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Started by Blake Hutchins, May 18, 2001, 05:10:00 PM

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Ron Edwards


One more modification of Clinton's idea occurs to me ...

I am not certain that expending Hero Points would be necessary at all. Once you formalize things into "GM proposes" as opposed to "GM decrees," then why not just go into the Action Point bidding? James is right; Hero Points are precious.

You could ask for a small Action Point cost if you'd like (comparable to moving one's action earlier in the sequence; see the rules).

Or if you'd like to formalize/pay real money for the player getting into such well-defined Stance, go ahead and have it cost one.


Blake Hutchins

Hey Ron,

I agree. From my reading of the rules, Hero Points are rare currency and shouldn't be required to activate a particular stance.

On the second suggestion: for some reason, "GM proposes" as a flat RL declaration unsettles me. It's not the power issue, because I'm fine with that, but it's the breaking of the verisimilitude. I'm used to breaking story and narrative flow to consult or make suggestions on mechanics, but I'm not used to saying, "I propose X," and then moving into a resolution phase. On the one hand, it doesn't seem that different from saying, "Make your bid," but still....

How do your players respond to this? Does it cause them to break out of the story or can they use the opportunity to deepen the narrative?



Ron Edwards


"How do your players respond to this? Does it cause them to break out of the story or can they use the opportunity to deepen the narrative?"

The latter, emphatically. I have never found any OOC or "camera" or "co-author" type of diction, or type of resolution method, to interfere with player-engagement. I think the general philosophy of being in, speaking in, and thinking in character (or the GM operating only in terms of the character's senses) is largely misguided.

What DOES break the engagement is when the announcement-resolution relationship is DISRUPTED, which happens when no one is sure whether announcing an action is PROPOSING it or INITIATING it. People get really frustrated and disengage immediately when this happens.

The standard, 80s-style solution is to have a rather strict order of action, with or without Fortune methods - Champions veterans will recall SPD and DEX; Feng Shui players will recognize Shot Cost; and we are all familiar with "roll initiative." All of these solutions give a player a specified moment in which to announce AND initiate an action.

I suggest that these methods are largely marred by (1) adding lots of search time and (2) creating a "freeze" effect on everyone but the character who happens to be acting. Players tend to disengage in the dead space while waiting for their turns.

Zero (which Sorcerer imitates), Hero Wars, and Swashbuckler all offer different, very functional solutions, in my opinion. And again, these solutions are built to engage EVERYONE in the combat/action sequence, the whole time. I've found them all to be extremely successful.



Well, might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb...  Year-old topic, and a GNSish one to boot?  I may be ashamed of myself in the morning. ;-)

Very interesting idea about the integration of different narrative modes and the HW resolution system, which I have to concur on both counts, isn't even hinted at by HW per say, but is entirely consistent with it. There are certainly some "creative control" and just plain communication issues here with selection of appropriate "stance" (obviously this is the Executive Producer Meta-Stance: which of the flakey creative types do we use the whacky idea of for _this_ scene?). I'm fairly devoid of helpful suggestions on that score. But on a more abstract level, one consideration is precisely the one that "what ability?" speaks to: the possessor of Blind Luck 7W3 is logically going to be a magnet for such scenes. (And so might the guy with the Destined to Die Tragically flaw, and not in a good way...)  So in a sense it goes right back to char creation: in what stance (or more likely in what rough and ready combination) did you write your "100 words"? If they tell us who your character is in "authorial" voice, it speaks to a need to use some sort of authorial resolution method, as opposed to if it's strictly a first-person, or third-person game-world view of the individual.

Thought-provoking notion, certainly: thanks all.


The player and the character don't have to have the same knowledge - the player could make bids for avoiding the sniper "my head passes under the dugout roof in the snipers scope", and the whole thing could be played out on the assumption the character is actually unaware.  The players goal for the mechanics is "frustrate the sniper".   The discharge of the round could actually occur at any point, but it would be one of the absolute decisions that the narrator should bear in mind they can't call back as a result of AP trading.  But you could even use the shot to represent the final defeat of the sniper as a miss which gives their position away,  or you could even switch the combat all the way to a hand to hand duel with knives.  The "Snipe" ability sets up the AP pool, but after that any sequence of abilities can be actively employed during the contest.  So in another scenario the snipers shot could be the opening scene in a Bond-esque chase that is mostly resolved with movement abilities.
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