Spirit Forge - what's your opinion?

Mike Ventrella

Duke
Owner
Moderator
HQ Staff
Dreamingfurther said:
I think I understand your point here Mike, but to me it seems like drawing a comparison between players wanting Spirit Forges and Race Changes to players wanting IG guns is a bit of a stretch.

I think what your trying to say is that you don't see Race Change/Spirit Forge as affects you want to be part of the world. Is this right?
Yes. My opinion has nothing to do with whether we can do it under the rules or whether it can be done fairly or whether I trust the players. It's just that if I had 100% control over the game, characters would not change races or skills. Even in a magical world, that's too much for me. It makes the game feel more like a computer game. I am well aware that this viewpoint is not the majority view.

I used guns as an example to point out that it is possible for something to fit the rules system just fine but not fit in with the "plot" system.
 

markusdark

Knight
Fearless Leader said:
I am well aware that this viewpoint is not the majority view.
Well at least the majority view of the owners. Not sure about the playerbase though but there's no way to get an accurate read on that.
 

Mike Ventrella

Duke
Owner
Moderator
HQ Staff
markusdark said:
You would need to dissect the magic system we currently have to decide what is appropriate levels and what isn't. IMO, firearms would be a much more plausable IG "item" than a Race change or Spirit forge. What with alchemy, explosive traps, strengthened items, etc. You could much more easily create a firearm than forcing someone's entire being into a new set of skills or even a new set of skin.
I agree; guns could fit the game better than Spirit Forges and race changes.

We allow Spirit Forges and Race Changes because we can do them IG. If this were a real magic world, I can think of many other spells that affect your mind and body that would be much more desirable, such as a "Look Better" ritual or a "Lose Weight" ritual or "Fix Vision" or "Remove Handicap" or "Grow Hair on Bald Spot" ritual. To have the "gaming" ones and not the other ones don't make a lot of IG sense.

Perhaps the problem is that I have always looked on this as a story-telling experience more than a gaming experience. (I always wanted to be a writer, of course.) Race Change and Spirit Forge just seem kind of anti-storytelling to me. Yeah, I know, you can come up with good plotlines around them, but that's true of any idea you can come up with. They kind of remove character development in a way, because the character can change all of a sudden simply because the player wants the character to change. Years of experience in fighting can disappear and culture can be erased within an hour. And more plot and conflict can come from NOT getting what your heart desires.

If we only allowed players to create one character ever -- like real life! -- maybe the argument would be stronger. But you know, if you really have the desire to be a mage instead of a fighter, or if you really would like to be an elf instead of a dwarf, the database has space for you to do so.
 

Talen

Adept
One could say that the birth of the gun would be the death of a swords-and-sorcery world, though it took a few centuries in reality.

After all, when everyone can throw Flame Bolts reliably and cheaply without anything more than pulling a trigger, life changes in a hurry. :mrgreen:

But yeah. It's an opinion on my end, and other folks are going to disagree with it- and that's aces by me. I just draw the line between "things players should be able to do when they like" and "things Plot should be able to do when they like" at somewhere on the side of Plot on this ritual. You can already be anything in this game simply by rolling up a new character. Why make it even easier by waving a wand for a while and BOOM, you're <insert race/class here> instead? To me, it tends to erode the feeling of racial identity or even class identity in a game. Suddenly, your friend goes from being one of the guys sneaking around in the dark Waylaying orcs to the fellow cracking books in the Mage's Guild talking about the finer points of manipulating infinite cosmic powers. The dwarf who spent decades underground who's suddenly hugging trees. It's kinda disturbing if you think about it...even though we're all human under the costuming and playing characters, seeing the characters change as easily as we'd scratch out a sheet and write something else in...yeah, it jars me wrong. Heck, coming to an event at HQ and getting a troll with a cannon in it's arms blowing me to bits feels less weird. :roll:
 

markusdark

Knight
Fearless Leader said:
Perhaps the problem is that I have always looked on this as a story-telling experience more than a gaming experience. (I always wanted to be a writer, of course.) Race Change and Spirit Forge just seem kind of anti-storytelling to me.
I feel the same way about a lot of things in the Alliance, including such things as resurrections (which I noted you kept out of your books) :)

To me, with the magics of Spirit Forge - what is really to stop someone from just getting Joe Farmer and pumping him full of Fighter goodness? We use our BP totals to keep ourselves at a relatively equal level of power if we spirit forge, but I'd imagine the guy whose been farming for ten years probably has the CO Farmer to a level of 100 or so by now. Strip him of how to plant potatoes and give him the knowledge of fireballs!

Although a firearm does allow people to throw a single fireball reasonably well, the reload time that it takes would be detrimental to it's usage - it would be like a single use of a flame bolt scroll before jumping into the fray (which takes very little knowledge to do). Put into the works such things as anyone carrying one who is hit with a flame spell takes that flame spell straight to body due to the explosion of their gun stuff and perhaps that will be a little less desirable.

I suppose anything can be given a good enough storyline.
 
Fearless Leader said:
And more plot and conflict can come from NOT getting what your heart desires.
I agree.

For example. I have a character who loves and is loved by an elf. He's human. She lives everyday knowing that unless she dies in combat (which she seems at times to prefer the idea of) she will outlive him, in spades. That's an interesting little tragic side note to their whole story.

But wait...

RACE CHANGE!

Nevermind, it's all good. Let's go drink some cool aid in the tavern.

I chose to have my character stay human because he thinks race changes are an unnatural sin, and he pities people so ashamed of their being that they need to change what Fortannis made them. I don't like them because, in line with what Mike wrote, deeper, richer, more challenging plot comes from conflict and the absence of perfect solutions. I've seen people work around the race change thing with plot, but I think it's weird how seldom players seem to have a problem with race changes.

Imagine the **** storms that would have happened historically, and currently, if people could and did choose to change their race?

Do you think, on the whole, people from the birth race and the new race would be cool with that? If so, please email me the number for your crack dealer so that I can politely ask them to lay off for a while.

I suppose that if players were to more passionately act out the racial and cultural fall out, the likely fights and murders that would follow, then race changes wouldn't be so goddamn cheesy.

Gary

Disclaimer: Please, if you like race changes or have gotten one, please don't be offended. I don't like the ritual, but I probably like the player just fine. A few of my close friends have taken this road for their characters and that is totally ok by me.
 

RiddickDale

Squire
Moderator
Public Relations Committee
Gary,

I don't take offense at all. I hope Riddick and Heresy get to talk about it once Riddicks rc is cast should be some great roleplay.
 
Deadlands said:
Fearless Leader said:
And more plot and conflict can come from NOT getting what your heart desires.
I agree.

For example. I have a character who loves and is loved by an elf. He's human. She lives everyday knowing that unless she dies in combat (which she seems at times to prefer the idea of) she will outlive him, in spades. That's an interesting little tragic side note to their whole story.

But wait...

RACE CHANGE!

Nevermind, it's all good. Let's go drink some cool aid in the tavern.

I chose to have my character stay human because he thinks race changes are an unnatural sin, and he pities people so ashamed of their being that they need to change what Fortannis made them. I don't like them because, in line with what Mike wrote, deeper, richer, more challenging plot comes from conflict and the absence of perfect solutions. I've seen people work around the race change thing with plot, but I think it's weird how seldom players seem to have a problem with race changes.

Imagine the s*** storms that would have happened historically, and currently, if people could and did choose to change their race?

Do you think, on the whole, people from the birth race and the new race would be cool with that? If so, please email me the number for your crack dealer so that I can politely ask them to lay off for a while.

I suppose that if players were to more passionately act out the racial and cultural fall out, the likely fights and murders that would follow, then race changes wouldn't be so goddamn cheesy.

Gary

Disclaimer: Please, if you like race changes or have gotten one, please don't be offended. I don't like the ritual, but I probably like the player just fine. A few of my close friends have taken this road for their characters and that is totally ok by me.
Says the guy who wants to Race Change my character for his own convenience.
 

markusdark

Knight
Deadlands said:
Imagine the s*** storms that would have happened historically, and currently, if people could and did choose to change their race?
Why stop it there? Imagine how the world would have been with Ressurrections. "We got Hitler cornered. What? He killed himself? Damn, which circle is he heading to?" Lincoln, Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Sadam Hussain and dozens of others would still be with us today that would make a major impact on the world. (I always said the hardest job in the Alliance universe is assassin).

Not to mention the day after such things like Jonestown. And forget about hostage negotiations. Nuke the whole place and sort it out at the circle. 9/11 wouldn't have been nearly as bad with everyone popping back up at the circle in St. Patrick's Cathedral. Of course the biggest thing would be the fact that there would be no religion so you wouldn't have such things as jihads.

Imagine how much more bloody (and yet more humane) wars would have been:
"Quick, Medic! This guy's got his legs blown off by a landmine. Wait, his dogtags say he's only hit the circle once." *BLAM* "It's all good, he'll be back on the front in half an hour." Of course some Restore Limb spells would work better but I'm just focusing on ressurrections here.

Good thing that the stuff in this game doesn't happen IRL hence why we should never compare things from the two.
 

Alavatar

Baron
markusdark said:
Deadlands said:
Imagine the s*** storms that would have happened historically, and currently, if people could and did choose to change their race?
Why stop it there? Imagine how the world would have been with Ressurrections. "We got Hitler cornered. What? He killed himself? Damn, which circle is he heading to?" Lincoln, Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Sadam Hussain and dozens of others would still be with us today that would make a major impact on the world. (I always said the hardest job in the Alliance universe is assassin).

Not to mention the day after such things like Jonestown. And forget about hostage negotiations. Nuke the whole place and sort it out at the circle. 9/11 wouldn't have been nearly as bad with everyone popping back up at the circle in St. Patrick's Cathedral. Of course the biggest thing would be the fact that there would be no religion so you wouldn't have such things as jihads.

Imagine how much more bloody (and yet more humane) wars would have been:
"Quick, Medic! This guy's got his legs blown off by a landmine. Wait, his dogtags say he's only hit the circle once." *BLAM* "It's all good, he'll be back on the front in half an hour." Of course some Restore Limb spells would work better but I'm just focusing on ressurrections here.

Good thing that the stuff in this game doesn't happen IRL hence why we should never compare things from the two.
I think Wars would have just used a different tactic: Capture and starve everyone. Can't resurrect from starvation, unless I am mistaken.
 

markusdark

Knight
Alavatar said:
I think Wars would have just used a different tactic: Capture and starve everyone. Can't resurrect from starvation, unless I am mistaken.
You are. Every death goes to the Rez circle. The starvation resurrection circle was via Highlander. Where when an Immortal 'dies' from starvation, he comes back to life, only to suffer the pain of starvation all over again in a short amount of time.

What would happen is that the enemy would need to capture and then keep them in prisons. Now, imagine the number of losses in a war and both sides expending resources to keep them fed and locked up.

But, like I said, that is the real world, this is Alliance and neither the two should meet (or be compared).
 

RiddickDale

Squire
Moderator
Public Relations Committee
Im no moderator, but I would say that those anallogies are a bit off topic and more than a little off color. So I would humbly request that we end this particular line of conversation and move onto a different angle.
 
"Reductio ad Hitlerum, also argumentum ad Hitlerum, (dog Latin for "reduction to Hitler" or "argument to Hitler," respectively)...The tactic is often used to derail arguments, because such comparisons tend to distract and anger.[1]

Please, as a genuine request, don't bring the term 9/11 and the name Hitler into this.

markusdark said:
Deadlands said:
Imagine the s*** storms that would have happened historically, and currently, if people could and did choose to change their race?
Why stop it there? Imagine how the world would have been with Ressurrections. "We got Hitler cornered. What? He killed himself? Damn, which circle is he heading to?" Lincoln, Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Sadam Hussain and dozens of others would still be with us today that would make a major impact on the world. (I always said the hardest job in the Alliance universe is assassin).

Not to mention the day after such things like Jonestown. And forget about hostage negotiations. Nuke the whole place and sort it out at the circle. 9/11 wouldn't have been nearly as bad with everyone popping back up at the circle in St. Patrick's Cathedral. Of course the biggest thing would be the fact that there would be no religion so you wouldn't have such things as jihads.

Imagine how much more bloody (and yet more humane) wars would have been:
"Quick, Medic! This guy's got his legs blown off by a landmine. Wait, his dogtags say he's only hit the circle once." *BLAM* "It's all good, he'll be back on the front in half an hour." Of course some Restore Limb spells would work better but I'm just focusing on ressurrections here.

Good thing that the stuff in this game doesn't happen IRL hence why we should never compare things from the two.
I don't feel that weighing how people could possibly react to someone changing their race, in real life, to how we choose to react in the game, is justifiably comparable to real people dying in a real event, and their lack of ability to resurrect in a Catholic Church.

“...with everyone popping back up at the circle in St. Patrick's Cathedral.”

Come on, man. That’s a piss poor choice of subjects for a metaphor.

And regardless, to answer your question of “why stop it there”:

First, I wouldn’t mind getting rid of resurrection.

The intent of my comments with regard to players reflecting on how IG people and cultures look at race change was to incite RP consideration.

My hope would be that people would stop to ask themselves if the way they respond to race changes is based on how their character would respond, given the IG circumstances, (such as the culture in which the character grew up in) or is the response based more on OOG friendships, or other OOG influences.

In the Alliance, it seems to me, we have often used racial prejudice and pride as a central plot element. Dark elves, for example, appear racist in that they seem to often assume racial superiority, and I know, for instance, that one particular dark elf was severely, if not murderously, displeased with a particular person race changing into a dark elf. This reaction does not seem common to me. Perhaps in chapters I haven’t played that is not the case.

From my perspective, very little ostracizing happens when race changes occur. I do not feel this is in-line with the cultural guidelines laid out in the race packets I’ve read. I feel that the reactions would more than likely be pretty severe.

I don’t feel we should never look to our real lives and the real world when we think of how things unfold in our game world. In fact, to encourage realism and believability it’s often a pretty useful tool. I think there are limits, and those limits should be set by what we want the in game world to look like. I’m going to go out on a limb and assume that hopefully we want the game to have deep, compelling and challenging plot, which was all I ever thought the absence of race changes would encourage.

That is just my perception as a plot writer, and I see no utility in countering the stance with a rhetorical argument that seems to amount to “why not just whimsically reduce the game to be as close to real life as possible?”
 

markusdark

Knight
First, if I offended, I apologize. I'm not sure where else a circle would be placed - where people would be resurrected - in NYC and figured that would be one of the more well known likely places.

Second, the reason I made such metaphors was to point out the fact that we cannot place our current world views into the place of our game. I watched a show that Spike Lee produced called Black.White where they put two families into makeup of opposite races and they even had a point where a girl whom all of her black friends and school mates thought was black 'came out' at her poetry reading as white and she was accepted, not ostricized. This may be the exception to the rule of course.

What I am saying is that in a world where race changes are possible - where there are rituals and powerful beings who can change a person's race at will, that the stigma we attach to someone being changed into another race may not be held as such in the game world. And as my example showed - whereas resurrections are well accepted without any thought of disgust or distress, putting such an item into our world doesn't have the same effect.
 
markusdark said:
First, if I offended, I apologize. I'm not sure where else a circle would be placed - where people would be resurrected - in NYC and figured that would be one of the more well known likely places.

Second, the reason I made such metaphors was to point out the fact that we cannot place our current world views into the place of our game. I watched a show that Spike Lee produced called Black.White where they put two families into makeup of opposite races and they even had a point where a girl whom all of her black friends and school mates thought was black 'came out' at her poetry reading as white and she was accepted, not ostricized. This may be the exception to the rule of course.

What I am saying is that in a world where race changes are possible - where there are rituals and powerful beings who can change a person's race at will, that the stigma we attach to someone being changed into another race may not be held as such in the game world. And as my example showed - whereas resurrections are well accepted without any thought of disgust or distress, putting such an item into our world doesn't have the same effect.
Fair enough.

We just disagree on how it would or should play out. That's fine.

No harm done.
 

Michiko

Adept
Gary,

Real world analogies aside, I think your original comments about race change bring up some important points about the way people play the game. You're absolutely right that a lot of times we react to things a certain way because of OOG reasons, which to an extent is fine because after all, this is a game and we play to have fun with our friends. On the other hand, holding ourselves to a higher standard in terms of roleplay and immersion can only help the game as a whole.

I know when I find myself slipping into thinking in ways that my characters wouldn't it is the people who are always immersed that bring me back. The first person who comes to mind is Henry. The first time he played Qualin in the Deadlands he was grumpy IG all weekend because of the Blight, roleplaying the effects long after I had completely forgotten that that would be a constant influence.

On the other hand, being ok with race change is a valid decision for a character to make. The beauty of having the ritual available is that it allows for the whole spectrum. After all, not every inter-racial love story has to be tragic, and in the long run I think having the ritual available only heightens the tragedy of your situation IG since it is an option, but one that your character is unwilling to take advantage of.

I do think that some people just haven't thought about whether their character cares or not, so the lesson here really is to encourage people to think it through and then act accordingly.
 
Michiko said:
After all, not every inter-racial love story has to be tragic...
NO! Every racial love story has to be tragic! Read Othello, goddammit!

Points well taken.

Gary
 

Pantzike

Scout
I have two characters that I have played for a season or more.

One is completely against race changes bottling and such.

The other has had two race changes. And is helping his friends pursue their race change and spirit forge dreams.


I found in my experience that most adventurers have a "live and let live attitude". The most common reaction is "it's not something that I would do but as long as you are happy, then I'm happy for you", which I don't feel is out of character at all for most adventurers. They are a lot that goes into the ultimate melting pot of sorts, where almost every race Fortanis has seem to jostle together, generally to accomplish a greater good. In these melting pots of adventuring towns, normally isolated races are forced to make a life amongst other people forced to accept their quirks and differences, overlooking them as contributions to town often outweigh many decisions deemed against the grain. This has created a community of highly open minded individuals as they have to deal with the dumbest of dumb tonsfolk, the snootyest of the snooty folk, and many things in between. The minor alternative lifestyle of a racechange or spirit forge is accepted as adventurers have much bigger things to worry about, like the large monster bent on destroying the world attacking in two days. Even though the character may have been raised a certain way, that doesn't mean that friendships forged over time through fighting and dying together won't outweigh them. OOG I am far more open minded then I was raised to be by my parents, accepting of far more lifestyles then my parents are comfortable with. In my experience most adventurers are this way as well. Those that aren't tend to keep it on the inside as they want to keep face with those that don't mind.

Very few continually remind me that they don't approve of the change. At most there is a pointed comment from time to time, but that's the extent of it.

Really looking at it, that's how I'd expect it to be. Racial elders and more snooty type extremists may look down their noses, but most outward signs are kept behind closed doors. Just like how people act in real life.
 
*Insert snooty pointed comment* :D
 
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