Adjudications and You

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Greetings, Alliance players and staff!

This post is intended to supplement the information in the Alliance Rulebook about player death adjudications. Please note that the examples given are just that; examples. Individual chapters may or may not have minor or major variations on the process.

1. What is an adjudication?

An official adjudication is when an in-game result is countered by an out-of-game decision that something untoward happened at an event. The most common adjudication result is that a death is taken off of a PC card after the fact. It’s worth quoting the relevant sections of the rulebook:

If you feel the marshal’s decision was incorrect or unfair, you may bring this to the attention of an adjudicator after the event. You must announce your intention of adjudicating before either the end of the event or before resurrecting in the case of a death. All adjudications should be submitted in writing within a month of the incident. Do not nitpick on the details of the situation - understand and follow the intent of the rules. If you play fair and be considerate of everyone else’s enjoyment of the game, your comments will be taken more seriously and will be better respected.

In any game, especially one as complex as a live-action role-playing game, rules mistakes and misinterpretations are always an issue. Because of this, the Alliance has the policy that any player may ask for an adjudication of IG results of such problems. Such adjudications must be written up and turned in to the Rules Committee of the game where the incident occurred within 30 days of the incident. Occasional exceptions to the 30-day rule are allowed, such as when the player was not aware of the rules question until a later date. Adjudication requests should include a complete description of the incident, the people involved, and the contested result.
Once submitted, the Rules Committee then either makes a decision or chooses other staff members to decide if a possible bias is present (for example, if a Rules Committee member was involved in the incident). The player is then informed of the ruling, and the situation rectified.
Because of the nature of the game, the original event is never “deleted”—Plot events are often used to explain the change in the final outcome. For example, if your character died her permanent death and then had it adjudicated, the Plot Committee will write some way for your character to return without having to make everyone else in game pretend that the death “never happened.”
Note that adjudications are for rules violations and misinterpretations, not plot decisions. You cannot adjudicate because you think that the Plot Committee didn’t scale the encounter properly or because you thought the puzzle they wanted you to figure out was too hard.

2. How does an adjudication get requested?

If you as a player feel that an in-game event went awry due to an OOG rules issue, you can request that the event be adjudicated. To do so, several steps are required:

- Notify the appropriate staff that you will be making an adjudication request. This can be verbal or written, but should be requested ASAP and at a minimum before the end of the event.

- Make the official adjudication request. This must be written and must be submitted no later than 30 days after the game at which the suspect events happened. This request should include, at a minimum:

  • Your name
    The character you were playing at the time
    Approximate time and date (be as exact as possible) that the events you wish to adjudicate happened
    Description of the events that happened, including location, who else was there, what issues came up at the time, and how they were ruled on the field
    A thoughtful reasoning of why you feel the adjudication is warranted
    A list of other players and staff who witnessed the events - be as complete as possible

Be sure that you include all relevant information in your written request. Once submitted, this cannot be amended.

- Appropriate chapter staff will consider your adjudication request and present you with a ruling in a timely fashion. To do so, they will talk to other players and staff that were present, consider your reasoning, and confer among themselves. Their ruling will be presented in written form with a final answer. If the adjudication is accepted, they will talk to you about what (if any) in-game ramifications are to occur as regards plot events. As noted in the rulebook, this will never include changing the original in-game events, but might include plot actions going forward to explain what happened in a logical manner.

3. Why might an adjudication be denied?

There are any number of reasons. Chapter staff might have knowledge of some mitigating happening that you as a player do not which explains the perceived discrepancy, or other witnesses might provide contradictory evidence as to what happened.

Note that not every minor rules violation warrants an adjudication! Removing consequences for an in-game event is rare and should only happen when a major problem came up. While Alliance staff makes every attempt to ensure all rules are followed, in a large and chaotic live action environment minor rules issues are bound to crop up. Do not expect to receive an adjudication for every small issue that happens. Character death is an integral part of the Alliance experience and should be accepted as such.

4. What happens after an adjudication?

First and foremost, once an adjudication has been decided, it cannot be appealed to any part of the Alliance national staff.

If an adjudication was approved, the Plot team will (if necessary, such as in reversing a permanent death) work with you to ensure that the in-game explanation is as consistent as possible.

If an adjudication was denied, your character's story continues onwards with no changes.

In either case, we encourage players to move on after an adjudication request has been made, whatever result it comes up with. At the end of the day, Alliance is a great game we get to play with our friends. Risk and death are part of that game, and everyone involved will have a better time moving forward when the spirit of the game is kept foremost in all participants’ minds.

If you have questions about this post, we encourage you to talk about them in the General Discussion forum.

Thank you,
Bryan Gregory
Alliance Rules Committee Chairperson
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