the Badgers.

Every report received on the Badgers was noted for future reports. For every report we had of suspicious Badger activity, we kept that in mind when moving forward. When it was brought to Julien's attention about the 'slave pens', the intention was to do a soft sweep of the area and to find hints, all while not raising any suspicion in the IC. OOC, I already had an inkling about the badgers. What mattered was that in the IC, Julien's suspicions are founded given that there have been handful of reports about them. When Julien found nothing, he remained cordial with the badgers, but his suspicion never waivered.

It was until ANOTHER person brought the runaway Badger to his attention that it became clear that the Badgers needed to be raided. They were clearly hiding something that could not be found with a casual or thorough inspection. The intention of the raid, however, was that it was SUPPOSE to be an IC secret raid. OOC, I would've informed you if and when we had the numbers and tiime sorted. But apparently, it got out from within the Guard who then blabbed to an uninvolved citizen who was involved with the Flames, thus ruining the whole point of the raid and ultimately killing any drive to continue the plot because this felt like another Black Falcon situation where more people were pro-crime but also suppose to be a guard.
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#5
(01-30-2022, 10:24 PM)Lokus Wrote: But apparently, it got out from within the Guard who then blabbed to an uninvolved citizen who was involved with the Flames, thus ruining the whole point of the raid 
I am still a bit sorry this happened. While a raid, even one we were prepared for would be enough to justify looking deeper in, and doing some actual detective work, there's a lot of precautions we were going to take given the leak. The main difference would be the higher ups not being on site, and it would be easier to find the fake paper work, and harder to find the real paper work.
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#6
I deeply feel this post, its one of the main hurdles of running anything, especially if its open to the public. Its exhausting, full of yucky stuff and peppered with things you should take to the gms but you don't out of sympathy of the person or, just because you are a softie really and give them the benefit of the doubt.

Even if it never ends well, you do it again.

Why? Well, many just throw the towel, especially when metagaming as shown in this post since quite frankly, it is shouted about how its punished but in reality it never really is, unless someone of interest among the ones that can do something about it is the one affected, its something brushed aside.
It grates you as you have to take care of a place other people enjoy, while you carry on the shoulders the weight of about everything else and the bs that wont be dealt with ever.

But... it's worth it. Many great players were met, many people that was giving up on trying the game had their want reinvigorated once they interacted with something I created and the character I have within it alongside the atmosphere, and that feeling is great, especially when they become great names within the community that is a pleasure to interact with.

And particularly, that is what drives me forward, because I believe there is many other great people out there, just not being able to be found because there is no opportunities, and the few they have, turns very sour.

Because the ones that metagame just keeps doing it, and new-ish players are very abusable in that regard and are given a sense that its just how it is, and leaves the community. And being unpunished creates a very bad ego to just do even more dumb stuff because hey "I was never stopped"

But I get up every other day and do the same thing, even if it gets very hard, because some people are very worth the growing pains. Call me masochistic, but its just how I feel about it, even when people tell me to take a break from it all.
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#7
(01-30-2022, 02:30 AM)jintheblue Wrote:
     The first scene was in Tannis. Shirly had been working with a local who was helping her with her common when Casidy spotted them. We’ll call the guy Terrance. So this is a perfect opportunity to get things rolling. Casidy went to Terance, making the argument that Shirly stole from the family, and was too damaged to be on her own. Shirly, who could barely speak common, but had expressed firmly that she couldn't go back and was in danger, panicked, and tried to stir Terance to action. So we have a patented Star Trek moral dilemma. Do you trust the lawful evil knight claiming her sister needs to go back and fight, or do you trust the panicked knight that hardly speaks common, but might be saying she’d be killed if she went back? Terrance decided it was not his problem anymore, clearly, despite both sides insisting Shirly needed help of some kind, that she could take care of herself, and began advertising his guild. When asked later he is quoted as telling another character “Oh yeah she’s fine now, don’t worry”. No one else felt like getting involved, so Casidy let her run off in the interest of not causing too much of a scene.

This is a big, self perpetuating problem on this game. Most players will quickly make themselves a bystander in any situation that they can because there's usually no reward for involving themselves in a storyline or conflict that doesn't have them as an active participant. There are a large number of reasons for this that I can see or have felt before...

They might feel like they're intruding. Especially a thing if it's numerous members of a guild.

They might not want to get involved because there is clear and present danger to their character that is going to be decided by other people. Right now, the guards are the most lethargic seeming group of people who, as this post goes on, don't seem to do much, but they almost need to be that lethargic and slow because getting taken to Arjav enough times is one of the few things that can force your character to get murdered. Add on the fact that there's a potential for a soft ban in getting thrown in a cell that for some reason has an OOC restriction instead of just an IC one, the laws aren't clearly dictated anywhere that's accessible to the average player, and there's a lot of misinformation about what the guards will or won't consider crime, and some of the vocal minorities declare that the guards can and will and should arrest and detain people for IC misconceptions and misunderstandings when they have OOC power and authority to execute and soft ban means most people don't want to be put anywhere near that with a character that they want to last for their entire play time on the server. Involving themselves in a morally ambiguous group with this mostly fictitious but still potentially realizable sword hanging over them just isn't the optimal play there, and receding back into 'Oh they're fine' is the safest way they can extricate their character from that situation without harming the image or role they're trying to roleplay.

People don't know that they can OOCly communicate these sorts of concerns to each other and some people are actively against OOC communication at all when it comes to conflict because sometimes that OOC communication is just taking IC conflict and arguments OOC.

Nobody wants their character to be made weak because they're in the middle of a LE and don't have a PVP build.

Nobody wants their character to be made weak because they don't have a metahealer/whatever PVP build.

People don't like to lose, and you can't lose if you don't try to win. Sleepy

Some people just like to watch.

All of this together means most people are just going to hang back most of the time. There's probably more subtlety and personal decision making there, but I can figure at least some people can relate or at least can look back and admit they backed out of a situation that might have been fun RP because they were worried about some of these things or just didn't want to get punked in the imbalanced system we've got for PVP. I've done it on a character before.
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#8
(02-04-2022, 08:44 AM)FaeLenx Wrote:
(01-30-2022, 02:30 AM)jintheblue Wrote:
     The first scene was in Tannis. Shirly had been working with a local who was helping her with her common when Casidy spotted them. We’ll call the guy Terrance. So this is a perfect opportunity to get things rolling. Casidy went to Terance, making the argument that Shirly stole from the family, and was too damaged to be on her own. Shirly, who could barely speak common, but had expressed firmly that she couldn't go back and was in danger, panicked, and tried to stir Terance to action. So we have a patented Star Trek moral dilemma. Do you trust the lawful evil knight claiming her sister needs to go back and fight, or do you trust the panicked knight that hardly speaks common, but might be saying she’d be killed if she went back? Terrance decided it was not his problem anymore, clearly, despite both sides insisting Shirly needed help of some kind, that she could take care of herself, and began advertising his guild. When asked later he is quoted as telling another character “Oh yeah she’s fine now, don’t worry”. No one else felt like getting involved, so Casidy let her run off in the interest of not causing too much of a scene.

This is a big, self-perpetuating problem in this game. Most players will quickly make themselves a bystander in any situation that they can because there's usually no reward for involving themselves in a storyline or conflict that doesn't have them as an active participants. There are a large number of reasons for this that I can see or have felt before...

They might feel like they're intruding. Especially a thing if it's numerous members of a guild.

They might not want to get involved because there is clear and present danger to their character that is going to be decided by other people. Right now, the guards are the most lethargic seeming group of people who, as this post goes on, don't seem to do much, but they almost need to be that lethargic and slow because getting taken to Arjav enough times is one of the few things that can force your character to get murdered. Add on the fact that there's a potential for a soft ban in getting thrown in a cell that for some reason has an OOC restriction instead of just an IC one, the laws aren't clearly dictated anywhere that's accessible to the average player, and there's a lot of misinformation about what the guards will or won't consider crime, and some of the vocal minorities declare that the guards can and will and should arrest and detain people for IC misconceptions and misunderstandings when they have OOC power and authority to execute and soft ban means most people don't want to be put anywhere near that with a character that they want to last for their entire play time on the server. Involving themselves in a morally ambiguous group with this mostly fictitious but still potentially realizable sword hanging over them just isn't the optimal play there, and receding back into 'Oh they're fine' is the safest way they can extricate their character from that situation without harming the image or role they're trying to roleplay.

So I am going to chime in here, not to defend the guards but just to shed some light on some of the points posted here.

The laws aren't clearly shown

I don't understand what you mean by this, the laws have been posted on the forums and in the public discord, but I'll also link the thread for the Public Laws here. This list of laws has been posted for just about four years now and has been public because of IC reasons for a long time now. This 'if' and a big if you haven't known this, then we apologize but there isn't really anything more we can do to make it more public than it already is. MY suggestion is, if your character wants to know the laws you are more than welcome to walk up to any guard character, hell even the NPC's one that is on the map and just ask for the public laws, we'll happily facilitate that type of thing.

Soft Ban & Execution

Ok, yeah Arjav is always going to be some form of a soft ban and I'm not sure if I'm allowed to say how we work in terms of putting someone in jail but I'll do what I can here. As it stands when we only deal with reports that we are given, be it later in the day [Due to lack of people to respond to it] or more or less 5 - 10 minutes after the ping, this obviously gives those in the scene ample time but this sometimes is thrown against us for not responding quick enough, not that it's a huge issue or the point of this post. As it stands we currently have two things we can do when it comes to arresting someone if applicable;

A) Community Service. This was put in place to lessen the 'soft ban' feeling to the players, it not only reduces a characters time in Arjav but gives them an alternative way to pay for their crimes, this usually applies to minor crimes like being a public pain in the ass which nowadays is mostly what our pings are for these days.

B) Imprisonment. This is always going to be a thing, so I'm not going to beat around the bush when it comes to this part. This tends to be used for anything passing the limit of so many minor crimes up to Severe charges, yes I'm fully aware that 'charges' themselves are not publicly displayed and that's for a very good reason.

We have no OOC control over executions, which I would like to emphasize. This has to go through a GM before we can even do any of that, despite the empire's lore of cutting their problems in half. Right now it takes a lot to get executed and is quite frankly very rare. Dev doesn't want us being execution happy and it's perfectly understandable.

Guards are the most lathergic group

I disagree heavily on this. Guard work is very tedious and is like babysitting a bunch of four-year-olds in a preschool, we are not going to openly get on to deal with the same shit that happens constantly, from experience is mentally draining and quite frankly happening at the most inconvenient times. To call us a lethargic group would be far from true, most of us enjoy our guards and hell some of us are actually trying to progress then outside of work. It's just not as simple as that, at least the way I see it.

Both Amber and Lokus have touched on the parts of the flame badgers thing so I have nothing more to say on it.
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#9
(02-04-2022, 01:07 PM)Aqua Wrote: The laws aren't clearly shown

I don't understand what you mean by this, the laws have been posted on the forums and in the public discord, but I'll also link the thread for the Public Laws here. This list of laws has been posted for just about four years now and has been public because of IC reasons for a long time now. This 'if' and a big if you haven't known this, then we apologize but there isn't really anything more we can do to make it more public than it already is. MY suggestion is, if your character wants to know the laws you are more than welcome to walk up to any guard character, hell even the NPC's one that is on the map and just ask for the public laws, we'll happily facilitate that type of thing.

Can you think of any situation where someone has been met with guard presence when these laws have not been violated or even insinuated to have been violated? I can think of a few, and as long as that is true then the laws aren't listed down clearly. At best, you can chalk some of these up to colorful interpretations of the law. 'Be mindful of your use of magic' is one of the more egregious examples of this. Besides that, you get into the weird situation this game has with restraining orders from stalking, harassment, etc that might be considered harm if you stretched the word until it was thin enough to see through.

(02-04-2022, 01:07 PM)Aqua Wrote: Soft Ban & Execution

Ok, yeah Arjav is always going to be some form of a soft ban and I'm not sure if I'm allowed to say how we work in terms of putting someone in jail but I'll do what I can here. As it stands when we only deal with reports that we are given, be it later in the day [Due to lack of people to respond to it] or more or less 5 - 10 minutes after the ping, this obviously gives those in the scene ample time but this sometimes is thrown against us for not responding quick enough, not that it's a huge issue or the point of this post. As it stands we currently have two things we can do when it comes to arresting someone if applicable;

A) Community Service. This was put in place to lessen the 'soft ban' feeling to the players, it not only reduces a characters time in Arjav but gives them an alternative way to pay for their crimes, this usually applies to minor crimes like being a public pain in the ass which nowadays is mostly what our pings are for these days.

B) Imprisonment. This is always going to be a thing, so I'm not going to beat around the bush when it comes to this part. This tends to be used for anything passing the limit of so many minor crimes up to Severe charges, yes I'm fully aware that 'charges' themselves are not publicly displayed and that's for a very good reason.

We have no OOC control over executions, which I would like to emphasize. This has to go through a GM before we can even do any of that, despite the empire's lore of cutting their problems in half. Right now it takes a lot to get executed and is quite frankly very rare. Dev doesn't want us being execution happy and it's perfectly understandable.

Point 1: There's no crime against being a public pain in the ass on the list of crimes, and it's terribly subjective.

As for everything else, there's simply no point behind the jail being a mechanical restriction on your character that stops you from leaving and going to level when nobody is around. I've never had a character in Arjav, I'll admit, so maybe there's always a guard there and maybe you do just let people out to go meander OOCly around the game, but if there's any lapse in the former condition there and the second is true then there's no reason the doors actually lock. Additionally, all of that about the executions is fine and well, but it doesn't change the fact that interactions with the guards in any way that's perceived as negative put you on a list, and that list goes slowly, lethargically toward execution. Unless I could go to a GM and get permission to execute people with enough IC justification which would mean that this isn't a guard specific thing, but I've never heard of that. Which brings it back to the final point and almost the most important one with the way you wrote it out...

(02-04-2022, 01:07 PM)Aqua Wrote: Guards are the most lathergic group

I disagree heavily on this. Guard work is very tedious and is like babysitting a bunch of four-year-olds in a preschool, we are not going to openly get on to deal with the same shit that happens constantly, from experience is mentally draining and quite frankly happening at the most inconvenient times. To call us a lethargic group would be far from true, most of us enjoy our guards and hell some of us are actually trying to progress then outside of work. It's just not as simple as that, at least the way I see it.

Both Amber and Lokus have touched on the parts of the flame badgers thing so I have nothing more to say on it.

First of all, I said that they needed to be lethargic. In this instance, people purposefully not being fully active and one hundred percent responsive is a good thing for both them and anyone else. What does that mean? They should not be there at every crime scene when it starts. They cannot respond to every crime the moment it happens and the moment someone pings. Those things would be bad for the game's health for a number of reasons. Conflict is the crux of all storytelling, and trying to make the guards out to be the sole handlers of all conflict in the game just robs anyone and everyone else of the opportunity to meet adversity, challenge, or even a slight break in the monotony of casual RP. Moreover, the way you write about it makes it clear you have some disdain for it which is what happens when it's treated like this on an OOC level. If you feel like you need to be there to moderate your peers on an OOC level as a matter of labor, you should probably reconsider why you're participating in this and what your motives are in continuing to do so. If you don't actually enjoy responding to those pings, then you probably shouldn't because one miserable partner in a storytelling setting tends to breed more misery.
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#10
I'd rather misinformation wasn't spread as statements against the guard, but this isn't the place to argue this sort of thing either given that the OP's intention probably wasn't to slander and annoy guards at all, and I'd rather keep this thread that way.
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