Welcome to my belated first report as Combat Master. Forgive the delay and lack of fancy graphics. It’s taken me this long to get all the newspaper off the floor from the last birb master :p
Many of you know me, some may not so reintroduction is in order. I’m Turel (currently listed on the site as Rajhin). I’ve had the privilege of working in a number of positions in the club in unit leadership and the Chamber of Justice but the ACC has always been my first love in the club. I did my first match as a freshly minted Knight in the Fading Light tournament and I’ve been involved with it ever since. I’ve gone from going one and out in Fading Light all the way to Champion as a competitor and served two terms as an ACC judge.
You can’t know where you are going until you know where you’ve been and neither I nor the ACC as an institution would be here with the contribution of hardworking members, staff and leaders of the past. I had the honor of working on staff under three of my predecessors Arch, Atra and Wally, and I must acknowledge the contributions of others like Mav and Shad who helped get the ACC and CS system as we know it up and running. Though I believe Wally deserves special recognition for putting up with me the longest (and for consistently modeling an impeccable work ethic). Each poured countless hours into improving the ACC and the CS system as a whole. While I come into office with a mandate for change, I have no intention of throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
I intend to preserve what is good and beneficial about the ACC as it exists now and adjusting any stumbling blocks members may have that interfere with them getting to the good stuff.
The ACC is one of those things that reasonable people can come to different conclusions as to what it is and what it should be. Like so many other things in the club, not everyone will agree with or be happy with any changes that are made. Likewise, the ACC is also not for everyone and never will be. While changes can be made there are some aspects of the ACC that are just inherent to the format such as the one writer vs one writer format. Even if the story in a match is cooperative in nature (or something else) the ACC at its core will always be one writer going head to head with another writer. For some people that is not their cup of tea and that’s more than okay.
My mission is to make the ACC as beneficial, accessible and enjoyable as possible for as many members as possible.
My guiding star has always been the core member experience. This is all for fun after all. Members grace us with their time and investment and it’s incumbent on every leader and caretaker of the club’s systems to honor that and provide the best possible experience in return. To that end I have three specific goals:
1) I want members who are interested in and approaching the ACC for the first time to be able to engage without feeling overwhelmed. The same goes for more seasoned members who are active in fiction, might be interested in the ACC style of writing but for one reason or another got turned off by the system or the institutional processes. I want to remove all stumbling blocks I can to members getting into the ACC and having fun.
2) I want the judging process of the ACC staff to focus on coaching members as writers of fiction generally and not as much as arbiters of the systems meant to enable creative expression. I want members to walk away from a staff judgment feeling encouraged and empowered to improve their craft as a writer.
3) I want club leaders from the most junior summit to the Dark Council to see the ACC as an asset and the experience of running an ACC event to be as smooth and painless as possible. I want to enable and empower leaders of all levels to use the ACC as a venue to generate activity.
There is a lot of work ahead and more details will come into place as we, as a team, develop propose and upon approval enact changes. In the beginning, we will seek a lot of input from members across the club. Improving upon what has already been built in the ACC is no small task and is bigger than any one person, even one with an ego like mine. But it all starts with a vision and I hope that even though the details are sparse now, these general principals will give you some idea of where I want to take the ACC as an institution.
I know writing other people’s characters or even the head to head format of the ACC itself can be a barrier for some. I will be running periodic training competitions to help newcomers and veterans hone their combat writing skills outside of the ACC environment. The first of these Combat Writing - Fighting Yourself is already live and closes on May 17th. Whether you want the practice or just think it would be fun to depict two of your characters fighting, give it a look. I will give personal feedback to every entry in the spirit of the training nature of the competition. As the details of the competition say, if you have an issue attaching loadouts for characters please contact me and we can work out a solution. An example would be using an old loadout.
The Regent office recently added the ability to slot weapons into combat droids. With this added functionality in the possessions system the old ACC rule that droids shared their owner’s loadout isn’t needed anymore. So the ACC guide has been updated as folllows:
As a Droid has no Loadout of its own, any weapons it uses are shared from the owner's active Loadout for the match."
Added: Droids can use any weapon that is built into the droid itself (as reflected in the droid's item description) or slotted into the droid's weapon item slots. Droids that are capable of wielding weapons can pick up and use appropriate weapons from other characters or the environment in the same manner as a player character but this must be accounted for within the text of the match. In other words, if the droid is using a weapon that is not built-in or slotted you have to depict or tell the audience how the droid got the weapon.
All matches started after May 5th will follow this rule.
Murderlizard - #asktheCM what do you see as the biggest flaw with the ACC system as it exists currently. What are your plans to address this?
That's a report question as well. I don't know if I'd use the word flaw but my biggest area of concern is the sheer amount of rules and information we expect members to know/track when writing a match. It's become a stumbling block / point of frustration for a larger body of members than I'd like. I've seen people walk away from the ACC or shy away from it altogether. It's complicated and I'll need lots of member feedback because I'm biased having worked with the current system for years now. I know the 1v1 format of the ACC will never be for everyone but I want as many people as possible to feel comfortable jumping in. Some of my best writing has come in ACC matches and I'm not alone in that.
Appius - I've been getting into the ACC more and more as of late. With how popular the duelist hall is, are there any plans to try and highlight the other halls that don't see anywhere near as much participation?
Outstanding question! I intend on running events to feature some of the underused halls such as the coop hall. I'll also try to feature those halls and key matches in my reports.
Alaisy - #asktheCM I know its not really CM related, but recently you were working on finding out on ways the DB was recruiting. Any plans on that, and getting those new recruits into the ACC?
My goal is related to recruiting in that I want new members to be able to jump into the ACC as soon as possible with as few hurdles as possible. There’s an interest in putting all the cool things in our character sheet and possessions systems to use and the ACC is one of the best places for that.
Atty - #asktheCM similar to the Turel rule question, I know I as an ACCer tend to make more of my conflict appear in a story based form than a combat one, eg [emotional] arguments or power vs power, like Mind Tricks and Illusions and Terror. I've also often found anything not explicitly weapons engagement to be discounted, it feels like Judges don't consider a battle of wills good enough even though in our system it's literally magic vs magic. Do you intend for more mental or manipulative contests to count towards the combat rule? Maybe have it encouraged more as valid instead of needing to be dispersed amidst physical dueling or risk losing points?
Haha, I would certainly say the explicit use of a Force power (like mind trick or terror) does or should count. A "wizards duel" for lack of a better term for using Force powers on each other should also suffice.
I feel your pain as I have a similar writing style. We will certainly look toward fostering creativity as we retool the ACC but I think the need for action is something that's going to be inherent, though maybe not as strictly enforced as in the past. Something has to happen between the two characters, there's got to be direct engagement. I'm not going to repeat the oft-quoted adage of "It's the combat center" but there is some truth to it.
So the concern you raise will certainly be at the forefront of my mind, especially from the angle of making the ACC accessible to all character types. But I can't promise the "Turel rule" will go away entirely, if that makes sense.
and to another concern raised by others about NFU vs FU battles, is very much on my radar.
Lucine - #asktheCM What advice would you give to fledgling ACCers who are looking to improve?
Read matches, especially tournament ones. Don't be afraid to talk to your opponent and ask questions about their character, most will appreciate the effort to try to get a character right. Find a good proofer and send them gift baskets :P And finally, take judge comments as those from a coach rather than an admonishment. And finally Arch
#asktheCM 1 )I've seen a lot of talk since my final report regarding the complexity of the ACC, but I notice you tend to use the term accessibility. Do you see a substantive difference between the two?
I use accessibility vs complexity because I want the learning curve to manageable while keeping the ACC at the level of complexity it needs to be….if that makes sense. My goals isn’t “dumbing down” the ACC as much as it is making the system as intuitive as possible for new and returning members to use. Also, I want the system to get out of the way of member creativity as much as we can. Limitations help produce stronger writing and incentive members to move up in their DB careers but we also want the ACC to be fun.
2) To what degree is it a realistic goal for the CM to manage complexity when that complexity primarily comes from external systems with their own design goals?
In theory fiction competitions and run-ons use the exact same systems as the ACC but I’ve seen few, if any, complaints about complexity for those fiction venues. It comes down to what are we enforcing and how are we enforcing it. I’d like to move to a place where realism flows from the plain language of the loadouts (i.e. you only get dinged for contradicting the plain language of what’s in your loadout or egregious suspension of disbelief removing type errors, not necessarily the precise blast radius of a weapon the staff pulled out of the corner of a wookiepedia article).
3) How much of a dick move was it for me to tweak the rubric language on my way out the door (even if I didn't intend it to be that way)? Perhaps put a better way, as the CM who is going to be stuck implementing them, what are your thoughts on the changes? Does this stuff promote accessibility or just add more verbiage?
I feel like the new rubric helped consolidate language and what’s expected but time will tell.
4) Oh god, there's got to be more. Uh... oh, right. How are you going to prevent timeouts from ever happening ever again?
Invent time travel.
5) Ok, last one I swear: you've worked under three different CMs. Even though we're all assholes, that's still three different visions for the ACC, three different management styles, three different PR and event management strategies, etc. What can the ACC community expect from you that isn't what Wally/Atra/Arch would do?
That’s a difficult question to answer and even though I’ve had quite a bit of time to ponder it I still don’t have a firm answer. That’s a good thing because there is so much the three of you did right that I struggle with things I’d do differently. The obvious answer, as Mav has said, is I will not be as involved in the day to day of the CS system. I’ll work with Xen and Atra to get the loadouts to a place where that’s all a member needs but at the end of the day all I control is the ACC itself and how the judgments are done.
That’s all for now. Don’t forget to check out the training competition and update your droid loadouts. I’m pretty good about responding to tags or PMs on Telegram (@TurelDJB) but the best place for your questions comment and concerns is [Log in to view e-mail addresses].
Until next time,
Turel “aka Rajhin”
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