Tuesday, July 06, 2021

Proposal: Live, Laugh, Veto [Appendix]

Timed out 4 votes to 5 with one DEF going against. Failed by Kevan.

Adminned at 08 Jul 2021 13:42:43 UTC

Add a new rule to the Appendix section, called “Imperial Styles”:-

The Richardo von Nestor may announce their Imperial Style for a dynasty, to inform Vampire Lords of how they intend to behave during it. An Imperial Style is a list of any number of keywords from the following lists, such as “Protective, Designer, Casual, Scam-Neutral”. It puts no constraint on the Richardo von Nestor’s behaviour, and simply serves as a guide.

Proposal style:

* Designer (will attempt to build and maintain a playable game, balancing it accordingly)
* Gardener (will keep the dynasty tidy but try not to influence its direction too much)
* Onlooker (will let the dynasty become what it becomes)

Player protection:

* Protective (when taking any actions - including voting - will try to be fair to all players, including potential future players)
* Laissez-faire (will not consider fairness when making such decisions)
* Dungeonmaster (will target leading players, or support aggressive moves against them, if they feel this makes the game more interesting)

Desired workload:

* Powerhouse (happy to process frequent, complex game actions and track secret information)
* Casual (happy to process a moderate level of game actions, and simple tracking)
* Hands-off (would prefer all game actions to be left to the players)

Attitude to scams:

* Scam-Friendly (won’t remark on or move to close loopholes in proposals or the ruleset; will gladly assist a player’s scam if privately asked to)
* Scam-Neutral (won’t remark on or move to close loopholes in proposals or the ruleset; may assist a scam if the rules allow them to)
* Scam-Averse (will alert players to any loopholes they notice; will veto major scams; will only assist a scam if the rules require them to)


* Wildcard (may choose to deviate from their style at any time during a dynasty)

Running this idea up again, in a much broader form. Josh’s “voluntary but nonbinding outline” of their intended Imperial style was welcome for setting a clear tone at the start of the dynasty, but a short essay is hard to remember the specifics of, weeks later - and I think Josh’s unstated attitude towards scams, as Emperor, is something that regular players might be able to guess, but that new players would have to wait and see.

There’s undoubtedly other stuff that it’d be useful to put in a style, and I’m not sure this really captures the question of how an Emperor will actually vote on stuff, but consider it a first draft to be iterated if it passes. If an Emperor feels that they can’t announce their personal style because something doesn’t quite fit, they can describe what they mean and propose to update the rule.



06-07-2021 13:46:52 UTC

This feels more like a special case rule than anything. Perhaps it could be a special case rule that contains the chosen style as flavour text?

I also think that many emperors will be unsure of their own style until they’ve got into the dynasty a little (although in practice, it usually comes down somewhere around “have a vision for the dynasty, don’t try hard to enforce it, use proposals to poke it along if things seem to be stalling”).

Kevan: City he/him

06-07-2021 14:12:27 UTC

Maybe, to Special Case, although it’d be boxing the Emperor into having to decide instantly upon ascension whether they think they’re going to be able to pick a Style or not. It gives the sense that leaving the rule switched on but never getting around to using it might be inappropriate.

If “have a vision, don’t try too hard, stop the game stalling” really is the usual default, we could help guide people to it as a default (“Gardener/Laissez-Faire/Hands-Off/Scam-Neutral is known as ‘BlogNomic Classic’”, if that’s close enough).

Josh: he/they

06-07-2021 14:12:33 UTC

The anxiety that I have - that I still have - is what happens when an emperor does something that contravenes their style. I know that legally this is nonbinding but worry that it will lead to emperors alienating or frustrating players when they step beyond their stated style, either because they’re finding their feet, or because the players simply interpret an action or its intent differently from the way that the emperor did (see: ais calling what to me felt like an innocent action a “scam” earlier in this dynasty).

I like that this draws out some useful systematic terminology but think that ultimately this would be most useful for repeat emperors and as such would be better implemented informally or through social convention.

Josh: he/they

06-07-2021 14:18:01 UTC

So just idly, my own personal default on this schema would be Designer-Protective-Powerhouse-Scam-Neutral, but Protective in particular is a big problem, as ‘fair’ is such an interpretable term.

Josh: he/they

06-07-2021 14:18:37 UTC

(god I’m such a classic DPPS)

Kevan: City he/him

06-07-2021 14:27:06 UTC

I was hoping this proposal would lessen that anxiety: that an Emperor can fall back on their defined style when deciding whether or not to take some action. Instead of thinking “wait, is this consistent with all my past game actions and statements?”, they only have to think “what would a Scam-Averse Dungeonmaster do?”

It may also make transgressions easier to talk about. A player questioning whether an Emperor’s vote fits their Style falls inside the circle of the game, and allows the Emperor to apologise and change their vote without losing much face: they forgot a rule. Without that, players can only raise broader “isn’t your vote a bit hypocritical?” questions, which are harder not to take personally.

Josh: he/they

06-07-2021 14:37:38 UTC

allows the Emperor to apologise and change their vote

But what if the Emperor doesn’t want to do that? What if they are happy to step outside of their imperial style, for whatever reason - because they think it’s important, because they disagree on the interpretation of the style, because they think it’s more fun if they vary in this specific instance? This being in the ruleset is just going to make that discussion more heated; an Emperor shouldn’t be made an Anthony just because they did something Dungeonmaster when they said they were going to be Laissez-Faire.

I guess I don’t feel like consistency is the most important thing; I tend to do this from the gut, and I know that this community is full of more systematic players than me but I really don’t want to get called out every time I slip into Scam-Friendly because it seems fun in the moment.

Kevan: City he/him

06-07-2021 15:22:35 UTC

Sure, Emperors can shortcut back to the existing “isn’t this a bit hypocritical” discussion if they want to, which would be exactly the same temperature as it is now. We could have a “Wildcard” style to give people a heads up about that, or just make sure that the middle ground of all styles is very broad (you being Scam-Neutral still says that you “may” assist a scam, after all).

I get a general sense that the more active players want an Emperor who isn’t going to surprise them: the Emperor always carries a huge amount of weight with deference in general, and can wreck a plan if they suddenly decide to start patching old rules or levelling the playing field. During my dynasties, I’ll often get tentative private messages from players checking that, because I’ve said X about Y, does that mean I’d back them up if they did Z? Would them firing off a scam affect whether I processed that day’s actions? Would I support a DoV based on Q?

This proposal is asking that question, really. Do people want an Emperor to act consistently within each dynasty - and for inconsistent Emperors to announce themselves as such?

Kevan: City he/him

06-07-2021 15:24:12 UTC

(Have added a Wildcard style to the list.)

Brendan: he/him

06-07-2021 17:40:41 UTC


Josh: he/they

06-07-2021 18:25:06 UTC

Soft against


06-07-2021 18:47:25 UTC

against because I don’t think Emperors are that self-aware in practice, and think that this fails to cover a wide range of possibilities. (For example, the “default Emperor behaviour” I put up above isn’t really an ideal fit for Gardener; it’s somewhere between Gardener and Designer.)

I think there’s also a big distinction between “willing to do complex update actions” and “willing to track secret information”; some people may be willing to do one but not the other. (It’s worth noting, for example, that this dynasty technically doesn’t require Emperor involvement to work; if Josh disappeared, we could make the Enter the Crypt action doable by anyone by making all the dice rolls public. So it has a rather different sort of Emperor dependency than secret-information-heavy dynasties.)

Kevan: City he/him

06-07-2021 19:14:26 UTC

[ais] I don’t know about self-awareness, but approached as a what-Emperor-type-are-you personality quiz, this could help Emperors to think about that more, and what sort of dynasty they’ll be running. We could certainly stop some Emperor burnout by asking “Are you Powerhouse, Casual or Hands-Off?” at the start of a dynasty, rather than piling up fun, complex “unless the Emperor votes against” proposals that the Emperor feels it would be rude to turn down, but later regrets.

This is just a first draft that could definitely use some more interstitial keywords. In practice I’d expect something like this to be iterated through the next few Ascensions, where a new Emperor says “I’d say I’m Powerhouse but I can’t track secret information easily right now”, and we maybe add a keyword for that, or maybe just nod.


06-07-2021 21:19:36 UTC

I don’t see why this ought to be a rule, rather than a non-gamestate wiki page that the Emperor can informally refer to.

Josh: he/they

06-07-2021 21:46:58 UTC

That is more or less where I am Bucky

It would sit on the jargon page quite happily I think

Raven1207: he/they

07-07-2021 04:13:09 UTC


Clucky: he/him

07-07-2021 06:03:12 UTC


I do feel like this is either completely toothless and belongs in jargon or could create problems if an emperor deviates from the original gameplan

Kevan: City he/him

07-07-2021 09:18:30 UTC

If it’s a non-gamestate page, who decides what does and doesn’t go into it? If I think it would be helpful or funny to replace it all with a D&D alignment chart, or to add ten more gradations between “Powerhouse” and “Casual”, can someone who disagrees with me undo the edit? Do we argue it out, do we take a straw poll? Making it a part of the Appendix gives a clear route for changing it: we’re playing Nomic, we make a proposal to modify the rules.

Putting it in the ruleset shows that the playerbase have agreed on its current content, and haven’t yet repealed the whole thing as obsolete - we want people to find it and use it. We took the short-lived Player Tree document out of Special Case last year on the grounds that it was an “interesting piece of data” but “has no business being gamestate”, and it’s gotten no new data points since, because nobody notices it.

If we think it’s a good idea for Emperors to always try to write “a voluntary but nonbinding outline of how I will be approaching this dynasty” as Josh did, the ruleset is the way to tell them that (the same way that we suggest they announce a theme when ascending, rather than leaving it as a shrugged “post a blog entry in the AA category, it’s informally understood what this should include”), and to tell new players that Emperors will have done that.

lemon: she/her

07-07-2021 12:10:33 UTC


lemon: she/her

07-07-2021 12:12:26 UTC

when i joined a few months ago i first-thing looked for guidelines like this in the ruleset– not specifically about imperial styles, but just, codified etiquette or tradition, and i think this is that :0

Chiiika: she/her

08-07-2021 01:44:26 UTC


Lulu: she/her

08-07-2021 07:40:53 UTC

against can’t you just…say what your plans are?

Lulu: she/her

08-07-2021 07:43:50 UTC

I dunno, this seems too limiting.  I’d be fine with a soft “emperors are encouraged to state their plans for the dynasty” though

Kevan: City he/him

08-07-2021 08:24:28 UTC

Putting Emperors on the spot with a vague request to “just say what your plans are” will get all kinds of responses, probably mostly about theme and mechanics.

What do we actually want Emperors to think about and tell the group when they start a dynasty? Questions like “do you mind if we make you perform a lot of complex actions” and “if you notice my scam, will you tear it down” come up a lot, and rarely get clarified in advance. (In fact, Josh’s announcement at the start of this dynasty didn’t think to mention his attitude to scams at all - perhaps because the older players already know it.)