The issue of firearms, airships, and steam punk.

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Autocrat
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The issue of firearms, airships, and steam punk.

Post by Autocrat » Tue Oct 16, 2012 12:09 am

So.

Hey.

With so much changing around here, in the Black Dragon, I feel like it's time to revisit some very old and very controversial issues that have now and then come up throughout the long and storied history of Black Dragon. Anyone that actually read the topic will know but in the highly unlikely event you got this far without actually having read it, I speak of course about firearms and airships.

For most of BDI's existence, there's been a sort of unwritten ban on anything related to steam or gun powder. And airships? Let's just say you had to be on really good standing to even consider having one of those and, actually, I don't think anyone ever did have one. There were magical wooden airships used by one of the nations but that rarely came up.

The reasoning for this is pretty understandable. Some felt these things would clash with the setting, even break it, and there was a very real fear that people would abuse the items in question. For instance, there might be fears of auto hitting/god moding with guns or some schmuck rolling up in an air ship just for the sake of having one and rubbing it in everyone's nose or, worse, attacking the city.

But when people already wield high fantasy magic, are dragons in disguise, and can already god mode with so many other things, it just seems. . I don't know, asinine? Pedantic, even?

As I said, things have changed. New server, new management, new faces. The setting cannot stagnate for papa time marches on. So, I have a proposal on rule and regulations regarding the first two issues. I'll address the final issue after that.




Firearm Rules

It is encouraged that a player have at least two weeks of experience in the setting before giving a character a firearm.

No firearm may be of a design newer than an arquebus. Players who opt to have a firearm are encouraged to use handgonne (Hand cannons), weapons that are essentially metal tubes on sticks or shafts.

No firearm may have a mechanism more complicated than a matchlock without approval by a moderator.

Firearms are a rare and expensive weapon, usually relagated to a kingdom or empire's military who may control the means of their construction or the production of propellant and ammunition. It is therefor encouraged that players consider strongly why and how they have a firearm before giving one to a character.

Real life examples of the firearms that are permitted in the Black Dragon Inn are neither accurate or quick to load. They are loud and belch clouds of smoke. Players are encouraged to keep this in mind when using one.

Due to the nature of fire arms and magic, and how easy they can be abused, it is therefor require that a new player seek permission from a moderator to use a magical firearm of any design.
Auto hitting/god moding with a firearm (without permission) is against the rules. Flagrant violation may result in the player being prohibited from using a firearm.
Committing crimes with a firearm of any kind could result in said weapon being taken from the guard and not being returned upon the character's release.





Airship Rules

A player should have several weeks experience in the setting before considering giving one to a character.

Airships, magical or mechanical and any combination of the two, are permitted but are expensive and rare. Typically only large militaries, extremely wealthy merchants or lords. Players are encouraged to keep this in mind and consider why or how a character has one if they wish to equip a character with an airship.

A player wishing to have a well-armed airship (warship) must seek permission from a moderator.

God moding with an airship (without permission) is expressly forbidden and could result in serious consequences, including prohibition of the player from using airships in the future.

To attack the city with an airship will have serious consequences and could result in the loss of said airship via combat with the local authorities. A player should consult a moderator and have very good reason for wanting to attack the city. "Because I was bored" is not a good reason.









These are first draft rules I propose to put in place regarding the issue of airships and firearms. It relies partly on trust, as I think we ought to trust our player base, but it is a guideline to keep things from going out of hand. Obviously, someone who is much better at writing can make it all official looking but, basically, that's what I think the rules ought to say.




Now, the curious issue of steam punk. It is no surprise that we touch upon the subject, what with the increase in its popularity over the past five or so years, the recent release of Dishonored, and a new Bio Shock just around the corner. It is not surprising that some suggest we incorporate elements. I am not against this and, in fact, am a little in favor of it myself. In moderation, of course. As I am planning to submit an Empire I've long used but never officially canonized, one that incorporates steam and black powder into its repertoire, I suppose it'd be in my best interest to do so.

Which, in part, leads me how I feel it should be brought into the setting. That is to say, I think it should originate in another place that is probably far off. And only just recently even been heard of in Drache, let alone Arangoth. That way we can still keep large elements of high fantasy intact but allow for the elements to exist and the ability of characters to have prior knowledge or even items.

But before we jump off the deep end here, I urge against things like gears in top hats and tesla coil backpacks or other artistic frivolousness. A slightly more practical approach to things than the contemporary idea of steam punk is what I'm getting it, I guess?

If something more is wanted, I would even suggest adapting it to a sister channel in another kingdom or continent where more steam and gun powder elements have been incorporated.

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Re: The issue of firearms, airships, and steam punk.

Post by laytrayin » Tue Oct 16, 2012 12:18 am

as for guns in th esettign as yo uexplain themi can see btu nto mahical guns. i woul dsay ther eshould be some kind of grmlinization when it comes fo guns an dmahic as they do not work wel together. i agree with the airship rules but i am leery of allowing to much 'steampunk' as it would hur tthe settign in some ways. such as mechanical items. that's my say on it
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Re: The issue of firearms, airships, and steam punk.

Post by KarieSandars » Tue Oct 16, 2012 12:39 am

When it comes to guns, I have to say that such a thing must be done in a certain fashion. I like Autocrat's suggestion that there should be a window in which people show they're competent enough and won't go willynilly with the power they've been given, so to speak. But I also think that perhaps there should be a limited (or listed) number of weapons available.

If anything, it would be something akin to a limited amount of people *able* to make guns and sell them, to limit the amount that is introduced into the world. So say there's a class specific to the development of gun and airship tech; an engineer, for instance. What I'm saying is that people need to play active engineers and other related folk for the technology to thrive.

If given a gun, they need to know how to use it. If given an airship, they should know how to use it/run it. The level of technology should be primitive and made so that magic should not be able to interact with the technology that's presented, for the sheer fact that people would totally use magic to make their guns better--in essence, totally making the fact of guns moot and therefor godmoding.

As for airships, there is plenty in the setting and in the way people present themselves that airships should be allowed to make an appearance. Given that magic and other means have been used for related pieces of technology in the past, I see no reason to keep such things from in-character useage. That said, however, I side with Autocrat in the fact that they need a period of time before they should be allowed. And really, if a person can't explain how he/she acquired an airship, then they don't deserve to use it as a character background.

All in all, I condone the usage of guns and airships--but only if the players are around long enough and are responsible. But not only that, I think that there should be encouragement in the kinds of characters that make/create guns and airships to support their appearance in Drache, so it makes sense for them to be around. Otherwise, what's the sense in it?

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Re: The issue of firearms, airships, and steam punk.

Post by Wolfram » Tue Oct 16, 2012 12:43 am

I have never and will never be cool with firearms of any type in a game that is low-magic fantasy. Players have talked up the science and tried to define their way around this restriction for years, often trying to imply that time has passed in the game world, and therefore someone MUST have found it by now. This, like other science such as theories of evolution, gravity, or the atom, should be so far out of reach that it is entirely inconceivable in character to ever find them or describe them. BDI has existed for seventeen years, a tiny blip on the scale of progress.

To accede to the most basic personal firearms is a change of feel for the channel, and while this is not objectively wrong, I just don't think it belongs in BDI, even if it is explained away by magic.

As for airships, I would rather do my damndest to avoid the Steampunk designation for their inclusion. The Xiunlani have been using airships in canon, powered by the same magic that has given them an island floating in the air. Otherwise, Alex's designation is more or less what the ops had agreed to permit, although it never came down in writing.

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Re: The issue of firearms, airships, and steam punk.

Post by Selestia » Tue Oct 16, 2012 12:46 am

My stand on steampunk, firearms, clockwork, etc for a fantasy setting that is rather medieval (and our channel IS medieval-based fantasy) has always been NO.

I absolutely adore the steampunk/clockwork genre, lemme get that out there, but I dislike the idea of firearms and the whatnot being put into the RP for the simple reason of ass-hattery. Yeah, I get that folks are like, "There's big bad things out that that a gun isn't going to hurt!" and all, but there was a reason that people were suppose to keep their weapons holster, swords peace-tied, and some places even made folks drop guns off at the sheriff's.

We get along just fine without firearms and the like that go with them. Really. We don't need the issues that come with them (Power-gaming, Auto-hit, God-moding) right now, when the channel is starting to grow.

I think our bigger focus should be on storylines, growth and interaction instead of this nonsense. If folks want firearms and steampunk, they need to find a steampunk channel.

If anyone wants my full and complete opinion on this subject, feel free to PM me.

So, to sum it up, my vote is a big ol' fat resoundingly scathing NO.
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Re: The issue of firearms, airships, and steam punk.

Post by DurHandler » Tue Oct 16, 2012 12:47 am

I would love to see guns added to the setting, personally, along with a touch of steampunk so long as it doesn't go overboard (I.E clockwork motorcycles). There was a time when gunpowder was a part of the setting so flintlocks shouldn't be that far out of the realm of possibility.

A flintlock is even less reliable then a crossbow. You have to load it, pack it in, and then take caution to hold it at the right angle or the powder can leak and render the gun useless. Magical spells can also easily disable them, so they'd be far from OP. A gun, particularly a large blunderbuss style gun would be more of a status symbol when your average patron can easily run up and run you through in the time it takes you to unload. At least that's my piece on the issue.

As for the rest.. I think a nice slow introduction of clockwork and crystal type "steampunk" tech could make an interesting large scale developmental storyline. People would need to specialize to be able to use and properly repair these objects, like Engineers in GW2 so they still wouldn't become an "everyone and their hamster owns one" kind of thing.

Airships. Meh. I'd keep those purely on an SL/NPC bases if they're let in at all.

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Re: The issue of firearms, airships, and steam punk.

Post by Autocrat » Tue Oct 16, 2012 1:16 am

However, perhaps fortunately, it is not.

What Rose describes is fairly accurate. After hitting the books, a wonderful theory came to mind as to one of the reasons firearms became popular. That is to say, it was much easier for the state to control than, say, a bow. Of course, there was the psychological effect and the penetration, but the weapon itself, the ammunition, and the charge likely were beyond the use of just anyone.

I don't think we should limit the interaction between science or magic, but I do believe we would need measures to prevent it from getting out of hand. But I see that as similar to making sure no one flagrantly and frequently/obnoxiously god mode/autohit (without prior consent or plot relevance). It'd be no more different than making sure Optimus Prime doesn't roll in and take a giant mechanical dump on the inn's floor.

It is the opinion of this player that we shouldn't be as paranoid as we once were. Don't get me wrong, we should not drop our guard but I believe players can and will act more reasonably. After all, gone are the days of a hundred ninjas lurking in the rafters.

The key, in my mind, is encouraging characters to have reasonable explanations as to why they'd have a firearm or an airship or whatever and providing loose but enforceable guidelines.

On the topic of setting, I will make it no secret that I respect but strongly disagree (and plan to murder) Wolfram. This setting is by no means "low-magic" fantasy and we all know it. Magic of all kinds has been displayed in the channel. DEMONS have appeared constantly, by competent players and, uh, not so competent. And let's be real. Come on. Black Dragon was founded by Dragon and an Angel. Excuse me, a Fallen Angel.

As we've talked to death the implications on moding, I'll touch only briefly on it one more time. You can do far, far worse than a bullet in this setting. And with the limits of early firearm technology, I feel like it balances out.

On the issue of the channel's feel? I think it needs to change. It should change. It must change.

You're right. The inn has been around for seventeen long years. Almost unchanged. And we stagnated. And we declined. And as for in game? A lot can happen in a year. A lot more can happen in a couple years. This role play world is huge, vague even, to allow players to be creative and bring characters from far flung places. In fact, I believe one of our esteemed peers is even from another dimension (another reason the fantasy/magic is not low). Why can't someone figure out that steam can produce power? Or that a certain mixture of chemicals or compounds makes things go boom? Hell, it might not even be black powder. Could be Yellow powder or green fluid. Purple gel!

You say it's an excuse or a workaround but what is that bad? It's a reasonable thought line that someone is out there messing with things. Alchemists, scholars, and even wizards or warlocks. Maybe a man without magical talent but a brilliant mind, jealous of high mages, sought to find a workaround or alternative, something that would allow him to compete. Maybe a seceding nation, with little aptitude for magic, thought of a means to compensate through science to wage war against a foe who did. Or maybe it's just the quest for knowledge, to see how everything works. I've seen characters in the inn exhibit these qualities.

What belongs in BDI are loose guidelines and a vague enough setting to give players the freedom to play but also have options to draw upon, whether it's a sailor from secca, a Reshalian Marine, or a Xandenese scholar. Including steam or black powder or clockwork devices aren't going to ruin that and certainly not in the method I propose.

We should open the door, if only a crack.

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Re: The issue of firearms, airships, and steam punk.

Post by Autocrat » Tue Oct 16, 2012 1:22 am

Selestia wrote:We get along just fine without firearms and the like that go with them. Really. We don't need the issues that come with them (Power-gaming, Auto-hit, God-moding) right now, when the channel is starting to grow.
Keep in mind, Selestia, that god moding and everything you described can easily be done with just about everything that IS accepted and has been reasonably managed thus far by our highly competent staff.

If people can be dragons, angels, and liches, the potential to do great "ass-hattery" (as you put it), is already there and on a higher level than an arquebus or gonne.

And the point is that ass-hattery for anything would be discouraged.

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Re: The issue of firearms, airships, and steam punk.

Post by Autocrat » Tue Oct 16, 2012 1:27 am

Also, of note, cannons are. . excuse the pun. . canonical and we've yet to have issue with them. So, really, this "ban" should be moot. There is black powder.

I now just remembered that there was a military character a year or two ago who had many responsibilities but one of them was trying to deflect cannonballs with magic. I don't remember who played her but she was a fairly nice person and not at all abuse.

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Re: The issue of firearms, airships, and steam punk.

Post by Suzthulhu » Tue Oct 16, 2012 11:11 am

Wolfram wrote:I have never and will never be cool with firearms of any type in a game that is low-magic fantasy. Players have talked up the science and tried to define their way around this restriction for years, often trying to imply that time has passed in the game world, and therefore someone MUST have found it by now. This, like other science such as theories of evolution, gravity, or the atom, should be so far out of reach that it is entirely inconceivable in character to ever find them or describe them. BDI has existed for seventeen years, a tiny blip on the scale of progress.

To accede to the most basic personal firearms is a change of feel for the channel, and while this is not objectively wrong, I just don't think it belongs in BDI, even if it is explained away by magic.

As for airships, I would rather do my damndest to avoid the Steampunk designation for their inclusion. The Xiunlani have been using airships in canon, powered by the same magic that has given them an island floating in the air. Otherwise, Alex's designation is more or less what the ops had agreed to permit, although it never came down in writing.

Agreed on all points. Firearms is opening the door to problems which the operators will then have to further monitor and regulate. They don't belong in the setting, period.
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