Character Roster System

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Posts: 1920
Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2011 8:54 pm
Discord Handle: ParaVox3#7579

Mon Mar 23, 2020 7:42 pm

Hi Staff,

When talking about another potential system, it came up that TI has a high turnover of nobility and someone mentioned potentially creating a roster system for nobles. We're considering if we were to do this, what would we need to consider. So far, we're thinking these things:

- Player documentation habits with regards to cnotes, etc
- The ability to move characters from account to account, and zero-ing out costs
- The ability to show nobles whose players have gone inactive and set up automatically detectable rostering + reasonable expectations of when a character would go rostering
- An ability to show which nobles can be removed and/or replaced by newly minted nobles
- Awareness of setting expectations about how future noble characters, upon going inactive, could be passed to others to play
- Whether other characters should go into the roster system, and if so, on what basis
- Handling of newly rostered nobles - ie, do they re-cyan or something to let the pbase know that the character has changed hands and to give people an adjustment period?

Are there things the player base would want to have added to the list? Does anyone with experience playing games that have a roster system like this (I understand Firan did) know anything about the ins and outs of this?

Posts: 82
Joined: Sun Dec 30, 2018 4:29 pm
Discord Handle: Kitty#2410

Mon Mar 23, 2020 7:45 pm

I think, what I am reading, is that you would pass the actual character?

I feel this would be jarring for those relationships that have been created. I don't think it is a good idea to pass over a character - for continuity purposes of those the noble interacted with, amongst other things.

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Posts: 1920
Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2011 8:54 pm
Discord Handle: ParaVox3#7579

Mon Mar 23, 2020 7:48 pm

Yes, it is passing the character. I found the idea jarring too - but it has worked on other games, like the aforementioned Firan. It was just the expectation there that characters of a certain level would pass on, and people got used to it.

I agree it probably was jarring, hence the question of how that played out for anyone who actually played there or another place with a roster system well enough to know. I personally picked up someone else's character, but didn't get far with it because I didn't stick with the game. For me, it wasn't terribly jarring, but I think it's more to the point of other people. Still, social discomfort tends to wear off quickly, particularly if a new person playing the character is announced, etc, and a provisional time is available for the dust to settle.

Posts: 82
Joined: Sun Dec 30, 2018 4:29 pm
Discord Handle: Kitty#2410

Mon Mar 23, 2020 7:50 pm

I am more of the mind of lack of continuity. No matter how many cnotes are written, no matter how good the documentation is, the chemistry between people is different. People's playstyles are different. Friends could become enemies simply because the same chemistry isn't there, and not for any real solid reason.

However, I'll step out, and let people who experienced it comment.

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Mon Mar 23, 2020 7:59 pm

One would also need to keep in mind things like magery, crime, heresy, and being potentially killed by the deeds of a previous "holder" of the roster character you are playing.

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Mon Mar 23, 2020 8:03 pm

I think it could work. I do suggest the character is cyan'd, and there should probably be an extended amount of time before it's available to roster into. An OOC year perhaps?
Between whatever cnotes are left and being cyan, I think it can be fudged enough. And people do tend to change a bit over time. If it's an OOC year, that would be 4 years of IC time. If it's made 2 OOC years, that'd be close to a decade of IC time.

Kuzco- that sounds great actually. While antagonistic character connections are free, I don't think it's taken advantage of much. This would kind of build it in.

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Joined: Thu Mar 05, 2020 1:43 am
Discord Handle: plague#6022

Mon Mar 23, 2020 8:05 pm

The technical term for the overarching concept of "Mechanical player characters, who are played by Staff or players as part of Staff-sponsored systems and plots" in a game that I staffed for was "Event Characters," and I think that this could be a very good move for some nobility, but I'm not sure that all nobility should be like this. Allow me to explain.

For the purposes of clear terminology, I will refer to the traditional characters of event characters as I know them as "ECs," and the idea posed here as "RCs".

Characteristics of ECs:

Low player attachment; ECs were expected to serve other's plots, not their own, and they were a pseudo-administrative role, similar to an NPC piloted by the DM in a tabletop game. Many of them were explicitly antagonists who were supposed to die within a certain timeframe, for instance.

Specialized intent, compared to player characters: Every single EC was built with a singular purpose, and nearly all of its RP revolved around that purpose, or might have only even existed for a single event, never to appear again (or to fall into the background until much, much later). Often, these one-use ECs were piloted by DMs, who would run tabletop-style events for private as well as public parties.

Higher starting benefits compared to player characters, as a result of limited and predefined RP opportunities, with the assumption that these benefits will be used within the character's specified goal. Generally speaking, an EC was at or above the level of a long-time player character (and as such, would be able to "match" just about anyone currently on-grid punch for punch, though this is difficult to represent in a game like this).

Access to parts of the lore of the game which are, as of yet, unexplored or undocumented among the wider playerbase, and an expectation to reveal these things to those who pursue them, should they put forth enough effort to do so.


There are already some factors of these things in NPCs like King Amir, and I think that for RCs, it would be a very good idea to curate them similar to NPCs. I think, as well, that it would be a good idea to keep them generally to areas which player characters very rarely reach - the highest tiers of society are ripe with characters that are heard about and should have a large existence, but they are overshadowed by player characters' actions (rightfully so). However, I believe the initial suggestion post does not build the expectation for those playing these characters that they would not, in fact, be playing a PC.

They would be providing a public service to the stories of player characters, and their purpose would be to enhance those stories.

Nobility currently are halfway there, but given how many of the highest-profile, highest-power, "protagonist-status" PCs are nobility, it is very clear that they are not there to serve as supporting characters for the stories of others. They are there, mechanically and narratively, for other characters to pledge support to, and for other characters to ride in their waves and ripples. They are an overpowering influence, and it is very difficult for a non-app character to approach that level of power without becoming nobility themselves (and there is a very limited pool of capacity to do so) - at least, it certainly feels that way, although I have personally had no problems with having some effect on the game world in the few weeks I've been here. It would obviously be a really bad idea to open up these already-existing nobility characters to this role of public service, because all too many of them have a very long, storied history with an immense amount of player attachment to the character, and they are not played for this purpose. They are quite clearly some people's favorite characters to play, and that makes the connection far too personal.

I think that if this is done, the fact that these characters are intended to be public service and supporting characters rather than the protagonists of their own stories should be made clearer, because it seems that people are interpreting it as an alternative version of player characters which can switch hands. That may even very well be the intent - but I believe it would be a flawed intent, and that these characters should very thoroughly remain within the "ownership" of Staff, even if they are "leased" to the trusted players who take up their mantles, and that this should be very clearly communicated.

Otherwise, it's just a slightly different version of what's already there, with an inactivity clause attached.

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