666 posts in this topic

I'll just reiterate what Wyrm in particular said. I, for one, would miss you playing these games if you left permanently. You did a fine job handling what happened and none of it could've been precedented. You rolled with the punches well. Like everyone else, I congratulate you. I had fun while I lived and watching the game from the dead doc was also fun. 

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Thanks for the game, Kas. Adding my voice the stream that believes the SE sub forum will have lost something precious if you stop playing or GMing permanently. There were some fun times, and each and every write up has been beautiful to read.

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Wilson: And Joe! Yay! Wilson believes in freedom of information. She doesn’t hide schemes like that. So very, very true. :) It’s nice to know someone understands.

Wilson: Dang…..Joe’s defense of me to Orlok almost makes me want to take him off the list. The conundrum! I don’t know what to do!

Wyrmhero: Kill him, but compliment him at the same time? ‘Your blood is exactly the colour I want to paint my bedroom walls with’.

Wilson: You don’t understand. I can’t.Alright then, how about this, we propose a cease fire in thread until the Discovery faction is much weaker. Wilson has NEVER once broken an alliance or deal. Ever.” “The format doesn’t affect Wilson’s honour. The last faction game, she kept her alliance with other factions until they betrayed her. She won’t break an alliance. I can’t kill someone who says these things about me. I literally cannot do it. My honor will not let me. I….I think I need to remove him. But he’s the reason I’m dead! But….I….I can’t kill him.

Eh, I’ll do it for you.

My Favorite moments from the dead Doc.

Edited by The Only Joe
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I would like to thank Kasimir for running this game, and for your overall role in the Elimination sub-forum as a whole! As the Mod who worked with you and helped you with all the difficulties of this game, I think you most definitely do have the capacity and ability to GM games in the future. With all of your mounting real-life priorities and everything, the fact you still kept going is commendable, and you should know you have the players' full appreciation for it.

 

One thing you and everybody in these games should remember is that these Elimination Games are still just experiments! Every new game we're pushing the envelope and trying to shake things up, going bigger and charging forward! We're always trying new things, and when things don't work out quite as expected, other players and future GMs are able to still use and build off of the groundwork that's already been laid. Hindsight is always perfect, but GM'ing is it's own adventure, and a duty that will always be appreciated! So I thank you again for all the hard work you put in for this MR Game (that self-identified as a LG)! I will only echo everybody else in hoping that one day you find your way back to these games! (Even though I'll still send you Spec Doc links) ;)

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I'll add my name to those saying thanks to Kas. I, for one, thoroughly enjoyed MR7, right up until I died.

 

I already mentioned this in a PM, but it is worth repeating. Kas, I hope you don't leave us forever. You and your special brand of trolling will be missed ;)

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The dead, or those who have read through the Dead Doc, will have seen this already, but following the recent tradition of writing SE themed parodies, I present to you all 'Mad Game' - a parody of

by Tears for Fears, from my POV as a Moderation Discovery player:
 

All around me are familiar players

Some new faces, some new faces

Getting ready for the daily bloodbath

Checking PM’s, checking PM’s

 

Learned my role and I was quite excited

Keep it secret, keep it secret,

“Hello Moderation, who’s our target?

Need encryption, need encryption.”

 

And I find it kind of funny

I find it kind of sad

The striker killing Hero

Was the only move I had

 

I find it hard to tell you

'Cause I find it hard to take

When voting runs in circles

It's a very, very

 

Mad game, mad game

Mad game, mad game

 

Players miss the rules and late with actions

Same old questions, same old questions

GM shaming, naming them in thread tags

Unsuccessful, unsuccessful

 

All the Factions have agreed on one thing

“Kill Discov’ry, Kill Discov’ry”

Called them ‘bad guys’ and ‘eliminators’

No kill action, no kill action

 

And I find it kind of funny

I find it kind of sad

The cycle when I'm dyin'

Was the best I ever had

 

I find it fun to tell you

‘Cause you’ll find it hard to take

When Discovery starts trolling

It’s a very, very,

 

Mad game, mad game

Mad game, mad game

 

And I find it kind of funny

I find it kind of sad

The write up where I’m dying

Was the best I've ever read

 

I find it hard to tell you

'Cause I find it hard to take

As Discov’ry keeps on dying

It's a very, very

 

Mad game, mad game

I’m watching the game

Mad game

Shout out to Burnt Spaghetti for their help.

On a related note, we should have a sticky thread for people's parodies, particularly if they keep coming.

Edited by Haelbarde
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Obligatory Post-Mortem: Kas Edition
 
First, thanks to all for their kind words, and am glad you've all enjoyed the game, for what it's worth. For reasons of conscience, of principle, and of practicality (...my supervisor did, in fact, get highly judgy when I met him today, and he was right to do so...), I would, in any case, be obligated to withdraw. Nevertheless, there is one last duty I must first discharge: that of the obligatory GM's Post-Mortem. So, I think there are several things I'd like to highlight.
 
1. Importance of Inactivity Filters:
 
This cannot be emphasised enough :P Pretty sure a MR is not supposed to drag to thirteen cycles and more! I didn't put an inactivity filter in this game as I expected the kill-rates to be fairly high (forgetting that the reason the kill-rate was so high in MR1 in the first place was because of Slaughter.) As it was a Faction game, I did in fact expect Strikers to be far more ruthless with their kills as well, since there was a lower chance of 'friendly fire'. (Normally, as a Coinshot in a standard Elimination format, you might be slightly worried about pulling a Meta/Hreo and leaving a trail of corpses behind you, as those are teammates. However, I believed that given a Factional set-up, there was less reason to be 'nice' and to refrain from killing.) This did not happen.
 
I would say that one thing for future GMs to note is that if you are running a MR or a QF, keeping in an inactivity filter that auto-kills players who are inactive for two cycles is at the very least a very good idea, at best a must. While inactivity was only one reason why this game dragged, it did in fact contribute to some of the latency that popped up by approximately Cycle Ten or so. The pace was beginning to wear on the players and the amount of activity in the Faction docs also reflected this. MR7 did not have an inactivity filter. It suffered for this.
 
I would also note that things would've turned out very differently had there been an inactivity filter, and Seonid, Araris, Bridge Boy, Paranoid King, Zas, Neo, and possibly Orlok would've ended up dead at various points of the game. To add to this, I think an inactivity penalty would have at least ameliorated the difficulty with the tied votes: as the spreadsheet indicates, while the Cycle Nine and Eleven no-lynches partly had role-blocks to blame, a much bigger factor was players simply going inactive and not bothering to send in a vote at all. (I would further suggest possibly flipping a coin or rolling a die in the case of a lynch tie to determine who dies, but admittedly, this is not often such a big deal when playing an MR.)
 
2. Expectations:
 
To be honest, I think that as far as balance is concerned, I did my best and there I have no regrets. I went over my rules with an electron microscope and a hammer, Wilson went over them, Gamma went over them, Wyrm went over them. We spotted some breaks and fixed those. Others, we did not.
 
But there are other difficulties, some of which I have claimed responsibility for. One problem with balance, as I've previously mentioned, came because of the fundamental rule of game-building: don't build it with an expected style of play in mind. I'll put it like this: you may in fact have in mind certain optimal ways of playing given the set-up, but you shouldn't make it so that the smooth-functioning of the game is dependent on your plays finding and consenting to go with that optimal way. As I've said, I think I did a fairly decent job when it came to the roles. There were more issues when it came to the basic premise of the game. Most players seemed fairly uninterested in playing it as a Faction game and preferred to simply hunt down Discovery. (As noted, many of you have claimed you were really playing Discovery as scape goats to manoeuvre for a better position. I am not going to judge those claims; I'm just going to note that it's an awful lot like one of those Tragedy of the Commons-type situations where individual action somehow stacks, manages to muddle everything up, and then leads to collective action in the direction of Village-versus-Eliminator.
 
As mentioned, this game was not balanced for that. That was my responsibility, and I failed on those grounds.
 
I expected this game to be played as a Faction game. Whatever the intentions of the players, their individual actions led to a collective game that was played as a straight-up Elimination game. That broke the game balance in a way that MR7 could never truly recover from.
 
These problems recurred on a micro-level with game mechanics, such as with the Bribery mechanic. But I've devoted an entire point to dissecting it, so I'll move on for now.
 
Similarly, I think I should have done a better job with subverting player expectations. I felt that two J-Diplomats was just about right, with only Glory receiving two Diplomats. But I think I could have played with Faction compositions more; in particular, having one Faction be infiltrated by only one member of Discovery or something like that. It would take more work, but I think it would make it more difficult for players to rely on role-distribution to be able to soft-confirm members of their team.
 
3. Tackling Discovery:
 
I have discussed the issue with Wyrm on many occasions, both in the aftermath of MR1 and while watching the trainwreck that this game became. In the original set-up of MR1, the Sharders had a flexible win condition. They infiltrated two Factions, were loyal to one of the Factions they were infiltrating, and could win either with the Seventeenth Shard or with the loyal Faction. And, of course, they had Slaughter: a weapon that 'fed' off one player from the wielder's loyal faction (this action could be blocked and was at two points in MR1). In exchange for sacrificing/killing a member of the Faction he was loyal to, Gamma was able to make an unblockable instant-kill on another player in the game.
 
...Slaughter was, I think, rather shattering, for obvious reasons.
 
To attempt a patch in MR7, I decided to remove the infiltration Faction and to simply have the Sharders/Scholars infiltrate one Faction. In hindsight, this is an issue on which I will disagree with Wyrm: I think the flexible win condition is necessary to make Factions actually pay for focusing too hard on Scholars. As noted in point 2., many players focused on Discovery simply because it didn't cost them anything. It was a low-cost way of playing for time. By removing the flexible win condition, I think an important balancing element was removed--kind of like what happens when you take the water out from a hydraulic computer and then get puzzled because hey, that water wasn't doing anything, was it?
 
Flexible win conditions meant that it cost Factions to decide to exterminate their Sharders. By increasing the costs of such a strategy, I feel it would have made players more circumspect about simply declaring open season on Discovery and ignoring each other. It would have made the 'play for time' strategy less attractive.
 
In addition, however, some might notice an extended argument I had in the dead doc. This was related to a point Wyrm and I also discussed after his death. We felt, mostly, that not giving Discovery a kill at all proved to be too problematic: once Diplomats like Adamir had revealed themselves, there was pretty much diddly-squat Discovery could do about them. In fact, I do wonder if Discovery should have some weaker form of the other Faction abilities. But that's more or less just idle thought at the moment. The biggest imbalance, I feel, was, in fact, not giving Discovery a kill. It removed the ability of Discovery to offer reprisal or to really, to anything except object when the other Factions simply stubbornly chose the lowest-cost strategy of exterminating them all. As I pointed out, even Moderation was capable of reprisal. Its failure to do so was no indication of a failure of game balance because Moderation misstrategised, badly. Discovery did not have reprisal capabilities that it could even lose through bad play.
 
I feel that a number of players have been, perhaps understandably, a little blasé about the matter. My response is that Aonar, I think, is the perfect illustration of what I meant, and there is in fact a rather illuminating conversation between Aonar and Kipper in Cycle Twelve of the Glory Doc that is worth a read. Aonar had played most of this game as Moderation. Three Cycles of being in Discovery frustrated him to the point of ranting in the Glory Doc. This, I think, pretty much illustrates my challenge to most players who felt that Discovery was not as unbalanced as I'd intimated: be stripped of your role (or, hell, keep it!). Be added to Discovery. And then see what it feels like to be on the receiving end, with absolutely nothing you can do. Wyrm is one of the most chill players I've known. I have yet to see anything other than the collective, obsessive focus on Discovery bait him into outcries of immense frustration in the dead doc.
 
For these reasons, I feel Discovery came out severely wronged by me in this game, and much rebalancing needs to be done. My immediate suggestion for how I would recommend this be fixed is, amusingly enough, the reinstation of a flexible win condition and the granting of a Discovery kill, even at the cost of truly branding them Eliminators. Another possibility is to strengthen the J-Diplomat, turning them into a proper Seeker. This might increase the value of a Diplomat beyond just the Factions-Discovery front, forcing more strategising.
 
4. Bribery Mechanic
 
This mechanic has, I will admit, been the cause of much frustration throughout this game. I had wondered how the players would use Bribery. In MR1, the lack of inter-Faction communications had badly hamstrung the ability of each Faction to respond as the Sharders became more and more powerful. I had, in part, added Bribery both to fracture the immediate desire to strategise openly in the Faction docs, yet to balance it out by giving Factions a chance at communication.
 
...Remember what I said about expectations? :P
 
I have, as well, discussed this at length with Wyrm and with Wilson, with Moderation, and with the M'Hael. And a bit in Glory with Seonid and Bridge Boy, I believe. My current inclinations are to simply limit the number of available Bribes to a three-shot thing, whether throughout the game, or simply for the first three cycles, forcing players to be more strategic about their Bribery, and requiring people to play under the assumption they wouldn't necessarily get Bribed back.
 
Difficulties with Bribery also included players with residual loyalties to their former Factions. As is obvious in the docs, this became a big deal in Moderation with Joe proclaiming loyalty to Heritage, and led to quite a stand-off, a few death threats, and what I refer to as the 'Great Moderation Purge', with about half of the Moderation Doc for that cycle being destroyed in order to limit Joe's ability to blab out what they were saying. While I issued guidelines about how players should regard their new win conditions, I feel that it might've been better to simply allow players to act against their win conditions. While this is technically not considered a good thing to do (see the amount of outrage Gamma caused in LG4, for one!), I feel as though this particular game was so against playing as Factions that I should have allowed the gesture, since it only accentuated the Faction divide and mistrust.
 
As I've pointed out somewhat more acerbically in the Dead Doc, Bribery also led to the problem of the Mega-Faction. My take on that is simple: there is nothing philosophically compelling about it, and any player who wants to argue philosophy with a GM who studies it shall have to put up with being judged and subjected to the standards of the discipline :P This includes consistency: if we played this game as maximising altruists, then I shall expect all players who want the most number of players to win to surrender themselves and their teammates in future games then they play as Eliminators.
 
...It doesn't work so good that way, does it? Thought so. Consistency is an important philosophical standard.
 
As Seonid has correctly pointed out to me, changing Bribery would be unfair to the Siblings. And I agree: if that were the case, the win condition of the Siblings would definitely have to change. I might be more tempted to turn it back to something like a Survivor-type requirement, or one where upon the death of one Sibling, the other gains an ability and a win condition against the Faction responsible for the Sibling's death. Something like that.
 
The Siblings, I must admit, were interestingly deployed. I did not expect such a huge bidding war over the Siblings, that was for sure! :P I expected their value to be as a source of communication between two Factions; nominally, Heritage and Moderation, to balance the power of the Teullu. I was especially interested to note that many people were regarding the Siblings as having their loyalty 'bound' to the Faction they were with. This neglects, I think, the reminder that the Siblings are instrumentally loyal to the Faction they are with. Their ultimate win condition is a unique one. Seonid was correct in noting he could've chosen to betray Glory and be a Heritage agent. And as I informed him in his PM, I would have backed him up there: there was absolutely nothing in his win condition that required him to actually play as loyal to Glory. That oversight would have been costly for Glory.
 
And, that's about it from me, I think. Oh: I expected the Revision History features of Google Docs to be used far more than they were. That was the whole point of my asking for email addresses: so you can't just type-delete as an anon. I was somewhat surprised that Discovery made far less use of it than the Seventeenth Shard had!
 
I would also flag Seonid, mostly, as the 'MVP' for this game. I use scare-quotes because I think it's going to be rather controversial: my definition, therefore, is as being a player who majorly swung the game. He did that, changing the entire direction and objective of the game, by getting everyone to tunnel onto Discovery. (I note that players like Bort have said that doing so fit with their aims for the Faction War; nonetheless, it is clear that a number of other players, Bridge Boy included, had internalised the whole 'Kill Disco!' narrative and were unable to see past that to their actual objective. And yes, for those who look at the spreadsheet, he was basically trying to lynch PK for several cycles in a row.)
 
"We'll attack Discovery now, seize an advantage, and kill the other Factions," is a legitimate strategy. As I've pointed out, in the chaos of different actions, that simply did nothing else than to turn the game into a standard Elimination one. And there is a second problem associated with the strategy: if not now, when? When would Factions be ready to kill each other? Moderation backed down from precipitating a Faction war, to its own immense disadvantage. The playing for time strategy was gamechanging simply because it legitimised, to a large extent, the narrative that Discovery was a threat. That narrative was being repeated blindly, even past the point where it was clearly obvious that it just wasn't making any sense. To say that three members of Discovery 'could swing the lynch' is to simply reify Discovery into the Unknowable. Try changing your perspective: who knows who Glory could vote for? There were five of them, and Heritage had no active agent in Glory. Glory could swing the lynch by allying with Discovery or another Faction.
 
Mindblowing, isn't it?
 
My point is just this: I cannot speak of what was going in all the players' heads. From the GM's perspective, it was clear that the game being pursued was a Village-Eliminator one. Perhaps it was the result of a universal play for time. But I think not. I think that the way players strategised, the narratives they used, the rhetoric they appealed to--all of it is rather damning. And a good amount of it points to that rhetoric having been internalised, and affecting the way players saw the game and their strategic objectives.
 
Now, if it came to players I'd commend: I would say I felt Eowyn strategised very well, for a newer player. Similarly, I would like to commend Zephrer and Paranoid King, who carried the burden of being (effectively) Eliminators on their very first game rather well, particularly in a game that ended up being so broken. I felt that Zephrer played decently, and Paranoid King is definitely someone I would keep an eye on. And as I've previously said, either way you cut it, Seonid was a majorly influential player in this game, and his impact on the game cannot be understated.
 
If there is any sort of 'medal of honour' I can confer, it would have to go to Orlok, simply because I felt he was the only player in this game who showed a very clear and sharp grasp of the strategic objectives and what was going on. (I apologise to those who died early; for obvious reasons, you have been by and large excluded from this list.) There were so many times I just wanted to buy him a beer or to tell people to pay more attention to him. Unfortunately, he spent a lot of time getting ignored.
 
Last but not least, I would give Wyrm a round of applause because he somehow managed to troll everyone without trying very hard, and also managed to turn my game into Groundhog Day, to boot. For those who are not aware: Wyrm was a Sharder as well in MR1, he was also spooked on the same cycle as he was in this game (Cycle Three), and he also died to a lynch two cycles after his initial spooking. That takes skill. What sort, I'm not sure. But definitely skill.
 
Even so. Round of applause to everyone, thank you for playing and being bloody good sports about it :)
 
-Kas, signing out.

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Hmph. Apparently Aonar kept adding stuff to his rant when I wasn't expecting it, so now I have to respond to allegations made against in a post that shall sound exceedingly butthurt (pardon my language)...

Forthcoming.

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Last but not least, I would give Wyrm a round of applause because he somehow managed to troll everyone without trying very hard, and also managed to turn my game into Groundhog Day, to boot. For those who are not aware: Wyrm was a Sharder as well in MR1, he was also spooked on the same cycle as he was in this game (Cycle Three), and he also died to a lynch two cycles after his initial spooking. That takes skill. What sort, I'm not sure. But definitely skill.

 

Difference between these two games for me (aside from the lack of a win)? This time asking for protection worked :P.

 

I agree with the points you've made there, Kas - As people can probably tell from the doc discussions we had, and you know from discussions elsewhere. At the very least, this game teaches us a lot about how we players act and how games like this can turn out, and what to expect from them. People who intend to run a faction-based game should take note of them, even if you do run with an Eliminator faction as well as Village Factions.

 

I do take offence at that comment though: I put a lot of effort into my trolling. I'll let you in on a secret; I agonise over each individual troll, selecting each carefully according to its potential, the beauty off the troll, and the amusement gained from it by myself and other players. These are nothing but the finest, hand-crafted trolls that the internet can provide. Each is freshly hand-picked with careful thought and consideration, and then personalised according to the effect I desire, the player receiving it, and the situation that surrounds it. Then it's wrapped up in a wonderful bouquet of words before being lovingly posted on the forum and drizzled in raspberry sauce. These aren't just trolls - They're Heron IndustriesTM premium trolls. I'm so sure of their quality, I even give out a guarantee with each one: If you're not 110% satisfied with your troll, you can ask Kas for your money back (because I sure as hell won't give you a refund).

Edited by Wyrmhero
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I do take offence at that comment though: I put a lot of effort into my trolling. My trolls aren't just trolls; They are nothing but the finest, hand-crafted trolls that the internet can provide. I select each one after long and careful thought and then personalise it according to the effect I desire, the player receiving it, and the situation that surrounds it. Then it's wrapped up in a wonderful bouquet of words before being lovingly posted on the forum and drizzled in raspberry sauce. These aren't just trolls - They're Heron IndustriesTM premium trolls. I'm so sure of their quality, I even give out a guarantee with each one: If you're not 110% satisfied with your troll, you can ask Kas for your money back, because I sure as hell won't give you a refund.

1. Don't cross the streams--crossing the streams is bad, etcetera, now everyone in your game's going to ask me to produce trolls...wait, do I get Wealth for that? :P

2. As I have resigned MR7 is over, I am no longer responsible for having to generally manage you, control the wide swathe of crushed souls and weeping, traumatised players you leave in your wake damage, and make sure you don't traumatise the other players too much. So, I don't care, not my problem, you can't make me, etcetera. :P

Oh, and I can do this too! ;)

56644547.jpg

Edited by Kasimir
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Come to think of it, this game would probably have been a lot less broken if faction lists weren't public. Diplomats would be used to slowly uncover who is on whose team, rather than to figure out who discovery members were. Strikers would attack those not on their team, rather than targeting discovery. It's the difference between slowly unraveling the mystery and just having it handed to you.

 

Despite that, I still had a great time. This was a awesome first game for me, and Kas was an incredible GM. He was active in the Docs, he posted reminders and clarifications, he dealt with last-minute orders, and he gave Discovery Regicide. :)

 

EDIT: just noticed this in the dead doc: It seems he really tried to take a go at it on his own, for his own entertainment. (PK, if you ever read this, feel free to tell me if I’m wrong about that.)

Before Mailliw shared info, I tried to crack the code. I couldn't figure it out. After he shared info, I worked at it long enough to make sure I could crack it, looked at the cheat sheet, spent 6 hours doing something else so my brother didn't get suspicious, then posted that I had solved the code. And then went back and finished solving the code so I had an explanation for everyone else.

Being an eliminator is awesome that way. :)

Edited by Paranoid King
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Thanks for a great game Kas. Even if I did manage do die my first early death and get on Wilson's list at the same time.  :unsure:

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I just realized that I thoroughly lost that game - even if we had been sharders, I still would have lost, being a part of Moderation and Discovery. Oh well.

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It'd be a sad world if we put our enjoyments before our life, Kas. You have every right to call the game. You already have done exceedingly well Mastering a game few would have dared volunteered for. Thank you.

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Yep. Good game everyone! And yes, i was one of the inactives. Somewhere around cycle 3 or 4 I was inactive for most of the cycle, and then of course when I dropped out and dowanx took my place. 

 

I think one of the things that lead to it being an Eliminator game instead of a faction game was the lynches. That meant that to some extent we had to work together in order to get in a clear kill. The most obvious target was Discovery, since that was the clear common enemy. 

 

I also decided that I would post the rest of what I wrote when I was in the doc by myself....

 

Here's me strategizing:

 

 

Ishtar used the first of the coins to hire some staff. Even if he was the only person currently in Moderation, he didn’t have to squander- if he left, the faction would cease to exist. Thankfully, he still had some talents he hoped would come in use in helping protect himself, but those wouldn’t last long.

 

He paid some servants to clean up the room and to bring in more lanterns. The increased light showed some interesting paintings- not too old, such as the Heritage faction had, and not as vibrant and war obsessed as the Glory, but more subtle things. Landscapes, cloudy days, and simple workers. They were amazing in their simplicity. They showed the joys of being in balance, of love and peace. Ishtar made a note to have someone appraise them. There was a chance that he would need to sell them to allow for the funds that the faction needed. But then again, who would buy them if Heritage or Glory were to-

 

Ishtar shoved the thought out of his head. That would not happen. He would not allow that to happen.

 

He looked at the larger table he had had brought in with his notes on them. The key was going to be managing to keep Glory around long enough so that Moderation could gain traction. That would mean complete unity with Glory, but that would be hard to do with such unreliable information. There always were the meetings that all were welcome to, but he had set up no systems so that he could communicate well with those in Glory, and he didn’t want to try to re-enter the Glory room. The servants had seen him taking up the Moderation room and would sell him out in an instant if they thought he was playing two sides at once.

 

If only there was a way to gain the servants on my side. But the servants, for some unbelievable reason, were incredibly loyal to the now fallen crown. They didn’t tell anybody anything. They all knew that the king had trusted no faction to the crown, so they did not share their information with any.  They were waiting, neutral, to see what faction would dominate. Just like those Bloodforged Diplomats.

 

That’s it! The diplomats!

 

Ishtar, along with all the servants, knew how highly in favor the diplomats were with the King. Could it be that the diplomats, with their papers and fancy connections as a front, were truly using the servants to be able to tell who was in what faction?

 

Those Bloody geniuses. Using their neutrality to align with those already neutral.

 

Perhaps with a diplomat aligned with his faction, Ishtar could use him to tell what Heritage members were Discovery- this would allow the whole group to agree to lynch that person. All the while, the Moderation member would continue to recruit. As such a small faction, no one would pay heed to them until the time came to strike.

 

Ishtar leaned back in his chair. “Oh servant” he said to the nearest maid cleaning up.

 

“Yes, Faction Leader?” She was a small thing, simply dressed as most of the servants were. Ishtar approved. Their simple dress was moderation at its finest.

 

“Bring me some food from the kitchen, will you please? I may need to stay up late tonight.”

 

“Yes, Faction Leader.”

*******
 
 

Ishtar huffed into the room, shutting the door behind him and slammed his fist on the table.


“By the Moon, it just won’t work!” Ishtar had returned from the general meeting that was often held, and he was quite upset. He had gotten word that all of the Discovery members had been, well, Discovered. It would do nothing now to recruit Adamir to help him in his cause. That did mean that the lynches would likely go to those doublecrossers, at least for the time being.


Ishtar knew that he had to pick someone else now. But who? Who would be a worthy contributor to Moderation? Who would help them rise from the ashes? Ishtar knew there was a chance that one of the other factions would rip him away- that they would force him to join them, with no choice being offered on his part. But he wanted to leave Moderation in good hands. Ishtar knew the difficult situation they were in, and wanted someone who would be willing to fight to the end, to be consistent in their efforts.


What about the siblings?


The siblings were wise and crafty. Ishtar knew that they would work well- indeed, that was why he had recruited [seonid] to the Glory faction. He knew how well he strategized, and he knew that he would be able to see a clear path to victory. And yet- he knew how long Seonid had been separated from his brother. It would be cruel for Ishtar to rip him away so soon. They deserved a chance at happiness.


What about the traitors?


Ishtar could recruit those of the traitorous doublecrosssing Discovery faction. He knew they would fight and work till their last breaths. But he also knew that they were marked for death. They would be able to work in the shadows, without anyone knowing that they had access to proper funds. Indeed, they could end up with the entire faction if something were to happen to Ishtar. It was something worth considering.

 

Indeed. He was the faction leader of Moderation know. Ishtar cringed at the thought of selling out the morals of the faction, but it may be the best solution. The Discovery had proven many times that they would fight till their dying breaths- they, more than any other, would believe and work toward the ends of their faction.


He could protect them as well. He knew that the others would be after them- but if the infighting grew intense enough, if Heritage and Glory fought and grew bitter enough, they could become distracted from their goal of destroying Moderation and Discovery.


Ishtar chuckled to himself. Moderation was brought down in large part because of the rumored alliance with Discovery. Ishtar doubted those claims, but that hadn’t stopped him from exploiting them in the past. Now he was considering that exact same thing. It may be the only option- it would probably end with Moderation’s destruction. But it would keep them alive, and it would keep the other factions off balance for long enough so that Moderation had a chance to grab the upper hand and then clean their own house.


It’s a long shot, Ishtar thought to himself, but it may be Moderation’s best chance….

 

 
 
Here's my favorite bit- Why were the bribes so effective? Why were our orientations supposed to change so much just with a few coins? Something more nefarious was at work.....
 

Ishtar sat in the Moderation room in the middle of the night, near the table with the bag of coins on it. It was raining outside, and the only light he had on was that same glow of the hearth, the fire having long since died down.The glow reflected his solemn face. Even here, in the center of the palace, he could hear the rain falling. Just as the factions did. Just as his loyalties had


He spent so long in this room. Almost every waking moment was about trying to help Moderation to rebuild and reforge itself, even if it had to do it with unsavory enemies.


How did my loyalties change so quickly? Ishtar had been so sure about the Glory cause. He could remember it, but it almost seemed… out of reach. He could remember the passion that he had worked for them, but he could no longer find that cause inside of him.


He could remember the cause for which he had come in here- he had been insanely interested in the money. That seemed odd to him now, considering the money he spent trying to rebuild the faction. Now the money seemed… inconsequential. Now all that mattered was Moderation.


Moderation in all things. Never too big, or to small. The best times for the Rose Empire was not the times mentioned in history books- the times of War or great progress. Those were times of change, of upheaval. And as the body count after the death of the Emperor demonstrated, change always cost.


No, the best time in the Rose Empire was the quiet times. When the concerns of the citizens were not the worries of the invasion, or of the chaos of innovation- but of the simple problems of their own lives. When their devotion lied with their families and friends, and not the empire itself. Those times when populations grew, people died in beds instead of battlefields, and lives were simpler.


Ishtar heard thunder outside. He knew that what he was thinking wasn’t the sort of things that high ranking government officials usually thought about. But that didn’t stop him from thinking it.


Yet, he could just remember a time when it was not so. He remembered a time when he believed that the Glory of the Rose Empire, those victories, beating those insurmountable odds were the greatest time. Indeed, the work that he was involved in now could almost be seen in that light.


So what changed? What changed my perspective on life?


He absentmindedly picked up a coin from the table, picking it up around the edges. Then he noticed something in the coin. A symbol that he had noticed before.


What in the forgotten name of the Moon……


It was a Forger’s symbol. Ishtar had seen some of their work before- though the hypocritical Heritage faction demonized their work, Ishtar knew that their Remember’s work was not so different. He had trained with them for a time, before he… well entered into his other training. There was a symbol for past, and a symbol for future, and one to indicate that the Cognitive Realm. With the little light in the room, he could just make out a purple symbol in the center of the coin



The symbol of Moderation.


Ishtar was suddenly very awake. That’s when his thoughts had changed. That’s when his perspective had changed- when he had taken the coins. He was….. Forged. These coins, whenever someone held them in their hands must imprint themselves. Looking closely at his hand, he could see the marks where the hundreds of coins that he had held had taken their mark.


That’s why the factions changed so quickly- that’s why the loyalties changed so quickly. It wasn’t the money. The type of devotion and dominion the factions held over their members wasn’t enough to indicate that. It must be the coins themselves.


Bloody Moon!


It was a sham. The factions, the coins, the bribery. All a manipulation of forgery. But who-

The arbiters. Ishtar had never seen an arbiter defect from one faction to another- they were the few that were loyal. They had to know- and they knew well enough to not touch the coins of another faction. But they kept the secret all to themselves. They didn’t tell anyone- not even the most loyal of servants, for the arbiters knew that even they were fickle.


How did the arbiters have so many Forgers? He only knew of a handful in the entire Empire. Enough to manage the bribing money for each of the three major factions? Where did it all happen? When did it all happen?


The Emperor.


The arbiters all got their money, depending on their size, from the Emperor himself. The taxes brought them to him, then they moved out to the arbiters and factions that helped run the empire. He must have an army of Forgers that worked exclusively on these coins, making them not too strong as to be obvious, but not too short as to be pointless.

This faction war wasn’t just about controlling the governing body of the Empire- it was about controlling the mind of the Empire itself.


Ishtar clenched the coin in his fist. He would not stand for such a thing to happen. The citizens of the Empire’s mind should not be ruled, not even by the most worthy of factions. He had to do something. He had to-


Ishtar dropped the coin to the ground. It hit the ground with a clink, then rolled to the hearth.  


What had he been thinking about? He must’ve dazed off. Or perhaps even had a nightmare. His heart was beating so hard it seemed to want to leave his chest. Ishtar stood up and went over to a cot that had been brought to the room. It was late, and time to go to bed so that he could figure out how to save the Magnificent faction of Moderation in the morning.


By the embers of the fire, the glow showed a simple symbol Ishtar had missed. The symbol to Forget.


The rain continued to fall.

 
 
And a last bit of strategizing:
 

 

Ishtar woke up. It was the morning. Potentially his last. It was always uncertain what the fates would be. He stretched, and walked back to the table that had been his companion these few days.


Has it really only been a few days? It feels like so long….


Ishtar scratched at his hands. They were itchy for some reason. He knew that today was the day designated for the factions to take action. Any killing, bribing, maiming or researching would be done today. There would be a few poin bags made a little heavier, some lighter, and likely a few graves filled before the day was done.


Whose coin pouch should I make heavier?


He had long since decided to choose someone from the Discovery faction. He knew they wouldn’t last long, but they would be completely dedicated to the cause, because they knew it was their only hope. He would accompany them after he gave them payment. Ishtar didn’t want anything to happen to them after all, and he was the best protection they were likely to get.


Ishtar knew that all of the Discovery faction had been exiled from the other rooms, and most were wandering aimlessly around the castle.


So who?


[Paranoid King] was someone who had been a known Discovery player for a while. He wouldn’t last long with the lynches that were upcoming, and Ishtar wanted someone that would be able to be around for a while to plot and to make plans.


[Zephyr] seemed intelligent, but Ishtar knew far too little about him.


[Alvron]. There’s an idea. Ishtar had seen his work before the succession war, and knew that he would be able to handle himself. Would others make that assumption as well?


Who would last longest? Ishtar wasn’t sure. Who was active enough that they would be a willing and strong participant, but not so active as to make themselves noticeable? Ishtar chuckled to himself.


The question boiled down to who was the most moderate of the three?


Ishtar decided that he would think on that, but that he would make preparations just in case…


Just in case what? Just in case if I die? There’s no one after my neck. And I don’t think there would be money enough in the world to separate myself from this moderate cause.


Yet somehow, Ishtar knew that was a possibility. So he got out his quil and ink and a piece of paper, to ready the table just as it was made ready for him.


My most ordinary compatriot,


When I found this room, it was empty and desolate. The old Moderate members had left and had abandoned their cause for lesser causes. I have done my best to see what would be best for this faction, and, of course, for the Rose Empire, and I have chosen you to join me in the journey to rebuilding the Moderate faction.


Now, I know of your past. I know that you have long since dedicated yourself to the Discovery cause, and indeed, I think that you may still be loyal to it. But in considering your current destination as a faction, and your existing connections, I’m willing to work with that.


This is our chance to “become a Pheonix and rise from the ashes,” as someone once told me. Ironically, I believe that person to be in the Glory faction themselves now. But this is our time to rise. We must be wise. We must be subtle. We must do our best to cause infighting between the arrogant Glory faction and the old-fashioned Heritage faction, for the Moderate faction is the one that will lead the land to the greatest amount of peace and harmony and joy.


The road will be long, and arduous. I know you may be tempted to give up. But never give up! Be consistent. Don’t be too daring, but don’t take to long to strike. Moderation in all things is the key to victory, and the key to inner peace.


Good luck I wish to you, in case I am not here to give it.


With the most moderate sincerity,

 

Ishtar

Moderate Faction Leader

 
 
 
 
 

Ishtar sealed the letter with the Moderate seal. He still hadn’t decided who to give it to. And he knew he didn’t have long.


[Alvron]. He knew it had to be him. He was the only one with enough experience to make it all the way. He may not be active enough, but Ishtar hoped that he would do what was needed to fulfill the task.


Ishtar left the room, a few coins in hand, to go find [Alvron] and to bring him home.

 

So let it be known Discovery that I tried not once, but twice to put you on Moderation. But alas, our votes were changed...
 
 
EDIT- I'm not sure why that's being weird. Oh well. 
 
I'd also like to apologize for how I played this game. I feel like I didn't try my best in this game. I was too burned out from the last QF, and I don't think a faction game's really my thing. Besides my RPing, which I am proud of, I feel like I didn't do as much as I could've this game. I'll do better next time, and be more careful about which games I join. 
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With the latest QF finishing up and the fact that there hasn't been any discussion in here for over a week, I think it's time to finally put this game to rest. Thank you Kas for running this game. I know you think it had some problems, but from what I can see, 90% of the difficulties in this game didn't come from you or your design. I do hope you give GMing another shot in the future, as there were some amazing concepts in this game and I look forward to seeing what else you come up with. :)

 

Now, as always, if anyone would like to try your hand at running a game, please get a hold of GammaWilson or myself. Not only will we get you added to the list, but I'm sure we'd be more than willing to help out in any way we can as well!

 

You can also ask questions and get some hints and feedback from everyone over here in our Art of Game Creation thread as well. With all the games that we've run so far, we have plenty of experienced GMs that can help you refine any game you're thinking about!

 

With the QF finishing up, that means that we should have a MR game starting soon and, if you're more of an observer, the LG is still in full swing! Best of luck to everyone in your future games! 

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