By lady_liberty 179 Comments
Of late there have been several large events that involved large numbers of NPCs revolving around Venezuela. In the wake of those events there have been a lot of complaints and some upset feelings.
Now to make this clear up front I do NOT believe that there was anything super terrible that went on in either event and I'm not angry.
But I have listened to the people who were upset and I feel that have some legitimate points.
Basically there are some holes in the CVnU rules that need patching. Which is to be expected; its a rare ruleset that doesn't need to be playtested and revised.
Here are the issues that were raised:
I. NPC Rights
Who controls NPCs? How many NPCs can you control? What can you do with them?
Let me offer two examples to compare and contrast.
A: Jack writes a scene in which his character shoots his way past a police roadblock and becomes the most wanted man in Nashville.
B: Jack writes a scene in which his character leads the combined arms of the United Nations to overthrow his enemy Bill.
From these two examples we can see that one size does not fit all. The two events are completely different simply because of the number of NPC's involved.
What if Jack wrote a scene where everyone in Russia was turned into a Zombie? Or he decided that everyone in Russia believed his latest media program?
We have the following issues in terms of NPCs.
A: How many NPC's can someone seize control of?
B: For how long? A single scene? Two? Three?
C: Does what you DO with those NPC's matter? Say you declare that your character is famous and everyone knows who he is. That's obviously different than taking control of an army, even if that army is smaller than the number of people who would know the famous character.
II. Thread Limits
Imagine that Bob and Jack get into a fight.
Bob has superstrengh, Jack has superspeed.
Jack starts to win by blitzing Bob! So Bob opens up his bio and adds telepathy. Now Bob is winning! Jack gets worried so he opens up his bio and adds in telepathic immunity and teleportation. Well now Jack is winning!
Do you see the problem with that? I hope so because its against the rules in the CVnU. Once you start a fight you can't add powers without the consent of your opponent.
But when you're controlling NPC's in a NPC conflict there's no such restriction.
So Jack brings out his squad, then Bob brings out his army, then Jack get's an army but his army is made from bullet proof robots. Then Bob's army calls in reinforcements; adamantium tanks of course. Then Jack injects all his soldiers with the super-super-soldier serum and they are all possessed by the Phoenix Force, then Bob's soldiers tap into their inner power and become Skyfathers, and then...
So there is a problem with NPC conflict where each side keeps bringing in bigger and bigger stuff until its no longer about the RP.. just who can dream up the most powerful powers.
III. Bypassing the Empire Rules
All of this comes down to one thing. Bypassing the Empire Rules.
People don't claim and empire anymore; instead they control Empire level numbers of NPC's 'just for a scene' then drop them. Or they use Empire levels of troops.. just for a scene.. then drop them.
Now I'm NOT saying that's completely bad! If I believed it was 100% bad all the time I'd write up a revision to the CVnU rules and call for a CoE vote.
Obviously I've not done that; instead I've created this blog post where we can talk about these issues and decide where the lines are.
See some of this stuff is GOOD. There are GOOD uses to large numbers of NPCs. There are GOOD uses of powerful NPCs. There is a RIGHT TIME to control an NPC army. These things can enhance a storyline when used correctly!
But there are wrong times and wrong uses too.
And that's what I created this thread to talk about. Where should the line be? How involved should the CoE be?