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Author Topic: [Crux] conflict/task resolution method  (Read 1904 times)
taalyn
Member

Posts: 370

Aidan Grey


« on: April 06, 2004, 05:53:15 PM »

Having been inspired by Lumpley ramblings here, I've got half of a conflict/task resolution method figured out. I have the system, but could use help with the method.

The idea:
The GM should never relate the consequences of task-resolution. I think Lumpley makes a good case for that being, at best, subconscious, unintentional railroading. As he puts it,

Quote
Task resolution, in short, puts the GM in a position of priviledged authorship. Task resolution will undermine your collaboration.


The GM should only be responsible for conflict-level events. For every conflict, one thing must be stated clearly: the stakes.

Lumpley has this idea that ongoing manipulation of a scene task-by-task should get bonuses based on the previous action's result. Success in the previous task gives a bonus to the next, while failure provides a penalty. He describes this as a conflict-resolution system wrapped around task resolution.

I'm not sure I buy that. If the conflict level event is to kill the bad guy, and the player draws lousy on each task level event - how is the conflict decided independently from the task? Really it's just task after task building up.

Still, there's something there...

the System:
Draw x motes from a bag. For each mote of the target color, get 2 power. For adjacent colors, get 1 power. Each bag (caern) has ~40 motes, plus one white mote, the Fate. A Fate becomes a Bane, Boon, or Wyrd, based on other colors in the draw. Banes are complications, bad spin; Boons are blessings and best possible spin; Wyrds alter the character somehow (decided by the Player).

The Quest:
The GM decides conflict level events, and NPC actions.
The Player decides the outcome of all task level events, positive or negative.
Both decisions above are based on what's at stake.

Can that be made into a conflict resolution enveloping task resolution? Each side (GM or Player) retains authorial power over their particular dominion.  Is it proper (i.e. not railroading) for the GM to decide the success or failure of the conflict, or does that need to be determined in some other way? Can the GM draw once, use that to determine the end result, and provide bonuses and penalties to nudge the task level resolution in that direction?

Can anyone help me flesh this out? Can we run a combat with it? How about a slam poetry contest?

It's on the tip of my brain, making this work.
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Aidan Grey

Crux Live the Abnatural
coxcomb
Member

Posts: 202


WWW
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2004, 07:40:46 AM »

Quote from: taalyn
Lumpley has this idea that ongoing manipulation of a scene task-by-task should get bonuses based on the previous action's result. Success in the previous task gives a bonus to the next, while failure provides a penalty. He describes this as a conflict-resolution system wrapped around task resolution.

I'm not sure I buy that. If the conflict level event is to kill the bad guy, and the player draws lousy on each task level event - how is the conflict decided independently from the task? Really it's just task after task building up.


This is a bit off topic, becuase it doesn't answer your primary question, but I think it may help.

Any conflict can be croken down into smaller conflicts. If my big goal is to kill the bad guy, I can "zoom in" on that goal to get smaller goals. My goal this exchange is to force him close to the ledge. My goal this round is to lower his effectiveness by knocking him off balance. My goal is to disarm him. And so on.

In essence, every task has its own stakes. Either I make my goal, or the villain makes his. In other words, every task in my combat has the same stakes: momentary advantage. If I succeed in knocking him off his guard, I have the advantage for the next exchange.

To make this fit into the overall goal "kill bad guy", what I need is a threshold of success that wins the uber-conflict. So my bag guy may need 4 more successes than failures, or whatever the system dictates. Ron does a great job of this (though without momentary advantage) in Trollbabe. Scene granularity can be set at one of three levels so that victory is decided by either a single roll, two out of three, or three out of five. The trick is just to narrate things so that these distinctions don't come across as artificial.

***

Now, back to your specific questions.

Quote
Can that be made into a conflict resolution enveloping task resolution?


Not as written. The only way that works is if the GM doesn't dictate the conflict level events. Rather, the conflict is decided by the cumulative results of the tasks (or mini-conflicts if you prefer).

Quote
Can the GM draw once, use that to determine the end result, and provide bonuses and penalties to nudge the task level resolution in that direction?


It could work, but it isn't really in line with your goal of "Each side (GM or Player) retains authorial power over their particular dominion."

Hope that makes sens and helps.
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Jay Loomis
Coxcomb Games
Check out my http://bigd12.blogspot.com">blog.
taalyn
Member

Posts: 370

Aidan Grey


« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2004, 08:56:59 AM »

Actually, that did help.

I was confusing small scale for task-level. You reminded me that I can ONLY address conflict-level events, and that would be fine.

I think I have this idea stuck in my head that conflict-level events are determined in some other way. That's possible, but not necessary. My goals will obviously have to change.

So how about this:

There are no task-level events, ever. All resolution addresses only conflict-level events. Every large-scale conflict (encompassing many smaller conflicts) has a difficulty - a number of successes that are necessary in order to "win". The GM provides bonuses and penalties based on tactical/conflict advantage (as determined by the stakes). The GM narrates losses (but can give that power to a player at any time), while players narrate wins (but can give that power to the GM).
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Aidan Grey

Crux Live the Abnatural
Jason Lee
Member

Posts: 729


« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2004, 11:57:18 AM »

Guarh!  I hate not noticing a Crux thread.

Quote from: taalyn
Actually, that did help.

I was confusing small scale for task-level. You reminded me that I can ONLY address conflict-level events, and that would be fine.


You might want to check out Conflict Resolution vs. Action Resolution (which interestingly enough was started by Jay).  Which goes over the differences between task, and conflict resolution (stakes) and action and scene resolution (scale).  

Quote
There are no task-level events, ever. All resolution addresses only conflict-level events. Every large-scale conflict (encompassing many smaller conflicts) has a difficulty - a number of successes that are necessary in order to "win". The GM provides bonuses and penalties based on tactical/conflict advantage (as determined by the stakes). The GM narrates losses (but can give that power to a player at any time), while players narrate wins (but can give that power to the GM).


My initial assumption is that that'll work.  I like the large-scale conflict mechanic, but I don't think it's necessarily (which doesn't mean ditch it, it might add something good).

*****

As a side note, I've got a slightly different approach to wrapping conflict resolution around task resolution - preserving intent.  If the player states a task I figure out what they are trying to accomplish, either by educated guess or asking them outright "What are you trying to do?".  Once you figure out the player's intent, and make it so that success preserves it, then you've got conflict resolution.  

Interestingly enough, I started doing conflict-esque resolution to combat wheedling (gamist behavior wherein challenge is overcome by manipulating the GM).  Hmmm... maybe I should start a thread on that.
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