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Posted (edited)

It was said that a man could not turn a corner in the Imperial Seat without stumbling upon a teahouse. There were many such teahouses; scattered throughout the districts of the capital. Some were little more than squat shops in which a labourer could grab a cup of hot tea at the end of the day, listen to the gossip that was the lifeblood of the Imperial Seat, and dice away his coin. Others were elegant affairs: towering edifices with arched roofs, where the artists and bureaucrats gathered to comment on paintings or exchange poetry.

The Frozen Moon teahouse was neither. An establishment respected for its age, the teahouse was built next to an open courtyard, with blossoming peach trees overlooking a clear, still pond. Here, in the teahouse, the Imperial Seat’s underworld diced, fought, and otherwise mixed freely with the highest-ranked bureaucrats of the Empire. Here, affairs of state had once been decided; almost five years ago, when the streets and the gutters ran thick with blood as the factions plotted and schemed in the wake of the untimely assassination of the ailing Emperor Yazad, and one of the most cunning, most dangerous men in the Rose Empire, Arbiter Kaleva.

The Frozen Moon, however, was over three centuries old, and while the sloping tiles of the roof had recently been repaired—there had been a terrible storm last summer, and half the roof had been damaged when the venerable peach tree planted in the day of Empress Taizu in the courtyard collapsed—much of the outrage of the years remained. The wooden door was a little more battered, and the paint on the walls had grown thin and faded, but the Frozen Moon persisted, looking somewhat worse for the wear, but a citizen could sit in the courtyard and sip tea and know that little had changed, at least where the Frozen Moon was concerned. Arbiter Oshin would have seen the same peach trees, as she sat in the courtyard and composed the famous Peach Yard Couplets that would lead to the formation of the Heritage Faction.

There were changes, however. Little stirrings and eddies that suggested that the course of the mighty river of history was—potentially—about to shift. 

Wenshon went from table to table, copper kettle in hand, refilling cups of tea. Steam rose from the fired-clay cups, mingling with the sweet fragrance of the herbs. Usually, he was accompanied by a taciturn MaiPon server, but today, the server was nowhere to be found. So it was that Wenshon deftly scooped up coins, scrubbed at the tables, and carried out steaming plates of dumplings and tea sweets to the customers that frequented the Frozen Moon. In summer, it was slices of iced persimmon, neatly-arranged, and how Wenshon acquired such delicacies was a matter of some speculation.

“...a disgrace! I have never heard of such an absurdity in my life,” snapped a stern-looking woman, her hair fastened back with an austere wooden clip. Conversations quieted, as the patrons of the Frozen Moon realised who was speaking.

Arbiter Darela of the Reform Faction was young for an arbiter, and deadly-focused. What legislation she wanted, she got. It was said that only two people had ever seen Arbiter Darela smile. She was the pride of Salshi, her home province, and kept a miniature cultivated Salsi thorn-bush in a clay pot on her desk. Right now, however, Arbiter Darela was irritated. What was more unusual, however, was the person whom she was cross with. Arbiter Huzin, who was currently the most powerful woman in the Rose Empire, sat there, arms folded across her chest, and sighed.

“That’s the problem with you, Darela,” Huzin retorted. “You’re far too stubborn for your own good—it’s your way, or nothing at all, and suddenly it’s tyranny when the Emperor seeks only to pass a law for the stability of the Rose Empire—”

“A law which allows Emperor Gamman to censure individuals or organisations that offend public integrity by promoting falsehoods!” Darela shot back. “Huzin, you must see this. It is extremely dangerous to allow the ruling arbiters to decide what is truth and what is falsehood, and to allow the censure and punishment of those who disagree with us. It is far, far worse for us to cede that power entirely into Gamman’s hands.”

Huzin was shaking her head. “I respect your perspective, Darela. I truly do. But this was the fourth Svordish agent we’ve caught within the Imperial Seat, and the last one provoked a riot in the Hall of Memories. Thirty-one citizens dead, Darela! You cannot continue to cry tyranny the moment Gamman enacts necessary laws and allow more to join the dead.”

“Lushan wasn’t Svordish.”

Huzin scowled. “He took their money. He commanded the guard. He played stones with the Svordish diplomat every Tuesday.”

“Hardly the basis for subversion, Huzin! Or shall we all start looking to our friends and shunning those of foreign origin?”

“Enough, Darela,” Huzin said. 

Darela drained her cup to the dregs and slammed it back down onto the wooden table. “I think,” she said softly, “The problem is that it will never be enough. There will always be another danger, another threat. Won’t there?”

“Those who seek phantoms will always find them,” Huzin replied, just as quietly. Their voices carried in the hush that descended within the Frozen Moon. “Go to your work, Darela. We will do what we must.”

For the third and final time, the central room of the Frozen Moon saw Arbiter Darela smile. It was a tired smile, perhaps, touched with wariness. “You will, I presume.” She bowed her head; whether in acceptance or challenge, it was not clear.

She left behind a sizable tip for Wenshon as she left the Frozen Moon, the door creaking shut behind her with the loud complaint of age.

From the shadows, unseen by all except perhaps Wenshon, who was getting on in years, but was still sharper than Gixin steel, a MaiPon man padded after her.

ㄢㄋㄌ

QF40: Uneasy Lies

“Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.” —William Shakespeare, Henry VI Part 2, Act 3, Scene 1: 1735.

It is the fifth year of Emperor Gamman’s reign. The eighty splendid suns rise and fall in turn, illuminating the sprawling expanse of Imperial Seat. In the shadows, plotting and intrigue goes on, wheels within wheels, coin exchanging hands and playing-pieces falling into place as the game of games goes on.

Emperor Gamman has schemed his way into power, riding on the chaos unleashed by the power-struggle between the Heritage, Moderation, Glory, and Discovery factions, in the weeks since the previous Emperor, Yazad, had been slain by a MaiPon assassin.

But some do not forget. In a modest teahouse in a corner of the capital, schemes simmer and steep like tea leaves, reaching a boil...

Gamman will fall. This cause has drawn members of the various Factions together in a private tea room of the Frozen Moon, even as you eye one another warily over cups of steaming tea.

But first: can you trust everyone in your midst?

ㄢㄋㄌ

General Rules

Spoiler

1. This game is a QF game, with cycles lasting 24 hours. The game will start at 9PM, GMT+8, and subsequent rollovers will also take place at that time.

2. No PMs will be allowed during this game.

3. In the interests of balance, not every role may appear in the game. However, the roles that do appear will have been randomly assigned.

4. Write-ups will be minimally informative. At this point, the only thing the write-up will announce accurately is the alignment of the deceased. In addition, the write-up should not be regarded as an accurate guide to what actually happened. We intend to take full creative liberties and will not be held responsible for any confusion, false assumptions, or damages resulting from treating the write-up like the Holy Word of Wyrm.

5. Lynch votes must be in red. If you have retracted a previous vote, please go back and green it as we will count the first red vote we see (in the interests of a fast rollover), and so we cannot guarantee we will catch non-compliant changes.

6. Tied lynches will result in RNGesus killing someone. By which we mean we will flip a coin or roll the appropriate die until someone dies.

7. This is a QF, and so there will be an inactivity filter. Players who neither post nor submit actions for two cycles in a row will be automatically killed by the filter.

8. Please @ me or @Haelbarde for clarificatory questions in thread, and bold them so we will pick them out. For clarificatory questions in PM and doc, please bold them. While we will do our best to get to all questions in a timely manner, our priority will be to address rule clarifications asked in the stipulated manner. (This also guarantees we won’t derp and miss them.)

9. This is the Order of Actions:

-Assassination (once only)
-Protection / Vote manipulation / Embedded Operative’s choice
-Kills / Lynch

10. Please do keep in mind that standard Etiquette and Fair Play rules apply during this game. Thank you, and have fun!

11. There will be separate dead docs for each Faction. Please practice information hygiene; do not speak to players outside of the dead doc. The spec doc will also be separate from the dead docs, and is available upon request.

ㄢㄋㄌ

Win Conditions

Spoiler
  • The Conspirators win when all Discovery Agents are eliminated. The Reform Spy and Reform Handler win with the Conspirators. The enemy of my enemy is my friend and necessity makes strange bedfellows.

  • The Agents of the Discovery Faction win either when they outnumber the Conspirators, or when the Reform Spy is assassinated (i.e. lynched during the Assassination cycle.)

ㄢㄋㄌ

Roles

Spoiler

Conspirators: Whichever your original Faction, you have been drawn to the Frozen Moon by an invitation dangling a prize too difficult to ignore: Gamman’s death, and the possibilities for one of your own to sit on the Rose Throne. But can you trust everyone present here today?

Discovery Agents: You have carefully assumed disguises and embedded yourselves among the members of the other Factions. Five years ago, they banded together and slaughtered you like animals. Gamman will fall. But first, the other Factions will taste defeat.

  • A Knife In The Dark: Every cycle, the Discovery Faction has access to a faction kill. The order must be put in by a member of the Discovery Faction. The GM will take the most recent kill order to be the final kill order, irrespective of which Faction member puts it in.
  • Sheathing The Sword: Upon the death of the last surviving player aligned with the Discovery Faction, a final 'sudden death' Assassination cycle begins. This cycle is 24 hours long, and any player in the game may post during the cycle. However, only the Discovery Faction may vote. If they discover and lynch the Reform Spy successfully, they win the game.

  • Two For Conspiracy: The Discovery Faction has access to a Faction doc. All the better with which to backstab and conspire against the Conspirators.

Reform Spy: As a master of tradecraft, you begin the game knowing the identities of all the Discovery Faction’s Agents. The difficulty is convincing your ‘fellow’ conspirators of the need for swift remedial action…

  • The Coming of Wisdom: The Reform Spy knows all the identities of the Discovery Faction’s Agents but not their roles.

Reform Spy Handler: You are the Reform Spy’s handler, and as such, you know the identity of the Reform Spy. Try not to get them killed, would you? It’s difficult to replace experienced operatives, and oh, the number of reports you’d have to file…

  • Operational Security: The Reform Spy Handler only knows the identity of the Reform Spy.

Embedded Operative: Exactly five years ago, you were embedded into your assigned faction under deep cover. Will you break your cover or will you turn on your original handler? No one knows...perhaps, not even you.

  • Turncoat: During the third and fifth cycles, the Embedded Operative may choose to declare for a Faction. This choice, once made, is irreversible. If the Embedded Operative has chosen during the third cycle, they will no longer be permitted to choose during the fifth cycle. This choice will not be publicised. (The GMs reserve the right to alter the ‘choosing cycles’ based on player count, but will publicise the cycle numbers at the beginning of the game.) Note that a Discovery-aligned Embedded Operative will always be allowed to assassinate as the last member standing.
     
  • Swift As A Deer: The wise operative is never where the strike falls. An Embedded Operative who chooses during the third cycle gains the ability to survive one kill or lynch. If Discovery-aligned, they will also be given the Discovery Faction kill on alternate cycles.
     
  • He Who Increaseth Knowledge: ...Increaseth sorrow. An Embedded Operative who chooses during the fifth cycle gains either access to the Discovery Faction doc or knowledge of the Reform Spy’s identity. As a full member of the Discovery Faction, the usual kill rules apply.

Arbiter: As one of the more influential members of your faction, your voice carries weight, even among the conspirators. Where honeyed words fail to persuade, the clinking weight of your purse changes minds and hearts.

  • Tongue of Honey, Tongue of Silver: Once a cycle, the Arbiter may change a target’s vote. This includes changing the target’s vote to a no-vote.

Disgraced Striker: Most Strikers serve in the Guard. You, however, sell your sword to the highest bidder, for coin. Today’s master may not be the same as tomorrow’s. Who cares?

  • Be As Stone: Once a cycle, the Disgraced Striker may protect one target (including themselves) from the lynch or the kill. The Disgraced Striker may not protect the same target twice in a row.

Survivor: You were there the last time, when Arbiter Kaleva and Emperor Yazad died, and the blood ran in the streets and the gutters stank like the butcher’s for the next month. It might not have been worthy of the annals, but you did what you had to, and survived.

  • Calm As Deep Water: You are a veteran and a survivor of the bloody political world of the Rose Empire. You may survive one kill or lynch.

Sign-ups have opened and will remain open until 16th October, 8PM, GMT+8. (This is to give us time to get set up and to figure if we need to tweak the Embedded Operative cycles.) The IM for this game will be @Fifth Scholar .

Quick Links:

Edited by Fifth Scholar
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Posted (edited)

Rule Clarifications

Spoiler
  • Does the Embedded Operative get anything for siding with the Conspirators?

Yes - an Embedded Operative who sides with the Conspirators in Cycle 3 chose the Thug lyfe even if the thuglyfe didn't choose them, and so they gain an extra life, while an Embedded Operative who sides with the Conspirators in Cycle 5 learns the Reform Spy's identity, and essentially becomes a second Reform Spy Handler.

  • Can an Arbiter change a no-vote to a vote?

No - a player must have placed a vote to be affected by an Arbiter. (Note, however, that votes may be Soothed by an Arbiter into a no-vote.)

  • Does the Reform Spy know the identity of the Embedded Operative if they choose to become an Eliminator? 

No.

  • If the Reform Spy is lynched, does it distinguish from a normal Survivor?

No - all cases of survival are treated the same way in the GM summary/statement of Cycle events. (i.e. "Haelbarde was lynched but survived!" or "Haelbarde was attacked but survived!") Otherwise, the write-up will take so many liberties that de Sade will seem a prude. (Don't worry, we're PG-9. Mostly. :ph34r:

  • If the Embedded Operative joins the Discovery Faction, do they know? Do they get to know the Embedded Operative’s identity? 

I assume this refers to an early EO defection as the late defection to Disco is fairly straightforward. Disco will know by default if the EO has joined them since they would be unable to make the kill every other cycle. They will also know who each other are—they just can't communicate. 

  • What happens if the Embedded Operative just doesn’t choose anything?

We would be very sad :( Also, the EO has to choose by the fifth cycle, as reflected in the rules and mechanics, but of course, we can't and shouldn't make the EO submit an action if they don't want to. That being said, as it stands, the EO lacks a win condition until they choose, so the corollary is that they can't win the game or lose the game.

  • Is the Reform Spy immune to the inactivity filter?

No.

  • Pinch-hitters are available upon application to the GMs and IMs.
     
  • Assassination will remain a one-time use ability but may now be used in any cycle instead of the kill. The consent of all active Eliminators will be required, with activity being defined as having posted in the doc that cycle.

Player List

Spoiler

1. I think I am here. - We think they're going to be someone :P
2. DeTess - DeCharacter
3. xinoehp512 - xin character pending
4. StrikerEZ - character pending, don't think they're an ez target
5. Elandera - Marzia, best armorer in the Rose Empire and getting better
6. Burnt Spaghetti - Looking for her nametag
7. Young Bard - Emperor of the Eighty Suns Kavela, serendipitous social climber
8. _Stick_ - Stick, who may or may not be a stick. 
9. Rathmaskal - Yesterday "Yes" Jones, certainly not a yes man, yessir
10. Alvron - Asterion, they shot him, so he votes in the shade
11. Elbereth - Ellira, fatal femme and assassin
12. STINK - in, potentially with 1337 [email protected]
13. Butt Ad Venture - Lawrence Scholdei, confused passerby
14. Devotary of Spontaneity - Faitren

Spectator List

Spoiler

1. CadCom

Pinch-Hitter List

Spoiler

1. Amanuensis
2. DrakeMarshmallow

 

Edited by Kasimir
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I'm signing up for this one as well.

A small comment on house-keeping:

3 hours ago, Kasimir said:

5. Lynch votes must be in red. If you have retracted a previous vote, please go back and green it as we will count the first red vote we see (in the interests of a fast rollover), and so we cannot guarantee we will catch non-compliant changes.

Wouldn't this be more easily achieved by looking back from the last post of the cycle? You'd still count the first red vote, but without the risk of counting an earlier vote ro requiring people to remember and edit all their previous posts (unless someone decided not to vote at all, I guess).

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I will join.

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Posted (edited)

Edit: spec doc please. 

Edited by CadCom
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1 hour ago, DeTess said:

Wouldn't this be more easily achieved by looking back from the last post of the cycle? You'd still count the first red vote, but without the risk of counting an earlier vote ro requiring people to remember and edit all their previous posts (unless someone decided not to vote at all, I guess).

Basically, this boils down to wanting people to be clear about retracting their votes, beyond just verbal black text: "Oh hey I'm gonna vote for Joe now." With that in mind, searching for whether there has been an earlier retraction for each latest vote we look at starts to get really wild, alongside the other issue which is that going backwards, we'd also actually have to determine that a post really is the player's last. Easy for talkative players, less so for sporadic ones. So ideally, we're just going to go really fast through the pages until the first red shows up and then take that, rather than searching specifically for names and last posts. (Of course, this assumes you guys discuss a lot, so there's that, I guess :P

In previous games, there have been one or two players who forget to retract, but this has by and large not been a problem.

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I’ll sign up. Do you know when this will be starting in CDT? @Kasimir

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Posted (edited)

33 minutes ago, StrikerEZ said:

I’ll sign up. Do you know when this will be starting in CDT? @Kasimir

I can do you one better: here's the countdown timer.

That being said, SGT is GMT+8, Hael's about an hour and a half ahead of me, and CDT is GMT-5, so we're 13 hours ahead of you (or 14.5) - sign-ups close at 7AM your time, same day, but you'll be looking at 8AM (your time) rollovers.

Edited by Kasimir
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2 hours ago, Kasimir said:

I can do you one better: here's the countdown timer.

That being said, SGT is GMT+8, Hael's about an hour and a half ahead of me, and CDT is GMT-5, so we're 13 hours ahead of you (or 14.5) - sign-ups close at 7AM your time, same day, but you'll be looking at 8AM (your time) rollovers.

Dang...that’s really unfortunate for me. I’ll be waking up to the results of each cycle I guess. 

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Sure, I'll sign up. Can't miss out on an ES game! I'll be Marzia.

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May I actually be bored to the spec doc. I've been letting school slide due to work and other stuffand I need to focus on that for a few weeks. I'll edit my original post too. 

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Me! Hello! My hands up in the air waving. Yes hi, i want in!  Who am I? Dunno yet! Lemme find a name tag to write on and then ill get back to you

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Does the Embedded Operative get anything for choosing to align with the Conspirators?


"- impossible. His reign has been secure since the day he ascended, we've made sure of it."

"Times are changing, Raishin, surely you must see that much, at least. If you're half as smart as you pretend to be, then your spies should be reporting as much back to you. We need to be prepared."

"There are always troublemakers.  None of them are any threat, though. They wouldn't dare, not after last time."

"It's that blasted Security Bill. I told Gamman it was too much, too soon, that it could cause trouble, but he's always been far too headstrong."

Up above the two arbiters, well hidden amid the foliage of the tree, a girl, Kavela, strained to hear the conversation below her. The branch creaked unappreciatively as she shifted her weight, and she froze - this would not be a good time for the branch to break or for the arbiters to notice her presence. Thankfully, the branch held, and the arbiters seemed to be too deep in their conversation to notice. Kavela settled back, and continued to listen.

"We can double security around the palace, make sure all the food is tested before it reaches the emperor. That will be enough to prevent any attempts."

There is a pause in the conversation. "I hope so", the other figure eventually replied. The two mean seemed to take the conversation to be at an end at that point, as they stood up and parted ways, heading in separate directions, both walking in the too-stiff way of someone trying to appear innocent.

Kavela waited a few minutes to make sure they were gone, and leaped softly down from the branch onto the street, her feet barely making a sound as she touched down. Stalking Arbiters was a dangerous business, but it paid well, and if Gamman really was about to get the knife, Kavela wanted to make sure she was in his successor's good books.

Kavela passed by a street vendor selling oranges, and habitually pickpocketed one when the merchants eyes weren't looking. She continued to walk until she rounded a corner, then quickly dashed off, to go and make her report.

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7 hours ago, CadCom said:

May I actually be bored to the spec doc. I've been letting school slide due to work and other stuffand I need to focus on that for a few weeks. I'll edit my original post too. 

No worries, I've shifted you to the spec doc list, though hopefully you won't be that bored :P

11 minutes ago, Young Bard said:

Does the Embedded Operative get anything for choosing to align with the Conspirators?

 

Yes - bottom line is that the earliest possible choice (currently Cycle 3) gives the Embedded Operative an extra life (they chose the Thug lyfe) and if they choose to be Evil/side with Discovery, then then they get partial Evil powers but not complete ones. If the EO chooses to stick it out to Cycle 5, despite being crunchy and fragile, they either become a full Evil team member, or they become (essentially) a second Reform Spy Handler, since they will then know the Reform Spy's identity.

Edited by Kasimir
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3 hours ago, Kasimir said:

No worries, I've shifted you to the spec doc list, though hopefully you won't be that bored :P

I don't know what I was trying to say, but it definitely wasn't bored. I was on mobile, and it must have tried to auto correct.

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3 hours ago, CadCom said:

I don't know what I was trying to say, but it definitely wasn't bored. I was on mobile, and it must have tried to auto correct.

You were trying to say "added," I think.

I'll probably spectate as well, but hold off from sending the link in case you need more players to join by the time sign ups end. 

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I will play as Stick

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3 hours ago, Amanuensis said:

You were trying to say "added," I think.

I'll probably spectate as well, but hold off from sending the link in case you need more players to join by the time sign ups end. 

Noted with thanks — am definitely not planning on creating the spec doc until after Cycle 1 goes live. 

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I'm in as Yesterday Jones, Yes for short.

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A man walked into the teahouse.  A man who had been there several times before but had not been seen for quite some time.  A man many thought was dead.

Asterion sat at one of the few empty tables.  He did not speak.  In fact, he could not speak even if he wished to.  Two crossbow bolts to the throat saw to that.  Instead Asterion sat and watched and waited.  He knew what was coming and he was ready this time.

He did miss the weight of Regicide though.

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Hello! I will be playing, probably with a heavy RP focus. Character and associated RP to come when I’m not extremely tired!

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I’m still busy and next week/end will be even busier with midterms, but I can’t believe that Kas and Hael are GMing and I can’t play. Have fun! 

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26 minutes ago, Mailliw73 said:

I’m still busy and next week/end will be even busier with midterms, but I can’t believe that Kas and Hael are GMing and I can’t play. Have fun! 

No worries, exams come first - good luck, dude! :P Hope to catch you around in a game sometime!

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'Sup, I'm in. Haven't played a game of Resistance in a while :P

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