FEEDBACK WANTED! - Strangers in the Dark

Events and competitions both ic and ooc and good practice in staging events

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Chit
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FEEDBACK WANTED! - Strangers in the Dark

#1 Post by Chit » Sun Jul 19, 2020 6:02 pm

If you were involved in this event, please give feedback - the key reward for the organisers and rpers who took part!

Comment on what you liked (details!) and what might need tweaking.

Post your feedback by replying to this topic.

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Re: FEEDBACK WANTED! - Strangers in the Dark

#2 Post by Nomine » Sun Jul 19, 2020 7:45 pm

I never mastered the art of writing well organised feedback notes.

The pros:

Increasing the difficulty of stealth checks to motivate the event to move forward, was a very smart move. I like that sort of approach to make the "clock tick" and promote activity. I also favor systems where there is a "clock" ticking and when it strikes 12 something will happen. For instance a pie chart where a successful roll fills up one pie slot, and a failed roll fills up 2-3-4. It is a bit meta, but turning up the pressure is a good thing to stop inactivity.

Really loved the use of NPCs, people played their characters well and it makes for a more fully realised event, setting. Which is admirable to see.
I am happy to play an NPC myself and hope people will go into a more give-and-take sort of approach when it comes to NPC-ing.

The use of Stormwind tabards was a good plot device. Especially because they are tricker to spot when using the Inky-black potion, which for me added to the realism. It also meant we needed to deal with an ethical aspect of it: Does change how people deal with the combat/fight etc, how would we deal with potentially killing some?


The Cons:
Player vs Player combat. This is one of the trickiest things, and I have never seen a good working system for it, that flows well and encourages RP.
Pure emote combat is for me the golden standard but that requires both trust and experience. It is not easy to "play to lose" which emote combat requires. Closely followed, I like the principle of vs rolls as was used tonight.
If we look at Starlight´s system - it is made to for not played NPCs, not played ones, when you got played NPCs it does not work.

On combat execution.
I think 4 rolls per. round, adds realism but eats too much time and you add a bit of confusion.
I think that when rolls are called out, it is key to be specific - who rolls, when and why. In this case it was clear which faction should roll, but not all people in each faction needed to roll, which adds some confusion when people are not used to/comfortable with the roll.
I think giving people different levels of HP changed the odds too much and added uncertainty, even if it was useful from a game management perspective.

It is a challenge event to move on after - as it sometimes goes, without a clear path ahead. As a principle, I wish to see more RP that does not end with a clear answer and all things solved :)

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Chit
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Re: FEEDBACK WANTED! - Strangers in the Dark

#3 Post by Chit » Sun Jul 19, 2020 9:07 pm

Things I liked

* I LOVE LOVE LOVE being able to play against real characters - where I can see the people and they all have individual characters and foibles (loving his dogs; fart contests; sipping bourbon; cross tincan; fed up with their job - and that's just for starters). It beats the hell out of trying to ignore actual npcs while imagining symbols to be real. I always get confused when what you see is not what you get. NO problems with this event! Highlights Chit encountered - Violet's sly crotch bomb and the reaction was hilarious! Nomine getting his face smashed in with Inya's mailed gauntlet when he's trying to backpeddle and get some negotiation going with a Captain of the GUARD of all people. Getting Inya in the back of BOTH knees, including the bad one... Dalia's reactions to everything were wonderful as the only 'non-combatant' (and we feared she was gonna magic us). The loss of the dog that had its teeth sunk in the back of Chit's leg and how THAT was what turned the guard homicidal. Ava pepper spraying the other friendly dog. The blowing out of the locked door and the erupting out of really mad guards conveyed by yells at a distance was great. Some wonderful lines - 'but I'm your mate and'. The weirdness of Eritis and a guard finding a bond despite combat. I loved the way that the inevitable fill-in time was used to build relationships and character between the various people. Now I want to develop the relationships MORE! I do hope these characters reappear in other parts of the story.

* Location - there were no npcs! Nothing to confuse! No one to hear the yells and interfere.

* Even numbers! This was extravagant - how often does it happen that 6 players can rp with 6 opponents?? (Might have got the numbers slightly wrong - but the number of people involved was fantastic. It seemed that having more or less even numbers created a fun event for everyone, rather than a few people doing a 'service' for others who are bound to win. I also think that if everyone is enjoying themselves and creating their own entertainment, it's got to take some of the pressure off the DM - right?

* Unpredictable and untidy. It was very cleverly set up. I actually liked that we went in trying to solve one problem and found ourselves faced with something entirely different; and that we failed to achieve the startpoint mission. It isn't neat. Like Nomine said, everything wasn't tied up in a bow at the end. The significance of the tabards went right over my head, even after Nomine yelled it out - it was in the heat of battle, in shorthand - and anyway too late when you are fighting for your life but aren't allowed to kill. Our chances of spotting it - when dropping from above, tackling people from behind - were low. That's cunning! The inky potion made it all more real - loved that the DM had the potions on tap!

* A life of its own. When you have good players bouncing off each other, you almost inevitably create new rp possibilities along the way. You have to go with the flow and build on what happens to you. I like stories that take on a life of their own and are character and situation driven. I am also really hopeful that the idea of creating a community which only requires a couple of evenings a month takes off.

* That old Steamwheedle Cartel rp spirit. What can I say. I have missed what we created together so much.

* An excellent DM and evolving practice. The brief given at the beginning on rolling was very concise and helpful, and the recap when we were getting chaotic helped us reset. As I played with the rolling system and thinking about it since, I can see how to play the bits I want - eg how to come to another player's defence. I reckon we just all need to fit into the same harness in order to cooperate - takes a bit of a shakedown to get it right. I too liked the way the chance of being spotted went up as we crept around the place. Another clever element that move the plot along.

How to tweak it?

* This is a daring thought. Can we dispense with rolling altogether - or almost altogether?
(People could roll for themselves on a dice roller out of the text if they wanted to introduce a random element). As Nomine says, no rolling is the gold standard - and we managed it sometimes back in the day. Can we create a situation in which people trust each other so much we will all play to lose as well as play to win? It's too soon to try it now, I just wanted to put the idea out there. Every time there is a string of dice rolls, I lose a little bit of immersion. Maybe for now the aim is - how could we REDUCE the amount of rolling? Or perhaps have it less obvious?

I don't know how to do this, I'm not that clever at DMing. But I'd really like to know if anyone else finds the same thing - that rolling is a strain on the DM, and that it breaks immersion a bit. It's a bit too soon to tackle this. Maybe after a few more events, if we are still all having fun?

* Having an assistant DM to take the load off the Director by keeping track of stuff? Anything we can do to make stuff easy for the organiser has got to be good!

* Having a clue on how to progress. Hard when we fell into the trap so completely, I know. Nomine at the guild meeting today did a magnificent job of making us feel a sense of purpose and that we had in fact found out stuff. We all wanted to continue; now it's just a challenge to get that to happen before all the impetus is gone. I'd love to see further rp within the next couple of weeks - even if it is small 1-on-1 non combat stuff.

Overall
Honestly, I think I would say it was a triumph, leading off the exultant rp and judging by how much Starlighters enjoyed it! Of course there is stuff to improve. But damn - it was good stuff.

I would really love to know how our opposition found it as an evening?

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Re: FEEDBACK WANTED! - Strangers in the Dark

#4 Post by Syrawenn » Sun Jul 19, 2020 9:48 pm

* waves* Hello! Bonding opposition here :)
Yes, very much yes to all of the interaction fun. We entertained each other for about an hour, which was actually GREAT stuff cause it made us feel very strong in character when Starlight came in. It did not feel as time lost. It felt as rp gained.

I loved how Starlight just appeared out of nowhere. Really got me off guard (har har).

Yes to the no rolls. Especially when you have players playing the npc's there is a fair chance you can just get into whispers with them to decide on an iffy outcome. I remember the 'good old days' with mass fights where people would just whisper their direct opponent and make it work.
Let's do that.
Come oooon, we can do that :) We already trust each other! It would also save having to go to a raid marker, which...made it harder in my eyes cause it took me out of the vicinity of others that mighta been interacting if we had stayed where we were.

Eritis, ohhhh you smart ass...making it OBVIOUS that you were not here to kill and maim. That got Jonah totally off balance, but also willing to look at the other side of this conflict.
I don't know where this will go. MIght depend on his mate Tobias...yes, the 'you're not going anywhere, you're my mate' fellow :) Gods, that got me in the guts.

Nomine, good to see your moves in good use! That kick against the back of the knees! Damn! Also, all the binding and gagging...I suspect it was sheer luck I got away from that cause poor Chit got bitten. Good thinking to take the guards out more structurally than just knocking them down.

So yes, for me as npc it was real rp. Thanks to the wise DM who realized she could let us go our own ways in this and made damn good use of it!
Wilsby: "She's the energy ya never knew ya needed."
Kien: "How come a warrior who thrives on rage never seems to get half as much in a fight as Syra does in an average conversation?"

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Re: FEEDBACK WANTED! - Strangers in the Dark

#5 Post by Violet » Mon Jul 20, 2020 11:32 am

Hello there!

First of all I want to thank you for organizing this lovely event - I really enjoyed it greatly. Thank you for all the effort, it really was most enjoyable. Which directly brings me to my feedback - which I try to keep as short as possible.

Pro:
I had a great time, playing against player NPC was great fun. I was tense, I laughed - at some point even tearing up from laughing (looking at you there shit shovel!). It felt very realistic and I enjoyed it greatly.

Con:
The only con I really have is the fighting system. For me it just went a little bit too fast between the defense and attack, so often I didn't really have the time to come up with a logical response to what happened. A little more time would've done it for me.

Anything else for me was gucci and I'm greatly looking forward to the next event. I had a lovely evening - thank you again for that!

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Re: FEEDBACK WANTED! - Strangers in the Dark

#6 Post by Anadelonbrin » Wed Jul 22, 2020 8:52 am

First off - THANK YOU!
This was a very immersive event on a grand scale with all the players involved on the arranging side. Amazing!

Concerning dice

I like that there was a modifier for stealth so that it was not just a flat roll. However, it was still 5% skill and 95% luck. Would have been more reasonable if we had used d20 rolls, making the +5 a 25% bonus for being a sneaky git.

I also liked how it was clearly explained with rules at the start and that they were in the description for later reference.

Having everyone roll at the same time had both pros and cons. Easier to check, harder to work with dynamic emotes as attacking and defending wouldn't necessarily happen in that order.

With regards to previous posts, I also remember the "good old days" of RP combat without rolls. I remember it causing a lot of drama. I remember being given meticulously planned plot devices that ended up being ignored because I didn't have the energy to deal with a long discussion with accusations of power gaming and meta gaming in whispers in the middle of a fight. I remember feeling like the only thing my character could logically do against an emote was to die horribly and if I didn't want to lose her, I would have to fudge it. I remember invulnerable, untouchable characters on one hand and characters who were always mortally wounded on the other. While I'd like to think we'd be above that now as players have come and gone and the remaining ones grow older and wiser and the stakes are different when one side, while certainly well played, are neither player mains nor necessarily evil cultists that need to be killed to save the day, it's not as straight forward as it might seem.

I hate dice. Truly. When we play board games, I go for the Eurogames every time. But they have a purpose in fight RP. They allow characters to have a bad day. And when they do, any OOC frustration is aimed at the dice, not at an opposing player. Odd as it may seem, dice rolls give players agency. It is MY roll that determines how well I succeed. It's not someone else's backstory. And it means my opponent has a fighting chance.

It's also a quick way to see how people are doing if you get lost in a sea of emotes.

My experience in the event

So... I got into this event from a different angle than I normally would. Ana was under strict orders not to change shape due to the severe burn injuries she sustained from the rockets and burning debris of the orc shredder in the prior event. If she ever wants to see her fur again, she best listen to those orders. She did, on the other hand, as she could not fly on her own wings, arrive on the back of a massive fire breathing black drake... which was completely useless in the setting for any other purpose than getting 3 people out of there in time.

Being stuck in stupid form meant:

- No effective spying and sneaking around.
- No melee fighting.
- No enhanced sense of smell from being in cat form.
- No shielding or carrying injured people in bear form.
- Since the main brunt of the fighting she was overlooking took place on solid stone floors, no roots to ensnare enemies.

+ Stealth capacity while standing still as Night Elves know how to blend in with the shadows.
+ Healing and other protective magic.
+ Still very good night vision on account of her race.

Coming in as a healer is a very different experience from coming in as a skilled stealthy fighter. While others were sneaking around, Violet and Ana were stuck standing together in a really bad spot. The orders had been "move from tree to tree" but there was not a single tree between the start and the docks, so we just sort of had to crouch down in the open, far enough away not to be spotted, which also meant far enough away not to see what anyone else was doing and out of emote range. Not a situation for small talk and Violet was involved in trying to create a distraction, so for me, it was really just waiting for orders for quite a long time.

Once we were called into the fray, Ana immediately noticed the Stormwind outfits, but as Eritis had already questioned the uniforms right at the start, she assumed Nomine was aware. Assumption is the mother of all fuck ups.

I was greatly confused over when I should roll. I kept rolling whenever there was a call for Starlighters to roll as I figured if one of the guards was going to attack me, my defense roll would be what they were rolling against. I also didn't know at all whether and when I should roll for healing, if that would count as a defense roll, and is entangling roots attack or defense? The system might work for DPS, but for support, it was very unclear. Part of my confusion surely depends on me not being used to playing pure support.

It was absolutely an eye opener for how it feels OOC to play a different role in an event and a lesson in restraint IC. Ana could see all the things she would have wanted to do, but she was unable to do them. She took it as a testament to her uselessness that not a single attack was directed at her during the whole thing. On the other hand, Nomine might have died if she hadn't been there, or at the very least, the group would have had to carry an unconscious Nomine, Chit would have had a leg injury to slow her down and there would have been no drake to get Eritis and Violet out, no water walking elixirs to ease the journey... So maybe not entirely useless.

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Re: FEEDBACK WANTED! - Strangers in the Dark

#7 Post by Eritis » Wed Jul 22, 2020 10:21 am

After the previous event I went on that involved PvP involving other players made me actively zone out, I was afraid of having to dip out midway on this one.
To my great pleasure, it turned out to not be like that and I greatly enjoyed myself.

Many things have already been said before that I agree with or disagree with so I'll sum things up as best I can. (So... rambling)

----

Dice rolling - Always love when you are allowed to take away some possibilities for being screwed over by bad luck by adding a number to your rolls because it's for something your character has an advantage in. 5 on a scale of 100 may have been weak if the rolls were to be high (Like something of 65 out of 100 x) ) but since the rolls for stealth checks started at 5 and went up by 5 everytime, it actually served it's job incredibly well imo.
The act of rolling against another player's roll is something that I always found amusing. Sometimes, someone thinks they are going to definitely succeed because they rolled an 86 and then their opponent rolls in with a cheeky 87.
Or in the case of Eritis vs Jonah, the quite amusing streak of bad luck where you have to outroll a 7

----

Pacing - This is something that can be an issue very easily when telling a story or when you are doing something like an event. If you spend too much time just giving fluff and filler things, you lose attention. If you immediately go in with a fight, you don't get people to be invested.
RPing Starlight actually making their way closer and closer allows for people to chat a little ICly while the players can also just take a breather and immerse themselves in to their characters instead of being thrown in the deep end.
And when we got there, the stealth was quite an enjoyable thing as well.
It was obvious it wasn't meant to last forever by the increasing difficulty of stealth checks yet it was also fun to just see the guards being actual people who talk about the dumbest of topics.
Nothing went too fast or too slow.
The combat phases may have added a bit of time but nothing too bad in my opinion.

----

Fighting - This is a mixed grab bag for me. While I love the idea of having phases designed for defense and attack being seperate, it ends up being quite easy to lose track or just get confused when its: Group 1 attack, Group 2 defend, Group 2 attack, Group 1 defend, repeat.
And that is because everyone rolling and emoting at once causes a lot of overflow and can be a source of stress since a lot of things pop up at once.
However, the GM noticed this themselves and put in a solution to fix it.
The solution, however, was kind of a problem on its own.
When we were told to spread out, it ended up with Eritis and Jonah being out of earshot of everyone else with no way for either of us to gain or give assistance to others while ICly, we were in the middle of everyone when Eritis first tackled him.
But because of the possibilities this gave in terms of RP (Grappling buddies are best buddies) it is not something I was too bothered with though I did feel very disconnected from what happened on the other side as Eritis came back to a person being kept hostage by Ava and a knocked out Nomine with a bleeding Ana over him trying to heal him.
----

Aftermath - Something I have always loved about events is what comes after. Not to give any flak about the event being bad, which it most definitely wasn't, but I will always prefer the more social aspects of RP and nothing allows you to bond more than having survived hell together!
In the case of this event, the aftermath was shaken up a little by Nomine being transported to Ironforge as a captive.
Nothing is more intimidating than a rescue squad consisting of two injured people and a person who has to hold back every instinct to get them to just recover!
Add in the fact that it turned to Nomine just escaping by himself with no real hassle and Eritis having to run all across Ironforge to procure a shirt, it was all just the good mix of freedom while still holding the spirit of the event.

----

All in all, I very much enjoyed the event and the things done right far outweighed the things that went wrong.
The event served as a good source to build off of in developing Eritis and being able to get actual reasons to have him open up more to everyone.
And it was a night I happily spent.
While I am quite aware of this being a very scattered feedback post in terms of making sense, I hope that even a little bit of what I put in can be used or make the hosts smile.

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Re: FEEDBACK WANTED! - Strangers in the Dark

#8 Post by Salsaberry » Wed Jul 22, 2020 4:55 pm

My thoughts and feedback on 'Strangers in the Dark' event.

Things I think were done well:

Setting: I thought that the setting of the event was very well picked. It never felt too claustrophobic and allowed for a lot of movement. I also have a personal preference for coastal areas. There was a good sense of atmosphere of being in a remote location with very little people around it, except for a few wayward guards and of course, the Starlighters who took part. It also made sense, as we were locating a ship and thus, we first needed to look around a 'harbour' area.

Clear Goal: Before the event even began, there was a set goal in mind, which was to locate the ship and information regarding it's disappearance. Despite an incredibly lengthy exposition at the very start, I felt that we had enough info to know what we were looking for, and thus avoided general confusion.

Combat & Rolls: I greatly and thoroughly enjoyed the combat between our characters. The rules of combat and sneaking (etc) were well explained and simple, making it very easy to remember. Having a HP bar made for high stakes, which I think worked very very well.

Interactions: By far my favourite and most memorable part of this event was the interactions between players. It was a stroke of genius to have ALL npc's be actual players instead of mobs or raid markers (this made for less clogged up raid warnings, which is great and easy to follow.). The NPC's also felt like real characters instead of wooden cutouts, notably the Lady in the house, whom of which felt very realistic in her behaviour of being a helpless civilian. I enjoyed that we were given freedom to choose how to deal with the situation instead of being funnelled into one set track (AKA sneaking up on the guards, binding and gagging them instead of outright attacking them) which felt more natural and realistic. These interactions between characters also made some specific characters shine, for example Eritis, who went out of his way to heal an injured guard, and Ava, whom of which reluctantly and desperately held the Lady hostage in order for everyone to stop fighting, instead of outright trying to harm her.

The Outcome: Not many events that I have been to have been given the freedom of different outcomes and endings. As I was playing, it always felt like ANYTHING could happen, and I really loved the fact that the Starlighter's were technically defeated in the end due to their mistakes. Things like this always keep the player guessing what's going to happen, which is always a good thing to keep them hooked.


Things I think can improve

Convenience: Something very minor, and is mostly due to Starlighters, but I felt like it was quite convenient to reach the location as we did, even though we had mountains to traverse. While I know that the event did not revolve around travel, I feel that there could have been an easier explanation as to how we got to the location so easily instead of in-the-moment convenience.

Roll Check Confusions: While I did praise earlier about the combat being quite well managed, something I did notice was the vague raid warnings given. (I.E, 'roll to defend yourselves') Which I feel caused some confusion, as I wasn't sure when or when not to attack. I feel that stating '[x] Roll to attack [Y], [Y] Roll to defend' would have been more effective in communication.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this event, and even though we didn't go far in our mission, it felt a lot more natural for things to mess up due to our own mistakes. It also made for great character development!

8/10 - Salsaberry Ratings :)

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