[Poll] Theme Enforcement - the gentle approach

Talk about anything TI here! Also include suggestions for the game, website, and these forums.

Theme enforcement as it stands is...

exactly how I like it
8
36%
okay, but could use some improvement
8
36%
failing us in significant ways that concern me
6
27%
 
Total votes: 22
User avatar
Kinaed
Posts: 1689
Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2011 8:54 pm

Re: [Poll] Theme Enforcement - the gentle approach

Postby Kinaed » Wed Dec 06, 2017 12:02 am

Can you be more specific about which help files say "come to staff to resolve theme issues" as opposed to "staff will generally act in a themely manner and may choose to step in if required"? Happy to fix.
User avatar
Rabek
Posts: 177
Joined: Thu Jan 20, 2011 4:48 pm

Re: [Poll] Theme Enforcement - the gentle approach

Postby Rabek » Wed Dec 06, 2017 1:47 pm

Kinaed wrote:But I note you're playing here, so I'll take that as an indicator that things aren't perfect in that scenario either.


I'm perfectly capable of playing more than one game at once.

In recent years, TI has gone from hands-down my favorite MU* to one I can barely stomach idling on. That decline has increased rapidly since Takta left the game. Whatever your personal opinions of the individual (she and I had our conflicts in the past), she was a driving force for the improvement of the game, immensely active as staff, as a player, and in the forums.

I do stomach it, however, because I have friends that still play, and I post on the forums because I believe it can be good again, some day. If they're posting, it's because they care about TI enough to try to make it a game worth playing again. It currently isn't, for many people. Even when I'm not playing, I'm constantly getting messages from current players who are unsatisfied or former players who recently quit.

I don't play it because it's better than my other options. It's not.

TI is not my primary game any more, even if I play for a couple hours a week. I still don't think TI is beyond saving. I've been playing it (off and on) since the very first iteration, all those years ago. It's near and dear to me, and I want to see it succeed.

I imagine you have the same goal, so I hope you'll listen when the people who think the current system needs improved is nearly double those who think it's fine (14 to 8, as of this post; easy to forget two of the options indicate room for improvement).

I hope you'll realize we're on the same side, as much as we may dislike one another.

(Portions omitted for aggression and personal attacks --Niamh)
User avatar
Niamh
Posts: 252
Joined: Wed Nov 30, 2016 9:04 pm

Re: [Poll] Theme Enforcement - the gentle approach

Postby Niamh » Wed Dec 06, 2017 2:18 pm

Reminder to all relevant parties to keep it civil and refrain from personal attacks.
Be excellent to each other.
User avatar
Kinaed
Posts: 1689
Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2011 8:54 pm

Re: [Poll] Theme Enforcement - the gentle approach

Postby Kinaed » Wed Dec 06, 2017 2:32 pm

Thanks Niamh, I shall also heed your warning. That said, I would like this post to get back on topic. It is about theme enforcement and how that ought to be handled. Does anyone have anything more to raise on that point?

Staff have clearly stated we are not the answer or an option for a solution, at least not in the manner of watching RP and "educating" people or puppeting NPCs.

What other improvements can we make? Something structural? An agreement amongst players about how to behave? Themeliness ratings?
User avatar
The_Last_Good_Dragon
Posts: 100
Joined: Sun Feb 14, 2016 1:08 am

Re: [Poll] Theme Enforcement - the gentle approach

Postby The_Last_Good_Dragon » Thu Dec 07, 2017 10:02 pm

I'd like to quickly chime my own voice in on a few things I've seen discussed --

Mary Freeman can't accuse the Grand Inquisitor of being a heretic when she sees him going around praying for the Lord to bless people with wealth and happiness (which is unthematic and heretical). The NPC Cardinal can.


What in the world is stopping a Freeman from accusing a Grand Inquisitor of heresy? Is it the fear of retribution? — that's a fear that is intrinsically thematic, as a core part of the game is 'High Class v Low Class'. Is it not having someone to report it to? — that makes some small sense, but frankly sometimes I think players need to take risks. There are players out there who would be sympathetic to an accusation against high-ranking Order members; an anonymous note left for other figures in power can form some impact or create new storylines if a low-class player is brave enough to make it.

We're just asking for a game where theme matters, and for much of the pbase, there's nothing we can do when certain unthematic things happen. Nothing short of murder, which is a far more thematic response than some people are giving it credit for.


This might be a bit of an exaggeration. [/s] There are so many tools to go with when you feel like there isn't someone "doing their job" or "being thematic" or whatever it is; mages have a whole host of options while mundane players can do such mundane things as spreading rumors (and I don't just mean throught the rumor system — actually be brave enough to talk shit about someone during live RP if you're going to complain) or even beating the shit out of them. Seriously: jump a player in a tavern. Take them out into the forest and drub on them like a training dummy. Get mean, ICly.

If players get to all be special, then we need NPCs who aren't, or there's simply no context for what's special and what isn't.


I get complimented for playing "thematic" characters a lot; while I appreciate people's kind words immensely, I have to laugh because, for all that Farra presents a 'proper' facade to the world, she's an awful noble underneath the surface. Truly awful; I have no doubt in reading some of the feedback on this thread that if some people got a glimpse into all the things Farra has done that they'd stomp their feet and complain that Farra should've been banned or killed or kicked out by the Duke or any number of things. All players are special because static, run-of-the-mill characters tend to be static and boring. And given that we're adults playing a game, if we're unable to apply 'context' for the uniqueness of PCs then that's not something someone playing a pious farmgirl or sagacious, Gift-of-Caring noble is going to fix. You act like, in those other RPE's, staff stepping into NPCs "fixes" anything. It doesn't; it really doesn't. It just makes some players feel vindicated and others feel attacked.

For all the discussion, complaints, and arguments, I've seen no suggestions that are contencious that doesn't seem to divide opinion.
Thinking about where I personally think there could be improvement: I'd like to see magic a bit more visible in the game. There hasn't been whisper of a larger-scale plot since I came back a couple of months ago, which makes me a bit sad. I know very well how difficult it can be to run these MUD-wide events and I'm certainly enjoying myself immensely involving Farra with the RP she's getting, so it's less complaint and more hopefuly suggestion; there's always room for improvement but, personally, I look at the vote as being 16 in favor of how things are being run vs 6 frustrated by it.
~~ Team Farra'n'Stuff. ~~
kipperialovskii
Posts: 28
Joined: Thu Apr 27, 2017 11:54 am

Re: [Poll] Theme Enforcement - the gentle approach

Postby kipperialovskii » Fri Dec 08, 2017 10:04 am

Well, this got weird.

My vote was more along the lines of 'Problems exist, and can be fixed through editing existing means'.

As I've covered in another topic, there are concepts entirely lost when you translate Dark Fantasy and Medieval Stereotypes into TI. Usually, these mistakes are almost entirely OOC. And likely cause a cyan to go back to Character Generation to remedy mistakes, or, more awkwardly, try and fix a strange issue like that IC.

Rather than suggesting that staff inject themselves onto grid to enforce how things run, I think it would be more constructive to focus more on 'How do we impart the translation issues to a new player?'

This would be, for instance, when you select a race, that a 'Race Demographics' sheet pops up. Or, for instance, the same for choosing your religion. It's a coded, hands-off means of ensuring people understand the rough gist. Or, perhaps, incentivizing activities like Confession (An XP gain or QP bonus like from Pvents) to encourage people to participate in the main conflict of the game without directly slapping the wrists of anyone.

The helpfiles are great for people specializing in RP, but, even older players tend to go by experience, rather than read through them, in my experiences. (Even in regards to Davism.)
Last edited by kipperialovskii on Fri Dec 08, 2017 10:19 am, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
Rabek
Posts: 177
Joined: Thu Jan 20, 2011 4:48 pm

Re: [Poll] Theme Enforcement - the gentle approach

Postby Rabek » Fri Dec 08, 2017 2:07 pm

Being a good person as a facade and a monster behind closed doors is absolutely thematic. I've been involved in significant portions of the horrible things Farra has done. One could go so far as to say "pious facade, monster in private" is one of the two main points of the theme (the other being the people who find those secret monsters.) You seem to be misunderstanding my point. It's the broad swathes of people who don't even try to put up that facade, especially when in positions of power, that are the problem. So yes, you are being praised explicitly for that facade, Farra.

A core component of TI's theme is also top-down enforcement of morals and culture (See: Dav's Laws and Declarations). So no, people cannot put pressure on their superiors to behave thematically while still being in theme. They can remove these problem authority figures through gambits (in theory; most people just don't care enough unless it affects them personally) or murder, but that doesn't really solve the problem. A top-down system like how Lithmorran culture works needs the top to be enforcing theme, whether that's the GLs or some higher authority. When you remove problem GLs instead of pressuring them into shape/educating them (as theme says the system is supposed to work), you just get a replacement who has the same failings. It's a problem we've seen for years with the revolving door of GLs. The problem is that the people who are, thematically, meant to be providing this pressure are NPCs. And the staff have stated that they don't want to do that job (despite sometimes doing it anyway).

And no, you can't beat anyone up for rumors in the rumor system. Those are explicitly the rumors I was talking about, those are the rumors that often contain unthematic information, and that is the system that players can't do anything about. Yes, quash exists, but it does next to nothing even if you invest IP to quash it harder. I don't know if I've ever even heard of a rumor getting removed by quash rather than reporting (and perhaps making quash more effective, or letting Bards remove rumors like they used to as suggested earlier, would be something concrete that could be done. I'm not confident it'll fix the problem, though, rather than just having people quash rumors about themselves).

And yes, NPCs helping to behave as exemplars for theme does help. I've seen it. If nothing else, it teaches players to self-police. I've seen it happen. Games where staff step in with NPCs, the playerbase tend to be much quicker to give people IC and OOC nudges towards more appropriate (public) behavior. And I've been the target of that staff puppetting, too. It stung, yes, but it makes a better game. I'm glad they did it. My character stuck to their guns, and it led to an interesting plot that rippled out to still be affecting the game a year after the character retired. It turned my screwup into an integrated part of the game world and theme, rather than acting outside of it.

Because that's all the enforcement I think anyone is really asking for. Public behavior. That's what newbies are going to see. That's where most of the immersion is. Being a heretic behind closed doors isn't "unthematic," it's the opposite. It's being a heretic in public with no consequences that damages the integrity of the game, not doing it in private.
User avatar
Niamh
Posts: 252
Joined: Wed Nov 30, 2016 9:04 pm

Re: [Poll] Theme Enforcement - the gentle approach

Postby Niamh » Fri Dec 08, 2017 2:52 pm

There are some excellent ideas in this thread! Apart from them, I do have a concern I'd like to float out into the universe.

One thing that has been niggling at me lately is the push that a small handful of players have taken to to "educate" other players through tells or other OOC means when (in their opinion) something unthematic has happened -- or even someday -might- happen. I feel like this is a pretty bad move for a few reasons. The big one is that no one knows what is going on behind the scenes with the character that is being criticised OOC. For all the "adviser" knows, there is a thoroughly good reason behind their choice to do X or Y, or to make whatever choice they have in character design/behavior.

By trying to pressure other players OOC to do it your way based on one's limited understanding of their character, you're actually doing no one any favors. On the contrary, because they should not be having to deal with OOC pressure in the first place, the result is almost universally negative.

Something we need is for all players to give others the benefit of the thematic doubt that they themselves feel entitled to. Not just your friends, not just the guy who you had a fun scene with and grew to appreciate, but the characters you dislike and players you aren't real fond of either. Many aspects of theme have countless shades of grey - different ways they can be perceived or reacted to. I believe that this is by design. No one player's interpretation of theme is the black and white "right" one, and contacting others OOC to push one's personal version down other people's gullets doesn't make for a better game environment. I empathize with wanting everyone else's perception to reflect one's own, but it can't always work that way. It's best to let the differences generate roleplay, and to keep your opinions on whether or not it's "good" RP to one's self.

Tldr: Where it comes to theme, a good rule of thumb is giving others the benefit of the doubt that you feel entitled to. React IC, and where it comes to anything at all RP-related, leave other people alone OOC. If someone needs OOC help or has questions about theme, allow them to ask.

(Note: This is not directed to any one specific individual; apologies in advance if it comes off that way. Intended as a general advisement only.)
Be excellent to each other.

Return to “General Discussion”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest