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46709 Posts in 5588 Topics by 13297 Members Latest Member: - Shane786 Most online today: 38 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: [In A Wicked Age...] Social Conflict Subtlety  (Read 1953 times)
jburneko
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Posts: 1429


« on: April 02, 2008, 03:48:18 PM »

I've seen it said that there is no social conflict resolution in In A Wicked Age... However, given my reading of the text I think I see a subtlety in that statement and I would like to know if my reading is correct.

I think the key is in "intends harm" and "takes action."  So a vizier and his king are arguing.  So long as that argument remains in the realm of debate and rhetoric no dice are rolled.  But if the vizier turns to the advisory council and says, "Is a king who cheats on his wife worthy to rule?" then we can take that to dice because no the vizier intends to harm the king's reputation and has taken steps to do so.

Similar if the king were to shout in anger, "Remember your place, vizier!  Remember the gutter from which I saved you!" then we could roll dice because the king intends to harm the vizier's ego and status and is wielding his position and title as weapon.

Social and Emotional conflicts are okay so long as there is social and emotional harm at risk.

Am I correct?

Jesse
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Brand_Robins
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« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2008, 08:51:44 PM »

In Wicked you don't roll dice for conversation. But that doesn't have to mean you don't roll dice for social conflicts.

I think Wicked often works best when "conversation" means "not forcing." Once you have decided that you are going to do something, or make someone do something, and you no longer are interested in letting them have a choice then dice are on. If you are all like "I'm going to argue and argue and argue, but at the end if they refuse nothing painful, harmful, or shattering will happen to them" then you're in a conversation, no dice.

I'd ditto rough housing with someone but being unwilling to actually beat them until they bleed. Noogieing your kid brother doesn't count for dice rolling, unless one of you is willing to gut the other about it.

So, if you're like "Sure, words are my weapon, but if bitch doesn't bow down and do as he's told, he's going to end up broken as a human being by the end of the scene" then dice may well fit.

Cause really, its all about having dice only when the things being done are going to fit the consequences. If what you're doing can't result in the person being injured or exhausted, then what you're doing doesn't make mechanical sense as a place to be rolling dice. If you can't think how the person refusing to do what you want, or failing to stop you, won't result in them bleeding or unconscious or weeping out of control then you shouldn't be rolling dice just because what the system outcome will be won't make sense. But if you can see how that would happen, and are at the point where they are either going to do what you want or get that stick... then roll away.
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- Brand Robins
jburneko
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Posts: 1429


« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2008, 10:23:03 PM »

I actually went back through some old posts and found the one that had put it in my head that there is no social conflict.  The thread was REALLY about the lack of *persuasion* mechanics.  Which makes a lot more sense.

Jesse
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Valvorik
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Posts: 114


« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2008, 08:38:42 AM »

I also think of IAWA as very much a "story game" and a story of "A was convinced of this and then conviced B but later had their mind changed by C etc." is not so exciting - somebody better pull a knife sometime (oh sorry, that's Dogs, but same idea).  "A was publicly shamed for refusing to admit the superiority of B's argument before the rest of their relatives" or "A choose to be convinced rather be shamed by the [dice said] superior argument" is more interesting.

That said last night I ran a 1st time game for two friends, both of whom chose Particular Strengths to do with supernaturally effective talking (the Lord of Leprechauns had the Gift of the Blarney, don't you know) and letting them "play a bit more talky" using those didn't seem too wrong to me.

Rob
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10465


« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2008, 09:26:09 AM »

Bumping this up, I think it's an important question... Vincent, any response? I mean I can see it meaning either thing from the text, and I really wonder what the intent is. I mean, why have that statement about discussion, if it's not to mean that there's no social conflict? And if that's the case... that seems very problematic to me. Might just be me, though.

Mike
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lumpley
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« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2008, 09:49:55 AM »

I endorse Brand's answer.

I didn't answer before because I'd been talking about it at the time in another thread, and Jesse clearly found that other thread. Probably this one: [IaWA] Concrete actions questions. Mike, let me know if that doesn't answer your concern.

-Vincent
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jburneko
Member

Posts: 1429


« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2008, 10:04:19 AM »

I had a chance to play In A Wicked Age... this weekend and I think we had a scene that was very illustrative of this point.  As the GM one of my NPCs was a guardian spirit bound to a PC.  Another PC was a demon god of blood and vengeance.  So, the demon god comes to the spirit guardian and is bargaining about getting the spirit guardian to betray his ward.  I had really gotten into my head that, that was cosmically impossible.  That had the spirit guardian WANTED to betray his ward the ritual binding him wouldn't allow it.

So the player playing the demon god kept putting things on the table and I pretty much kept rejecting them based on, "Sorry, magical binding forbids it."  Want to be free?  Sure, but it's not my call?  Turn on your master!  Sorry, can't.  Turn on your master, if we can break your binding?  Sure, but that isn't likely to happen.  Swear on the Spirit Oath that if we break your binding you'll turn on your master?  Would if I could, but can't, sorry.  That kind of stuff.  No dice.

Then the player of the demon god said this, "If you can't swear an oath how about you give me all the memories of your last lover to hold until our bargain is complete."

And right there I was backed into a mental wall.  This wasn't just a bargain anymore.  This was a power play (concrete action) that would put the spirit guardian at a serious disadvantage (harm) if he agreed.  I honestly did not know how to respond.  I NEEDED the dice to make the call for me.  We rolled, I lost.  I didn't push into a second round and just accepted the consequences and the demon god drank the spirit's memories down in a wine glass.  It was awesome.

Jesse
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10465


« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2008, 10:05:00 AM »

I liked Brand's answer, so I am very content with that reply. :-)

The reference thread helps a ton, too.

Thanks,
Mike
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