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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 66 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: [Legends of Alyria] Traits! Traits!  (Read 9732 times)
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #15 on: December 14, 2008, 08:12:27 AM »

Hi Misha,

That sounds like a perfect candidate for First Thoughts!

Best, Ron
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otspiii
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« Reply #16 on: December 14, 2008, 03:34:28 PM »

Alright, that is where I posted it.

[Burning Passion] Traits, Running Wild and Free

The section with the bolded question on top is probably the most relevant part for what's being discussed in this thread, but the rest gives it context.

Seth says: I edited this to fix a link
« Last Edit: December 14, 2008, 06:36:33 PM by GreatWolf » Logged

Hello, Forge.  My name is Misha.  It is a pleasure to meet you.
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #17 on: December 14, 2008, 05:39:28 PM »

Hi Christoph,

I changed the order of some of your material to consolidate certain points

You wrote,

Quote
Dust Devils seems to be of the "Before" variant ...
This observation made me think of IIEE and surely the topics are related. For example, in Dust Devils one gets the chance to complete the description to validate the "Before" use. Before what? Before Execution, right? (The high card Narrator is only constrained by successful Goals and Harm, not Traits.)

Absolutely right. I should also point out that the Used to Be / Is Now traits are very strongly Before, because they need to make sense in terms of fleshing out the character's back-story. When you announce that you're using one, people lean forward and (probably without realizing it) assess whether what you say makes sense in terms of the character's portrait. This idea applies even if how you utilize the trait is a bit unexpected. (In our most recent game of Dust Devils, a personality-dominance conflict ensued between two people who were having sex. The female NPC performed a startling and graphic act at one point as she coaxed some kind of concession from her opponent - I draw the extra cards and pointed out that she Used to Be a Wife.)

Your points about The Pool are more tricky, I think.

Quote
Quote
In the Pool, it isn't quite as clear. It depends a lot on the way the Trait is formulated. Here, just about anything goes, whereas in Dust Devils it isn't the case (they are characters' qualities). I've had traits like the one involving "Boba Fett" Markus told us about which worked quite well, although our Boba Fett was quite extensively played by the GM as well, introducing interesting constraints (not logical ones, aesthetic ones) on the use of the Trait. And that's okay in itself, because in the Pool, there is no way to add any narration during resolution since it's punctual.

This actually doesn't have much to do with Before and After, but rather with what the Trait "is" in the fiction. We need to understand how they're invoked (relative to the fiction-of-the-moment) before returning to the issue of what they are (in the fiction). Again, let's save all talk of NPCs as Traits for later.

Quote
By the way, are Traits in Dogs in the Vineyard "simultaneous"? A player gets to roll the related dice when he narrates something that is related to them. Not based on what has happened before, nor is it a promise to use the Trait for narration afterwards. In any case (whether that really is "simultaneous" or just a specific "before"), "after" use is not warranted, and not needed since multiple sequences of IIEE follow each other, allowing anyone a great degree of freedom to integrate Traits. Or, rather, since each Raise is a complete IIEE sequence whose effect (and often execution) might be blocked, there is no point in differentiating between before and after, since traits and narration form one procedural package.

Good question. My initial thinking is that you're over-thinking things. Rounds in Dogs aren't any different from rounds in Sorcerer, The Riddle of Steel, The Burning Wheel, or any other game in which combat proceeds through a series of consequential exchanges, and I think you might simply be wrestling with the scale-difference of a round within a conflict vs. the conflict as a whole.

However, the topic's worth a dialogue, and as Vincent implied in the Anyway thread that Seth linked to, above, he's mulling over the material himself. We'll probably get to that topic soon.

Best, Ron

P.S. Seth, I initially included a more graphic description of the Dust Devils conflict and Trait-based action, but amended it out of delicacy. Let me know if you want the original text restored.
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lumpley
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« Reply #18 on: December 15, 2008, 10:04:26 AM »

Well, as far as Dogs goes, (a) I figure that it's a straightforward "before," and (b) I did my very best by it with "GM, back the judgment of the most critical player" plus "over the first few sessions, you'll develop standards for what's a legit use of a trait."

That was my very best at the time, and I'm not sure I could improve on it today. Minus the requirement that traits modify an underlying resolution system, In a Wicked Age's forms work a lot like traits do, I think, and I didn't do any better by them.

Seth, it's interesting that you tag the Wicked Age's forms as "before" OR "after." I'd've guessed that they crash and burn, played "after"-wise. It's seemed to me that when people have problems with them, it's because they're trying to play them "after."

-Vincent
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GreatWolf
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« Reply #19 on: December 15, 2008, 06:39:27 PM »

Vincent,

Yeah, I might be changing my mind on IaWA, based on this quote of Ron's from upthread:

Quote
I think people are reading my Before too strictly. Remember, I include "not yet expressed but obvious once mentioned" in Before, or as Meserach (whoever that is) put it in the Anyway thread, the "plausible future of penumbra of the current events."

So, we're heading into an action sequence, and Ralph (playing Zahir) says, "I'm acting With Love For Others." And I'm like, "Really?" Because, you know, that completely contradicts my understanding of Zahir. But Ralph says, "Really." I figure I trust him, so I don't object. Then he narrates Zahir doing something which is completely obvious once Ralph says it, but I never saw it coming.

That strikes me as "Before". So, apparently I was wrong before.

(Though, now I'm wondering if I've ever seen a game use "After" Traits.)

Oh, for what it's worth, "back the judgment of the most critical player" plus "over the first few sessions, you'll develop standards for what's a legit use of a trait" works just fine for me. In fact, that seems like a reasonable way of phrasing how any game with Before Traits needs to work.

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Seth Ben-Ezra
Dark Omen Games
producing Legends of Alyria, Dirty Secrets, A Flower for Mara
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GreatWolf
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« Reply #20 on: December 15, 2008, 06:42:40 PM »

P.S. Seth, I initially included a more graphic description of the Dust Devils conflict and Trait-based action, but amended it out of delicacy. Let me know if you want the original text restored.

Nah, I'm good. Thanks!
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Seth Ben-Ezra
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Christoph Boeckle
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« Reply #21 on: December 16, 2008, 03:15:21 AM »

Good point about Before traits being about "not yet expressed but obvious once mentioned". With this new way of seeing it, the idea of "simultaneous" Traits is superfluous.

Ron, your reading of the Pool rules made me realize that maybe I interpreted it too much. I'm sure we've had numerous situations that go something like this:
Player: "I want to pass this guard." (Player's intention, probably the character's as well, we usually hardly describe anything before rolling.)
GM: "Okay, roll for it, what Trait?"
Player: "Killer instinct"
Roll proceeds, narrator includes "Killer instinct" in IEE, after the mechanical resolution. Then again, "Killer Instinct" could be seen as not yet expressed but obvious once mentioned: the history and definition of my character makes it obvious that he's going to kill yet again (at least try, as my choice for the Trait implies). If the GM ends up as the narrator, he could decide, since we don't even do Initiation before the roll, that just as my character was about to draw his dagger, he sees into the guard's eyes and suddenly takes pity on him, and asks the guard if he can get in: "Why yes of course!"
However, this would be "after" in the sense that the mechanical choice of involving the Trait "Killer instinct" entails a constraint on the fiction that will essentially be produced after that choice, whereas the Dust Devils rules are the other way around explicitly (the fiction constrains the use of the Traits, whether in accord or in contradiction to them).

I've already realized that my play of Pool was very different to yours, Ron, because we allow Content Authority in the MoVs (this does give rise to very absurd stories, but often in an enjoyable way). Now, I'm wondering if the fact that we do the IEE of IIEE in the narration after the roll is different to the way you do it (perhaps just the last E?) could change the way the Traits are used.
It's quite clear to me that if we would use resolution only after Execution, the question "has the trait use an obvious connection to what was described until now?" would be pertinent, and Vincent's point of view that in this case "after" is perilous instinctively (I can't justify it) makes sense to me.

I'm not sure we were always consistent in where the resolution process comes in the IIEE sequence (it's been two years since my last Pool game if I recall correctly), I should look out for that.

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Regards,
Christoph
lumpley
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« Reply #22 on: December 16, 2008, 06:14:07 AM »

To be clear, I think that "after" won't work for In a Wicked Age, not that it's perilous across the board.

-Vincent
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #23 on: December 16, 2008, 06:57:30 AM »

Hi Christoph,

Can you take the Pool topics to the current thread about Drift, in actual play? It would be nice for that thread to be, after all, about the Pool and Drift.

I'll post more about After in this thread in a bit. (By the way, you guys have read Misha's thread, right? His term "Partial Invocation" works much better than "Before." If not, hop in there.)

Best, Ron
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Christoph Boeckle
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« Reply #24 on: December 17, 2008, 02:10:42 AM »

Oops, sorry Vincent, I mangled my reference to your idea. I will try to make my points and references clearer in the message Ron invited me to post in the thread on Drift.
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Regards,
Christoph
Callan S.
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« Reply #25 on: December 17, 2008, 09:41:45 PM »

Hi Ron,

Quote
In the extreme form of the second idea, however, my character might be engaged in some non-cleverness-oriented problem, perhaps climbing a cliff face while being strafed by harpy feces. I say, "OK, quick-witted," and I add the bonus to my roll. In my experience, the only constraint is that whoever narrates what happens (let's say I succeed) has to take my character's quick-wittedness into account. In fact, if I fail, perhaps that means that quick-witted didn't apply after all.
I'd like to nail down the use of the word 'has', here. Does it mean...
A. It's fun to work within the fiction established so far, even though in pure system terms one might be able to ignore that fiction entirely in ones system use. Or
B. Whether they find it fun or not, they have to work within that fiction, or otherwise they are breaking the rules, like using a weighted die is breaking the rules.

Disclosure: This topic in all the threads driving me bonkers where seemingly A and B get used interchangeably. If I'm a bit clipped, its not intentional, I'm just struggling with going bonkers...
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #26 on: December 18, 2008, 01:42:21 AM »

Hi Callan,

In the interest of clarity (which I know is necessary because I had to go back and carefully figure out what that passage was referring to), that passage is about After Trait use.

Your A and B don't seem to be about After at all! They're all wrapped up with the "fiction so far" concept and the whole point of After Traits is that the fiction so far isn't a constraint. Using them imposes a forward-looking constraint.

A and B might be driving you bonkers regarding Before Traits (or Partial Invocation as I'm leaning towards), but using that passage as a basis for discussing it won't work.

I'll try to answer your question about that passage but it's not going to be about A and B, so I think it might not help with the bonkers problem.

The answer: if the narrator of the Trait's involvement in the outcome of the conflict (task, roll, card draw, whatever) doesn't incorporate it into how things turn out, they're diminishing, possibly breaking, the SIS. (I think the Big Model diagram shows how this might happen very well, but then again, I would, wouldn't I?) Doing this repeatedly creates at best an individual-only, multiple IS without being Shared, thin experience.

In some groups, the "has to" becomes overtly mandatory: over time, a person who continually fails to follow through with invoking the Trait will be policed by the others and possibly barred from using Traits. In others, such policing is considered rude or impossible for some reason, and the play experience suffers accordingly.

In practice, I've noticed that incorporating the After Trait doesn't take much effort at all. I'll hold off on that until we get a discussion about After going. Since I'm pretty sure you're still focused on Before issues, because that's what your A and B are about, I don't think that discussion has begun.

Seth, you were saying you weren't sure if you've ever played After Traits. I assure you that you have. It's only that once you think deeply about Before it's hard to snap the mind over to the completely-opposite option. I bet when we discuss After in detail, you'll be saying, "I can't imagine playing Before."

Best, Ron
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Callan S.
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« Reply #27 on: December 18, 2008, 03:39:43 AM »

But you can see that your 'after' is my 'before', if I have to stick to established fiction. If I'm stuck having to fit into your fiction, your 'after' contribution simply becomes my 'before'. Indeed, even if I fit into your fiction in my system use, you'll have to fit into mine following that, so now your in a 'before' trait system as well. At best there's only one invocation of 'after' traits, right at the begining, IF everyone has to work within the fiction established.

Mind you, my perspective is radically different enough that it might be useless
Quote
In some groups, the "has to" becomes overtly mandatory: over time, a person who continually fails to follow through with invoking the Trait will be policed by the others and possibly barred from using Traits. In others, such policing is considered rude or impossible for some reason, and the play experience suffers accordingly.
To me, unless the rules grant them the ability to police, those 'others' are cheating or bullying, like scowling and posing if I took their queen in chess. This is why I asked about the 'Dave' invoctation in the tentacle city playtest. And if play would suffer, then play suffers when played by the rules.

Although a hybrid would be interesting - certain rules/traits must be used within the fiction, while another type of trait is, by the rules, free of fictional restraint. So if your Bobba Fett trait is of the first type, you can only use it 'when it makes sense'. But if your Bobba Fett trait is actually of the second type, everyone just has to suck it up and fit their imagination around it. Anyone complaining that it doesn't fit is just a whiner or attempting to bullycheat. Same trait, very different mechanical power. Though I'll note, rather than needing to make sense, the human mind has limits on what it can absorb (that's why I've talked about number nine syndrome). With the second type of trait, I'd put a limited number of uses on it, make it cost something, whatever to thin it out a bit. This isn't to make it 'make sense' (for me, roleplay has made those two words SO bogus), this is to stop it driving people mad (like number nine, number nine, number nine...hehe).

Ok, hope it's not too much/over the top.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #28 on: December 18, 2008, 07:55:37 AM »

I have no idea what you're talking about in the first half of your post. Either your thoughts are racing ahead of your typing-fingers, or you're babbling. Or I'm stuck in some viewpoint-paradigm that renders me incapable of processing your insights. You know my standard response: ground your point in some instance of actual play so I can understand it.

 The second half, to me, brings up some interesting ideas about rules and participation, and as far as I can tell, you're agreeing with all of my points about trait rules, not disagreeing.

Best, Ron
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GreatWolf
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« Reply #29 on: December 18, 2008, 08:09:05 AM »

Seth, you were saying you weren't sure if you've ever played After Traits. I assure you that you have. It's only that once you think deeply about Before it's hard to snap the mind over to the completely-opposite option. I bet when we discuss After in detail, you'll be saying, "I can't imagine playing Before."

I'll be looking forward to that discussion

At this point, I think that it's time for this thread to wrap up. We've wandered a bit far afield from the original Legends of Alyria discussion.

So, unless folks have more to say on Legends of Alyria, let's close up this thread.

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Seth Ben-Ezra
Dark Omen Games
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