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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: [IaWA] the game text, some observations  (Read 1454 times)
Moreno R.
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Posts: 547


« on: May 02, 2008, 05:59:27 PM »

Hi Vincent!

After reading the last threads on IaWA (than changed a lot of my impression on the way the game is played), and seeing that next Thursday my group will begin (finally!) to play it regularly, I decided to re-read the game book again, from the beginning. And I though it would be useful to write here my observations, questions, etc, while I did it.

This isn't so much a critique of the text, as a way for me to better learn and remember the rules, check my understanding, get some more information on parts where I have doubts, and ask all my questions in my own thread without derailing the other's.

- The first question is more a curiosity about the reader you had in mind when you wrote the game. I am not talking about targets or something like that, I am curious about the reader you had in mind while you wrote the text (who were you talking to). Because at the beginning, seeing some basic instruction on the organization of the game on page 2, I thought that you wrote it as a game for people who didn't play rpgs before. But now, reading it again more carefully, I noticed that you talk to someone who already know the meaning of "mixed dice" (pag.2, and then on page 4 you use d4, d6, d10, etc without explaining them), and "GM" (page 3), but then you explain on page 4 what a NPC is. It made me think that the game is really for people who already played rpgs, but you wanted a "let's restart from the basic" approach. I am right?

- "creating a particular strength" (page 5), from the text higher on the page it would seems that the first players that finish compling their char sheets then compile the particular strength sheets for other characters, for NPCs and even for no character in particular. Every time I had played until now we had every player do his own particular strength sheet without thinking too much about this, but I would not want to miss something important here (or maybe I am simply misreading the text)

- page 6, best interests, "look at the other characters and guess where they're going to be strong". I didn't notice that "guess" the first time and I had played the game until now in a very "open" way (I even ask to see the other character's sheets before deciding the forms I will use) rereading it it would seems that the game leave the amount of shared informations up to the particular group.

- page 7, "don't plan or speculate", one of the most difficult things in the book. Every time I played until now it was impossible to stop the other players from building a lot of backstory (or even a possible end) even before choosing a character to play from the written elements.

-  the "Bringing life to this wicked age". list at page 9: after reading the last thread am I right in thinking that I should treat this as RULES, and not only advices? Ask players to name a detail and use their senses, making them repeat the description if they at first don't do it, for example?
Because this is a problem I have seen with many players and GMs (and I often do it, too, when I am tired or nervous) usually after a while the description become more and more stylized, without any reference to nothing that has not immediate relevance in a discovery or a conflict, until the SIS really become a transparent shadow where the elements used in a conflict simply hang. From the past threads, it seems that IaWA will not work well if this happen.

- page 10, "playing with scenes", very nice description of the nuts and bolts of framing a scene, I could steal it (I have to write something about scene framing that I promised months ago and I didn't know how to approach the explanation)

- page 11 , "playing with conflicts". When I did read the game the first time I saw here only a very cool explanations of good GM's tecniques. Then playing it the first time I noticed the things the game has in common with Sorcerer and Sword (I wrote a post about this some time ago, in one of the first thread about IaWA). Then after seeing the thing it has in common, I am noticing more and more the things that are different. I was curious about what you took from Sorcerer to this game and why (the cheap and cheesy fantasy game was very different), and the reason of some changes, and this chapter seemed a good point where to talk about it, when it hit me...  no bangs. No talk about bangs anywhere on the book. Not even implied. The GM advices (rules?) are about how to rush up, circle, or draw and existing conflict or conflict of interests between characters. I have still not played it enough to be able to say this for certain, but my impression is that this would create a more "enclosed" narrative, self-sufficient, but I am curious about what other differences this make. (and if I have to de-train myself from using bangs in this game or if it's indifferent)

I will thread the following pages, all from the "Dice, Actions and Consequences", together:

- page 14, at the end: Amek lose the reroll and "has to say what happens and what Amek does that prevents Mekha from carrying out his action". This phrase made me think (and I am not the only one, seeing all the threads about it) that Mekha can't carry his action to the end ("steal the ring" in the usual example) until the end of the conflict. Also, in the examples in the entire chapter it seems that there are unstated stakes (Amek always try do chop Mekha, Mekha always try to escape, only at the end of the conflict it's decided who get what he want)
- page 17, the right-aligned column that start with "if you've played many other role-playing games" imply that the only thing that you can get from a roll is the advantage die. It doesn't talk about the narration and what you can do with it during the conflict. It's another place where the text it's actually misleading, in this case almost lying to the reader ("almost" because it doesn't REALLY say that all you are fighting for is the advantage die. It only make you think so)
In the entire chapter, it isn't explained what you can narrate, what are the limits, and who narrate the last action.
- Page 18, "negotiating consequences", a lot examples are abstract: for example, "how about I lose a die size from my for myself and my for violence instead?", "how about you lose your particular strenght?", and  using the game fiction is treated as optional: "it can include wholly in-fiction circumstances" and "it can include a mix"

The entire chapter was really misleading for me, and imply to me an image of the conflict rules very different from the ones you posted lately. The recent explanations posted that used the "challenger" and "answerer" terms and talked about who narrated what and when were much clearer. I think that you are much better at explaining the game now, and you could think about rewriting that chapter to reflect these clearer explanations.

I cut-and-paste here a question from another thread about the conflict rules, to keep everything in the same thread:
--------------
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"?
-----------------------------

Page 19, advantage die from scratching your name from the Owe list: does it count to see if you go to the owe list another time? (for example, if you get it before the first roll and you use a d6 and a d4, and your opponent use two d6, you get to the owe list or the advantage die count as another d6 for you?)

page 20, the text don't talk about what "bigger dice" mean when there is a particular strength die in the roll

page 25, "...and finish the wine". Not if you are driving home, I hope...  :-)

Page 25: "place this chapter in time and space relative to the last one". Who do this? The player of the character on top of the Owe list? The GM? Everybody?

Thank you for reading (and, I hope, answering) this long list of question and suppositions, I really can't wait to play finally a real series of chapters with IaWA!
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Ciao,
Moreno.

(Excuse my errors, English is not my native language. I'm Italian.)
David Artman
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Posts: 606

Designer & Producer


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« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2008, 07:35:39 AM »

I'll try to save Vincent some typing on the mechanical ones (assuming *I* interpret them correctly):

Quote
Page 19, advantage die from scratching your name from the Owe list: does it count to see if you go to the owe list another time? (for example, if you get it before the first roll and you use a d6 and a d4, and your opponent use two d6, you get to the owe list or the advantage die count as another d6 for you?)
I'd say yes:
"whenever you are rolling dice, if you want to, erase one occurrence..."
SO your example above implies that (a) you picked your two forms, (b) they were d0 and d4, and (c) you pulled the advantage die for the round one roll. Until such time, you are not "rolling dice." And, as such, yes, the two d6 are bigger than your d6 and d4.

Quote
page 20, the text don't talk about what "bigger dice" mean when there is a particular strength die in the roll
Page 19 defines smaller dice, and "bigger" is just the opposite of smaller, right?

SO if you narrate in your d8 particular strength, an advantage d6 for striking one of your names off of the Owe list, and use two d6 forms then you'll be rolling d8 + 3d6. Meanwhile, your opponent activates just two forms: a d10 and d4. YOU have the smaller dice because you first compare your d8 to his d10. He's bigger, "even though your dice total to more sides" (p.19).

And, again, I'd say you'd get on the Owe list, if you are still in the fight (i.e. if his highest roll doesn't double your highest roll).
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lumpley
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« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2008, 04:11:14 AM »

Moreno, thanks.

Thanks for the PM too. Accordingly:

Page 25: "place this chapter in time and space relative to the last one". Who do this? The player of the character on top of the Owe list? The GM? Everybody?

Everybody. You'll find that the people who care most are the player of the character on top of the owe list and the GM, so let them do it, with everybody else participating as they like.

(p3-4) Yes, the audience for my writing (not exactly the same thing as the audience for my game) is roleplayers. Particularly, it's existing roleplayers who are basically interested in our games but haven't played any or many of them yet. In the game text I assume a lot of "common knowledge" GMing patterns and player-character relationships, which is I think part of the reason that Forge folks are having trouble with it. (Not all the reason.)

(p5) Not every character even necessarily gets a particular strength. Generally, whoever wants one can have one, created by whomever, unless it's slowing the group down. I assume that most groups will establish as habit that every player makes one for her own character, which is perfectly fine. The rules don't specify.

(p6) Everybody should be assigning dice to their forms independently at the same time, so you can't really know others' forms when assigning your own. Otherwise, I always play with the character sheets public.

(p7) Kill it! Kill! You'll have a lot more fun. Establish backstory only when you declare best interests, AS you declare best interests, and only as much as you need to make the best interests make sense.

(p9) Yes, rules. Strictly enforced. It's better to end a chapter unresolved because people are tired than to skimp on descriptions.

Notice especially (I've said this elsewhere) that at any time you can turn to Mitch and say, "so Mitch, tell us about the religion of the horse tribes?" and he should lead you in some world-building.

(p10) Too open-ended for this post! The short answer: if you have to choose between bangs and playing by the rules, play by the rules. You probably won't have to choose.

Okay. Now.

Narration can get bent. The rules never assign narration rights to anybody. Sometimes they tell you to say what your character does, and sometimes they tell you to say what comes of it, taking into account certain mandated considerations; these are narration responsibilities, not narration rights.

Here's the rule: As long as everyone's fulfilling their responsibilities, anyone can say anything about anything, otherwise. Don't consider it binding just because you said it; consider it a suggestion.

So all of your questions like "can I narrate this? Can I narrate this," the answer's the same: no, never. You can say it, whatever it is, and your group's assent will make it true, or else as a group you'll keep talking and revise it into something else and make that true instead.

-Vincent
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jenskot
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« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2008, 08:21:35 AM »

Narration can get bent. The rules never assign narration rights to anybody. Sometimes they tell you to say what your character does, and sometimes they tell you to say what comes of it, taking into account certain mandated considerations; these are narration responsibilities, not narration rights.

Here's the rule: As long as everyone's fulfilling their responsibilities, anyone can say anything about anything, otherwise. Don't consider it binding just because you said it; consider it a suggestion.

So all of your questions like "can I narrate this? Can I narrate this," the answer's the same: no, never. You can say it, whatever it is, and your group's assent will make it true, or else as a group you'll keep talking and revise it into something else and make that true instead.

Am I correct in saying:

narration responsibilities = nothing stated is final and may be limited, expanded, or changed based on group style and consensus?

So when the rules specify that the Answerer is the one that narrates how they take the blow, reverse, or dodge... this is their responsibility (vs. say the Challenger's responsibility) but the narration is never final without being approved implicitly or explicitly by the group at large?
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lumpley
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« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2008, 08:48:40 AM »

Of course! I couldn't've said it better myself.

-Vincent
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