Seneschal Directly Ousting GLs — Why This Can Be Good

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The_Last_Good_Dragon
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Sat Jun 02, 2018 7:11 pm

(Note: staff has established that the Grand Inquisitor and the Covert GLs (Tenebrae, right now) are immune from direct ousting as neither answers to any secular authority.)

At the recent OOC meeting (log here), players expressed some concerns related to the role of Seneschal being given the power to directly oust non-entrenched GLs as a general revamp and improvement on their power in the upcoming weeks/whenever. Note that I'm generally against the reasoning for the idea: Seneschals in the past have expressed that they don't have enough ability to RP from a position of authority, and we've generally had many OOCly discontent Seneschals in the past. I think the position has plenty of authority as is, and though I think it could use some meaningful power-ups, I don't think this change will solve anything: TIL is, ultimately, a game about who your character knows and is friends with; it's a game of conflict, where actions can have unforeseen repercussions and having friends in the right places with the right resources mitigate problems your character runs into.

A Seneschal who removes GLs without either some IC support within the Guild, or without important allies to help defend the situation, will dig themselves into a hole. Already, both the Grand Inquisitor and Lord Justiciar have similar powers: the former can arrest any GL for heresy and the latter for any large number of crime; both roles can fabricate evidence if they so choose it: those steps generally result in the end of a character and are probably not employed as often as they require much more preparation — and, as per help pkill, that the death "be a meaningful part of the game's plot. But the opportunities exist already as-is. A Seneschal who removes leadership of a Guild either of those roles are supported by without a way to mitigate that support opens themselves up to a much more harsh retribution that what they dish out. — Staff has firmly stated such oustings are very much IC things.. No (honestly) saying "Well the vNPC Physicians demanded that the Prime be removed", for instance, to use OOC methods to deflect the blame.

It's my hope that the change will turn a Seneschal using a "gambit" as a threat to get their way — which shouldn't be done lightly in the first place — will enable them to make the threat with more weight; instead of a laugh and "No you can't" response; a chuckle, a (nervous?) smile, and a "Try me" one.

I do think that there should be an IC policy for a guild being able to reverse the Seneschal's decision: I'd propose a simple Council Vote to enable a Guild seeking to defy the Seneschal's command be established. This would require the Seneschal to curry the favor of the Council — as they are supposed to do already — in order to more capably enact their power, as well as giving GLs and Nobles something to RP around if it does revert. A desperate Grand Magnate might offer a noble a cozy status among the merchants for voting against the Council, whereas the Seneschal might threaten action against a noble (imprisonment, or getting the Reeves to levy a fine against them!) if they do just that. — I think finding a way to incorporate the Seneschal's authority into Projects might do a lot more to reinforce their thematic role.
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Taunya
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Sat Jun 02, 2018 7:27 pm

I'm generally in favor of the change, but I'll wait until the IC announcement of the changes to the position of Seneschal is made before weighing in on the rest.

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Kinaed
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Sat Jun 02, 2018 9:00 pm

Just to note - I don't think I understood the context of the question when I was asked if it was IC or not. I did not rule it out that the Seneschal could hide behind saying they were fulfilling the demands of the people, etc, I just said that using the command was intended to be IC.

Honestly, I hadn't given much thought to it at all, and am not sure where I sit on that item. Happy for it to be discussed further.

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The_Last_Good_Dragon
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Sat Jun 02, 2018 9:49 pm

Rather, my point was that the Seneschal could not act as if they have no hand in the matter; that the decision is ultimately theirs. For example, in the past some Gambits have had very obfuscated origins, which is certainly fine and great as a gambit. A seneschal can be held ICly accountable for the choice was all I meant.
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Kinaed
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Sat Jun 02, 2018 10:50 pm

Hmm. I certainly agree with that in a practical sense - it is an IC action done by a specific IC person for IC reasons... I'm just not sure if the fact that it happens that way ICly means that it cannot be ICly represented some other way as an intentional IC obfuscation, and whether declaring that it cannot means that we're explicitly OOCly making it so that any attempt to obfuscate the truth ICly will automatically fail because we all know the truth.

On one hand, saying yes has strong accountability for the Seneschal and avoids problems that I'd personlly hate, such as rumors that 'staff booted GL X on a whim' rather than the Seneschal taking responsibility and medicine for their behavior. On the other hand, it means that the stories around this are narrowed and becoming limiting. Maybe that's for the best.

The flip side is that if the Seneschal were ousting someone, particularly as we're not seeing this as a Proclaimation of Ousting, but rather bringing their IC power to bear (ie, pulling strings of control over the NPC populace) to force the GL out - practically speaking, we would be talking almost every time with a query about how traceable it is to the Seneschal. So from that perspective, it'd be more realistic if such a thing did look like an esoteric IC event that isn't easily fought and everyone just knows OOCly that it was probably a Seneschal ousting. Upside - more variety and realism. Downside - staff having a lot of social issues as people feel undirected rage when they disagree.

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Voxumo
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Sat Jun 02, 2018 11:02 pm

I have to be honest I'm completely against such a power being icly done through npcs/vnpcs. If one GL can outright expulse another GL, they should have all the responsibility that comes with that, including it being entirely on their head. Sure one could icly explain away the various contacts and resources they used to see the person removed, but it should always fall back on "Person A is the one who ordered the removal" Not "Npc group X, C and V came to the seneschal to remove said Guildleader"

Admittingly I'm basing this off of not so much ousting, but similar experiences I've had with the rumor mill, where it cost me 20 qp in rpa just to find out some random vnpc spread the rumor, even though oocly I knew very well who it was, and would have costed me another 10 qp just to see said vnpc punished. I certainly would not wish for such a similar procedure with the Seneschal and Expulsion. It needs to be linked directly to them as them giving the orders.

Another thing is that this should be linked to their approval rating as well. If they aren't entrenched or loved, I don't think they should have access to said power.
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Starstarfish
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Sat Jun 02, 2018 11:27 pm

I'm against people being able to blame NPCs or vNPCs for their own personal actions. I think that allows people to get the benefits for such actions while dodging the potential consequences in a way that seems against the core "non-consensual" concept. The balancing factor of a Seneschal booting out a GL should be the potential consequences to themselves. If they can just push the blame onto an area of the game that can't be well RPed with - NPCs and vNPCs that will just be a frustrating experience.

As noted, that is one of the biggest issues with the rumor system now is the lack of accountability and consequence.

Otherwise, make a Seneschal outing cost IP. Merchants Blacklisting costs IP, Guilding a member with no sponsor costs IP. Make the Seneschal running an ousting cost them more IP than they can make/earn themselves unless they believe strongly enough in it they'll buy the IP or will RP to gain it, thus making it a less arbitrary and more political decision.

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Voxumo
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Sat Jun 02, 2018 11:33 pm

I actually really like the idea of the IP requirement.
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quanin
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Sun Jun 03, 2018 10:18 am

I'd like to see the system not so much dependent on the targeted GL's approval, which seems to fluctuate daily even if the level of support doesn't appear to, but definitely require it be an IP action, a la noble projects, blacklisting, etc. If the seneschal wants to oust a GL, that should be his/her choice, but it should require backing--especially if the targeted GL, or the guild that person leads, doesn't have a way to work against it.

Along the same lines, I don't recall seeing an answer to this question, though it's possible I missed it. If a GL does get the boot, what stops that guild from just reappointing him/her later? Say the Seneschal has decided the Reeves need a new Proconsul, so gives the current one the hook. If the Justiciar doesn't agree with it, could he not just reappoint that same Proconsul?

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The_Last_Good_Dragon
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Sun Jun 03, 2018 11:08 am

I think the entrenched level is a fair level to hold a Guild Leader as safe at — it's really not that hard to get someone wavering off of that, though if it proves to be too difficult I think it could be removed.
quanin wrote:
Sun Jun 03, 2018 10:18 am
Along the same lines, I don't recall seeing an answer to this question, though it's possible I missed it. If a GL does get the boot, what stops that guild from just reappointing him/her later? Say the Seneschal has decided the Reeves need a new Proconsul, so gives the current one the hook. If the Justiciar doesn't agree with it, could he not just reappoint that same Proconsul?
We deffo's need an answer to this before the system goes into play — I think a council vote, which includes all active nobles and Guild Leaders, seems sensible. Maybe even a supermajority to over-rule the Seneschal (which would ICly be seen as a pretty significant blow to said Seneschal; failing to maintain Council support should feel like a strong undercut to the Seneschal's authority).
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