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DitV2: New Text

Started by lumpley, July 26, 2005, 03:13:29 PM

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...Well, new to the book. It won't be new to you.

This appears at the end of the Conflict & Resolution chapter.

QuoteGMing Conflicts   
I think of this as "second session" advice. The first time you play, you'll be busy figuring out the simple mechanics and rhythm of the game. It's when you reflect on the first time that this section will make the most sense.

- As GM, you get to help establish stakes. If your player says "what's at stake is this" you can say "no, I don't dig that, how about what's at stake is this instead?" Not only can you, you should. This is an important duty you have as GM and you shouldn't abdicate it.

- As GM, you should push for small stakes. It's natural for the players to set stakes big. "Do we get the whole truth from her about everything that's going on? Do we convince him to give up his sinnin' ways and do right forever after? Do we undo all the harm the cult has done?" You as GM have to engage with them and wrestle them down. You should be saying, "no, how about do you win her trust about some small matter? Do you give him a moment's pause? Do you make this one person breathe easier, right now?" It's out of creative tension between their big stakes and your small stakes that the right stakes are born.

What you're after is two things: follow-up conflicts and givable conflicts.

Since you want good follow-up conflicts, the right stakes can go either way without creating a dead end or a dull patch. Pushing stakes smaller will tend to make them less make-or-break.

Givable conflicts - that's the trick. The right stakes will make it so that escalating, taking a blow and giving are all roughly equal. Set the stakes too large and Escalating is always worth it. Set them small enough and Giving vs. Escalating becomes a real question, as does Giving vs. Taking a bad Blow.

Conflicts always end with a Give. It doesn't have to be because one side has used every single last die. It can be as soon as one side sees which way the wind's blowing - but that won't happen if the stakes are too grandiose.

- As GM, don't put up with hedged stakes. "Do we get him to repent?" is fine. "Do we get him to repent without spilling blood?" is not.  Think outcomes, not methods; the methods come from playing the conflict through.

- As GM, you should always follow your group's lead. A big part of your job in the first couple of sessions is to figure out, mostly by observation, your group's standards for legit Raises and Sees, invoking traits, valid stakes, using ceremony, the supernatural, and so on.

However, the thing to observe in play isn't what the group's doing, but instead who's dissatisfied with what the group's doing. The player who frowns and uses withdrawing body language in response to someone else's Raise, or who's like "that's weak" when someone reaches for dice - that's the player whose lead to follow. Everyone's Raises etc. should come to meet the most critical player's standards. As GM, it's your special responsibility to pay attention, figure out what those standards are, and to press the group to live up to them.

Big thanks to Carl Rigney for compiling that list from posts here.

With this, the most significant changes in the text by far. Not much!


John Harper

Excellent stuff, Vincent. Advice this good demands to be stolen.
Agon: An ancient Greek RPG. Prove the glory of your name!