Talking About Tethers

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  • TetchtaTetchta The Innocent
    Sryaen said:


    I think some of the feelings from Spirit players (myself included), is that Spirit rarely (if ever) seems to get a clean win. It's always "Congratulations! You've won..! But at what cost?"

    Idk we tend to get stuff like that, too. It's just a consequence that happens from trying to shift the balance. I don't think it diminishes the W, necessarily, and it does set up future stories. This seemed like a pretty solid win, though, and even if there's some kind of metaphysical blowback, it was pretty epic.

    IazamatLenorielSryaen
  • Sryaen said:


    I think some of the feelings from Spirit players (myself included), is that Spirit rarely (if ever) seems to get a clean win. It's always "Congratulations! You've won..! But at what cost?" And that's just a real slap in the face, especially when I've never been more thrilled to see Spirit players really show up in force and band together during the past two major conflicts.

    See, this is the part I honestly just can't get behind. If the 'at what cost' is a sneaky hidden thing after you did everything right? Yeah that's not cool. But for things like this, where there are very real and very well-broadcasted potential negative side effects, it feels cheap to me when there are no consequences. The good guys should be always asking 'at what cost', otherwise they become equivalent to the Crusaders, committing atrocities in the name of the light. I really love the idea that no city is perfectly pure, no city is perfectly good, no city is perfectly right, and blindly following your God or city principles without considering that individual scenario's nuances should be responded to with plot consequences.

    I really wish people could embrace the idea of complex storytelling, in which everything has a ripple effect, and you can do everything 'right' and it still not work out for you. People expect the misdeeds of Shadow to go badly for them or have long-reaching negative consequences... why not for Spirit, too?

    Bad things happening is what makes fun RP possible.
    The Divine voice of Ictinus, the Architect echoes in your head, "I think you are cursed."
    IazamatTetchtaSryaenKurakGalileiElene
  • edited February 20
    Edit: Nevermind.
  • Lenoriel said:

    Sryaen said:


    I think some of the feelings from Spirit players (myself included), is that Spirit rarely (if ever) seems to get a clean win. It's always "Congratulations! You've won..! But at what cost?" And that's just a real slap in the face, especially when I've never been more thrilled to see Spirit players really show up in force and band together during the past two major conflicts.

    See, this is the part I honestly just can't get behind. If the 'at what cost' is a sneaky hidden thing after you did everything right? Yeah that's not cool. But for things like this, where there are very real and very well-broadcasted potential negative side effects, it feels cheap to me when there are no consequences. The good guys should be always asking 'at what cost', otherwise they become equivalent to the Crusaders, committing atrocities in the name of the light. I really love the idea that no city is perfectly pure, no city is perfectly good, no city is perfectly right, and blindly following your God or city principles without considering that individual scenario's nuances should be responded to with plot consequences.

    I really wish people could embrace the idea of complex storytelling, in which everything has a ripple effect, and you can do everything 'right' and it still not work out for you. People expect the misdeeds of Shadow to go badly for them or have long-reaching negative consequences... why not for Spirit, too?

    Bad things happening is what makes fun RP possible.
    A potential negative side effect is fine every now and again, but there doesn't need to be an M. Night Shyamalan twist for the end of every global event. I will admit that the end (?) of this one seemed relatively clean and I definitely got that feel-good vibe that came from Spirit winning, but if every event concludes ends like an episode of Black Mirror, then that's just not fun for anyone and gets exhausting, because you never get that moment of satisfaction. And THAT, to me, is what makes good, complex storytelling.

    I will, however, agree that I don't think any city should be perfectly pure, perfectly good, perfectly right, etc. But that's also partially because of how I play my character, and I understand that some people do get enjoyment out of playing that white-knight archetype that is so popularized in medieval fantasy settings. The issue that I've been trying to fix is how to make Enorian more proactive in conflict rather than merely reactive, because that seems to have been the narrative for the city for a long while. We're just sorta over here vibing, minding our own business and only really ever get spurred into action when BL comes and leaves a turd on our doorstep. So it's not only Spinesreach with a motivation and/or identity problem, it might be slightly less so for Enorian but we still have our kinks to work out. But I'm optimistic that we can get it done, and so far the citizens have been super responsive and engaged in everything I've been trying to push forward! Without their participation, we'd be spinning our tires in the mud, so I'm super grateful!


    Tell me how I'm doing!
    (Web): Mileta says, "Okay... Sry is an edgelord..."

    (Web): Dreww says, "Sryaen just wants to be the best Dhar boi and slaughter everyone."
    Sibatti
  • SibattiSibatti Mamba dur Naya Amidst vibrant flora and trees
    Hard disagree. I actually LOVE the idea of the "good guys" committing atrocities in the name of the light. That's actually really rad.

    Aetolia is not meant to be "Good vs Evil", we are "Spirit vs Shadow."
    Are there people who lean towards Good in the Spirit tether? Sure. But there are more than a few characters in Spinesreach who would, too.

    Not all Spirit characters are intrinsically good, just as not all Shadow characters are intrinsically evil.

    Example: Sibatti leans more towards evil than good, if you were to stack up her morals and compare them side by side. She hates undeath but thinks Sciomancers aren't fundamentally a bad idea. She hates slavery but probably wouldn't think twice about killing an innocent. To her, the "Good" parts are what benefit Duiran/Dendara, and a little bit herself.
    TetchtaKurakSryaenLinIesidFeirenzRihrinElene
  • Sibatti said:

    Hard disagree. I actually LOVE the idea of the "good guys" committing atrocities in the name of the light. That's actually really rad.

    [...]

    Example: Sibatti leans more towards evil than good, if you were to stack up her morals and compare them side by side. She hates undeath but thinks Sciomancers aren't fundamentally a bad idea. She hates slavery but probably wouldn't think twice about killing an innocent. To her, the "Good" parts are what benefit Duiran/Dendara, and a little bit herself.

    As support for this: I do not play a Good Guy either. Iesid is objectively a monster. He's fine with slaughtering people, he doesn't care about forgiveness, he near fetishizes violence, and one of his most abhorrent/maverick takes as a Spirit character is that most undead do not deserve to be cured and should be utterly destroyed instead. I've said before that he's exclusively written to be a bastard, which makes the glimpses underneath the initial layers very special and interesting for characters very close to him.

    Spirit is not Good. Shadow is not Evil. Good vs. Evil is a boring, played out conflict imo.

    Sryaen
  • EliadonEliadon Somewhere Over the Rainbow
    edited February 18
    Just to note on one of Sryaen's points, this is the first unambiguously "Good" outcome I've seen for Spirit since I started playing Aetolia.

    As I previously have mentioned in discussions, the usual end state of events is either 'we mitigated the worst of it but the world is still worse off', or 'we maintained the status quo'

    Hi I'm a random npc seeing visions from Lanos trapped in Shadow plane! Gather his sword fragments so we can save him!
    We gathered all of the pieces of his sword we can save Lanos now!
    Ha ha! I'm actually Severn and you just killed Lanos, git dunked!

    We agreed to a cease fire for Yvalamon, but lo and behold Bamathis and Severn Ruined It for Everyone and we get stabbed in the back yet again!

    Rinse and repeat.

    This is a remarkably common occurrence in world-level events for Spirit.

    In this case: mirror's cracked, but screw Varian anyway. Ivoln suffered an actual injury to Dhar, presumably weakening His influence on the Prime, etc

    Edit: also yes, Eliadon is a genocidal madman. Spirit does not necessarily == Good, but I think that thread isn't really too helpful in addressing the tether conflict dynamic
    SryaenXavin
  • As someone who I'm almost certain is being talked about when @Lenoriel mentions hearing Spirit friends complain about Spirit not getting a clean win, it's exactly as @Sryaen says. It's not at all that I don't want complex storytelling or that I don't want to play a character contemplating the weight of their choices. In fact, anyone who has ever rp'd with Rasani knows that's sort of my whole shtick, is rping that shit out.

    The reality, though, is this isn't just a book where you can keep dragging along these characters to keep fighting because you and you alone control their destiny. This is a game. Like any game, video games, tabletop, any of it, sometimes a win should be a win and, in the time I've played, we have gotten very few true wins. Hell, part of the story right now, a major part that I'm enjoying roleplaying, is that Spirit has had the rug pulled out from under them and they are faced with literal atrocities they've committed because they believed Varian when he said All Albedi Are Bastards. If every win Spirit gets comes with this "hehe you won but also fuck you", then the players in turn will go "why bother" because they aren't just pieces to be moved around in a dollhouse, they're people.

    All this to say: none of my complaints about this issue are with malice toward shadow players. Hell, I have quite a few people in shadow I consider very cool people, if not outright friends. It was frustration at, and I'll say it, lazy storytelling. Having a twist at the end of every event doesn't make it more interesting or complex. There's a reason the Shyamalan twist is an outright joke: when it's overused, it becomes cliche.

    And since this is a tether conversation and I don't wanna be too off topic: A lot would have to change before tethers could go away. Yes, it would be awesome to allow more grey and complicated rp. And while I've been very open in the past, here and elsewhere, that my experience joining the game ages ago and trying shadow was less than welcoming, it's clear the community of aetolia and the culture has changed, which is fantastic! I'd LOVE to see a system where the players are less polarized, but an us vs them is a quick and easy story generator.

    I don't have a solution, at least not one that I think would be adopted. But I DO think it's important, as always, to remember that people are behind the characters. If you're treating someone bad because they're playing someone your character might not like, that's shitty. This is supposed to be fun for all of us, and if you're having something that's frustrating you, just talk to the other player. Like, I know people might go "my immersion" but I promise you it really does make you a lot kinder to make sure the air is clear because, honestly, I feel like a lot of the animosity in our community is people assuming malicious intent from people who don't have it. Like, I promise that Carnifex doesn't hate you personally and I'm sure that Sentinel is just really in character.
    SryaenKurakXavinTetchtaValorieEleneCzcienn
  • Sibatti said:

    Hard disagree. I actually LOVE the idea of the "good guys" committing atrocities in the name of the light. That's actually really rad.

    Aetolia is not meant to be "Good vs Evil", we are "Spirit vs Shadow."
    Are there people who lean towards Good in the Spirit tether? Sure. But there are more than a few characters in Spinesreach who would, too.

    Not all Spirit characters are intrinsically good, just as not all Shadow characters are intrinsically evil.

    Example: Sibatti leans more towards evil than good, if you were to stack up her morals and compare them side by side. She hates undeath but thinks Sciomancers aren't fundamentally a bad idea. She hates slavery but probably wouldn't think twice about killing an innocent. To her, the "Good" parts are what benefit Duiran/Dendara, and a little bit herself.

    Okay, I agree here too! I think you misread what I meant, which is that if 'good' characters are committing atrocities, then they don't deserve a clean protagonist win any more than Shadow does. Every character needs to face the consequences of what they do, and there is /no/ one in this game, org-wise, who is just free-and-clear morally correct from an objective standpoint. I love evil Spirit and good Shadow chars too!

    What I'm talking about is the attitude I see from many others in which Spirit IS equated with 'Good'. And sometimes even with 'christian', which is a whole other bag of snakes.
    The Divine voice of Ictinus, the Architect echoes in your head, "I think you are cursed."
    IesidKurakSibattiTetchtaValorieRihrin
  • Eliadon said:

    We agreed to a cease fire for Yvalamon, but lo and behold Bamathis and Severn Ruined It for Everyone and we get stabbed in the back yet again!

    I cannot speak to the other examples, but I have heard complaints about this point from numerous Spirit people. And I think this bears some talking on in the context of this conversation. Because to me this is a prime example of how ingrained the Spirit superorg mentality has become; killing the Living Trap was a blow to Duiran and Dendara. Sure, it was upsetting to watch. And actually numerous Shadow folk harbor resentment towards Bamathis for this event still.

    In the grand scheme of events, I think calling them wins or losses is reaching and things are rarely ever that simple. Bamathis lost in that event and he is a Shadow Tether god. That event was really an 'L' for all Sapience and a bigger loss for Duiran and Dendara.
    Elene
  • Lenoriel said:

    And sometimes even with 'christian', which is a whole other bag of snakes.

    God, absolutely hate that shit. We agree 100% on this.
    TetchtaValorieJhuraRihrin
  • TetchtaTetchta The Innocent
    edited February 18
    I think the video game analysis is pretty helpful when it comes to looking at these events, though it's probably overall safer to look at long-running MMOs. I know Spirit's definitely had their hand forced on events before in antiquity, so it really doesn't surprise me that there's a chip on the shoulder about wanting an uncomplicated win. I think, though, if we look at Aet as a long-spanning story, it makes sense for events of some kind to have consequences way further on in another story entirely. Kinda like how sometimes you "win" a video game by beating it, but the villain or the villain's cousin or something shows up in the sequel. It doesn't feel like a "twist" to me or a "gotcha," but just another way of continuing an arc that people already understand the moving pieces for and are invested in. Like, if this event had ended with a twirling mustached Severn rising from the ground being like "ahah, you actually did MY plan all along," that would have been bad and obnoxious. But if punching the Earth Daddy so hard that he crashes into Azvosh for a timeout had some consequences for the Pillars that we had to deal with, I don't think that should diminish the win. I don't necessarily think that's what should happen, I'm just using it as an example. Spirit still trounced Shadow and effectively deleted a massive haven for undead research and development. They bonked Ivo so hard that he had to go in timeout. That's pretty awesome.

    Again, I don't think that something with the pillars or whatnot needs or should or ought to happen at all. I just think there's a difference between some action having a counteraction at a later moment from a clearly broadcasted and understandable causality and, like, just pulling the rug out from under people and saying "actually you lose."

    Edit: I used the word "think" six (seven now) times in this post. I counted. Real garbage stuff.

    KurakLenorielAyastia
  • Tetchta said:

    I think the video game analysis is pretty helpful when it comes to looking at these events, though it's probably overall safer to look at long-running MMOs. I know Spirit's definitely had their hand forced on events before in antiquity, so it really doesn't surprise me that there's a chip on the shoulder about wanting an uncomplicated win. I think, though, if we look at Aet as a long-spanning story, it makes sense for events of some kind to have consequences way further on in another story entirely. Kinda like how sometimes you "win" a video game by beating it, but the villain or the villain's cousin or something shows up in the sequel. It doesn't feel like a "twist" to me or a "gotcha," but just another way of continuing an arc that people already understand the moving pieces for and are invested in. Like, if this event had ended with a twirling mustached Severn rising from the ground being like "ahah, you actually did MY plan all along," that would have been bad and obnoxious. But if punching the Earth Daddy so hard that he crashes into Azvosh for a timeout had some consequences for the Pillars that we had to deal with, I don't think that should diminish the win. I don't necessarily think that's what should happen, I'm just using it as an example. Spirit still trounced Shadow and effectively deleted a massive haven for undead research and development. They bonked Ivo so hard that he had to go in timeout. That's pretty awesome.

    Again, I don't think that something with the pillars or whatnot needs or should or ought to happen at all. I just think there's a difference between some action having a counteraction at a later moment from a clearly broadcasted and understandable causality and, like, just pulling the rug out from under people and saying "actually you lose."

    Edit: I used the word "think" six (seven now) times in this post. I counted. Real garbage stuff.

    Oh let me be clear, this event we just had worked very well. A thing happened that we can look at and go "yeah, okay radical" and there wasn't even a race riot or a secret chakrasul or severn plot or anything. That, to me, is the kind of win that, when we DO have an event where we get the wool pulled over our eyes or something, will help me not be bitter about it. Like you said, when all you get are the mustache twirls, you get a chip on your shoulder.
    EliadonTetchtaValorie
  • I know this is a little off-topic to say, but I want to say anyway.. I am so refreshed by the open, good-faith discussion happening here, with everyone actually taking the time to consider the value of the others' viewpoints. <3 I love this.
    The Divine voice of Ictinus, the Architect echoes in your head, "I think you are cursed."
    TeaniFeirenz
  • I've only been around for like 2 months and know nothing about the lore or about anything at all really. I don't know if getting rid of tethers is a good idea and I don't have an opinion either way. I do think, though, that it is never fun if your team is being rofl-stomped over and over again in combat, and I think frankly that players should police that a bit themselves (ie maybe sit that fight out). It just isn't fun if you keep getting ploughed into the ground and I like to think we all play this game to have a good time.

    If you want some cause for shadow to hate spirit, and to blur the good v. evil lines, here's some brainstorming (albeit with zero knowledge of the lore):

    - Great oak starts dying (idk why), need to channel the power of the sun and the elements and the weather and the whatever else (idk how, shamans?) to keep it alive, but in doing so it leeches energy from elsewhere. Boom, Duiran has to decide whether to preserve their tree and their forest at the cost of other environments. Obviously shadow likes their own environments and does not want this so suddenly has a good reason to work against spirit (or Duiran at least).

    - Great oak starts stealing shadow energy to convert it into ???, I don't know why. Shadow doesn't like this because obvs. they like their skills. Duiran supports this because they like their tree or whatever

    - Spirit tries to disperse a permanent cure for undeath and shadow hates this because "how dare you take away our freedom, you're not my boss"

    - Somehow spirit beasts are made that consume shadow. Or that Enorian flame starts gobbling it up.

    - The balance of life v death gets tipped too far to life and something something.

    These are rough ideas and I put like .02s of thought into it so don't be haters. I don't really know yet what other conflict points are in the game other than shadow/undeath, hence the similar themes in all those suggestions!
    IesidTeani
  • TeaniTeani Shadow Mistress Sweden
    On a different note than the above, even though it was nice to see since new ideas from fresh eyes, I would very much like to open up for something different than tether-side cooperation.

    For example, taking the idea with something being wrong with the Great Oak, an event could just as easily be angled so that it opens up for cooperation with Spinesreach, using bio-energy or some kind of fancy new invention to maintain it while finding the source of the problem. 

    Perhaps it would even be possible to find a common cause for Bloodloch and Enorian in some way. Maybe Spinesreach's new bio-energy invention to save the Oak somehow threatens Fire (Ethne) and makes the volcanos (Bloodloch) unstable?

    A stretch, sure, but it would be really interesting. I'm not a huge fan of how much is tied to tethers, and wish for more openings to break those ties. I do realize that it might require quite a bit of foundation-building before getting there, making sure that each city and their guilds have a steady base from which to work.

    Just a few thoughts. 



    LenorielBenedicto
  • edited February 20
    While it would be interesting, that sort of cooperation would go in direct opposition to the things both Duiran and Enorian have had drilled into them over the years - Shadow being the source of Dendara's problems and a massive danger to the Oak, and the repeated reminders that compromise with Darkness/Corruption/Undeath would be the end of Enorian.

    The organizations in the Spirit tether have been conditioned over time to be adverse to working with Shadow tether people and orgs in any but the most dire circumstances.

    SryaenBenedictoEaku
  • TeaniTeani Shadow Mistress Sweden
    Xavin said:
    While it would be interesting, that sort of cooperation would go in direct opposition to the things both Duiran and Enorian have had drilled into them over the years - Shadow being the source of Dendara's problems and a massive danger to the Oak, and the repeated reminders that compromise with Darkness/Corruption/Undeath would be the end of Enorian. The organizations in the Spirit tether have been conditioned over time to be adverse to working with Shadow tether people and orgs in any but the most dire circumstances.
    Which in some ways have stymied a lot of story potential, because there are some people who have taken that divide too far and inserted association rules or made it impossible to pursue interesting, small-scale tension rp without getting smacked down for it/consequences being blown out of proportion for even entertaining the idea of it. 

    It has improved some, though with how it has been many are afraid to even give it a try for fear of retaliation. I'm not talking about dropping consequences for acting completely treasonous. I'm talking about allowing characters to have their struggles with a spouse turning to the other side without trying to put an immediate end to it. Allow a complicated friendship riddled with mistrust due to differences in ideologies without shunning them for speaking to the enemy whenever it is brought up.

    These kinds of things shouldn't have to be only played out on the down low, hidden away in a corner of the game, because players are afraid that their fun, character-building, moral struggles will have consequences that are way beyond the scope of what is necessary. 

    In short, I think it's sad that the divide has been pushed so far that people have been afraid to try things, and I'd rather see an end to that kind of thinking. 

    Ps. Note that my suggestion said using bio-energy, not Shadow, since Shadow is a concept not exclusive to Spinesreach, and the Archivists have other pursuits that might have different effects on Dendara. We don't know because it hasn't been tested.



    GalileiEleneLenorielReave
  • edited February 21
    Xavin said:

    While it would be interesting, that sort of cooperation would go in direct opposition to the things both Duiran and Enorian have had drilled into them over the years - Shadow being the source of Dendara's problems and a massive danger to the Oak, and the repeated reminders that compromise with Darkness/Corruption/Undeath would be the end of Enorian.

    The organizations in the Spirit tether have been conditioned over time to be adverse to working with Shadow tether people and orgs in any but the most dire circumstances.

    LOL yeah, p much this. I wanted to mention those ominous dreams that like 50% of the citizenry got that basically forewarned if we kept working alongside Bamathis and/or Shadow, we'd essentially be led down the path of corruption and fail at the Beacon's goals. It felt very much like strong-arming us in a direction, or at the very least chastising us for potentially deviating.


    Tell me how I'm doing!
    (Web): Mileta says, "Okay... Sry is an edgelord..."

    (Web): Dreww says, "Sryaen just wants to be the best Dhar boi and slaughter everyone."
    Xavin
  • edited February 21
    If I recall correctly, bio energy utilises finely focused shadow/ambient shadow to bring about changes in the body. Obviously, you can use it for positive changes (bio knitting) or for malicious purposes (mutagens). That might already put a big old question mark on its utilization for Dendara-related initiatives (though syssin itself as a neutral class already uses plenty of ambient shadow stuff), but I do understand the hopeful intent behind the suggestion.

    I do dislike restrictions between cross-tether interactions and RP, though. It stymies a lot of growth to personal storylines or even larger city-related ones. I do hope that this thread does foster a bit more thinking and reflection though. Could we change mindsets to make the relations in the game more dynamic? It definitely is possible.
    TeaniRihrinGalileiLenorielEakuReave
  • @Teani Using your examples, Aya had a lot of that when she first switched. First when she didn't know anyone and relied on her old friends in Shadow, then with her wife who was technically spirit but all her time with shadow folk mostly. I have to say, the Templar were very good about allowing all that to play out naturally instead of forcing her to end all relationships cold turkey. It is very fun RP and I wish there was more of it. 
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