This is sort of a follow-up post to the issue I raised HERE (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?topic=28039.0) about the start of a conflict.
Concretely, I've been playing Dogs instead of running it and we got into the following situation:
One of our 3 Dogs is trying to heal an old, cantankerous man who's sick. Me and the third Dog are a few doors down. At some point, the old man decides to call on his inner daemon, which causes enough ruckus that us two charge in. Now, I'm the more bookish Dog with some experience in exorcisms, the two others are very physical characters.
We enter the room to find the old man struggling physically with our friend. Conflict starts and what's at stake is whether we exorcise the old guy. But, all of us are in agreement that we need to restrain him first. So conflict starts with everyone rolling dice for Physical (note that I was aware I could start in another arena, but hey, he was choking my friend, of course I want to get him off).
I roll pretty crap and thus, my friend goes first and pulls the old man off our colleague.
Then it's my turn and I feel stuck. I've already declared and rolled Physical, but seeing how my friend went first and changed the situation, doing physical stuff is no longer my first priority. And escalating to something seemed such a 'cheat': if I went to Talking, I'd add my Acuity and do something with it, but I'd have rolled my Body for Physical without ever using it. Free dice, basically.
Yes, I did end up doing something physical that was useful, but it felt constricting.
The problem, as I see it, stems from the fact that in the very first round of combat, you need to declare your arena 'long' before you get to act, because you need to roll dice before you can determine Initiative. When your turn does come, you may very well want to do something different because the actions of others have changed the battlefield. In subsequent rounds, Initiative is determined automatically and people only need to declare their intent when their turn comes up.
Now, I can think of a number of ways to get round this problem, but I would like to hear from others about this. Has this happened to you? Am I doing something wrong? Do you agree with my analysis?
You're not doing anything wrong.
Escalating to talking on your first raise isn't cheating, it's just what happened. You got some free dice - yay! Use them in good health.