I want to grief Seekers.

No, no, no, wait wait bear with me please!!

Right, so anyone who’s been seriously following the SMEN threads (some might say, Seeking the SMEN threads) would either have read or will want to read spacemarine’s fantastic account of his experiences in that endeavour (available Riding Immortal on the Seeking Road - Google Docs ).

I’m midway through reading it and just under 20 pages in, spacemarine describes a mechanic in the Royal Bethlehem as follows:

Some time before this, I woke up in the morning and checked FL to discover I’d been hit by Alexis with a social action I’d never seen before, which gave me approximately 1 frick-tonne of Nightmares, as well as decreasing my Reputation: Abomination. I was mildly bemused, but didn’t think much of it. […]
A few days later, I got hit with it again, this time by an absolute stranger. I sent them a confused letter, and discovered this was due to a new option in the Royal Bethlehem. Anyone could play this action, Seeker or no, and it allowed them to harass anyone with an Abominable Reputation and give them hella Nightmares in exchange for Memories of Light and a fairly sizeable Nightmares drop.

The start of Seeking Mr. Eaten’s Name warns potential Seekers that other players may be as much their enemies as their friends. This was especially significant considering the original tie-ins with Knife-and-Candle and the degree to which the betrayal mechanic relied on social actions. SMEN today is largely a solitary affair in the diegetic game - and as a result, players who Seek are actually advantaged by social metagaming (participating in the forums and the IRC). People trade cats, offer help with menaces and stat loss, and are even now spreading Mr. Eaten’s Calling Card. The forums have become a support group.

What if other players were encouraged by in-game mechanics to menace Seekers? What if Reputation: Abomination actually made you eligible for social actions where Heartless players could insult you, Austere players could deplore you, Ruthless players could wound you, Melancholy players could curse you, Daring players could play pranks on you? SMEN would suddenly begin to interact with non-seekers in a very real way, and players would begin to be encouraged to reconsider their spiritual, emotional and roleplayed support of the seekers when it comes at odds to a mechanical advantage to siding against the seekers.

Would you enjoy the option to - occasionally and lightly, but with mechanical benefits to yourself, and ENTIRELY in the spirit of SMEN - harass seekers?

As someone whose plan is “Be very, very patient”, I can’t help feeling that such a mechanic would only encourage people not to seek at all until they’ve reached a point in the game where they can blitz through the requirements. Which rather negates the whole concept of Marsh-Mired anyhow.

[quote=Chiltern]Would you enjoy the option to - occasionally and lightly, but with mechanical benefits to yourself, and ENTIRELY in the spirit of SMEN - harass seekers?[/quote]Totally. :nutkick:

It should have a cost. (Maybe an eyeless skull, to blind yourself to what they seek)
But yes, I’m kinda disappointed no one has harassed me. Wheres your seeking spirit?
edited by suinicide on 7/1/2016

I really really disliked the negative social actions of old Seeking and am very glad that they did not continue in new Seeking. (I never got St Cerise’s Candle, for instance, because I didn’t want to betray people for it.)

Oh yeah, anything that serious should not be added. Do not steal any progress from people. But give a seeker a few points of a menace for a price? Absolutely.

I whole-heartedly support having an option to menace seekers. As the author of the original agreement amongst seekers*, I don’t support actually menacing seekers (except when deserved), but having the option available leads to all sorts of great intrigue with alliances and betrayals and navigating tricky prisoner’s dilemma situations. Those few months were definitely the most fun I had in Fallen London.

*Historical footnote: My original intention behind the agreement ended up being a lot different than how it was carried out. My intention was not to create a gang of bullies that harassed everyone who was not a member, but to provide protection for those that wanted to advance without relying on the nuclear option. My hope was to create a big enough deterrence to stop everyone from using the nuclear option altogether and instead to just peacefully stab each other with regular non-nuclear weaponry. Unfortunately, the agreement wasn’t clear enough and some (many?) took it to mean that everyone in the pact could blow up everyone else without retribution. That wasn’t the intent, and I therefore offer a very belated apology to everyone who thought I was involved in extortion.

I prefer giving seekers an “opt in” option to be added to the list of menace-able targets in return for a chance of getting bonus seeking progress or menace reduction. I’m thinking it could be like the Iron League but with more hunger.

Do note that it was pretty easy to avoid and get rid of Reputation: Abomination in old seeking (unless your name was Spacemarine9 and you had already worked your way to absurd levels of abomination), so you could avoid most of the menace attacks. You could not, however, avoid getting your silver tokens stolen.

Reputation: abomination really needs to go back to being linear instead of pyramidal. It’s basically impossible to get even marginally high levels of it. And on the flip side, if you are high from the old days it’s basically impossible to come back down haha. I’d like to get to the level where someone scrolls monster on my door, but dang it would take a literal eternity as a pyramidal quality as it is now.
edited by NiteBrite on 7/1/2016

[quote=Chiltern]What if other players were encouraged by in-game mechanics to menace Seekers? What if Reputation: Abomination actually made you eligible for social actions where Heartless players could insult you, Austere players could deplore you, Ruthless players could wound you, Melancholy players could curse you, Daring players could play pranks on you? SMEN would suddenly begin to interact with non-seekers in a very real way, and players would begin to be encouraged to reconsider their spiritual, emotional and roleplayed support of the seekers when it comes at odds to a mechanical advantage to siding against the seekers.

Would you enjoy the option to - occasionally and lightly, but with mechanical benefits to yourself, and ENTIRELY in the spirit of SMEN - harass seekers?[/quote]

I really like this idea, and here’s why.

The more I see of the warning text at various levels of Seeking, the more it feels less like a purely objective &quotwarning, you will lose stuff&quot and more like the Masters (or some other force, but probably them) attempting to enforce the status quo by inserting themselves and their desire into the text. Fallen London being the unique beast that it is, social actions are a part of the narrative. Therefore, social actions to lightly harass Seekers would make sense as the Masters manipulating the narrative into opening up these opportunities to deter them (or from a less meta perspective, the Masters surreptitiously arranging events such that people just happen to be drawn to harassing Seekers in the hopes of getting them to give up).

That said, my first reaction to this was &quotwhat can we do to them that they haven’t already done to themselves?&quot

I am torn on this. On the ONE hand, I thik it could be fun and profitable. On the OTHER hand, I ALSO think it could easily cross the line from fun and profitable to annoying and too profitable.

I’ve heard the old SMEN-targeting actions described somewhat like original K&C. In the latter, a well-known player leaving a safe zone would mean being stabbed to death in minutes. In the former, people trying to recover from the mandatory menaces all over Seeking would get pushed deeper into menace zones faster than they could escape. It wasn’t a good system, and additional single-player consequences from progression are far easier to keep balanced.

Eh, but that’s seekers infighitng. Chiltern’s suggesting the sort of deal where the rest of the players can send nightmare to Seeker to get out faster.

I don’t see it adding much nowaday, though. Not when you already have people that went all the way to an end. I can’t see what seems to be largely a one-way menace dumping affair to be interactive or interesting.

On a less pleasant note, didn’t some players basically dropped out of the game because they are tired of waiting, and came back to finish SMEN for closure? I’d say just let them get their closure in peace. Or if you want to be less charitable, &quotlet them wrought their own destruction&quot grimdark

You want to harass them? The game has provided enough avenues for you to do so.
edited by Estelle Knoht on 7/1/2016

Agreed. in the original seeking, this was a constant concern, both for seekerly infighting and for outsider vs. seeker conflict.

I’d think if they add something like this, it should be an alternative to obscurity, and just as painful, explicitly warned against, and possible to escape at any time by using a bad end, or by sacrificing the candle it would provide. It should be a rare card in all menace areas, and the effects should never prove enough to drive you into a menace state- ideally, setting your cp to exactly 35 in any situation where it would cause you to go mad.

My first thought is that this could go terribly on a meta-level, with little gameplay benefit and quite a bit of bitterness as a cost. The internet is a harsh place, and people are cruel. We’ve seen it before, and we’ll see it again.

My second thought is to flip it on its head.

What if your Acquaintances could try to talk you out of Seeking? Somewhat like a reverse Betrayal. In game, they’re presumably friends, or at least people who have an interest in you of some sort, and they’re watching as you descend into madness. It would be an interesting mechanic if non-Seekers could send social actions that reduced SMEN based on some combination of luck and a skill check, with a special bonus for people with a high level of Free of the Name. The non-Seeker risks getting Unaccountably Peckish on a fail, and perhaps some minor cost (wine, rostygold, nothing serious), with a rare fail of getting a point of Seeking for themselves, and a success or rare success with some minor (or not so minor) reward. The Seeker, perhaps, could gain/lose a point SMEN, possibly get a Betrayal or some other advantage in Seeking. And, of course, an option to heed their advice and become Free of the Name. Most Seekers would definitely consider the risk of a loss of SMEN to be a &quotmenace&quot of sorts, considering how difficult they can be to get, but limiting it to Acquaintances and putting in a risk/reward factor for both sides would keep the bad old days from rearing their heads again.
edited by tsukinofaerii on 7/1/2016

[quote=tsukinofaerii]My first thought is that this could go terribly on a meta-level, with little gameplay benefit and quite a bit of bitterness as a cost. The internet is a harsh place, and people are cruel. We’ve seen it before, and we’ll see it again.

My second thought is to flip it on its head.

What if your Acquaintances could try to talk you out of Seeking? Somewhat like a reverse Betrayal. In game, they’re presumably friends, or at least people who have an interest in you of some sort, and they’re watching as you descend into madness. It would be an interesting mechanic if non-Seekers could send social actions that reduced SMEN based on some combination of luck and a skill check, with a special bonus for people with a high level of Free of the Name. The non-Seeker risks getting Unaccountably Peckish on a fail, and perhaps some minor cost (wine, rostygold, nothing serious), with a rare fail of getting a point of Seeking for themselves, and a success or rare success with some minor (or not so minor) reward. The Seeker, perhaps, could gain/lose a point SMEN, possibly get a Betrayal or some other advantage in Seeking. And, of course, an option to heed their advice and become Free of the Name. Most Seekers would definitely consider the risk of a loss of SMEN to be a &quotmenace&quot of sorts, considering how difficult they can be to get, but limiting it to Acquaintances and putting in a risk/reward factor for both sides would keep the bad old days from rearing their heads again.
edited by tsukinofaerii on 7/1/2016[/quote]

Now that’s an interesting idea. I think it adds to the Search purely from a roleplay perspective.

I agree with that. I will cheerfully betray, or even murder, NPCs (how many coalmen and vicars have I fed to my carnivorous plant?), but messing with player characters is, to me, an entirely different ballgame. I would even have a hard time betraying a Midnight Matriarch (who notionally is a cat. I really like cats).

+1 Catherine, literally. I have strong issues with contention with players. I do not desire to engage in a confrontational style of game-play.

(also agree on the Midnight Matriarch . … cats)

[quote=absimiliard]+1 Catherine, literally. I have strong issues with contention with players. I do not desire to engage in a confrontational style of game-play.

(also agree on the Midnight Matriarch . … cats)[/quote]

Of course, people can reach agreements with players to &quotbetray&quot their characters. But that seems to be tougher with the Search–possibly because it can have such a radical effect on one’s game play.