Emerald Lodge and Neutrality


Pathfinder Online

Grand Lodge Goblin Squad Member

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I only got some of the discussion about others discussing our neutrality point of view. Well – time to chime in. I think it is fitting that this was discussed in the thread about Disappointment of the Silent. Just today I had one of these silent ones on my table. He is only silent here - not in the PFS area where he is pretty active. But he never went for a settlement during landrush.

Let me start with saying that neutrality is an aim I tried to follow. But I'm aware that it can be akin to painting a bulls-eye on your back.

You didn’t see an alignment for the Emerald Lodge. On the scale of 7500 - -7500 in each axis I would see us at 2000/2000 – slightly shifted to lawful and to good – that is why I never placed down a fixed alignment as I don’t think either of the 8 corners would fit – and perfect neutrality is also not possible. We will cross this bridge when we come to it.

Now from alignment into game neutrality. I have seen Neutrality in games past (and that is my experience before MMO when I was head of an alliance) that it worked under the following circumstances:

A) You lead the most powerful alliance and nobody dares touching you

B) You lead a tiny alliance and nobody cares about you

C) It is in the interest of other bigger alliances that you exist

Well – we don’t have to discuss a). This just won’t apply to us. I'm not that full of me. I also think we are too big for b) and too close to the Emerald Spire – if this will ever be worthwhile or if it is just an illusion won’t matter – someone will see it as valuable at some stage.
That leaves c). This is a very difficult option to pull off. But I think there are reasons that it might be possible. Lets start with the unique position that PFO is in. It currently got hard-core MMO gamers mainly from EVE with a lot of experience – and it has some RPG gamers coming over from table top gaming. Giving these players some place and encouragement can be beneficial for the overall long term game. There are also a lot of groups who try to foster new players.

RPG and MMO is not either/or – you can do both and there is definitely a sliding scale – not a yes/no. But yes – RPG players will be more vulnerable at the start. But at least everyone starts new – so the drawback will be as small as ever possible. Still – the learning curve will be higher for people coming from a different environment.

But this ‘advantage’ for everyone won’t keep us alive. It always will be trumped by neighbours. In the early days I was following closely the differences between the Roseblood Accord and Golgotha. Getting between the lines would have been like a suicide note. I’m not that naïve.
So lets analyse the neighbourhood:

Golgotha is key. Anyone remember my analysis of who has how much space. W had pretty little if you 'equally' distributed it from each settlemt center. We are potentially in their way. They will eventually have to work against one of their neighbours to get enough lands – AA, V or T look like the most likely targets. So it is important that we are valued more alive by them as dead. I had some early good discussions with them and I can’t blame anyone apart myself for preferring e-mail over teamspeak and then to go on holiday/travel at the worst time – just when the landrush ends. If you feel I spurned you – well – the game hasn’t truly started and I’m back next week in earnest. And I see Deacon Wulf more active here again - seems the two of us so far have been out of sinque. Will need to chat with you before game starts.

The Roseblood Accord. I currently can’t see any downside for them if we exist and if we are neutral. Actually I rather have to look out that we are not misused as a neutral buffer being that close to Golgotha. I know – 95% of your intentions are truly nice towards us – but to stay ‘neutral’ we need to watch out not to be pushed into being convenient by blocking someone else.

Kabal – I have to admit I can’t figure them out until now what they really stand for. Luckily they are far enough at the moment to be of lesser concern.

Other close neighbours: Hammerfall – we did have some good early contact and I can’t see any issues as neither group is likely expansive. The other groups are either falling into the c) area or in case of Hope’s End we have to ensure they go for someone smaller / easier prey.

That leaves the next layer of neighbours and especially Aragon. I do value what Bludwolf has achieved and the idea of raiders. I think they are beneficial for the game. As such I deliberately never reached out to them. If we can’t survive some occasional raids then we have a deeper long term problem. This is no encouragement for them to target us – but I also don’t want preferred treatment either. This would be a good test for PvP. Oh – and assume I will change my mind and reach out if there is a loud outcry from our members. But for now – don’t treat us special. And I know that I can always pay for safety if our vast valuable caravans don’t reach where they should.

So where does this leave us in regard to neutrality.

I’m happy to be a PVE hub and meeting place. For Golgotha we will have to offer a little bit more. For RA – well – I hope they don’t see us as Golgotha’s minions if they will get some more equal treatment as others. If that is an understanding, then neutrality is an option. It always was the direction I tried to stir us.

I know there are a lot PFS players from different settlements who have voiced interest at least to visit us.

I hope to catch Lisa in the next days to quiz her a little bit more about her cryptic remarks about the Emerald Spire. I hope it will exist sooner than later to offer something extra to PFO. At the same time it can’t become too valuable or our place will become unsafe.

Right now I’m in Indianapolis. I already wanted to meet up with KotC Carbon D. Metric. If others are around – drop me a message.

Unfortunately I won’t be able to go on teamspeak until I’m back to the UK.

My current internet connection or available computer are just not up to scratch. Will have to invest in some better hardware when I’m back. Seems I permanently locked myself out of alpha when I changed video settings – now get crashed directly after sign-in. Something else to sort out. Looking back it seems I paid more on hardware for iPhones and iPads as for computers in the last years.

I hope I haven't written anything that upsets the Haggarssons. I don't want to appear I just change direction like Freevale. There was no time to speak to you - or my own members.
I don't think anything written here changes any direction I ever have said I would follow. But sometimes there is also what you don't say that people follow.

Goblin Squad Member

My advise : Get yourself some allies , you will need them. The middle of the road is for road-kill.

Goblin Squad Member

This sounds pretty much like the direction I thought you might be going, Thod.

Whenever you get back to the UK, I am sure we can chat more, and hopefully you can get a better handle on the current political climate, as well as the organizations that have developed in the last couple weeks.

Hope you have a good time at GenCon.

Goblin Squad Member

It's going to be interesting to see if true neutrality is possible in the political climate.

You need all your friends to either be friendly or neutral towards eachother, and they all need to see more value in keeping the location under your control, than controlling it themselves.

Goblin Squad Member

How are you going to handle another organization similar in size to Golgotha developing (for instance DEYS / Mystical Awakening) that are PvP focused and have a larger membership base also wanting a little taste?

You can answer privately if you like, I know this has been a whirlwind development and don't want to put you on the spot.

Goblin Squad Member

I think your direction is sound Thod. I always viewed the Emerald Lodge as a good place to meet my contacts on neutral ground. Easier for both of us.

I don't speak for Everbloom Alliance in anyway, but I believe most members also would like to see Emerald Lodge as neutral ground. Also, I can understand if you would need to 'donate' some candy toward Golgotha a few times to remain on non-hostile terms and to prevent them from swiping you up.

Goblin Squad Member

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Also not speaking for the alliance, but of my personal opinion and the one I would advocate for... I support The Emerald Lodge remaining neutral with the goal of providing access to a potential hot spot to a wide audience, regardless of political faction or alignment.

I think it is a noble endeavor. As to Golgothan bribes, I would feel a bit more strongly against Golgotha for putting you in such a position than I would blame your settlement. I am hopeful that terms between Everbloom and Golgotha will not deteriorate to such a degree as to make you choose a side.

As for being a "neutral buffer", I do not see the Emerald Lodge as such a thing. If Golgotha wanted to express hostility with Everbloom, there is plenty of space for it to simply "go around". When the gray settlements are available, it is likely we will see Xeilian and Everbloom borders grow closer, and potentially to see some more non-affiliated groups squeeze in there.

Your value is in holding a hot spot PvE location for the wider community, without letting it become leverage for either the "good guys" or "bad guys".

Grand Lodge Goblin Squad Member

-Aet- Areks wrote:

How are you going to handle another organization similar in size to Golgotha developing (for instance DEYS / Mystical Awakening) that are PvP focused and have a larger membership base also wanting a little taste?

You can answer privately if you like, I know this has been a whirlwind development and don't want to put you on the spot.

On a case by case basis as and when it happens.

From my previous experience there are two phases:

a) the pre-game start alliances

b) alliances forming (or emerging) later

Neutrality actually can be a beneficial position for phase b) provided we are not yet earmarked to be conquered by one of the pre-game start alliances. We have less baggage to go into any negotiations.

What can be deadly is silence - and yes - I'm guilty during the last 2 weeks to have myself pretty much removed from here and not to have someone acting in my behalf.

Grand Lodge Goblin Squad Member

Lifedragn wrote:

As to Golgothan bribes, I would feel a bit more strongly against Golgotha for putting you in such a position than I would blame your settlement. I am hopeful that terms between Everbloom and Golgotha will not deteriorate to such a degree as to make you choose a side.

I don't think I ever used the word bribes - it leads down a path I don't like to follow.

This is a game of resources. We are in a place that competes directly with Golgotha or can be in their way of expansion. This is a unique issue between Golgotha and us and I'm sure it can be solved.

It is not Golgotha putting us in this situation but the design of the game putting both of us in this situation. This will be the same in a lot of other places between neighbours who are very close.


I too am only speaking for myself when I say I support the Emerald Lodge's endeavor of remaining neutral.

The potential for this sort of thing is what initially brought me to this game, and I would love to see it survive and flourish and working with others to make that a reality.

Goblin Squad Member

Just because you specifically mentioned us, you have nothing to directly fear from Hope's End in terms of expansion. Can't guarantee you won't end up on the wrong side of a mercenary contract, but we are non-expansionist for the time being.

Goblin Squad Member

GOod to see you responded. It will be good to take some time and determine what you want and what is the benefit. I am not sure how much Aragon and Golgotha are IC or OOC. It does not matter a lot. They bring valid concepts. But IC vs OCC does matter.6They ask IC that you negotiate a relationship that they protect you. For instance, will EL escort adventurers to or from the spire, protecting them from raiders.

And OOC, what are game/server benefits of having EL, a place for those wanting PvE. Will those PvE players refuse to defend EL or will they rise in wars to defend the site. YOu seem worried about Kabal, but I do not think that they ever had sights on "V". Others tried to redirect them there, but in humor.

EL has a local strategic value in all of those plans hexes in middle of forrest. In game they may be hard to hold; but, early on, few will contest your forrest. Among the forrest settlements you should not have problems but talk with them. Ask them to support you for what you may offer (I have no idea what their issues are other than not enough players to have enough companies to claim towers).

If, at GenCon, you meet those who were in kickstart for the pdf or are uncertain if they want to play, have them post or PM, !0 some communities may support their play, 2) some of us will buy what is left of their accounts ( I AM SAYING THIS PUBLICLY and can not be accused of cornering the market) -- though I would rather see them try and the decide, 3) If there is a way to watch Adventure with Bonny on Friday 6PM - 9 PM PDT.

If PfO could have a room with this projected, it might be interesting. Q & A after?

EDIT: Back to in game: recognize big players, and say you will get back after returning home. Use PFS to get support for the politics now and in game play in sept, or Oct.

Goblin Squad Member

Thod wrote:
That leaves the next layer of neighbours and especially Aragon. I do value what Bluddwolf has achieved and the idea of raiders. I think they are beneficial for the game. As such I deliberately never reached out to them. If we can’t survive some occasional raids then we have a deeper long term problem. This is no encouragement for them to target us – but I also don’t want preferred treatment either. This would be a good test for PvP. Oh – and assume I will change my mind and reach out if there is a loud outcry from our members. But for now – don’t treat us special. And I know that I can always pay for safety if our vast valuable caravans don’t reach where they should.

This is our only expectation. You may also be confident in the assurance that I give now, Aragon is the only settlement that the UNC plans to occupy. We have no intentions of expanding our control of settlements, we never have.

The Emerald Spire holds two interests for us. The opportunity to explore and loot it. The second, the opportunity to ambush / SAD and loot the occasional party leaving it.

Your towers have no interest for us. Later, your outposts would yield to us virtually the same bulk goods we have in our own area.

Emerald Lodge was only at risk from Aragon, in any significant way, during the last few hours of the Land Rush. In the event that Kabal had followed through with their threat of taking "X", Aragon would have moved to "V" (you hunker down would have not been enough).

Spoiler:
Settlement Priority

Settlement X
Settlement V
Settlement T
Settlement A
Settlement AC
Settlement F
Settlement G
Settlement J
Settlement D
Settlement C
Settlement I
Settlement H
Settlement E
Settlement AA
Settlement B
Settlement K
Settlement L
Settlement M
Settlement N
Settlement AD
Settlement O
Settlement R
Settlement S
Settlement U
Settlement Z
Settlement Y
Settlement P
Settlement AB
Settlement Q
Settlement W

LOL, that would have been a fun reaction from these forums to experience if Kabal had pulled that trigger.

I wonder if Aragon would have become "Switzerland"? Probably not... ;-}

Goblin Squad Member

If "neutrality" in this sense develops in-game, organically, great. I don't see it working as an "assignment" before the game even begins to be honest.
Are bandits supposed to ignore goods going to/from EL? That'd give EL's trade partners a nice advantage too and right away makes it hard to consider them strictly neutral.
Is EL going to stay small and refrain from taking resources others might want or need? I'm not sure how fair it is to take resources from someone else and then tell them they aren't allowed to fight for them.
What about if EL's membership soars because all the "I don't like pvp" people flock to it? Is it fair to all the struggling settlements out there to take on EL's share of the raids, banditry, and pvp while EL blossoms and thrives because they were granted special status from the get-go?
Sorry to be the bad guy, but I'm just not quite sold on the idea.


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I will only allow Emerald Lodge to be Switzerland if they yodel whenever they see me.

Goblin Squad Member

Thod wrote:
What can be deadly is silence...

Oh yeah! I had this a few days ago and was my wife ever mad at me! Woo hoo!

Goblin Squad Member

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Kobold Cleaver wrote:
I will only allow Emerald Lodge to be Switzerland if they yodel whenever they see me.

If you's sneekin good, dem nub gonna see you.

Goblin Squad Member

Switzerland isn't Switzerland because everybody likes pudding. I'm a fan of the EL theme, but they have their work cut out for them just like the rest of us do and they have always seemed to acknowledge that.

Goblin Squad Member

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And don't forget that Switzerland had mandatory conscription, and their hills were filled with supply dumps and fortified pillboxes.

Goblin Squad Member

They also fielded some of the most-respected mercenaries in European history.

Scarab Sages

I think they have more trouble by being neutral - p.e. trying to avoid political traps to push them against trapper's enemy - than everyone else. But this is part of the fun right?

I will often visit EL.

Goblin Squad Member

It's not alignment that is the difficulty to balance, it's the perception or actuality that it is benefiting from the universal non aggression putting it at an un fare advantage.

EL could very easily become the center for the highest tier crafting in all of the land. It will be able to achieve this without having to suffer any hindrance to their DI, because everyone is "hands off".

For the same reason, they could provide the highest training for its supported classes. A major trade hub, having access to the largest gold faucet in the game.

It will become harder for EL to appear neutral in regards of its own self interest, utilizing the benefits of its unique status that others wish to grant it.

If servicing the community as a whole, as a re supply station for the Emerald Spire, I think its crafting should be focused on the production of consumables. Its market more like an outfitters shop (ie. Golf Pro shop), almost exclusively dealing with gear needed in the Emerald Spire.

If servicing the community as a whole, it should focus training facilities on maintaining skills and less so than on training skills. Obviously this would not apply to its own defensive needs, but it should avoid the perception that it is the best training center in the land. It would be better for it to be the most versatile.

"Switzerland" is not just a metaphor for not posing a military threat. Switzerland is also not a political, economic or social threat.

Emerald Lodge has the least to fear from any of the settlements currently in EE. It is OE, and a huge influx of the homeless that will flow in. There will be some, possibly many, who will not be satisfied to live in what others have built, but will want to take what others have built.

Goblin Squad Member

@Thod, you obviously have a level head on your shoulders. Golgotha is indeed the key. If they're content to leave you be, I have no reason to doubt you would remain neutral - I try to trust my intuition and it's simply unimaginable to me that you would allow your Settlement to covertly become a subjugated vassal state of the empire.

The Seventh Veil chose our location in large part due to the expansion opportunities to the east, not to the west. I can't imagine any turn of events that would cause us to view you as anything less than neutral while you remained in control of the Emerald Lodge and continued to proclaim your neutrality.

I think you're in a unique position to attract lots of new players to PFO, and I hope you're extremely successful. One of the major concerns I've always had about PFO is how players who are concerned about PvP will be treated. My intuition tells me that the vast majority of them will find the PvP in PFO to be fundamentally different than in most "Open World PvP" games, and that they will come to thoroughly enjoy it.

Goblin Squad Member

If the Lodge could provide an outlet, or facilitate cooperation between entities that like each other (and trust each other) least then he would have earned his neutrality. Especially if it can be done while those entities retain a level of wariness towards each other.

I don't know exactly how that could be done. EL being an agreed sacred ground would certainly move that direction. It won't account for a huge explosion of new bodies into the game, but I have yet to see anything to indicate we will see that anywhere in the short term.

I know I have read comments about wanting to like folks people didn't like before. Maybe making this the first agreeable stand is a good first step.

Just a thought.

Goblin Squad Member

If EL doesn't become some economic powerhouse and remains relatively small, it could provide neutral ground between groups that are unfriendly toward each other but not an outright war with each other. Basically a River Kingdom's version of a Cold War.

That could be just as fun as an actual war.

Edit: It ultimately is up to EL if they can remain neutral ground. I agree it should not be something given to them without earning it.

Goblin Squad Member

Thod wrote:
C) It is in the interest of other bigger alliances that you exist

1. What is the purpose of remaining Neutral?

2. If it is to provide a PvE zone for example "the disappointed silent," then it may match C):-
3. If it's in the interest of the entire PFO population to have some players who want PvE and may then be a pool to convert out of that to varying degrees, then it's like a "public good": Everyone benefits and fortunately no-one has to pay for it...
4. ...but that is the question that pops up against it, as Bludd mentions it's either the x3 Siamese Fighting Fish (!) or it's Illyrio Mopatis, aka The Cheesemonger from Game of Thrones.
5. The solution would be for a "Treaty-wide" acceptance of an area of the game world for such a settlement or zone and all to sign to "treat" it as a no-man's-land or the equivalent of not shedding blood on holy soil if that is more pictorial and then everyone work out their plans around that "universal given" - if it's possible to achieve such high-level diplomacy?

Tl;dr: It depends what the function of "neutrality" is as per Game of Thrones, either an art of war strategem: "The long grass that hides the snake" or the idea of a "public good" that benefits all with potential population of players to disperse into the game from?

Goblin Squad Member

I recall speculating on the potential of a neutral trade hub.

Switzerland benefited greatly both from formidable natural defenses and a reputation for scrupulous lawfulness. Until the 20th century it was a business model based on trust and discretion that was a hallmark of banking. I'm less sure of it now that banks don't really need depositors and now charge most people fees greater than the interest they offer. Ah, the costs of convenience.

The weakness of political neutrality is a lack of allies. Weaknesses often are also strengths, and this may be such an one. If you aren't a threat you only get targeted if you are tempting. As a trade hub if you grow wealthy you should try to grow your strength with care. Not so much to be a threat, but strong enough to encourage the powerful to look elsewhere first.

Then, just before your location makes it convenient that you're a tempting target, that is the time to pick your pre-cultivated patron.

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