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Author Topic: Trollbabe Barrage of Questions V: conflicts and authority  (Read 1288 times)
Moreno R.
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Posts: 547


« on: March 16, 2011, 08:07:08 PM »

Other questions! (I used two thread to be able to use a more descriptive thread subject)

1) Often, it' not simple to judge the right Action Type.  Sometimes there is no violence but no changing an active behavior either.  A good example is right in the book: the trollbabe is alone, in a sinking ship. She try to reach the shore by swimming. The  GM call conflict (like in the example on page 31)...but what kind of Action type? She can't hurt the ocean. She can't change what the ocean is doing. She is not using magic.

In these situation I usually used "Fighting" as a sort of "generic number to roll when it's not magic or social", but it's practically a house rules, I would like to understand the rule in the game (or, if it isn't there, to suggest to add something about it)

2) Still an Action type problem:
The player call "conflict! Fighting! I want to kill him right here and right now", and then narrate in the fair and clear stage... that he is casting a killing spell on the enemy!
By the description of the action types on the book, this seems perfectly legal. He wart only to hurt (kill) someone, nothing more. He is not using a lot of time to do it, and the game already assume that he could kill the enemy with a quick "remembered spell" after the first failure.
But in this way a high-number (low on magic) trollbabe can cause a lot of damage using spells: much more than one trollbabe with a low number, very good on magic...  that need more time to be able to use them with the higher "magic" number...
Or there is, unstated, a rule that the trollbabe can use magic in a fight only by checking the "remembered spell" reroll item box? In this way, a trollbabe could never use magic in combat until she is at least "inconvenienced"

3) Victory narration: the trollbabe player said that the trollbabe tried to do something very low-key using a reroll item (hit with a found rock the enemy who was strangling her, for example). I (the GM) think that, maybe by habit, she is narrating her trollbabe as too weak, her failures as too crushing, sometimes even comical (a perennial favorite is having her hit a low branch with the head, or that she fall after tripping on a root. or something like that). I have to narrate her hitting the guy with the rock (maybe adding some detail like the sound his cranium do when crushed), or can freely expand on that? (She hit him with the rock, he takes a step behind, stunned, she reach for her sword, wait for him to recover, than attack him with such fury that after some weak attempt at defense, he get both his sword and his skull broken by a single massive crushing blow...)

4) How much time for a magic roll? This caused discussions a lot of times. The rule in the game manual is very clear, what isn't so clear usually is the fictional situation: it isn't uncommon for a player to try to get "plenty of time without being bothered" in very unfavorable situations (a classic: "I will cast magic hidden under this cover / behind this wall / in this room where my enemies don't see me", and when I say "you are not sure they will not find you" it start the guessing of the time needed: "How much time I will need? A minute? A hour? Two hours"
I usually leave the decision to a die roll, meaning that I call on a roll to see if the trollbabe is able to stay hidden until the spell is cast, or not. Sometimes I use that roll as the first roll in a "action to action" conflict (the first success: you find a place where to cast the spell, then you start casting it in the following series), but this make Magic too easy to use (if you have a high chance to cast a spell you have a high chance to find a secure place to cast it).. Other times I call for a separate conflict to "avoid being disturbed", but what type of action is this? (problem 1, above). Usually I ask:"if someone interrupt you, you would try to convince or menace him, or you would stun o kill him", but this is pre-narration (the blanket is too short, you pull it to cove a problem and it show another)
And who decide how much time did it take? The GM? Or whoever narrates the success or failure of the conflict?

5) The trollbabe can "easily" do anything a human could do, but she can't do more without using magic. (page 30). But decide if something is one or the other? Let's say the player say "my trollbabe rip that door from the hinges". It's not a conflict, or he is narrating a failure during a conflict. I think that that door, as it was described, is too big to be ripped out by a human. Can I say "no, it's too heavy"? (and can he reply "I am using magic strength" returning to the second question, magic use without the checking of the remembered spell checkbox?). Or, if it wasn't still stated in the fiction that the door was heavy, he can narrate anything he wants that does not negate something said?
What about situations that involve things not created by the GM? For example, the trollbabe player narrate that she pull a grizzly bear down Or a gorilla. Using only her strength of arms.  Can the GM say "no human could do that"? Can somebody other at the table if the GM don't notice it?
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Ciao,
Moreno.

(Excuse my errors, English is not my native language. I'm Italian.)
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2011, 09:36:03 PM »

Quote
1) Often, it' not simple to judge the right Action Type. Sometimes there is no violence but no changing an active behavior either. A good example is right in the book: the trollbabe is alone, in a sinking ship. She try to reach the shore by swimming. The GM call conflict (like in the example on page 31)...but what kind of Action type? She can't hurt the ocean. She can't change what the ocean is doing. She is not using magic.

Regarding the ocean, it can physically hurt her, and she must physically subdue it in a manner of speaking, so that's Fighting. I don't recommend thinking of Fighting as generic, but it is perfectly all right for struggling against something that's trying to kill you - effectively speaking.

Action Types are much easier than they look. For one thing, you can call an Action Type without much information to go on, and that makes the decision right there, effectively dictating that that's what the trollbabe decided to do. (That's another example of the curious border between player and GM regarding the player-characters in this game.) For another thing, you can always ask for a wee bit more action, or role-play in a responsive way which probably generates more imagined action.

Quote
2) Still an Action type problem:
The player call "conflict! Fighting! I want to kill him right here and right now", and then narrate in the fair and clear stage... that he is casting a killing spell on the enemy!
By the description of the action types on the book, this seems perfectly legal. He wart only to hurt (kill) someone, nothing more. He is not using a lot of time to do it, and the game already assume that he could kill the enemy with a quick "remembered spell" after the first failure.
But in this way a high-number (low on magic) trollbabe can cause a lot of damage using spells: much more than one trollbabe with a low number, very good on magic... that need more time to be able to use them with the higher "magic" number...
Or there is, unstated, a rule that the trollbabe can use magic in a fight only by checking the "remembered spell" reroll item box? In this way, a trollbabe could never use magic in combat until she is at least "inconvenienced"

I think the rules are pretty clear, not unstated at all. A killing-spell is not a physical attack in the way you are describing and cannot be cast in this fashion. You can only do snap-shot magic as a re-roll item - in fact, I think I say that explicitly in the text.

Quote
3) Victory narration: the trollbabe player said that the trollbabe tried to do something very low-key using a reroll item (hit with a found rock the enemy who was strangling her, for example). I (the GM) think that, maybe by habit, she is narrating her trollbabe as too weak, her failures as too crushing, sometimes even comical (a perennial favorite is having her hit a low branch with the head, or that she fall after tripping on a root. or something like that). I have to narrate her hitting the guy with the rock (maybe adding some detail like the sound his cranium do when crushed), or can freely expand on that? (She hit him with the rock, he takes a step behind, stunned, she reach for her sword, wait for him to recover, than attack him with such fury that after some weak attempt at defense, he get both his sword and his skull broken by a single massive crushing blow...)

I'm getting a little confused by your example. I will try to say it myself and hope I get it right. The player's first roll failed. The player narrates this a bit disastrously or comically. Then the player checks a re-roll item, describing it enough so that everyone can imagine what's happening, and then succeeds in the roll. Now you narrate it, following the rules and example that your narrations of successes should protagonize and validate the trollbabe.

I don't really see the problem. There's nothing wrong with giving one's own character a particularly hard time via narrating failures, and it's actually pretty common. It's also worth considering that the character is overall defined by a sort of duet of narrations between the GM and player, such that certain kinds of comedy are a fine option and strongly desired by some players. You just have to do your part in the duet.

Quote
4) How much time for a magic roll? This caused discussions a lot of times. The rule in the game manual is very clear, what isn't so clear usually is the fictional situation: it isn't uncommon for a player to try to get "plenty of time without being bothered" in very unfavorable situations (a classic: "I will cast magic hidden under this cover / behind this wall / in this room where my enemies don't see me", and when I say "you are not sure they will not find you" it start the guessing of the time needed: "How much time I will need? A minute? A hour? Two hours"

I am a little puzzled by your statement to the player and I can see why it causes trouble. You should say, "Cool! Conflict! Magic!" and carry on. Save your comments about whether people find her or not for your free-and-clear so such individuals are available for narrations later.

Quote
I usually leave the decision to a die roll, meaning that I call on a roll to see if the trollbabe is able to stay hidden until the spell is cast, or not. Sometimes I use that roll as the first roll in a "action to action" conflict (the first success: you find a place where to cast the spell, then you start casting it in the following series), but this make Magic too easy to use (if you have a high chance to cast a spell you have a high chance to find a secure place to cast it).. Other times I call for a separate conflict to "avoid being disturbed", but what type of action is this? (problem 1, above). Usually I ask:"if someone interrupt you, you would try to convince or menace him, or you would stun o kill him", but this is pre-narration (the blanket is too short, you pull it to cove a problem and it show another)
And who decide how much time did it take? The GM? Or whoever narrates the success or failure of the conflict?

I wouldn't use an action in action-by-action simply to establish that the conflict (which we're already rolling for) can occur in the first place. That's kind of weird. But the big question is easy to answer: is something swinging an axe at the trollbabe's head right now? If not, she can do a Magic action. That's perfectly functional. Use whatever equivalent of the axe applies for any situation. Never mind exact measures of in-game time. When a player brings it up, it means he or she is feeling confused and anxious, and is seeking some sort of grounding. Find a way to solve that rather than getting sucked into half an hour vs. three-quarters discussions.

Quote
5) The trollbabe can "easily" do anything a human could do, but she can't do more without using magic. (page 30). But decide if something is one or the other? Let's say the player say "my trollbabe rip that door from the hinges". It's not a conflict, or he is narrating a failure during a conflict. I think that that door, as it was described, is too big to be ripped out by a human. Can I say "no, it's too heavy"? (and can he reply "I am using magic strength" returning to the second question, magic use without the checking of the remembered spell checkbox?). Or, if it wasn't still stated in the fiction that the door was heavy, he can narrate anything he wants that does not negate something said?
What about situations that involve things not created by the GM? For example, the trollbabe player narrate that she pull a grizzly bear down Or a gorilla. Using only her strength of arms. Can the GM say "no human could do that"? Can somebody other at the table if the GM don't notice it?

It may help to say that a trollbabe can do things that a human probably couldn't with a great deal of effort.

The "magic strength" statement is simply ass without need for serious attention. The player seems to think he is playing a superhero.

It may also help to think in terms of Scale, and to identify things as existing at specific Scales. If the door is Scale "small group," then it can't be ripped down by a single trollbabe unless play is at or above that Scale.

I think that applies to the grizzly bear or gorilla question very well. If its Scale is "small group," which seems reasonable to me, then the small-Scale trollbabe's efforts against it should follow the rules for such things. Perhaps rolling successfully will get somewhere or at least acquit the trollbabe well, but it won't defeat a larger-Scale foe completely.

Best, Ron
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2011, 04:50:41 PM »

Hi,

Let me clarify that last answer a little bit. It confuses me, the way you put it.

First, just as you said, if opening the door was a conflict, then we don't have a problem The player can announce the conflict and define it as Magic and that is all easy. The Scale rules can be used normally.

Second, if it's not a conflict, then that means she either opens it or doesn't. You have authority over that as far as plain old speech and description is concerned. In that case, "It's too heavy" is a fine statement. (I wouldn't use the "No" as a lead, though - that provokes instant, strong responses including the urge to enter into a logic-debate.) And if the player wants to make it a conflict, then it is, and it's subject to the ordinary Scale rules.

Third, you mentioned that the player is somehow getting this statement into a failure-narration. That means, I presume, that the conflict is about something else. It would help to know more about that, because at first glance, the statement that includes "I rip the door off its hinges" is hard to place in a failure-narration, and hard to judge because I don't know what the door has to do with the actual conflict, if anything. Or rather, those things are hard due to my lack of knowledge.

Best, Ron
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