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Author Topic: rules questions (Destiny SA and missile combat)  (Read 7589 times)
gnarf
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Posts: 5


« on: November 06, 2002, 12:19:46 PM »

Greetings everyone!

I finally got my hands on TROS, and I really like what I’ve seen so far. The character generation rules – especially the Spiritual Attributes - are excellent (although me and my players have never cared much for social status, which seems to play an important role in TROS…oh well). Also, I really appreciate the humor found throughout the book.

Anyway, I have a few questions regarding the rules:

1) One of my players has created a fey sorcerer who’s hunted by the Inquisition. His Destiny is “to be caught by the Inquisition”.

How would you handle that rules-wise? I mean, the book says that “any time an important event in the character’s destiny comes to a head, these dice may be divvied up and added to any number of rolls…”    

However, in this particular situation it wouldn’t make sense: If he’s fighting knights from the Inquisition – a situation that could very well be important for his destiny - his value in his Destiny SA shouldn’t be a bonus, when his Destiny is to be caught by them?

So would his value in Destiny be added to the Inquisition’s rolls, or would the bonus apply to him whenever he was en peril danger NOT involving the Inquisition so as he would survive and fullfill his destiny?

2) A combat question: On page 84 in the book it states that “Dodging, using dice from the Combat Pool, may also be used as a defense against incoming missile attacks that you are aware of (…) When not engaged in hand-to-hand combat use the Reflex attribute for dodging."

Does that mean that if you want to dodge a missile attack while engaged in melee combat, you use dice from your CP, but if you’re not fighting someone you roll Reflex instead? And in any case, will it count as a Full Evasion maneuver at TN 4 or something else?

Anders
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Anders Frang
gnarf@post.tele.dk
Brian Leybourne
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« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2002, 12:36:39 PM »

Quote from: gnarf
although me and my players have never cared much for social status, which seems to play an important role in TROS…oh well).


Social status doesn't HAVE to be important in TROS, if you don't want it to be then it isn't. The priority is still useful for determining starting wealth and potential future income (during downtime perhaps).

Having said that, you'll have to pick your setting pretty carefully if you choose not to involve social status. In any of the countries with a feudal system, for example, it's pretty important. In others.. maybe not so much.

Quote from: gnarf
1) One of my players has created a fey sorcerer who’s hunted by the Inquisition. His Destiny is “to be caught by the Inquisition”.


Actually, that's a bloody interesting one. I never thought about destiny from that angle before, usually when you see it it's "to become king by his own hand" or the like. This is kind of the "anti-destiny". I don't think as seneschal I would allow it to be used whenver  the Inquisition wasn't around, because it would be too useful in that case (unless they're *really* prevalent in your game). Gut reaction - I would probably apply it whenever the player was trying to avoid death by the Inquisition and eventually he'll (presumably) get killed despite it, thus the destiny was fulfilled. That's a bit aqward though, I'll be interested to see Jake's thoughts.

Quote from: gnarf
2) A combat question: On page 84 in the book it states that “Dodging, using dice from the Combat Pool, may also be used as a defense against incoming missile attacks that you are aware of (…) When not engaged in hand-to-hand combat use the Reflex attribute for dodging."

Does that mean that if you want to dodge a missile attack while engaged in melee combat, you use dice from your CP, but if you’re not fighting someone you roll Reflex instead? And in any case, will it count as a Full Evasion maneuver at TN 4 or something else?


That's the idea. As for the TN, base it on how free the character is to move about at the time. Remember that a full evasion is not just a dodge, it's leaping over a small wall, behind a tree, etc - doing whatever it takes to get AWAY from an attacker. If you know someone is going to shoot you and there are trees and highly countoured ground etc to hide in/behind, then by all means make the reflex TN4. If the character is more constricted as to their dodging options, make it 6 or 7 - analogous to a partial evasion. If there's just nowhere to go (they're in a corridor and the arrow is being shot along it at them) then dodging would be really hard, make it 8 or 9 like a duck & weave.

Brian.
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Brian Leybourne
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RPG Books: Of Beasts and Men, The Flower of Battle, The TROS Companion
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #2 on: November 06, 2002, 12:39:18 PM »

Hello,

To answer your Destiny question, I think you should consider SA's as a kind of "music" that accompanies the character's situations. Therefore even if a Destiny is negative, the character is better at resisting its occurrence when the problem comes up.

Here's an example from my game. A player-character, Maciej, has a Drive for social advancement; fine. But I'd made up an NPC, Mogdanowicz, who (a) presented an obstacle to this goal and (b) had the Destiny to "Die in a ditch."

So they're fighting one another in a big battle, on a plain cut by creeks and ditches. Maciej gets Drive dice for every action, at this point. Mogdanowicz is looking likely to die in a ditch, so he gets bonus dice to fight Maciej. What this means is that the "music" goes way, way up. Yes, Mogdanowicz's bonuses make him less likely to die in a ditch - but that's OK.

The key concept is that a Destiny (for instance) is not guaranteed to happen or supposed to happen in any way at all. As an SA, it is a "music addition" to that sort of situation for that character - it may actually never be fulfilled.

I would not, under any circumstances, use SA dice as a bonus for the character's opponent - you'd be mistaking the SA as outcome-directed, rather than music-directed.

You might note, as well, that a negative Destiny is actually a hell of a lot of fun - perhaps even more, for some players, than a positive one.

As for your dodge question, I think you are correct regarding CP if the character is in combat, but using Reflex if he is not. I suggest that the TN will depend on the maneuver that's chosen, which might well be Full Evasion but could, I imagine, be something else that makes sense (e.g. Partial Evasion, but to my way of thinking, not Duck & Weave).

Best,
Ron
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Brian Leybourne
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Posts: 1793


« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2002, 12:43:07 PM »

Ron, that's brilliant. The music analogy is a really good one.

Jake, I'm still interested to hear your take on it.

Brian.
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Brian Leybourne
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RPG Books: Of Beasts and Men, The Flower of Battle, The TROS Companion
Roger Eberhart
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Posts: 38


« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2002, 01:29:11 PM »

The weapons list has a reflex TN for each missile weapon. I assumed this was the TN to dodge attacks from this weapon. It would seem logical that missile weapons like crossbows would be harder to dodge than spears, due to the speed of the projectile. Of course that stat could be for something else entirely. Unfortunately both my TRoS books are leant out to players at the moment.
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Brian Leybourne
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« Reply #5 on: November 06, 2002, 01:33:50 PM »

Quote from: Roger Eberhart
The weapons list has a reflex TN for each missile weapon. I assumed this was the TN to dodge attacks from this weapon. It would seem logical that missile weapons like crossbows would be harder to dodge than spears, due to the speed of the projectile. Of course that stat could be for something else entirely. Unfortunately both my TRoS books are leant out to players at the moment.


No, that's the reflex TN to successfully reduce the preparation time by one second before cocking the weapon to shoot/throw.

Brian.
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Brian Leybourne
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RPG Books: Of Beasts and Men, The Flower of Battle, The TROS Companion
gnarf
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« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2002, 01:34:25 PM »

Whoa, fast response! Thanks, both of you.

Social status: As you say Brian, status is an excellent indicator of one's starting wealth and resources in general. I think what we've always tried to avoid with social status was to go into detail with the whole feudal system: lords and peasants, tributes, taxes etc. But with the social status being a quite important part of TROS (assuming that because that alone is dedicated to one the priorities), we might want to explore it a bit further.

As for destiny: Yes, good example Ron. If you see it that way, it does make sense that it's a bonus, thus meaning that characters with negative destinies really try to escape them - consciously or subconsciously. This way, there'll be a  sort of "you can run, but you sure can't hide" feeling to it: "Mogdanowicz is fighting near a ditch! And he's destined to die in one! The drama is at its highest.. will this be end of him, or...? No. Once again, he managed to escape his Destiny... but for how long?" Cool - I like it.

But I think I disagree with you regarding the question of whether Destiny is inevitable or not: I prefer that those who choose a Destiny as an SA will face it eventually.

However, I believe you're right that negative destinies are more fun - in some way they're more dramatic, I think. (i.e. heroic deaths etc.) I was also very happy (and a bit surprised) when my player chose that destiny - he usually never gets so much into roleplaying. It has a lot of adventure and drama potential!

And finally the combat question: Thanks, that cleared things up a bit. Roger, I think the TN stated is used when you want to draw an arrow faster.

Regards,
Anders
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Anders Frang
gnarf@post.tele.dk
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #7 on: November 06, 2002, 01:52:08 PM »

Hi Anders,

I think you're going to like playing this game.

I agree with you that a character who takes a Destiny should face it. But let's break that down a little regarding playing the game.

1) "Facing" does not mean "succumbing." Mogdanowicz faced his Destiny that day; how things turned out depended on other factors than "having" the Destiny. Granted, do this a lot, and especially if the opposition is very stiff, that Destiny could well occur next time. A character's whole philosophy might be something like, "A man makes his own destiny," and if he carries a Destiny for something awful or ignominious, then his career as a TROS character is like a test case for his philosophy.

2) SA's may be changed. Let's say I'm playing Aethelred the Savaxen, whose Destiny is "to be executed as a traitor." All right, we've played ten sessions, and Aethelred has faced his Destiny no less than four times, and for whatever reason, he's survived so far. Well then, I'm getting tired of this; I feel as if the song has been sung and I don't want to hear (or sing) it again. Fine. I spend the current points of Destiny for character improvement, spend another SA down to 0 for the same thing, and I change the Destiny to, oh, say, a Drive for "sailing to the sunrise and back."

Hope these provide food for thought.

Best,
Ron
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Stephen
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Posts: 172


« Reply #8 on: November 06, 2002, 02:43:55 PM »

Quote from: gnarf
As for destiny: Yes, good example Ron. If you see it that way, it does make sense that it's a bonus, thus meaning that characters with negative destinies really try to escape them - consciously or subconsciously. This way, there'll be a  sort of "you can run, but you sure can't hide" feeling to it: "Mogdanowicz is fighting near a ditch! And he's destined to die in one! The drama is at its highest.. will this be end of him, or...? No. Once again, he managed to escape his Destiny... but for how long?" Cool - I like it.


It's a good analogy, but I'll take the risk of straining Ron's and Jake's patience once again by observing that it's far from intuitively obvious -- a complaint they've heard me make before, so I won't belabour it.

If TROS sees a second edition, I would seriously suggest including another one of Ron's essays on Spiritual Attribute use, like the one he did on sorcery -- only make it related to everything, have it look at each SA in action and talk more about what SAs mean, how they're different from the other Attributes, and how they're ideally meant to work in gameplay in each instance.  Maybe even rename them entirely -- I think part of the problem I keep having with them is that when I see the word "Attribute" I automatically think of a stable, relatively inflexible character aspect where level = rough "power" descriptor, which doesn't describe SAs at all.
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #9 on: November 06, 2002, 02:59:10 PM »

Yeah, they should be something like Spirit Pools or something.

A lot of what has developed as far as clarifying thought can be added to any game after it's been released. Hindsight, you know. That said, I've already told Jake that he should be thinking about a second (full) edition. Not that this one is bad, but there's always room for improvement, and more importantly, improved clarity in presentation (thinking about that myself a lot lately).

Mike
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Irmo
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« Reply #10 on: November 06, 2002, 03:25:49 PM »

Quote from: Mike Holmes
Yeah, they should be something like Spirit Pools or something.

A lot of what has developed as far as clarifying thought can be added to any game after it's been released. Hindsight, you know. That said, I've already told Jake that he should be thinking about a second (full) edition. Not that this one is bad, but there's always room for improvement, and more importantly, improved clarity in presentation (thinking about that myself a lot lately).

Mike


I think that a full second edition eventually would be great, allowing to streamline and clarify a lot of things. That being said, the game has just been published and given that it's NOT a product by an established company, and that the number of authors is quite limited, it can be expected that there's a some bumps in it... Heck, I know plenty of products by established companies with a huge staff that are worse. A full second edition not the least depends a great deal on the available time and money....for the time being, I think getting the website functional and posting clarifications/examples/errata is the realistic goal, though that brings up the URL problem... By the way, Jake, I read that ICANN offers an arbitration process that's faster and cheaper than suing... While that probably won't give you any lost money back, since it isn't litigation, it also doesn't require an attorney. That an option for you?
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #11 on: November 06, 2002, 03:46:13 PM »

Hi Stephen,

This is me, smiling a slow and slightly carnivorous smile.

Actually, I suggest that you play TROS for a while, paying lots of attention to Spiritual Attributes, and enjoying the hell out of the game. Then you write the essays you describe, with special attention to folks who might approach the game text much as you did originally.

You see, I'm a terrible author for the sort of essay you're talking about. The Spiritual Attribute issues I'm describing are intuitive, to me. It's very hard for me to put myself in the mind-set that doesn't latch onto them in the sense that I've laid out. Any explanation of "how to" in that regard will, I fear, have huge gaping holes in the eyes of those who would most benefit from it.

The material I've provided on this forum only communicates well (when it does) because I'm able to tailor the precise points in the context of a dialogue, when the other person's outlook has become clear to me on an individual level.

Best,
Ron
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Jake Norwood
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« Reply #12 on: November 06, 2002, 05:07:54 PM »

What a great thread. I'm so proud.

I agree with Ron on destiny. Totally.

As for a 2nd edition and SA renaming/re-describing...I'd love to, but it'll be a long time. One of the reasons SA's are described as shady as they are is that I really had no idea what I had "discovered" or invented or whatever when I made them. I thought it was a great idea and that no one would get what I was trying to do, so I'd leave it really open so that they could make it work for them. Boy was I wrong--people loved them! They went nuts over them, and I, too, saw that it was (in many ways) the real key to the Riddle of Steel.

So yeah, more essays would be swell, but they'll be on the website for now (when they're written). And I AM accepting that sort of thing.

Jake
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prophet118
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« Reply #13 on: December 04, 2002, 10:31:47 PM »

hope you guys dont mind me posting in an old thread... but hey think of forest gump... LT Dan had a negative destiny... if ya think about it,...one of his ancestors died in every war... so his real destiny would have been to die in vietnam, but gump fixed that...

that guy who mentioned the npc who was going to die in a ditch made me think about it.....lol
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