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Author Topic: [Poison'd] Ambitions and 2on1 fights  (Read 2358 times)
Christoph Boeckle
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« on: March 23, 2010, 01:30:22 PM »

Hello Vincent

We had a very uncouth session of Poison'd the other week, and I have some questions as this was our first time playing.

1.) So this guy Flint has as an ambition to live eternally. His player says to me: "I search for the fountain of youth." He's the captain of the ship, he rolls and succeeds. I'm like, is this a Prize? No not exactly. Uhm..., ok, the fountain of youth actually lies on a volcanic island, in the crater. I make up a profile for the place, because I don't just want to give it to him. I associate two cruel fortunes to it anyway, Accursed (he who drinks the waters of the fountain of youth will forever be tied to the waters of the oceans) and Disease (due to the volcanoes toxic fumes).
We roll again, Cpt. Flint just rapes the volcano and drinks the water after some spirit told him about the curse. So cool. He achieved an ambition. Done (and he has to stay all his life on ship, cool!)
Also, the Quarter Master (NPC) warns the captain that the sailors are ill and probably won't indulge in these personal quests again...
Is this how "easy" it is to fulfil an ambition?

2.) Two PCs fighting one, how is that done? A had pledged to B hat he'd help him rape C. Ties back to the question of fulfilling ambitions on the larger scale. Thinking back on the session, we might have profited from enduring duress a bit more, but then again, this one victim really didn't want to get buggered. He died shortly after.

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Regards,
Christoph
Michael Loy
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Posts: 22


« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2010, 04:07:20 PM »

Wouldn't 2 vs 1 be 'fighting on a side'?  That is, Pirate B gives a die of his Brinksmanship to Pirate A, and Pirate A holds that die and a second die from the bank.  Pirate A has the option of either rolling those two dice along with Pirate B, or withholding them (should he desire to do so).  Assuming the the former, Pirate B is up a die of Brinksmanship due to the help.

Pirate C just rolls against Pirate B, as normal.
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Michael Loy
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« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2010, 04:29:01 PM »

And as long as I'm here ... if you'd wanted to draw out the quest for immortality further, I think you have the tools you need.  In particular, there's nothing saying your captain can find the Fountain on his own - I'm not sure an Ambition roll, for instance, normally covers that.  Also, you don't have to give your captain anything so exact as the sourcewaters of the Fountain of Life when he cruises for a prize.

You could've, say, required that he go into port, spread around a lot of Leisure buying drinks for old salts, perhaps getting a name for someone who'd claimed to know the secret.  That could turn into some sailing around the Caribbean trying to track this guy down, more port scenes (which require more Leisure), and eventually buying an old-fashioned treasure map off of someone who may or may not be a charlatan (more Leisure).  Maybe you have to break your map-maker out of a prison (a fortress?) on the way, if you feel like some action.  And, of course, all that gold your captain's spreading around has to come from somewhere.

Then the disease-infested island with cursed waters of life, which can always be further enlivened by, say, a population of xenophobic natives ('a company of marines').  Or Madness.  Madness probably goes well with quests for immortality.

Also, don't forget that the Accursed fortune has interesting effects on the entire ship, not necessarily just the captain.  Might be that someone will eventually decide to put him overboard, rather than continue to deal with the consequences of his actions (indeed, he's given you a great opportunity to threaten with Malcontentment).

Then too, being bound to his ship presumably prevents him going into port and spreading around Leisure.  Depending on his other ambitions, he may find this inconvenient, at which point you can remind him of the captain's ability to bargain with God for the removal of Cruel Fortunes.

It all just depends on how much you want the guy to fight for it.
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Christoph Boeckle
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Geneva, Switzerland


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« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2010, 04:50:32 AM »

Hello yellowparis (hum, is there a real name I may call you by?)

Thanks for weighing in!

The 2 on 1 I completely agree with, I forgot this rule even existed.

Concerning the possible ways of handling Flint's ambition, what you're saying is that the player just states his ambition, and then the GM takes on everything from there (if I recall correctly, the player said on character creation that he had a map, so I tried to respect that, maybe I should just have said it was wrong). If the ambition is fucking another character, there are rules for conflict, enduring duress, etc. We just play. However, immortality is much more vague, and I was trying to use the rules as written to model the quest, rather than adding techniques from other games concerning investigation (which is how I understand your solution). Because I agree that I can
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Regards,
Christoph
lumpley
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« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2010, 11:31:23 AM »

Hey Christoph.

The fountain of youth is a great topic! I can't wait to dig into it. Help me clear something up first.

So this guy Flint has as an ambition to live eternally. His player says to me: "I search for the fountain of youth." He's the captain of the ship, he rolls and succeeds.

What dice did he roll? What dice did you roll?

-Vincent
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Michael Loy
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Posts: 22


« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2010, 12:31:32 PM »

Yes: Michael.  Even changed my sn ... I really haven't frequented the Forge much, so that was kind of a throwaway name.

Vincent doesn't really give much guidance on these things in the text (perhaps he'll jump in soon), but I figure it's at least a reasonable way to take an ambition like that.

- edit - Ah!  He just did jump in.

Though honestly, I'd probably keep it relatively simple, since this is a pirate adventure tale (maybe Talking to people in port -> Rescuing old ex-pirate from a fortress -> Buying or coercing a map from him -> To the island!).  You could probably achieve it in a couple of sessions (less if you already have the Leisure).

Still, I think Leisure is generally intended to be how the pirates achieve their more far-reaching ambitions - you can use it to literally buy access to things outside your normal reach.  For a parallel example, how would you deal with the 'to fuck (here name the daughter or son of a man beyond your station)'?  Port scenes, Leisure expenditure to gain access to high society, and etc.

I think you should generally have to work pretty hard for an ambition.  Maybe not really hard, with all of them, but none in the book really strike me as easy to achieve, exactly.

For instance, the most straight-forward ambitions, like you mention, are targeting other PCs ... they're right there, easy access.  However, PCs are also the most dangerous animals in the game, and crossing them is altogether bad news.  I think it's telling that you can't have an ambition like "Kill Tom Reed, the ship's cook".  You can want to kill anyone, but it's only ambitious if he's a PC or 'beyond your station'.

Still, this is all theoretical.  If everyone's satisfied with the results of this particular quest for immortality, you're good.  And hey, they've bought into this curse idea, which gives you plain permission to dick around with that a bit.  Pretend this is Apocalypse World, and make a hard move. (c;

Wonder what happens if the captain's taken prisoner, on shore, by the King's men?  Maybe the sea decides it wants him back?
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Christoph Boeckle
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« Reply #6 on: March 28, 2010, 03:13:03 PM »

Hi guys

Vincent: arghl, of course I should have included that information. I looked at page 10 and decided we were having something dangerous, but not fighting. So Titus (Flint's player) rolled Devil and I rolled Ambition. This was for reaching the volcanic island.

Found the notes about the volcano!

We started with the idea that it'd be a Prize worth 6. I threw this together:

Profile 6 (since this was supposed to be a conflict just for Flint, and not the Dagger or the Crew, so I went 4 for the base, a nasty pirate already, then added some descriptors as if it were a Fortress),
It's securely positioned.
It has a grim reputation.
It's imposing.
It's lightly gunned (natural dangers, but not a massive downpour of lava).

Accursing & Disease thrown into the mix. It was as if I had spent four points for an exceptional opponent, and two points for the cruel fortunes (which adds up to six, as per the captain's wish, except the result was not leisure, but the fountain of youth).

Then we described how the ship arrived, how the three PC pirates tried to climb the slope. I had them roll some dice. I can't remember what! Probably Soul vs Devil. Two failed, only Flint managed to get to the top. I thought it would have been arbitrary to demand another roll ("roll till you fail!")

(This leads to a follow-up question: what's the Profile a Fortress good for if it doesn't have Brinkmanship? Or how do I calculate its Brinkmanship? Or how do I fight a Fortress, actually?)
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Regards,
Christoph
Michael Loy
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Posts: 22


« Reply #7 on: March 31, 2010, 03:18:40 PM »

I know a fortress works like a ship ... use its commander's Brinkmanship.  Obviously not applicable here, so probably just determine Brinkmanship as if for a military commander?

Actually, maybe it'd be better to just use The Storm, and pretend it says The Arbitrary Natural Force (and use fortress rules instead of ship rules).  Then it would just automatically escalate, which'd make as much sense for a volcano as it would for a storm.

As a personal note: Fire-Spewing Volcano = Fortress?  I like that.  Filed away for future use.
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Christoph Boeckle
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Geneva, Switzerland


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« Reply #8 on: April 01, 2010, 12:15:56 AM »

Hi Michael

Sorry if it looks like I'm ignoring you. I actually have read and thought about your posts and appreciate your time spent helping me out. I'm not very talkative because I'd like to see what Vincent has to say before I go on with the discussion of the various points..

Cheers
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Regards,
Christoph
lumpley
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« Reply #9 on: April 01, 2010, 04:50:29 AM »

So there's nothing in character creation that allows a player to say that their character knows where the fountain of youth is. "I search for the fountain of youth" is a statement of a goal, which you don't roll for, not a statement of an action, which you might.

"I search for the fountain of youth."

"Cool! You don't have any leads. What do you do? Where do you go? Who do you talk to? What's your plan?"

At this point, as GM, you haven't even confirmed that the fountain of youth exists, let alone where it is or how hard it will be to get to. All that is up to you; the player can't will it into existence or make a roll to find it.

If you decide that it does exist, I recommend that you make bargains and spending leisure the real barriers. Maybe you decide that there's some former sailor who has the map tattooed onto his scalp, right? Finding out about that guy means making bargains and spending leisure; meeting him means making more bargains and spending more leisure; getting him to shave his head means more. (Or I suppose NOW there's a fight, if they'd rather just take it from him.)

"So you've found out by spending all your leisure getting sailors drunk that there's this guy who knows something, but by all accounts he's retired to the monk's life in Spain. What do you do?"

As for the fountain itself, I wouldn't even make it a prize. I'd just make it a bargain with God or a bargain with the devil. God: "if you find my precious fountain of youth, win your way to it, and drink from it, I promise you eternal youth." The devil: "hey wanna cheat death? I made this fountain. Find it, drink from it, we'll talk."

-Vincent
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Christoph Boeckle
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Geneva, Switzerland


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« Reply #10 on: April 02, 2010, 05:24:49 AM »

Hello

Oh, there's no establishing of character backstory before play begins, except for sins and abuse? So, at best, Flint could have asked for a flashback where he was getting some information out of a drunken pirate who thought he knew where it was, and then rolled Ambition vs. Brutality (act with cunning) to get something out of the pirate? And this information being fully up to the GM?
No Mr. Sly-guy saying he got raped before the fountain of youth, so he automatically knows where it is?

And I as the GM decide whatever I feel like about the world and NPCs, with no other considerations than what has to be to guarantee credibility and what I want there to be for my own sense of aesthetics?

Good note about the bargains, we hardly used them outside of the initial ones.
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Regards,
Christoph
lumpley
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« Reply #11 on: April 02, 2010, 07:15:36 AM »

Well, instead, I'd say that you as GM need to be a full participant in the characters' backstories. If the player says "I was on an expedition to find the fountain of youth, and we found it," and you say "cool," then it's cool.

And I as the GM decide whatever I feel like about the world and NPCs, with no other considerations than what has to be to guarantee credibility and what I want there to be for my own sense of aesthetics?

Right exactly on.

-Vincent
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lumpley
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« Reply #12 on: April 02, 2010, 12:32:06 PM »

Oh and a little bit more I wanted to say, actually. When a player says "I trick him into telling me [whatever]," that's again a statement of goal, not of action. It's too soon to roll. Your answer isn't "cool, roll for it," it's "cool, what do you do? What do you say to him?" It's only when the character actually does act with cunning that you go to the dice.

This means, coincidentally, that very rarely will a social conflict go to dice at all, or never. In Poison'd, bargaining, not rolling dice, is how you resolve social conflicts.

-Vincent
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Christoph Boeckle
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« Reply #13 on: April 02, 2010, 05:59:42 PM »

All right, that sums it up: I was thinking too much in terms of conflict resolution and soppy player rights on character background (and a bit too many details in addition to that). Your remark about social conflict being dealt with differently than physical conflict is a good one too, I needed that reminder branded into my brain.

So as a GM I get a lot to say about ambitions, except when they deal with other player characters, and this thread has given me lots of leads as to how to deal with them.

Perhaps a final question, not so much a technical one as an awareness expanding one: withholding dice due to an as yet unfulfilled bargain has nothing to do with character positioning, but everything to do with what the character's player wishes to be the form of the punishment at any given time, regardless if his character is present or not, right? Any use in justifying such a punishment on the character-level retroactively?
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Regards,
Christoph
lumpley
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« Reply #14 on: April 05, 2010, 06:40:07 AM »

Great!

Withholding Soul: Correct. I don't think there's any need to justify it in-character. It's just this moment of terrible bad luck, or maybe this moment of hesitation, that we all know you fully deserved.

-Vincent
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