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In this episode we talk about the unfolding story of the NERO membership fees and the Ohio chapters' response to it. Unedited and unplanned, we discuss the brewing conflict and where it stems from and what might happen in the future. This is an extra episode outside of our usual structure and we should have another regular episode up soon as well. Enjoy this podcast equivalent of a late breaking news story! Also, we might be a bit tipsy.

Links:

WAR forums: http://www.beash.com/

NERO National forums (You may need an account to view): http://nerolarp.com/forum/

NorthCoastNERO forums: http://www.northcoastnero.com/bbs/

NERO Cincinnati forums: http://www.nerocincinnati.com/messages/ 

NERO Cincinnati's announcement: http://www.nerocincinnati.com/messages/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=290

A contract from 2006: http://jcollins316.livejournal.com/4876.html#cutid1

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  • George

    I’m a little surprised that the discussion of fees has so far been limited to a fairly narrow set of topics and that you haven’t seen people use this as an excuse to trot out all the reasons why they dislike or distrust the National company. There are many people have plenty of reasons to dislike Joe and National, but there are also I think more people who just don’t have confidence in the National business. I consider myself in that category.

    I’ve met Joe a couple of times. My feelings about him are a little hard to characterize, but I can safely say I don’t hate him, or really even dislike him all that much. But I firmly believe he is a terrible businessman, and there is ample evidence of that. He has a long history of being completely silent and invisible to players only to pop up to announce some new change and get things all stirred up before disappearing again and the changes never happen. The National website has tons of links to all kinds of boondoggles and half baked ideas like the LARP Museum and Sword Fighters Guild and LARPy Awards which were at best wastes of time and energy and at worst huge wastes of money. The latest business venture that I have seen him put out is the Brimrose Commons LARP park in Georgia whose website reads like some kind of article in the Onion. Our tavern is a bus! We burned tires for days! There is a log across the dry creek, and think of the mods we can do with that!

    That is why I’m not enthused about sending in a membership fee to National. If Joe and NERO is making big improvements at the National level in terms of staffing and organization and areas of responsibility, then that is great. But unless those are paid positions that don’t require my money. The things that I see Joe and National doing that does require money all seem like huge wastes, and they do nothing to improve my game. I don’t mind paying more money for my LARP. I just hate thinking that the extra money is going to end up getting wasted on some new scheme or plan which just goes nowhere like so many projects in the past.

    May 2, 2011 at 11:13 pm
  • Alan

    Thanks for the shout out. Hehe. Nice to renowned for something. For the record, there was only that ONE packet shot to the eye that was really, really horrible. (However, it did seem like I got 3 or 4 packets towards the eye within a month of that incident that made me a little skittish)

    I want to say one thing about variants. And this only applies to chapters/franchises that were purchased before Joe bought the game (and a few that Joe used the old contracts).

    People bought franchises with the understanding that variants were allowed. (It can be argued if this was a bad idea but that was what the reality was). Under the contract I have seen, variants were allowed. National was required to be informed and they needed to be publically available.

    I don’t have an objection to your position that a game like NERO should be 100% uniform across the board. I have limited sympathy (very limited) for people who bought their chapters knowing it was a violation of their contract to have variants and were mad when they couldn’t have them.

    However, Joe had an ethical (and possibly legal but maybe not) to address the old contracts. At the very least, if people wanted to keep variants and he didn’t want them to, Joe should have given them back their franchise fee and all royalties paid then sell that franchise to someone else with a new contract.

    That, obviously, was not at all his attitude. That is wrong. Plain and simple. People who bought something with a contract and expectations shouldn’t have had those expectations discarded to casually, callously and maliciously.

    Let me state this in a more concise form: The idea of a game that is 100% uniform is a great idea. It is fair and even across the entire player base. That is a good thing. That is not the game Joe bought. And, like everything else he seems to have done, he handled it in the worst possible way he could have.

    May 3, 2011 at 12:16 am
  • Alan

    I wrote above: However, Joe had an ethical (and possibly legal but maybe not) to address the old contracts.

    It was supposed to read:

    However, Joe had an ethical (and possibly legal but maybe not) obligation to address/honor the old contracts.

    May 3, 2011 at 3:51 am
  • Bill

    That’s interesting to hear Alan. I do know that WAR is one of the few chapters whose contract goes back to the Ford Ivey days, so I know there are a bunch of differences in their contract. I never knew variants was one of those differences.

    May 3, 2011 at 7:58 am
  • Matt

    As a chapter owner, let me fill you in on a couple details: 1) The April 11th email (which states that the policies were in effect 3/23) does exist, and, as far as I know, was the first notification about this policy that any of us in the Ohio region received. 2) I started NERO Elkins in 2008. At that time, it cost $2,000. $500 down and $100/mo. for 15 months.

    May 3, 2011 at 12:01 pm
  • Alan

    I am given to understand all the contracts from the Ford days are different, though I am not certain of that. I can only speak to the one I saw that comes from those days and it included what I said about the variants (though the exact wording escapes me as it was over ten years ago).

    The chapter I speak of is no longer in the hands of the original owner, so I am certain that contract does not exist for the person who owns that territory now.

    At the time Joe bought the game, I think there were 10+ chapters. How many still exist, I am unsure. Of thouse that exist, I suspect even less hare owned by the person/people who signed a contract with Ford.

    My point wasn’t at all relevant to the current discussion. I just wanted to comment on variants and NERO variants specifically as you guys touched on them in a historical context. :)

    May 3, 2011 at 12:16 pm
  • Mark

    I’m a WAR player for 10+ years but i did travel a bit. I talk to a few of the WAR owners here and there. They honestly want whats best for their players. The owners didn’t get the idea sold to them and in turn they didn’t try to sell it to their players. It got forced upon them with little to no input.

    They’ll be the first to admit they don’t have a close relation with national something that I hope will change in the future. Having Joe come to our boards and attack the very game we play made many upset. People who knew nothing of the problems long ago got a first hand glimpse at what problems could lie ahead with national.

    I think to fix the problem now it will take national staff interaction with the owners and the players. Probably national staff will need to work with owners and gut some playtests and rework others.

    Ignorance of how databases work, ignorance of what national intends to accomplish/do, poor marketing, and worse implementation has fueled the fire. I applaud you guys for taking a cool headed approach to the subject, I’m tired of hearing the fighting. It makes national look bad, our chapter look bad, and the game as a whole look bad.

    May 3, 2011 at 2:22 pm
  • Rachel

    Hmm-another interesting podcast, gentlemen. I’m responding to portions of the found on the larpohio site relative to/referenced in this ‘cast:

    “1.) $15 is Too Expensive!”

    Nope, it’s not. $30 isn’t even too expensive…so long as it includes insurance at all events in the organization, which isn’t possible, legally, given the current business architecture of NERO. Otherwise, I, too, want to know what I’m actually paying for.

    “2.) We Don’t Get Anything Extra!”

    This translates to “we haven’t gotten anything we’ve been promised thus far, so what’s different now?” as far as I’m concerned. In my opinion, the buy in for players could be done smoothly after, and ONLY after, the “new” national staff spends a year re-earning trust. Putting out the quarterly publications or providing steady updates to race packets and rules, updating the national website consistently…THEN announce that the work that’s been improving things needs more financial support and as such, national is re-instating the membership fee.

    “3. We Don’t Know Where The Money Goes” I do. It goes to National’s bank account. Where it goes thereafter is relevant to me only relative to whether things that are promised are provided.

    “Until national requires use of the national database (which could happen), paying this membership is not really needed for people who feel that their character is backed up and safe. There is no paper trail to guarantee that money is being spent on the other things.”

    It was my understanding that this was part of the situation at present. Without being in the national database, players can’t play cross chapter, per some announcements of late. Denial of services for non-national membership equals an implied mandate to use it.

    “4.) The National Database isn’t Secure Validity: Low Some people are afraid of the national database, because what happens if the person running it stops?”

    This is actually not the issue that concerns me. The issue is, “National has a proven precedent of breaking contract and removing services from chapters for perceived offenses, to the detriment of the players without legal justification to do so.” Thus, leaving one of the most critical record bases under the control of National which, per previous experience, might decide to block access. It’s the same reason I believe no chapter should set up a website under the auspices of the national management package. The tools should not be used as hostages.

    Furthermore, the rollout is inconsistent and based around an inappropriate mandate. A parallel: “Dear US Citizens: We’re adding a 1% tax to all your income and because of this, we’re requiring you to drive Ford Cortinas to work. You can also drive Mercedes on your own time, or even at the same time, if you can manage it, but as long as you’re driving to work, you have to be in a Ford Cortina.”

    -Rachel

    May 3, 2011 at 4:27 pm
  • larpcast

    As mentioned in the podcast, the publicly available contract from 2006: http://jcollins316.livejournal.com/4876.html#cutid1

    May 3, 2011 at 4:53 pm
  • Bill

    @Rachel

    I agree with you on a lot of the posts. The database issues were low validity because most chapters in Ohio are not familiar with the database. They keep claiming that Bill is the one that gets them the sheets, while we all know it would still be the local logistic guy. However, the issue with control is a legitimate one (as deleting characters is about the only teeth national has at this time).

    As far as the membership goes, I don’t think that there’s been an announcement from National that actually states that all players must be members to play. The explosion happened when NCN posted on their forums from the internal email sent out that had retroactive dates. Then they discussed what the membership could potentially give you and why it’s good.

    However, if I was an outsider and went to the NERO site, while there is membership information (which is outdated and somewhat false), there is no “You must be a member to play.” Additionally, there is no mention of national membership in the announcements forum. And we’ve been told in the past, if it’s not in that forum, then it’s not official.

    I fully believe they intend it to be mandatory, but the players have not actually been told that officially yet.

    May 4, 2011 at 8:15 am
  • Michael Conley

    Comment Deleted: You were told before that you are not welcome to post until you have apologized for your previous actions.

    “I will ask you once to stop trying to bring this back to a fight then remove you and your posts from my forums.” - Sound statement of community moderation

    May 5, 2011 at 8:20 am
  • Lananan

    ““3. We Don’t Know Where The Money Goes” I do. It goes to National’s bank account. Where it goes thereafter is relevant to me only relative to whether things that are promised are provided. ”

    Ok…I’m actually quite tired of this.

    Here is a quote from the National Symposium: This is an exact quote: “We work hard, we play hard. People work harder when they know that we’re going to play hard afterwards and go to the bar and drink $300 worth of alcohol. Yes, NERO pays for that.” –Joseph Valenti

    So they need more money for what exactly? More drinking?

    May 5, 2011 at 9:33 am
  • Shelly H

    As far as I knew this was discussed and all chapter owners present for the symposium last April 2010 all agreed in the price increase. I was not there so I do not know what happened. All I can go off of was what the other owners said.

    Since there were no database policies I decided to help in February 2011. I wrote the DATABASE policies and published them in early April 2011. Joseph Valenti put the membership increase in this policy as this was something discussed at the symposium in April 2010. The new database policy was the place to put the increased membership fee to National so everyone knew about it including players. I sent out the email letting all owners know when it was nationally effective, but this was essentially effective since last year. Atlanta has been giving $15 a year to national for players since they joined the DB. I am not to sure why these owners are saying they knew nothing of this. Did anyone ask the chapter owners if they went to the symposium where this was discussed? I even received an agenda, in an email, for the symposium citing this $10- $15 increase in April 2010. I could not go, but I still knew what was going on and had the option to call in for my opinion on the subjects. Everyone in attendance agreed from my understanding. I was not even on national staff at the time and knew this. Why is this such a “new development” and “late breaking news” ?

    Direct Quote from Symposium agenda that EVERYONE received: “7) Review of an Annual NERO National Membership Fee Per Player, of $15.00, received by Joseph Valenti through the National Online database. a. Review PowerPoint Presentation – NERO LARP National Membership Fee by Joseph Valenti b. Ideas Polled From Attendees via Hamburger Go-Around….”

    So again, I am unsure of why they act like they didnt know and this is some new development?

    This is in no way to call anyone out, but like I said, why is this “late breaking news?”

    Love your show.

    May 5, 2011 at 9:53 am
  • Lananan

    Shelly, I was at the symposium.

    The membership fee was lead to be believed was for using the national database at the symposium, and was even stated that the chapters wouldn’t have to worry about it because it would be collected via the database.

    A lot of the ohio chapters don’t use the National Database exclusively, they prefer their local chapter database.

    May 5, 2011 at 10:19 am
  • Lananan

    Also Mickey and Bill there are quite a few things that are inaccurate about the Ohio chapters. It’s really hard to go back and forth on a comments sections while trying to listen to the podcast to discuss it.

    I will be more than happy to talk with you about it. We can post the discussion (don’t want people to think I was keeping something) but it will be just easier.

    Also Nero Cincy’s had this post up for over a year (it was modified slightly, but in general it’s been there for) http://www.nerocincinnati.com/messages/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=290

    May 5, 2011 at 10:24 am
  • larpcast

    Hey Eric,

    Want to send us an e-mail about the inaccuracies you’re concerned about and we’ll go from there?

    And awesome, I’ll edit the post to include that link. Thanks!

    Mickey

    May 5, 2011 at 10:37 am
  • Lananan

    What would be the best email?

    May 5, 2011 at 10:41 am
  • larpcast

    mickeyandbill@gmail.com will hit both of us at once.

    Mickey

    May 5, 2011 at 10:43 am
  • Lananan

    Ok, I’ll email it later tonight (at work currently)

    May 5, 2011 at 10:44 am
  • Shelly H

    Thats just the thing though. You DONT have to worry about it. If you decide you want your players to pay National directly and leave you out of it, you can tell them that. BUT if they dont pay and they cant get updated or print cards that is on THEM. At Nero NT and Epic they say that they will pay the $15 for you and just increase the membership. This way they know for a fact that the $15 was paid and noone’s rights will be terminated from the database.

    I dont understand why the database is such a huge concern. Its better than anything I have ever seen, Bill Taylor is easy to comminicate with and things get resolved within hours if there is a problem. In my honest opinion Bill Taylor deserves to be paid for his hard work on this project so why not kick him some money?

    Just like Mickey and Bill said, National staff puts in ridonculous amounts of hours on Nero projects and its not appreciated. I dont speak for everyone, but EVERYTHING I do, is to better the game.

    May 5, 2011 at 10:54 am
  • Bryan Mularcik

    Hey Fellas,

    Great podcast as usual. Most of the points you guys made were either “spot on” or good food for thought. I would like to clear up on misconception that you guys were discussing and that was the idea that the local chapters would “punish” their players for joining the National Database.

    It may have been poorly worded in the original forum posts, so I will try to clear this up. The reason we had stated that players would not be able to purchase local skills (variant skills) was that the National Database would obviously not support them. It was not because we were trying to punish or threaten players that might consider going to the National Database.

    Now, I will admit ignorance of the functionality of the National Database since I didn’t start playing with it until last week. That doesn’t change anything, but there has been some discussion about the possibility of maintaining separate local character records that have local variant skills. But of course those discussions only occurred after the initial post was made concerning the entire situation.

    It might also be worthy to note that we ARE in discussions with Joe V concerning all of this and trying to reach a resolution. However, I will say that it doesn’t seem that we are much closer to a solution on this.

    -BAM GM, WAR

    May 5, 2011 at 11:29 am
  • larpcast

    Hey Bryan, glad you liked it.

    So, at the end of the day, it’s really a lot less that I think you’re in your evil villain lair looking to bring the unholy hammer down on National Database Players. Rather, that *regardless of your intent* I believe that that is the ultimate effect. That the policy creates an inequity between two classes of players, in effect punishing the ones who pay the fee (either ’cause they feel like it or, more likely, because they want to travel to other chapters who aren’t taking the same stance as you).

    Now, obviously, we’re probably in a lot of disagreement when it comes to the Great Variant Debate, but I do feel that if a chapter does have local variants then it behooves them to be fair about players being able to access them. Regardless of where those players come from, if they’re traveling, if they’re paying the fee, etc. So if WAR, in this case, is going to take the stand it is against the National fee, then I think part of the fairness cost you should pay for that is to have to do the extra bookkeeping of, off the cuff, maintaining some characters both in the National and the Local database to preserve their right to use your local variants.

    Mickey

    May 5, 2011 at 11:38 am
  • Rachel

    @Eric

    ““3. We Don’t Know Where The Money Goes” I do. It goes to National’s bank account. Where it goes thereafter is relevant to me only relative to whether things that are promised are provided. ”

    Ok…I’m actually quite tired of this.

    Here is a quote from the National Symposium: This is an exact quote: “We work hard, we play hard. People work harder when they know that we’re going to play hard afterwards and go to the bar and drink $300 worth of alcohol. Yes, NERO pays for that.” –Joseph Valenti

    So they need more money for what exactly? More drinking? ”

    Heh, Eric, though I thankfully wasn’t there for that symposium, I completely see your point, but would clarify - it doesn’t preclude my statement - If National can pull off all things that they SHOULD be paying for AND can drink $300 worth of booze, I don’t care…so long as the first half is taken care of, well, first! -Rachel

    May 5, 2011 at 12:58 pm
  • Daniel Burke

    Mickey - Just as a clarification - Dragoncrest (http://www.dragoncrest.com/) Does run a national game with chapters in 5 states that allow character transfer between games in the same game world.

    So its not just NERO and Alliance, but in terms of ‘games’ that is the extent of games I am aware of with formal LARP rules.

    May 5, 2011 at 2:55 pm
  • Bryan Mularcik

    Hey Mickey,

    If you get a chance e-mail me: odie_xn@yahoo.com

    I would like to discuss your points about variants, maybe give you some material for the podcast.

    May 5, 2011 at 3:02 pm
  • Shelly H

    Dang it, I had a long drawn out post but it was lost in the script. 

    What I was saying is that $300 is a drop in the bucket. When my husband and I were owners we would pay for our staff and plot teams dinners or drinks every time we had a plot meeting. If Joseph Valenti wants to take his staff out for a night on the town, he can. It’s HIS money. When you purchase a corporation or franchise or any business and you want to recognize your staff what do you do? You generally give them gift cards, money, or some other means of recognition. Why is it anyone’s concern that he spend $300 on his staff every once in awhile? If Sams Club raised their membership fee’s people would pay them. You may have a few reluctant people, but for the most part you are not going to go picket at your local Sams Club. You would probably take it to the corporation, but that is a lot of steps to take for a measly $15 if it got to that level.

    I have always heard the old words “people speak with their money”. If $15 turns into people REALLY not playing your games then Joseph will see the numbers dwindle. My thought is that if local staff, owners and regional staff are speaking negatively about something then the players will pick that negativity up and will start threatening revolts, or that they will not play etc. In Nero North Texas and Epic I have not heard one person say “I am not coming back if you enforce this”. For the most part people are a little upset, but no one is threatening to quit. I certainly think that is largely due to the staff/owners not speaking negatively about it. I could be wrong here, but it just seems that way to me.

    May 5, 2011 at 3:19 pm
  • Lananan

    Shelly, I’m sorry, but that’s just absurd.

    If $300 is a drop in the bucket then nationals shouldn’t be worried about collecting a $15 or any amount of membership fee. If ownership can’t use their money wisely why should we give them more? It’s investing a bad investment. “I didn’t spend the last money you gave me wisely I used it for partying, can you give me more?”

    Why should we even begin to trust Nationals with money if they can’t handle it?

    It reminds me of the fable of the ants and the grasshopper. (http://www.dltk-teach.com/fables/grasshopper/mstory.htm - for reference). Why should we keep paying for the grasshopper to party?

    May 5, 2011 at 6:26 pm
  • Jyn

    Off-topic- Shelly H, if you use Firefox, check out the Lazarus plug-in for avoiding such frustrations in the future :)

    May 5, 2011 at 8:49 pm
  • Shelly H

    Why should we even begin to trust Nationals with money if they can’t handle it?

    Not to sound rude here, but the answer is; because they can. I am no lawyer here, and I am not a professional of any kind, but what I do know from college with basic business is that if you own a franchise, and Dictionary.com defines franchise as the right or license granted by a company to an individual or group to market its products or services in a specific territory, you have to follow what the corporation lays out for you. You own a franchise of Nero International. I could be wrong here, but if National asks you to raise your prices or something else you must do it. This is why I am unsure how this is even an issue.

    I am not trying to be rude, but can you please let me in on your perspective as to why, other than the “partying” you say Joseph Valenti does with his staff, that you should NOT send money to national? If National asks you to send in $30 more a year we are obliged to do it. Even as an ex chapter owner we followed whatever Joseph Valenti laid out for us. We owned a franchise NOT Nero International. If we were all partners we could get away with saying “I am not sending money in”, but since we are NOT partners we are in essence employee’s to Nero Nationals we should follow what they ask.

    Again, what other reasons do you have why people should not send in money to national?

    May 5, 2011 at 9:05 pm
  • Shelly H

    I have re-read what I wrote and it does come across as strident and I dont mean to come across that way. I have asked that the above be removed.

    Eric, I am sorry for the above comments. Hopefully it will be removed soon as I do not want to start a crazy word war here.

    :) I am done with whatever I was trying to say before, I am just trying to say the other side of things, but I am making a mess of it.

    May 5, 2011 at 9:27 pm
  • Jyn

    Not to barge into your discussion, but I was always under the impression that NERO was not a franchise operation, as defined by U.S. law. The language used in the linked contract says that NERO International is a company “specializing in consulting with and assisting others in the operation of live role-playing events.”

    I have also spoken with chapter owners who have said that the contract they have with national is not a franchise agreement, it’s a license agreement. They get the use of some trademarked/copyrighted items and a rules system within the restrictions laid out in the contract.

    So I’m certainly not a lawyer, but I suspect that, from a legal standpoint, it is a little bit more complicated than “national makes the rules and everyone else has to follow them,” and there may even be variance from chapter to chapter in terms of what their contracts require.

    But I think it’s still probably okay to have a discussion about what people think is sensible or ethical, regardless of what legal requirements might exist.

    May 5, 2011 at 9:44 pm
  • Mike Ennis

    Shelly,

    I do not own a franchise - I am a Licensee. I am not similar to a managing partner for the McDonald’s Corporation, but instead our relationship is more similar to that of Reebok and Sears. I am protected by the same contract that NERO International is. Provisions above and beyond the scope of the contract must be renegotiated.

    Rachel, Eric, and others have expressed it over and over, it’s not about how much money, it’s about reputation and precedent. Many players simply don’t trust NERO. I appreciate your thought that owners can sway the player base, and while I agree largely with that, standing up for NERO blindly when our players feel that they have failed them will cause a loss of business that I am not willing to absorb bluntly. There is absolutely nothing wrong with approaching my partner (Joseph Valenti) and engaging him in conversation, which is what I have done.

    As I have stated other places, my personal hope is that WAR can continue on as a partner of NERO as we have been for the past 17 years.

    Mike Ennis NERO Ohio/NERO West Virginia

    May 5, 2011 at 10:16 pm
  • Mike Ennis

    Mickey and Bill,

    Great job, guys. I particularly enjoy the candid discussions of the dynamic that variants create within a player base. Very thought-provoking. There are a few points that I would like to constructively comment on (as if you thought I wouldn’t…LOL).

    Allowing characters to rewrite their build is not “Build Cheating”. “Build Cheating” is when a character earns build points while sleeping, eating out with the owner, or playing Madden 12. If WAR chooses to allow each player to respend their build every time they walk into the door of a WAR Event, I am not in violation of my contract, so long as at the end of the event the character goes back to its original skill set and they receive the standard allotment of experience for the event they have just attended.

    Joe’s veto is a powerful thing, and has turned off many a voluteer and/or chapter owner. Mickey’s tale of being at the mercy of Joe’s whimsy is all too familiar. I think that he has the right to do what he wants, and don’t begrudge him that. I only wished he showed a little more restraint - his image has taken a beating as a result of ill-conceived sparring matches in public forums. I suspect that NERO on the whole may have taken a beating from some of the private ones as well.

    I agree with you guys 100% when it comes to character sheets - losing them doesn’t matter very much to me. I do know however that it is very important to many of our players.

    I understand that you guys know a lot of things - you both have been around a long, long time and it’s obvious from your honest, open discussions that you are bright guys who are critical thinkers. I would just offer a word of caution not to take too much for granted with regard to how well the logic that seems so apparent to you translates into absolute truth.

    And lastly, while your points with regard to the fallacies of local rules are well taken, I think it’s important to remember that WAR as an entity has been around longer than it has been important to be “all one rule set.” We did “fall in line” a few years ago, and it altered our brand quite a bit. It became decidedly NERO, and less what it was founded to be as a result. The truth is that we became lesser as an organization when that happened, and the harsher truth is that it may simply have become too late to recapture it. Maybe not…*shrug*

    Thanks for the thought-provoking insights, guys. I look forward to the next one!

    Mike Ennis http://warweb.org

    May 5, 2011 at 11:51 pm
  • Lananan

    Shelly (don’t worry I didn’t get offended; we are having a discussion and it’s fine) :)

    What Mike said is completely true. We do not own a franchise - We are a Licensee. We are protected by the same contract that NERO International is. Provisions above and beyond the scope of the contract must be renegotiated.

    So Nationals can’t just “asks you to send in $30 more a year we are obliged to do it.”

    In our contract (at least in mine) it doesn’t state that I have to charge for a membership fee, or that it’s required to play our game.

    May 6, 2011 at 12:20 am
  • Lananan

    Also, just for the record. I completely agree that Bill Taylor is one of the hardest working person in Nero. We have been working with him for over a year to help get the National Database in a position that we could use (interchangeably) with our local database.

    Please let me be clear. I don’t hate the National Database, it just didn’t fit the majority of our needs at this current time. Sometime in the near future it might (especially with everything that Bill has worked so hard on)

    May 6, 2011 at 12:23 am
  • Tim Holt

    I also read through the contract linked and several other contracts that I have from other sources, Mike and Eric are correct they are not obligated to collect a membership fee. There are some weird clauses in the contract but nothing that suggests any unilateral control from national. The contract also does not dictate rules, so Mike is within his contractual rights to allow rewrites. Variants are specifically prohibited in the linked contract but WAR’s contract is much much older, and probably less complete. All in all I never really thought that the contract angle was a good defensive position for the membership fee. My point was and has always been, let’s give them another shot, ignoring past performance, because these are new people. Perhaps I am being silly, but I like being hopeful.

    May 6, 2011 at 10:40 am
  • larpcast

    So for whatever reasons my notifications are being weird and I missed some comments. Anywhoo, just a couple of quick things to Mike E.

    Glad you liked it! I think the build cheating thing wasn’t us saying you were build cheating, but that it was an explanation that Bill had been given *from you* (well, someone in Ohio generally at least) as a possible reason not to allow national member players from using the local variants. So not us accusing you of causing build cheating, but us saying you were trying to avoid what you thought was it. Or at least, that’s how I took what Bill said.

    And yeah, you’re right that it’s good to be on the lookout for mistaking logic/opinion and fact. I think, to be honest, that I sometimes phrase things in a bit more absolutist way because it makes for a more interesting, and more succinct, discussion. I kind of drive my wife nuts sometimes with my real life habit of talking in disclaimers. On the flip side, I do have pretty strong opinions about some stuff and I want to convey that. Particularly, when it comes to the Great Variant Debate. Now, not to go into the GVD all too much (if i wanted to write giant blog posts I wouldn’t be podcasting) but I do want to clarify that I’m not so much interested in whether WAR (or any chapter) can *legally* have variants, but more interested about whether or not they should. Oddly enough, being a lawyer makes me considerably more reluctant to engage in legal debate online. It’s too easy to get professionally in trouble.

    Glad you liked it overall and happy to have you listening and commenting!

    Mickey

    May 6, 2011 at 12:07 pm
  • Crimson/Daniel

    i honestly wish that all chapters would adhere to a national standard for rules.

    variants make the game diffrent for each place you go to.

    why not just have 1 set of rules. where travelers can go anywhere they choose without any major rules changing.

    May 6, 2011 at 9:18 pm
  • Jeremie Collins

    I’m famous b1tches!

    Lemme say this, I picked up all these podcasts from Itunes and I thought I’d listen to one or two of them and curse myself for taking up room on my Ipad but they are good.

    In the past I EFFING hated these 2 clowns..but for me time heals all wounds or I’d like to think that anyways.

    I agree Alot with the podcasts about 75-80% of what they say. I think these guys are doing a great job but more over I think now that they’ve kind of come out of the fog of bullshit that JV spouts they have a better understanding and are perhaps more accurate in their opinions and approach on NERO Matters.

    I lost interest when I busted out Joe on the Larpies when he lied to the owners about the location and the stars he’d have attending.

    That is infact my Live Journal.. I should update it at some point I guess I’ve not really had a need to use it.. I play Amtgard, Belegarth and Dagorhir VERY regularly typically several times a week.

    that said, I also played Alliance after I stopped playing International..

    much like Ravenloft there is a”Mist” from chapter to chapter this prevents some of the nonsense from one chapter to another chapter to transfer..Alliance still uses Skill Store as a formal effect…the mist allows a bit tighter control over some of the wackiness so you dont have some guy rolling in to a chapter with a +5, 5 dodge, 1 rift Sword of God Killing or whatever.

    Alliance has a great approach to their rule system, they’ve covered many of the holes that NERO international still has.

    if your looking for an alliance rulebook I’ve got one of the newer ones I’d be happy to send folks to view.

    as I said though I play Amtgard Primarily and Belegarth and Dagorhir almost as regularly each week.

    I tend to prefer the option of a more adult community where memberships are 12 bucks a year…events I can go to that have Alcohol and a grown up vibe.

    and when I want a more intense combat system I can go and shield kick people at Belegarth and Dagorhir.

    -Jeremie Collins REBEL REBEL REBEL!

    May 14, 2011 at 3:04 pm
  • Jeremie Collins

    PS: NERO National Database.

    This is what the D-base should look like FFS.

    http://www.amtgardrecords.com/

    this is done by Amtgard Kingdoms for NERO this would be chapters or even State or regions

    So, then if done by Region or State it would go to this

    http://www.amtgardrecords.com/kingdom.php?kingdomID=1

    Click on the chapter in that state / region

    it’ll display a list of players

    http://www.amtgardrecords.com/chapter.php?chapterID=70

    And this is what a character might look like http://www.amtgardrecords.com/player.php?playerID=20799

    May 14, 2011 at 3:35 pm