Open Letter to the Serpentlords

As Hashan bids farewell to the Cult of the Serpentlords as part of the city and they transition from a House to a High Clan, I feel it is appropriate to make my peace with it and all the players who have contributed to this end over the last few years especially, then hopefully, we can let it rest and move forward all the better for it.

Primarily, I wish to express that I, the player, have no hard feelings or ill will towards any of you. I fully realize it is a game, while admitting that at times emotions do run high that is all part of the fun and consequence of investing in anything. Vayne may despise, hate, conspire, or even murder your characters, but I, as a player, thank you for that conflict that keeps Achaea dynamic and exciting.  I apologize for an opposing evidences of that I have provided here on the forums, this is often a negative place and I should not let myself succumb to it as I often do.

I love the idea of the Serpentlords and I am unable to sustain or enjoy alts. Vayne is my only character and was a Hashani Serpentlord since I was in highschool until I left about a year ago. Though I do not regret becoming an alchemist at all, leaving the SL was by far the hardest decision I have made in my Achaean career. It was clear that half the House felt my way was best for the House and that half felt Lacertix's way was the best. Decisions were made and paths determined and that is just the way it is, all becoming part of Achaea's storied history books. However, though I oppose the current regime's policies as strongly as they did mine, I understand both were trying to do what they felt was best for the House. The fact that Achaea gives us the freedom to choose like that, again, is what makes it so unique and ever evolving.

I have always wanted to the Cult to succeed, but again, my idea of what that looks like obviously differed from those currently at the helm. I still want the Serpentlords to succeed and I support their departure from Hashan and transition to a high clan. It would have truly been a shame to see one the more lore-rich organizations in the game be annihilated in the renaissance or reduced to being just the name of some path within one of the new Houses. Like with the Merchants, I think this gives both orgs the resolution and chance for growth that they so need. Opening up the SL to all cities widens the pool and makes the title of "Serpentlord" more meaningful if you allow it to be; it will not just be any Hashani Serpent who goes through the system, but hopefully a worldwide council of elite Serpents progressing the art as the House sought to do.

In the same regard, I want to thank the admins and gods for their hand in carving Hashan back out. You have seen the straights Hashan has been in with its disparate orgs and have worked to find mutual solutions with its changing culture that as @Linton‌ said in another thread "gives me a positive feeling". It's good to see that things are not set in stone and that we can initiate things and the staff is willing to help make it happen. It restores some of that lost magic that anything can happen in Achaea. So thanks @Tecton, @Valnurana, both in your goddess and admin roles through both House transitions, @Ourania, and @Twilight. I cannot imagine how much work you guys put in and how stressful it must be to make this game fun for all us moody, arrogant cry babies.

So let bygones be bygones, I pray. For the good of the game, we are going our separate ways, and it is no use wasting any more energy on unresolvable differences of opinion.

Good Luck Serpentlords,



  • Daeir said:
    being bereft of a city affiliation is a huge boon for any sort of spy/espionage related group
    Is it? They have no allegiance to give them relevance, to give direction and purpose to their antics. They aren't spying on behalf of any government, group, or cause. No major org is going to employ them, because they're inherently untrustworthy, and most cities either have their own resources for that, or don't want it done (eg. Cyrene). Any impetus is going to have to come from within. But they've also removed themselves from the influx of new members you get by being a House in a city. I'd be surprised if they do anything but slowly wither and die.

    Isolating your org is a terrible idea in this game. I am enjoying the trainwreck though. Daje would be proud.
    Actually, this allows for information gathering, on EVERYONE. No matter their affiliation, and allows for an exchange network of information go to around. For the cities who do not have a network of gathering information and they wish to have it, they can now approach the SL and say, "Hey, I need information on this." and get the information while the SL now can either make gold for it, or get it in exchange for other information.

  • Xith said:
    2 cents:
    I love this. Had a friend who was going to run a spy clan, and many people I've talked to always found espionage underwhelming. A Spigh Clan(tm) occured to me but I was thinking along the lines of a secret clan which couldn't be high clans. 
    And since there were 3+ serpent-only houses that was also kind of... boring and redundant.
    I think separating the houses from cities (and houses) enables more interesting political play.
    I agree. It's wonderful that the lore of the Serpentlords won't be dissolved in any way, but be allowed to progress and develop further. Wonderful stuff -- and from my personal experiences with the Curia I can say with certainty that they'll have far greater ability to do this without being tied to a specific city. 
  • How useful is an unbiased information-gathering organization in Achaea? What useful information is there to gather? I've always though that the Talon Karrde/Liara style information broker would be an awesome role to play in Achaea, but... there's nothing to really care about.
  • Jacen said:
    How useful is an unbiased information-gathering organization in Achaea? What useful information is there to gather? I've always though that the Talon Karrde/Liara style information broker would be an awesome role to play in Achaea, but... there's nothing to really care about.
    You'd be surprised at the information people seek in the game. I'm thoroughly astounded by what people approach me with, as a serpent, and say, "Hey, go do this and tell me what happens." I never tire of being a sneaky serpent.

  • An organisation living or dying solely by how fun it is is hardly a bad thing though. Houses can end up walking corpses with little point because instead of dying they're kept on life support. The renaissance will hopefully blunt the damage this can cause, but it's no guarantee the new houses will forever remain functional and interesting.
  • VayneVayne Rhode Island
    Well, it is completely up to them whether they stay relevant or now, and they certainly have their work cut out for them. Especially since they will not be able to pin all their woes on Vayne's account anymore.
  • I just want to say that I really hope the Serpentlords make a good go of being a Highclan, if it wasn't for Bade feeling he had to make a choice and he choising the Divine he believes in I wish he could have stayed a Serpentlord and Hashani, not likey to ever be since he got enemied to the house. Good Luck Serpentlords.
  • BluefBluef Delos
    edited November 2014
    Maybe we shouldn't be boxing the Cult into what our perceptions of their High Clan might become. The possibilities are really endless. Espionage and mercenaries for hire, perfection as a group of trained assassins, roleplay revolving around the historic serpentlords like Ralston, Raxis, Syrax, Lucius Errikale, Caprian Zyle. Really, they can do anything they want now.

    I've been where they are now in just a regular clan and with a committed memership and active patron there are infinite ways to enjoy the game -- and make yourselves relevant based on what you have fun doing in the game, not just what others think or have to say about you.

    It's never good for an organization to base its thought process on what those outside of it have to say/think about their activities anyway. Real validation comes from within, ie. whether your members are enjoying themselves in the game. For example, the Curia has taken all kind of guff for our spiritualism and dedication to Lord Thoth, but we just pressed on because it was fun for us and that's all that mattered.

    P.s. Okay, I admit I do enjoy that one of the recent changes to spiritlore (spiritwalking) was something the Curia first began doing RPwise about, oh, 60 years ago or so. 2 RL years of roleplay that others in the game thought was "stupid" is now an actual ability for shamans to enjoy, adding to the flavor of the game for our little tribe of roleplayers all the more. 
  • edited November 2014
    Eh, they've already proven that they'd rather fight Hashan/Twilight/Ourania than do any of the other cool stuff. My bet is on slow death, since the former is much less interesting now that they aren't a part of it.

    ETA: Their (eviction|departure) from Hashan wouldn't have even happened if being an assassin|thief|spy organization was something they wanted and tried to do. Would have had Hashan's full support in that.
  • KresslackKresslack Florida, United States
    I feel as though while High Clans are still currently underdeveloped, they are also underestimated and underused. The point of High Clans was to offer organizations the option of existing in an official capacity -without- needing to be tethered to a city.

    From an IC perspective, based on the SL-Hashan history, this looks like a win-win and an end to an age old rivalry between a city and a House. Both sides get what they've wanted and been working towards for the last few RL years. I wasn't around when it happened, but I can't help but wonder if the separation of the Infernals Guild from Ashtan took a similar path.

    From an OOC perspective, this looks like people who care about a particular culture (regardless of how inherently riddled with strife it always seems to be) enough to take steps to preserve it in anticipation of an inevitable Renaissance. They get to keep their House and what goes with it (as far as I know, anyway) without it getting playdo mashed into other city Houses and changed forever.

    Now...whether this was for the best or worse is a tale only time can tell. For what it's worth, I am glad to see a subterfuge based House standing independent of cities. It allows them to more directly determine their goals or focuses. If anything, it opens up the potential for untapped recruitment that is currently the Rogue sector. The brilliance of it being, there need be no obvious indicators of membership to the uninformed perspective. to me, that opens up a lot of possibilities.

  • ShirszaeShirszae Santo Domingo
    Jacen said:
    Eh, they've already proven that they'd rather fight Hashan/Twilight/Ourania than do any of the other cool stuff. My bet is on slow death, since the former is much less interesting now that they aren't a part of it.

    ETA: Their (eviction|departure) from Hashan wouldn't have even happened if being an assassin|thief|spy organization was something they wanted and tried to do. Would have had Hashan's full support in that.
    I fail to comprehend this mentality. If Hashan can raise from the bog, then so can the high clan of one of the most interesting and storied Houses. Some of you almost seem to want them to fail, which I find amusing.

    And you won't understand the cause of your grief...

    ...But you'll always follow the voices beneath.

  • Oh, it'd be awesome if they would become a badass serpenty assassin/thief/spy House, but these are the people who rejected the god of Shadows and the goddess of Subterfuge. I think the awesome possibilities, and their intentions, are two very different things.
  • Jacen said:
    Oh, it'd be awesome if they would become a badass serpenty assassin/thief/spy House, but these are the people who rejected the god of Shadows and the goddess of Subterfuge. I think the awesome possibilities, and their intentions, are two very different things.
    You know you don't HAVE to worship Twilight to be a serpent right?
  • KresslackKresslack Florida, United States
    Who says they have to be 'spies for hire'? One of the most profitable parts of being a spy is trading or selling intelligence information. In the Naga we would still journals and letters and if it were something special or sensitive, generally the owner would be willing to  pay for it back, as well as guarantee it wouldn't go public. There's doesn't need to be built in mechanics to let stuff like that happen, yet I see High Clans themselves are such a mechanic.

    I wouldn't say High Clans are 'less important'. For all appearances, it depends entirely on how they're developed and function. It's not that they're less important than things such as Orders, for instance, it's that they functionality is still very limited. However, at the very least it lets them seek out a Patron which open up so many doors for the High Clan. 

    The Guardians of Moghedu are another High Clan that had sprung up and made a name for itself. Sure, the idea that you're going to be able to keep from bashing Moghedu was a bit far fetched, but efforts were made and they formed an official alliance with Moghedu due to those efforts. They have actual headquarters in Moghedu. High Clans are organizations. That's fact. They're not organizations on the level of cities, but that's because they're not supposed to be. They're also not stepping stones, they're simply independent. That's why you can turn an org-owned clan into a High Clan; it defeats the purpose.

    The PoM more or less has a monopoly on piracy, not because no one else can do it, but because no one else wants to, and most of the people that can are with the PoM. The Pirates of Jaru certainly used to exist a long time ago. Cities certainly don't seem inclined to try to oppose them very much anymore, so it's unlikely another faction of pirates would spring up (though anything is possible). But that's not what makes the PoM a successful organization. What makes them successful is their history and their clearly defined goals, as well as working together rather than bickering with each other (something the Serpentlords are notorious for). 

    Just because they started in Hashan doesn't default their identity to being nothing but Hashan. For a very long time they've been at odds with the city and the two have more or less been separated all but officially for a long time as I recall. That's not to mention the fact that the Infernals Guild started in Ashtan, and it certainly didn't stay there. The city they were located in didn't define them, their actions, beliefs, and goals did.

    Whether or not the Serpentlords thrive as a House will depend largely on whether or not they have a unified vision of what the House should be and do, well defined goals, and a sense of unity within the House. If people aren't working together and it's not clear what their profession or role is, then certainly it'll fail, but that goes without saying for -any- organization, not just a High Clan. And for the record, and organization can be an organization even as just a clan. There are a lot of such clans in fact that are still clans because either there aren't enough members to make a High Clan or they don't want to be forced into a Democratic environment. That doesn't make them any less of an organization, just perhaps not as influential and productive as others. 

    I think the mentality of what an organization is revolves so much around whether or not it's associated with a city, that people try to discredit the sheer potential that not being associated with a city offers. It doesn't matter if you're not associated with a city; if you're not, you're not tether to their laws. There are a lot of people out there who want the benefit of being in an organization, but not in a city. Cities have laws, on top of the regulations a House has, and sometimes it causes a conflict of interest.

    TL:DR: An organization isn't defined by whether it's associated with a city, nor should it be. The success of any organization depends wholly on having clearly drawn goals and working together to achieve them (i.e. Pirates of Meropis).

  • I was using "organization" in the technical Achaean sense - a House/order/city.  Let's just gloss over your distinction between being "spies for hire" and "spies for profit" which is a distinction without a difference in terms of the points I was making.

    On the broader point - the argument you're making, if I understand it correctly, is that the *best* case scenario here is that the Serpentlords move from being the distinctive Hashani, Elentari-influenced House that they are now to a generic serpent high clan.  That offering is not unique, it goes against the current direction of the game and it is neither new, nor interesting enough, to sustain itself in the long term.
  • KresslackKresslack Florida, United States
    Ok...I don't see how there's no distinction between being a 'spy for hire' and a 'spy for profit'. Have you ever been involved in infiltration or subterfuge? There's a pretty significant distinction and it's this: Being a spy for hire is being contracted and obligated to be loyal to the person paying you. You basically work for them exclusively. Being a spy for profit means if you come across something valuable, you're not obligated to provide to Org A as a 'service rendered'; you can basically subtly say, "Here's a hint at what I have, who wants it the most? Let the bidding begin!" That's the difference there.

    Secondly, you're stuck on the definition of an organization being either a House, Order, or a City, which is just completely incorrect. There have been clans which were organizations for RL years. The PoM was one such clan for a long time before High Clans became a thing. I'm pretty sure the Meropian Trading Company is an organization; despite not being a High Clan, they boast a pretty substantial and active membership. Not to mention, basically any city navy which is operated via a clan is an organization, even with being so in service to the city. I ran a black market clan selling rare and exotic goods for a long time about a year or so back, it was an 'organized' business, an organization. 

    The brilliant thing about Achaea is things -can- go against the current direction of the game. It's not a fixed direction; it changes based on what we do within it. This is one of those things that reminds everyone of that fact, whether they like it or not. I'm all for not conforming to the status quo and going against the grain; consistency just gets boring after a certain point.

    Now, that's not to say there's not a chance the Serpentlords leaving Hashan won't play out like Africa leaving British rule, because it might. They could be knocked on Hashan's gates a few months down the road saying how hungry they are and they didn't mean it, while Hashan just shakes its head sadly and shrugs.

    They got what they wanted, and I'm glad for that. Whether or not it works out, in my opinion, depends entirely on if they can figure out what they want to do, and if they can work together towards that goal.

  • I didn't say there was no difference, I said for the purposes of the arguments above, it was a distinction without a difference.  The number of stealable items with "spy-relevant" information in them is very, very small.  What you're really talking about is charging people to return their journals (which will likely have sentimental value).  I don't think that practice should be outlawed or anything, but it's a fairly shoddy basis for an organization.

    I don't think you really understand how I was using the word "organization" in my original post.  I was using it, specifically, as a defined term for "House/city/order".  I'm not seeking to get into a dictionary argument about what the word means, nor does my argument depend on that.

    And, of course, you're right, that a small, dedicated core of players can change the path of Achaea.  And it's an entirely valid position to believe that this High Clan will single handedly demonstrate that the House Renaissance is not the right path for Achaea and will demonstrate its superiority to the experience of 98% of the playerbase who will be in their new Houses with very active patrons, and access to all the benefits that city and House membership bring in terms of coding, attention, RP background, attraction to new players, persistence of identity and factional roleplay.  It's even still a valid position to believe it will do this despite being founded largely as a reaction to ongoing internal strife rather than because establishing the clan made sense on its own merits.  It's *still* a valid position to believe it even though the very best this organization can offer is a version of a generic serpent House without any of the benefits that being a House used to bring.

    People believe unlikely things all the time, and there's not much I can do about it.  It's just that the above seems to me to be a belief on about the same probability level of Scientology.  You're not even reaching Mormonism here.
  • AerekAerek East Tennessee, USA
    Yeah, I don't read a lot of Cult-specific hate going on, it's just assessing the balance of probability. Achaea is littered with the decaying remains of clans and high clans, alike, that thought they were cool enough to survive with zero city/House support. The Serpentlords are entirely welcome to prove us wrong, but they have some major hurdles to clear.

    In addition to the question of role, ideals, and practicality of the organization, I think folks are underestimating the challenge of maintaining membership. A high clan, even a great one, doesn't have the recruiting potential of a House, because it isn't advertised to newbies coming in; they have to find it on their own or members have to recruit them. This means that the Serpentlords are basically going to be working full-time just to keep new blood in the org, and because even the best High Clan doesn't have the "legitimacy" of a Garden-established House, people don't have the patience for House-level tasks/requirements for advancement. This leaves you in the difficult position of having to relax standards to keep people interested/involved, which comes at cost to your member quality and reputation, or establishing high RP standards and slowly atrophying because quality players generally want to be involved with the game's major factions. It's not a pretty picture, and while the possibility for success exists, the chance for failure is large.

    I don't say all this from a position of idle speculation. What the Serpentlords are doing now isn't really that different from what the Order of Thurisaz is trying do, having devolved from the Wardens' House to keep Knighthood alive. What I've outlined above are basically the challenges that we're currently facing, and we have the full support of a city and its Houses to prop us up. It's cool that the SL were permitted to strike out on their own, and I don't wish failure upon them, but they have their work cut out for them, to say the least.
    -- Grounded in but one perspective, what we perceive is an exaggeration of the truth.
  • People believe unlikely things all the time, and there's not much I can do about it.  It's just that the above seems to me to be a belief on about the same probability level of Scientology.  You're not even reaching Mormonism here.
    First, let me say that I find this to be pretty offensive rhetoric. The history of the forums has shown that discussing politics and religion, or using them as metaphorical examples, does not produce fruitful discourse.

    Now regarding what is "spy-relevant" or not, that is an opinion, not a fact. The same goes for whether theft for profit is a "shoddy basis for an organization." 

    Rrelevancy in the game develops from a character perspective. If something happens to the Occultists in Ashtan, is it relevant to Eleusis, for instance? That depends. It may or may not be on both an organizational and individual level. Whether it is connected with their current goals, vision, roleplay, etc. is left up for to the players there to decide.

    If Hashani want to argue that the Serpentlords are no longer relevant to their city, they can do that. They cannot, however, determine whether the organization's relevance is true or false anywhere else in the game. I am at a loss for why so many people seem to be trying to do that here. If you're really "over" them leaving, then let them leave. Don't try to discourage their existence in the same way you have other organizations because, honestly, that just seems like a struggle to make yourselves relevant.

    The Shadowsnakes, Reznik's infamous secret clan that I forget the name of now, the Revolutionaries of Chaos (today Babel's Order), the Curia...and so many other organizations that are not not Guilds, Houses, Orders or Cities have made an impact in Achaea and left an imprint for others to follow. They have, as you admitted, changed the path of Achaea. However, it's not necessary to put the brunt of all the Renaissance and its success or failure on the SL's new high clan. That's reaching a bit.

    Furthermore, you're suggestion that every House will have a "very active patron" is troubling in its logic since Achaea has shown, over and over again, that Gods go dormant all the time. No City, no House, no Order is exempt from the possibilities of having its Divine do so.

    You are also discounting what a clan can achieve together. They can purchase almost the same frills and customisations, work up events, etc. and engage in roleplay with an identity secured by their collective being with so much more freedom. They do not have to be a generic serpent House without any benefits -- They can become anything they want. There are no limits here beyond those in your stated opinions. 

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