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When to roll

Started by Frank T, October 03, 2004, 02:40:42 PM

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Frank T

Hi everybody!

After my first attempt at The Pool failed (I described it here in the Actual Play Forum), I volunteered to GM the next try. I understand that our primary failure was mostly due to mistaking The Pool for some sort of on-the-fly improvisational game.

Now, we'll make the characters in advance, and I'll prepare a normal "adventure" in my usual fashion. So the players can give as much input as they like, but I'll have something at hand to keep them occupied if they don't. I'm quite confident about the conflict resolution part when I as the GM call for a roll. However, I'm still a little at a loss on the part of player-initialized rolls. The rules say:

QuoteAnyone can call for a die roll whenever a conflict is apparent or when someone wants to introduce a new conflict. Just broadly state your intention and roll.

Since none of the players has ever played The Pool, I'll have to give them some examples as to what "introducing a new conflict" might include. What's pretty obvious is that the character can, through his actions, provide for conflict. But how about players themselves introducing whole incidents? Is that covered, too? For example,

GM: "Your horses breathe heavily in the cold mountain air as you finally reach the village. The stone walls of the low buildings ducking against the mountain flank are cracked and whithered. An icy wind whistles through the main street."
Player: "There's an old women struggling with a heavy bucket of water from the well. Just as we enter, she stumbles and is about to spill the water. I wanna make a roll using my nimble trait to try and hurry to her help before it happens."

Would that be okay? Or is this much Player Empowerment not intended? If you have some links to threads devoted to such matters, I'd be grateful.



Hey Frank,

Introduction of whole conflicts by the players, such as the one you described above, is something that usually doesn't happen in my games. Or actually it does, but during a MOV, meaning the player has rolled before introducing the whole thing.

If for some reason your player wanted to have the scene happen that way (the old woman stumbling and the PC helping her), he might call a roll saying something like:

"It is important that we make a friendly first contact with the people in this town, so I'd like to roll for it."

He rolls, gets a MOV and proceeds to narrate the old woman stumbling, how his PC helped her and got her gratitude and the simpathy of the passer-bys and stuff.

The whole point is that when a player calls for a roll, he wants to bend the story in a particular direction. And the fun thing is that when he rolls he might fail and end-up with more (or less, or worse) than he was looking for.

If you allow the players to simply introduce stuff without rolling as you described you will probably fall into the free-form trap once again.