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Author Topic: [Nine Worlds] More on conflicts  (Read 3601 times)
jrs
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« on: February 14, 2005, 07:39:39 AM »

Matt,

I thought I understood conflicts in Nine Worlds, but after our last gaming session and after reviewing the recent topic, Reading 9W, initiated by Eero, I am no longer certain that I do.  To help me figure this out, I am going to try to outline the bare bones of a conflict that took place at our last gaming session and ask specific questions about the system mechanics.  

We have a single conflict that includes all the players, but the players’ characters have distinct and somewhat mutually exclusive goals.  The players are Tod, Maura, Ron, and Julie.  Ron is the stated opponent of the other players, however the others goals could interfer with one another, i.e., we are not acting as a single party against one foe.  I am not going to describe the characters or their goals, since I really just want to get a handle on raw mechanics.  Muses fire, cards are drawn and played, based on fate ratings the order of narration is Ron, Julie, Tod, Maura.  Here are the questions:

1. Who is the victor?  Maura has the winning hand and gets to narrate last.  Her acknowledged opponent is Ron, but Julie’s and Tod’s goals could be detrimental to her stated goal.  Are Julie and Tod also Maura’s opponents?  Can Julie and Tod be considered victorious during this conflict since their hands beat Ron’s?  

2. As final narrator does Maura get to determine the end of the conflict for everyone?  In other words, if Maura decides to continue the conflict, could Julie or Tod drop out after the first conflct phase.

3. Who gets to capture tricks?  The tricks played were as follows (in order of narration): Ron 1, Julie 2, Tod 1, Maura 4.  I know that Maura can capture Ron’s single trick.  Does she also have the opportunity to capture tricks from Julie and Tod?

4. What are the constraints on narration?  Both Julie and Tod have succeeded over Ron.  But neither has the success that Maura has achieved.  To what extent can Julie and Tod claim that their goals are successful?  Are they fully successful and can narrate appropriately with the realization that they are not closing this phase/scene?  Or, must they limit their success in some way and how should they determine that limitation?

5. Who can claim victory “marks”?  Following on all of the above, can Julie and Tod claim a victory “mark” against relevant muses?

My group enjoys negotiating disparate goals within a single in-game conflict.  Answers to the above questions will help me understand how Nine Worlds contributes to this type of play.

Julie
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Matt Snyder
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« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2005, 02:54:09 PM »

Hi Julie!!!

Quote
1. Who is the victor?  Maura has the winning hand and gets to narrate last.  Her acknowledged opponent is Ron, but Julie’s and Tod’s goals could be detrimental to her stated goal.  Are Julie and Tod also Maura’s opponents?  Can Julie and Tod be considered victorious during this conflict since their hands beat Ron’s?  


Sounds like everyone except Ron is a victor in this case. If you beat any single opponent, you are a victor and will narrate. This is true even if another opponent ends up beating you.

Now, whether you earn some Tricks (or have yours stolen) is a separate issue. In this example, everyone has a shot at stealing Ron's Tricks, though Maura has every right to take all of Ron's Tricks if she desires.

Because Julie, Tod and Maura didn't declare one another as opponents, I'd encourage you not to take each other's Tricks. But, there's really nothing but yourselves preventing you from doing so. Declare each other as opponents, if you like and if the situation warrants is (you indicate it does).

Note, Julie, that the text is vague about this. It doesn't talk much about declaring opponents. The text assumes that players will just "sense" whom their opponents are. You can do it that way, too, really. But, it gets confusing for some people.


Quote
2. As final narrator does Maura get to determine the end of the conflict for everyone?  In other words, if Maura decides to continue the conflict, could Julie or Tod drop out after the first conflct phase.


Tecnically speaking, so long as just one victorious player says "another phase, please" then the conflict continues. So, really, you shouldn't leave the conflict.

Of course, it may be absurd. Perhaps you have no opponent left. Or your goal is completely fulfilled or whatever. What do you do then? One idea: You might declare Maura an opponent just to get her to cool it!

This may be an artifact of your group's tendency to manage disparate conflicts in one deal.

Quote
3. Who gets to capture tricks?  The tricks played were as follows (in order of narration): Ron 1, Julie 2, Tod 1, Maura 4.  I know that Maura can capture Ron’s single trick.  Does she also have the opportunity to capture tricks from Julie and Tod?


Victors capture Tricks of their defeated opponents in a "cascade" effect. Highest Fate value gets "dibs" and it trickles on down from there.

Maura cannot capture Julie's or Todd's Tricks unless she declares them oppnents. She may have a higher Fate value, but she can't steal 'em from what amount to allies. (This is why I'm so troubled by making the declaration of opponents so vague -- or possibly just plain wrong, as my memory failes me right now -- in the text.)

Quote
4. What are the constraints on narration?  Both Julie and Tod have succeeded over Ron.  But neither has the success that Maura has achieved.  To what extent can Julie and Tod claim that their goals are successful?  Are they fully successful and can narrate appropriately with the realization that they are not closing this phase/scene?  Or, must they limit their success in some way and how should they determine that limitation?


Julie and Tod can be extraordinarily successful so long as their narration doesn't get too big for its metaphysical britches. That is, if you say "I turn Ron-as-Medusa into a mouse" but don't have the goods to back that up (say, by stealing all his Urge ratings with Metamorphosis Tricks) then it's probaby inappropriate. But, otherwise, go nuts!

The Fate value has really no bearing on "how good" you did. It's a relative comparison among demigods. It's not a gauge for "how big is yours?"

The only thing preventing Maura from describing grander effects in her narration than what Julie and Tod describe is Maura.

Quote
5. Who can claim victory "marks"?  Following on all of the above, can Julie and Tod claim a victory "mark" against relevant muses?


Any victor who uses a relevant Muse earns a mark, even if that victor is in turn "beaten" by a different opponent. Remember, a victor is anyone who has a higher Fate value than at least one of his or her opponents.

Julie and Tod earn marks in this case, absolutely.

Quote
My group enjoys negotiating disparate goals within a single in-game conflict.  Answers to the above questions will help me understand how Nine Worlds contributes to this type of play.


Excellent. I love hearing about your group's play of the game. It really knocked me out so far! Hope this helps rather than muddies the waters. I think you guys are pretty much doing it correctly, perhaps with some idiosyncracies. You're certainly capturing the spirit of the game in remarkable ways.

Please keep at it here if you have any other questions.
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Matt Snyder
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--Yogi Berra
jrs
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« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2005, 06:59:55 AM »

Quote from: Matt Snyder
If you beat any single opponent, you are a victor and will narrate.

Ya know--you've said this before and I have found it confusing.  I've looked back over the rules, and I am still confused.  I think we've amended this rule during our play without realizing it.  When we narrate the results of a conflict, everyone narrates in order from low hand to high including the non-victorious opponent(s).  This way the player with the losing character gets to narrate first and is able to define his or her failure to some extent.

Julie
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2005, 07:04:11 AM »

What Julie says is what the rules say, and also how you ran it at GenCon, Matt. What you're now saying is totally confusing all of us.

"Gets to narrate" makes no sense. Everyone always narrates, using the basic success/failure as a constraint. The later narrators more and more authority over the scene simply by dint of the order itself, with the final narrator having the most.

Best,
Ron
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Valamir
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« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2005, 07:28:55 AM »

hmmm....

I haven't studied the rule book on this.  But I do know for certain that how Matt described it above is how he ran the GenCon demos *I* was in, because I almost answered Julie with the same answer Matt later gave based on what I remembered from that play.

In the demos I was in, Matt always made certain that before cards were dealt everyone knew who was opposing who and in a couple of conflicts this was important as various temporary "alliances" came and went.

The net effect was that the overall winner of the conflict was or was not able to take tricks from those of lesser Fate depending on whether they were declared opponents, meaning some tricks were left for lower Fate players to take who were declared opponents.

Narrations made by the players were always then relative to the effect their character had against the opponents they defeated.

I don't recall the ultimate loser (the player who didn't defeat anyone) narrating anything...but that could be faulty memory on my part.
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jrs
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Posts: 373


« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2005, 07:59:57 AM »

Matt, that really helped clarify the standing of the in-between players, Julie and Tod in my example.  Basically, we need to be much more forthright in defining opponents during a conflict.  And realizing that there can be multiple victors helps.  

I'm still unsure about who gets to narrate.

Bear with me, I’m going to break down a conflict into itty, bitty parts, and see if I can get a handle on this.  I’m trying to place all decisions and actions into proper order with the * items possibly occuring at a different point in play.  

1. Define conflict and express goals.
2. Identify opponents.
3. Choose Virtue.
4. Identify relevant Muse(s) (optional).
*  Shuffle deck (optional).  Could be done anytime prior to drawing cards.
5. Draw cards based on selected Virtue and Muse(s).
6. Select suit to play.
7. Bid for trump (optional).
8. Display cards and assign fate values.
9. Determine victor(s).
10. Capture tricks if present.
*  Decide if the conflict will continue into another phase.  If you’re nice, you’ll decide to do this before tricks are utilized; but nothing in the rules indicates that you need be nice.
11. Narrate, converting tricks into score manipulation.
12. Repeat (optional).
13. Mark victories as appropriate.
14. Return temporary, i.e., unlocked, Urge/Virtue scores to their pre-conflict values.

Is that accurate? Did I leave anything out or get anything out of order?

Julie
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Matt Snyder
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« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2005, 08:57:13 AM »

Aha! Now I see why there's confusion.

Here's what the text reads in a section titled To the victor (it's on page 34-35 in the Print Edition).

Quote
To the Victor
In addition to determining victory, Fate values also indicate the order in which players narrate their victories. All
players compare Fate values. The player with the lowest Fate value narrates first, followed by the next lowest, and
so on until all victorious players have contributed to the description and narration of the scene or phase.


So, absolutely, I can see why you read that as all players narrate. This paragraph does not explain that only victors narrate, though that certainly my intention. This is my own lousy editing.

But, a subsequent paragraph in that section reads:

Quote
When a player narrates, he describes the events that lead to a successful completion of his stated goals in the
phase. Often, this includes explaining his character’s use of Tricks ... Players have considerable control of the scene in narrating the effects of their victories.


So, here you can see that my text definitely intends to indicate that only victors narrate. It's an assumption that runs throughout the text. I wouldn't be writing about players narrating their victories unless they had victories!

As Ralph indicates, that is not how I ran it at GenCon. I've never run Nine Worlds that way, because it was one of the first assumptions I made about the game. You've got to win to talk.

Ron, maybe you're remembering a situation in which all players except Matt narrated at GenCon? I recall playing with you, and I think I took a beating while controlling one of the characteres. I couldn't win a victory to save my ass, but I believe everyone else did (they either beat each other or beat my character, hence all were victorious). Then again, I may be recalling a different demo.

The Phase Process

Julie, you just re-wrote the players kit! And, you one-upped me, in that my player's kit doesn't talk about scores bouncing back. My only quibble is that I wait until the phase is completely narrated before I ask victors whether they want to continue. But, there's really nothing wrong with deciding that at the point you placed it.

You really should download it now if you haven't already. It's a free PDF -- two pages. One page is the outline very muchlike your outline, the other is a "common questions" about the game.
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Matt Snyder
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"The future ain't what it used to be."
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2005, 09:05:04 AM »

Hiya,

In the demo I was in, all of us narrated. I played against Trump partly because I was clueless, hence automatically lost the worst (everyone else at least played within Trump). But we started with my narration.

Best,
Ron
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Matt Snyder
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« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2005, 09:09:57 AM »

Hmm, well, Ron, I'm not sure why that happened if it did. I just don't recall narrating myself. I may have helped make suggestions to someone who felt uncertain.

Ah, but it's neither here nor there, now. It's an anomaly, and I'm sorry and troubled that it gave you the wrong impression if it did.

How do my explanations above change things for you? Do they help? Do they "worsen" your take on the game? Is it clearer now? Would you do it differently?
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Matt Snyder
www.chimera.info

"The future ain't what it used to be."
--Yogi Berra
jrs
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Posts: 373


« Reply #9 on: February 15, 2005, 09:23:51 AM »

I do have the kit, although I had mislaid that first page and kind of forgot about it.  It does leave out a bit that I think is very important, and that is the order of the actions 9-11 that I outlined above.  All tricks must be captured before any narration begins!  I assume that tricks cannot be re-used, so if a higher hand plans to capture someone's tricks it must be declared before the lower hand narrates using those tricks.

I see that Ron has started a new 9W topic over in Actual Play.  Thanks for your patience in this two prong attempt at understanding your game.

Oh, and to answer your recent question.  I definitely like our revision that  allows everyone a chance to narrate.  It just goes against our normal process that when we play a new game we try to stick to the rules as written.

Julie
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Eero Tuovinen
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« Reply #10 on: February 15, 2005, 04:28:31 PM »

Quote from: jrs
Oh, and to answer your recent question.  I definitely like our revision that  allows everyone a chance to narrate.  It just goes against our normal process that when we play a new game we try to stick to the rules as written.


I like this too, actually, it was the way I read it, and I thought it quite clever. Works especially well if it's understood that the later narrator can backtrack over what the former said, if he doesn't want to just continue from where the last narrator left off. Is there some reason for not doing it that way?
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #11 on: February 15, 2005, 07:08:22 PM »

Actually, I was looking forward to cutting the loser narrations. Frankly, it's really tiring for the GM to handle all the narrations for every NPC, every time.

Also, Matt, yeah, I'm good. I started the next point in the Actual Play thread because I think everyone's on the same page now.

Oh, and Eero, the whole Lock thing is going to be the third or fourth point in that thread. You are really going to like my suggested replacement for the "get my lover back from the dead" conflict.

Best,
Ron
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