Okay, so this isn't really a log. But I dare a mod to move -my- thread.
So, for our latest chat of "Tiur talks producery things" let's look at how the event with the vampires being changed went. I'll try to hit the points where things went off the rails, expectations, and design.
Because of all that stuff in Vampire Theoretical. Also, because Admin was a bit sick of having to do micromanagement with Abhorash. Abhorash was cool, but playing him is a chore. It's cool to be that big jerk once or twice, but then even us sadistic Pools people get tired of it.
The point of this? Change the vampire system without posting an announce that read "Hey, Vampires, here's your new system." Also, provide a few outlets for control in the Dominion that players have lacked. Lastly, make Abhorash not my problem.
Third: How it went down
I tried to let players know the changes were coming. Most Houseleaders were chatted with regarding what we were doing to Vampires, and that this event was open. I wasn't perfect on this, did you know that some of you live in odd timezones and I can't figure out when to find you? This step can be counted as "ineffective".
It did, however, at least convince some resistance people to start being active. I had no idea what form the resistance would take, but the point here is to go with the flow. There was discussion of secret meeting places, so hey, we made secret meeting places. Not everyone agreed on what was going on, so we made multiple. During this, we amped up the "Abhorash sure is mean and not helpful" bit. The goal here was to push that he wanted people to take care of things themselves (even when he literally had to do it for them, what unrealistic standards!) and try to get the resistance running.
Now the resistance exists, and is working. But how to give them a real tool to do things? A few NPCs were playing along, but that didin't really feel like people were DOING things, and we wanted to stop short of putting in a mechanic like 'SUPPORT REVOLUTION, SUPPORT LOYALIST" because that felt a little meta. A few in game ideas were floated, like talking to the Archivists.. but it felt very lame to have another group swoop in and do the Thing. Enter Datlotl.
Datlotl's job was to introduce an unknown and perturb the system. With him in play, at least one side could see a victory condition, and the other side saw a lose condition. From here the goal was to introduce something that players could intercept/modify/kill and change where we were going. A few phials of Abhorash blood were made, and a messenger was sent. Our thoughts here were that it would be intercepted, and then we'd RP with the rebellion about what they could do with that kind of MacGuffin. Was hoping you guys would be super creative. (My personal goal was to convince everyone to throw it in the Flame. I had mechanisms in place for what this would do. The phials being made of Cthalut's Tears was supposed to be a big clue that the Light side could help)
Of course the loyalists succeeded in getting the vial there. I had expected, ranked in probability: Datlotl dead, vial taken by rebels, vial held hostage. Loyalists were not on my map. I severely underestimated you guys. Quick, let's rewrite what we were doing!
From here it was more of a script. Since our main pivot point was over, we could just roll with things IC and let it go.
It was a given the new vampire things would be input into the game. Either it would be expressed in a strengthening of the Blood by Abhorash, or a weakening of it by the Rebels. I wrote down two possibilities, and a few mechanisms for each, with their results.
Loyalists: Get the vial to Datlotl. Get Abhorash to Datlotl.
Results: Abhorash unstoppable, elimination of any House related to the Rebellion. New system put in place, and Abhorash sticks around just the same as normal. Dominion increased in powers, Houses reduced, due to less 'freedom'.
Rebels: Steal the Vial. Kill Abhorash.
Results: Abhorash is a couple organs underneath Bloodloch, kept 'alive' by tubes and mechanisms so that the Blood is maintained. Elimination of Houses, Dominion Council left in charge.
Fifth: Of course, why did I even bother planning
It did not go that way. The rebels unified, surprisingly well. Aecian posts huge eloquent calls to action revealing the rebels. Loyalists see the post and rally behind Abhorash in unexpected numbers. Somehow Durian and Enorian are brought in to help stop Abhorash. Things are officially off plan and we're ad-libbing.
Both sides are impressing everyone in the Pools. It feels wrong to steal a victory from the Loyalists, even though I had assumed that's what I would be doing. It also feels wrong to ignore how solid the Rebellion built up. At this point, we are just staring in wonder at our players.
Then, with a cry of unity, BOTH sides deliver Abhorash. Better slaves than ash, I think it was? Now we're all wiping tears of pride and figure.. screw the results, we compromise.
Abhorash frees the Blood. Houses are reduced, Dominion upgraded. Abhorash sticks around to watch 'His' vampires succeed without him screaming orders.
So that's the long and here's the short: Without superb Loyalists, Abhorash would have been dead. Without superb Rebels, I'd have deleted a couple Houses and not made a player Primus. Good job for all of you.
Six: Lessons Learned
Do not assume players believe you when you say something is open ended.
Do not assume players will make meta level choices and push their characters out of established background (BAD TIUR, you knew better!)
It's well and good to remove mechanics (side that turns in the most phials wins!) but by doing that, you lose control utterly. I just had to watch where the phial was every 10 seconds and hope it didn't end up in a shop stockroom.
I apologize to everyone IC that we have not expressed that both sides mattered here. This was the compromise win condition.
I apologize to those who felt it should have a clear win/lose. This is entirely my failing, I felt everyone was so damn awesome that we couldn't just decide it all or none.
Tell me! Was it fun? Should we never do this loosie-goosey stuff again? Are there plot holes I missed? Did I utterly ruin anyone's fun with my nazi-biased-Admin fiats?