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Ironing down the rules: Espionage RP in Elsweyr - Blades versus Thalmor

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Fiore1300's picture
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Joined: 07/24/2011

So a friend and I were considering launching a RP later this summer on the official forums (or here if there is enough interest). To give you the short of it, its an RP set in Elsweyr (or should I say, Pelletine and Anequina) in the run up to the Great War. It focuses around the struggle of the Blades against the Thalmor. The Blades attempt to wage a covert war against the Thalmor - gathering information, assassinating important Thalmor officials/sympathizers, and helping refugees escape purges in a sort of underground railroad. The Thalmor, on the other hand, hunt down the Blades ruthlessly; and the RP ends with all Blades dead or inactive.

 

Now I'd like your thoughts on a few important decisions that we'll have to make.

 

First of all, we were debating on structure versus open. What I mean by this is that players will either have the option of only playing the Blades, or of playing on both sides in a more competitive setting. The first one would mean we can shape the direction the RP takes, avoiding some common pitfalls and removing some incentive to players to OP. On the contrary, having players on both sides would make it a more dynamic and perhaps memorable experience, not to mention being less work for my friend and myself.

 

The second important issue is how to end the RP. One thing we were fairly certain of was that the Blades must ultimately lose, regardless. Or at least lose in the sense that their character dies. With this morbid fate thus established, we thought it might be best, at least if we are to do a more open, competitive RP, to create a list of objectives that the Blades members must complete before the end of the RP. This gives the Blades players something to work towards and a possible "victory" to claim at the end when the last of their characters bite the dust.

 

Of course, this wouldn't be necessary in a more restricted RP. What we found attractive about this idea is that, with the inevitable end made clear, players could be free to focus more on giving their character a good, compelling story and a dramatic conclusion, without competition overshadowing everything.

 

Lastly, we feel that the RP would be most exciting with a mechanic to deal with Illusion spells like Fury, Fear, Rally, Calm, and Command Humanoid. Of course, all these spells play with character control, so they're usually ignored (at least in my experience). We need strict rules surrounding these, but right now we basically have the guidelines that 1) targeted players decide how effective the spell is, and are asked to consider a list of factors when deciding this; and 2) players who are controlled always retain direct control of their character as they act out their foe's commands. There will also, presumably, be some sort of consequences if a player repeatedly resists these spells without sufficient reason. Probably gruesome death.

 

Anyway, there are probably some really bad ideas here, but I'd like to hear your thoughts on the subject. What decisions would you make? Do you think our thoughts are completely out of place here? Are we full of ourselves? Is this doomed to fail? I'm not a really experienced RPer (though I think myself fairly good), and, although my friend has held several RPs before, I never myself have. So, I would greatly appreciate your wisdom here. Thanks!

 

 

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Joined: 06/21/2012

 Hm, sounds very interesting. I'm much more compelled to play a Thalmor agent, rather than a Blades agent, however :P

Bibliophael's picture
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Joined: 01/03/2011

I'd be very interested in participating in such an exercise. I am somewhat disappointed in what happened to the latest Tale of the Elder Scrolls.

 

Can we have some closure on that, by the way?

Dargor's picture
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Joined: 07/11/2012

You know, I like the idea of illusion spells having a place in a RP, but a big problem for it is how to manage it and prevent it from being completely abused, on both the victim and users part. I suppose the question here is, what factors do you think would control the success rate of the spell? Are Skills/Attributes going to play a part in it, or would it be at the discretion of the participants? 

 

Bibliophael's picture
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Joined: 01/03/2011

Character sheets and dice roles might be in order.

 

I imagine one's Willpower affects the potency of any Illusion spell cast upon one.

Fiore1300's picture
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Joined: 07/24/2011

Dargor wrote:

You know, I like the idea of illusion spells having a place in a RP, but a big problem for it is how to manage it and prevent it from being completely abused, on both the victim and users part. I suppose the question here is, what factors do you think would control the success rate of the spell? Are Skills/Attributes going to play a part in it, or would it be at the discretion of the participants? 

 

Bibliophael wrote:

Character sheets and dice roles might be in order.

I imagine one's Willpower affects the potency of any Illusion spell cast upon one.

 

Yes, let me

 

Characters would have character attributes and skills that would affect the effectiveness of such spells. For example, I was considering that players would define for their characters three major and three (or four) minor skills. If a affected character is skilled in illusion, they'd have a greater chance of resisting an illusion spell, especially if they are equally or more skilled in it than the caster. Players will also define for their characters one or two preferred attributes, and if willpower is one of those, they'd have a greater chance at resisting. Though I suspect intelligence and personality attributes might have a small effect as well.

 

What's more important, I think, is considering the context and conditions under which the spells are used.

Is your character aware that the spell is being cast on them? This is a big one. If you know a spell is being cast, you can consciously resist its effects. If not, your chances of being afflicted are much greater, as you are mentally unprepared.

Is either character under some sort of distraction or duress? If its the caster, it'll be incredibly difficult to keep the spell going effectively for long, if at all. If its the victim, the more vulnerable they are.

Does the spell complement your current state? If you are angry, and someone casts a fury spell on you, the chances that it'll succeed go up. If you are calm, and someone casts fury on you, you have a better chance at resisting.

How long have you been under the effects of the spell? The longer the duration, especially with Command Humanoid, the harder it is for the caster to keep control and the easier it becomes for the target to break free.

Are you currently under any sort of magical protection or effect? Magical items, protective spells, disabling spells, and even other illusionary spells you're under will have an effect.

How experienced are you, and how many times have you been subjected to this spell? If you're the caster, lots of experience with the spells you use will give you an edge. If you're the target, both prior experience of casting and being subjected to the spell helps.

What is being demanded of them? - The more complex or outlandish the action (in Command Humanoid, for example) the harder it is for the caster to be successful for very long, and the easier it is for the victim to throw off the spell.

 

That is what I'd recommend considering, and I'd encourage that players talk this out with each other via PM or the OOC thread. And if they can't come to an agreement, it'd be best to ask a third party to decide or drop the matter entirely.

 

Lord's picture
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Joined: 04/26/2014

I would be interested in participate, i have to say that i like the idea about spells use.