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Title: [IaWA] Breaking Bad Habits
Post by: lumpley on April 17, 2008, 06:43:58 AM
Bad for In a Wicked Age, that is. All of them are good habits for other games, variously.

These are some rules restrictions I recommend if you're having trouble breaking these habits.

Bad habit 1: creating driven characters

From now on, every character you make, do one of these:

- Make her best interests mutually incompatible. "It's in my best interests to seduce and marry the monk. It's in my best interests to drive the monk out of the region forever."

- Give her a best interest incompatible with her driving goals. "It's in my best interests to fail to seduce and marry the monk, even though it's what I intend to do."

- Give her a best interest totally dependent on other characters to make true or false. "It's in my best interests for the private negotiations between you, the new young king, and you, the elder of my cult, to go in the cult's favor."

Bad habit 2: setting stakes

Do not set stakes! It'll kill your game. You have to really genuinely not set stakes, too; it's not enough to not formally set stakes, or not all the way set stakes, or whatever. No setting stakes, even in your secret heart. So:

- From now on, in every action sequence, have the first round fully resolve the initial action. Here's how this might look:

Me: I run down the pier and I cut the anchor rope.
Mitch: I stop you.
We roll initiative. I win.
Me: So yeah.
Mitch rolls to answer and wins the advantage.
Mitch: Okay, you cut the rope, twang! I don't reach you in time to stop you. But the boat's only drifting, they're still fighting to get the sails up.
(We go on to roll initiative for round two etc.)

Bad habit 3: wrangling your forms

- From now on, in every action sequence, before you roll dice, think of what action you'll have your character do if you win initiative. Tell the GM. GM, you tell the player which forms to roll.

Me: I run down the pier and cut the anchor rope.
Mitch: I'm going to run after her and knock the knife from her hand. GM?
GM: Directly and for others (the wives of the men on the boat).
Mitch: Okay!

Bad habit 4: limiting consequences to the mechanical

- From now on, whenever anybody gets exhausted or injured, have the winner describe how. It must fully account for genuine exhaustion or a serious injury, so keep prodding until it does; otherwise, no input from anybody, especially the loser.

Me: Nah, I'd rather be exhausted or injured.
Mitch: Okay, exhausted. You sail away but I'm behind you. We chase through the archipelago for four days, and finally I corner you on some rocky barren island. You're starving and bone-weary from the chase.
Me: Crap, dude.

Bad habit 5: pacing hard

These are for the GM.

- From now on, in every scene, at least once ask one of the players to describe something about her character, her character's people, or the immediate setting.

- From now on, circle as many conflicts as you drive to.

- From now on, in every chapter, at least once set up a scene to open on two friends having a peaceful conversation. Let them have the conversation before you introduce anything else.

For goodness sake, let the characters sip tea together once in a while.

The end. Go and do.

Rules talk:

All of these are fair, by the book play. If you adopt every single one of these restrictions and stick to them diligently, you'll still be playing by the book.

As written, the rules allow you to decide when, for instance, you'll resolve the initial action in the first round, and when you'll hold it unresolved through the first round and beyond. What's happening now, though, is that you're never resolving it in the first round, even though you can and would, because you're promoting it in your head up to "stakes." Practice resolving it first thing and moving on, so that you can see how the resolution rules really work.

Same with all the others. Once you've seen how the game works with characters whose best interests aren't driving goals, you won't limit yourself to driving goal best interests. Once you've seen how the game works when the winner describes exhausting or injuring the loser, you can open it up to everyone having input. I recommend that you play with as many of these restrictions as apply to you, for at least a couple of solid chapters, before you start relaxing them again.

Questions very welcome!

-Vincent


Title: Re: [IaWA] Breaking Bad Habits
Post by: Valvorik on April 17, 2008, 07:00:48 AM
re Bad Habit #3, Form Wrangling.

That sounds like the forms would then change action sequence [round in original] to action sequence, within the same conflict?  I though the rule was that forms stay the same throughout the conflict?

re Bad Habit #4, I think "negotiating with a stick" became "negotiating with an even bigger stick", but like it.

Otherwise, all I can say is sounds like excellent advice both to keep play fresh/exciting and to keep it a "story game" not just a "character game".

I posted recently in another discussion thread about using "conflict" not "plot" as a guide to sandbox style play (cf Chris Chinn's writing) that IAWA is a game designed around that whole concept and #1 in particular will emphasize that.


Title: Re: [IaWA] Breaking Bad Habits
Post by: lumpley on April 17, 2008, 07:08:12 AM
#3, just at the start of the action sequence. Tell the GM what you'll do if you win the first initiative. If you want to change forms for the second and third rounds, you'll have to negotiate it with your opponent between rounds, same as always.

-Vincent


Title: Re: [IaWA] Breaking Bad Habits
Post by: lumpley on April 17, 2008, 07:46:17 AM
Oh! Rob. What you're calling a conflict, I'm calling an action sequence (like in a movie). Each set of initiative-challenge-answer rolls is one round in an action sequence.

Also: My example for #4, with the 4-day chase, was always fair by the rules. If the stick seemed to get bigger to you, that's great! That's how big the stick is.

-Vincent


Title: Re: [IaWA] Breaking Bad Habits
Post by: Valvorik on April 17, 2008, 08:15:12 AM
re action sequence clarification - thanks and then "oh, it's all golden" becomes my comment.


Title: Re: [IaWA] Breaking Bad Habits
Post by: jburneko on April 17, 2008, 11:15:01 AM
"From now on, in every action sequence, before you roll dice, think of what action you'll have your character do if you win initiative."

Heh, I was doing that this weekend unconsciously based on my Sorcerer training.  At the top of the round I had everyone announce what action they were planning on taking.  It was only AFTER the game I realized, "Oh wait... you don't do that in this game..."  Glad to know it was within the spirit of the rules though.

Jesse


Title: Re: [IaWA] Breaking Bad Habits
Post by: Troels on April 17, 2008, 01:29:01 PM
#s 2-5 look sweet and good to me. However I have trouble with #1.

The clash of strong wills at the table and in the story seems to me to be one of the most central features and attractions of IaWA. Picking best interests that the character really doesn't share, or will have trouble influencing in a meaningful way, appears unattractive to me.

I see in my mind's eye a conflict between two characters with best interests of the type "It's in my best interests to fail to seduce and marry the monk, even though it's what I intend to do", competing to suck the hardest. OK, it's bound to be comical, but also dispassionate, which in my IaWA book is bad.

Failing can be fun and make for great stories, but that's pretty much bound to happen for a great deal of the characters in any given chapter, anyway, and isn't it more fun to fail despite trying to succeed, than to fail because you're trying to suck?

Am I missing something here?

Yours, Troels


Title: Re: [IaWA] Breaking Bad Habits
Post by: jburneko on April 17, 2008, 02:08:30 PM
Troel,

I'm going to take a stab at this and then let Vincent correct me if I'm wrong.

You're looking at a Best Interest as something to be actively pursued, whether by the character in fiction or by the player at the meta-level regardless of what the character is up to.  My understanding is that NEITHER is the case.  Best Interests are not something to be pursued by anyone.  They are simply facts of the situation.  I think the hardest part about them is that WHY this or that is in a character's Best Interest is left undefined until someone has an epiphany moment mid-play and says, "And THAT'S why it's in that character's Best Interest to such and such."

I'm reminded of something that was once said about a rule in the Sorcerer supplement Charnel Gods.  In that game when one character reaches Humanity 0 end game is triggered.  That character becomes co-GM and helps narrates how the world ends.  It was once described that rule should be, "Articulated, Acknowledge, and promptly Forgotten."  No one should drive to Humanity 0 and no one should jump through hoops to stop it either.  I feel like that's how Best Interests work in this game.  They are not something to be driven towards but rather something that the state of the fiction should be constantly compared to.

For example, I played the game this weekend.  I was the GM and I had an NPC whose Best Interest of was, "To kill the Demon God of Blood and Vengeance."  However, the Demon God of Blood and Vengeance and I started to make deals with one another and join forces and plot against my ward (the NPC was a Guardian Spirit).  But it was also clear that the Demon God was gaining power over me.  That I was being unfairly manipulated.  So, yes, it was absolutely in my Best Interest to kill him, but I didn't.  I didn't even try because I liked plotting against my ward and I liked scheming with the demon from a character perspective.

Does that help?

Jesse


Title: Re: [IaWA] Breaking Bad Habits
Post by: lumpley on April 17, 2008, 02:15:04 PM
Jesse's right.

To the very point, though: restriction 1 is for people who aren't enjoying the game because their "characters" are made 1-dimensional by their pursuit of their driving goal-style best interests. If that's not you, you don't have the bad habit, and I don't recommend the restriction to you.

-Vincent


Title: Re: [IaWA] Breaking Bad Habits
Post by: Troels on April 18, 2008, 05:47:15 AM
You're looking at a Best Interest as something to be actively pursued, whether by the character in fiction or by the player at the meta-level regardless of what the character is up to.  My understanding is that NEITHER is the case.  Best Interests are not something to be pursued by anyone.  They are simply facts of the situation.  I think the hardest part about them is that WHY this or that is in a character's Best Interest is left undefined until someone has an epiphany moment mid-play and says, "And THAT'S why it's in that character's Best Interest to such and such."

I'm totally on board with the desirability of having charaters who aren't all monomaniacs. However if all you do with Best Interests is write them down and "forget" about them, they're a waste of space IMO. If you take the trouble to define them, they should be brought into play. If they aren't brought into play, nobody will play with them, and no play, no epiphanies (or very rarely), in my experience. Writing down something that the character doesn't even want, and then not pursuing it as a player on at the meta-level screams "dead stat" to me. How does...

Quote
They are not something to be driven towards but rather something that the state of the fiction should be constantly compared to.

...actually enter play and become relevant in practice, especially if there's more than half a dozen of the little buggers flittering around the table at the same time?

BTW I have no problem with being flexible regarding the best interests of NPCs, but then they aren't protagonists, and that makes it different. I'm also totally cool with having two BIs that don't point in the same direction, or even aren't compatible.

Yours, Troels


Title: Re: [IaWA] Breaking Bad Habits
Post by: lumpley on April 18, 2008, 06:03:28 AM
Troels, this isn't a general purpose rules discussion thread, nor am I making general recommendations. I'm giving targeted rules restrictions to people who're having specific problems playing the game, to reveal some of the breadth of the rules.

If one of them doesn't work for you, that's because it's not for you. The thing to do is to go "huh, that's not for me," not argue that it's wrong.

-Vincent


Title: Re: [IaWA] Breaking Bad Habits
Post by: Troels on April 18, 2008, 07:08:05 AM
OK. But I'm not trying to argue that it's wrong, I'm trying to get it. It feels like I'm missing something potentially important with these Best Interests.

In any case I'll go away now and come back if this gets a thread of it's own.

Yours, Troels


Title: Re: [IaWA] Breaking Bad Habits
Post by: Mike Holmes on April 18, 2008, 07:12:15 AM
Well, and to play Devil's advocate for Vincent, I think he's not saying that nobody should persue the Best interests. I think what Jesse is trying to say is that the Best Interests might not be something that the character even realizes... but the player does. Meaning that instead of being a direct advocate for the character to obtain their Best Interests, we're supposed to be creating stories that center around what we as players believe are the character's Best Interests.

And I think that's a good model. I'm just not sure that the rules support it.

A lot of this text reads to me like, "Well, I know the game didn't support everything in the most functional way possible, so just don't play the way it supports for you. Be a better player."

Akin to the "rules" in The Window that tell you what good play is, but which behaviors at not supported in any way mechanically. Not that bad, I think IAWA is a pretty good game, and generally does what it sets out to do. I think that it falls down slightly here and there, however.

And, sure, I'll admit that this might only be a problem for a player like myself. How can I be certain that others will have the same problems that I have with it?

But... I'm not a good player. I do what the system promotes in very lazy fashion. And so, for me, the system has a little problem here. Let me get into specifics:

#1 This one isn't very controversial, but along with Jesse's advice it does feel to me like "Don't make the character you would make, and play them to the hilt, instead make a character that'll make you play so that the system doesn't have problems." Will that be fun for me?

#2 I get what you're saying in terms of positive outcome stakes. But... the stakes are always set the instance a resolution begins. If you want the ring, and narrate to get it, and I say, "Oh no you don't," the stakes are that if you win, you get to negotiate for the ring with the stick. I mean a player could, if they wanted, change these stakes at this point, and negotiate for something else... but why wouldn't they be focused on getting what it was that they were attempting to get in the first place?

More to the point... we never once did set stakes. So we were all good players in this regard. We were, in fact, disappointed by the fact that we could not resolve anything, without resorting to repeating a contest, or getting it through negotiation.

#3 I think this is a good idea. But it is a change to the rules. Narrow construction says that any right that is not given to any one player specifically is had by all. As it reads, the player can call his shots on forms. You're saying to restrict this to only the GM. Good call, but you can't fault us for not having played this way from the rules.

#4 Same thing here, I think. Moreover, I'm skeptical that this will really help. This is, actually, a related and important point. If you narrate me out to a desert isle and hungry, etc, then on my next turn I simply narrate a sudden return and in good health. There doesn't seem to be any way to make results, other than the mechanical ones, stick. So that's why I think you get a focus on the mechanical results. Or, at least, that was my experience. This relates to what you said in the other thread about promises, that you'll want to have some way to secure a promise. Like what? Let's say I take a hostage to enforce my will. How does that actually stop another player from betraying me? He'll simply narrate how he attacks me by surprise (or does stuff such that I'm not aware), negating my ability to even potentially kill the hostage. Not that there's any way I can kill the hostage on his turn. On my turn, if I want to kill the hostage, he'll intervene. But, note, I don't have to take a hostage to be this dangerous, I can merely threaten the player. "If you don't do that, I'll try to kill your favorite NPC." Mechanically it's identical, and I don't need him to acceed to it in negotiation.

#5  Not sure how this is going to help. But they don't sound like bad ideas.

Anyhow, I think the problem is that my monkey-brain sees gamism here, and so I play it that way. I want to beat the other players to getting my character's Best Interests resolved in his favor, and prevent the other players' from doing so, and claim victory. All the above is very "Game Theory' and I just can't turn that part of my brain off.

I get the feeling that I'm going to get a "well it's probably just not the right game for you" response here... But I think there are solutions to this problem.

Mike


Title: Re: [IaWA] Breaking Bad Habits
Post by: Alan on April 18, 2008, 07:44:43 AM
#1 This one isn't very controversial, but along with Jesse's advice it does feel to me like "Don't make the character you would make, and play them to the hilt, instead make a character that'll make you play so that the system doesn't have problems." ....

#2 ....if you win, you get to negotiate for the ring with the stick. I mean a player could, if they wanted, change these stakes at this point, and negotiate for something else... but why wouldn't they be focused on getting what it was that they were attempting to get in the first place?

#3 I think this is a good idea. But it is a change to the rules. Narrow construction says that any right that is not given to any one player specifically is had by all. As it reads, the player can call his shots on forms. ....


HI Mike,

I'll speak from my own experience with the game. When I first read it, I immediately envisioned Best Interests as something story-related, not the goal the character would be aware of. I believe the whole point of Best Interests, as a part of the system, is to give the players a lynch pin for something to drive for -- not the characters. In my play experience, I've designed great characters that I wanted to play _and_ which had Best Interests they were not aware of. In fact the tension between their awareness and their best interests was part of what made it cool. I think you're "makes it feel like" paraphrase is way off base from the actual intent and function.

And Best Interests _are_ part of the system. You can't say "they're not part of the system cuz they don't have a mechanic." They do -- it's right there in character creation and part of our agreement with the group is that you'll use those as one of your main tools of play.

About #2 -- why negotiate for something other than what you started out for? Cool story outcome. A desire to have cool events happen that can drive your character toward his best interests or away from them or just make a cool situation. Maybe instead of getting the ring, I get to capture my opponent and lock him in a cell. Especially if the character is not aware of any best interests involving the ring....

Re #3 -- to me narrow construction has always included group approval of a player's choice of Forms. In any game I've played, I've always been ready to support someone who spoke up and objected to a choice of Forms that did not match action described. While I've never seen anyone game forms to the point where someone wanted to veto, I do regularly see players ask the group "do you think these forms work?"



Title: Re: [IaWA] Breaking Bad Habits
Post by: lumpley on April 18, 2008, 07:53:07 AM
Mike: #2: You missed my point. My point is: resolve grabbing the ring in the first round. Don't leave the ring ungrabbed until final negotiation, don't even leave it ungrabbed until round 2. By the end of round 1, somebody's grabbed the ring, decisively. Go into round 2 with the ring no longer up for grabs.

#4: Wait! What's this business about turns? You don't take turns. You never get to just narrate whatever you want.

The rest, yeah, pretty much what I'm saying is, try playing the game by these (stricter but fully compatible) rules, instead of by the full rules, until you get the hang of it.

-Vincent


Title: Re: [IaWA] Breaking Bad Habits
Post by: Mike Holmes on April 23, 2008, 05:45:44 AM
OK, I didn't really read through your example well. And I'm trying to fight through some confusion here. But in the example are you implying that if one player says "I want X to happen" and another player says, "I'm not letting it happen" that, in fact, either side can narrate whatever they want with regards to X? Or does the winner of the first round get to either take X, or prevent X from being taken?

My assumption has been - and this could well be wrong - that the system does resolve whether or not some particular element gets entered into the SIS. I mean that's what it sounds like, the other player's opportunity to say, "No, that doesn't happen." And then the system resolves whether or not it does.

But it seems like you're saying that all the system does is to give the player something to negotiate with mechanically if they win. But see... if the player can narrate anything they want, and the mechanics don't resolve which player gets his narration to be true, then how do we resolve any disputes between players?

Maybe I'm all brain damaged on this subject, but if I narrated X, then I want that narration. If you're opposing that narration, then you want something else. Doesn't the system exist to decide which narration occurs? If anyone can narrate anything about anything at any time, what power does the "stick" have in "negotiating with a stick?"


On the other hand, if you're suggesting that, in fact, the winner of the first round gets what they want, that works out fine mechanically, I guess. But why the first round? Or can it change round to round?

I guess what I'm saying is that, if I want the ring, and you want the ring (or even don't want me to have it), that's the "stakes." They're set up from the get go in terms of the narration that the players are going for. Negotiation, then, seems to me to be about negotiating further stakes, at the threat of the loser who doesn't agree getting injured or exhausted.

That works fine for me, if it's how it works. But it's very much not what you've said in other places.

I don't get it. In one place you say (paraphrasing), "if the other side doesn't allow it, then you don't get what you want, he just gets injured or exhausted." In this case it seems that you're saying something like, "You can resolve the issue at hand on the first round." What am I not getting?


As for "Turns" I think I was confusing the game with Blood Red Sands. But basically in the same way as player A says that he's going to get the ring, and gets it unless somebody opposes him, if you put another player on a desert isle in an attempt to "punish" them somehow, or prevent them from doing something else, he can counteract this simply by saying, "My character returns and attacks yours." The only prevention of which is another player opposing this action.

So it seems that no situational penalty you can ascribe to a character has any weight at all. Because there's no mechanical penalty associated with it. The player is prevented from doing precisely nothing by anything that they agree to in negotiation, other than, perhaps, having to direct their character out of the situation before doing anything else. Meaning that, at best, you can only keep the character on the desert isle by preventing him from leaving every time he says he's trying to get off.

Even worse, this seems to suffer from a problem of statement. That is, if I say, "My character is going to attack yours" without explaining how he got off the desert isle, do you have any recourse? If not, the problem is very bad, because a player can simply skip any actions he would have to have the character attempt to get to a place, and narrate doing what it was that the negotiated act was meant to prevent. Now if the player who put me on a desert isle can say, "Ah, but to get to me, that implies that you had to first leave the isle, and I oppose that" this is a terribly slippery slope. Basically any player can pre-empt any action by citing some presumable action that the other character would have had to take earlier to accomplish the task. Meaning that a player can't ever get to the contest they want, if another player doesn't want to let them.

For instance, in the case of the ring, if I say, "I'm getting the ring" you could say, "I'm going to ambush you on the road before you even get here." Of course that's non-problematic if, in fact, a player can always simply not let you get your goal by taking an injury or exhaustion...either way they can always prevent you from getting what you want. So taking away attempts isn't really any worse...


Alan... all I can say is that this is how the game left me feeling. Sure, your experience might differ. But we were playing by the same set of rules. It turns out we weren't playing wrong mechanically in any way that I can see. At worst it seems that we approached it in the wrong... spirit? The problem is that I don't think that I'll be able to change my approach to rules like these.

In fact, I'll be frank. When I see players failing to exploit "loopholes" I see a willingness to overlook flaws in a system, and make play work anyhow. And, no, that doesn't make me an asshole for feeling this way, either. To the extent that I feel that people aren't playing what the game promotes, I feel like they're very much saying that "system doesn't matter." And, well, for me, I'll just use a system that does do what I want instead of playing around the rules that promote something else.

Now your opinion may be that the rules promote something else, and that I'm wrong. But that doesn't change my perception, which is the only thing that matters. I'm willing to be convinced by an explanation of how I'm not seeing what the mechanics promote. But simply saying "it didn't for us" doesn't convince me of anything.

Let me put it this way. If I'm competing, I feel idiotic if I'm not taking full advantage of the system to compete as well as possible. The system, in such a case, has to serve to make play fun in that context.

Now, if we're not supposed to be competing in IAWA... well, again, the language and mechanics all scream competition to me. Yes, I can find other, creative, ways to have my character obtain his Best interest than neccessarily having him go straight for it, but why should I bother? It's much easier to simply say, "He goes and gets what he wants."


Mike


Title: Re: [IaWA] Breaking Bad Habits
Post by: GreatWolf on April 23, 2008, 06:49:08 AM
Let me put it this way. If I'm competing, I feel idiotic if I'm not taking full advantage of the system to compete as well as possible. The system, in such a case, has to serve to make play fun in that context.

Now, if we're not supposed to be competing in IAWA... well, again, the language and mechanics all scream competition to me. Yes, I can find other, creative, ways to have my character obtain his Best interest than neccessarily having him go straight for it, but why should I bother? It's much easier to simply say, "He goes and gets what he wants."

I've got a thought which might help here.

Sometime around Forge Midwest, IaWA clicked in my head. Silly me, it should have clicked earlier, but it didn't. Why "silly me"? Because, as best as I can figure it, IaWA uses the same approach to play as Legends of Alyria does.

It works like this. The group puts together a storymap/web of Best Interests, selecting the interesting characters as PCs, while the Narrator/GM takes the remaining ones. Then the players play out the storymap/pursue their Best Interests, while the Narrator/GM moderates the game, does scene framing, pushes with NPCs, and the like.. This is PvP play, which has a certain zest to it, but it is not Gamist play; the tools simply aren't there. Rather, the games make use of the PvP aspect of play to drive the story and ensure that each important character has a strong advocate at the table.

And maybe that's the best word for it. Your goal isn't to win; your goal is to be a strong advocate for your character within the fiction.

Think about it. A game like Blood Red Sands is supposed to be played to win. At the meta-level, the players' relationships are competitive ones. Anything within the rules is fair game, and the fiction exists to provide a context for the competition.

In a Wicked Age is different. At the meta-level, the players' relationships are collaborative ones. They are working together to tell a story; it's just that their cooperation contains vigorous elements of opposition. (Aside: I think that this is a distinctive of Forge-style roleplaying versus the Scandinavian freeform tradition.) The developing narrative within the fiction is the reason for the fiction.

Therefore, using the tactics that you describe would be okay in Blood Red Sands, if they were in keeping with the rules.The fiction is subordinate to the competition. (BTW, rules changes are underway to address these concerns.) Using these tactics in In a Wicked Age misses the point, because the competition is subordinate to the fiction.

Is this helpful, Mike?



Title: Re: [IaWA] Breaking Bad Habits
Post by: Troels on April 23, 2008, 06:59:54 AM
And maybe that's the best word for it. Your goal isn't to win; your goal is to be a strong advocate for your character within the fiction.

This makes sense to me. Thanks a bunch!

Yours, Troels


Title: Re: [IaWA] Breaking Bad Habits
Post by: lumpley on April 23, 2008, 07:57:41 AM
Mike, you are missing something really important. I'm going to keep trying to explain it to you, but it's going to take some explaining. This post doesn't sum it up, it's just the beginning. So:

What's at stake, in every single conflict, is who gets the exhaust/injure stick at the end, and nothing else. Understand the initial action to be the first attack in a conflict over who gets the stick.

Here's a Dogs in the Vineyard trick. "What's at stake is, who kills whom. Let's play the conflict as a quick draw: all the raises and sees have to happen between when the clock rings 12 and when the first person draws and shoots. The winner of the quick draw wins the stakes and thus kills the other."

In the Wicked Age, leaving the initial action unresolved past round 1 is the same kind of a trick. The rules allow it, because sometimes it's exactly what you want to do. Normally, though, you'll treat the initial action as the first move in the conflict, resolve it in round 1, and there'll be a whole new second action to resolve in round 2 (and so on).

Accordingly, this:
In one place you say (paraphrasing), "if the other side doesn't allow it, then you don't get what you want, he just gets injured or exhausted."

You asked me (paraphrasing): "if we didn't resolve the initial action in round 1, round 2, or round 3, and then we don't resolve it in final negotiation, does it stay unresolved?" My answer: yes, of course it does. If you didn't resolve it at any of your many opportunities, you didn't resolve it. If you want it resolved, resolve it sometime instead.

Hence, my advice to you is to play as though the rules require you to resolve the initial action in round 1. Sooner or later you'll come to an initial action you don't want to resolve in round 1, and THEN you can play by the full rules.

I want you to accept that the above is how it works. I'm pretty sure that you won't believe me, because of this "narration" thing you keep saying, but take it on faith. Then we can talk about who says what about what, and I hope that'll help. Okay?

-Vincent


Title: Re: [IaWA] Breaking Bad Habits
Post by: Eero Tuovinen on April 23, 2008, 09:10:30 AM
I'm with Seth in this particular matter. There's a boatload of games that are predicated on players playing advocate for their characters while simultaneously upholding and respecting the shared imagined space, which among other things includes matters such as causality, believability and such. A player who's just insisting on "narrating" something disjointed while ignoring potential complications provided by the fictional situation will be as certain to ruin a game of IWaWA as they'd be in any other game - MLwM, Polaris, Alyria, Dogs, WGP, Dust Devils (goes double for Dust Devils, actually)... almost any narration-sharing narrativism-centered game I'd care to name depends on the players actually caring about the fiction and the cooperative creation of fiction as a whole, not just trying to blindly grab the ring. To make that kind of thing work you need an authoritative GM who simply filters all the stupidity and forces players to play along - but from the viewpoint of these games with weak GMs and strong narration techniques that's just stupid, as they kinda assume that the players are communicating and respecting each other's input, not just refusing to engage at all points.

In other words - this kind of game assumes that the players are cooperating while the characters are competing. Specifically, the players cooperate in upholding an aesthetically pleasing SIS while letting their characters go all out within the framework against or for each other. It's a pretty simple conceit, and really common for all manner of roleplaying games; there cannot be true roleplaying interaction without a solid basis of Exploration, as the theorist might say.

The reason why this might be important for the discussion seems to me to be that Mike has floated off into a generic critique of this kind of set-up, which has nearly nothing to do with In a Wicked Age. To tell the truth, his argument doesn't seem to be entirely in good faith, as I'm pretty certain that Mike himself has no trouble at all in actual play when it comes to respecting and caring for the shared imagined space even without somebody being there to tell him to not break the toys at the sandbox.


Title: Re: [IaWA] Breaking Bad Habits
Post by: Mike Holmes on April 24, 2008, 10:28:11 AM
Yeah, I know, I'm the guy who created the "advocacy" language. I get that one can play that way. I often do play that way. I'm not incapable of understanding it, nor am I incapable of playing that way. I even play that way when presented with an incoherent system like Hero Quest.

The argument, however, is based on good faith and, in fact, actual examples of play. I'm not making up some, "the game will fall apart if this happens" fiction to poke holes in Vincent's game. When we played at ForgeCon, more than one of us, myself included, felt that the game had this problem.

I'm willing to be shown why the impression we got was wrong. But I'm not going to accept that my points are invalid because they're not based on somthing concrete.

To reiterate, I enjoyed IAWA, and am looking for a solution to this problem. Be it in terms of being explained how there is no problem, or whatever else may happen (it's possible that I'm too brain damaged by other RPGs to understand this one). So that next time I play, it's more fun.


I was using the ring example, because, in fact, it was used by Vincent in the other thread. But let me use the actual play example that happened with us:

My character had as his best Interest that he was after a treasure (in olive oil, as it happens). Through a substantial amount of play it was determined that another player's character had the treasure stashed away somewhere (so much the better, now we have the conflict we're looking for). So I said that my character was going to find where the treasure was, and get it. The player who's character had it, predictably, stepped in the way, and told me no. My character came out on top, and so now I had a choice it seemed to me, negotiate for the treasure, or not get it, because the other player would simply take the injury or exhaustion, if I didn't offer something palatable.

So I negotiated. The other PC would show me where the treasure was, and I would promise to help her attain her goal. Being as that PC didn't have it as a Best Interest to keep the treasure, or to prevent me from getting it, the player aquiesced. But he was uncomfortable doing so, because we noted that I could have my character just not do what he'd promised to do.

Sans any sort of committment from my character, something that simply wasn't possible to make mechanically, the player had no way of being certain that my character would help his. His strong inclination was to take the injury. In the end he made the agreement when I argued that he wasn't losing anything by making it. And would, in fact, if he didn't (the stick). He was still uncomfortable, because he felt that it might actually be worth thwarting my character for that point, however.

Again, it was the pressure of not wanting to put himself in the position of putting myself into the position of having to do the same contest again, I think, that made him finally agree to let the game move on as a tie-breaker on his decision. Something that neither he, nor I, were happy with.


Now, the example given, and reading Vincent's latest post, here's where I think we went wrong. I think that somebody was supposed to, if they wanted to, get the narration of my character getting the treasure somewhere along the way.

A point of order in the discussion. When we say "round 1" there are two contexts. The first is in terms of the series of dice rolls that determines who gets injured/exhausted, which can go three rounds, but can also go only one in some cases. Then there's the "rounds" of reattempting the same action, and being repeatedly blocked by the same character. Does it matter which, for these purposes, we're talking about when you say we could determine whether or not my character could have found the treasure?

But that's what you're saying, I take it? That the only thing that a player saying that they're blocking an action resolves is who gets injured/exhausted in the attempt.

Do I have that right?

Well... then when does this narration occur? By whom? I could have said:

Mike: "OK, I lost the first roll against you, but my character, rolling around avoiding you, sees the treasure under the couch, and takes it."

Would that be kosher? I could go on, but having an answer to that would help. If it's wrong, how is it wrong?

Before I take anything on faith, I have to be sure that I'm understanding what it is that I'm taking on faith. There's an extent that what you're saying sounds to me like a contradiction. And, no, I can't take contradictions on faith. That's gotta get straightened out first.

Mike


Title: Re: [IaWA] Breaking Bad Habits
Post by: jburneko on April 24, 2008, 11:01:45 AM
Mike,

I'd like to take a stab at this.  Can we break your example down?  Let's talk about JUST round 1.  You say you wanted to find the treasure and another player wanted to stop you.  Okay, cool.  What action did your *character* take to start trying to find the treasure that the other *character* opposed?

How did round one go, action for action, exactly?

Jesse


Title: Re: [IaWA] Breaking Bad Habits
Post by: lumpley on April 24, 2008, 11:08:01 AM
I was about to ask the exact same question. What action did you have your character take in order to find the treasure?

-Vincent


Title: Re: [IaWA] Breaking Bad Habits
Post by: Valvorik on April 24, 2008, 11:24:43 AM
Mike: #2: You missed my point. My point is: resolve grabbing the ring in the first round. Don't leave the ring ungrabbed until final negotiation, don't even leave it ungrabbed until round 2. By the end of round 1, somebody's grabbed the ring, decisively. Go into round 2 with the ring no longer up for grabs.

-Vincent

If what was disputed was "I get the ring" and that is decisively settled in the first round, with the winner of initiative saying "I seize the ring" and coming out ahead with advantage, why then are there three rounds?  I assume "decisively" means "not still in dispute" as in Round 2 can't be "Challenge, I trip you before you get away with it" and Round 3 "I pry your fingers open and seize it".

I can see, in example of boat, that first action is settled but that it is not decisive as its significance, whether it's immediately countered etc. is still up for grabs, and the back and forth of rounds play that out.




Title: Re: [IaWA] Breaking Bad Habits
Post by: lumpley on April 24, 2008, 11:59:31 AM
Uh, nope. What's settled is whether I grabbed the ring - I did. Now that I have the ring, now what? "I trip you before you get away with it" and "I pry your fingers open and seize it" are perfectly good possible actions for rounds 2 and 3.

-Vincent


Title: Re: [IaWA] Breaking Bad Habits
Post by: Valvorik on April 24, 2008, 02:30:28 PM
Thanks Vincent, I think I was misreading "decisive".  Your patience and willingness to discuss all this stuff that is probably "blindingly obvious to you" is great.

Am I correct seeing the ideas of best interests player realizes but not character, ones at odds with character's apparent goals etc. that the "best interest" is the "transcendent author/audience view of this character's best destiny/happy ever after"?  This may be the character's goal but doesn't have to be it.

So for the Conanesque character "my best interest is to endure hardships that teach me lessons of kingship" even if my goal is "wine, women and song, and taking guff from no one".

Are there examples in play to cite for how a player position the character (when GM asks, "so what were you doing while...") as doing something explicable by goal that also positions them vis a vis best interest at odds with goal?

The games I have been in have all had people using character best interests as driving goals, and have mostly seemed to work fine, but I definitely see the potential for great stories and characters in the conflict and I can recall at least one PC who might have "worked better" done that way.


Title: Re: [IaWA] Breaking Bad Habits
Post by: Mike Holmes on April 28, 2008, 06:44:16 AM
Rob's right, thanks for the patience with this, Vincent.

To address a side point... are we saying that it's bad play to have a character goal that happens to be his best interest? Or just that the game might work better if you choose an interest that is like this?


On the main question, thanks to Rob for his question, and it clarifies things for me on what's meant by "round" in this context. Good example, Vincent.

I have to say that I don't recall precisely what I said my character was doing to get the treasure. I think it was something like, "I'm going to the tower to search it for the treasure." For purposes of this discussion, I think we can assume that it was this. John's response was probably something like, "Oh no, no way that ogre's coming into my tower and tearing it apart."

(By the way, my character was part of a culture of "ogres," people who eat other people to become monsterously strong. The twist I put in was that he was raiding to get the treasure so as to buy a "Cure" for his people.)

I don't recall the precise mechanical details, other than that I won eventually. I'm sure narration was stuff like, "I leap at her threateningly" (my character's violence was not as high as his Direct, and his Specific Strength was "Monsterously Intimidating.") And, on succeeding, "I pin her down." Negotiation was something like me offering, "I'll help her get what she wants later, if she shows him where the treasure is."

What's interesting is that in a statement like that, it's clear that the "I'll help her" is a promise, and unenforcable, while the "She shows me" is an automatic consequence that goes into narration (he gets his best interest) if John agrees. And he did, in this case. Again, reluctantly, if I'm recalling correctly. And I felt bad that I could not commit somehow.


What I'm understanding is that my narration could, instead, have been as a result of coming out ahead on the first round, "Before she can find me, I find the treasure in the basement" ?

Can I narrate that if I lose? Does winning give you narration rights?

In any case, let's say that I get to the end of the contest, and have won, and the last narration is that I have the thing I want, I've found the treasure. Let's say for argument's sake that it's the ring (the treasure in my case was non-portable by even an ogre - barrels of olive oil), and my character is in possession of it. And let's say that John says that he's going to take an injury or exhaustion instead of giving in to me.

Do I keep my treasure in that case? Or no? The other thread seems to say no. This thread seems to say yes.

Mike


Title: Re: [IaWA] Breaking Bad Habits
Post by: lumpley on April 28, 2008, 08:58:20 AM
My pleasure. I like answering rules questions.

Side point: No, it's not bad play at all. If playing with your characters' best interests and immediate goals closely aligned were bad play, I'd disallow it.

Instead, I'm saying that if you only and always play with your characters' best interests and immediate goals closely aligned, you'll always get those same effects on how the game plays out. My recommendation is that you mess around with how closely your characters' best interests and immediate goals lign up, to see the range possible within the rules.

Main point: Before I go further, are you following this thread (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?topic=26157.0) about blocking, dodging and taking the blow?

-Vincent


Title: Re: [IaWA] Breaking Bad Habits
Post by: Mike Holmes on April 29, 2008, 08:23:12 AM
Hi Vincent,

Yes, I'm reading that other thread avidly, since it seems to be about pretty much the same thing, if from a different angle, perhaps.

What I get from that thread is this:
My only limit on what's narrated is that whatever is narrated, it cannot be considered to be the end of the contest. So in my example, if I narrated finding the treasure, that doesn't mean the conflict is over.

But it does mean that I found the treasure, right? We're not going to later have to explain how my character somehow forgets about the treasure? I assume I'm right because, again, no stakes. Meaning that it's OK for me to obtain what I'm after through narration.

Yes, of course, in following rounds more narration might reveal that, in the case of the grabbed ring, that I then lose that ring. But that's not the point of the conflict, it's only to determine who gets to negotiate with the stick, right?


But... OK... that's one way I could understand the system. But it seems to me that it's contradicting the threads in which you say that if a player does not give, that the other player doesn't get what they want. Now, certainly they don't get their proposed deal. But does the narration that's gone by already stick? Or do we have to counter it in order to make that something that's not gotten, too?

Example:

Round 1: I win, narrate my character getting the ring.
Round 2: You win, you narrate getting the ring back.
Round 3: I win the round and narrate getting the ring back again from your character, and win the overall contest.

Now we go to Negotiation, and there are two ways to play that I can see:
 
 A: I now get to negotiate with a stick, but even if the player is determined to take the hit, and not accept my terms, I still get the ring, because we narrated me getting it during the contest.

 B: I now get to negotiate with a stick, but if the player is determined to take the hit, we must narrate that I lose the ring, because that's what he was saying, "ONYDYA" about, and I can't get that if he takes the injury or exhaustion.


Again, in multiple examples it seems like you're saying both of these things. Here it seems like you're saying A is right. In the thread with the ring example, it seems like you're saying B. I'm not saying a dichotomy does exist, but that it seems to, from what I've read.
 
Mike


Title: Re: [IaWA] Breaking Bad Habits
Post by: lumpley on April 29, 2008, 09:32:25 AM
A is how the game works. B is not. If I have the ring at the end of round 3, and I win round 3, I have the ring AND the stick.

You remember when I first answered about the ring? The question I answered was "if, through all three rounds, nobody grabs the ring, and we just leave it lying in the mud, and then I win the third round, and the loser insists I injure him instead of negotiating that I get the ring, do I get the ring anyway?" The answer is "no, it's lying in the mud where you left it, right? Go pick it up if you want it, you may have to fight him off again." That doesn't imply B or contradict A at all.

So, A. But we have to clear up narration. Like I say in the other thread, the answerer, not the winner, says what happens.

Your example as written is valid if all three rounds are upsets against the challenger:
Round 1: You challenge, I win, I narrate my character getting the ring.
Round 2: I challenge, you win, you narrate getting the ring back.
Round 3: You challenge, I win the round and narrate getting the ring back again from your character, and win the overall contest.

Supposing that in all three rounds the challenger wins, though, your example would look like this:
Round 1: I challenge, I win, you narrate my character getting the ring.
Round 2: You challenge, you win, I narrate your character getting the ring back.
Round 3: I challenge, I win the round, you narrate my character getting the ring back again from yours, and I win the overall contest.

This super matters. In the other thread, you know how I say that whether to take the blow, or block it, is the answerer's call? That's the difference between me having the ring and me not having the ring. In my second example round 3, you are under no mechanical obligation to narrate my character getting the ring back from yours. You MAY be under obligation to do so from the game's fiction's time-space-and-physics (and we can talk about that if you want, but after we get the procedures down).

So here's another possible example, also valid:

Round 1: I challenge, I win, you narrate my character getting the advantage, but -not quite- getting the ring.
Round 2: You challenge, you win, I narrate my character getting the ring, but -only just-, and now your character has the advantage.
Round 3: I challenge, I win the round and the overall contest, you narrate. You can't justify taking the ring away from me on a loss, so you propose a bargain, which I accept or reject and so it goes.

And here's another, also valid:

Round 1: I challenge, I win, you narrate my character grabbing the ring, but mine having yours off-balance and vulnerable.
Round 2: I challenge, I win, you narrate my character punching yours repeatedly (which was my character's action), but yours still holding onto the ring.
Round 3: I challenge, I win the round and the overall contest, you narrate. I'm stomping your character but he's curled up fetal around the ring.
In negotiation, I propose that you just give me the goddamn ring already, but you'd rather be exhausted or injured, so I injure you.

Fine, I say. I stomp you unconscious. No way! you say. I stop you! And off we go again. Notice that a) the situation and our investment in it has escalated, it's not a simple repeat, and b) pretty soon you'll fear for your character and negotiate with me, or die. (After all, I just won 3 straight rounds against you, and that was before I took some of your dice away.)

Take home point: how you get the ring is to seize it when you're the answerer, because that's when you have the narrative authority to do so, and hold onto it until the end.

The answerer is the one with the power to decide things. The winner is the one with the stick. When you answer and win, you're golden (but it's the least likely outcome). When you challenge and win, you try to use the stick to get what you want. When you answer and lose, you get hit with the stick or else give up what you want.

-Vincent


Title: Re: [IaWA] Breaking Bad Habits
Post by: Mike Holmes on April 29, 2008, 11:03:55 AM
Excellent, you've started to predict my upcoming questions, and have skipped ahead two steps in the discussion at least with that last post. So, I'm guessing that you've predicted my next question, too, which comes down to you discussing the "time-and-space" considerations that you discussed, or why I might, as answerer, not just always narrate my character denying yours.

Basically, if on the last round (per the example you give), you decide as answerer to keep the ring, then we're back to where we were. Basically, win or lose, you can prevent my character from getting the ring with the last say. And, eventually, it comes down to how much I'm willing to gamble losing (with diminishing chances of success, as you note) on going at you another time to get what I want. Yes, we're technically free to chose to lose. But I'm seeing no incentive to do that. Why not have the objective to bargain with if you lose? Why voluntarily give that away, and have to bargain with less?

Drama, right?


Yeah, I get that I'm somehow missing some aesthetic consideration here that I'm supposed to get. The game clearly sides with drama in some cases, like encouraging players to take on things over their character's heads, so that they get on the owe list. But it very much the resolution looks to me like the same old escallation system, with negotiation between each phase, with the limit on number of escalations being the number of dice I have before I am eliminated. You can rearrange the verbage, but the rules seem to me to work the same. The player gives you what you want, or you escalate to a new round. Eventually you get the stakes, or you lose.

Or you give up because aesthetics tell you to.

Now, if you're saying, yes, that's how it works, and that's fine, then we're back to my original objection, which is that this leads to the uncomfortable pressure that I mentioned earlier.

So are we back to that, or am I still not understanding the mechanical repercussions?

Mike


Title: Re: [IaWA] Breaking Bad Habits
Post by: Mike Holmes on April 29, 2008, 11:07:26 AM
Let me try this zen approach, shorter than the above:

Mike: It feels as though the system doesn't resolve anything neccessarily, unless you press to the death.
Vincent: See, there's no stakes, it doesn't resolve anything in one conflict (though we can do that by narration if we wish), other than who has the stick.
Mike: Yes, that's the problem exactly.

Mike


Title: Re: [IaWA] Breaking Bad Habits
Post by: lumpley on April 29, 2008, 03:03:27 PM
My zen answer:

Mike: It feels as though the system doesn't resolve anything necessarily, unless you press to the death.
Vincent: Right. Fortunately, it does resolve all kinds of things unexpectedly. Also, pressing to the death is fun too, when you mean it.

I'm saying the opposite of the aesthetic thing you're predicting. I'm saying, cool, press to the death, if that's what you want to do. It's allowed. In fact, it's what you should obviously do when you're intent-to-the-death upon something and your opponent is intent-to-the-death upon keeping it from you.

If you're playing the dice and narration right, pressing to the death is just as fun as negotiating. The fact that pressing felt to you like repeating means that you were mishandling the dice and narration. Do the dice and narration right - and I mean procedurally right, not "aesthetically right" - and pressing will be pressing, and you won't hesitate to do it.

-Vincent



Title: Re: [IaWA] Breaking Bad Habits
Post by: Valvorik on April 29, 2008, 03:53:33 PM
And here's another, also valid:

Round 1: I challenge, I win, you narrate my character grabbing the ring, but mine having yours off-balance and vulnerable.
Round 2: I challenge, I win, you narrate my character punching yours repeatedly (which was my character's action), but yours still holding onto the ring.
Round 3: I challenge, I win the round and the overall contest, you narrate. I'm stomping your character but he's curled up fetal around the ring.
In negotiation, I propose that you just give me the goddamn ring already, but you'd rather be exhausted or injured, so I injure you.

Don't you mean in Round 1 "you narrate your character grabbing ring" for this to flow consistently?


Title: Re: [IaWA] Breaking Bad Habits
Post by: lumpley on April 29, 2008, 04:09:45 PM
Right you are. Oops.

-Vincent


Title: Re: [IaWA] Breaking Bad Habits
Post by: Eero Tuovinen on April 29, 2008, 04:29:46 PM
As I understand from listening to Vincent, the game's system doesn't actually resolve conflicts in any explicit manner. It merely allows characters to take actions and resolves those, assigning mechanical packets of damage to the characters. There is another game that works like this. It's Dungeons & Dragons. The only difference is that here the combat is paced forcibly (somebody damages somebody by necessity, so there's no whiff) and players are allowed to negotiate detached from character motivation (which allows things like a character stumbling and failing by player permission). Of course the fight coreography is also enforced differently: in D&D you have to differentiate between armed and unarmed attacks and such, while in IWAWA you need to describe how characters threaten each other and how they have an advantage against their opponent.

The reason that conflicts get resolved in D&D, or in IWAWA, is that players will either back off or characters die at some point. IWAWA supports characters striving to win while players back off for dramatic reasons, though, which opens up the range of possible conflict resolutions that do not work in D&D without special rules for knocking characters out, making them fall down, etc. In IWAWA players do not need to have their characters die for their convictions just because they're paladins - they can go behind the character's back and negotiate that the character drops down a cliff or whatever, and thus can't insist on continuing on to the bitter end.

Perhaps the system would be easier to understand if it was not considered as a "conflict resolution system" in the forgean sense, but rather as just a fighting system ("system for resolving armed or other conflicts of interest between characters", eh?). It certainly is a task resolution system, theory-wise, resolving conflicts only by the virtue of pressuring players to negotiate a resolution to their conflict. Even sticking to the resolution is not enforced, except for the threat of new violence. So there's a conflict resolution system there only insofar as "you have to negotiate to resolve conflicts" is a "system".

Seems pretty clear to me. My game-in-development Eleanor's Dream has a pretty similar negotiation system, actually.


Title: Re: [IaWA] Breaking Bad Habits
Post by: Brand_Robins on April 29, 2008, 05:58:40 PM
So... late to the party, but, doesn't Sorcerer more or less work like that?

I mean, I could've sworn there was a discussion about exactly that somewhere on Storygames a month or so back. Cues, pressure, building advantage that doesn't force you to lose your authorship unless it kills you... sounds like the same conclusions.

Or am I remembering wrong?


Title: Re: [IaWA] Breaking Bad Habits
Post by: jburneko on April 29, 2008, 06:41:19 PM
Brand,

Sorcerer and In A Wicked Age are kissing cousins in terms of resolution.  I maintain that they ARE conflict resolution but they resolve only momentary action driven clashes between characters, not chunks of plot.

Jesse


Title: Re: [IaWA] Breaking Bad Habits
Post by: oliof on April 29, 2008, 10:31:19 PM
Eero: That's why Vincent likes to call rounds 'action sequences'.


Title: Re: [IaWA] Breaking Bad Habits
Post by: Eero Tuovinen on April 29, 2008, 11:19:09 PM
Rereading what I wrote last night, there's probably an argument there about task/conflict resolution for anybody minded to uphold those two as polar opposites. That's not the case, however: as I'm fond of saying, all games resolve tasks and all games resolve conflicts somehow, for any other way lies madness. It's just a matter of how you resolve them, and it seems to me that in IAWA that resolution always happens by player consensus egged on by imminent bodily harm to the underdog character if the player doesn't find an equitable compromise. The matter of who happens to have the ring at any given moment is a red herring in this, as no conflict is actually being resolved and set aside by the players, unless they make a deal and hold to it: a player can always come back and try to get the stakes again, thus no conflict being resolved simply by utilizing the combat mechanics. This is just like D&D or other games that do not respect conflict stakes: you can hit each other all day long in D&D, but it doesn't actually prevent a character from trying the grapple mechanics for the seventh time to get the ring. Only one party backing down or being incapacitated does that.

And yes, Sorcerer has a lot of the same action going on, although my understanding has been that in Sorcerer you're supposed to have tacit agreement with the other players about there being a conflict of interest that is being resolved, with the current action as a crucial turn in the events. So if the conflict was about getting the ring, for example, then the one resolution procedure would resolve who is being locally in control of the ring, and that's that, unless we go into the fight mechanics. Somebody with more Sorcerer wrangling in their history can probably outright say whether this is so or not - could a player in Sorcerer just come back and demand a reroll? I don't think so. Definitely they could if it was a complex conflict with harm and all, but not in a normal one as far as I understand. So in that regard Sorcerer does explicit conflict resolution: stakes (implicit ones) are being won or lost, and players are expected to honor those stakes.


Title: Re: [IaWA] Breaking Bad Habits
Post by: Peter Nordstrand on April 30, 2008, 03:28:28 AM
Regarding Sorcerer, I suggest that you take a look at the illuminating thread Amazing Series of Sorcerer Threads on SG (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?topic=25892.0), including all the threads at storygames linked to therein.


Title: Re: [IaWA] Breaking Bad Habits
Post by: lumpley on April 30, 2008, 05:02:28 AM
One of the things I'm trying to get to here is that in the Wicked Age, you ALSO can't just demand a reroll. By the end of an action sequence, circumstances have changed enough that pressing the fight ISN'T just a reroll.

Mike, I think I had an insight into your dissatisfaction, driving to work this morning.

In the game's source material:
- the person who holds onto the ring despite every grief poured out upon him: Conan.
- the person who pours vast grief upon Conan but never wins the ring from him: the Sorcerer-king.

The reason that the loser can hold on to the one thing that really matters, while the winner can do nothing but smash, rend, break, bloody, and ultimately kill, never taking the one thing that really matters, is because that's how it works in the Flat Earth, Lyonesse, and the Hyborean Age.

You'll notice that the owe list rules are extremely coherent with this.

My conclusion: the game mechanics were treating your character as a villain, because your character was acting the villain. You said (I'm paraphrasing) "why wouldn't I always choose driving goal best interests, and why wouldn't I always fight to the death for them?" The answer is: please do, if you want to. However, you should know that when you do, the game appropriately considers your character a villain, and treats him accordingly.

-Vincent


Title: Re: [IaWA] Breaking Bad Habits
Post by: Mike Holmes on April 30, 2008, 06:37:39 AM
Funny, I see how it's supposed to work now, but I think your arguments are bad.

First, I don't agree that pounding to get what you want is neccessarily villainous. If you look at the characters in question here, while John's character was a protagonist in her own way, she was at least as villainous as my character. I think that everyone felt that she deserved to get pounded by the ogre. What's more, again, by that point I had revealed how my character was, in fact, giving of himself to get what he needed for others. That is, he didn't want to be an ogre, he felt he had to in order to get what he wanted. What's more, he didn't really want to pound on folks, but did it because he knew that the survival of his culture was on the line.

I thought that it was very hyborian age in it being about end's justifying means, and being very grim. About survival.

I was Conan trying to get the ring from the Sorcerer King. At least that's how it felt to me. And the fact that I couldn't get John to give up the ring without pounding seemed odd.

Rather, again, I think the real problem was that John felt uncomfortable accepting the deal. That is, in keeping with the source material, he should have done what he did, and he did give. The problem being that he felt that he was being potentially jobbed by the mechanics, which couldn't enforce the deal he was making. That is, the mechanics were telling him that, despite the Hyborian aesthetic, where he should give, that he was being compelled not to do so. So that when he did go with the aesthetic, he felt a bit the fool for doing so. Or, rather, was doing it despite what the mechanics were telling him to do.

Of course... it was really much more like my character was Conan beating up on Red Sonya. That is, both were protagonists in their own right, so there's bad guy to give. His character should hold on, if they want to in order to be the protagonist who doesn't give in, but at the same time this makes my character look like the villain, yes. That's a contradiction right there.

Could the problem be that we had more than one protagonist, and the genre allows only one? Or that all protagonists be on the same side, instead of having best interests that oppose each other?


Second, I'm not understanding your statement that the situation will neccessarily change in conflicts. If, in fact, that was the case, then I'd probably have much less objection. But, while I understand that players do have the power to change the situation during conflicts through narrations, I'm not seeing that this will always automatically happen. In fact, in our play it was precisely because these situation changes did not occur (just one reason) that it felt wrong to do the contest again in several cases.

If what you're saying is that the technique you give of resolving the question on the first round solves this, again, I'm not seeing this as likely to happen often, or be effective at the end. I'm seeing the character who answers on the last round putting the situation precisely back to square one in most cases. He starts out saying, "Oh no you don't" and ends up saying, "Oh no you don't, unless you negotiate with me." So the only change in the situation, if they take injury or exhaustion instead of accepting negotiation, is the description of the events of the scuffle. The question of character situation remains unchanged.


There's the associated tacit question I ask above. Let me be more explicit: when agreeing to a negotiated result, how much lattitude to the players involved have to create finished action after the conflict?

Lets say in the actual play example that I had offered: "I get the treasure, but then we together conquer Player C's character." As in we don't go and attempt to conquer player C's character, but, if agreed to, the event is a done deal. Is that valid? Or can negotiations only involve the reasonable outcome parts of the conflict that's occuring?

If, in fact, you can do more than have your character promise future action, but can actually effect it, that changes things. Put another way, is the negotiation between the players, or is it between the characters? If between the players, what are the boundaries of the choices made.

My apologies at this point for not having a copy of the game on hand. The answer to this question might be plainly in the text, and I've merely forgotten it.


All this said, if, in fact, the system is just has an extended resolution system that is sorta reminiscent of D&D as stated above, then I get it. And I think it might work better than D&D in terms of moral questions because of the context of the other rules (Combat plus EXP creates amoral genocide play). I'll have to consider it in that context. But that doesn't change how I felt in actual play.

Mike


Title: Re: [IaWA] Breaking Bad Habits
Post by: David Artman on April 30, 2008, 09:13:42 AM
All this said, if, in fact, the system is just has an extended resolution system that is sorta reminiscent of D&D as stated above, then I get it.
From my recent demo-driven actual play and full reading (and recognizing how our AP didn't quite follow the rules) and reading Vincent's various replies... yeah, you get it. Forget stakes--there are none. There's "I Do This And Fuck All Of You" and there's "Oh, No, You Don't, You Fucking Asshole!" and a slight ret-con (not undoing the I Do This, but interrupting it mid-Do).

It's all Means, not Intent. We don't care about your intent. We care that you Did something which we can't accept lying down.

Roll the dice for initiative, winner keeps that as attack roll, loser rolls again to "defend". No one doubled up? Ok, then high roller has advantage and add die. (Maybe We Owe the loser.) Loser describes the setback. Negotiate or go to round 2.
Repeat rolling in round 2. Negotiate or go to round 3.
High roll in round 3 injures or exhausts loser, or negotiates with that stick with the loser.

No where in that is "set stakes" or "and the winner gets what he or she intended prior to round 1." Hell, the conflict could be across a continent and months of time away from the MacGuffin over which the fight began. The MacGuffin could have been destroyed in the scuffle--this time, it's a ring; next time, it might be a mirror or a fragile damsel. Or the round 3 negotiation could be "OK, you get the damned thing, already." I'd negotiate to let you have it in lieu of my being injured or exhausted, if narration got us to that point. "No, don't strike! Here' take it, with my best wishes." And then...
(To GM) "He turns around and I stab him in the back."--"Oh, No, You Don't!" Repeat.

But usually, the "I Do This" is gone forever, UNLESS "I Do This" is the winner's narration, all over again. And, yep, the loser can--if not out of game/dead--say "Oh, No, You Don't" all over again. As I see it, this is one of the very few ways a single "scene's" conflict can take a character from fit and healthy to dead. No one backs off on I Do or No, You Don't; and two or three injuries/exhausts will kill most characters.

Making sense? Apple butter or shit?

Note that, for myself (and maybe your own sanity) it might be best if you did winner, proactive narration rather than loser, reactive narration. Some scenes sort of demand the latter (sneaking around, a chase scene); but for a straight-up fight, I'd prefer winner narration over trying to come up with some way to self-disadvantage after every losing roll. Plus, with loser narration, it's tempting to get into mealy mouth "disadvantages" like "I get the ring back, but slip and fall at your feet." --yeah, you get the MacGuffin, but it feels 'wrong' to me to be able to "lose" and yet gain the MacGuffin under dispute, if only for a round... but what's to say I don't keep it the whole exchange, and as such end "losing" in possession of he ring? Well, nothing--and that's how you get rolling battles. You'll have that ring if you have to lop off my hand--and head--to keep it....


Title: Re: [IaWA] Breaking Bad Habits
Post by: Mike Holmes on April 30, 2008, 09:39:15 AM
David, the first part of your post simply seems to be recapitulating what Vincent said. So I'm not sure what your point is with that part.

For the second part... you're proposing an alternate rule? That you and I might like better?


Note that I think the whole "No stakes" thing is semantics. Yeah, the resolution system doesn't directly resolve who gets X, but if you kill the thing that's stopping you from getting X, you get it. That is, very much even if the stakes are not resolved, that's not to say that they aren't present. No matter the fact that the system didn't give me a way to resolve if I got the treasure, that was what I was seeing as being at stake when I went into the conflict.

Mike


Title: Re: [IaWA] Breaking Bad Habits
Post by: jenskot on April 30, 2008, 09:46:20 AM
Note that, for myself (and maybe your own sanity) it might be best if you did winner, proactive narration rather than loser, reactive narration. Some scenes sort of demand the latter (sneaking around, a chase scene); but for a straight-up fight, I'd prefer winner narration over trying to come up with some way to self-disadvantage after every losing roll. Plus, with loser narration, it's tempting to get into mealy mouth "disadvantages" like "I get the ring back, but slip and fall at your feet." --yeah, you get the MacGuffin, but it feels 'wrong' to me to be able to "lose" and yet gain the MacGuffin under dispute, if only for a round... but what's to say I don't keep it the whole exchange, and as such end "losing" in possession of he ring? Well, nothing--and that's how you get rolling battles. You'll have that ring if you have to lop off my hand--and head--to keep it....
I thought Vincent clarified in this thread (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?topic=26157.0) that by the rules as written, the Answerer is the one who described how they dodge, reverse, or take the blow. And that when it comes down to who describes the outcome, that it doesn't matter who wins or loses the action roll.

Vincent, please check me on this. My understanding from all these threads is that as written, the rules indicate the following:

- Fight!
- Roll initiative.
- The person who wins initiative is the Challenger.
- The person who loses initiative is the Answerer.
- The Challenger describes an action, "I grab the ring from you."

- Roll actions.
- The dice results DO NOT resolve what happens, but instead resolves who has the advantage and eventually who takes damage.
- Either way, the Answerer is the one who describes what happens.
- If the Challenger loses, the Answerer could say, "I run away with the ring."
- If the Challenger wins, the Answerer could say, "I run away with the ring but you catch up to me and kick the crap out of me."
- Regardless of the dice results, the Answerer can decide who has the ring in any manner they like as long as they make sure to indicate who has the advantage.

- Let's say it's the final round.
- The Challenger wins and the Answerer responds with, "I run away with the ring but you catch up to me and kick the crap out of me."
- Now the Challenger and Answerer negotiate.
- Note, the Answerer has the ring because the last person to lose initiative gets to decide what happens, where everyone is, and who has what before final negotiation happens.
- The Challenger can make an offer or damage the Answerer.
- The Answerer can make a counter offer or take damage.
- In effect, who ever loses the initiative in the last round has final say over the situation's color unless they give that up to avoid taking damage.
- And who ever wins the conflict roll in the last round has potential leverage over negotiating elements of the situation's color and has the ability to damage the loser.

QUESTION: Based on the rules as written, is the above correct?

Rock,
John


Title: Re: [IaWA] Breaking Bad Habits
Post by: David Artman on April 30, 2008, 10:13:11 AM
Hmmm... I'm losing it, now. WTF did I mean, an hour ago?

So we got:
initiative-winner - keeps dice and, after defense below, becomes one of these:
* challenger-winner > gets Add Die but narrates nothing
* challenger-loser > gets nothing, says nothing (s/he's had his/r turn, at the challenge)

initiative-loser > defends and becomes one of these:
* answerer-winner > gets Add Die; and narrates self-advantage and, probably, self-gain
* answerer-loser > gets nothing (except maybe We Owe); and narrates challenger-loser advantage, possibly with self-gain

It seemed so simple until there was a damned ring involved. Act, react, get die (or not), keep going until you have the stick. I think it gets fucked up during the narration type that I bolded above... and, yeah, maybe that's what I was driving at earlier (and maybe I'm now swinging Mike's way): It strikes me as Wrong to lose a challenge, but answer in a manner which thwarts the challenger's intent, EVEN THOUGH there's nothing about the action sequence that considers or cares about intent.

Does it just come down to "I'm gonna beat on your ass until I can pry it from your dead hands, so give over"?


Title: Re: [IaWA] Breaking Bad Habits
Post by: lumpley on April 30, 2008, 10:22:26 AM
John: yes, correct. Absolutely correct.

...Lord, I'm such a nitpicker. This probably goes without saying, but let me add one caveat:
- Regardless of the dice results, the Answerer can decide who has the ring in any manner they like provided it's stylistically appropriate as long as they make sure to indicate who has the advantage.
...
Quote
- In effect, who ever loses the initiative in the last round has final say over the situation's color provided it's stylistically appropriate unless they give that up to avoid taking damage.

The rules don't give the answerer permission to fuck around with the group's established style. For instance, in examples, I'm prone to answers like "four days later, I..." In some groups that'll be fair play; in others, not. The rules don't give you license to violate your group's standards.

Sometimes, case by case, your group's stylistic standards will dictate who has the ring. Like, every once in a while, it'll be a violation of the group's style for the answerer to say "...and you have the ring." That's fine, it's not a contradiction of the general rule that it's the answerer's say.

But, John, yes. Correct.

-Vincent

(edited to fix quote tags)


Title: Re: [IaWA] Breaking Bad Habits
Post by: jenskot on April 30, 2008, 11:20:00 AM
Vincent, thanks for the reply.

Please nitpick as much as needed. My goal here is to 100% understand your intent. Whatever it takes works for me!

If I understand your caveat correctly, you are saying that the limits of what the answerer can and can not describe are situational and relative to your group's style of play. One group may be comfortable allowing the answerer to describe changes that affect time and space where another group would be more comfortable limiting the answerer's description to the here and now. Makes perfect sense to me!

I'm having a little bit of difficulty understanding:

Sometimes, case by case, your group's stylistic standards will dictate who has the ring. Like, every once in a while, it'll be a violation of the group's style for the answerer to say "...and you have the ring." That's fine, it's not a contradiction of the general rule that it's the answerer's say.

Are you saying that depending on a group's play style, they can limit the Answerer's ability to dictate who has the ring?

If yes, I agree that this does not contradict the general rule that it's the Answerer's say. As they can still describe how they react to the Challengers action as long as it is strictly limited to the Answerer's character and doesn't affect any other fictional elements.

As a consequence, I suspect that if you make the Answerer's ability to dictate who has the ring optional, then the negotiation mechanics swing hugely in the favor of the challenger who won the final action round giving the losing Answerer very little to negotiate with.

Is that accurate?
And if yes, is that your intention?
(I just imaged you saying... there is no intent, just action and lunging at me with a stick... hahahahahaha)

Thanks,
John


Title: Re: [IaWA] Breaking Bad Habits
Post by: Moreno R. on April 30, 2008, 11:22:24 AM
Question: I get kicked around but I get to keep the ring. I know that my adversary will attack me again to get it. Can I narrate the end of the conflict like "I jump in the rapids and the water push me way", getting injured but getting far from my attacker, too?

It seems to me that heroes - and even villains - do this all the time in the literature, but this would make it even worse for Mike, because in this way the loser could get away with the ring without a second conflict

But, now, that I am thinking about it, the attacker could say "I will find you in a few hours", and than I would go "No, you fucking don''t", and we would have the follow-up conflict right there. This would be an acceptable conflict or it would be too vague, and a conflict should be about what the character do right there, not "during the following hours"?


Title: Re: [IaWA] Breaking Bad Habits
Post by: lumpley on April 30, 2008, 11:45:05 AM
John: Say that an action sequence goes so that my character's clinging to a ledge, your character's stomping her hands, and our group's style is all about the split-second small-scale actions. Like, my character grabbing onto your character's ankle would be a style-appropriate answer, or my character gritting her teeth and digging her fingers in, enduring the stomping - really split-second stuff. It'd be very difficult under those conditions for me to insist credibly that my character grabs the ring from yours, no matter how well I roll.

Most of the time my character won't be hanging off a ledge, of course, and there'll be some way I can have her snag the ring, even within our split-second style, so it's not really an exception to the rule. Just a nuance, a nitpick.

-Vincent


Title: Re: [IaWA] Breaking Bad Habits
Post by: jenskot on April 30, 2008, 11:56:21 AM
Cool! Then I did misunderstand before. Makes perfect sense to me now. Thanks for taking the time to clarify.

Rock,
John


Title: Re: [IaWA] Breaking Bad Habits
Post by: Mike Holmes on May 01, 2008, 04:41:21 AM
The style issue is something that probably deserves it's own thread (I'm dubious in some ways). But I don't think that it's relevant to our problem. Our problem, in fact, was that we adhered to the group's style guidelines well, but that the system made us feel uncomfortable in doing so. I'm tempted to use the term foolish. How I feel when I'm forced to do something tactically unsound due to stylistic considerations that do not have (or at least do not seem to have) any mechanical incentive.

John, have I captured how you felt correctly? I don't want to mischaracterize how you felt. But you expressed this idea at the time, and I concurred with your assessment. If I understood it correctly.

Mike


Title: Re: [IaWA] Breaking Bad Habits
Post by: jenskot on May 01, 2008, 07:25:26 AM
Mike,

You definitely captured how I and others felt at different times.

At the time I felt like I didn't have the power to get what I want using my mechanical advantages (particular strengths for example) or what made my character special and cool, nor did I feel I ever had the authority over color to give myself any leverage in negotiations. Which was frustrating. Details here: http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?topic=26081.msg250343#msg250343 (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?topic=26081.msg250343#msg250343)

But now that Vincent has clarified how he intends the rules to work, every game I've played of IAWA was wrong (which literally means there are around 40 people playing the game incorrectly in different ways who all learned the rules on their own that I personally know). We were right that the mechanics do not resolve intents (although you have the ability to pressure your opponent to get your intent). But we were wrong regarding who gets to say what in the fiction, how often we can alter the fiction, authority over the color added to the fiction, and the leverage that color would give us in negotiations. Which makes a huge difference!

I love describing tactically unsound actions. But to do so, I need to feel the color is important and reinforced in some manner with authority. Which it is IAWA. It's done in a way that is unique. But it's there.

I would really like to play again now that we have these clarifications and come back with Actual Play to see how things change.

At first I was fixated on figuring out what the text was or was not telling me. Especially since almost everyone seemed to be playing differently. But I've put that aside for now and would rather know how Vincent intends the game to be played. Play the hell out of it that way. And then come back with any revelations.

Originally this thread made me upset. I don't think all the problems are due to bad habits. At least not from my play. Especially since I dislike many of the fashions described as bad habits and try to avoid them when I can. And I've played with people who never played an RPG before who had many of the same problems we had in play. That all being said, that doesn't mean there aren't people who are having problems because of bad habits. In my case, for whatever reason, we've just been playing wrong in some pretty fundamental huge ways! That being said, although this thread originally upset me, I am now very thankful for it as I feel like I understand now what went wrong and can try to correct it. Thanks Vincent! And thanks Mike for articulating all these issues for further discussion.

Rock,
John


Title: Re: [IaWA] Breaking Bad Habits
Post by: Jonathan Walton on May 01, 2008, 08:32:04 AM
Like John, reading this thread and the other IAWA threads just made me angrier and angrier, like I wanted to yell at someone.  I was beginning to expect that maybe, despite the things I really like about it, that I actually hated IAWA as a game, because the dice mechanics didn't actually do anything that I found remotely interesting, but the text had somehow fooled me into thinking they did, causing me weeks of stress and confusion after two failed attempts to play the game and Vincent's apparent suggestion that that failure was the fault of my play group because of previously accumulated "bad habits."

Then I got to John's post where he laid out, in very simple terms, who has narrative authority in action sequences.  That put everything in terms I could understand, whereas all this talk of rings and whether or not anything got resolved was making me more and more confused and frustrated.  If that's all this has been about, I feel like I'd be willing to try the game again, but I suspect that there are other unresolved issues here.

Some of the suggestions that Vincent makes seem like training wheels to try to help groups move from a play style that they're used to (from playing a bunch of other indie games, mostly) to the play style his home group uses when playing IAWA.  The GM picking which forms to use is the most prominent example, I think.  However, thinking about some of the people I would like to play IAWA with, I doubt that the training wheels will ever be able to come off, in many cases.  That is, unless there is some reason that players cannot pick their best dice to roll every single time (and the We Owe List isn't a big enough incentive), some players will always roll their best dice.

So... in summary, I'm starting to suspect that playing IAWA with some play groups is actually not just a matter of not getting the rules right.  I'm beginning to suspect that, for many of the play groups I might want to play IAWA with, playing the game without a sizable number of training wheels is always going to be an unmitigated disaster, because they're never going to play like Vincent's group because they aren't really interested in doing so.  And I find that really disappointing because I'm only discovering this now, after two botched attempts to play the game with groups that were never going to like it in the first place.


Title: Re: [IaWA] Breaking Bad Habits
Post by: lumpley on May 01, 2008, 09:49:55 AM
I would really like to play again now that we have these clarifications and come back with Actual Play to see how things change.

John, I'm really looking forward to hearing how this works out! I'm glad that, for all the frustration, and for my egregious misdiagnosis, this thread has been helpful to you.

Everybody:

I'm happy to answer questions about how to play. I'm happy to answer questions about why the game does what it does and is what it is - but that's answer questions, not argue, and especially not answer to disappointed expectations. I can't possibly take them on as my responsibility.

Jonathan, if you want me to talk with you about your doubts and suspicions, please ask me questions, okay?

Anybody else, Mike or anybody, if you have questions I haven't answered, please ask them too. I'm sure I missed many. A new thread would be the place.

-Vincent


Title: Re: [IaWA] Breaking Bad Habits
Post by: Moreno R. on May 01, 2008, 10:33:54 AM
When I wanted to learn to play DitV, I found lots and lots of actual play postings at the Forge that helped me. The same happened with many other games from that period. Some games I have never played but I already do know enough about them from reading actual play postings that I can at least understand what people mean when they talk about some mechanic or another.

The big, important part, was that these post talked about what people did, at the table, not only about the imaginary content. They talked about what happened at the table and what it did mean in the fiction, and the reverse.

Now, living in the other side of the world, and not having the chance of having the new game demoed for me at Gencon, I ofter find myself in the situation of having to choose the games to buy only from reading reviews, actual play postings, or the previews from the publisher's site. And It's becoming more and more difficult to find good (clear and concrete) actual play postings that talk about what people DO WHEN THEY PLAY at a game. The best actual play posters don't post them anymore  (with some important exception - for example, the ones from Christopher Kubasik are usually golden, and he's not the only one left), the actual play post are few and a lot of new people only post the imaginary content, the "story", and it's not a lot useful.

This thread don't enrage me, even if it showed me that I made many mistakes playing IAWA the first two times. I would like to read a lot more threads like this, about a lot of games, talking about how they are played, in concrete terms. If Jonathan's and Vincent's group play in a very different way, it's very useful to read about how they play, both before choosing a game they describe, and after that, to understand how different people can play it.

"Bad Habits"? I have a lot of them. Many even about playing games.  I really don't find any offense in stating this obvious thing. I want games that challenge them, and I want to learn to play in different way from the usual (for me).

P.S:  Jonathan:
Quote
That is, unless there is some reason that players cannot pick their best dice to roll every single time (and the We Owe List isn't a big enough incentive), some players will always roll their best dice.
This happened in my last game until I trounced another character with the helping die from the Owe List used from the first roll (and getting another time my name on the owe list at the same time). Then everybody scrambled to get their name there, too. From what I have seen in play until now (that, I admit, it's not a lot of playing to base my observations) using the Owe list, even in a one-shot, it's the real, true "winning tactic". If you always use your best dice you will be trounced by someone that will counter your d12 with a d10+1d6, take the advantage, and go then to 1d10+1d6+1d6 (the most probable results is 12-13, against your single d12....)

P.S.: I wrote this before Vincent's reply, but reading it...  I have still a unanswered question, seven posts before this. If somebody didn't already answer it and I didn't notice it...


Title: Re: [IaWA] Breaking Bad Habits
Post by: Mike Holmes on May 01, 2008, 12:11:38 PM
I probably should take John's approach, and just try it again playing correctly by the rules. I admit that, in theory, the problems we had might be due to not playing correctly.

But I suspect that the corrections to the improper uses of the rules that we had in play won't actually ameliorate the problem. The question, Vincent, is if I have the authority to deny you that thing which you are trying to get, which authority comes from a contest that I initiated expressly for preventing you from getting that thing, why would I let you have that thing?

Your argument seems to be that for some groups that they'd just do it. I'm thinking that it would be rare. More importantly, I'm thinking I'd never do it.

And if I'd never do it, doesn't that recast the entire system into a multi-contest system for obtaining anything? For me at least? If I do give for no good tactical reason, in order to feel that I've made an appropriately dramatic entry, I'm going to feel bad that I've had to give up some of my success in order to do that. Shouldn't I be rewarded instead?

Doesn't the rule that rewards me with getting on the owe list for doing something tactically unsound play this way? Why don't the other rules?


Now, of course, this is all speculative until I actually play with the actual rules. We at best can say for sure that our bad feelings came out of the set of rules we concocted on the spot. Maybe there's some effect of the proper rules in combination that may occur to make it all work out. But I'm skeptical.


Another unanswered question is that of narration scope for negotiated outcomes. What's viable to agree to having happened in the past tense? Anything? Or are negotiations really only always verbal promises made between the characters? What's the guidline there? Anyone who has the rules, could you answer? Again, I'm not sure what they say on this matter.


As for the question that Jonathan and Moreno raise about always using high dice, I think that's a valid question, too. Actually I'd phrase it: There seem to be two sorts of action a player can take, one intended to stop an opponent, and one intended to get on the owe list. The owe list actions actually do incentivize using low dice... but not neccessarily the lowest. This is a fascinating mechanic, brilliant, even. But there are times when I chose not to pursue that objective, and to instead am trying to get what I want, and in those cases, why would I chose lower than max dice? Especially if I know that if I don't go way low, I can't be the lowest?


Note that the discovery that the winner can, in some few cases, be the answerer is cool. This solves the problem in each of those cases, certainly. So at the very least that ameliorates the problem somewhat. And the "GM decides" method will, of course, fix the problem with dice selection. So I may well use that variant. Maybe. As long as players can attempt to make an action sound like it'll hit low dice, in order to get on the owe list, I think it would work for me.

Mike


Title: Re: [IaWA] Breaking Bad Habits
Post by: Marshall Burns on May 01, 2008, 04:29:48 PM
Why would anyone do something in a game that put them at a disadvantage, with no renumeration or consolation or whatever?

Because, sometimes, it's COOL. 

What other reason do you need?

I haven't had a chance to look at IAWA, but I do that in all other games I've played. 


Title: Re: [IaWA] Breaking Bad Habits
Post by: jenskot on May 01, 2008, 06:12:44 PM
Note that the discovery that the winner can, in some few cases, be the answerer is cool. This solves the problem in each of those cases, certainly. So at the very least that ameliorates the problem somewhat. And the "GM decides" method will, of course, fix the problem with dice selection. So I may well use that variant. Maybe. As long as players can attempt to make an action sound like it'll hit low dice, in order to get on the owe list, I think it would work for me.
I'm still couch surfing and all my games are in storage so I may be remembering the rules wrong but provided I'm not, if I really wanted to game the system because I really badly wanted something, I would go in with low dice, get on the owe list, wait till the last round where hopefully I lose initiative, and before I roll as the Answerer, cross my name off the owe list, gain a bonus die and the roll increasing my chances to win as the Answerer. Master of color and the stick!!! Even though this is super gamey, I could easily imagine the narrative of this back and forth being quite cool.

Funny enough, IAWA feels like pro wrestling in real life! I depend on my opponent to sell my moves so I can get over with the crowd and look cool but if they as the Answerer make me look like a fool as the Challenger, then I can rough them up by dealing out stiff shots at them till they learn to play nice and sell for me. Hahahahahaha.

Why would anyone do something in a game that put them at a disadvantage, with no renumeration or consolation or whatever?

Because, sometimes, it's COOL.
2 Dreamations ago Vincent and I played Dogs in the Vineyard. I played this pissed off kid who had daddy issues. My initiation conflict was, "Do I shoot my dad.......... for a second time?" I had a chip on my shoulder for having a dead beat drunk of a father.

Later, some crazy kid is running around causing all forms of un-heavenly chaos. I flip out and confront the kid's mom ready to beat her down in a conflict over me chastising her for raising such an awful boy. Vincent sees my raise with the mom saying, "I had to raise him all alone without a father." Holy crap! He hit my buttons perfectly with narration and even though I was kicking ass mechanically I had to give on the conflict. He schooled me with color!


Title: Re: [IaWA] Breaking Bad Habits
Post by: lumpley on May 02, 2008, 05:16:54 AM
Oh, Mike, I meant to answer this. The negotiation is between the players, not between the characters. Occasionally it'll involve negotiation between the characters, but it sure never has to.

Like, here's one way it could go. I'm the ogre, you're the guy hiding the treasure:

Me: ...I win! Okay, I'm about to tear your arm off, I'm like "TELL ME WHERE IT IS AND I'LL FIGHT ON YOUR SIDE."
You: Tear it off then. I say "I don't need you on my side. Get screwed!" I'd rather be injured than bargain with you.
Me: Done. I dislocate your shoulder. "HA HA I'M GOING TO FIND IT ANYWAY."

See how the players' negotiation frames the characters', but they're distinct?

This would be a valid way to do it too:

Me: ...I win! Okay, how about I'm about to tear your arm off and you squeal out where the treasure is hidden like a little girl.
You: Pff. I'd rather you injure me.
Me: Done. I dislocate your shoulder. "NOW TELL ME WHERE IT IS AND I'LL FIGHT ON YOUR SIDE, YOU'VE SEEN HOW I FIGHT."

In that case the bargain between the characters follows after the negotiated outcome between the players.

Make sense?

-Vincent


Title: Re: [IaWA] Breaking Bad Habits
Post by: Mike Holmes on May 05, 2008, 06:32:09 AM
That's a clear answer for as much as it addresses. But the question of scope is still out there. I now know it's OK to negotiate about outcomes as a player, but how much can we agree upon?

For instance, in the example, can we agree that his character actually shows me where the treasure is? Or if we agree that his character has told me where the treasure is, that can't have been a lie, correct? I don't have to put in a "And it's not a lie" clause. That is, the negotiation isn't that the character says something in particular, but that they tell the truth. That's allowable, yes?

To take it further, could we negotiate that not only does his character show me where the treasure is, but that I now have it? How much "future" action can we agree upon? Again, to go to the abusurd end, can we agree that not only has his character shown me where the loot is, and my character has obtained it, but also that we've ganged up on a third character and kicked his ass?

In boardgames we talk about deals between players being "enforcable." Meaning that, if they are, not giving what the other player wants is cheating. If they aren't, then the deal is "in-game" and a player not holding up his side of the bargain is merely having his character dealing in bad faith in a reasonable in-game manner.

There are times in game design where either is a good idea, depending on the design. Which is the case with negotiations in IAWA? Are agreements made between characters "enforcable" or not? It seems not. But can you narrate post facto as part of an agreement to get around that? Or is negotiation restricted to only resolving events that occur as an immediate result of the fight in question?

Mike


Title: Re: [IaWA] Breaking Bad Habits
Post by: jenskot on May 05, 2008, 08:28:52 AM
I'm going to take a stab at answering Mike's questions. I'm not Vincent so I could be very wrong. But I want to test what I've learned from Vincent's answers and use my hopefully greater understanding of his intent to make educated guesses on how all this should work.

My understanding is that in IaWA:

- Negotiations are between players.

- Negotiations can involve roleplaying which may influence the outcome by putting consequences into context.

- Since negotiations are between players, you don't have to put in a "and it's not a lie" clause. But you can have fun with this, say you negotiate that you now know where the treasure is. That doesn't mean in the fiction your opponent literally confesses the whole truth. Maybe in the fiction they spend the next 3 hours lying to you but you beat the truth out of them.

- Agreements in the fiction between characters are not enforceable.

- Restrictions on narration in terms of time, space, and credibility are limited based on play group style moderated by the GM.

-  For example, one play group may be ok with weeks passing by between rounds in a conflict where another play group may prefer rounds limited to action in "real time."

- Provided that your play group is light on these restrictions, I don't think there is anything wrong with negotiations lapsing time.

- For example, "your character shows me the location of the treasure right now or I will injure you," and then if your opponent agrees, having the conflict end with both your characters at the locations of the treasure.

- You can't lock down actual future actions, "I plan on getting into a conflict with another player later on and I want you to promise me that your character will fight on my side".

- When we say "future actions" we mean future actions at the game table, not events described in the fiction.

- You can advance the timeline to state what has already occurred as part of the narration of a negotiation.

- What you describe is limited to the agency of your character. So if the GM has an NPC protecting the road to the treasure, the GM can restrict your narration.

I apologize if any of this is wrong.

Rock,
John


Title: Re: [IaWA] Breaking Bad Habits
Post by: lumpley on May 05, 2008, 09:23:22 AM
Mike:

Deals between the characters aren't enforced by the rules.

Negotiate only the immediate consequences of the events of the action sequence.

By the rules, you specifically can't negotiate consequences onto an uninvolved character.

This doesn't stop you from saying "cool, it's a deal," then turning to the GM and saying "we go together and kick the ass of Mitch's character," of course. It wouldn't be a done deal, though, it'd just be play continuing as normal.

On preview, John, that all looks right to me.

-Vincent


Title: Re: [IaWA] Breaking Bad Habits
Post by: Piers on May 05, 2008, 11:04:25 AM
Deals between the characters aren't enforced by the rules.

Negotiate only the immediate consequences of the events of the action sequence.

It is interesting to note the difference between IAWA and Poison'd on this point:

In IAWA bargains have no mechanical enforcement because the action is all about this particular moment.  The episode will be over in no more than a couple of hours.  Right now is all there is.  Next episode is next episode.

By contrast, bargains in Poison'd are all about the future.  They delay the resolution of tension between characters, but ensure that when it does resolve it resolves more violently.

The differences say a lot about what each game is up to.


Title: Re: [IaWA] Breaking Bad Habits
Post by: Mike Holmes on May 05, 2008, 11:45:19 AM
Good answers, but we're getting caught up in minutia here. The question of where the line is drawn for uninvolved characters lies is one I'll leave for another thread. What's clear is that we can negotiate having accomplished some things as a result of narration. Not just rescindable promises, but actual acts that occur following the contest. That's good, because if it's just promises, then the problem is worse, that nobody really has anything that they can negotiate about.

Side question here... if we negotiate that I get the treasure, can somebody come in with an ONYDA? Or are negotiated results inviolable from being contested?

Anyhow, leaving out that case, we can see that we can position, not just promise position. But the question then is whether or not the positioning gets you any actual advantage. Let's say that we agree in negotiation that you end up on a desert isle, my idea being to try to prevent you from returning and killing my character or something. But then you simply declare that your character is returning. To which I have to declare ONYDA to stop it, right? And then I'm right in the fight that I wanted to avoid in the first place, no?

Maybe I'm being dumb, and not seeing an obvious counter-example... can you give me an example of an effective use of positioning? Where I actually give myself an advantage of some sort other than getting an object? Or where I disadvantage you somehow?

Mike


Title: Re: [IaWA] Breaking Bad Habits
Post by: John Harper on May 05, 2008, 12:13:26 PM
To do that, Mike, you win the conflict series, then you get the stick. Let's say you choose exhaustion.

"I leave you, dehydrated and scorched by the sun on this remote island. So long, fucker."

They lose two die sizes, and are one step closer to death. They're in a bad position in the fiction (marooned) and in a worse-off state mechanically (fewer die sizes, and thus closer to real death).

Now, yes, they can just say "I get off that island and I come and kill you anyway," (which would be super lame, but let's pretend that there's a little more effort there, in the fiction, to carry this off). So they show up, dehydrated and exhausted, and try once again to kill you. You can't make this impossible for them to attempt, no. But you have made it dangerous and pretty unappealing by winning the stick earlier and putting them into a weaker position.


Title: Re: [IaWA] Breaking Bad Habits
Post by: lumpley on May 05, 2008, 12:15:19 PM
Here's a whole category of examples. The rule is that you can say ONYDA only if your character's able to interfere. So by negotiating you onto a desert island, or locked in a cellar, or naked and in chains, or unarmed, or whatever, I set myself up to take action without your interfering.

Similarly, negotiating to my own advantage. If in negotiation I can set myself up to interfere with a future action otherwise outside of my ability, that means I get to, where otherwise I wouldn't.

(Are you worried about how we enforce those disadvantages and advantages? I'm not. When you agreed to be stranded on the island, you knew that it'd mean I'd get away with some shit without your interfering. That was implicit in our negotiation, sometimes explicit, and you knew it when you agreed to it. We don't need to enforce it because you bought into it up front.)

-Vincent


Title: Re: [IaWA] Breaking Bad Habits
Post by: John Harper on May 05, 2008, 12:26:19 PM
Er, yeah.

I like what Vincent said better. He's talking about negotiated outcomes and I was talking about "winner says how you're exhausted," so they're not exclusive -- but his point is more apt, I think.


Title: Re: [IaWA] Breaking Bad Habits
Post by: Mike Holmes on May 06, 2008, 04:43:46 AM
OK, now we're getting down to the crux of things.

If I understand correctly, positioning is advantageous because we expect the intent of the maneuver to be understood, and we expect that players understanding it won't find some way to circumvent it.

Hmm. Let me try to elicit the principle behind this in greater detail. Let's say that I maneuvered you onto a desert isle, but forgot that there's a ship that we narrated that stops there regularly, which gives a player an easy explanation for how his character might return. So do you narrate returning? It's plausible, and I just forgot about it. Or do you narrate that you miss the ship, because you're lost on the island, understanding my goal as a player in stranding you on the isle?

Does the player who has his character stuck on the isle have a mandate to reinforce the negotiated agreement? Or does he have a mandate to do what he needs to do to advance his character's position, still respecting the general limitations of the negotiated agreement? Are we competing, or cooperating?

This is, in fact, the problem. When playing it doesn't seem clear to me what the player's mandate is. Do I punish the other player for having made a weak agreement? Or do I try to support his play by reinforcing his intent?

I'd posit that the notion that you seem to have that everyone will understand implicitly the intents of the other players is problematic. Sure, sometimes it's pretty obvious. But if I were playing, I'd probably drone on and on explicitly about my intent, just to be sure that it wasn't misunderstood. Not because I want players not to "cheat" by feigning that they don't understand the intent. But because I'd feel bad if they accidentally violated my intent, because they didn't understand it.

If I don't make my intent understood, do I have a leg to stand on here? Or is it just my fault that I didn't make it clear, and I have to suffer from the fact that my move didn't accomplish what I wanted it to accomplish?

As a player on the recieving end of a positioning, I also have to be very careful, because if I maneuver my character such that it violates some intent that I don't understand, then I'm a great big jerk. But not being sure, this means that even if I think I'm doing the right thing, if my maneuver gets anywhere near yours, I'm going to feel uncomfortable. I might not understand your intent with the negotiation.

And I don't want to put other players in that position, so I'd probably not do any real positioning myself.

Worse, work this all back to the negotiation phase itself, and how comfortable am I negotiating? I have to try to understand your intent so that I know what it is that I'm really agreeing to in terms of limitations on my character or advantages for yours. If I'm at all hazy on this, I'm simply not going to agree to your negotiation terms, and make my decision solely on whether or not I feel like taking the punishment of injury or exhaustion. If the object of the contest is valuable enough to me, I'll simply fight till I'm reduced on dice to being out.

Or, again, that's an impetus I feel when playing. Instead, since I don't want to make the aesthetic faux pas of forcing my opponent to beat me up again to get what he wants, I may actually agree to the negotiations, and have to feel iuncomfortable that the other players don't understand the intent of what it is that I've agreed to. Knowing that it might be violated immediately, and that I don't have a lot of recourse.


Or do I? Is there some mechanism by which I can protest if I feel that my positioning has been violated? Do I just speak up and let the other player know how I feel? And then he explains that this isn't what he agreed to in the negotiation? And then we have to negotiate all over again? Or... what?

I'm sure that your urge at this point is to respond, "But this hasn't been an issue in actual play." Again, no, I don't think it would ever get to these theoretical points. But that's because players are uncomfortably agreeing to things that they don't feel are going to be honored, or at least don't have a way to enforce.

Again, this is not a theoretical observation, this is precisely what John was saying that he was feeling, and precisely what I agreed that I was feeling, and what I'm going to hazard that others have felt, too, from their responses (which, though less pointed on the subject, seem to confirm what I'm talking about).

What I'm doing here is, in fact, trying to understand things about the system that will get rid of that uneasy feeling. But what you're telling me, it sounds like to me, and you'll correct me if I'm wrong, is that if we just have faith that it'll work out all right, it will, and we won't have those bad feelings?

I, for one, would prefer a mechanical explanation of how the system supports this stuff.

I think that the problem goes back to precisely what I indicated before. Basically I'm feeling a gam/nar incoherence here. I'm feeling that I should compete, driving my character to where I as a player "win" against the other players. But then all of the aesthetic notions are telling me that I'm supposed to be collaboratively creating a story, and I'm a big jerk if I let my competitive spirit get in the way of that. Or if I feel uncomfortable because I don't feel that the rules are supporting my maneuvers.

Now, that said, I don't know that I have a solution to the problem. That is, I could propose that you come up with rules for maneuvers that define the outcome mechanically so that everyone knows what it is that they're agreeing to. Like, for instance, you could have one negotiated outcome be that the other player has to spend his next "turn" so to speak, defining how his character gets out of the situation into which I put him. Meaning he can't affect anything else, he just negates that maneuver... mechanically the player "loses a turn" so to speak. Or the player might get some sort of penalty dice (or I get bonus dice) that come into play if you as a player attempts to overcome the situation that was negotiated, and goes against me.

These examples are all slanted toward our actual play example, and I'm sure I could come up with a dozen more rules options if pressed to do so. The point being that there can be a fine detail in coming up with mechanical support for negotiations that would allow them to remain very versatile in supporting the color of the negotiations. But that's the point, isn't it, that we worry that, if I have a lot of definition for types of negotiated outcomes that the players will forget the fiction and only negotiate the mechanical outcome, perhaps tacking on the color after the fact.

What you want is for the narration not to be color, but to have the effect that it "should" have in play. Yes? And that is a conundrum. How can I have strictly regulated competitive play, and also have all possible in-game effects accounted for, and yet not have to be playing Rolemaster to accomplish this, and thus have the fiction handled by the system, and not by the players?

Gamism is a splippery slope to narration being reduced to color. I can understand if you back off from that. But then I'm feeling very uncomfortable in my gamism.

I'm suspecting that I'm not supposed to be playing gamism at all with this game. That, in fact, the way y'all play is very narrativism, and all the ONYFDA is all just fun posturing, and not actually trash talk regarding the competition. What might be most effective, instead of going with more mechanical definition of maneuvers to support gamism, is a modification of things so that people aren't propelled into gamism, like I've observed folks doing. Basically when Em saw us playing, and got the impression that we were playing it "wrong" what she was seeing is gamism, as opposed to the narrativism that your groups brought to the game.

As an independent player of the game, coming in with no preconceptions of what the game was like (I had heard it had these things called Oracles, but didn't even know what that meant), I'd think that the data that I'm presenting you with should be more indicative of what most players will do with the game than what your own play of the game produces. But, who knows, maybe I'm a raving gamist, who applies that standard to every game I play.

I'll leave that for you to decide.

Mike


Title: Re: [IaWA] Breaking Bad Habits
Post by: Eero Tuovinen on May 06, 2008, 05:27:14 AM
Apologies if this has come up already earlier in the thread, long as it is, but I need to know where this gamism angle came from to understand the current leg of the discussion. So: where did this gamism angle come from, again?

I'm asking because from everything I've read the game itself seems pretty obviously to provide minimal traction for that stuff. Mike's played IAWA, so he's probably not just babbling here - did you just interpret the game into a whole another GNS category when playing, or what? It seems obvious to me at a glance that the ONYFDA stuff (is that in the rulebook?) is just emphasis for character passion, not an expression of player-level resistance to anything in particular - why would Mike interpret this differently? How do you even establish and commit to gamist challenges in something like this?


Title: Re: [IaWA] Breaking Bad Habits
Post by: Brand_Robins on May 06, 2008, 07:31:39 AM
I think I'm the first one that said "Oh No You Fucking Don't, Asshole" as the thing my group did to mark the time to go to dice.

With us it was always a semi-in-character thing. A player expression of character intent, as it were. That others read it as something the players were saying to each other as players was something that never even occurred to me until long after the fact.

In fact, often times if someone didn't say ONYDA after something, people would say "What, you're letting him get away with that, won't someone stop this asshole?" when asshole was their own character. We roll the same for conflicts we want to lose as those we want to win, and negotiate accordingly.


Title: Re: [IaWA] Breaking Bad Habits
Post by: lumpley on May 06, 2008, 07:47:25 AM
Mike:

Oh! I see. Yes, this is the crux of things. You keep asking me how consequences work when you don't negotiate any mechanical weight to them, so I keep answering it. What I should do instead is tell you that you can give mechanical weight to consequences in negotiation.

For instance:
Like, for instance, you could have one negotiated outcome be that the other player has to spend his next "turn" so to speak, defining how his character gets out of the situation into which I put him. Meaning he can't affect anything else, he just negates that maneuver... mechanically the player "loses a turn" so to speak.
Perfectly acceptable.

Quote
Or the player might get some sort of penalty dice (or I get bonus dice) that come into play if you as a player attempts to overcome the situation that was negotiated, and goes against me.
Also fully supported by the rules.

Quote
...I'm sure I could come up with a dozen more rules options if pressed to do so.
I'm certain! If you limit yourself to mechanical effects already accounted for by the existing rules, I'm sure you could still come up with half a dozen. Apply them flexibly, half a dozen should fully cover a year-long campaign's worth of circumstances, considering that most RPGs have about that many and most indie RPGs have only one or two. And if you get a really weird circumstance in session 15, taking a minute to figure out how to give it mechanical weight will be part of the fun.

So yeah, the crux:
Quote
The point being that there can be a fine detail in coming up with mechanical support for negotiations that would allow them to remain very versatile in supporting the color of the negotiations.

Yes. Absolutely. If you play again, include mechanical consequences in your negotiations. You'll be a lot more comfy.

It's a matter of this: knowing the game's mechanics better will mean a more sophisticated and concrete mechanical component to your negotiation.

Before you know to say "how about I take a 0-significance particular strength, far-reaching but not worth a die, called 'my sway over you,'" yes, good feelings and playing soft will help it work more smoothly. The game doesn't depend on that over time, though, it depends on you coming to own and apply the mechanics.

My design goals - no prep, no pre-play, character creation in 5 minutes, playing 15 minutes after you sit down, no up-front rule dump - mean that I can't have a Dogs-style initiation to teach you the rules (for instance). You know that weird discomfort when you do a personal growth initiation in Dogs for the first time? And how after the session you're like "oh, y'know, here's how we should've handled that, wish I'd realized it then." For In a Wicked Age, your first couple of sessions ARE your initiation.

-Vincent


Title: Re: [IaWA] Breaking Bad Habits
Post by: jenskot on May 06, 2008, 08:09:11 AM
Quote from: mike
Or the player might get some sort of penalty dice (or I get bonus dice) that come into play if you as a player attempts to overcome the situation that was negotiated, and goes against me.

Also fully supported by the rules.

Cool! What are the rules that support this? How do you do this?


Title: Re: [IaWA] Breaking Bad Habits
Post by: lumpley on May 06, 2008, 08:18:58 AM
We're negotiating. I have the stick.
Me: How about you're locked in my basement?
You: Okay.
Me: And if you try to get out and go against me, you roll d4 d4 instead of your regular dice.
You: I dunno. d6 d6? It's just a basement.
Me: ...Fine. Done.

-Vincent


Title: Re: [IaWA] Breaking Bad Habits
Post by: Moreno R. on May 06, 2008, 08:37:35 AM
Hi Vincent!

I am asking this for purely aesthetics reasons (I don't like the idea of negotiating future dice, so I am thinking about different ways to get the same results): I suppose that we could instead negotiate for "I get a particular strength called <I have locked you in my basement>", but in this case that particular strength would have to be at Significance 1, or the significance can be whatever we negotiate if it make sense in the fiction? (in this case, I can see that Particular Strenght as being doubly potent, unique (there is only one me to lock in the basement), far reaching and even consequential against maneuvering and covertly)


Title: Re: [IaWA] Breaking Bad Habits
Post by: Mike Holmes on May 06, 2008, 11:49:15 AM
OK, at this point I'm going to have to take a break and read the text. My one quick read didn't indicate to me that this stuff was possible. Further, it sounds to me like you're saying, "Go ahead, make up rules as you go!" for part of this. I'll be pleasantly surprised if/when I find this in the text. If so, then all I can say is that the text didn't seem to indicate this on a quick read, which isn't much damnation at all.

This all said, if this is the case that this is how the game is supposed to play, then I'm going to start down the other road of condemnation... but we'll wait for that...

Mike


Title: Re: [IaWA] Breaking Bad Habits
Post by: lumpley on May 06, 2008, 12:05:13 PM
Condemnation, huh? How about you skip it?

-Vincent


Title: Re: [IaWA] Breaking Bad Habits
Post by: Mike Holmes on May 07, 2008, 07:41:33 AM
Yeah, I'll probably address the concern in the design thread I'm doing at Story-games.

Mike


Title: Re: [IaWA] Breaking Bad Habits
Post by: Noclue on May 21, 2008, 11:44:05 PM
Hmm. Let me try to elicit the principle behind this in greater detail. Let's say that I maneuvered you onto a desert isle, but forgot that there's a ship that we narrated that stops there regularly, which gives a player an easy explanation for how his character might return. So do you narrate returning? It's plausible, and I just forgot about it. Or do you narrate that you miss the ship, because you're lost on the island, understanding my goal as a player in stranding you on the isle?

Mike, in the example you agreed to a PC on an Island and you got a PC on an Island. You got the fiction you agreed to in negotiation. The assumption is you wanted that more than you wanted to injure or exhaust the loser. If you had some hidden player goal that you really wanted instead, like trapped on an island until the end of the chapter or something, shouldn't that have been included as part of the negotiation?

In terms of negotiating mechanical consequences, page 18 doesn't explicitly list the examples from your post, but it basically says you can negotiate for changes in the loser's character sheet. That's pretty open-ended. The one I liked from our last game was "I want you to erase your particular strength. Otherwise, not only will I injure your character, I will keep injuring him until he's dead."

I want to say, I'm finding this thread extremely useful.


Title: Re: [IaWA] Breaking Bad Habits
Post by: Valamir on May 22, 2008, 07:58:22 AM
We did that in a game at FMW as well.  My particular strength was a back of prize hunting dogs.  I got entangled with some nature witch (cuz I wanted to hunt on her nature preserve) and after kicking me around with her freakin' Unicorns, she took my dogs away so they could live in fun and frolic on the preserve.

What was really irritating is the narration wasn't that she STOLE the dogs...but that they went eagerly and willingly to her...traitors.

I think I was in half a dozen conflicts in that game...lost them all.  Never lost a single a die.  But narratively I got totally owned.


Title: Re: [IaWA] Breaking Bad Habits
Post by: GreatWolf on May 22, 2008, 08:07:49 AM
I think I was in half a dozen conflicts in that game...lost them all.  Never lost a single a die.  But narratively I got totally owned.

And yet, he ended up atop the Owe List. Which seemed only right. Of the various characters in that game, his was the only one that I would have been interested in seeing more about.

The others established fascinating bits of setting, though. Which only makes me more interested in playing this game in campaign mode for a while to see how it works out.


Title: Re: [IaWA] Breaking Bad Habits
Post by: Noclue on May 22, 2008, 08:10:43 PM
What was really irritating is the narration wasn't that she STOLE the dogs...but that they went eagerly and willingly to her...traitors.
I love that!