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[TSoY] Pool refreshes

Started by Belinda K., May 10, 2006, 05:36:14 PM

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Belinda K.

Can PCs refresh pools as part of normal gamey actions (e.g. "While I spend the night out drinking to refresh my Vigor, I'll also ask around in the pub if anyone has scene the Man in the Black Hat.") or must they be actions solely dedicated to pool refreshing? Can PCs ping keys while in a pool refresh scene?


We actually had this come up last night, and we said yes.  We had scene that started out as pool refreshment, and then two PCs had a contest, and another scored some XP off a key.

Clinton R. Nixon

Yeah, totally. I've got no problem with more than one thing happening in a scene.
Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games

Eero Tuovinen

I require that an action for pool refreshment is voluntary and for entertainment purposes only. But anything else can happen in the same scene, of course. The point is that the character has to initiate an activity for no other purpose than pool refreshment, whatever happens later on. If the character has to do it anyway, it's not refreshment.
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Steve Segedy

We had the same thing happen in our game last night - a bout of drinking, intended as a pool refresh, turned into one PC sloppily hitting on another PC's sister.  The interaction that followed triggered some keys, and ultimately a punch in the face and a nap for the first character. 

On a slight tangent, I'd be really interested in seeing examples of the kinds of activities people do for pool refreshment.  Our game is set in ancient China, and I've been trying to think of culturally-specific activities that might qualify for pool refreshment.  Here are a few I've come up with:


  • exercise - sparring and military training, practicing martial arts forms
  • endurance contests - tests of strength, arm wrestling, drinking contests, etc.
  • refreshing manual labor -helping around the farm, chopping wood, etc.
  • physical abuse - getting drunk, fasting, bloodletting, etc.


  • courting - conversation, dancing, etc.
  • gambling - games of chance, mahjong, cricket fighting, etc.
  • performing - practicing with an instrument, listening to music, telling stories
  • social grooming - being bathed by servants, having hair styled, etc.
  • art - writing poetry, practicing calligraphy
  • animals - tending cattle, grooming horses, etc.


  • strategic thinking - playing games of skill like Weiqi (Go), studying battle plans, etc.
  • debating and oratory - discussing the Will of Heaven, learning the latest gossip
  • scholarship -reading history, writing letters, studying genealogy, etc
  • business - counting money, doing inventory
  • craft - cleaning and sharpening tools, adding a final "loving touch" to the work

Do any of these seem off-base for pool refreshment?  Are there other obvious ideas that your groups use?
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John Harper

Steve: Those are all great! I'm stealing your list. :)
Agon: An ancient Greek RPG. Prove the glory of your name!

Mike Lucas

Thanks for those great examples Steve! You should add them to the TSOY wiki so we don't lose track of them. It's great seeing how to bring setting-reinforcement into the pool refreshes. As far as whether any seem off-base, I think it's really up to the particular group you're playing with.

Do you use the newer "if it's a contest, you must win" rule from Clinton? This is in the wiki but not in the free online editions - when my hardcopy arrives in the mail I'll check if it's in there.

Steve Segedy

I'm glad the examples were helpful- it's been useful for me to list them out, as it helps get the setting more firmly planted in my mind. 

I'd seen that "you must win" rule, but I wasn't sure whether that was a new rule or a holdover from the first version.  I guess my instinct would be to not use it- it seems like the "refreshing" part of these activities would be that the pressure is off.  Kind of like the difference between horsing around with a ball in your backyard vs. playing in The Big Game.
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Yes, in the newer edition, it doesn't matter who wins.  The wiki is pretty outdated in places.

- George