What we just experienced was the bare bones of the Election festival to come, the most essential elements. Just as the Feast of the Exceptional Rose started out in a very Spartan fashion and grew into the extravaganza it is now, so will the Mayoral Elections of the future! In the spirit of progress I would like to suggest the following features for future consideration.
1. A None of the Above Career Option
Over the course of the election some players (not me!) became very disenchanted with their options and expressed the opinion that none of the candidates were worthy of their support. However, there was no mechanical option allowing them to act on these sentiments, forcing them to either do gamey things like intentionally tank their support by repeated switching or try to profit from the election through bribes (more on this below). Then there are players who would rather focus on profiting than campaigning.
I think an easy way to resolving this would be to add a fourth career option: The Cynic. A cynic is someone who observes and tries to profit from the election, but does not support any of the candidates. If you become a cynic you lose whatever career ranks you possessed and lose your candidate support quality. As a cynic you can’t advance your career at all because you aren’t working to get out the vote (you’re a party of one who has decided to be a nullity). Also, no after-election reward for you, as you didn’t earn one, and the game will not record that you "participated in the election," because you didn’t actually participate, you dirty cynic. Participation and rewards are for those who worked to make a difference!
2. A Bribery Mechanic
As mentioned above, some of the frustrated players decided to try selling their votes on the forum. I’m not sure whether or not they succeeded, but their creativity is to be applauded. Vote buying was a big part of 19th and early to mid 20th century elections (for example, in Boss Hague’s Jersey City the going rate was five dollars a vote - his organization lost when, among other things, a rebel group splurged on fifteen dollars a vote). More importantly, mercenary campaign staff,and tricksters are a ubiquitous feature of democracy. So I think the player should have the option of bribing other players to support this or that candidate through a social action.
This shouldn’t be cheap though. You’re not just bribing a single voter. You’re bribing someone who is getting out the vote and, presumably, getting some of these voters to switch sides with him, and each player can have up to 34 voters attached to them at any point. I think the item required for this should be the comprehensive bribe. First, it’s a comprehensive bribe, something that "would tempt a judge. Even an honest one." so it’s the perfect item to use. Second, there aren’t all that many uses for a comprehensive bribes right now and most of those are non-repeatable story options.
This is how I picture it working. Player A will attempt to influence Player B to support Candidate Y by sending Player B an X number of comprehensive bribes. If Player B accepts the bribes he will earn a large number of echoes, a new quality "bribed to support Candidate Y," automatically switch to supporting said candidate, earn some turncoat [Edit: or something like Turncoat, see posts 2 & 3], and get a large increase in suspicion and scandal. If Player B switches candidates again or accepts another bribe he will earn considerable turncoat, which would seriously inconvenience him in the rest of the election (like, among other things, a certain amount of turncoat could mean a switch from one candidate to another loses all progress, not just half and maybe activate some seasonal menace cards?). If Player B refuses the bribe, Player A gets really big suspicion and scandal penalties. One bribe gone wrong too many and its off to New Newgate or the Tomb Colonies for them.
3. Dangerous Options for Agitators
Agitators are street fighters - rotten eggs, barricades, provocation, that sort of thing. One player who initially chose Agitator commented that he was disappointed that there weren’t any dangerous things for him to do and everything involved stealth or persuasion. Seems a shame that there aren’t any opportunities for Agitators to get their knuckles bloody.
4. Non-Fate Items in Mr. Mirrors Election Market
I loved all the items for sale at the market! I bought five and will certainly buy some more next year (namely the wax boots). But it was disappointing that there weren’t any non-fate items to purchase. The Feast of the Exceptional Rose has companions that can be acquired without paying fate and it would be nice if the election market had something similar. Like, they don’t have to be particularly good items, stat wise, just interesting. We’re talking campaign swag, the late 19th century equivalent of posters and t-shirts: hats, signs, soap boxes, knick knacks. The Contrarian’s campaign used quite a few election themed props, among them a scare crow of Sinning Jenny. I would love to have a scare crow of Sinning Jenny and would pay a fair number of echoes for one :P
edited by Anne Auclair on 7/19/2016