Monday, June 13, 2011

A shot across the bow...

After a few conversations with some people that I respect very much, I am going to reword my previous post. Lets try this.

It appears that National has finally decided to reign in some chapters that are using variants. This has been made evident by an owner posting on his own board and confirmed via several other anonymous sources. In my opinion nationals response is premature, not because they are not contractually in the right, rather because I would prefer they have some new content in place before dismissing all home grown content.

The link that I previously posted seems to, after further examination, paint this as an assault against a particular region of NERO. I do not think this was the intent. I will not pretend however, that certain owners responses to a request from National for a membership fee, did not inform national's sudden decision to enforce the variant section of the contract.

How does everyone feel about National's decision to enforce the contract? Should they have waited until they had an alternative to offer?


  1. Mark Henry ~MariusJune 13, 2011 at 10:49 AM

    As much as I and others were excited to see 9th edition come to light, it in fact didn't really add any new content. Games that keep people playing constantly evolve and better themselves. I doubt spell duration changes was the exciting thing people have been waiting for.

    There is need for standardized rules, but there is also a need for new content. Cease and desist is not an appropriate response. A far better solution would be for a case manager to be assigned to our chapter that worked with us and our variants. Strip out things that may be broken, and implement the really cool things nationally. There has to be some give in the relationship for it to function.

  2. @Mark - The current process for revising the NERO rules is based on the playtest system. Our goal for 9th edition was to cut out the 100+ pages of extra-rulebook matter and bring us back to our mission of 1-rulebook for the whole game. So you're not going to see too many rules which you didn't already see as a playtest.

  3. "Shockingly", I'm going to go ahead and say that if you set aside the means by which National is trying to do this, the goal of reigning in local variants is a good thing and should be done and is not predicated on first having new content. We're talking about places where 9th edition has barely been played, if at all, and there are already local variants being used. It really should not be this difficult for a local chapter to just play by the rulebook for awhile before trying to modify it.

    That said, I suspect the way this is happening is not going to create a lot of actual long term compliance.

  4. The following is a Poker Metaphor:

    Regardless of my opinion of it all, I'm glad to see someone is calling. I was getting very tired of endless hours of raising and bluffing.

    Time to put your cards down, both national and chapters. Let's see your hands.

  5. @Mickey
    Note 1: WAR has been on 9th ed since April and NCN as of May, while I do agree that they should have gone over without any variants they are still infact running 9th edition...even though there aren't any official formal rules for them yet.

    Here is the other problem. 8th edition had options. I'm not going to call them playtests because playtests get played then added to rules or removed. Since they've been options for quite a long time, local chapters liked having options to make their game better. They decided to put local options to fit their player-bases desires. With having the "options" for so long it makes it difficult to not use them.

    Remember as much as Nero is a game, it's a business too and making your customers happy is a big part of that.

    Also, the ohio region isn't the only one that runs variants. numerous chapters run base10 celestial, one region has a full set of "regional" playtests. Hell, even any estate and transform stats/packages are local variants as they are not "official" playtests.

  6. Eric, I consider April to be in the realm of "barely been played".

    And sure, playtests should be added or removed. We did that, about 7 years too late, but that was part of 9th edition. Everything else that didn't make it in got cut. I do, btw, agree with you that playtests wound up as basically a list of options, but I disagree that local chapters are dependent on making variant rules to run a good game.

    And other regions doing it doesn't make it somehow better. All chapters doing variants really should stop. Where it maybe becomes unfair is whether or not Joe is taking action against them too. But most of my post was really about the substantive issue of whether chapters should have variants. I only really addressed Joe's handling of it in my last line where I'm not exactly being glowing with praise.

    On a side note, your transform package is a statting guide for chapters who are allowed to stat transforms/NPCs as they see fit so I wouldn't call it a playtest. Heck, the "Monsters don't use Resists on I Call Forth" thing some places do really shouldn't be termed a playtest either, it's just statting, and I think they kind of pick an unnecessary fight when labeling them that way.

  7. "hey decided to put local options to fit their player-bases desires. With having the "options" for so long it makes it difficult to not use them."

    I somehow missed this line. It is, I think, a really good line and a totally understandable reason why local chapters are hesitant to get rid of their variants.

  8. I do agree with you about the transform packet and the I call forth resists. (When asked by Mr. Valenti - I informed him that was more of us informing our player-base how we stat our monsters).

  9. I am not against a uniform set of rules.
    The problems are this-
    A) Our first and only communication national regarding playtests was the threat. No asking what we were doing, if it was a playtest or not, or how we were handling it. Also no consideration to any plotlines or players that may be committed to it. Just the typical threats and deadlines we have come ot expect from National.
    B) NcN removed all other playtests and instituted strict rules on using the Nature magic Playtest. Feed back and use is required by all those that use it and requested by everyone that encounters it. We also stated from the outset we would submit it immediately for National approval as soon as a system was put into place to do that. No such system has been established and no playtest can be submitted without first PLAYTESTING it which is what we are doing.
    C)Adding a nature package does not disrupt running 9th in the least. It is an addition that anyone playing a LARP is easily able to comprehend. 9th is not much different from 8th, why on earth is it so necessary that it be run in it's pure form? It worked fine for 10 years.
    We all know 9th won't be changing, and if in fact there is to be a playtest system, then we should damn sure be testing its ability to be played with playtests.
    D) Playtest and local variants came into being because of a void left by national for 10+ years and that really still exists. What game system do you know that does not offer new material for over 10 years? Chapters came up with things to fill that void. Some good, some bad, but all in an effort to keep the game fresh and growing. In Ohio/WV we did that. We grew LARP/NERO into at least one of the biggest areas in the country. That success should not be met with threats and deadline but instead with thanks and questions.

    What would have been wrong with an email that asked NcN, WAR, and Cincinnati what local things they were running, what data did they have on them, and how could we phase them out temporarily, compile them into a submittable format and discuss the viability of them for a play at large?

    And lets keep in mind, the email contained no specifics. I still do not know if we are to get rid of Nature Magic only or, Nature Magic and the transform package, and cold iron, and swimming, and flying, and packet delivered formal and any of the other host of "local variants" that are apparently killing NERO while our chapters grow at a record pace.

    As of now NcN has made no response positive or negative to National. The only correspondence we have had was the initial threats and a return email asking for a signed copy of our contract and specifics on which things they want removed. We have not received an answer to either one.

  10. Update:
    I am still waiting for a response from National about what specifically they consider unauthorized rules and if they will allow me to phase things out that have plot lines attached to them or if the deadline is firm.

    There has been no response to my request for a signed copy of my contract either.

    So anyone under the impression it is NcN not working and/or communicating with national, that is incorrect. Three days in and I have not gotten a so much as a return email saying they will get back to me which kind of backs up my theory that this is not about rules but about a target on the local chapters.