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Author Topic: [S/lay w/me] Questions of a swiss rules lawyer  (Read 3844 times)
Christoph Boeckle
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Posts: 545

Yverdon, Switzerland


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« on: December 14, 2010, 05:26:05 AM »

Hello Ron

I've been playing S/lay w/me with my girlfriend Sylvie over the last few months (interspersed with some Breaking the Ice and soon Sweet Agatha). We've played two adventures each with our heroes (I'll be writing an AP report ASAP) and we have a few rules questions.

1) You write that we should never select the same location twice. Is that just for the one hero, or if one hero went to one place, he excludes the other one from going there? I can see some interesting uses either way: visit a place that has been transformed by the other hero (big time crossing!), or thwart the plans of the other hero and justify with some in-game reason why he can't go to that place after all. We haven't yet been stymied by not knowing the answer to this question, but since my character is indirectly linked to Sylvie's hero's goal, it might sooner or later be crucial to know what to do.

2) My character has been injured twice in a row. The second time he was trying to find a cure for his first wound, failed really badly and just barely got away with a dagger in his belly. Does Sylvie get two bonus dice at the beginning of the next adventure with my character, or just the one? Do I have to achieve two different goals to heal both injuries or is it okay to find a super healing potion that gets me rid of all wounds at once?

3) If that wasn't enough, my hero is being pursued by the monster he failed to kill, and I think Sylvie might well use it in the next adventure. That'd be two or three starting dice for her. Say it's three for the sake of the argument, and that she sets the monster at value 4 (or does she have to keep the same value each time the same monster comes back?) Does that mean that after one attack of the monster, the Match is already done?

Some more abstract questions, which might or might not crop up in our play:

4) If my character stops adventuring, can I use it as a monster against Sylvie's? There are quite a number of reasons why we would be inclined to do so. Even if he dies (which is really likely to happen except if Sylvie rolls very badly, which I hope for multiple reasons...), he's a bad ass necromancer so you never know if at least his corpse might come back.

5) Can the one hero be used as a lover to the other and vice-versa? That's not likely to happen, but I've started reading Red Nails and it sure looks like Conan and Valeria are two heroes which act as (very prude in the beginning) lovers to each other. If yes, would that be a way to kill the hero when he's not in his own adventure (by menacing the lover and having the hero fail to save him or her)? I mean, I'd be using my own hero as the lover, so I'd know the risks I'm taking.

Thanks!

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Regards,
Christoph
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2010, 07:47:25 AM »

Hi Christoph,

Fortunately I can answer your more concrete questions. The abstract ones might only yield discussion without a clear rules ruling.

1. The rule about selecting locations is written to be absolute. I recognize that this rule closes the door on certain possibly-productive features, just like you're describing. However, one thing I would like to advise against is over-preparing a Grand Saga. S/Lay w/Me is written in the spirit of generating the appearance of such a saga, in the sense that the stories we see are only fragments remaining, and that experiencing those fragments is better than having been there through the whole thing.

Or to put it slightly differently, Howard did not write, and we never get to read, the circumstances of Conan becoming king of Aquilonia. It is certainly part of the saga, and for Conan himself, its climax - but we learn more, as readers, and I think feel more, by seeing Conan confirm his rule (The Phoenix on the Sword, The Scarlet Citadel) and define it historically (both for himself and for his subjects, in The Hour of the Dragon).*

Therefore what I advise is not visiting the same location, but instead consider that Conan is in a new location in The Scarlet Citadel, but he is still king of Aquilonia. I am saying that your character's relevance to Sylvie's character is a fine thing to work with in play, but you should be more creative than merely butting one character directly into another character's "home" location (assuming the second has settled there). Remember, you can introduce all manner of back-story via play.

Also, you wrote about Sylvie's character's goal as if it were some kind of general thing, conceived across adventures. I want to advise against confusing the rules term "goal," which is absolutely and only specific to a given adventure, and any more general goal or concept that a player might feel applies to his or her character. The latter should be recognized as a current concept only, subject to change at any time.

2. Each injury is its own entity, in terms of dice. Yes, Sylvie gets two bonus dice at the start of the next adventure. It will help if you make sure to write each injury as its own new sentence in your character's story. In fact, I advise being extra, strenuously careful to follow the instructions regarding written additions after every adventure.

Regarding healing, you can deal with multiple injuries separately via separate adventures, or you can name a goal for a single adventure to heal your character completely, as you see fit. Why not always do the latter? Because someone might choose to keep a specific injury because they like playing their character struggling with it.

Quote
3) If that wasn't enough, my hero is being pursued by the monster he failed to kill, and I think Sylvie might well use it in the next adventure. That'd be two or three starting dice for her. Say it's three for the sake of the argument, and that she sets the monster at value 4 (or does she have to keep the same value each time the same monster comes back?) Does that mean that after one attack of the monster, the Match is already done?

i) Every adventure is its own entity in terms of Monster dice. Sylvie can set the new value for the same monster at 4, 5, or 6.

ii) Yes, the bonus dice do count toward the total needed to end the Match. Given two injuries and a pursuing monster, yes, that's three dice, and yes, after the first attack, Sylvie's ended the Match.

Clearly if Sylvie wanted the adventure to be more nuanced, she would either hold off attacking for some time, or set a higher value for the monster, or both. When your character is that thoroughly injured, the "I" character has to make important decisions of that kind.

Quote
4) If my character stops adventuring, can I use it as a monster against Sylvie's? There are quite a number of reasons why we would be inclined to do so. Even if he dies (which is really likely to happen except if Sylvie rolls very badly, which I hope for multiple reasons...), he's a bad ass necromancer so you never know if at least his corpse might come back.

I think my best answer is "I'm not sure, but I would advise against it." It strikes me as a way to keep playing your character when the rule really is intended to close the book for that guy. There are other ways, requiring more creativity, to have your character's legacy and impact on the setting to produce monsters against Sylvie. And again, even hinting that the answer might be yes leads to the slippery slope of planning later adventures and tainting the play of the current adventure with those plans.

5. No. Heroes do not become one another's lovers. If we were to think about Red Nails as if it were S/Lay w/Me (which is cognitively backwards, but that said ...), then Valeria is not a fellow hero; she's Conan's lover and that's it.

Best, Ron

* In fact, thinking about it now, The Hour of the Dragon is the perfect S/Lay w/Me ending for Conan - not when he gets the crown of Aquilonia, but when he chooses a romantic partner who will accompany him royally, culturally, and in matrimony, in the full context of his subjects' desire for a lineage.
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Christoph Boeckle
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Posts: 545

Yverdon, Switzerland


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« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2010, 10:34:10 AM »

Hello Ron

Thank you very much for the detailed answers! I see no reason to debate your views on questions 4 and 5, they make perfect sense to me.

We've already experienced the differences between an "I" player holding his attacks off and one playing very fiercely and we've started to develop some notions about what achieves what. Concerning Sylvie's character's goal, here's the deal: she chose the phrase I am a hunted outlaw, hardened and bitter, but I still hope. The goal she chose for the first adventure was to find the queen of the Crystal Court and confess a crime (which she still hasn't defined after two adventures, nor even how it relates to her character being an outlaw, nor to whom he is an outlaw). This goal failed because he never found the queen. Next goal was to discover who this queen really is. This he succeeded. Now, since he in particular learned that the queen is dead, Sylvie will necessarily have to chose a new goal, but chances are high it will somehow be related to the legacy of the queen. So it's not like we said at character creation: "let's have our play gravitate around the queen of the Crystal Court", it's just working out that way because of decisions we've made in play, in particular because the Lover Sylvie has chosen to keep across the two first adventures is the queen's daughter. There's thematic continuity between her character's goals, but they are each time different.
But say that she did want to pursue a failed goal in a second adventure, that'd be kosher, right? Same for my hero: his goals are all about getting healed (even before being injured, since I'm playing the sickly guy) and things getting more and more complicated because he's getting injured all the damn time. I definitely feel like pursuing this goal, even if it is reformulated each time.

My AP thread will dwell more precisely on fiction and how we constructed it through play.
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Regards,
Christoph
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2010, 11:08:24 AM »

Hi Christoph,

Quote
But say that she did want to pursue a failed goal in a second adventure, that'd be kosher, right?


That's correct!

I'll look forward to learning more about the characters and the events of play.

Best, Ron
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Christoph Boeckle
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Posts: 545

Yverdon, Switzerland


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« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2010, 01:37:27 PM »

Cool, looks like I'm getting the hang of the game. Probably the last question before we play again: is it okay to heal wounds as part of an "anything else" outcome?
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Regards,
Christoph
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2010, 04:16:39 PM »

Hi Christoph,

Very sneaky of you. The "anything else" option is intended for any outstanding phenomena that have been part of the story, and could conceivably demand resolution.

I checked the rules about healing, and the Goal part of the text only says may, without any verbiage suggesting that Goal statements are the only way to heal injuries.

So yes - but I stress that it cannot be tangential to whatever has been happening so far. It's just like anything else using the "anything else" option. You can't go through an adventure without any material in it suggesting the possibility of healing, and then spend two Good dice to heal your injury out of nowhere.

Best, Ron

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Christoph Boeckle
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Posts: 545

Yverdon, Switzerland


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« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2010, 06:59:52 AM »

Sure, I wouldn't like healing out of the blue. I'll be starting that AP report, it's about time. Thanks for the rapid help!
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Regards,
Christoph
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