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Author Topic: [Bliss Stage] Hot pilot-on-pilot action  (Read 2088 times)
Neil the Wimp
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« on: December 10, 2008, 02:13:50 AM »

Something that came up in our game last night: how do pilots oppose the mission actions of other pilots?

The situation was that Jessica, a pilot (played by Robin (a man)) grew up in a group that worshipped the alien dream probes (which had a clockwork motif).  She wanted to become a god.  She's managed to get her anchor possessed by an alien entity, but killed her anchor in the process.  She's now decided to hotshot an action to get the alien trained as an anchor.  That's a standard mission type, no problems there.  During the mission, Jessica comes across a giant mechanical whale thing and hotshots a goal to take control of it and hence apotheosise.

Domonic, another pilot (played by me) wants to stop Jessica.  First, he wants to sabotage the anchor training mission.  When he sees what Jessica is doing with the whale-thing, he wants to stop her.  Does anyone have any suggestions on how this should have been handled rules-wise?

We decided that for the 'sabotage' goals, the saboteur should roll for a mission action as normal.  Each + placed in Mission Success after the first counts as an additional point of temporary trauma applied to the pilot being sabotaged.  The sabotaged mission action is then rolled normally, taking account of the extra trauma.  Then the extra trauma goes away. 

We had a little bit of discussion about whether the saboteur should take Bliss for the additional +s rolled, but no clear conclusion was reached. 

For direct opposed actions, we simply said that both pilots could put as many +s into Mission Success as they wanted, and whoever had the most plusses got what they wanted. 

Rollover Bliss didn't come into this last action.  Domonic didn't have any extra +s to allocate and Jessica succeeded in her goal to destroy the pilot's base by reanimating the captured dream probe we were using as an anima creche.  In so doing, she ended up hitting 7 trauma, destroying the local alien control node, herself, and awakening all the Blissed adults in the local area.  So now we've got 200,000 newly-awakened adults to deal with, who will want to take control, there's no food, and the aliens will surely come down very hard on us now.

Fun!

Neil.
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Ben Lehman
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« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2008, 08:49:05 AM »

Hrm. This is really a GM judgment call, since you're going a bit above-and-beyond the rules as written. Here's why.

1) By the rules, anchors are humans. The relationship with the anchor forms the base of an ANIMa, and only relationships with living, non-blissed humans can form parts of an ANIMa. So my first instinct is to say "no." to Jessica, unless it's a Final Resolution bit, in which case she can do whatever she wants to, really. I don't mind that, in your game, aliens can form relationships also, but since that's going beyond the rules, blips are to be understood.

2) But let's say it's a valid mission action, and Jessica has a dead or compliant anchor. The absolutely most effective way to stop Jessica is to be in the real world, and physically remove her from the ANIMa creche (or whatever the "panic button" is that anchors can press.) I think that this is just an interlude scene, and I might have it just work, or I might have Jessica try a mission objective to stay asleep, depending on circumstances.

3) Likewise, in the real world, you can do interludes (fast interludes, presumably) with her primary relationships that destroy the trust in those relationships. Or, if you have enough trauma, you can kill her primary relationships. Or her anchor.

But as written there's no direct competition rules for pilots. You can indirectly compete: In this case that means Jessica takes an action, then Dominic takes an action which reverses or renders that action moot. You can go on like this, trading actions, until either side is so loaded up on Bliss or Trauma or Stress that they give in (or either side hits Final Resolution.)

If I write a direct pilot opposition rule for the next version of the game (which strikes me as a %50 shot), it would look like this: When pilots conflict, their anchors should pull the plugs on them. However, if it comes up, interfering with another pilot is a mission objective. If the mission objective (to interfere) is successful, you can allocate your own trauma to make their next action this mission more difficult. If the goal is to harm or kill the other pilot, rather than interfere, simply give them terror equal to your trauma score. In both cases, use the trauma score before your roll.

So very similar to what you did.

Regardless, it sounds like a pretty awesome game! How many more pilots are left?

yrs--
--Ben
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Neil the Wimp
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« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2008, 11:53:34 AM »

Thanks again for the speedy reply.

I get what you say about the requirements for anchors, but what we were doing fitted in with fiction we'd created.  Anyway, I'm sure we could find some other reason for the pilots to try to stab each other in their faces!

2) But let's say it's a valid mission action, and Jessica has a dead or compliant anchor. The absolutely most effective way to stop Jessica is to be in the real world, and physically remove her from the ANIMa creche (or whatever the "panic button" is that anchors can press.) I think that this is just an interlude scene, and I might have it just work, or I might have Jessica try a mission objective to stay asleep, depending on circumstances.

We did think about that, but didn't follow through.  Our original idea was for Dominic to try a real-world action to disrupt Jessica's mission, but the dice pools didn't look right.  The only four people physically present were Jessica, Dominic, and their respective anchors.  That means that I'd have been rolling 3 dice for Dominic while Jessica had about 14 for her ANIMa.  I didn't fancy those odds so Dominic entered the dream too. 

On reflection, we should have done the 'Can Dominic drag Jessica from the dream?' conflict as being between Dominic's three dice from his anchor's relationship vs Jessica's one die from her anchor.  Why didn't anyone think of that last night?

Thanks for the other suggestions about alternative ways of doing things and possible rules.  Good stuff to know. 

As for the possibility of writing rules, I  think it would be an idea to include something about inter-pilot conflicts as I think it'll come up in play.  Whether its new rules or advice to handle it as actions that undo other actions is something I'll leave up to you.  Either would be fun. 


Regardless, it sounds like a pretty awesome game! How many more pilots are left?

Three, two of whom are on 70-something Bliss and 3 Trauma, and one who's on 24 Bliss and 1 Trauma.  Our club schedule means we've got one more session to finish the game, which is a bit tight.  In addition, Real Life meant that people couldn't attend and we had to miss several of our scheduled sessions.  Details of the setup are here.

Saying that, everyone's been really enjoying the game and we've all expressed a desire to give it another go sometime. 

Neil.
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Ben Lehman
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« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2008, 06:22:54 PM »

So, since we're dealing in the realm of house rules, I'd like to talk as house-ruler to house-ruler about how to handle this situation. So nothing I'm going to say in this post in authoritative: just brainstorming about the situation.

Thanks again for the speedy reply.

2) But let's say it's a valid mission action, and Jessica has a dead or compliant anchor. The absolutely most effective way to stop Jessica is to be in the real world, and physically remove her from the ANIMa creche (or whatever the "panic button" is that anchors can press.) I think that this is just an interlude scene, and I might have it just work, or I might have Jessica try a mission objective to stay asleep, depending on circumstances.

We did think about that, but didn't follow through.  Our original idea was for Dominic to try a real-world action to disrupt Jessica's mission, but the dice pools didn't look right.  The only four people physically present were Jessica, Dominic, and their respective anchors.  That means that I'd have been rolling 3 dice for Dominic while Jessica had about 14 for her ANIMa.  I didn't fancy those odds so Dominic entered the dream too. 

On reflection, we should have done the 'Can Dominic drag Jessica from the dream?' conflict as being between Dominic's three dice from his anchor's relationship vs Jessica's one die from her anchor.  Why didn't anyone think of that last night?

Why make it a mission action? Was Dominic assigned a mission to "stop Jessica? It strikes me as an interlude action: Dominic smashes open the tank grabs Jessia's sleeping body, and slaps her awake. That's probably intimacy building (since it is physical violence), probably also a trust break, and it ends the mission. Is there a compelling reason not to just use the interlude rules for a real-world action?

Are you using the rules for "I roll a die pool vs. your die pool" for other things, as well? They're not in the original book.

My thought about directly opposed rolls in the game is to use a pool of d12s. Who-ever assigns the highest die to Mission succeeds, and the other dice are read 1-4 (-) 5-8 ( ) 9-12 (+). Optionally assigning extra +s seems strange in my gut.

Regardless, it sounds like a pretty awesome game! How many more pilots are left?

Quote
Three, two of whom are on 70-something Bliss and 3 Trauma, and one who's on 24 Bliss and 1 Trauma.  Our club schedule means we've got one more session to finish the game, which is a bit tight.  In addition, Real Life meant that people couldn't attend and we had to miss several of our scheduled sessions.  Details of the setup are here.

Good luck finishing quickly! With less pilots left alive, the game does "screw down" pretty quickly: less pilots means more missions per pilot means faster Bliss and Trauma gain. But still, with that I'd expect another 2 sessions at least.

yrs--
--Ben
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Neil the Wimp
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« Reply #4 on: December 11, 2008, 01:23:52 PM »

Why make it a mission action? Was Dominic assigned a mission to "stop Jessica? It strikes me as an interlude action: Dominic smashes open the tank grabs Jessia's sleeping body, and slaps her awake. That's probably intimacy building (since it is physical violence), probably also a trust break, and it ends the mission. Is there a compelling reason not to just use the interlude rules for a real-world action?

The glib answer is that we didn't really think of running it as an interlude.  But it's more interesting to think about why we didn't.  The 'communing with the aliens' was something Robin (the player) had been pushing Jessica (the pilot PC) towards from the very beginning of the game.  It was something we were all engaged with. 

When the situation came up, we had a discussion about how to handle it. We quickly agreed that Jessica would have to succeed in making Clank (as we called the alien entity now inhabiting the anchor's body) her anchor, as the game would be rather boring otherwise.  So that was never really at stake as Jessica was prepared to take all sort of other damage to succeed in the mission.  We also didn't just want Dominic to act against Jessica without giving her some opportunity to resist it.  So we decided to go to the dice. 

Dominic wasn't assigned any mission goals.  He just hotshotted them because he really didn't like Jessica one little bit: they'd just had a really rather brutal fight. 

On reflection, I think we were unsure about putting an interlude action into the middle of the 'anchor training' mission.  I don't think that would have felt 'right', somehow. 

How would we do it next time?  I'm not sure.  We did a mission as an interlude action the session before.  Dominic's anchor had a chip on her shoulder as the authority figure had told her she didn't have what it took to be a pilot and she disagreed.  So we did a 'pilot training' mission as an interlude scene (resolved as trust building).  When it came to deciding if the anchor actually had the aptitude to be a pilot, it felt a bit flat as it was a binary decision that was basically something the player decided on a whim.  Maybe a bit of mechanical support for reaching that decision would have helped.  That could have been something that influenced our decision on how to play out Clank's anchor training. 

(Oh, and real-world actions with high-trauma pilots with few friends present will be pretty brutal.)

Are you using the rules for "I roll a die pool vs. your die pool" for other things, as well? They're not in the original book.

No, it was a newly-minted mechanic we came up with when the situation arose.  We've not needed it for anything else.

Quote
My thought about directly opposed rolls in the game is to use a pool of d12s. Who-ever assigns the highest die to Mission succeeds, and the other dice are read 1-4 (-) 5-8 ( ) 9-12 (+). Optionally assigning extra +s seems strange in my gut.

Personally, I dislike introducing extra dice into the core mechanic.  We're already using fudge dice, and we're already allocating multiple dice to a category for different reasons.  Why introduce different types of dice and all those number comparisons?

As for the length of game remaining, we're subject to real-world timing issues. As shame, but there you are. 

Neil.
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