How large is Shadgard? Why large is Shadgard?

A mining settlement and haven for freedom-seeking exiles, recently beginning to embrace gas and steam technologies. Occult practices are viewed with suspicion, sorcery specifically being outright illegal.
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saladbowl
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How large is Shadgard? Why large is Shadgard?

Post by saladbowl » Mon Jun 20, 2022 4:50 pm

Been thinking about this for a while. No shade intended on indirectly mentioned characters. I'll get back to combat feedback soon I swear.

I like funny Texas Town but its inner workings are a mystery. Shadgard feels to me like it's straddling the line between 'too large to care' and 'small enough for everyone to care,' flipping between the two as necessity demands. It's an outpost where everyone has everyone's back and it's a tight-knit community. It's also a large city where people might slip through the cracks and monitoring everyone isn't possible. Overall room count / descriptions and perhaps travel time add to the dichotomy. IIRC there's one description of a home, no poor district, and no rich district.

It's difficult believing law enforcement would welcome people who openly worship XYZ no-no Immortals or people who talk about killing XYZ residents outside the walls (and might later attempt that), but raise the hue and cry if someone kills within walls. It's like holding a ticking time bomb you're aware will probably explode in your face, but you're confident it won't explode because that's against the law. Maybe because it'd take away player agency and possible builds if law enforcement took care of everything, in a world where dead people can resurrect to testify against their killers? I'm guessing.

Militia members materialize from air the nanosecond an NPC cries thief. And probably if someone channels sorcery. They're lurking everywhere, always on patrol. Why do they care about some crimes but not others? How large is Shadgard, numerically? Am I missing something, and should try to suspend disbelief for a game in alpha in a medium where the presence of smaller things are assumed?

jerc
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Re: How large is Shadgard? Why large is Shadgard?

Post by jerc » Tue Jun 21, 2022 9:02 am

Shadgard strikes me as having a lot of similarities to company towns. The TL;DR is that these are/were towns that were effectively built by and for a single employer, usually some "titan of industry." Residents all either worked for this employer in its main focus area, or in some supporting function, like running a general store that's also owned by the company. Sometimes residents weren't even paid in "real" money, but rather in some sort of "company cash" that was only good for spending at the company-run amenities. This ends up creating a paternalistic system where the workers are really just coggs (heh) in the company's machine, and the welfare of the entire town and its residents lives and dies by how well the company is doing. This is why you get towns like Gary, Indiana where there's no reason for them to be as big and built-up as they are, apart from the company that needed a place to house their workforce. Once the company declines, they have less need for the workers or the town they built, so they pull out and leave an unnaturally-big shell of a community that feels out of place.

The situation in Shadgard isn't quite that extreme though - all we have is the mining company that also owns the banking system. Perhaps it hasn't gotten to the point of The Company running everything, or perhaps it's started its decline. Still, it stands to reason that The Company has a vested interest in keeping things hospitable for their workers who presumably make up the majority of the town's population in the form of un-named people that are always milling about. They likely also have enough economic and political sway to make sure things go their way.

As to the actual points about the dichotomy between the town feeling large and small at the same time - I think it's a function of our perception of the population. We tend to focus solely on named NPCs and PCs, despite there always being crowds of "people" everywhere. It would be nice to be able to see where all of these people live, however, even if it's just a bit of room description like "A long road branches off to the south, lined with row upon row of tightly-packed housing for the town's workforce," and the neighborhood isn't actually visitable.

For your point about enforcement - If the town is mostly run by the mining company, why should they care about what happens outside of the walls or who people choose to worship? As long as their workforce is safe, it's all good. Why are miners venturing out into the wilderness anyway? There's little economic reason to follow up on complaints from the wandering types who aren't really making The Company their money.

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Rias
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Re: How large is Shadgard? Why large is Shadgard?

Post by Rias » Thu Jun 23, 2022 11:48 am

Initial Disclaimer: I have zero practical knowledge about city planning and population center dynamics. At the same time, the same can be said for most people in Shadgard who are essentially a rag-tag bunch of apocalypse survivors playing it by ear.
saladbowl wrote:
Mon Jun 20, 2022 4:50 pm

Shadgard feels to me like it's straddling the line between 'too large to care' and 'small enough for everyone to care,' flipping between the two as necessity demands. It's an outpost where everyone has everyone's back and it's a tight-knit community. It's also a large city where people might slip through the cracks and monitoring everyone isn't possible. Overall room count / descriptions and perhaps travel time add to the dichotomy. IIRC there's one description of a home, no poor district, and no rich district.
I'd describe Shadgard as the infrastructure of a small town being increasingly crammed over its ideal population capacity. People can't just (safely) pick up and move elsewhere, nor can they go outside the canyon and start settling/expanding to new areas.

I'd never refer to Shadgard as a city. It's small enough to know many of your neighbors and get acquainted with your town officials and feel you have a voice, but full enough of people contained in that tight canyon space that things can still get lost in the crowd at times. I don't know that any rooms specifically mention homes (ah, I do see one), but plenty refer to "buildings" which can include homes. Shadgard is rather haphazard and not everything built therein is easily identifiable.

Being an overpopulated and geographically small Lost Lands survivor outpost, I don't think there's much in the way of rich or poor districts. People mostly just put things wherever there's available room at the moment, and there's not much left at this point so they've had to start building upward. Maybe rich individuals will eventually start congregating at the newer upper areas to feel more securely "above" everyone else, but that also invites the danger of coming off as smug and superior which the majority of Shadgardians don't appreciate. There's no intricate and bureaucratic law system or powerful unified police force for the rich to hide behind in Shadgard, so that's not going to go over as well as it would in other more "civilized" places. None of this is to say there aren't nicer and poorer areas that have naturally formed over time - I imagine the northwest corner is on the whole one of the nicer areas while the southeast is one of the slummier. But again - being in the circumstances they're in, Shadgard hasn't exactly had the luxury of developing zoning practices and the like. Stuff has been built on demand as needs have arisen, wherever was handy and available at the time the particular need arose.
It's difficult believing law enforcement would welcome people who openly worship XYZ no-no Immortals ...
This is essentially in a "suspension of disbelief" state until we have a viable place for said characters to call home. I apologize for the wait and the stretched believability the situation has caused.
... or people who talk about killing XYZ residents outside the walls (and might later attempt that), but raise the hue and cry if someone kills within walls. [...] Maybe because it'd take away player agency and possible builds if law enforcement took care of everything, in a world where dead people can resurrect to testify against their killers?


If a killing (or a threat of such) happens within town walls, that means there's jurisdiction, potential local witnesses, immediate effects and perceptions influencing the town, etc. Most things happening outside town walls essentially boil down to unverifiable claims. Shadgard just doesn't have the ability to police every report of every bad thing that happens to people outside their town and beyond their resources of eyes and ears. If things eventually boil down to "Bob says Mary killed him out near New Emberlight, but Bob is also apparently Undying and is fine now," should Shadgard law throw Mary in jail? Should they be policing every violent incident that occurs throughout the lands so long as one of the affected parties is capable of walking into Shadgard and filing a complaint? The way I have it imagined, it's going to differ based on the situation. A murder of a non-Undying individual is always going to be treated more seriously. A single instance on an Undying getting ganked out beyond the walls and popping back up to complain about it? Probably going to note it but not do much else - Undying are always doing horrible things to each other because they have lost their concept of meaningful fear of death or consequence, and Shadgard has neither the ability nor the desire to police the Undying across the entirety of the Lost Lands. If someone becomes known for committing multiple killings beyond the canyon and hiding behind the "well it was outside the town walls so there's nothing you can do!" argument, the town is probably going to remind them that Shadgard isn't the type of place to get too hung up over laws or guidelines if they (particulary the Town Council) deem something to be clearly out of hand.

Of course, reactions are also going to vary based on the individual filing the complaint. There's going to be a difference in reaction between attacking a town official and attacking some Undying adventurer that lives out of the Hearth & Home. A local miner complaining that Jasper picked their pocket while walking through Timberpine Forest? We'll note the complaint, but there's not much we can do. The mayor reporting that Jasper cut her son's coin pouch out in the same place? We'll get on it right away, Madam Mayor. This kind of varying/preferential treatment is there for practical believability reasons - Shadgard is not intended to have a justice system of perfect purity, equality, and fairness (I would find that stretching my own limits of believability).

Getting more meta about things: The GM team doesn't have the bandwidth to handle every negative incident between PCs via NPC justice/reputation/reactions. Having the more hard rule of "if it happens in town then the justice system will get involved" is about helping players feel they can play safely within towns, not so much about making players feel like they can get away with literally anything with no fear of any consequence ever as long as it's outside town. Towns are considered likely-consequence-zones where people should feel they need to behave within certain guidelines. Out in the wilderness, such things are far less certain but by no means guaranteed to be consequence-free, and I hope that's understandable both on an IC level and an OOC level.
Militia members materialize from air the nanosecond an NPC cries thief. And probably if someone channels sorcery. They're lurking everywhere, always on patrol.
The militia are essentially just armed citizens who are going about doing their thing like everyone else, only they've volunteered to intervene if such situations occur nearby rather than stand milling about as bystanders or run away. So they are indeed pretty much all around town all the time.

Mechanically, once an event causes the "summon militia" function to be called, there's a chance every second for a militia member to spawn until a max number of militia have arrived. That initial chance to summon the first ones may well need to be turned down so they don't nearly always show up virtually instantly. On the other hand, I'm not overly broken up about the low chance for people to circumvent militia intervention by just walking away immediately after performing the act.
Why do they care about some crimes but not others?
Because some situations are easy to code in as obvious illegal activities. Stealing from or attacking an NPC? Obvious situation for having the NPCs call for help. Channeling sorcery? As far as Shadgard is concerned, there is never a situation where doing this should not be considered illegal. (No, it's not meant to be an objectively reasonable stance for them to take - it's a deliberate lore prejudice.) Two PCs attacking or stealing from each other? Maybe they're just sparring or roughhousing or messing with a friend. This seems to be the case the majority of the time, and we haven't come up with a good way to handle these situations code-wise.
How large is Shadgard, numerically?
I honestly don't have specific numbers. If there's anything that requires more specific detail beyond the above the first response at the top of this post, let me know and I'll try to get you the details you need.

Navi
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Re: How large is Shadgard? Why large is Shadgard?

Post by Navi » Thu Jun 23, 2022 12:05 pm

I really appreciate this response Rias. It was a perfect mix of lore and realism. Especially the bit about the GM team. While the world is absolutely dynamic and does its best to make it seem like it is a living breathing world, in part done by the players, the GM team are human. They are 100% limited by real life constraints. They are not able to breeze through logs of every player, to keep up with every player's particular stories, nor inclined to. It's not their responsibility to. At least, I do not expect them to.



It would be great to have coded responses for every situation, but in some ways it would make the world seem less real. I enjoy the idea that investigations take place and take real time. However, it gives me anxiety.



I worry that players will become too chaotic for the GM team to police. I might bring this up in a voice chat soon, but how much is too much? Will you let us know? Should we worry about causing too much strife and turmoil? I regularly see over 20 accounts connected that are not part of the staff, and only see three accounts flagged as event staff, GM, or Dev most times.
wander without wanting, thrust into lands unknown. the shadows shift and change, and the worlds with them.
I'm not a soldier but I'm fighting
Can you hear me through the silence?
I won't give up 'cause there will be a day
We'll meet again

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Rias
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Re: How large is Shadgard? Why large is Shadgard?

Post by Rias » Thu Jun 23, 2022 12:21 pm

I'm all for more coded justice response suggestions. Development of justice system mechanics tends to be more reactive in my case, for better or worse. It's not particularly fun to try and preemptively think of every criminal act a PC might commit and then code in a catch and consequence for each one. It's also not fun to sit and think about reasons for punishing player characters.

On the other hand, though, we don't want to give the impression that towns are lawless free for all zones. We want players to feel their characters can expect a degree of safety and civility in town. So the development needs to be done even if it's not fun. Suggestions are very welcome!

rocode
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Re: How large is Shadgard? Why large is Shadgard?

Post by rocode » Thu Jun 23, 2022 12:29 pm

I like how Shadgard may (unintentionally?) follow the East Side rule, where the town's eastern side tends to be poorer because of the pollution from chimnies and industrial areas (like the gas works!)

Further Reading:

http://www.spatialeconomics.ac.uk/texto ... dp0208.pdf

Navi
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Re: How large is Shadgard? Why large is Shadgard?

Post by Navi » Thu Jun 23, 2022 12:31 pm

I'll leave these here, and move them over to a new thread as well for the justice system when more come to mind.

It doesn't seem like there's any justice system for players attacking one another in town. I won't try and reason this out, but including flags in specific rooms that allow sparring could then open up the rest of the town for making arrests on assaults against other players. I can only think of four rooms off the top of my head. Those being the barrack's sparring ring, the two alleys, and the inn rooms.
The boards get a bit cluttered, and rules are stretched pretty far on there. My suggestion would be to make it so that players are limited to one or two posts before they are required to remove one or both to post again. They do seem to be message boards, rather than where people post notices and the like. I haven't heard too much complaining from the GMs, so maybe this is just a player frustration.
wander without wanting, thrust into lands unknown. the shadows shift and change, and the worlds with them.
I'm not a soldier but I'm fighting
Can you hear me through the silence?
I won't give up 'cause there will be a day
We'll meet again

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saladbowl
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Re: How large is Shadgard? Why large is Shadgard?

Post by saladbowl » Tue Jun 28, 2022 4:47 pm

Thanks for the replies and answers!

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