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Author Topic: The Rules  (Read 1635 times)
Sibboleth
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« on: December 19, 2009, 07:01:05 pm »

Part One - Basic Power Structure

1. Most of the power in the city (that players can actually have) will be in the hands of the City Council and most of that in the hands of elected councillors. Councillors will be elected (details on how elections will be run will come later) from wards for terms of four "years". Each ward will have three councillors (note that almost all councillors will be NPC's). Individual councillors don't have much power as individual councillors, but as members of political groups. If a group has a majority of councillors, then that group "controls" the council; its leader becomes the Leader of the Council, it's councillors get to chair all the committees and so on and so forth. If no group has a majority... then comes the time for coalitions and carve-ups. The largest group not part of the Administration forms the Official Opposition.

2. The Leader of the Council is the most powerful position in the game; the Leader decides who shall chair each committee and is responsible for overarching policy decisions and so on. In turn, the Chairmen of the committees are very powerful within their committees. And the bulk of council policy (and thus the bulk of this game, presumably) will be decided by these committees, though note that some decisions will be taken by the full council. Membership would obviously overlap and is, of course, in the hands of the Group Leaders. Another position is the Mayor; a largely ceremonial role and worked around seniority (and terms are for one "year"), but nice work if you can get it, all the same.

3. Leadership of political groups will be decided by internal group elections. Other group (as opposed to council) positions be Whip and Deputy Leader. The first is responsible for enforcing the authority and will of the Leader and the Group and gets to do fun things like openly bullying other councillors and expelling people from the group, the latter's role is almost always for one of the following; placating a defeated leadership candidate, placating a powerful faction, as a position for a rising star of some form, cronyism. And sometimes an amusing combination of the above. Group and Council roles can (and probably should) overlap.

4. But there be power outside the council chamber as well. They loosely fall into the following catagories;

a) interest groups (Trades Council, Chamber of Commerce, Arts organisations, etc, etc). These organisations mostly lobby the council for things, but can also serve as useful alternative powerbases for players.

b) stuff to do with the adminstrative side of the council; civil servants, public sector unions and so on. Won't play a big role early on, but may do later (if things head off in certain directions).

c) local parties; to begin with, there will be three important ones; the Municipal Socialist Party, the Municipal Conservative Party and the Municipal Liberal Party. Note that only the MSP will really exist as an organisation with much power on its own (and this will largely revolve around candidate selection and so on. Yes; I'm making a certain sort of factionalism easy). For reasons that will also become clearer later.

d) The police, the courts and so on. Because corruption and crime will for sure be a feature of this game.

e) community leaders & etc. Not important... yet. So ignore for now.

f) Central Government. None of the players will have any influence over this whatsoever. lol.

Most of these overlap to a certain extent.
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Sibboleth
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« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2009, 07:04:42 pm »

Part Two - Elections

Elections in Stovesby are fought on several different (though frequently overlapping) levels, one of which is (almost) totally out of the control of the players, one of which is determined by the collective decisions of the political groups and one which is largely in the hands of individual characters. They are as follows; National, City and Ward.

a) National

Perhaps regrettably, the tone (and often results) of municipal elections is invariably set by national political conditions. As most governments are (to some extent or other) unpopular, this means that the major party out of power nationally starts with a built-in advantage in almost all electoral years. Occasionally national tides are strong enough to sweep all before them (real life example; in the 1968 municipal elections in Birmingham the Labour group lost every seat it was defending). Elections like that are rare, but they *will* happen.
National factors can effect elections in other ways; major government projects built in the city sometimes have an electoral effect, though can also backfire. Almost all national factors are in the hands of the GM; the sole exception concerns begging national government for projects.

b) City

The core of the electoral aspect of the game are the decisions made by each party group about electoral strategy and tactics. The structure of this is very simple; groups make decisions about the general tone of their campaign, which issues to emphasise, which wards to target (and how) and inform the GM. They will do this three times during the campaign; at the beginning, half-way through and at the beginning of the final week of campaigning. They may also decide on last minute GOTV tactics (in the same way) on the last day before the election. As well as this semi-secretive war against each other, groups may hold rallies, public debates and so on.

c) Ward

Individual characters do have some influence over their electoral fate; they are fully entitled to run their own personal campaigns alongside their groupís citywide campaign. While they must inform the GM of the details of what theyíre doing, quite how much detail they choose to tell their own group is up to them. This, somewhat needless to say, is the level where most of the electionís inevitable dirty tricks are played.

ELECTION DAY

Characters spend election day in a rather nervous state and do what ever it is that they have to do. Meanwhile, the GM will feed them snippets of information. Whether they react to this (and how) is up to them.

ELECTION NIGHT

When all the polls have closed, characters are summoned into the Town Hall where the votes will be counted and declared by the GM. Group officials (and any directly affected candidate) will actually be told (privately) a rough picture of the results before they are announced. This is to allow the groups to decide whether to ask for any recounts (note that only the Groupís agent (a temporary position appointed by the Group leader - if possible the agent will always be a PC) may request recounts). Once recounting has been finished, the GM will read the results out. Results read out by the GM are official and may only be challenged if misconduct is suspected.
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Sibboleth
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« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2009, 07:09:29 pm »

3. Committees

It's worth noting that as the game develops, the committee structural will probably (that is if you (collectively) want it to) change radically. These rules are by no means set in stone.

First, there are the two monsters; Public Works and General Purposes. Public Works controls not just a conventional definitiuon of public works but also planning, transportation policy (include the details of public transport administration), waste disposal, etc, etc. General Purposes controls everything not controlled by another committee (this includes, by way of example, licensing, oversight, disciplinary stuff, etc... as well as strategic policy decisions). At some point it's pretty much inevitable that calls will be made to break up the monsters.

And then there is the Finance Committee, which controls the purse strings and rates (ie; local property-based taxation). It's both extremely powerful and rather weak. The power of its Chairman tends to increase in the runup to the yearly budget being announced.

Next the are two committees that are extremely powerful in their own area, but have little power outside it; the Stovesby Local Education Authority (which controls education policy in the city; including the curriculum at this stage. Additional edited in note; if you're interested in this committee, it'd be a good idea to become somewhat familiar (even in a very general way) with the issue of selective education and the introduction of the comprehensive system) and the Housing Committee (which does exactly what it says on the tin. This, for any Americans present Smiley, includes being, in effect, the landlord of the city's council estates, that's public housing to you).

And there are five weak committees that inevitably bow to pressure from the strong; Public Health, Welfare, Arts & Leisure and Watch (ie; police).

Finally, there is the Full Council. It controls general policy and has to rubberstamp decisions made in committee. The "committee's" chairman in a literal sense is the Lord Mayor, but in terms of power, it's the Leader.

So, how do they work?

First, read what was written about them earlier. But some more details...

1. Committee appointments are made by the Leader of each group (the Leader can have the Chief Whip vet them if he likes) and no one else.

2. Commitee chairman are (as mentioned earlier) also appointed by the Leader (ditto vetting etc). Note for leaders; there's nowt wrong in appointing NPC's to chair committees. Some of these people are rather senior, rather powerful, and could cause you a lot of trouble if you sideline them. In practice some controlling groups elect chairmen; notably the Socialists.

3. Each committee will get its own thread on the child board. The only people who may post in these threads are committee members. Exactly how decisions are made is up the Chairman of each committee. Public votes must be held for all decisions made by the Full Council, but this is not strictly necessary in committees. (postings on the committee threads will be assumed to count as minutes).

4. Councillors may be a member of up to three committees (NOT including the Full Council), but may not chair more than one. An exception to this is the General Purposes Committee; while councillors may be appointed to it in the normal way, all chairmen are automatically members, and their membership does not count towards their three allocated spots.

5. Councillors can be removed from committees by the Leader or Chief Whip of their group without notice. The General Purposes Committee can also remove councillors from committees (and can also suspend and expel councillors from the council) but hearings must be held in public before that can happen. Note that, at this stage, this is the only way (barring a criminal conviction or electoral defeat) that corrupt councillors can be removed from their positions, and their office. The introduction of outside bodies to regulate this area is decades away.

6. Committees may call any of the following to give evidence; councillors who aren't members of the committee, the Leader of the council (even if he is a member of the committee), any and all Council officers (ie; civil servants), any and all members of the general public who live in, work in or have something to with Stovesby (including senior policemen or whatever, for example).

7. Oh yes, the finance committee. There won't be any need to pass a formal budget, just make general decisions about which departments and projects are getting more money, which are getting less... the same applies to the various kinds of rates (to make this simple, let's just have two. Ordinary (paid by the citizens), Business (paid by all businesses and etc). Just say whether they're going up or down and by what %.

(yes, yes, yes... there is potential for abuse here. That's both deliberate and realistic).
« Last Edit: November 25, 2010, 04:47:24 pm by Sibboleth »Logged

"I have become entangled in my own data, and my conclusion stands in direct contradiction to the initial idea from which I started. Proceeding from unlimited freedom, I end with unlimited despotism. I will add, however, that there can be no solution of the social formula except mine."
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« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2009, 07:14:26 pm »

4. Characters

This is really very, very simple. There are two (and half) forms of character; player characters and NPC's. The former are played by, well, the players, the latter by the GM. Anyway...

a) Player Characters

There are two ways to create player characters; the first is to submit a character creation form, the second is to take over an NPC. There are advantages and disadvantages to both; taking over an NPC may give you more power (at first) than creating a character of your own, but the character (and its flaws) will have been created by the GM. Yes, the Deputy Leader of the Generic Party Group and Chairman of the Housing Committee may look extremely powerful, but it could easily be the case that he's on the fiddle, a drunk or both.

i) Character Creation Form. Easiest way to do this is just to post a draft one. Basically you fill in stuff. The first section is public...

Name:
Age:
Party:
Address:
Place of Birth:
Occupation:
Brief Biography:
Other:

Quick notes; your character may not be younger than 21, you may stick religious affiliation (if any) under other but you don't have to, you don't have to invent a full address, just the name of the district in question... and under brief biography I do not want to see anything like this; "...John grew up on a farm (the son of a farmer) and had to scrape to find the funds to send himself to university. At university...". This is not an American fantasy, this is a British industrial city (sort of) in the 1950's.

Note that you do not have to run for election in the distric that you actually live in, but you must have some other excuse (such as property (inc. renting), a business, work, etc). You don't even have to live within the city. Socialist PC's should note under 'other' which Union (if any) they're a member of (a list of possible options will be posted on a general background thread). This is important for the purposes of candidate selection. PC's from other parties don't have to worry about this.

The second section is not submitted in public, but is instead handed to the GM...

Place of Work:
Property Owned:
Conflicts of Interest:
Past Scandals:
Sexuality:
Addictions:
Medical Conditions:
Bigotries:
Corrupt Activity:
Other Criminal Activity:
Other:

Other than the first two questions (again, just put in the name of the district or districts), you can leave that section blank if you want (though don't announce that to everyone!) and play the game clean. But that might not be so much fun. As for what to put; remember, we start the game in the 1950's.

ii) Taking over an NPC

Very easy; if you find yourself characterless (you may not play more than one role at the same time) you can just ask the GM to show you the Form for an NPC of your choice. If you like what you see, you can then take over the character. This will be announced officially, somewhere.

iii) Defeat, Retirement and Death

Your characters do not last forever. You may retire or kill them off whenever you like, however you like. You may also chose to drop a character felled by the Electoral Reaper and start afresh. Don't be afraid of doing this if you think that your existing character is stuck in a rut. Be warned; once characters reach a certain age, the GM may start playing nasty tricks with their health and so on. A dead character is dead. Retired and defeated characters may only be brought back at a later date if they're under the age of 65. Ex-player characters may become NPC's, but only with the consent of the former player.

b) NPC's

Much of the above applies equally to NPC's. What's different is that, in their case, everything comes from the imagination of the GM and less is made public. With a few exceptions, NPC's will generally be rather crude caricatures. Don't assume that they all are though.

C) the GM's Character

The GM may chose to create a character as well... this character will work like an NPC but may not be take over by another player. While the GM's character may not use secret information to his own advantage, for other reasons it may be best not to trust the GM's character much.

D) The Black Book

Finally, a word on the Black Book. Every group gets one of these; it's run by the group's Whip and may be viewed by no one but the Whip (not even the Leader). It contains details of various dubious activities that members of his group have been getting up to and is the source of most of the Whip's power. The Whip gains this information by keeping his ears open to what players in his group say and so and (most of all) by asking the GM for information. How much the GM tells them is up to the GM. When a Whip is replaced, the old Whip must give the Black Book to the new Whip (whether they chose to edit it or not is up to them. Wiping it would be a big mistake). Former Whips should note that blackmail is illegal...
« Last Edit: December 19, 2009, 07:18:06 pm by Alonzo Lot »Logged

"I have become entangled in my own data, and my conclusion stands in direct contradiction to the initial idea from which I started. Proceeding from unlimited freedom, I end with unlimited despotism. I will add, however, that there can be no solution of the social formula except mine."
Sibboleth
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« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2009, 07:19:42 pm »

This will do for now - all else can be 'fluid', I think. Though if you have any questions please ask them.
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« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2009, 07:28:08 pm »
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Thank you. I'm game Smiley Will get this whole thing written up.
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Smid
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« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2009, 10:02:27 pm »
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What I like is that you've set out the rules and now participants can start getting involved. This is the predominant problem, I think, with the Mock Parliament, where everyone was getting together trying to direct it... it probably would have started up if it had been handled the way you've handled this.
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« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2010, 07:50:16 am »
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Should there be a distinction between in-character posts, real-worls posts, and organisational posts that don't have a specific relation to a character? (for example, the creation post for Trades' Hall).

Perhaps all organisational posts should be in Italics, out of character posts should be infrequent, and when they occur should be underlined and in bold, wile character posts remain unchanged?
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Sibboleth
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« Reply #8 on: January 26, 2010, 11:08:51 am »

Should there be a distinction between in-character posts, real-worls posts, and organisational posts that don't have a specific relation to a character? (for example, the creation post for Trades' Hall).

Perhaps all organisational posts should be in Italics, out of character posts should be infrequent, and when they occur should be underlined and in bold, wile character posts remain unchanged?

I declare this to be a Rule in game threads.
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"I have become entangled in my own data, and my conclusion stands in direct contradiction to the initial idea from which I started. Proceeding from unlimited freedom, I end with unlimited despotism. I will add, however, that there can be no solution of the social formula except mine."
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