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Author Topic: Fortune in the Middle  (Read 6880 times)
Valamir
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« on: April 22, 2002, 01:19:23 PM »

In the Alyria Forum, Ron Spaketh Thusly:
Quote
However, the key ingredient of a true Fortune-in-the-middle system (which is why Sorcerer doesn't quite qualify either) is the ability to affect the numerical outcome following the roll. Hero Wars is very extreme in this regard. It permits you to "bump" degrees of success and failure using Hero Points, following a roll. It also permits characters to donate Action Points at any point during an Extended Contest, i.e., if someone goes to -10, that would ordinarily defeat them, but I just say, "I give him 20," and he's fine.


Can you explain this in more detail?  This is the first I remember hearing of this added ingredient of a "true" Fortune-in-middle system.  Why is this a key component?
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Le Joueur
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« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2002, 02:45:47 PM »

Quote from: Valamir
Quote from: In the Alyria Forum, Ron
However, the key ingredient of a true Fortune-in-the-middle system (which is why Sorcerer doesn't quite qualify either) is the ability to affect the numerical outcome following the roll. Hero Wars is very extreme in this regard. It permits you to "bump" degrees of success and failure using Hero Points, following a roll. It also permits characters to donate Action Points at any point during an Extended Contest, i.e., if someone goes to -10, that would ordinarily defeat them, but I just say, "I give him 20," and he's fine.

Can you explain this in more detail?  This is the first I remember hearing of this added ingredient of a "true" Fortune-in-middle system.  Why is this a key component?

I was just reading through a bunch of old FitM threads, looking for quotes and I noticed that the 'numbers change' aspect has almost always been there, only barely mentioned.

The reason I think it is important is because without it, Fortune in the Middle is little more than 'look at the dice and describe the outcome.'  In Fortune at the End, all the 'tinkering' takes place before the dice come out (aiming, targetted blows, anything that changes what needs to be rolled).  In some cases FitM starts out just exactly that way, but once the dice roll, more 'tinkering' is allowed.

In Scattershot, there are a number of things you can do that change your numeric result (even up to converting a failure into a success and vice versa).  Some are retroactive alterations, some are application of a meta-game 'story changing' resource, and some are changing how the currency of victory are 'spent.'  The point is all of them change the numeric result and come after the die roll.  That's what 'adds teeth' to the FitM concept.

Fang Langford
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2002, 06:58:09 PM »

Hey,

Fang's pretty much nailed it.

The minimal Fortune-in-the-middle concept is strictly a matter of narration. The actions to produce the now-rolled-result are narrated following the roll. That's easy enough and I think it's been a "house technique," probably rarely if ever formalized, in the groups who like this sort of thing throughout most of the history of role-playing. (For instance, it's hard to imagine playing Prince Valiant without it.)

The "with teeth" version, which I suppose I shouldn't have called the "true" version because that would wrongly imply the above version to be "false," is to permit numerical tweaking of the result following the roll, which of course is part and parcel of the retroactive narration. When someone in Hero Wars goes to -10 Action Points due to the dice rolls, but his pal donates 20 to him, it's not like the spear impales him, then reverses itself in backwards-film-wise. It means the -10 almost happened or would have happened, but didn't, because of whatever the pal did.

I like calling the numerical "cementing" of Fortune-in-the-middle the "with teeth" version. The non-numerical version is real Fortune-in-the-middle, but it remains a bit iffy, or Vanilla, if you like.

Best,
Ron
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