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Archive => RPG Theory => Topic started by: lumpley on September 23, 2003, 10:44:53 AM

Title: I finally got IIEE!
Post by: lumpley on September 23, 2003, 10:44:53 AM
Occasionally my job requires me to sit quietly under very boring and technical circumstances.  I was doing that the other day and BAM!

So you have some people talking about what happens in the in-game: talk talk talk.  When, under what circumstances, do they consult the mechanics?
-When a character's deciding to do something?
-When the character's beginning to do it?
-When the character's good and doing it?
-When the character has done it and what happens because?

And I was like, ah!  IIEE is the conjunction, the cusp, between setting up and making decisions.  A game's IIEE rules provide the like trigger: Now We Resolve.  They may also, depending on their details and the details of the rules they initiate, assign advantages, significance, or other forms of credibility.

Without overt IIEE rules, your play depends on a covert, probably personality-driven IIEE arrangement.

So that's all.  Just playing catch up.


Title: I finally got IIEE!
Post by: Ron Edwards on September 23, 2003, 10:47:34 AM
This is me, slumping over the desk, in an exhausted ecstasy of completed communication.

Not since Jesse let loose with "Yes! Yes!!" to begin a post in the Adept Press forum, have I been moved in such a fashion.

Fulfilledly yours,

Title: I finally got IIEE!
Post by: lumpley on September 23, 2003, 11:03:06 AM
I've been working with a friend on a tabletop hexmap type walking and shooting game.  I've been all about Currency and designing for effect not process, against his resistance.  Trying to explain things to him solidified them for me in a big way, but I was still missing how they really fit into roleplaying's socially-driven structure.  Walking and shooting games don't have IIEE because in them it's always resolution, if you see what I mean, and that provided the BAM!

(Interestingly, Ron, I filled a couple notebook pages with this stuff just an hour or three before I got your email last Friday.)


Title: I finally got IIEE!
Post by: kalyptein on September 23, 2003, 11:31:47 AM
Hooray, congratulations, etc!

This seems like an ideal thread then, for me to ask:

What the @#$&! is IIEE?

I keep seeing it mentioned in posts, but I've never been able to find a definition.  It also took me a month to find out what the lumpley principle was.  Maybe I'm just slow...

edit for clarification: specifically - what does IIEE stand for, or is just what you say when the GM jabs you with a cattle prod?  and while the first post describes his new understanding, what's the basic definition such that I can make sense out of what he just said.


Title: I finally got IIEE!
Post by: kalyptein on September 23, 2003, 11:36:46 AM
Argh, sorry, multi-posting snafu... editing it down to relative inoffensiveness.


Title: I finally got IIEE!
Post by: lumpley on September 23, 2003, 12:18:58 PM
Ah!  Good.  IIEE stand for Intent, Initiation, Execution, Effect, or something like that.  They're the four questions I asked above.

"My guy hits the monster!"

Does that announcement mean that your guy has decided to hit the monster, but isn't in motion yet?  Or that he's in motion, swinging his fist but still yet to connect?  Or that his fist is just now connecting?  Or that he has already hit the monster and all we have to figure out is what comes of it?

Answer: it depends on how the game you're playing handles IIEE.

Sorcerer, for example, handles IIEE by having a "free and clear" step where everybody works out their Intent, then everybody rolls dice, then Initialization, Execution and Effect follow from how the dice come up.  (Right, Ron?)

I'm sure some other people can point you to good threads.  I can't because they went over my head.


Title: I finally got IIEE!
Post by: ethan_greer on September 23, 2003, 12:23:16 PM
Try this:

Title: I finally got IIEE!
Post by: pete_darby on September 23, 2003, 01:46:48 PM
Darn it all to heck! I knew I shoudl have checked the Forge before writing the next bit of my Impro article!

Ah well, it needed rewriting anyway...

(new title for the subsection; IIEE: which part's the offer, which part's the block?)

Title: I finally got IIEE!
Post by: Jason Lee on September 23, 2003, 01:46:50 PM
Honestly, I've never seen the difference between Initiation and Execution (or Intent, dependent upon point of view).

Intent breaks down into player intent; what does the player want; this is before proposing something for approval to the other players.

Execution is the declaration of the player's desires; the actual proposed event.

Effect is the outcome of integrating the players desires into the shared space.

Initiation I can only define as the character starting to do something.  Doesn't seem to have anything to do with the player.  I could really be approaching this from the wrong angle (player versus character).  Guess I'd rather talk about what the player is doing.  I think it makes IIEE more useful.  Even if we are just talking about the character, a character raising his sword to strike either hasn't decided to strike yet (Intent) or is already swinging (Execution).  That sort of freeze-frame phase doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

Title: I finally got IIEE!
Post by: Ron Edwards on September 23, 2003, 02:14:05 PM
Hi Jason,

None of this involves player-character distinctions at all. To be absolutely clear (I hope), all four steps are about both what the character experiences and does as well as how this is communicated to and understood by every real person at the real table.

Links to the original discussion of IIEE may be found in the entry "IIEE" at the end of my article Simulationism: the Right to Dream (


Title: I finally got IIEE!
Post by: lumpley on September 23, 2003, 05:43:07 PM
It might be different to anybody else, of course, but what's important to me isn't that there are four of them or what they particularly are.  Those four seem as good as any.  What's important to me is that we know where, in game, to apply the rules.

In any given game, you won't have all four as distinct steps, necessarily; what you'll have is "before you roll" and "after you roll."  How far does it go before a roll is called for?  How much is left for the roll to determine?

(Please understand "roll" to mean whatever System you're using for resolution, no pro-dice bias intended.)

So it (newly) makes sense to me to talk about the intersection of our imaginations as players with the structure of our System in terms of in-game circumstances.  Dissecting our characters' actions is an easy and good place to start.  If we move away from one-player-one-character and sole-GM games, we'll naturally need to find other, equivalent ways to talk about it.

Consider the IIEE of buying a component in Universalis, for example.  Even though there's no character there swinging a sword, the mechanism still comes into play at a well defined in-game moment.

All of which to say, Jason, that IIEE as such is only one possible way to talk about what's actually happening.  If you design games with only IE&E, I'm sure that'll be fine, and Ron looking at them will see the other I collapsed into I or E and no big deal.


Title: I finally got IIEE!
Post by: Jason Lee on September 23, 2003, 06:25:26 PM

Yeah, I read 'em.  Still feels off to me to lump character and player together.  But, I think I'll plague Vincent's thread no more, because...



Hey now, I think I can live with that!

Title: I finally got IIEE!
Post by: LordSmerf on September 24, 2003, 09:34:20 AM
This does in fact clarify the issue for me.  Thank you for sharing your insights lumpley.  I also see how this is valuable in game design.  Understanding where within this continuum and action declaration falls allows you to cater towards a specific style of play...  Very interesting...