Some thoughts on social plus a multiplayer action

I’ve proposed this elsewhere, all in the hopes the designers are willing to tweak the engine for broader interactions. Perhaps they aren’t or can’t and then I’m just wasting time. It’s also possible that others have proposed something like this in the back logs. Anyway, here is the problem as I see it: most social actions at the moment are for two players only, so if I want to do anything with more people (it’s not so important what) I have to spend an Action on each. This works against social and longer Acquaintances lists, because you just can’t box or play chess with 30 or 90 people. It encourages intimacy, but I don’t want to be intimate with everyone I know! The result is a weak social component. So much for the problem. I can think of two solutions, not mutually exclusive:

  1. Eliminate Free Evenings completely in favor of a separate Social Actions pool. Every social Action - accepting it or initiating it - would cost a point. This pool could have a smaller maximum, perhaps replenishing slowly, by a point every hour, to a maximum of 7 or 10. This way players will have something to do even if they run out of Regular Actions, and the Failbetters can sell renewals of social for Fate. Subscribers will get a double pool as usual.

  2. Introduce, again if the engine can be convinced, multiplayer actions that would only cost one Action to start. A model possibility is the Ball. It might work as follows. A player issues an invitation to an Acquaintance, spending an Action. The invitation informs the recipient that such-and-such is hosting but the event will only proceed if at least 10 players, not counting the host, sign up. The number of players who have already agreed, their names and Notability are shown. The message also says that that benefits to the participants will be in proportion to the number of people who sign up. The receiver, and all subsequent invited players, can then decide whether to accept the invitation or pass.

Accepting costs an Action and only goes through after the player has picked a further addressee in the Acquaintances list. This pushes the invitation on in the manner of a chain letter. Sooner or later someone will refuse to get on the bandwagon, but a well-attended Ball should be able to gather good momentum. The maximum could be, say, 50 players. After the refusal, if the &quotquorum&quot hasn’t been reached, the Ball is a failure and all the previous players have wasted an Action. Otherwise the Ball &quotresolves&quot with proportionate benefits to all concerned - the more of them, the better. The host would get extra Notability and Making Waves, the guests - Persuasive and Making Waves.

Now you can see how this should create interesting dynamics. Appearing at balls could be a way for new players to raise Persuasive before they are due, and some players would become obssessed with Balls I’m sure, and Notability could play an important role. For instance, the host’s benefit might be reduced to the average Notability of the guests, so allowing a bunch of nobodies to be invited might actually end up detrimental. People would have to choose who to invite carefully, and take revenge on screw-ups - poison and all that good stuff. There would have to be some checks and balances here, sure, some play-testing. Very likely only Persons of Some Importance should be able to host. But on the whole, I think, it’d be a good way to stir things up in Fallen London - bring some people crashing down and elevate others who don’t deserve it. Which is the great thing society does, you know.
edited by Von Prabik on 7/10/2015

First option would require a wide variety of balance changes and, in my opinion, is not really necessary. Would also make grinding Social Actions to remove Nightmares or gain Second Chances compeltely non-viable.

I do like the second option, though.

Hmm. On the first point - At the moment, social actions are at the discretion of players - you can use anywhere between no actions and all of them on social activities, depending on what you wish to do and how you’re playing the game. I’d be sad if that changed, personally.

As it happens, there probably are around 50-60 players I exchange social actions with regularly - I’ve never had a problem doing so. Between coffees, suppers, patronage, K&C, Tournament of Lilies, menace reductions, chess and letters and all the rest, there’s plenty of scope - some are involved RP exchanges, some purely functional. But then I’m rather heavily into the RP side of the game and it’s not unknown for days to pass with me doing very little else but social actions.

On Free Evenings: My instinct is that the Free Evenings do add an additional dynamic - limiting certain social actions but not others does affect the gameplay. The actions requiring Free Evenings tend to be beneficial for one or both players, and allowing them to be virtually limitless would affect things considerably (I think they most/all require the parties to be acquainted, too, which further limits their use). Private suppers give healthy doses of Making Waves, and the perks from the various ‘date’ options can be a nice use of an action (especially if you’d be using them to RP anyway) - having a cap on them does make one have to strategic about how they’re used.

Patronage is another example. It does give quite a healthy boost in CP to the protege(e) but it is limited by virtue of requiring a free evening on each side. Without the limit, you could push someone through the early game much faster than the devs intend - which is, no doubt, why they capped it in the first place. At the moment, if a patron wants to give five ‘lessons’ in week, they can, but it comes at some personal cost (I have done it in the past, but would not care to do it often…).

The second option does sound interesting - but I am not remotely technical and have no idea what is possible (a constant headache for the devs on the game I’m writing for, ahem ahem). But that does sound like it could be a lot of fun, for sure.

These ideas are very old and have been bouncing around for a while. There used to be a thing called &quotCliques&quot that was supposed to being multi-player actions, but it never materialized. They couldn’t call them &quotCircles&quot because Google.

What you’re proposing is a massive endeavor for a small studio. It’ll probably come about eventually, but right now there are other priorities.

That bring back memories…

Wasn’t it limited to 5 players or something, and in the end people just find a loophole to expand their cliques to like 50 players and stretch their journal page to infinity? I remember constantly kicking people out and that was unpleasant in a weird way.

Yeah. There are always bugs and technical kinks like that to sort out.
It was a neat idea, especially the part about getting Clique items that everyone had to contribute to, but in the end I’d rather FBG spend 6 months writing stories than 6 months writing code.

Like I said, I’m sure something like that will be implemented eventually.