The Twenty-Sixth Dynasty of Kevan
5 January 2020 – 6 February 2020
A dark room, possibly empty. A whirring projector. A rectangle of light across a wall, showing static footage of a regular HB pencil resting on some kind of printed personality test. Either the recording is monochrome, or it is a black pencil on a grey table. A man speaks.
- ...we refer to them Artefacts because of the… smudging effect they exhibit on the universe, blurring the local laws of physics in some simple or complex way, from the perceptual to the physical. In nearly all observed creation events this process is… catastrophic and the original object is abhorred by its surrounding reality, being instantly destroyed or otherwise erased from the world. But in some cases reality is able to successfully… recrystallise around the Artefact, giving a jagged but stable boundary to its smudging effect.
- The Artefact on screen here is the Pencil. We recovered it four weeks ago from a collector in Jerez, and the rumours about it proved true. Physical contact with another Artefact causes that Artefact to… vanish, and… as best as we can interpret our own lab notes… erase all record of it ever having existed. Whether this retriggers the same nucleation process that created the Artefact, or destroys it in some other way, we were unable to ascertain. Research was progressing as to whether the Pencil would give us secure way to dispose of certain… L-Class Artefacts, or if it was simply teleporting objects away with a simple antimemetic halo effect, when the Pencil itself… disappeared from containment. That our records of the Pencil survive suggest a theft rather than the Artefact collapsing itself under its own means. A research and retrieval team was despatched to…
As a hand reaches into view on screen, the voice cuts out, and the film flickers and slides out of frame, leaving a blank white square.
The following players were active at the start of the Dynasty:
card*, Cuddlebeam, The Duke of Waltham, Josh*, pokes*, Kevan*, TyGuy6
The following players were active at the end of the Dynasty:
Avilva, Brendan*, card*, Cuddlebeam*, Darknight*, The Duke of Waltham, derrick*, Josh*, Jumble, Kevan*, pokes*, Tantusar*
Posts of Interest
- Study, Collect, Preserve established players as either Researchers, Collectors or Outsiders, travelling between Locations
- The Pencil Case defined Artefacts, and created The Pencil
- Dam Age added three types of Damage tokens
- Breach of Contract allowed individual Protocols for Artefacts: a Researcher breaching protocol risked being sacked from the Institute
- Ale Eve allowed some Artefacts to be Alive, causing them to roam between locations and perform defined Behavior actions
- Gizmos and Whatsits Galore allowed Collectors to shame other Collectors with lesser collections
- A Europewide Search added several European cities as locations, and allowed undiscovered Artefacts to appear in them
- We are the people that can find whatever you may need created The Paperclip
- Switcheroo created The Marble and The Switchcomb
- Real Lock Aye Shun created The Warp, a mysterious otherworldly Location
- Emokens used emoji to represent damage tokens
- Fnord Focus unified all Artefact activation as a "Focus" action that caused Reality Damage
- Hail Mary Pass restricted the taking of Artefacts from the Containment Facility: due to an oversight in wording ("Researcher" instead of "Individual"), this would later allow a Collector to sneak into the Facility and take Artefacts with impunity
- The Malice of Animate Objects allowed players to attack Alive Artefacts in order to disable and collect them
- Jetlag added a Soul Damage cost to travel between cities
- Deep Pockets introduced Collections for Collectors, and created The Left Shoe, The Right Shoe and The Lunchbox
- Life, for Life allowed players to generate damage-healing Artefacts from the Warp
- Roses Are REDACTED allowed players to include the term "[REDACTED]" in Artefact descriptions: these would be assigned secret values, known only by a random individual Researcher
- Life Goals established a final score
- Quantum Botanics added Redacted effects to the Strong Gin, which would never be unredacted
- Memotics introduced Institute proposals which could only be voted on by Researchers, and which could only have a small range of specific gamestate effects (moving Artefacts, setting their Protocols and the recruiting and firing of Researchers)
- Fee nay lay (proposed on the 17th of January) set a game deadline of the 5th of February
- Incentives allowed players to spawn an Artefact when setting their Location for the first time: several players had still declined to join the physical game
- Your Nearest Exit May Be Behind You introduced The Attendant, a living, time-travelling Artefact that counted as a player, and which could be commanded by anyone who wasn't currently playing (in practice all those commands came from idle player Viv)
- We Used To Dream of Colon-Bracket replaced the emoji Damage tokens with capital letters, as not all browsers were rendering them correctly; Template:Proposal later replaced them with icons on the wiki
- See, sometimes I can be covert was an Institute Proposal to put the Sequin Brooch (an artefact which disabled Containment effects) into Containment
- Flashback added the Cathedral in Jerez, a sublocation with its own movement rules
- Scout, Capture, Preserve allowed the Institute to issue secret Capture orders for lost Artefacts; these could be intercepted by Collectors who could guess what Artefact was being sought
- Plucky robot sidekick was an Institute Proposal to make The Attendent into a Researcher
- Acquisitions Team, suit up initiated a Capture. It later failed.
- Unstable Matter caused Warp Artefacts to gradually decay.
- Unstabler Matter was posted in response from a player in the Warp, proposing that Artefacts in Containment should disappear. It failed.
- Acquisitions Team, I’m sure you tried your hardest initiated another Capture, which would also fail.
- More Artefact created The Sports Cap, which allowed players to enter the Warp again (the Warp being locked off at that point since the only other Artefact that could take players there was inside the Warp itself)
- Bolting the Amnestic Airlock fixed a security loophole in the Containment Facility
Gin and Googles scam
- Clarity:Josh had created two Artefacts which, if used in combination, would allow someone to modify of their proposals into anything they wanted. Cuddlebeam noticed the scam, managed to get the items before Josh did and then used it in...
- Artefact Limit, attempting to get a very innocent-looking Proposal passed so that they could later change the meaning via the Goggles. Josh pointed out the scam there, which caused the Proposal to fail and the Gin and Googles to then be promptly patched (by erasing their Effect).
- Flavour Text was introduced to the Appendices
- Recruitment Drive proposed bonus votes for players who recruited others, when the game was getting quiet; it failed
- Recruitment Tree reproposed the Drive but with an unrewarded tree of player recruitment
- RfC: Pronouns Field added pronoun tags to the blog.
- Axed removed the player recruitment tree as "an interesting piece of data to look at, but it should never be used as a game mechanic"
- The only way out is in a casket removed the option to "cease to be a [player]" simply by making a post to that effect.
- Under the Wing introduced the Mentor system
Victory was achieved through the combined efforts of card, The Duke of Waltham, Darknight and Cuddlebeam, who agreed to have Cuddlebeam collect the most Artefacts and then pass the mantle at random among their group. Card donated all of their Artefacts to Cuddlebeam to give them the most Attainment at the Endpoint date, with The Duke of Waltham and Darknight running interference to prevent other players from finding Artefacts or reaching the Warp.
The victory was distributed as shown below, in the format "[Final Emperor Mantle %][Date of alliance start with Cuddlebeam] name".
- [40%][Jan 20th] card: Strategic counsel. Stole a lot of Artefacts from the Containment Facility via abuse of the Tiepin: Only Researchers were barred from taking Artefacts from the Containment Facility ("A Researcher may not pick up an Artefact in the Containment Facility, unless they are carrying the Security Pass"), card entered the Containment Facility as a Researcher, but then swapped to Collector to steal all of the Artefacts and took them into the Warp for Cuddlebeam to stash into their Collection.
- [35%][-] Cuddlebeam: General coordinator, Pooling target. Stayed mostly in the Warp, which for most of the dynasty, they were the only person with the ability to enter (via The Living Portal/The Picture Frame).
- [15%][Jan 31st] Duke of Waltham: Stalled Localizing via routinely Traveling within 16 hours (so that other players couldn't get Artefacts).
- [10%][Jan 31st] Darknight: Used Magnetism to gain an Artefact (there was a 50% chance they'd get a useful item - The Glove or The Pencil were desirable, vs The Cuppa or the Radio), and they got the Pencil, which they used to erase The Sports Cap: the only Artefact aside from The Picture Frame that could grant access into The Warp, aside from abusing Reality Damage to RNG hitting 10 Spatial Damage.
The Duke of Waltham was randomly selected to lead the next dynasty.
- Some post-dynastic commentary was made in this blog post.
That seemed a pretty good one. The only cautionary note I'd take forward is that having a victory condition trigger on a specific date makes for a rather drab endgame: players here became reluctant to throw out any easy catchup proposals (there was some bad blood when a proposal enacted to weaken the leader's strategy a week before the deadline) and had no reason to take big game actions too early before the deadline. After the catchup proposals had lead into a small slew of proposals to directly hand victory to someone (including the leader trying to throw the game away to someone else), the blog lapsed into lot of thumb-twiddling Core proposals at the end, which wasn't very dramatic. --Kevan (talk) 14:09, 2 March 2020 (UTC)
It was a painful dynasty to go through, but I feel like I've learnt important things through it (such as how to approach alliance-building in certain situations), definitely a lot more than the past few dynasties. Still, it wasn't as viscerally fun as those past dynasties. I don't look forwards to playing something like it again, but it wasn't an entirely negative experience. --Cuddlebeam (talk) 22:09, 2 March 2020 (UTC)