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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: [Trollbabe] Escaping from a fight  (Read 2453 times)
MikeF
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Posts: 37


« on: May 14, 2008, 10:32:22 AM »

Just picked up my copy of Trollbabe, and firstly let me say how much I love the reroll system. I've been toying a lot with the Token Effort system of In Spaaace! and I keep running up against its inherent gameability, and the fact that it makes so much of the conflict take place in the metagame, with the player trying to outguess the GM. The reroll system from trollbabe seems to me to be a much more elegant approach, as it allows the player to escalate those conflicts that they really care about, but without having to worry about what the GM is trying to achieve. Really empowering for the player.

That said, I am struggling to understand how one particular type of conflict is supposed to work out: escaping from something. What happens if a PC finds themselves embroiled in a fight that they want no part of. Say the trollbabe finds herself on a bridge deep in the Mines of Moldavia, desperately trying to fight off a CGI fire demon with nifty flame-whip. The player decides they want no part of this fight, so their goal is "I escape from the monster." The monster's goal, on the other hand, is pretty basic: to capture the PC.

As I read the rules, if the player fails their first roll then they are simply 'discommoded' - but they're not incapacitated, which means that surely they're not actually captured either. What is to stop the player from abandoning the series at this point, discommoded, but still out of the conflict. They lose but they win at the same time, since they still escape from the monster. Alternatively if the GM rules that because they've failed then they ARE captured, doesn't this lessen the value to the PC in rerolling? For each stage of the series they actually face pretty much the same outcome if they fail (being captured), but are simply risking more and more in order to avoid it.

Michael.
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Alan
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« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2008, 11:23:19 AM »

Hi Michael,

In Trollbabe, a character's intent is not applied until after the last roll of the conflict. Whoever narrates must take that into account when they describe outcomes of intermediate rolls. So if you're pace is 2 or 3 then no one can narrate a final result until the Trollbabe wins or loses a total of 2 series and declines further rerolls.

If the intent is escape, then the intermediate discommodes might involve being caught in the whip or in a claw, running up a set of stairs but being knocked over, etc. etc. provided the Trollbabe still has latitude for action. That's what "discommoded" means in the game.

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- Alan

A Writer's Blog: http://www.alanbarclay.com
jburneko
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Posts: 1429


« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2008, 11:26:35 AM »

Having just re-read Trollbabe the other night.  Here's my understanding with the usual disclaimer that Ron can correct me if I'm wrong.

1) NPCs do not set Goals.  Only Trollbabes.  So the monster's Goal is not to capture the Trollbabe.  The monster is the monster in the way of her escape. RAWR!

2) The Trollbabe abandoned the conflict, so we know she can not escape.  So there she is with the monster still coming down on her and no way out.  RAWR!  What's the next conflict?

Jesse
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Arturo G.
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Posts: 333


« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2008, 11:35:34 AM »

Hi, Mike!

When you start a conflict the goal of the involved characters are stated. In your example they are pretty clear. If the Trollbabe does not succeed, her goal is not achieved. It does not depend on her state at the end of the conflict (page 13 of the game text).

Thus, in your example, if the Trollbabe is incommoded or hurt, and gives-up, she does not get the goal. The player narrates how is she captured and how is she incommoded or hurt while she is captured, in any way the player may imagine. But the Trollbabe is captured anyway.

I hope this helps you.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2008, 11:49:53 AM »

Hi Michael,

Alan's right, but I think I need to break out a couple of principles for you.

The first is that a conflict always concerns the trollbabe's immediate intent, as stated during "fair and clear." This is crucial, because nothing that happens until the whole conflict is mechanically over, can negate the conflict.

It also means that success is success, and failure is failure - no narration may alter this constraint. This is a larger concept than "narrate how she's discommoded," for instance. That narration is still subject to the constraint. If the player chooses to end the conflict at this time, then the trollbabe is not only discommoded (the smaller-scale requirement of the narration), she has also failed in her intent (the larger-scale, constraining requirement of the narration).

Therefore your example about escaping is breaking the rules. It satisfies only the smaller requirement and not the larger.

What this means is that the narrational element of play cannot be gamed to weasel out of the effects of the dice.

Here's another principle: never mind the NPC's goals, when framing a conflict. You as GM can play what they say and do, but what they actually do will be subject to narrational question marks later. One does not say, "I am trying to escape," and expect the GM to say, "He's trying to capture you." This is story-boarding. Instead, the GM and the player have already played the events of the foe leaping at her and shouting "I'm-a gonna get ya!", up through the fair-and-clear.

This may sound like a quibble, but it's not. Nor is it an application of the distinction between in-character and out-of-character; the GM could just as easily have said, "He's leaping at you and acting like he wants to catch you." It's a crucial element of the timing of the rules in action: the point is that the trollbabe's intent-in-action is what the dice are dealing with.

So that brings us back to the first principle, emphasizing the mechanical design that says it's not about whether the trollbabe succeeds vs. whether the foe succeeds. It's only about whether she succeeds or fails.

She either escapes (suceeds) or is caught (fails) - that is set in stone. If the player chooses to end the conflict after a failed roll partway through the series, that is failure, and hence, means she is absolutely caught. Being discommoded or injured or whatever is secondary to that.

So let's look at this point you made:

Quote
if the player fails their first roll then they are simply 'discommoded' - but they're not incapacitated, which means that surely they're not actually captured either.

... which is 100% mistaken, I'm afraid, as a starting point. Your "which means" is incorrect if the player chooses to end the conflict here - in which case, yes, being discommoded is the same as being captured, by definition.

If, on the other hand, the player decides to continue the re-rolling series, then the trollbabe may be discommoded any old way, including not being captured yet, but also by definition, she is still in the conflict and may yet be captured.

So: upon a failed roll, the player first chooses failure or success as the substance of the narration, and then and only then considers the necessary requirement of the details of the narration.

Does that help, or make sense?

Best, Ron

Whoa! The above two replies were posted as I typed! What a bunch of Trollbabe junkies.
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MikeF
Member

Posts: 37


« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2008, 12:20:07 PM »

Hi Ron, et al,

Thanks, yes, that does absolutely make sense. I'm saying this out loud to make sure I've understood properly: If the player chooses 'escape' as their intent, then a failure - whether because they step out of the conflict 'discommoded' after the first roll, or are 'incapacitated' after the third or fourth roll - means that they are captured. The narration about being discommoded or incapacitated after that is only going to affect what sort of options she has now that the monster has her in its clutches.

I think I was reading the rules as implying that disengaging from a conflict early on automatically means escaping from the threat, and that stemmed from thinking in terms of the NPCs having a goal too. In fact in my example the player has put themselves in that position by choosing 'escape' as their goal. If they had tried to evade a fight by aiming for a goal like 'hide so the monster doesn't see me', or 'run over that narrow bridge where the monster can't follow me' then a failure would not at that point automatically mean capture. Instead, as jburneko says, the PC would just be faced with a new conflict: she didn't hide successfully, the monster is still bearing down on her, what is she going to do about it?

Excellent, that really clarifies things, and confirms that Trollbabe doesn't lend itself to easy gaming of the system. Rerolls rock. And thanks for the amazingly rapid replies!
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2008, 07:31:33 PM »

Hi Mike,

You got it!

I'm glad you're OK with the rapid replies, which looked a bit like a good-natured dogpile for a minute there.

Best, Ron
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