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Author Topic: Resisted Ability Check with unrelated abilities  (Read 5583 times)
Thierry Michel
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Posts: 177


« on: January 19, 2005, 06:05:59 AM »

In a discussion (about  extended contests in HeroQuest but it also applies to Bringing Down the Pain in TSOY), it was mentioned that the biggest obstacle when learning the system was the way totally unrelated skills can be opposed in a contest. The example given was, for instance, sword fighting against persuade, where one character tries to kill another who tries to talk him out of it (I see it's also exactly the example used in TSOY).

In a usual contest, it is not too difficult, as you just have the outcome to determine, but when Bringing Down the Pain you also have to visualize the back-and-forth flow of the contest, and it becomes pretty hard to narrate (what does persuade guy exactly do? dodge sword blows?).

Now in HeroQuest, you can somewhat reduce the problem by the amount of point that each side gamble, so if persuade guy throws down his sword and appeals for mercy, it means in game terms gambling the whole amount of his APs and boils down essentially to a simple contest. But in TSOY this is not an option, so I'll be interested in seeing some Actual Play examples to show me how it is done (so that I can show it to the sceptics too).
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Clinton R. Nixon
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« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2005, 06:56:02 AM »

Quote from: Thierry Michel
In a discussion (about  extended contests in HeroQuest but it also applies to Bringing Down the Pain in TSOY), it was mentioned that the biggest obstacle when learning the system was the way totally unrelated skills can be opposed in a contest. The example given was, for instance, sword fighting against persuade, where one character tries to kill another who tries to talk him out of it (I see it's also exactly the example used in TSOY).

In a usual contest, it is not too difficult, as you just have the outcome to determine, but when Bringing Down the Pain you also have to visualize the back-and-forth flow of the contest, and it becomes pretty hard to narrate (what does persuade guy exactly do? dodge sword blows?).


Thierry,

What you have to remember is that the ability score is not how good a fictional character is with a fictional ability. It is how much you, as a player, are able to influence the story to be about that ability. So, yes, roll well using Persuade, and you can avoid getting hit while trying to talk someone out of hitting you.

This shouldn't work out to be problematic, though. Remember that everything has to start with a simple contest.

Quote

Example:
Player A: I'm going to hit that guy with my sword and crack his ugly skull open and stomp his brain in.

Player B: Hold on. I'm going to talk him out of that

They roll Swordfighting vs Sway, and A wins. He has now hit B with his sword, unless B Brings Down the Pain. If B Brings Down the Pain, he establishes the area of the contest, which he would probably frame as arguing.
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Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games
Thierry Michel
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Posts: 177


« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2005, 09:54:45 AM »

I take your point about ability scores (though it's a bit hard to "sell" to the players).

Quote from: Clinton R. Nixon
This shouldn't work out to be problematic, though. Remember that everything has to start with a simple contest.


I have no problem explaining simple contests in themselves as the outcome is binary (you sway him/he strikes you).

It's this I am not good at explaining:

Quote
They roll Swordfighting vs Sway, and A wins. He has now hit B with his sword, unless B Brings Down the Pain. If B Brings Down the Pain, he establishes the area of the contest, which he would probably frame as arguing.


So, B (say, the GM) frames the contest as arguing, but A (the player) still uses his swordfight skill, stating that he wants to strike B's NPC. Assuming A wins, his stated action is supposed to succeed. Does he do physical damage, even if the contest was framed as a discussion? Or does it represent something more abstract like his will to fight?
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Clinton R. Nixon
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« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2005, 10:05:01 AM »

Quote from: Thierry Michel

It's this I am not good at explaining:

Quote
They roll Swordfighting vs Sway, and A wins. He has now hit B with his sword, unless B Brings Down the Pain. If B Brings Down the Pain, he establishes the area of the contest, which he would probably frame as arguing.


So, B (say, the GM) frames the contest as arguing, but A (the player) still uses his swordfight skill, stating that he wants to strike B's NPC. Assuming A wins, his stated action is supposed to succeed. Does he do physical damage, even if the contest was framed as a discussion? Or does it represent something more abstract like his will to fight?


The contest isn't just "arguing," but "arguing about whether or not to hit this guy." A's intention can't be to hit him, as that's what's being resolved.

Your point is taken, though, and I'm not trying to be obstinant. A month before publication, BDTP was different: it was round-based, and it would have gone like this:

- A swings, rolling Swordfighting and B rolls Reaction.
- B argues, rolling Sway and B rolls Resist.

See how this is simpler, and also means you use your innate abilities more? I'm regretting the change a bit, and I'll admit (as a designer, man, I hate doing this) it's the only non-playtested thing in the game.

I'm going to write a new optional BDTP system tonight, and will respond again when it's done.
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Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games
Lars M. Nielsen
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Posts: 24


« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2005, 12:01:15 PM »

I'll be looking forward to seeing the optional rules, since the lack of those rules has been the only thing keeping me from buying the game.

Excellent customer service :)
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Thierry Michel
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Posts: 177


« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2005, 04:04:35 PM »

Actually, I worked out some explanation for my group using the rules as written.

So, we have A (would-be-killer) and B(talker).

A manages to win the contest against B, who has no choice but Bring Down the Pain.

So, now A still wants to hit B with his sword while B wants to sway A with his words. Both roll.

If B wins, then the result for the round is that A didn't strike. It's up to A to narrate it, but most likely either he just listened to B's words or he snapped something back - depending on the success and relative damage, it doesn't really matter, the point is that A is playing by B's rules even if still angry. Accumulating damage for A means A is less and less likely to resume violence as he gets caught in B's argument.

If A wins, then he physically hurts B, but it doesn't have to be some scene where B dodges the blows while babbling incoherently.  The player can also narrate A slowly and deliberately pushing his sword against B's neck or something like that. The point is that A is hurting B but not killing him clean with one blow.


There is a movie scene that depicts exactly that, this is John Turturro pleading to Gabriel Byrne in Miller's Crossing ("look into your heart").
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Clinton R. Nixon
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« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2005, 08:11:04 PM »

I think Thierry nailed it, but I followed through. A discussion of Bringing Down the Pain, with optional rules, is at http://random.average-bear.com/TSOY/BringingDownThePain
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Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games
Thierry Michel
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Posts: 177


« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2005, 06:24:42 AM »

Quote from: Clinton R. Nixon
I think Thierry nailed it, but I followed through.


Your one paragraph example makes things much clearer, thanks.

What remains a bit obscure is who gets to do the narration, the GM, the winner of the roll? Most likely there's no need for a formal rule for that, though it does make a difference when the players envision the scene differently.
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Clinton R. Nixon
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« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2005, 06:49:57 AM »

Quote from: Thierry Michel
Quote from: Clinton R. Nixon
I think Thierry nailed it, but I followed through.


Your one paragraph example makes things much clearer, thanks.

What remains a bit obscure is who gets to do the narration, the GM, the winner of the roll? Most likely there's no need for a formal rule for that, though it does make a difference when the players envision the scene differently.


The book is fairly clear: the players (to include the Story Guide) narrate. If everyone can't get together and agree on what happens, using whatever your local social norms are, then, man, you got problems I can't handle. Some groups will have the successful player always propose the outcome, while others will have the Story Guide, but all should have a consensus.
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Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games
Thierry Michel
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Posts: 177


« Reply #9 on: January 20, 2005, 09:33:55 AM »

I think we won't have any problem reaching a consensus, it's not an issue of narrative rights, I was just wondering if there was a way to hide the process under the carpet.
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10459


« Reply #10 on: January 20, 2005, 09:38:05 AM »

Quote from: Clinton R. Nixon
The book is fairly clear: the players (to include the Story Guide) narrate. If everyone can't get together and agree on what happens, using whatever your local social norms are, then, man, you got problems I can't handle.
I think that's a tad unfair, Clinton. That is, for some groups, it isn't that they can't agree, but that they just don't have the tools to do so (or, worse, have been taught to only use tools that don't apply here).

I think the solution is simply some examples designed specifically to show players how it's done here (the sort where we see exactly what the players are saying). It shouldn't be too hard to give people the skill they need in this case to come to a consensus on a narration. As Thierry says, it's a matter of "Selling" the method, and if they don't know what it looks like, that makes it a lot harder.

And it's probably simple stuff like:

Story Guide: Well, the dice say that he doesn't cut down Rodrigo yet - what does that look like?
Frank: How about something he says, gives Rodrigo pause?
Gwen: Yeah, he says something about his mother!
Story Guide: Everyone cool with that? Fine, he insults Rodrigo's mother, and this stops Rodrigo in his tracks.

Mike
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Roger Eberhart
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« Reply #11 on: January 30, 2005, 12:37:22 PM »

Since this seems to be a similar situation to those discussed above, how does spellcasting work in bringing down the pain (the printed version, not the optional). Say for instance a spellcaster is trying to use destruction on someone who is trying to chop them up with a sword. Would you roll spellcasting ability versus combat skill? Or would you roll combat skill versus combat skill to see if the spellcaster was able to touch the guy with the sword, then make the spellcasting roll if he succeeds? Would he get to add the success levels to his spellcasting roll as bonus dice?
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Clinton R. Nixon
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« Reply #12 on: January 30, 2005, 01:32:00 PM »

Quote from: Roger Eberhart
Since this seems to be a similar situation to those discussed above, how does spellcasting work in bringing down the pain (the printed version, not the optional). Say for instance a spellcaster is trying to use destruction on someone who is trying to chop them up with a sword. Would you roll spellcasting ability versus combat skill? Or would you roll combat skill versus combat skill to see if the spellcaster was able to touch the guy with the sword, then make the spellcasting roll if he succeeds? Would he get to add the success levels to his spellcasting roll as bonus dice?


Spellcasting vs. combat.

Well, unless he wanted those bonus dice. I'd allow two separate actions that led into each other.
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Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games
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