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Author Topic: [IAWA] Some minor questions...  (Read 5562 times)
Landon Darkwood
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Posts: 38


« on: January 26, 2008, 04:15:00 PM »

So the one game of IAWA I played was an absolute hit. Probably my favorite night of gaming in at least a year or more.

But I have some procedural questions:

1.) In conflict, when you compare highest dice *after a roll*, it's always read from the highest number showing, not the size, right? So if my d8 comes up a 2, and my d6 comes up a 5, my roll is read as 5, 2.

2.) Does the advantage die always attach to the die of the highest *size*, or the highest *number* after the roll? So if I was rolling an advantage die with the example in #1, and it came up 3, would my roll be 8, 2 or 5, 5?

3.) One conflict we fudged our way through in my game was a case of alcohol poisoning that was self-inflicted by a soldier trying to cope with the aftermath of murdering a woman while possessed by his intelligent shortsword. We decided that really, the most interesting thing to do with that was to have the character struggle against the poisoning itself, to see if he could grit his teeth and stomp out that door to try and make things right, and at what cost. He lost and overcame it with the price of exhaustion (because of course, leaving him in the inn would have been just lame).

Now, the alcohol poisoning is a one-shot deal obstacle - not really worth making it an NPC because it has no sense of agency. I gave it a d6 d6 for the conflict and left it at that. For those rare moments that you do have an obstacle instead of a character as the 'opponent' in a conflict, is there a more 'right' way to handle this?
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Darren Hill
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Posts: 867


« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2008, 05:15:34 PM »

I''m not Vincent, but I've read enough IAWA Q&A threads to know the asnwers to your first two questions.

1. Yes: read in order of result, not dice size.

2. Yes - find the highest roll, then add the advantage die to it.

3. Hmm, that's a tough one. If the woman had stats, I might have done the attack using her stats - it's her memory, lingering. Then again, the guilt itself could have been created as an NPC, and might stalk the NPC -  attacking him in future scenes! And maybe, in a Heroquest-like game, and depending how things went, that guilt might have become incarnate - some spirit of rage or shame or despair - to affect other people too.
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Darcy Burgess
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Posts: 478


« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2008, 05:21:16 PM »

What about having the character opposing herself?  Different aspects of the personality, and therefore (maybe) different forms?

That could be really rockin.
D
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Landon Darkwood
Member

Posts: 38


« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2008, 06:13:59 PM »

3. Hmm, that's a tough one. If the woman had stats, I might have done the attack using her stats - it's her memory, lingering. Then again, the guilt itself could have been created as an NPC, and might stalk the NPC -  attacking him in future scenes! And maybe, in a Heroquest-like game, and depending how things went, that guilt might have become incarnate - some spirit of rage or shame or despair - to affect other people too.

Man, did I screw up explaining how that went down. S'what happens when I try to be terse.

So, in the opening scene of the game, the soldier loses a conflict with his sword and kills the woman under its influence. The sword is one of my NPCs. The woman was the wife of the tavern owner, and the two of them were having a domestic dispute in the alley next to the tavern. So what you have is the soldier wanting to save the day, and the sword saying, "Screw that. I want woman blood. Go kill for me."

At the end of that conflict, I offer to take no dice from that player, but tell him he has to kill the woman. He adds, "And I leave the sword stuck in the woman's chest, and bust into the now empty tavern still halfway into a possessed stupor and burn it away with alcohol."

And because he's all a hero and stuff, it's not enough for him to be really hung over. He's totally poisoned himself. And in the scenes that follow, his worst enemy on earth tries to nurse him back to health because he needs the soldier's help. That part's not important right now.

Anyway, so, his enemy's off trying to get the sword back (which is way bad 'cause it can possess people to kill), and some random dude may already have his hands on it, and soldier-boy is all like, "I can't have this. I'm leaving, I don't care what state I'm in." And I say, "There is something that can and will oppose that action, but it's not a person. Now what? Look, you pick forms, and I'll do d6 d6 to oppose." And I checked again to make sure this wasn't a dumb move, and everyone agreed it'd have meaning.

So we rolled. And the soldier lost. And got exhausted, vomiting his way out the door (not literally - in the moment it was totally not a funny thing in any sense). And that did have meaning.

I wouldn't have done it any other way in retrospect. But I'm interested in hearing alternate takes on how I could have done it, in case another way sounds better for the future.

Darcy, that's a fine, fine notion on the surface, and I no doubt will steal that and use it somehow. Don't think it would have worked for this situation because there was no internal conflict to speak of. I'd have had trouble intuitively assigning the character's forms to an opposite side. But, I dig that a whole, whole lot.
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Lars M. Nielsen
Member

Posts: 24


« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2008, 03:46:29 AM »

As I see it, since you only roll the dice if another character can and will oppose you, Hero-guy could just walk out that door if he chose to.

Of course, then Evil-dude could say: "When I was nursing you back to health, I was actually making the poisoning worse. So you aren't going anywhere".

Then dice would roll.

A "Save vs. Alcohol Poisoning" is not what I would do.
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Valvorik
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Posts: 114


« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2008, 08:46:59 AM »

The "alcohol challenge" is interesting.  IAWA assumes conflict is inter-character and it's not really a conflict in scope for the game, so the "warranty is void" if you start taking it in that direction (not that aren't all sorts of warranty-voiding fun to be had with all sorts of things).

Conceptually, depending on motivations etc., could it have been a conflict with the Sword.  In the story of this character it looks like the issue is particular case is dealing with or breaking under the stresses of the Sword's influence and its interests at conflict with the character's.

Overall, that sounds like a blast.  So very Elric.

Rob
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Landon Darkwood
Member

Posts: 38


« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2008, 08:14:01 PM »

A "Save vs. Alcohol Poisoning" is not what I would do.

See, I think you're unfairly characterizing what happened by calling it that.

First of all, evil dude wasn't really evil at all: his best interest was to get the soldier to forgive him for executing his family as part of his service to a ruthless god-queen. It was in the soldier's best interest to exact vengeance on him for the same crime. It wouldn't have made sense to turn his motives on their head for no good reason.

Second of all, we'd established as an ealier fact that the sword's influence extends to its current wielder, and by then, the sword was long gone, having been recovered by the constabulary and picked up by another PC. So, there was no other character around for him to reasonably have a conflict with.

Third of all, the roll was not made as frivolously as a "save" or whatever - I asked both other players what they thought about the approach, talked it out, etc. Really, the object was to establish at what cost would the soldier be charging out into the night. And it did that in spades - losing the conflict started a chain of events where he played the rest of the session circumspect and avoiding violence from his weakness, even at the cost of having to give up his chance at vengeance for now and trust in the will of the youth who'd ended up with the sword.

In the final scene, the god-queen totally humbled him (basically because he bore the sword's burden unnecessarily, her being an all-powerful god-queen and all who could have just taken the burden from his hands), and he ended up forgiving the executioner, to snap the executioner out of the sword's attempt to get him to kill the god-queen right there in the throne room. It was fantastic stuff, and it all grew out of that moment where we established that yeah, he could totally walk out of that inn, but in bad shape, vomiting blood and missing dice. Had we glossed over it, it would totally not have had the same impact.

In other words, there was a lot of reason not to just say "yes", and there wasn't any character available to stop him.

Valvorik: I don't really think the text is written to suggest that conflicts should be primarily intangible or conceptual in any way, shape, or form. In fact, it's actually quite basic task resolution. Stakes don't even really come into play at all except very vaguely, because you never have any guarantee that anything you do will accomplish anything except exhaustion or injury, and a basic admittance of your action. And in that setup, straightforwardly addressing the facts at hand in a scene, I wonder if trying to force a character-character setup every single time is... well, trying too hard in certain rare instances like what happened to me. Bear in mind, it's not that I expect something like this to happen a lot.
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Lars M. Nielsen
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Posts: 24


« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2008, 01:59:59 AM »

Quote
A "Save vs. Alcohol Poisoning" is not what I would do.

Hmm. That was condescending. Sorry about that.

Now that i read your new post, I can totally see what you mean, and why you would want to roll the dice. I'm trying to figure out some way of making the sword the opponent, even if it isn't physically close. The sword is indirectly responsible for his drinking. Maybe on a physical level it's all about vomiting blood and being sick, but on a dramatic level it's about him trying to recover his will to fight, and go on even in the light of the atrocious murder. In that kind of conflict the player of the sword could challenge him with feelings of disgust, self-loathing and vivid memories of the murder. I think that could work.

It sounds awesome, by the way.
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lumpley
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« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2008, 11:36:00 AM »

Hey Landon, did I meet you at Dreamation?

I'm falling on the side of "make alcohol poisoning an NPC," myself. You'd be like "I walk out the door" and alcohol poisoning would be like "oh I totally stop you." Call it action d12 d8, maneuvering d10 d6, self-protection d6 d4, but all it's likely to ever do is action.

With Darcy, you could also get hinky and have the PC oppose himself. That could be cool.

Or how about you make it a particular weakness? Stat it out like a particular strength, but give the die to your opponent instead. That's pretty nifty.

-Vincent
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John Harper
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« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2008, 12:23:27 PM »

Whereas I think that stating up an alcohol-poisoning NPC is a terrible idea. :-)

I mean, yeah, as a transitional measure to ease out of "having a conflict over X" type of play and into "only roll when someone opposes your actions," type of play -- then yeah, I can see it. But I'd ditch the proto-NPCs as fast as possible.

But I'm crotchety. I play Wicked because it doesn't feature "let's have a conflict about this!" in the system. I like to take a break from that kind of play, and Wicked is the place I go. Not that there's anything wrong with it (PTA is the bomb!) it's just a different thing. The times when we have tried to slip into conflict/stakes mode with Wicked have been the times when the game was weakest, IME.

Making proto-NPCs to stand in for alcohol or the mountain you have to climb or the memory of your sister? Nah. Not for me, thanks. You don't need dice and consequences for those things to have power and meaning in the game.
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Landon Darkwood
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Posts: 38


« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2008, 12:40:00 PM »

Hey Landon, did I meet you at Dreamation?

Nah, we met at GenCon last year. I was the dude that asked you if you were still offering discounts on the Dogs book for folks who bought the .pdf, and looking extremely hung over most of the time.

Also, particular weakness, eh? You may have just provided me with a new LJ entry.

For John Harper:

Given your stated preferences, how would you have done it? Like I did, or differently?

Because if you'd have handled it like I did, I'm not sure that you and Vincent are saying different things. Effectively, I *did* make the alcohol poisoning an NPC - I just didn't go through the full process, because all it needed were action dice, which I assigned as d6 d6. I didn't think about it that way at the time, of course, but it tracks mechanically as long as you're not hanging too much on the definition of "character".

For Lars:

Don't worry about it. When it came up in play, I was insecure about my choice for precisely the same reason until I talked it over with the players. So I totally get where you were coming from.
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John Harper
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« Reply #11 on: January 28, 2008, 12:52:55 PM »

I wouldn't have gone to the dice over the alcohol at all. It doesn't meet my threshold for when dice come out in Wicked. Like you said, "...there was no other character around for him to reasonably have a conflict with." To me, given the spirit of the game as I interpret it, that means there's no dice -- and I don't go looking for a way to add them. To me, you never, ever roll dice in Wicked to see if someone can do something, or even how well or poorly they do it. You only roll when someone steps in to stop someone else, or two people undertake actions that interfere.

The guy has a serious struggle with the alcohol, and that's awesome. I'm riveted, whichever way he decides to go with it. We don't dice over it, but it still matters.
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Ryan Macklin
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« Reply #12 on: January 28, 2008, 10:15:56 PM »

Hey Landon, did I meet you at Dreamation?
Actually, it was me you met and only briefly asked that question while we were both busy.  I was bummed to not get to sit down with you later about it.

For the record, I was the sword-wielding PC in that game.
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Ryan Macklin
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Ryan Macklin
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« Reply #13 on: January 28, 2008, 11:22:49 PM »

You don't need dice and consequences for those things to have power and meaning in the game.

Incidentally, I don't think we're talking about "power and meaning" here.  At least, that wasn't the deal with our game.  In talking about it tonight, I think the reason I grabbed onto the idea so much was because (to completely show my misunderstanding of the term), I had a foot in actor stance and a foot in author stance.  What we did allowed me to retain my enjoyment of the game and grove on it down the road.  If it were to have been stated without mechanical tension, I don't know if it would have felt like more than just color in that scene, as there were so many elements going on there.  Going to dice made that moment stand out among others -- and since you only go to dice when something is trying to stop someone else from doing something, we played with the paradigm.

I suppose the important point wasn't that it was dictated that we should go to dice for this conflict, but that the decision was rather left in my hands, and let me deal with an inner conflict between the two stances I was feeling at the time -- I found the idea distasteful on one hand and really compelling on the other.  So, I got to play out a meta-conflict in this manner.  But, at this point I'm clearly not talking about IAWA, I think.  To bring it back to IAWA, there were a couple really good scenes filled with "power and meaning" that didn't involve dice, and in fact would have been trashed if we had.  A dead soul essentially talked me into having it possess me, all through weighty conversation.  Later, we talked and said that if anyone had gone to dice because they felt some sort of resistance should have happened (as with many other games), that scene would have been pissed on.

That is to say, John, I do get what you're talking about, and like how IAWA doesn't get in the way of that.
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Ryan Macklin
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DainXB
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Posts: 36


« Reply #14 on: January 29, 2008, 06:01:02 AM »

I realize that Vincent has spoken, and therefore there's little room for debate on this -- but I want to agree with John Harper about the strict interpretation of "Roll dice when one character undertakes to do some concrete thing, and another character can and would try to interfere."  I love that part of the Wicked rules!  It's "Say yes, unless some other active participant in the game says no".

All of which means that I think Darcy has the right answer.  There is only one character in the scene, but that player's character feels seriously that somehow there should be opposition to the thing he has his character undertaking.  He's in opposition to his own character's action, which is cool:  He is stating that his character is in conflict with himself. 

On the one side; "I have to fight through this fog, and get out there and stop this from happening!"  Call it 'for Others' and 'Directly' or even 'for Others' and 'with Love' if the emotional context is right.  On the other side;  "You're too drunk, too tired, too depressed, to defeated to do this.  Just give up and pass out."  Call that one 'for Myself' and 'Covertly', since it's that insidious little inner voice telling the character "you can't".

Now roll the conflict.  It's all internal, in his head, externalized only by the staggering around, the breaking of furniture, and the puking up of his guts. 

The weird part is, the player is the only one in the conflict, so when the win/lose comes about, he is negotiating consequences with himself...  "I make it out the door, but I'm Exhausted."  or "I fall flat on my face in a pool of vomit -- I'm Injured." or "In a drunken haze, I stagger onto the street, I'm down one die type to my 'Directly' because of blurred vision and DTs".  or "I'm snoring peacefully at my table, not even twitching, when someone finds me after sunup, but I take no stat losses."  or whatever outcome seems reasonable to him (and is legal under the rules).

Hows that for a take on the situation?

The same technique could be used for other cases where a player is unsure of what his character might be capable of making himself do -- is he really brave enough to face down the dragon, cowardly enough to leave his friend behind to die, vile enough to commit human sacrifice, etc.  Of course, if the player is sure of what his character is capable of making himself do, there's no conflict, he just narrates the event.

--
DainXB

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