The latest Mhaldorian-Eleusian war has brought to the forefront one of Achaea's biggest problems - there is no war system in which one city or faction can definitively win against another. Currently, it's based on the 'losing' side to admit they're losing and to accept reasonable demands. However, due to the lack of definite measures of winning or losing, the inability to agree what the definition of 'reasonable demands' is, and so-called 'roleplay' where the losers claim "we would never give in like this! NEVER! ARR-PEE!!!", war is essentially impossible. It leads to the only way to win is to grief the living hell out of the losing side until all the people leave the losing side and there's no one to stop the winning side from doing whatever they want. This is bad for everyone. So, I've come up with a possible solution, inspired by unreasonable amounts of time playing Paradox games: War Score.
Essentially, the War system would work like this (note all time scales are in IG time, not RL time):
- The person declaring war comes up with a list of goals. This is what the war is intended to accomplish, the aggressor's demands.
- These goals, if not a preset option available through the system (more on this later), is submitted to the Garden for approval and, if granted, a War Cost.
- These goals are then published publicly. The defending side is able to read them, and possibly accede to some of them in hopes of avoiding war if they wish. The two sides would be able to negotiate and, if resolved, no war is started. The goals accepted are entered into the Treaty (more on Treaties later).
- If no resolution is possible, then after a period of say six months, War begins.
- The defending side is able to put forth its own War goals if they desire. An automatic one is ending the War with no aggressor goals accepted - essentially, winning without either side gaining anything other than the defenders gaining prestige. Further goals can be made in a retaliatory fashion much like the aggressors did at the start.
- The War is fought with both sides attempting to accrue enough War Score to force acceptance of their goals. If one side gains enough War Score, they have two options. One is to continue the war - they may do this until they have 150% of the War Score needed to achieve all of their goals, when automatic acceptance is enforced. The aggressors can't keep the war going forever in their favour. However, they ARE able to add new goals if they desire, so long as they are above their currently needed War Score and the total War Cost for their goals is kept under the 150% mark.
- If the War Score does not change significantly over a period of time (this will need to be worked out), either side can declare a Stalemate. Neither side wins. A Treaty containing no war goals is formed between the two factions, enforcing only peace.
- If one side fears they cannot get enough score before Stalemate, they may forfeit some of their goals permantently. This lowers the War Score needed to win, but they cannot regain those goals, nor apply for new ones, should the War suddenly turn in their favour. Forfeiting all goals is essentially giving up, and the other side will be declared the Winner and all their goals enforced.
- At any point during the War, the leaders may come together and hammer out an agreement. In this agreement, any possible War goals can be brought up and used, even those not currently used in the War, and both sides may end up with goals they're having enforced.
Some things to add.
Combinations on either side must be justified in War goals. You can't declare War on Eleusis and add Cyrene in for fun, with no goals actually involving Cyrene. You can however declare war on a city as well as its Patrons and Houses, even if goals only affect the city, due to the intimate ties between that city, those Orders, and those Houses. So, you can declare war on Eleusis, Gaia, Artemis, the Scions, and the Heartwood, and only have goals related to Eleusis. This isn't necessarily a good idea - the more factions you include in all combos, the more your War goals will cost. This is true only for the aggressors - the defensive side doesn't have this restriction. If Mhaldor declares war on the five above factions, it suffers a goal cost malus, but they do not. The benefit is tying up future hostilities in a Treaty. As well, some War goals might require the entirety of an enemy faction (as above with Eleusis) to be the target of a War.
Some factions may decide that they are allied with each other, in which case a War declared on any of those factions will mean declaring War on all of them. This is to prevent someone declaring War on a House and their city not being able to help defend them. However, an aggressor doesn't automatically pull in their allies - those allies must agree to joining the War. A word of warning - an ally that's been declared upon WILL pull you in, regardless of your desires. Basically, all allies share a mutual defense pact.
When it's city vs. city, enemy soldiers are free PK. No retaliation in any form, via bounties, city criminal charges, mark hiring, or issues can be made in response. As well, no retaliatory killings, bounties, city criminal charges, or mark hiring can be made for any death or assault made for actions that take place during the War, after the War is over. Order vs. Order, all members of the opposing Orders, regardless of their soldier status, are free PK. A city not involved in a War may not issue a bounty or file a charge in response to one of their citizens dying due to the War. If Twilight is at war, but not Hashan, and a Hashani Darkwalker is killed by their enemy, Hashan cannot hold that enemy accountable in any form. Same for high clans. Houses are a little weird, but odds are cities will be involved anyway in that case due to alliances.
Treaties are the result of a War. They automatically, in all cases, enforce a peace of a minimum of 5 years between the factions - this does not include Mark or bounty killings, official rivalries, treacherous planes, or if the Divine of a faction were not directly involved in the War (say, Targossas, but not the Orders of Deucalion and Aurora) shrine attacks or Crusades. To put another way, if Targossas and Mhaldor fought, but their Orders were not involved, their Orders could still skirmish based on shrine combat and crusades. Time of peace may be extended by certain War goals, either directly or as a side effect of the goal.
As well, Treaties enforce War goals. Now, there isn't a really good way to do this mechanically, so a lot of it will be on the losing side to self-enforce. However, a decent solution might be the winners filing a grievance of sorts with the Garden should they feel a Treaty has been violated, and the Garden taking Divine retribution against either that person or the faction or factions as whole, as circumstances warrant. No one likes an oathbreaker, least of all the Divine.
War goals will have to worked carefully. Most of them will have to be approved by the Garden, as they can be rather nebulous. There may be some pre-approved ones, like "do not establish shrines in a certain area", "unenemy these people", "demand payment in gold", etc. but most aren't going to be that easy. War goal costs will have to be worked out by the Divine as well, and this can be tricky. Work will have to be put into this area.
Finally, War Score itself. War Score is a number that measures how much more successful one side is over another. Basically, it's a single number with an attached side. If Mhaldor has 10 points, and Eleusis scores 15, it switches to Eleusis having 5. The side without a War score is thought of to have zero.
War Score isn't static outside of fighting. A ticking War score is required to keep things dynamic when the War slows down a bit. The War score will tick upwards, regardless of who has it, and at a faster rate the higher the score. This gives an incentive to quickly turn the tables, and helps to prevent "on hours, off hours" fights from keeping the War score spinning back and forth forever.
War score can be gained depending on the factions involved. Here are some examples.
If cities are involved:
Killing an enemy soldier, Score going by rank*
A tank being blown in a city.
City guard death.
City guardian death.
Uprooting of a totem tuned assigned to the enemy city.
Death of NPC citizens (very small compared to others).
The sinking of a city-owned ship, or a personal ship captained by a member of the enemy city
If Houses are involved:
Killing a member of an enemy House, HR3 - 15, the higher the rank the more Score.
Killing the 'tutor' of the House (fairly sizable score)
Blowing a tank within a House estate (will stack with the city one, if the city is involved).
Uprooting of a totem tuned assigned to the enemy House.
The sinking of a House-owned ship, or a personal ship captained by a member of the enemy House
If Orders are involved:
Killing a member of the enemy Order.
Destroying an enemy shrine.
Raising a shrine previously destroyed by the enemy.
Raising a shrine in a room previously held by an enemy shrine.
A successful Crusade
Uprooting of a totem tuned assigned to the enemy Order.
The sinking of an Order-owned ship, or a personal ship captained by a member of the enemy Order
If High Clans are involved:
Any member of the clan being slain
Uprooting of a totem tuned assigned to the enemy clan.
The sinking of a clan-owned ship, or a personal ship captained by a member of the enemy clan
Maybe, depending on factions, things like exterminations or vififications can be added as well. Not sure how that'd shake out, though.
* - Cyrene has the interesting idea that only a few people should be higher thank rank 1 to prevent stuff like tanks getting energy and possibly this War system. So, some sort of equation will have to be figured so that, if you have three or four rank 4's or higher, and a dozen rank 1's, those rank 1's will be worth more than another city with a more even distribution. No reward for those that try to game a system!
So, that was a lot of stuff. But seriously, Eleusis should have lost this war. They lost it a long time ago. Everyone knows it but them. The Black Forest should be Mhaldor's, and Eleusis suitably chastised. But instead, they've clinged to their precious "never give up, never surrender" RP and basically destroyed any notion that war in Achaea is possible. It isn't - so long as the players pretend they haven't lost, they haven't lost. Then they whine about the increasingly 'griefy' tactics their enemy has to take to try to get them to admit it. War is impossible in Achaea, and this fairly simple system (despite being long, it IS simple) will prevent such things from happening in the future. We can actually have factional combat MEAN something. And the cool thing is, the admin can invent a new NPC faction, and we can have wars against them! Imagine - Mhaldor vs. Moghedu. Everyone vs. the Tsol'teth and their new god. The tritons deciding to get uppity with Targossas being on their shores. The undead siding with Mhaldor against everyone else. And we'd actually have a visible measure of who's winning and losing, and what the stakes are.
Please, feel free to rip it apart, add to it, adjust it, anything you want. If you simply must say it's stupid and move on without adding anything, I can't really stop you, but constructive criticism will be the most appreciative. God knows I've probably overlooked a dozen different details. But I haven't seen any other ideas, and I figured now's a good a time as any to at least start a conversation.