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46709 Posts in 5588 Topics by 13297 Members Latest Member: - Shane786 Most online today: 32 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: [Trollbabe] Harmed relationships - pg 61  (Read 4216 times)
James_Nostack
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Posts: 726


« on: December 02, 2010, 02:09:53 PM »

Maybe I'm reading it wrong, but page 61 of the print edition of Trollbabe says, in effect,

IF (Goal fails) AND (Trollbabe ends at inconvenienced) THEN (any relationships invoked the conflict get killed).

Some questions:
1.  Seriously?!  Even for social conflicts with Billy the Beggar Boy? 

2.  When the goal fails, or the roll fails?  (For comparison, harm to the Trollbabe seems to be inflicted when a roll fails.)

3.  How can this outcome ever occur, mechanically?  The Relationship only shows up mechanically on a re-roll, which means the Trollbabe has been inconvenienced already.  For the Trollbabe to then fail at the Goal without becoming injured seems . . . mechanically difficult.  (I'm assuming, I guess, that once the Relationship shows up, the Trollbabe will still take harm in the usual way.  Maybe that's not true, but I can't find any indication in the text.)
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James_Nostack
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Posts: 726


« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2010, 02:16:28 PM »

Hell, I am a very lazy man.  The answer is here.

For those too lazy to click through - which would be me, sometimes - the official answer is:

Quote
The "She is currently" column should have Injured in the top box of the Fails section (or rather third one down overall) and Incapacitated in the one below that.

Going through the final column, top to bottom, box by box, think of: (i) foe lying dead, trollbabe grimacing and blowing on a scrape, relationship character (who saved the day) spurting blood but going to live; (ii) foe lying dead, trollbabe spurting blood but going to live, relationship character (who saved the day) pumping his or her fist in the air; (iii) foe not dead, trollbabe spurting blood but going to live, relationship character lying dead; (iv) foe not dead, trollbabe lying unconscious in pool of blood, relationship character spurting blood but going to live, and in this case, the relevant point is that he or she is still mobile/active.
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James_Nostack
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« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2010, 02:18:54 PM »

Although, come to think of it, #1 and #2 are still viable questions even with the substitution for injured for inconvenienced.
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John S
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« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2010, 02:36:28 PM »

I remembered that post when I saw your question, but you found it before I could post a reply.

Seriously?!  Even for social conflicts with Billy the Beggar Boy?

Should you be using the social conflict rules for Billy the Beggar Boy if there's no risk of dangerous escalation? I can think of plenty of ways a social conflict could get out of control, but then, I've done volunteer work with inmates-- and I've seen kids do a lot of stuff too.
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James_Nostack
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Posts: 726


« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2010, 04:02:03 PM »

John, in Trollbabe sometimes the player will want to declare a Conflict strategically, in order to form a Relationship with that character later on.  So, Thora the Trollbabe might go out of her way to squabble with Billy the Beggar Boy simply to befriend him later. 

But I think the root of the issue here is that words like "inconvenienced," "injured," and "incapacitated" can be understood to apply in a very, very wide array of fictional circumstances.  (Okay, maybe "incapacitated" is a stretch, but I think it could work.)  In contrast, "killed" as an outcome seems to suggest a fairly specific fictional context, and I'm wary about having to always ensure that a sufficient threat is lurking around the corner.
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Moreno R.
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Posts: 547


« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2010, 05:36:17 PM »

Hi James!

Why Billy the Beggar Boy would be lethal to relationships? Well, it's because the trollbabe don't go straight to "incapacitated". She is not fainting in the middle of the street after the first roll.

First roll: she fail. She is inconvenienced.  Note that this can be caused by Billy that push or hit her.
First re-roll: she fail. She is HURT. This can mean a psychological, magical (for example, if she has used a spell to get the reroll) or even physical wold. Maybe Billy stabbed her. Maybe she was hurt by her spell, but SOMETHING happened. Something that turned the situation in something SERIUS.
At this moment, the trollbabe use the relationship for a reroll.
What doest it mean? Well, he could push the boy away, he could try to stop the effect of the botched spell, or he could some other thing.
But then the trollbabe fail the second reroll.

And kill her friend, not recognizing him, during a bout of madness caused by the spell
And Billy, scared (he think that the relationship want to hurt HIM because of what he did to the trollbabe) stab him in the neck, killing him.
Or any other thing.

At the time of the relationship's death, the conflict is really, really escalating out of control. People got hurt (the trollbabe is one of them), No matter what started it. And if people got hurt, other people can get dead. It's not even necessary that that death will be caused by the trollbabe's opponent in the conflict.
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Ciao,
Moreno.

(Excuse my errors, English is not my native language. I'm Italian.)
James_Nostack
Member

Posts: 726


« Reply #6 on: December 02, 2010, 06:19:16 PM »

Hi Moreno! 

I understand that, for one NPC, you can imagine a social interaction where a friend gets killed.  But it is hard to imagine a world where this could happen in any social interaction, at any time.  I don't argue with people very often, but when I do, my friends don't usually die.  Apparently that's not the case with Trollbabes...?
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John S
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« Reply #7 on: December 02, 2010, 06:32:13 PM »

But it is hard to imagine a world where this could happen in any social interaction, at any time.

My view is that you don't use the social conflict rules for every single argument-- you only call a Conflict when you or the GM recognize the risk of a situation. Also, the Stakes are usually in such a volatile state, and a Trollbabe is such a pressing concern for the NPCs that anything can happen if there's a real Conflict. If there's no chance that the argument could escalate into something dangerous, you shouldn't be using the Conflict rules. If the Stakes aren't in such a volatile stake that the NPCs are beginning to shake off normative constraints, then something has gone amiss.
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James_Nostack
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Posts: 726


« Reply #8 on: December 02, 2010, 07:02:56 PM »

.... I guess I can see that.  I like the way you phrased that, although I still feel the rule is a little extreme. 

The emergent effect seems to be: either don't invoke your relationship at all, or if you're already injured and the relationship is involved, you might as well burn off another re-roll item to go all the way to incapacitated.  Mechanically incapacitation isn't a huge deal since you get to heal up very soon after, and at least your relationships will survive.  (Note that at higher Scales, getting a relationship killed might involve mass-murder or genocide.)  To the extent that I care about the relationship as a fictional character, this rule strongly discourages me from bringing them into deadly danger.  Maybe that's the whole idea, but in the past I haven't regarded Trollbabe as being quite that bleak.
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Moreno R.
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Posts: 547


« Reply #9 on: December 02, 2010, 07:43:40 PM »

Hi Moreno! 

I understand that, for one NPC, you can imagine a social interaction where a friend gets killed.  But it is hard to imagine a world where this could happen in any social interaction, at any time.  I don't argue with people very often, but when I do, my friends don't usually die.  Apparently that's not the case with Trollbabes...?

If they are your friends, they are your relationships. You don't need a conflict to say what they do, in Trollbabe...  ;-)

But yes, the world depicted in the game text, illustrations and examples is a dangerous world. With monsters, trolls who want to eat you (or humans that want to kill you). evil spirits, blood feuds, and worse. People go around ARMED! Just imagine that every time you argue with someone, that someone has a weapon and probably has already used it in some local skirmish, blood feud or war. Maybe he has already killed someone.

I think that in this kind of situation, you would tend to argue less, and anyway, you would try to avoid escalating to conflicts, yes?  (It was Robert E. Howard, who wrote in "The tower of the Elephant" that "Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing")

John's answer is the correct one, by the rules: if there is no chance of a violent escalation, it isn't a conflict.  But, by the description of the setting, it's very EASY for a conflict to escalate to violence.... (and remember, the conflict rules don't say that the trollbabe's opponent must be the one doing violence. The player can use anything and anybody present at the conflict to justify harm)
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Ciao,
Moreno.

(Excuse my errors, English is not my native language. I'm Italian.)
James_Nostack
Member

Posts: 726


« Reply #10 on: December 03, 2010, 06:04:28 AM »

Thanks for your replies, John and Moreno.  I appreciate your time, but I think ultimately I'm not convinced.

I understand that in a game of Trollbabe all Conflicts are potentially dangerous, but I have a hard time envisioning how all conflicts are potentially lethal to third parties.  I'm not talking about mere violence or danger.  I'm talking about murder or some strange, lethal accident.

Specifically, this was not how conflicts worked in the PDF version of Trollbabe.  See pages 30-31 of the PDF, which I'll quote from...

Quote from: PDF Version
Relationships can be damaging to the people involved. If a re-roll based on a relationship fails, no matter how the whole series turns out, the person in question will wind up at one “consequence" level worse than the trollbabe does, if he or she is physically present during the conflict.
============
Retta finishes a [social conflict] Series during which she used her relationship with Skalgar Hog’s Son, in which she happened to fail at the “injured" level.  He was present during the conflict, and thus he is incapacitated and may be considered unavailable for rerolls for some time, which may be specified by the player as part of his or her narration of the result of the Series.
============
This is how people with relationships to the main characters can die: when a trollbabe is incapacitated, and if any relationships were involved in the Series as re-rolls–and if those people were physically present or otherwise directly involved–then they die. Note that Skalgar Hog’s Son, in the debate example, is
not at risk because he is not present in the conflict itself.

Why is a rule requiring Skalgar's death a better rule than one requiring Skalgar's incapacitation?

I understand that the rules on page 61 change the connection between a Trollbabe's harm and the Relationship's harm.  Under the old rules, the Relationship only suffered harm if a roll ended in a failure, and the Relationship's status was directly (and boringly) linked to the Trollbabe's stauts.  But the new rule strikes me as being crazily (and boringly) aggressive, as if compensating for the weakness in the earlier rule.

I also understand that given the nature of the Goals in the conflict there's bound to be some tension between accomplishing your goal and avoiding harm.  But this rule is like the GM constantly asking, "Well?  Well???  Are you going to get into a conflict even though it could mean your friend's DEATH?!?!?!  If you could only save your girlfriend, or your mom, and you had 5 seconds to decide, which would you pick?!?!?!?!  Come on, wussy!  CHOOSE!"  To which the sensible response is, "You're crazy.  I just asked if you wanted to go out for pizza."

Instead of "killed" I suggest, "The relationship breaks up," with that being understood to range from "I don't want to be friends anymore" to "I'm dying."  It's still pretty aggressive, but it doesn't completely break my suspension of disbelief.
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Gregor Hutton
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« Reply #11 on: December 03, 2010, 08:46:43 AM »

For me, it works as it is in the book because when I use a Relationship for a re-roll I'm not just invoking it like a Trait. I mean, I'm really putting this person that I have the Realtionship with at risk, to get what I want. And if it goes wrong and I want a different outcome I can use other re-rolls to change the outcome again. I think it's punchy and dramatic, and it stops people getting "easy" re-rolls from Relationships (i.e. where the choice of using a re-roll is a no-brainer).
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jburneko
Member

Posts: 1429


« Reply #12 on: December 03, 2010, 10:38:25 AM »

This conversation has reminded me of this brief exchange between Ron and myself, from WAY BACK (pdf version of Trollbabe).

http://indie-rpgs.com/archive/index.php?topic=6285.msg65258#msg65258

Ron, never did tell me what the "essential variable" was.

I haven't really run into a problem with the Injury/Death stuff for Relationships in Social conflicts because the context in which they occur are usually pretty volatile.  One of two things seems to be the case.  Either the stakes are so high that there's at least one NPC in the scene whose got a finger on the trigger anyway OR the stakes are so low that the PC is usually willing to bail on the conflict long before any of her relationships are at that kind of risk.

Jesse
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #13 on: December 07, 2010, 09:41:59 AM »

Hi James,

Before I compose my contribution to this thread, how tequila are you feeling? If I write the post straight from the hip, it could be construed by a reader as abrasive and pugnacious. If you can accept that in the spirit of the tequila forum, though, with a foundation that you and I both like the game and each other, then it will be easier to write and much faster.

Best, Ron
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James_Nostack
Member

Posts: 726


« Reply #14 on: December 07, 2010, 01:33:06 PM »

Ron, in the spirit of tequila: it's difficult to imagine what you could say that would affect my self-image.  But a few things at the outset:

* Are you okay doing this slowly?  This is a busy week for me, and I suspect it is for you too.  I'm engaged in the topic!  But I can't do full-auto.

* Maybe this thread bleeds into the other Trollbabe threads I've opened - and possibly an AP if I have time for it.  I'm okay with that if you are.

* If I think I'm not getting enough rigor, or a claim's been made that I think is bullshit, I'll let you know.

Other than that - I'm buying this round.

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