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Author Topic: [Dust Devils] The Hanged Man  (Read 9638 times)
Darren Hill
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Posts: 861


« Reply #15 on: July 30, 2005, 09:38:07 PM »

I suggest that to narrate a succeeded goal away will always need another conflict.

Yes, that looks like an eminently sensible way to handle it.
With your first example:
Quote
I won a goal: You're left dead in the desert.
You'll have to win: Finding your way back from the desert.

What happens if you fail the conflict to get back?
You'd need another conflict, and the continuing loss of stat points would ensure that it's not the same as in some games where you can just keep retrying till you succeed. You face consequences, and hopefully the narrator will be making sure that continued failure in this goal leads to more interesting adversity.
That sounds good.
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As far as narrated events go, I don't deem them any stronger than out-of-conflict narration as regards counternarrating them. The narrator of a conflict says that my character goes out of town, I can narrate him right back in after the conflict, when I again have some narration power. If he wants any system backing to me going away, he'll have to win a specific conflict with that as the goal, and even then I can repeal the degree through another conflict. Even if I can narrate myself back in, though, I'll still have to

Left me hanging there!
This is what I think you're getting at - the person narrating doesn't have the same kind of power as the person who actually wins, but the narration still needs to be respected.

Folding: <snip>
Quote
Also, remember that the other parties of the conflict will get their goals. If the conflict fizzles because there's nobody opposing anybody, then everybody else gets their goal. If there's still a conflict, the successes are decided normally. The only thing that won't happen is if somebody's goal makes the folder's goal unattainable: in that case the goal in question is also "folded out"; it's not successful, but it's not made impossible to reach either.
So if I'm raping you and you resist, you fold, then we have a situation where the same conflict can be initiated again, because neither goal by the above definition of fold-out was made unattainable by the fizzled conflict. Whatever happened in narration, the issue is still on the table. But if I tried to rob a bank and you tried to reveal my identity, and either of us folds, then the other one gets his wish, because the goals are independent from each other.
Yes, if someone folds the situation lies unresolved, and as you said in a previous post, the folder can start taking steps to ensure that the conflict gets established and resolved in a way that's more to his/her liking.
But there are a couple of concepts in the above quote that I'm uncertain about.
You say, "But if I tried to rob a bank and you tried to reveal my identity" - aren't they completely separate conflicts?
Or maybe they are simultaneous, but opposed to the GMs hand not each others?
I'm not getting how they would be the same opposed contest.

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Now, I admit that I've a number of times wished that there were a way to resolve the narrator of a fizzled conflict, because deciding how to depict the folding (I'll assume here for simplicity's sake that there's just A against B here) is often a charged question. I give the narration right to the one who didn't fold (on the violence principle), but the rules don't comment.

I was more inclined to give the narration right (over how the folding occurs, nothing more) to the one folding, with the GM there to ensure that it is actually a fold and not a surreptitious victory of sorts.

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Anyway, how to depict it? The above principles in action look like this:

My goal: Rob a bank.
Your goal: Reveal my identity.
You fold: I rob the bank succesfully, and you don't manage to reveal my identity. However, I didn't manage to give you a false impression either, so your will and means to revealing my identity are still intact. As you can see, how much folding resembles losing depends on how much you lose dramatically by postponing the conflict. This is in the rules by design; folding means postponing a conflict, and nothing more.

These goals seem to me to be ones that could both be achieved, and both fail. I would think you'd handle it this way:
Robber places cards down, Identity seeker places cards down, and GM places cards down.
Robber beats GM: he robs the bank (goal not opposed by IDSeeker)
Robber beats IDSeeker: keeps his identity secret.
IDSeeker beats GM: discovers robber's secret.

So, basically, the Robber might rob the bank but have his identity discovered; he might be foiled in the robbery but keep his identity secret, he might escape with loot and his identity intact, or he might be foiled and exposed.
Is there something wrong with this interpretation?

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Hope that answered the questions.

I've snipped the stuff that I've now grasped. We're a lot closer, thanks to you and Matt's patience (and not forgetting Ron's contribution, of course.) :)
I'm there on the folding, and the death/other conflict issue looks resolved with that suggestion of: you can overcome conflict outcomes with another conflict.
Note: by this interpretation, I'd handle death as follows: you lose a conflict to the death, and you appear dead, or are being treated by someone, or whatever. You need to then succeed another conflict to get back into a situation where you can face the person who defeated you. It might be the same as being incapacitated, but it certainly doesn't have to be.

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For the record, I can kinda understand how DD is not a fount of clarity for all. For myself it hit like a bolt of clear lightning; not in a revelation kind of way, but I understood everything (except the reason for not having "small conflict" rules) in it instantly, for the first time seeing a functional, tight narrativist machine in all it's glory. I guess that the book only works like that if you already have all the tools for understanding it in your head.
I think the same, now. As I mentioned earlier, I was mystified when I first came across it, but when I came back to it after other such games, a lot more made sense. There was still a few areas I had trouble with, you may have noticed :)


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One last point about the rape story (I read that DiV thread, too): in Dust Devils you can always fold as long as the cards have not hit the table. So it's very unlikely that you could manage to play through the motions of a conflict with your character's rape as the opposing goal without ever realizing that you don't want it. And when you do realize, you can fold.

Yes, I know you read it :) - that's one of the reasons I brought it up, so I knew someone involved with this thread would have clear understanding of that situation and I wouldn't have to waffle on too much (too late!).
My main concern was the "being forced to fold again and again until out of chips" fear that probably is easily avoidable in actual play - as you say, the target will be proactive and seek a conflict that they are much more willing to get involved in.
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Eero Tuovinen
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« Reply #16 on: July 31, 2005, 03:39:22 AM »

With your first example:
Quote
I won a goal: You're left dead in the desert.
You'll have to win: Finding your way back from the desert.

What happens if you fail the conflict to get back?
You'd need another conflict, and the continuing loss of stat points would ensure that it's not the same as in some games where you can just keep retrying till you succeed. You face consequences, and hopefully the narrator will be making sure that continued failure in this goal leads to more interesting adversity.
That sounds good.

That's exactly it. Although somebody else could also bring you back, or you could find something to do in the desert. And of course the opposition to your getting back probably won't be more than a five card stud anyway, assuming that you don't have somebody making sure you don't come back.

Quote
Quote
As far as narrated events go, I don't deem them any stronger than out-of-conflict narration as regards counternarrating them. The narrator of a conflict says that my character goes out of town, I can narrate him right back in after the conflict, when I again have some narration power. If he wants any system backing to me going away, he'll have to win a specific conflict with that as the goal, and even then I can repeal the degree through another conflict. Even if I can narrate myself back in, though, I'll still have to

Left me hanging there!
This is what I think you're getting at - the person narrating doesn't have the same kind of power as the person who actually wins, but the narration still needs to be respected.

So I did. I meant to write that all narration has to be internally consistent with what's happened earlier, so even narration without any backing from the conflict mechanics is still significant. It all happens in the story, and cannot be undone.

Quote
But there are a couple of concepts in the above quote that I'm uncertain about.
You say, "But if I tried to rob a bank and you tried to reveal my identity" - aren't they completely separate conflicts?
Or maybe they are simultaneous, but opposed to the GMs hand not each others?
I'm not getting how they would be the same opposed contest.

As I read the game, the conflict system actually plays a little looser than most. The important thing for starting a conflict is that the characters are in contact and capable of violence towards each other, not exactly whether they really are in opposition. You can have a cover agenda of hurting your opponent just because, even if you could both get what you want without a conflict. The duality of the conflict goals is clearly written out in the rules, and the game is different from for example DiV in that regard.

The thematic idea here is unnecessary violence. It happens in the game constantly, and in the source material, too. If conflicts required players to pre-analyze whether they're really wanting different things, that would take some of the impact away. That's why you can play DD conflicts separately or in one big mess any way you want - which is also why you can use flashpoint technique a la Ron Edwards in the game, if you're brave!

So, although you could play the example conflicts separately, I would very much prefer putting them into one Deal (that's why the game has the specific term - one deal can encompass several technically separate conflicts), because that way the harm and narration encompass both conflicts at once, and players get more control over what happens.

Quote
These goals seem to me to be ones that could both be achieved, and both fail. I would think you'd handle it this way:
Robber places cards down, Identity seeker places cards down, and GM places cards down.
Robber beats GM: he robs the bank (goal not opposed by IDSeeker)
Robber beats IDSeeker: keeps his identity secret.
IDSeeker beats GM: discovers robber's secret.

While I do it through narration: narrator decides whether the losing party succeeds after all. This makes things interesting, because winning narration in this case ensures your own goal succeeding, but also leaves the possibility that the other party succeeds, too. I never use stud hands unless there's a dramatically separate person or thing opposing a player, so in this case there wouldn't be any GM hands. What would the GM hand depict, anyway? The difficulty of robbing the bank, apart from the player character defending it? Or the difficulty of unmasking somebody during a firefight? That's task resolution thinking, IMO.

But the system is flexible enough to do it that way, too, if you want to. It's a clear rules modification, though: as the rules read, only the winning hand matters, and the order of the other hands does not limit the narrator.

Quote
Note: by this interpretation, I'd handle death as follows: you lose a conflict to the death, and you appear dead, or are being treated by someone, or whatever. You need to then succeed another conflict to get back into a situation where you can face the person who defeated you. It might be the same as being incapacitated, but it certainly doesn't have to be.

Yeah, more or less like this. Depends on the particulars of the situation. Some times a conflict result could just be overwhelmed by narration. For example, I shoot you and leave you, and twenty years passes. Most players will just agree that you can find me if you want to.
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Darren Hill
Member

Posts: 861


« Reply #17 on: July 31, 2005, 06:45:54 PM »

Thanks again, I think I'm ready to play the game now. (Just in time too, my game is tonight.)

I take your point about the "conflicts don't have to be directly opposed - it's all down to the narrator." I remember noticing that in the text, but forgetting it during this conversation. I'll try it that way - it takes more from the GM and gives it to the narrator and I like that.
What is this flashpoint technique you speak of?
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Eero Tuovinen
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« Reply #18 on: August 01, 2005, 12:23:03 AM »

I realized a couple of weeks ago that Dust Devils can be played with the flashpoint technique, if players want to. This is interesting to me, because most systems don't get any benefit from doing so. In the end I noticed that there's some problems with the heightening importance of the narrator, but a couple of rules mods should take care of that. I'll write about it later on when I have some time.

Flashpoint technique - read Ron's narrativism essay and the accompanying game Zero at the Bone. The game posits a new way of handling conflict resolution: each player plays a scene, leading up to a conflict, but the conflict is left unresolved until all other players have had their scenes. Then all conflicts are resolved simultaneously. There's subtle pacing benefits here, but the real reason to use the technique is when the conflict resolution system allows the players to influence each other's conflicts in some way. In Ron's game this works really well, of course, but it can be made to work in Dust Devils as well: it's very natural to always deal cards to all players, and there's no particular reason why the narrator couldn't narrate other scenes than the one his character is in. The only real problem is that there's less structural input coming in from the winning hands as compared to several smaller deals, so you'd have to make it so that the highest hand of the scene wins each scene, instead of just the highest hand overall winning. Otherwise the narrator's power grows too much.

But that's far out in fiddleryland as far as your actual play is concerned. Just write us a session report afterwards.
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Darren Hill
Member

Posts: 861


« Reply #19 on: August 01, 2005, 07:15:37 AM »

Oh yes, I remember reading about it now.
I don't plan on doing anything like that tonight. In fact, I am going to encourage people to avoid getting into big conflicts with everyone involved at once for the first few conflicts in the session - I know most of my players aren't familiar with and are nervous about taking narration rights. Having to narrate what happens to multiple people with possibly different goals will be tough for them. We'll get a few one-on-one or one-on-two conflicts out of the way first.
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Matt Snyder
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« Reply #20 on: August 01, 2005, 09:06:04 AM »

Excellent discussion guys. Thanks for talking through these superb ideas. Others reading this will benefit greatly.

Darren, I really hope the actual play session goes well for you. PLEASE post about it here or -- even better -- on the Actual Play forum on the Forge.
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Matt Snyder
www.chimera.info

"The future ain't what it used to be."
--Yogi Berra
Darren Hill
Member

Posts: 861


« Reply #21 on: August 01, 2005, 09:12:51 AM »

I'll post the actual play, but I'm up to my eyeballs with gaming at the moment (seven sessions a fortnight, gasp! - and I'm the GM in all of them, whimper), so it may not appear immediately.
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Yokiboy
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« Reply #22 on: August 08, 2005, 02:33:09 AM »

Excellent discussion guys. Thanks for talking through these superb ideas. Others reading this will benefit greatly.
Others such as me! Thanks guys, I've really enjoyed this thread.

Ron's examples of giving was actually an eye-opener to me in one sense, because he's so right. That happens all the time in stories, but just never in RPGs - at least not of the standard variety.

If I could just convince my gaming buddies to give a Western a try... Most Swedes just aren't into Westerns, and without the southern drawl it does indeed lose some of its charm.

TTFN,

Yoki
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Darren Hill
Member

Posts: 861


« Reply #23 on: August 08, 2005, 05:40:01 AM »

You could always download Deathwish from the Dust Devils site - it's a conversion of the system to James Bond-style modern action-espionage games.
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