Members of Alliance

zehnyu

Squire
Dear Alliance Owners, and Chapter Owners,
While I am sure both sides feel their perspectives fully, that there is truth here, and it is important for this information to be transparent, I would urge both sides to take a breath today.

We are all really passionate and care about this game. As time comes, there is really only one major result in what is being discussed, no matter the arguing, distrust, or unfortunate circumstances:

Some chapters may leave. Some may not. That is obvious from the posts here. I do not think that can be salvaged as it stands, reading this forum.

However, it is my hope that both sides can come to an agreement on regards to their respective player bases that fell on either sides of that coin. This has not, and will never be the player base's fault.

Therefore it is my hope that both sides can choose patience and understanding when it comes to any transference of characters/rewards earned. That perhaps if parting is the main solution, and while it looks like being done amicably is not really negotiable, that it can be done civilly with the player's best interest in mind; something I know all of us have worked many years to maintain.

I think continued transparency from all is the best policy here, and that players should continue to ask questions in a public forum. However, let's please do our best to keep things factual, professional, and removed from anger/difficult feelings as we can. I know many of us are hurt, angry and confused; and that is perfectly viable and valid.

Let's please just try our best during this difficult transition.

Thank you,
Ali Buntemeyer
Alliance Chair 2014-2016
 
There are many, MANY things that I could say here, but I will limit it to what I believe is the most important one:

If the new national ownership of the Alliance wants to convince the chapter owners and the broad player base that they intend to play fair and to function primarily in a role of managing investment and financial matters, it would behoove that ownership group to make an immediate statement to the effect that no member of that group will serve as President of Alliance Larp, that the President will be nominated and voted on by the chapter owners and confirmed without quarrel by national ownership, and that outside of managing the financial components of the Alliance Larp organization, the President will be the leader of the Alliance for matters concerning game rules, organizational structure, and leading the chapter ownership.

My opinion is that a refusal to do so essentially indicates that the new ownership group DOES intend to assert the authority of holding the purse strings to ultimately shape the Alliance at an organizational and game level into what they personally believe it should be and are unwilling to allow any dissenting opinion to hold sway, which I would describe as concerning given that even in this thread one of those new owners has admitted to being opposed to the Alliance 2.0 changes that had been developed and advanced completely appropriately according to the Alliance Bylaws. At minimum, that is an admission of having a negative initial impression of changes that ultimately were found by the majority of chapter ownership and by the involved members of the alliance player base to be positive and desirable.

As I see it, there isn't a middle ground here. Either the new national ownership will surrender their current ability to wield unchecked authority, or they won't. I know how I will interpret their decision either way.
 

Jaerc

Artisan
Marshal
As some one who loves to read the lore and procedures of games near and distant, it would reassuring, in this time of animus, to hear that posted content will not be removed for the forum.

I would hate to wake up one day and not be able to check out cool stuff.

Is a public agreement to not take down posts a possibility? Would it be best if I continue personally archiving instead?

Of course people have the right to remove their own content but others erasing it would be most upsetting.

Edited for clearer wording.
 
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Xanian

Newbie
Dan,

With all due respect, I believe that your demand is a false dichotomy. There is clearly a middle ground between having no control and authoritarian control where chapter owners get no say.

Asking them to take one of those two positions is unfair and unreasonable.
 
And honestly most of it is something that should be discussed among the owners, not on a public forum.
I completely disagree.

First- it bears noting that the new National Owners were the ones who chose to post this publicly, and chose not to make it a closed thread where people could not respond.

Second- This subject matter should absolutely be discussed publicly, because keeping it all behind closed doors for so long is how misinformation and manipulation of the facts was allowed in the first place.
Now that it's all out in the open, knowledgeable people have spoken and clarified the truth.
The truth doesn't shine a good light on the originators of this post... But wanting to shut this conversation down and hide it behind closed doors again won't change that. All it will do is make it look like they are trying to hide things and control the narrative once again.

Most of what is being posted on this thread just sounds petty and mean-spirited.
I am clearly addressing the angry posts of the owners and not those of the players with legitimate questions.
The owners that have grievances have all made measured, truthful, detailed posts outlining exactly why they're upset and carefully pointing out where others are lying or massaging the truth.
Calling them petty and mean spirited is not only inaccurate, it's deliberate and blatant tone policing.
 
As I see it, there isn't a middle ground here. Either the new national ownership will surrender their current ability to wield unchecked authority, or they won't. I know how I will interpret their decision either way.
With all due respect, I believe that your demand is a false dichotomy. There is clearly a middle ground between having no control and authoritarian control where chapter owners get no say.
No one said the choice was between having no control and authoratarian control. The reply said unchecked authority. There's a big difference.

If "not being able to tell people how its going to be without any input" is seen as losing out, that's a bad sign.
 

Xanian

Newbie
The sentence you highlighted is not a true indication of the rest of the post. The TLDR here is vastly different than the above request.

I know people are heated, but it is super important not to pick and choose what we read.
 
In the interests of clarity:

I did not and am not saying that national ownership should surrender all control. I don't believe that was in my first post, but perhaps it is unclear because not everyone knows about how the overall ownership structure works as defined by the bylaws.

The Bylaws define the position and powers of the President. The Bylaws also, when I was an owner, gave that position to Michael A. Ventrella, by name. There was no procedure for selecting a President, because it was Mike V. Always. It is not my intention to go digging through various past issues here, or engage in ex post facto mud-slinging in this public forum, but it is important to be very transparent that when I was an owner, the contract I signed with Mike was based around a structure that gave him three different positions of authority within Alliance Larp: Owner, President, and Chapter Owner of Ashbury. Each of those positions involves different duties and powers, as defined by either the contract, the Bylaws, or both.

A current owner could, if they chose to, shed more light on the issue of how those deliberations are being handled. The point I am raising is this: Mike held unparalleled authority of Alliance Larp by design, and the chapter owners were aware of that when they signed contracts with him, and it was with Mike by name. There was no procedure detailed anywhere in the contract or bylaws that described how any of those three positions could change except one: The office of President. A change of the Bylaws required a majority vote of a quorum of chapter owners. Period. There exists no other method for naming a new President anywhere in any of the contracts or other legally binding documents that determine the structure of Alliance Larp. So no member of the new national ownership is inherently entitled to the position of Alliance President. If a member of that group names themselves as President, that is a violation of the Bylaws as they are constituted, and adherence to the bylaws is, because of the contracts, a matter of legal import.

To whit: It is a violation of legally signed and witnessed contracts with the chapter owners for either Matt or Dave to declare themselves to be the Alliance President, and as such it is an act of bad faith. The problem is that there isn't a clear procedure for how to name the new President. So Matt or Dave could claim that one of them should have the position, or they could declare that neither of them will seek to hold it. One of those choices shows clearly that they are willing to work with and not over the chapter owners, the other shows the opposite. There isn't a middle ground for this: either they say they have total authority or they say they don't.
 

Auric

Administrator
Alliance Owner
I want to start out by saying that we truly value the time and effort that people have taken to bring their concerns to us.

If there are compromises that we can work towards to help bring us all back together, we would appreciate the opportunity to hear those and see if we can come to some kind of agreement, together.

What we will do is make a commitment to the community with a promise to work with the owners and make the management side of the game more transparent.

We’ve heard and support a lot of the ideas that have been brought to us, such as making the owner votes visible, having bylaws visible to everyone, cleaning up the players guide and rulebook, and taking a more active role in supporting the chapter owners.

We’ve already taken steps towards getting the rule book review started as well as finding out some concrete information about a national-level insurance plan.

Dave and I have had discussions about the position of Alliance President, as a separate entity from us, as Alliance Owners. We had similar thoughts for a nomination/election process and terms. Right now I think the priority needs to be getting the business to a better place where we can discuss and then implement that, but it is something we want to look at very closely in the future.

We also want to create a method for players to make suggestions where owners as a whole can see and discuss them. During our chats with players we have heard some really great thoughts that I think in the old system would go unheard and not thought about.

If there are further steps that we can take to help bring us all back together as a community, we have a huge interest in discussing those to see how we can get things moving forward.
 

Sita

Scholar
Dave and I have had discussions about the position of Alliance President, as a separate entity from us, as Alliance Owners. We had similar thoughts for a nomination/election process and terms.
You realize that your title in these forums is currently Alliance President, right?

Are you planning on removing that until a transparent vote is held? Or continuing to slot yourself into the position in violation of the bylaws as noted by @Dan Nickname Beshers ?
 

Draven

Count
I want to start out by saying that we truly value the time and effort that people have taken to bring their concerns to us.

If there are compromises that we can work towards to help bring us all back together, we would appreciate the opportunity to hear those and see if we can come to some kind of agreement, together.

What we will do is make a commitment to the community with a promise to work with the owners and make the management side of the game more transparent.

We’ve heard and support a lot of the ideas that have been brought to us, such as making the owner votes visible, having bylaws visible to everyone, cleaning up the players guide and rulebook, and taking a more active role in supporting the chapter owners.

We’ve already taken steps towards getting the rule book review started as well as finding out some concrete information about a national-level insurance plan.

Dave and I have had discussions about the position of Alliance President, as a separate entity from us, as Alliance Owners. We had similar thoughts for a nomination/election process and terms. Right now I think the priority needs to be getting the business to a better place where we can discuss and then implement that, but it is something we want to look at very closely in the future.

We also want to create a method for players to make suggestions where owners as a whole can see and discuss them. During our chats with players we have heard some really great thoughts that I think in the old system would go unheard and not thought about.

If there are further steps that we can take to help bring us all back together as a community, we have a huge interest in discussing those to see how we can get things moving forward.
You bought the Alliance despite having a poor relationship with the people who would work with you. The relationship these communities have with the National organization is purely opt-in. If those chapters dissolve, it doesn’t mean those communities disappear, they simply choose to do something else.

I genuinely think you made this move thinking that owners would feel somehow obligated to go along with it. I find that absolutely mind blowing.
 
I guess I would also like to echo Ali's call for patience and perspective. I hope that I am not inciting aggression or ill will within the player base. The whole world is pretty damned stressful right now, and I know I personally had to fight through the emotional reaction phase of my response to this. I want to be very, very clear that I am not on a "side" here, I am several years removed from being an owner at this point, and I have no intention of voicing specific public support for any specific person or persons through any of this. Someone asked me if I wanted to be the President, and I laughed so hard I pulled a muscle in my neck. I am not at all attempting to rehash old complaints or vendettas; to be honest, I wasn't really keeping up with all of this until my social media made it difficult to ignore.

I recognize that some of what I have said may come across as fire-branded or inflammatory, but that's not what I am after. Alliance Larp ownership has changed, and for everyone who loves the game and wants to see the organization thrive (once, you know, the pandemic makes larping a viable pass-time again), it's important to separate the emotional reaction from the critical, logical response as much as one can. The structure of the ownership model has some flaws that really should be addressed so that everyone can move forward with an understanding of where everyone else is coming from and what all parties have as their expectations. The most critical portion of that stems from the role of President, and the fact that as the contracts and bylaws are constituted, that position still technically belongs to Mike V by name, not the owner(s) of the Alliance Larp business, and ONLY a majority vote by the chapter owners can change that. HOWEVER, someone has to operate in the position of acting President, otherwise the vote to define the new President cannot actually be certified. The best, and honestly the only way forward that I can see is for everyone involved to prioritize resolving that issue with an eye towards showing that they are willing to work with and not over people. That applies to everyone who operates the Alliance at that level, which isn't me because I walked away.

In fact, with the exactly zero authority I hold over any aspect of this whole proceeding, I would strongly suggest that all of those people agree to stop engaging in public discussion until that matter is settled, however they go about settling it. There is no reason that the ownership change has to turn into a split of the Alliance, but step one of saving the organization is that everyone stops trying to save face and commits to looking for solutions. I genuinely hope that everyone can set aside ego in favor of compromise and personal aggrievement in favor of organizational health.

Which will probably be easier without my hot-headed *** in one of the chairs.

Sincerely, good luck to everyone in finding an equitable outcome. The players of the game deserve it.

-Dan
 

Keegan

Newbie
Owner
Gettysburg Staff
Alliance Gettysburg will remain a part of Alliance. We had multiple issues and concerns under the previous regime but we feel confident that Matt and David have the Alliance's best interests at heart.
 

Draven

Count
There is no reason that the ownership change has to turn into a split of the Alliance, but step one of saving the organization is that everyone stops trying to save face and commits to looking for solutions. I genuinely hope that everyone can set aside ego in favor of compromise and personal aggrievement in favor of organizational health.
I commend the professionalism and wisdom in your post, and the spirit with which you write it.

You’re good people.

That being said, I hope every owner also questions the value that the Alliance organization brings to their local communities. Saving the Alliance is only worth it if the communities have a better game for being part of it, and that the owners feel appropriately empowered for providing those players with the best experience possible.
 

James Trotta

Spellsword
Diversity Committee
I lived and played through the Nero / Nero Alliance split in the 90s. To this day I wonder how many friendships that split cost me.

I don’t want to see another split, because splits are bad for players. Some people are saying we’re in a bad place now. Do you blame the guys who bought the game last week? I blame the guy who owned Alliance from the beginning.

I see people leveling accusations and casting aspersions. There were even accusations about Matt sabotaging the diversity committee – thank you Matt for proving that you did forward our recommendations to Mike V.

To everyone making accusations, especially false accusations, please stop. You’re hurting me and the people working hard on committees to improve this game.

If you were serious about making things better, you’d have a real conversation with the new owners. We’ve all been around long enough to know that arguing online doesn’t solve anything.

My advice: Give Matt and Dave a chance to make the Alliance a safe and fun space for us all.

My other advice: Talk to them like humans. Tell Matt and Dave your concerns. Tell them what you want for your chapter and for the Alliance. If you think Matt and Dave bought the game so they could be jerks to chapter owners then you’re thinking of Mike V.

My third advice: This is a good time to stay. Matt and Dave have loved this game for over 20 years and invested in a chance to turn it around. Give them that chance and realize it may take time. You don’t fix 25 years in a week.

There’s a lot to love about this game. There’s also a lot to fix. And there’s a lot to love about this community. Let’s show that by working together.
 
Since my post mentioning it at all got quietly deleted, I'm going to more fully explain my shock at seeing James calling for talking through concerns, people being hurt, and frankly him being a part of any committee dedicated to inclusion.

Here's why.

James Trotta was a member of a crew in Dystopia Rising called HR (Harkonnen+Risen), and later just The Risen. James never had any specific disciplinary actions taken against him during my time on staff, but he was an active member of his group for the following:

1. 3 month ban given to a co-leader for physical intimidation and harassment of a director, after a prior verbal warning, over disagreeing with a rules call the director made.

2. Permanent ban for group member driving his car in a rain storm during play through the field of combat at 30 mph (ban lifted on condition of a safe driving course the chapter offered to pay for, player declined).

3. Verbal warning to the other co-leader for eaves dropping on a staff call discussing the crew via his partner.

4. Group was disbarred by plot and all given verbal sportsmanship warnings for enforcing an IG contract on brand new players that were recruited, asking for all loot to be passed to leadership and permanent membership upon pain of execution. When asked by staff to see the contract, they claimed it didn't exist, and then claimed to have lost it. Upon disbarment, they ejected the new players they'd recruited, remaining the IG family, keeping all excess equipment/bank.

5. Verbal warning to co-leader for aligning with the group with his secondary (a violation of DR rules), and rolling newbie cabins.

The above is not a comprehensive list, and all of it took place over a 9 month period in 2019. The disciplinary issues the group continued to have only ended when they bought Dystopia Rising Georgia outright, which is bleakly ironic considering the core of this discussion. Based on the prior company he's kept, I find his post highly suspicious and incredibly unsettling.
 
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James Trotta

Spellsword
Diversity Committee
Funny how I ask people not to make false accusations and then get victimized myself. Why do people love lying on the internet?

I am a marshal in DR with a spotless record. I can't speak to any warnings or bans because this is the first I am hearing about them. Maybe because I was never in HR. I did join the Risen in October or November 2019. My Risen teammates are an inclusive group and I love them.

Anyway, Quickity or anyone else, if you have real concerns we can talk about them in person. If you just want to troll a message board to stir up bad feelings, why?
Since my post mentioning it at all got quietly deleted, I'm going to more fully explain my shock at seeing James calling for talking through concerns, people being hurt, and frankly him being a part of any committee dedicated to inclusion.

Here's why.

James Trotta was a member of a crew in Dystopia Rising called HR (Harkonnen+Risen), and later just The Risen. James never had any specific disciplinary actions taken against him during my time on staff, but he was an active member of his group for the following...
 
Funny how I ask people not to make false accusations and then get victimized myself. Why do people love lying on the internet?

I am a marshal in DR with a spotless record. I can't speak to any warnings or bans because this is the first I am hearing about them. Maybe because I was never in HR. I did join the Risen in October or November 2019. My Risen teammates are an inclusive group and I love them.

Anyway, Quickity or anyone else, if you have real concerns we can talk about them in person. If you just want to troll a message board to stir up bad feelings, why?
My accusations are 100% true and verifiable through DRGA's disciplinary file and marshal/guide meeting minutes from that year. So, now we at least know you're comfortable lying.

That said, I will 100% DM you my phone number and we can discuss my concerns if you're sincere.

Edit: per his request, I have removed a photo or James in costume with identifying makeup verifying his membership of the group in question in Feb 2019. He has acknowledged his error in the timeline, and that he was present, but unaware of the behavior of his group and the disciplinary actions taken against them.
 
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FoxFuzz

Newbie
For an Organization that has made long strides to pull away from it's predecessor (NERO), the following of incompetent footsteps is rather astonishing. I don't mean this as some sort of personal attack though, as evident in this thread and other interactions that the new ownership have not only exhibited an inability to maintain positions of staff on a national level, but circle said power in the tried and true 'boys club' that continues to fail in their part of development, as well as stymie attempts to do such and hide behind half truths and my current favorite: delete posts that reinforce the negative characteristics that many have already pointed out.

So my first question, is how many other posts have been scrubbed in a thinly veiled attempt to maintain a reputation that, really, would only be trusted once the ownership looks at the fact that it was voted off. The exact percentage seems to be hotly debated, but even the lowest number suggested of 3X% and the highest being 7 to kick and 2 not to, shows a problem that is deep seeded and needs to be handled with tact.

So again, care to address the post deletion which ties to the stipulation of backroom dealings and the incompetency of handling valid concerns about the future of the game.



Overall, it's looking like NERO all over again, between chapters splitting, a cash grab with a 'money for xp/build's system and a regionally segregated player base that stipulates one to be with the 'in crew' or on the outside looking in.

But if I'm going to say something nice, I can happily point out that despite fighting the changes to 2.0 (the necessity of racial makeup changes and names to name a few things) the interactions I've had with different staff teams and players have been mostly positive, and brought excitement to back to the game.

Another really good thing was the CMA that, from what I'm hearing, was a literal gift for what can be equated as Showbiz Pizza tokens. Yet, in the reoccurring theme of incompetence, this seems to have been handled poorly as well, and by the grace of those involved, still serve the players who will benefit from such a great system.

But hey, that's really just my 2 cents.

-Gabriel
'Grey Muzzle Geekery Podcast'
 

ASFDan

Scholar
I've been out of the scene for a while, but I wanted to reach out in support of the Calgary, Seattle, Oregon, and others who have spoken up here. Everything said so far mirrors my experience over the years, both as a former GM for Seattle and as owner of ASF.

It hurts to see work that we started so long ago still sitting in limbo or worse. It hurts to see continued operation in such clearly bad faith.

Cory et al, please don't hesitate to reach out to me if you ever want to chat. My heart is breaking for you because I know from experience how much you put into this.

-Dan
 
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