Friday, December 25, 2009

The Dog Days

Happy xmas (to those of you who celebrate it)! Believe it or not, amongst other gifts I received was a game - Settlers of Catan. I know it's been around awhile and that many of the regular readers of this blog will have played it, but I haven't and am sure looking forward to it. Though the boardgame we are planning to play sometime in the next week and a half (when the world here stops for summer dogdays* holiday) is a six or seven player game of the old Avalon Hill classic, "Civilisation". That'll take about 12 hours to play. Is pretty cool how can usually get folk together to play it once or twice a year.

A few days before xmas i got myself a 'little something,' one of those computer game magazines which has a game disk with it, "Age of Conan". It sounds like a megagame, and suffers from a lot of the commercialisations that come with these things, but I was grew up reading the original Conan stories and can't resist having a look at the world of Hyboria for thirty days before the free period of this online game expires. With holidays in front of me, hopefully I'll be able to advance enough to travel a bit and have a look around. Who knows, I might even like it?!

* The dog days is a term from the roman era referring to the sliding number of days after the solistice to correct the calander each year (I think). I use it to describe the null days between xmas and new year.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

East Front again

Wayne has started up another scenario of Talonsoft's East Front II that we play by emailing turnfiles. Again, he is the russian and I the german in this WWII tactical hex based comp game. I think we're about one all in the present run of scenarios. This one seems to be a russian cavalry divsion trying to swarm over some isolated german outposts on the steppe, but that will clarify itself as the turns progress (we always play it with fog of war 'on').

Sunday, December 06, 2009

5 player LOTR

Had a five player game, with Jess and Jarrad being the two first timers. We got further than in any other game (though still didn't reach Mount Doom before Sam the Ring Bearer (me) was corrupted by Sauron - along with all the other hobbits except for Merry). The dynamic was a bit different as one would expect with five players, with 'advantages' to the group and 'disadvantages' to the players, as I put it. Again, took about two hours (including a snack break).

The ring has now been taken from our home for a week to be used elsewhere. Little doubt that the young ones will soon have optimised their playing strategies and will be keen to show us 'oldies' how it is done when the ring one day returns.

Session 5: Sauron starts on 15. Shaun, Nancy, Jessica, Jarrad, Mark. Scored 57.

Sunday, November 29, 2009


Went and played two three player games of LOTR. The first of them took around three hours, had several children watching for some of the time with their various hobbit and gollum imitations. Very funny, and they seem to understand the principles of the fellowship of the ring easier than us adults, judging by the results...

Session 3: Nancy, Wayne, Mark. Sauron starts 15. Score 46, eaten by Shelob.
Session 4: Wayne, Mark, Nancy. Sauron starts 15. Score 54, overtaken by events and Sauron grabs the ring. Pippin was alone for most of his fateful journey in Mordor in this game, but the eliminated players were still 'involved' in what was happening.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

LOTR Sessions

Board from 25 Nov 2009 (Postgame)

Game 1: Paul, Mark, Nancy - 53 points - Sauron starts at 15 on Corruption Chart
Game 2: Mark, Shaun, Paul, Nancy - 46 points - Sauron starts at 15

Both games took about two hours, though wouldn't be much more than an hour once people are familiar with the game. Highly challenging with a sense of impending and inevitable doom. The game hangs together neatly, encouraging the company to support each other. Utilises on board tracks to keep the forward momentum, cards to generate actions, nice components, clear rules. As the company passes through Shelob's Lair (we didn't get past through it to Mordor in the second game) the tension rises, as Sauron reaches out for the company the fear rises, as the hobbits have to risk themselves to save their friends the group coheres.

A good game, am even taking it to someone else's place tonight to induct them. Maybe I'll give it a rest then...

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Lord of the Rings - Knizia board game

Have just purchased Knizia's Lord of the Rings cooperative board game from the pawnbroker (of all places). Will let you know how it plays when we take on Sauron - but the concept of a 'corruption line', the artwork and the favoured status of almost anything designed by Knizia leads to good prospects.

After having read the rules and finding them somewhat intriguing because of the new possibilities opened by the group v the system approach I went for a quick google to see what sort of a game this was. I have found nothing but praise so far, but what was interesting is that I found this academic article on cooperative and collaboration game design ("Collaborative games: Lessons learned from board games" - Zagal, Rick, Hsi). It uses Knizia'a LOTR as its case study of a 'collaborative' game that works, is itself an attempt to draw lessons for use by the MMORG fraternity. Worth a read, as are the archives for The Gaming Journal (which I found in the article's bibliography).

PS sorry again for delays, RK has taken over again. I'll post sometime a summary of what's happened there. Suffice to say my character is now Field Marshall of the Royal Scottish Army, married, and rather busy in the role play side of things.

As a final note, I've activated word recognition in the comments on this blog as a result of the massive spam influx on the previous post.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Sign of Life

For some reason, this post is the one that draws the second greatest number of googling visitors to my blog. At time I originally wrote this I wasn't around a lot, I am around a lot more these days. If you want to see what I'm up to more recently, click on 'Adelaide Gamer' above and leave a comment on the most recent post.

Postscript: I have left the large number of junk comments on this post as it is probably something in them which is drawing the visits (or perhaps it's the post title). Also, it's a reminder to me of the spam plague that can strike a site without notice.

[Above comments were posted 12 June, 2011]

Month and a half since I last posted here, and that was only a 'sign of life' post, like this one. Obviously things are going on distracting me from this place. Rather disconcerting since I was doing so well. Probably lost most if not all of my regular visitors. Can't see things changing here for a little while, so will have to content myself with sign-of-life posts like this one for a little while yet. Still, it's a long run project so I'll just get through this bad patch and hopefully be able to move forward again. Until then, if I'm patient with myself, will you be?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Still Kicking

Just to let you know I am still around and busy. Will start more regular posting again very shortly. Presently am (still) right into my Renaissance Kingdoms and Tribal Nations online RPGs, have recently gone through a stage of Mafia FPSing and am taking up Medieval 2 again for a strategic burst. Have again had my gaming/painting room taken over by a family member who needed a roof so have again lost opportunity to revert to my original self and create tabletop gaming things.

More later.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Atmosphere and Elegance

In commenting on this post over at the Grog I said the following:

I got closest (to the epitome of 'elegance and atmosphere', minimal rules, maximum affect) when I used the philosophy of cutting, not adding, elements in the rules and campaign setting. I boiled it down to a couple pages of charts. All was taken from AD&D (1.00000). The emphasis shifted from books and paper to dialogue, imaginings and the dice. With less dice rolled, each became more important. It was great.

When I walk into a game store these days that stocks the latest morph of D&D I never cease to be amazed at the number of volumes available, their expense, their quality of production and the amount of shelfspace they consume. Adding it all together I come to the conclusion that, besides being much more affluent than me and my 1e gaming friends were, modern gamers seem to be much more 'thing' oriented. I won't rant about the consumer society, but it worries me when I see the concentration on this vast profit making enterprise to the exclusion of home made fun and backyard businesses.

This isn't just about AD&D, RPGs, mass market computer games and so forth, but includes the other types of game as well. For example, in my little history of flight simming I have played on something for the Super80 way back when (!) right up to my present IL2 passion. I have tried maybe two dozen flight sims in my time. My favorites were 'wings' on the amiga, '1942 - Pacific War' on windows 98 and IL2 on XP. Each of these games faced off against more action oriented or more extravagent simulations, yet it is these to which I continue to return (in the case of IL2 and hopefully one day in the case of the others). Why?

Because they work well (elegant) and you can 'smell the avgas in the morning' (atmosphere).

It's like comparing the joy of the orginal squad leader game with the monster that it became - one is beer and pretzels , the other is abstract literary expertise. Both are fun, don't get me wrong, but you can probably guess which one I prefer.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Drummore, hive of activity

It is now about two weeks since I first distributed plans for Operation Drummore. There are presently around 16 soldiers in Drummore (which I expected) with squads from all the towns (which I had hoped for).

I am about to start a three day 'advanced training course' for six of my officers/NCOs. They will head out and 'scout' the nodes on the road between wigtown and drummore. I will be running a tour of inspection of their positions with two of my MacTavish bodyguards. I have all the different scouts operating on different 'settings', and will get a chance to see what they see, and what I see, during the inspection. We will all need to post our sightings on the regimental forum to pass the examination.

While advanced training is happening the soldiers will be all working in the Drummore mines, except of those rostered for sentry duty. They will post what they see on the Regimental forum. This is their basic training.

I have asked all the soldiers in the mines to give me their 'receipts' for their labours. I will be collecting them on the Regimental forum. This is our 'civil aid' mission.

While the above is all happening ingame, we are running a 'military camp' Role Play thread on the town's local forum. I also seem to be meeting a lot of soldiers in the generally otherwise empty taverns. This is raising the profile of the RSA in this isolated town.

From around 10 July, the first scouts will leave town to cover the route for the return journey. On the twelfth, the squads of the Regiment will pull up their stakes and go back to their homes. This will complete the basic training requirements for the recruits. By leading one of the squads and participating in the scout training or cover force, the NCOs will have completed the formal element of their training.

When we get home I will collect all the receipts which the troops have collected when they worked in the mines and see how we can use this to obtain some cash from the County.

Of interest, since we have been in town the price of bread has risen, the wages paid in the mines have dropped, and some of the locals are whinging about the fact that where we go we are bound to attract trouble.


(With this post 2009 becomes the year in which I have (so far) written more posts (n=66) than any year bar one (2007) since 2004).

The General's Office

It has been interesting getting a second chance to do the job of 'general' in the Galloway Regiment of the Royal Scottish Army in RK. The first time I ran around the country from one fragmented crisis to another until became an absolutely exhausted tragic hero in popular imagination. Good for tall tales in the tavern but not what was needed. Though, looking back, it was about the only thing that could have been done, and provided a popular base for the rebuild.

Here I am, half a year later, with the privilege of leading the Regiment again. The decay and demoralisation upon entry was pretty bad, and numbers are down. So. I have taken a rather different approach to my duties.

Have spent a lot of time in the General's Office, a subforum open basically only to the general. I must say I have got done a lot of work in there. I appointed officers to all the vacant positions in the regiment and set a timetable for setting up the infrastructure (town band forums, usergroups up to date, numbers, names) and a plan of action. People were hanging out for activity.

Putting a lot of time into it in the office, I soon had timetables, newsletters, task lists and piles of correspondence begining to pile up. It took a lot of planning and sweat to get it all happening.

And most of it happened behind closed doors.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Drummore or bust!

In RK I am on a little jaunt with 'my' regiment the Royal Scots of Galloway of the Royal Scottish Army ('RSA'). I had quite a plan worked up, drawing squads from the three main bands together in Wigtown and then marching them over to Drummore. There was force procection scouts planned to be on the nodes before we passed, a 'slack' day in Wiggie to absorb inevitable delays, and a coordinated push through to Drummore, picking up the scouts on that road as we passed.

Things have not gone as planned.

Whithorn put together two squads, which could have been one. They had a scout leave town, but he has kept on marching and arrived in Drummore after three days out on his own. I was intending to lead the second squad to wiggie on the day after the first squad. Turns out the first squad left the day after me. They have only now gotten to Wiggie, the day after we were meant to leave.

My squad has therefore had a day chopping wood. We would have left on the day planned except that the Kirk squad has also arrived a day late. And they didn't scout the road before them.

As for the Wiggie band, the band leader seems to have 'disappeared'. She is still opening her mail so I assume she has read her orders, but I have had no response and it seems that the no one in town is doing what they're meant to. Which means there's no wiggie squad waiting to go out, and there is no one scouting the road to Drummore ahead of us.

The delays to Whit squad 1 and Kirk squad were both caused by waiting for someone to finish some business in town.

Dariangreen is trying to get something happening with the wig band. He used to be their adjutant before he became my military councillor so he has the contacts. Not much operational experience though.

When we get to Drummore I am seriously thinking of rostering the soldiers to mines/sentry duties, while I take the officers on a crash course of small unit tactics (command protocols, scouting techniques) so that they can then start training the soldiers of their bands on the return journey.

An interesting subplot that has worked was organising for the officers and those of my former bodyguard to be issued 'RSA Sporrans'. This entailed getting the town mayor of Whit (in the case of the non commissioned bodyguards) and the County Trade Minister (for the officers) to 'issue a travel grant' to these people. Basically, a grant is an inventory that is independent of your personal inventory that travels around with you. Thus, even if thieves rob your personal inventory, the contents of the grant remain safe. So I rebadged it as a RSA Sporran, had them issued, ordered the officers to keep emergency rations and weapons in them. Seems to be a popular move. Will have them issued to the whole regiment just as soon as we complete Operation Drummore and work out exactly who is in the Regiment these days.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The week that was

IL2 Campaign - RAAF, 1942 New Guinea, P40E

I have flown my third mission over Moresby. I actually played it most nights, having up to three attempts at the mission per night. The situation is that a small flight of 4 x P40s (Kittyhawks) take off as their airfield is bombed by about 20 Japanese level bombers escorted by a flight of fighters. My plane was being shot out from under me or I was crashlanding with a damaged plane. I kept replaying it until I managed to at least land my damaged plane in one piece before progressing to the next mission. I occasionally got shots on target but didn't succeed in shooting one of the bombers down before I made my forced landing.

Renaissance Kingdoms

General Dracmuller spent several hours per day in the process of rebuilding the Galloway Regiment. He has appointed the necessary skeleton of staff, issued basic standing orders, planned and got underway a major regimental peacetime maneuver - 'Operation Drummore'. You will hear more of this as it unfolds. Otherwise, just the usual puttering around my various scottish haunts and at least an hour a night spent in a pub chatting and encouraging town activity.

Blog Roll Blog Posts of Note

DM as alchemist, neat summary.
Quiet times, social occasions and the rhythm of Dwimmermount.
John gets excited about Claymore '09.
Another DMG is sighted in cyberspace.

I don't know if it is just me but there seems to be a bit of a sense of community developing within the small part of the gaming blogosphere which I frequent. Hard to put a finger on it exactly, but seems to be something changing...

Friday, June 19, 2009

Back in Black

My latest RK Banner.

I have fully recovered from my injuries and am able to hit the road again. To mark the change of circumstances I thought it time to change my look again...

I enjoyed the 45 day period during which I was unable to travel, work my forge, defend the power, etc. It meant life was a lot simpler - chop wood on most days, spend time in the pub each evening, participate in the Wigtown Veterans' Hospice forum based RP. Particularly this last as it flowed over into the interactions that were happening in the pub across the road and also because it allowed for some sustained literary RP over time with clan members who I would only fleetingly meet normally.

I have heard that Whithorn has gotten really quiet so it is with some trepidation that I return to my home town. If nothing else, I'll be able to work my forge and concentrate on a few things that need doing (army duties leap to mind).

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


When I started this blog I had recently been given a Go set for xmas, or my birthday, or whatever. Full of expectations I eagerly awaited playing games of Go against all and sundry. To date, however, almost nothing. But the game has never yet released its hold on my imagination.

To me, Go is the epitome of a strategic contest boiled down to an abstract game form. And it is deliciously simple. Rather than try and write an introduction to it I've stayed clear of it on this blog.

And now I read this post on Tabletop, and think the whole presentation of the blog as well as its content (an examination of those 'gamey games' for 6-600 year olds) is worth a plug. Beautiful blog and a guide to get you go-ing.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Flying High Again

After a long long time and much thinking about it I finally took to the virtual skies again in a P40E Kittyhawk over New Guinea on Il2-Sturmovik:1946. Escorted a bunch of B17s from Morseby down to Milne Bay, took about an hour and a half to fly there and back again. Only saw a few enemy way out on the horizon. Bombers hit their target. I crashlanded safely.

Took a little while to get the hang of the controls again but it was a reasonable first mission after such a long break.

Girvan Crisis - Summary

Twenty five characters had been 'killed', with about the many wounded, over the crisis. The maps still showed Girvan belonging to Ayr. New seeds had been laid for future conflict (the campbells and the macgregor 'marines', for example, had unfinished business). The army had had a successful outing again (good for morale).

No one knew how this would all work out when it began, and no one guessed the way it acutally did end. Yet there was a remorseless logic to it all. At one time there were over a hundred people in the various armies within scotland, and there was an english army over the border to contain things to scotland if it had gotten seriously crazy. In the post mortem of the crisis there were resignations from the army, complaints, redrawings of charters, court cases, feuds and many many tales told.

For me, it gave a glimpse of medieval warfare from the 'inside', the lumbering of large national armies, the scooting around of auxilliary forces, the importance of politcs and personality to war, treachery, loyalty, mistakes and plans gone awry.

Great fun.

And, finally, at time of posting this, I have about two or three days left in the Hospice in Wigtown and then I will be recovered and can go home to my forge in Wigtown and start doing what I've wanted to do for ages ... living the quiet life.


Girvan Crisis (conclusion)

I'll keep the rest of the events of the Girvan Crisis to as short a narrative as I can as I suspect that some or all of you, my beloved readers, might be getting a bit tired of it all.

The individual soldiers of the Galloway Regiment continued over the following several days to try and sneak past the hostile town of Girvan. One of my previous bodyguards and the present General of the Regiment were amongst these. Their names were on the Kill list. They ended back in Wigtown in the Hospice. The rest (numbering nearly a dozen) got through and joined up with the northern regiments, gathering in Ayr.

Meanwhile, in Girvan, the Ducal Guard contained in its ranks many who were candidates in the Galloway election. To take their positions they'd have to march back into the county the day after the polls closed. Which they did, leaving Girvan in the care of their fellow renegade army, the marines.

Having spent a day in Wigtown to accept their positions on the council, the ducal guard proceeded to return to Girvan. At the same time the northern regiments descended from the north upon the town. Things were reaching a climax.

It was assumed that the marines would allow the guard within the wall (them being allies and all). Although they were majorly outnumbered by the northern regiments it would be a close fight once the defensive bonus of the walls was factored into the expected climactic battle that would follow.

The following day, however, there was a surprise. The northern regiments attacked, as expected. The campbells ('ducal guard') tried to get into the walls. The marines, however, kept the doors barred. The campbells were killed almost to a soldier as the combined northern regiments fell upon them in front of the town walls (needless to say this caused much hilarity amongst the loyalists but greatly upset the campbells).

The following day the northern regiments attacked the walls, manned now only by the marines. With some nifty generalship, however, the marines managed to sneak away with only a handful of casualties. They ran all the way to Dumfries on the English border, chased by a triumphant loyalist army.

The conflict finally reached a negotiated settlement in distant dumfries, with the marines laying down their arms and seeking refuge within the castle walls. The Clan army of the Wallaces, which had been acting as 'backstop' to the loyalist forces, marched into Girvan and reannexed it to the County of Ayr. This marked the end of the Girvan crisis.

Girvan Crisis (7)

Our deaths were not in vain. We had determined that there was a kill list in operation in the renegade army (our best argument to bring the pacifists onside). We had shed Gallowegian blood (bringing the glaswegians onside). Our two deaths probably increased the strength of the loyalist armies by many times that number.

The outpouring of grief on the forums as word of my death travelled brought tears to my eyes. I didn't know how widely or how well regarded my character was within the Kingdom. I found myself soon having to notify folk that i was 'resurrected' within Wigtown or some folk would have done stupid things (eg. leave the game because the 'nice guys' are getting killed).

Perhaps most valuably, by my death I had removed any middle ground between the warring factions. Killing a nice guy like me was a fact that the renegades couldn't explain away, especially as I was heading too Girvan, not past it to the northern regiments. They were now seen as common cutthroats by those who had not already thought this of them due their propoganda to date.

As we set up a RP forum thread called 'Wigtown Veterans' Hospice' to occupy ourselves during our enforced stay in the town we felt some satisfaction knowing that our deaths were not in vain, even though we were now out of the action for the rest of the crisis. Our duty had been done.

And with that, we watched events from afar while we settled into our rehabilitation.

Girvan Crisis (6)

The Wallace and myself marched to Girvan in our group of two. We were prepared for hostility. We were still rather surprised when 'reset' happened and a new day began and we found ourselves back in Wigtown.


We had been attacked and 'killed' by the ducal guard upon our reaching Girvan. We were automatically sent by the game system back to the last town we had been in (Wigtown). Although able to 'resurrect' ourselves we had lost a portion of our stats (stength, charisma, intelligence). Our swords and shields were broken beyond repair. We were not able to step outside the town for 45 days while we recovered.

We were the first casualties of the Girvan crisis, killed on a 'beer run to Girvan' as the publicists were soon broadcasting across the kingdom.

Girvan Crisis (5)

At the time of arrival in Wigtown, our soldiers had been travelling in bands of five for self protection. These bands would only be chewed up if they came into contact with the hostile armies blocking our route to the north. So we split up the groups and issued orders to the troops to make their individual way onto the nodes and then to try and sneak past the town walls of Girvan.

The exception to this was myself and one other volunteer. Anjel Wallace was not in the army, but had come along to help out. He was generally pacifist. I had spoken to him a few times about what was happening. He wanted to fight but wouldn't take part in any attack upon a town. I thought that if he saw what I suspected was happening in Girvan (gangs of thugs running rampant over a terrorised townsfolk) he'd change his mind.

So Anjel and I formed a group of two and went direct to Girvan.

There was a further reason for this action of ours. So far, no one had been hurt in the evolving crisis. We didn't know whether there was room for a negotiated settlement or not. The only way to know would be to determine if there were kill lists in operation for the ducal armies.

If we went straigth to Girvan we'd come into contact with the occupying army a day before the other soldiers would be attempting to sneak around the town. They would be able to see what happened to us and at least be prepared for the possiblities. If we were attacked, so be it. If we weren't, we'd be able to gain valuable intelligence about the situation within the town.

So, Anjel and I said our farewells and headed out on the road to Girvan.

Girvan Crisis (4)

There we were, sitting in a pub in Wigtown with Scotland marshalling for war all around. Royalist armies were gathering in Glasgow and Ayr, to take on the renegade Ducal Guard of Galloway which was occupying the formally Ayrish town of Girvan. There was an army of marines, loosely aligned with the renegades, somewhere in the vicinity of Wigtown. There was the possibility of a coup in our capital of Dumfries.

We couldn't raise our own ingame army because there were not suffcient soldiers who had the required skills in our Regiment. We were receiving contradictory orders about what to do; march to girvan with the townsfolk, go and defend our capital, sneak past girvan and join up with the northern regiments, stay in wigtown and defend the power.

So we held a conference in the pub to work it out for ourselves.

Having spoken to some of travellers passing through we were able to pin down the location of the marines, whom they had passed on the road. The marines were heading north to Girvan. This meant that we could leave the safety of the towns of Galloway in the hands of the mayors with a lot less risk, but we still had to work out how we could best contribute to the liberation of Girvan.

The main fighting force would be the northern regiments regardless what we did. The most prudent thing to do have been to remain in Wigtown to cut off any possible retreat by the rebels. The problem with this is that we were hearing strong rumours of internal divisions within the Glasgow regiment (the strongest), with the isolationists seeking immediate withdrawal from the conflict. One of their main arguments was that Galloway wasn't providing troops to the good fight, and why should Glasgow do so if we didn't?

That decided it. So we packed our bags, gathered our swords and shields, and worked out how we were going to try and get ourselves to the loyalist armies to the north of the hostile town of Girvan.

Renaissance Lawyer

In RK I was asked to take appear in the County Court as defence counsel for Rothum, the Rector of the University. She was prosecuted for Treason. She had excluded from consideration for appointment to a lecturerer position one of the main characters in the Girvan Crisis, namely the Chief of the MacGregors - who had been responsible for the highway murder by the Ducal Marines of a wandering scholar who had been heading to Galloway to teach.

Up until I received Rothum's request I had kept clear of the Renaissance courts on the twin grounds that I have been busy enough, and that legal work is too similar to what I do in real life for a living. However, I made in exception in this matter because I (a) have a lot of respect for what Rothum has achieved so far with the university and the manner in which she conducts herself generally, (b) I didn't like the bullying that she had recently been subject to by Campbells and MacGregors, (c) most others would be scared off of the job because of the larger conflict it was a part of and the reprisals which usually follow standing up to the bullies, (d) in real life I have a bit of a history of activism over education issues and this gelled neatly with that, (e) I am still recovering in Wigtown and this was one way of being involved in larger affairs.

So I took the case. We were successful in getting Rothum aquited, though the Judge reasoned differently to what we had argued in the case. Still, it was fun.

Below is the transcript of the trial as it played out in the court over several days. You will note that it is a very different approach to the previous time I and a friend had been hauled before a similar court in the Aztec World, charged with highway robbery.

Lawsuit between Rothum and County of Galloway

Rothum was charged with the act of treason.

The sentence has been passed

The verdict
The defendant has been discharged.
The charges filed in this case were brought under the following statute.

Article 2.4.6: An act of abuse of power is defined as the use of public position beyond normal duties to earn

political or personal gain for himself or an accomplice.

It is the duty of this Court to determine if the prosecution has met its burden of proof in showing the elements of this statute were shown to have been done, beyond a reasonable doubt.
Immediately, the Court observes that there are problems with this statute. It does not define an act of abuse of power as a crime. It simply defines that act to be one that is the �use of a public position beyond normal duties to earn political or personal gain for himself or an accomplice.� Though located within the Penal Code, it fails to recite that this is a crime, and what level of crime it is. The Court finds that this is a fatal defect in the law, such that it cannot be used to charge a crime, as it makes no declaration that an abuse of public power is found to be a crime under the laws of the County of Galloway. The Court finds that this statute is merely definitional, and does not in fact set out a matter that is a crime. The Court is constrained to read the laws as they are on the books. The Court cannot infer that this was intended to be a crime. In matters so serious as criminal proceedings, the law must be clear. As the Court has noted in its previous rulings, one function of the law is to put residents and citizens on notice of what is considered to be criminal behaviour in the County. And in this, this statute falls far short of what is required for a statute under which a criminal proceeding can be held.

As such, this case is dismissed with prejudice.

Nevertheless, were the Court to make a ruling on the merits of the case, the Court finds that the power inherent in the Rector�s job, to appoint teachers, and the exercise thereof, does not rise to the level of using a position beyond normal duties. It is within the purview and normal duties of the Rector to use her or her considered judgement in appointing teachers at the University. A disagreement over the exercise of judgment, a matter upon which reasonable men may well disagree, does not make such disagreement rise to the level of an abuse of the power of the position of the Rector, and the charge in any event would again be dismissed with prejudice.

Bill of indictment

The defendant stands in court, being charged for the crime within the Penal Code, in "Article 2.4.6: An act of abuse of power is defined as the use of public position beyond normal duties to earn political or personal gain for himself or an accomplice."

The Defendant, is Rector of the County University, and due to this, is expected to guide the University in an unbiased, and fair manner. The evidence below, shows the defendant in a confession-like manner, abusing her role as Rector. The King states that no one charged with a crime, can be punished afterwards, yet the crime claimed in the evidence isnt a charged crime, or law within the County of Galloway.

The Rector is not a prosecution, or a judge for that matter, and should be worrying about the teaching and stability of the University, rather than the personal quarrels with others.

The prosecution presses this case in regard of this, in an unbiased, and fair way. If the Rector wishes to prosecute, or judge, perhaps she needs to take my, or your job your honor..

*Julius says, with a laugh..*


First defence pleading

Not Guilty

Prosecutor indictment

The personal and political gain the defendant has gained is easily stated within the evidence. The ability to withhold teachers from teaching, for personal reasons, without there even being a crime pressed. Now, lets not sway from the point.

Was the Defendant, considering the well being of the University? Or was the Rector considering a personal quarrel with the plaintiff? No matter which way you answer, personal feelings, which is something to consider no matter how you put it, can be gained. Personal gain therefor is made, in the form of vengeance. If you know me, you would know that my family was badly injured due to the plaintiff's actions, and in this, I would love to see vengeance on him for his actions..

The difference is, I did not choose to not press this case, simply based on my personal feelings, but the evidence within the King's own edicts, and the laws we have in Galloway. As PP, I am expected to act unbiased for the laws of Galloway, which I honestly couldnt care less about.. And I think we expect the same with the Rector, and any other arm of the County.

Let me ask this as well.

Your honor, would you punish someone, or choose not to punish them based on your personal feelings, or based on the laws and the safety and structural balance of Galloway?

Last defence pleading

Not Guilty

The defence called Dracmuller to the witness box

Dracmuller, bruised and battered from recent goings on in Ayr, steps forth to speak for the Defendant.

The plaintiff alleges misfeasance on the Rector's part but does not allege political or personal gain. Nor do they allege conspiracy. Therefore, they cannot prove the crime alleged (which requires such proof). We urge that the matter be dismissed without further ado.

However, if the judge would entertain further audience from the plaintiff, we would note that the Rector has not only not gained personally or politically through the actions alleged, but that she has indeed suffered grievously as a result of her lawful exercise of the Rector�s powers within the jurisdiction of the University. The fact of this vexatious matter being raised publicly, and the sadness which she feels at such ill use of court resources, forms but part of the constellation of harm which she bravely suffers as consequence to the performance of her duties.

The duty of the Rector, to advance the cause of the community of students and faculty who together constitute the university, is an onerous task and requires continual discretionary judgments on her part. Her duty is not one of care for individuals if that were to place her in conflict with her overwhelming responsibility to the University as a whole.

One of her guiding principles is to maintain standards within the university. Egregious behaviour by staff could bring the university into disrepute. The character of an applicant, as demonstrated by behaviour (and recent behaviour at that), is therefore an important consideration when deciding appointments.

When such egregious behaviour is constituted by the act of ordering the death of one who, for all we know, might himself have been coming to apply for a teaching position (a subsidiary point in the debate, granted, and one for which the only witness is presently incapacitated beyond the bounds of summons or subpoena due the aforementioned egregious act (a point for which we seek that no foul finding be made on the principle that no perpetrator benefit from an act so egregious and infamous as the one committed by the aggrieved in this matter)), the gravity of the discretion exercised is only compounded.

The plaintiff refers to the King's Edict regarding the principle of avoiding double jeopardy, or, the infliction of multiple punishments for a convicted crime. We note that the Rector has no capacity to punish for past crimes, nor does she purport to have done so in this instance. The Rector in this matter is simply maintaining a standard of conduct which would be recognised amongst all civilised institutions.


We remind the court that there never was a certainty of expectation on the part of the aggrieved that he would attain a position on faculty. Even if the court were to ascribe a value to such an expectation as he held, as nebulous as it was, it would be a far sight from saying that because this has been lost by the aggrieved that therefore the Rector has gained politically or personally from the affair.

Indeed, as we have indicated, the opposite is in fact the case.

We urge the Court to summarily dismiss this attack upon the academic and personal integrity of the Rector. However, we stand prepared to provide further argument or evidence if that be the court's desire.

The defence called Dracmuller to the witness box

The prosecutor asks that we not stray from the point. We will not do so, once we have identified it.

The duty of the Rector to make decisions about appointments is an inherent part of the job. An intrinsic component of this duty is the capacity to deny such appointment. The exercise of this capacity to deny appointment is a necessary corollary of the power to make appointments. In exercising this capacity in this case the Rector was fulfilling her duty.

We refute the prosecution�s allegation that the decision to deny appointment to the aggrieved was due to a �personal quarrel� (the Rector has never met the aggrieved and knows him not except by his public deeds). We agree that the decision was made after consideration of, and in accordance with, the well being of the university.

We agree with the prosecution that a person in the position of Rector might derive satisfaction from the successful exercise of her duties. We are puzzled at the relevance of this fact, as it constitutes no measurable gain and implies only that the Rector is doing a good job. Would the prosecutor prosecute a farmer who is pleased with a good crop, a blacksmith pleased with a good lump of steel? All of scotland�s fine citizens would stand guilty if our pleasure at a job well done were to constitute guilt of treachery. Such a position would be ludicrous in the extreme and make a mockery of the work of the law in furthering the cause of the people.

We are bemused by the prosecution�s ascription of �vengeance� to the above mentioned satisfaction with a job well done and the biographical details which follow. We ask that he be censured for dragging his personal predilection for such things into this esteemed hall. Never-the-less, we respect the office which he holds and the importance of his function within this court and ask that the verdict in this matter be adjudged on the facts as presented. No more, no less.

We deny any element of �punishment� in the Rector�s decision, we deny any sense of personal satisfaction other than that of fulfilling the broad purpose of the position of Rector, we urge all public officials to compliance with their duties in the furtherance of good order and public safety within our glorious county.

We ask that this matter be dismissed so that the Rector may return to her duties within the University.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Girvan Crisis (3)

The most militant of the Gallowegians in the RSA departed Wigtown the day I arrived in town. They moved onto the node that first day (a 'node' is the travel 'spot' which lies in between each of the towns in RK, sometimes there can be more than one 'node' between towns). The next night they would bypass Girvan to the node to its north, the following day they'd arrive at the city of Ayr. There they hoped to join up with one of the Northern Regiments of the RSA (who would have to march through Ayr to get to Girvan).

Meanwhile, in Wigtown, the regular rank and file of the regiment was gathering, as well as those citizens who though not in the army had decided to march with us anyway. The situation we were faced with was roughly as follows...

To our North, the mayor of Girvan had let the Gallowegian Ducal Guard inside the town walls. To our West, the larger and more powerful army of the Ducal Navy ('the marines'), had gathered a who's who of Scotland's miscreants and marched onto one of the two nodes that lay between Drummore and Wigtown. The intentions of the marines was not known. To our East lay Kirk and beyond that Dumfries, the County Capital and stronghold of all the Campbells who hadn't gone off with the Ducal Guard into Ayr. The county elections were in a week or so's time, and the smart money was on those who opposition to the present county council.

In the pubs of wigtown the RSA and loyal Gallowegians gathered, talked through the various permutations of what might now occur. We were concerned that, if we'd go marching off to the north, that would leave the county exposed to the depredations of the ducal marines. In two days time they could appear in four of galloway's five towns, with all the best fighters caught to the north of the Ducal Guard. On the other hand, we were concerned that if we didn't head off north immediately the ducal guard in Girvan would institute a 'kill list' (it appeared that, to that moment, they hadn't as they had not interfered with the infilitration that had occurred the night before when various RSA soldiers had crept past Girvan to the free north).

A third and equally unsavory possibility was that the ducal marines would march all the way through to Dumfries and prepare to mount a coup as soon as the likely to be elected council took office post election. With their hands on our treasury the mind boggled at what might then happen.

Just to make our pub talks in Wigtown even more depressing, there were strong rumours that isolationists in Glasgow were growing louder in their calls to not get involved in Ayr's troubles (Girvan being an Ayrish town), which would mean that Ayr on its own would have to potentially fight two ducal armies (the guard and the marines), that Girvan would be annexed to Galloway, that the rampant forces that had taken Girvan would roll north and take the next town down the road before Glasgow awoke to the threat (once they had taken Ayr, any invasion from the South becomes much harder to deal with due the choice of routes it can take from there). It seemed that these Glaswegian isolationists were using the fact that Galloway RSA wouldn't even be fielding a regiment of its own to insinuate that we would sit on our hands while they did the fighting and we would later reap the benefits.

Needless to say, we in Wigtown had some interesting conversations about what we could or should do.

Meanwhile, the clock kept ticking....

Girvan Crisis (2)

In the two days I had left in my home town of Whithorn (set by the fact that I'd complete the sword I was working on in that time), I slowly ramped up my ingame presence. Mainly in the taverns, encouraging, cajoling, daring others to come on the crusade. Several townsfolk who were not in the army came and spoke to me privately, getting my assessment of the situation. Some of these decided to collect supplies, arms and armour and come with the RSA.

What had upset the locals across Galloway was not so much the theoretical point that an army (our county's army at that) was about to annexe another town from another scottish county. Nor did we get upset so much at the fact that the people of Girvan were probably going to suffer majorly as a result of this. Nor that the Girvanites best efforts to defend their walls against possible attack were subverted by their (elected) mayor letting the ('foreign') Ducal Guard inside the town hall.

No, what seemed to most upset those of us in Galloway that had followed events was that the Ducal Guard had marched across the border to Girvan, despite the promises made at its formation that it would not be used outside of Galloway's borders, and would there be used only for defensive purposes. And they were doing it in our name. And our Council rates were paying for it. Basically, the fact that we'd been lied to.

Some of us had even served for a time in the Guard as a sign of goodwill between RSA and Campbell, soldiers and the elected council. In fact, some of these 'goodwill' soldiers were still marching under the flag of the Guard when it had marched north into County Ayr (they had left its ranks in the day before it marched inside the walls). By marching inside Girvan's walls the Guard had set a clock ticking that was as inexorable as the steady blows of my hammer on steel in the forge on King Street, Whithorn.

I had somehow hung onto my small stockpile of swords against just such an eventuality as was now occuring. After checking to see that there were no likely potential commissiary agents of the Ducal Guard in Whithorn, I managed to sell the lot within two days. In normal times a sword can sit on the market for months without a buyer, so selling four in a day showed how people were thinking that push was coming to shove.

Having sold my stockpile, I packed my clan sword and my newly made spare sword on my donkey and headed off to Wigtown.

The Girvan Crisis (1)

This will (hopefully) be the first of a series of concluding posts dealing with the history of this warlike series of recent events in RK Scotland.

The Ducal Guard, without notice to any other body, marched north from Wigtown (Galloway) to Girvan (Ayr). Although the pernickity legalists across the land were getting upset at the fact that the army didn't have the permission of the Ayr County Council for this move, and sought legal opinion to this effect, those of us who had been around were thinking other thoughts.

Like, what was this army planning on doing, sitting outside of the walls of Girvan? The army certainly didn't have the numbers to assault the town's walls, so it was a bit of a mystery. If we'd looked a bit closer at the situation we would have worked it out I am sure, for the following day the army was inside the walls of Girvan, having been let in by the Campbell mayor of the town.

Needless to say, at this point things got fairly heated. The northern counties had been marshalling their troops over the previous weeks. This process was put into overdrive. The Ducal Navy, taking advantage of the marines gathering in Drummore's prison colony, raised its own army flag and started recruiting. The Galloway Regiment called its troops to gather in Wigtown.

I had been busy on my forge in Wigtown, enjoying Roleplaying the further adventures of Raebert. I gathered a few supplies together, mailed my band leader that I'd finish the sword I was working on and be in wigtown in three days.

From news we'd heard from Ireland in preceding months we knew that it takes at least a week for an army to conquer a town and cause its allegiance to change to that of the army. The race was on...

Monday, June 08, 2009

Grognardia Blog

I've added Grognardia to my blog roll. It is a kind of musing appreciation of the classic swords and sorcery cut and thrust style of adventurous RPGs, replete with philosophical musings about what makes this special type of game so much fun and so rare in the washout of middle classed commerce and morality that has overtaken so much of popular culture. Well worth a bit of a look if you're into this sort of thing.

'The Journey' as plotline

Big Lee wrote this post a little while ago, musing about the significance of 'the journey' in some RP worlds and its virtual absence on others. He used Tolklien's 'Lord of the Rings' as the exemplar story with this motif (fair enough, so did Tolkien). In a comment I said the following:

I think Bilbo Baggins's own book was entitled 'There and Back Again'. The story of the return of the hero is an integral part of 'The Journey' story type. Needs a fairly well developed world for this to be replicated in a game but, when it is, the sense of completion is palpable.

I had some grand adventures in various RP universes where the journey was the thing, but if there was no where you could call home it all eventually began to pale. In my own worlds I always tried to give players a sense of 'place', sometimes this evolved into a fragile sense of 'home'. But, either as player or as GM, the adventures tended to happen away from 'home', most of the emotional charge of the game occurred in the context of 'other' places. The sense of 'home' and a broader community was all rather tenuous.

This is where 'persistent' online universes certainly have something on most other forms of RP experience. If, as in RK/TN, most of your time is spent between adventures, waiting, fishing, farming, drinking at the local, etc, you do develop a sense of home and of place. Returning home from an 'adventure' defines the event in a sense, puts an exclamation mark on the story.

And there's this interesting post over at Zeta Orions (thanks Jeff of the Gameblog for the link). The author seems to be coming from somewhere near my part of the universe in hir approach to the concept of 'the game'.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

RK - Origins of the Girvan Crisis

I've dedicated most of the last few posts to a bit of background information about Renaissance Scotland and some of its institutions, Clan, County and RSA. One of the reasons for that is that I wanted to tell another RK story but realised that without some idea of the levels of interaction within the world of Renaissance Kingdoms it might be a bit hard to follow.

In early March Galloway elected a rather tetchety independent old warrior as Count, and he appointed a virtual rogues gallery of local rebels and robbers into the council positions. Of importance was the local Campbell Chieftain as Captain 'Protector' and the local MacGregor Chief, leader of several local revolts and armed rebellions across scotland, as Chief Judge. Egged on by a Forbes Chief who was Trade Minister of the County and the local power monger Campbell who ruled the Municipality of Dumfries, Capital of the County, the Council set about creating its medieval county of Galloway.

Two institutions they created were a prison colony in the isolated town of Drummore and an armed force (ingame army) separate from the RSA called the Ducal Guard. The MacGregor judge therefore sent all of his cronies off to the same town to work off their fines in the gold mines and to fraternise in the pubs of drummore. The Judge travelled to Drummore, and then recruited the conveniently gathered rogues gallery into his 'Ducal Marine' armed force.

At the same time, the Ducal Guard paraded around the county, well filled with Campbells and a few members of the RSA demonstrating their good will to these outspoken Gallowegian patriots, trying to find a middle ground. I myself even spent five days under the Ducal banner before my Easter retreat.

But, observant people could see that the Ducal Guard was essentially a reformation of the old Campbell army that had attacked Whithorn earlier in the year (and of the Caledonian army which had caused so much trouble in the year previous), while the Ducal Marines were our old friends of the road, a confederation of MacGregors, Snows and their assorted english robber mates. Observant people were a bit concerned at what was brewing.

Yet, unlike previous troublesome occasions, there were no bullying threats. In fact, there was nothing but protestations of legitimate self defensive goals for a strong independent Galloway. Being independent Gallowegian ourselves, and again in a spirit of goodwill, we soldiers and other good citizens gave these darker elements the benefit of the doubt. All appeared well.

But that all changed rather suddenly when, one day...

Monday, June 01, 2009

RK origins - Counties and the RSA

RK Scotland has evolved since the early days (which I wrote about last month in a late fit of posting). It now has three counties, numbering 4725 souls at time of writing. Galloway was formed August 1455, Ayr in December, Glasgow in March 1456. When Glasgow county was formed the first Irish Colony also formed. Ireland is now three counties also, and larger in population than Scotland. England numbers around ten counties and has maybe three times the poplulation.

Each County is governed by a Council. The Council is composed of twelve members, ten of whom hold positions. They are elected ingame by all residents of the county who are present during the election period. Voters vote for 'tickets' of twelve candidates each. The game mechanism allocates seats on the Council based upon a candidates ranking within their own ticket and the total votes cast. If more than one ticket runs in an election the resultant council usually has members of all of the tickets on it. Elections are held every couple months. The Council Offices include Count, Mine Supervisor, Sherif, Trade Minister, Judge, Prosecutor, Constable, Spokesperson, Captain and Sergeant. The latter two are the 'military' positions.

If a council supports the existence of the Royal Scottish Army (RSA) they will usually place a serving member of the army into the military positions. Ultimately the decision is up to the Count. However, politicians being politicians, even a RSA friendly council will want to keep control over any army set up in its name (each County is able to have an 'official army' led by the Captain or hir nominee, which gains a certain bonus as an 'official' army depending upon the County's prestige). Thus, while a County controls an armoury and the purse strings it tends to exercise a veto over military engagements it doesn't agree with.

In a national army this can lead to situations where the command of the army is held hostage to the political deals and conflicts which are a part of any County Council. And of course, even a RSA friendly Council will get nervous if it has armies controlled by outside organisations (eg. the RSA High Command) wandering through its territory. Thus, even at the best of times the exercise of full command responsibility is a very hazardous affair for the RSA.

Even more so when the County Council is actively hostile to the RSA, it's office holders have raised arms against it (perhaps have even been executed for treason for doing so), and it has ambitious and grasping nobles dictating its actions.

That was the situation in Galloway a couple months ago...

Roman D20

How could I resist putting this picture up here after finding it over at Big Lee's Miniature Adventures? Came across this when clicking off of comments over at the ever amusing Roman Mitten. Big Lee has published one heck of a lot of posts so far this year. Lots of stuff to read. He gets to go on my rather small blog roll and has my best wishes.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

RK origins - Clans and the RSA

When RK Scotland formed, the institutions of the RSA and the Clans came into existence at around the same time. They tended, therefore, to be strongly involved in each other's initial development. Moreso, indeed, than the territorial divisions of County and town, as the RSA and the Clans (existing only in the virtual virtual world of the forums) were not bound by a paradigm defined by ingame mechanics (although, of course, the ingame paradigm was very important in defining and functionalising the virtual organisations of clan and army).

Of the two institutions, the national army organisation was more bound to the potentialities of the ingame mechanism than the clans. This was because its reason for existence was to utilise certain of those mechanics for the good of the community - whether that be by patrols (travel, reports), civil order (defending the power), or, eventually, military force (ingame armies). Its Band and Regimental structures were designed around the practicalities of platoons and armies, its Band organisation facilitated the development of individiuals and teamwork which would allow them to contribute to any eventual county based armies (regiments).

The clans, on the other hand, found no direct ingame correlate for their social networking functions. While the RSA would organise itself on the forums but act it out ingame, the clans were far more a nebulous influence on ingame reality. They were more impactful on forum levels of RK reality, in the formation of governance, culture, interaction and group identity.

Being good scottish clans, however, they snavelled as much political power as the could in the important formative stages of the nation's development. Amongst the things they ensured was a ban on armed activity by any but the official national army and themselves. The right of a clan to raise an army was constitutionally guaranteed to the exclusion of all others except the national institution of the RSA.

RK Origins - Clans

It is also of importance that, in the initial flush of Scotland's founding, the importance of traditional scottish clans to the new nation was also high in people's minds. Arriving in Scotland, afterall, was usually accompanied by visions of cattleraids, braveheart, tartan, bagpipes, claymores and highland clans. The clans were as much a social organising aspect of early scotland as were the official ingame functions of town and county governments.

Most of the the original higher level colonisits were also founding members of the original clans, most of the most active newborns either joined these clans or started their own (at the time I recounted some of the experience of the formation of Clan MacTavish in this blog). Of the original twelve clans, three were formed by newborns to Scotland. It is with some pride that I claim having founded Clan MacTavish in this period, and that the other two indigenous clans (Wallace and Fraser) were formed in my home town of Whithorn also.

The clans became the obvious vehicle for developing a Scottish style of governance and institutions. It was from the clans that the committees which eventually put forth the National Consitution were drawn. It was from clan networks that most of the orginal RSA recruits were drawn.

Thus, in the beginning days, clans were involved in the writing of the laws and the maintenance of order, as well as providing the networks from which recruitment to civil and military organisations occurred. This was not just a product of the fact that many of the more experienced players were involved in clans, but also grew from a sense among the indigenous inhabitants that this was the way things were to be done in the new nation of Scotland.

RK - The Galloway Regiment - Origins

Galloway is one of the three present counties of RK Scotland. It was the original one, founded in August 2007, and has seen its original population disperse to the newer counties of Ayr and Glasgow, as well as the foreign counties of Ireland.

The RSA was, therefore, first formed in Galloway. For several months the history of Galloway and its Regiment was, effectively, the history of the RSA. Led by Scotland's prominent colonising citizens, mainly level 2 with a couple of level 3s, the original Regiment was of a size where everyone could know everyone, and the development path of soldiers was a broad continuum from 'just started' to 'been playing a year or more' of fairly equal distribution - albeit with a big 'lump' at the base ranks.

This last came about because, once a colony has reached a certain size, players from other places are no longer able to 'teleport' themselves and all their possessions in. After the initial colonisation period, in other words, it takes a lot of time and expense to move in. Therefore, after that moment, the new county will have to rely on newborns (people who are starting the game) for new population, and will have to wait for these indigenous inhabitants to level up and grow strong.

Thus, early Galloway was led by a bunch of expatriate colonists from elsewhere and it would be awhile before indigenous characters came to assume leadership or develop.

It was in this era that the orginal structure was devised and Charter risen. Much of the effort was spent in basic recruitment and transmitting the knowledge of how to travel, watch the roads, defend the power, etc.

There were no external borders to Scotland and hence no need to raise an ingame army for defence against conquest (luckily). Cumberland's roadlink from (English) Carlisle to (Scottish) Dumfries was not yet in existence, mainly because of a meta-game balancing requirement of preventing bandit armies plundering a defenceless colony of mainly newborns . In fact, now that I think of it, there were no ingame county capitals at either Carlisle or Dumfries (with attendant castles) until several months later.

The Bandit armies of England and elsewhere had not colonised into Galloway (perhaps because they were busy at the time) so the indigenous rebels and thieves were also starting from a low organisational and demographic base. In retrospect, quite fortunate.

RK - The Royal Scottish Army

Since its foundation, RK Scotland has had a single national army - the Royal Scottish Army. Known as the 'RSA', it has had a checkered organisational history. Despite this, it is developing a proud military heritage.

The RSA is governed by a formal Charter as granted by the King and amended over time. It is organised into (three) County based Regiments, each in turn composed of bands of troops from the towns of respective county. There is a High Command, composed of each Regiment's General and his or her Military Councillor. The whole entity is commanded by the Field Marshall who is, himself, subject to the Steward.

Soldiers within the RSA are all volunteers. Once sworn in, they are allocated to their town band. The bulk of their RSA activity will be based around the band, involving such things as patrolling the nearby roads, keeping an eye on travellers and new arrivals, defending the town hall from rebellions when necessary. Occasionally the bands will be asked to contribute to a muster of their County's RSA Regiment.

At times of national crisis the RSA has 'gone active' and formed up ingame armies, based on the Regiments. Prior to April this year, RSA Regiments have fought ingame battles at Muirkirk (putting down the Fury rebellion) and then again at Dumfries (the Caledonian Crisis).

Aztec update

There have been goings on the mesoamericas MMPORG Tribal Nations.

Agapanther and his friend, having had charges of robbery against them discharged by the courts, returned to their native province. Not without, however, a final sacrifice on the last node of the province in which they have had such happy hunting. Sad thing was that they hit the same character who they'd hit a week earlier (Chiefed) and so he didn't have much on him. He was, obviously, feeling a bit put out and paranoid at all the attention.


After spending about a week fishing in the local lake, some new provinces which have been opened for awhile were finally linked by road to the Aztec provinces. The new provinces are for people who speak other languages (French, German and some other). There are no accurate maps (yet) of the new provinces, so Agapanther and his friend have gone for a look.

Having found the new french provinces we travelled through the nearest and held a 'welcome sacrifice' in the furthest, retreating immediately back to the first of the two so that we are beyond the reach of any officious legal proceedings (we are banking that there have not yet been judicial treaties put in place between the new provinces). We are presently heading our way through the new french province, waiting until we find another border to it. When we do, we will probably hold another sacrifice before returning home to level up.

Will soon need to start locating others who are interested in following the path we are on. The days of easy pickings will surely be reaching their end.

Friday, May 29, 2009

RK - current banner

Before I start posting about the recent outbreak of fighting in the Scottish Civil War in RK I'll post here the banner I presently am using on the RK forums. I adopted this as my signature when I completed my term as Steward. It is relatively simple. The Coat of Arms is my own in my capacity of Chieftain of Clan MacTavish, the tartan is the clan's, the feathers are a sign of chieftainship, the crest and motto are the clan's. The picture is a slightly stretched photo across Loch Fyne.

RK IG Armies - network entities

From the foregoing you can see that a RK army takes about a week to form, requires the co-operation and co-ordination of upto nearly sixty players, march slowly around the countryside, cause some trepidation every time they are near the walls of a town, can have kill lists that mean if they bump into named indiviuals on the road (whether in an army or just travelling) that they will attack that person and their group, or that if they meet anyone they'll attack, or ignore, as the case may be. They are major elements within the landscape.

Each fully equipped soldier will have eaten meat for a hundred days, have sword and shield and hopefully supplies for the campaign. Ideally, there will be spare swords and shields - these things have a tendency to break in combat. When you think that a sword takes a blacksmith six days to produce and a shield requires a weaver, the complexity and expense of the whole operation becomes something to marvel at.

A fully functional army is not something to be undertaken lightly. Few organisations are upto the task. So far in Scotland the only armies successful in combat so far have been composed of regiments of the Royal Scottish Army (Muirkirk, Dumfries, Girvan) and the Clan Forbes army (raided over the border into England during the Caledonian Crisis). Other armies have had a strong impact on events. These include 'The Fury' (hodgepodge of the MacGregor Clan and Snow family, and associated criminal gangs), Campbells, 'Caledonians' (Campbells), Galloway Ducal Guard (mainly Campbells), Galloway Ducal Navy (mainly members of Fury), as well as Wallace clan army ('The Sleeping Giant'). Munro clan has also an army at present, though it remained in their hometown of Muirkirk during the recent crisis 'just in case'.

Under the Scottish Constitution, the Royal Scottish Army (under the Steward) is the only national army. Clans have a right to form their own armies (under regulation by the consitution regarding feuds, to serve under the Steward in time of war). All other armies are illegal unless given dispensation. This sets up a structural problem within the world as the Ingame functions of each County include forming a County army under the Captain (a member of the ingame elected county).

Thus, fully functional armies require functioning social organisations to operate meaningfully. They are subject to the machinations and power structures of political life in scotland as it is played out in forums, town halls, council chambers and pubs across the land.

RK ingame Army actions

Once formed up, armies can rally into movement formation and then move. They can move two nodes a day (as though on foot).

If they come to a town or city, they remain 'outside the walls' unless either allowed inside by a mayor or they fight their way in. Once inside a town, they are able to loot the treasury, topple the mayor and put in place their own if they wish. If they find themselves within the walls of a capital city an army can take an additional day to try and take the castle. If they succeed, they can loot the county treasury and replace the count and council. An army inside the walls can also choose to defend the walls against further attack.

Combat occurs if an army's settings (controlled by its leader) results in an attack. If it fights another army, a stationary army gains a defensive bonus against one that is attacking. If both armies are moving it gets technical. Town and castle walls give further bonuses. These bonuses affect the basic odds, a function of individual's fighting co-efficient (itself a combination of their strength, weaponry and whether they have a shield).

It can get complex if there is more than two armies involved at the same time.

RK Ingame Army formation

The term 'army' in RK Scotland can mean several things, sometimes at the same time.

An Ingame (IG) army is a specific function within the the browser game. It is formed by a level 3 [army way] player of at least one year's playing and a 'two coin noble' (the only function of the game that i have yet discovered which is limited to paying players is leadership of ingame armies, fair enough imho) who needs to have sufficient 'army points' to spend on the various stages of its formation, donated by other [level 3] players. Once enough points are spent, the player may then 'raise a flag'. This is represented by a graphic symbol on the 'groups and armies' screens in the player's location. The next step - recruiting - requires more time and further points, as well as other players.

These other players, leaders of travelling groups which are either brought to or formed in the location of the IG army's formation, may 'merge their platoons' as an action for the day. If they do this their travelling group becomes a 'platoon' within the IG army and sign of it vanishes from the 'groups and armies' screen. Whereas the membership of travelling groups are shown on this screen, that of platoons or the IG army are not.

Upto 7 platoons can be merged into an IG army, each of upto 8 players if led by a lord/noble or 5 if led by a commoner. If an army is merging platoons as its action for the day, notices appear on the groups and armies screen until it has merged platoons either to its maximum number (7) or used up its stock of Army Points.

Once it has platoons, many or all of which might not be at full strength, an IG army can choose to recruit individual soldiers as its action for a day. These soldiers will be posted into the platoons automatically until the platoons run out. An army can only recruit two soldiers per day, so it is much quicker to have an army form out of full platoons than to have to recruit individual soldiers.

Thus, an IG army is composed of a leader, platoons and soldiers. It takes days to raise a flag. It takes days to merge platoons. It takes days or weeks to recruit soldiers to fill out the merged platoons. All of of this requires the expenditure of points, which in turn must be generated by lvl3 supporters who are not the leader. A full army will be the result of the co-ordinated actions of the 56 individual players within it. There will need to be planning in advance and co-ordinated actions every day for extensive periods. It is a collective effort over time.

On top of all this, the IG army leader can hire a sergeant to manage recruitment and a logistics officer to handle supplies.

The soldiers are reliant on either their own individual supplies for food and cash or the army to supply these things. This is because, while in the army, soldiers will need not be able to work, fish, mine, etc for a daily action if they are to remain available for orders to move (of course, if an army is definitely going to be inactive its soldiers can retain their place in its ranks organisationally but do a daily activity as long as it doesn't involve them travelling outside of the location). The less well prepared individual soldiers, or the longer the army remains in the field, the more the soldiers will rely on the army leadership to provide their wherewithal.

RP thread - adventures of Raebert

Upon my return to Whithorn after serving out my commission as General of Galloway and then Steward of Scotland, followed by an Easter retreat in Drummore, I became involved for a number of days in a town forum RP thread entitled 'The Further Adventures of Raebert', where Ladyrobin and her adopted sons Raebert and Ragnar were returning to Whithorn on the road from Wigtown.

The storyline was simple but, like all good RP, it took place in a complex world.

They had been absent for a number of weeks due their need to hide from the Count's henchmen, who may or may not have been despatched on behalf of the Campbell 'Protector of the County' who had seized most of the reigns of power upon the sickness of the official Count. The stubborn and bloodyminded attitude of the Protector regarding the independence of Galloway from the rules and customary institutions of Scotland was leading to a major increase of tension within the land. Ladyrobin's husband had been a thorn in the Campbell protector's side for a long time, and it had been judged prudent to remove her to safety.

Eventually, in a deal between the Royal Scottish Army and the Ducal Guard under the Campbell Protector, Ladyrobin's husband had been posted to serve within the Ducal Guard as a sign of compomise between the factions. Fort this reason, it was now deemed safe for Lady Robin to return home.

Enough background, back to the RP itself...

Leaving the main path in a moment of juvenile adventuresness, Lady Robin fell from her horse and was knocked unconscious. Young Bert and his older brother Ragnar were doing their confused best to deal with the situation when, on the main path, Dracmuller's older assistant, Donald, came by. He and his master were themselves returning to Whithorn after having spent a period in retreat after working out the stresses of past months doing some gold mining near Drummore (scotland's most isolated town).

Donald was recognised by young Bert and soon Bert was busy comforting the Lady, while Drac and Ragnar had built a litter to be towed behind Drac's trusty donkey, splinted her broken leg. They headed on to Whithorn. Meanwhile, Donald had been sent off ahead of them to organise things for their arrival at either Lady Robin's home, or Drac's Forge if necessary (Ladyrobin's husband and Drac are neighbors on King Street). This had in turn brought Angus into play, for he had been minding Drac's King Street Forge and its attendant pig sties while Drac had been gone for the past few months.

The thread had reached the point where Ladyrobin is made comfortable in her own home and the younger lads are thinking what they'll get up to when Drac hear's the alarm bell ringing at the town Barracks. Little does he know it as he walks down the street to find out what is going on, but that alarm bell signals the arrival of news that the Ducal Guard of Galloway have crossed the border into the neighboring county of Ayr, setting in train events that would lead to the latest outbreak pf open fighting in what can be seen as RK Scotland's ongoing state of civil war.

Return to Whithorn & Local RP

I had returned to my home town of Whithorn (Galloway) hoping to spend a bit of time there, working in my forge and generally concentrating my RP efforts in the town forums.

All went well for a week. I produced another sword in the forge (takes six days to do this) building my stockpile up to four plus the clan sword which I keep for myself. I managed to sell a few pig carcasses on the overstocked market to keep myself in iron for the week, kitted myself out in a new grey hat and black collar (looking quite distinguished), spent evenings in the Frosty Tankard chatting with old friends.

On the town forum, besides kicking my forge site into gear with its apprentices and visitors, I found myself in a more general RP situation on a thread entitled 'The Further Adventures of Raebert' (Raebert is a NPC forum character run by a friend of mine. 'Bert', as he is known, is a 8 year old redheaded michevious lad who lives with his adopted mum and dad (MacTavish player characters) and kicks around with my own NPC apprentice, Angus, when the opportunity presents).

The storyline was fairly typical of the localised RP events which populate the RK town forums, . Because one must physically be in the town concerned to participate on that town's forums, most of these types of RP threads are about local places, personalities and happenings. Common themes include 'permanent' threads for places within the township, courtships, weddings, significant local events.

These local RPs often utilise other 'functional' local threads to help create a shared background. For example, in Whithorn there is a Town Map thread on which are located all of the ingame town 'functions' for those who are interested (eg. townhall, market, various taverns, the beach / forest / orchards, barracks, church, roads, workshops, cottages, hovels) as well as RP forum based locations (eg. local manors and castles, local landmark features (eg. 'The Box' in Whithorns Village Green where people have been coming to say their piece, amongst other things, for the past past year and a half) etc) - generally players contacting the thread's caretaker and asking to be allocated one of the already drawn sites on the map, which is then added in and linked to the relevant thread of the player.

Different towns in Scotland have quite distinct town forums which is hardly surprising considering the different histories and players of which the towns are constituted. Over time, activity on a town's forums can vary quite a deal.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Civil War in Scotland

I had just been in my home town of Whithorn for a week when those mad campbells went and snuck into one of the neighboring county's towns and threatened a coup. Immediately, of course, all the various power structures mobilised and presto, Scotland is at war within itself and my character is out on the road with a bunch of soldiers again.

I had thought that my term as Steward was rather unremarkable, if anything, marked as it was by a lack of civil war. Now that I am marching off to fight another round in the interminable conflicts of the land, I realise that that achievement might be eventually seen as something of great worth.

If you didn't know, this is from my Renaissance Kingdoms MMORPGG.

Saturday, April 25, 2009


Well. Our wee escapade in Tribal Nations came to a crashing halt when someone complained to the prosecuting authorities of their participation in our roadside sacrifices. The wheels of law moved into gear very quickly and before the following reset Brautigan was charged with Treason and Agapanther with Public Disorder.

I have reproduced in the following two posts the legal cases as they played out in the game over the following days. The cases were discharged as we refunded the victim of (some) of what we took and paid a fine to the province on top of that. I guess we were 'lucky'.

At the moment we are fishing in Tzilacaapan, waiting for the Province election cycle to swing around so that we can take advantage of the couple of days it will take the new Council to put in place a new prosecutor.

A good learning experience.

The Case against Brautigan

Brautigan was charged with the commission of Treason.

The sentence has been passed

Statement of accusation
The defendant has been discharged.
Case settled according to agreement.

Bill of indictment

The Defendant is charged with violating tribe law 3, Robbery.

Yesterday, Chiefed in the company of Layne was robbed while crossing into the border of the Tribe of Yohualtepec. The robbers were Agapanther and Brautigan. This bothers me extremely since these tribe foreigners think they can rob on our 5 way junction and get away with it.

Chiefed was relieved of his money vegetable and beans equaling roughly 657 coppers by market value.

As dictated by tribe law I motion for the full fine of 500 coppers, plus 657 coppers to be considered damages and the maximum allowed jail time for this defendant.

In addition to that I ask that an additional damage charge be brought upon the Defendant since the Victim has already lost 3 strength 1 intelligence and 2 charisma points due to this robbery!

The evidence:

Chiefed will now be called to tell us in his own words what happened.

First defense pleading

Mighty and Wise Law Enforcer, Chiefed speaks the truth. However, to further clarify the situation, I must add what Chiefed didn't witness, the events of the previous night.
Me and Agapanther arrived to the node the day before, for our usual prayers in which we seek the blessing from the Gods (remote places seem appropriated to reach the Gods, thus the node). While we were praying we noticed 2 or 3 men chanting old battle songs (ooc:they were in a group, not a mob), further investigation made us conclude there was a fight there in the night before that (ooc:I had no event, but there was a mob there with 2 guys with o cp each, those guys were not newborns). We assumed we were also in danger and we believe it's the Gods will not let their children die without a fight, so we start chanting battle songs back at them (ooc: disbanded the mob, formed a group and attacked too). The fight was savage and in the middle of the dark night and jungle we seem to have attacked no wrongdoers and innocent people, unintentionally. In the morning, our attackers were gone.
Of course, this is no excuse to injure and relieve hard working people from their goods, but I hope it serves, at least, as an explanation to Chiefed and Layne, who I'm willing to return their goods and compensation for their injuries.
Despite this unintentionally, I did rob them, so I'm guilty.

Law Disciple indictment

Well there you have it. He admits guilt.
He decided to attempt to rob a robber. Which is still robbing, except you also hurt innocent people.

In conclusion you and your friend are charged with giving Chiefed and Layne back what you stole from them and a little extra due to the fact that Chiefed lost some stats today.

You will also pay a tribe fine via the tribe fair of 110 coppers.

You and your friend must contact Tisha and arrange to give the tribe 110 EACH. After you give it to her via tribe fair have her contact me.

Then you two will also come to Cuauhtinchan where Chiefed and Layne are. When the two of you enter Cuauhtinchan I will grant you 1 wood where you shall transfer all the loot to. I expect both of you to have a grant closed to me with my wood and the amount equaling what you stole from them.

Once the items are in a closed grant and in my Clan Hall I shall transfer them to the two victims.

The Judge shall be called, you in you last plea will either accept this and complete the task Tuesday or shall be fined the maximum.

So I want to get a letter from Tisha saying you both bought wood logs 1 at a time that turns out to be 110.

I also want to see you in my clan asap. Layne and Chiefed shall mail me a description of what they lost. I expect those items, cash and 50 copper to be in the grant with my wood.

If I dont receive a mail from Tisha and the closed grants of returned items by Wednesday then the Judge will give maximum sentence.

Last defense pleading

I have concluded my duty with Tisha as I've accepted earlier in the trial. Ive left there 110cp and brought 2 pieces of wood. Im now in Cuauhtinchan struggling with the grant paperwork, hoping to be able to conclude it before the deadline set upon me.

The Law Disciple called Chiefed to the witness corner

His statement:
I was just coming home again from Toliman, knowing that it is "stupid" to travel alone, I asked Layne to accompany me round-trip on my journey.

As Layne and I crested the small hill, near the boarder node, we were set upon by the villians, who had a FC of 10. Layne and I are no match for such strong villians and they pounded us sensless before releaving us of our hard earned coppers, harvests, and travel food. We only wanted to come home and have not had trouble between Toliman and home in the past.

The Case against Agapanther

Statement of accusation
The defendant has been discharged.
Case settled according to agreement.

Bill of indictment

The Defendant is charged with violating tribe law 3, Robbery.

Yesterday, Chiefed in the company of Layne was robbed while crossing into the border of the Tribe of Yohualtepec. The robbers were Agapanther and Brautigan. This bothers me extremely since these tribe foreigners think they can rob on our 5 way junction and get away with it.

Chiefed was relieved of his money vegetable and beans equaling roughly 657 coppers by market value.

As dictated by tribe law I motion for the full fine of 500 coppers, plus 657 coppers to be considered damages and the maximum allowed jail time for this defendant.

In addition to that I ask that an additional damage charge be brought upon the Defendant since the Victim has already lost 3 strength 1 intelligence and 2 charisma points due to this robbery!

The evidence:

Chiefed will now be called to tell us in his own words what happened.

First defense pleading

My Lord Chief Knower of the Law and all that pertains thereto, humble obesiances to you and your ranking colleagues. I admit the basic facts of the accusation, that I did relieve the victim of their possessions of which approximately half found their way into my feathered pouch. I ask that you consider the facts as put to you by my traveling companion of the time and accept them as put forth in the related case. I might further add that worshiping the road gods is at times a most adventurous occupation and that we were indeed most flummoxed to have observed corpses and rich bandits upon the site upon our arrival. For our failings we beg thy understanding. To the victim of our ill advised venture I offer something akin to the aztec version of an apology, an offer to return the half of his goods which found their way to my feathered pouch, sufficient compensation (when added to that of my traveling companion) to return his health to its previous state, and the promise that I will not forget his name in my future prayers. Nor will I forget the name of the Law disciple who has already spoken in those same prayers. My Lord, the extent to which I recall your name with fondness will depend muchly upon your judgement. In this manner, I plead guilty.

Law Disciple indictment

Well there you have it. He admits guilt.
He decided to attempt to rob a robber. Which is still robbing, except you also hurt innocent people.

In conclusion you and your friend are charged with giving Chiefed and Layne back what you stole from them and a little extra due to the fact that Chiefed lost some stats today.

You will also pay a tribe fine via the tribe fair of 110 coppers.

You and your friend must contact Tisha and arrange to give the tribe 110 EACH. After you give it to her via tribe fair have her contact me.

Then you two will also come to Cuauhtinchan where Chiefed and Layne are. When the two of you enter Cuauhtinchan I will grant you 1 wood where you shall transfer all the loot to. I expect both of you to have a grant closed to me with my wood and the amount equaling what you stole from them.

Once the items are in a closed grant and in my Clan Hall I shall transfer them to the two victims.

The Judge shall be called, you in you last plea will either accept this and complete the task Tuesday or shall be fined the maximum.

So I want to get a letter from Tisha saying you both bought wood logs 1 at a time that turns out to be 110.

I also want to see you in my clan asap. Layne and Chiefed shall mail me a description of what they lost. I expect those items, cash and 50 copper to be in the grant with my wood.

If I dont receive a mail from Tisha and the closed grants of returned items by Wednesday then the Judge will give maximum sentence.

Last defense pleading

I have presented myself in fair Cuauhtinchan to honour thus my side of the bargain. I have sent runners to the fair Tisha of whom you speak, to the aggrieved that has cried forth his woes in this hallowed hall.

I shall remain steadfast in my prayers before the shrine of the beflowered wanderer on the priestless outskirts of Cuauhtinchan until released from this burdensome duty, thus satisfying that which is conveyed upon me by this my acceptance of the terms proposed.

Unto the omens and the gods of law I do thus surrender and accept my fate in concordance with the precepts of justice fairly served.

The Law Disciple called Chiefed to the witness corner

His statement:
Layne and I were traveling home to Cuauhtinchan and as we crested the small hill near the boarder node between Toliman and Cuauhtinchan, we were set upon by robbers!

They beat us to a bloody pulp and it is truly a miracle that we were able to arrive home! I am so very hungry and the mine is full, so there is no work...and I feel weaker, dumber, and less popular by the minute!

I realize that robbery is a constant threat to all of our neighbors. I took the precaution to form an Armed Mob, arming myself with a shaft, and inviting my friend Layne