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Author Topic: Trollbabe Roll and Goal interpretation  (Read 2446 times)
Bob McNamee
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Posts: 685


« on: March 29, 2004, 05:41:46 PM »

Pasted from a private message...

Quote from: montag
Hi there
first off, I'd like to repeat your post was very helpful. Thanks.
Concerning the GM, I know the example you cited and I'd say that it hardly comes close to the suggestions you made above. I'd guess in play the GM doing his job properly would say his goal is to have the Baron get away/not be caught, which might eliminate two of your possibilities.
However, IMHO it is pointless to debate what may or might have happened and I wouldn't want to derail the thread with that debate. At the very least, I'd want to hear other's opinions first.
If you desire so, we can discuss the details of what the GM should or would have done in the baron example via PM (or in the thread if for some reason you want this public. Just say so.) In the meantime, I'd again like to thank you for the insightful example with the baron, I benefitted greatly from it.

best
markus


Just my opinion....

You're welcome,

Remember the GM doesn't have a goal...at least not a capital "G"- Goal.
He has an intent that he discloses in Fair and Clear. The GM doesn't succeed at his 'goal' when a Player fails a conflict, the Player fails at their Goal.

 The GM can exercise any of his intents when narrating a Player success, but not if it violates the roll and Goal of the Player.

All of my Player narrations could be considered to within the spirit of Failing the Goal of "capturing the Baron"... although the last one where the babe is surrounded by soldiers while holding the Baron hostage could be iffy (but I would allow it myself since she hasn't really succeeded at capturing him...or at least not getting away).

It would be fine if we took this to its own thread...I'll see if I can do so.

I'm sure it would be useful for many folks... I'm no expert either, but I have run a couple longish games of Trollbabe over IRC with the indie-netgamers.

Bob

Ron and others who have run TB for longer term games... any other ideas where narration and interpretation of success come in?
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Bob McNamee
Indie-netgaming- Out of the ordinary on-line gaming!
Alan
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Posts: 1012


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« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2004, 06:30:18 PM »

For reference here's the two options under discussion from Bob's post in the middle of http://www.indie-rpgs.com/viewtopic.php?t=10418&start=0&postdays=0&postorder=asc&highlight=" >[Trollbabe] Switching the Social Range?

Quote from: Bob McNamee

She confronts Baron Woltmir and a bodyguard in the stableyard of an Inn. He is responsible for enslaving villagers in his mines. The bodyguard draws a sword immediately... the GM declares a Fighting Conflict

...

Ok...lets say she accepts a Discommode and Fails at the Goal and narrates.

...

Nar possiblity #3
With the idea that her Fighting skill is competant but an unreliable way of acheiving her Goals.

She draws her long knife and tries to fight past the bodyguard to get to the Baron.
With a terrifying wolf howl she deflects the bodyguards blow and hammers him in the head with the hilt of her knife dropping him. She quickly crosses to the Baron before he can mount. She holds her knife to his throat and orders him to surrender. A bare second after... the fallen Bodyguards sword point is at her back. Instinctively she spins with her amazing reflexes and counters his threat, with just a shallow slice to her back.
The Baron's body falls back in a shower of blood as his head is mostly severed by her action...

Nar possiblity #4
From the "Succeed, but.." school of narration

She draws her long knife and tries to fight past the bodyguard to get to the Baron. She steps inside the thrust of the bodyguard...hammering him in the temple... dropping him unconscious. The Baron aborts mounting, and draws his sword, with a cruel sneer. His weaves a cunning set of cuts with his weapon. She manages to step inside his guard disarming him, and sweeping his legs out from under him.
"Surrender or die"-she says
"I would surrender"-says the Baron as he spits in her eyes, burning them with tobacco juice

"But it would look bad to my men"

When she wipes her eyes, she can she that the fight has attracted the attention of many of the Baron's drunken soldiers from inside the Inn. She holds the Baron between her and most of the drawn bows.

"I suggest you let me go ... I'll even give you a moment's head start running ....", gloats the Baron.


#4 is fine with me, provided the player understands that they are choosing to back down.  In fact, I might cut immediately to a scene where the Trollbabe has retreated - or is even on the run.

#3 is fine, in that it satisfies the requirement that the Trollbabe fail to capture the Baron - he can't be captured when he's dead.  However, assuming the enslaved villagers were the stakes, the Trollbabe may well have resolved the fate of the stakes by failing a roll.  This presents the GM with a challenge.

Maybe if the event happened near a the end of a long, hard fought episode, I'd let the stakes be resolved.  It would be a rather ironic end.

On the other hand, if the epside still needed some fifth business, I'd throw in another obstacle - maybe someone else is behind the Baron and needs to be faced before the stakes can be resolved.
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- Alan

A Writer's Blog: http://www.alanbarclay.com
montag
Member

Posts: 172


« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2004, 07:48:39 PM »

I'd be fine with #4, again, assuming it's understood the Trollbabe backs down.
I'd most certainly balk at #3, though might accept is, if it's already late and I'd like to resolve the stakes or if I'm sick of the baron anyway, like the idea and have something else up my sleeve (as GM)
The reason, why I'd balk at #3 is simply that I'd understand my goal (as the GM) is that the baron is not captured/get's away. It would depend a lot on circumstances of course and on what exactly was said and not said during the fair and clear stage. Anyway, my main argument would be, that while "the baron survives" may not have been explicitly mentioned during fair and clear, it is to be implicitly assumed. If the player is keen on having future fair and clear stages resemble legalistic debates, where even the remotest possibilities are ruled out explicitly, alright then he may go ahead, but neither of us is going to enjoy the next fair and clear stages. The same goes the other way round of course, so if a player brings up something after a success which he assumed to be implicit and I did not, I'm easily swayed if his assumption makes sense.


Just noticed, all the above may be meaningless: During fair and clear the GM must state what various NPCs are up to. It seems that even #4 might not be possible, both because of the Baron and because the bodyguard would have the goal of stopping the Trollbabe. At any rate it eliminates option #2 (loosing time through killing the bodyguard).
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markus
------------------------------------------------------
"The real problem is not whether machines think but whether men do."
--B. F. Skinner, Contingencies of Reinforcement (1969)
Alan
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Posts: 1012


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« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2004, 10:23:33 PM »

Quote from: montag
The reason, why I'd balk at #3 is simply that I'd understand my goal (as the GM) is that the baron is not captured/get's away.

 
In Trollbabe, I think you have to give up the idea that the GM has any goal related to the characters.  The GM's goal is to help players weave an interesting and satisfying story.  Not the goals of NPCs, nor their very lives, should stand in the way of that.  

As I suggested, in #3, the GM has two choices a) to ask the player to modify the result, or b) insert another obstacle that prevents the freeing of the villagers.  b) would be my preference in most cases.  

Quote from: montag
It would depend a lot on circumstances of course and on what exactly was said and not said during the fair and clear stage. Anyway, my main argument would be, that while "the baron survives" may not have been explicitly mentioned during fair and clear


The free and clear phase is indeed a phase for agreeing on the paramters of success or failure. - but in my experience it's rarely so detailed as to rule out an outcome like #3.
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- Alan

A Writer's Blog: http://www.alanbarclay.com
rafial
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Posts: 594


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« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2004, 12:18:50 AM »

Specifically on the topic of the "Baron gets killed" outcome:

I'm not sure if this is in the game text proper (and I'm too tired to do the research), or was cited in a question on the forums, but there was an example at one point of a Trollbabe taking a relationship with an enemy, and then deliberately using the reroll injury rule to institgate the death/dismemberment of said enemy.

So it would seem within bounds to interpret an intent of "take the Baron alive" to produce a failure where the Baron winds up dead.  It's the GM responsiblity to establish "Baron gets away" as the outcome of a failure in free in clear if thats what she wants to have happen.

One quick lesson you learn in GMing and playing Trollbabe is if you haven't said it out loud, it isn't true.
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Bob McNamee
Member

Posts: 685


« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2004, 02:10:33 PM »

Good thread on Trollbabe and Injury
http://www.indie-rpgs.com/viewtopic.php?t=6285&start=0

Ron reveals the Kill Your Enemy by taking him as your Relationship  Enemy in this thread (I have some wrong ideas in that thread too)
http://www.indie-rpgs.com/viewtopic.php?t=6020&start=15
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Bob McNamee
Indie-netgaming- Out of the ordinary on-line gaming!
rafial
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Posts: 594


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« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2004, 02:18:05 PM »

I think another dirty secret has just been outed: Trollbabes & Elfs are not such different creatures after all ;)

Uhoh... "Elfbabe!'
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montag
Member

Posts: 172


« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2004, 03:31:34 PM »

I'm sorry, I seem to be having a problem with the text of the rules again, but as written the GM has to state what the NPCs are up to during fair and clear (FAC). (We needn't concern ourselves with cases where the GM fails to follow the rules) And while it is not mentioned anywhere explicitly, I'd assume that these NPC intentions are part of the constraints on narration.
Now, in the most passive formulation, I guess the bodyguard's goal is to delay the Trollbabe and the baron's goal is to get away, yet even that would make narrations #2, #3 and #4 impossible. If the GM makes the NPCs more active, e.g. by making the bodyguards goal to kill the Trollbabe and the baron's goal to have the Trollbabe killed by his men, their intentions can't of course be fully realised in one step because of the injury rules. Resolving this through pace might be one option, alternatively the Trollbabe might receive a wound and immediately enter into a new conflict with the bodyguard and the baron's men, where her new goal might be getting away or finishing them off.

As to killing the baron through making him a relationship first (thanks for providing that Bob, I searched in vain), well the GM has final authority whether a named NPC (which I'd assume the baron to be since he's connected to the stakes) can be taken as a relationship (p.27). So unless Ron changed the rules it seems the player can only pull this off once without the GM's explicit agreement to that possibility. If it's understood that the game isn't about winning, such a request _might_ indicate that the player is not keen on the NPC and wants someone else, but if a player were to try this repeatedly I'd say a longer chat on play goals and expectations is necessary.

Which brings me to what Rafial mentioned, "if you haven't said it out loud, it isn't true." While I agree in general it occurs to me that this _might_ also lead to FAC-lawyering. (I also have some vague idea that this might be connected to "high points of contact", but I'm not sure enough of my understanding of that concept). Turning the example around, what does actually prevent a player from narrating his failure to kill an NPC troll as having that troll crawling across the floor with his intestines hanging out after the Trollbabe fails in the conflict? Nothing? If so, then it occurs to me, that the FAC-stage might as well be dropped since it only serves to make to make it harder for the player to get as close to the desired outcome as possible by finding loopholes in the FAC-agreement (assuming failure).

Could someone please argue against the first two points (so I may understand better) and perhaps provide some opinion on the latter? Thanks in advance.

edit: it just occurred to me that the solution to point one and three may be quite simple: Point one: any of the four outcomes is possible if it was in some way agreed upon during FAC, otherwise only #1 is ok. Same goes for point three (and to a certain extent this also applies to my second point).
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markus
------------------------------------------------------
"The real problem is not whether machines think but whether men do."
--B. F. Skinner, Contingencies of Reinforcement (1969)
Alan
Member

Posts: 1012


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« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2004, 04:09:33 PM »

Hi Markus,

Keep in mind that a Trollbabe roll only determines if the Trollbabe succeeds or fails at her goal.  A failed roll doesn't necessarily mean the other side must win, only that the Trollbabe does not.

Maybe the confusion here comes from lack of distinction between elements of the Free and Clear phase.  To my mind, there are at least two:

- Declaration of intended action
- GM definition of parameters and consequences

My point is that when the GM declares what NPCs intend to do, he is _not_ requiring that any player narration must have them do what they intend.  If he has any such requirements, they must be expressed separately, for clarity.

Now when a player does lose a roll and win narration, he must take the NPCs declared intentions into account, but he _may_ have them fail, or be subverted in some way - provided the GM didn't lay that out as additional parameters in the Free and Clrear phase.

So if you read the described narration in #4, you'll notice that all the NPCs do indeed act on their intents, they just don't have the outcomes they might have wanted.  This is fine because a failed roll does not mean the NPC get what they declared - only that the Trollbabe doesn't get what she declared.

In Actual Play, such an issue is moot, because the player may narrate the Baron dying, but the GM can always insert a new obstacle in his place.
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- Alan

A Writer's Blog: http://www.alanbarclay.com
rafial
Member

Posts: 594


WWW
« Reply #9 on: March 30, 2004, 04:18:49 PM »

Quote from: montag

it just occurred to me that the solution to point one and three may be quite simple: Point one: any of the four outcomes is possible if it was in some way agreed upon during FAC, otherwise only #1 is ok. Same goes for point three (and to a certain extent this also applies to my second point).


Yes! Excellent insight.  This was one of the biggest lessons I learned during my Trollbabe campaign, and here I had nearly forgotten it until you brought it up just now.

At the end of free and clear, it is essential that everybody at the table be on board with what the meaning of success and failure will be in this particular instance.  If the dice get thrown before that happens, trouble may ensue.

Quote

If it's understood that the game isn't about winning, such a request _might_ indicate that the player is not keen on the NPC and wants someone else, but if a player were to try this repeatedly I'd say a longer chat on play goals and expectations is necessary.


Just to be clear, I don't believe this use of the rule is considered to be dysfunctional play.  You are correct in assuming that as a named NPC, the GM does have to give her assent to the relationship, which if it is given, would imply she is complicit in any such shenanigan (thus confirming your intuition above)
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Bob McNamee
Member

Posts: 685


« Reply #10 on: March 30, 2004, 06:10:40 PM »

One thing that hasn't been emphasized much is that if a Player makes a narration like #3 (Baron dies)... its okay for the GM and other players to go "Whoa...thats a bit extreme... I'd really like to keep this guy around until the big finish...can we back up a bit... you can kill the Bodyguard ... that would be cool"
I know that I would back off if everybody else had a real problem with the change.

But ultimately the Player has say so when it comes to narration concerning the Failed Goal.

If she really wants that ending its up to everyone to roll with the changes.
As you and rafial mentioned, it would be best to at least hint that this is an option. FAC is the right time to make sure everyone is clear on failure and success outcomes, but sometimes inspiration strikes right when the narration time comes...


Maybe the Baron looks like an angel compared to the 18 year old psychopathically clever son he raised...who now gains control of the Barony.

That's where the 'list of names' method comes in handy.
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Bob McNamee
Indie-netgaming- Out of the ordinary on-line gaming!
Bob McNamee
Member

Posts: 685


« Reply #11 on: March 30, 2004, 06:15:06 PM »

Concerning Killing off your enemies by making them Enemies.

I don't have a problem with this as long as the Enemy was established strongly... like the six-fingered man... or Joker to Batman. Thats great! But I would never let the Players take everyone that way just to get rid of them.

As a Player I know I'd only take an Enemy that way in order to make sure that I could reach a dramatic ending concerning them.
(Well, maybe I'd make an Enemy of someone that I was really, really bored with... just to get rid of them)
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Bob McNamee
Indie-netgaming- Out of the ordinary on-line gaming!
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