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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 211 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: [TSoY] Help me poison my lover  (Read 8679 times)
Paul T
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Posts: 369


« on: October 20, 2007, 08:47:33 AM »

Hello.

I'm hoping to run a game of TSoY in the near future. I've been reading over the text that's just been put up on the CRN wikipage, and everything was making sense (there are few typos, but their meaning is clear in context) until I read the section on poisons.

Quote
Harm. All poisons and drugs do temporary harm to the character taking them, but this provides a real, physical harm. This can also be taken multiple times to increase harm by one level each time. Think of this as making the poison into a weapon.

I'm not at all sure I understand the first sentence.

So, here's my challenge:

I am GMing a game of TSoY. I want to poison one of the PCs. How do I go about it?

Part two: Now I am a PC. I want to poison a named NPC. Later, I find his (unnamed) lackey might have seen something, so I poison the lackey as well. How do I go about it?

What does it look like, in game terms?

Thanks!


Paul
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Clinton R. Nixon
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« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2007, 09:47:58 AM »

Yeah, that's clear as mud, isn't it?

Your questions seem like they'll be answered just by clearing up that text. Here goes:

Poisons can be undistilled or distilled. An undistilled poison is something you find by looking for it with Herb Lore. So, let's say I want to find a poisonous flower. I use Herb Lore to find it. (More on distilled later.) My success level with Herb Lore is the poison's potency.

Poisons have effects. An undistilled poison has one bad effect and possibly one good effect, which you determine when looking for it, which means you say, "I want to find a poisonous flower that dulls sight," and then you roll Herb Lore to find it, which, again, determines its potency.

When a poison is administered to someone, they roll Endure vs the "saved roll" of potency. This is a resisted check - you're just rolling at different times. If they succeed, they come to no harm. If they do not succeed, they receive the effects, and take harm equal to the potency. The bad effects stay until the harm is worn off; the good effects stay until the end of the next scene with that character.

Distilled poisons are when you find a poison, then use Distill Herbs to distill it. You do this for several reasons: undistilled poisons must be taken orally, while distilled poisons can be powders, injections, blade venom or whatever. They are also more powerful. Their potency is the Distill Herbs success level.

When a distilled poison is administered to someone, they also roll Endure vs the "saved roll" of potency. This is a resisted check - you're just rolling at different times. If they succeed, they come to no harm but take all (undistilled - see below) effects. The effects wear off in the next scene with them. If they do not succeed, they receive all effects, and take harm equal to the potency. The bad effects stay until the harm is worn off; the good effects stay until the end of the next scene with that character.

Lastly, there's a secret called the Secret of Metastasis. For 2 Reason, you can add an extra effect to the distilled version of a poison. That's why I was specific about "undistilled effect" above.
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Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games
Paul T
Member

Posts: 369


« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2007, 03:49:15 PM »

Clinton,

Thank you! That's very clear, and exactly what I was hoping for.

However, I still have a couple of questions:

1. In the original quote, what's the reference to "real, physical harm"? Is it just a fiction/color thing? I mean, does it just mean that the harm is narrated differently (the victim doubles over, retching)? Mechanically, it's still just the same old harm, right? (And the poisoner can find herbs that harm in any of the three Pools, right?)

2. I left out the most important part of my question: when I said, "I want to poison...", I meant, "I want to poison them... so that they're dead."

How does that work, exactly? As written, it sounds as though the worst possible outcome is that the victim is "broken" (receiving a level 6 harm), since that's the best you can roll on your Herb Lore/Distill Herbs. Then you add any additional harm from the harm "effect"... so, does a harm greater than 6 mean it can kill the victim?

Many thanks, again, for the prompt and clear reply.

Cheers,


Paul
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Clinton R. Nixon
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« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2007, 06:26:14 PM »

Clinton,

Thank you! That's very clear, and exactly what I was hoping for.

However, I still have a couple of questions:

1. In the original quote, what's the reference to "real, physical harm"? Is it just a fiction/color thing? I mean, does it just mean that the harm is narrated differently (the victim doubles over, retching)? Mechanically, it's still just the same old harm, right? (And the poisoner can find herbs that harm in any of the three Pools, right?)

Right. I re-read that several times, and you know, sometimes I write super-unclear things. My on-the-spot answer is that it's color, plus it works like the Secret of Imbuement, which makes it do more harm.

Quote
2. I left out the most important part of my question: when I said, "I want to poison...", I meant, "I want to poison them... so that they're dead."

How does that work, exactly? As written, it sounds as though the worst possible outcome is that the victim is "broken" (receiving a level 6 harm), since that's the best you can roll on your Herb Lore/Distill Herbs. Then you add any additional harm from the harm "effect"... so, does a harm greater than 6 mean it can kill the victim?

If you, as GM, want to do this: tough cookies. You can't. You can do up to 6 Harm: there isn't harm past that.

If you, as a player, want to kill an unnamed character with poison, sure - just state that's what you're doing. If you want to kill a named character, you can't. I know, I know: poison kills. It's just that killing characters in TSOY isn't something you do with one roll.

- Clinton
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Clinton R. Nixon
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Clinton R. Nixon
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« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2007, 06:02:51 AM »

To note, I've updated the TSOY wiki with these clarifications.
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Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games
Paul T
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Posts: 369


« Reply #5 on: October 21, 2007, 09:46:09 AM »

Clinton,

Sweet! Thank you.

Unfortunately, I have one more nitpick--hopefully this will help someone else in the future.

Quote
In the case of an undistilled poison, the character comes to no harm if the Endure check is successful, and receives any beneficial effect the substance has. If unsuccessful, all the effects take place, and the character takes harm equal to the potency.

"If unsuccessful... takes harm equal to the potency." Shouldn't that be "harm equal to the difference between the potency and the Endure check"? Or are there other instances in the system where a resisted check deals harm equal to its level?

To other readers: has anyone had a named-NPC poisoning in their games, through a BDTP? How did you do it? How did it work out?

Thanks again,


Paul
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oliof
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Harald Wagener - Zurich, Switzerland


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« Reply #6 on: October 21, 2007, 01:09:54 PM »

It seems poison rules are an important set of rules akin to drowning and falling, as we had two threads in the same vein as this one recently. The latter one discusses poison use in BDTP.
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Paul T
Member

Posts: 369


« Reply #7 on: October 21, 2007, 03:30:01 PM »

Thanks!

I don't actually think it has anything to do with poisons being a "fundamental part" of an RPG. It's just that the TSoY gameworld has this whole "poison" theme in one of its cultures... so of course it has to come up!

(It might be a good idea to make some kind of note about it in the rules text, if possible.)

All the best,


Paul
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shadowcourt
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Posts: 153


« Reply #8 on: October 26, 2007, 08:19:15 AM »

Re: using poison to kill named characters

Clinton, I'm surprised to see you come out so strongly against the use of poison to kill a named character. Granted, I don't recommend doing in a Player Character that way (calling for lethal stakes against them is never a very good idea). Nonetheless, I'd think a poisoning scene would make for a fine Bringing Down the Pain, wherein the toxin that you've distilled works its way through an opponent's system, killing them. You just have to set the stakes up right so that there's equal danger for the poisoner-- i.e. being outted as a poisoner and jailed, or outright attacked by the poisoned character.

What's interesting is that you could, theoretically, combine the use of poison with the Secret of the Sudden Strike (or whatever that one is called) and reduce even a named character to Broken immediately with a successful poisoning. With the right stakes set, that'd result in death for a named Storyguide character, wouldn't it?

Granted, it's not the sort of thing I'd recommend all the time, but we're playing in an Ammenite game at the moment, and I could see this popping up quite a bit. I've even been refreshing myself on the drugs and poison rules, in preparation for it. I'm running a group where 3 out of 5 players currently have Distill as an ability on their character sheets. *shudders*

-shadowcourt (aka josh)
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oliof
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Harald Wagener - Zurich, Switzerland


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« Reply #9 on: October 26, 2007, 03:39:56 PM »

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Eero Tuovinen
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« Reply #10 on: October 26, 2007, 05:00:39 PM »

But then, killing with poison can actually be very dramatic, too. I'd like to play a game of TSoY once with a character who's really a good guy with great intentions, but who is also not very brave or strong... so taking that evil older brother of his down with poison is actually a really sensible thing to do, even if it's traditionally pictured as a villain's game. It's a shame that I never get Ammenite characters who aren't either great and inhuman lords, petty-hitlers or pervert sadists. That kind of environment and traditional fantasy hang-ups about poisons as unchivalrous weapons make it a bit difficult to see how dramatic it all really is: here you are, a woman or a weakling, skulking about with no power or weapons at all. And you're still brave enough to risk capture, torture and death to do the right thing with the only weapons you can use. And it's not even a tidy fireball/magic missile thing you got going, it's just some plague-carrying rat shit recolored and spiced for taste. Takes a particular kind of guts, that.

Of course, when I get around to playing something like that, I'll probably also have some pretty interesting Secrets up at that point... at least these ones pop to mind immediately:

Secret of the Poisoner
The character may initiate or participate in BDtP over a check made with a stored potion strength check of a poison or potion he himself created. His participation will be in the form of flashbacks into the steps he took to create the poison, while his opponents will have to use flash-forwards into the forensic examination or capture attempts against him.

(That one makes sense in the context of my rules interpretation: you can't normally initiate BDtP over a poison delivered by somebody else somewhere, because usually the conflict stakes are of such a local scale that you in your safe haven have no means to affect the situation. You made the poison, and if you want to be there to ensure that the victim dies, then better have a knife and be in the room at the time. Or have this secret and be all "Hah, of course I expected them to use curdled milk to counter that toxin! That's why I added the pomegranade seeds that will start to break down in his gut just about... now.")

Secret of the Elixir (Secret)
The character may imbue a poison or potion with the named Secret, which then replaces one of the normal effects of the potion. The potion is still made normally, and the player defines how the Secret interacts with the eventual imbiber (could help him or harm him, for instance). Any checks explicitly required by the Secret are replaced with the potion strength check. If the Secret is useful, then the imbiber may activate it freely during the scene; if it's harmful, it's activated once against the imbiber. Cost: Cost of activating the Secret (only if negative), except all Pool costs are switched to Reason. This Secret is free to use for a positive potion.

Secret of the Elixir Master
The character may, with a successful appropriate Ability check, use any one Secret of the Elixir (Secret) once without having the Secret. The GM may assign penalty dice for obscure or unpotionlike Secrets. Cost: 2 Reason. Requirement: at least three elixir Secrets and a library.

Hmm... the latter two are actually a bit more suitable for something more high-magic... thinking about it, I actually rather like it that the Ammenite poisoners are limited to simple, yet profound effects. Perhaps these will go better as some kind of alchemical appendage of the Three-corner system...
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shadowcourt
Member

Posts: 153


« Reply #11 on: October 30, 2007, 09:43:39 AM »

Eero,

I love your Elixir secrets. I've been looking to model something similar to that with some of our poison/drug rules, and those fit the bill perfectly. Thanks. Totally swiped.

I see where you're coming from with Secret of the Poisoner, but it'd be needless in the game the way we've been running with it recently. Stake negotiation up front is usually carefully balanced to make sure something genuinely interesting happens, so much so that we often get a minute into negotiation and say things like, "Aha, okay, so it seems like whether John drinks the poison isn't really what we're interested in at all; that's fait accompli. What we're really negotiating for is 'does he get to make an accusation at Lisette before he expires from the toxins in his blood, or does the clamour of the crowd drown it all out?" With that in mind, its exactly the scenario you describe (i.e. the risk of discovery or retaliation) which would be part of the stakes of any poisoning BDTP, so I wouldn't be as worried about the poisoner being there. We've done BDTP which have involved rumor campaigns and legal actions, often stepping out from the scale to deal with character "death" through bureaucracy and the court of public opinion. But, with the way you're running BDTP, I can see the "Secret of the Poisoner" making a lot of sense. It can, admitedly, make people's heads swim at times when the scale changes so hugely, and it requires some extra negotiation while stakes are being set and BDTP is being initiated.

Great ideas, though. I really like 'em.

-shadowcourt (aka josh)
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