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Author Topic: [Trollbabe] Examples of Combat Failures WITHOUT rerolls  (Read 4121 times)
Andy Kitkowski
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« on: July 07, 2004, 07:16:04 PM »

Hey all- I'm looking here specifically for solid "Actual Play" descriptions of what you've seen on the table.

I'm rereading Trollbabe in anticipation of running it at a demo table at a local Con. I want to play a quick game with buddies before I run the Con table- I think I have everything down that I need.

I get the conflicts. I get combat.  I get what happens in a conflict if you opt out to not reroll your first die roll that ends in a failure: You fail. The only thing I don't get is what happens when you don't reroll that first die roll of a Fighting conflict that you fail?  Again, I'm looking for solid but brief Real Examples here.

Fair and Clear: I'm a trollbabe. There's a Snow Golem protecting a bridge I want to cross. I decide to instigate the action by Fightign the golem. It's understood that if I fail I get the beatdown. Setup: Conflict: Fighting- I want to defeat the golem. I fight the Snow Golem and fail. I decide not to reroll. I am "discommoded".

What does "discommoded" mean for a fight where I don't continue to the "Injury" level? Can someone give me an idea oh what can happen in the above example with the Snow Golem (feel free to embellish).

Also, can some people share from experience, briefly, some examples of Fighting where the first roll was failed, and the Trollbabe decided NOT to continue from there?

It's weird, I can come up with situations for anything OTHER than combat for a dicommoded state, but in combat, I just can't quite get my head around it.

Thanks!

-Andy
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Paganini
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« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2004, 07:24:44 PM »

Nothing happens, mechanically. You don't have to worry about it, because it's Someone Else's Problem. I.e., the player decides what it means to be discommoded when fighitng an Snow Golem on a bridge.

As far as what the player's options are, the possibilities are practically endless. "Discommoded" is all color anyway.  The Snow Golem could, frex, as soon as he notices the Trollbabe, stomp his foot really hard making the ice bridge crack out from under the Trollbabe causing her to go falling into the crevass in an avalance of snow.

One thing about Trollbabe is, players will set up their characters to fail, in order to get to narrate the results they want. So if the player wants to have his Trollbabe exploring in ice caves under the mountain, he might use a fight with a Snow Golem that he cares jack about to get his Trollbabe where he wants her to be.

Or, he migh tnarrate the Trollbabe getting knocked dizzy. Or he might narrate the Snow Golem sitting down in the middle of the bridge and refusing to fight - still blocking the way, of course - because he's never seen a Trollbabe before, and falls instantly in love with her. You will be surprised what your players come up with! :)
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Andy Kitkowski
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« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2004, 07:32:55 PM »

Awesome, man, this is EXACTLY what I was looking for.  I'm trying to get my brain around some more solid examples (like the ones you provided) to sort of get myself prepared for possibilities.  Sort of like jogging a few laps before a marathon.

Now, to take the issue to the public, can I now ask that people give me examples of this kind of thing (Trollbabe dissed in Fight failure, Player describes the action) that they've seen happen in their own games?  I just want to see what others have been through.

A few quick sentences without tons of backstory is totally fine.

Thanks again, all, and Paganini
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Paganini
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« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2004, 10:49:43 PM »

This isn't exactly a fight scene, but it is an example of how a player's narration of a failed roll can drive play.

I'm doing this trollbabe game with vampires instead of Trollbabes. Early on Benedict was attending a show at a theatre, and the theatre caught on fire. We'd previously decided that Benedict had some vague relationship with the show's leading lady, Lolly Mason. So, someone sets the theatre on fire, and Benedict goes running down to the dressing rooms to save Lolly. She's locked in her dressing room, pounding on the door and screaming, trying to get out, but the door's barred shut. So, Josh (Benedict's player) rolls and fails. He narrates that he grabs the iron bar on the door, then screams in agony as the iron burns his palms, establishing through narration that Iron is anathematic to Vampires (something we hadn't decided on yet.) So he took a reroll, grabbed up a nearby sledge-hammer, and bashed the door. Failure again. He narrated that the head crashed off the hammer as the haft split in two, spliters of it driving into his leg. He didn't take another reroll. He narrated Benedict leaving Lolly to burn to death. Benedict lit up a cigarette as he limped out onto the street, Lolly's screams fading into the distance.

So, yeah. We went on from there. For a dead chick, Lolly has had more impact on subsequent events than just about anything else.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #4 on: July 08, 2004, 05:53:22 AM »

Hiya,

Quote
The only thing I don't get is what happens when you don't reroll that first die roll of a Fighting conflict that you fail? Again, I'm looking for solid but brief Real Examples here.


READ COMICS, WATCH MOVIES, AND READ BOOKS. Protagonists are forever deciding not to press a conflict past an initial point of "uh oh, looks like this won't work." A lot.

Since role-players tend to proceed on a rather infantile interaction/violence strategy based on attrition, they also tend to lose touch with protagonist-type decision-making in violent situations.

Trollbabe was written based on a huge set of notes on watching "girlfriend gamers," among others, over my decades of play. I'm talking about the bright, fun girlfriend who joins in because she is at least marginally interested and because her boyfriend wants her to.

These players always understand that if something doesn't go well, it's best to call it off and cut your losses in terms of getting what you want, with no real blood running. But the people they play with never understand that. (This issue is very closely related to geek social fallacies, which non-canonically include the inability to compromise or "bow out.") They want to resolve the combat, which means the NPC/foe goes down dead, period, with squinty-eyed appreciation of every pain-causing step along the way.

Quote
Fair and Clear: I'm a trollbabe. There's a Snow Golem protecting a bridge I want to cross. I decide to instigate the action by Fightign the golem. It's understood that if I fail I get the beatdown. Setup: Conflict: Fighting- I want to defeat the golem. I fight the Snow Golem and fail. I decide not to reroll. I am "discommoded".


1. The Snow Golem grunts menacingly. I do a double-take and decide that fighting it is a bad idea.

2. The Snow Golem seizes my axe as it whips toward him, takes it away, and tosses it into a nearby tree. I decide to retrieve it, politely.

3. The Snow Golem places his hand on my chest and shoves. I sit down, then get up and say "That's quite a nice bridge, do you own it?"

Insight from these three: Note that in each case, the player has made sure to narrate that the fight is over. Physical hostilities are not going to continue. This is the single hardest thing for the gamer-mind (not the girlfriend-mind) to process in Trollbabe.

4. The Snow Golem clocks me in the head, and I see stars, then I duck around him and escape; he goes "where'd she go?"

5. The Snow Golem and I wrestle viciously, and I almost get him, but then my hands get so cold that I just can't continue. I back off.

6. The Snow Golem and I are circling and about to mix it up, when I slip on the ice and skid down the chasm under the bridge!

Insights from these three: (1) the degree of violence between the trollbabe and the foe is up to the narrator (player). (2) The outcome in terms of the trollbabe's physical position relative to the foe is up to the player (in some cases above, the player has implicitly proposed ending the scene; in others, he or she has not). (3) The degree of Director Stance is up to the player: e.g. in #6, it's quite high relative to #5. (4) The degree to which the trollbabe literally loses the fight, physically, to the foe is up to the player.

In all cases, the foe is not discommoded or injured, the bridge is not crossed (not even indirectly; #6 cannot include getting past it), and the trollbabe loses a bit of physical or emotional dignity, even if it's just for an instant. And in all cases, the fight is over.

Does any of this help, Andy?

Best,
Ron
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rafial
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« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2004, 08:23:44 AM »

A comment, and an example.

Comment: consider alternatives when phrasing intents ands general outcomes in free and clear.  In the example you gave, unless the player had a specific bone to pick with this Snow Golem, the conflict at hand is really more of "Trollbabe gets to the other side of the bridge/Trollbabe stymied" then "Snow Golem killed/not killed".  The reason I point this out is that by focusing on the true intent, you open up possiblities for narration.

Example: trollbabe is scouting the docks of a lakeside town at night, when she spots a group of sailors chase a troll into a dead end alley.   She quietly drops down and surprises them from behind.  Intent: prevent the humans from capturing the troll. The player rolled and failed.

Then came narration --  The trollbabe fought well, and might have overwhelmed the sailors, except that the noise attracted the city guard who showed up and arrested both sides.  "What's going on" asks the guard capitain who had a bone to pick with the 'babe from earlier events.  "This troll is our property, and it escaped" say the sailors.  "Is this yours too?" ask the capitain, pointing at the 'babe.   "Yup" say the sailors, and troll and trollbabe are marched to the slavers' ship and tossed in the hold.

Note the above was *all* the choice of the player.  He could have narrated  her realizing she was outnumbered, and running off, involved the guard and escaped when they showed up, or being dazed by a blow and having the sailors drag off the troll before she recovered.  In this case however, the player had the side agenda of wanting to get on board the slaver ship.  Trollbabe encourages that kind of stuff.
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Andy Kitkowski
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« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2004, 08:25:52 PM »

Great examples, guys!

Quote from: Ron Edwards

READ COMICS, WATCH MOVIES, AND READ BOOKS. Protagonists are forever deciding not to press a conflict past an initial point of "uh oh, looks like this won't work." A lot.


Yeah, I guess my problem was that when I laid down the Fair and Clear, and the player goes ahead and makes that fight roll, that something "fight related" must then occour. I guess this is because in other situations, like social, or athletic, or whatever, once you 'begin the action' you can work in a "failure twist" without having to say that the interaction never occoured.

Ex: I decide to use my Social roll, instead, to try to convince the Snow Golem to let me pass. I fail. So I DO talk to him, but apparently it's just not getting through. Perhaps he doesn't understand human speech, etc.

I didn't figure that it was "kosher" to just say, "Hmm, I failed. Ah... actually, I hold my tongue. I rethink this whole 'talking to him' thing."

Which is kind of a revelation for me here in relation to this game.  I mean, beyond the simple "a failure isn't a 'whiff'" stuff. Since you can essentially say for your first failure "I rethink it- I'm not going to do X after all", that opens up a huge range of activity and possibilities to slip in there in both combat and non-combat situations.

Cool. Thanks for the examples, everyone. That helped out a lot.

In the above, if it were MY Trollbabe squaring off, and I rolled fight and failed (and good point, the overall goal is "Cross the Bridge", not "Kill Golem"), I'd probably:

1) Realize that this ice golem was made with magic, and my normal weapons would have no effect on it.

2) Describe how it's suddenly become so cold (exuded by the snow golem, perhaps), that it's freezing me to the bone- I don't have the power to grasp my weapons anymore without going numb.

3) A take a step towards it and it blasts me with a Freeze Laser, and carries me off to its lair, sticking me to the ceiling and eating my Taunton.
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