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[AW] leverage: kill me

Started by Moreno R., November 10, 2011, 11:31:09 AM

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Moreno R.

Hi Vincent!

There is a way to use the "Manipulate" move that I used in a example and it was contested, so I am checking it with you to be sure it's legit.

The situation: it's night, the PC is sleeping in a room, a NPC enter in the room with a gun to kill him.  The MC tell to the player (talking to the character) "you wake up in the middle of the night, something is not right. Then you hear it again, soft steps in the room. Opening your eyes, you see xxx  standing near the bed, pointing a gun to you. What do you do?"

The PC jump out of the bed and the NPC misses him with his first shot (acting under fire). Then there is the move that caused the discussion.

The situation: the would-be killer just entered the room, and clearly there is not enough moonlight coming from the small window to allow him to see anything apart from his immediate surrounding. Let's say that the room is big enough (a garage maybe, or a dance floor) that he can't simply shoot randomly in the dark with good chances to hit the PC. It's a stalemate for the moment, the NPC can't see the PC, but the unarmed PC can't attack the NPC without risking being hit (seize by force without armor against an armed opponent) and he will be seen if he try to flee.

So the PC, hiding behind something thick or sturdy enough, begin to talk to the NPC, taunting him. The move he is trying to use is "Manipulate". He want the NPC to shoot at him, emptying his gun, while he is secure behind cover.  He is using as leverage his life, in effect. (it could be seen as if he "said" - even if not directly using word - "If you shoot at me you will kill me").
As MC I would allow this (I was the one who did come up with the example, after all, to show how the PC was not forced to use seize by force by the rules if he wanted to attack the NPC).  If the PC get only a partial success, the "concrete assurance" would be taking real risk (the PC has to really give the NPC a chance to hit him, and has to roll a acting under fire to avoid it).

I am basing this interpretation of the rule on  "The whole process of asking for and making promises can be explicit or implicit" written on page 198.

People contested this example, because in their opinion the move can be used ONLY with a "real" promise (or something that, even if implicit, is still a promise to do/give something) and they cite this part of the description: "When you try to seduce or manipulate someone, tell them what you want and roll+hot." and say that in my example the PC didn't say to the NPC "please shoot me".

(They do read this forum, so if they think I am not representing well their side they can chime in and correct me)

My questions are: do you think this is a legit use of the move "Manipulate"? If not, there is another move the PC could have used to make the NPC shoot all his ammo?

The example had a coda, that caused other protests: after having disarmed the NPC, the PC use an acting under fire (fire: being seen) to get behind the NPC in a position where he can use as a follow-up move a going aggro to strangle the NPC. (the point of the example was to show how even in this situation you usually are not forced to use seize by force to be able fight. Sometimes it can be your best move, and sometimes the fictional situation make fleeing the only sane move, but you are never forced to use it or flee).
The protest about this was that in their opinion if the NPC try to resist, no matter what you do before (getting behind him in a position where you can block his attacks, for example), is always a seize by force.

This last bit of the example is not considering the possibility that this position could not exist, and the defender could maybe always hit anybody who attack him. I don't know anything about martial arts and I was basing this example, explicitly, on "cinematic reality". If somebody at the table tell me that it's impossible, all right, in this case I would agree that going aggro can't be used like that. The discussion is about a different thing: they say that, even if the NPC can't hit the PC, the fact that he is trying (a futile attempt) to do it make it a "seize by force".

What are your thoughts about this?

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


The manipulate move is weird. It's legit, I guess, but it's not how I'd think to do it. As MC, if the player's like "I want to taunt him into wasting his ammo," my answer is "cool. You're acting under fire."

As MC, unless circumstances dictate otherwise I'll almost always allow a PC to act under fire to go aggro on an NPC instead of seizing by force. So yeah, that's totally legit.




I think the problem with the move here is that seduce/manipulate really is about bartering instead of bluffing or misdirecting others. I am not sure if you are looking for a fix or was just wondering about the RAW, but in a hack of ours we've come up with a different move for these situations. It's been used for rallying, intimidating, for acting in a disguise and such: if you pose, act or talk to incite an emotion and suggest a course of action, roll+hot. On a 10+, they act according to the implied suggestion. On a 7-9, they are affected, but choose a different course of action that is in line with the emotion incited.