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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 75 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: FitM extremes  (Read 4287 times)
Paganini
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« Reply #15 on: November 01, 2002, 10:38:46 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.


There isn't really any task/scene resolution per se in Shadows. Shadows is about player effectiveness. A player can take narrative control at any time by calling for a shadow roll. When the GM calls for a Shadow roll, he's giving narrative control to the player. There's neve any question that the player will narrate. The only question is about whether his narration will favor his character, or not. If the good die wins, the narration is favorable. If the shadow die wins, it isn't.

The important point is that the rules say nothing about the content of the player's narrative, beyond requiring that the GM approve it. The roll does not determine whether or not the character picks the lock. It determines whether or not the player's narration favors the character. If the player wants, the lock can be picked regardless of which die wins. The sequence might look something like this:

GM: The large oak door is locked.

Player: Shadow roll! Good die: I open the lock with my trusty lockpicks and sneak inside undetected. Shadow die: I open the lock with my trusty lockpicks, but in doing so I inadvertently set off a pit trap that drops me into a chute leading to the Moat Monster's lair!

Some examples from our game a few weeks ago can be found in this Actual Play thread:

http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3939

BTW, Mike, I have to sound the Big Bad Buzzer at you. Players can never spend tokens to get rerolls in Shadows. A player can only spend a token to make ANOTHER player reroll. This is a very important feature of the system.

The exchange token to reroll mechanic is *very* important. In fact, I'd say it's the core of the system. Basically what it means is that, if all the players are in agreement, the die they want to win will win. Everyone can spend tokens until it does. But if some players want the shadow die to win, and other players want the good die to win, there's a bidding war. This is why it's very important to summarize both results before rolling.

The shadow rolls by themsevles are about *individual* narrative power. With the token mechanic added in, it ensures that the game will proceed in the direction desired by the *group.*

Mike, about the definition of FitM including retroactively modifying the outcome: there was some discussion about this in a fairly recent thread, but I can't think of the title. If you check back in the archives, the idea of retroactively modifying the result is always there in the background.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #16 on: November 01, 2002, 02:58:32 PM »

Hi there,

I apologize for not posting to this thread yet. The Forge seems to have experienced one of those bizarro-moments when a variety of threads and issues apparently explode at once. It's also a brutal time in terms of non-Forge activities.

Cassidy, I think this thread, Task vs. conflict and scene vs. action?, will yield some good points. You can also check out the very first time I introduced the concept in my Hero Wars review.

So far as this thread goes, I'd like to call attention to Mike's post above, which I think nails some key points. I also want to emphasize that Fortune-in-the-middle does not necessarily include modifying the quantitative results following the roll, just as Mike says. For comparison, in Hero Wars, you can do so by spending Hero Points, but in Sorcerer, you cannot.

Best,
Ron
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Cassidy
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« Reply #17 on: November 01, 2002, 03:03:06 PM »

Quote from: Paganini

The exchange token to reroll mechanic is *very* important. In fact, I'd say it's the core of the system. Basically what it means is that, if all the players are in agreement, the die they want to win will win. Everyone can spend tokens until it does. But if some players want the shadow die to win, and other players want the good die to win, there's a bidding war. This is why it's very important to summarize both results before rolling.

The shadow rolls by themsevles are about *individual* narrative power. With the token mechanic added in, it ensures that the game will proceed in the direction desired by the *group.*


Exchange of tokens doesn't guarantee that the die the players want to win will actually win, although it does make it more likely and on occasion virtually assured.

Question for anyone: Given your "ideal" game, and assuming it uses the FitM idea in some fashion, would you...

(a) On occasion allow the players to guarantee the desired outcome to a given test, event or task?

(b) On occasion allow the players to influence (but not guarantee) the chances of the desired outcome occuring?

(c) None of the above.

Personally, I'd be inclined to go for (b).

(a) would seem to negate the whole "fortune" aspect of FitM. Fortune? What Fortune?

(c) might make FitM appear to be a too rigid for some players tastes.

The reason I ask is that Pag's comment got me thinking.

It would seem to suggest that in Shadows the outcome of certain events can be influenced or even virtually guaranteed by what the group actually wants to happen.

Is this DitM? (Democracy in the Middle) :)
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Cassidy
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« Reply #18 on: November 02, 2002, 08:20:18 AM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards
Hi there,
Cassidy, I think this thread, Task vs. conflict and scene vs. action?, will yield some good points. You can also check out the very first time I introduced the concept in my Hero Wars review.


Thanks for the pointing me to the Task vs. conflict and scene vs. action? thread. Very enlightening and insightful comments from all concerned.

It made me think of "resolution scope" as something like the skin of an onion. In the center you have task resolution, in the middle you have conflict resolution and on the outside you have scene resolution.

I guess, like most GM's, I tend to mix and match between all three during play, although I would say I tend to resort to conflict resolution more often than not.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #19 on: November 02, 2002, 08:58:49 AM »

Hi Cassidy,

I'm glad those threads were helpful. This is a topic very near and dear to me, so I want to make sure it's clarified and if necessary, hashed out a bit.

Let's see ...

I agree with you that your (b) describes the situation best. Let me break down the options that exist among all the permutations of "in the middle."

1) How much is a "roll" resolving? This is an in-game-time issue.

2) How many characters' actions is a roll resolving? GURPS = 1, AD&D = 2 (think about it), and Story Engine at its most abstract is "everyone."

3) Is it a conflict or a task? I stress that this issue is independent of #2 above.

4) When is the "attempt" narrated for sure, in detail? Here, and only here, is the "in the middle" part. Again, I think my Hero Wars reviews breaks this down in detail. If we have established all the details of the attempt to hit right up to the point of impact, and then we roll, then it's Fortune-at-the-end. If we make a general statement, then roll, then use the outcome of the roll to help figure out the attempt from the beginning and its conclusion, then it's Fortune-in-the-middle.

5) Is a metagame tweak permitted following the roll? (Note that this is independent of #4; plenty of at-the-end games permit re-rolls with metagame points, for instance; see D6.)

I think that pretty much lays out my thinking about the whole thing, except Cassidy, you raise a very important issue regarding who gets to do the narrating. This varies too. In Hero Wars, it's explicitly the GM (called, incidentally, the Narrator). In Sorcerer, a certain amount of democracy occurs due to the importance of bonus dice; in Story Engine, too, a certain amount of democracy is necessary or it falls apart. In Dust Devils, Trollbabe, Otherkind, or octaNe, it's formally transferred according to some element of the Fortune method.

Best,
Ron
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M. J. Young
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« Reply #20 on: November 02, 2002, 03:36:02 PM »

I have mostly been skimming this thread; but Cassidy caught my attention with what I take to be a misstatement of a situation:
Quote from: Cassidy
Question for anyone: Given your "ideal" game, and assuming it uses the FitM idea in some fashion, would you...

(a) On occasion allow the players to guarantee the desired outcome to a given test, event or task?

(b) On occasion allow the players to influence (but not guarantee) the chances of the desired outcome occuring?

(c) None of the above.

Personally, I'd be inclined to go for (b).

(a) would seem to negate the whole "fortune" aspect of FitM. Fortune? What Fortune?

(c) might make FitM appear to be a too rigid for some players tastes.


I think you have discounted the value of option (a) by making an unwarranted assumption about it. The question is whether players can ever guarantee the outcome of a given situation; the objection only really applies if they can always do so.

Personally I don't care much for guaranteed outcomes. In Multiverser even the concept of invulnerability has a chance factor--it might not work this time. I would rather limit the uses of an ability (whether a character or a player ability) by the likelihood it will succeed, and not have to count uses. However, I recognize that number of uses is a viable mechanics choice, however it is applied.

You're thinking that allowing the players to guarantee an outcome eliminates fortune from the game, but that's because you're thinking they can do so without limitation. Obviously if any time I get a bad roll I can fudge it with impunity into a good roll, there's not much point in rolling. But there are other ways to limit the efficacy of such a game ability than maintaining the fortune aspect. It could be decreed that during the course of the adventure each player character can make three such overrides. This now becomes a game currency which can be exhausted; players have to give serious consideration to whether they should spend one of their overrides on this bad outcome, or save it for a potentially worse outcome ahead. Similarly, it could be that a character must earn such overrides, perhaps by taking setbacks. Not long ago someone was looking for a way to engineer a combat mechanic which had the feel of movie fights--the hero gets hit again and again, and then makes a comeback and wins. Something like this could do that if placed in a small scale: each injury the player agrees to sustain, each attack he agrees to miss, when the dice favored him gives him the opportunity to turn the tide and buy guaranteed hits and guaranteed injuries with the accumulated credits.

The point is that fortune remains in the equation even if the players have the limited ability to override it, precisely to the degree that the limits force the players to hesitate to exercise the power.

--M. J. Young
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Cassidy
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« Reply #21 on: November 02, 2002, 04:49:38 PM »

Quote from: M. J. Young
I have mostly been skimming this thread; but Cassidy caught my attention with what I take to be a misstatement of a situation:
Quote from: Cassidy
Question for anyone: Given your "ideal" game, and assuming it uses the FitM idea in some fashion, would you...

(a) On occasion allow the players to guarantee the desired outcome to a given test, event or task?

(b) On occasion allow the players to influence (but not guarantee) the chances of the desired outcome occuring?

(c) None of the above.


I think you have discounted the value of option (a) by making an unwarranted assumption about it. The question is whether players can ever guarantee the outcome of a given situation; the objection only really applies if they can always do so.


I would still object to the idea of a player being able to guarantee a result even if they were limited in some way by using some finite metagame resource as you suggest.

In fact, I prefaced the questions I posed with the phrase "On occasion" because I purposefully wanted the question to imply that the ability to guarantee a successful outcome might not always be an option.

I did that because I realise that in many systems the ability of players to guarantee or influence an outcome is limited as you suggest, usually by some metagame mechanic like karma, luck, story points, etc.

My objection to the prospect of players being able guarantee a successful outcome (either always or sometimes) is because for me the act of guaranteeing that success would negate the whole fortune aspect of FitM.
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Paganini
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« Reply #22 on: November 06, 2002, 11:12:32 AM »

Quote from: Cassidy

Exchange of tokens doesn't guarantee that the die the players want to win will actually win, although it does make it more likely and on occasion virtually assured.


The point I was making is that the token mechanics give driving power to the group. Sure, you can construct an unlikely situation (say, if the currently rolling player already has all the tokens) where the players can't influence the die, but such a situation is a big departure, not the norm.

As a rule, if the group is in agreement, the die they want to win will win.

Quote

Question for anyone: Given your "ideal" game, and assuming it uses the FitM idea in some fashion, would you...


These are hard questions to answer, because they presuppose some stylistic conventions. In my preferred mode of play (what you mean by Ideal Game, I'm assuming ;), many aren't really even relevent.

Quote
Is this DitM? (Democracy in the Middle) :)


This is Narrativism. Players rule. :)

Well, actually, it's what Mike and Ron would call Pervy Narrativism. Lots o' director stance.
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #23 on: November 06, 2002, 12:23:35 PM »

Quote from: Cassidy
My objection to the prospect of players being able guarantee a successful outcome (either always or sometimes) is because for me the act of guaranteeing that success would negate the whole fortune aspect of FitM.


Actually, I agree. But I think that the problem is that, usually, the resource being traded in has no intrinsic value itself. That is, they are usually there to provide some sort of bland "Heroic" ability, and there is little repercussion to their use beyond them being unavailable later. It's just dull.

Your method of making the use of the metagame mechanic makes it into it's own little game of gambling these points.  Which is more interesting. OTOH, there is a way to make Fang's method A work. And that is to make the metagame resource not so metagame. That is, if you link its use to other in-game repercussions, then the player has to consider these repercussions when thinking about using the points.

The only example I can think of is Humanity in Sorcerer. The repercussion of running out of the commodity is dire. And the loss (or gain) of the resource is uncertain in each instance, which further makes it interesting. So one could develop a more traditional metagame resource which only declined occasionally. For example, you could have a Chi stat that was a boolean. You are either on or off. When you use your chi, you roll to see if it switches off. Thus the player will be certain of success, once. But then he may not have it afterwards, which makes him think twice. Some such mechanic probably already exists in some game somewhere.

I'm sure there are other ways to make auto success interesting as well. Some games cause "damage" (reduction of effectiveness) to the character of some sort in exchange for automatic success. Or there is a price to pay of some sort to some power in-game.

Truthfully, I have different problems with your version. There's nothing worse than pumping up your character a bunch with precious metagame resource, and failing anyhow. There are solutions to this problem as well, however. For example, one might not loose their metagame resource if it does not work, or maybe even gain more (the Anti-Pool solution). Or, more interesting negative effects can occur to the character using lots of metagame and failing (making it a double gamble, and providing "thrust" in both directions).

In any case, these things are hard to speak about in the abstract vaccum of theory, because to make an effective metagame mechanic requires that it support the game's design goals, and in the absence of those, suggestions may sound ineffective or even antithetical. We could look at a particular game if you wanted to consider this in more detail. As in, how would we make an effective metagame mechanic for D&D? or something.

Mike
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