Gaining a noble title

markusdark

Knight
Since gaining a noble title is often the goal of many players and that there is no game wide system set in place to denote how to do this (as there is for, say, becoming a formal caster), I was wondering, how much (if any) should the following be taken into consideration when deciding upon granting a noble title to a character:

In Game actions and roleplaying
Downtime plot submissions
Game support by the character's player (donations, etc.)
OOG knowledge of the player's (not character's) personality

Are there other things that should be taken into consideration? I know that granting a noble title is totally at the discretion of the local plot team and technically they could grant one to a character at the first event they play in, but was wondering what the general thought was.
 
I think that all of those things come through in one way or another. When someone desires that kind of influence on the game, before you give that to them, you had better be certain that it's not going to harm your game. With any situation like that (noble titles, guild leaders, module hooks for important plotlines, etc) you need to ask yourself "Is this going to a good player?" Generally, good players tend to be involved and help the game. They can be involved with downtime or support the chapter via physical donations like you suggested, or they could be involved primarily at games and help the In Game environment and support their chapter by constantly recruiting new players or providing back-end support (logistics, website, etc).

The personalities of good players can be pretty much all over the map, so I'm not really sure that I could make a good list of traits that you have to have to be a good player, but I know some things that you don't want at game. I'd say that knowing the player, or at least having played with a player for a while, you get a decent idea of how they'd deal with the extra responsibility to the game, so I would say that that's somewhat important.

If you couple those things with actions and roleplay towards a noble title, then you'll probably get there. If you have those things and don't point your character in that direction, you wont. If you don't have those things, and you try to get there anyways through roleplay, sorry, the job might just never be yours.


I've seen an increasing trend of everyone and their dog having a noble title. I think that I've met more PCs with noble titles than not, and I think that that's really harming the system of nobility. I'm curious if the number of people seeking noble titles is just to keep up with the people who have been playing longer who have acquired a title. I remember when having even a minor title was a big deal, but at the national event (for example, since it was a lot of people from a variety of chapters) I probably met 30 lords/ladies and another 20 PCs higher up than that. Those folk, plus the dozens Chieftain/Bandoleer/Shaman/etc leaders of other groups that don't tend towards traditional nobility, I think I may have only seen a couple dozen 'normal' PCs (out of about 100).

That's too much, and it's watered down the meaning of the title. As importantly, it's basically removed the expectations from people in those roles, many of whom gained a title as another bauble for their belt, rather than as something that makes a significant difference to both the game world and the game itself.
 

OrcFighterFTW

Spellsword
obcidian_bandit said:
I've seen an increasing trend of everyone and their dog having a noble title. I think that I've met more PCs with noble titles than not, and I think that that's really harming the system of nobility. I'm curious if the number of people seeking noble titles is just to keep up with the people who have been playing longer who have acquired a title. I remember when having even a minor title was a big deal, but at the national event (for example, since it was a lot of people from a variety of chapters) I probably met 30 lords/ladies and another 20 PCs higher up than that. Those folk, plus the dozens Chieftain/Bandoleer/Shaman/etc leaders of other groups that don't tend towards traditional nobility, I think I may have only seen a couple dozen 'normal' PCs (out of about 100).

That's too much, and it's watered down the meaning of the title. As importantly, it's basically removed the expectations from people in those roles, many of whom gained a title as another bauble for their belt, rather than as something that makes a significant difference to both the game world and the game itself.
Your criticism does not appear to be with the nobility system itself:

The national event is a unique scenario where you should get large numbers of nobility together. Think of pre-Renaissance Italy where you had literally hundreds of principalities and city-states. Each of those had nobility. If they all decided to get together, of course you would have a large number of nobility in one place for that event; It's only natural when people of multiple lands come together, and it is by no means the standard in Alliance, but a semi-annual, extended weekend event.

Your second criticism seems to be a local issue, as the "game world" really only exists as local plot teams make it. If you have this concern, take it up with your plot team, not attribute it to a national system.
 
I would agree with Peter on this one.

In my experience in nearly a dozen chapters I haven't seen Nobility all that watered down. And in fact there are chapters in which there have not been certain ranks of PC nobility for years because it is so difficult to obtain Knighthood or some such.

The national event is certainly a very unusual event that I wouldn't judge the system as a whole by.
 

Mike Ventrella

Duke
Owner
Moderator
HQ Staff
Here in Ashbury, we've made it pretty hard to be a noble to such a point that we've had vacancies in the baronies often, and have had to fill them with NPCs until we felt there was a PC ready to take the spot.

But in general, my comments about nobility in game are in the Rule Book, page 31:

Becoming a noble is a goal for many players. Nobility offers many benefits, not the least of which is being in the midst of a number of interesting plots. Nobility also provides in-game power and, in some games, an automatic income.

Because this position provides such benefits, it is not easy to obtain. To become a knight, you will have to prove your worth through a series of tests and challenges.

Being a noble has little to do with your fighting or spellcasting skills and everything to do with your role-playing skills. Stay in character, wear a great costume, and most importantly, act like a noble.

Earning your knighthood is a reward. It’s a quest. It’s not a right. Take it seriously. All players should respect you for all the hard work you did to achieve knighthood even if their character doesn’t respect your character.
 
Dreamingfurther said:
In my experience in nearly a dozen chapters I haven't seen Nobility all that watered down.
Based on the number of chapters that you've been to, and assuming that the list as your signature is accurate, we've been to quite a few of the same chapters, and I maintain that opinion. Maybe you haven't been looking for it, but this is something that I noticed about 8 years ago, and have been specifically looking for it at every event since. Nobility are becoming more common, and becoming nobility is something that people are able to achieve by doing less than they used to. Sure, in some places, certain noble titles are hard to get, but some are really easy.
OrcFighterFTW said:
Your criticism does not appear to be with the nobility system itself
It is, see also:
Dreamingfurther said:
The national event is certainly a very unusual event that I wouldn't judge the system as a whole by.
Neither would I, and I didn't:
obcidian_bandit said:
the national event (for example)
OrcFighterFTW said:
Your second criticism seems to be a local issue, as the "game world" really only exists as local plot teams make it.
I strongly disagree, with both of these statements. I've been to chapters all over the country, and I've seen this issue in nearly all of them. I haven't been to every chapter, and in the dozen or so years I've been playing some chapters have closed, so it's entirely possible that there are or were chapters where there are only one or two PC nobles. However, unless those chapters are completely isolated from transfers, other characters with noble titles will visit, driving the number of nobles up. Not only is this explicitly not a local plot issue, but explicitly a nationally based problem, as people visit from all over. Further, the game world exists as the local team encourages it, but it's the Players that make the game world, primarily the PCs. That's entirely off topic, so I'll leave it at that.
OrcFighterFTW said:
If you have this concern, take it up with your plot team, not attribute it to a national system.
I do attribute it to the national system, because I am the local plot team. I am constantly aware of how many nobles are in my chapter, and of what percentage of them come from other chapters. There's a certain extent to which I credit it to the fact that the more 'involved players' are the ones that do the most chapter-hopping, but even then, I see a lot of people treating their titles as nothing more than belt favors. I don't attribute that problem to any one chapter or region of chapters, players with that sort of mentality come from everywhere, but so do 'good noble' players. (Not that the others aren't necessarily 'good players,' just that they might not have the proper expectations of what their title should mean.) To me, that implies that we (the 'national we') aren't encouraging or enforcing the restrictions as heavily as we would need to to prevent this situation from occurring.

((Edit: Added a few lines at the end so it didn't read like I thought that transferring players were a bunch of stupid-head jerks, and more that I've seen lots of players from lots of places, both as visitor in their chapters and as a player/staffer when others visit mine, and I see this trend from everywhere.))
 
obcidian_bandit said:
Based on the number of chapters that you've been to, and assuming that the list as your signature is accurate, we've been to quite a few of the same chapters, and I maintain that opinion. Maybe you haven't been looking for it, but this is something that I noticed about 8 years ago, and have been specifically looking for it at every event since. Nobility are becoming more common, and becoming nobility is something that people are able to achieve by doing less than they used to. Sure, in some places, certain noble titles are hard to get, but some are really easy.
What is it that you feel constitutes 'watered' down? What do you feel is 'too many' nobles for an individual game/chapter? To run through some specifics I generally feel like I see about 3-4 noble PC's at any given chapter at any given time when there are the most nobles around. When there are 30-40 players having 1 in about 10 PC's with a noble title seems fine. And in every single circumstance those nobles have worked years to achieve that status.

Furthermore I don't believe I have ever observed a noble title being treated as a 'belt favor' or whatnot. Maybe we have played at many of the same chapters, but I know your primarily a west coast guy and I'm primarily an east cost guy. I've only played Seattle once, but even the one time I was there although there were several PC nobles around it didn't seem to be 'treated lightly' or to have lost significance.

I have to say I actually really enjoy having PC nobles around. It gives the PC's some characters to 'follow' at least in the 'good guy/official' sense. At the chapters that I've played at when there aren't nobles around, honestly as a PC I feel much more on my toes like I'm hanging around with a whole lot of really powerful individuals, none of which are beholding to a greater power.


As for the national event. I don't think it is fair to even bring at up as 'an example' of too much nobility. Not quite sure what your driving at with this one. Like you said many of the more involved players are the ones who reach noble titles, and many of those same involved players are the ones who make it to the national event. It seems only natural then that the national event would have a very high and unusual concentration of noble PC's. Is this bad? At that event furthermore their titles would not mean nearly as much because they are not in 'their' lands of jurisdiction. Once again is this bad? Personally I thought the national event was an awesome and fantastic opportunity for so many different long time players to get a chance to interact and fight together. I for one really enjoyed all the PC downtime and look forward to that aspect of a national event again.

obcidian_bandit said:
OrcFighterFTW wrote:
Your second criticism seems to be a local issue, as the "game world" really only exists as local plot teams make it.

I strongly disagree, with both of these statements. I've been to chapters all over the country, and I've seen this issue in nearly all of them. I haven't been to every chapter, and in the dozen or so years I've been playing some chapters have closed, so it's entirely possible that there are or were chapters where there are only one or two PC nobles. However, unless those chapters are completely isolated from transfers, other characters with noble titles will visit, driving the number of nobles up. Not only is this explicitly not a local plot issue, but explicitly a nationally based problem, as people visit from all over. Further, the game world exists as the local team encourages it, but it's the Players that make the game world, primarily the PCs. That's entirely off topic, so I'll leave it at that.
Since you are saying repeatedly that chapters 'all over the country' have too many nobles let me go specifically over a handful of chapters I am more familiar with. Please don't take this review as exhaustive, it is simply my experience in the last 2-3 years.

NH, currently has no PC Knights of any kind, it has 3-4 squires (probably only 1-2 will be in attendance at any 1 weekend) and those squires have basically almost the 'least' possible amount of IG power. There are a couple Biata who are 'Lords' in their own land somewhere else in the chapters game world, but their title once again holds little power in the location IG where the chapter plays, and when real serious decisions about the world have to be made NPC nobility always gets involved. The level of PC nobility here is fairly minimal.

CT, currently has 2 PC Knights and a couple squires. Once again it is likely that some of these nobles will not always be there every event, and there has certainly been events when no PC nobility was present. In a chapter with regularly 40-50 players a couple knights and a couple squires seems okay.

SoMN, currently has no PC nobility of any kind. Some of the players are getting the the status of Sheriff, or guild leadership position, but considering that the chapter has only been running for 2.5 years now once again nobility takes a long time to get into, and I was assume it hasn't been particularly strongly pursued.

Chicago, as far as I know currently has 2 (maybe 3) PC 'nobles' I'm not exactly sure what their IG title or name is, but once again the players I know who have these positions have been playing for 4 or more years and been very involved with the chapter for a long time as such.

HQ, probably the single chapter with the most nobility, happens to have been running for 20+ years now? At recent events there has usually be 1 PC Barron who can make it although there are 2 that I know of who do play. There are 2 Knights that I know of, probably a couple more as well and a couple squires working their way up the noble chain as well. Once again out of a playerbase that often reaches 40-50 players per game, and I know has well over a 100 PC's who pass through this doesn't seem to be 'everyone'.

I honestly don't understand how with these numbers you could say that there is a 'national problem' of too much PC nobility. Perhaps I am not quite understanding the objection and if so please point out my mistake. I hope these points can shed some light on the subject.

I mostly speak up on this matter because personally a large reason why I play the game is for the PC on PC interaction. The nobility that I meet with and interact with IG creates some great RP and I have always enjoyed so I have a hard time understanding the objection due to what I know.
 

phedre

Squire
Keep in mind, that at the National event when they asked anyone who held noble title anywhere on Fortannis, you're talking about every guildmaster/mistress, ambassador, senechal, squire, knight, baron/baroness and one PC who technically holds a title equivalent to a Squire in a land at war with the kingdom his chapter takes place in. And, because most of those players have been playing a while, it stands to reason that they're older and probably have a bit more discretionary income available with which to travel. Any abnormally large game like that is a biased sample of the Alliance as a whole.

I agree with David on the list he gave, having played several of those chapters.

I will also say that when it comes to visiting nobility, it's up to the local environment to recognize that title. When Sir Parzival (whose title is in Caldaria) travels to the Deadlands, his title's not recognized. He's still given respect as a visiting noble, but the plot team's not obligated to do anything for him, and the chapter certainly isn't required to give him any sort of income or special perks. They can if they really want to. The local PC natives don't have to recognize them, either. I don't know anyone who walks into a chapter they don't hold title in and tries to outrank the native nobles. It's rude, and bad form.
 

jpariury

Duke
I think first and foremost, a PC noble should be played by a player who will view their character as about 60-90% non-plot controlled, and 10-40% a character to facilitate the storytelling of the world the plot team has designed. The higher the rank, the more "functionary" the character should be. In my ideal world, the quality of the game should improve due to their attendance as their noble PC - because they're helping new players get involved, they're not taking things personally, and they're not antagonistic to the other players. Because they are that type of player, they probably have already helped out with the game through a myriad of ways - props, promotion, playership. (Alright, I like alliteration and was looking for a 'p' word there.)

I think they should have accomplished a number of things through the game - and I view the game as the stuff you do at events, not the stuff you do between events. Downtime actions should be used to accentuate the story for the character, in my mind, not a method of advancement. It's a good way to get noticed, but shouldn't be the thing that gets you the title, if that makes sense. If someone sends in Duder who fixes the orphanage in downtime, I'd send in some kids with finger paintings, and maybe a washerwoman who offers to clean his shirts. For Bob that spends his downtime killing orc villages, I'd send in some military guys to buy him a drink and mention his name to a recruitment officer who sends him on a mod, etc. Downtime is best as flavoring - the live action event is the meat.
 

Mike Ventrella

Duke
Owner
Moderator
HQ Staff
Sometimes it has to do with what kind of feel the game is meant to be.

Ashbury has always strived for a more high fantasy King Arthur type of game, where the plot heavily revolves around the doings of the nobles and their courts. (It obviously doesn't mean ALL of the Alliance should be like that.) So percentage wise, yes, we probably have a lot more nobility than other Alliance games. We do a lot of court intrigue and plot lines involving the things you have to do to run your estates and your baronies.

But so what? As long as the players we make nobles earn it, deserve it, and keep the good of the game in heart, why is this a bad thing?

I seem to get the impression from the posts I am reading that this is something to avoid. I don't know exactly why.
 
Dreamingfurther said:
Chicago, as far as I know currently has 2 (maybe 3) PC 'nobles' I'm not exactly sure what their IG title or name is, but once again the players I know who have these positions have been playing for 4 or more years and been very involved with the chapter for a long time as such.
Just to clarify - Chicago has three PC nobles.
 
Fearless Leader said:
Sometimes it has to do with what kind of feel the game is meant to be.

Ashbury has always strived for a more high fantasy King Arthur type of game, where the plot heavily revolves around the doings of the nobles and their courts. (It obviously doesn't mean ALL of the Alliance should be like that.) So percentage wise, yes, we probably have a lot more nobility than other Alliance games. We do a lot of court intrigue and plot lines involving the things you have to do to run your estates and your baronies.

But so what? As long as the players we make nobles earn it, deserve it, and keep the good of the game in heart, why is this a bad thing?

I seem to get the impression from the posts I am reading that this is something to avoid. I don't know exactly why.
Sorry if my post wasn't entirely clear Mike, I certainly have no problem with this style of game. :) In fact I quite enjoy playing the flavor of game run at HQ, and I was arguing that I don't think the level of PC nobility is at all unreasonable at there, as well as at many other chapters.


EricMarsters said:
Dreamingfurther said:
Chicago, as far as I know currently has 2 (maybe 3) PC 'nobles' I'm not exactly sure what their IG title or name is, but once again the players I know who have these positions have been playing for 4 or more years and been very involved with the chapter for a long time as such.
Just to clarify - Chicago has three PC nobles.
Nice! I was pretty close with my guesstimate then. :)
 
**Sigh**
No, none of what follow are broken quotes, I'm being asked to repeat myself, so I figured it'd just be easier:
phedre said:
at the National event
Dreamingfurther said:
As for the national event
obcidian_bandit said:
Dreamingfurther said:
The national event is certainly a very unusual event that I wouldn't judge the system as a whole by.
Neither would I, and I didn't:
obcidian_bandit said:
the national event (for example)
Can we move on from that one, tiny part of the point I was making that doesn't even pertain to how you're trying to use it? Thanks.

Fearless Leader said:
As long as the players we make nobles earn it, deserve it, and keep the good of the game in heart, why is this a bad thing?
It's not. Again:
obcidian_bandit said:
I see a lot of people treating their titles as nothing more than belt favors.
If someone has something that pertains to either something pertinent that I've said, or hell, even the original topic, PM me. This thread has quickly become a serious waste of time.
 

jpariury

Duke
Fearless Leader said:
But so what? As long as the players we make nobles earn it, deserve it, and keep the good of the game in heart, why is this a bad thing?
If your game is intended to cater or focus around nobles with titles, and you have a higher percentage of players achieving nobility to facilitate that, then the likelihood is that your threshold for achievement is likely lower. Not necessarily "bad lower", but lower overall, simply because the needs of the game demand it. So the phrase "they earned it" has substantive contextual difference which does not necessarily translate to equivalent effort.

I think Mark's OP was intended to discuss what differences exist amongst chapters as to what constitutes "earning it".
 
obcidian_bandit said:
**Sigh**
Again:
obcidian_bandit said:
I see a lot of people treating their titles as nothing more than belt favors.
If someone has something that pertains to either something pertinent that I've said, or hell, even the original topic, PM me. This thread has quickly become a serious waste of time.
You have said, now multiple times that you see a lot of people treating their titles as nothing more than belt favors, as well as saying that sometimes you feel like there are more 'noble' PC's than not. I've listed 5 chapters at least with specific details as to the number of nobles and the seriousness of their position where I feel that this is not the case.

How am I not addressing what you have said? At this point it sounds like you are simply unwilling to believe that your perspective might not be 'a national problem' in spite of me and others saying otherwise. Is this wrong?
 

markusdark

Knight
Fearless Leader said:
But so what? As long as the players we make nobles earn it, deserve it, and keep the good of the game in heart, why is this a bad thing?
As JP said, the thrust of this thread is about what constitutes 'earning it' or 'deserve it.' Should it be 100% IG actions and RP? Should it be 90% IG actions and 10% downtime submissions? Should it be 10% IG actions, 90% donations?

My personal feeling is that it should be almost entirely IG actions since it is possible to have a totally different 'written personality' via downtime submissions as it does to being face to face and dealing with people. I also feel that game support should have zero factor in it as you already gain a benefit from that (Goblin Stamps). It also stops someone whom the players don't respect from becoming one simply because they can buy their way in (although it is a historic way of becoming a noble).

In addition, I also think that personal feelings of the player should be kept out of it. If he's a huge jerk out of game but actually plays a noble character in game - shouldn't he be allowed to be one? I mean, our slogan is be all that you can't be. And it's not like a higher NPC noble couldn't come in some time and strip him of his title if he acts up.
 

phedre

Squire
I've seen people become nobles by taking on other IG "jobs," like being the Sherrif of a town. It only gave him power over the local indigenous population (ie NPC townies) and then working his way to a Knighthood that way.

I've also seen a character who was known as a leader, and someone the town rallied behind, given legitimacy in that leadership role in the form of squireship.

There have also been cases of PC knights making other PCs squires, I believe after going and getting chapter staff permission.

In the chapter I consider my "home," if you are a PC noble, you are now customer service in that chapter. That, to my mind, is the best way to have a PC noble because the player now has a vested interest in other people's good times. They can still be shady characters, but OOG help the people running plot and desk to keep a good pace and distribution of plot.
 

Wraith

Newbie
phedre said:
In the chapter I consider my "home," if you are a PC noble, you are now customer service in that chapter. That, to my mind, is the best way to have a PC noble because the player now has a vested interest in other people's good times. They can still be shady characters, but OOG help the people running plot and desk to keep a good pace and distribution of plot.
Whereas I feel exactly the opposite. IG power should not be tied to how much OOG benefit you give the GM. It's the 'GM's Girlfriend Syndrome' that plagues certain other larps rather badly, and is frustrating to deal with.
 

Jim

Scholar
Wraith said:
phedre said:
In the chapter I consider my "home," if you are a PC noble, you are now customer service in that chapter. That, to my mind, is the best way to have a PC noble because the player now has a vested interest in other people's good times. They can still be shady characters, but OOG help the people running plot and desk to keep a good pace and distribution of plot.
Whereas I feel exactly the opposite. IG power should not be tied to how much OOG benefit you give the GM. It's the 'GM's Girlfriend Syndrome' that plagues certain other larps rather badly, and is frustrating to deal with.
However you don't need to be the gm's girlfriend to help out your chapter. Yes, sometimes favoritism happens, but it's been my experience that it is the squeaky wheel that contributes the least (not always, but often). I do think that PC nobles should have some responsibility to help give back to the game though helping the chapter and leading by example.
 

Gilwing

Baron
Alliance Logistics
Wraith said:
phedre said:
In the chapter I consider my "home," if you are a PC noble, you are now customer service in that chapter. That, to my mind, is the best way to have a PC noble because the player now has a vested interest in other people's good times. They can still be shady characters, but OOG help the people running plot and desk to keep a good pace and distribution of plot.
Whereas I feel exactly the opposite. IG power should not be tied to how much OOG benefit you give the GM. It's the 'GM's Girlfriend Syndrome' that plagues certain other larps rather badly, and is frustrating to deal with.

I don't think Lauren is saying that. Its not because you put in OOG work you are rewarded with a title. It's the other way around. Since you have a noble title you now have to put in OOG work.
 
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