2018 Faith Manager Drive

A place to announce forthcoming events and roleplays, organised by imms or players.
Post Reply
Areia
Sword Grand Master
Sword Grand Master
Posts: 490
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2016 11:11 pm

2018 Faith Manager Drive

Post by Areia » Wed Mar 11, 2020 8:08 pm

TL/DR: Main points are numbered. I hope the note is helpful, if not enjoyable to read.

1. Encourage, reward, and above all help FMs to think outside the box.
I spent quite a while thinking, writing, revising, asking other peoples' opinions on some ideas to add to my church's roleplay, in ways that, I had hoped, would service different RP tastes within the framework of the faith. Granted the ideas were centered around a certain class, but the thought was that, based on my work, further RP might be had and more ideas given to add to other arms of the church in a similar manor.
In the end, my prayers were either missed or ignored. Other members of the church had no real insentive other than my thanks to help on the project and so chose not to do so. And the RP I was trying to generate, albeit probably heavy-handedly especially toward the end of my actively playing, was criticized by players and imms alike as being either annoying or thinking too big.
My ideas were far from perfect, but at least I was trying. One or two other FMs were trying similar things, too, with similar results.

2. The veterans maybe don't always know best
We saw a lot of people become FMs during the drive. The vast majority (nearly all?) were players who have been here for years and years. To some degree, that's to be expected, since most of our players generally are veteran players.
However, I noticed a few people who were newer, maybe less familiar with how things run, who maybe didn't know quite so many of us, but who gave an effort to put themselves out there for consideration nonetheless. I remember even helping one of them post a couple messages regarding events they wanted to run. Certainly they were more active generally than some of the FMs we had. They were all but ignored.
Maybe there were more reasons for it than I was familiar with. Likely that is the case. It was just rather strange from my prospective to see a couple being so willing and enthusiastic, only to be disregarded in favor of someone more familiar but much less caring. And that leads to my next point...

3. Imms as FMs can be discouraging sometimes
I realize these couple paragraphs out of the lot are likely to get me into trouble, but please know my intension throughout here is to give some genuine feedback and thoughts as to how we all can improve. Imms are busy people, of course. They're dealing with disputes between players, building and renovating areas, faithing players, keeping the MUD running, etc., etc.
So when a player approaches an imm's alt about getting together to do some allied-faith-related things, and all he gets in return is 'I don't think that will be fun,' or 'That's already been done I'm not interested,' he can on one hand understand that the imm is probably just busy and lacking for time. On the other hand, though, that's a really big let-down to hear that from an imm--someone whom he would expect, out of all the FMs, to be happy to get some RP going.
Likewise, if an imm is so busy with imm duties that they can't attend their own church's get-togethers, that's absolutely understandable. Imming is more important than FMing. But maybe it indicates that they should step down from FM to let someone else who might be more active have a go, or at least, so that allied FMs don't have expectations about their availability that they cannot meet.

4. It's hard to be active outside events when the world feels to be at a stand-still
Most players these days seem to spend all their time sitting around and hoping something interesting might happen. I'm not saying that socializing isn't good; it's, of course, a huge part of our environment. However, you can only chat about the weather and past events, or runn the same old areas, for so long before your character starts feeling rather dull.
I was surprised to hear so strongly from some people about how much they didn't like the way Talos ran things. Because from my prospective, the things Talos used to do were the things I would log in to see. They were long-running RPs with far-reaching consequences that, yeah, maybe had players at each others' throats sometimes, sometimes in very unexpected ways, but always had the players interested and wanting to engage, and remain so memorable for us today.
He also put a lot of time into building new and interesting areas for us to explore. He inspired me to try my hand at the same, but my first area, after several revisions and refinements, has been sitting on tport (I think?) for over two years waiting for someone to allow testing.
The world does not need to be on the brink of ending every other day. I very much enjoyed and appreciated those one-off adventures that Mele would run now and again. I just think having something happen that's more longterm, or more personally dramatic for the characters, more conducive to an Fm's wanting to be involved with the faithful they're charged to watch over, might do some good in keeping interest.

I'm probably missing some points I had on the topic between my leaving and now, but that's the majority of it. I'll edit if I remember anything else and if it seems welcome.
Again, in writing my hope is to give some food for thought, from my own point of view, not to complain or hurt feelings or anything else. If my tone sounded frustrated at points, that's because I was frustrated myself, but only for my passion for the game and our community. I want the very best for it despite my absence lately.
Nascentes morimur, finisque ab origine pendet.
User avatar
Harroghty
Staff
Staff
Posts: 9647
Joined: Tue Jul 27, 2004 5:38 pm

Re: 2018 Faith Manager Drive

Post by Harroghty » Wed Mar 11, 2020 8:31 pm

Interesting feedback. I will continue to read it over and think about it. I have a few points in immediate response from both a staff and player perspective:

(1) people driving events is always more interesting than IMMs driving events; IMMs should support events primarily in my opinion

(2) in most cases there is not a competition for FM; in most cases there is one person who is active, qualified, and willing (there may be other people who are one of those things)

(3) adding more areas is great if they are the sort of thing that adds to RP, but most often we hear "this game seems great, but I didn't meet anyone in spite of 10 or so people being online"

In summary, I think it comes down to what sort of game this is supposed to be. Is it an RP game where you can still experience some hard rule mechanics? Is it a PvE game where some people RP? Everyone has different personal goals, but the game has admittedly been a little aimless in a collective sense.


Breaking this into a separate thread, too. Anyone should feel free to weigh in.
"A man may die yet still endure if his work enters the greater work, for time is carried upon a current of forgotten deeds, and events of great moment are but the culmination of a single carefully placed thought." - Chime of Eons
Mele
Staff
Staff
Posts: 5734
Joined: Sat Aug 09, 2003 2:24 am
Contact:

Re: 2018 Faith Manager Drive

Post by Mele » Wed Mar 11, 2020 8:42 pm

2. Several brand new players have taken slots. Not just one or two. Several.

3. Never has an imm taken priority for any slot over a mortal player.

For me personally, having a PC who is a FM is an outlet to enjoy the game as a mortal and RP while also running roleplays with my immortal abilities. I'm genuinely upset to hear it's a problem for mortals, because it encourages an anxious brain tick that players don't want to play with my mortals because of who I am.


I'm not at home but I wanted to hit this before I get even more busy today than sitting at a park.
Beshaba potatoes.
Jessemine
Sword Novice
Sword Novice
Posts: 33
Joined: Thu Apr 18, 2019 4:19 am

Re: 2018 Faith Manager Drive

Post by Jessemine » Wed Mar 11, 2020 9:15 pm

So I am pretty fresh. My year anniversary for this game is coming. I will say this my experience with the game is I enjoy the RP, the mechanics of the game are a fact of the game I have to deal with in order to play it correctly. I understand there is a 'meta game' and I use inverted commas there because it's obvious and honestly really well integrated with the RP and not distracting which I feel is the worst aspect of a meta game in regards to trying to role play.
I understand there are parts and interactions in the game I will never see and that is exciting.
I understand that there are characters that will not like mine but I love that.
Sometimes I see people in the 'who' list and wonder if I'll ever meet them and I love that.
For me faith is a part of the game that is interactive and provides a degree of IC self reflection that makes the whole experience interesting.
That is what I have to say, other than I hope Mele doesn't feel too discouraged about everything that's been chatted about since I know they're a very active member of this community and I personally very much appreciate what they do.
User avatar
Grenwyn
Sword Grand Master
Sword Grand Master
Posts: 365
Joined: Mon Dec 17, 2007 8:22 pm

Re: 2018 Faith Manager Drive

Post by Grenwyn » Thu Mar 12, 2020 12:31 am

I am not a new player, but I am something of a perpetual casual player. I don't usually rearrange my schedule to accommodate in-game events - if I'm playing anyways, I make it, if not I miss it. Nothing profound about this, it's just how I tend to prioritize my life.

Partly for that reason, I haven't been directly involved in many "global roleplays," of the kind that make ripples and get talked about afterwards. The significant roleplay arcs I have been in were spontaneous and character-driven. I think of Fyzul's PvP clash in Cormanthyr and the subsequent retributions, the RP between Fyzul, Mazikeen, and his friends that led to him renouncing his magic in shame. It was a satisfying story and a good memory, but it wasn't scheduled.

I tried FMing for a few months, for a less popular evil faith, and ran a handful of sparsely-attended events that didn't really do much to spark any kind of ongoing roleplay or goodly response. I got bored and hung up the cape.

I've been thinking about this recently, with Amira's Spreading Pain event, and recalling some discussion a while back about how to play a good villain. I think the conclusions I'm coming to are:

A) Goodly roleplay is more significant (and can happen spontaneously) when there's a tangible evil presence.
B) A "tangible evil presence" is more than a recurring PvP threat; it's the persistent sense that there are evil schemes afoot, and occasionally some concrete plan to thwart.
C) Evil characters aren't an end in themselves, so much as they are a foil to good characters. In a sense, they're playing the DM in a tabletop game.

Evil sets the stage for adventure. Adventurers don't go marching off into the forest to kill little green people because their god doesn't like our god; they do it because the goblins have been harassing caravans along the road.

I'm sort of getting sidetracked from the original question of faith management, but I think this kind of setting makes it easier for a lot of kinds of faith interactions to flourish organically. When bad guys are prowling the roads, the FMs naturally step up to prepare and protect their flock. When the bad guys show up in the Market preaching other gods, the FMs step in to answer questions and correct the heresy. Just playing their character, as a devout follower, can be enough if they're around regularly and have occasional conflict of some kind to draw them out.

Thoughts on the above? Apologies if it's scattered, I've been writing on my phone.
Kalahani Ka'uhane
Gottschalk, Witchdoctah
Althasizor
Sword Grand Master
Sword Grand Master
Posts: 571
Joined: Sun May 22, 2011 6:05 am
Location: Ba Sing Se
Contact:

Re: 2018 Faith Manager Drive

Post by Althasizor » Thu Mar 12, 2020 2:22 am

Also not a new player, although it's really cool to see one posting here. After reading over the first post, here are my thoughts:

I've never had any issue having the RPs and events that I've planned facilitated by staff. When I've needed some decorations for a festival in the streets, they got that. When I needed a large area squared out for a war game, they got that. A lot of the time I'll plan events without even asking for any help, and they'll reach out to offer some trinkets for the attendees or ask if I need anything. But generally, I plan events so that they don't require input from above because I don't want to put that strain on them. Usually you can get whatever you want from an immortal from other players, and it will have a longer lasting effect on your RP overall. It's never been my experience as an FM myself, or an attendee of other FM's events that the staff doesn't do what they can to facilitate that. I'm not sure what your specific ideas were though.

As far as it being bad for IMMs to play FMs, here's how I look at it: This isn't a paid desk jockey whose entire job it is to maintain my happiness. It's another player who elects to take on additional responsibilities. But even if they were, I wouldn't go to a restaurant and bother a worker sitting down on break to do his job, just like I wouldn't expect one of our staff on a mortal character to do any more than chill. If they want to play the game, I don't think it should discourage you if their character isn't feeling your idea any more than if a regular player said no. That's not a statement from staff, they're just doing what's fun for them the same way you are. Does it bother you to play with someone if you know they have, say, a Cyricist character in their account?

There's a lot to be said about the 4th point. A lot. Certain players of a certain in-group thought his story lines were engaging, because they were the only ones allowed to participate in them. Understandably, they might not have noticed how little fun it was for other people to be shut out at the door. One thing I will agree with you on (and as an aside, this could have been worded much more productively elsewhere since it doesn't have anything to do with FMs) is that longer running events and story lines would be fun. Our staff and players are creative enough people to be sure of that. Whether or not it would be worth the effort of planning and scheduling them by the week like that is another question entirely.

I really appreciate the events our staff run, and the time they set aside to facilitate the ones we do. The game world is expansive and full of enough things that I rarely ever feel like there's not something I should be doing, and even on new characters I'm still finding new things I didn't know about. I take breaks from the game when I need to, so I won't say it never gets stale. But that's a me thing, because when I come back it's always exciting again. Even when other people are playing the same characters, you can make someone new and see how they interact with those established figures if you're bored of what you're doing.
What are you talking about? What, that guy?
That was like that when I got here.
Areia
Sword Grand Master
Sword Grand Master
Posts: 490
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2016 11:11 pm

Re: 2018 Faith Manager Drive

Post by Areia » Fri Mar 13, 2020 7:58 am

Sorry, again, for my inability ever to be succinct, and thanks, truly, for responses so far.

The general problem Mele mentioned that I was intending to speak to is the lack of activity from FMs outside their own hosted events. So when I said, for example, that we should try to encourage FMs, I mean regarding things outside their get-togethers. As Alth rightly points out, imms are already very good about giving FMs props and whatever else might be needed for formal occasions, and I did appreciate that.
Say an FM takes the time periodically to post informative, inspiring, or thought-provoking notes to his/her church on IC message boards, whether or not other PC members of the church are active to read them. Maybe we can afford him/her a very brief echo that only he/she sees (e.g., 'Word of the Feywarden's latest communication gradually spreads among the faithful.'), or even a short otell (e.g., 'Hey, noticed your notes, keep it up'), just a small acknowledgement of their RP as FM.
If an FM wants to try to establish some organizations within his/her church based on FR lore and sends prayers to his/her god about doing so, maybe we can encourage that by sending some small sign of the deity's approval or disapproval or guidance, as appropriate. At the least, we could let them know that someone is watching and taking note of the effort to RP a church's leader; at best, working together we could actually produce some tangible change in our world that later characters can then interact with or even build upon.
Suppose an FM comes up with an original, albeit reasonable little bit of history that fills in a gap left in FR sources about the church or god. The FM tries to work that detail into a relevant RP moment. Should we stop to tell the FM how non-canonical and wrong he/she is, or should we go with it, trusting that the FM knows his/her church and its principles? If we really find the idea offensive or stupid, we can try to have a constructive talk with the FM and explain. Again, at worst, the FM's efforts to--you know--manage the faith aren't trashed at the outset; at best, maybe the detail sticks, and FK has a tiny bit more of interest to offer later characters.
These are just some examples of things I personally have tried or have seen other FMs trying outside of the common event-holding duties. There are more, similar instances. Sometimes, I've seen the FM get really destructive OOC responses with this sort of thing, but much more commonly, their efforts seemed to earn only silence. If you're supposed to be the head of a church, but have next to no power to actually influence anything even in very small ways, what's the point of putting in any more effort than the bare minimum?

As to the suggestion I gave about slightly long-term RPs, that's relevant to FMs for the sort of reason Grenwyn is talking about:
Grenwyn wrote:
Thu Mar 12, 2020 12:31 am
When bad guys are prowling the roads, the FMs naturally step up to prepare and protect their flock. When the bad guys show up in the Market preaching other gods, the FMs step in to answer questions and correct the heresy. Just playing their character, as a devout follower, can be enough if they're around regularly and have occasional conflict of some kind to draw them out.
When I was FM for kelemvor, nothing would get me anywhere near as passionate and engaged as when someone would try to do my little brothers and sisters harm. Whether it was due to another player (usually Zethanon<3) or an imm-puppeted NPC, those sorts of conflicts provided so much for an FM and her pupils, as well as for an FM and his senior advisors, to get together and try to work out. It's kind of the same thing I said above: If you're a spiritual leader for people, but your people never need any spiritual guidance, what's the point?
I agree with Grenwyn that this is something we average players can try to work on and encourage in others. Sometimes that works very well. Other times, however, it can be difficult to put one's self out there in that way for various reasons: nervousness, inexperience, OOC negativity, lack of PCs/NPCs to provide any substantive sense of danger or threat, and maybe others I haven't experienced personally. Being such a small community also doesn't help, admittedly, but I'm not sure we can do anything about that.
I think I've said this elsewhere, but I liked the idea of the Story Council, and for a long time had wanted to join it myself to try to help spark some RP outside of my own character. I guess it's not a thing anymore, though, which leaves mortals with even less to work with. We have smotes, but the moment we use them to describe something happening outside of our own characters' bodies, we invariably get someone who will either respond to us IC like we're insane, or go OOC to tell us how that's not the right way to RP.
Nascentes morimur, finisque ab origine pendet.
User avatar
Harroghty
Staff
Staff
Posts: 9647
Joined: Tue Jul 27, 2004 5:38 pm

Re: 2018 Faith Manager Drive

Post by Harroghty » Fri Mar 13, 2020 12:46 pm

Story Council is great, but we tried it maybe five times with IMM backup (even Mask's direct involvement) and it never went anywhere after a couple of people did their first events. Each time we revived it there was a lot of interest but not a lot of follow-through after some good initial events. We like the idea but it seems not to have caught on.

Image
"A man may die yet still endure if his work enters the greater work, for time is carried upon a current of forgotten deeds, and events of great moment are but the culmination of a single carefully placed thought." - Chime of Eons
Post Reply