Lately we’ve been receiving a lot of questions about our PvP policy, including a persistent rumor that PvP is not allowed at Port Katherine. That says to me that I’ve been failing at my pre-game talks to convey what the “don’t be a dick rule” means.
Fortunately, I am very lucky, because my counterpart over at Witchwood has proven to be far more eloquent than I am at this, and he has graciously allowed me to use his prose. Here, in a nutshell, is our PvP policy:
- PvP is allowed in game, up to and including killing other PCs. You are not required to cooperate or play heroes. You can scheme, lie, and steal, and you can escalate.
- We have a code of conduct, which forbids harassment of most any kind, so PvP-adjacent things like griefing and hazing aren’t allowed. We have a Conduct Committee that can investigate ambiguous cases.
- If you want to avoid PvP, staff can be accommodating, and avoid writing you into situations where it’s more likely to occur. If you find yourself in some high-stress conflict situation with another PC, you can talk with them and de-escalate as needed.
PvP is allowed.
Port Katherine is not, and has never been, a game that prohibits player-vs-player conflict. You are not required to all be on the same “team” or “side,” you don’t have to play a “hero” or “good guy,” and you don’t have to cooperate. The conflicts you get into can escalate, to the point that characters are straight up murdering each other and removing each other from the game.
You can play a misanthrope, or a villain, or just someone who disagrees strongly with some other PCs. In-game, these things still may get you in trouble with other PCs (the running theme here is “other people matter”), but you’re not cheating and you’re not violating the spirit of the game if and when you do so.
High-stakes PvP violence is usually pretty rare at Port Katherine, but PvP isn’t always murder or treachery. Sometimes it’s just business. Anytime you haggle over a price with another PC, or race to get some loot before someone else, or choose who to heal and who not to heal, you might be engaging in some mild PvP.
Some people play the game competitively. You don’t have to, but you can. Staff will sometimes encourage this or write for it — conflict helps create drama, and both can make the game more fun and interesting for some people.
The Code of Conduct effectively includes 'no griefing.'
The Code of Conduct has a lot to say about harassment of many forms. While it could stand to be more clear about this, we take it to include:
Do not “grief” people. Don’t take hostile in-game actions just to ruin someone’s fun, and don’t be an out-of-game troll with your in-game actions. Don’t shank the new players to haze them, don’t use the game to carry out-of-game grudges, don’t key anyone’s car in the parking lot.
Note that this applies to everyone, not just PCs-vs-PCs. Players shouldn’t grief staff, staff shouldn’t grief players, staff shouldn’t grief staff…
If there’s someone who might be griefing you, but it’s hard to prove (like, maybe they’re hiding bad behavior behind an in-character screen), you can make a complaint to the Conduct Committee, and/or speak to someone with a red feather pin. (Not coincidentally, you can do the same thing if you suspect someone of cheating.) The Conduct Committee exists, in part, to investigate cases where things aren’t obvious.
You can opt out.
If you find yourself in a plot that looks like it’s encouraging you to go “against” other PCs, and you’d really rather avoid that, speak with staff (a PEL is a great opportunity for this). Staff can be very accommodating, and can help write you out of a bad situation — there are some plots intentionally built this way, and we can help get you out of them if needed.
If you find yourself in a heated conflict with another PC, and are not comfortable with it, maybe talk it out. If it’s a tense exchange in game, and you aren’t comfortable handling it in-character, “Caution” or a “thumbs down” are good tools you can use.
This is not a guarantee that you’ll never get into conflict. Actions tend to have consequences, and other people matter (try not to cry foul if you antagonize someone and they respond in kind). But we pride ourselves on having a friendly, welcoming community, and no-one should be out to ruin the game for you.
The above stuff, all said, is not a new policy. But it may never have been laid out in full before. Regardless, play safe, don’t be a dick, and have fun!
Game Director, Port Katherine