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East Continent
Complaint #980
Date: July 06, 2021
Title: Protest and Expectation of Letter
About: Delphine de Montigny (Francois), Ender Fate (Richard), and Gislin Luitolf (RC)

This case was reported to us following various messages and a protest which centred on a ruler (Alyssa) not making a public statement to the realm following a referendum which focused on Alyssa's leadership. The concern here was that there was an Inalienable Right (IR) violation; specifically, the activity IR. Since there were multiple incidents spanning mostly the same day, we have decided to provide a brief timeline of events in the hope that it will aid in understanding how the situation unfolded.

July 06, 2021
  • At about 00:15, the referendum came to a conclusion.
  • At about 11:30, there was a protest by Ender Fate: "Why is our Queen so silent on one of the most pressing issues our realm faces? Our voices are being actively, emphatically being ignored. Which is part of the problem."
  • At about 14:00, there was a message from Delphine, the relevant part being: "As you, I would have expected to hear from the Queen by now on such an important issue.  Should she remain silent for another half day, it will show that she does not care and should be removed, already it is not a good start."
  • At about 14:18, there was a message from Gislin Luitolf containing the two quotes: "Her quietness is my entire point. Even is she does not have the time to write something in depth, a simple 'I will address this soon' would at least show us that she has it in her sights and cares. I have not seen even this." AND "Again it is your right to protest, but I again am asking that you hold off for a while. Give the queen another day or so to process this information and open talks."
  • At about 15:00, there was an Out-of-Character (OoC) message containing a couple paragraphs from Alyssa. This was the first sign of activity from the ruler.
July 08, 2021
  • At about 12:15, Alyssa was protested out of office for various reasons.

Going in order of events, we will first cover the decision regarding Ender Fate. The protest was deemed to be a possible IR violation because there were no signs of activity from Alyssa between the referendum's conclusion and the protest. We found there to be a reasonable interpretation that this protest was focused upon issues prior to the referendum. There were, after all, other protests around that time about prior issues. Despite this uncertainty, the fact that there was a reasonable interpretation of the protest being centrally focused on the lack of a response to the referendum, led to us to judge this to be within the "ten-foot pole" radius of the IRs.

Considering the above, and the fact that the only other reasonable punishment was a temporary account lock, we decided to issue a public warning to Ender Fate.

Next is Delphine de Montigny. Delphine's message was deemed to be an IR violation because it pressured the player of Alyssa, who had not yet been active, to respond to the referendum within a single day. Essentially, the message states: "If you don't login and respond to us within twenty-four hours, then you do not care and should be removed from rulership." This type of message is not a "ten-foot pole" situation; this is a clear IR violation. Unlike the protest from Ender Fate, this message was clearly about a response to the referendum as indicated by the context of the conversation, and Delphine de Montigny was a government member (General).

Due to the aforementioned reasons, Delphine de Montigny was stripped of their position as General and locked out of the position for fourteen days.

Finally, we arrive at Gislin Luitolf. For the sake of brevity we did not include all the relevant messages from Gislin, some of which occurred prior to Delphine's message. The messages by Gislin were deemed to NOT be an IR violation because the concerning aspects of the messages were clearly focused upon reeling in protests, some of which legitimate, until Alyssa had a chance to respond. It should also be noted that Gislin did not protest Alyssa following the referendum despite doing so before the referendum.  This lends credence to the idea that the focus was not on the Alyssa's lack of response to the referendum. Considering that there was concern that a player might reasonably interpret parts of the messages from Gislin as pressure to be more active, we judged this to be, at most, within a "ten-foot pole" of the IR.

With the above in mind, we issued a public warning to Gislin Luitolf.

The activity IR is of paramount importance as it is connected to the very essence of BattleMaster—a light-weight game. Any violation, or even getting close to a violation, of the IR will result in Titan action. Consequences, or the threat of consequences, for inactivity will not be tolerated. Even pressuring people to be more active than is required by the game will not be tolerated. The fact is that allowing any possible transgression of the IRs, no matter how slight, will result in the degradation or slow erosion of BattleMaster's foundation.

During this case, we applied the logic that the activity IR consisted primarily of the right to log in to play when one wants. This meant that if you logged in and played, then you were active. (There was more nuance, but we will not go into all the details in order to keep this summary at a reasonable length.) For this reason, we did not take into consideration anything which occurred after Alyssa's OOC message. This is reflected in the timeline given with the case summary (i.e. no events are listed between Alyssa's message and her getting protested out).

Following the verdict in this case there was more discussion amongst the Admins and the Titans about how to deal with players, specifically council members, who are only able to play for a short period of time on a given day. As shown by this case, there are certainly times when a council member has a crisis to address but doesn't have the time on their first login to do so. While the previous method did allow for the council member to be protected in this type of instance, there were concerns that the previous method did not go quite far enough in protecting players' ability to play at a temporarily decreased pace.

Moving Forward

In the short term, during some kind of crisis, whether external or internal, or even if it's a crisis the council member precipitated themselves, demanding that they be there to manage that crisis—which is to say, demanding that they devote any particular amount of their time, effort, and energy to the game over a short period of time—is a violation of the activity IR. For the vast majority of cases, this "short term" translates to all council members being allowed TEN days to respond to a crisis. The exception here, is if there is egregious negligence by the council member.

In the long term, and in the aggregate, council members are expected to fulfill the duties of the office more or less to the degree their realm expects. If a council member is serially unable to do so for any reason, including their own activity level, then that reflects on their choice to remain in that position rather than giving it up to allow someone else to take it. This does not mean that a realm can expect an unreasonably high level of activity.

In essence, we are saying: Your right to play at your own pace is protected. Your right to play without fulfilling your duties is not.

Answers to Potential Questions

What is egregious negligence?

Egregious negligence, this being a rough example, would be them sending out many letters on different days all while neglecting to handle the crisis. In this example, they clearly would have had the time and energy to play but chose to be silent on the issue, so protesting would be acceptable. With the exception pointed out, we still generally recommend trying to give the full ten days for two reasons: 1) Egregious negligence is a rather subjective term. Your interpretation of egregious negligence may not align with other players, including the Titans as they are players as well. 2) It is rarely the case that you cannot wait for the full ten days to pass. It will not kill your realm, or your character, to wait the ten days.

What is an unreasonably high level of activity?

If a realm is expecting a council member to send a large amount of messages, which can only be achieved by having a high level of activity all the time, that is unreasonable. If a realm is expecting a council member to always respond to messages in a single day, or even within five days, that is unreasonable. Council members still hold the right to not login more than once every five days even in the long term, provided they are still fulfilling their duties. Demanding that they generally respond within five days is reasonable so long as the message count being demanded of them is not unreasonable.

Why is the short term limit set to ten days?

Council members automatically abdicate their position if they do not play for five days. This means that they have to play at least once every five days. By giving players ten days, this guarantees that they will have, at the very least, two separate days of playing to address any issue.

Why does so much of this, and other rules, carry such subjective terms? Wouldn't it be better to lay out precisely what is meant by the terms?

Covering every single situation, which would require many explanations and exceptions, is not possible; to attempt to do so would require writing a novel. We try to avoid requiring players to read a novel to follow the rules. Along with the concern of length is the concern of rules-lawyering, and players intentionally trying to stretch the very limits of what is expected. If we always give a very precise line, players will abuse this by going exactly up to that line while acting in bad faith. For these reasons, we try to focus primarily on conveying and enforcing the spirit of the rules rather than the letter of the rules. You can see an example of that at the end of the "Moving Forward" section: "Your right to play at your own pace is protected. Your right to play without fulfilling your duties is not."

Announcements / Retiring Old Account Page
« on: March 01, 2021, 08:48:26 PM »
As part of overhauling BattleMaster's authentication system to use a more modern, secure method, we have updated the Account page to also operate through the modern Symfony framework. At present, this will only mean minor visible changes from your perspective as players—with one notable exception.

The old Account page (/userdata.php), which the current Account page replaced four years ago, will not be updated in the same way, and will be retired completely when this update goes live in a week's time.

Because we still have some people using it, we want to try to understand what it is about the old page that you prefer, so that as we work on improving the modern Account page, we can keep that in mind. If you have thoughts on this, please come and share them in the #development channel on the BattleMaster Discord server, or, if you're not comfortable joining us on Discord, in the Development board on the forum or by email at We have no desire to leave people behind, but we can't easily justify maintaining two separate Account pages anymore with our very limited developer resources.

Announcements / Final Server Transition
« on: February 05, 2021, 08:41:45 PM »
With many apologies for the long delay, we are at last ready to begin the final steps of moving BattleMaster to its new home.

So, tomorrow, Saturday, Feb 6, roughly 2 hours after the sunset turn (2PM US Eastern, 8PM CET/server time), I will put the game into maintenance mode, rendering it temporarily inaccessible. I will dump complete copies of the database on the old server, import them into the new server, and make the changes in the DNS to have point to the new server. For most people, this should be a fairly quick process, but depending upon the arcane details of cacheing in DNS servers around the world, some people may experience a significant delay in being able to resolve the address of the new server. As a workaround, I will place a link to the new server that is guaranteed to work on the "maintenance mode" page of the old server, so those who keep running into it will be able to access the new server as soon as it is up and running. I expect total downtime to be less than an hour.

There will be bugs, and I would greatly appreciate it if you could report any you experience clearly and promptly, either in #bugtracker on the Discord server or at (which is already fully migrated to the new server).

Announcements / Server Transition First Step - UPDATE
« on: January 05, 2021, 04:30:45 PM »
Update 2021-01-11 13:50 EST The domain transfer is now complete, and I am preparing to take full control of the DNS in just over an hour (3PM US Eastern, 9PM server time). This is not the server transition, merely the first step toward it. However, as this will also mean deactivating CloudFlare, there may be some slight hiccups as it propagates. Please be patient.


As Tom's provider has now given him the proper authorization code, which he has passed on to me, I will be attempting the transfer of ownership of the domain later today. This may end up involving some hiccups in service. I've never done this before, so I'm not sure what all will happen yet, but please be patient as I work through the process.

Announcements / Server Transition Delay
« on: December 28, 2020, 11:31:02 PM »
Update on the previous: Unfortunately, as Tom has not yet been able to get the final transfer authorization code to me for taking ownership of the domain, the transition must be delayed until such time as he can find it and send it to me. As such, there will not be a server move on the 1st.

I will be sure to post an update here when I have more information.

Announcements / BattleMaster Turns 20
« on: December 14, 2020, 09:14:12 PM »
On January 1st, 2021, BattleMaster will turn 20 years old.

On that same day, we will be completing the transition of ownership and control from Tom Vogt to the current admins, Vita and me.

Short-Term Changes

  • Today, I will be transferring control of the domain to my account. This may involve some slight disruption as the changes propagate through the DNS system, so please be patient.
  • Between now and January 1st, Vita and I will be finalizing the setup of the game and its ancillary pieces (wiki, forum, bugtracker, email) on a new server we own and control. This will be mostly transparent from the outside, but it does mean that aside from emergencies, other code changes will be more or less suspended between now and then.
  • On the 1st, at a specific time we will decide on and announce soon, we will switch over from the old server to the new, putting the old server in maintenance mode and copying the up-to-the-minute current database to the new server. During the switchover, which shouldn't take more than a few hours at most to propagate the DNS changes, the only game-related space that will be reliably available for everyone is the Discord.

Medium-Term Code-Related Changes

  • Most things will not change. BattleMaster will be the same game, and Vita and I have been running it for several years now. The biggest changes will be for our convenience, which we hope you will see in the form of a slightly faster progression of code updates.
  • We are taking this opportunity to make a fairly significant behind-the-scenes change that should further improve the ease of updating BattleMaster (warning: dev-speak ahead): On the new server, the game will be set up within a Symfony framework, using a LegacyBridge in order to be able to access parts of the game that are still set up entirely in the current, non-framework, scripts. Over time, we will be able to convert pages from the old format to the new—by and large, you should not notice much difference in them except the URLs.
  • The PayPal donations will be directed to me, and continue to be used primarily to defray the monthly costs of running the server.

Non-Code-Related Changes

This winter, Vita and I will be working out some principles and practicalities for expanding the community's say in how the game is run. Details and timing on this are still very much TBD, but we are interested in community governance and what it can bring to the game and its players.

There will also be some additional announcements in the coming days and weeks, as we have some other somewhat-related projects to kick off.

Announcements / New Religion Founding Requirements
« on: October 12, 2020, 03:52:07 AM »
We're pleased to announce that we have introduced a new path to founding a religion, that does not require the founder to themselves be a Lord. It does, however, require some significant work on the part of the would-be founder:

It is our hope that this will allow those who have good ideas for religions to see them founded without requiring steps that are largely irrelevant to the successful founding of a religion, while also ensuring that we are not overwhelmed with a glut of empty religions.

If you wish to found a religion following this path, once you have met the requirements, please contact us at, or message Delvin Anaris on Discord.

Announcements / Testing Region Stat Bug Fixed
« on: October 01, 2020, 06:22:22 PM »
A longstanding bug in how region stats are adjusted at the turn change on testing islands (BT, Dwilight) has just been fixed. It was copying adjustments to morale and applying them to independence, instead of applying the correct adjustments to independence.

The likely effects of this fix will be:
  • Regions affected by the new Sparse Realm Penalties on testing will actually start to feel the penalties now, since they primarily affect independence.
  • Regions that are being well-cared-for should stop showing a frustrating tendency to have control drop for no apparent reason.

We apologize for the confusion this will likely create.

Announcements / Region Revolt Bug - Updated
« on: September 11, 2020, 02:53:41 PM »
Update (17:30 server time): All regions should now be returned to their previous owners, with duchies, lords, and estates restored. If any have been missed, please contact us ASAP (on the Forum Helpline, on Discord by pinging @Delvin Anaris, or at

The massive number of regions that revolted at the turn change was a bug—I believe I have localized and fixed the source of the bug, and will be running tests to confirm before the sunset turn.

All regions that revolted this turn change will be manually returned to their owners, with our apologies.

Announcements / Sparse Realm Penalty Adjustments
« on: September 10, 2020, 06:28:54 PM »
Due to both player feedback and our own observations over the past day, we are making some adjustments to the newly-added sparse realm penalties. They were never intended to hit so hard, so fast, and we apologize for the excessively aggressive effects.

  • The penalties will now have a 3-day warning period before applying to a given region.
  • The penalties will ease in much more slowly on stable islands, slightly more slowly on testing (which already had them slower than stable).
  • The across-the-board penalties for regions lacking a lord, a knight, or both have been removed, at least for the time being.
  • Later today, a tool will be added on the Information page allowing everyone to see both which realms are in most danger, and how many regions the realm currently stands to lose.

    Announcements / Supplemental Update: Sparse Realm Penalties
    « on: September 08, 2020, 06:28:06 PM »
    A supplemental update is going live with a few small fixes, noted below, and the introduction of penalties for realms below the density limit. The details of these penalties are as follows:
    • All regions in realms below the density limit that lack at least one knight, a Lord, or both will suffer small to moderate control penalties.
    • In such realms, up to three regions will suffer further penalties, with the regions being chosen by three criteria:
      • Number of neighbouring regions belonging to a realm above the density limit
      • Number of neighbouring rogue regions
      • Distance from capital
    • These regions will be ranked, with the furthest or most surrounded by high-density/rogue regions ranking highest, and the higher the rank among those three regions, the steeper the penalties.
    • Regions that fall within these three will also have significantly increased chances of revolt.
    Given a few days to a week or so, this should resolve the issue of realms with "grandfathered-in" low densities.

    Other minor fixes:
    • Bankers were, in rare circumstances, unable to access marketplaces in some of their realm's regions, even when within the realm. This has been fixed.
    • The remaining pieces of the additional voting options have been added. (Andrew says: "Wololo!")
    • The queue for ruler/admin OOC messages no longer shows up when it should not.

    Announcements / Early Sept 2020 Updates
    « on: September 02, 2020, 09:53:05 PM »
    Major Changes

    • A wide variety of new voting options
    • Vulgarity Reports are once again fully functional
    • In addition to donating to Tom to support the server, you can also donate to Anaris or subscribe to his Patreon. Support options for Vita still in the works.
    • War Declarations are now reciprocal: the defender can (and must, at some point) state their goals
    • War Declarations can be edited, and maintain a history of previous versions
    • Rulers can now, within limits, create "court duchies" with no regions
    • Realms above the density limits will start to find regions beyond that limit starting to lose stats

    Please note that there will be an additional major change coming in the next week or so: Realms whose size exceeds the density threshold, but which have been effectively "grandfathered in" thus far, will start to find that regions above that threshold become much harder to hold onto.

    Minor Changes

    • Last Login time will update with more actions, to avoid spurious auto-deletion
    • Change the long-line protection to no longer insert spaces
    • Improve Message Archive to support sent messages as well
    • Some scrolls' effects now scale with your spellcasting skill
    • Under certain circumstances, the region will receive a message about why a battle did not occur there
    • The Realm List now shows total & vacant estates
    • Rogue prison is now easier to escape from
    • The Tournament page now shows how long it will take you to get there, and how long until it starts
    • Militia units will show how many men they have when looking to add more men to them
    • The Message Search page now has the same per-message links other message pages have
    • If your unit deserts, the unit status report will have a more urgent title


    • RP Interaction Preference will maintain across previews
    • Fixed a crash in Abandon Region
    • Several bugs in hanging rebels were Fixed
    • When sending messages to the OOC channel, your Real Name will correctly be hidden if your user info is set to Private
    • Squashed several different versions of bugs in changing unit designation after paying them
    • When looting, reduce sympathy for the realm doing the looting, not the realm being looted
    • Fixed some bugs in displaying the Rich Text Editor when a realm or character name had an apostrophe

      Announcements / Current East Continent Event
      « on: August 24, 2020, 10:46:22 PM »
      As heralded by the RP events around the island for the past several days, changes are coming to the East Continent. By the nature of such changes, some people will gain, and others will lose. This is, to some extent, intended, as the reason for the changes is to improve the balance and overall fun.

      Any loud wailing that the admins are just trying to hurt Realm X, or help Realm Y, will result in temporary account locks, and potentially the loss of positions. Such accusations of corruption are unacceptable and will not be tolerated. If you are interested in the specific details of why we made the choices we did, please ask respectfully. If you have specific criticisms of the changes we made, please state them concisely and respectfully and we will seek to address them in the same spirit.

      We know that these changes will result in temporary frustration and struggles as people adapt, but we firmly believe that for the long-term health of the East Continent, these changes are necessary—and have largely been in planning for months or years.

      Announcements / Archer Targeting Bugfix
      « on: July 28, 2020, 10:17:14 PM »
      Several months ago, some tweaks were made to how archers chose their targets in battle, to avoid over-prioritizing the front row (and thus enabling certain exploitative formations).

      Unfortunately, the fix created new problems with archers spreading their fire out far too much. Today, I have pushed a fix for that live, which should result in archers targeting their first choice as long as it hasn't received too many ranged hits already.

      This should significantly improve archers' efficiency, and I will be attempting to monitor the effects of it over the next little while to make sure it won't need further tweaks one way or another.

      Announcements / War Declaration Questions & Answers Thread
      « on: July 19, 2020, 02:56:08 PM »
      In order to help clarify matters somewhat, the Titans and the Admins have put together the beginnings of a Q&A thread on the new feature of War Declaration reasons & goals, and the requirements around them. Please join in at,9113.0.html.

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