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Author Topic: Stealing from DitV to 'slice' conflicts into smaller segments  (Read 4079 times)
Doyce
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Posts: 442


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« on: September 27, 2006, 12:01:49 PM »

Okay, I'm just brainstorming here, and I more than welcome input and thoughts.

I got Dogs a couple years back -- one of the first couple conflict-resolution-level games that I really tried running with my home group (I think maybe InSpectres was before that) -- we didn't get very far at the time, for a number of reasons.

Since then, I've run two Sorcerer campaigns, two HQ games, a couple TSoY one-shots.

Last week, we returned to DitV, same characters, possessing (a) larger group interest in the game and (b) better GM understanding of the rules.

The original take on the conflict rules (two years back) were that the dice were sort of 'in the way' of every single pose or statement made in a conflict, but the NEW take is something like this:

The dice mechanic is conflict-based, not task-based, but unlike some others we’ve been doing, there’s plenty of RP and “posing” during the conflicts to make it not feel too dice-driven or “everything depends on this one roll” kind of thing.

Now, this perception that something like HQ or Sorcerer or Galactic is 'roleplay the scene to conflict, then one die (or clump of dice) gets rolled and the results dictate the resolution of conflict' is, at least in part a failing of the GM, in my opinion -- in some cases (the first Sorcerer game, and grokking the Galactic rules), we are or have been in the past very 'jerky' in our transitions from the three 'phases' of Roleplay, Engage Conflict System, Do End Narration.

So the simple solution, already undertaken by me, is to make those transitions more organic and natural. Great, but that's not my point here.

What I want to look at is how to borrow some of the good in DitV and use it in games like HQ.

What is that good?  Well, DitV uses a big old Dice Pool system, but it does two things that take this:

1. RP
2. Roll big ol' Dice Pool
3. Narrate Outcome

... and break it out into much more easily digestible bits: slicing that Conflict Resolution roll into smaller sections that.

First thing: Raise/See, See/Raise system means you deal with the big pile o' dice in discrete chunks.

This is cool, but doesn't (only IMO, and please enlighten me if you disagree) port into HQ very well.

Second thing: Escalation of the conflict to include other Stats, plus the narration that allows you to include new Trait dice in the conflict.  This goes like so:

1. Narrate your Raise/See.
2. Roll the new dice you're getting because of the Narration.
3. THEN put forward the dice for your Raise/See, possibly using some of the dice you just rolled, or not.

Now this, seems like something that ties back into HQ pretty well (and ties back into a conversation going on in the HeroQuest Rules yahoo group right now on Augments, which is what got me thinking about this).  Essentially 'slicing' the simple conflict into

1. RP to conflict.  Everyone indicates what their intent/goal is in the conflict.
2. Name base trait for conflict.
3. Narrate either...
 -- 3a. Inclusion of several passive-augment traits.
 -- 3b. Inclusion of a single variable augment trait, and roll for that augment.
4. Repeat 3 until everyone's happy.
5. Roll the final conflict resolution TNs. Spend HP as normal, etc.
6. Narrate outcome.

I think... provisionally... that this would

1. Break down the Conflict Resolution into the kind of scene where it's clear exactly why the relevant augmenting Traits are involved.
2. Reduce the 'augment bloat' that seems to come up fairly often in some games, to judge from people's posts on the subject.
3. Add interest, and take away that feeling that 'it all comes down to one roll.'

I realize that this strays into the kind of detail one usually sees in Extended Conflicts, but I don't know if that's a bad thing, IF the players feel like everything is just being 'lumped' into a single CR roll, taking everyone too far out of the headspace of the scene.

Thoughts?   
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Doyce Testerman ~ http://random.average-bear.com
Someone gets into trouble, then get get out of it again; people love that story -- they never get tired of it.
sebastianz
Member

Posts: 51


« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2006, 12:32:45 AM »

Hi, Doyce.

Quote
First thing: Raise/See, See/Raise system means you deal with the big pile o' dice in discrete chunks.
This is cool, but doesn't (only IMO, and please enlighten me if you disagree) port into HQ very well.

You could break it down like this.
1. Select your main ability.
2. Roll.
3. Add an augment, opposition does the same. This could work in a raise/see way with some kind of fallout, perhaps? You have to adjust the TN probably changing the success level. Do you go for another augment to change your failure to a success, but risk some fallout?

Sebastian.
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10459


« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2006, 12:06:35 PM »

Everyone suggests this. I used to suggest it. But, then, when I tried to use it, I couldn't get myself to do it. Much less force other players to do it.

I find that when play needs "RP" it gets it, just fine. And when it doesn't, it doesn't, and that's a good thing, too. And, I dunno, maybe I'm crazy (I do like numbers), but I find that augmenting never gets to the theoretical sort of out of hand proportions that this is generally designed to deal with.

I think this is the best implementation of this idea that I've seen (mostly its "gotta narrate to get the augment in"). But I think it's just as unneccessary as the other implementations. \

I know it's verging on heresy, but I think that "RPing" is over-rated. That is, narration was always seen as some sumum bonum back when it was key to getting players to do realistic or thematic things. Now that systems enforce this sort of play, it's simply not at all as neccessary to do all of the "in-game" narration. This speeds things along.

Mike
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Doyce
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« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2006, 12:18:26 PM »

That's an excellent point, Mike, and yeah "gotta narrate to get the augments" is a good way to sum it up.

I (as you might know) pretty much feel like you do about the augments, and the numbers -- I like em -- this was sort of a hack to bring some of what my players seemed to like about the Dogs CRes to other systems.
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Doyce Testerman ~ http://random.average-bear.com
Someone gets into trouble, then get get out of it again; people love that story -- they never get tired of it.
Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10459


« Reply #4 on: September 29, 2006, 05:45:32 AM »

It seems to me that the real feature of Dogs is in the escalation. You can do this, of course, with HQ...you simply have to do it as a series of contests. Basically when a player fails, make that failure condition such that the player can avoid the ramifications if he takes "escalation" as the ramification instead. So, for a debate you might say for the resolution:

Well, it looks like he's probably not going to surrender on words alone, you've failed in that regard. But you can, of course, try to force him to see it differently using fists or weapons...

"Failure" in these cases doesn't have to mean the bad-guy getting away, but rather just not getting him in the low-escalation way you hoped. Failure can mean being forced to escalate to some other solution you don't prefer, to continue to attempt to get what you want. In HQ as a "conflict resolution" system, people often see this as taking another bite at the apple. You're not supposed to get second shots at the same goal. But if the goal is "apprehend him peacefully" and that fails, then "apprehend with force" is a different goal. And that's just fine in HQ.

Yeah, Dogs makes this all explicit in the mechanics, and that's a good thing. But you can incorporate it as a technique in any conflict resolution game if you know what you're doing. You could get a very similar effect, mechanically in HQ simply by always saying that every contest is "escalatable" and always asking when the dice come up failure if the player wants has an idea of how to escalate. And then narrating the failure such as to enable the escalation.

It's key that HQ is a "Goal" game and not a "Stakes" game, in that you can tailor the outcome this way.

Mike
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sebastianz
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Posts: 51


« Reply #5 on: September 29, 2006, 06:33:12 AM »

Interestingly, I just had a similar discussion with one of my players.

But, you know, you can have escalation all in one roll. Just describe the escalation tied to a condition. So, your goal is to apprehend someone. Just state: "I first try it peacefully, using my X, Y, Z soft skills. If that fails, I will use force and let Mr. Six-Shooter do the talking." All traits in one contest. And you can leave it up to the players what happens, whether they have to resort to violence or not.

Another option is rolling first, adding augments later, as I proposed above. You can mix that with the normal method, so add augments for a peaceful apprehending and if your roll is not enough, add more augments and see, whether it is enough then.

Of course, a repeat attempt is fine also, though it encourages the players to keep things small and divide conflicts in actions. After all, apprehend her with my seduction skills is a different goal than apprehend her with my persuasion skills. Probably not the best route to go.

Finally, there is always an extended contest, which also allows for escalation.

Sebastian
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10459


« Reply #6 on: September 29, 2006, 11:53:08 AM »

Well, that works for me, of course, Sebastian, but for Doyce, who's looking for more detail (without getting into ECs, which I think we all agree work here), the question is how to get a bit more detail into the narration.

Actually I think that allowing seduction and then persuasion can be just fine under certain circumstances. Basically the "no repeat contests" rule has the exception in the narrator's section that says that sometimes it's OK to do it. It's vague on when it's OK, but basically it's OK as long as the decision to make a repeat attempt has some differing dramatic meaning. Let's say that it's a woman starting with persuasion, because she doesn't like to use her feminine wiles, but in this case she decides to try again with seduction. See how that's a dramatic decision?

What "no repeat attempts" means is that you don't get to use the same ability under the same circumstances, or just go down your list of abilities trying different abilities you happen to come across. The choice to try something else has to include some sort of escalation, or other change in the nature of the act such that doing so is dramatic.

I mean, if a goal is a character trying to rescue his mother from kidnappers, and he's negotiating, and it fails, would you really tell him that he can't now attempt to rescue her by pulling out his sword, and laying to?

Yes, this makes it a narrator judgment as to when it's dramatically interesting. But this decision is always with the narrator, even if you hold some harder "no repeat attempts" line. So, just like using abilities for broad uses and applying improv mods, this is the sort of community standard establishing judgment that we expect the narrator to have to make. I don't see it as particularly problematic - I rarely see retry attempts anyhow, and when they are, they're concsientious enough that I've rarely had to say no.

Mike
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