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Those Involved with the CONAL Situation

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  • Those Involved with the CONAL Situation

    On the current issue of the conflict with Conal,

    While I dislike discussing SG issues publicly, it has recently come to my attention that some players involved in this (unfortunately) on going issue are claiming favoritism towards the player Conal because of how it is unfolding. As it is primarily via the backchannel or through e-mails/chats to other players, and not in assists or e-mails to me or other SGs, this is how I am choosing to address it, as it seems some transparency is needed to hopefully clarify some issues.

    The situation in which Conal was trapped was a valid IC situation, a trap laid out by PCs. The escape situation turned out poorly, and required some SG intervention. The result of this was Conal was returned to the prisons, so a new scene could unfold. I have heard that people say, "If someone had just sorted the scene right then and there, this wouldn't be a problem!". Unfortunately, staff is not on 24/7 and if we did have someone on at all hours, there would be no guarantee that they were a Story Guide. I understand this is a difficult allowance for some to grant us, but it is one that is simply how it is. The OOC conflict between those involved was handled first thing when I saw it in the TAS. I requested e-mails, sent opages, and made the call to return him to the stairway in hopes a new scene could take place.

    The unfortunate matter for IC events is that Conal's player is currently stationed overseas, and has no reliable play times or PC friendly log in times. He was heading out the day after the initial incident, and is now preparing to head out again for the rest of this month.

    It is impossible to please everyone, so myself and the SP team sat down to try and find an amenable outcome for everyone. There isn't one. Here is where we are at:

    1. A bunch of frustrated OOC players who all contribute to this game in a positive way through conflict/story telling.

    Yikes. Talk about things to handle in your time off. :-)

    2. The age-old struggle of cooperative RP, where everyone is satisfied with the tale told.

    Everyone wants to win all the time. Unfortunately, everyone can't win all the time. We say this. People nod in agreement, but when it comes to their characters, the tune changes immediately.

    3. A character who may be facing permanent death upon capture.

    That is Conal.

    If we are open and honest, story is begotten by conflict. What causes it? How is it resolved? All the steps to and in between the questions spin a web of tales for the players to participate in.

    Conal is one of the ONLY Players who has been willing and is willing to enter into conflict situations. Many of you will say you are, too, but to be honest, you're not. Most players who have tried conflict characters

    4. Some inattention to RP surroundings on everyone's part.

    Who is where?
    How big could this be?
    What are people carrying in their hands?
    What are you carrying in your hands?

    5. A lack of assists with questions about feasible options *before* it escalated to this point.

    Conal's player said he wanted to test the key, because he was suspicious. He couldn't code wise. He didn't assist either.
    Conal's player wanted to know if he could stick his arm through the gate and unlock it that way. It was after this happened, and while it would have been more feasible before it got to this point, in an attempt to keep the players of the Army from feeling cheated, we have thus far declined something reasonable.

    I know that were it anyone in Conal's situation, they would be incensed over that last statement. He is frustrated. You are frustrated.


    As he is going to be gone, we are trying to find a way in which the situation can be handled where there is minimal frustration. The SP team, myself, and the SH will hopefully have a chance to discuss it further tonight and see what can be arranged to make this more organic in a storytelling sense and satisfy the players involved.

    If you have suggestions other than, "I want to win, no matter what", I would gladly see them posted here. If they become uncivil in tone, I will ignore them or remove them. I am a trained professional at ignoring passive aggressive/aggressive remarks and accusations with a smile. Constructive ideas are the best to get the story rolling on all accounts.

    If you opt to take part in this on the forums, giving ideas on how best to handle this, keep focused on the situation presented. Any derailment will be removed without question. If you have thoughts or feelings on this that you do not wish to share, you are encouraged to ASSIST or e-mail me at:

    Thank you and have a nice day.

    StoryGuide Samael

  • #2
    First a little deflection. Its clear you are frustrated too, but a major portion of the people involved are seeing this the same way. In a jury of peers, it wouldn't go well. Thankfully, we have a judge who is asking for opinions instead of the other way. I want to start by saying acknowledging people's feelings on the matter will go a lot further than deleting them or brushing them off. On that, i've seen some interesting feelings come across emails about this, and I don't reply to them, but I do take account of what people think. As an ENTIRE player base. I want to express some of those feelings now, and encourage you to let some people vent openly and get it out of their system so that they -can- think rationally about what can be done.

    Conal is one of the ONLY Players who has been willing and is willing to enter into conflict situations. Many of you will say you are, too, but to be honest, you're not. Most players who have tried conflict characters
    I'll plead guilty from this from time to time. Mostly because because of the first part of the statement "conal is one of the only" so the implied reasoning is we should let him keep doing it. I'm guilty because over the last couple of YEARS, its becoming more and more apparent, after seeing him win...and win...and win win win....lose once to galatea and then win some more, that any successful player led plot to capture him is either going to be "Smokebombed" or reset to give him a better chance to plan for what may unfold. It becomes tiresome to engage with his story when there's always some powerplay for him to "win" yet again. He's that guy at the DnD game that wants to play a child of the fire god, as a race, and destroy the world, when its a humans only environment. Its tiring to go against that and lose, for years, so we can have "Conflict". Conflict that has never worked out well for all involved. Headache for you, headache for us, headache for them.

    Everyone wants to win all the time. Unfortunately, everyone can't win all the time. We say this. People nod in agreement, but when it comes to their characters, the tune changes immediately.
    "We want to win all the time" , is a misconception because we just hope to win SOMETIMES. Adahn's been killed, gravely wounded (during a time he -really- needed to be healthy when some major game events were unfolding aka The princes current state) lost friends to disfavor because of Conal, others been executed, suffered disfavor by proxy to them and more. because of conal. Its been almost two years. Do I want to win? Of course I do.
    Of course. I. Do.
    So does gunn, natasha, anyone whose taken the loss to him ofter the last couple years, WANTS TO. Please dont turn the motivations on why we play this game into something that we should feel guilty for. CM needs us to be motivated to want to log in and play.

    However, we DO take the losses, repeatedly, on the faith that eventually when we finally trap him, he'll play fair back. Fight hard sure, if you legitimately find a way out, fine. Not just "leaving cuz i threw a smoke bomb" passing right through that many people standing in the way. Its not acceptable, and if we are being honest, not at all realistic or fair.

    The whole thing is just feeling false now. I do want a win for the army against him to be honest We got him trapped, after many of us sacrificing A LOT so he could be the bad guy, but more and more its feeling like "well, too bad, we need conflict." I don't, not really. I tolerate it for the good of those that like it, I like cooperative conflict, us against them. Not us against us. Not my favorite, but i'll do it.


    In any case here's my constructive criticism ==

    He's had a long run. He's caused a lot of damage, to a lot of people and the people who loved them. He's done amazing. We've kind of shrugged and rolled our eyes occassionally so he could have his evil moments. However, He stepped into a good trap laid out by the captain after killing the last well trained soldier and taking his keys. He's played that card before with Natasha, we knew he could do it again, we adapted. Damned good run. There was a ton of people there, making sure he couldn't get away by blocking the door, once he was discovered.
    (I wasn't even part of the scene, but I was at work reading special couriers going (FINALLY! GET HIM GET HIM!) Even told my students about it. They were eager to know what happened the next day. Imagine their, and my, disappointment. )

    Make him deal with the extensive and legitimate role play against him from many sources, and then find some way later, for the shadows to free their champion from a black cell before he's dismembered and tossed in a furnace. (i dont know, some massive tentacle punching holes in the walls born straight out of the altar, eventually finding where conal is. Faith trying to throw holy insults at it making it bob and weave and cringe, but ultimately crashing a hole that Conal can climb out of.whatever, ideas could be endless) "We" finally get our win, and he gets his again, later, a bit of give and take.

    As for his deployment, I wish him luck in whatever he's doing there. But marrach is marrach. It would have been a good day to get captured and work out a plot with staff to escape when his playing became regular again.


    • #3
      The only issue that frustrated me was the assumption that there was favoritism.

      I dismiss venting insofar that in this situation (making it public) I require to know precisely what the individuals are looking for and why with as little extra information as possible. If it is embroiled in emotional pudding, it increases the chances of an argument erupting among players and a derailing of the thread's intention. My job is to find a way to handle this in the most efficient, fair manner as possible. Because people do say cruel things, throw baseless accusations, and do respond with hurt feelings it is imperative for me as a volunteer customer service rep (which is what SGing is) to be able to take the emotional and aggressive remarks and put them aside in favor of the important information to the current situation.

      You want fairness. I need clarity in representation of desires.

      If you had desired to vent, I have easily sat in my office for 2+ hours listening to individuals vent and argue in circles, in private. That is my preferred venue for venting on topics. Individuals often make things personal (as you have in your vent), and it is to be expected, but on a public forum when seeking a clear line of ideas, it makes it difficult when I have to debunk a multitude of feelings to get to the meat of what I need.

      Hopefully, you understand that Conal was returned to the dungeon staircase because of rulings made based off the logs of the Army characters. There are other factors that have been put on the table in this instance, but those are ones I cannot discuss in public for reasons of privacy. In addition to this, the only reason Conal has not been just placed in a cell and given to the Army as a win, is because we thought (perhaps incorrectly), that the players would enjoy an actual resolution they were involved with. Because of factors beyond our control it has reached a point where we have had to revisit the situation in hopes of moving it forward, rather than it stagnating.

      Thank you for your feedback.
      StoryGuide Samael


      • #4
        There's a lot I want to say, but seeing as how I don't have a lot of time right now, I just want to say that Conal's lost, many times. Not just to Galatea, but that's a good example. He lost, he died. Then he was beheaded. Then everything went back to square one and that was fine. I don't mind losing. Conal's lost a lot of fights and had to retreat, taking losses each time. Conal's had setbacks. He's had the people he's marked cured. One was just "magically" noticed and cured by an OP VP, which was very frustrating to me, because it was a huge setback with no real way to deal with it. He became an EotC, which is a huge setback. He lost the backing of the Conclave. He's pretty much backed into a corner at this point, but apparently that's not a loss.

        I don't mind losing. The only thing I really mind is losing my character for good. It wouldn't be the first character I've lost to permadeath, and frankly, if it happens again, I just don't have the drive to spin up another one. So, you can bet your ass I'm going to do everything in my power to keep him from the furnace. Now, I'm not saying I'm going to try to play unfairly. I don't like powergaming. I hate seeing it, and I try not to even toe the line most of the time. Unfortunately, this ends up meaning I become the loser in a scene where many players don't feel the same way. If someone can give me some ideas to deal with this other than "fight fire with fire", I'd appreciate it. Yes, I can assist, but there's often not a SG around at the time to moderate. And then we wait. And more people show up, and as you can imagine, it never turns out well for me or my characters.

        If you want my opinion on the fight in the stairwell, I still think it was reasonable that he could've escaped. I won't go into detail here, but feel free to hit me up in private if you want to know why I still think that.

        Anyway, the point I'm trying to get at, is that it seems to me like the only "win" the good guys seem to consider a win is catching the criminal and throwing them in a cell. Which to an EotC with more murders than I even remember, it's almost certainly permadeath. I've been told I shouldn't think that way, but frankly, if Conal's caught and not perma'd, people are gonna start crying favoritism again, mark my words.

        Maybe it's the case that nobody enjoys my character. I always thought that most of the people Conal interacts with end up enjoying the conflict that he inevitably brings. It's the only thing I enjoy in CM. I've tried playing decent, law-abiding characters. It sucks. It's boring. I don't know how you guys do it. So, instead I play characters like Conal and Xan. Characters that you can love to hate. If that means I have to inevitably give them up to the furnace every time, then it's just not worth it. But if it's true that the majority of the playerbase really doesn't enjoy the RP I bring to the table, then maybe it's just time for me to bow out.

        Speaking of bowing out, this ended up being a lot longer than I intended. I do appreciate any feedback, as long as everybody's mature about it. Thanks.


        • #5
          I have never interacted with Conal, but I can say I enjoyed Xanadorian as a nemesis and sometimes ally for many of the Characters I played in the past. I think there is a way to resolve most conflicts to everyone's benefit if you have open dialogue with the players. It is when you don't work collaboratively and just let the chips land where they may that hurt feelings happen. I hope everything with this current conflict can be worked out so that everyone finds a good story in the end. Not everything we assume is true, as we usually only have half the truth.


          • #6
            I haven't had a ton of scenes with Conal, but the few I've had I've enjoyed no matter what the outcome was. His player has always been good asking for consent and answering any questions I had about the scenario if I didn't understand it. This particular scene my character was involved in and when the smoke bomb happened the only question I really had was, 'Where in the world did that come from?' When I OOC asked him he told me that he had a free hand behind his shield (the shield being strapped to his arm) and that hand contained the bomb. He asked me what I thought about how things played out and I said it would have been nice for him to emit pulling it out from somewhere or lighting it or something so there could have been an IG response, but other than that I didn't really have a problem. I know other people took issue to how things unrolled, but I guess to me all I usually have to ask is: is it possible? Is it possible to escape a stairwell crowded with people through the cover of smoke? I figured considering how many bodies were in there it could happen. You couldn't know who was moving where or brushing up against you, where he went, etc. I imagine someone in the front group (where my character and another 1 or 2 were) would have felt something. He would have had to shove past one of us and we (more individuals) were then situated behind in additional tiers to try to minimalize the possibility of his escape. I do think even if he had emoted pulling out the bomb and emoted knocking into one of the characters people would still be upset. It's a situation where there are many versus one and we tried to make it as impossible as we could for him to get away, so for him to get away so easily by just dropping an item kind of nullifies the strategic thought and teamwork that went into it. That said, I can see his point about having setbacks too, and I know it takes a good amount of effort to successfully play a villain/criminal character.

            I've been sitting here thinking about what solutions I might be able to offer, but to be honest I don't know all sides of the story. I'm not in the Army and most of the people in attendance were so I imagine a good chunk of communication is going on with and between all of them. Some ideas, though I don't know how good they are:

            - If scheduling is a problem let him melee roll for every line of defense that was set up in the stairwell. Set a # he has to pass for each group and if he successfully rolls he gets by, if he fails his roll then two people that were present for the original scene (who can accommodate whatever schedule he has) get the opportunity to best him in combat. If they win he gets caught. If they lose he escapes.

            - If you have a generic roller (not @melee), let everyone who was at the scene do a roll-off with him in their attempt to capture him. I realize this doesn't reflect a person's martial ability, but I imagine that could be figured in. Say you use a 24 sided dice and Conal rolls a 12 with player X rolling a 19. Staff can look at the skills of player X to determine if/how badly Conal gets wounded, or if it's just enough to give him a penalty going into his next bout/roll-off. It probably sounds silly and maybe it is, but it could accommodate a variety of schedules and still produce an outcome.

            It sounds like too maybe taking the possibility of permadeath off the table in this particular scenario would be a kindness. I'm sure if he is captured there are plenty of other punishments that could be thought up and delivered that don't involve losing the character forever over this scene.

            I really hope things get worked out to as many people's satisfaction as possible! I don't envy the people who have to try to make everyone happy.
            Acolyte of the Faith
            Embinders Hobbyist
            Head of Household for her Ladyship Sinvy
            Lead Apprentice Stylist - Inner Bailey
            Mistress of Entertainments
            Patron of the Duelists
            Royal Artist
            Ranger Recruit
            Squire to Dame Galatea


            • #7
              I would love to do the scene again, as best as we can manage, with similar skilled/amounts of characters that were there. I have no problem with the smoke bomb (my assumption was that he had it and I didn't see it because I didn't look at him; bad habit). What I thought would have been fair is some @melee rolling in order to get out of the stairwell, since he would have had to bounce into people.

              My two options:

              Recreate scene
              * one injury that Josie gave him
              * Roll against Marcellius and Josie who were directly in front of him
              * Roll against one additional person to get out of the stairwell
              * If he rolls over all of these people then he has escaped
              * If any of them beat him he stays and does another round of combat and can attempt a similar manner of escaping/or killing us all
              * With a Storyguide chaperone

              Scene done by proxy since we have a deployment issue:

              * Above scenario, rolling not inside of the scene with each of those people.
              * If any of those people roll above him then he fights them (by rolling, each winner is a wound to the other) - we can take in account armor cause it takes a certain amount of hits
              * If his escape gets stopped and he fights that person above then he'd have to fight the other two chosen (Marc, Josie, 3rd person)

              **Above can be adjusted for what would work better, more fairly**

              I also vote for not perma killing Conal in general; but I never like that option.
              Natasha Danaher
              Courtier in Her Majesty's Court
              Squire to Dame Galatea
              Cosmetic Consultant
              Apprentice in the Healers
              Apprentice in the Clothiers


              • #8
                Just a couple quick thoughts:

                1. We gave Conal the option of whether to use Duel 2.0 or MCombat 4. He said Duel 2.0 because he had not yet @upskilled, and we agreed. This was a significant advantage to Conal, but we were willing to cooperatively give him a shot at outduelling us. In retrospect, perhaps MCombat 4 would have been a more appropriate choice, both for the more realistic gradual wear-down of fatigue and the systematic engagement which would not allow the char to run-off as was the case here. Additionally, perhaps there's a way to add "escape props" to MCombat 4 in the future (hate to add more coding)? Maybe clarifying expectations around which systems should be used, and when, would be helpful in quelling future issues like this?

                2. I'm all for giving chars options in scenes; however, when you kill Army members, steal their keys, get yourself trapped in the Gaol, and get engaged by several well-armed combatants ... that's a pretty bleak situation Conal got himself in. And, for good reason, the options are pretty limited.

                3. To stop permadeathing characters who have SERIOUS rap sheets like Conal is also unfair to past characters who were permadeathed for similar misdeeds. In lieu of permadeath, maybe we should offer an alternative of magical shackles, which prohibit wielding a weapon (or serrated ones that injure the wielder if he does). Character survives, but the physical threat they post toward the Keep is decreased.

                4. I agree, from experience across several chars, it's horribly difficult playing baddies. Keep fighting the good fight Conal!

                5. Best wishes for whatever your deployment is, and I hope you keep safe.


                • #9
                  At this point, particularly since the player is going to be away for a long while, I would much rather just assume Conal got away, so that way we can go back to being able to utilize the Gaol normally without the IC/OOC issue that he is down there, even though the Army *can't* find him. My tiny little two cents.


                  • #10
                    I am in agreement with Rogra on this one. Allow his escape via shadows or whatever means, with some cost to himself for it, perhaps the loss of what he has in his possession at the time. Just as a quick resolution so that the Army can use the gaol again and to eliminate the above stated issue of "not being able to locate him".
                    Vaden Amberthorne
                    Seeker and Treasurer of the Rememberers
                    Northern instructor with the LPA
                    Assistant Virtuoso of the Unity


                    • #11
                      I couldn’t possibly disagree more. Letting him escape via any means other than through role play is an absolute cave to his threat of quitting if he doesn’t get his way.

                      The StoryGuides put him back and restored the original scene. They would not have made that very difficult decision if it wasnt for good reason.

                      This needs to be handled, I completely agree. However, it needs be handled through cooperative role play. Any and all suggestions to resolve the situation without role play are less than ideal. If we are unable to resolve it due to parties being unwilling or unable to resolve the issue, it seems the only reasonable solution is to resolve it in a way that is satisfactory for the majority of players. Spock says, “Logic clearly dictates that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.”

                      There, I have invoked Spock. You made me do this.
                      Tyr Gunn
                      Lieutenant of the Queen's Regular Army


                      • #12
                        Point of order: Conal doesn't face the furnace. He's facing "Beheading, drawing, quartering & expulsion." All you need to do to come back is have someone swoop down and get a few strategic bloody gobbets from the mountainside and put them into a regeneration vat. I hear there's a skinless man that can do wonders. There is a price, of course...
                        ~ Gareth Beaumains ~

                        ~ For Love! For Valour!
                        ~ For Honour! For Glory!
                        ~ Onwards to Adventure!


                        • #13
                          Threat of quitting if I don't get my way? At the risk of sounding uncivil and being ignored, go fuck yourself.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Conal View Post
                            Threat of quitting if I don't get my way? At the risk of sounding uncivil and being ignored, go fuck yourself.
                            That escalated beyond what it even had to and I would hope you recognize it. Most especially when this thread was designed to speak with a measure of classy transparency and the comment made did not include harsh, unnecessary language. In fact, it was likely in direct relation to your statement in an earlier post which read:
                            "It wouldn't be the first character I've lost to permadeath, and frankly, if it happens again, I just don't have the drive to spin up another one."

                            The situation is frustrating enough for those involved that want to see it conclude. Why add this in the mix? It is completely unhelpful.

                            Seraphus Indignus

                            Member of Lady Sinvy's Household
                            Member of the Unity of the Arts


                            • #15
                              Oh, I added it because I'm angry and it made me feel better. So, in that sense, it helped a lot.

                              That said, please tell me you understand the difference between "If Conal's permakilled I'm probably not going to roll another character" and "give me what I want or I'll quit." The fact is, he was being intentionally antagonistic. In some communities, this is called "being an asshole".

                              Until this point, I've tried to be fair, polite, and transparent about all this. I don't think it's unreasonable to tell someone off for being a dick.

                              PS -
                              "Invoking" an imaginary space elf doesn't lend any credence to your argument. Not to mention, it's a dumb argument to begin with. More people would be happier by Conal's story continuing than by it ending, unless I'm way off the mark. And I don't think that I am.

                              PPS -
                              Can anybody give me a good reason why Conal shouldn't be able to just reach through the bars and unlock the gate from the outside, other than "a bunch of people might complain"?