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Author Topic: [IaWA] What is the scope of resolution  (Read 2999 times)
RPL
Member

Posts: 66


« on: February 19, 2010, 02:10:38 AM »

Hi,

I was playing In a Wicked Age the other day and this question came up.

Can a character action in a round of conflict resolve the statement that initiated that same conflict?

The specific case was this: There was a ring that symbolized the right to lead a country (like a king’s crown), and a character was protecting it (the soldier), another was trying to convince the bearer to used it to lead the people (a priestess) and another was trying to destroy it (a shape shifting demon).

So the demon walks into the soldiers camp steals the ring and says “I destroy it”. The soldier and the priestess say “Oh no you don’t evil fiend”, we roll back and conflict ensues.

In the first round the demon gets the high roll (no one can beat it) and the player describes the demon throwing the ring into his maw and chewing it, thereby destroying the ring.

Nothing in the book says he can’t do that and so we assumed he did in fact destroyed the ring in the first round of the conflict.

So the doubt arouse about the scope of a conflict in IaWA, if at any time during a round you got the highest roll do you get to describe the character accomplishing the action that started that conflict and not having to decide it in the negotiation phase (either mid conflict or after the final round) or do you really have to negotiate it between players during rounds or at the end?

Hope I made my question clear (this happened some time ago and I the ideas were a lot fresher back then).

Thanks in advance for you help on this.


All the best,
D.


P.S.: This game is rockin’ solid in our play group, so thanks for it :).
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Noclue
Member

Posts: 351


« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2010, 08:57:03 AM »

Assuming the demon has an advantage die and hasn't knocked everyone out of the conflict in the first round. The other characters can still save the ring in their narration. The demon narrates the attempt to destroy the ring, but its provisional until the other characters act. They may decide to let the ring melt and just stab the demon, in which case the ring is slag.They may try to throw a knife and knock the ring out of the demons grasp before he eats it. There may be negotiation. It's not much different from saying "I steal the ring" and having the other characters go "Oh no you don't!"
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James R.
way
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Posts: 10


« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2010, 09:33:49 AM »

As far as I understand it is not the winner who narrates an outcome, it is the answerer.
Say the demon('s player) wins initiative first round and narrates that he devours the ring. The answerer can narrate the outcome, can deny the devouring or accept it, it's his call, irrespective of the dice results. He has to put the challenger in an advantageous position, generally speaking, but the specific fact whether the ring is eaten or not is up to the answerer.
The third round is a bit different, the answerer must more or less accept the action in full, however there is still some room to be "tactical" there.
However, if the demon was the answerer and he won, it is perfectly legal for him to devour the ring and the others must accept it.

It was quite shocking to me at first, and some players in my groups still don't get it, because it seems that the demon totally "won", and destroyed the game by resolving the story at the very first round of the very first conflict. One has to cope with this and go on from here. The best interest are not the story or not the goals to achieve, the are a starting point for the story. If it is solved in the very first 10 minutes, so be it. Go forward!

I prefer to see best interests as declarations from the players: I would like to see a story that incorporates my character doing this and that. It's not something to measure the story or the characters' achievements against.

Hope this helps,
way
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Brand_Robins
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Posts: 650


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« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2010, 10:13:03 PM »

So, IMO, sure the demon can eat the ring. Why not?

But then the next person gets narration can narrate prying the jaws open. Or going to gut the demon to get it out of the belly. Or whatever. And so it can go until the conflict gets resolved.

IAWA doesn't limit resolution to the issue that started the conflict. You can totally resolve the thing that started the fight in the first round. The question is what happens then?

There are a couple of issues here that help make this work.

1) Sometimes its best to keep it about the actual action rather than the meta-action. That is to say, the demon was eating the ring. That's the action. The "and its destroyed, poof, like that" is the meta-action. We know the demon can eat the ring, but is it actually going to be that easy to destroy it? Maybe. But maybe not. After all, other folks have more narration to come. They can't undo the eating maybe, but they might find out the ring wasn't so much destroyed as just now in the demon's gut. (More about this in #3.)

2) Actions that change the playing field can make a game very dynamic. I've had games where a conflict started over someone trying to kiss someone else, the kiss happened in the first narration, and at the end of the series of conflicts that followed there were dead bodies, a burning city, and a decade long chase that ended in someone being mutilated. If you keep the whole conflict about what happens to the ring here and now it can be fun, but it can also strangle the possibilities. I've often found its best to just run with it, let the conflict go where it goes. (More about this in number 3 too.)

3) In combination with 1 and 2, I've found that final, irreversible actions tend to get you spanked. At the point at which you narrate destroying the ring such that others believe you've really done it and don't want to undo or counter the previous narration you also hit the point where the other characters probably have no reason not to kill you dead. Maybe they gut you to search your corpse for the ring. Maybe they just kill you because you destroyed their symbol of rulership then make a new symbol of rulership out of your skull. (Cause really, the ring is less the point than the symbol of leadership, right?)

I've had a lot of first games of IAWA where someone destroys the ring. They're then shocked when it comes time to negotiate consequences and no one is interested. After all, it isn't like you can give the ring back, you destroyed it. So if that's what they really cared about then you've got nothing to give up to keep them from killing the fuck out of you if the dice go bad.

A recent example of this was a stealth challenge, in which one character was trying to sneak past another to kill someone else. In the first or second narration round, the guard just said, "Yea, I totally spot you and start screaming for help." At which point the other player said, "Well shit, now I'm gonna have to kill you dead." Next game we had another stealth test, and the character being snuck past didn't ever spot and track the sneaker in a conclusive way, and so at the end was able to negotiate for a "I didn't see you, you just get past, please don't injure me" ending.

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- Brand Robins
RPL
Member

Posts: 66


« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2010, 06:01:16 AM »

Hi everyone,

First of all many thanks to everyone for you input, it’s been quite enlightening ?

Just for clarification, we were aware of the distinction between colouring an action and having that action actual impact on the game.

What we were thinking was that despite all the declarations that a player made during rounds, the actual resolution of the scene would only happen in the end. That meant that the declarations of the player would translate into character-statements, revealing what they were all about.

Something along the lines of:
Round 1
Soldier Player (SP): “I close my fist around the ring and look into the eyes of demon saying ‘You want this? Come and get it.”
Demon Player (DP): “Ok I go get for it.”
*die roll*
DP: “I won the roll! Ok so I punch you in the face, crack your hand and chew the ring.”
Everyone else “Oh my god no he didn’t… “
Round 2
SP: “Give it back.”
DP: “Come and get it hehe, I taunt the soldier showing him that all is last and break his spirit to keep fighting.”
*die roll*
SP: “I push the pain aside, replay in my mind the oath I took to defend my kingdom and throw my fist right through the demons maw, breaking teeth and tearing flesh from my hand a pull the ring back into safety.”
Everyone else “Christ man, that’s grawsome!! (mash between gruesome and awesome, if you’ve played RPGs long enough you know what it means :p).”

But this…

Quote from: way
However, if the demon was the answerer and he won, it is perfectly legal for him to devour the ring and the others must accept it.

… this is very different.

So player declarations aren’t only about pushing colour about what a character does, it can in fact resolve the conflict before it’s formal ending.

I like this because there was another game where I was playing a devil that wanted to expel an evil spirit (another player) from the body of a child. We had about 3 conflicts of this, because I would narrate my actions of pushing the spirit out of the child’s body in every round of the conflict, win said conflict and then in the negotiation phase we would still rather take form-damage rather than exiting the body. That made for a very repetitive conflict and somewhat boring after a while.

Ok, so let me try to formalize this in my head.

Player A declares an action.
Player B says no.
Conflict ensues and you have three rounds to solve it. Go!

The action was the trigger and that trigger can be defused at anytime during said conflict, like the demon destroying the ring in the first round, and then you can either drop the conflict (between rounds) or just keep at it and resolve what comes of it. “You destroyed the ring?... you bastard, I’m summon the High Guard and were going to hunt you until the end of times.”

Alternately you can just start a new conflict for that, but that means you’ll probably get hit with the stick (form damage) in the end negotiation of the first conflict. If you keep it in the same sequence you might just get ahead, so it might be worth the shot.

Am I on the right track here?


All the best,
D.
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Brand_Robins
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Posts: 650


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« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2010, 11:11:22 AM »

Sounds pretty good to me.

The thing that starts the conflict is just what starts it. Where it ends no one knows!
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- Brand Robins
stefoid
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« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2010, 02:51:40 PM »

Hmm, I dont get these replies.  My reading says:

  • at the end of round 1 or 2, either: someone wins outright, the looser of the round can attempt to negotiate, or the conflict continues with someone at an advantage
  • at the end of the third round: someone wins outright
  • when someone wins, you exhaust, injure or negotiate

Maybe the rules are incomplete, but it seems to me that the looser doesn't ever have to concede that the ring is eaten -- they can insist that they themselves are exhausted or injured (winner chooses which) as an alternative.  It just depends on how badly they want the ring to remain uneaten.  go to page 18.

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jburneko
Member

Posts: 1429


« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2010, 03:40:42 PM »

Soldier Player (SP): “I close my fist around the ring and look into the eyes of demon saying ‘You want this? Come and get it.”
Demon Player (DP): “Ok I go get for it.”

This, here, is what is causing the confusion.  The DP hasn't given us enough information to use the mechanics correctly.  WHAT exactly is he doing it to "go get it"?  It's at this point BEFORE the die roll that he has to say, "I bite your hand off and swallow the ring."

THEN you roll dice.  If the DP wins then the SP is the one who has narrate and the thing he has to do is "admit the Challengers action" which means he has to acknowledge that his hand has been bitten off and the ring swallowed.

If the ring was all you cared about then stop here.  In fact you're also done with Negotiation.  You've lost your hand and the ring is swallowed.  If that's all anyone cared about it's over and decided.

This is one of the most common mistakes in playing IAWA.  There are no "stakes."  What ever tension begins the conflict might very well be resolved with the first roll.  The question is, what happens next?

Jesse

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stefoid
Member

Posts: 657


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« Reply #8 on: February 22, 2010, 05:05:25 PM »

Hmm, maybe you are right in that it does also say in the example on page 15 :  (emphasis mine)

"My answer:
The third round is different from the first two. ?e
middle drops out of the outcomes. Now, If I match
or beat your roll, Mekha and I win absolutely; if my
roll falls short, you and Amek win absolutely. No
series of rolls goes past the third round.
I roll my dice, including the advantage die. I roll ...
crap. A 2+5=7 and a 1.
So my answer has to admit your character’s
action, more or less in full. “You hack me and I fall
in the sand.”

Consequences:
The winner exhausts the loser. Mekha’s worn out,
and I knock a die size off of his directly and his
with violence, both...
Or else, the winner injures the loser. Mekha’s
wounded, and I knock a die size off his covertly
and his for others, both...
Or else, we negotiate and agree to some other
consequence we both prefer."

I find the rules murky at this point.  I mean, lets say the demon intends to snatch the ring from the finger rather than bite the hand off, and he wisn the conflict.  So he DOES get the ring?  AND the looser is exhuasted or injured or negotiates?  Or does he only get the ring if he negotiates to get the ring, otherwise the hobbit is prepared to get injured or exhuasted preventing the ring from being snatched?

I think the author needs to answer this, because it depends on what his intentions were with conflict resolution - i.e. is it possible for a character sacrifice in order to ensure that something doesnt happen?  (and the rules need to be clarified in the next release, regardless)
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lumpley
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« Reply #9 on: February 22, 2010, 08:40:13 PM »

RPL: You're good with the answers so far? I am, I'm diggin' em.

Oh but everybody, one point nobody's said: supposing that the ring isn't on anybody's sheet as a particular strength, it belongs to the GM. The demon can swallow it, but the GM gets to decide whether it's destroyed thereby. The GM can even make it up as a quick NPC and roll dice on its behalf against the demon, if that's what's called for.

Stefoid: "More or less in full" is crucial. As loser, you can sacrifice yourself to keep the ring only if you're able to keep hold of the ring while admitting the demon's action more or less in full. I don't guarantee that you'll be able to, and you can't insist that you can or should be able to; you just have to actually be able to do it. At the end of the last answer of the action sequence, wherever the ring is, that's where it will be at the beginning of negotiation. If nobody negotiates otherwise, that's still where it will be at the beginning of subsequent free play. Of course, right? Nothing by default un-swallows that ring; only a challenge, answer, or negotiation can do it.

So, the demon swallows the ring as its last challenge. Because of circumstances, momentum, and fictional details, the hobbit can't admit the demon's action but yet keep hold of the ring, right? Going into negotiation, the ring is in the demon's stomach and the demon's player holds the stick, so yeah, the demon keeps the ring AND gets to exhaust or injure the hobbit. Sucks for the hobbit.

-Vincent
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stefoid
Member

Posts: 657


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« Reply #10 on: February 22, 2010, 08:54:07 PM »

I get it.

Kind of related to this.  when I initially interpreted the rules as the looser can insist on something not happening by sacrificing, I thought it was kind of cool (but probably not cool in other ways that might render the game unworkable, probably).

However, did you consider making the conflict escalate-able (is that a word?) something like diTV although I havent played that game for real.  Like instead of automatically loosing two forms, something like each conflict starts with one form at risk and conflict round loosers either have to drop out, take the form loss or negotiate immedaitely OR to stay in the contest for the next round, they have to up their ante and risk additional form losses (up to a maximum of 3).  (and get rid of the 'double me and contest ends on this round'  rule.)
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stefoid
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« Reply #11 on: February 22, 2010, 08:54:51 PM »

sorry, instead of 'automatically loosing two forms' I meant automatically risking
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RPL
Member

Posts: 66


« Reply #12 on: February 23, 2010, 07:59:38 AM »

Hi,

Vincent: I’m finding this answers very productive, thank you :).

Namely this

Quote from: lumpley
Going into negotiation, the ring is in the demon's stomach and the demon's player holds the stick, so yeah, the demon keeps the ring AND gets to exhaust or injure the hobbit. Sucks for the hobbit.

I was actually going to ask this as a follow up question. So you can use you actions in the rounds to pull of your intent and bypass having to fight for it all over again in the negotiation phase.

It makes me very happy to read that, because it prevents conflict repetition and a sort of … meh … that I sometimes felt in some conflicts, because they made me feel that after a lot of broken bones and name saying and demon summoning and the likes, nothing actually happened in the game…

And this

Quote from: jburneko
If the ring was all you cared about then stop here.  In fact you're also done with Negotiation.  You've lost your hand and the ring is swallowed.  If that's all anyone cared about it's over and decided.

Keep it focused on what the players (GM included) care about that conflict and realise when it's over.

So I feel enlightened now, thanks everyone for your help in interpreting this. My group is playing this on Sunday, I’ll try to keep these things in mind. I think it might bring about a new very different game experience than the one we’ve been having with IaWA.

Thanks everyone for your help and insight.

On a more procedural note:
Quote from: jburneko
This, here, is what is causing the confusion.  The DP hasn't given us enough information to use the mechanics correctly.  WHAT exactly is he doing it to "go get it"?  It's at this point BEFORE the die roll that he has to say, "I bite your hand off and swallow the ring."
We kind of play it like this:
Everyone who is in the conflict does the initial roll (initiative?);
The high roller states and describes his action;
The GM asks if anyone wants to oppose;
The answerers roll their dice;
According to the numbers the answerer describes his actions and how they affect what the other character did and what the outcome of it all was.

I don’t know if it brings more to the game or not, but I don’t think it takes anything away from it. Either way, I usually hate do describe my actions before rolling, I rather state my intention and then describe according to the dice/cards/whatever.

On a curious note about interpretation and shared imagination space, I have no idea when we started talking about the soldier character like he was a hobbit, but in fact he was just a plain human soldier.

“Stop pushing the little guys” :p


All the best,
D.
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stefoid
Member

Posts: 657


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« Reply #13 on: February 25, 2010, 03:59:08 PM »

I get it.

Kind of related to this.  when I initially interpreted the rules as the looser can insist on something not happening by sacrificing, I thought it was kind of cool (but probably not cool in other ways that might render the game unworkable, probably).

However, did you consider making the conflict escalate-able (is that a word?) something like diTV although I havent played that game for real.  Like instead of automatically loosing two forms, something like each conflict starts with one form at risk and conflict round loosers either have to drop out, take the form loss or negotiate immedaitely OR to stay in the contest for the next round, they have to up their ante and risk additional form losses (up to a maximum of 3).  (and get rid of the 'double me and contest ends on this round'  rule.)

no love for this idea?
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JoeBeason
Registree

Posts: 1


« Reply #14 on: March 01, 2010, 12:58:58 PM »

I fear I've been one of those people running draggy conflicts where one spends multiple conflicts hashing out X instead of moving on to Y and Z.  I'll have to work on that.

But I'm still a little stuck on "So my answer has to admit your character’s action, more or less in full."  It's one thing if the action had some narrative wriggle room, like "I run you through with my sword."  But what happens if the action was something more absolute and character-ending like "I chop off your head"?  Is the character now decapitated, more or less?  It would have to be a lot less to keep the character in play.  I'd been thinking that the only way to eliminate a character was to drive two scores down to 0, but I may have been making an error in logic, since "two zeroes means out" does not imply "out only if two zeroes".
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