Hearing Jess talk about the issues of winning and losing in role-play (which initially I thought was going to be her saying her pet peeve was losing – which was sort of a ‘duh’ proposition) I was in turn reminded of professions in which losing is part of your job description, or should that be ‘jobbing’ description? Yes, it’s time for Sean to begin blabbing about pro-wrestling again.
Jobbing is a professional wrestling term for deliberately losing a match. Since wrestling is faked the results are predetermined, this means that any match in which someone loses, someone has done the job. It’s a kind of hard shrug sort of term. You have to do this, and if you’re not a top list wrestler it usually means you have to do the job more often than you win, since the top line wrestlers are expected to win most of the time.
Please note, however, that I state “if” someone loses. This is because of an unfortunate development in professional wrestling where, frankly, not nearly enough matches were clean-cut wins and losses. Instead of a clean job, where one wrester was pinned and counted out, you had interminable numbers of disqualifications, run-ins, and any other method of ending a match without a clear winner was used. The reason for this was an increased level of competition between the WWE (then the WWF) and WCW – The two promotions felt the need to use all-star casts for every single event in order to maintain the most popularity, but this meant that no jobbers could come in and, y’know, do the damn job. The WWE and WCW could either let some of their biggest, most popular names lose (and thus earn the ire of the fans) or they could just muddy the waters. Guess which one they chose? Also, guess whether this improved, or detracted from wrestling? Yup, you guessed it again. You’re smart, you know that?
And since you’re so smart, you can probably see where I’m going with this. The same is true for your role-playing guild or group – Sometimes, you gotta have clear cut winners and losers. Sometimes, someone has to do the job. If you have a guild plot where two characters are jockeying to put the other down and socially destroy the other (Amadeus style) then somewhere on the line someone has to get destroyed. Political decisions have to come to a head. Contests of various sorts need to be resolved.
So, how can we encourage this?
The good news is that physical conflicts have easy enough ways to be handled. One on one hatred erupting into murderous conflict? Duel. Gang warfare? Get into raid groups and head out to Gurubashi Arena or The Maul. The trick is social winning and losing. You could randomise it as well, using /roll to decide victors at random. But that is not the only way.
Enter the idea of DKP. Or, as known here, JRP points. (Jobber Role-Playing Points).
Here’s how it works. Everyone who enters the guild is given a number of JRP points. These could be tracked through the guild website like DKP. But instead of being rewarded from the guild masters for good raid performance, they’re instead traded amongst players to force social outcomes. Let’s say you want to socially humiliate another character. They might agree, but want three JRP points for it. The other player agrees, swaps the points on the website, and the scene goes ahead.
Later, that player wants a huge victory over another player in the guild, wherein a legal trial they’d conducted would go his way, allowing him to get away with murder. He pays up a whoppingly large amount of JRP points, which he’d gained from doing the job for other players in a number of minor plots.
The good thing about this system is that it ensures that everyone (in theory) gets even time winning and losing. It’s also flexible: Guild masters could tax players JRPP when they have a plot that sees them do really well (seeing that as a ‘win’) even if nobody else in the guild loses, and could then award bonus JRPP to players who suffer in a guild plot as well.
You could even cross it with random /rolls, allowing people to spend points before the roll, which then get added to it and whoever has the higher roll wins.
It’s not a perfect system, but what is?
Aside from communism.