Dulston Defense Death Squad Controversy

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Prologue: A Historian's Word

Now a few words from noted NecroTech scientist, Caleb Usher:

Greetings fellow historians, I take it you have reached this section because you hunger for knowledge. I will do my best to provide you with just that. It does my heart good to see others taking up such interests. While history is hardly my area of expertise, being a field researcher for NecroTech, I was around during the time these events occurred in Dulston, having been stationed at the Waish Building in nearby Pescodside. Of course one must realize that it is important to remember the past lest it repeat itself, which would be rather boring or possibly symbolic of some kind of time loop phenomenon... now that would be fascinating, I had this theory on that onc- oh, but you're eyes are glazing over. I've gotten off track again. Where was I? Ah yes... history.

The discussion contained herein was between the Drunken Dead and the founder of the Dulston Defense Death Squad, with all the particulars posted on the discussion page. I would ask readers to have an open mind when viewing these facts and only then make their own decision on which group was in the right. Of course before passing judgment you please keep in mind the complete context of each individual's arguments. By "context" I am referring to the time during which the controversy took place, a period which differs considerably from the tactics and methods used by survivors today. In those days every unknown face was a potential enemy, but at the same time this paranoia may have led to countless unrecorded and unjust deaths. But I ramble again... take your time and see the facts for yourself.

--Caleb Usher

Setting the Stage

The following details are a historical account of the controversy surrounding two groups: the Dulston Defense Death Squad, a survivor group, and the Drunken Dead, a zombie group. At the time of the controversy both groups were situated in the suburb of Dulston. In late 2005 paranoia over death cultists and zombie spies had grown rampant and survivor groups like the DDDS took extraordinary means to root out anyone considered to be a traitor (i.e. survivors aligned with the zombie hordes). Among these was the creation of a profile list, the "DEATH LIST", in which traitors were recorded. While this list was particularly useful to the DDDS and other survivors in tracking murderers (another one of Dulston's long-term problems) the list also included any survivor who had joined a zombie group.

In the eyes of the DDDS any zombie who was revived, but still associated with a zombie group, was a potential spy or death cultist waiting for the right moment to strike in conjunction with the horde they served. Not to mention that the DDDS's key strategy at the time was to starve zombies (of XP) thus cajoling them into leaving the suburb in search of better hunting grounds, a plan that they viewed as being circumvented by allowing them to gain experience as survivors. As they could then spend use this new source of experience to improve their zombie skills making them a more dangerous threat when they rejoined their horde. To combat against this potential threat the DDDS issued "summary execution" orders on all marked survivors.

While it's questionable how many feral zombies, turned survivor, were executed in such a fashion it was only when the Drunken Dead learned of this practice that the controversy was truly brought to light. The details surrounding the Drunken Dead's involvement began when the DDDS used the zombie group's own member list in order to add to their Death List. Word spread throughout the zombie group's ranks that their members, while among the living, were being executed without provocation by the DDDS. Infuriated by what they viewed as cold-blooded murder, the Drunken Dead confronted the DDDS. Their argument was that their members were, and never had been, zombie spies or death cultists. Furthermore, they insisted that their members had the basic right to choose what they wanted to do when revived (or combat revived, as was the case back then). They could either commit suicide to rejoin the battle as a zombie or join the survivors in order to learn survivor skills while gaining experience.

Zogor, leader of the Drunken Dead, took personal offense to these claims and demanded that the DDDS not only end their practice of killing survivors who happened to also be members of the Drunken Dead, which he considered nothing short of murder, but that they also remove all Drunken Dead members from the Death List.

Matthew Stewart, founder of the DDDS, insisted that his group did not need justification in order to view all Drunken Dead members as death cultists for the aforementioned reason that his group intended to prevent the Drunken Dead from gaining experience as survivors. He also explained that it was within his group's rights to carry out whatever they deemed as "justice" in Malton because there was no strict guideline by which the reasons for a survivor killing another were enforced. Survivors and zombies alike were allowed to do as they pleased. In this case the DDDS deemed all zombie-affiliated survivors as death cultists and therefore fair game.

Of course as is always the case both sides argued the validity of the other's statements. The DDDS refuted that all Drunken Dead members held to the "non-spying" policy set by the Drunken Dead, but as always their key argument was their goal of preventing zombies from gaining experience as survivors.

The Drunken Dead's reply to these accusations was to imply that the DDDS was unjust in its policies concerning which survivors were threats to the security of Dulston and that their Death List was nothing more an excuse for murdering anyone they considered an enemy. They also adamantly insisted that experience collected as survivors was only used to learn survivor skills, although the validity of these claims is hard to prove either way, especially with groups as large as the Drunken Dead (30+) and no in-game mechanic to enforce the claimed "in good faith" spending.

The DDDS's contention was that its claims against individuals on its Death List were valid and that those individuals posed a significant danger to Dulston. Also given the nature of the Urban Dead scenario, namely a zombie apocalypse, that they had every right to deal with threats in a means that required informed decisions and action not simply tolerance or empathy. The concept of metagaming versus roleplaying later made appearances throughout the discussion, with the overall feeling presented by the DDDS being one that they did not hold grudges against the players, only their zombie characters. Furthermore Matthew fully understood the ramifications of the war he had started with the Drunken Dead because of his efforts to target their group.

As the war of words turned to an actual war between the DDDS and the Drunken Dead, there were some surprising results, all things being considered. Nearing the end of the conflict, the Drunken Dead claimed to have tallied a larger number of kills, with 11 DDDS survivors killed (6 attributed to Zogor alone, who had a considerable repertoire of weaponry at the time of the conflict), to the DDDS's more meager 2 kills. Of course no facts exist to backup either statistic, but considering the number of Drunken Dead members at the time it is perfectly conceivable that they would have had the manpower to inflict more casualties against the DDDS. Later the Drunken Dead explained that they found it amusing that the DDDS, a human survivor group, was not as good at killing survivors as the Drunken Dead, a zombie group. In many cases members of the Drunken Dead, who had no human skills whatsoever at the time, had to work harder than they did as a zombie in order to obtain the required combat skills needed for the conflict. While on the other hand the members of the DDDS supposedly already had all these combat skills they needed at the very beginning of the conflict.

Ironically Caleb later pointed out that while the initial standing of the Drunken Dead may have been against the very accusations the DDDS had made, it was the conflict itself that drove them to become what the DDDS had claimed they originally were, death cultists. Of course this does not in any way substantiate the original allegations made by the DDDS against the Drunken Dead considering that the situation had devolved into open warfare between the two groups.

Case for the Drunken Dead

What we have to say about it...

We of the Drunken Dead feel that it is unfair and wrong to target revived zombies, with many of them playing the species they currently are and they can easily be spotted as they are the ones not falling past your window at a great rate of speed in an attempt to rejoin the horde. The Death List's existence itself provides an interesting problem for the Dulston Defense Death Squad, in that it is a public declaration of intent to kill those who are on it without substantial justification. This has led to several members of the Drunken Dead, including the leader, Zogor, to take up killing members of the DDDS, as under the bounty rules it is determined to be self-defense to kill someone who has publicly announced they want to kill you. The Drunken Dead have no official stance on the matter of killing members of another organization, running with the line, "Whatever floats your boat", in order to perpetuate the state of affairs detailed below.

Opinion of the "Death List"

The leader of the Drunken Dead has pointed out to the leader of the Dulston Defense Death Squad, Matthew Stewart, on numerous occasions, that his failure to provide a regularly updated member list where the Drunken Dead members can find it means this cannot be considered a "gang war" (where both sides kill each other repeatedly and no one gets reported as a PKer). Therefore in this highly irregular situation the bounty rules come into play, as the Drunken Dead can legally attack and kill members of the DDDS based on the previously noted hostile intentions promoted by the Death List, but the DDDS cannot justifiably do the same. If they do, the Drunken Dead report them for murder, unless it was the Drunken Dead member who attacked first and failed to kill them, in which case the targeted member of the DDDS has 24 hours to respond to the attack before it is considered null and void. Only in this situation can a DDDS member justifiably retaliate as it would be treated as self-defense and therefore not reported as murder.1
It is this state of affairs that has frustrated several members of the DDDS, as it has made it uniquely dangerous to wear the group's tag and at least one member departed the group in disgust after learning the truth behind the conflict's origin. Several others also quit the group, or gone to ground in an effort to avoid being killed. One of the most entertaining comments made by an ex-member of the DDDS was:
"Well, Mr. Zogor. I just joined DDDS for the zombie blasting aspects. But the death list and the dick measuring contest 'tween you an Mr. Stewart. I'll just as soon stay out of that mess. I think I'll go indie for the next bit, While people sort shit" -Flydog
In the interests of fairness in the matter of the conflict, and to avoid griefing newbies, Zogor, the leader of the Drunken Dead, declared all members of the DDDS under level 5 off-limits and not to be engaged unless they attacked first. The Drunken Dead did this because they preferred to be civil about the matter and carried it out with as much honor as the situation demanded. Others could declare themselves non-combatants by communicating with the Drunken Dead on the zombie group's forum.
Also, it has to be noted that quite a few members of the DDDS were going around accusing members of the Drunken Dead of being zombie spies (even though our policy regarding spying has been posted publicly on the Drunken Dead group page here), of being murderers (which was due to Matthew Stewarts stubborn refusal to provide his group's member list, thus turning a legitimate "gang war" into a one-sided bounty hunt), and of being griefers (which we are not, since we only acted to defend ourselves). Therefore we would very much appreciate these slanderous claims stopped.

Case for the Dulston Defense Death Squad

What I have to say about it...

I should begin by pointing out that there originally was no official reply here to the Drunken Dead's claims (as noted above), nor was Caleb ever a member of the DDDS at any point in time. Therefore my role in this discussion is strictly that of a third party providing an outside perspective based on the facts presented by Matthew on the Discussion page. Even so, I do love a good debate so I will do my best to make this... interesting.
While initially it appeared that the reason behind the murder of survivors associated with the Drunken Dead appeared to be connected to allegations that they were spies and subversive death cultists, the key reason in fact turned out to be the Matthew's stance against zombies gaining experience as living, breathing survivors. He explained that their group's goal had always been to confound zombie efforts to gain experience while in Dulston, in hopes that these zombie groups would depart in search of "greener pastures" elsewhere. He argued that allowing zombies, who were revived as survivors, to gain experience defeated this strategy. In his mind the only solution then was to label all zombie-aligned survivors as death cultists as a valid excuse for killing them (the roleplaying reason), when in fact the goal was to deny them access to the experience they could gain as survivors (the metagaming reason).
It should also be noted that while Zogor denounced the DDDS as murderers for killing members of his group in unprovoked attacks and issued legitimate bounties against them, Matthew's view on the matter was that his group had a reason and the attacks were not the same as the more random killings commonly associated with serial killers. Furthermore, he explained that the DDDS was originally listed as a PKer group because of the way it handled supposed death cultists, but that other survivors felt the DDDS was not really such a group since their interests were based on the defense of the suburb and the well-being of Malton's survivors (if not all of them). As such, while the DDDS may have no common legal grounds by which they can kill horde-affiliated survivors their groups' tenants allow for it and nothing in Urban Dead forbids a group from walking the hazy grey line between good and evil... in fact the DDDS's efforts could simply be viewed as vigilante justice.

Opinion of the "Death List"

While the method by which the list of Drunken Dead group members was obtained is certainly suspect, and provided Zogor with ample reason to become upset, the end result would have been no different had DDDS members checked every survivor's profile whenever they entered a building. Possessing foreknowledge of the member's profiles may have hastened the rate at which the Drunken Dead were identified, but it certain did not help the DDDS locate them.
The fact that all active DDDS members had their own group's affiliation in their profile should serve as proof, at least to some degree, that foul play was not the intention behind Matthew's abject disapproval to providing a full list of DDDS member to Zogor in order to conslidate the "gang war" between their groups. The reason being that the only truly suspect motive for learning another group's member list would be to potentially conceal your own groups' affiliation and then strike at them when they least suspect it. Even that such a tactic would see limited use since an executed survivor hardly keeps secret the name of his murderer for long. As far as the DDDS were concerned the war against the Drunken Dead was not an official "gang war", but rather a war between survivors and zombies... and the death cultists who supported them.
The Drunken Dead insist that by creating a Death List the DDDS have given up any rights of ever being in a "gang war" since they never provided a list of their own members to the Drunken Dead in exchange. While the Drunken Dead certainly had the right to defend themselves and even take the initiative in the war, as they new their members would be targeted, the idea that the battle was one-sided because of the Death List was a flimsy excuse. The moment two groups, especially when viewed as survivor group versus zombie group (by group affiliation), engage in war it becomes a fact. Certainly the Drunken Dead had the right to declare bounties against any DDDS member that issued an unprovoked attack against them, the idea that the Drunken Dead members could take the offensive and attack DDDS member first would hold to the same principles. The attack was unprovoked and the Drunken Dead member is the murderer. In light of this it seems easier to simply drop the whole matter and assume that, for all intensive purposes, a "gang war" has taken place.
On the matter of what right the DDDS had to post their group member names on the Death List simply due to affiliation, it should first go without saying that the Death List was created by the DDDS, for the DDDS. Also whether posted on their group page or posted on some obscure forum, it would still have existed because the list served a role in the DDDS's efforts to effectively hunt them, or any other zombie turned survivor, down. It was also mentioned that the Death List also acted as a formal notice of war against the Drunken Dead, where if the list or the group's intentions had remained secret who knows how much longer it would have taken them to realize what was happening?
As to what impact this war had on the DDDS, I cannot say, as I had no direct contact with them or their members at the time. I know I certainly did not hear the matter discussed by anyone from the DDDS during Caleb's time in the area. As such, it is hard to surmise how hard the DDDS was hit by the conflict. One could assume that since the DDDS still exists to this day that the war between the two groups was not so great as to shatter the DDDS, but as to what the group's membership numbers became, I cannot say. Due to the span of time between the incident and this report DDDS numbers may have dwindled due to other unrelated reasons.

Caleb's Notes: Summary

If you became fed-up reading the same facts repeated several times and would rather just get a summarized play-by-play, this is the section for you. For ease of context the term "Drunken Dead survivors" refers to members of the Drunken Dead who are currently alive as survivors (i.e. not zombies). Here now are the defining points made by each group:

Drunken Dead

  • Drunken Dead survivors are not zombie sympathizers and instead actively work with other survivors to fight the horde, even if the zombies are from the Drunken Dead.
  • Drunken Dead survivors should not be killed by the DDDS solely because of group affiliation. That act is considered murder.
  • Drunken Dead survivors who earn experience only spend the experience on survivor skills.
  • Drunken Dead survivors do not spy for the Drunken Dead. This is stated on their group's page and the tactic is deemed "below them" or any true zombie horde.
  • The Drunken Dead claim that because they have been targeted by the DDDS (i.e. Death List) they have the right to kill any and all DDDS and it is not considered murder, but if the DDDS retaliate or attack them they are murderers because there was no official "gang war" between them.

Dulston Defense Death Squad

  • The DDDS view all survivors with zombie group affiliations as death cultists.
  • The DDDS's strategy was to starve zombies and force them out of the suburb when they found they could not earn experience easily in Dulston. Being survivors they circumvented this strategy.
  • The DDDS does not want these death cultists to gain experience as survivors because they will use it to gain new zombie skills.
  • The Death List was DDDS property by virtue of its usefulness to the group's goals. The DDDS saw no reason to engage in a "gang war" because they considered that alive or undead, members of a zombie horde were still loyal to that group's goals and therefore fair game.

Historical Footnote: The Zombie Spy

The source of much paranoia during 2005, the threat these "wolves in sheep's clothing" posed has since been deflated by changes to Urban Dead's gameplay mechanics. In fact, while the name implied the fear was that a pro-zombie survivor would pass on recon information to zombies, the real threat that survivors feared was what else such a survivor might perform since back then one could destroy generators and tear down barricades without alerting any other survivors present as to who did it. This created the very real possibility that a zombie spy could sabotage a hospital/phone mast generator or tear down all a building's barricades without anyone being the wiser. Since then updates now show when a survivor performs these actions, so they can no longer hide in the ranks of other survivors after committing these acts.

1 : I personally found the idea that someone only had 24-hours in which to retaliate against their murdered very humorous. How or who would even be there to arbitrate such a matter, and why? I have always been of the opinion that it is each survivor's own right to hunt down anyone who kills them, if they have the means to carry it out. If they cannot then they are free to post a bounty, but in there lies the public's interest on whether they feel the bounty is valid based on its context. In this case a war between the Drunken Dead and the DDDS hardly seems like a valid reason to bring in 3rd party hunters, but there is no doubt that there were freelance bounty hunters and some may have died while trying to collect bounties posted by the Drunken Dead. Truly, I do not know who is to blame for that as both sides share equal guilt.

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