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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 75 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Accidental Outcomes?  (Read 2510 times)
Valvorik
Member

Posts: 114


« on: January 07, 2008, 05:18:09 PM »

Can a Player Character end up killing someone when they weren't trying to?

E.G., You're trying to beat your opponent in duel to teach him a lesson, the chaotic nature of combat being what it is, you accidentally inflict a mortal wound. 

In some systems this could happen accidentally according to dice rolls, in others by negotiated stakes or rolled outcome on them (e.g., Polaris, And so it was I defeated him and proved myself the more skilled knight, But Only If, in the course of battle your blade pierced him vitally and he dies.)

Am I right that a StoryGuide in TSOY could frame an action not as "okay, you do beat him and teach him a lesson or you fail to beat him" but instead "the OR is you beat him [SG is not disputing that, that happening either way] but you kill him".  Say this is being done as a resisted ability check, if the Player Character wins they've won as they liked, if the SG Character wins that means they put up such a good fight that in overcoming it a fatal blow was delivered.  The PC can decide to Bring Down the Pain, at this point the accidental death results from the SG Character hanging in and taking harm up to death, and the PC not "crying uncle" and losing the duel.  Though BDTP the outcomes shift and the PC can actually lose the duel.

I think the difference then with other more straight task oriented systems is that sometimes those systems will dictate death randomly whereas in TSOY for both PC's and SGC's death is really only going to come as someone's conscious choice in the narrative?

The point being there can be "accidental in the fiction" but not "accidental in the play" outcomes?

Rob
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rafial
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Posts: 594


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« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2008, 08:35:08 PM »

Yes, I think "if you fail, you win the duel but accidently kill him" is an awesome set of failure stakes, especially if it's a master duelist versus someone who is not so much.  Of course the player is free to object, so everybody should be one board with the idea that it is awesome.
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shadowcourt
Member

Posts: 153


« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2008, 06:55:40 AM »

I think both of you are totally right about ways in which the Storyguide can set lethal stakes for his own characters (as can players, potentially, if they were crazy enough to want that). What's more, there are plenty of ways in which a player's unwitting actions should be able to cause the death of named characters, so long as it serves the story.

For instance...

SG, as Assassin-Disguised-as-Helpful-Courtier: Say, do me a favor, and take this drink over to the Duke, would you?
Player, as Unwitting Knight: Sure thing. *walks over to the Duke* Here, sir, a gift from me. To your health!
SG, as Duke: Why thank you...! *raises his cup, drinks, and falls down dead.*

Granted, the above instance is a little silly, but it raises the point that contests between two Storyguide characters are entirely arbitrated by you. If one of the players happens to find himself entangled in that scenario, or used as a cat's paw, there's no reason you can't have it seem that a player was directly responsible for a supporting cast member's death, even if stakes were never called for. Granted, any player who had the slightest suspicion that something was amiss could either refuse the assassin's request (which could then turn to stakes to trick the player), check the cup himself (stakes against the assassin's ability to conceal poison in wine, perhaps), toss the cup away (stakes against the assassin noticing, or trying to manipulate him into not doing so?), or even try and save the Duke's life at the last moment with some sort of miraculous healing technique (if you were feeling generous as Storyguide, and thought that was an entertaining place for the drama to go).

The classic dramatic example is probably "Romeo & Juliet" (though I suspect someone here will think up an even better one right after I post this). If Romeo was a player character, and both Mercutio and Tybalt are Storyguide characters, you can easily involve the Romeo player in a duel in which he never went to stakes at all, and yet seemingly "caused" the death of Mercutio. Granted, most players aren't likely to simply stumble through that scene, and the odds of them demanding stakes to end the duel, save Meructio's life, kill Tybalt beforehand, or do something else entirely are rather likely. But it goes to point out that Storyguide characters can die in dramatic ways which seem to implicate or involve the players without the players expressly demanding such stakes.

Another example of this phenomenon could be a player who is a general or similar ruler, who sends one of his lieutenants off to perform a hazardous mission that then results in that character's death. If the lieutenant got into an argument about the assignment, and the player went to stakes against him to convince him that he *must* undertake the mission, there's no reason why the mission can't result in the lieutenant's death, and news being carried back to the player directly. It makes for a great tragedy scene, in fact, particularly if there were Keys at stake in these social interactions.

All of these are, of course, examples of a very remote accountability on the player's part. But they do illustrate what I think are fun grey area/corner case scenarios where a named character's death is slightly less predictable than you might otherwise think as a stake which must be stated up front.

-shadowcourt (aka josh)
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Valvorik
Member

Posts: 114


« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2008, 09:32:58 AM »

Thanks, this was mostly in pondering "backstories" in events that can involve things like A accidentally killed B in bar fight etc. and not wanting to posit something having once happened and then be asked "so how could that happen in play" and going, "uh, well, uh".

It was secondarily about, what seems so far to be validated, that "accident in fiction" in TSOY is not accidental in intent at table (which fits if one accepts TSOY is a more conflict resolution - intent focused - system).

Rob
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