*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
August 09, 2022, 05:32:18 AM

Login with username, password and session length
Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.
Search:     Advanced search
275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 65 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
Pages: [1]
Print
Author Topic: [Trollbabe] Player-created conflicts  (Read 4395 times)
Darren Hill
Member

Posts: 861


« on: April 03, 2004, 07:27:17 PM »

I'm comfortable with the idea of players calling for conflicts, and by that process adding extra elements to the campaign, but I'm having some conceptual problems with the following:

Quote

On many occasions, the trollbabe’s
stated action actually brings the conflict into
existence in its entirety, including the presence
and intent of opponents. For example, stating
that the trollbabe is being watchful for enemies
essentially requests that they be present.
Failure means that whoever-it-is must have
successfully got the drop on the trollbabe!


Lets say the PC is "looking to see if bandits are sneaking up on me with intent to bushwhack me."
She fails - but is not bothered enough to go for a reroll. So the bandits have indeed snuck up on her, and she is discommoded.
So, they ambush her. Cue another conflict.
Since it is another conflict, the penalties for being discommoded are negated.

Or she succeeds, and learns they are sneaking up on her, but she gets the drop on them. Cue another conflict.

Where here is the penalty for having failed to spot them?

I see that in the second example, she didn't need to attack - maybe she could have parleyed or whatever. (She might well have created the bandits for this purpose.)
Also, if it does go into a conflict, by failing to spot them the GM then has the option of choosing the conflict type which may surprise the PC.
But is there more I'm missing?

Darren
Logged

rafial
Member

Posts: 594


WWW
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2004, 07:54:54 PM »

Quote from: demiurgeastaroth

Also, if it does go into a conflict, by failing to spot them the GM then has the option of choosing the conflict type which may surprise the PC.
But is there more I'm missing?


Well, roll this around in your head.  If such a conflict is called, and the series fails, who describes the details and outcome of the ambush?

The player!

Whereas, if the Trollbabe gets the drop, then it's the GM that gets to describe who these bandits are, and what they want (unless some of these details have aready been established in free and clear).

Given that, the whole point of calling for such a conflict becomes not "what does it cost the Trollbabe if she fails" (the discommode is just color), but a huge opportunity for the player to grab the story reins.

Think about how many times in fiction, the story turns on some inconvenience being inflicted on the protaganist, that propels them further into the conflict.  In Trollbabe, this mechanic allows the player to arrange just such circumstances for their characters.  As a GM in Trollbabe, there is no need to go thinking of ways to "punish" characters for their failure, players will happily deal out way more grief that you could ever have imagined as a GM.

Quick example:  In my Trollbabe campaign, a 'babe named Thana was trying to sneak on board a docked pirate ship to rescue a street urchin of her acquantance.  The player said, "I want to roll to see if I'm discovered sneaking on board", rolled, and failed.

He then narrated as his discommode that Thana was coshed on the head, and woke up out at sea, shanghaid by the pirates.  Yow!

So does any of that help? :)
Logged
Darren Hill
Member

Posts: 861


« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2004, 04:47:59 AM »

Quote
Quick example:  In my Trollbabe campaign, a 'babe named Thana was trying to sneak on board a docked pirate ship to rescue a street urchin of her acquantance.  The player said, "I want to roll to see if I'm discovered sneaking on board", rolled, and failed.

He then narrated as his discommode that Thana was coshed on the head, and woke up out at sea, shanghaid by the pirates.  Yow!

So does any of that help? :)


Not really ;(
Because if the player's unstated but known goal had been to get on board ship and travel with it to its next destination, that goal has actually been achieved with a failure.

Going back to my bandits. My goal - "I want to see if bandits are sneaking up on me."
Success - bandits are sneaking up on me, and I spot them and get the drop. I can now decide if I want to avoid them (unlikely since I created them for a reason, unless maybe I just want to establish their presence for later), attack them, or interact with them. Lets say I attack. Time for a new conflict.
Failure - the bandits sneak up on me, and attack. Time for a new conflict.

In this case, both success and failure have actually lead to exactly the same result - a fight with the bandits. I suspect this is wrong.
What I suspect is the case is during Free and Clear, after I declare "I want to see if bandits are sneaking up on me", the gm should say something like "Okay - on success, you'll have the drop on the bandits and can do what you like afterwards, but if you fail, they will capture you," thus precluding a following conflict which renders the first one irrelevant. Then, if I use rerolls to avoid failure, I would narrate it (probably) as injuries sustained during a near-capture.

Going back to your boat. The player said, "I want to roll to see if I'm discovered sneaking on board", rolled, and failed.
Now, what if the player had narrated that he had tried to slip aboard, failed, and escaped capture. But then, later, comes back and says "I want to approach the ship and suggest they take me on as a crewman," leading to a social contest.
In both cases, the player wanted to get aboard the ship and travel with it, but the actual means by which this was achieved (the Goal stated for the conflict) was different. Is this sort of thing within the intent of the rules?
Logged

Alan
Member

Posts: 1012


WWW
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2004, 07:17:06 AM »

Quote from: demiurgeastaroth
Quote
Quick example:I want to roll to see if I'm discovered sneaking on board", rolled, and failed.


Not really ;(
Because if the player's unstated but known goal had been to get on board ship and travel with it to its next destination


Why should unstated goals have anything to do with the results?  They weren't the stated goal of the conflict.  The ultimate issue is not the character's performance in the game world, but the direction of the story and how she gets there.  

Quote

What I suspect is the case is during Free and Clear, after I declare "I want to see if bandits are sneaking up on me", the gm should say something like "Okay - on success, you'll have the drop on the bandits and can do what you like afterwards, but if you fail, they will capture you,"


I suppose that's within the rules, but I think it violates the spirit of the game.  I as player I would be frustrated if my GM did that.  He must not trust me very much.  I want my chance to make the story interesting and he's closing down my options.  My advice: don't do that.

Quote

"I want to approach the ship and suggest they take me on as a crewman," leading to a social contest.
In both cases, the player wanted to get aboard the ship and travel with it, but the actual means by which this was achieved (the Goal stated for the conflict) was different. Is this sort of thing within the intent of the rules?


Yes.  Though success doesn't mean they happily accept the babe into their midst: they may fake it, with plans to sell her as a slave later; they may make a grudgng deal; they might even require she do some task for them.

At the end, I'll just emphasize again that the game is about making story choices, not about character performance.  When Trollbabe succeeds, their _player_ is rewarded with progress toward a character's goal.  When she fails, the player is rewarded with the chance to complicate the story and insert elements that interest them.  Sometimes both lead to similar events, but that doesn't matter - what matters is the choices the player made along the way.  Trollbabe is a win-win game.
Logged

- Alan

A Writer's Blog: http://www.alanbarclay.com
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 16490


WWW
« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2004, 08:23:37 AM »

Hello,

Darren, both of your posts are making one key error that is gumming up your understanding.

It is: you seem to think that "Oh! Bandits are sneaking up on me!" is the resolution of one conflict, and that the fight with them would be another. That is not correct. When either the player or GM designates the "looking out for bandits" as a conflict in the first place, it will be defined (Social, Magic, or Fighting - almost certainly Fighting). Hence the series that expresses this conflict being resolved is the fight.

Understanding this removes the majority of your difficulties, I think. Take some time over this one, if you will, rather than hit the keys in rapid response; it takes a lot of processing for "experienced role-players."

Here's the bigger issue, too. When the player says, "I'm looking out for bandits," that does not automatically invent the bandits. What matters first is whether the player states, "And this is a conflict!" in addition. If so, then bam, we have bandits.

If the player doesn't say that, then the GM should consider calling this statement a conflict. If it is, then bam, we have bandits.

But! Note that the player may say, "I'm looking out for bandits," and not call for a conflict, and then the GM similarly decides not to call for a conflict ... hence, now it's established that there are no bandits, the trollbabe has looked out for them and does not see them (because they aren't there), and we move to the next scene.

So, the whole age-old role-playing conundrum of "I look to see if anything is under the bush," is solved - completely.

Best,
Ron

P.S. Thanks to Julie and Tod for helping with this post.
Logged
rafial
Member

Posts: 594


WWW
« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2004, 01:29:06 PM »

Quote from: demiurgeastaroth

Not really ;(
Because if the player's unstated but known goal had been to get on board ship and travel with it to its next destination, that goal has actually been achieved with a failure.


Aha!  This illustrates an important point.

The player's goal and the Trollbabe's goal are not necessarily the same thing!

In the pirate ship situation I described, the Trollbabe's goal was clearly to sneak aboard, and rescue her friend.  Had the roll been a success, that's what I (the GM) would have narrated.  The conflict roll is about determining the success or failure of the Trollbabe's goal.

On the other hand, the player in this situation was clearly jonesing for a failure, because it kept Thana together with her friend, but thrust them into an even more complicated situation, with the potential for more cool story.

It is part of the point of the Trollbabe mechanics, that character failure often drives player satisfaction and success.
Logged
Darren Hill
Member

Posts: 861


« Reply #6 on: April 04, 2004, 10:45:06 PM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards
Hello,

Darren, both of your posts are making one key error that is gumming up your understanding.

It is: you seem to think that "Oh! Bandits are sneaking up on me!" is the resolution of one conflict, and that the fight with them would be another. That is not correct. When either the player or GM designates the "looking out for bandits" as a conflict in the first place, it will be defined (Social, Magic, or Fighting - almost certainly Fighting). Hence the series that expresses this conflict being resolved is the fight.

Understanding this removes the majority of your difficulties, I think. Take some time over this one, if you will, rather than hit the keys in rapid response; it takes a lot of processing for "experienced role-players."


I think I'm getting there :)
So, if the player said, "I'm checking if bandits are sneaking up on me. Gimme a conflict!", the GM would respond with something like - "What do you want out of this conflict?"
The player would then describe how it would be cool to be tracked by bandits who might have a beef with the player's enemy, so he wants to join forces with them.
Okay, says Mr GM, thats a Social Conflict.

Is that it?

Quote from: Ron Edwards
Here's the bigger issue, too. When the player says, "I'm looking out for bandits," that does not automatically invent the bandits. What matters first is whether the player states, "And this is a conflict!" in addition. If so, then bam, we have bandits.


I think this could be made a bit more explicit in the printed version. It's obvious now that you mention it, thinking about the ramifications of it not being so, but it hadn't clicked.
Logged

Darren Hill
Member

Posts: 861


« Reply #7 on: April 04, 2004, 11:32:13 PM »

Quote from: Alan

Why should unstated goals have anything to do with the results?  They weren't the stated goal of the conflict.  The ultimate issue is not the character's performance in the game world, but the direction of the story and how she gets there.


What I'm concerned with is avoiding "failure = success".
Quote from: Alan
Quote
"I want to approach the ship and suggest they take me on as a crewman," leading to a social contest.
In both cases, the player wanted to get aboard the ship and travel with it, but the actual means by which this was achieved (the Goal stated for the conflict) was different. Is this sort of thing within the intent of the rules?

Yes.  Though success doesn't mean they happily accept the babe into their midst: they may fake it, with plans to sell her as a slave later; they may make a grudgng deal; they might even require she do some task for them.


What I asked was not if the latter was possible, but was it possible for a player to
A) Attempt to sneak on board ship (probably using Fighting), fail and escape.
B) And then, come back and try to sweet-talk his way aboard.

In both cases, his real (and stated) Goal is to get aboard ship. the actual method used varied, giving him two opportunities to try the same thing.
So, what I was asking, basically, is changing the Method enough of a jusification to try to achieve the same Goal.
My gut instinct is that if so, this weakens the failure/injury mechanics, and so should not be allowed.
If I'm wrong, well that's what I want to know :)
Logged

Alan
Member

Posts: 1012


WWW
« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2004, 08:05:21 AM »

Quote from: demiurgeastaroth

What I'm concerned with is avoiding "failure = success".


What I was trying to say is that "failure to sneak" does not equal "failure to get aboard."  Though Ron pointed out that the GM could interpret a conflict about "I sneak aboard" to include both.  I think interpreting the actual goal is something for the free and clear phase.  

Quote


What I asked was not if the latter was possible, but was it possible for a player to
A) Attempt to sneak on board ship (probably using Fighting), fail and escape.
B) And then, come back and try to sweet-talk his way aboard.


Sorry, I wasn't clear.  My answer assumed a previous attempt to board.  Although the GM would be within the rules to have the ship become inaccessable after the first failure, he could also allow the player to try a different approach.  

In Trollbabe, I generally don't allow retries in the same scene.  Although new scene and different approach (social instead of fighting) is enough justification for trying a similar goal.
Logged

- Alan

A Writer's Blog: http://www.alanbarclay.com
Darren Hill
Member

Posts: 861


« Reply #9 on: April 06, 2004, 02:51:13 PM »

Quote from: Alan
Sorry, I wasn't clear.  My answer assumed a previous attempt to board.  Although the GM would be within the rules to have the ship become inaccessable after the first failure, he could also allow the player to try a different approach.  

In Trollbabe, I generally don't allow retries in the same scene.  Although new scene and different approach (social instead of fighting) is enough justification for trying a similar goal.


I'm a little uneasy about allowing a retry with a different approach, as that might encourage some players I know to try with Fighting, then Magic, and then Social - thus conserving their rerolls. But if game time has passed and the situation has changed (new and different scene), I could see it being okay.
Logged

John Harper
Member

Posts: 1054

flip you for real


WWW
« Reply #10 on: April 06, 2004, 09:07:01 PM »

I was playing Thana in Wilhelm's game (the Trollbabe who tried to sneak aboard the pirate ship).

My goal as a player: Get out to the high seas so I could hook up with the Trollbabe of another player. I decided it would be fun to travel by way of Pirate ship. A certain Pirate clan was one of the common story-elements among the Trollbabes in this game, so it would help tie the stories together, also.

So, how to get out to sea? Well, Thana was a Fighting specialist. She tended to solve all of her problems with fighting. It would be *her* goal to simply walk on board the Pirate ship, hold someone at knife-point, and demand to be taken out to sea. So, that's what she did.

As she boarded the ship, though, I said "Maybe that mysterious sorcerer (from an earlier scene) is still hanging out with the pirates! Thana better use her Trollish magic to determine if any spells are guarding the ship." Thana was terrible at magic. As a player, I called for this conflict so I could lose, and narrate Thana getting shanghaid.

That's in fact what happened. I failed the roll, and narrated that Thana utterly failed to detect the sleep-spell placed to snare intruders. It zapped her as soon as she stepped aboard. She woke up the next day, out at sea.

So there you have it. "Failure" for the Trollbabe got me (the player) just what I wanted. Based on my reading of the rules, that's exactly how they're supposed to work.
Logged

Agon: An ancient Greek RPG. Prove the glory of your name!
Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 10459


« Reply #11 on: April 07, 2004, 01:42:21 PM »

Yeah, John's got it. It's a player and character separation issue. The character failing may well be the player's success. This is intentional. Character success doesn't enable player narration, failure does. Thus, yes, Character Failure may well equal Player Success.

Mike
Logged

Member of Indie Netgaming
-Get your indie game fix online.
Pages: [1]
Print
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC
Oxygen design by Bloc
Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!