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Topics - Morningstar

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Helpline / New Message System
« on: January 17, 2012, 02:30:16 AM »
I think I like the wysiwyg editor currently on testing.  Two things I noticed and wasn't sure if it could be fixed. Nitpicking, both, really.

1) Background field is white, making anything pasted from the game in white (headings/report titles) disappear from view. Yes, I know it shows up fine when you send it, but still... any chance of going with a transparent field of some sort?

2) Multiple scout reports drop in as a table, but the table isn't easily editable. So getting rid of that dastardly Fresh Delete is a little harder and then (at least when I did it) the reports dropped in on the same line instead of having line breaks like one would typically expect from scout reports. Is the quick and dirty workaround to "paste as plain text"?

Helpline / Warehouse Updates
« on: January 12, 2012, 01:57:03 PM »
The new warehouse/caravan code looks pretty nice on the front end and seems like it will be fairly useful. Problem is, the update also appears to have wiped out all stored food in the regions. I went from having over 300 bushels to having 9 overnight. Is this intended/known or should I take it to the bugtracker? I'm currently hosting a gathering army and everyone's going to start starving in 3 days.

SM General Discussion / Death and Taxes (or, Why This Lost Steam Already)
« on: September 13, 2011, 12:40:13 AM »
I'm going to throw this logic-y puzzle out there and see what kind of flack I get for it.

A) This forum/game/restart has died out already as it was directly competing for time/resources/interest from key people working on the new estate system.
B) This forum/game/restart has died out already because we got too crunchy and lacked story or any real reason to keep people interested.

Either A is true, B is true, both are true, or neither are true.

If A alone is true, then we should see a direct increase in activity over the next few days, and ideally, this lapse in interest should end up as just a blip on the radar.  I don't really believe this to be the case (or at least not the sole issue).  I believe Tom's had to split his attention a little, which maybe has slowed things down, but shouldn't have directly been the cause of this project dying an early death before it even really began.  So the "both" option may be in play here.

I also don't believe that "neither" is true, though I could perhaps eventually be convinced that it was "both" but with other factors involved.

Here's why I think that the major factor in play is option B. Namely, we've done this before. From what little I know, the original SM2 didn't fully get off the ground, despite upgrades to code and a startup storyline concept.  And I know for a fact that our little resurrection 5-ish years ago had a good little startup group of at least 10 people I can think of off the top of my head (and that doesn't count a rare appearance from Dethargos).  That attempt had discussion and banter about how to do the spell system, but flowed pretty well for a few months on RP alone. Characters met, faced challenges, ran from the witch-hunters, and learned how to cope with/manipulate their spells through trial and error.  What ultimately killed it was when discussion came up that we suddenly needed a coded spell-system in order to continue (which really wasn't true).  To the best of my knowledge, this was one of the very last SpellMaster threads ever created/posted in on the old SM list.

What am I trying to say?  While code and system is important, this game seems to have always been mostly about freeform interaction between players. There's a "combat" system in place for when conflict occurs, but outside of that, it's not a necessary evil. I feel like after the initial push on here for concept, story, and character, all discussion and focus shifted to what should've been one singular aspect of the game- the engine.  And what happened 5 years ago (and possibly with SM2) happened again. Everything died out.

Don't get me wrong here- I spent a few years (including most of the time I was away) doing crunchy things like designing pen & paper systems full of stats, combat, and dice rolls. I love that type of thing. But I'll be completely honest- as soon as we started getting into those nitty-gritty number crunching stats here, I stopped paying attention, largely.  I've submitted only one spell, refined it a few times, and last I checked it still wasn't accepted (which means little really, except that there are character concepts which likely are unplayable with this system, and that's fine).  And it seems that after the initial flurry of activity and excitement that comes with build-your-own-anything systems, it would seem that most others have also hit the wall (or the ceiling) on what to do next.

Can we try to build a world and some stories together and pull in the engine as we go? It seemed to work for FEI and sort of for Dwilight.  They're at least still alive and sort-of growing.  I don't want to see this project die already.

Helpline / Locked Out of 3rd Noble
« on: August 09, 2011, 03:11:11 PM »
A few days ago I had a 3rd noble slot unlock, so I've been playing with: "Your character limits are: 6 characters total, 3 active at the same time, 3 of those can be nobles" for a few days.

Woke up today to see the following: "Your character limits are: 6 characters total, 3 active at the same time, 2 of those can be nobles
You have more active nobles than your limit. You will need to pause a noble or donate before you can proceed."

Family fame hasn't changed and haven't donated during this time.  Can anybody explain what gives?

Feature Requests / New Combat Features
« on: August 01, 2011, 10:30:31 PM »
I've had a number of things pop into my head but the three that have been rattling around the longest are as follows:

1) Combat should have options to move laterally, not just vertically.  Currently the lines go something like this:

  C |   |  I |  A|   |   |   |A  | I  |   | C

All movement is made up and down the battlefield, in two directions.

This leaves no room for flanking maneuvers or any other sort of tactics where the the armies are not lined up directly in front of each other (which honestly was probably a rarity).  What if the battlefield looked more like this:

      |C |  A|    |   |   |   |AC| I  |   |
      |   | IA|    |   |   |   |AC| I  |   |
      |   | IC|    |   |   |   |A  | I  |   |

Suddenly tactics come back into play instead of just sheer numbers. The game wouldn't be about sitting at home in the capital for weeks recruiting only to march out for one or two battles and head home again.

2) From what I remember, the Generals were left with very little to actually do with the advent of a decent Marshal or two.  So the next two ideas are ways to potentially give them some more flex in their muscles again.  First, Marshals have the ability to override individual troop settings with their own.  But what's lacking in combat is a sense of direction. Orders on the field, as it were.  The suggestion here is that when a General is participating in a battle, he has the ability to direct one aspect of the start of combat.  For example, "Archers target strongest unit", "Cavalry target smallest units", "Archers target largest unit", etc.  It would act as an initial directive, and could be overridden by such factors as "Continue until suffering X% casualties, then act as usual", "Continue until target unit is destroyed, then act as usual", or "Continue until no units fit such parameters, then act as usual".

3) In general, it should be easier to wage war on multiple fronts. Perhaps it's because it's always been a numbers game, I'm not sure, but I've always wondered why every marshal from every army usually takes part in every mid-major battle the realm is a part of.  I picture the General's role as the guy in the command tent with the big map-o-the-world and lots of toy figurines, moving pieces around.  Here, there's always been too much of a "jumbled mess clashes with jumbled mess".  And maybe that's simply because of lack of creativity on the parts of the people waging war.  Thoughts?

BM General Discussion / Worldbuilding - BattleMaster at its best
« on: August 01, 2011, 08:38:03 PM »
Call it nostalgia. Call it me trying to remember why I quit 3+ years ago and why it still doesn't feel the same.  Whatever the case, I went back last night and read through a lot of the old posts on the old RP list.  And I mean "before you could physically have characters on FEI because right now it's only a map" old.  And I was reminded of the incredible community that was built on three simple tiers. A singular jpg image of a map. A collective of creative minds. And a desire to build an incredible story.

Ultimately, mechanics were necessary to resolve conflict and to prove in game terms what had been narratively described. But the heart of FEI was always in building the world together. And now, looking back, I'm confident in saying that's why the island lost its luster and why long ago it lost its "RP Island" description.  Once the characters dropped in, the world was populated, the secessions started to happen, and mechanics could replace a good story, it did.  All three of the tiers fell down or were replaced.  What was once a simple sandbox map became a tactile simulationist playground. Still good, still fun. But not equivalent.  Where once we had a community banded together by creativity, we now felt fixated on the mechanics and how to get the game to do what we wanted instead of simply roleplaying it to be so, and then rolling with the punches.  And then, our "story-first" mentality went down the drain and was replaced by a more "me-first" gamist attitude. Again, not a horrible thing. Most people like a game they can win. But it's not what the island was built on.

So what did that original worldbuilding, story first community turn to? Again with Tom's help, we attempted to revive SpellMaster. Characters were made and developed through interactive narrative, creative juices flowed about simple mechanics, and again we only had the flat map to unite our vision.  Touting a lower playerbase, we had some good fun for a few months until we got bogged down again in the mechanics issue and people started losing interest when story alone seemingly couldn't resolve issues and they felt the mechanics were not coming soon enough. So again, it eventually fell flat.

Dwilight showed up but from day one, that project seemed all about the simulation and not at all about the story, so it never drew the same crowd.

I guess what I'm getting at is that in my opinion (and I don't think I'd be alone- though a number of the original worldbuilding crew has moved on like I did) BattleMaster has never been better than when it truly operates as a group of friends sitting down with just an image and some creativity to build an amazing story.  So... who wants to build a world together?

((Tip of the cap to such sources as this and this, where I've learned much, as well as learning and losing a good bit in my own tabletop RPG writing endeavors.))

Helpline / Judge Communication with Prisoners
« on: July 22, 2011, 02:48:27 AM »
Having just been in prison, I thought the judge was ignoring me after his initial conversation.  Turns out now that I've been released, he tried continuing the conversation but I didn't receive any of them until after being released.  I haven't been judge in at least 4 years so I can't remember how the interface works.

Is it a bug that I never received any messages from him or did he have to reply differently (specifically to a prisoner) and just failed to do so?

Roleplaying / Ex Cineribus Resurgam
« on: July 07, 2011, 05:00:50 AM »
It is such a disconcerting thing, to wake up not knowing who you are or where you've been. But such was the case this afternoon as the young woman awoke. Whatever was she wearing armor for? And this crudely fashioned sword at her him gave her little more comfort.

Drawing it slowly, she sliced delicately through the air and found- to her surprise- that while her mind may be saying she was unfamiliar with the situation, her body seemed to know exactly what it was doing. Hearing a noise behind her, she spun round. Bringing a fist up for defense, she lunged toward the noise with her sword-arm as a man only barely avoided being run through.

"Steady now, m'lady," the man said. His voice was calm. Soothing. And altogether nonplussed at having been the target of a near disembowelment. Instead, he bowed low and spoke again.

"My Lady Morningstar, I see that you have awakened with vigor. Perhaps today is the day?"

Wholly off-guard and not actually entirely awake, the woman lowered her weapon slowly and replied, "I know not of whom you speak, what you speak, who you are, or if we're both being completely honest, who I am."

His head dropped slightly. "Ah. It is to be this again. Well, m'lady, I am Mikil, your ever faithful lieutenant and friend. And you are the Lady Morningstar. I fear you have been suffering from a nasty bit of amnesia. Every couple of weeks, it reverts to this condition once more and we lose all progress we had made, including new memories you might have made in the interim." He paused, watching her face closely. "But come, it is nearly dinner time."

The man, Mikil, turned and walk back down the hill toward a small cluster of tents. Amnesia.

And here she was hoping for a more original explanation as to why she seemed to have forgotten everything. Including her first name. Surely it wasn't "Lady".


With a deep breath, the young woman steps into the camp. She is very aware of all the eyes following her every move. They quickly avert elsewhere when she attempts to make eye contact with anyone, and the glances turn to whispers as she passes.

She reaches a particular tent where Mikil has stopped. It is no larger than the others, though slightly more decorative. Painted on the door is an unusual looking crest and as it catches her eye, she realizes it's been a recurring image throughout the camp.

Pausing, she asks, "Whose crest does this bear? And what does it symbolize?"

Mikil breathes before responding. "M'lady selected this after a peculiar dream some months back. It is... fitting."

Without another word, the lieutenant walks into the tent, letting the flap fall back down to leave the single broken silver wing on a deep purple field staring at her.

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