AGM Minutes for Embraced the Game 2019

Attendees

Colin Stebbing – Chairperson

Will Higgins

John Ross Morland

Vincent Augustyn Robert Rankin

Fraser McIntosh

Ben Gahan – Rules Referee

Demelza Beckly – Narrator

Megan Wilson – Narrator

Total Attendees – 8

Notable Apologies

Graeme Wallace

Fern Christie

Kate McAlister

Chris Paterson
Tascha van Gessele

The AGM began with the chairperson leading with rules regarding courtesy to fellow attendees, conduct and communication.  All in attendance agreed to the present statement of conduct and the AGM proceeded.

The list of notable apologies was presented to the group

The poster contest winner was announced as number 12 by Demelza Beckly.  This will be used as future advertising for the game moving forward. An example of the winning poster can be found on the Facebook group.  Critiques and constructive criticism as provided by the voters will be available from the N Team on request for any entrants that are interested in the critiques of their entry.  Collin as creative director will continue to further tweak the poster artistically before distribution.

Rules Changes Being Made or Suggested for the Game

Combat Rules Changes.

It was suggested to the group that the ease of making a “combat character” was significantly easier than any other type of character such as the lore centric character or political character.  It was suggested that a wider expanse of melee skills could bring this more into line with the political nature of the Embraced Game System.

Suggestion was made of separating melee weapons into three separate groups for both subdual and physical damage and removing the weapon size bonuses as range of weapon was a large enough bonus.  The separation being weapons of small, medium and large size. This would allow characters to take a melee skill in a specific type of weapon rather than melee granting skill with all melee weapons.  It was also noted that existing melee users with skill of 4 or more would receive the choice of two weapons types and receive them at 4 so that existing users were not unfairly penalised. Staking would then be a call available from the small physical weapons bracket using a stake as the weapon to fit existing lore regarding staking.

Further reasoning was presented in that Parlour and Linear larps are very different and it was hoped that this move away from combat focus would emphasise the difference between the two.

Several concerns were presented such as this change phasing combat characters from the game entirely and making certain clans lose their “feel” or “threat” as well as preventing combat centric characters from interacting meaningfully in the monthly game.  Concerns were presented that Embraced needs combat characters as plot usually ends with combat.

Counter points were made that combat can often trump political damage as the combat character can simply maul the political character at any time leaving the political character stifled through sheer threat of instant death.

It was presented that this was a beta suggestion and several alternatives were presented by the group such as separation of skills to three areas and purchases of the skills for combat in a linguistics style manner.  The rules referee is moving forward to consider alternatives to the presented beta in moving forward with the rules set.

It was presented to the group that the game could move to an entirely non-combat system akin to Minds Eye Theatre etc.  This was roundly voted down by all attendees feeling that it would remove much of the feel and immersion of the hybrid system of embraced.

The rules ref will update on this moving forward.

Roleplay of characters with low stats and skills

It was noted that there have been incidents of low stat characters not roleplaying adequately.  For example, the dexterity 1 character not being clumsy or the strength 1 character carrying a heavy load.  It was suggested that 0 point “fluff” flaws could be placed to give on-sheet reminders of the appropriate manner to roleplay stats at 1 to reinforce the theatrical system of embraced.  Whilst points were made that low stats create mechanical effects such as higher costs for dodge needing to be paid for the “brute” character. Mechanical enforcement of the low stats was generally viewed as a positive.  The creation of roleplay guidelines and the interaction of low stats with parts of the game such as combat was viewed positively.

A combat primer was considered and will be thought about moving forward.

Potentially changing willpower to a stricter system.

It has been noted by staff that there are limited occasions where low willpower effects are being roleplayed such as Frenzy in a stressful situation.  It was suggested to include a “card” system where the player was given cards equal to their willpower and should spend 1 in a situation where they would frenzy to grant 10 to 15 seconds to remove themselves from the situation or frenzy immediately.  These would be used in an honor system trusting in player honesty to spend cards where appropriate.

Considerations were made of regaining these willpower cards, the nightmare flaw and potential calming actions such as sitting and meditating or the animalism 3 power.  These will be considered moving forward.

Creative to consider dials instead of cards for convenience.

Generally, this was viewed positively moving forward.  

Stat limits at creation based on the age of the vampire

It was presented that there may need to be a possibility of presenting mechanical limits of stats at character creation but before freebies as the N Team have notice several characters being created with unusually high stats, skills and/or disciplines.

It was asked whether there should be a mechanical and formal ruleset based on character creation and background to balance this.

Several suggestions were made such as N team policing irregularities and self-policing and being honest with yourself at character creation and presenting stats that are appropriate rather than those that will present the greatest in game effect.

The suggestion was made of minimum age requirements to suit a stat however a concern was raised that this would force players towards older characters to justify higher numbers and create in game irregularities regarding the age of kindred in a city.

It was settled that the N team will police this to a greater degree but there will be greater communication between players and N team with players able to request alternative forms of communication by email to the Gmail.

The N Team have agreed to try to support requests for more back and forth communication and alternative forms of communication where possible.  However, they have asked that players recognise this will not always be possible as it will give rise to potential feelings of favouritism and have asked that players respect that their own life commitments may mean that alternative or immediate communication is not always possible/possible immediately.

XP cost for high level background gained from IC play having XP cost.  Background level 4=2xp, 5=3xp. This is after character creation.

It was suggested that raising characters backgrounds to level 4 and 5 may require an experience cost based on the significant benefit gained.  

There was no opposition to this and it was generally viewed as a positive thing for game balance.

Rules ref to look at this.  Suggestions of costs have been placed in the title line and were generally viewed favourably.

Re-establish Kindred and mortal only flaws.

It was raised that the removal of mortal flaws was removed to move the game towards a Kindred only environment.  Some players raised that this removed a potential for interesting roleplay scope.

The Rules Ref will now look at re-establishing Kindred and Mortal only flaws in the rulebook to encourage the character diversity suggested.

Willpower level having and effect on the final frenzy level of a character.

The suggestion was made that having willpower level affect frenzy level combined with the stricter willpower system suggested above would encourage willpower not to be treated as a dump stat.

Concerns were raised that this may cause problematic interactions with frenzy level changes caused by humanity creating unintentional mistakes.  This may create a glut of frenzy leading to a large amount of PC kill in one evening which would be unpleasant for the game, regardless of the small, incremental changes that were suggested that willpower levels would cause.

This is to be worked upon by the rules ref and will not be inserted in the rulebook until reworked and discussed at upcoming rules meetings.

General rules tidy up.

This is a general quality of life update to modernise the context as well as amend grammar and sentence structure in the rulebook.

This will be carried forward by the rules ref and assisted by Fraser.

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Lores

Several lore documents have been created in both bullet point list and power point form.  These are available on request and are based on the Unmasqued website which has been a long-term source of lore for the game to create continuity.  These are available to players on request by contacting the N Team to request copies.

Camarilla Lore and Kindred Lore (Levels 1 and 2) are to be placed on the website with higher levels available on request from the N Team.  Furthermore, OOC guides, Clan briefs, EXP guides and character creation guides have been created and will be added to the website under a section for new players.

Colin is to work on adding a new player section as well as a work around allowing a return to the main page from the forum for mobile devices to the website.

It was decided that bullet point lists were preferred but both bullet point lists and power points are available on request.

Physical Rulebook?

The question was raised if a physical rulebook copy was required at the game.  The vote on this was unanimously positive.

The rules ref did point out that a physical copy would not be live so may not have up to date changes and would be very long.  However, it was pointed out that most players present still preferred a physical copy on hand.

Colin is to pursue printing options to make a copy available.

Review of changes and suggestions

Lammies and Action Signposting.

There were a variety of opinions on this topic.  Evidence has presented that no one interacts with the lammies and that they may stifle roleplay in an unconscious manner due to human psychology reacting differently to perceived observance.  Thus, it was asked if these were a good thing for the game moving forward.

Several issues were presented such as the font being difficult to see thus stopping interaction.  Colin is going to check into larger and clearer lammies.

It was also raised that lammies potentially undoes the hide skill as the player with hide often has to set this up via downtime which is then undone by a simple signpost.  This was viewed as unfair and thus it was deemed that it seems only fair if the hide user is putting in downtime work, the least the search user should have to do is counter it by actively approaching the narrators.

Therefore, the decision to only lammie the outright obvious or window dressing has been taken with hidden items requiring the direct approach of the purple vest narrator.  In the same vein, users of hide must make the purple vest narrator aware both via downtime and at the start of the night to make sure there has been no communication issue.  

The N Team will monitor this moving forward.

Dedicated purple vest narrator.

The question was raised as to whether the players would prefer a single narrator to be the purple vest narrator all night whilst the other deals with NPC’s etc.

Players were unanimously in favour of this.

Players are requested that they should go for information and queries to the purple vest in all cases

NPC board accounts.

It was asked if these accounts are useful as we now have accounts for all major Scottish and some English cities and well as key NPC’s such as Braddock.  This allows for electronic contact and can be identified by a note on your downtime, so the N Team will pick this up.

This was voted as useful.

Suggestions of an availability list and addition of Packs of the North to the list was made and will be looked at by the N Team.

Removing player characters from the game without a clear indication of whether they will be returned to the player.

Numerous complaints have been received because this situation leaves a character unaware of the status of their character save that it has been removed causing multiple issues such as downtime etc.

The decision has been taken that if you remove a character on the night.  Your plans and what you hope to gain by those plans should be conveyed to the purple vest narrator.  This should be followed by a message to the Gmail to convey the same for redundancy and to prevent miscommunication.  This should be carried out within one month, so the removed player can be updated. If this is not carried out. The N Team reserve the right to act to resolve as required.

Downtimes

A notice that there has been some confusion on the interpretation of downtimes.  The N Team do apologise and identify the issue as human communication and interpretation issues that anyone could make.

A suggestion of a template for downtimes is going to be produced by Fraser and placed on the Forum and Facebook moving forward to minimise confusion.  The N Team are also meeting weekly so have asked that any clarifications that they request or that you require are sent prior to Saturday at midnight on the downtime week and they will endeavour to resolve on the Tuesday following downtime week.

Commitment and Expectations

Complaints have been made that lack of action from the “in power” positions have been holding up the game for those not in power.  This has caused frustration and negativity amongst the player base.

The group recognised that this can be caused by health concerns.  However, it has been suggested that the individual player must police their own health and if they feel their health will prevent them from dealing with the extra game interactions that these duties present.  The player should not take those positions. Likewise, when they are in the position. If their health starts to fail. They should approach the Narrators to advise so that an “out” can be made that does not adversely affect their character.

Options of alternative methods of progress such as Jurta council will be explored via the other cities IC to show that alternatives can be used without ruining the Praxis.  Furthermore, the N Team are going to consult on a proactive communication option with the power positions as well as potential other solutions such as NPC’s in supporting roles for the power positions.

Responses and response times

The N Team have clarified that Downtimes will now be dealt with between Tuesday to Friday following a downtime deadline.  As stated, they have requested that clarifications be sent to them by the Saturday of that week, so they can be dealt with at the weekly narrator meeting.

Tremere and Thaumaturgy

A suggestion of a rework of the Tremere “fluff” to highlight the secrecy around Thaumaturgy and reinforce the hierarchal nature of the clan was suggested.  This will be developed through roleply guidelines emphasising the secrecy surrounding Tremere Thaumaturgy as well as indicating that the hierarchy of the Tremere making “lone wolf” characters unlikely at best in this Clan.  The Narrators will be looking to highlight to players the greater amount of roleplay required by the Tremere hierarchy. To support this, an NPC regent will be put in play to allow players to concentrate on Camarilla role play and prevent clashes between the Regent and Primogen roles.

Old Characters

The Narrators presented the difficulty that old characters presented indicating that characters that solely existed on the old forum presented the difficulty of unverified stats and usually brought old plot in the game.  Therefore, the players will be required to create new characters rather than being allowed to play characters that existed solely on the old forum.

This was agreed by the group.

What is Embraced.

The N Team would like to convey that this is a player driven, parlour larp with an emphasis on inter player and inter city politics.  The N Team would like to make it clear to all that they will always try to enable player actions. The exceptions being if a player has interacted with higher stats to prevent your actions or caused a consequence that prevents or makes the action more difficult.  To this effect, the N Team would like to clarify that there will be several layers of plot and actions that occur in the game that you may not be aware of and should keep in mind if your action does not work.

A statement to this effect will be produced to be placed on the forum and as a footnote on downtimes.

Narrator raised issues.

Players demanding Narrator time/OOC Aggression and Conduct

It has been noted that several incidents of aggression and demanding behaviour have presented to the N Team.  Ranging from argument to belligerence to outright aggressive behaviour. This has caused health problems in the lives of the narrators and was agreed that this should not continue.  The continuation of the game requires civil conversation. Therefore, a code of conduct is going to be created and implemented for these matters such as review, appeal etc. Narrators also reserve the right to use their discretion in implementing this code of conduct as some behaviours are noted as being easier to fix and less detrimental to the game environment than others.  However, the extreme behaviours that were presented were agreed as unacceptable.

The N Team will carry this forward.

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Player constitution

The group reviewed and agreed to the player constitution.

No amendments were proposed for the constitution, so it will stand as is for the following year.

Digital character sheets and XP records.

The N Team are investigating the functionality of electronic copies of character sheets and XP records for both player and narrator ease.  For example, a dropbox or google drive system.

Several volunteers were presented to trial this.

The N Team are moving forward to a trial version of this.

State of the game and requirement for replacement staff.

The rules referee announced that, due to health conditions, he will be looking to step down and may well step away from the game for a lengthy period.  The group expressed their sorrow to hear this and thanked the rules referee for contributions made as well as hoped for a speedy return to good health.

The admin position has also become available as issue have caused the admin staff to be forced to step away from the game for health reasons.  Again, the group wish them will and a speedy return to good health.

The N Team also discussed concerns regarding a lack of replacement narrators and the speed of burnout of those who have stepped up.  This shows concerns for the future of the game as a lack of replacement narrators will cause a failing in the game when more narrators wish to step down.

Concerns were raised by the player base as to the continued viability of the game and a possible need to conclude the game due to lack of investment and continued issues.  The group agreed that the game is struggling, and toxic attitudes and atmospheres are driving new players away from the game causing numbers to fall and no new players to wish to join.

Several proposals were made such as a year out to reset the game, finishing the game at this AGM or continuing regardless.

The decision was put in place to continue for 6 months without payment on the part of any players to see if things improve.  At the end of this 6 months, a vote will be put to the player base as to whether to continue the game or to conclude embraced permanently.

Other Issues.

Other issues were discussed such as the impact of continued accusations of favouritism and narrator bullying.  The group agreed that we must become a more responsible group that monitors our own negativity and considers our actions more carefully due to the impact they cause.

Other issues such as the inability to truly anonymise feedback in the current player base size.  The N Team assures us that they will treat feedback professionally and make no attempt to identify the person feeding back on the anonymous forum regardless.  This was accepted.

A statement was made that the system does have the flaw of not being able to place hard and fast rules on every facet.  Thus it was agreed that players will consider this before making accusations, causing negativity or becoming upset.