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Author Topic: [IAWA] Exclusivity of Forms?  (Read 2948 times)
Joel P. Shempert
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« on: November 12, 2008, 09:00:21 AM »

Hi! I'm playing In a Wicked Age tonight (first time GMing) and I had a question: how exclusive are the Forms supposed to be, in terms of narrowing down narrative options based on which ones you pick? Like, in the book example it says if you're acting For Myself and Directly, you can't use violence, 'cuz you didn't pick With Violence. But if I try to apply that to other combinations it breaks down for me: If I picked For Myself and With Violence, I couldn't act directly, 'cuz I didn't pick Directly? But then I didn't pick Covertly either, so where does that leave me? And What constitutes Violence in this context? Deadly attack with a weapon? Brawling? Apparently Mekha's "heel to the face" in the example doesn't count.

Is this just something the group is going to have to work out its own metric for in play, like Dogs' Supernatural Dial? The text implies a hard line, but i'm seeing at most a blurry strip. I can easily grasp the Forms as positive descriptions--I picked this form, so I've got to be doing this thing this way. But as negative terms, that exclude other aspects? I don't get it.

Similarly, I'm having a spot of trouble with "Far-reaching." Without the book example I would've assumed that of COURSE Exorcism could cast out a spirit that's possessing a person right here in front of me; far-reaching would seem to imply "over a distance" or "across dimensions," or "many at once" or whatever. Or is this just a "limited by the specific qualities of the Particular Strength" thing? Kinda like Sorcerer's Demon Abilities?

I know this is kinda last minute; sorry. I've been thinking about the questions all week, and only just realized, hey! I forgot to actually ASK 'em. :P

peace,
-Joel
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David Artman
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« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2008, 10:23:20 AM »

Payed a couple, run a couple, YMMV, I might be wrong on the "official" ruling.
how exclusive are the Forms supposed to be, in terms of narrowing down narrative options based on which ones you pick?
Not at all. You're stake-setting, when the actual flow of Challenge and Answer could end up (in round three) on another continent, in the past or future, with whatever happening.

Look at what make you say, "Oh, No You Don't" and take immediate consideration of how you would Answer (if you win initiative). THAT's your forms. After that, you could Challenge or Answer however--doesn't matter anymore. You could go from For Others With Love to For Myself With Violence in a round, not a problem.

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Like, in the book example it says if you're acting For Myself and Directly, you can't use violence, 'cuz you didn't pick With Violence.
I'd say that's just on the initial Challenge or Answer, after which you don't want to be struggling to make an Answer or Challenge (and constraint could make you struggle). I could be wrong (I say again).

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If I picked For Myself and With Violence, I couldn't act directly, 'cuz I didn't pick Directly? But then I didn't pick Covertly either, so where does that leave me?
I'd say neither Covertly nor Directly is at issue, so you can waffle all you want. But then again, I'd say waffle anyway, after the first C/A.

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Similarly, I'm having a spot of trouble with "Far-reaching."
Just consider the basic rule of ONYFDA: you must be able to interfere and willing. Far-reaching removes the "I'm right there" issue for interference. It also adds the ability to narrate doing something at a remove, rather than only what you can reach with your hands and feet and mouth (etc).

So, for a simple example, a bow is far-reaching, a sword isn't. Oratory is far-reaching, seduction (close contact, whispers in ears, subtle touches) isn't

Vincent will be here directly (heh) to correct me (with love, hopefully).
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lumpley
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« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2008, 10:30:05 AM »

Not particularly exclusive. As a rule, you should say (or strongly imply) your character's action, and choose forms that follow from it - DON'T choose a form first and then try to figure out your character's action to fit. As a rule, I say, but occasionally that flow gets interrupted: you've already rolled your dice, and now it's time to say what you do, and your original intended action makes no sense whatsoever given what's happened inbetween. In those cases, don't worry about it; your dice are your dice, you say what you do without regard to what forms you rolled, and all's well.

Actions constrain forms, forms don't (strictly) constrain actions.

About far-reaching: that's a fun example. My take is, the possessing demon can always retreat into the person's psyche, and how will I reach it there?

Demons might not be able to do that in your Wicked Age, in which case your exorcism doesn't need to be far-reaching.

-Vincent
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lumpley
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« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2008, 10:34:20 AM »

Bows and oratory aren't far reaching. A network of assassins or provocateurs, able to act while you're sleeping peacefully elsewhere, are. A bow that shoots through walls, a magical voice that allows you to orate from a mountaintop to an entire kingdom, are.

-Vincent
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David Artman
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« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2008, 11:11:32 AM »

Ah, OK. I have misplayed it a bit then. I presumed ONYFDA would only be invokable if your PC, literally, could reach out and prevent the action--melee range/personal space/etc. And so, if I see WAY up on a hillside that Bob is about to throw Mary off a cliff, and my Bow is "farr-reaching," I can ONYFDA because I could "shoot him before he can toss her off." Otherwise, being WAY down here at the foot of the hill, I can but scream and moan as she plummets to her squishy death (and get ready for a follow-up conflict, as I rush up the hill to send Bob down after her!).

Got that wrong, huh? Hmph....

Well, fortunately, no one makes Particular Strengths that are so narrowly focused. "Incredible Bowman" might be a good far-reaching PS, though, yes? (*whimper*)
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« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2008, 12:10:38 PM »

Incredible bowman, yes, absolutely.

If my only particular strength is, oh, "wicked smart," and it's potent and that's it, and I'm standing at the bottom of the hill with my longbow, I can still ONYFDA Bob throwing Mary off the cliff. A bow just extends my normal human reach, the same way any tool does.

"Incredible bowman" would let me, I dunno, specify that I'm shooting him through the hand, which I surely can't do at this range if I'm just a guy with a bow.

Um. This may be one of those distinctions that works perfectly inside my own brain, and isn't portable elsewhere. That's okay - yes, like the supernatural in Dogs, part of the first few sessions of play is finding out precisely how this stuff works for you.

-Vincent
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Joel P. Shempert
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« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2008, 12:54:36 PM »

Thanks, guys. gettin' a better picture.

Dave, are you saying that you can actually change forms (roll different dice) between exchanges in a sequence? Or just that your narrated actions can be like, whatever after the initial kickoff?

Also along those lines, my read of the book's example is that default procedure is,  you choose forms and roll, THEN describe your answer. Which I liked, because when I played it (before I got my own book) there was often some awkwardness when both (or all) participants would describe an action, but someone ends up the Answerer, so the action evaporates and we go with the other one. I liked the cleanness described in the example where only one person has to describe a Challenge, so there's less of a "rewind and describe what really happens" effect.

Then again I can definitely appreciate the value of actions leading Forms and not the other way around.

RE: Far-reaching, I think I get it, and I like it. it seems helpful to situational avoidance tactics of whatever kind: "You can't get me, 'cuz i'm across the city!" (or ". . .'cuz I'm locked in my bunker!" ". . .'cuz I'm hiding in Tamar's soul!") "Oh, yeah? With this I can!"

Here's a couple of new questions:

1) Do you see the answers you just gave on Forms to be in contradiction (or at least contrast), with the statement in the book example ("can't use Violence," etc.), or in harmony with it?

2) How do you settle, at the table, a dispute like "I think you'd need Far-reaching for that!" "Well, I think you wouldn't!" Does someone have the last word, or is it "discuss until consensus," or what?

Peace,
-Joel
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Valamir
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« Reply #7 on: November 12, 2008, 01:26:33 PM »

Far Reaching is the awesome.

One of my favorite characters had "Master Plotter" or something of the like as far reaching.

My description was something to the effect of "I have more schemes in motion than you can count, any one of which is ready to hurt you right about now".


In one scene there was a battle.  I wasn't there but I rolled my dice in the conflict because "I've already bribed the officers you're giving orders to...they work for me now"

Course, I rolled for shit and the officers apparently just pocketed my money and flipped me the bird...but my guy was miles away and I was still rolling in the battle.
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Joel P. Shempert
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« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2008, 02:15:15 PM »

One of my favorite characters had "Master Plotter" or something of the like as far reaching.

My description was something to the effect of "I have more schemes in motion than you can count, any one of which is ready to hurt you right about now".
That is some hot shit right there. :)
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Joel P. Shempert
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« Reply #9 on: November 12, 2008, 09:42:45 PM »

Well, we ended up just being me and one guy tonight, so we didn't play. I talked up how cool the game is a bit, then we watched Dr Horrible and called it a night.

But we WILL play soon, and I'll be ready. :)

Thanks for the help.
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David Artman
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« Reply #10 on: November 13, 2008, 07:40:13 AM »

Dave, are you saying that you can actually change forms (roll different dice) between exchanges in a sequence? Or just that your narrated actions can be like, whatever after the initial kickoff?
No, I'm just saying that when you pull your two dice, you choose forms that are appropriate for the action you are doing (which becomes a Challenge, if you win initiative) or how you intend to Answer (if you lose). The point is to make sure you're not always pulling your best (or worst, to own the We Owe List) dice, mainly.

After that one round, you stick with those dice (no, you can't swap them out) regardless of how you continue to narrate. You could, for instance, begin "With Love, For Myself" trying to seduce a beau... and she slaps you (With Violence For Herself) and you become all Conan-enraged and snap her wrist in the second round (DEFINITELY With Violence and Directly).

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Also along those lines, my read of the book's example is that default procedure is,  you choose forms and roll, THEN describe your answer.
Well, sure you do... because you don't know if you're the Challenger or Answerer until you compare first rolls.

Are you using the flowchart Ryan made? I can't find it (damned Story game crap-ass Search function), but you can email him (rcstoughton[circle with a in it]gmail[small, roundish thing]com). It saves my butt sometimes, when the sequence is weird (multiple agendas in a conflict).

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but someone ends up the Answerer, so the action evaporates and we go with the other one.
Exactly. The only pre-conflict response is, "ONYFD,A!" Everything after that is driven by Challenge and Answer. In fact, the very statement made that started it all, itself, gets retconned. "I punch you in the throat to shut you up" becomes "I try to punch you...".

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1) Do you see the answers you just gave on Forms to be in contradiction (or at least contrast), with the statement in the book example ("can't use Violence," etc.), or in harmony with it?
Um... neither? It's true for the first statement 9Challenge or Answer) and fades away for follow-up rounds.

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2) How do you settle, at the table, a dispute like "I think you'd need Far-reaching for that!" "Well, I think you wouldn't!" Does someone have the last word, or is it "discuss until consensus," or what?
Never came up. This is prolly, again, like the supernatural dial in Dogs--consensus rules.

But generally, far-reaching means what Vincent said--doing things at such a remove that without F-R, the character could not be in the conflict. Apparently, having a bow brings one "near enough" to act against someone up a hillside. But F-R lets the person be literally out of sight, in a disconnected location, in another scene.

Heck, I generally save it for magical stuff anyhow, which mitigates a lot of "does this apply?" YES, it's MAGIC! :)
-----
By the way, you should have had a mini-session with the one player, to get a feel of the flow so you have more practice when you get more. Yeah, yeah--shoulda, coulda, woulda. :)
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lumpley
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« Reply #11 on: November 13, 2008, 08:57:54 AM »

David's answers work for me. Oh, but:

2. The GM has the final word. Never, ever discuss to a consensus. The GM makes a ruling and you go on from there.

Believe it or not!

-Vincent
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Joel P. Shempert
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« Reply #12 on: November 13, 2008, 02:22:10 PM »

OK, I think I see what you guys are saying: going into a conflict, you're thinking to yourself how you're going to Challenge or Answer, then picking forms base on that. . .and after the roll you name a Challenge or Answer as appropriate. Got it. Your initial responses were giving me a weird picture (which I've seen come up and play, and be a bit confusing an unfun) of everyone nameing a Challenge, picking forms, then rolling--but only one Chellenge ends up "sticking" and the rest get modified into suitable Answers. Which strikes me as a bit too much retconning.

2. The GM has the final word. Never, ever discuss to a consensus. The GM makes a ruling and you go on from there.
Gotcha, that's what I needed to know: where the buck stops.

Peace,
-Joel
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Moreno R.
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« Reply #13 on: November 13, 2008, 06:18:21 PM »

2. The GM has the final word. Never, ever discuss to a consensus. The GM makes a ruling and you go on from there.

This is a change from the original text, or it's already written there somewhere? (I don't believe I have read about this before but I could be mistaken)
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Ciao,
Moreno.

(Excuse my errors, English is not my native language. I'm Italian.)
lumpley
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« Reply #14 on: November 14, 2008, 05:37:31 AM »

Keeping me honest!

Okay, okay, it's true. You can resolve that kind of dispute - "no man, you'd need a far-reaching particular strength to interfere with me" "the hell I would, you're right there" "I'm tellin' ya..." - however you want, and still be playing by the rules. The rules don't care a bit, they'll just wait patiently until you resolve it. Discuss to consensus all you want.

The rules DO provide you with a single player (the GM) who reliably has nothing riding on the outcome, and can therefore make impartial rulings, and who has already taken additional responsibility for making the game go. I strongly recommend that, instead of discussing to consensus (shudder), you let that player just resolve disputes.

-Vincent
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