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Author Topic: [In A Wicked Age] IIEE A Little Unclear  (Read 6689 times)
Thomas Lawrence
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Posts: 49


« on: January 14, 2008, 06:34:37 PM »

Vincent, I know you are totally going to hate me for telling you this, since you are totally the guy of clear IIEE.

...I think the IIEE process in In A Wicked Age is a little unclear, at present.

What it is is:
* during the conflict, right? Anne wins initative, she says her action. She's like "I totally rend you into dust and atoms with my godlike power."
* Bob is all "Nuh uh." he rolls his dice and gets less than half and thus loses.
* now, before we negotiate, we have to narrate the answer. Quoting the text:
"So my answer has to admit your character’s action, more or less in full.” (p. 15)
* So Bob is like "uh, ok I am totally atoms and dust"
* NOW Bob and Ann negotiate. It totally fails, and Anne ends up being all like "ok I just injure you then, drop the die sizes"
* THEN we go back to the fiction, and what we have to do is we retcon what happened to Bob's dude. "I get blasted by the power, but I'm just hurt, not atoms and dust"

It's that step where you retcon? That needs to be clearer. I think, anyway.

You do say it, you do. It's in there: (p 17) "When you make a lethal move, just be prepared to scale back at consequence time."

But like, it needs to be so totally explicit that you retcon what went before, you change it, you make it happen different. Otherwise people end up admitting stuff when they lose conflicts they didn't want to admit.

-------------

Here's an unexpurgated conversation between me and Jason Newquist, after me having played three shortish sessions of the game, and him one.

-----------



<planet> So, in the case of possession... I win the conflict, and the victim's player is all, "No negotiation!  I'll take exhaustion or injury, but I won't eat that food!"  ...That's the rule, right?  The only stakes are NEGOTIATED, right?
<planet> Narration of what happens as a result of injury and exhaustion is color, unless it's negotiated in which case it's what happens.  Yes?
<GM-Mese> yes
<GM-Mese> that is it
<GM-Mese> ...I think
<GM-Mese> certainly that's what make the most sense
<GM-Mese> however I do think there is a bit of a lack of clarity here
<planet> I finally have my PDF open.  I'
<planet> I'm looking at p.17.
<GM-Mese> I'm re-reading the text examples to try and be sure
<planet> p. 18: But at any moment, either of you, winner or loser, can end negotiation and insist upon the default instead. “Forget it. You exhaust or injure me. Which?”
<GM-Mese> right, sure
<GM-Mese> what I'm not sure about is this
<GM-Mese> during the conflict, right
<GM-Mese> people say actions
<GM-Mese> "I cut you in half"
<GM-Mese> "I burn you to a crisp with my fire breath"
<GM-Mese> and then the other guy
<GM-Mese> he rolls dice
<GM-Mese> say he loses, right?
<GM-Mese> the fire breath guy loses utterly
<GM-Mese> before we negotiate, what happens in the fiction?
<GM-Mese> the lose rgoes "uh I guess I am burned to a crisp now" ?
<planet> oooh
<GM-Mese> or does he go like "I'm totally hit, but who knows how hurt I actually am?"
<GM-Mese> I think
<GM-Mese> for the game to work
<GM-Mese> it has to be the second
<planet> The bottom section on p. 17. 
<planet> When you make a lethal move, just be prepared to
<planet> scale back at consequence time.
<GM-Mese> right
<GM-Mese> exactly
<GM-Mese> but like
<GM-Mese> that's tricky
<GM-Mese> because it means you have to redact
<planet> Yes.
<GM-Mese> and what I think could be a little better about the game?
<planet> I see your problem now, I think,
<GM-Mese> it needs to make the fact that you redact
<GM-Mese> a bit more explicit
<GM-Mese> like how Polaris has a whol ritual system about hwo you redact
<planet> So it must be understood among the players that when you say, "I cut you in half!" and then you win the conflict,
the most you can do is injure.  So you're really saying, "I (go to) cut you in half!"
<Mese> yes
<Mese> it's totally IIEE
<Mese> vincent will so hate me if I tell him his game is unclear about IIEE
<Mese> he will tear his hear out and bellow like a wounded bear
<planet> In the case of possession, "I possess you and force you eat the flesh!"... and then I win, and say Shreyas doesn't negotiate and I choose Exhaustion.  That resolves to "I possess you, but you get exhausted and fall unconscious first!"
<Mese> yes, again
<Mese> I think just so
<planet> This is useful feedback, Tom.  You have to tell him.
<Mese> I do :(
<Mese> here's what
<Mese> I post this whole log
<Mese> right into a thread on the forge
<Mese> deal?
<planet> He may let the text stand, and that's fine.  But it's useful data to hear that certain users are getting caught up on it.
<planet> Fine with me.
<Mese> cool
* Mese does so
<planet> I'd provide a summary at the top, for people who don't want to spend the time.  (You're going to post in the Lumpley forum area, yes?)
<Mese> yup

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lumpley
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« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2008, 07:48:25 AM »

You can avoid the redaction by saying what your character does, which is what you're supposed to say, instead of what comes of it. "I chop you with my sword, as hard as I can, right across the middle" vs "I chop you in half."

But because we both know the consequence rules, you don't have to be technically clear. Instead you can feel free to say "I chop you in half," and we both understand that what you mean is that you chop me as hard as you can right across the middle.

In play, if you're doing any retconning worth the word, it's because the challenger's overstepping, trying to establish consequences when they should be establishing action. Limit yourself to saying what your character DOES, not what your character accomplishes.

-Vincent
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Jason Newquist
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Posts: 66


« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2008, 02:17:03 PM »

Related question:  Suppose the implied stakes we set aren't violent or injurious in nature.  Do they happen when the aggressor wins the conflict, or do they need to be narrated?

Example: I'm Syphax, the possessing spirit, and I want to possess Sisay and make her eat human flesh.  "I possess you and we eat the human flesh!"  We roll, my dice hold up, and I win.  Does it happen *by virtue of me winning*, or do we have to negotiate for it?  Can Shreyas (Sisay's player) just go, "No way I ever let Sisay get possessed - pick to exhaust or injure me, Jason."

If so, there I am, the possessing spirit, winning conflict after conflict, never possessing.  Yes/no?
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Jason Newquist
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Posts: 66


« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2008, 02:21:17 PM »

Clarification:

Related question:  Suppose the implied stakes we set aren't violent or injurious in nature.  Do they happen when the aggressor wins the conflict, or do they need to be negotiated?
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Landon Darkwood
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Posts: 38


« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2008, 02:48:19 PM »

If so, there I am, the possessing spirit, winning conflict after conflict, never possessing.  Yes/no?

Speaking from a strict reading of the text, stakes aren't really an issue in IAWA conflict. So, strictly speaking, the demon's player would say, "I possess you," period dot.

Everything else is negotiation. The demon wins, so the player goes, "Sweet! Keep your dice, what I'm gunning for is for you to eat the human flesh!" The other player can go, "Oh, man, that's horrible. Well, I don't lose any dice, so cool." Or they can go, "Oh, man, I don't know about that. I think I'll have to opt for exhaust or injure."

But then, here's the thing - y'all still have to figure out how that makes sense. So you can still do something horrible, like, "Okay, you get injured, and let's say it happens because I instill a craving for human flesh in you, and with your last shred of self-control, you bite a chunk out of your own arm instead of eating someone else."

In other words, you can't negate the action, just the consequences. If you get in conflict with the demon and their action is to possess you, you're possessed if you lose. That's it. Negotiation happens over what that means.
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Valvorik
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Posts: 114


« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2008, 05:11:39 PM »

In other words, you can't negate the action, just the consequences. If you get in conflict with the demon and their action is to possess you, you're possessed if you lose. That's it. Negotiation happens over what that means.

The way I read it, you're only negotiating the dice consequences not the narrated outcome.  I win my action to make you look a fool before your beloved, than looking a fool you are.  The dice are negotiated, can be traded for other events in fiction (how about I not only look a fool but I get ordered out of her presence by her father, told never to come back and only take 1 die reduction).  The loser must "admit" the winner's action "more or less in full" (page 15, 2nd column) and negotiate from that point.  Right?
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lumpley
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« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2008, 05:51:12 PM »

You have to admit the winner's action, not her desired outcome.

Sometimes you can utterly deny her desired outcome. "...And we wind up in bed and fuck all night. Ha! Doubled!" "That does. not. happen. However, I spend the night rebuffing your advances and now I'm exhausted." "But... dang. Can we negotiate?" "Nope, I'm sticking with the default. That's what it is. Unless you want to injure me instead?" "Uh, no, really no."

This works because we understand "we wind up in bed and fuck all night" as a casual, appropriate, totally acceptable statement meaning "my character makes serious sexual advances." We understand it to mean that because that's all the action-dice-consequence rules allow it to mean.

The lesson is, be very clear about what's your character's ACTION, and don't set your heart on anything but THAT.

There is absolutely no stakes-setting in this game, in any form. Your character executes her action, and we negotiate the consequences.

-Vincent
« Last Edit: January 15, 2008, 06:03:51 PM by lumpley » Logged
Jason Newquist
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Posts: 66


« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2008, 06:14:00 PM »

The way I read it, you're only negotiating the dice consequences not the narrated outcome.  I win my action to make you look a fool before your beloved, than looking a fool you are.  The dice are negotiated, can be traded for other events in fiction (how about I not only look a fool but I get ordered out of her presence by her father, told never to come back and only take 1 die reduction).  The loser must "admit" the winner's action "more or less in full" (page 15, 2nd column) and negotiate from that point.  Right?

Well, that admission "more or less in full" is in your answer to someone else's move, in one of the rounds of a conflict.  You have to admit the tactical move made against you.

However, I think similar reasoning applies in resolving the conflict at the end.  Here's why: players are encouraged to state big, strong, bold things so that they can negotiate from a position of power.  Here's the book on p. 17:

Quote
This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t make potentially-lethal moves. “I slit your throat!” “My war-elephant tramples you into crushed bones and gore!” “I chop your head clean off your shoulders!” In fact, those kinds of moves put you in a very strong bargaining position (as you’ll see).
When you make a lethal move, just be prepared to scale back at consequence time.

The way I read this, the reason strong moves provide for a strong negotiating position is because they're actually a kind of stakes.  "I possess you and force you to eat of the human flesh!"  If I win the conflict, that's what happens.  Injury or exhaustion or something else we negotiate happen as a result of those stakes.   I think I'm agreeing with Landon, here, to a point.  Except I would assert that "and force you to eat human flesh" is actually part of the stakes here, not a consequence.  It's giving me a stick to negotiate with.

Thoughts?
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Jason Newquist
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Posts: 66


« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2008, 06:15:39 PM »

...And cross-posted with Vincent...
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Jason Newquist
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« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2008, 06:25:32 PM »

Point taken about stakes and their absence.  I think I see that.  :-)

But I also think I figured something out.  I was thinking about far-reaching actions a bit weird, and assuming an interstitial step that was not needed.

Instead of thinking about it as enabling action + consequencies ("sending a message to my network of spies" then "they assassinate the king!" ...or... "possessing the victim" then "the victim eats the human flesh!"), it seems better to just treat the far-reaching power as an extension of you.  "I assassinate the king!"  "I force my victim to eat human flesh!"

Yes/no?
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lumpley
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« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2008, 06:31:32 PM »

Yes! Exactly.

If you want to do the former, don't make the network of spies a particular strength, make it some NPCs.

However, still, "I assassinate the king" and "I force my victim to eat human flesh" are desired outcomes, not actions. "Through my network of spies, I put poison in the king's food" is an action. "I possess my victim" is an action. Establishing your action allows us to negotiate outcomes, with you having both mechanical power (in the form of the exhaust/injure stick) and narrative power (in the form of poison in the king's food and possession of your victim's body).

However, if I would rather be exhausted resisting your control of me than eat human flesh, you don't have the power to force me; you have to settle for exhausting me. That's on page 18, under "Negotiating as the loser."

-Vincent
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lumpley
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« Reply #11 on: January 15, 2008, 06:39:02 PM »

"Settle for exhausting me" - I left something out. It's this: you can settle for exhausting me, or you can say, "look V, I know you'd rather be exhausted, but it's my call. Eat the flesh or I injure you." And then maybe I'm like, "crap dude, okay, I eat the flesh." Or maybe I'm like, "whatever, injure me then," and you have to settle for that.

-Vincent
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Valvorik
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Posts: 114


« Reply #12 on: January 16, 2008, 07:37:41 AM »

Very helpful discussion.  I understand this then to mean:

(1) I was wrong to suggest there can be a declared action "I make you look a fool in front of your beloved." as that's a stake, an effect.  There is "I get you drunk in front of her", "I trip you in front of her", etc.  and "look a fool" is a negotiated outcome I then might get if I win and you prefer that Effect to losing dice via Exhaustion or Injury.

(2) In IIEE terms, a player declares what action they are trying to Execute, rolls dice to determine details of how that goes, and who wins the right to determine the Effect of that action including the specific fate of its Execution (which could be blocked).

(3) Actions that are fatal on their face (decapitate you) are themselves often scaled back even if the player wins.  The rules themselves often block the literal success of such actions unless they are voluntarily accepted by a loser in negotiation.  Winning conflict to decapitate someone doesn't mean the other character is dead (they only die if they accept that in negotiation or if 2 dice go to zero and death rather than "being out" fits, for example they are not on owe list and the dice went to zero as a result of an action that could logically be fatal).  This is the only "forced scaling back" I can see in the game, otherwise an action that is won is executed successfully barring negotiation.

(4) When negotiation fails, narrative authority is with loser who after losing to "decapitated" can narrate "scarred and left for dead" or something that admits "as much of the successful action as possible".  In "admitting" they are the one authoring.



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Valvorik
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« Reply #13 on: January 16, 2008, 11:47:30 AM »

sorry for the added post, can't edit,

3b - Mostly a style thing for a group, but if you prefer to avoid retroactive revisions forced by rule if I'm reading it right, it's better say "I burn him" than "I burn him to ashes", "My elephant tramples him" than "[that] + pulverizing him to pulp", "I deal him a vicious blow" than "[that] + that cuts off his head". 
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lumpley
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« Reply #14 on: January 16, 2008, 12:03:47 PM »

1. Yep.
2. Yep.
3. Basically.
3a. Basically.
4. Nope. The winner and the loser are responsible together for deciding what happens, and then narrative authority falls upon whoever happens to describe it - could be either, could be the GM, could be anybody.

About (3): personally, I don't experience "I totally chop your head off and throw your corpse in the ditch and pee on it, you jerk! Ha! Doubled! You are injured!" as including any kind of backward revision. The part about the corpse, the ditch, the pee, that stuff was always an expression of enthusiasm, not of action, exactly the same as "you jerk" was. "Chop" was the only word I really meant and committed to. But that's me.

In other words, yes, a group style thing.

-Vincent
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