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46709 Posts in 5588 Topics by 13297 Members Latest Member: - Shane786 Most online today: 27 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: [Sorcerer] At the GenCon booth  (Read 3484 times)
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #15 on: August 30, 2011, 01:39:02 PM »

Hi Nat,

Whew, so much to talk about ...

Let's do some system things first.

1. In the initial interaction between Jenkins and the assistant, as I remember there was indeed a roll when you ordered him away. Jenkins won. In Sorcerer, such a situation doesn't dictate the loser's action, but if the loser doesn't do what they were told, they get a penalty based on the degree of success, for what they do instead. In this case, you won with one victory, so his next action was penalized by one die.

2. In the ensuing scuffle, I think you might be missing the key moment of how the rolls were initially constructed. It's all based strictly and only on the character's stated actions. In this case, the assistant wanted to shoot you (Jenkins), the demon wanted to protect you, and you wanted not to be shot. I know you described moving forward to put the coat on the demon, but I did ask whether you were attempting not to get shot, and you did say yes. It was a not a matter of ignoring the assistant and wanting to dress Samantha, at least not as I understood it anyway.

There are several more things to dissect out to show all the mechanics in action.

i) I decided the situation called for the orthogonal conflict mode. Oh, it might not have ... it could have been you vs. the assistant, with the demon's roll augmenting yours, just as you described. But as I saw it, there were some possible juxtaposed outcomes concerning injury to the demon which made the complex method more appropriate.

ii) In orthogonal conflict, the rolls do determine the order, but they don't *just* determine order - they also set the effectiveness of the stated actions, which in many combat situations would all be attacks. It's not merely an initiative step; it's also the first half of every resolution at that moment.

iii) The orthogonal mode is actually simplified a little when one or more of the actions are defensive. It's like having several crossing lines of action, but some of those lines "stop" at the intersections. That's what your action was like - when a person says, "Try not to get hurt" or anything like that in what's otherwise eligible for an orthogonal resolution situation, that's when the Full Defense action is employed (an automatic two-dice bonus)..

iv) Let's break out what might have happened. Let's say the assistant had the highest roll. That means the shot was coming straight at Jenkins, period, first thing. And your defensive roll was already on the table, being inadequate. The only reasonable thing to do at that moment would be to abort the defense (which wasn't working) and defend (again) with full dice, although not the bonus two. That's the other nice thing about the Full Defense option; you get a re-roll if it doesn't work unless for some reason you're silly enough not to do it. At this point, it would all come down to the bullet hitting you or not, with Samantha having effectively been too slow to get there in time throughout the entire exchange.

Or let's say that your roll was highest, meaning the shot has missed, by definition. If Samantha's were next, then you'd be doubly safe, dramatically although unnecessarily. But if her roll was third, then she would have been late to the party, as above, and the whole thing would have become, in retrospect and mechanics alike, an oppositional conflict after all.

Whereas what did happen, if I remember correctly, is that Samantha's roll came first and yours second, thus negating the shot at you by her action and making your roll dramatically interesting but mechanically redundant. Note that her action did carry the risk of her being hit! She did have to roll defensively against the incoming bullet, which she succeeded in doing.

(Actually, now I'm not sure. Either it happened that way, or you-Samantha-assistant, as described above. I'm pretty sure it was that way, though; I remember her defensive roll.)

Before we go on, maybe we should check over all that. Does it make more sense now?

Best, Ron
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Markus
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« Reply #16 on: September 18, 2011, 12:50:09 PM »


iv) Let's break out what might have happened. Let's say the assistant had the highest roll. That means the shot was coming straight at Jenkins, period, first thing. And your defensive roll was already on the table, being inadequate. The only reasonable thing to do at that moment would be to abort the defense (which wasn't working) and defend (again) with full dice, although not the bonus two. That's the other nice thing about the Full Defense option; you get a re-roll if it doesn't work unless for some reason you're silly enough not to do it. At this point, it would all come down to the bullet hitting you or not, with Samantha having effectively been too slow to get there in time throughout the entire exchange.


Could you elaborate a bit on this seemingly "active" use of a non-proactive action during combat (aka complex conflict)? The core rulebook definitely says that purely defensive actions don't get you an action roll, just the 2-dice bonus in defence roll(s).

I always assumed that the full defense rule was like this by design, to make reactive actions a second-rate choice compared to actually taking your chances and, well, doing more exciting stuff.

If the "non-proactive-but-active" use quoted above is correct, I have a few followup questions. Thanks!
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #17 on: September 19, 2011, 07:42:14 AM »

Hi Markus,

I see how this can be confusing, but it is merely a matter of phrasing. The book is correct. So is what I say here. I'll try to clarify in light of two facts.

1. The fact is that during the pre-roll, announcement step, a person has to say "I'm conducting purely defensive actions," so we know why he or she isn't making what the rules (somewhat confusingly) call an action roll. One way to look at it is that the character's actions for this round of rolls cannot prompt a defensive roll from anyone else. They're doing something, i.e., defending in some way, but that's all.

2. Another fact is that the defensive activity is timed like everything else. So the person at the table does indeed have to roll dice along with everyone else, to see whether the character's defensive activity has begun by the time the first attack directed toward him or her. (We will assume that some attacks are coming toward the character, otherwise the initial announcement was stupid in the first place.) The reason this is so, is that if that roll doesn't take place, we'd be assuming that the character's actions were so supremely fast and effective that they applied automatically throughout the round, which is a little too generous for the Sorcerer philosophy.

This option isn't second-rate on its own terms. It's actually pretty good - it allows a double roll for defense, for example, if the first one isn't good enough. It's also usually the best option if a character has just received a lot of penalties. And it can set up for bonus dice in the upcoming action, potentially, like anything else one might say and roll dice for. But it's true that the character isn't trying to get something done beyond merely making it through the current round.

I'm happy to help with any questions. I hope I've shown that my phrasing in this thread does not contradict the book, but is merely another way to say what the book says.

Best, Ron
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