PR Problems? (Discussing the PR System)

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Re: PR Problems? (Discussing the PR System)

Postby Georgie » 07 Dec 2012, 08:07

In some of the original games, weren't all these things tacked onto Fame? Obviously, keeping track of every individual character's Fame would be. Yeah. And it wouldn't be based on, say, killing enemy soldiers in battle so much. But it seems like a viable substitution for PR in kingdoms/rulers to me.

Note, I haven't played the game in well over a year and was never fluent in PR rules to begin with. But as I understand it, PR affects a rulers' ability to self-declare rank and title, yeah? In keeping with the "shades of grey" observation, it makes sense to me. A ruler who makes life-affecting decisions regarding the foremost men in the country is going to make his influence felt no matter how he decided. This also has the bonus of encouraging battle and conflict, and even underhanded dealing. Too, by taking away the mechanical consideration of whether someone lives or dies, we get executions based rather heavily on RP. Final fame-specific thought: rather than removing PR points for "un-virtuous" actions, fame can just fade away over time. Go a few months without getting into a battle or doing something else to take the initiative? People stop hearing about the deeds of Sum Gai in their homes and start hearing about his rival, Da Qing.

I will note that in previous versions I had played, people were rather too eager to make / manipulate treaties and alliances for no-cost PR gain. None of that. A treaty or alliance is enough of a benefit in and of itself, I think.

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Re: PR Problems? (Discussing the PR System)

Postby Sir Ebrum » 04 May 2013, 22:26

Time for some good old simrtk necromancy, because I'm tired of catching up on six months worth of development for now...

Something we could try with the PR system is further contrast the two numbers used to track it. Last version, respect and reputation tended overall to rise and fall in tandem, and either one could be used to gain ruler ranks. For the sake of description, I'll call the two "Fear" and "Love" (recalling Machiavelli's, "it is better to be feared than loved").

The latter would basically be v5 reputation, unchanged.

The former would reflect a warlord's power and the extent of his/her authority. It would increase from the warlord's success in battle and in diplomacy, and would not suffer due to officer executions (and might actually benefit from the execution of arsonists/spies/etc). When this number is high, people are afraid to start trouble. When it is low...they aren't. This could provide some useful mechanics for portraying a crumbling dynasty.
Winning battles: good
Asserting diplomatic superiority: good
Having allies: good
Executing miscreants: good
Betraying other warlords: neutral
Brutally crushing insurrection/treason: neutral
Scorched earth tactics: neutral
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Losing battles: bad
Suffering from enemy plots: bad
Corruption/Embezzlement/Indiscipline: bad
Riots: bad

This would, or course, need to be tied somehow to the size of the warlord's (plus vassals) holdings. A ruler who holds two cities needs less of this stat than one who holds half of China. A nightmare scenario for a ruler would be if the loss of authority due to a major military defeat triggers a riot, which further erodes his authority...A reign based solely on fear can be a fragile thing.
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Re: PR Problems? (Discussing the PR System)

Postby Memento » 28 May 2013, 03:39

I'm actually kind of surprised to read the responses here. I suspect that people would not actually appreciate it very much if they get what they're wishing for.

Consider that a decent way into the version an average kingdom--ie. not the front runner--may have something on the order of 10-15 passable unit leaders. A high end kingdom might have on the order of 15-25, deployed on different fronts. (These numbers are very rough and should be taken with a signficant grain of salt.)

Also consider that in every battle, there tend to be something on the order of 5+ captives.

What that would indicate then is that we would approximately be refreshing an entire kingdom's officership every couple battles, if we had the amount of executing people seem to be advocating.

Now, I realize people are against "killing sprees," and picture a comfortable medium where a person would get executed every now and then, but I can tell you from personal experience what happens. Escalation happens once there are any deaths, and it happens quickly. No one backs down once their friends or stronger NPCs got chopped a head shorter.

I think the PR system is very smart and serves its purpose well, in terms of curbing deaths. Executions should cost you something every time, except in circumstances where they're really asking for it. That way you can still do it, you just have to pay the penalty. I'm not a fan of throwing away two years of someone's time with no counter-consideration, and letting the whole mess escalate so that more of the same will happen. There should be some incentive not to do it.

We should strive for realism, but also playability.

Besides, if you want tactical consideration, you can always imprison people for 1 turn for a minimal PR hit. That's plenty.
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Re: PR Problems? (Discussing the PR System)

Postby Kakirot83 » 28 May 2013, 04:12

Memento wrote:I'm actually kind of surprised to read the responses here. I suspect that people would not actually appreciate it very much if they get what they're wishing for.

Consider that a decent way into the version an average kingdom--ie. not the front runner--may have something on the order of 10-15 passable unit leaders. A high end kingdom might have on the order of 15-25, deployed on different fronts. (These numbers are very rough and should be taken with a signficant grain of salt.)

Also consider that in every battle, there tend to be something on the order of 5+ captives.

What that would indicate then is that we would approximately be refreshing an entire kingdom's officership every couple battles, if we had the amount of executing people seem to be advocating.

Now, I realize people are against "killing sprees," and picture a comfortable medium where a person would get executed every now and then, but I can tell you from personal experience what happens. Escalation happens once there are any deaths, and it happens quickly. No one backs down once their friends or stronger NPCs got chopped a head shorter.

I think the PR system is very smart and serves its purpose well, in terms of curbing deaths. Executions should cost you something every time, except in circumstances where they're really asking for it. That way you can still do it, you just have to pay the penalty. I'm not a fan of throwing away two years of someone's time with no counter-consideration, and letting the whole mess escalate so that more of the same will happen. There should be some incentive not to do it.

We should strive for realism, but also playability.

Besides, if you want tactical consideration, you can always imprison people for 1 turn for a minimal PR hit. That's plenty.


I think where some of us don't mind the idea of dying, is the threat that we could exists. Last version, deaths were so rare, that for the most part, I never really felt like I could die. Even in tense situations, where I willingly went into an enemies AH to try and convince them not to kill someone, was I really afraid of dying. That should be a case, where I am risking my life, and someone might decide why not take this person and kill them. After all, I was an enemy, and I did just walk in. Instead, I get to walk away, even though I did not succeed at saving my comrades life, I did get to be 'bold' with no real risk.

Now, as for escalation, that could also be compared to nuclear bombs, and the cold war between the US and Russia. After all, the premise of WW3, was going to be, when someone started using those bombs, both sides were going to unload them all, and the world was going to end. And that's exactly what happened, right? No. It didn't. Both sides knew the risk of actually doing something like that, and decided to play chess with a whole bunch of other countries, because neither side wanted to lose everything.

The same could be said in this situation, in this sort of game. Sure, if the rules get a little easier, more people might die, but you have to weigh that versus what killing people might actually mean. Even if I'm the big guy, if I start killing your officers just to kill them, you'll kill any you might capture. Not only that, but since larger kingdoms get ganged up on sometimes, it means your 'allies' that are fighting me will probably kill anyone they capture. After all, they already know I'm going to kill left and right when it comes to them, I'm already doing it to you.

Real pressure, the type that says 'don't do that', is something I think people might enjoy more, if it comes from the other people involved, and not from the rules. That's what social pressure is, and you need 'peers' to put it on you.

Of course, that might just be my thoughts. :mrgreen:
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Re: PR Problems? (Discussing the PR System)

Postby Memento » 28 May 2013, 11:57

Regardless of the PR rules, you will probably be fairly safe acting as a diplomatic envoy in an enemy AH. Parley is an important part of diplomacy and diplomats get special protection. It's hard for me to imagine that that would go away, even if PR were changed.

That said, the incident I am picturing was in V2. I had led a kingdom for a long time under the principle that I didn't want to see escalation in terms of deaths, so I never killed anyone (in my recollection? there might have been one, I can't recall). I even captured a kingdom leader as a POW at one point, and confiscated an item but let him go.

But then I had to concentrate on school after a year or so, and passed the leadership to Hello Sailor. She was a lot more ruthless and immediately escalation occurred. She apparently didn't stay leader very long, giving the position to JiangXun. At that point, the escalation had become so bad that he literally burned someone to death to execute them in the AH.

Executions need a cost, that's all I'm saying. There has to be some counter-consideration. Sometimes the execution will be worth it and proceed, but if it's free then that's a recipe for disaster.
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Re: PR Problems? (Discussing the PR System)

Postby Kakirot83 » 28 May 2013, 20:06

I'm not saying I would mind some backlash, every now and then, but having only played the one version (last version), the amount of backlash seemed too great. When people are being released for the 7th time, because the only way to grow in power is to never kill anyone, then I think it's too much.

Guan Yu might not have died the first time someone could've killed him, but by god, someone did eventually take his head. That's all I'm saying. :wink:
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Re: PR Problems? (Discussing the PR System)

Postby Jolt » 29 May 2013, 00:58

Memento wrote:What that would indicate then is that we would approximately be refreshing an entire kingdom's officership every couple battles, if we had the amount of executing people seem to be advocating.


A dramatic overstatement. I completely disagree with this scenario, even in a case where there's no penalties. First because it implies that defeat equals capture for anyone, and that rulers will use all their officers in battles like cannon fodder, including those without any military skills to battle which is silly. In reality, we can observe the probable behaviour from two points of view:
- In strategic planning, the very real prospect of death of capturable officers, in addition to being realistic, would introduce a lot more decision-making as to the risk-benefit of certain military actions. As of now, it is a no brainer to repeatedly use your top generals in as many battles as possible, since they are practically certain to either escape or be released. There is virtually no risk and all the benefit in employing your best generals constantly, so long as the rulers can throw them with enough troops into battle. As such, the prospect of death should make rulers weigh very carefully how and when and where to deploy and use their generals in military manuevers. Further, it actually allows for average generals to do most of the work military work, as their loss isn't as costly as that of a top general leading the best armed and trained units. In principle, the greater risk should make rulers exercise a much more cautious military planning, then the usual draft->train->Ship them off to invade a city routine which in the end, is also realistic.
- In tactical planning, caution is much more required, as unit destruction and capture ultimately meant very little besides the loss of troops and chance of enemy recruitment if your commander was NPC. Besides, with the new map and the way combat is handled (No more 30x30 battle maps), rulers are now able to actually retreat and advance in formation. And when units moral breaks, they begin to retreat back to their previous city (Which can now be covered by reserves and ZoC to make sure the enemy doesn't capture your best generals or rout your army entirely.) Are you going to withold your best Generals and units in reserve while the rest of the army whitles down the opposing army, and employ them trying to exploit the enemy's most demoralized units in the midst of the battle? Or would you rather send your best general in the vanguard to try to break the enemy first but risk his capture and possible execution if your fails?

Memento wrote:Now, I realize people are against "killing sprees," and picture a comfortable medium where a person would get executed every now and then, but I can tell you from personal experience what happens. Escalation happens once there are any deaths, and it happens quickly. No one backs down once their friends or stronger NPCs got chopped a head shorter.


No, wrong. I had heard and refuted that argument last game when Luo's officers were threatening that Xiahou Meng's execution would escalate the war. War is the ultimate escalation.

War in this game implies one ruler/player and his officer corps attempting to defeat the other ruler/player and his officer corps, and render his kingdom wiped-out or as unfeasible as possible in the interest of the invading ruler/player.

If a ruler doesn't want his Generals killed, there is a quite simple way to avoid it, don't make war on other rulers, and retreat from your excess cities and only try to defend your last city as best as possible (And that's because game mechanics force you to) to the other ruler trying to invade you. RP wise, then it makes very little sense to execute anyone. Noone in your kingdom dies (Hopefully, as ultimately you are putting yourself at the mercy of the victorious ruler, more or less as Han Fu did with Yuan Shao).

People need to realize that the most likely result of sending Generals to war is getting them killed. You send your best to war, you risk getting your best killed. The player generals are always welcome to desert in the pre/mid-battle or in post-capture if they or their characters really value their character's life/two-years effort more than their loyalty/honor/whatnot. A lot of Liu Zhang's generals took that smart choice. I remember Luo's officers backing down from their claims that Strong Bad's execution would bring rivers of blood and scattering to the seven winds as soon as Legend said that capture equals execution. By that example, I mean to say that despite the executions, if the ruler and officers become blinded by revenge, then ultimately, it is them that are making the mistake of not being cool-headed and calculating (Liu Bei comes to mind as an historical example). Sometimes it's better to cut your losses and lick your wounds, then risk overplaying your hand to look tough and losing everything.

Memento wrote:I think the PR system is very smart and serves its purpose well, in terms of curbing deaths. Executions should cost you something every time, except in circumstances where they're really asking for it. That way you can still do it, you just have to pay the penalty. I'm not a fan of throwing away two years of someone's time with no counter-consideration, and letting the whole mess escalate so that more of the same will happen. There should be some incentive not to do it.


We're talking about a game set in an age where people died in vast numbers. In the higher echelons of power as well, where generals and politicians and scholars alike were beaten up or executed for insignificant slights or just offering honest criticism to their rulers, and those that showed mercy were in the vast minority (And noone's arguing for that degree of death). What the game is doing is 99% of the characters that are alive in the beginning of the game, no matter in how many battles or dangerous situations they have encountered, they remain alive at the end of the game. That's just silly.
Besides, even without PR penalties, if the ruler is playing a Do-goodie guy, releasing generals would boost his Good status or PR.

Memento wrote:We should strive for realism, but also playability.


If the staff would vastly reduce the penalty to negligible (EDIT: Not negligible. There has to be a somewhat clear loss for the kingdom, as most probably the killed character's player will rejoin the ruler with the new character, so the character should be somewhat worse than his original one. Sign-up bonus equivalent to 90% of the Stat and Skill Points of the original characters values upon death would be a good choice, methinks.) values upon a character's non-voluntary death, it would strike a definite balance between playability (The player's two-year efforts are pretty much still there), while vastly increasing realism in an area where it is terribly lacking (Military and diplomatic action has real tangible risks and consequences for the characters involved).
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Re: PR Problems? (Discussing the PR System)

Postby Memento » 29 May 2013, 03:02

Thanks Jolt. Let me address that pointwise.

1. Just to clarify, I was referring to the military officers only in that first quote, Jolt. Admittedly as I wrote it, it was unclear. As you can see, I estimated 10-15 such officers per kingdom, and a capture rate of about 5+ per battle. That implies military officers get refreshed every 2 battles or so. That said, though I was not picturing it when I made the original statement, it's not just military officers who can be captured in war. If a city is sacked, then all officers inside are able to be captured.

2. I don't really agree with you regarding wars being the ultimate escalation. Even now, we consider it a much different level of escalation if POWs are tortured or executed in captivity, if weapons of mass destruction are used instead of conventional weapons, if agreements or treaties are broken between warring parties, if unarmed or uninvolved parties are targeted, etc. There are significant escalations that can and do occur in the real world, in those cases. Real world examples abound, but I'll point out Libya as an example. Or the fact that we are willing to fight by day, and let the opposition retrieve their dead by night; and this has been a fact for as long as there has been war. People who don't obey these rules of engagement are properly considered tyrants or savages, as they ought to be. And when those rules aren't followed, then there certainly is escalation. We've got examples of it here and in the real world.

3. The game is a reduction of history, not an emulation. We don't have to have an exactly faithful reproduction, in respects that would worsen gameplay. For instance, we don't have mechanics for taking a crap. We have chosen to eliminate that concept even though it obviously was an important part of life in that era. There are certain things we do to make the game playable and enjoyable, and I'm pretty sure not restarting your character every few months would be pretty high on that list.

4. Let me add one more thing here.

It's not like the penalty for execution is all that severe as-is. If you want to execute someone, you can certainly do it. You can usually release enough prisoners to, for the most part, offset the loss of the execution. You don't get infamy, or lose NPCs, or even lose any city stats. If there is a highly valued enough target, say the enemy's Sun Ce or Lu Meng NPC, then you might consider execution even though it dings PR. People who go to war in every version certainly are at risk of dying, and that certainly is a consideration especially when you are captured (trust me, when we had captures including myself, we were very nervous of the risk given the animosity between us and the kingdoms we were warring at the time). We didn't have that many deaths, but that doesn't mean we didn't have that much risk of death. There's a threshold over which death will happen and even be justified--for the most part, people didn't go over that threshold. That shouldn't be framed as "we didn't have enough death," it should be framed as "people for the most part were graceful POWs."

The fact is that PR is not the deciding factor for sending your best generals, even then. It's actually the XP system. Your best generals become better by fighting every month. You want to expose them as much as possible. It doesn't make sense to hold them back, because while you risk losing them, you also stand to improve them.
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Re: PR Problems? (Discussing the PR System)

Postby Strong Bad » 30 May 2013, 03:27

I'll go ahead and add to Jolt's point that had they not killed Xiahou Meng, and let me go, I'd have come back to kill them all, PR be damned. And they knew it.

I will disagree with one small assessment, though: war is not (entirely) the ultimate escalation. In the grand scheme of things, when you consider war to be the only answer when diplomacy fails, sure... but war itself has varying levels of escalation. As some warrior-philosophers have agreed, it's not enough to be able to break your enemy's ability to fight (although that helps): you have to also break their will to fight. In that regard, Legend played his hand perfectly: he saw precisely how far I was ready to escalate the war's levels of brutality (which was classically me in a sense that I would've escalated it to a point of debauched levels of extreme violence due to my desire to "break" the enemy), and instead of waiting for it to happen, took the situation right to the max on his and challenged Xuchang to call his bluff. They balked. Plain and simple.

In regards to how this relates to PR, I've always been a proponent of removing the system entirely, or at least watering it down to be considerably less of a "make-or-break" system. I can appreciate attempting to put a quantitative formula and measuring system towards how "good" or "evil" a faction may be, but the simple fact is that we see time and again situations in the novel (and history) that would utterly annihilate a faction in SimRTK through how bad the PR losses would be (see Cao Cao burying 10,000 soldiers alive for revenge). Even if we ignore the novel and history, I just feel like the PC's make this game. Or, at least, they make what makes a kingdom truly loved or hated by its populace, and frankly, PC's generally know when to call BS on a ruler who is out to be a tyrant. And if the kingdom's PC's don't, then their neighbors certainly will.

The issue I have is I'm not sure what system I would implement in its place, if we were to rehash it. Obviously, PR won't go away, no matter who decries the system. So, all I can hope for is a minimization of effects from a purely mechanical standpoint, or at least make it rely on a system that isn't so easily gamed out.

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Re: PR Problems? (Discussing the PR System)

Postby Memento » 30 May 2013, 03:41

To be fair, Cao Cao went down in history as pretty dang villainous. Well, not in the Dong Zhuo sense, but certainly in the Machiavellian sense.

Liu Bei's case is more puzzling though.

If anything, arguably the infamy skill itself could be tweaked based on your argument.
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Re: PR Problems? (Discussing the PR System)

Postby Mat » 30 May 2013, 10:45

Strong Bad wrote:The issue I have is I'm not sure what system I would implement in its place, if we were to rehash it. Obviously, PR won't go away, no matter who decries the system. So, all I can hope for is a minimization of effects from a purely mechanical standpoint, or at least make it rely on a system that isn't so easily gamed out.


The treaties for the sake of PR is one thing I'd like to see done away with. Promises mean nothing if they aren't upheld or broken. A ruler should get PR for honoring a mutual defense pact, or lose PR for not honoring it. Just publicly stating that the neighboring ruler and you are simpatico shouldn't mean much, if anything. This method I think would give more weight to treaties, since they would only benefit rulers in the event that they're honored, requiring additional investment to actually reap rewards from.
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Re: PR Problems? (Discussing the PR System)

Postby Memento » 30 May 2013, 12:07

Mat, I like your idea.

Treaties are cheap, honoring calls for aid is not.
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Re: PR Problems? (Discussing the PR System)

Postby Han Shao » 30 May 2013, 12:29

I was playing Shogun 2 and the diplomacy in that game might work well for PR. If you betrayed an ally or did something heinous, you would get a penalty to relations and it would slowly decrease over time. Outright treachery would have a minimum degree and would never get back to 0, so the dishonor would never go away. :P The same applies in reverse for Alliances. It would be at its strongest right after you've made it. So I propose something similar;

Did not honor Alliance (Refusing to help an ally in a Mutual Defense Pact)
Initial PR: -5, Drift: +1 per month

Broke Alliance (Attacked an ally)
Initial PR: -10, Drift: +1 per month until -5

Executed Prisoners
Initial PR: -2 per person, +1 per season

Burned your own city
Initial PR: -20, +1 per month until -10

And all the other stuff. Numbers would probably have to be hashed out better... But I must go to work!

Oh, and of course this would require a lot of micromanaging for the admins, so I also propose it be part of the KT. An Admin says you've broken an Alliance and you must keep track of the PR changes.
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Re: PR Problems? (Discussing the PR System)

Postby Strong Bad » 30 May 2013, 15:52

Memento wrote:To be fair, Cao Cao went down in history as pretty dang villainous. Well, not in the Dong Zhuo sense, but certainly in the Machiavellian sense.


Yeah, hundreds of years later he became known as the "villain." But, in his day, he was not exactly one to suffer tremendous rebellions and unrest in his areas of control. In fact, in a matter of years after, his kingdom had effectively quadrupled in size. Were a warlord in SimRTK to do the same things Cao Cao did, their kingdom would've imploded way early in the game.

See, the main issue with PR is the assumption that every action is black and white, and therefore has a black and white response. The problem I have is that almost nothing in life is black and white, and with the right spin or the right situation, even tremendously heinous acts perpetuated by a kingdom can be forgiven or forgotten by its populace (as long as you win, in the end). My best example in SimRTK is that of Xiahou Meng in V5. Were he to win on the field of battle against Runan, his intention was to have every officer captured in battle impaled outside of the city. Impaling, for those not aware, is about one of the most retched and horrific ways to be killed. In a straight black/white PR system, this would suffer in a huge loss of PR for Xuchang, and probably ruined the kingdom's image permanently. How did I justify such actions to myself, my liege, and my populace? Simple: Runan was ran by a former Yellow Turban, a rebel, and the very reason the Middle Kingdom had been fractured for so long. And, rebels like that needed to know that they were no longer allowed to exist in this realm to disturb the path to ultimate peace in the land. It's all about perception, and given the setup for V5 and how terrifically bad an image the Yellow Turbans must have had at that point, I should've gotten away with minimal PR effects (had I succeeded).

As I said, in a black and white system, you effectively create this perfect system to be gamed and worked to a mathematical advantage, and ends up watering down the experience of a game that should be a lot more dangerous, or at least less harsh on those who would seek to be more risk-takers in the end. Perception, in the end, is the true key. Perhaps what we've all been missing is that "PR," as it is, can't be measured as quantitatively as we've thought before. This is primarily because, if you really look at it, you almost have three kinds of PR: how your populace views you, how your friends view you, and how your enemies view you. All three are interconnected, and all three are influenced to varying degrees of what you do as a warlord. But, not all actions have the same consequence. You kill a beloved leader of an enemy faction, their own populace will revile you, but I guarantee you your own populace will love you more, having removed a potential weapon to harm them with. Kill one of your own leaders, though, and without some terrific spin, not only do you poison your own populace's opinion of you, but you strengthen your enemy's thoughts of justification against you, and weaken the resolve of your friends.

I know this is over-complicating it a bit, but frankly, you can't expect every single end result in SimRTK to result in the same numeric effect without taking into account the particulars. Plots in general seem to have taken a complete nosedive in the last couple of games, and I think missing more of them is a detriment to the game. Heavy PR penalties and what they do killed a lot of people's willingness to consider plotting for gain (and the great RP that follows). Same with deaths, in general.

-SB
Xiahou Meng will return for V6. Until then...

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Re: PR Problems? (Discussing the PR System)

Postby Lionheart » 30 May 2013, 20:04

Strong Bad wrote:(see Cao Cao burying 10,000 soldiers alive for revenge)


Actually, SB, he did that because he didn't have the food to feed them, or the troops to guard them and continue campaigning. He couldn't let them go either, for fear that they would rejoin Yuan Shao.

Even the novel said that about Cao Cao, so you have to guess that there's some truth in those being his motivations. :P

Memento wrote:Mat, I like your idea.

Treaties are cheap, honoring calls for aid is not.


Here's a proposed fix: signing a treaty is worth like 5 PR or so. Breaking one? -10 or -15 PR. Make the penalties three times as worse as signing them in the first place and I promise you that you'll see more treaties honored and less overall made just for the sake of making them.
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