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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 82 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: [Trollbabe] A Question of Scale  (Read 1856 times)
Chris Gardiner
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Posts: 45


« on: March 21, 2006, 02:04:17 AM »

Hi there,

I'm running a Trollbabe game at the moment, and there's something I'm looking for input on. Currently, the Scale of the game is still Personal. Last session, due to a failed conflict, a great stone god awoke in the Silent Forest. It's big, it's weird, it's angry. It's probably going to drive out the trolls that live there and eat the magician that was necromantically consuming the ghosts of its worshipers.

I was wondering if it would be appropriate to treat the god as if it was of a higher Scale than the campaign is currently at, but being new at this I'm not sure of all the ramifications (I'm thinking of setting it's Scale-equivalent at Organised Group). Here are the issues I'm looking for help with:-

a) Is this at all appropriate? It seems to fit with some of the discussion of Scale in the book, but should I be introducing higher-scale elements mid-adventure?

b) If it's at a higher scale that the characters are currently operating at, am I right in thinking that, basically, it's beyond their reach? That they can try and save individuals from it, but they couldn't just overwhelm the thing itself?

c) Could they use magic against it? The rules for magic mention attempting higher-scale magic at a penalty. Could the players try to bind it (for example) with magic, accepting the -1 penalty per scale difference?

d) If it's operating at a higher Scale, could I use the rules for modifiers to beef it up even further? Is this appropriate?

e) Could the characters operate on its Scale if, for example, they got all the forest-trolls together to join in a ritual to bind it?

Any advice and thoughts would be greatly appreciated!
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #1 on: March 21, 2006, 05:42:37 AM »

Hi there,

There's two answers, actually, or rather, two levels of answer. The first one might not seem totally relevant at first, but stick with me.

1. Scale primarily applies to the Stakes of the existing scenario. That's what the term is really for, in Trollbabe. Also, remember that "Stakes" as a Trollbabe-rule doesn't correspond to the current use of the term across various forums and blogs.

So you did the right thing by identifying the Scale right at the start: Personal. That means that the consequences you, the GM, always need to keep one eye on, throughout play, is the person that (to you) the scenario is "about." You don't have to tell them who that is or treat it as anything except a benchmark for yourself.

Now that that's established, we can move on to your god/statue thing.

2. The stone god is clearly higher-scale than the current Stakes. That means the following answers to your questions.

a) It's perfectly OK to have introduced such a thing. I like to use the example of war or a battle - the Stakes can be personal, but the scenario can take place during a battle. You can think of the personal-Stakes scenario you're running as being "during" the stone god.

b) The trollbabes can attack, fight, or otherwise have conflicts with the stone god. No problem. Although they'll have penalties on every die, and I suggest -2 or -3 given your description of it; it seems a bit bigger than "organized group" to me. I mean, it's a stone god, not a stone golem or animated statue.

So even though the stone god is above their current scale, they can, potentially, fight and kill it. The important point is to go back to #1, above, and remember as GM that defeating it isn't the Stakes. Defeating the stone god won't in and of itself resolve what the scenario is about.

c) Related to (b), yes, they can use magic against it, with the penalties. Remember that magic takes more in-story time than fighting.

d) I'm not sure what you mean by this question, unless you're talking about treating the stone god as "worth" more than a -1 penalty. If so, then I think my answer in (b) covers it.

e) Player-characters in the middle of a scenario cannot increase in Scale under any circumstances, mechanically speaking - which is to say, those penalties are fixed in place no matter what. Bringing the trolls into it would entail making Relationships and using them for re-rolls - i.e., putting them at risk.

Let me know if this helps!

Best,
Ron
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Chris Gardiner
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Posts: 45


« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2006, 09:35:28 AM »

Hi Ron,

Yes, that all helps loads - I feel happy running the next session according to those clarifications. Could I ask you about one or two of the points in more detail, though, to help me grasp the underlying concepts?

I think the part I'm struggling with is here:-

Quote
b) The trollbabes can attack, fight, or otherwise have conflicts with the stone god. No problem. Although they'll have penalties on every die, and I suggest -2 or -3 given your description of it; it seems a bit bigger than "organized group" to me. I mean, it's a stone god, not a stone golem or animated statue.

So even though the stone god is above their current scale, they can, potentially, fight and kill it. The important point is to go back to #1, above, and remember as GM that defeating it isn't the Stakes. Defeating the stone god won't in and of itself resolve what the scenario is about.

I'm just trying to reconcile this with my reading of page 26 of the Trollbabe pdf, which talks about players' Goals crossing Scale. It says that rather than assigning Modifiers to represent the difficulty of cross-Scale actions, the GM uses his authority over success narration to modulate the outcome.

So, in this case, would I be justified in saying that while the god could be slowed, diverted, or distracted, players couldn't choose "kill it" or "bind it forever" as Goals?

Also, The big, scary modifiers you suggested certainly fit how I see the thing, but how do they fit into the rules for modifiers on page 35, which limit modifiers based on the Scale of the adventure?

Lastly, am I getting too hung up on assigning Scale to the stone god? Am I being a bit liberal with the mechanic? I've got Stakes of the Personal Scale established for the scenario (whether the sorcerer who's been eating the knowledge of the stone god's minions gets away with it or not) - I'll be careful to keep my compass pointed at those during the next session, and resist the lure of the big stompy stone god. No matter how big or stompy he is, the tease.

Thanks for all the help - I'm having more fun running Trollbabe than I have playing anything for ages. It's looking like we're going to get a good long campaign out of it, and I'm really interested in seeing how it develops.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2006, 10:58:42 AM »

Hi Chris!

These are just the questions I like to see. It makes me happy to explain Trollbabe.

Quote
I'm just trying to reconcile this with my reading of page 26 of the Trollbabe pdf, which talks about players' Goals crossing Scale. It says that rather than assigning Modifiers to represent the difficulty of cross-Scale actions, the GM uses his authority over success narration to modulate the outcome.

So, in this case, would I be justified in saying that while the god could be slowed, diverted, or distracted, players couldn't choose "kill it" or "bind it forever" as Goals?

The point is that you have the choice, as the GM, to use the modifiers.

No matter what, use the narrations just as you describe above. Perhaps the players do choose "kill it" or "bind it," but you get to narrate their successes, and there's no reason for you actually to kill it or bind it when they succeed. Slowed, diverted, distracted ... or even better, they can bind it against affecting something important to them at their scale, for instance.

I'm especially saying that you don't need to remonstrate with the players about what they "can" announce as goals. Let'em announce the goals they want. If and when they succeed in their rolls, narrate successes that make sense given their current Scale, and that's that.

All of the above is in addition to using the modifier penalties, if you want. (Why I didn't just call them "penalties," I'll never know ... "Modifiers," yeesh, what a stupid term.)

Quote
Also, The big, scary modifiers you suggested certainly fit how I see the thing, but how do they fit into the rules for modifiers on page 35, which limit modifiers based on the Scale of the adventure?

I don't really like the page 35 modifiers any more, now that I've played the game for a couple of years. That's something I'll change for a rewrite, if I ever do one.

Quote
Lastly, am I getting too hung up on assigning Scale to the stone god? Am I being a bit liberal with the mechanic? I've got Stakes of the Personal Scale established for the scenario (whether the sorcerer who's been eating the knowledge of the stone god's minions gets away with it or not) - I'll be careful to keep my compass pointed at those during the next session, and resist the lure of the big stompy stone god. No matter how big or stompy he is, the tease.

I think it's good to be considering the issue, because it's probably likely the players will get excited about confronting the thing. I hope you're in good shape now to deal with that, and be sure to post about how it goes.

Oh boy, trollbabes, stone gods, sorcerers ...

Best,
Ron
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Chris Gardiner
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Posts: 45


« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2006, 01:10:53 PM »

That's great; I'm good to go!

Session's tomorrow - I'll post about how it goes. Thanks for all the help!
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John Harper
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« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2006, 05:27:56 PM »

Chris, I just want to let you know that I'm an enthusiastic bystander regarding your Trollbabe conversations with Ron. Your series sounds great, and as a lover of the game it makes me smile to see someone so excited about it. Go go go!
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Agon: An ancient Greek RPG. Prove the glory of your name!
Chris Gardiner
Member

Posts: 45


« Reply #6 on: March 23, 2006, 03:53:48 PM »

I ran the next session last night - write-up is here: http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?topic=19168.0
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