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Author Topic: [LoA] Various rules questions  (Read 6006 times)
Filip Luszczyk
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« on: February 07, 2008, 06:35:35 PM »

After our last Sunday's session, I have a number of questions:

1). How does an exchange resolve when both sides succeed and their temporary Attributes are equal?

2). Is it legal to just give up in a conflict, or does it always have to be played till one side wins enough exchanges?

3). After activating a Trait can the player change either his own target face or that of the opponent ("one of the target faces")? Or, is it only possible to change the opponent's target face (as the first sentence under Activate Traits suggests)? The way we played, changing both one's own target face and that of the opponent was possible, and it seemed to work well. However, the rules don't seem to be perfectly clear when it comes to this, and it strongly affects the usefulness of Traits. Also, if our way is correct, do Trait activations cancel each other only if they're applied to the same target face, or always?

4). Conflicts with more than two sides don't seem possible. Are they? The text occassionaly refers to "opponents".

5). Is it possible to add a new Trait to the character (i.e. by changing a non-relevant Trait from Prime/Vespers to another clockface)?

Note that not being the guy with the book and not having physical access to it (we're playing via Skype), I might be missing something.
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M. J. Young
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« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2008, 07:41:12 PM »

I'm hoping that Seth will soon appear and have all the right answers, but I'm going to hope I save him some trouble by giving what I know.  I haven't played since before it went to print (wow, life sure has me too busy), but I use to know the game pretty well.

First, although it's not nearly as nice or convenient as having the book, I believe you can still read the rules in the original blog post edition, so even if you don't happen to have access to the book, you can still check the rules.  (I'm assuming it's all still there--it's not loading for me, but it is showing that there's a page under that name.)

My recollection is that conflicts between multiple parties are reduced to individual conflicts, that is, if it is A and B against C, then it's A against C and B against C in separate conflicts, and if it's A, B, and C against each other, then it's A against B, A against C, and B against C.

Yes, you can add a trait by spending points on it.

I hope this is right (that I've understood both your questions and the rules), but I'm sure Seth will be along soon enough to address the rest of them and correct me where I'm wrong.

--M. J. Young
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GreatWolf
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« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2008, 07:32:21 AM »

Quote
1). How does an exchange resolve when both sides succeed and their temporary Attributes are equal?

When I play, we use the actual die roll to resolve ties.  If those are tied, I'd probably call it a push and go on to the next exchange with neither side winning the exchange.

The fact that I did not write rules for this in the book is causing me a bit of distress right now.

Quote
2). Is it legal to just give up in a conflict, or does it always have to be played till one side wins enough exchanges?

You have to play it out until the end.  If you aren't willing to see the conflict through to the end, then why were you dicing for it?

Now, I should note at this point that the system for Legends of Alyria was designed around 2001.  In particular, it was before Dogs in the Vineyard introduced the idea of "giving" into conflict resolution.  The system for exchanges was introduced to codify the way that I actually played the game in practice.  As Narrator, I had the right to state how much action was resolved by a die roll, but the expectation of the group was that the more climactic actions required more die rolls.  When Ron started talking about IIEE, I realized that I needed to tighten up this aspect of Legends of Alyria; thus, formal exchanges were born.

Quote
3). After activating a Trait can the player change either his own target face or that of the opponent ("one of the target faces")? Or, is it only possible to change the opponent's target face (as the first sentence under Activate Traits suggests)? The way we played, changing both one's own target face and that of the opponent was possible, and it seemed to work well. However, the rules don't seem to be perfectly clear when it comes to this, and it strongly affects the usefulness of Traits. Also, if our way is correct, do Trait activations cancel each other only if they're applied to the same target face, or always?

You may change either your target face or your opponents.  Trait activations only cancel if they are applied to the same target face.  So, if I use my Trait to buff myself and you use your Trait to buff yourself, then both happen.

Quote
4). Conflicts with more than two sides don't seem possible. Are they? The text occassionaly refers to "opponents".

M.J. is correct.  Conflicts always break down into pairs.

Upon a quick perusal, I couldn't locate the use of "opponents" in the text, but here's one possible explanation.  Legends of Alyria assumed that one character could oppose another character using intermediates as tools.  Let's say that I'm playing a High Lord bent on capturing a Blessed, and you're playing the Blessed, trying to escape.  When I send my soldiers to capture you and you resist, we don't stat out the soldiers; instead, you dice off against the High Lord.

Or maybe I wrote the rool stoopidly.

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5). Is it possible to add a new Trait to the character (i.e. by changing a non-relevant Trait from Prime/Vespers to another clockface)?

Yep.

How did the game go?  Is it working out well for your group?
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Seth Ben-Ezra
Dark Omen Games
producing Legends of Alyria, Dirty Secrets, A Flower for Mara
coming soon: Showdown
Filip Luszczyk
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Posts: 746

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« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2008, 06:35:31 PM »

Thanks for the clarifications!

Quote
Upon a quick perusal, I couldn't locate the use of "opponents" in the text, but here's one possible explanation.

The one I've been specifically thinking about is here in the first sentence, though it's possible I've seen more of them. Dunno, this might be something that was already edited out in the print version.

The intermediaries thing is interesting. I suppose our storymap wouldn't grow as large as it did if we had this in mind during the prep.

Quote
How did the game go?  Is it working out well for your group?

So far, so good, and I think we still have enough material for about one session with the current story map. Our story map might be to big, though - there are three players and we have nine characters total, but some of the NPCs didn't appear yet (considering the development of events, they should have something to say in the next session). What's the usual size of a story map and the typical length of a game?

I like it how the rules balance themselves neatly. It doesn't seem like there are any mechanical choices or strategies that would be inherently better than others in a purely gamey sense. At the same time, there's enough rules to strategize a bit on the level of specific actions within the conflict - something that, for contrast, I didn't really notice during my first IAWA game I played last weekend.

It seems we should tighten up our narration standards a bit. Our narration in conflicts was pretty loose so far and I think our game should benefit from more concrete lines of control.

Also, some PTA habits seem to get in the way - i.e. we noticed that we tend to cut scenes after a single conflict. It seems to me more conflicts in general, and over less broad goals, should work better. More I/C pumped into the game would probably put the economy into faster motion and lead us towards a stronger drama. We'd probably see more use of the automatic success option, which seemed like a pretty strong mechanic so far and lead to cool dramatic situations, and maybe some actual character change (so far, nobody tried to change character Traits).

It might be of note that the game seems to naturally lead us towards certain symbolism - though it might be something I'm actually seeing there due to my deconstructionist leanings Wink It's partly due to the setting (The Web in this case), partly due to telling character names and partly due to the general focus of the mechanics, and it all neatly clicks together.

There was one chain of scenes that's quite memorable for me. A punk girl stabs her father, a gang boss, after seeing how he bargains her freedom from the angelic mutant-prophet she looked up to. She falls from a catwalk in the struggle (winning the goal: to ger away from her father), from the highest point of The Web, but is caught by the mutant. He sprouts his angelic wings at that moment, and they both plunge down. At the same time, in another scene, the cyber-zombie guard captain blows up a nearby section of The Web to intimidate another gang's boss - so there's a rain of debris, as well as people, falling down in the background. The girl and the angel-prophet land on some platform, and argue, with the human rain still in the background. She says that if he stands for the light, she will choose the darkness - but still, he convinces her to go back to her father. So she climbs up a very long flight of steps, on her way meeting a group of goons from the rival gang who want to hurt her. However, she gouges out their leader's eyes, using the same knife she stabbed her father with, and continues to climb up without being further bothered. She reaches her gang's headquarters, meets her wounded father and for the first time stops his hand when he tries to slap her cheek. Then, she goes out and assumes leadership of the gang, asserting her freedom, giving a speach on her father's (whose name is Eagle) flight coming to an end.

So yeah, we're kind of pushed towards a certain symbolism. Made me want to use "Stairway to Heaven" for the soundtrack, if only we had some convenient tools for sharing music online and one of the other players wasn't allergic to Led Zeppelin Wink
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GreatWolf
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« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2008, 07:33:58 PM »

Thanks for the clarifications!

Quote
Upon a quick perusal, I couldn't locate the use of "opponents" in the text, but here's one possible explanation.

The one I've been specifically thinking about is here in the first sentence, though it's possible I've seen more of them. Dunno, this might be something that was already edited out in the print version.

In that sentence, "opponents" is referring to the two sides of a conflict.

Quote
So far, so good, and I think we still have enough material for about one session with the current story map. Our story map might be to big, though - there are three players and we have nine characters total, but some of the NPCs didn't appear yet (considering the development of events, they should have something to say in the next session). What's the usual size of a story map and the typical length of a game?

I don't usually like having more than one major character per player.  I've tried to run a storymap with more than one major character per player, but it fell apart.  This game relies heavily on player-generated adversity, and too many characters tends to dilute that effect.

Also, in my past experience, a game is one prep session and one or two sessions of play.  However, last time we played, we actually went without a formal Narrator and each played one major character.  With some pushing, we prepped and ran a four-character storymap in about four hours.

I haven't had a chance to really play In a Wicked Age yet.  However, I see some of the influences of Legends of Alyria on that game and, oddly enough, I feel like I have a better understanding of my own game after having read In a Wicked Age.  Makes me wonder if I could hack an Owe list onto a serial run of Legends of Alyria....

Quote
It might be of note that the game seems to naturally lead us towards certain symbolism - though it might be something I'm actually seeing there due to my deconstructionist leanings Wink It's partly due to the setting (The Web in this case), partly due to telling character names and partly due to the general focus of the mechanics, and it all neatly clicks together.

Oh, that's by design.  Or, rather, I should say that it's a combination of design and happy coincidence.  The setting is all quite symbolic, although I didn't really understand this until I had finished it up and was looking back on it.  The naming convention is definitely a matter of design, trying to encourage folks to think more symbolically about their characters.  I'm glad that it's working out for you guys.

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Seth Ben-Ezra
Dark Omen Games
producing Legends of Alyria, Dirty Secrets, A Flower for Mara
coming soon: Showdown
Filip Luszczyk
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« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2008, 02:08:10 PM »

Quote
In that sentence, "opponents" is referring to the two sides of a conflict.

Oh, now it's clear. We've been somewhat confused by this part.

I wonder whether the fact that there is no single Narrator in our current game changes something when it comes to that adversity generation. At least once, I used NPCs to position my main character when acting as Narrator, for example.

Still, it's already visible that some of the NPCs will have very brief appearances. In a way, it's one of the parts in which our PTA habits surface. We used a somewhat similar prep procedure for our last show - but in that game, twelve major characters turned out to be just the right amount for six sessions.

Dunno about the need for We Owe list here. The list and the way conflicts play seem like two most noticeable differences between the games to me, in my very limited experience. If I were to hack something, I'd rather include DitV style giving and escalations (in fact, the latter would only require keeping a clear violent/non-violent division between Force/Insight and allowing a change of Attributes between exchanges).

As for the symbolism, we tend to put a lot into our games, so it might be a factor here. However, the game itself certainly facilitates and focuses it.
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Filip Luszczyk
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« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2008, 05:39:19 PM »

Another problem emerged during our today's session.

The situation: two player characters are in a conflict, both have no Inspiration and both have some Corruption. Both players want to spend Corruption for an automatic success.

This was the first time so far when we needed a way to "determine initiative" - i.e. according to our reading of the rules only one of us could spend Corruption (it would have immediately ended the conflict) and none of us was willing to give.

What to do in such situations?
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GreatWolf
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« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2008, 05:56:10 PM »

Well, here's the thing.  Spending Inspiration (or Corruption) isn't an auto-win for the character.  Instead, it's a win for Good or Evil, in the cosmic sense.  So, if both players are wanting to spend Corruption, they both want Evil to win instead of either character winning.  So figure out what it means for Evil to win in this particular situation, with the Narrator having final say over what happens.

Now, I admit that "initiative" would be useful for this situation.  When we played, it was never a problem.  If I were to revise the game, I'd probably make this a blind bid:  Inspiration, Corruption, or none.  Then just go with the outcome.  Actually, if you wanted to test this rule, I'd be curious to see how it works.
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Seth Ben-Ezra
Dark Omen Games
producing Legends of Alyria, Dirty Secrets, A Flower for Mara
coming soon: Showdown
Filip Luszczyk
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« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2008, 12:24:36 PM »

Makes sense.

We wrapped up our game, but chances are that we return to LoA eventually. If so, I'll try to keep the blind bid rule in mind.
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GreatWolf
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« Reply #9 on: February 25, 2008, 12:55:46 PM »

Makes sense.

We wrapped up our game, but chances are that we return to LoA eventually. If so, I'll try to keep the blind bid rule in mind.

Excellent.  I'd love to see a play report, if you're up for it.  I hope that it went well for you.
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Seth Ben-Ezra
Dark Omen Games
producing Legends of Alyria, Dirty Secrets, A Flower for Mara
coming soon: Showdown
Filip Luszczyk
Member

Posts: 746

roll-player


WWW
« Reply #10 on: February 29, 2008, 11:54:03 AM »

I'm afraid I'm a bit busy these days, so I don't suppose I'll find the time and energy to write it down.

The game went relatively well, overall.

We experienced some first time problems, but now we have a better idea of how to approach it the next time. Our story map was definitely too big, but after your clarifications I can imagine how the game could work with just a few major roles. Also, I think we'd benefit from speeding up the prep and playing the whole story in one meeting (during our third and final session the story lost its impetus, and we've been noticeably pushing for a narrative closure anyway). We could have paid more attention to Virtues and the "allignment" of Traits, too, I suppose, as at times, especially near the end, it was diluting (i.e. the most positive character, with Virtue at Sext, objectively came out as a somewhat willing tool of evil).

But overall, the game was fun.
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