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Author Topic: The Pool question  (Read 4031 times)
Blake Hutchins
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Posts: 614


« on: October 21, 2001, 10:42:00 AM »

Two, actually, since I'll repeat the one from "X-Games" over under Actual Play.

1.  How would you suggest The Pool handle player v. player rolls?

2.  Do zero dice Traits permit a Trait roll?  I ask because the example of Damart in the rules includes a zero dice Trait.

Thanks!

Blake
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Paul Czege
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« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2001, 12:25:00 PM »

Hey Blake,

1.  How would you suggest The Pool handle player v. player rolls?

This question has been raised before by Lon Sarver in relation to The Pool, and by GB Steve in relation to http://www.123.net/~czege/WFD.html">The World, the Flesh, and the Devil. My opinion appeared in the "I created The World, the Flesh, and the Devil..." thread:

This is an interesting issue that Lon just raised in relation to The Pool in another thread. And I've been meaning to write a post to that discussion, weighing in on the side of not adding opposed rolls. I think the cardinal rule of the MoV, and of Directorial power in general, is that a player is absolutely prohibited from de-protagonizing another player character. That means a player can't use his power to kill another player's Foils, or to kill or shaft the other player's character. And when you think about it, once you rule the dramatic de-protagonizing stuff out, it makes other potential circumstances for opposed rolls seem awfully insignificant. You just don't need opposed rolls to manage what's left. Little kids are capable of negotiating who dies in a game of cops and robbers. Sometimes you have to play dead. Next time someone else plays dead. If the situation isn't de-protagonizing, the players negotiatate the outcome.

Remember Ron's band metaphor? The band members aren't in competition. They elaborate and riff on what each other is doing. Narrativist players negotiate how they elaborate and contribute to each other's narratives. I've never understood the fascination players have with putting the shaft to each other, with killing each other. In my mind, that stuff only comes up when a character's protagonism isn't presumed, or when it's pre-scripted and the players are bored with that, and neither of those things are Narrativism.

Paul
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2001, 03:20:00 PM »

Hey,

Let's put the question of MoV's aside for a moment and consider simple DICE opposition between player-characters in The Pool. I'll use my favorite fictional players, Bob playing Bartholemew and Sam playing Sebastian. Let's take a silly/extreme example and say that Sebastian and Bartholemew are trying to kill one another.

Fine. Treat them as any two normal tasks. I'd put the base roll at one die. The characters can add any dice for Traits. Then the players may add dice from their Pools. They roll simultaneously.

Basically, (a) they both die, (b) one dies, (c) neither dies. Easy, huh?

It all comes down to the stated goals. When I'm GMing The Pool, I don't expect to hear, "I hack at him!" as a stated action. I expect, "I'm trying to kill him," or, "I'm trying to subdue him," or, "I'm trying to give him reason to respect me and settle down," or "I'm trying to wound him."

Same with two players instead of one. The only difference is that they both get to roll.

Is there something about all this that makes it harder, that I'm not seeing?

The only think I can think of is when they are both trying to (say) grab the Magic Jumping Frog simultaneously, and both succeed. What then? I'd suggest that they simply both have the Frog, or tied over the finish line, or something similar. If they were trying to subdue one another, they'd be in a I-have-your-throat but I-have-your-balls situation.

Best,
Ron
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Blake Hutchins
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Posts: 614


« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2001, 08:11:00 PM »

Thanks, guys.  Thoughtful responses, and very much appreciated.

I'm leaning toward Ron's interpretation.  When I posed this question, I hadn't actually envisioned my players going after each other, but after character generation I can now see the subdual situation coming up.  Oy, but in a good way.

Best,

Blake

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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10459


« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2001, 08:32:00 PM »

Ron's interperetation (which I like in general) does leave one teensy problem, however. If both players succeed, and both elect to take MoV's, who goes first? Since there is nothing that says narratively or simulationistly (wd?) who should go first, my Gamist sense will almost certainly kick in and demand that I go first. Perhaps not. But there is the matter that both must do their MoV, and nothing says what order they should happen in.

Hmmm, and it does occur to me that there are some situations that Ron's method would not fare as well in. The conflict is that I am trying to sneak into the palace and make off with the king's crown. You are trying to ensure that nobody steals it. How would you adjudicate both succeeding, in this case? Both failing? Hmmm...

Mike

[ This Message was edited by: Mike Holmes on 2001-10-22 00:35 ]
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #5 on: October 22, 2001, 06:14:00 AM »

Hey Mike,

You're right about the order of MoVs. I would suggest some cooperative trick - both must agree, for instance, although I can think of problems with that. Or something along the lines of Gast-divides-but-Garn-chooses.

One might be really boring about it and say that no MoV is permitted for player-player opposition, but that would be ... well, kind of out-of-keeping, for this game.

It might be good to lay out what sort of procedures are best for player-player opposition when both succeed, based on all of the following:
1) Both players get MoVs
2) One takes an MoV and the other doesn't
3) Neither takes an MoV

Regarding the theft of the crown, I have no problem with that or similar situations. Depending on 1-2-3 above, it strikes me as a golden opportunity for whoever's narrating the outcome to introduce a thorough fuckup/mismatch confusion into things - e.g., the thief ends up with the ceramic bird (which no one knows is REALLY the holy object, rather than the crown) but thinks it's worthless, and simultaneously the defender finds that the little prince boy stole the crown so he could parade up and down the hall wearing it. In fact, so many scenarios depend on such mismatches, that it's nice to have a mechanic that actually brings them into existence instead of forcing us to contrive them.

Best,
Ron
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Blake Hutchins
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Posts: 614


« Reply #6 on: October 22, 2001, 10:46:00 AM »

Good point, Mike.  I don't see timing as the problem, as I'd simply tell the players themselves to harmonize their MoVs so they both apply.  That throws them into a cooperative mode of Directorial power, an idea I like very much.

Best,

Blake
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James V. West
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« Reply #7 on: October 22, 2001, 02:27:00 PM »

Blake:

1. I kinda figured this one would work itself out naturally. However, if you found yourself in a situation where stubborn players just *had* to know who gets their MoV first...just make it a GM call on what happens. If they can't play right, take their toys away.

2. You can make a Trait roll regardless of your Trait bonus or lack of.

Cool?

James V. West

P.S. I feel the need to state the difference between an Action Roll and a Trait Roll. An Action roll indicates a roll made at the behest of the GM. A Trait Roll is one made at the request of a player. Perhaps I should have addressed this more clearly in the rules. Am I being too anal?
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Blake Hutchins
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Posts: 614


« Reply #8 on: October 22, 2001, 03:53:00 PM »

James,

Yeah, I think it could be worded more clearly.  Even though I figured it out, it required some serious parsing to cement that distinction.  In my handout to my players, I included a boxed summary of the different rolls and their features/requirements.

As far as the questions, thanks for the response.  I figured you'd not have included zero traits unless they could be used to call for Trait rolls.  My players are already including them in their character write-ups.

Best,

Blake
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