Arx's Elevation Situation

  • Pitcrew

    I wish we could have a constructive discussion about elevations. It seems like a problem in general that I know I've pointed out and been kind of handwaved away but it's bled into an OOC problem as well. At some point we'll just be 100% PC great houses (or duchies but like, you get my HYPERBOLIC POINT) and I guess that's fine? but that doesn't seem like what the game was written to be.

    It can't be the job of liege houses to make sure their vassal houses don't get too big. That fucking sucks. It punishes the liege house by making them stomp on RP and they become the bad guys to everyone.

    There is also NO incentive NOT to start to jump up the chain, so you're just blindly punishing the liege house by taking away their vassals + income because they DIDN'T jump all over someone's RP fun times. Again, that sucks.

    So like, what do we do?

  • Pitcrew


    There is very little functional difference between a GH and a Duchy except title. There is even less day to day RP difference between a GH and a Duchy for its players. We've all seen that metaplot significance isn't solely linked to SR of a character either. So the real issue is why do people want to elevate? It's progress, something to accomplish and something to do. What can we provide them as an alternative to that elevation which in truth is just a gold star/sticker of progress?

  • And unfortunately, because people are making noises about 'we can't have everyone elevate!' (which is a sensible thing, tbh, and I feel that elevation makes sense for some houses, but not for others) we're gonna see, I imagine, a lot of Houses rush their way to be elevated before the (in their eyes) inevitable moratorium in which it's decided 'no other house can elevate ever'.

  • Pitcrew

    @Jeshin I never once said there was a plot reason or RP reason for elevations.

    I'm not concerned with why people want to elevate. I'm concerned with how to help liege houses not become everyone's enemy.

  • Pitcrew


    Multiple wars on multiple fronts which a) provide lots of opportunity for glory and excitement, and b) drain everyone's resources, destroy infrastructure, and take lots of things out of the economy.

    Without strong opposing forces, the nature of any game is for the players to accumulate power. Without things that take up resources, resources will be invested in ways that maximize the acquisition of more resources.

    And it doesn't really have to be wars - large scale famines or plagues or natural disasters would work just as well, but wars are the least unpleasant of the big events because they allow players to have input and steer how the conflict comes out in the end. A hurricane or a locust swarm doesn't care about your stats.

    But really - people elevate because they have the resources to elevate and no fear that investing those resources in one thing will cause them not to be able to repair losses somewhere else. There must be either losses, or enforced stagnation, to counter endless growth. And no one enjoys stagnation.

  • @Pyrephox said in Arx's Elevation Situation:

    large scale famines or plagues or natural disasters would work just as well, but wars are the least unpleasant of the big events because they allow players to have input and steer how the conflict comes out in the end.

    and people traditionally hate famine/plague type plots.

  • Pitcrew


    Yes I was answering your question with a question. Why do houses choose elevation? The benefits of elevation are almost non-existent so there is a reason people are seeking this thing that is all work and a name change for no other benefit than the name change. Whether it's lack of other avenues for engagement or a desire to be org focused. Once the varying answers for why Keaton, Stahlben, Mazetti, Pravus, etc etc all sought elevation are identified then you can look at changes to the game to promote other less disruptive options.

    I think very few people actually wanted elevation as the first choice for their time and effort. Pravus is unique in that the Hundred Cities is written to suggest shifts in power and status should be the norm so they had a narrative motivation for it. The other Houses though created their own reasons/drives for it and why they decided to sink time into that instead of learning magic or exploring the world or something else is important.

    TLDR - Answer why people choose elevation and provide what they really want then people will stop seeking elevation and lieges won't be the bad guys.

  • Players who are invested in their dominions are naturally going to want to grow them. Even when I very first started on Arx as a baby brother of a marquis, we had a goal to grow. As it happens the story went a different direction, but I think it is an extremely normal thing for players to want to do. Ambition is an IC thing for a character, and being able to build something as a character and as a player is part of why some people rp.

    The dominion systems that Arx is still building are going to accommodate some of this. But I agree with @wahoo that standing in the way of someone else's progress is not a great thing to need to do as a player.

  • Pitcrew

    @Auspice said in Arx's Elevation Situation:

    @Pyrephox said in Arx's Elevation Situation:

    large scale famines or plagues or natural disasters would work just as well, but wars are the least unpleasant of the big events because they allow players to have input and steer how the conflict comes out in the end.

    and people traditionally hate famine/plague type plots.

    Which makes sense - there's really not anything you can DO, as most character types, for them. You just suffer through them and hope you come out with enough to go on. I sort of like them, but I like them best when you have a system in place that can note warning signs, you can decide whether to try and invest enough to head it off, etc. I like planning, and I am weird.

    But wars are more dynamic, and provide more things for non-planner PCs to do.

  • There were a couple of wars within the past IC decade. It's just hard to track how much they matter in terms of a drag on economics or manpower atm while the mechanics are so loose around everything but resources (which are crazy inflated because they're a mini-game everyone can do all the time without ST staff).

  • I hate my barony and am actively working to make it smaller and more diminished

  • I mean...isn’t the obvious answer to build some sort of relationship with your vassals and be a good leader that inspires them to want to remain in your fealty?

    If you’re not willing to put in that work, why do you perpetually deserve to benefit from the income that @wahoo appears to be worried about. “Because staff said my house is higher than your house”?

    I will repeat that I found it strange the last AoP drew no gripes, when there were literally like...Houses with 2 PCs in them getting elevated.

    Houses lost income then, too. Just...not a great house, so it was okay?

  • @Tempest said in Arx's Elevation Situation:

    isn’t the obvious answer to build some sort of relationship with your vassals and be a good leader that inspires them to want to remain in your fealty?

    that's not how it works

    I have nothing against my liege but still want to rise because it makes sense for the house/family/story.

  • Pitcrew

    Although I will say this: if you really want to slow down or reverse the pace of House growth and wealth growth - things are going to have to be destroyed. Not just armies that can be rehired, but real damage to the Houses and their lands. Fields are going to have to burn, cities are going to have to be sacked, things that people have invested hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of silver, into are going to have to be destroyed.

    So that they can be rebuilt, or new things can be built in their places. You can have a cycle of growth and destruction, an artificially-enforced status quo, or you have endless expansion, and at some point, people are going to have to decide which one they'd rather have and realize that if they choose the first, it won't just hit That House Over There, but their own stuff is also gonna get wrecked, and try not to fuss too much about it.

    Honestly, it's sort of one of those things I could see putting to an OOC vote with the players just to get it out in the open. Is it going to be a game where you can invest millions of silver and LOSE IT ALL and Houses will rise AND fall over time, is it going to be a game where Houses may get wealthier and won't suffer major setbacks but will never rise above their stations because we say so, or is it going to be a game where everyone just grows steadily (whether it's fast or slow) more badass and powerful over time?

    All three of those are good games, depending on what you're looking for. But it would probably be a good idea to pick one and go forward, letting players have the opportunity to decide if it's for them or not.

  • Admin

    Nearly all games suffer from inflation of some sort. This seems to be one of the least disruptive kinds.

  • @Pyrephox friendo, you seem to pop up in various threads with these “realistic solutions” that literally nobody wants to actually play through on a MU.

    Do you do this on purpose, or do you actually believe your commentaries to be something that would work on MUs?

    Genuinely curious.

  • @wahoo I suppose I'd counter, why is it a problem, so long as staff is creating suitable boundaries to what is required for the process? Or alternately, what goals to do propose for these houses in lieu of advancement?

    Arx is frequently (if, I feel, disingenuously) advertised as a PvE game. That means shedding a lot of the zero-sum instincts that players have, where they see any gain by another player as diminishing them (which is clearly the case for a lot of the objections here), and instead simply focusing on your own advancement. If you apply this to houses, what are lower tier orgs supposed to do in a purely PvE environment, if not grow and potentially eventually strike out on their own? The only alternative seems for them to essentially be pawns/supports for their lieges, throwing their resources into stuff that isn't their own story. Why should they do this? Why is it owed to their lieges?

    I will argue with @Tempest for once that I don't think the liege relationship seems relevant. It might have been for Pravus, but the PvE mantra means there can never be true rebellion (it seems like this was a compromise to prevent it, in fact?). There's only 'the children growing up and striking out on their own.' Which is a natural outcome. It will continue until there's no more room for growth, at which point you'll be back facing some de-facto PvP realities.

  • Pitcrew

    I don't understand why this is actually a problem. There is a plot reason for it, people are working for it, and it is a tangible goal people can succeed at. There is no limit to the pieces of pie here, everyone can have part of the fun. I do not see why this is something that needs more of a solution than already exists.

    Should we set a limit on how many people can have 5s? It's just as much of, if not more than, a realism issue.

    ETA: Especially given that there are NPC houses, why is it a problem if people plan smart, grow and invest well, and get bigger? None of this shit is just being handed out without work, which is how most of the non-elevated people got THEIR power.

  • @Sunny I like you, you’re a smart lady. Merry Christmas.

  • Pitcrew

    @Sunny the problem comes with the liege houses losing because they didn’t crash all over someone. And that seems like poor game design— you don’t want to punish for that.

    If theme becomes: and you’re ALL duchies! You know. Whatever. Little weird, but ok.

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