Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Truth about Truth in NERO

I'm pretty sure that every NERO player in Ohio is aware that some drama went on recently, regarding the use of Enslavements to make characters tell the truth. But many of you might not know the full situation, and what level of rules clarification failure occurred.

Let me start by saying, I was happy with the Truth clarification at first - because I thought it was intended to prevent irresponsible plot from ruining characters by revealing extremely dark skeletons in their closets. Now, I believe that the clarification is incorrect, although I still appreciate the time and effort that the national rules committee puts in. There could be things I don't know about from previous rule sets, but if there is, please make this ruling more transparent, so I can take my foot out of my mouth.

A group of players had been playing an evil character at NCN, and allegedly spent most of their time PvPing others. A lot of this PvP was against newer players (as the APL is significantly lower). In this particular situation, a different group of players were offered a bounty by a gnoll of 5 silver to go kill a PC . The amount was set unreasonably low since this was supposed to be a hook and the players were expected to report the Gnoll to the authorities. The players decided instead to kill the PC without administering a Forget-it-Well, hoping to claim that they were vampire charmed.

So it came to trial and the claim that they were vampire charm forced NPC interaction in the trial (as Undead in this setting are Nobility, and if the claims of vampire charm were true there would be serious repercussions against said vampire). They said they were charmed at noon, which seemed unreasonable, so they only way to know for sure was by administering an enslavement to the players. The nobility told them they had many enslavements to give, so resistance against the enslavement would be pointless. After enslavement set in, they confessed that they were not charmed and were summarily executed.

Both NCN and PRO ruled that the death stood, so he took it up the chain to National, where the National Rules Council ruled that despite the "Truth" effect, the result would have been the same, so the death stood. They also made a clarification about truth effects below, which is the reason for this post.

Afterward, Joe V adjudicated the death. Whether he told the players involved or not is unknown.

Here is what National said regarding Truth Effects.

NERO once had effects that would compel PCs to tell the truth. These effects were removed. It is currently impossible to compel, as a rules requirement, a PC to tell the truth using any game effect. This includes, but is not limited to, Enslavement and Vampire Charm.

Now, I wasn't around when the truth effect existed, nor do I have early rulebooks to talk about it. But the biggest defense of this clarification is a snippet from page 100. A snippet that -wait for it- in no way supports the clarification.

For the kiddies out there without a rulebook, here is what page 100 has to say about the Truth Spell, not truth effects.

"A Truth spell was also removed for much of the same reason [UNPLAYABILITY] - how can we force players (not characters) to tell the truth? And (metaphysically speaking) what is truth, anyways?"

The takeaway I get from page 100 is that truth effects in the game cannot be infallible, given the nature of players forgetting something their character should remember, or straight-up cheating. It had nothing to do with fairness or having the perfect crime. But now the clarification says that you can never have any effect force a character to tell you something, regardless of how straight forward it is. What was once considered cheating, or at the very least bad sportsmanship, is now fully permitted via the rules.

This is the equivalent of saying We had some problems in the past with people were using guns, so we got rid of guns. But, turns out, knives can do some of the same things as guns, so we made stabbing legal.

My Suggestion to Enslaved Players
Don't lie when enslaved. With the new clarification, you aren't breaking the rules if you like while enslaved, so you won't get kicked out or called out on that. But, unless plot is doing it for a malicious reason (which may be possible), you only hurt the game by not playing along.

Trust your plot team to do the right thing. In 99% of situations, lying while enslaved will still get you executed. However, I agree that trying to destroy the credibility of your character is completely unfounded, and plot teams should never attempt to destroy a character like that.

Edit: As much of the information cannot be validated, there are no longer any harsh feelings towards the players involved. While I still think the death should have stood, there may have been circumstances that were not included. I offer full apologies to the offended parties.

Comments are once again allowed.


  1. Bill,

    First off, for full disclosure: I fully agree with the spirit of the ruling, regardless of the situation that forced it's creation. In addition, enslavement and forgets are worthless at my chapter, because we use the Mind Effects Restrictions playtest at our chapter.

    With that in the open, I'd like to say a few things. While I understand your disagreement with the ruling, I think your reaction is overly harsh. To tell people to F themselves and call them names because they thought there was something fishy with the situation that caused their characters' deaths (and national agrees) is much too theatrical and is a terrible way to treat other NERO players. Furthermore, to threaten to treat these players differently because you don't like the situation itself goes against NERO.

    From the national Staff and Volunteer Guidelines:
    " The quickest way to loose your membership is to be rude, obnoxious, oppressive, or disrespectful to another NERO member. "

    From the national Sportsmanship Policy for all NERO participants:
    "Be considerate of all other NERO participants.
    - Remember, everyone has the right to enjoy NERO as much as you do."

    From the Sportsmanship Policy for Staff and Volunteers:
    "All participants must be treated equally and equitably, by you and by other participants. Favoritism will not be tolerated."

    I don't want to start a fight (there already seems to be one). On the contrary, I want us all to continue to discuss this in a reasonable, polite fashion.

    Matt Taylor
    NERO Elkins WV

  2. I personally feel that the national rules council does a pretty decent job, I simply do not agree with their ruling in this case. There have been many discussions, but most of these are behind closed doors which I am not privy to, so I choose to discuss them here.

    As to sportsmanship, I find it ironic that many of the guidelines that you quoted were broken by said players during this situation.

    Oppressive behavior and lack of consideration exhibited by griefing players, as well as special treatment with an adjudication by Joe V.

    As to extreme rules lawyering against those players, I consider it a way to prevent further adjudication. I did not say that I would be targeting their player with monsters. I would conceed that perhaps removing magic items from modules would be favoritism, but everything else should be fair game, as I'm not allowing other players to cheat, I'm simply making sure that those players are not.

    The fact is that there are player attitudes that hurt the game for everyone and should not be tolerated in any way. I am not a chapter owner, but I assure you that if I were, I would simply not allow these players to come to my chapter.

  3. I believe that you have a few of your facts wrong. For one I was a part of this and that was the first time at thet chapter that we PvPed anyone that resulted in murder. One other time we stole like 5 gold and a comp from a person so we did not just go over there and kill all of their new player base because despite what you think we only actually committed an act of murder there once so I may check with the person who you got your info from because there may be a bit of bias in his/her opinion.

    David Libengood

  4. See, here's the problem with all this. These kids had never killed anyone at NCN before. They're not "griefers." Sure, they attacked another PC. They didn't insult him OOG afterwards, or act inappropriately OOG in any way. A griefer wants you to have a bad time, and is mean towards his victim. These kids did something in-game, for an in-game reason, and were treated *OUT*-of-game as though they were bad people.

    Its completely reasonable for them to have filed for adjudication, just based on the OOG comments and attitude of the NPC who set up and played the encounter. They were told, "This is what you get for PvPing at our chapter," as though it were a setup to make an example out of them. They were treated with hostility and scorn, so they felt they had been singled out and treated unfairly.

    You seem to have assumed that these guys are chronic, repeat-offender griefers who get their jollies by ganking n00bs. So much so that you called them dbags. And because of people spreading incorrect information like this, they've been getting harassed at other chapters in the region. I just got a message from one of them about how several players were jerks to them OOG at the recent WAR event, and how they doubt whether they should continue to attend NCN because of the way their players have been treating them.

    Just because someone attacks another PC, doesn't mean that everyone should summarily decide that they're bad, amoral, griefing players. Just because someone felt wronged in an encounter and reported it for adjudication doesn't mean they're a whiner.

    Be careful when you spread this kind of story, because you inadvertently have contributed to ruining the Nero game for these players. The kid they attacked can play every event without anyone so much as looking at him sideways, but these poor kids are openly hated now.

  5. Be careful when you spread this kind of story, because you inadvertently have contributed to ruining the Nero game for these players. The kid they attacked can play every event without anyone so much as looking at him sideways, but these poor kids are openly hated now.

    Quoted for truth...

    IMO, this is made even worse by discussing that they had their deaths adjudicated. Many people immediately jump to conclusions as soon as they hear that, and rarely is it favorable to those who asked for/received the adjudication. There is a reason that the policy states that only the individuals involved are notified of an adjudication decision. When other people begin talking about them, in most cases it is without the full knowledge of even why an adjudication was granted and therefore is little more than rumor-mongering.

    As for the Enslavements, I hate that this restriction had to come down. It also means that they can't be used to clear someone's name.

    That said, I understand why the decision came down, and am overall glad for it. I don't see anyone considering the problems that arise when you have staffers trying to dictate what is/isn't truth, and players who have to deal with the accusations of cheating as a result. It's just a huge, hairy mess that sadly is better off being avoided completely.

  6. See, now this is where I disagree. There are problems everywhere with rumors going out about things. The solution, rather than not talk about it, is to add transparency to the system.

    Then, not only are rumors avoided, but players and plot teams will avoid the same issues.

    And if you didn't notice, Noah's post said that he was treated poorly at the WAR event, which was before this post comes out. With the retraction and apology I have given, I am hoping that the other players that read this think better of the players involved. Something that would not have happened without this discussion.

  7. I am going to come out and say this, I ran that WAR event in question. If they were treated like crap it was not by plot, we gave them the same considerations that we give any player. They were on mods and we ran plot at them.

    In addition to that if you notice NO NAMES were mentioned in the initial post, it was kept nice and anonymous until the person in question signe dhis post in the comments. It was kept anonymous on the National Boards as well. My issue was always with the ruling and the absolute lack of support that the ownership of the chapter in question got.

    I was at both events, were you? I spoke with people about the events in question, I formulated my own opinion without external bias.

    Tim Holt

  8. I thought the issue was more about how an enslavement was used, and that Joe overturned an adjudication that had already been refused several places.

    I'm not sure who all was involved, I do know one person, but as far as I saw they just came and played at Lumberton, even got some pretty darn nice stuff. If they were treated poorly by some b/c of all this, then shame on the players who did it. However, they may be a bit paranoid with all of this going on, i know I would be. Or maybe they did something to piss someone off ingame, I dunno.

    I do know everyone got plot, I healed everyone, and everyone went on quite a few mods...

    I've been rolled, done some rolling and overall had an enjoyable time doing it. As plot, I love working for the good guys, but I also really like writing plot for the less upright citizens of the kingdom. Makes me be even more creative.

    Really, I was surprised that this blew up as much as it had. I think I've seen an enslavement about 4 times the whole 14 years I've been playing.

    I think the reason it did blow up was not because of the enslavement, but b/c of how people have been using, abusing and confusing (like that?) the rules lately.

    Noah, good to hear from you, haven't seen you in forever.

    Jenn Tobin (formerly Janson)

  9. Hey, Jen and Tim! Sorry for any confusion I caused. The players I spoke with actually specified that they were being treated badly by other players, not plot, staff or any NPCs. As far as I know, they otherwise had a good time at the event. I realize that this post went up AFTER the event, so obviously you guys couldn't have directly contributed to that. I didn't mean that YOU were making this worse, rather that all the general commentary on various forums to the effect that these kids are whining, griefing gankers.

    I wasn't at either event, but I did speak with a lot of the people who were there. I'm fairly confident in my assessment of the situation. I don't really know these kids very well, or the kid they attacked, so I have no particular reason to be favorably biased towards them.

    I really think these guys have a legitimate grievance, having been treated badly OOG by an NPC, but otherwise I support the initial adjudicators' rulings because even if a "normal" trial had taken place without any special game rules, they still would've been found guilty and executed. Just because you PvPed and got caught doesn't mean you deserve to be treated like shit though, and it certainly doesn't warrant being treated poorly OOG afterwards.

    The best example I could possibly think of was with Jenn! Someone told my character (falsely, it turned out) that she was involved in murdering my IG brother at a WAR event. So when she came to ARGO, I killed her along the path to her cabin. I never once heard an unkind word from her OOG, or from any of her friends, and likewise, I didn't treat her poorly either. PvP can happen without name calling, hard feelings, grudges, adjudications, or bad attitudes. It can happen, I've seen it.

    Everyone's mystified about this supposed Joe V overruling though - none of the players involved seem to have been informed of this. I'm not sure where that info came from.

  10. I cannot remember for sure if the people involved killed someone or just gassed them down and stole their belongings, but they are certainly well known for being repeat criminals and treasure thieves at NcN. If anyone wants to pretend that is not the case, ask around. But even still they were always treated as any other player and had plot directed at them just the same.
    If NcN were in the business of mistreating these players or any other, ask yourself why they would continually return to our games and why do I run 75+ people events? there are certainly other options for them.
    As to mistreatment, I ran a mod day after the event this occurred. Both of the players attended and seemed to be having a good time as usual. I saw no sign of any harassment, a role play mod was run specifically for one of them so he could become sanctioned by the Citadel of Death to Raise Dead, and they donated to my chapter.

    Noah, having no facts in this matter at all and only one side of the story if any, is more guilty than any of spreading disinformation. He was not at either event or the mod day and has zero factual knowledge on them. I was at all of them. Neither player was mistreated and I supported publicly their absolute right to adjudicate. I did not support their reasoning and did so in a very uninsulting and careful way.

    I would say this though. If you are going to play a character that kills and steals, expect to be disliked by other players. Sorry, its the way it works. But I challenge anyone, the players involved, Noah, or if someone exists that knows less about it than Noah to demonstrate a single instance of my ownership, staff or plot treating them unfairly. Go to their facebook pages and look through their photos. I believe you'll see the absolute misery they are in at the NcN events they continually attend.

    The problem arose when people uninvolved and uninformed decided to get involved and bad mouth NorthCoast NERO publicly. Until then it was a private matter.
    NERO national upheld my ruling on the adjudication because there were no rules broken, no oog game comments made or any of the other things Noah contends. It was not until someone got into Joe V's ear that he personally over turned their ruling and mine. I wonder who that was Noah.
    Now if anyone would like you could go and talk to a few folks about Noah and his character and you might get some insight into his interest in being able to commit crimes without risk. Besides that, he has nothing to do with it.

    I was also at the WAR event and saw the player there. I exchanged no words with him at all, I fought him a time or two as he NPCed and patted his back once after fighting him. NcN players had little or no contact with him as far as I saw and no one treated him badly at all. Not only was he included on mods and in a magic item draw he won it and took it home with him. He was just another player

    Either Noah is misinformed or a liar.

    One of the players contacted me and discussed these things privately early on. If he had any problems with NcN they were not apparent and are likely a result of Noah trying desperately to gain some measure of support and hurt my chapter in any way he can. It is too bad that he willing to steal away those kids obvious enjoyment at NcN to prove he is right.

    Now some of the comments are correct on NorthCoast NERO and PvP. I do not like it when it is done in a disruptive way and we do in fact attempt to make it difficult. For all players. It is my view that committing a criminal PvP act should be at least as hard as it is to tackle normal plot lines. I commend resources to that end. It is not forbidden, I have simply given people that want to play in that style the gift of a real challenge, just like all of the good guys get running off to fight the bad guy.

    Michael Conley
    NorthCoast NERO
    Owner/Operating Manager

  11. I was at all of the events in question and the players were not mistreated. Noah was at none of them. Either he is misinformed or a liar.

    At NcN these players are in fact known to be criminals and PvP griefers. Whether they killed someone or just stole treasure I cannot recall, but they are well known.

    But they continued to come to NcN, which is odd if they were being so mistreated. Looking at the pictures on their facebook you can see the sheer agony attending my events must be in their smiles.

    I publicly supported the players right to adjudicate as they felt a rule had been misplayed. I did not agree with their reasoning.
    I made that case to them politely and professionally. NERO National upheld my decision. Then someone got to Joe V and he personally over turned it even though no rules had been violated, no inappropriate oog comments had been made.
    We all know this was Noah, but why? We do not know but if you know Noah and his character you know he has a vested interest in being able to commit crimes without risk of being caught. It is his only part in this.
    He was not at any of the events, at best he has one side of the story, so accusing someone of misinformation when you have no facts and one side of part of a story, well that speaks for its self.

    I also ran a mod day after the execution occurred. Some of the players involved attended. Odd if Noah is correct about their treatment. They seemed to be having a good time as usual and I ran an RP mod for one of them specifically. More of that mistreatment I suppose.

    I was also at the WAR event as a player and I saw the young man there. I saw no case of anyone saying anything out of school to him and he was included on mads and even won a magic item draw.
    I fought him a few times as he NPCed and patted his back after one such fight. More mistreatment?

    Michael Conley
    NorthCoast NERO
    Owner/Chief Operating Manager

  12. If NcN were in the business of mistreating its players, I think my attendance in an area with 8 other chapters you can hit with a rock to choose from would suffer. It has not. I challenge anyone, these players, Noah, or anyone else to demonstrate a single case of me targeting anyone for any reason, unless you are talking about plot, of which I give plenty.
    So it is disappointing these guys might give up the fun they are hanving because Noah is desperately trying to garner support for his cause and filling their heads with cries of injustice, because it was clear prior to his involvement that they were fine and no one was
    hassling anyone.

    There is an old guard at National. Back in the good old days of NERO that hear about all the time they were feared and respected. They desperately want that back. None of them, not a one runs a chapter or has any vested interest in any of this unless you count blankets.

    I have gambled over $10,000 on my ability to run a good game. If I chase away players I pay with real money. All you need do is ask yourself what reason would Noah and national have to make and change rules that directly effect their characters? My motivation is clear. If I change rules on the fly and get involved in trying to change rules to benefit myself personally I will pay in players. I think given my recent events the proof as it were is in the pudding.

    National and specifically Noah seems bend on doing my chapter harm and driving away players. I am unsure why, but it is what it is. There are hundreds of NcN players available, if anyone doubts my commitment to my customers go and ask them and see what kind of response you get.

    The adjudication was made public on facebook when people without the facts tried to bad mouth NcN. I corrected them. Prior to people publicly bashing my chapter the issue was between me and national.

    Now NcN does in fact feel that PvP crimes should be at least as hard to commit as the normal plot villains are to beat and we commend resources to that end. If you play a character that likes to prey on other all we say is be good at it or you you might get punished. It is not forbidden. No one is trapped. These players took part in a plot where they were offered 5 silver pieces to kill a Noble. No one target them specifically for it, they were just there at the time. It was designed to give them a moral choice. They made a choice and did so poorly. If I have been critical with them at all it is in saying they did a horrible job and got caught. Now I know no one likes to get caught, but it is as much a part of the game as PvP is. They had already confessed to the murder, they were going to be executed either way. But they entered into a plotline with their made up story that led to the Enslavement Elixir being used. It is a LARP folks, there is a game going on for those who choose to play it. This was part of the game. If anyone has not visited my chapter there are undead Nobles there. Accusing one of them of ordering the murder of another noble will in fact get the attention of very important people.
    Its called plot. Either be involved with it or be good enough at killing that you get away with it.

    Michale Conley
    NorthCoast NERO
    Owner/Chief operating Manager

  13. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  14. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  15. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  16. I didn't say anything to Joe, Mike. I hadn't even heard about this supposed overturning, which as I said, nobody seems to know anything about.

    Nice lie about you not starting this, though. You post a childish, ridiculous rant as an **Official Announcement** on your forums, and then act all martyred. Slick. The problem really arose when you decided to take what was a clinical, objective debate over how certain game rules should be played into a personal crusade against me and national. This isn't some opinion, all you have to do is look at the date/time stamps on the posts. YOU swung first, because you're still butthurt about the forums, and then (as always) tried to fall back on your "I'm an owner so I'm always right" position. You jump at every opportunity to stick it to us, and it's been that way for a while. I should've reported you to the moderators the first time you crossed the line and started making shitty personal attacks.

    You think I would just fabricate this stuff? The guys told me that people were mean to them at WAR. I didn't make that up. If that looks bad on you, then maybe you shouldn't foster such a shitty, hostile attitude and show such a terribly poor example to your players with your immature rants and ravings.

    I cordially invite anyone to look into my history as a player, instead of believing a few random rumors like Mike does. You're SO SURE that I'm a player-killer, yet you've never once seen me attack another PC. Why don't you go ahead and name 3 PCs I've killed in the last 10 years? It's ok, I'll wait.

    What I really regret is that now I can't enjoy events with your players and the other people at your chapter, because of your personal dislike for me.

    You're either a complete moron or are TERMINALLY self-deluded if you think I have some kind of agenda against your chapter. As you well know, I was your chapter's biggest cheerleader. I defended you and your game at every turn, and constantly tried to drive players to you. I even convinced older players to come out of retirement to attend. How does that fit into your insane little narrative?

    (BTW, in case you were wondering, I will continue to match the tone of my posts to your own. I'm more than willing to more polite and less insulting, as soon as you are. What I WON'T do is let you call me a cheater and a bad player unchallenged, or insult my friends and colleagues.)

  17. Let's calm it down a second and step back.

    I am not sure what the full details are of the adjudication, but at this point we're not discussing whether what the players involved did was considered griefing.

    Griefing is when a player gets kicks solely out of the downfall of another, and taking someone else's loot one or two times before certainly doesn't make them griefers. Stealing treasure is a game style that exists just as much with heroic PCs as it does with villainous PCs.

    Team METAL rolling an entire town - that might be considered griefing. Rolling some people and taking their stuff is not necessarily griefing, especially if they don't kill them.

    The concern at this point is more on the ruling of enslavement than the means behind the adjudication. Let's focus on that.