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46709 Posts in 5588 Topics by 13297 Members Latest Member: - Shane786 Most online today: 33 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: For Rafial: interesting play in Poison'd  (Read 2319 times)
lumpley
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« on: February 29, 2008, 08:53:33 PM »

Here's the conversation so far:
Okay I had gotten as far as:  If the system is handing back results to the fiction, then if Dirty Pete doesn't fight back, Dirty Pete ain't walking away, because he's just gotten a long knife in the kidney and is down on the deck bleeding his life out.  The fiction sad he was stabbed, the success roll was made, and stabbed he was.

But I also thought, if Dirty Pete doesn't want to accept being stabbed in the kidney, then he must bring the fight.  But based on Vincent's last post, maybe that doesn't help either?
Like I say there's some interesting play there, but talking about it should wait, I think.

Frankly though, if Dirty Pete's been so bad to our unnamed hero that he WILL KILL HIM and nothing else will satisfy, Dirty Pete's fucked.

---

I just posted this on my blog. It's an excerpt of a short story I'm (purportedly) writing, based on Poison'd. Our narrator is one Ned McCubbins, murdering pirate.

Quote
I have my opportunity the night following. I come upon deck to relieve Filthy Peter of his watch and he's leaning against the railing, watching the lights of Kingston on the far horizon. He's no reason to fear me so I have none for stealth; I draw my pistol as I approach him, place its muzzle square against the back of his head, and blow his brains out through his face.

But, I don't know what - but the discharge still ringing and he spins on me. Blood pouring down the side of his head but his brains still in his skull, and now his knife's in his fist. He's on me, and is his howling or mine the louder?

I say some stuff on my blog about treating the narrator's words with a little sophistication, you can go read it if you want, but the point here is: we can easily imagine what actually happened in the space between the paragraphs. A last-instant flinch of someone or the other, or maybe the pistol ball just slid around Pete's skull instead of smashing through it. We are very comfortable that Ned did his best but the bullet doesn't obey his will and sometimes shit just happens and people don't get dead.

Cool? Let's put the Poison'd rolls in.

Roll 1
"He's no reason to fear me so I have none for stealth" = no ambition vs brutality roll required.

Now at that point in the story, Pete's player could quite legitimately say, "the hell? I'm watching my back for you ALL THE TIME." In that case Ned's player would have to make the ambition vs brutality roll to act with stealth or care to sneak up behind Pete.

Roll 2
"I draw my pistol as I approach him, place its muzzle square against the back of his head, and blow his brains out through his face" = the brutality vs soul roll. If Ned's player fails this roll, he doesn't pull the trigger, or pulls the trigger before putting the muzzle square, or jerks the muzzle away when he pulls the trigger, or whatever. He doesn't effectively carry through his attack.

Roll 3
Here's the interesting play.

In between the paragraphs = Pete's player makes a soul vs devil roll to endure duress. In this case, he wins the roll. Consequently, shit happens, the ball slides around his skull or he flinches at the last instant or whatever, and it wasn't a lethal wound after all.

If Pete's player had lost that roll, it would have been a lethal wound, and that's that for poor Pete. Hope he's on bargaining terms with God Almighty.

It's very reasonable for the wounded to make a roll to endure duress in order to find out whether a wound is actually lethal, if it might not be.

If Ned's serious, though, and WILL KILL HIM and nothing else will satisfy, it's easy to see why Pete's fucked: Ned won't give him wounds that might not be lethal. He'll go straight for decapitation. No endure duress roll for THAT.

Roll 4
The excerpt ends as they're about to roll for the fight.

---

So, Rafial! It's interesting play, I think. Make sense?

-Vincent
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rafial
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« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2008, 01:36:27 AM »

Ho, thanks for picking this back up Vincent!

Quote
In between the paragraphs = Pete's player makes a soul vs devil roll to endure duress. In this case, he wins the roll. Consequently, shit happens, the ball slides around his skull or he flinches at the last instant or whatever, and it wasn't a lethal wound after all.

Yow! So far I've only read through Poison'd and not put it to actual play, but I would have never imagined such a use for endure duress.

But okay, I'm blocking a little bit on:

Quote
If Ned's serious, though, and WILL KILL HIM and nothing else will satisfy, it's easy to see why Pete's fucked: Ned won't give him wounds that might not be lethal. He'll go straight for decapitation. No endure duress roll for THAT.

...combined with (from your blog post)...

Quote
Everybody here understood that "blow his brains out" meant "pull the trigger."

So then why can't we also understand "I chop his fucking head clean off" to mean "I swing my axe"?

And if we are basing things on what's plausible in the fiction, in my mind having a .70 calibre piece of lead shoved though the back of your skull is on pretty equal terms in survivability with an axe to the side of the neck, so I'm having a hard time seeing why one might be more endurable than the other.  But that's just picking on your example: the deal is that if the wound in fiction could conceivably be survivable then the receiver must endure duress to survive.

It also seems like we having something parallel to the "players can keep making rolls till they fail, then the GM can bring the fight".  Ned Cubbins is pretty much in control of pushing stuff into the fiction, until either he fails a roll, or Pete gets the opportunity to succeed on his Endure Duress as a result of Ned pushing an arguably survivable wounding into the ficton.  Only then can the fight be brought.

That's certainly interesting - I'm used to the role of conflict (or is that the conflict roll? :) being how player B can say "hey player A, I really don't want that thing you want pushed into the fiction".  But it seems in Poison'd if its your go, you've pretty much got free reign to load it on as long as the dice keep smiling on you.

And the sort of play you've been describing is not at all what I would have tried to do had I actually sat down and tried to play with the Ashcan.
« Last Edit: March 01, 2008, 01:38:20 AM by rafial » Logged
lumpley
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« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2008, 05:28:52 AM »

Okay! So far so good. Check this out. Your group will use violence as a stylistic element.

When I've played Poison'd, hitting someone in the back of the head with a belaying pin is, in terms of wanting to kill them, a step up from saying hello. Stabbing them in the back is presumed nonlethal, that's how you pick a fight. Shooting them in the back of the head means you want to kill them but you're willing to hear them out first. Tying them down and chopping them into pieces means you mean it.

We play a vivid, blood-soaked Poison'd, we do.

If we were playing it a little more staid, a little more realistic, then yes, you're right. Shooting him in the back of the head would be the kind of thing that makes the group nod with grim faces, and makes Pete's player wish he'd made right with God long since.

Which specific attacks call for the victim to endure duress? That depends on your collective treatment of violence, stylistically. It's this beautiful, interesting feedback loop, same as the supernatural in Dogs, but I haven't figured out how to talk about it and be understood.

-Vincent
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