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Author Topic: Beliefs, Traits, Instincts  (Read 5162 times)
Bankuei
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« on: June 05, 2003, 01:41:37 PM »

Hi folks,

This is really the thing in BW I'm really diggin on.  Pretty much though, the advice seems to be like "Here's a semi-formal Social Contract of your character, use it or lose it!".  Here's my take on them:

Beliefs- Roleplay these to get Artha, sometimes you can Call on them.

Instincts- These are nifty reactions that may allow you to kinda cheat the rules("But of course I keep a knife handy!", "I always know where the exits are!") in terms of handing some automatic actions over to characters.

Traits- Aside from the ones with specific dice/DN rules, basically they are there to be roleplayed, as a group agreement of plausibility("Make a Will roll or fall asleep, you're a Night Owl and its morning...") and occassionally Called On traits.

If I'm seriously misunderstanding, or missing out on something, please let me know.

Now, onto my questions-

Called on Traits- As far as I can tell, it looks like these either serve as tie breakers, or give you a reroll.  I don't really see much more happening with these...Luke, can you give some input or examples of using these in play, if there's anything else that goes one with them?

Beliefs & Artha rewards-

It seems that Artha is designed to be rewarded maybe like 4-5 points a session.  It would also seem that folks are going to be spending like 2 or 3 of those a session(at least, I'm guessing here).  What's your experiences with rewards, spending, and improvement?  

While I can dig the "no powergaming" aspect of BW, the advancement seems to encourage long campaign style play.  Is this your intent as far as BW play?

Thanks,
Chris
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Valamir
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« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2003, 01:52:46 PM »

Great thread topic, hopefully it will generate some real discussion.

I loved these aspects also, and in fact commented in an RPG.net thread that I wish there was more on them.  From your questions Chris, I think you're seeing the same kick ass potential of them lieing there just under the surface...begging to be released.  I suspect they really fire in Luke's campaigns.
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Bankuei
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« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2003, 02:15:37 PM »

Right Ralph,

These seem like less formalized cousins of TROS's SAs and Universalis' Traits.  I definitely dig the "cue to roleplay" aspect, as well as the choice to not use them(i.e. not restricting like alignment) and gain others, I'm just looking for some more examples of them in use and perhaps a little more formal stuff on how they are supposed to be used.

Chris
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Luke
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« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2003, 04:51:02 PM »

Hi Chris,

I see you got your copy of the game! I'm always relieved to know when one of my precious babies arrives safe and sound.

Now, as far as Beliefs, Instincts and Traits (BITs) go...

They scare me. Why? Because they are essentially a limitless and subtle part of the game. I feel that belaboring them would demystify and limit the game for people just coming in.

However, I will say a few things: BITs are not just for veteran campaigns. Savvy players in our demo games have used them to great and hysterical effect.

Arbel the sorcerer is a great example. Players trundle along with him, inevitably wishing they could cast fireballs or some such. Every so often a player reads his BITs and really gets into him. For example, one Arbel player wanted to help his companion who was getting mauled by an Orc. Arbel has the Never lift a finger instinct. How to get around that? Have that Spirit Servant drag a rock over and drop it on the orc! That's how. Such a simple solution, but at the time the player was dumbfounded by this.

At another point, Arbel found himself in the midst of a melee. He cast a Shards spell and was preparing another when he looked at his Traits: Skulking. Screw this! he said and he skulked on out of there despite the fact that his companions were getting eaten alive.

::sigh::  Such simple things make me so happy. But like I said, these are just simple examples. Another one of my players has the Instinct: Always suspect the silent hand of Heresy. He's a knight-justiciar and also has the World Weary and Suspicious traits. It's fantastic, and creates some brilliant roleplaying--a grand argument in a baron's court with the baron's sorcerer comes to mind. But it creates some bumps, too; he's put more innocent people to the sword and torch than any other character I know, including quite a few bearers of ye olde plot.

Anyway, I'd prefer to hear you and Ralph postulate, rather than listen to my old wind bag clatter along. What do you see in the BITs.

-L
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Luke
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« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2003, 04:59:04 PM »

Quote from: Bankuei

It seems that Artha is designed to be rewarded maybe like 4-5 points a session.  It would also seem that folks are going to be spending like 2 or 3 of those a session(at least, I'm guessing here).  What's your experiences with rewards, spending, and improvement?  


1 point a session, maybe. Plus 3-5 points at the end of a scenario or "adventure." Most of my players don't spend any artha in a session. However, we just finished a session where one player spent over 20 points and another spent at least 10 and another 8. It was quite a game...

Also, I am working on a variant of the Artha system. I will post a pdf of it for you to take a look at. It is much more involved with the BITs system.

Quote

While I can dig the "no powergaming" aspect of BW, the advancement seems to encourage long campaign style play.  Is this your intent as far as BW play?


BW is definitely a long term relationship. HOWEVER, i have players who will attest to learning a skill from absolutely nothing in one night and advancing it a few ranks to boot. Those are some pretty intense nights, but it can be done. The main thing to remember with the advancements system: YOU MUST PUSH YOURSELF.

thanks again for your kind words.
-L

ps: there may be little powergaming, but i'll tell you there sure are ways to cheat the hell out the BW system. If you get a chance pop over to RPG.net and our trolls thread. Check out Pete's troll vs my troll. Both legit and legal characters. Same number of lifepaths, but completely different power levels.

pps: over here at BWHQ we consider cheating an admirable quality. Winners always cheat. Cheat to win, win to cheat.
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Bankuei
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« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2003, 05:22:23 PM »

Hi Luke,

Well, its funny.  Given that I'm somewhat intimidated or flustered by the amount of other rules in the game, I find that BITs are under developed for my tastes.

Here's the various ways that I see BITs getting used:

1) Color-
Mmm, pretty much what you get in the book.  You play them, they're nifty, and you get some Artha for doing so.  This is pretty much how I see the majority of gamers are going to read them.

2) Play Drivers-

This is how I'd like to see BITs getting used.  TROS has its SAs, Trollbabe has its Relationships,  and I see BW doing stuff with its BITs.  But to make it happen, I'd like to see the mechanics have a heavier hand in play.  Which means I'd like to see BITS serve as FoRKs, regular re-rolls(not just on ties or close calls), and spit up some Artha on the spot for being roleplayed.

Maybe I'm just spoiled by SAs, but I can't really see them being anything less than that, perhaps with the extra caveat that they hook up some Author/Director stance stuff.

Chris
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Valamir
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« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2003, 07:42:29 PM »

Quote
They scare me. Why? Because they are essentially a limitless and subtle part of the game.


And that's what makes them great.  Because they are scary.  I'm kinda glad you used that word first, because my read of your creation in the rules made me think just that...like you had backed off or just avoided going further because you were a little frightened of what they might do.  Given your comment on RPG.net of likeing to GM with alot of control over the story, I can definitely see where they might seem a little threatening...like something that's going to require you to have to break out the GM's Wand of Illusion a little too often in order to patch up some crazy player thing.

Hopefully will get a chance to play some games like Troll Babe or Dust Devils, or even Universalis at GenCon.  Not mind you that these games are "better" but they are very different and require very different player/GM mindsets.  Different enough that I at least have trouble describing them, but a couple of sessions of which should serve to illustrate what I'm probably currently saying rather poorly.  At any rate whether you respond with a "oh, neat, but I didn't really enjoy that" or a "holy cow my gaming paradigms have been shattered" is secondary to illustrating why Chris and myself see such powerful potential in these traits.

And I really hope we can get Jake to run some Riddle for us.  TROS and BW are so very similar in so many ways.  Riddle though really throws the valve open on the SAs.  


Quote
I feel that belaboring them would demystify and limit the game for people just coming in.


Here is my take on the text regarding these.  Its not so much a question of volume of discussion about them (in the belaboring sense) but rather the choice of things to highlight.

I'll try an analogy.

You have a park in the park are a TON of EXTREMELY cool things to see and do.  Guests can wander around the park and pick and choose what they like and want to see.  To help them along the way you put a path through the park that passes by some of the main attractions.  There's still plenty of things off the beaten path for those who like to explore, but the path really serves to highlight the possibilities.

Ok, the park is the beliefs, traits, and instincts with lots of cool things to try.  The guests are players, of course, and the path is the examples in the rules.  

I think I Chris and I are on the same page on this so I'll venture to speak for him, in that what we mean when we like to see more is that we wish the path you gave touched more on some of the more powerful possibilities.  Instead of hitting the main attractions, your path kind of meanders through the more mundane, less exciting portion of the park.

Did that make sense at all, I'm kind feeling like I'm meandering a bit here.
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Bankuei
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« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2003, 08:53:14 PM »

Hi Luke,

Quote
Now, as far as Beliefs, Instincts and Traits (BITs) go...

They scare me. Why? Because they are essentially a limitless and subtle part of the game. I feel that belaboring them would demystify and limit the game for people just coming in.


I found this was the same sort of thing brought up by Jake for TROS, except that TROS has very explicit rules about what its SAs are about.  Many games have magic, many games have skill systems, or combat, not many games have BITs or things like them.  What I'm afraid will happen is that folks will pick up your game, say, "Oh, look, its GURPS/MERPS with a funny combat system" and put it down without ever looking at BITs.

And that would be a damn shame.  It happens to Sorcerer all the time, and its really a great game.

Now, as it stands, what the text gives me, is that BITs are pretty much roleplaying cues, that sometimes give you a bonus(although what kind of bonus is very vague).  What I read is, "these give you an extra die, a reroll or break a tie, sometimes, if you like, sorta, kinda, um, however you want to do it".  Compare this to the many varied ways that we get explicit rules on Artha, or Skill advancement.  

Now here's where it gets tricky, you use BITs, in some manner that makes sense to you and your group.  What the rules state, are very loose, and very vague.  I'm not sure how you "intend" them to be used.  Granted, I could use them any which way I want to, and rest assured, in the end, I probably will.  But I'm deeply interested in how you use them, because I might find what you're doing is really cool, and I want to do it that way too.  Or maybe I'll only like part of it, or none of it.  But I don't really know based on the rules.

Right now, I'm not sure if all BITs are for you, are simple rp cues, minor bonuses(um, sometimes they help), full on bonuses(like SAs), or room for the players to start pulling in director stance(control over more than simply their character).  From the text, and from your posts, as far as I know, they are the first two I mentioned, but very well could extend into the latter two.

If we're going to go with the "do what you will with them", than I'd run them as SAs with director stance options, and give folks Artha everytime they make a meaningful decision or roleplay them well, on the spot.  Yeah, that means a player could say, "I'm a night owl, so I know where all the good bars are, so I'll go visit the Blue Moon, and talk to my buddy the bartender there, and see if he knows anything", with the player having made all of that up on the spot.  And then when he rp's being grumpy and snappy in the morning(Night Owl, right?) screwing up his chance to talk to the girl he's been trying to get at, I give him a point of Artha, right then and there.

But see, what I'm talking about may have nothing to do with what you're talking about.  And its a damn shame because you've given us tons of rules on stuff like shooting arrows through shields, damage from being slammed against walls, etc, but the thing in your game that stands out and has me jazzed, I'm getting vague info.

Anyhow, I'm finding BITs to be the most intriguing, and I'm looking for more info on it.

Chris
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Luke
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hmm
« Reply #8 on: June 05, 2003, 09:33:51 PM »

Quote

Which means I'd like to see BITS serve as FoRKs, regular re-rolls(not just on ties or close calls

Chris, this is exactly what I was trying to steer away from with Instincts and Beliefs. I wanted something that was aside from and possibly above dice. I think I have the dice covered in every way possible in the regular system.

Which leads me to artha. Instincts and Beliefs (and to a lesser extent, traits) are fantastic vehicles for earning artha. Speaking of which, check out the revised (and optional) artha system I have been working on. It is of course in pdf format And it stresses BITs in gameplay for earning artha.

-L
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Luke
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« Reply #9 on: June 05, 2003, 09:42:45 PM »

Quote

but the thing in your game that stands out and has me jazzed, I'm getting vague info.


WAIT! Isn't the whole reason are getting jazzed about these rules is because they are vague? Because you can see possibilities in them that I might not have? Wouldn't my writing in my style constitute the egregious error of coloring your perception of the game? Of limiting?

On the other hand, I understand your point. You like them. You want to know more. What I am trying to say is: YOU are the more. These are deliberately left open as a vent against the heaviness and dicey-ness of the game. A set, firm and ensconced place to insert weighted opinion and have it affect the game without hacking it.

As in all things BW-related, I am too close to the matter. I am going to see if I call can in an airstrike players. See if I can rouse those lazy bastards to comment.

thanks for your questions.
keep asking! me brain is a-burnin.
-L
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Bankuei
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« Reply #10 on: June 05, 2003, 10:06:17 PM »

Hi Luke,

Your revised Artha rules are very cool, and I already think I dig them better than the originals.  They are very much like SAs in the "spending is a good idea" mechanic, which I think is awesome, plus gives folks encouragement to actually use them.  

Quote
WAIT! Isn't the whole reason are getting jazzed about these rules is because they are vague? Because you can see possibilities in them that I might not have? Wouldn't my writing in my style constitute the egregious error of coloring your perception of the game? Of limiting?


I'm getting jazzed based on what I THINK it might be, and that there's a possibility that what you're talking about might be different, and way cooler than what I'm thinking of, but since its not defined, I don't know.  

To give you a valid comparison, consider the "Make your own class" rules in D&D3E.  They give you about 3 paragraphs of vague info, that basically boil down to, "Um, keep it balanced, yeah" without any sort of info on how to do that.   With that bit of info, WOTC can say, "You can DO ANYTHING in D&D", which, while technically true in the most genie twisting the words sense, is complete bullcrap.

Here, you've got some things that can either totally drive that story along, using system, like you've mentioned, or it could just be a nifty hood ornament.  You've taken the time and the effort to detail rules on armor degradation, FoRKs, and a lot of cool, detailed stuff, but right here, right here on what I consider to be the "Telling Mark" of BW, where you're able to do the things that "No other game does", you give us vague rules, without even some serious guidelines to work it.

I'm not trying to complain, and I'm not asking for Dogma on High.  I just want some examples of how you, or other folks have used it.  What are some nifty ways you've made it work?  I need to know, because right now, they could be some nifty extras on the side, or they could be the main dish, and its not clear on what role they play.

Chris
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Luke
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« Reply #11 on: June 06, 2003, 09:31:48 AM »

Quote

Right now, I'm not sure if all BITs are for you, are simple rp cues, minor bonuses(um, sometimes they help), full on bonuses(like SAs), or room for the players to start pulling in director stance(control over more than simply their character). From the text, and from your posts, as far as I know, they are the first two I mentioned, but very well could extend into the latter two.


Of course my first instinct is to say, "Yes, all of the above." But let me see if I can humor you with some examples.

Caveat Emptor: BITs are primarily player driven in the games that I run. Not that NPCs don't have them, but I don't stress them that often on my side. I see it as my job to incorporate them into behavior--basically use them as guidelines for RP. Players do that and more.

Following is a short list of all the relevant instincts and beliefs I could track down. I'll try to give examples of how i run them, but feel free to ask for more detail.

Rabani, Hardradan insurrectionist:
T: Academic, Aura of Innocence, Sanguine Outlook, Fervent Believer, Quick-Witted.
B: No man has the right to own another.
We have a right to a free and independent Hardrada (He is speaking of freedom from foreign control).
Our cause is just and fair.
I:Blend in and move with the crowd. Rabani is always considered to be using Inconspicuous skill. However, this instinct has on a number of occasions taken him away from the party/action.
Always work patiently and carefully when building firebombs.

Ashton Fitzroyce, Zirconian manservant
T: Comely, Charismatic, Glib, Fleet of Foot, Tall
B: People are happier when they do not know the truth.
It's all a game.
Believe your own lies.
I: Assess people by their hair and shoes.
Believe your own lies.
As you might imagine, Ashton is very manipulative. The player is constantly using his Falsehood and Soothing Platitudes skills...on everyone, including the PCs. Though occasionally i torture him with die rolls, often I let ashton pass off his pap without a test--so long as the player can roleplay it. (and oh he can!) What's even cooler is that other players have taken the hint and are "letting" ashton convince them, too.

Moa Dib al Ghazi, former ghazi (cavalryman)
T: Low Speech: Horse Whisperer, Sangiune Outlook, Fervent Believer, Quick-Witted, Claustrophobic.
B: Khudul (God) is great.
Horses are Khudul's greatest gift.
SNAKES are bad, bad, bad
I: See a snake (cultist) attack him immediately
Assess when bowing
Always keep what you steal.
Moa Dib's beliefs/instincts largely come from his recent experiences. First, of being an escaped slave and second of being carted off by the Snake Mother Cult of Gulmarg. His RP cues of bowing and scraping let me know that he is actually watching out for trouble. His "attack immediately" instinct means that there is no time at all between him seeing a cultist and him attacking. No way to stop him from at least trying.

Ok, onto to a different campaign.

Omi Gyo, Sonae Sorti Third (sgt)
(think hobgobliny)
T: Tough, Loyal, Determined, Chronologue, Cool-Headed, Disturbingly Large Mouth.
B: Death is less than a sip of tea, Duty is greater than the whole ocean.
To serve with honor is to please the ancestors.
The Patriarch is on to something, and I want in!
I: Look busy/serious when commanders are around
Fish when waiting/bored. Think about fishing if I can't fish.
Stealth when the Beetles are near. (Beetles is the Omi name for armored samurai)
Gyo was an incredibly interesting character. He was played out of his element--in a city he'd never been to before with friends he couldn't really trust on a mission from his Patriarch. The player knew this when he built the character, but he still built him with an eye to where he was, not where he was going. So his Beliefs and Instincts left him a little out of place and uncomfortable. The RP of the traits more than made up for it. Basing all of his actions on his Tough, Loyal, Determined and Cool-headed traits the player managed to drive the entire plot along by sheer dint of will. He wasn't the spotlight character, either. He was behind the scenes most of the time, but he diligently manipulated every other character into doing what he needed from them.

Ultimately, his TLD traits got him in trouble. There was a double-cross and Gyo went to avenge it against even his better judgement! And then there was some doubt surrounding his mission--doubt about whether or not he had satisfied his patriarch's demands. Rather than bail and cut his losses, he kept working at it (even when everyone else had abandoned him) right up until the point when the assassins came for him.


Randi Ting, small time Lorettan pimp

T:Streetsmart, Cold-Blooded, Piercing Whistle, Healthy, Night Owl, Charming, Ambitious, Lithe, Tall, Deferential to Women.
B:Gotta look out for number 1.
Brains beat fists.
Someday, I'm gonna ride some tide out of this hellhole.
I:Glare at 'em.
Shove back when shoved.
Disappear when the cops show up.

It bears noting, Randi's two main skills were Intimidation B6 and Lorettawise (city-wise) B5.

Randi has got to be one of my favorite characters ever played in one of my games. I think he even surprised his player! Randi was effusive, smart, and always ready to do what ever it took to scare the hell out of whom ever he was talking to.  More than anything, his BITs and the way he played them shaped the flow of the plot. When ever he spoke or attacked we knew he was intimidating. It worked. The other characters grew to mightily respect him and this allowed Randi to grab hold of the plot wheel and give it a good wrench. And yes, Randi was up all night every night scheming.


As I type these out I see that all of these are roleplaying cues and minor bonuses. Let me see if I can dredge up some other examples.

Rerun, Brotherhood of Sinkalese Blacksmiths crossbowman

T:Obedient, Aura of Stupid Innocence, Compulsive Talker, Thread Puller, Plain Faced.

Thread Puller Rerun had the amazing ability to get to the heart of the matter: "What you are really saying is...".  He would constantly do this in the context of the plot. He always knew when other players were fumbling, and how to recover and nudge them in the right direction. He would use out-of-character knowledge, anachronisms, and just weird shit. But none of us batted an eye. It all fit perfectly with the character and, more importantly, drove the plot along.

B: Rerun's beliefs aren't really relevant...

I: When confronted unexpectedly, avoid and disappear.
When working, or in hostile territory, be inconspicuous.
Make sure that Sharpeye (his partner) has plenty of bolts--preferably one cocked and loaded.

This last instinct worked great. Two players were playing crossbowmen, Rerun and Deadeye. Rerun never fired a shot, but he was always handing his friend a loaded crossbow. This came down to a crucial moment when another PC and their nemesis, the Prince, were dueling on a wall. The Prince was winning. No time to react. "Here's a loaded crossbow..."

Kirin Matakuri, sword saint and wheel bearer

I:Sword practice every morning.
Never eat unfired food/drink.
Always note strong auras.

Pretty straightforward. Kirin has Celestial Sight, so he is always on the look out for aura. And his practice trait ensures that no matter what he says that skill will continually advance. His eating strictures only serve to make him seem more alien to those around him, isolating this already distant character even more.

Kublai Park, former General of the Center, Civil Governor of Easter, Master of Tae Poong Do.

T: too many traits to list.

B: I am the avatar of my god.
I create my own truth.
Kublai considers everyone with whom he talks or hears of to be his acquaintance, to be used in the future to further his goals and aims.

I: Enter combat in aggressive stance.
Steel my mind against invasive magic.
The Chime is always on me. (a holy artifact of his religion).

The "truth" belief is rather problematic. It makes for some very cyclical arguments and odd behavior. Still it is an RP choice for the player. And it really is rather fun to watch. The middle instinct is essentially a trait he is always working on. He's terrified of being dominated and is constantly meditating to strengthen his will. He's actually earned a number of traits from playing this out and spending artha. His last belief is just hysterical.

Hm.
An interesting overview.
This is a cross section of current or recently in play characters. It seems that most of my players use their BITs as RP cues and minor bonuses. Personally, I like the "you did it" mechanic of BITs. Minutia that players are constantly doing that I forget about--like practice, or research--is all taken care of.

But this is only the way I play it. BITs are open enough to be taken much further. It really depends on how much you want to stress them in your game.

-L
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Bankuei
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« Reply #12 on: June 06, 2003, 10:27:56 AM »

Thanks Luke,

The variety of examples  really illuminates how you're using them and what you expect of them.  Now I have a good idea on the "just color" to "central mechanic" scale of how they were intended to be used.  I'm really pleased to see the amount of innovation in roleplaying games lately, and hope you do get a chance to play Riddle of Steel, Trollbabe, octaNe, and maybe even the Pool at GenCon or with someone familiar with the various systems.  It's very interesting to see how folks took different approaches to add more than just hack and slash to their games.

Chris
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Valamir
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« Reply #13 on: June 06, 2003, 11:58:56 AM »

Quote
Make sure that Sharpeye (his partner) has plenty of bolts--preferably one cocked and loaded.

This last instinct worked great. Two players were playing crossbowmen, Rerun and Deadeye. Rerun never fired a shot, but he was always handing his friend a loaded crossbow. This came down to a crucial moment when another PC and their nemesis, the Prince, were dueling on a wall. The Prince was winning. No time to react. "Here's a loaded crossbow..."


Just to clarify, by this do you mean that the player pretty much invented and made up on the spot the loaded crossbow to hand to his partner (i.e. he hadn't earlier gone through the whole "I ready my weapon" routine), and was allowed to do this (where another character wouldn't have been) because he had this instinct.

If so...that very cool stuff and the kind of thing that had me excited by them.  We'd call that Director Stance in jargon terms and there are quite a few happy practitioners of the craft here.

Its exactly the kind of thing you'd see in a movie...a few set up shots early on where crossbows are being handed out, and then later in the movie at the critical scene...bam, the payoff.
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zhu_kwan
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« Reply #14 on: June 06, 2003, 08:58:28 PM »

Quote
Just to clarify, by this do you mean that the player pretty much invented and made up on the spot the loaded crossbow to hand to his partner (i.e. he hadn't earlier gone through the whole "I ready my weapon" routine), and was allowed to do this (where another character wouldn't have been) because he had this instinct.


Hi guys,

I have the distinct honor of being one of Luke's longtime players.  Randi (the intimidator) and Rerun (the thread puller) were my characters.

The way I remember the crossbow incident, we hadn't yet broken down into scripting actions for Rerun and Deadeye, in order to facilitate faster action.  Deadeye had fired his own shot, and Rerun hadn't really declared what he was up to.  When it was clear that Deadeye needed to take another shot that was dramatically imperative to the plot, I called on Rerun's instinct and said that he had his crossbow loaded and ready to hand off to his partner.  The crossbow and ammo were part of his gear, and Rerun hadn't been doing anything significant in the time previous to that moment that would have prevented him from having his crossbow ready.  So, the significance in calling on the instinct was as if to say, "I didn't say I had this ready beforehand, but the instinct says Rerun would have done it anyway."  When we play, Luke is usually pretty strict about declaring or scripting actions, so the instincts give a small but powerful "automatic" or "free" action or series of actions particular to a character.

Another good example of how we use instincts happened recently when I was playtesting a Troll with the instinct to "Grab whatever unexpectedly gets On The Inside (and then eat it or thow it away)."  When a giant spider slung a web at the Troll, sticking to his chest on the last action of an exchange, Luke declared that the instinct was triggered and my Troll instinctively grabbed the web right away, without using up one of his actions.  This allowed me to script "pull web really hard" as the first action of my next exchange and use my Troll-ly strength to yank the web right out of the spider's nasty little feelers.

Valamir,  I get the idea of what you describe as "Director Stance" and I'd have to say that although we don't go with much of that in our gameplay, Instincts create a nice little zone of wiggle room for such player influence.  If Rerun had actually used up all his crossbow ammo in game, and the dramatic moment with Deadeye arose, I might have reminded Luke of the instinct, and asked if there was any chance that while Rerun was running around on the battlefield, he might have seen stray bolts lying about that he might have instinctively picked up for Deadeye, hoping for a last minute reprive.  But I would not expect to automatically get it;  it would be GM's discretion.

But the concept of Instincts is certainly open to as much Director Stance power as you wanted to give it, based on your preferred game play, in my opinion.

Hope this sheds more of the light you were looking for on how we use instincts back here at BWHQ.

Cheers,

Zhu Kwan Sung, Herald of the Dread Lord Crymsah
Randi the Pimp
Rerun the Idiot
and occasionally
Rick
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