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Independent Game Forums => lumpley games => Topic started by: Supplanter on April 12, 2009, 06:25:49 AM

Title: [IAWA] My ONYFDA Question
Post by: Supplanter on April 12, 2009, 06:25:49 AM
We're gearing up for an IAWA campaign round here and I realized there's a very basic thing I don't understand. I'd appreciate an education on the matter.

1. There's no "social conflict" system in IAWA. There's no Persuasion roll. There's no talking conflicts etc. You go to dice when someone takes a concrete action that someone else opposes. Achieving any social goal through the conflict system is an outcome of the negotiation process and never has to happen: the loser can always accept exhaustion or injury in lieu of rolling over for the winner. Got it.

2. There's a demon character in the example chapter from the book who is an "Inflamer of Passions," whose particular strength is The Power to Inflame Passions, and the demon is also discorporate.

So, how does Shahu Sheen take a "concrete action?" Or, could I make an alchemist character whose particular strength is a love potion? How would that become the basis of a concrete action? We're told that Shahu Sheen will roll dice for "pointing out the curve of Tajie’s lip and the way the light falls on her throat, inciting Amek’s passion." If I understand the rules correctly, if Esan tried this - whispering in Amek's ear about how hot Tajie was - Esan's player would not get to roll dice for it. It's "just talk."

a) Is it that defining Passion Inflammation or Love Potions as a particular strength makes such things into concrete actions for the characters who possess those strengths in particular?

b) If the answer to "a" is Yes, how important is it that the particular strengths are defined in the fiction as supernatural? Could I give a vizier character the particular strength of Getting People to Take Advice, and then roll dice for convincing the King to do what the vizier thinks best.

c) In any case, even as an inflamer of passions, all Shahu Sheen can do is get the stick and negotiate with it, right? Rather than automatically put the moves on Tajie, Amek's player can always accept exhaustion or injury (plus the additional harm from Potent). He can masturbate all night (exhaustion) or dash himself on the rocks (injury) rather than do the deed. The King could whine to the vizier that "You make my head hurt" and take the dice reduction rather than go along with his Cunning Plan.

d) Separate issue: You could have "terrain monsters" in IAWA, couldn't you? Just write up a defile or a glacier on an NPC sheet, maybe with particular strengths.



Title: Re: [IAWA] My ONYFDA Question
Post by: Brand_Robins on April 12, 2009, 09:12:34 AM
So I play and enjoy IAWA, though I've occasionally been told I do it wrong. So take my answers with due prudence:

1) There is no "I convince someone without force or a price" system in IAWA. That doesn't necessarily mean that there are no "social conflicts." I think the book keeps this simple because Vincent was going for a very action-oriented type of Swords and Sorcery feel. However, there is some room for that to shift, depending on the group. I do suggest keeping it simple at first, but as you go you may find that there are ways to "no you don't" without actually punching in the face.

The way I've taken to explaining it these days is "if you aren't interested in the other person having a choice, and what you are doing to them could legitimately leave them injured or exhausted, then you can force dice. If you want them to have a choice, or if you can't injure or exhaust them, then you shouldn't be rolling."

So can you have a seduction roll? Well... sure. By some definitions of the word "seduction" at least. If you start rolling dice to seduce some guy, you aren't interested in getting his free consent for sex though -- you're forcing him, and if he says no you're going to exhaust or hurt him.

Which leads us to...

2) PS can sometimes make things that might not be concrete into something concrete. But its in ways that have more to do with the fiction than with the mechanics. That is to say, what Shahu Sheen is doing can be "not talking" because of the way his PS works in the fiction, not just because he has a PS.

So, how to actually make it so its worthy of going to dice?

Well, if SS is just like "Hey, I want him to think she's hot" and Amek is like "Well, I don't" and SS is like "oh shit, but dude!" then that's not rolling. SS cares about Amek wanting to find her hot. Now a normal person at that point doesn't necessarily have a lot of recourse. How do you force someone to find someone else hot against their will? I dunno. But a demon with a power to inflame passions isn't trying to gently cajole you -- he's going to FORCE you to find her hot, or exhaust you if you don't.

So SS follows Amek around, tormenting him with visions of Tajie, filling his mind with lust thoughts, not letting him sleep because he's so wrought up with unnatural, demon-inspired lust. He is forcing thoughts and feelings on Amek, against his will, until either Amek is going to break or he's going to be exhausted because he's either been beating off all night (love that suggestion) or just can't sleep, can't think, can't focus because every time he isn't biting his own tongue his brain fills with nothing but lust thoughts of Tajie.

C) But yes, even then, he can't actually force Amek to actually find Tajie sexy, much less boink her. Amek's player can still take the hurt and move on -- or negotiate something else. ("I won't screw Tajie, but I will screw the exorcist who is following you around!")

Back to B)

What PSs, and clever fictional actions, allow you to actually put into the fiction depends a lot on the group, I think. I still keep to the "if you aren't interested in the other person having a choice, and what you are doing to them could legitimately leave them injured or exhausted, then you can force dice. If you want them to have a choice, or if you can't injure or exhaust them, then you shouldn't be rolling" rule.

So, if you've got a Love Potion PS and want to use it to roll dice... well... we call that a date rape drug, don't we? You've got some magic and you want to use it to take away someone's ability to make their own choices so you can do what you want to them, regardless of what they want. You can roll for it, but it does rather point out the skeeb effect nicely.

Ditto "Give Advice" -- if you want to make this something that you actually roll dice for you can, but it isn't because you're so nice that everyone listens to you out of love, its because you've got some way of giving advice that people can't just shut you up or not listen to you about. If you're the Vizer its probably because you can torture people, destroy their families, have your men hound them day and night, etc. Hell, you can follow the Sultan into his private chambers and hound him, keep him from sleeping, tell him you'll tell everyone about the time he fucked his dad's favorite harem girl... etc. Whatever it is that your ability to Get People To Take Advice from is, it isn't your deep wisdom and humanity -- its the fact that you've got some combination of factors that allows you to force people to do things they don't want to do.

If I was GMing it, it might look like this at character creation:

Player: My strength is "Get People to Take Advice"

Brand: Um... okay, so what happens if they don't take your advice?

Player: But.. they do. Because its a PS, right?

Brand: No, a PS just lets you roll dice. If you want to actually use it in game there has to be an "or else" that will force or exhaust or injure someone.

Player: Oh. Well, I'm the Vizer. So I guess what it really is would be more like "Getting People to Take Advice or I'll Harass Them" -- he just won't stop, he'll follow you around giving you sage pointers until you either do it or just get exhausted dealing with him.

Brand: Sure. Or maybe its less like he gives you advice and more like he gives you an offer you can't refuse. You can say no, but it'll be hard to sleep or rest much after you wake up with the horse head in your bed.

Player: Horse head? Screw that, after you wake up with your daughter's head in your bed.

Brand: Now that sounds like a Swords and Sorcery Vizer to me.

Title: Re: [IAWA] My ONYFDA Question
Post by: Brand_Robins on April 12, 2009, 09:14:55 AM
Oh, and I think the above post points out why in other genres using the same basic system (the "Anthology Engine") folks have added "Shamed" as a result.

If I were playing in Feudal Japan, for example, I'd remove "exhaust" so that I could put in all the honor based methods of force that make people do things through shame.

Title: Re: [IAWA] My ONYFDA Question
Post by: Lance D. Allen on April 12, 2009, 12:08:35 PM
I think it might be considered like this.

"I tell him this, that he should do that, and that this is in his best interest" = non-concrete.

"I convince him to do this." = concrete action.

The former, I can't say "Oh no you don't!" The latter I can.

Title: Re: [IAWA] My ONYFDA Question
Post by: Brand_Robins on April 12, 2009, 04:46:28 PM

I know folks who've had very good results doing just that.

For me it tends to not work quite that way though because "I convince him" to me isn't an action, its an intent. Like, I have no idea what it looks like in the fiction. So I usually have to push it farther, so that I can see it.

Title: Re: [IAWA] My ONYFDA Question
Post by: Ouroboros on April 13, 2009, 07:08:22 AM
The way I've taken to explaining it these days is "if you aren't interested in the other person having a choice, and what you are doing to them could legitimately leave them injured or exhausted, then you can force dice. If you want them to have a choice, or if you can't injure or exhaust them, then you shouldn't be rolling."

This makes a ton of sense. I found that our group was coming up with things that were obviously conflicts but that had nothing to do with physical fighting at all. Getting into all those gray areas, I was finding it difficult to mediate these conflicts, because the rules seem to want you to escalate to violence to have an actual conflict with dice. But, then in the example conflicts, even the first one where the girl didn't want to be seen amongst the horsemen, there was no fighting involved. That had me pretty stumped till I read this thread. I'd have to agree with you Brand, this seems like a good way to settle it, even if its not implicit in the rules.

Read my thread, and see what you guys think about the d6 advantage die and other things that happened in our games so far! I'd like to hear opinions from people down in the lumpley forums too. (

Title: Re: [IAWA] My ONYFDA Question
Post by: Thomas Lawrence on April 13, 2009, 11:01:25 AM
Jim, I think you have the right idea. Possession and other kinds of magical mind control counts as a concrete action. As always, you don't necessarily get what you want even you lose a conflict - they loser has to admit your action (the passions were inflamed) but not the consequence (moves put on Taije).

Also, I LOVE the idea that he'd take exhaustion from all-night masturbation, that's hilarious.

Persuasion as a power is more dangerous. At some point I think a line has to be drawn between something that either does or does not override free will in some sense. If it does, it can count as a special ability that could be used in conflicts, although of course you can still be resisted. If it isn't, then you're just saying your character's quite charismatic and so forth, then I guess you just have to act that out in character, and other characters will either be persuaded by you or not as makes sense to their players and the fiction up to this point.

Title: Re: [IAWA] My ONYFDA Question
Post by: Lance D. Allen on April 13, 2009, 11:27:20 PM

Absolutely, it needs to go farther than "I convince him." I was simplifying. In play, you'd describe what you're doing to convince him, but the end result is that you do convince him. If someone objects to that, you go to dice.

"I spend the next hour laying down my points in flawless logic, bewildering him just a bit, and in the end he agrees because obviously I've put far more thought into it than he has. Besides, I've always had the best interests of the realm at heart, haven't I?" Follow this up with a malicious grin.

"The hell he does! He may trust your character more than most, but he doesn't trust anyone very far."

"Alright, well, then he's convinced to at least begin the necessary preparations, though he'll consider the implications further... With my willing input on the matter, of course."

"Not even that. He doesn't trust anyone that much."

"Fine. I'll MAKE him see my point." And the dice come out.

Now, I should point out I've never read the text, and I've only played the game once (although I rather enjoyed it) so it's possible that there's something I'm missing that makes my position problematic or untenable. I'm working from discussions about the game and my memory of that one session. However, with that basis, a purely unsupernatural ability to convince seems like it should work just fine like that.

Title: Re: [IAWA] My ONYFDA Question
Post by: jburneko on April 14, 2009, 10:49:31 AM
Everything that has been said is good but I'll add my own take.

There are not *persuasion* mechanics in IAWA.  That's not the same thing as there are no Social Conflict mechanics.  As such I don't think, "I convince him of X" is enough if the idea is that the character persuades another character of something on its own merits.  Basically, if the character X is not attempting to rob character Y of his free will in some manner then no dice can come out.

As such I find the concept of "weapon" useful.  The dice come out in IAWA when someone tries to use a weapon and there are lots of social weapons.  In the example originally quoted the spirits is using his magic of "inflaming passions" as a weapon.

"I bribe you." - weapon.
"I expose you as a coward in front of the king" - weapon.
"I make veiled threats against your daughter." - weapon.

These are still a little too vague but with the context of actual play its trivial to attach the necessary details.

As soon as you attempt to rob the other person of free choice in the matter with a weapon, dice are rolled.


Title: Re: [IAWA] My ONYFDA Question
Post by: lumpley on April 14, 2009, 11:43:13 AM

I think everybody's covered everything I'd say. Jim, how's it seem to you?


Title: Re: [IAWA] My ONYFDA Question
Post by: Supplanter on April 15, 2009, 05:14:43 PM

I think everybody's covered everything I'd say. Jim, how's it seem to you?


And, I'm back! Oddly enough, I couldn't respond last night because we were playing . . . Dogs in the Vineyard.

Rereading the thread all at once, I do see some useful coherence in responses, yes. Jesse, your "weapon" emphasis is reminiscent of Stolze's A Dirty World, actually. Brand, Thomas and Ourobouros, thanks much for your takes.

Still mulling the terrain-monster idea. Also, Vincent, did you ever have a chance to look at the e-book edition I sent you?

Much gratitude, all.