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Author Topic: FitM extremes  (Read 4240 times)
Cassidy
Member

Posts: 165


« on: October 31, 2002, 12:48:52 PM »

I'm a newbie to this forum and have been interested in Narrativist styles of play for quite some time ever since I stumbed on "the Window RPG" one dark night.

Low fantasy, lots of bloody skirmishes, bringands, cutthroats thats the sort games I like running.

I very much like the idea of FitM and would like to introduce it into the games I run.

I want to keep things very simple would like to use a FitM like system that is able to resolve the outcome of entire scenes with minimal use of fortune.

i.e.
Describe scene and attitude and likely actions of NPCs.
General statement of intent from the players.
Fortune takes a hand via some sort of simple resolution mechanic.
I (and players) narrate the outcome which best fits.

One thing that has me scratching my head though is using that very simple method of scene resolution to combat scenes where success or failure can be a matter of life or death.

i.e Assailed by 5 brigands (resonable fighters) fortune brings success to our Wily protagonist Tyrus (a formidable swordsman). Using whatever mechanic essentailly Tyrus beats them all. Four are easily dispatched, the third quickly finds himself at Tyrus's mercy and he willingly spill the beans on who had sent them to kill him.

FitM is easy enough here. The consequences of success in a melee are easy for virtually any player to grasp.

But what if Tyrus had failed? What if he had only done enough to best 2 of his assailants?

What is the best way of dealing with situations where a character has been bested in combat.

Sure, I could say that Tyrus is captured. Or I could say that Tyrus dispatched 2 of the assailants causing the others to flee fearing that they would be next.

Can you do that all the time though when characters are bested in combat and still maintain the belief among the players that combat is a matter of life and death?

Death is very final and direst outcome of combat and I feel needs to be a possible outcome if I want to maintain the drama and tension of a life and death battle scenes.

What is the best way to handle this in a simple FitM system?
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Bankuei
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« Reply #1 on: October 31, 2002, 01:10:56 PM »

Let's first ask a very important question;  Who's in charge of characters dying?  The GM, the players, or an arbitrary set of numbers/rules?  All three have been used before, successfully for different purposes.

You may want to take a look at the Torchbearer/Death thread, over in Design which puts when and how characters' die completely in the players hands.  Likewise with Jared Sorensen's octaNe and Inspectres.  If you're playing Narrativist games, the threat of death isn't a motivating factor in gameplay, Premise is.

Quote
Death is very final and direst outcome of combat and I feel needs to be a possible outcome if I want to maintain the drama and tension of a life and death battle scenes.


Realism is not a requirement of Narrativism, although its not necessarily excluded from it either.  If you're concerned about when or why to include death, perhaps you should look at some options:

•Metagame mechanics-Hero points, luck points, whatever.  Serves as limited plot immunity from death.
•Players are informed of the potential of death("This guy is serious!")
•Best 2 out of 3 or 3 out of 5 rolls, allows players to switch tactics if it looks like they're about to bite it.

In all honesty, though, death mechanics do nothing to enforce Narrativist play in any fashion, you might want to try out some of the games listed above and see the difference.  I suspect that your concern with realism in combat might just be a holdout from previous gameplay experience.

A second, larger issue you may want to think of, is with conflict resolution, it more or less boils down to, things get better, or things get worse.  In your example, the character may have defeated all 3 foes, only to have more spring up as reinforcements.  Sure, you beat 3, but you still haven't won the fight...

Chris
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Shreyas Sampat
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« Reply #2 on: October 31, 2002, 02:01:54 PM »

Quote from: Cassidy
I want to keep things very simple would like to use a FitM like system that is able to resolve the outcome of entire scenes with minimal use of fortune.
...
FitM is easy enough here. The consequences of success in a melee are easy for virtually any player to grasp.


Well, I'm not so sure about this.  I mean, you could simply define failure as "the success of the other party to the exclusion of my own".  First, is this resolution system of yours task-resolution on a scenic scale, or conflict-resolution on a scenic scale?

If the first, then you have a situation where each party involved has a task, like "Defend myself", "Watch my buddy Feng's back", ""Smack Tyrus down with no regard to my own defense", "Help Feng and Sven beat down Tyrus", etc.  In this case, each person involved can resolve his own task to see whether he succeeded or failed.  This can create situations where the characters reach an impasse or where some disastrous thing occurs - either no one gets significantly hurt or everyone does, in the melee.  This might be something you want.

If the second, then you have one roll governing a conflict of some amount of mutually exclusive outcomes, which can be your stated goals: "Defend myself from the brigands, but not so handily as to lose the opportunity to question them", vs. "Rob this rich-looking dude Tyrus".  Then, the conflict resolution decides which of the stated goals comes to pass.  This doesn't have the added layer of complexity of the (in this case, finer-grained) task resolution setup; this can be a feature or a bug.

Then you raise an entirely different question about character death, and the sacred cow Danger lurks around every corner.  I solved this in Torchbearer by making character death entirely a matter of player fiat; danger of that sort simply isn't an issue.  I won't hijack the discussion by going on further about that.  Maybe, though, this is what you want: Does any participant in a combat have the authority to attempt to cause, or even simply decree, the death of another?
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10459


« Reply #3 on: October 31, 2002, 02:15:39 PM »

If you only have one combat, ever, in your game, would it matter that in the one that the character failed and was captured?

The idea of death as a negative consequence of combat is a result of RPGs having a combat system bias, and being combat oriented.

Now, I realize that you want to play a genre where derring do would seem to be a regular subject of play, and combat seems likely. But consider the source material. How often does Conan actually get into fights? Really. About once a story, on average, I'd say. Some stories he doesn't fight anything. No, really, check it out.

Because fighting is only one sort of conflict. And it gets dull quickly if it's overused. Why? Because either the charcters have to win every battle, or get captured, or the like. There are only so many believable outcomes to battle, and you can use them up quickly.

So, first thing, have less combat. There are several ways to go about this (enough to fill a whole thread).

Next, make sure that the PCs mostly win. That is, if they are heroes getting into combat a lot, then play should mostly be about them winning. Just stack the odds so that they do.

Then, on the few times the character does fail, they will be far enough between and few enough that getting captured or whatever negative result will not seem cliche. The "failure means conflict" principle then comes into play. Failure in any FitM resolution gives you the opportunity to create further problems for the character. Failure should never mean inability to continue. So, failure in combat does not mean death. Failure in research does not mean that nothing is found, but instead the information found is fallacious or something. Failure in romance does not mean that the character makes a fool of himself, but that the girl in question turns out to be more unobtainable than thought.

In all these cases, the player still has options. They may be bad options, but they are options. The drama con continue to unfold rather than just being stuck and unable to continue.

Other negative results of combat that don't kill a character:

They are left unconcious, and the magic whatsis is stolen.
They awake with a shaved head, and a strange scar where the baddies implanted a neural control device.
They awake to find themselves in bed with a drunk hooker, and evidence of photography having occured in the room.
The bad guys cut off an arm (for their ritual), and let the character go.
The bad guys outmaneuver the good guys and take a DNPC as hostage and leave (who says that a negative combat outcome even has to leave anyone wounded?).
The bad guys give the character the smakckdown, and then a talk about how their god is the best and how the character should convert.

Just leave the character worse off than before. Playing Synthesis the other night, I rolled this outstanding success against one of the players. They were all waiting for me to just kill him off. Instead, I didn't even wound him, but instead ruled that he went catatonic with fear. First episode will be all about getting poor Father Ramos' head back in shape.

Think of it this way. There is no combat, only Conflict. Conflicts can have any result.

Mike
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Paganini
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« Reply #4 on: October 31, 2002, 02:40:54 PM »

Hey Cassidy! Welcome to the Forge! One thing you should be aware of, in case you aren't. There's some very specific terminology used here, mostly taken from Ron's GNS essay. It's good stuff. If you haven't read it, check it out in the articles area. Somewhat unfortunately, IMO, many of the terms are specialized, and do not mean what they might initially appear to mean.

In othe words, if you start talking about Narrativism without having read the essay, people might think you mean something other than you actually do. This happened to me a couple of times when I first started coming here. So, fair warning. :)

Anyway, to deal with your question.

FitM isn't about making binary decisions that you might find on a flowchart. That is, FitM doesn't neccessarily decide whether or not your PCs live. You decide, or the players decide, depending on how you have your social contract set up. If it's important that the characters live, or that the door be unlocked, or that the earthquake be averted, then that's what happens.

One way to think of it is that the fortune mechanics determine whether or not something is generally cool or generally uncool for the players. Whatever happens, the game continues. A failed roll when a character tries to unlock a door can be:

"You can't get the door open, but seeing you struggle, the master theif finally has pity and does it for you."

"You can't get the door open, but there's an open window nearby."

"You can't get the door open, but suddenly it springs ope on it's own. Uh oh! It's Mr. Janocek himself!"

"You get the door open, but there are twelve ninjas waiting on the other side."

etc.

Quote from: Mike

Just leave the character worse off than before. Playing Synthesis the other night, I rolled this outstanding success against one of the players. They were all waiting for me to just kill him off. Instead, I didn't even wound him, but instead ruled that he went catatonic with fear. First episode will be all about getting poor Father Ramos' head back in shape.


Hehe, yeah. And that actually works out pretty well, since I doubt that I'll be able to make the game this monday. Will be in Carbondale. I might dig up computer access someplace, but don't count on it. :)
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Andrew Martin
Member

Posts: 785


« Reply #5 on: October 31, 2002, 02:49:08 PM »

Welcome to The Forge, Cassidy!
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Andrew Martin
Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10459


« Reply #6 on: October 31, 2002, 03:09:05 PM »

Hey, Nathan. I'm going to disagree with some of your examples to make a point, here. Sorry.
Quote from: Paganini
One way to think of it is that the fortune mechanics determine whether or not something is generally cool or generally uncool for the players. Whatever happens, the game continues. A failed roll when a character tries to unlock a door can be:

"You can't get the door open, but seeing you struggle, the master theif finally has pity and does it for you."

OK, no result should be bad for the Player, ever, if you can prevent it. No, really. Things that are bad for the character can be good from the player's POV. This is a crucial distinction that needs to be made. I would not use the example above, because it takes the protagonism out of the PCs hands and puts it firmly into the Master Thief's. If MT is a PC, then maybe. But not often will I allow protagonism to be transferedaway from a PC. Not neccessary.

Quote
"You can't get the door open, but there's an open window nearby."
Better, but still not good. This just makes the roll meaningless. Oh, there was an open window all along if you'd just looked for it.

Quote
"You can't get the door open, but suddenly it springs ope on it's own. Uh oh! It's Mr. Janocek himself!"
The misdirection thing. This works, but only in a very metagame sense. I try to stay away from it. What this says is that the character always succeeds, but sometimes unrelated bad things happen. This loses all simulative nature, and is only appropriate, IMO, in certain "pervy" games.

Quote
"You get the door open, but there are twelve ninjas waiting on the other side."
Misdirection again.

How about, "You get through the window, but give yourself a nasty gash as you force the lock." This keeps the story focused on the PC in question. He still looks good, as he's accomplished what he set out to do. But he's gotten some sort of setback related directly to the attempt. No metagame here. And the result is cool. Now the character has to deal with breaking in and having to keep his blood from getting everywhere. Hence new Conflict and challenges.

Also, sometimes the character should just fail. "You fail to open the window" could just mean that the player has to consider breaking it, or looking for another way to get in. As long as he still has options (even if they were worse options than before; that's the price of failure).

But here's the best. "You fail to open the window, and set off the alarm." Now the character has a whole new set of problems.  :-)

Mike
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Cassidy
Member

Posts: 165


« Reply #7 on: October 31, 2002, 03:20:43 PM »

Thanks for both your replies, much appreciated.

Quote from: Bankuei
Let's first ask a very important question;  Who's in charge of characters dying?  The GM, the players, or an arbitrary set of numbers/rules?  All three have been used before, successfully for different purposes.


Good question.

I'm inclined to think that having an "arbitrary" set of rules/numbers governing if or when a character dies during the course of the game isn't really the way to go in handling life/death situations.

A player may during the course of the game have their character act totally selflessly, maybe even voluntarily sacraficing their life for some greater good or because "it seemed the right thing to do".

However, if a characters own actions place them in a position such that death is a very likely consequence then thats a consequence they may have to face.

Taking the example of Tyrus and the 5 assailants. In the fortune part Tyrus rolled better than 2 of of his assailants, but worse than the other 3.

Even though the outcome of the scene is not going to go Tyrus's way the way he narrates his subsequent actions can still influence me as the GM.

If the player decides to narrate Tyrus swiftly killing the 2 he beat then more than likely the other 3 will take brutal retribution on Tyrus. As a GM I'll put myself in the shoes of the assailants and they'll likely be thinking an "eye for an eye".

The player, if he thinks about Tyrus's actions, will think that also. If he did kill the 2 he beat then the only real prospect for Tyrus would be death at the hands of the other 3.

Alternatively the player could play smart, possibly narrating that after a brief exchange and disarming/disabling 2 of his assailants one of the others lands a telling blow which sends Tyrus reeling. This puts the ball back in the my (the GM's) court and essentially I then have to take up the reins of the narrative in how I think the action will now go.

I think it would be fairly easy then to think up a narrative wherin the other 3 beat Tyrus senseless and take him off to wherever.

I'm fairly new to this FitM thing but I think that in essence the players actions should dictate when/if they put themselves in a situation where death is a likely outcome, or even the only outcome.

I'm beginning to think that in the case of combat the trick for the players to learn is that they can always leave themselves an "out" even when fortune suggests that the scene will not go their way.

Quote from: Bankuei
You may want to take a look at the Torchbearer/Death thread, over in Design which puts when and how characters' die completely in the players hands.  Likewise with Jared Sorensen's octaNe and Inspectres.  If you're playing Narrativist games, the threat of death isn't a motivating factor in gameplay, Premise is.


Death is not a motivating factor I agree, it has little to do with narrative.

Death, or the prospect of death, is however a powerful tool, which I think is essential if you want to heighten the drama of combat.

Quote from: Bankuei
Realism is not a requirement of Narrativism, although its not necessarily excluded from it either.  If you're concerned about when or why to include death, perhaps you should look at some options:

•Metagame mechanics-Hero points, luck points, whatever.  Serves as limited plot immunity from death.
•Players are informed of the potential of death("This guy is serious!")
•Best 2 out of 3 or 3 out of 5 rolls, allows players to switch tactics if it looks like they're about to bite it.


This is putting life/death in the hands of extra mechanics to "fudge" the outcome of scenes.

Even though "fortune" may not favour the character the way they narrate that failure still gives them control of the outcome.

Quote from: Bankuei
In all honesty, though, death mechanics do nothing to enforce Narrativist play in any fashion, you might want to try out some of the games listed above and see the difference.  I suspect that your concern with realism in combat might just be a holdout from previous gameplay experience.


You are probably right, I'm still traumatised from a 3eD&D game one of our group ran a few months back.

Quote from: Bankuei
A second, larger issue you may want to think of, is with conflict resolution, it more or less boils down to, things get better, or things get worse.  In your example, the character may have defeated all 3 foes, only to have more spring up as reinforcements.  Sure, you beat 3, but you still haven't won the fight...


The fortune roll in Tyrus's example was to determine the outcome of the entire scene.

Fortune didn't favour Tyrus unfortunately. The outcome was that the battle would not go his way. There really shouldn't be any need for mid-scene resolution or subsequent fortune rolls. Additional rolls start to move things away from simple scene resolution which is really what I am looking to acheive.

Thanks for the response though. It really got me thinking.
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Bankuei
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« Reply #8 on: October 31, 2002, 03:57:04 PM »

I highly recommend you check out some games that will rock your socks off... Check out the Pool, Inspectres, octaNe, Donjon, and Trollbabe.  All of these games really do cover the types of play you might be looking for.  The theory side of it is all in Ron's GNS etc. essay, and several threads on Stance.

Quote
f the player decides to narrate Tyrus swiftly killing the 2 he beat then more than likely the other 3 will take brutal retribution on Tyrus. As a GM I'll put myself in the shoes of the assailants and they'll likely be thinking an "eye for an eye".


Again, this is thinking from the point of view of a sense of realism.  It is known as Actor stance.  For the sake of brevity I'm going to rip it straight outta Ron's essay:

Quote
In Actor stance, a person determines a character’s decisions and actions using only knowledge and perceptions that the character would have.
*   

In Author stance, a person determines a character’s decisions and actions based on the real person’s priorities, then retroactively “motivates” the character to perform them. (Without that second, retroactive step, this is fairly called Pawn stance.)
*   

In Director stance, a person determines aspects of the environment relative to the character in some fashion, entirely separately from the character’s knowledge or ability to influence events. Therefore the player has not only determined the character’s actions, but the context, timing, and spatial circumstances of those actions, or even features of the world separate from the characters.


So in Actor stance, it holds water to do so.  In Director stance, you might have the 3 remaining guys determine to do something else, such as:

•Let's sell him as a slave!
•He just killed the two toughest guys, let's run and get reinforcements!
•The PC just realizes one of the folks he beat up/killed was a cousin or perhaps a son of somebody important

I'd say the biggest trauma from D&D is that most people never realize you can have a fun, exciting combat even if you know you will survive it, you can have mysteries even using out of character information, you can still have a conflict even if the players get full narration.  Please check out the games, they will be very helpful to you in finding out some of your design options.

Chris
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Paganini
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« Reply #9 on: October 31, 2002, 03:58:52 PM »

Quote from: Mike Holmes

Quote from: Paganini

"You can't get the door open, but seeing you struggle, the master theif finally has pity and does it for you."

OK, no result should be bad for the Player, ever, if you can prevent it. No, really.


Good calls Mike.

Quote
"You can't get the door open, but suddenly it springs ope on it's own. Uh oh! It's Mr. Janocek himself!"
The misdirection thing. This works, but only in a very metagame sense. I try to stay away from it. What this says is that the character always succeeds, but sometimes unrelated bad things happen. This loses all simulative nature, and is only appropriate, IMO, in certain "pervy" games.[/quote]

I like pervy games. :) And such a situation might be appropriate if it's absolutely imperative that the PCs get through the door, but still fail the roll.

Quote

But here's the best. "You fail to open the window, and set off the alarm." Now the character has a whole new set of problems.  :-)


Hehe, yeah, the most fun. I was trying to give Cassidy examples of FitM that might not be so obvious. In the "character death" question, that way mainly boils down to "not only do you fail to defeat the tribesmen, they truss you up and stuff you into the cooking pot!" Pretty obvious. :)
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Paganini
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« Reply #10 on: October 31, 2002, 04:07:59 PM »

You know, it ocurrs to me that probably the best example of FitM is what we had in the Shadows indie-netgam the other night. It didn't even hit me until now, but that's exactly what Shadows has. Two outcomes are proposed (a postitive one and a negative one) and the dice are rolled to select one. Then the selected outcome is narrated fully. The dice may be modified after rolling them by token expenditure. Does this not meet completely the definition of FitM?

Cassidy, I should have told you about Shadows a long time ago. If you like the Window, you're going to go nuts of Shadows. I did. ;)

Check it out:

http://www.harlekin-maus.com
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Cassidy
Member

Posts: 165


« Reply #11 on: November 01, 2002, 02:25:08 AM »

Quote from: four willows weeping
Well, I'm not so sure about this.  I mean, you could simply define failure as "the success of the other party to the exclusion of my own".  First, is this resolution system of yours task-resolution on a scenic scale, or conflict-resolution on a scenic scale?


It's conflict resolution on a scenic scale. I don't want the hassle of breaking each scene down into individual tasks.

Quote from: four willows weeping
If the second, then you have one roll governing a conflict of some amount of mutually exclusive outcomes, which can be your stated goals: "Defend myself from the brigands, but not so handily as to lose the opportunity to question them", vs. "Rob this rich-looking dude Tyrus".  Then, the conflict resolution decides which of the stated goals comes to pass.  This doesn't have the added layer of complexity of the (in this case, finer-grained) task resolution setup; this can be a feature or a bug.


I think the guys in my group that are more used to familiar task resolution systems may see scene resolution as being too cut and dried.

Quote from: four willows weeping
Then you raise an entirely different question about character death, and the sacred cow Danger lurks around every corner.  I solved this in Torchbearer by making character death entirely a matter of player fiat; danger of that sort simply isn't an issue.  I won't hijack the discussion by going on further about that.  Maybe, though, this is what you want: Does any participant in a combat have the authority to attempt to cause, or even simply decree, the death of another?


"Does any participant in a combat have the authority to attempt to cause, or even simply decree, the death of another?"

Sure, why not?

I don't any problem so long as the players are made aware that any actions that lead to the death of another character may have very far reaching and even fatal consequences.

Say in a Middle-Earth based game some character decides to go murder a low ranking nobleman for some minor-slight. The "evil" nature of the action subsequently makes the character more suseptible to the will of the Dark Lord and the taint of evil is something that they will not be able to hide from those who are aligned against the Dark Lord. The character succeeds but the consequences although not immediate are likely to be with the character forever.

Or lets say the player decides to have their character ruthlessly butcher the Nobleman in the midst of a tavern brawl.  He can expect to be hunted mercilessly to atone for his crime and any goodwill that the group as a whole may have had in the town evaporates. Word of the killing spreads and the character becomes a hunted individual.

I would hope though that when presented with the opportunity to kill another character the players would at least consider the possible consequences of doing so.

It's not unreasonable to expect players to do that is it?
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Cassidy
Member

Posts: 165


« Reply #12 on: November 01, 2002, 02:34:23 AM »

Nice to see you here Pag, thanks for your feedback :)

Going to go check out the games you guys have suggested and crawl the other forums.

Given the wealth of information I expect I'll be back in a year or two :)
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Cassidy
Member

Posts: 165


« Reply #13 on: November 01, 2002, 08:32:40 AM »

Quote from: Paganini
You know, it ocurrs to me that probably the best example of FitM is what we had in the Shadows indie-netgam the other night. It didn't even hit me until now, but that's exactly what Shadows has. Two outcomes are proposed (a postitive one and a negative one) and the dice are rolled to select one. Then the selected outcome is narrated fully.Does this not meet completely the definition of FitM?


I looked up Shadows, and you're right it's a very interesting game with a different slant on things.

About Shadows...

In Shadows task/scene resolution isn't really about success or failure at all. It just about deciding outcomes, whether it be the outcome desired by the character or the outcome desired by their shadow.

In either case both outcomes are determined by the player prior to attempting a task. Fortune just dictates which one occurs.

There doesn't seem to be any real need for the "exchange token to reroll" mechanic at all since whatever the outcome of the initial roll it the outcome is going to be once which is designed to drive the game on or make it more fun. Either of the outcomes should really be just as nteresting to the advancement of the game and fortune is simply directing which outcome takes precedence. Which one does take precedence really shouldn't matter should it?

About Scenes...

Maybe viewing scene resolution in terms of success or failure isn't really the way I should be looking at things.

It's really all just about deciding outcomes, isn't it?

Fortune is just needed to provide a "cue" to the GM and players on which way a certain scene is likely to play out. If fortune doesn't favour the character then it just means that the scene plays out in a different way to what the player would have liked.

The "Pick a lock" example is for me just one small event which is part of the larger scene that is being played out.

No roll/test would be made to specifically pick the lock since the outcome of the event would already be known.

As a general statement of intent saying something like...

"I'm going to try and break in Mr Hyde's laboratory after dark to see if I can find out anything more about these experiments he has been conducting."

...is really all thats needed to set up the scene.

Fortune just determines whether or not the player is able to achieve their stated goals.

If the player attempts to pick the lock during the course of the scene then they might pick it or they might not, it really depends on what I think is appropriate at the time and what fits best with the scene.

The important thing though is the player knows that if fortune doesn't favour them then they won't be able to achieve their stated goals as desired. They may fail totally, they may fail just a little, just depends on what makes for the more exciting scene.

About Fortune...

I like reading a good book and not knowing what's going to happen next until I turn the page.

When I'm running a game I would scenes to be like that also. Describe the scene, get some general idea of the players intent, then let fortune be the guide in determining the most probable outcome. Although I may have a general idea of possible outcomes I really don't know which one will occur until the scene begins to unfold.

I really like NOT knowing what's going to happen at the start of a scene.

Question:

Often with FitM players are allowed to modify the outcome of an scene or task after the initial roll typically by spending karma, luck, etc and rerolling dice. Shadows does this by using tokens. Essentially they are attempting to influence the outcome of an scene as it is in the process of being resolved. They rolled once, didn't quite get what they needed to achieve their desired result, so they spend karma, luck, etc to effect a reroll.

Is this a defining trait of FitM? Or is it just a quirk of some systems. If this is a defining trait of FitM then the question is why?

To me it would certainly make more sense for players to spend karma, luck, etc before they roll any dice of start to resolve anything. Essentially they state that they are attempting to influence the probable outcome of an scene before the resolution process begins.

Maybe it's a little picky but rolling once, spending karma if you don't do so good then rerolling seems like a bit of a fudge.
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10459


« Reply #14 on: November 01, 2002, 09:50:53 AM »

Quote from: Cassidy
In Shadows task/scene resolution isn't really about success or failure at all. It just about deciding outcomes, whether it be the outcome desired by the character or the outcome desired by their shadow.
Scen resoluton is overrated. In fact, it rarely exists in games. For example, Story Engine claims to have scene resolution, but then says you can break down scenes into sub-scenes. Until what you really have in simply Conflict resolution. What is important in any of these is simply understanding who can call for a resolution, and when they are allowed to do so. Once written that will clear up these conditionals, and the terms become meaningless as distictions.

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There doesn't seem to be any real need for the "exchange token to reroll" mechanic at all since whatever the outcome of the initial roll it the outcome is going to be once which is designed to drive the game on or make it more fun. Either of the outcomes should really be just as nteresting to the advancement of the game and fortune is simply directing which outcome takes precedence. Which one does take precedence really shouldn't matter should it?
Well, the question is pacing. How often in a story should the Shadow succeed? The tokens slant things to the players advantage in that he then has some say over which happen. Let's say the player makes a poor Shadow narration. By spending a token to re-roll, he can get to his good Light narration. Conversely, when it's a really good Shadow description, he can just leave it alone. (Hmmm. can a player re-roll a Light response to try to get a Shadow response to come up?)

Anyhow, it empowers players to affect pacing in any way they see fit.

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Fortune is just needed to provide a "cue" to the GM and players on which way a certain scene is likely to play out. If fortune doesn't favour the character then it just means that the scene plays out in a different way to what the player would have liked.
That's how I think of it.

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The "Pick a lock" example is for me just one small event which is part of the larger scene that is being played out.

No roll/test would be made to specifically pick the lock since the outcome of the event would already be known.
Again, I like to roll for things that small. Or rather, the intent of picking a lock is to get through the door. The picking is just the skill being used.

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As a general statement of intent saying something like...

"I'm going to try and break in Mr Hyde's laboratory after dark to see if I can find out anything more about these experiments he has been conducting."

...is really all thats needed to set up the scene.
Again, I'd say conflict. The "scene" could have several.

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Fortune just determines whether or not the player is able to achieve their stated goals.
Not really any different than any other way of doing things. What has changed is merely the scope.

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I like reading a good book and not knowing what's going to happen next until I turn the page.

When I'm running a game I would scenes to be like that also. Describe the scene, get some general idea of the players intent, then let fortune be the guide in determining the most probable outcome. Although I may have a general idea of possible outcomes I really don't know which one will occur until the scene begins to unfold.

I really like NOT knowing what's going to happen at the start of a scene.
Great, then leave the power to narrate with the GM. Per standard. One does not have to have players narrate, or to have the outcomes predecided. In fact, Shadows is, in some ways, non-FitM. Only the expanded narration after the fact makes it FitM at all.

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Often with FitM players are allowed to modify the outcome of an scene or task after the initial roll typically by spending karma, luck, etc and rerolling dice.

...

Is this a defining trait of FitM? Or is it just a quirk of some systems. If this is a defining trait of FitM then the question is why?
No, it's not a defining trait per se, but it is what Ron and others call "FitM with Teeth". That's because the players are changing things not only narratively, but mechanically.

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To me it would certainly make more sense for players to spend karma, luck, etc before they roll any dice of start to resolve anything. Essentially they state that they are attempting to influence the probable outcome of an scene before the resolution process begins.

Maybe it's a little picky but rolling once, spending karma if you don't do so good then rerolling seems like a bit of a fudge.
Use to taste. One way is not inherently superior to another.

Mike
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