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Author Topic: (AG&G) Questions from Actual Play  (Read 3881 times)
pedyo
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« on: August 17, 2006, 12:57:10 AM »

Hi there,
We played the second session of AG&G yesterday evening - it was a great night: we laughed, had a good time and created a wonderful story together. I haven't got my notes with me, so I will not make a detailed play report, but from these two sessions arose a few questions that I hope you'll be able to help me with.
A brief summary of yesterday's game: a small town has barely survived the plague - only the quick decisions of the local Lord, Nicolaiev, minimized the losses: Nicolaiev ordered his soldiers to lock up the infected in the local wayhouse, thereby stopping the spread of the disease. Great for the town, not so great for the plague-ridden. Their spirits have returned to take a terrible revenge: they strive to take as many of the living with them into the land of the dead. At the beginning of the game, one of them had even possessed Nicolaiev's nine-year-old daughter Nicola. The possessor had a fantastic lust for life and tried to make the little girl eat and drink in great quantities. But soon it became apparent to her father that she was possessed and a terrible struggle for her soul began. Much exorcism, possession and bad words followed - and in the end, the girl was freed of the ghost - but a little seed of evil had been planted in her mother's womb...

To the questions:

We owe list: if a character's name is not on the We Owe list at the end of a chapter - can that character then never rejoin the game?

Social conflicts: I find these pretty hard to manage mechanically. The way we've done it is to say: "My character convinces yours to take his own life!" instead of just trading lines of dialogue (much as one would do in DitV). Is this the right way?

Conflicts: well, suppose two characters are fighting for the possession of a particular item, say. Both roll for Exerting Yourself, for instance - but then the conflicts goes into the next round and one of the players wants to change endeavour now. Say, to one of the other endeavours he's made for the character (Being sneaky, eg) - kosher?

More questions might follow!

Thanks in advance

Best

Peter
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Peter Dyring-Olsen
lumpley
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« Reply #1 on: August 17, 2006, 04:27:44 AM »

Excellent!

We owe list: if a character's name is not on the We Owe list at the end of a chapter - can that character then never rejoin the game?

Never.

Well, not quite never. If you want your character to come back, but she isn't on the owe list, you have to wait for the oracle to provide someone who could be her. Like say I play a character who becomes, over the course of a session, a petty warlord with a small army and a mountain stronghold, but she never goes on the owe list. Then let's say that five sessions later the oracle gives us something like "the site of a pitched battle, still churned and stinking with gore." When we parse out the implicit characters, I can say, "aha! My warlord character's army was one side of the battle; our shattered remnants have gone to ground in the nearby wastes. I'm among them."

Quote
Social conflicts: I find these pretty hard to manage mechanically. The way we've done it is to say: "My character convinces yours to take his own life!" instead of just trading lines of dialogue (much as one would do in DitV). Is this the right way?

Nope. I play Dogs with actual dialogue too.

Occasionally it'll work like this: 1. I say my line of dialogue, delivering a real zinger. 2. My friends stare at me blankly. 3. I explain what I meant to say. 4. They go "oh!" and respond in character to my original line. Most of the time, though, we manipulate the dice while we're talking in character. It's clear enough what's going on.

I guess I don't get your difficulty yet. Describe an actual social conflict to me, as an example.

Quote
Conflicts: well, suppose two characters are fighting for the possession of a particular item, say. Both roll for Exerting Yourself, for instance - but then the conflicts goes into the next round and one of the players wants to change endeavour now. Say, to one of the other endeavours he's made for the character (Being sneaky, eg) - kosher?

It's kosher for the character to do whatever she wants to do. In resolution, there are no limits on what you say your character does.

However, you don't change dice in the middle. Just keep rolling the same dice, plus and minus the advantage die, no matter what endeavor you switch to.
Quote

-Vincent
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pedyo
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« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2006, 04:43:28 AM »

Thanks for the answers!

Here's an example of a social conflict that felt... well strange: The two houses Laponelle and Daniven are engaged in an age-long feud. So, the eldest son of the Laponelle-family, Boris, is in love with the daughter of the Daniven family, Stefka. Boris' interest is "To win over Stefka's heart". Stefka, OTOH, wants to crank the feud way up to actual war. Her interest is "To stop all this backstabbing and get a real war going on". Well, as it happens, Boris visits Stefka one night, trying to seduce her. They engage in dialogue - and begin arguing pretty soon. There's a conflict! So, could this be done just by trading lines of dialogue?

EG:

The players roll, Boris' player becomes the challenger. He says: "You and me, Stefka, we were meant for each other!"

Stefka's player rolls the dice and rolls half or less of Boris' player's roll - does that then mean that, well, Boris has seduced Stefka?

I guess the reason why I'm asking is the lack of stakes per se. We don't beforehand agree that this is the outcome.

Writing this, I get a feeling that there's really no problem and I'm getting too hung up on character ownership...

/Peter
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Peter Dyring-Olsen
lumpley
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« Reply #3 on: August 17, 2006, 05:29:10 AM »

Oh, I see.

Openly and honestly exploring the possibilities of mutually beneficial arrangements - including such things as "we were meant for each other so let's get it on" - doesn't require die rolling (in this particular game). For social conflicts, roll dice only when one side or the other does something. Roll dice after you've had a genuine conversation, when it's like, "well, she said no and she meant it, what am I going to do about that? Lie to her? Blackmail her? Bully her?" You don't roll dice if you're just talking.

In Dogs' terms, roll dice when you've been just talking and now you escalate.

You know how the baseline for consequences is exhausting or injuring your opponent? If your action can't possibly exhaust or injure your opponent, it's not a real action. This is a stricter standard than Dogs' "if your opponent can ignore it it's not a raise," but along the very same lines.

-Vincent
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pedyo
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« Reply #4 on: August 17, 2006, 06:55:20 AM »

Thanks, again Vincent. This really makes a big difference and will surely change the feel of the game somewhat.
Please bear with me, however, while I try to get things sorted out. There are still some things about this game that I'm a little vague about.
And the example with the quarrel between Boris and Stefka from before could be used as an example, I think. How would you go about it, if Stefka after the argument wanted to lie to Boris (as you mentioned in your explanation)? How could the conflict be played out?
Thanks in advance!
/Peter
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Peter Dyring-Olsen
pedyo
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« Reply #5 on: August 18, 2006, 02:55:51 AM »

You know, I think I haven't been communicating my problems well enough.
See, I read what you say as: don't roll dice until you're done talking and are about to do something about it (ie - move from talking to physical).
But, the playtest document says:

"When your character and mine are talking and disagreeing, immediately before either character gets frustrated or repeats herself."

- which reads as if we should roll dice when having an argument.

In my above example, Boris wants to seduce Stefka - Stefka doesn't want to be seduced (or even to begin liking Boris) - in fact, she wants to wage a war against him and his family. So - that argument or social back-and-forth THAT can be resolved using the dice, right?

Does that also mean, that if Boris' player wins, he has changed Stefka's mind (that is how we're currently playing the game!)?

And, how would that back-and-forth go? Would it be:

Boris: "We are meant for each other!"

Stefka: "No way!"

OR would Boris' player (let's say he's the challenger) make his challenge thusly: "I totally make Stefka love me!"?

Is this clearer?

Best
Peter

PS: I'm trying to be clear but I think it makes my post sound a bit pissed-off: that is NOT the case. I'm just trying to wrap my head around the mechanics...
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Peter Dyring-Olsen
pedyo
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« Reply #6 on: August 21, 2006, 01:44:32 AM »

One more observation from our two sessions:

Chargen took too long - which made one single chapter take around two hours. I was dreading this, but I'm also quite sure that chargen will take less and less time as our understanding of the mechanics grows - in other words: I think we spent a long time generating characters because we were unsure of how our choices would affect play. All in all, I suspect that jamming on the Interests of the characters is the most important part of chargen and should be discussed thoroughly.

Best
Peter

PS: Vincent, did you receive my mail about the first session?
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Peter Dyring-Olsen
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« Reply #7 on: August 21, 2006, 08:16:56 AM »

Read the rule to mean, argue without dice until someone runs out of new things to say. When someone's reduced to repeating herself, roll dice, not before.

When you totally lose a conflict, when I've doubled you, what you do is you take the blow to an extent that matches the consequences, be they injury or exhaustion or something else we agree to.

This game is going to be very hard for stakes-declarers to figure out. You never ever declare stakes, you never ever say what your character's trying to accomplish by her action. You only say what your character does. "I convince her" is your goal; "I tell her that [X]" is your action. Say your action, not your goal.

In the rulebook, the dice rules are going to be called "action & consequences," not "resolution." They create the consequences of your characters' actions.

I also am not pissed off! And I don't seem to have gotten your email.

-Vincent
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pedyo
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« Reply #8 on: August 21, 2006, 08:41:41 AM »

Cheers - I get it now. For some reason, as long as the conflicts were physical, we had no trouble whatsoever NOT declaring stakes. As soon as we moved into a debate, the lines got blurred for us. Go figure!
Oh, and thanks for a great game - it has really helped me understand things like emergent theme and Story Now...
/Peter
PS: I've resent the mail.
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Peter Dyring-Olsen
pedyo
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« Reply #9 on: August 31, 2006, 10:39:22 PM »

Well, we played our third session (which was also the third chapter) yesterday and even though things went rather well, it showed me that there are still things we're not 100% sure of in the system.
A little information: Being the third chapter, I gave up the GMing and Morten took over. That went well. He had some questions to the rules, but I think we managed to work out most.
But Actual Play showed that social conflicts are still a bit "off" for us - I guess we do something wrong.  So I've thought about it in some depth and I think I found out, what's confusing to us:

Imagine two conflicts:

Conflict 1: I stab you in your ear, you bastard! OK, this is a physical conflict, if I win and double your roll, I do in fact 1: stab you in your ear AND 2: I injure you (or we agree on some extra outcome). Cool? I'm cool with it and it works like a charm.

Conflict 2: My character says: "I hate your guts, and I'll make sure you'll end your life in pain, you bastard!" For the example, let's say that we've had a little back and forth of this and there's a feeling that we are repeating ourselves (or one of us gets frustrated with the situation). So, we roll. I double your roll which means that 1: I get to say what I stated (?) and 2: I exhaust you.

Now, my problem with this is that I'm unsure if this means that I only get to say that line, if I win the roll. Do you see what I'm saying? In Conflict 1 there's a clear consequence of what I'm intending to do: if I win, in some way that will clearly be to the detriment of your character. But Conflict 2, that's just words...

By the by: we DON'T set stakes so that's a red herring.

Oh, and what's the official ruling on those long-drawn conflicts where I roll higher than you but don't double your roll and because of the advantage die this goes on for many rounds?

Thanks
Peter
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Peter Dyring-Olsen
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« Reply #10 on: September 01, 2006, 05:49:15 AM »

Social conflicts: think about blocking or dodging in Dogs.

You say your line: "you suck and your mother sucks!"
I reroll.
You double me, I suck it up: "aw man, aw. I'm exhausted. I lose 2 Art."
You don't double me, I block: "no way, you get out 'you su-' and I punch you in the mouth. You have the advantage die."
You don't double me, I dodge: "yeah and so does my whole family! What do I care? You have the advantage die."

But try this also. You say your line: "you suck and your mother sucks!"
I reroll.
You double me: I don't get to answer you. "Aw man, aw."
You don't double me: I have an answer. "We learned it from your mother who sucks too and taught us how!"

But, like, screw social conflicts. I have a new rule, just for your group: no social conflicts for at least the next two sessions. Instead, as soon as you would normally roll a social conflict, someone MUST throw a punch, pull a knife (or other weapon), take off their clothes, or do magic.

If you still want social conflicts after those two sessions, you can introduce them back in.

Okay? I think you'll have way more fun this way.

Oh and the rule is, winning the advantage die the third time in a row is exactly the same as doubling.

-Vincent

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pedyo
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« Reply #11 on: September 02, 2006, 09:02:30 AM »

Thanks - that makes a lot of sense. Will try the "no social conflicts"-rule.
/Peter
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Peter Dyring-Olsen
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