It is the goal of Knight Realms to provide an environment that supports good storytelling, character building, and is conducive to good role-playing. As such, we believe that it would be detrimental to the game to eliminate the possibility of Player versus Player conflict (PvP). At the same time, PvP is one of the most nettlesome issues that the staff confronts on a regular basis, and its handling can have a great impact on the degree of enjoyment that many players get from the game. Therefore, let us explain our view on PvP, and in doing so hopefully encourage the right kinds of it and discourage the wrong kinds of it.
PvP is a fact of life in any RPG. Simply having a stern disagreement with another character and refusing to speak with him or her thereafter is a form of PvP. Threatening or blackmailing another character out of her wealth is another example of PvP. For the most part, players embrace PvP as an excellent dramatic device, since most PCs are deeper and multi-faceted versus your typical plot-serving NPCs. However, the appreciation of PvP has its distinct limits.
Particularly, PvP becomes much more likely to ruin the fun of other players once it enters the realm of Player Killing. Player Killing is a term that describes the act of one player’s character directly taking the life of another. Most victims of player killing feel that they have been cheated out of their time and money; they often feel that their fun has been purposefully robbed from them with malicious intent by the offending player. There is also sometimes the primal feeling of being beat at a competitive sport - which Knight Realms is not intended to be, but which Player Killing ultimately often is.
Victims of Player Killing will often not reveal their feelings publicly, for fear of being made fun of or judged as someone taking a game too seriously. Under pressure to seem good sports - and perhaps not wanting to confront their feelings of defeat - victims of Player Killing will often play off their experience as nothing troubling at all. However, resentment nearly always develops in the days and weeks after such an incident, and whether or not the victim chooses to speak up at a later time or not, his or her enjoyment of the game is severely compromised by the experience, and he or she may even decide to no longer play because of it. From almost a decade of experience we can assure you that the vast majority of players do not take being killed by another PC well, regardless of what they may say to anyone else initially.
All this being said, Knight Realms will not ban PvP activity. We feel that the In-Game drama it can create is an integral part of the game, and to deny it would be to deny a great opportunity to our players. However, we must also protect the best interests of the game and its players by making sure that the few do not ruin the game for the many.
Therefore, before engaging in PvP activity, please keep the following in mind:
1. Players invest a lot of time, effort, and money into their characters. Be aware that targeting their characters for PvP can invoke resentment from players, as they may feel you are destroying their creations. It is essential to bear in mind that this is not an MMORPG, and characters do not resurrect limitlessly. A PC’s death is an accepted part of playing the game when it is within the boundaries of plots and NPC encounters, as it is expected that the plot writers and monster marshals will present challenging and exciting, but not overkilling, encounters. In other words, players place their trust in the staff of Knight Realms to create encounters that are fair and entertaining. In contrast to this, PvP combat is rarely designed to be a balanced and fair fight, and seldom bears any regard for the other side's entertainment. Typically the initiating party plans to take their opponents in circumstances that are as overwhelmingly favorable as possible, which can include both In-Game elements such as time and place of attack, and Out-Of-Game elements such as an intricate understanding of game abilities and their foils. This is not to say that such planning is improper, only to point out the difference between a victim's experience at dying on a module versus dying in PvP combat - on the module he or she likely had a reasonable chance to survive if not triumph, while in the PvP fight he or she might not have had time to realize it was happening. The difference in effect on one's feelings should be self-evident.
2. The rules of the game are in place to provide a common framework for everyone to play by, and apply to all PCs and NPCs equally. It is understandable that a PC engaging in PvP will not want to reveal all his secrets, and possibly give his opponents an advantage. However, PCs that are engaged in PvP must be prepared to have their character and item cards inspected by a Rules Marshal. All players must conform to all rules, at all times. Whereas on a module we may overlook a player who failed to note a protection spell cast upon him or her, or give a player a break that drank a potion but forgot to carry the item card on him or her, we will not do so with PvP. There simply cannot be any leeway on this matter. You must have your character card accurately noted, have items cards and area notes for everything, and must ensure that all of your activity, such as stalking people's cabins, is conducted according to the rules.
3. As it is the responsibility of the Knight Realms Staff to provide an entertaining and enjoyable weekend for its players, if a person or group of people set out to engage in PvP in such a way that endangers the players' enjoyment of the game on a large scale, the staff will allow game world elements and resources - that normally are withheld from such interaction out of fairness - to be solicited by the players against the instigating characters. The kingdom in which Knight Realms is set is one in which the institutions of good are far greater and more organized than the institutions of evil. Any player whose character - good or evil - is targeted by deliberate and ongoing PvP can seek the help of NPC elements; however, good characters can generally expect better results, due to the nature of the kingdom.
4. Because the staff of Knight Realms is obligated to spend our time working and running the game for the majority of players enjoyment, and because of the onerous amount of time needed to resolve PvP disputes in many cases, we cannot and will not waste time trying to settle convoluted PvP disputes. If there is a question of legitimacy, we will automatically favor the side of the victim by default. The benefit of the doubt and the resolution will fall in favor of the player whose character lost something in a PvP encounter.
5. These guidelines are applicable to all players who intend to make PvP a regular part of their gameplay, whether their characters are good, evil, or neither.
To summarize, as an extension of dramatic tensions between characters, PvP is a dynamic element of Knight Realms and one which we have no desire to curtail, because to do so would artificially constrain character development. However, Knight Realms is not an MMORPG, and PvP for the sake of PvP is not going to go over well with most other players. We're here to explore the depths of our characters' lives against this dramatic and dangerous landscape; we are not here to put them in steel cages against one another to see who survives. If you prefer a MMORPG style of PvP challenge, in which pitting your character against other characters is the principal reason you play, we would suggest you consider another LARP that caters to that style of gameplay.
Finally, please remember that Knight Realms is more than just a game; it is a community of friends. These rules and guidelines are in place to preserve that community and the good will it creates, and the enjoyment that is shared by all.