one issue that keeps coming up in the game is the `proper' way to deal with spammers, dropstealers, beggars, foreign language users and people who don't brush their teeth at least twice a day-- and, eventually, that discussion is likely to extend to player killers. The present `solution' seems to be the following:
(a) Most `crimes' are treated as role-playing an evil character and go unpunished
(b) Serious spamming is banned by GM interaction
Both approaches are less than ideal. (a) is generally a fine idea (as far as I am concerned), but it leaves the victims with no recourse in the current game mechanics-- once something is dropstolen, there is no way to recover it. (b), on the other hand, requires GMs, who probably have better things to do, to invoke out-of-the-game mechanisms to deal with the problem. Plus, GMs must always be judge, jury, and executioner in the matter.
Thus, I propose an alternative: invest certain players (`principes') with additional executive powers limited to a certain realm (set of maps). These powers allow the principes to perform normally GM-only actions on players, with the underlying idea that they can thereby enforce `law and order' within the realm they are heading (note that legislative/judicative powers require no game changes). Below are some such powers that seem `reasonable' to me:
- Hold captive. A captive player is effectively controlled by the captor; the only actions left to him/her are speaking and logging out (though the latter leaves the character in the game). (Perhaps higher-levle characters might have the option of breaking out).
- Attack in safe zone. (PKing by the authorities, if you will.)
- View inventory (perhaps of captives only).
- Take from/put into inventory (perhaps for captives only).
- Post notices in predetermined places (for making the law public).
- Delegate a certain executive power to another player (`lieutenant').
- Where does the power come from? GM appointment? Popular vote? Social networking-like `implicit' voting by `supporting' potential candidates who can in turn support others?
- How can the power be taken away? (Killing a princeps? Killing a lieutenant? Killing all lieutenants? Another vote? Changes in the social networking balance? Automatically if the princeps is away for too long? GM intervention?)
- How does being offline affect this power?
- Would anyone ever want to play a character with such extra power, seeing how this would detract from adventuring? (I know I wouldn't, for example...)
- Would this make the game more maintainable (by offering in-game recourse for `breaking the rules') and more fun (`The evil Overlord Fate of Hurnscald has increased taxes again and is slaughtering innocent people! Let's start a rebellion!'), or just more tedious (`I call this court to order. Mr Tulkinghorn, will you please step forward to give us your findings on how the present case of Jarndyce and Jarndyce relates to the 1648 land reform under the legislature of King Lore the Second.')?
As usual with a proposal, someone will have to implement it in the new server/client if it is accepted. I will volunteer for that (1) if people like the idea, (2) if solutions to the remaining issues are found, and (3) after I have figured out the server and client sufficiently to actually do that.
So, any thoughts on the matter?