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Author Topic: [IaWA] Questions  (Read 3614 times)
steven807
Member

Posts: 8


« on: February 03, 2008, 12:26:24 AM »

Firstly, I'll say that my little group just got done with a fun first chapter of Wicked.  Thanks for another great game, Vincent!  But we did have some questions:

1) We had the entry: "A noble houses signatory ring, left behind in a street brawl."  One player took as his PC's best interest: "Get the ring back".  We didn't know who had the ring, so it was not clear how/whether it would bring him into conflict with anyone.  Is it a reasonable best interest?

2) We had a situation in which A and B were trying to retrieve the lost ring. A ordered a beggar to search for it, B tried to hide himself from view while finding and taking the ring. We handled that as a conflict: A: "The beggar finds the ring." (for others/direct)  B: "No, I find the ring and take it away without anyone seeing me." (for myself/covert). Is that a reasonable conflict?

3) When A returned to report not finding the ring to C, C ordered A to go back and continue searching for the ring.  No conflict ensued (although the scene was colorful).  Does Wicked support/encourage/discourage scenes with no conflicts?

4) A wanted to get D alone, but D was with C.  When B took C aside for a brief conversation, A tried to get past without C noticing. We handled this with a conflict.  Was that a good time for one?

5) B's possession of the ring gave him power over demons -- we created demon-control as a Particular Strength associated with the ring. B tried to control demon D, and at the same time A tried to kill B.  We had a 3-way conflict.  We said that the extra d8 for the ring was only used in the B-D conflict, not the A-B conflict.  Should we have handled the conflict differently?

6) 1-4 suggest a common theme arising from our play -- we didn't jump straight into the conflicts that would resolve the interests of the characters. Perhaps these questions suggest that we pussyfoot around too much, postponing the meaty conflicts: those that resolve the opposing interests.  Maybe a better approach is to have each scene resolve at least one interest?  (It took us about 5 hours to complete the first chapter, including lots of rules-checking.)

Thanks for any feedback,

Steven
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Ry
Member

Posts: 216


« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2008, 09:49:23 AM »

Steven, I think the best advice is in the thread just above yours.

http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?topic=25654.0

Does that help?
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steven807
Member

Posts: 8


« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2008, 10:43:48 AM »

Thanks for the response, Ryan.

The thread was helpful to understand the game, in that it explains that IaWA conflicts are rolled when things escalate to coercion (physical or otherwise).  But my questions were on different matters.

In each case the question is: Does IaWA support this?  If so, any guidelines on how best to handle it?

1 was about best interests: what if a best interest doesn't clearly imply who it interacts with?

2 and 4 were about conflicts: What happens when characters don't conflict (because they don't know what's going on), but players conflict, e.g. when someone wants to do something secretly?

3 and 6 were about flow: should every scene have a conflict?  Should every scene resolve an interest?

5 was about mechanics: how do Particular Strengths and 3-way conflicts interact?

Steven
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Darren Hill
Member

Posts: 867


« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2008, 12:06:25 PM »

1) We had the entry: "A noble house’s signatory ring, left behind in a street brawl."  One player took as his PC's best interest: "Get the ring back".  We didn't know who had the ring, so it was not clear how/whether it would bring him into conflict with anyone.  Is it a reasonable best interest?

I've just reread page 6 of the rulebook, where it describes how you choose best interests. Based on that, I think that is a fine best interest. However, once it's chosen as a best interest, it would have been good if the other players or GM took notice of that, and realised that one of them should create a best interest for one of their characters that somehow conflicts with it. The process described on page 6 encourages players to do this.
I don't think this is absolutely required - since in play, people should be looking for opportunities to get into conflict with each other, and so, someone would probably come up with a reason to put themselves between that player and the ring. So it's not required, but it helps a lot.
I imagine it's something that frequent players of IAWA will start to do naturally.

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2) We had a situation in which A and B were trying to retrieve the lost ring. A ordered a beggar to search for it, B tried to hide himself from view while finding and taking the ring. We handled that as a conflict: A: "The beggar finds the ring." (for others/direct)  B: "No, I find the ring and take it away without anyone seeing me." (for myself/covert). Is that a reasonable conflict?
It sounds okay to me, as long as its remembered that the conflict system deals with intents, not outcomes.


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3) When A returned to report not finding the ring to C, C ordered A to go back and continue searching for the ring.  No conflict ensued (although the scene was colorful).  Does Wicked support/encourage/discourage scenes with no conflicts?
it does mention in the rulebook somewhere that some scenes won't have conflicts, and that this is good. So yes, it does support/encourage it.


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4) A wanted to get D alone, but D was with C.  When B took C aside for a brief conversation, A tried to get past without C noticing. We handled this with a conflict.  Was that a good time for one?

I think pretty much any intent that is opposed by someone else can be a conflict, so long as both sides are willing to risk injury or exhaustion to get it. I see no problem with your example.

Quote
5) B's possession of the ring gave him power over demons -- we created demon-control as a Particular Strength associated with the ring. B tried to control demon D, and at the same time A tried to kill B.  We had a 3-way conflict.  We said that the extra d8 for the ring was only used in the B-D conflict, not the A-B conflict.  Should we have handled the conflict differently?

Yes, I think so. I think all dice that apply in one side of a multi-way conflict apply to all sides. It could get very complicated otherwise.
Look at it this way: if B had been able to control demon D before A tried to kill him, the demon might have been able to stop A killing B. So, even though B wasn't directly opposing A, that die would help him against A.


Quote
6) 1-4 suggest a common theme arising from our play -- we didn't jump straight into the conflicts that would resolve the interests of the characters. Perhaps these questions suggest that we pussyfoot around too much, postponing the meaty conflicts: those that resolve the opposing interests.  Maybe a better approach is to have each scene resolve at least one interest?  (It took us about 5 hours to complete the first chapter, including lots of rules-checking.)
I don't think a hard-and-fast rule, "one scene per best interest" is a good idea. Besides, with the advice in the rulebook about skipping between scenes in the middle of conflicts, it's hard to say exactly when a scene ends. It does seem that best interests can be resolved fairly quickly - but even if you think it's resolved, it might not be.
Let';s say in the first conflict of the session, that character gets the ring - so resolving one of his best interests. But later in the session, as a result of other conflicts, someone else gets the ring from him, or it's lost for ever. In the first case, he will try to get it back or abandon that best interest, and in the second case, that interest - once thought to be resolved - is now impossible. So a best interest is only truly resolved when the chapter is ended and it can't be undone.
The rulebook avoids giving concrete guidelines for when a best interest is resolved, or whan a chapter ends, for precisely this reason I suspect. Basically, you just play, and let the players pursue their interests, and after a time some of them are resolved, some of them are impossible, and some might be left hanging, but at some point the group will come to agreement that - at this moment of play - one of the conditions described on chapter 25 is true, and the chapter is over.
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steven807
Member

Posts: 8


« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2008, 12:40:53 PM »

Thanks for the response, Darren.  I'll mull on these and pass them on to the other players.

It sounds okay to me, as long as its remembered that the conflict system deals with intents, not outcomes.

Well, it doesn't deal with outcomes, but apparently it doesn't deal with intents either.  Here's Vincent:
Most importantly, I think, the rules don't care what anyone's intent is. Their function is to provide consequences for (contested) actions, not resolve intents.
So I'm still unclear how best to handle this situation. In similar circumstances, we'll probably continue to wing it.

Quote
I think pretty much any intent that is opposed by someone else can be a conflict, so long as both sides are willing to risk injury or exhaustion to get it. I see no problem with your example.

That's a good way of thinking about it.

Quote
I don't think a hard-and-fast rule, "one scene per best interest" is a good idea.

I see what you mean.  My problem in part was that our chapter took 5 hours, when clearly the game can go much more quickly.  Perhaps it shouldn't be a "hard and fast" rule, but can still be a "soft and loose" rule (i.e. a guideline).

Steven
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lumpley
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« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2008, 01:58:31 PM »

I am going to answer these questions! I lost track of them at first. Give me a bit longer.

-Vincent
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Darren Hill
Member

Posts: 867


« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2008, 02:36:59 PM »

Thanks for the response, Darren.  I'll mull on these and pass them on to the other players.

Your welcome.
Just a minor point of clarification:

It sounds okay to me, as long as its remembered that the conflict system deals with intents, not outcomes.

Well, it doesn't deal with outcomes, but apparently it doesn't deal with intents either.  Here's Vincent:
Most importantly, I think, the rules don't care what anyone's intent is. Their function is to provide consequences for (contested) actions, not resolve intents.

I was using 'intent' as in 'statement of intent' - you know, when at the start of a round in traditional games, the GM asks everyone for their statement of intent, or what they are doing that round. I was talking about actions. So my statement and Vincent's are saying basically the same thing, but with different words :)
I was using the word 'outcome' in the same way people in conflict resolution systems use the word 'stakes' - before the contest, you say what the outcome will be if you win, or what's at stake if you lose, that sort of thing.
My main point, perhaps confusingly stated, was that you can't go into a conflict and know what the result will be - even if you win. You state what you are trying to do, your opponent does the same, you roll dice, and then you negotiate what actually happens. The winner may have a specific desired outcome, but may have to settle for exhaustion or injury, or his opponent might suggest something less than he asked for, but which he is happy to accept.
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lumpley
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« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2008, 06:28:21 AM »

Steven! Okay.

1) It's a perfectly fine best interest. If no other player takes a best interest like "keep the ring," then It's the GM's responsibility to decide where the ring is and who has it. Ideally, someone with an interest in the ring and high dice to back it up, but it's the GM's call.

2) Well ... it's okay. It's super important to know that "without anyone seeing me" isn't guaranteed even if B wins the dice, that's something they'll have to negotiate at the end. Maybe A would rather see B and be exhausted or injured.

3) It does, strongly.

4) A took action and C tried to stop her, right? "I get past without you noticing." "The hell you do." So yeah, that's right for an action sequence.

Hey, you know how in Dogs in the Vineyard, you aren't allowed to make a raise resolve the stakes? The Wicked Age doesn't work that way. If C wins initiative, C's move can be "I see you and start shouting." The action sequence continues from there. A doesn't have any "but I didn't want you to see me!" recourse.

5) You should have, yes. No dice ever count against some people and not against others. B gets the d8, plain and simple.

6) 5 hours is a long time for one chapter. The GM needs to be pacing better and throwing people together more aggressively, is my guess. Resolving people's best interests isn't the goal of play, but using people's best interests to get them to roll dice against each other is. The GM needs to be paying attention to conflicting best interests and setting scenes accordingly.

Followup questions welcome, always.

-Vincent
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Rustin
Member

Posts: 95


« Reply #8 on: March 01, 2008, 10:39:15 AM »

Quote
If C wins initiative, C's move can be "I see you and start shouting." The action sequence continues from there. A doesn't have any "but I didn't want you to see me!" recourse.

If A, in his answer rolls really well and then says:

"A flits from the light to shadows and hides, so quickly that it makes C think maybe she really didn't see anything at all. C stands uncertain."

Then let's say C doesn't want to go up against the Advantage Dice for round two.  A offers a negotiation:

"Only if C turns and behaves as though she didn't see A."

In other words, I have the feeling that even though C can say on their initiative, "Ah ha! C sees A."  A can turn it right around and say, "But it doesn't matter because C doesn't believe what she saw, or rather-- C does not behave as though what she saw was real."

In other words, with negotiation, there is a mechanical way to still get Steath to work?
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Michael Loy
Member

Posts: 24


« Reply #9 on: March 01, 2008, 11:06:12 AM »

I think that, as with everything else, you can't guarantee stealth will work.  You can place your opponent in a situation where he'd probably rather overlook you (or disbelieve what he saw, etc) than take exhaustion or injury, but you can't force someone to accept a piece of narrative.
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steven807
Member

Posts: 8


« Reply #10 on: March 24, 2008, 12:41:25 AM »

So our group finally (finally!) got together again to play another chapter.  We understand things _much_ better now, thanks to the above help from everyone, as well as the great explanation of Sorceror at Story Games (which has such a similar mechanic for conflict resolution).  Not to mention Ryan Stoughton's awesome IaWA flowchart, which smoothly resolved our questions.

The story was very Conan-ish.  My character, the only one from the preceding chapter, came to a town just about to have the Spring Festival, which turns out to involve blood sacrifice and the consumption of drugs; the newly-arrived stranger was a perfect person to add to the sacrifice.  But a beautiful air spirit in the guise of a dancer, offered to aid to the stranger in exchange for help in retrieving the lamp to which she was bound.  Meanwhile an ambitious priestess of the cult sought the lamp for her own ends.  3 PCs and an NPC all had a long conflict trying to retrieve the lamp, but ultimately my barbarian and the spirit were captured.  The barbarian escaped, but rather than leave he foolishly attempted to seduce the priestess.  He ended up bound on the altar, but the spirit sent a wind carrying a knife, which let him escape his bonds and kill the leader of the cult.  The priestess allowed this to happen, as it meant she would become leader herself.

We still managed to complete only one chapter in the session (roughly 5 hours), but the time for conflicts went from about an hour for the first one to 10 minutes for the last, as we familiarized ourselves with the process.

Our concluson at this point is that the game is really cool -- no prep involved, lots of scope for creativity, interesting mechanics, etc.  But the game text leaves a lot to be desired (sadly, the number of questions asked and answered on this forum is a testament to the lack of clarity in the game).  Now that we are starting to appreciate the quality of the game, I can speak for my whole group when I say that I hope there will be a new edition that spends a lot more time clarifying the system, so that more people can appreciate the elegance of the design and the fun of play.

Steven
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steven807
Member

Posts: 8


« Reply #11 on: March 24, 2008, 12:52:50 AM »

Oh, I should also mention that GM was very enthusiastic about the Alan's Best Interest diagram.  The map helped him choose interests for NPCs that kept the PCs involved, it helped the players choose interests that kept everything churning along, and it helped us all establish a coherent, simple situation rather than a tangled skein of disconnected motivations.

Steven
 
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