I Miss Ward Keys

Fearless Leader said:
Talen said:
Who's the oldest (as in time played) regularly played character left in the Alliance system from pre-split, I wonder?
Probably Heidi's character Zatarina, who started in the first Ashbury game in 1993 at 1st level.
She's got me beat by a couple years. I started summer of 1995.
 
Dreamingfurther said:
And on the note about armor. If you have money you will be able to do better in this game. The game is not really a level playing field situation. I know some people may get up in arms about that idea, but that's just the reality. If you have money you can blanket events, buy donations, buy expensive armor and just look better/be more powerful more easily. If you don't its gonna be harder. But that's also sort of the reality in real life too... Because we act out(play) this game in real physical ways it has more parallels to RL than other games. Such as computer or table top games.
I have one of the more powerful PCs in the game. I'm also fairly certain I bring home a larger paycheck than most players of our game. However, my character's power level is due to long term commitment to the game and the work I have done for the game. It has nothing to do with how much money I've spent on this game. As and owner and GM, I also value people's work and time over monetary donations (though we'll take those too, we got a mortgage to pay). My OOG cash just means he sports a much nicer and larger wardrobe then he would if I was broke.

Scott
 
markusdark said:
Dreamingfurther said:
Not everyone is nessisarily playing the game for the long haul. Some people get one thing (or character) that they like to play very much. I think it might be risky to say that those sort of folks do "not have the right mindset" because seems to be implying that you have to have a certain attitude and mindset to approach, or be successful in Alliance.
But there is a certain attitude and mindset. In fact, the rulebook is chock full of advice of how to approach the game to get the most out of it and be successful in the game.

And I suppose I should take it down a notch and note that there are very simple things you can do - such as wearing sweat pants and a long sleeved shirt instead of blue jeans and a t-shirt. The main thing is that you shouldn't think you have to be dressed to the 9's to play but there's nothing wrong with adding things to a 3 until you reach an 8 :)
good point
 

zehnyu

Squire
Fearless Leader said:
Talen said:
Who's the oldest (as in time played) regularly played character left in the Alliance system from pre-split, I wonder?
Probably Heidi's character Zatarina, who started in the first Ashbury game in 1993 at 1st level.
I would assume that Agnar and Azreal are up there also, though their start dates were long before me. I was 10 in 1993. :p
 

Morganne

Fighter
Indeed the rulebook and websites such as yours, are chock-full of advice about how to approach LARPing in general, and Alliance in particular. One of the things that enriches our culture and game environment is that, while there is great advice out there, you don't have to follow it in order to play.

A personal example: Tab and I are beginning a campaign together (mandatory CSA: visit alliancecrossroads.com! :D ), but we have tremendously different approaches to nearly every aspect of it. That enriches our interactions with other players, deepens our understanding of the game culture as a whole, and I believe will create a better experience for a diverse player base when we have our first events next spring.

If everybody always had the same attitude or perspective, we would find ourselves in a game environment impoverished of diversity or challenging opinions, thereby losing the potential for positive growth and better inclusion of a wide variety of players with different styles and approaches.

I've personally gotten to the point where I no longer want to concern myself with what I think players *should* feel or do, but rather with what they *do* think and feel in regards to the game and their role in it. This paradigm shift (in any business or group venture) enables a move from judging towards solutions that encourage more participation and less attrition at every level, from seasoned staff members to players.
 

markusdark

Knight
Fearless Leader said:
Talen said:
Who's the oldest (as in time played) regularly played character left in the Alliance system from pre-split, I wonder?
Probably Heidi's character Zatarina, who started in the first Ashbury game in 1993 at 1st level.
Nigel started in 1992 although I'd have to ask what 'regularly played' is considered to be.
 

jpariury

Duke
Morganne said:
Mark and JP, thank you for lending your perspective.
And thank you for yours. Next time you meet someone contradicting themselves in that way, sock 'em in the nose for me, and say "Bad player!" in a stern voice. I can't be every where at once.

Let's be aware, however, that such a pursuit requires several things: scissors, a hammer, a couple hours, a dollar worth of grommets, some shoe laces, and some vinyl table cloths.
Fixed that one for ya.

Sure, you can buy a basic leather-crafting "kit" for less than $100 in tools...
If you're anywhere near $100 in scissors and hammers (maybe a box cutter for thicker materials), you're doing it wrong. Heck, Mjolnir only runs $55.

Are we truly requiring these other individuals, in order to save money on the fiscal investment, to spend time they might not have in order to play the game?
They have time to play the game, but don't have time to come up with a decent, cheap costume? Skip an event, do the costume thing, come to the next event with good costuming.

So there's an option.. investing money, or investing time. Either is an investment, and both are precious. I absolutely believe we should ask players to dedicate some of that to the game: after all, it's a hobby and hobbies require an investment. What I do not think is necessarily balanced towards our real, varied player base is expecting people to be happy about donating this precious commodity (time/money, respectively) multiple times.
I think it is more than fair to say "If you have neither the time nor money to risk losing your character, this may not be the best choice for you".

I also think you're overstating the case. If you're losing your character every week to permanent death, I would highly recommend looking into just NPCing. If you're not, I think spending 20ish hours per character to have good costuming is not untoward.

Dreamingfurther said:
I wouldn't want to say you "need" to have a certain mindset.
I absolutely would. I would love to say "If your panties will get in a twist because you can't kill everything out there, and the highest price of failure will be to start over, this isn't for you". Except, you know, with those fancy ten-dollar words instead of my twenty-five cent ones.

If you can do, do. If you can buy, buy. If you can't do either, find someone who can and work something out. Your enjoyment is the investment, not your character card. If you can't unlink the two, this may not be the best game for you.
 
I agree with most of your statements JP, except the last one. I don't think you "have" to enjoy the game separate from a character card. I think you can enjoy good costuming along with a good character card and that's fine too...
 

Talen

Adept
Call it strange, but I find that there's two opposing forces.

One's normal. People want to stay alive, to keep telling a story without end. I managed a scholar I started back in NERO 3rd Edition all the way up to about 8 1/2 years, whereupon he ended up having his head burned out by accidentally casting himself to death. Oops. I'd obviously put a lot into that character- I loved playing him, in-game left behind a wife and 4 kids, tons of friends, been a noble, and so on.

The other one is that stories without end tend to retard other ones from developing in the first place, like old trees sucking up all the sunlight and preventing the new ones from easily growing big and strong themselves. Of course, death is a rather effective story-ender, and given the first option, it's really rare to see folks voluntarily stop playing a character. They're part of us. Unless something happens to make you hate playing them, you're going to keep doing so whenever you can. Perming a character is often the only way it happens, even though alt-itis, spirit forges, and suchlike can help keep things fresh.

If I hadn't permed, I'd never have had a reason to go play other games, including dropping by Alliance just as the game split off from International for a weekend. Wouldn't have really had the time to play another character- which getting permed ended up allowing. Ending up going back and starting a new character, and experiencing a huge chunk of the game I had no idea existed, making a ton of new friends, and getting even more out of playing for having the fresh outlook on things.

Without that risk, the danger is stagnation. Given enough gobbies, you don't die. You don't die, there's no risk. There's no risk, being that heroic type starts to ring a little hollow, since the worst thing that'll happen is an annoying visit to the Healer's Guild. The bad guys will get ganked in the end, it's a matter of time. You're not going anywhere in the meanwhile. Your story will go on. Things won't change too much. The game isn't going to get you all killed if you screw up with the BBEG.

It's sorta strange to think that in a world full of monsters, evil, and darkness I have a better chance of survival as a PC than I do in real life. :) And I'm not saying that LARPs should go out there and mow down folks like wheat- that's just as bad, IMHO as making death easier to dodge than a one-legged goblin. And call it nostalgic, but I liked having limits at ur-Ashbury, knowing that the price of failure was bringing everything one step closer to an end, as inevitable as the clock ticking down. Without them? Life doesn't quite have that zest.

Right now, character #2 is at that same point- next death is "goodnight, goodbye, enjoy the dirt nap". I've had my share of folks perming around me. On the other hand, I've also been having fun seeing them playing new characters, interacting with those parts of the game world that would never have existed otherwise but for them playing it. :)
 

jpariury

Duke
I probably phrased that badly. Lemme rephrase: You're investing in your enjoyment, you are not investing in a character card.

Overall, we're dealing with a set of diminishing returns:
1 - People that perm.
2 - Of those people, people that can't reuse their costuming in new ways.
3 - Of those people, people that can't buy new costuming.
4 - Of group 3, people that can't trade their old costuming for new costuming.
5 - Of group 4, people that can't spend 20 hours before their next event as a new PC to find or make good-looking costuming on the cheap.
 

Morganne

Fighter
For the record, just to keep things cordial: please do not misquote me or change my words. While I appreciate the attempt at levity, I generally dislike being misquoted, since I do say exactly what I mean to. :)

I never said that this was a large-spread problem. Very few characters permanently die. My comments have all been specifically to address the "investment paradigm" that was previously discarded as unworthy... notwithstanding other related issues.

I disagreed, and still do, with the "get over it and just make new stuff that's really awesome, and have my type of attitude if you want to play this game" mentality. How is that encouraging?

We all have a certain type of game we like to play, and a certain investment we're willing to put in. My point remains that I, as someone that has staffed several chapters, donated, NPCed, etc.etc. (as have hundreds of other people) have a greater investment and willingness to do so than some others do. I do not fault or begrudge those people for not wanting to invest as much as I do - this is a game, a pastime, a hobby. The purpose of a hobby remains to feel good, the purpose of a game is to play.

At the point that attitudes and requirements make it less likely for that to happen for other players, I would say those attitudes/requirements are not serving us as an organization, rather than saying that those other players don't belong because they're not just like me.
 

jpariury

Duke
Morganne said:
For the record, just to keep things cordial: please do not misquote me or change my words. While I appreciate the attempt at levity, I generally dislike being misquoted, since I do say exactly what I mean to. :)
You're probably missing the point, then.

I disagreed, and still do, with the "get over it and just make new stuff that's really awesome, and have my type of attitude if you want to play this game" mentality. How is that encouraging?
Because players who bitch and whine when their pet character dies are detrimental to the game, and players who pick themselves up off the mat, dust off their dungarees, and give it another go in a new way are inspiring and supportive of the game. As someone who has also plotted and staffed for multiple chapters, and even multiple LARPs (including helping a few people write theirs), I would rather have people know ahead of time what they're setting themselves up for, and walk into the game with a clear vision of what may, and very likely will, happen.

We all have a certain type of game we like to play
I think the key point you're missing here is that there is a certain type of game that Alliance is. There is zero guarantee that no matter how much coin or sweat you drop into your pet character, you won't die. If that's not the game you like to play, why would I ever want you to think otherwise? There are games out there that you will never lose your character. The Alliance game simply is not one of those touchy-feely hippie love fest games (mwe-gypsy parties not withstanding).

The purpose of a hobby remains to feel good, the purpose of a game is to play.
Losing your pet character doesn't mean you don't get to play. Whatever gave you that idea?

As a general rule, I'd agree that my attitude is "This is the best way to be. You should try to be like that." Of course it is. So's yours. If I thought there was a better way to be, I'd probably give that a shot. I don't know anybody who goes about trying to be the fourth-best them they could be. That said, it's acceptable, and sometimes even helpful, to be less cool than me. (Got that, all? I give you permission.)

However, the point of my statements has been "This is how the game is. If you don't like playing that kind of game, don't get cranky when it follows its natural progression." This is an entirely different approach than what you seem to be griping about.
 
I think I'm really standing in both pools here, especially based on recent experience.

Personally, I've been playing the same characters for about 10 years, and I'm certain that I've got hundreds of dollars invested into each of them. It would suck to lose one, but much of my gear is re-purposeable. Some of it very much isn't, and I'm not really certain how I would feel about selling/trading/otherwise being rid of any of it. However, the more stuff I make (and thereby the more time/effort/money I invest) the more stuff I have, and I become less attached to any particular item. Even more recently (the last year or two) I've gotten considerably more into making stuff just to have it, without characters (or even other players) in mind. I could trade/sell/re-purpose that stuff without batting an eye. It's taken me a while to get to that point, and I've had more conversations with people lately that sounded a lot like "Just make/buy/trade a new shirt and some armor, no big deal" then I think I would have had a few years ago.

That said, this last year I've helped a lot of new players get started, and I've been reminded just how big a deal having to spend $20 on a beat up leather coat for makeshift armor is. People get past the 'sleeves for grieves' point pretty quick, but you're buying one new piece of costuming every couple months for years before you're really in a position where you're comfortable even buying a new/replacement/additional piece of costuming that you already own. (This is why most adventurers always seem to be wearing the same thing every day. It took me years to have several 'outfits' per character, let alone just one per that looked really good.) Each piece of costuming was important when it was acquired, and took an investment of time/effort/money after the player decided it was right for their character. That decision (that it is right for a particular character, for a particular time and place) I think is really the one that has to be un-made when someone sells/trades/re-purposes their gear. I think that that is a much, much harder hurdle to get over then spending another $30 to get a new shirt, especially for a player who has just recently gotten their gear 'just right.'
 

Morganne

Fighter
*********
JP:
I missed the point where I was griping. Or complaining, whining, or otherwise being less than engaged in pursuing an interesting conversation. The fact that you're trying to put me down doesn't make my points invalid. The fact that you also choose to ignore or twist my statements does not invalidate them either.

It does make it difficult to actually engage you in a civil discourse.

Is there a particular reason for what I'm reading as overt hostility? Because we certainly have, in my knowledge, no past history that makes it a reasonable reaction to my comments.
*********

I continue to disagree with the assertion that the Alliance is one kind of game which should only cater to one type of player. Having transplanted from the Midwest to the East Coast, I can personally attest that these allegedly identical games are very different, yet played within the same rulesets. We've recently had visiting players remark upon that same phenomenon. The National Event last year also illuminated that fact, with players/runners/marshals from different chapters around the country having significantly different interpretations of the same rules.

I actually agree that it's wonderful when people are able to walk away from a character they've been playing for years, immediately embrace a new concept, and continue to contribute to the game. Those people are resilient, creative, and tremendous players. I don't agree with the "take it or leave it" mentality that has lost us players over the years, who might have continued to be a part of our community had they had a different experience.

I personally enjoy playing and running a very dangerous game. I wouldn't mind, overly, if my character permed, and never expected my primary to last as long as she has. I do not believe everyone has to play, or enjoy, the same game I do to be part of the Alliance and be a valuable contributor to the collective experience of a weekend.
 

jpariury

Duke
Morganne said:
*********
JP:
I missed the point where I was griping. Or complaining
I think it's fair to characterize your statements re: players who say "cards are not investments" combined with the implication that you should be spending inordinate amounts of time and/or money, and the "'get over it and just make new stuff that's really awesome' mentality", as complaints and gripes.

whining, or otherwise being less than engaged
I'm reasonably certain I've made no such characterization.

The fact that you're trying to put me down doesn't make my points invalid.
I don't believe I have attempted to put you down. The fact that you hyperbolize the case through implication or outright statement and ignore viable methods of resolving potential pitfalls, though, does invalidate much of the thrust of your disagreement.

Is there a particular reason for what I'm reading as overt hostility?
I could only guess that you're inferring it. I am attacking the argument, not the arguer.

I continue to disagree with the assertion that the Alliance is one kind of game which should only cater to one type of player.
I believe you're equivocating on the theme of "type of player". While it's perfectly acceptable to have players that want to be sneaky bastards, stick-up-the-bum goodie-two-shoes, politicians and blade jocks, merchants and mercenaries, that is a distinct different usage of "type of player" from someone who kicks up a fit when things don't turn up rosy or they lose their pet alter-ego because they spent money and time on it. One is entirely acceptable, the other is not. The phrase you use to categorize them might be identical, but the usage is entirely different.

I don't agree with the "take it or leave it" mentality that has lost us players over the years, who might have continued to be a part of our community had they had a different experience.
To what are you referring with the "take it or leave it"? The rules? If you draw the black bead, you die? That part should not be negotiable, anymore than the effects of the spells should be.

The raw fact is that it is possible for you to lose your favoritest character evar, regardless of how much money you spend on costuming, how much time you spend gathering the flotsam and jetsam that fill the bulk of the character's life. I believe it is best for players to understand that walking in. I am not denigrating the emotional bummer that comes from perming, but I am denigrating the idea that players should treat their efforts as investments in something that they can hold on to beyond the memories and the moments regardless of how the game plays out.
 

Toddo

Knight
HQ Staff
Marshal
jpariury said:
The raw fact is that it is possible for you to lose your favoritest character evar, regardless of how much money you spend on costuming, how much time you spend gathering the flotsam and jetsam that fill the bulk of the character's life. I believe it is best for players to understand that walking in. I am not denigrating the emotional bummer that comes from perming, but I am denigrating the idea that players should treat their efforts as investments in something that they can hold on to beyond the memories and the moments regardless of how the game plays out.
This appears to be an olive branch... But I only took 1 year of Horticulture at my Aggie High School so I can't be sure.
-toddo
 

ChrioLA

Newbie
I started in 93.

I've found that alt campaigns dont work (for me) Ive been around too long it seems and while I try not to play the stat game its always floating in the back of my head.
I think that death should be more prevalent in the game world but conversely I think characters should have a larger starting base in order to facilitate the transition into usefullness in an existing campaign where the avg. level is much higher.
quickly rise to the middle and then stay in the middle for a very long time then slowly move to the high end table.

one trick I've done when I owned a chapter is I gave all the monsters a face lift and re-statted everything.
I decided to use "Imps" as opposed to goblins and different monsters in leui of the common troll, ork, ogre, gnoll skeleton, zombie, death knight routine people see.

I set my campaign (much like the RL surroundings) in a heavily forrested area and the "Orc Tribes" became warring factions of Atter cobs vying for territory which caused the PCs to play neutral as long as they could or they would be forced to take a side..a lesser of the 2 evils kinda deal.

I made it a rule to never ever use Skeletons, Zombies, Orcs, Trolls, Ogres, Goblins and the like.

the "common monsters" I used were Attercobs, Giant Spiders (of various types for flavor and effect), Warring Bugbear tribes, kobold slaves to bugbears, Green Slimes, Gelatinous cubes, Haunted trees, Floating Armor, Hanging Dead men, Blood Fed Ravens, Anger Bears and some others.

the big thing is when it feels like a new game and you know that the plot team will let players die if the players does something that can potentially cause them to die...that the plot team wont hold hands its amazing, I love a game like that. mix in some really dirty politics and PC on PC / NPC on NPC bravado/macho nonsense and it makes for a hell of a game.
 

Gilwing

Baron
Alliance Logistics
Duke Frost said:
Dreamingfurther said:
And on the note about armor. If you have money you will be able to do better in this game. The game is not really a level playing field situation. I know some people may get up in arms about that idea, but that's just the reality. If you have money you can blanket events, buy donations, buy expensive armor and just look better/be more powerful more easily. If you don't its gonna be harder. But that's also sort of the reality in real life too... Because we act out(play) this game in real physical ways it has more parallels to RL than other games. Such as computer or table top games.
I have one of the more powerful PCs in the game. I'm also fairly certain I bring home a larger paycheck than most players of our game. However, my character's power level is due to long term commitment to the game and the work I have done for the game. It has nothing to do with how much money I've spent on this game. As and owner and GM, I also value people's work and time over monetary donations (though we'll take those too, we got a mortgage to pay). My OOG cash just means he sports a much nicer and larger wardrobe then he would if I was broke.

Scott
So true Scott...in the past when we started (an you were before me) there wasn't chapter hopping, but now as a fellow larper and friend brought to my attention, this is the day of the ebay character and the max outs from chapters country wide. I know a few players that are either my level or higher and they started about 5 years after me. I think that is what Dave was getting at (or around that point).
 
Dave,

Even with "ebay characters" you only get so far. You can get to level 20 really fast with an "ebay character", but as you and I both know it slows down a lot after that. I do max out Find'rth with monthly goblin stampand dragon stamp blankets. I max him out at HQ when I NPC and at NJ when I don't attend (gobbies through work contributions, not money). And I still get less than 20 build a year. A level 20 character can run with and be useful with a level 40 character. But a level 5 really can't with a level 20 character.

But in the end, for me, the game is about (in order) the interacations with the other players and the plot, whether I'm playing my dark elf character in his 40s or my ogre that is level 4 (or my sarr in his teens or my elf in his 20s).

I actually agree with JP that the money you spend is an investment in the experience and enjoyment of the game, not in a stat card. I also see how people can feel a huge loss when a character perms. For me, that loss would be all the cool history and development of the character, not the stat card or the 14+ years accumulation of IG and OOG stuff.

And I'm not so sure we lose a ton of people when their PCs perm. Maybe a few here and there. But in order to perm, you are generallya long time player or very careless/reckless. I've seen people like Will K have two characters permed in a year, yet he comes back with another awesome character I love playing with (and another one I get to play with for the first time this weekend which I'm also sure will be awesome).

It's sad is someone quits because they perm, surely. But we've lost a ton more people to life changes or just plain old moving on to other hobbies or other games. HQ has close to 2,000 people in the database, with maybe 200 that have actually played a game in the last few years. 1,800 people have not permed and quit. It would be interested to see how many people with permed characters no longer play. Until we run some kind of figures, the "people quit because they perm" theory is anecdotal only. I'm not saying it doesn't happen and it doesn't suck, but even if it's 100 people out of 1800 that no longer play, there are bigger reasons people stop playing.

Scott
 

Morganne

Fighter
Scott, I very much agree that people are much more invested in their story than in the stat card and stuff. I was never looking at the 50,000 foot view on this debate, but rather responding to something that was said earlier regarding the supposed "investment paradigm".

My point has been that everyone is entitled to their opinion and feelings without being told to basically "suck it up or go home", and if we want an inclusive culture that actually encourages new players to come to our game it's worth considering.

I also don't think permanent death has driven lots of players from the game, I know it's driven some of them away. I DO think it contributes to an unwillingness to engage in a more dangerous game, on the parts of both runners and players, because people are scared of losing their stories and emotional investments in their characters.
 
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