Re: Civilixed play

Greg Lindahl (gl8f@fermi.clas.Virginia.EDU)
Wed, 30 Sep 92 20:59:19 -0400

Well, there have been postings from all sides on this so far (warlord,
peacenick, gm), now time for a self-appointed lawman to speak. Sorry,

Scott Hauck points out that there is a problem, in that there wasn't
much killing in the game. I agree. He thinks that the Obituaries are
the problem. I don't agree.

It is now possible for a "lawful" player to secretly play warlord. As
far as I can tell, there is no way to find out a unit's faction
anymore -- it doesn't show on the combat report, and you can't get it
via observation skill(?). So if I want to play warlord, all I have to
do is send a unit with money to an empty province, form some units,
then transfer them the resources that they need to warlord with.

Second, the obituaries only tell you who the stack leader was. You can
easily make that be an unknown unit. Player [854], for example, was
using Squire Garth as his stack leader when he went rogue. But I had
seen him stacked with this unit a long time earlier, and I saw him
stacked with that unit when he accidentally walked into my main stack.
He could have escaped notice, but blew it. Player [819] also stumbled
into one of my combat units -- I never really had to organize a

Third, the obituaries did not tell me that Outlaw Netexus was behind
the killing on Shavnor Island. I had to work that out for myself,
using very scant information. The only bad thing that was revealed in
the obituary was the region number for Shavnor, and I am surprised
that nobody teleported in some scouts. If I had an 8th level mage...

In conclusion, I don't think that obituaries rule out playing rogue,
but they do mean that you have to use your head, and that it's going
to be loud. I think that this is an OK, given that some players are
near most regions in the game can always send each other email... For
example, player [854]'s murder took place close to my units, and my
units were in the area before and soon after the attack. Wouldn't the
local inhabitants be talking about it? Once the rumor gets out, I'd
tell everyone. And I did, on my Interesting Players List. So if you
replaced obituaries with rumors, things would pretty much be the same.

What we do want to see is players attacking each other for reasons
other than generic banditry and killing generic bandits. And we did
see this towards the end of the game: Tony Wayland and Pirililaeran
were in a snit because they disagreed about how to deal with the
plague, and I was attacking Outlaw Netexus in order to free the Island
of Shavnor for economic expansion. These things happen, but they take

Scott Turner thinks that obituaries are bad, but that being able to
control who moves in and out of a province is important. I don't think
that it is. My economic operations, by their very nature, are
stationary. My horse-catching crew, who were making 20,000 gold per
turn, would have made much less if they had to randomly move in and
out of the plains province to avoid attack. In order to make money by
extracting resources, you have to sit still and expose yourself.

Likewise, a clever player could have used existing game mechanisms to
knock off my messanger who was ferrying warhorses by the 10 or 50
between Torba Bacor and Atnos Forest. No special mechanisms needed.
Outlaw Netexus showed that it was possible to build an empire with
existing game mechanisms, mainly by killing one of the players in his
area and presumably threatening the rest.

Let's let limited resources drive the conflict. The mechanics are

Next, Scott Turner was unhappy that the obits advertised his exploits
to the players in the Old Lands. This turned out to be unimportant. I
have 19 combat reports in my possession from that time-period, and I
was publishing a weekly summary of exactly what was going on -- so the
players in the Old World had a much better set of information than the
obituaries provided, courtesy of eyewitness accounts and propagated by
email. You can't stop this kind of information transfer. So the
obituaries aren't the fundamental problem.

I guess my fundamental point about obituaries is that they are easy to
program compared to automated rumors, and basically have the same
effect. The biggest problem that I see with the game right now is the
infinite volume available at markets. Second biggest is automatic
attack in the form of unfriently and hostile attitudes.

-- greg

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