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Escalation question

Started by Grover, December 16, 2004, 12:32:11 PM

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I'm posting this way too early in the morning, so forgive me if I babble.
I have a concern about how escalation works.  Suppose I start a conflict,
and I jump straight to guns (on account of wanting to shoot this guy dead :).  My opponent decides to try to talk me down - He starts with his talking
dice.  I roll better than him, so pretty soon he has to escalate - he draws a knife.  Now he's gotten dice from all 4 of his attributes, and I've only
gotten dice for half of mine - it doesn't look good for me.  Is this the way the system is supposed to work?  Should you make a point of starting at the
same level as your opponent, and escalating gradually?


This is a curious question. I've been hearing more of it than I expected. I'll answer, I'll broaden my answer, then I'll generalize, and if you have any questions after that, ask!

The answer: If one person escalates and the other doesn't, the one who did gets more dice, and the one who doesn't doesn't.

The broader answer, and why it's cool: If one person escalates, all you have to do to escalate to match is respond in an appropriate way. You are under no obligation, having escalated, to See or Raise according to the new arena, neglecting the old. That is, once you start talking, you don't have to stop shooting.

An example. What's at stake is: do you make it home tonight? I launch the conflict by opening fire on you from on top of your toolshed on the track up to your house - I roll Acuity and Will. You respond accordingly, throwing yourself into the high alfalfa so I can't get a good shot - you roll Acuity and Will. It's your Raise and you don't want to shoot back, so you escalate to talking. "Hey! Virgil, it wasn't me got her pregnant, lay off!" You roll Heart.

Now you have more dice than me and I want my Heart dice too. I escalate to match you, I roll my Heart, I See your Raise with "shut up, I ain't listening, you can't talk me out of this." I raise with "I shoot the crap out of you." From now on in this conflict, you can raise with talking or shooting, and I can too.

Let's even say for the sake of example that you throw your gun out where I can see it and all your Raises from now until the end of the conflict are talking, and all mine are shooting. Is that kosher? It surely is.

To generalize: Practically all of the time, if I'm shooting at you we both roll Acuity plus Will. If you're talking to me we both roll Acuity plus Heart. If I throw a punch and you don't flat-out ignore it, we both roll Body plus Will.

The cases where I roll Acuity plus Will while you roll Acuity plus Heart are going to be very exceptional and case-by-case.


Emily Care


It sounds like you're saying, Vincent, that the ladder of escalation is not a one-way affair.  Folks can escalate to talking from gunfighting just as they could from talking to physical. The mechanical effect is that they get the appropriate dice to roll for the level they've escalated to, whatever it might be, unless there is overlap, ie they've already rolled their acuity dice, so they don't get to again.  

If that's so, I bet the reason the question keeps cropping up is that the chain of escalation sounds like it has to either start in one place (talking) or go in one direction (talk->physical->fight->guns).  If it ain't required to be linear, a little explanation to that effect might go a long way.

Though, of course, that all might be extant already. Dunno.

Koti ei ole koti ilman saunaa.

Black & Green Games


Emily's right, I thought the escalation ladder worked in one direction only, as the word "Escalation" means to take something to the next level. As I was reading the chapter on Conflict Resolution however, I did think it would be cool to allow Escalation from any arena to another, which I guess is by the book after all.



Jason Morningstar

Gotta say I read it as a fixed progression, too.


What's important about calling it "escalation" is that it is escalation for me to shout that I'm not the one got her pregnant. It changes the whole Fallout landscape, for the worse=more interesting=better. "I killed my grandkid's daddy 1d4" is not a happy Fallout Trait to write on your character sheet.

Because you have to Raise with something I can't ignore, adding a new arena to the conflict will always be escalting, whatever the new arena is.

Now in play, it's just going to naturally happen that conflicts are going to mostly start with talking and end with shooting. The Fallout Dice progression also encourages it. But there's nothing in the rules to stop you from going the other way, so feel free.