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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 87 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: [TSoY] "painfull" question  (Read 5843 times)
Blessdevil
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« on: August 14, 2007, 12:20:31 PM »

b]very annoying) he asked to bring down the pain.

Some similar problem occurred later in the same session. The noble needed to kill a rival in a very discrete way. Technically
Some similar problem occurred later in the same session. The noble needed to kill a rival in a very discrete way. Technically
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Michele Gelli (from Italy)
"IN THIS TOWN, IS A HORSE I CAN RIDE"
Ronny Hedin
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« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2007, 01:18:17 PM »

YMMV, but to my mind, it is the conflict between the player character and the villain that is interesting, with the the slave as a mere extension of the former, not the conflict between the slave and the villain as such.

So, I would definitely make it a contest between PC and NPC. How, more specifically? Well, not knowing the specifics of the situation, but for example the PC might be using whatever appropriate ability for his commanding of the slave—does the slave obey succesfully, or can the villain convince him to refrain? (Run, as I said, as a conflict between the two "convincers" and the slave as a soulless prop in the matter.)

Or further herbological/poisonmaking tests for whether it really does take full effect. Or whatever fits.

View the conflict, and most especially the harm dealt, somewhat abstractly. Don't get too caught up in what exactly "harm" is. Yeah, the villain may not be directly harming the PC, but it will still mean blows to his self-confidence (even if he isn't there to see it happen in real-time), and even more so to his reputation and "cred"--which certainly harm his ability to affect future situations.
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Ronny Hedin (thark)
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2007, 02:11:38 PM »

Hi there,

That's a good call, Ronny. When GMing this game, I tend to want to keep the details of Bring Down the Pain as direct and concrete as possible, but in an example like this one, I think it can be abstracted and expanded ... to be even more cool.

I mean ... a stealthy slave poisoning the guy, as the spider back in his web has plotted! I'm even imagining one of those film sequences in which the character is instructing the slave, and then it intercuts to the slave actually doing the steps of the operation as the instruction proceeds. So we learn the final nature of the plan and see it executed (with missteps and the always-present chance of failure) at the same time.

Best, Ron
edited to fix a screwy sentence
« Last Edit: August 14, 2007, 02:16:00 PM by Ron Edwards » Logged
Andrew Cooper
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« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2007, 05:26:21 PM »

My first thought was exactly what the Ron's said.  Keep it between the PC and the NPC.  An even cooler thought to me would be during some of the switching back and forth between the PC and the slave to have the slave find out a very compelling reason for the PC to not want the victim to die.  See if the player Gives.  If not, just Give yourself and have the victim get gakked.  Then the player got what he wanted but also reaped some further complications for his actions.  That's always good stuff.

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oliof
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Harald Wagener - Zurich, Switzerland


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« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2007, 05:07:35 AM »

My humble view:

As BDtP can only follow up on resisted ability checks, the poison making ability check itself is not yet enough to go into BDtP. You'd need, say, a Sway (or Etiquette or Savoir-Faire, depending on the methods employed) vs. Resist conflict. So, the BDtP is not about the making of the poison or the slave planting it, but more about building up enough trust in the first place so the slave is able to sneak in and plant that poison. The PC can then
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Eero Tuovinen
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« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2007, 12:49:27 AM »

My opinion is along the same lines with Harald. Specifically, I would say that a player can't declare BDTP against a NPC unless his own character is involved in a resisted Ability check with that NPC in the first place. If the crucial check is between the slave and the target, then the BDTP is between them. If both the slave and the target are NPCs, then there is no BDTP simply because neither can declare it.

Just as Harald suggested, you can get around this by starting BDTP with a social check. You could also have the poison-making check directly resisted by the target's poison resistance or whatever, if I remember the rules correctly. However, I would also question whether you'd want to have BDTP in the first place in this kind of situation. As I understand the blessed devil here, the player was declaring BDTP left and right just because he wanted to remove NPCs permanently, not because the situation itself was particularly dramatically important. I think that this is not a good rationale, and if that particular rule is getting in the way of play, then it should be ignored - NPCs can be killed and removed without BDTP as well, after all, and if the GM is not adversial, he shouldn't have any trouble respecting such assassination. The intent is not that players are forced to BDTP to kill any bit players.
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shadowcourt
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« Reply #6 on: August 16, 2007, 12:50:43 PM »

As a note to this conversation, aren't there even cultural abilities which facilitate a non-direct, conflict, like Assassination and Clanedstinity (though the latter might be for the Zaru, I confess that I can't recall...). In any event, who says that an Assassination ability check, or BDTP involving it, has to necessarily involve you perching in a balcony and firing a crossbow? Arranging an assasination through your network of criminal cat's paws works just as well-- so long as you can keep the conflict in an interesting arena.

It's always been my impression that conflicts in TSOY should have counter-stakes. If that's the case, then I can easily conceive of a conflict where a noble PC is attempting to kill off an enemy through his minions (making Assassination checks), while that enemy's counter-stakes are something like "foil and reveal the assassination attempts and thereby discredit the noble." It's often really important for satisfying BDTP that an opponent--particularly a Storyguide character--have something interesting as counter-stakes. Just "resisting" tends to make for really boring conflicts, and if you win, there's nothing particularly interesting that happens. Balancing those stakes with counter-stakes are vital, and particularly useful in the cases of ties. In this case, a tie could easily occur where the enemy is poisoned, but the noble PC is implicated in the attempt ("both stakes go through", rather than "neither stake goes through"). I know tie situations are less likely in BDTP, but they sometimes result out of renegotiation during a conflict, wherein stakes are changed.

This hits directly on how the "chained and subdued" villain can hurt the noble. Stakes work best when what's being exchanged on both sides of the table have similar value. If the PC noble is going for stakes of "if I win, the captive dies and no one knows about it", then there's no reason a Storyguide can't offer counter-stakes of "if my NPC wins, he doesn't die, manages to escape your prison, and flees into the forests." Don't accept too much balking from a player character for this. Those are dramatically balanced stakes. They're actually no different than the stakes you'd blithely accept if the positions were reversed, a PC was imprisoned instead, and about to be tortured or what-have-you by an NPC jailer. Remember that levels of abstraction work both ways-- if the PC wants to do this remotely, through proxies, he should be prepared for the idea that those proxies migth fail, be overpowered, or what have you.

It's really useful to think outside the box in these situations, as well. Again, your player might complain, "But I already subdued this guy! Why do I have to deal with stakes of him escaping? he's all beaten up and in the dungeon and under lock and key and..." yadda yadda yadda. Then change the nature of the conflict. Does the captive have friends? Set the stakes up like this: "Okay, if your PC wins, you poison and kill him in your dungeons. However, you're not competing against the PC himself; he's got allies. If my NPC's win, they have broken into your dungeon and liberated the captive, and gotten him to safety, curing him of poison." Now, all of a sudden, the conflict takes a radically different turn-- SPC's are fighting their way into a fortress, making Dueling checks, possibly using First-Aid to cure their ally if they find him. The PC is using whatever abilities are appropriate to represent his minions, holdings, security, etc etc., posibly defaulting to things like Etiquette or Sway or Orate if need be, to represent how sufficiently intimidated his guard staff are and how he's in control of them. It becomes much easier to conceive of what Harm looks like, in that case.

The point should always be that BDTP is a rich, exciting conflict, with balanced stakes, and if that means high stakes on one side, it should mean high on the other.

This, of course, assumes that you aren't perfectly fine with simply accepting the NPC's deaths and rolling right along with it. If that's the case, as Eero points out, just because the rules say that BDTP is necessary to bump off a named character doesn't mean its required to go to BDTP every time it happens. Heck, even if a PC wanted to die (for whatever crazy reason, like it's dramatically significant to do so, or he wants to play a new character already, or he wants to try playing his own sasha in a Qek necromancy-heavy game), he could simply accept the results and yeild the conflict at a simple check, thereby dying. Similarly, you can have NPC's dying left and right without going to BDTP, if that suits what you'd like out of the story. Simply yield to your PC's intentions.

Let us know if you run into further troubles with this. BDTP can be a tricky element, when you first get into it. I really recommend cleaving to the ideas of trying to balance stakes, renegotiating what the "arena" of a conflict is, and (most importantly) soliciting ideas from the players around your table when you get stuck. If they're anything like mine, they're a treasure trove of amazing plot suggestions for how to handle BDTP, ties in conflicts, refresh scenes, and lots of other elements of the game.

-shadowcourt (aka josh)
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Blessdevil
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« Reply #7 on: August 21, 2007, 01:38:18 AM »

Hi again, and thanks to you all for your useful suggestions.

Just as Harald suggested, you can get around this by starting BDTP with a social check. You could also have the poison-making check directly resisted by the target's poison resistance or whatever, if I remember the rules correctly.

This could work fine.

However, I would also question whether you'd want to have BDTP in the first place in this kind of situation. As I understand the blessed devil here, the player was declaring BDTP left and right just because he wanted to remove NPCs permanently, not because the situation itself was particularly dramatically important. I think that this is not a good rationale, and if that particular rule is getting in the way of play, then it should be ignored - NPCs can be killed and removed without BDTP as well, after all, and if the GM is not adversial, he shouldn't have any trouble respecting such assassination. The intent is not that players are forced to BDTP to kill any bit players.

Note the villains in question (the chained & subdued one and the soon-to-be-poisoned one) were somehow notable characters. If they were only faceless thugs, I would be the first to sing "one shot, one kill, let's move on".

In the first case (chained & subdued) I think I was wrong to BDTP. Maybe telling the player "He is Dead with capital D, like in BDTP, let's move on" would have been the better solution. In the second case (soon-to-be-poisoned) I'm oriented to keep the poisoning slave / guards as PC and "extensions", keeping the conflict between PC and main villain, eventually delivering social harm to the PC. Something like: you poisoned the guy, but somehow you left a trail and now - even if nothing can be proved - the royal court knows (or suspects).

Anyway thanks again to all those who took the time to answer me. Your observation were very useful and appreciated.

Best.
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Michele Gelli (from Italy)
"IN THIS TOWN, IS A HORSE I CAN RIDE"
shadowpriest
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« Reply #8 on: November 10, 2007, 11:05:33 PM »

Yeah i totally agree i would make it a contest between the PC and NPC. The PC trying to use abilities to command the slave and the NPC trying to convince him to run.
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