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Author Topic: [Dirty Secrets] Simple Rules Question  (Read 3308 times)
jburneko
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Posts: 1351


« on: April 16, 2008, 03:17:02 PM »

Hello,

Simple rules question.  Do you still set goals in Violence scenes?  The rules say Violence scenes work like Investigation scenes "except" and "don't set goals" isn't listed among those exceptions so I assume you still set goals.  Although sometimes it feels weird setting goals beyond just, "this guy brings a lead pipe down your head."

Jesse
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GreatWolf
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« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2008, 09:24:57 AM »

I thought this one through, and you get a two-part answer.

Part One, in which we discuss the rules.

Yes, set goals. They can be as simple as "I'm trying to beat him to death" or "I'm trying to escape from him".

Part Two, in which we discuss my opinion of these rules.

If I were to go back and rework the Dirty Secrets rules, I'd probably either remove the rules for goals or change the name to "agenda" or something like that. Specifically, the "goal" of a character is not the Stakes of the conflict that are set at a meta-level. Rather, a character's "goal" is supposed to be set somewhat "in-character", emerging from the actions being taken by the characters.

When I've played with my group, the goals of the conflicting characters are usually so obvious that we often forget to state them. Honestly, I'm happy with playing this way; you simply drive one character into another until someone yells "Dice!" The reason that I added the statement of goals was to ensure that everyone at the table actually knew what the characters are fighting about.

So, this is probably the part of the rules that I'm least happy with, but I guess it works out okay.
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Seth Ben-Ezra
Dark Omen Games
producing Legends of Alyria, Dirty Secrets, A Flower for Mara
coming soon: Showdown
GreatWolf
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« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2008, 09:40:45 AM »

To add a bit:

There's a particular headspace that I think is necessary for really good Dirty Secrets play which I may or may not have adequately communicated in the text. So, I'll try to lay it out here, and we'll see how this works.

I think that it's important that the players in Dirty Secrets be as close to the characters as possible while still maintaining authorial oversight of the story. So, if "immersion" is getting behind a character's eyes and "pawning" (a la Universalis) is hovering omnisciently above all the action, Dirty Secrets is best played looking over the shoulder of the characters. So, when the Investigator is trying to decide what sequence to choose next, he shouldn't be thinking "Where do I want to guide the story next?" but "What would be a reasonable and interesting action for the investigator to take next, given what we know about the story so far and my working theory of the case?"  See how this combines the inner life of the character (because different investigators will have different "reasonable" options available to them, based on their personalities) while still employing Author stance (looking at the development of the story as a necessary goal and using the working theory as a tool to guide this)? Being the Authority requires a similar approach, based on the player's working theory of the case. "I think that it would be reasonable and interesting, given what we know about the story so far and based on my working theory, to have So-and-So try to intimidate the investigator."

This connects with the whole "goal" thing, because I want goals to be set in this vein. So, a good goal is "the investigator wants to get into the house past the security guard to talk to Beth", because it's about the investigator's agenda for the conflict. A bad goal is "If I win, Beth incriminates herself", because it's about the player's agenda for the conflict. Now, having that agenda is all well and good, and if you get the opportunity to narrate for Beth, you are free to have her incriminate herself, but conflict goals are about characters, not players. And, if you can't get into the house, then you can't narrate the conversation with Beth that she is obviously avoiding. (I mean, it's her security guard stopping you, right? Or maybe he works for someone who is trying to shut her up, right? If not, then why is anyone bothering with this conflict?)

This is probably more than you were looking for, Jesse, eh?
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Seth Ben-Ezra
Dark Omen Games
producing Legends of Alyria, Dirty Secrets, A Flower for Mara
coming soon: Showdown
jburneko
Member

Posts: 1351


« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2008, 10:32:30 AM »

No, Seth that was perfect.  What you describe is how I like to play ALL my games.  I have a great distaste for mechanics that work on the player agenda level.  Statements like, "Well, my character would fight for this, but I want him to lose." are WEAK.  It's like throwing the boxing match 'cause you want the money.

Jesse
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Linnaeus
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Posts: 3


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« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2008, 08:04:01 AM »

Seth,

I think that statement is important enough that you should pull it out as its own thread.
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Gerald Cameron
This is My Play
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2008, 10:04:59 AM »

What Seth wrote also characterizes the circumstances of dice rolling (or whatever) in Sorcerer, Dogs in the Vineyard, Dust Devils, Trollbabe, The Legend of Allyria, The Shadow of Yesterday, and many other games. It's what used to characterize a lot of other games like Universalis, Primetime Adventures, My Life With Master, InSpectres, and The Pool ... until the Great BS Confusion of 2005-2006 confounded and mis-shaped the concept of "stakes" into the un-usable foolishness that is most often seen today - and disastrously, is now showing up in new game texts, rendering those games less playable and less fun.

That confusion did not happen and was not fostered at the Forge. It's the single worst outcome of the dispersion of the discussion to many different sites. I prompted and supported that dispersion, but knew that the price would be a general drop in rigorous thinking - and this particular instance is worse than a drop, it's a bona fide bomb trap.

In my view, the minute you see the word "stakes" articulated in some kind of pre-roll narration of, specifically, what will happen after the roll, run away, fast and far. What Seth says here is what made all those games fun. That new construction is an abomination, a veritable engine of no fun.

Best, Ron
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