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Author Topic: Sharks With Lasers On Their Heads!!  (Read 55629 times)
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #105 on: July 11, 2003, 11:34:54 AM »

Hello,

John and Marco, it seems to me that the principle of Fortune-in-the-middle addresses all these concerns, given a willingness for Fortune to be involved at all. You guys seem to be stuck in a kind of "the dice say it all" vs. "the dice are irrelevant" outlook, in this discussion. (Or maybe I'm not reading you guys right, I dunno.)

However, the Hero Wars (now 'Quest) system offers a phenomenal opportunity for both to be involved, dynamically. We played many an Orlanthi legalistic wrangle or Orlanthi-Lunar status-wrangle using its Extended Contest system, which as far as I can tell, captures the best sides of both committed emotional role-playing and the "jumping bean" element of Fortune.

Best,
Ron
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Marco
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Posts: 1741


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« Reply #106 on: July 11, 2003, 12:09:49 PM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards
Hello,

John and Marco, it seems to me that the principle of Fortune-in-the-middle addresses all these concerns, given a willingness for Fortune to be involved at all. You guys seem to be stuck in a kind of "the dice say it all" vs. "the dice are irrelevant" outlook, in this discussion. (Or maybe I'm not reading you guys right, I dunno.)

However, the Hero Wars (now 'Quest) system offers a phenomenal opportunity for both to be involved, dynamically. We played many an Orlanthi legalistic wrangle or Orlanthi-Lunar status-wrangle using its Extended Contest system, which as far as I can tell, captures the best sides of both committed emotional role-playing and the "jumping bean" element of Fortune.

Best,
Ron


Fortune in the middle is probably a good way to do it. But look at the source material. The turning points in legal dramas come from revelations or arguments of gravity. If those arguments aren't made, I as a player am not engaged in the "debate" part of the exercise. I might be engaged in the tactical part of the exercise, sure.

But if you're going to run me through a legal game where I'm expecting to have the same appeal that I see in the movies, those arguments and counter arguments will need to be presented to me ... and then I'll need to decide.

I mean, throwing dice for waht a jury decides is not an unreasonable (although perhaps unfufilling) way to look at it. But I don't see how fortune in the middle will make up for a lack of the idea content. Maybe if I saw it played out ...

-Marco
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John Kim
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Posts: 1805


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« Reply #107 on: July 11, 2003, 12:33:26 PM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards
John and Marco, it seems to me that the principle of Fortune-in-the-middle addresses all these concerns, given a willingness for Fortune to be involved at all. You guys seem to be stuck in a kind of "the dice say it all" vs. "the dice are irrelevant" outlook, in this discussion. (Or maybe I'm not reading you guys right, I dunno.)

I've started a new thread to address this, since I think it is rather more specific and separate from the general sharks-with-lasers thing.

cf. http://www.indie-rpgs.com/viewtopic.php?t=7146
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- John
Ian Charvill
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Posts: 377


« Reply #108 on: July 12, 2003, 01:29:25 AM »

Quote from: contracycle
Quote from: Ian Charvill

[As an aside, I wouldn't denegrate the quality of writing on Buffy or Angel, but Mutant X...]


Thats OK, I'm here to do it.

Quote

"But your Honour, I refer you to O'Flaherty vs Mednitz"
[roll]
"Objection dismissed"


Nope. This is dead in the water IMO - of what significance is O'Flaherty vs. Mednitz?  Did I have to think about it?  Was I cunning?  No - I thumbsucked and rolled dice. Dull dull dull.


My point is this: if your require the players of the game to become knowledgable about legal (or medcial or whatever) minutiae your audience will be vanishingly small.  It will be a legal drama rpg played by three people in Islington.

The only functional approaches would be to ignore legal jargon altogether and lose a huge amount of colour or to allow the legal jargon to be improvised, possibly having some rules to substantiate the validity of the improvisation.

Quote
It seems to me that you are describing is merely motion, not conflict.  If this was a movie scene, we would see the heroes poring over their reference library or ringing up old contacts who might be able to point them in the right direction.  Thus, when they finally pull O'Flaherty vs. Mednitz out of the bag in actual court, it has the quality of being a triumph, an expression of the characters and player prowess and ability.  Anything else and its just fluff.


In at least one model of filmmaking you'd see a pretty content free research montage, but I'm guessing you wouldn't see jack about O'F vs M until the crucial moment of revelation in the courtroom.  The research montage would give dramatic credibility to the usage.

And bear in mind here I'm talking about a single instance within the entire trial - with a similar relationship as between a sword blow and a fight.

Quote
Perhaps I've been a bit strong; I could imagine a situation in whch the ability to do what you describe is one of several tools available to the player and is a known part of the action, but only when set in a context in which some significant decisions are already established as framing the exchange.


That's like arguing that the only way a fight scene functions within a game is if it's dramatically significant: it may be so for certain modes of play but not for all.

I could certainly imagine a gamist rpg where the point of play is: create fine sounding legal dialogue to win legal discussions.
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Ian Charvill
M. J. Young
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Posts: 2198


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« Reply #109 on: July 12, 2003, 04:48:59 PM »

I'd like to attempt to derail a lot of the argument about legal dramas so we can get to the point.

I would wager that I could create a list of not more than ten rules which, if you learned them, would enable you to fake being a judge well enough that no one could tell who wasn't at least a first year law student or experienced law enforcement officer (or maybe a habitual pro se participant).

For the moment, take my word for it that the core principles are easy enough that a referee could act as judge, and the players could present arguments in such a way that the decisions were being made very similarly to how they are made in court.

If it's really a big deal, maybe I'll write it up as an article and offer it to RPGnet; I owe them something anyway, and I haven't written a law and gaming piece since--well, no, I wrote the three parter for Places to Go, People to Be a few years back, but I just did something on the right to remain silent for Game Ideas Unlimited, so I guess I just did write something on law. Still, this could be done.

Please get beyond the problem of whether you could adequately incorporate modern law in a game. It's not as difficult as you suppose.

Thanks.

--M. J. Young
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Bruce Baugh
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Posts: 143


« Reply #110 on: July 12, 2003, 05:26:53 PM »

With all due respect, it's a lot easier to suspect that something is easy than to do it. If you can produce such a list, I would be delighted to see it. Heck, if it were to help me materially along toward the crime game I keep wanting to do, I'd pay you good money for reprint rights. I have myself tried things like it over the years and failed miserably, and seen a bunch of other failures. I want it to be feasible.
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