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Old 02-12-2013, 01:21 PM   #1
dark acacia
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RPI and PC power: can vs. should

In RPI games with permadeath, how much should player power be checked when they have the ability to easily kill another player? Is just having an IC reason for killing someone enough justification even if all IC rules are followed? Should the ability to PK someone (when the attack is believed by the attacker to be very likely to succeed) be used for skipping other ways to get through conflict even if the letter of the law is followed?

Here's an example to illustrate what I mean:

Players A and B are arguing over something trivial. Players C and D manage to convince Player B to back off and let things cool down, but Player A is determined to shut up Player B once and for all. Player B apologizes profusely for the conflict having reached this point and insists on refusing to fight back, dropping his weapons and telling Player A that he would be killing an unarmed person. Instead of backing off, Player A appreciates Player B's refusal to engage in PvP because this means there is now no chance for Player A to lose.

In this situation, A was not normally a murderer and was someone who would start bickering with B and make snide comments to him, and C and D actually killed A before A could kill B--their reason being to protect B from being murdered. A's reason for wanting to kill B was motivated only by A's contempt for B.

Another question: in some RPI games, I see in some games that non-combat PCs who are nobles have NPC guards follow them around to protect them from attacks, but in other games the NPC guards are reinforcements. Is it really a bit much for someone with some rank to have the ability to summon several NPC soldiers and then just threaten PK as a substitute for IC discussion or roleplay and as a way to guarantee their survival in PvP, even if the letter of the PK law is followed?
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Old 02-12-2013, 03:19 PM   #2
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Re: RPI and PC power: can vs. should

This sounds like one specific example of the age's old question: player to player courtesy versus being true to roleplaying versus being an opportunistic jerk.

As players of online games that are, truthfully, a fairly unpopular and sparsely populated hobby compared to most, we want other people who play the games we play to have fun, stay interested, and keep playing. That means that if there's an opportunity to kill another player's character that wouldn't be against a game's rules, and would align with the roleplaying that's currently taking place, some players might bend their roleplaying a little bit and refrain from killing someone off as a courtesy.

You also see the opposite. Online games are competitive, and it's a rush to be stronger, more established, and better than your fellow player, and to beat someone at the game. That means that if there's an opportunity to kill another player's character that wouldn't be against a game's rules, and would align with the roleplaying that's currently taking place, some players might go out of their way to find excuses to off someone because flexing their muscle and actually affecting someone else's game is what makes multiplayer games fun.

In the middle of this, you have the "roleplaying purists" who will claim to do exactly what their roleplaying dictates with no regard for their own enjoyment as a player or the enjoyment of other players. Kind of on the outside of this, you have personal haters and brown-nosers, who choose option A or option B based on whether they like or hate the other player. Then, of course, they claim that whatever they did, it was solely motivated by good roleplaying and not by personal feelings.

Which of the above is "right?" That varies from game to game. Obviously, in the real world, it's very rare for someone to kill someone else as an alternative to an intense discussion. But most muds take place in darker worlds where murder is pretty common and evil abounds, and where being stronger is more important than being a smart and persuasive talker who wins arguments. Because the stronger guy is going to jump the smarter guy two steps outside of the city guard's line of sight. Or if the stronger guy is a king, he'll just summon the guards or something. Depending on the game, it could be perfectly okay and "right" to completely stifle someone else's roleplaying with death or threats of death if you're in a position to do so, though tempered by the above options (player courtesy versus competitiveness versus roleplay purity).
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Old 02-12-2013, 04:43 PM   #3
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Re: RPI and PC power: can vs. should

Then there's the pragmatist RPI players - why in the world WOULD character A kill character B, as a result of a verbal bickering match? Are we talking about the *players* arguing, and bringing their argument into the game and taking it out on their characters? Because that isn't what an RPI is about, and the entire point of the first post in this thread is moot.

If you're talking about the *characters* and not the *Players* then you have to figure out WHY character A would kill character B. What kind of contempt is going on, that character A would even go that far in the first place? If character B is an evil [insert evil person who the city hates and wants dead here], and character A was on good terms with character B, and they got into an argument, and A threatend B, then sure. One less evil [insert evil whatever here] in the world, good riddance, character A just did the city a favor and should get a commendation for it.

But if they were VBFFs and law-abiding and got into a tiff over who gets to wear pink at Lady Pishtosh's Masquerade ball, then I'd say the *players* are playing really poorly, because only really stupid people would kill each other over a pink gown. Even immature people wouldn't kill each other for it.

So you have to go back to the OP and ask - you keep saying Player A, B, C, D - are you really talking about the players doing this as IC results of OOC bickering? Or are you talking about the characters enacting a scene and playing it out organically?
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Old 02-12-2013, 05:40 PM   #4
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Re: RPI and PC power: can vs. should

I was going to pull out the word "player" before posting and then I forgot. A made a rude comment about B, C, and D when the two groups met (A was alone, the others were together). B argued back and tried to stick up for the group, and A decided to kill B over the argument. B got rid of his weapons and refused to fight, and A took that to mean a free kill for him.

There really isn't some kind of codified moral system like LG, CE, and that.
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Old 02-12-2013, 05:46 PM   #5
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Re: RPI and PC power: can vs. should

Players should be given as much power as any person realistically could attain in the real world. If they abuse it then you don't give it to them again.
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Old 02-12-2013, 05:54 PM   #6
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Re: RPI and PC power: can vs. should

Quote:
Originally Posted by dark acacia View Post
I was going to pull out the word "player" before posting and then I forgot. A made a rude comment about B, C, and D when the two groups met (A was alone, the others were together). B argued back and tried to stick up for the group, and A decided to kill B over the argument. B got rid of his weapons and refused to fight, and A took that to mean a free kill for him.

There really isn't some kind of codified moral system like LG, CE, and that.
There's a lot of what ifs and silly sounding stuff in this scenario. Realistic, normal, well-roleplayed characters don't murder people over an argument unless they're roleplaying a psychotic, criminally insane lunatic, in which case, it's debatable how that person ever survived to an adult age in the first place in a type of world where people kill people. Being a generally normal person who gets along in the world just fine until an excuse to PK another player comes along, then suddenly morphing into a sociopath because the player thinks he'd enjoy a good PK, sounds squirrely.
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Old 02-12-2013, 06:19 PM   #7
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Re: RPI and PC power: can vs. should

Quote:
Originally Posted by dark acacia View Post
I was going to pull out the word "player" before posting and then I forgot. A made a rude comment about B, C, and D when the two groups met (A was alone, the others were together). B argued back and tried to stick up for the group, and A decided to kill B over the argument. B got rid of his weapons and refused to fight, and A took that to mean a free kill for him.

There really isn't some kind of codified moral system like LG, CE, and that.
Then A's *player* was being a twit. Unless, as Snow Troll said, the character itself was being portrayed as a psychopath. RPIs with permadeath aren't about killing people because your character can. In an RPI, you do what makes sense for your character to do. If it makes sense for your character to murder someone because you disagree with them on a topic of interest, then hey - all's fair in love and war. But if it is only making sense, because you, the player, insist on your character winning and to hell with the actual plotline, and the staff is okay with that, then you're not playing an RPI. You're playing a hack-n-slash.
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Old 02-13-2013, 02:54 AM   #8
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Re: RPI and PC power: can vs. should

I think the biggest problem is when players act like trolls.

I have seen this happen on MUDs without permadeath.

Player gets disgruntled, sometimes starts new characters to fight
in meta-wars against other players.

This ruins the atmosphere for other players.

In theory, I think if you have really awesome roleplayers then a RPI mud could work very well, with permadeath.

But in actual practice, I don't know. Admin would have to constantly check if an action is valid or not, and even then there are cases where a "clever" player will find all legitimate reasons to explain the behaviour of his character.

IMO, I would not want to give all players permission to screw over other players, even if only 1% of all players would or could do that.

Perhaps it might work if you give players enough leeway first - they might have to roleplay for 100 online days with their character, before they are no longer checked by admin. I mean, you could build a model of trust, and let those players sign agreements to keep IC and OOC separate, especially in situations that could permanently remove another character from the game. Then it could work.
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Old 02-13-2013, 10:36 AM   #9
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Re: RPI and PC power: can vs. should

Quote:
Originally Posted by shevegen View Post
I think the biggest problem is when players act like trolls.

I have seen this happen on MUDs without permadeath.

Player gets disgruntled, sometimes starts new characters to fight
in meta-wars against other players.

This ruins the atmosphere for other players.
I've seen a lot of this, too. Where things go wrong (with or without permadeath) is when a player gets bored and decides he doesn't want to play a current character any more, or wants to change things up for no good reason. In a mud I played a long time ago, every time a player in my awesome organization got tired of a character and decided to delete it or quit playing it, they could never bring themselves to just type quit or delete and go away. They always had to go out with a bang by, out of the blue, raging against the leadership of the organization and getting themselves executed. They were fine, upstanding members who had no problems with the leaders or anybody in the group, but because the player was bored and made an out of character decision to quit playing the character, they had their character act in a manner not aligned with previous roleplaying that, unfortunately, affected things.

To people on the outside, it looked like the organization's leaders didn't have their crap together, and the organization was badly run and full of silly drama, so people quit joining. The mud administration thought the leadership was unpopular and made arrangements to replace them even though everyone was happy. All from two or three players who decided they were "helping the game" by "adding to the roleplay" and going out with a bang instead of just quitting.

The only "real" solution to problems like this and those expressed in previous posts is to follow the entire playerbase around, log everything, and police roleplaying mud-wide. And nobody wants to do that. So you just trust that most of the players are trying hard and playing well, and you accept that it's just a game, so rolling with the punches and letting some tools get away with silliness is just part of running a mud.
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Old 02-13-2013, 08:29 PM   #10
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Re: RPI and PC power: can vs. should

Quote:
Originally Posted by dark acacia View Post
In RPI games with permadeath, how much should player power be checked when they have the ability to easily kill another player? Is just having an IC reason for killing someone enough justification even if all IC rules are followed? Should the ability to PK someone (when the attack is believed by the attacker to be very likely to succeed) be used for skipping other ways to get through conflict even if the letter of the law is followed?

Here's an example to illustrate what I mean:

Players A and B are arguing over something trivial. Players C and D manage to convince Player B to back off and let things cool down, but Player A is determined to shut up Player B once and for all. Player B apologizes profusely for the conflict having reached this point and insists on refusing to fight back, dropping his weapons and telling Player A that he would be killing an unarmed person. Instead of backing off, Player A appreciates Player B's refusal to engage in PvP because this means there is now no chance for Player A to lose.

In this situation, A was not normally a murderer and was someone who would start bickering with B and make snide comments to him, and C and D actually killed A before A could kill B--their reason being to protect B from being murdered. A's reason for wanting to kill B was motivated only by A's contempt for B.

Another question: in some RPI games, I see in some games that non-combat PCs who are nobles have NPC guards follow them around to protect them from attacks, but in other games the NPC guards are reinforcements. Is it really a bit much for someone with some rank to have the ability to summon several NPC soldiers and then just threaten PK as a substitute for IC discussion or roleplay and as a way to guarantee their survival in PvP, even if the letter of the PK law is followed?
My guess is, that when you play for a while, the possibility of death, actual character death feels less brutal. You tend to assume that usually there is more going on than you see.
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Old 02-15-2013, 12:43 AM   #11
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Re: RPI and PC power: can vs. should

Developments occurring after I made this thread: apparently A's player ended up making a new character who is completely the same as the one which was killed, and is happy to go all out mutually-assured destruction with anyone whom she doesn't like.
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Old 02-15-2013, 09:25 AM   #12
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Re: RPI and PC power: can vs. should

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Originally Posted by dark acacia View Post
Developments occurring after I made this thread: apparently A's player ended up making a new character who is completely the same as the one which was killed, and is happy to go all out mutually-assured destruction with anyone whom she doesn't like.
Most people in the mud you play are probably telling you to just let roleplaying resolve that type of issue. If a series of successive crazy people keep showing up and picking fights, they get slapped down and killed, right? But I'm more with you on this, though probably for different reasons. Forget the fact that this player is an out of character griefer or is continuing out of character vendettas with successive characters. I don't care about that. The roleplaying just doesn't make sense from square one.

If a character is a violent psychopath who picks fights with relative strangers over verbal arguments, he or she shouldn't exist, because the character never would have survived to adulthood in an intolerant world where people like that would have been killed years ago, or at the very least, had an impossible time finding work or feeding themselves. They would never have reached the state where they're a viable mud character with skills and abilities, able to lurk around in a public area in your mud and pick fights with people.
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Old 02-15-2013, 12:52 PM   #13
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Re: RPI and PC power: can vs. should

I was actually surprised last night when an immortal listened in on myself and another player as we discussed the issue, and now it's going to be handled. The way it sounds, A is new to RPI games in general and was upset about being killed off when he was going to kill a rival (the aforementioned B), so he ended up playing the same kind of character with the same kind of attitude to get revenge.

It's a small playerbase and it turns out that the imms don't want toxic PCs like A ruining the experience for others and forcing people to quit out of frustration. It was influencing my role play and the role play of my character's friend to the point where we were constantly walking on eggshells around the person and taking out our frustrations on each other in private, and I was at the point of giving up and quitting. Ten people online at a time is actually very good for the game right now and the imms don't want that threatened.

The game's extensive request tool system has a complaint category, and it was explained to me by the imm that the complaint category is specifically for venting problems so that people don't bottle them up and ragequit. Had I known, I could have just shot them a complaint through that system and they would at least have been willing lend an ear and give advice.

Last edited by dark acacia : 02-15-2013 at 12:58 PM.
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