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46709 Posts in 5588 Topics by 13297 Members Latest Member: - Shane786 Most online today: 138 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: [IaWA] Breaking Bad Habits  (Read 24720 times)
jenskot
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« Reply #45 on: April 30, 2008, 09:46:20 AM »

Note that, for myself (and maybe your own sanity) it might be best if you did winner, proactive narration rather than loser, reactive narration. Some scenes sort of demand the latter (sneaking around, a chase scene); but for a straight-up fight, I'd prefer winner narration over trying to come up with some way to self-disadvantage after every losing roll. Plus, with loser narration, it's tempting to get into mealy mouth "disadvantages" like "I get the ring back, but slip and fall at your feet." --yeah, you get the MacGuffin, but it feels 'wrong' to me to be able to "lose" and yet gain the MacGuffin under dispute, if only for a round... but what's to say I don't keep it the whole exchange, and as such end "losing" in possession of he ring? Well, nothing--and that's how you get rolling battles. You'll have that ring if you have to lop off my hand--and head--to keep it....
I thought Vincent clarified in this thread that by the rules as written, the Answerer is the one who described how they dodge, reverse, or take the blow. And that when it comes down to who describes the outcome, that it doesn't matter who wins or loses the action roll.

Vincent, please check me on this. My understanding from all these threads is that as written, the rules indicate the following:

- Fight!
- Roll initiative.
- The person who wins initiative is the Challenger.
- The person who loses initiative is the Answerer.
- The Challenger describes an action, "I grab the ring from you."

- Roll actions.
- The dice results DO NOT resolve what happens, but instead resolves who has the advantage and eventually who takes damage.
- Either way, the Answerer is the one who describes what happens.
- If the Challenger loses, the Answerer could say, "I run away with the ring."
- If the Challenger wins, the Answerer could say, "I run away with the ring but you catch up to me and kick the crap out of me."
- Regardless of the dice results, the Answerer can decide who has the ring in any manner they like as long as they make sure to indicate who has the advantage.

- Let's say it's the final round.
- The Challenger wins and the Answerer responds with, "I run away with the ring but you catch up to me and kick the crap out of me."
- Now the Challenger and Answerer negotiate.
- Note, the Answerer has the ring because the last person to lose initiative gets to decide what happens, where everyone is, and who has what before final negotiation happens.
- The Challenger can make an offer or damage the Answerer.
- The Answerer can make a counter offer or take damage.
- In effect, who ever loses the initiative in the last round has final say over the situation's color unless they give that up to avoid taking damage.
- And who ever wins the conflict roll in the last round has potential leverage over negotiating elements of the situation's color and has the ability to damage the loser.

QUESTION: Based on the rules as written, is the above correct?

Rock,
John
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David Artman
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« Reply #46 on: April 30, 2008, 10:13:11 AM »

Hmmm... I'm losing it, now. WTF did I mean, an hour ago?

So we got:
initiative-winner - keeps dice and, after defense below, becomes one of these:
* challenger-winner > gets Add Die but narrates nothing
* challenger-loser > gets nothing, says nothing (s/he's had his/r turn, at the challenge)

initiative-loser > defends and becomes one of these:
* answerer-winner > gets Add Die; and narrates self-advantage and, probably, self-gain
* answerer-loser > gets nothing (except maybe We Owe); and narrates challenger-loser advantage, possibly with self-gain

It seemed so simple until there was a damned ring involved. Act, react, get die (or not), keep going until you have the stick. I think it gets fucked up during the narration type that I bolded above... and, yeah, maybe that's what I was driving at earlier (and maybe I'm now swinging Mike's way): It strikes me as Wrong to lose a challenge, but answer in a manner which thwarts the challenger's intent, EVEN THOUGH there's nothing about the action sequence that considers or cares about intent.

Does it just come down to "I'm gonna beat on your ass until I can pry it from your dead hands, so give over"?
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lumpley
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« Reply #47 on: April 30, 2008, 10:22:26 AM »

John: yes, correct. Absolutely correct.

...Lord, I'm such a nitpicker. This probably goes without saying, but let me add one caveat:
- Regardless of the dice results, the Answerer can decide who has the ring in any manner they like provided it's stylistically appropriate as long as they make sure to indicate who has the advantage.
...
Quote
- In effect, who ever loses the initiative in the last round has final say over the situation's color provided it's stylistically appropriate unless they give that up to avoid taking damage.

The rules don't give the answerer permission to fuck around with the group's established style. For instance, in examples, I'm prone to answers like "four days later, I..." In some groups that'll be fair play; in others, not. The rules don't give you license to violate your group's standards.

Sometimes, case by case, your group's stylistic standards will dictate who has the ring. Like, every once in a while, it'll be a violation of the group's style for the answerer to say "...and you have the ring." That's fine, it's not a contradiction of the general rule that it's the answerer's say.

But, John, yes. Correct.

-Vincent

(edited to fix quote tags)
« Last Edit: April 30, 2008, 11:21:53 AM by lumpley » Logged
jenskot
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« Reply #48 on: April 30, 2008, 11:20:00 AM »

Vincent, thanks for the reply.

Please nitpick as much as needed. My goal here is to 100% understand your intent. Whatever it takes works for me!

If I understand your caveat correctly, you are saying that the limits of what the answerer can and can not describe are situational and relative to your group's style of play. One group may be comfortable allowing the answerer to describe changes that affect time and space where another group would be more comfortable limiting the answerer's description to the here and now. Makes perfect sense to me!

I'm having a little bit of difficulty understanding:

Sometimes, case by case, your group's stylistic standards will dictate who has the ring. Like, every once in a while, it'll be a violation of the group's style for the answerer to say "...and you have the ring." That's fine, it's not a contradiction of the general rule that it's the answerer's say.

Are you saying that depending on a group's play style, they can limit the Answerer's ability to dictate who has the ring?

If yes, I agree that this does not contradict the general rule that it's the Answerer's say. As they can still describe how they react to the Challengers action as long as it is strictly limited to the Answerer's character and doesn't affect any other fictional elements.

As a consequence, I suspect that if you make the Answerer's ability to dictate who has the ring optional, then the negotiation mechanics swing hugely in the favor of the challenger who won the final action round giving the losing Answerer very little to negotiate with.

Is that accurate?
And if yes, is that your intention?
(I just imaged you saying... there is no intent, just action and lunging at me with a stick... hahahahahaha)

Thanks,
John
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Moreno R.
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« Reply #49 on: April 30, 2008, 11:22:24 AM »

Question: I get kicked around but I get to keep the ring. I know that my adversary will attack me again to get it. Can I narrate the end of the conflict like "I jump in the rapids and the water push me way", getting injured but getting far from my attacker, too?

It seems to me that heroes - and even villains - do this all the time in the literature, but this would make it even worse for Mike, because in this way the loser could get away with the ring without a second conflict

But, now, that I am thinking about it, the attacker could say "I will find you in a few hours", and than I would go "No, you fucking don''t", and we would have the follow-up conflict right there. This would be an acceptable conflict or it would be too vague, and a conflict should be about what the character do right there, not "during the following hours"?
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Moreno.

(Excuse my errors, English is not my native language. I'm Italian.)
lumpley
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« Reply #50 on: April 30, 2008, 11:45:05 AM »

John: Say that an action sequence goes so that my character's clinging to a ledge, your character's stomping her hands, and our group's style is all about the split-second small-scale actions. Like, my character grabbing onto your character's ankle would be a style-appropriate answer, or my character gritting her teeth and digging her fingers in, enduring the stomping - really split-second stuff. It'd be very difficult under those conditions for me to insist credibly that my character grabs the ring from yours, no matter how well I roll.

Most of the time my character won't be hanging off a ledge, of course, and there'll be some way I can have her snag the ring, even within our split-second style, so it's not really an exception to the rule. Just a nuance, a nitpick.

-Vincent
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jenskot
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« Reply #51 on: April 30, 2008, 11:56:21 AM »

Cool! Then I did misunderstand before. Makes perfect sense to me now. Thanks for taking the time to clarify.

Rock,
John
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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #52 on: May 01, 2008, 04:41:21 AM »

The style issue is something that probably deserves it's own thread (I'm dubious in some ways). But I don't think that it's relevant to our problem. Our problem, in fact, was that we adhered to the group's style guidelines well, but that the system made us feel uncomfortable in doing so. I'm tempted to use the term foolish. How I feel when I'm forced to do something tactically unsound due to stylistic considerations that do not have (or at least do not seem to have) any mechanical incentive.

John, have I captured how you felt correctly? I don't want to mischaracterize how you felt. But you expressed this idea at the time, and I concurred with your assessment. If I understood it correctly.

Mike
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jenskot
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« Reply #53 on: May 01, 2008, 07:25:26 AM »

Mike,

You definitely captured how I and others felt at different times.

At the time I felt like I didn't have the power to get what I want using my mechanical advantages (particular strengths for example) or what made my character special and cool, nor did I feel I ever had the authority over color to give myself any leverage in negotiations. Which was frustrating. Details here: http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?topic=26081.msg250343#msg250343

But now that Vincent has clarified how he intends the rules to work, every game I've played of IAWA was wrong (which literally means there are around 40 people playing the game incorrectly in different ways who all learned the rules on their own that I personally know). We were right that the mechanics do not resolve intents (although you have the ability to pressure your opponent to get your intent). But we were wrong regarding who gets to say what in the fiction, how often we can alter the fiction, authority over the color added to the fiction, and the leverage that color would give us in negotiations. Which makes a huge difference!

I love describing tactically unsound actions. But to do so, I need to feel the color is important and reinforced in some manner with authority. Which it is IAWA. It's done in a way that is unique. But it's there.

I would really like to play again now that we have these clarifications and come back with Actual Play to see how things change.

At first I was fixated on figuring out what the text was or was not telling me. Especially since almost everyone seemed to be playing differently. But I've put that aside for now and would rather know how Vincent intends the game to be played. Play the hell out of it that way. And then come back with any revelations.

Originally this thread made me upset. I don't think all the problems are due to bad habits. At least not from my play. Especially since I dislike many of the fashions described as bad habits and try to avoid them when I can. And I've played with people who never played an RPG before who had many of the same problems we had in play. That all being said, that doesn't mean there aren't people who are having problems because of bad habits. In my case, for whatever reason, we've just been playing wrong in some pretty fundamental huge ways! That being said, although this thread originally upset me, I am now very thankful for it as I feel like I understand now what went wrong and can try to correct it. Thanks Vincent! And thanks Mike for articulating all these issues for further discussion.

Rock,
John
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Jonathan Walton
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« Reply #54 on: May 01, 2008, 08:32:04 AM »

Like John, reading this thread and the other IAWA threads just made me angrier and angrier, like I wanted to yell at someone.  I was beginning to expect that maybe, despite the things I really like about it, that I actually hated IAWA as a game, because the dice mechanics didn't actually do anything that I found remotely interesting, but the text had somehow fooled me into thinking they did, causing me weeks of stress and confusion after two failed attempts to play the game and Vincent's apparent suggestion that that failure was the fault of my play group because of previously accumulated "bad habits."

Then I got to John's post where he laid out, in very simple terms, who has narrative authority in action sequences.  That put everything in terms I could understand, whereas all this talk of rings and whether or not anything got resolved was making me more and more confused and frustrated.  If that's all this has been about, I feel like I'd be willing to try the game again, but I suspect that there are other unresolved issues here.

Some of the suggestions that Vincent makes seem like training wheels to try to help groups move from a play style that they're used to (from playing a bunch of other indie games, mostly) to the play style his home group uses when playing IAWA.  The GM picking which forms to use is the most prominent example, I think.  However, thinking about some of the people I would like to play IAWA with, I doubt that the training wheels will ever be able to come off, in many cases.  That is, unless there is some reason that players cannot pick their best dice to roll every single time (and the We Owe List isn't a big enough incentive), some players will always roll their best dice.

So... in summary, I'm starting to suspect that playing IAWA with some play groups is actually not just a matter of not getting the rules right.  I'm beginning to suspect that, for many of the play groups I might want to play IAWA with, playing the game without a sizable number of training wheels is always going to be an unmitigated disaster, because they're never going to play like Vincent's group because they aren't really interested in doing so.  And I find that really disappointing because I'm only discovering this now, after two botched attempts to play the game with groups that were never going to like it in the first place.
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lumpley
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« Reply #55 on: May 01, 2008, 09:49:55 AM »

I would really like to play again now that we have these clarifications and come back with Actual Play to see how things change.

John, I'm really looking forward to hearing how this works out! I'm glad that, for all the frustration, and for my egregious misdiagnosis, this thread has been helpful to you.

Everybody:

I'm happy to answer questions about how to play. I'm happy to answer questions about why the game does what it does and is what it is - but that's answer questions, not argue, and especially not answer to disappointed expectations. I can't possibly take them on as my responsibility.

Jonathan, if you want me to talk with you about your doubts and suspicions, please ask me questions, okay?

Anybody else, Mike or anybody, if you have questions I haven't answered, please ask them too. I'm sure I missed many. A new thread would be the place.

-Vincent
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Moreno R.
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« Reply #56 on: May 01, 2008, 10:33:54 AM »

When I wanted to learn to play DitV, I found lots and lots of actual play postings at the Forge that helped me. The same happened with many other games from that period. Some games I have never played but I already do know enough about them from reading actual play postings that I can at least understand what people mean when they talk about some mechanic or another.

The big, important part, was that these post talked about what people did, at the table, not only about the imaginary content. They talked about what happened at the table and what it did mean in the fiction, and the reverse.

Now, living in the other side of the world, and not having the chance of having the new game demoed for me at Gencon, I ofter find myself in the situation of having to choose the games to buy only from reading reviews, actual play postings, or the previews from the publisher's site. And It's becoming more and more difficult to find good (clear and concrete) actual play postings that talk about what people DO WHEN THEY PLAY at a game. The best actual play posters don't post them anymore  (with some important exception - for example, the ones from Christopher Kubasik are usually golden, and he's not the only one left), the actual play post are few and a lot of new people only post the imaginary content, the "story", and it's not a lot useful.

This thread don't enrage me, even if it showed me that I made many mistakes playing IAWA the first two times. I would like to read a lot more threads like this, about a lot of games, talking about how they are played, in concrete terms. If Jonathan's and Vincent's group play in a very different way, it's very useful to read about how they play, both before choosing a game they describe, and after that, to understand how different people can play it.

"Bad Habits"? I have a lot of them. Many even about playing games.  I really don't find any offense in stating this obvious thing. I want games that challenge them, and I want to learn to play in different way from the usual (for me).

P.S:  Jonathan:
Quote
That is, unless there is some reason that players cannot pick their best dice to roll every single time (and the We Owe List isn't a big enough incentive), some players will always roll their best dice.
This happened in my last game until I trounced another character with the helping die from the Owe List used from the first roll (and getting another time my name on the owe list at the same time). Then everybody scrambled to get their name there, too. From what I have seen in play until now (that, I admit, it's not a lot of playing to base my observations) using the Owe list, even in a one-shot, it's the real, true "winning tactic". If you always use your best dice you will be trounced by someone that will counter your d12 with a d10+1d6, take the advantage, and go then to 1d10+1d6+1d6 (the most probable results is 12-13, against your single d12....)

P.S.: I wrote this before Vincent's reply, but reading it...  I have still a unanswered question, seven posts before this. If somebody didn't already answer it and I didn't notice it...
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Moreno.

(Excuse my errors, English is not my native language. I'm Italian.)
Mike Holmes
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« Reply #57 on: May 01, 2008, 12:11:38 PM »

I probably should take John's approach, and just try it again playing correctly by the rules. I admit that, in theory, the problems we had might be due to not playing correctly.

But I suspect that the corrections to the improper uses of the rules that we had in play won't actually ameliorate the problem. The question, Vincent, is if I have the authority to deny you that thing which you are trying to get, which authority comes from a contest that I initiated expressly for preventing you from getting that thing, why would I let you have that thing?

Your argument seems to be that for some groups that they'd just do it. I'm thinking that it would be rare. More importantly, I'm thinking I'd never do it.

And if I'd never do it, doesn't that recast the entire system into a multi-contest system for obtaining anything? For me at least? If I do give for no good tactical reason, in order to feel that I've made an appropriately dramatic entry, I'm going to feel bad that I've had to give up some of my success in order to do that. Shouldn't I be rewarded instead?

Doesn't the rule that rewards me with getting on the owe list for doing something tactically unsound play this way? Why don't the other rules?


Now, of course, this is all speculative until I actually play with the actual rules. We at best can say for sure that our bad feelings came out of the set of rules we concocted on the spot. Maybe there's some effect of the proper rules in combination that may occur to make it all work out. But I'm skeptical.


Another unanswered question is that of narration scope for negotiated outcomes. What's viable to agree to having happened in the past tense? Anything? Or are negotiations really only always verbal promises made between the characters? What's the guidline there? Anyone who has the rules, could you answer? Again, I'm not sure what they say on this matter.


As for the question that Jonathan and Moreno raise about always using high dice, I think that's a valid question, too. Actually I'd phrase it: There seem to be two sorts of action a player can take, one intended to stop an opponent, and one intended to get on the owe list. The owe list actions actually do incentivize using low dice... but not neccessarily the lowest. This is a fascinating mechanic, brilliant, even. But there are times when I chose not to pursue that objective, and to instead am trying to get what I want, and in those cases, why would I chose lower than max dice? Especially if I know that if I don't go way low, I can't be the lowest?


Note that the discovery that the winner can, in some few cases, be the answerer is cool. This solves the problem in each of those cases, certainly. So at the very least that ameliorates the problem somewhat. And the "GM decides" method will, of course, fix the problem with dice selection. So I may well use that variant. Maybe. As long as players can attempt to make an action sound like it'll hit low dice, in order to get on the owe list, I think it would work for me.

Mike
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Marshall Burns
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« Reply #58 on: May 01, 2008, 04:29:48 PM »

Why would anyone do something in a game that put them at a disadvantage, with no renumeration or consolation or whatever?

Because, sometimes, it's COOL. 

What other reason do you need?

I haven't had a chance to look at IAWA, but I do that in all other games I've played. 
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jenskot
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« Reply #59 on: May 01, 2008, 06:12:44 PM »

Note that the discovery that the winner can, in some few cases, be the answerer is cool. This solves the problem in each of those cases, certainly. So at the very least that ameliorates the problem somewhat. And the "GM decides" method will, of course, fix the problem with dice selection. So I may well use that variant. Maybe. As long as players can attempt to make an action sound like it'll hit low dice, in order to get on the owe list, I think it would work for me.
I'm still couch surfing and all my games are in storage so I may be remembering the rules wrong but provided I'm not, if I really wanted to game the system because I really badly wanted something, I would go in with low dice, get on the owe list, wait till the last round where hopefully I lose initiative, and before I roll as the Answerer, cross my name off the owe list, gain a bonus die and the roll increasing my chances to win as the Answerer. Master of color and the stick!!! Even though this is super gamey, I could easily imagine the narrative of this back and forth being quite cool.

Funny enough, IAWA feels like pro wrestling in real life! I depend on my opponent to sell my moves so I can get over with the crowd and look cool but if they as the Answerer make me look like a fool as the Challenger, then I can rough them up by dealing out stiff shots at them till they learn to play nice and sell for me. Hahahahahaha.

Why would anyone do something in a game that put them at a disadvantage, with no renumeration or consolation or whatever?

Because, sometimes, it's COOL.
2 Dreamations ago Vincent and I played Dogs in the Vineyard. I played this pissed off kid who had daddy issues. My initiation conflict was, "Do I shoot my dad.......... for a second time?" I had a chip on my shoulder for having a dead beat drunk of a father.

Later, some crazy kid is running around causing all forms of un-heavenly chaos. I flip out and confront the kid's mom ready to beat her down in a conflict over me chastising her for raising such an awful boy. Vincent sees my raise with the mom saying, "I had to raise him all alone without a father." Holy crap! He hit my buttons perfectly with narration and even though I was kicking ass mechanically I had to give on the conflict. He schooled me with color!
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