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Author Topic: Conflicts with multiple participants  (Read 1811 times)
Alan
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« on: December 10, 2002, 10:12:48 PM »

Hi,

I'm reading over DD for the second time, preparing to run a demo game.  I'm not quite clear on a few things.

Here are the rules as I understand them.  Only the winning hand causes Difficulty.  The narrator describes how Difficulty occurs.  The player of a damaged character decides how to distribute the damage among his Attributes.

What if there are more that one loser?  If the winning hand is a flush, can the narrator allocate, say, three points to one character and two to another?

Second, on page 16, at the end of the Fastest Tongue rules, I read "The player [narrator] might decree that even losing hands deliver Difficulty to the winner."

Hunh?  Am I wrong about the "Only the winning hand causes Difficulty" rule?

Your explaination would be appreciated.
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- Alan

A Writer's Blog: http://www.alanbarclay.com
Matt Snyder
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« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2002, 09:16:35 AM »

Alan,

Good questions!

Difficulty and Losing Hands

First off, on whether or not the winning hand is the only that deals damage.

The simple answer is no. HOWEVER, the only reason for this is that the game grants the narrator some real authority in saying what goes down.

For example, let's say we have two gamblers in a conflict. The conflict is: Who takes the money on the table?

Ok, gambler one has the winning hand. However, gambler 2 has high card, and his character is the narrator. The narrator decides it goes down like this: Gambler 2 actually won the game of cards, but just as he grins broadly while draging the money to his side of the table, he's shot by gambler 1 in the gut who yells, "You damn cheat!!!" Fortunately, gambler 2 is no dummy, and he had his Derringer under the table at the time. He fires, and hits gambler 1, but it's only a "scratch."

What this means in game terms is: Gambler 1 won the conflict (and his player even thought he'd win the card game, which he didn't). So, gambler 2 takes all the really nasty Difficulty from Player 1's hand (let's say it was a flush of Clubs, hence the ugly gunshot wound to the belly). But, gambler 2's player wants his character to go down with at least some satisfaction. His hand was a pair, and therefore he delivers 2 measly difficulty to gambler 1's guts and heart, let's say.

So, in short -- this aspect of the game isn't so much about winning and losing as it is about making the best, most compelling Western story. If the loser gets the winner too, sometimes that really makes things interesting!

The rule, therefore is this: The narrator has ultimate authority, and may indeed opt to enforce difficulty even from losing hands.

My only caveat is to try to do so only when it makes the story more interesting, not to try to win or play the game competitively to spite another player.

Conflict w/ multiple participants

When the winning hand delivers Difficulty, it affects EVERY LOSER involved in that character's goal for conflict resolution. So, if there are multiple losers, then each loser takes the full difficulty. Do not divide the total difficulty delivered among the opponents. Each much allot the difficulty in full to that character.

CAVEAT:  Depending on the situation, and just what players are trying to resolve in a given conflict, there may be multiple winning hands. That is, Player 1 faces off against Bad Guy 1, and the winner delivers difficulty to the other. Meanwhile, however, Player 2 might face off against Bad Guy 2 AND Bad Guy 3. The winner of that "hand" (which is still part of the whole scene, in this case) delivers damage to the loser(s). So, if Player 2 defeats both hands of Bad Guy 2 and Bad Guy 3, his hand affects them both with Difficulty.

HOWEVER, consider this. Player 2 does beat Bad Guy 2 but NOT Bad Guy 3. In this case, Bad Guy 3 definitely delivers Difficulty to Player 2. However, it's up the the Narrator whether or not Player 2 also delivers difficulty to Bad Guy 3. I suggest that he does, and this is how it typically goes down in games I've played.

I hope this answers  your questions. If it is still unclear, or if this raises further questions, please let me know! I'm happy to clarify for you.
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Matt Snyder
www.chimera.info

"The future ain't what it used to be."
--Yogi Berra
Alan
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« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2002, 12:03:17 AM »

Hi,

Oho!  I had assumed that, since we were playing poker, all the players competed against each other as well as against NPCs.  I see now that participants are actually paired off in "engagements."

Some rules I glean from your explainations:

The difficulty from the winning hand must be applied to someone.  That total is applied to each opponent who lost in that engagement.  The narrator may, through description of events, also choose to apply damage to the winner from one or more losers, but need not.  

Lets set up a hypothetical multiple participant conflict:

*Example*

Clint (PC) is facing down Black Jack (NPC) in a showdown.  Silas (NPC) plans to snipe at Clint from the saloon window.

Variations by example.  

Order of hands held by PC or NPC, highest to lowest.  * indicates High Card.

Ex#1      PC* NPC NPC
   Clint can narrate doing full difficulty from his hand to
   each NPC and take no damage in return.

Ex#2     PC NPC* NPC
   GM narrates how clint shoots both Jake and Silas,
   but they both get off dying shots and both hit Clint.

Ex#3     NPC PC* NPC
   Clint's player narrates Silas shooting Clint, who then
   hits Silas & Jake.

Ex#4     NPC* PC NPC
    GM narrates Silas hitting Clint, who blows away
    Jake, who nevertheless gets a final hit on Clint.

Does that get it?  Losing narration looks like a quick way to meet your Devil.

When a losing hand wins narration, can the narrator choose to have the winning hand do no damage?  If the winner wins narration, does he have to apply all the damage from his hand to _ALL_ losers?
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- Alan

A Writer's Blog: http://www.alanbarclay.com
Alan
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« Reply #3 on: December 13, 2002, 05:32:27 PM »

Another question:

In multiple participant conflicts, can more than one player win narration?  If one PC is paired off against one NPC, and another PC against another, is there only one high card, or is there one high card per pair?
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- Alan

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Matt Snyder
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« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2002, 09:39:44 AM »

Quote from: Alan
Another question:

In multiple participant conflicts, can more than one player win narration?  If one PC is paired off against one NPC, and another PC against another, is there only one high card, or is there one high card per pair?


Only one person can be the narrator in a SINGLE conflict. That's the kicker -- you could construe the situation you've suggested as two separate conflicts.
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Matt Snyder
www.chimera.info

"The future ain't what it used to be."
--Yogi Berra
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2002, 09:41:06 AM »

Hi there,

I was thinkin' that one key concept that might help is to lose any notion of "playing poker." The game system for Dust Devils isn't poker; there's no bluffing or transfer of "money" from one person to another.

Best,
Ron
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Matt Snyder
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« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2002, 09:47:27 AM »

Quote from: Alan

Order of hands held by PC or NPC, highest to lowest.  * indicates High Card.

Ex#1      PC* NPC NPC
   Clint can narrate doing full difficulty from his hand to
   each NPC and take no damage in return.

Ex#2     PC NPC* NPC
   GM narrates how clint shoots both Jake and Silas,
   but they both get off dying shots and both hit Clint.

Ex#3     NPC PC* NPC
   Clint's player narrates Silas shooting Clint, who then
   hits Silas & Jake.

Ex#4     NPC* PC NPC
    GM narrates Silas hitting Clint, who blows away
    Jake, who nevertheless gets a final hit on Clint.

Does that get it?  Losing narration looks like a quick way to meet your Devil.


Yep, those are all "legal" outcomes, I believe. It's true that losing narration can make you meet the Devil fast, but just keep in mind that 1) That's the point! and 2) players shouldn't abuse the narration just to always win. Sometimes, it's more fun to "lose" in this game -- it's often more interesting or better for the narrative at large.

Quote from: Alan

When a losing hand wins narration, can the narrator choose to have the winning hand do no damage?  If the winner wins narration, does he have to apply all the damage from his hand to _ALL_ losers?

[/quote]

Yes, both of these are possible. Again, is it open to abuse? Sure. The social agreement among all the players should be such that this isn't an issue, however. Everyone should agree that doing so makes for a better, more engrossing Western tale.
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Matt Snyder
www.chimera.info

"The future ain't what it used to be."
--Yogi Berra
Alan
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« Reply #7 on: December 16, 2002, 11:28:48 AM »

Hi all,

Ron: Yup, that was my realization: a DD conflict is not played out as poker.  Because the rules didn't say otherwise, I just assumed it was.

Matt: So to narrator has the option to apply or not apply any Difficulty from any hand to any characer or any number of characters in the conflict?  (With the caveat that it must be explained in narration and that players not abuse the power to "win.")
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Matt Snyder
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« Reply #8 on: December 16, 2002, 11:57:22 AM »

Quote from: Alan
Hi all,

Ron: Yup, that was my realization: a DD conflict is not played out as poker.  Because the rules didn't say otherwise, I just assumed it was.

Matt: So to narrator has the option to apply or not apply any Difficulty from any hand to any characer or any number of characters in the conflict?  (With the caveat that it must be explained in narration and that players not abuse the power to "win.")


That's pretty much it. I haven't outlined it as much in the text quite on purpose, but since you've held a gun to my head, so to speak ... ;)

I made the narrator's "ultimate power" pretty vague, saying only that it's "pretty powerful" (or something to that effect) and that it could even enforce Difficulty from losing hands (a suggestion from Ron Edward's playtesting, by the way).

This is because not everyone who reads the text will be conversing with me here, and I'd rather not give the impression that it's all "do as the narrator wilt."
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Matt Snyder
www.chimera.info

"The future ain't what it used to be."
--Yogi Berra
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