(Seems familiar? This content appeared on the forums in 2022)
Welcome, honorable diplomat, to the world of politics at DrachenFest!
So you’ve been chosen & empowered by your camp, to speak on behalf of your camp, politic with others and trade in the most valuable of currencies at DrachenFest: Alliances.
In the Dragon World, most alliances fall into two types: war alliances and defensive alliances. Although, with your creativity and finesse, there are no options barred from you if you want to create your own versions!
TLDR: There are defensive alliances, battle alliances & full alliances which can be officially signed by diplomats. Alliances need to be sealed in writing and checked-in with your camp refs. Camps can choose to have multiple diplomats, but know that coordinating efforts between multiple empowered individuals in real time can lead to miscommunication, with multiple alliances and treaties signed, and too many oaths sworn to be fulfilled. Instead, we recommend diplomatic envoys to travel in a team, especially if one or two of them have martial or spellcasting prowess and can serve as guards. After all, every diplomatic negotiation or signing alliances is both a tactical contest advantage, as well as great roleplay opportunites.
Must be sealed in writing to be valid in the eyes of the Avatars. There is great power in such documents, and accomplishing these diplomatic acts can sometimes be a truly demanding feat. Defensive alliances must be checked-in to a camp referee and stamped, after they are signed by both diplomats. This is for out-game battle safety reasons, so the battle coordination team can estimate potential siege sizes when defensive alliances are called in, and prepare battle referee teams accordingly. Stamped diplomatic alliances documents are a stealable/lootable game items. Stealing or looting a defensive alliance does not invalidate the alliance - it’s just valuable information another camp can use against you.
Written defensive alliances should entail the following:
Which camps are part of the defensive alliance.
What is the duration of the defensive alliance? Camps typically start with 12-24 hours, and seek to renew these based on whether their ‘effort’ is worthy of renewal.
Which camp will defend which camp, if they are attacked? - Alliances can be bilateral, protecting each other, or unilateral with only one camp defending another. This could be offered as a ‘payment’ for other trades, such as helping another camp with their plot.
How does the camp being attacked activate, i.e. call in the alliance? Calling in a defensive alliance
Note, that while referees have radio systems, it’s up to your spies to find out that you might be attacked, and up to your runners to call in alliances on foot. A secret passcode, or direct communication to the camp’s leadership? Up to you. Remember, staff don't police the information economy - discovery and in-game tactical misinformation is part of the DrachenFest contest. We always encourage diplomats to travel the battle fields with armed guards, even though killing camp diplomats is a horrific and dishonorable act shunned by avatars, they may be carrying valuable documents.
Being Called to Defend Another Camp
Because the contest is dynamic, alliances can be activated while a camp is going about their daily business. Some individuals might be pursuing personal plots, others may be talking to the avatar, or holding a ritual, and some may be in the bazaar shopping. We don’t want you to feel pressured out-of-game to drop what you’re doing and run to aid. Player leadership roles are never allowed to force anyone OOG to ‘have’ to do anything, instead they must work with reward, inspiration and motivation. It’s completely up to your character how they respond to a call to arms! Those who do will be revered, and those who don’t, will not be looked down upon by their avatar. We never want players to have to make ‘excuses’ for not engaging in one or another part of the contest, instead we just reward those who do, to encourage others to join in the next time.
Similarly, when you call in a defensive alliance, and your allies do show up - know that they have just literally dropped everything they are doing in the world to come to your aid. These are great deeds at DrachenFest, when allies show up at your gates! Use these moments to declare your oaths held, for some incredible role-play.
For this very reason, alliances are not taken lightly, and can form bonds of camaraderie that transcend the Dragon World. Celebrate successful defensive alliances, even if the enemy never shows up, or even if you are all slaughtered! Avatars and their seconds look forward to being asked by their players to visit their allied camps in celebration, especially after oaths are held.Perhaps a defensive alliance is just the first step in a pathway towards closer ties… a full alliance.
What if we’re too late?
Even if your defensive force forms up late: By marching out to the defense of another camp, you can still intercept an army that has captured your allies banner, and return it to your ally. This prevents the enemy gaining a Dragon egg from bringing a captured banner back to their camp. Tactical knowledge of the battle field is critical to intercept armies, if marching out late.
Coming to an allies defense from outside their main gate may ‘encircle’ enemies, cutting off an escape route. Battle sized forces, 25+ coming to a camps defense must adhere to the War Book Siege Rules.
War alliances, or siege alliances, are agreements to stand together for a field battle or to siege a camp together. Battle alliances should also be checked in with referees, but most importantly - every army of 25+ players leaving a camp to go and battle needs to inform a ref, even if all they are doing is going raiding on the battlefields, as per the War Book.
Battle alliances should contain:
What your target and tactical goal is. i.e. Which camp, a field battle where dragon eggs are wagered etc, banners, eggs
When the attack will take place? Preferably, due to real-time delays, where and when your troops meet.
Which army will provide a Banner carrier: To capture the enemy banner, or if the enemy has multiple, both armies should provide a banner carrier. -How the spoils of war shall be divided. Specifically, if there is one banner, which camp takes it, if there are unsocketed eggs, and you bring your dragon ark - which camp gets how many eggs. Honorable victory or Salting the earth
Capturing banners is a valorous and honorable pursuit in the eyes of all avatars. Taking unsocketed Dragon-eggs may be seen as clever tactical moves. However, pillaging and looting a ravaged camp are acts most dishonorable, and certainly don’t embody Shadow’s ‘cunning and subterfuge’*, nor Green’s ‘Hunt & merciless survival of the fittest’. As players, you are free to decide how your characters act both on and off the battlefield.
For example, Shadow certainly may choose to embody the ‘Death and Destruction’, or Green may choose to embody 'mercilessness', or Red's 'blood-thirst', or Silver's 'Wrath', or Blue's 'Greed', which may come in the form of salting the earth by desecrating your shrine, and poisoning your gardens with deadly herbalist’s creatures, and slitting the throat of fallen enemies, for a quick march over to limbus.
To clarify, Shadow, Green, Red etc. like any other camp, may choose to do this - it is their personal character choices which aspects of their avatar they choose to embody, and how they would like to define themselves. This is not meant to label a specific camp as the saboteur camp, but put into context how sabotage can be understood as character choice in context of DrachenFest lore. It certainly isn't a 'must do'. Many DrachenFest Shadow players are renowned for their knowledge and helpfulness, and are often the first stop for other camps who face magical challenges in their own plots.
Does that mean we’re not allowed to loot and pillage after a battle? You absolutely can! Your character has to live with the consequence of all of their decisions, including which aspects of their avatar they choose to embody in the world. We don’t want to say no to you, therefore we ask you to use your own sense of OOG fairness in deciding whether or not to salt the earth or to loot & pillage. Are you escalating just because? Is this a character choice? Or is there a good in-game reason to do so.
As diplomats you can play on these themes of honorable or dishonorable conduct, especially when politicking alliances with camps who were said to have stooped to such acts. Finding common enemies in a dishonorable antagonist is a very traditional, historic diplomatic approach.
What if our camp just keeps getting hit?
Do note that for camps who are repeatedly, completely ravaged, pillaged, looted from, sabotaged and collectively end up having a bad time OOG - their camp refs have the power to pivot saboteurs and attackers away for a period of time, until the camp can get back on their feet. Especially for camps with fewer players, or less combat oriented players. A camp with a banner can always be sieged.
Camps who trust one another, who have waged war together, stood toe to toe and bled together may go the final step and sign a full alliance. Here, a camp will gift every further egg they win to their ally, to help one camp win the contest.
Importantly, Socketed eggs can never be ‘combined’ between two camps. The victor at DrachenFest is chosen by the number of socketed eggs that single camp has. Therefore, full alliances mean that one camp is chosen as the potential victor, and the other camp helps them through all their means and efforts. Only one camp can win DrachenFest, and only one Dragon victorious will take dominion over the Dragon World for the coming year.
Alliances for the final battle on Saturday
Friday night is one of the busiest nights at DrachenFest, as each camp will be solidifying ties, reaching out and trying to seal one of the most vital treaties: Alliances for the final battle.
Your armies will face off each other on the field, with starting positions dictated by your final battle alliances.
Betrayal, a dishonorable tradition
Know that betrayal on the field, especially during the final battle are dishonorable yet valid forms of politics. Is dishonor in the face of your Dragon gaining dominion over the Dragon World and achieving victory at DrachenFest worth it? Up to you.
Please inform your camp refs about betrayal plans so that these can be coordinated with battle team referees. Traditional forms of betrayal during the final battle include armies switching sides, or secret alliances revealed on the field after lines square off. Make sure your camp is fully briefed on what’s going to happen on the field on Saturday before you march out, as these can be wonderful moments and intense roleplay scenes.
Diplomatic Currencies & Your Camp’s Treasure Chest
Camps will have a ‘camp treasure chest’ guarded and managed by the Avatar’s second, or player leadership, e.g. your 'council'. Your character is free to donate any game items you create for your camp's use. Each gift to your avatar lands in the treasure chest, and can be used by your camp for internal needs, for example to help with someone’s story as they advance their plot, for tactical use or battles, or to trade and seal diplomatic treaties with. Typically camp leadership will decide how to use your camp resources, and must manage requests from your general, as well as from you, the camps diplomat.
Common diplomatic currencies are:
War Machines, Large Monsters, and their associated crew/handlers
Tactical camp information, how many eggs, force size, weaknesses, battle plans & alliances
DrachenFest coin (Copper, Silver, Gold)
Alchemical herbs and compounds (potions/elixirs)
Alliances, Defensive & Battle-Services your camp provides, such as a lock-smith, healers, alchemists, ritual magic, warriors
Access to your camp ritual circle / Dragon shrine / Font of power
Non aggression pacts (expect these to be broken)
Art, stories, poems, and mockeries of other camps
Help advancing one another's camp plots
Diplomatic neutral spaces
Oftentimes and sadly, a high level of mistrust ensues from diplomat's experiences: from unexpected death of diplomats, to being taken hostage, to being poisoned while being wined and dined, to simply not being taken seriously.
With all of this in mind, there is one truly neutral space set aside for your politics, deals and diplomacy: the Bazaar. This magnificent space happens to be home to some of our peacekeepers, as well as not a few feet away from some refreshing drinks. Know that diplomats are welcome here to do their business! (You can seal alliances anywhere, it doesn't have to be in the bazaar. On the other hand, if you're sealing a peace treaty between two warring camps? Perhaps a couple of drinks and neutral space is a good bet).
Well, diplomat, as you can see, you have your work cut out for you. But fear not! Should you unfortuitously find yourself walking the halls of Limbus without finding an exit, be at peace in knowing that another will take your place as soon as your final death is confirmed. Until then, enjoy the lavish lifestyle of one who will be welcomed and pampered in some camps, and chased off by steel and arrow from others!