Sunday, November 23, 2008

New Banner on RK forums

My new banner for use on RK forums.
Took me 20 minutes to make.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Wargamer's Delight

Before I launch off into another RK story, I should say that I'm flying again on IL46. Not a lot and not online, but am enjoying the feel of the virtual wind beneath my wings and the clattering life and death experience of stalking german bombers in my russian fighter plane. Still not a great pilot, but am building a bit of technique up. Beats me how some of the pilots I've seen can be so good!

Back to RK.

One of the joys of this historical MMPORG is the sense of wheels within wheels, layers within layers, always something being beyond the horizon when one tries to understand how the world works. Some of this is in relation to the 'rules' of the coded game (which admin have let the players work out for themselves as a deliberate act of policy).

Much of this sense of 'a bigger world out there', which generates the immersive effect of the game over time, comes from the forum based structures the various players have created to regulate the community. From the Clans and Guilds and Robber Armies to trading emporiums, court and church hierarchies, to governmental structures from town councils to National Assemblies, these larger bodies add meaning to the simple day to day actions of so much that goes on. One of these large organisations is the Royal Scottish Army.

Put simply, Scotland's three counties each has a Regimental structure composed of town bands, each commanded by a Band Leader. The Regiment is commanded by a General, assisted by a Councillor. Together with the Field Marshall sitting on top of the structure, the Generals and Councillors form the RSA High Command. The High Command is answerable to the people through the Steward of Scotland, who spends most of his time in the (s)elected National Assembly.

Most of the soldiers, however, are hardly aware of these arrangements.

The guts of the RSA is its town 'band' structure. Each town maintains its own Band, commanded by a Band Leader. They tend to be subdivided into Groups, which are led by Patrol Leaders. Groups perform the daily work of patrolling, guarding, escorting as required.

Thus, Galloway Regiment has about 50 soldiers organised into five town bands of varying strength and ability, performing a range of tasks that requires steady communication and reliability amongst its members. At its peak we had nearly 100 soldiers, but since then there has been an attrition of leaders as well as troops, partly due the stresses of conflicting goals and ambitions, partly due the stresses of frustrating game system changes over the past three months.

Due various ingame (rebellion, going rogue, being sued) and outgame (loss of connection, lack of time) our Regiment has suffered the loss of its last few Generals over the period when we needed them most. This has contributed to a sense of leaderlessness, which is poison to an army.

So, I was asked to become the General of the Regiment, an honour and a privelege. After considering the additional demands on my time and the stresses I was about to subject myself to, I accepted the promotion.

This is a wargamer's delight. It's like all that theory of supply, logistics, training, command being added on top of the more typical 'military' things of maneuver, combat, deception, coded into a game with thousands of players each taking a little role in character, facing off in real time other groups similarly composed. It's getting close to the 'real thing' as far as admin and organisation go.

I'll be filling in on this blog some of the things I do as general in between the battles which hardly ever happen. It's the stuff between the battles that determine who wins them. So I find it all pretty exciting (in an RK, long term kind of way),

Saturday, November 01, 2008

My gamer ethic in the RK

I recently posted the following on a RK forum. It forms part of a discussion about the fact that RK is a game, written in response to the increasing incidence of incidents of flaming, disrespect, harassment and (in some corners of the realm) a growing sense of ennui as players develop their characters to the 'outside edge' of the envelope (sort of like, "where do you go when you've got max stats in any game?").

BJB had posted earlier in the thread that he thought that much of this was people taking it all too seriously, mixing up their ooc and ig personas.

Hear Hear to much of what bjb said. In my little ubergamer view things there's a number of things at play. For a start, many of us are at different levels.

I see RK as many games in one (strategic, managerial, political, powergaming, role playing, chat/relax, historical trip). Inside each of these games lie various tactics and strategies. Each of us comes to this world for something a little different. On top of that, each of us brings our own type of gamer ethics.

The level at which I'm at stresses the RPG aspect of MMORPG. So that's where the following is coming from...

In game terms, the scheming plotting power playing megamaniac character is welcome in any game I play in. The rebellious criminal mercenary powermonger character is equally welcome. An elitist political interfering corrupt government should be the norm. All I ask is that the playing field is level and people don't shout at each other.

My character has adopted a certain persona. That has become 'real' over time. (And a little of Drac has crept into my persona also!) I too have been through that experience of the two personas blurring, though I think I managed to avoid the mental breakdown and the flaming that so often comes from that. I think I reverted to maintaining my responsibilities to clan and other bodies i was in, being a 30 minute player while I recovered.

I look around me now and see looming threats to a fragile nation, lots of entrenched attitudes and clashing personalities. The markets are getting closer to bursting, the economies are about to crash. And of top of it all the platform is unstable.

I the player am amused with the realistic potentials I see here for acting out historically accurate plots and subplots ingame. Be they rebellion, coup, war, economic collapse, etc. There are many darksides to this game. That is good and, from my readings of the wisdom of LJS, the way it is meant to be. For it gives us the chance to struggle to make things better.

My character will certainly do all he can to ensure that the present structure continues as long and as strong as it can. I wouldn't expect anything else from him. The player behind the character is pretty certain that that will lead to an entirely different style of game evolving as his world is changed around him.

Drac will be disturbed and might even lash out at that time. But that will be Drac, not me the player. It's a delicate balance at times.

But well worth the effort.

Just thought I'd share that with you.

Territorial Ambitions

I came across this post about territorial level D&D play over at The Verbing Noun. Made me think about the concepts of territorial ambitions for high level characters, initially in terms of old time RPGs but then in the new world of online RPGs i'm presently entranced by.

I never got one of my D&D characters up to the level 9 or 10 necessary to attain the level of territorial control, but I sure always thought it would be cool to do so. I did play in a campaign once where the world in which our characters lived and died was actually a D&D based strategic game, complete with monthly turns and table top wargames. That was fun.

These days, when I get my RPG kick out of the online MMPORPG Renaissance Kingdoms, the issue of 'territory' is soon going to rear its head in a fairly big way across the Kingdom. Some of the more egotistically altruistic players with Kingdom wide reputations will soon make a play to take over a County in a big way, setting up break away Kingdoms etc.

Which will drag me into it as a leader of the resistence, a royalist rebel, etc. Will be fun.