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Author Topic: Heroquest 2: what does the system add?  (Read 4332 times)
Alexander Julian
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Posts: 9


« on: July 13, 2009, 03:27:30 PM »

My central thesis is that the system of HQ2 doesnít provide any additional benefit by using it and in some cases actually subtracts from the overall game fun.

The players: Alex, Ian, Ben (GM), Jim, Erik
Campaign: Pelanda during the Lunar revolution (Glorantha). One of the central questions during the game was Ďwhat will you do when the revolution comesí

My character was InsiEstes a hideously ugly philosopher of the Kassa school. Here are the relevant abilities I had listed.

No appreciation for the arts 15
Hatred will not let him rest 17
Knows what heís against 16
Condemn Pelandian morality 1W

So during the last session of the campaign the city is in turmoil. Public order is breaking down, Ianís character IdoDesa (a butcher who wanted to be an artist) has ended up being King. A disastrous HeroQuest has mucked up the mythological conception of justice. Lunar revolutionaries are running riot and demanding food. Things are at boiling point.

InsiEstes (me) has been sent by the King to quell the Lunar mob. Now instead of quelling them I decide instead to tell them to steal (a big moral taboo in Pelandian society). My basic intent is to have them run amok and over turn the city. InsiEstes at this point just hates the established order, heís a resentful malicious type who just wants to hurt the society that he thinks has shunned him.

So I state Ďget the mob to run amok and stealí as my prize. Now Ben the GM vetoes this because Pelandians wouldnít do that. Instead theyíre going to outcast me from the city, make me a stranger (the worst crime in Pelandan society). Ben asks me if this ok first and Iím fine with it.

Now this is a pretty cool outcome. The important point to remember here is that it was decided by GM veto. The way the system is set up I have no idea whether I can make a mob riot. I have to just state an intent and hope it doesnít get Vetoed. Now another point is this. If I hadnít been ok then weíd have had to retcon the last 15-20 minutes of play because what I was doing up until that point was a set up so I could try and incite the mob.

In this case the system provides no guidance and is worse than something like GURPS where I can (presumably) consult an 'incite mob' chart, look at their attitudes and then come up with an appropriate difficulty. In the case of GURPS I have feedback, in the case of HQ2 I donít.

The session rolls on and things start coming to a close. Ians character decides to give up the throne and leave to become an artist. Upon hearing this my character goes into a rage. The King who he entrusted to overthrow society is giving up on that and instead going to Ďdo artí. So I state as my prize that I will kill him.

Ians character had at this point answered the question about what heíll do when the revolution comes. Really he just wanted to be an artist and the whole revolution thing was frustration because he couldnít do that (Iím simplifying). So thematically heís come to a close. He leaves the city and a stranger is waiting for him, InsiEstes, rock in hand. This is my final dice roll of the game.

We do an extended contest and during the course of it I try and persuade Ians character that being an artist is futile. Ian doesnít want this because heís closed his character and this makes sense to me. The difficulty is that Ian needs a prize to actually enter the contest. His prize is to kill me, which I donít find thematically pleasing but at this point weíd spent a bit of time getting here and so I just accept this.
When the contest starts I begin burning Heropoints (I had far more than Ian) to get a victory. This wasnít that satisfying but Iíd put myself in a position where I (Alex) didnít want the consequences of failure. So IdoDesa and InsiEstes struggle but at the end of the contest I donít have enough points to kill IdoDesa. So although I win the contest he isnít dead heís just badly hurt.

I try and roll with it. Insiestes hatred has consumed him flat out, heís give up any pretence at being a revolutionary and just wants to hurt people heís envious off. Of course since he didnít do any lasting damage to IdoDesa so this was all a bit weak. He didnít become a murderer. Considering the intensity of the campaign the ending felt very wet to me.

Now this last contest was just poorly chosen by me in a lot of ways. Yet it highlights one of the major problems of the system. It works by negative feedback. You have no real guidance as to what you can and canít do. The success levels chart itself also seems to suck tension away. Consistently weíve reached boiling point in the fiction. Everyone in the group really tense over an outcome. The dice are rolled and we get ĎWell you succeed a bit.í What is actually happening is that the prize is often changed. So you get something like the prize but not exactly. The tension builds but often fails to resolve, instead kind of trickling away.

So my argument ends up being. HQ2 seems to fail as a system because it adds nothing compared to:

Using GURPS or Solarsystem or something else with a skill list that has clear boundaries.

Forgetting abilities all together and just flipping a coin to see if you pass or fail.

Iím in the position of not seeing why you need abilities. What do they bring to the game? There are a lot of HQ veterans here. What does the system offer that Iím missing? Lastly, is the HQ2 system FITM or FATE? My understanding was that it was fortune at the end but if itís fortune in the middle then I donít understand what fortune in the middle is, help clearing that up would be appreciated.
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Erik Weissengruber
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« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2009, 05:32:54 PM »

What Genre/Setting/Style decisions did you make prior to play?

Can you give any examples of the GM deciding what a "Stretch" was in the particular context?

What about setting Target Numbers based on dramatic logic and prior successes by players?

Did the GM track the success curve of the group or were Target Numbers tailored to each character?

If you can give some specific application of the new rules it would help further the discussion of HQ2's merits or faults.

I can't see any mention of these new rules so we can't discuss if the new edition helps or not.
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Callan S.
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« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2009, 06:10:11 PM »

Hi Alexander, just not sure what you mean here
Quote
Now this is a pretty cool outcome. The important point to remember here...
Do you mean more
Quote
Now this is a pretty cool outcome. But despite that, it's important point to remember here...
I'm not sure whether you like it and want to describe whats underneath that, or you liked the result but don't like what potential lurks underneath?
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Alexander Julian
Member

Posts: 9


« Reply #3 on: July 13, 2009, 08:56:43 PM »

Hey Callan. I liked the result in that instance but I donít like the potential that lurks underneath. In a game like Vampire I know that if I have charisma 5 I can go to a large group of people and persuade them to do dastardly deeds if I get four successes. In HQ2 I never know exactly what it is I can do.

Epweissengruber, I havenĎt played HQ1 so I personally canít compare editions. 
The resolution order for HQ2 runs like this:

Player states prize
Player chooses states means/tactics of getting prize
Player chooses ability heís using
GM sets resistance using pass/fail or by assigning number
Fortune is employed
GM narrates outcome

Quick example from actual play:
Anrur (me) goes to talk to his mentor Orkarl about some Lunar converts.
In character me and Orkarl chat a bit, he starts talking about the bad influence of the Lunars. I state my prize Ďconvince Orkarl that Humakt has a plan for the Lunars and they are not the enemy.í I pick an ability Ďinitiate of Humakt 1W.í I donít state the means because Iíve already said in the state prize section Iím talking with him. I then say some stuff in character ĎThe Lunar god talker healed me. I asked her before I pledged my sword ďare you corrupting the clanĒ and was satisfied they were not.í (Iím paraphrasing). We then roll the dice and consult the success chart. I get a major success. The GM narrates Orlkarl as being convinced by my argument and he even decides to join me in defending the Moon winds against any hostile clan members.

How the GM sets the difficulty in the game is problematic in my opinion but Iím more focussed on how the combination of prize, ability and means/tactics work. If anyone wants to give an AP example from HQ1 that would be helpful to me. Iím not seeing how the system differs from say Ďworld of darknessí or Ďcyberpunkí except that in those games the means and the ability are equivalent. How does making them non equivalent help play?

So if the above happened in cyberpunk for instance, Iíd use persuade or empathy or fast talk to get Orlkarl to agree with me. The GM canít veto my use of these, itís pretty explicit what they do and how they are used. What is it that abilities do except add an extra unnecessary layer?
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Callan S.
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« Reply #4 on: July 13, 2009, 10:08:23 PM »

Don't vampire and cyberpunk have the 'golden' rule in their text somewhere? The GM's just as capable of veto in those, invoking the golden rule, isn't he? I wouldn't say your any more empowered in those games. Not that I'm advocating the golden rule or vetoing as part of a design.
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Alexander Julian
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Posts: 9


« Reply #5 on: July 14, 2009, 04:03:59 AM »

Callan, I appreciate the input but you are responding to my questions with questions. I canít continue writing blocks of text in response.
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Erik Weissengruber
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« Reply #6 on: July 14, 2009, 11:11:25 AM »

1) Conflict Resolution Mechanic

Quote
Player states prize
Player chooses states means/tactics of getting prize
Player chooses ability heís using
GM sets resistance using pass/fail or by assigning number
Fortune is employed
GM narrates outcome

OK.  HQ2 is making formal the steps of resolution that were laid out in HQ2.

- What HQ2 does is add prescribed levels of resistance based on what kind of successes or failures have taken place earlier in the story.  A party that has had high levels of success earlier will have to face stiffer opposition on a test than a party which has been scraping along and doing poorly.  Was there any evidence your Narrator was following these rules (note: Laws gives Narrators the power to set whatever resistances they wish.  But that, to me, is a little like saying "from time to time ignore these rules if you wish to surprise your players."  He likes illusionism -- it's not my cup of tea.  But the rules add simple to follow steps for setting resistances and for determining numerical consequences.  When I playtested the rules my players didn't mind me setting resistances by making open and explicit reference to Laws rules for setting resistances.)

Quote
Player chooses states means/tactics of getting prize

- True.  One auxiliary augment is possible too.  So a description of the tactics that does not take into account the one main ability being used and the associated augment would go against the spirit of the laws.  Here, HQ2 avoidsthe problems of interminable description of all the possible augments being brought in.  HQ2 has added a rule that penalizes players for using the same ability+augment combos again and again.  This is a good addition.  It extends a rule over the Shared Imaginary Space, one that makes sure every player can contribute his/her share and prevent monopolization.  And it speeds up establishment of the SIS and the resolution of the conflict.  Doubleplus good.

Quote
GM sets resistance using pass/fail or by assigning number

It is in this area that HQ2 has a number of additions to the HQ1 basic mechanic.  There are now RULES for establishing resistance rather than assuming that common sense or reference to published material or even pre-planned ability ratings for the NPCs will establish the resistance numbers.  The numbers and the consequences of die rolls have stayed pretty much the same.  But the rolling mechanic has been incorporated into a system for co-ordinating player-declared actions and Narrator-set challenges and resistances with prior higher-order decisions about what kind of stories will be gamed by a particular group in a particular campaign.  Sorcerer's setting-creation mechanics and the diagram on the back of the character sheet do come to mind.  In both cases, many players seem to regard them as "fluff" or Colour surrounding the real mechanics.  Wrong.  They are qualitative/content-laden mechanics that set the quantitative values that are then subjected to Fortune (die rolls) or Drama (the Hero Points of HQ1 and 2).

- New Narrative Rules: True, but you as the player should be aware of the process by which that number is derived.  The Premise/Setting/Genre decisions made during Character Creation -- which should also be called Setting creation -- dictate what counts as a standard use of an ability or a Stretch.  These framing devices have been added to HQ2 and are a triple-good thing.  Now, there is no more saying "we a playing in Glorantha," with the attendant assumption that a 12 year veteran of of the Lunar Army in Sartar will in all likelihood ferret out a hiding 12 year old peasant girl.  In a "Pseudo-Historical Chronicle" the resistances and abilities will probably result in the girl getting caught.  In "Pre-adolescent Kids save the Village" taking place in the "Young Adult Fantasy Fiction" Genre, the girl will likely escape.  It took me multiple readings and playings to get the significance of this hammered into my head.  But these added rules now make the game an engine for gaming out kinds of stories, not a mechanism for gaming Glorantha.  I don't know if the Glorantha-focused materials are bringing these framing devices apparent to players and Narrators, but they should.  These rules are the most dramatic and radical addition that Laws has made to the HQ1 engine and they should be embraced.  Playing Prime Time Adventures would be the best practice for HQ2 gaming, not playing HQ1 or Runequest.

- New Resistance-Setting Rules: So the setting is Glorantha.  But if the Genre is "Swashbuckling," using a "Dashing Hero" to swing across the room on a chandelier is not a Stretch whereas in "Mitchner-esque Historical Epic" it would be: in such a situation the player has a limited chance to accomplish something spectacular. The addition of "Stretch" rules make the setting of rules a subject for rational communication between players and Narrators.

- Niche Protection is an addition: Player choice of wording, with reference to higher-order decisions about Premise/Genre, is a decisive factor in setting resistances.  Let me address your actual play example:

Quote
In character me and Orkarl chat a bit, he starts talking about the bad influence of the Lunars. I state my prize Ďconvince Orkarl that Humakt has a plan for the Lunars and they are not the enemy.í I pick an ability Ďinitiate of Humakt 1W.í


You did the right thing.  But what about Augments?  More importantly, did the issue of specificity come up?  A new rule has been added: if another player character has an ability that could be used in your conflict and is MORE specific to the issue at hand, you are penalized -6 for using a General ability.  The character could be in another continent but it does not matter: the words that character's player have set down on his/her page have carved out a portion of the SIS for himself/herself.  You set up a pretty specific ability to use in this situation.  But if someone had "Knows Secret Prophecies of Humakt" then you would have been at -6.  And don't look to the words in the Sartar setting book to determine what is General or specific.  The first place you should look is at other players' character sheets.

I have read some commentators treating this rule as saying "any character with a more specific ability" and then proceeding to penalize a PC if an NPC in the scene has a more specific ability. 

But that is 100% NOT what the General/Specific rule is intended for.  It is not a simulation of a world in which the more specific ability will tend to be more effective than that of a broad generalist, but a rule for making sure that players who have carved out a portion of the SIS for their characters will tend to have more spectacular results for their characters than those players who tread on that turf.

Quote
But I don't know what resistance the Narrator set

- This is a big problem.  And I don't know if your Narrator is really to blame.  There are parts of the text where Laws assumes that Narrators are setting resistances according to the rules (most of the time) but are keeping those resistances secret and keeping the die rolls hidden (especially those parts of the text where he is talking about faking contests to build up suspense without really jeopardizing the PCs)

- Reading your AP makes be believe that you have not been introduced to the rules added to HQ2 that make it an interesting game.  HQ2 has newly added explicit processes for running conflicts and, behind those, has a system for linking those conflicts to the SIS (a system entirely lacking in HQ1).  There is nothing in your post that makes be believe your Narrator was using those rules.

Quote
How the GM sets the difficulty in the game is problematic in my opinion but Iím more focussed on how the combination of prize, ability and means/tactics work.

- The "you cant use the same ability to solve a problem you have failed to solve before" rule was in HQ1.  In HQ2 the "dull repeats of ability/augment combinations will be penalized is an addition."  There is, in HQ2 NO consistent way to combine particular abilities/means/tactics to achieve certain prizes.  None.  The game is not set up that way.  Going for a prize with the ability "Armoured Knight 1W" will mean one thing if the contest is a Climactic one at the end of a story or an ordinary contest earlier in that story.  It will me one thing if the player has been rolling well in the previous 2 fights or poorly.  It will meet different resistances and, because of game-mechanical and purely statistical factors,  have different consequences if the prize or the conflict is more suited to the abilities apportioned to another player's character.   

Quote
So if the above happened in cyberpunk for instance, Iíd use persuade or empathy or fast talk to get Orlkarl to agree with me. The GM canít veto my use of these, itís pretty explicit what they do and how they are used. What is it that abilities do except add an extra unnecessary layer?

You are absolutely right on this score.  Burning Empires is that way too.  There are very specific rules about what abilities can be used to help (or Augment) other abilities.  HQ1 and HQ2 are entirely different animals.  HQ2 may have evolved out of HQ1 but it is now its own species, one that won't even produce infertile offspring from being bred back
with HQ1.  HQ1 would resolve these issues by GM fiat or by an assumed reference to "what Glorantha is like," which then takes you to the realm of published setting material, online discussions, and people trying to prove they know more about the world than someone who disagrees with them.  Don't go looking at HQ1 to give you the kind of consistency you seek.  HQ2 will allow you to establish a kind of consistency and give you the procedures for making decisions within your particular playgroup.  Abilities are not a "layer" in HQ2: describing one's abilities and using them for certain kinds of play is what the game is all about.  And that kind of play is irreducibly Narrativist.
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Alexander Julian
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« Reply #7 on: July 14, 2009, 12:57:48 PM »

Abilities are not a "layer" in HQ2: describing one's abilities and using them for certain kinds of play is what the game is all about.  And that kind of play is irreducibly Narrativist.

I just donít see how it helps Story Now play. Consider my Humakt example from earlier. The system doesnít add anything to the basic probability roll. The ability didnít help express theme. It seems like any other system used for vanilla narrativism.

Lets consider it a small story.

Premise: Faith in your gods will help your brothers overcome their prejudice

In pure story terms:

Iím trying to get my mentor to overcome his prejudice and help me defend the Lunar converts.

Thematic question: what helps overcome prejudice?

I choose tactics. In this case Iím telling him about Humaktís vision.

Thematic question then becomes: Does faith in your gods help your brothers overcome prejudice?

I then choose ability. This has no effect on my ability to address premise in a positive way. In fact all it does it limit it. Do I have the right ability for those tactics? Does the GM consider that ability acceptable (and Iím trying to address premise here, if he doesnít consider it acceptable we have problems).
Really its game effect is just something to hang the numbers off.

We roll the dice and I succeed.

Yes. Faith in your gods does help your brother overcome his prejudice.

No. Faith in your gods will not help you overcome your brothers prejudice.

So to reiterate. The ability I chose had no effect on this mini conflict at all. I could just as easily have had the stats Ďwillí Ďbodyí Ďsoulí and the same effect would have been achieved with far less potential for fiat and with a broader array of tactics open to me.

Or alternately I can go in the other direction and have a strict skill list like burning wheel and get the same effect only with more clearly delineated lines drawn about what it is possible to do.

HQ2 just seems to sit in the middle of these two extremes twiddling itís thumbs. Am I missing some vital point about how ability usage actually enters play?
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Callan S.
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« Reply #8 on: July 14, 2009, 04:23:10 PM »

Callan, I appreciate the input but you are responding to my questions with questions. I canít continue writing blocks of text in response.
There's something bogus about this? It's not that you can't respond, it's that you've decided more questions could not possibly help. Fair enough if you have decided this, but it bugs me to be told it's not your decision, but how reality is and so you can't respond as much as if your hands had fallen off.
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Erik Weissengruber
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« Reply #9 on: July 15, 2009, 03:18:10 PM »

Two very strong insights!

Quote
I just donít see how it helps Story Now play. Consider my Humakt example from earlier. The system doesnít add anything to the basic probability roll. The ability didnít help express theme. It seems like any other system used for vanilla narrativism.

Quote
HQ2 just seems to sit in the middle of ... two extremes twiddling itís thumbs. Am I missing some vital point about how ability usage actually enters play?

You have just latched onto the most important aspect of the game and where future criticism should be focused.

Once common misunderstandings of the game (often on the part of its advocates) have been cleared, and the new assumptions behind the game are fully understood, the big question you just asked -- does this system do anything to really facilitate Story Now -- is staring players of the game right in the face.

And I can't answer it.  I played HQ1 in a Glorantha setting for about a year and it worked.  But all I was doing was fitting my Game into a game that had consistent rules for covering typical Glorantha activities.

When I took HQ1's engine and used it in 1-shot settings (a Samurai game, Space Opera, Fairy Tale) I found myself doing lots of task resolution, some conflict resolution, but not really doing Story Now.  I was using a lot of techniques cobbled from the advice in Sorcerer & Sword and Sex & Sorcery, but not running the game as it COULD have been run.  Even if I had been running the game to its full potential I would have come smack into your question.

HQ2 has forced me to do a lot of rethinking about how I ran that Game.  And I haven't tried to run HQ2 in its final form.

So your question is an important one and your answer is a challenge to fans of the game and Gloranthaphiles (I am both).

I suggest borrowing the HQ2 rule book and trying to run your own game.  But The Shadow of Yesterday, a PTA with a Glorantha setting, or a Sorcerer game set on Glorantha might give you the kind of Story Now that you want.
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FredGarber
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« Reply #10 on: July 16, 2009, 10:32:53 AM »

Quick example from actual play:
Anrur (me) goes to talk to his mentor Orkarl about some Lunar converts.
In character me and Orkarl chat a bit, he starts talking about the bad influence of the Lunars. I state my prize Ďconvince Orkarl that Humakt has a plan for the Lunars and they are not the enemy.í I pick an ability Ďinitiate of Humakt 1W.í I donít state the means because Iíve already said in the state prize section Iím talking with him. I then say some stuff in character ĎThe Lunar god talker healed me. I asked her before I pledged my sword ďare you corrupting the clanĒ and was satisfied they were not.í (Iím paraphrasing). We then roll the dice and consult the success chart. I get a major success. The GM narrates Orlkarl as being convinced by my argument and he even decides to join me in defending the Moon winds against any hostile clan members.

I think your Thematic Premise, after choosing ability, wasn't still  "Does faith in your gods help your brothers overcome prejudice?"
It was  "Can your faith, aided by your dedication as an initiate, help your brothers overcome prejudice?"

I can take it out of the setting for an example:
Johnny is the street kid.  Can he convince his brother in the Mafia to not shoot members of the Columbian Cartel?  It's a different moment, a different conflict if Johnny has become a priest, as opposed to if Johnny is a baseball player or Johnny is an accountant, right?

It could be that abilities don't affect your Effectiveness at addressing Story Now, but they do add Color to your addressing of Premise.
I think you are making the "your" in your Thematic Premise a generic 'You', meaning a person in general. 
But I think Narratives only reflect stories about people "in general"  They are about specific characters.

-Fred
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Joel P. Shempert
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« Reply #11 on: July 16, 2009, 11:23:13 AM »

Fred's nailed it. I was trying to figure out how to express that, and coming up dry. In my limited but satisfying play experience (with HQ one, mind), what abilities feed a conflict make a statement, occasionally powerful, about who your character is. When this statement, through action, addresses Premise, all that Color says a great deal. there have always been Abilities that handle that particular heavy lifting better than others (Ruthless 3W vs Sword 3W, say), but overall the tools are there to build a narrative Story Now-fashion. And my understanding is that HQ2 has actually pared down the sheer number of abilities on a sheet to allow easier focus on the ones that are truly central to expressing that character.

It's also worth noting that HQ puts relationships right in the forefront of this system by making them Abilities. Sure, using Eloquent to persuade my brother is fairly value-neutral, but using Eloquent augmented by My Brother Respects Me is pregnant with meaning. I'm leveraging my brother's respect toward getting his assent in a contentious manner. Now the outcome of the conflict can't help but have a huge impact on that relationship, provided the players are attentive to that at ALL.

(And incidentally, I was trying to come up with a contrasting augment that was more neutral, and it was actually HARD. For instance, Eloquent plus Well-Liked. Well, damn but if "Well-liked" isn't a hell of a pregnant quality to leverage--"That's easy for you to say, bro; everyone likes you." or even, given success, "OK, you win. Everyone'll take your side anyway." Every ability used in a conflict can have moral or emotional value, given that you look for it. And playing HQ for Story Now means looking for it.)

Peace,
-Joel
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Alexander Julian
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« Reply #12 on: July 16, 2009, 01:52:44 PM »

Iím still not sure why the abilities themselves are needed. Take the previous Humakt example. The fact Iím an initiate is already in play in the fiction. Same with the eloquent brother example. Itís the tactics I use that are thematically relevant. Not which ability I select. All the abilities do is limit the range of tactics I can use somewhat.

Now something like In A Wicked Age does a similar thing. The big difference is that you roll the dice first and this seems to change everything for me. I can grasp why traits in IAWA help get the thematic juices flowing.

So in HQ if the resolution order was:

Choose prize
Choose ability
Roll dice
Choose tactics

Then it would make sense to me. Say if I was using Ďruthlessí as my trait. If I fail then it could be because mercy got the better of me that time. With the resolution sequence as it is written, failing after choosing ruthless always means that ruthlessness didnít work.

Does that make any sense or is just an idiosyncratic oddity of mine? It just feels the resolution order is wrong and Iím not sure why. It could be totally in my imagination, a kind of cognitive blindness. Iíd like to try and get to the bottom of it though.
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Joel P. Shempert
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« Reply #13 on: July 16, 2009, 02:54:12 PM »

Huh. I hadn't looked at it from that angle. With IaWA it's true that you roll your forms first, but it always strikes me as weak when players roll forms and then just have their actions be whatever, instead of stemming from the forms chosen. All rolling the forms beforehand means to me is that you're committing in advance to narrating that tactic as opposed another.

In the case of your "ruthless" example, I'd say you're exactly right: HQ will never tell you, from a roll result whether you were ruthless or not. It'll tell you what effect your ruthlessness has had. YOU make the choice to be ruthless, just like you make the choice of whether tu pull a gun on the Town Steward in Dogs in the Vineyard. Then, the choice made, you roll dice. that's the heart of Story now.

You seem kind of down on that possibility: a fail result means only that ruthlessness didn't work. I say, awesome! "ruthlessness didn't work" is a great outcome to work with. 'Cause it doesn't end there. Now someone (the Narrator in this case, I believe) gets to describe why and how ruthlessness didn't work. I could come up with a bunch of fun examples in an instant, like I did with the "persuade brother" example. Your target is defiant, your target is totally cowed and useless, your once-healthy relationship is broken, etc. etc. Awesome stuff.

"Choose what you do, then roll" is a pretty solid systemic framework for Story Now. "Roll, then find out what you do" is most assuredly not.

peace,
-Joel
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Danny_K
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« Reply #14 on: July 17, 2009, 11:17:50 AM »

Campaign: Pelanda during the Lunar revolution (Glorantha). One of the central questions during the game was Ďwhat will you do when the revolution comesí

My character was InsiEstes a hideously ugly philosopher of the Kassa school. Here are the relevant abilities I had listed.

No appreciation for the arts 15
Hatred will not let him rest 17
Knows what heís against 16
Condemn Pelandian morality 1W

InsiEstes (me) has been sent by the King to quell the Lunar mob. Now instead of quelling them I decide instead to tell them to steal (a big moral taboo in Pelandian society). My basic intent is to have them run amok and over turn the city. InsiEstes at this point just hates the established order, heís a resentful malicious type who just wants to hurt the society that he thinks has shunned him.

So I state Ďget the mob to run amok and stealí as my prize. Now Ben the GM vetoes this because Pelandians wouldnít do that. Instead theyíre going to outcast me from the city, make me a stranger (the worst crime in Pelandan society). Ben asks me if this ok first and Iím fine with it.

Now this is a pretty cool outcome. The important point to remember here is that it was decided by GM veto. The way the system is set up I have no idea whether I can make a mob riot. I have to just state an intent and hope it doesnít get Vetoed. Now another point is this. If I hadnít been ok then weíd have had to retcon the last 15-20 minutes of play because what I was doing up until that point was a set up so I could try and incite the mob.

Alexander, please tell me if this going too far away from what you want to discuss, but what I'm seeing here is that you're in a game where the theme is the breakdown of society in a revolution, you have a character who's geared to break down society, and when your character is in a prime position to attack Pelandian morality head-on, the GM veto nullifies all that and your character goes spinning off in a totally different direction instead.  I'm in no position to say whether that was the right thing or not (and that's besides the point), but it seems to me that you might not be getting to address premise because the GM veto is there as a buffer, keeping the system from actually affecting the course of play. 

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I believe in peace and science.
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