The Soggy Inquisition

People were coming back from an inquisition soaked through. I have no clue what happens at inquisitions, but is there some way to avoid having people standing outside in the rain during an Inquisition? It doesn’t seem at all healthy OOCly.

Which inquisition as all the ones I took part in as part of the Nine used the Synod tent? Which could have used some chairs and benches but was big, dry and light, which was an amazing improvement for the Synod’s facilities over last year.

This is likely to be the Varushkan inquisition of Loyalty on Sunday afternoon. Since it was a “public” inquisition of a former Senator and Varushka’s two generals, with implications for the whole Nation and some of Dawn too, it was felt best to do it in the centre of the Varushkan camp for maximum audience. Unfortunately the weather didn’t agree.

We gathered a pretty big crowd (thank you Varushka for that!) with both the Dawnish and Varushkan Egregores and 30-40 people. This made the inquisition feel very cool but made it difficult to move once the bad weather hit half way through. I hope no one suffered OOC beyond their tolerance for the experience.

The Synod Tent was indeed a good place for inquisitions and thoroughly under used but sometimes the context demands more public airings and in this case of fraying national loyalties it was best to do it in the relevant camp. There will likely be similar exercises in the future but I will bear in mind the need to establish a secondary location if the weather disagrees once again.

Inquisitions are like mental water boarding so it’s either that or all the guilty sweating.

Ah yes, the legendary Varushkan hospitality…

There was a large tent in Varushka that had been cleared and set aside for the purpose but it was refused so they stood (because we were not allowed chairs) for an hour in the rain and the cold in support of their Generals. There were a number of people in that crowd with OOC medical issues gradually worsening without complaint (including both Generals) whilst the inquisitors wittered on seemingly oblivious to the withering stares and horrified glances as they made mistake after mistake and succeeded in insulting an entire nation before being offered a drink and being waved on their way…

Inquisitions appear to have rapidly turned into the dreaded larp trials that PD were so keen to avoid.

Having seen a couple Steve C, I don’t agree at all. They take an hour at most and and it’s good RP. The dreaded lrp court goes on forever and is riven with boredom, the inquisitions I saw were fun, high intensity experiences for those involved (well it looked fun)

I suspect that your idea of high intensity fun is rather different from mine then.

The problem with trials is all the people who feel bounden to be there to spectate and/or support a cause. For them it’s anything but intense, most of the time. That, and it takes rare personal qualities to be other than a humdrum advocate.

“I suspect that your idea of high intensity fun is rather different from mine then.”

This is true for most people across many areas of the game.

There are people who will love being the focus/centre of specific attention, and some who will hate it.

The biggest aspect of “unfun” is, I suspect, the Spectator Effect that womble astutely identifies. There’s no part of inquisition that indicates that its intended to be a spectator event (and with hindsight maybe a prohibition on spectating may have been ‘cooler’). Watching people roleplay at each other isn’t always as exciting as doing the roleplay yourself.

If it were me, I’d support the subject of inquisition by poking around the character and standing of the person doing the inquisition and maybe find an Assembly willing to condemn the person doing the Inqusition for the religious crime of “abuse of powers”.

There ain’t nothing virtuous about spectating, in my opinion.

Also to add:

The Senate amended the Synod in two ways at the last event:

  • Raising the bar on recognising Exemplars
  • Adding an Orc National Assembly

So if people are unhappy IC about the format and nature of Inquisitions as they currently stand, there are options for acting on this. Removing the power altogether would likely require a sympathetic Empress and to dodge veto. Denying people the right to spectate (unless they have Right of Witness) as a trade off for halving the time might change the experience.

I can recommend Hywel Summercrow as a capable constitutional advocate who led the move for the change of Exemplar recognition.

I got the strong impression that the subjects of the inquisitions I was involved in were anything but bored - from watching the twitches and shifts of expression and the hurried talking over one another to synchronise ‘details’ that had been ‘forgotten’, never mind the shaking hands, it seemed like it was fairly intense!

Exactly Freya

There are different forms of high intensity RP and besides a fight (though that could happen) each are entirely possible. I really love the rough and tumble of combat and a desperate last stand and all that offers. I also like shady dealing in larp, behind closed doors agrees, shouting matches, grudges and the like.

An Inquisition as I’ve seen is high intensity as exactly what Freya was saying, you can see the subject wringing their hands, visibly shaking, and struggling, emotions can be read and misconstrued. They can be quoted, and those things taken in and out of context, and used for complete character assassination (in the social rather than literal way) of a person. Inquisitions are an interrogation in a true form, not having to rely on fake torture methods, but trickery, cunning and the like to get a response.

Well I was one third of the object of this inquisition and I have to say it was pretty damned involving. We’d had the whole event (and winter before) building up to it and even though I was fairly confident in my characters position it could have gone horribly wrong. There was a lot at stake, if the inquisitors had been in inept or ignorant, corrupt or bought, if character feuds had twisted the verdict, or if I’d lost my cool and cleaved somebody! Anything like this and our entire group (30 players ish) could have been prevented from joining our new nation and been forced to remain in limbo with political conflict and growing discontent the reward. Our reputation in Dawn, our noble recognition, and our future interactions with varushka as allies was all at stake.

In addition I did get what the loyalty synod was essentially saying: it was a matter that should have been handled internally and because it wasn’t, spread and revealed feuds and conflicts to the wider empire. I got the distinct impression that standing in the rain was something like the “naughty step” for a nation that should have known better than to involve the synod in what was essentially a matter of military leadership/trust. It was an example that was being made and literal statement of warning to anyone who might want the synod to do their dirty work in the future.

I’ve been in some interminable larp trials in other systems and this one was nothing like that. The loyalty synod did a serious job here, the cardinal was pretty staunch in his approach and knew what he wanted to do, the questions asked were good and pointed and pertinent, and I honestly felt the weight of proceedings IC. It caused my group no end of inconvenience as well, we needed to hire a mercenary banner just to fight with Dawn on Sunday, but it made game for us, and it underlined and emphasised the many alliances and friends we have to see the very many supporters and witnesses who came to watch and speak on our behalf.

The relief at being found innocent of battlefield disloyalty was immense, it felt like a major victory and achievement and that is in large part down to the excellent roleplay and serious demeanour of the loyalty synod and its investigators.

In the end, this inquisition was necessary, not because of the specific charges perhaps which were quickly dismissed, but because of the wounds that had been caused to national unity at the feud between national officials that had seen 2/3rds of the Varushkan military leave for other nations in direct consequence. Something of that scale needs IC recognition and an event like the inquisition to lay the feud to rest, get things in the open, and leave everyone capable of moving on/rebuilding, or finding new horizons elsewhere.

IC seems pretty damn reasonable for even the direst heretic can be questioned somewhere hospitable. This is the Empire afterall, we’re not Barbarians.

Personally I’d suggest this vague order.

  1. Ask IC (politely or otherwise depending on character)
  2. If you’re refused then if necessary break character and ask politely OC.
  3. If they’re still being jerks about it insist OC esp. if there are any personal health concerns.
  4. If they continue being jerks about it, Leave and report them to PD.
  5. Matt or another member of PD will then be reasonable at them with the unstoppable force of a rampant wilderbeast.

I really can’t see any cases getting past step 1 or 2.

LARP is a fantastic hobby except those tiny cases where it isn’t. Don’t feel obliged to stay in those cases.

I had a lot of fun performing an informal inquisition on my general, although she did have to listen to a rambling rant about why Cyrus thought Inquisitions sucked and it was encouraging a systemic bad attitude amongst my fellow synod members. Which is perhaps an unorthodox opener…
However I think I was guilty of keeping Izzy from the warmth of her tent. So Sorry Izzy