Group Idea: Goon Squad

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FaeLenx
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Group Idea: Goon Squad

Post by FaeLenx » Mon Aug 19, 2019 10:39 pm

Goon Squad


Tenants/Rules:
  • This is a group for players who wish to make villains and find followers or who want to play followers/goons that are reusable and replaceable.
  • Villains should have brief but realistic goals to ensure that there is potential closure on their schemes.
  • Villains should not become too invested in success or failure to ensure that there is no grudge from the side of the storyteller.
  • Villains should always allow their enemies to fail forward, escape, or otherwise succeed in removing themselves from lasting harm should they wish to, ensuring that they always understand that this is an option they can take. This is to ensure there is no grudge from those participating in your villainous deeds.
  • Villains are not just villains. They have goals related to the lore, tone, and stories of the world and its inhabitants.
  • Villainous characters should not interfere heavily with the storyline of other antagonists. Becoming an unending mercenary army for another group is more bothersome for your partners in storytelling than fun. With that said-
  • Have fun. Always.
The problem I see and how I wish to address it.


People become heavily invested in their characters. They grow to have motivations on those characters that counteract or otherwise conflict with the more comfortable side of the game, and then they disconnect and become what we refer to as villains. They create their own communities, and they still conduct themselves in ways that are antagonistic in the story to other characters. But one problem there is that Sigrogana Legends is a game that continues to go on forever. Unlike some other BYOND games that involve age and perma-death, both of which are strict and interesting game mechanics that most other games don't have need for and so it's an interesting thing to see at all happen, SL2 lacks a lot of closure. Most major villains are 'still out there somewhere,' after their player left or grew tired or inside their insular communities with the understanding that their own end is much more final than anyone that they could face. They have no reason to leave, nothing to gain but clout and frustration, and so have no reason to take risks. No reason to provide a fight that they could lose.

This is no critique on anyone in particular. Because it's the same reason people don't go attack them in their little enclaves. No one wants to lose so much investment against stacked odds. And often, if you're engaging, the odds are going to be stacked against you unless you take action when nobody is online.

So that's the problem. Trepidation and investment create stagnancy. The solution comes from what I wrote above, ideas that I've bounced around in some group chats.

A discord group. Maybe a guild in game represented specifically as a means of OOCly recognizing which people are IC and up for a scuffle, which people you can count on to have some motive that provides a point of contention for those who seek it. This group would be full of people who wanted to play both the role of throw away goons and followers of various types, builds, races, and personalities and those that wanted to play enigmatic leaders with which to spin the narrative.

What would this succeed in? It would mean that there would be driving forces acting against others who could be in the world or come to points of danger and contention where both sides didn't have to worry about being OOCly inconvenienced upon losing. For a character that you've accepted is executed upon capture when you made them, you can only see how far you can go before you can bank in that clout. And for a hero that will fail forward or be given a story of escape or of their (oocly) voluntary capture and what comes with that? You get your story. It would also mean that you'd only need the major villain and a few other people who could slot in their own faceless/brief-stint characters in with them to start something instead of requiring eight people to have a good schedule match up.

What would it need to do this? General staff permission to run characters that are almost entirely NPCs, disposable, and re-usable and a player bought and run location to host these scenes when they require some specific esoteric location like a compound, bunker, or anything you can't get in a city or campfire.

What are some examples of what this group would be used for?

Any idea for an antagonistic group that you want to see play out to its reasonable end could be used. A group of mechanation hunters who want to capture and ship off mechs using older methods of transportation would be a good starter idea for how frequently its referenced by characters and how infrequently it's realized in actual storytelling and gameplay. Their failure would be almost assured eventually, but it would provide some narrative for a nice rescue mission or jailbreak after a few too many mechs are imprisoned and go to break out. Inversely, being a group of mechanations rebels that have taken themselves out of Karaten to try to collect the arms and cash to fund their hometown revolution might resort to crime, creating a more polarizing conflict in roleplay between Order and Chaos instead of just Good and Evil. Their failure or success brings closure, as even if they do manage to win their fights or meet no realized resistance as they try to rob a bank or whatever else might be decided upon, they'll be gone back to where they've come from and out of IC hands.

A few of them write themselves. Some public manifestos posted on the forums of some group of Reapers who condemn the use and capture of spirits in possession and cursed weapons one day and then a few days later roll out your would be army of spiritualists who try to force exorcise people. Things get out of hand, and failure means deportation or execution after they resist the guards heavily. Or redrayders.

Any of this would provide compelling resistance. Sometimes it would be insurmountable. Other times? You might get a group of 4 together that can beat would be heroes for a time until you decide that your characters fade away into wherever they've come from. Anyone who loses can lose forward, gaining a story of escape or otherwise victory over insurmountable odds in the clutch moments.

Or maybe people do grow too attached to their goon or villain characters, and they reform or defect into a character with a realized backstory, a criminal history, and something compelling behind them. The power of friendship and all of that.


________________________________________________________________


So far, this has been a lot. I wouldn't be playing this game if I didn't like to write. I think I've said a reasonable piece about the idea. Does anyone have any input on this, does anyone wish to see it crash and burn, or does any moderator have a reason this wouldn't fly or be acceptable? The name could definitely use some work, so ideas for that would be nice if you can think of one.

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Sawrock
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Re: Group Idea: Goon Squad

Post by Sawrock » Tue Aug 20, 2019 11:34 am

I've played many villains (Kasan, Kenn, Bloeden, Pitecoll, Falk, Neferlian, Einde, etc...) and I want to say that treating villainous characters in such regard (making them event-based, or getting overly organized with their creation and implementation) will lead to nowhere good.

Play a villain like you would play any other character; give them life and make them do as they would do. If they are to die or be imprisoned for it (Kasan, Bloeden, Falk, etc...) it WILL suck, but realizing that the experiences you had were more enjoyable due to the story and risk involved make it worth all the more. Reforming villains can be an excellent option as well, but that isn't the only option, and nay, it shouldn't be- a villain shouldn't have to be able to live a life by being good. They can do actions and cause events to unfold by simply interacting with thought in the moment.

Of course, this isn't to say there should be no planning involved- consensual fights and other such activities lead to a more polite set of interactions OOCly, but it shouldn't be scripted by any means. If you want goons? Hire them ICly. Speaking from experience, people WILL put on matching uniforms if you give them a sense of IC community.

If your idea would happen to come forth regardless, I wish you the best of luck with it. If I'm wrong about your ideas, then the game will be better for it.
Darkened Woman says "Then some days, Gowwel shows up. 'n' I realize, there's always more. Th'barrel has a false bottom, 'n' there's a whole second barrel of shit under."
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FaeLenx
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Re: Group Idea: Goon Squad

Post by FaeLenx » Tue Aug 20, 2019 1:11 pm

This certainly isn't meant to replace people who want to run massive criminal empires and long, engaged plots, but considering all of those villains were before my time playing and there hasn't been a major plot or antagonist while I've played, I'd insist that there still does exist a problem with accessibility.

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Aqua
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Re: Group Idea: Goon Squad

Post by Aqua » Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:28 pm

FaeLenx wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 1:11 pm
This certainly isn't meant to replace people who want to run massive criminal empires and long, engaged plots, but considering all of those villains were before my time playing and there hasn't been a major plot or antagonist while I've played, I'd insist that there still does exist a problem with accessibility.
While this may not be the case, as saw said alot of planning takes place into events such as the one that destroyed cellsvich essentially making way for the new map. Villians aren't going to go in unprepared. Your idea is ok (and probably should be posted in the suggestions area), villian groups or villans don't need to be majorly influenced to cause harm to those around just go round stabbing people up witin reason I guess? But im with saw with this.

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Sawrock
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Re: Group Idea: Goon Squad

Post by Sawrock » Wed Aug 21, 2019 3:49 am

FaeLenx wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 1:11 pm
This certainly isn't meant to replace people who want to run massive criminal empires and long, engaged plots, but considering all of those villains were before my time playing and there hasn't been a major plot or antagonist while I've played, I'd insist that there still does exist a problem with accessibility.
Kenn, Pitecoll, Neferlian, and Einde are all currently still alive. Pitecoll is currently my most active character; you might not see him due to my schedule placing my works on overnights.

Being a villain is a hard work. It's not easily accessible, for sure. The most difficult part is accepting that your character will die, and others who you fight will not. That's how the rules of SL2 work- you can't force others to give you death permission, yet you can be executed by the guard. And, after having multiple characters executed/killed, I'm fine with this. I can't expect SL2 to be perfect, and there IS certainly room for improvement. But my point above is that villains, as well as good roleplay in general, takes time and effort- that's why it isn't easily accessible. You'll have to tackle the position from many points- how to convince others ICly to join your cause (if such a cause requires more than yourself), how to make a lasting impact on those you wish to prey upon, and yes, finding out how to influence the mechanics of the game to fit your build and character design to make something that is both efficient and interesting. All are possible, and all have been done by more than myself- Walrus, Fern, Dyst and many others have had great moments to share with others.

In any case, as stated before, I still hope that making such a Discord group will improve the roleplay in the game, as it's always a good reason to seek improvement in things, despite my predictions of what will happen with this.
Darkened Woman says "Then some days, Gowwel shows up. 'n' I realize, there's always more. Th'barrel has a false bottom, 'n' there's a whole second barrel of shit under."
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FaeLenx
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Re: Group Idea: Goon Squad

Post by FaeLenx » Wed Aug 21, 2019 6:08 am

I don't mean being a villain isn't easily accessible. I meant any sort of interaction with them is notoriously difficult or rare. I and a lot of other players have never interacted directly or indirectly with any of your characters or any of the major villains you probably think of.

When I've pitched this idea in a couple game related groups, I've gotten DMs asking me to get this sort of thing running just because they feel people are getting bored. And a couple people who'd want to be a part of it. So I know I'm not the only one who has seen some sort of need for something like this.

Anyways, a group like this wouldn't be for the black hat schemers that want to bring the world down. It would be for all of those bad ideas. The bandits that sit around campfires and make brief stints in to rob people, etcetera. The things that would be a realistic threat that could very well exist but can't operate with most players because it would be a short lived stint followed by a few months OOC time in jail.

Being able to repurpose your character quickly into a new one would mean that all you need to start something else interesting is the idea and the time to play it.

And the ideals behind it that you exist in a way that limits or removes inconvenience from others means that this rapid repurposing wouldn't get stale and turn into rapidly churning out characters just to jump on people in PVP in four mans and get in their way.

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Re: Group Idea: Goon Squad

Post by MakeshiftWalrus » Wed Aug 21, 2019 12:43 pm

What you're suggesting is already happening, and has been happening for years to various degrees of success and catastrophic fallout. We already have player-made 'Villains', per say, who are always looking for a fight if they can get their hands on it, it only takes poking one over Discord, or venturing away from the mainland to see it.

What these morally grim characters typically get by from, is by sticking with other like-minded characters, which all exist in places like Law's End, or other places they aren't typically persecuted. Some of these characters are even several OOC years old at this point, because their players took the smart route, instead of the bombastic route, which isn't necessarily the most entertaining way, but this is a dog-eat-dog game, and the villains tend to be the weaker dog in most cases.

What you're proposing, is most easily done through communication and scheduling, to make things fair and simplistic to handle. It can never, ever, exist successfully without it, believe me, players have been directly ex-communicated from trying to spring it on others. It isn't pleasant, and I highly suggest it isn't tried, for everyone's sanity's sake.

If your characters want to make noise, then that's certainly their own choice, but nobody wants to deal with a two-bit re-purpose, or a faceless mook. There's no danger, or reward in that, and it's most certainly just a tedious grind until the big boss shows up at the end, particularly if this is done publicly to a degree. This goes double-so for guards. Having been one for almost three years total, personally, nothing feels worse than getting a ping about four masked goons invading the square, because 8/10 times, there's nothing you can do about it. The squad is prepared, and you aren't.

Most guards don't have fun, being a guard, because it's a chore. We deal with the goonies of the week, every week, all the time, with no breaks. And it gets tiresome without an end in sight. But that's what we signed up for-- we're literally the fun police, designed to be good at our jobs. And doing something (Particularly in the Empire) will quickly make it impossible to continue it.

As Sawrock said, we unfortunate face the grim reality that villains, in SL2, are bound to lose and die, while the heroes suffer no real risk unless they, themselves, agree to it prior. So either you gather a group of powerful PvPers, or you exclusively do event/RP-based battles, which would take away from the overall accessibility from the situation both in terms of who you include, and who can interact with them at a time.

To sum up what I really mean:

The idea is fine, but it needs communication and planning with people who are alright with the type of idea it is. It isn't for everyone, and they shouldn't be forced to endure it, if they don't want to.

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Re: Group Idea: Goon Squad

Post by Mewni » Wed Aug 21, 2019 9:54 pm

The reason that guards have to deal with the goonies of the week is because...well, if anyone else deals with them they get arrested as well. Unless said goon is badly affecting a character or a group of people they are close there is no reason to do any kind of pursuit, rare are the cases of people taking the risk and it mostly is related with "Oh well, the guy will be arrested for 3-4 days [1 ooc day] for attempting murder [Since major crimes is 1 day, but severe 28 days for some reason] and he'll just torment us over and over unless we do something about it."

People complain about stagnancy and not having much to do, while the guards, by what you said, are too overworked and have to deal with everything. See the issue here?

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Re: Group Idea: Goon Squad

Post by MakeshiftWalrus » Thu Aug 22, 2019 9:08 am

Mewni wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 9:54 pm
The reason that guards have to deal with the goonies of the week is because...well, if anyone else deals with them they get arrested as well. Unless said goon is badly affecting a character or a group of people they are close there is no reason to do any kind of pursuit, rare are the cases of people taking the risk and it mostly is related with "Oh well, the guy will be arrested for 3-4 days [1 ooc day] for attempting murder [Since major crimes is 1 day, but severe 28 days for some reason] and he'll just torment us over and over unless we do something about it."

People complain about stagnancy and not having much to do, while the guards, by what you said, are too overworked and have to deal with everything. See the issue here?
The lawless times of a couple of years ago are a good example of why we should never return to that era of life. There were no guards to deal with anything, outside of GM-intervention. It was particularly bad, because unlike now, we didn't have the same slot-in stats, but rather something most aptly described as Fire Emblem growths for each stat. The strong ruled, and that's unhealthy for the game.

People are allowed to, within reason, defend themselves. But when the issue re-emerges every few days when they get released, I agree it becomes an issue in the long run. I do not, however, think this balance should be shifted any. It makes no sense for vigilantism to be rampant within a powerful nation like the Empire, and I'm sure many of the veteran players can back me up when I say it was equally much an issue as attempted murder was, a couple of years ago.

We've brought up the idea of a guard system reform to better fit the current times, but it's been very, very slow in the process, unfortunately, and it isn't so easy to implement as it should be. I'm hoping it'll eventually be updated, made more fair, but also more punishing, with other punishments than a temporary RP-ban.

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Re: Group Idea: Goon Squad

Post by Mewni » Thu Aug 22, 2019 11:17 am

Oh god, lawless is awful, in that i agree wholeheartedly, if people enjoyed that kinda of RP at a costant Laws End would be way more popular.

Vigilantism, yeah i can see how that can be a issue especially when half the playerbase is hunting down one guy, giving them no chances of a fight. But i more so focused on "If X did me wrong, would be nice if i can try and track them down to deliver them to the guards" but they cant, either wait for them to try and do something again to justify a defense [Even if that in itself is a bit finicky], or wait for a bounty to be posted, which is rare since it's a last resort thing. It's something that people don't really enjoy much, have X happen to you, but there is nothing you can do but wait around until the guy is caught, if he's not a bounty will probably go up, then you can do something about it.

Oh yes, i heard about plans of reforming that system, and it's something i hope happens but in all honesty, maybe by observing too much or just taking what can be seen at the surface as the whole truth, i kinda lost hope in that happening. Not just because of the speed in which it's being reworked but of many, many other problems that just give people that already has a distaste for the guards to have more excuses to fan their toxicity even harder.

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