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Author Topic: clarify Fortune in the Middle?  (Read 7671 times)
woodelf
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« on: December 02, 2005, 03:33:36 AM »

OK, i see references to this all over the place, but i can't seem to find the actual definition. I've read the entry in the glossary, but that sounds like it defines every RPG i've ever played. I did some searches on the fora, but nothing obvious turned up. I just re-read Ron's review of Hero Wars, I've read Sorcerer, and i can't find the Alyria forum [those being the references in the glossary]. That got me closer, but I have trouble seeing the distinction being made, and i don't want to just assume i've figured it out, and actually be talking about something different from what everyone else is.

So, can someone either provide a succinct definition, and explain why, say, Ars Magica or Everway or Storyteller [or whatever] doesn't (or does?) qualify, or point me to a thread that does the same?

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woodelf
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Judd
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« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2005, 03:37:57 AM »

I believe Otherkind and Pretender are both Fortune in the Middle games.

The glossary says:

Quote
Fortune-in-the-Middle (FitM)

    Employing a Fortune Resolution technique (dice, cards, etc) prior to fully describing the specific actions of, physical placement of, and communication among characters. The Fortune outcome is employed in establishing these elements retroactively. This technique may be employed with the dice/etc as the ultimate authority of success or failure (e.g. Sorcerer) or with the dice/etc outcome being potentially adjusted by a metagame mechanic (e.g. HeroQuest). See my review of Hero Wars, see also discussions in the Alyria forum.

I hope that helped.
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Arturo G.
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Posts: 333


« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2005, 04:02:26 AM »

Hello!

I will try to explain it as how I understand it.

Let us have a look at the Provisional glossary definitions again. I have marked in bold the key words I think you are missing.

Quote
Fortune-at-the-End (FatE)

    Employing a Fortune Resolution technique (dice, cards, etc) following the full descriptions of actions, physical placement, and communication among characters. See "Fortune in the Middle" and associated links.
Fortune-in-the-Middle (FitM)

    Employing a Fortune Resolution technique (dice, cards, etc) prior to fully describing the specific actions of, physical placement of, and communication among characters. The Fortune outcome is employed in establishing these elements retroactively. This technique may be employed with the dice/etc as the ultimate authority of success or failure (e.g. Sorcerer) or with the dice/etc outcome being potentially adjusted by a metagame mechanic (e.g. HeroQuest). See my review of Hero Wars, see also discussions in the Alyria forum.

It depends on when you introduce the fortune element. After describing what is the character doing to achieve something, or before saying how is she trying it.
In FatE the fortune determines the outcome of what you described before. In FitM you determine an outcome, and then knowing the kind of the expected outcome you introduce by narration the exact details of the actions which lead to such an outcome.

Perhaps you may get it better if you have a look at another definition in the glossary:
Quote
IIEE

    Intent, Initiation, Execution, and Effect - how actions and events in the imaginary game-world are resolved in terms of (1) real-world announcement and (2) imaginary order of occurrence. See The four steps of action and What is IIEC? A necessary feature of System during play, usually represented by several Techniques and many Ephemera.

When you are using FatE, you describe the Intentions of the character, how the character Initiates the actions and maybe even how she tries to execute them. Then you use fortune to determine if the execution is successful or not, and the possible Effect of it. Finally someone narrate the effect.

In FitM you describe only what are the Intentions. Then you use fortune to determine if the outcome is going to be positive or negative or whatever (perhaps a side effect?). You use the result to narrate the details of what the character do to achieve an appropriate result. After fortune someone narrates an appropriate Initiation,Execution and Effect.

Cheers,
Arturo


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Troy_Costisick
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« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2005, 04:07:01 AM »

Heya,

This is may layman's definition:  Fortune in the Middle is when you 1st announce what you are going to do, 2nd roll the dice, and then 3rd narrate the effect of the roll.

Peace,

-Troy
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Jack Aidley
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« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2005, 06:03:32 AM »

This is may layman's definition:  Fortune in the Middle is when you 1st announce what you are going to do, 2nd roll the dice, and then 3rd narrate the effect of the roll.

I don't think so, that describes Fortune at the End as well. It's Fortune in the Middle if you decide how you're going to do it at the end.

So, Fortune at the End:

Player: I leap across the table, and stab him in the eye!

leads to:

On success: you leap across the table and stab him in the eye!
On failure: you trip while attempting to leap across the table and fall on the floor.

Whereas, Fortune in the Middle

Player: I attack him:

leads to:

On Success: You leap across the table and stab him in the eye!
On failure: I attempt to flip the table onto his lap and then kick him in the face, but he's stronger than me and I end up under the table.

The point being, that what happens can have an entirely different form depending on success or failure. At least that's my take on it.
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- Jack Aidley, Great Ork Gods, Iron Game Chef (Fantasy): Chanter
lumpley
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« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2005, 06:30:08 AM »

Back in the day, we used to say "Fortune in the Middle with teeth." Whenever anyone asks about Fortune in the Middle, as Woodelf has just done, I always assume they're talking about with teeth. Otherwise it's never going to make sense to them.

So Woodelf:

"I stab the guy! Stabby stabby! I LOVE TO STAB!"

But I roll for crap.

What are my options?

In Fortune at the End, I have no options. The dice stand.

In Fortune at the Middle, I have at least one option. Maybe I can cut my losses somehow. Maybe I can spend a hero point. Maybe I can call upon my passions. Maybe HE has some kind of thing he can do to my roll, like burning DEX to make it a critical failure instead of just a failure. Maybe, as in Otherkind, I can decide whether to stab at great cost to myself or give up the stabbing instead.

"Fortune in the Middle" means that you make game mechanical decisions after you've rolled the dice.

Sometimes they're very limited, like spending a hero point for a reroll. Sometimes they're intensive, like Dogs in the Vineyard's resolution rules. Either way or anywhere in between.

Now if you want, we can talk about what FitM without teeth means, which is what everyone above me has described. It seems confusing because it is confusing; it calls for a strong foundational understanding of game mechanical drama resolution. I wouldn't bother; FitM with teeth is easier to understand, more fun in play, and more effective in design.

-Vincent
« Last Edit: December 02, 2005, 06:37:22 AM by lumpley » Logged
Arturo G.
Member

Posts: 333


« Reply #6 on: December 02, 2005, 06:52:06 AM »


Thus, "with teeth" is FitM where you still have mechanical options after using the fortune element to modify the outcome. Have I got it?

BTW, "with teeth"?? Where is this term coming from?

Cheers,
Arturo
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #7 on: December 02, 2005, 06:55:22 AM »

Hiya,

Yes, Arturo, you have it perfectly.

I am the author of the "with teeth" addition to the term Fortune-in-the-Middle (also mine), and if memory serves correctly, during discussions (maybe my review?) of Legends of Alyria.

Um, 95% sure anyway. I hope I'm not co-opting someone else's term ...

Best,
Ron
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