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Author Topic: [Trollbabe] Possible Rules Mod  (Read 4084 times)
The_Tim
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« on: March 14, 2006, 10:00:28 AM »

I'm hoping to play some Trollbabe with my wife.  As prep I've been rereading the past threads on it.  Something jumped out at me as I did.  The whole Relationships dying in a series thing.  It occurred to me in some cases that it might be interesting to change the nature of the risk of using a Relationship.  When using a Relationship for a re-roll one might decide that the Relationship is lost after the series, no matter what, and that this protects them from dying.  They'll still suffer injury at the appropriate stage given the re-roll, but they won't die.  As named NPCs the GM can veto attempts to rekindle the Relationship in order to get back the lost resource.

I think it could lead to cool narrative choices and be of great use in building up the cast.  A Trollbabe's life quickly becomes littered with dead friends, burnt out sidekicks, disgusted former mentors, and kidnapped wards brainwashed into serving hideous cults.  But, to be honest, I'm not sure the mod is actually needed.  Either in terms of being effective in adding those things or actually mattering from a rules point of view.  Hence posting it and asking for some opinions.
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Eero Tuovinen
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« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2006, 10:11:47 AM »

Well, this seems like what I use to call a formalistic interpretation of the rules - that is, you don't so much change the mechanics around, but instead decide to read the words on the page a little differently. If I understood you correctly, the system would work exactly like usual, but "death" of a relationship character would be interpreted as the relationship ending in some other way. Right?

I do this kind of formalistic interpretation of the rules myself all the time in a wide variety of games. Generally it improves the play experience by allowing more thematic leeway. As far as I can see, it should work for Trollbabe as well - the mechanics don't care whether a given NPC was a relationship at some point in the past, so as long as you all understand that the relationship dying is permanent, the mechanical result is the same. That being the case, I'm pretty much of the school that as long as the mechanics don't care, I don't care.

As for who'd make the decision - when I play Dust Devils, this kind of interpretative decision-making is all up to the current narrator. We get lots of "metaphorical death" in that particular game, both ways - sometimes a guy gets shot full of lead, but we all know he ain't finished, because he's not dead mechanically, only narratively. Likewise, sometimes characters go through the whole "death routine" only to be narrated as retiring to Nebraska and becoming farmers. Formalistically talking, death in a story is just one of many means of exiting the piece permanently.
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The_Tim
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« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2006, 11:20:30 AM »

Hm.  Ok it seems I really didn't explain myself well at all.

Basically my idea is this.  You declare BEFORE the actual rolling that the Relationship you are checking off is broken as part of the final narration for the Conflict outcome.  The NPC does not die.  The worst that can happen to them is being Incapacitated.  They continue to exist in the game world, they might even figure into stories.  One could even imagine assigning penalties to future Conflicts with them they know how the Trollbabe operates or some such.  It is even possible that the GM may allow them to become a Relationship again at a later date, most likely of a different kind.

In the narrative I can see this playing out as the Trollbabe believing the NPC to be dead, actively betraying them as part of gaining advantage in the Conflict, or being betrayed by the NPC as part of the gaining of the re-roll.  It exists to keep the NPC in the story in a changed capacity.  Instead of risking the life of the NPC for the re-roll the player assures the loss of the Relationship, but leaves behind a mark on the game world.
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Alan
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« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2006, 02:00:00 PM »

Hey Tim,

Partof the point of Trollbabe injuries and the fallout to Relationships is that the Trollbabe's actions have consequences on others.  If, instead of killing a Relationship, the Trollbabe's action only breaks their connection -- pisses the relationship character(s) off for example -- this changes the whole meaning of risking the Relationship for a reroll.

If you go for this, I would suggest that a Relationship is perminantly lost, not when the rules would require the character's death, but when it requires a simple injury.  This allows the Trollbabe to have a choice between losing the character or retaining them in order to put them at risk of death.

- Alan
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- Alan

A Writer's Blog: http://www.alanbarclay.com
Alan
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« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2006, 02:02:25 PM »

On second thought -- recalling the rules -- I think Relationship character's can be Incapacitated -- if so, that would be the level where the Trollbabe decides keep or lose.
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- Alan

A Writer's Blog: http://www.alanbarclay.com
Jon Hastings
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« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2006, 02:42:33 PM »

Tim,

I would suggest playing Trollbabe as written before tinkering around with it.  This is partly because (a) I am a Trollbabe purist and (b) there's a lot of subtle stuff that's built in to the game system that only reveals itself during play.  And the game's relationship mechanic plays a big part in bringing out all this very cool, very powerful thematic material.

-Jon
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The_Tim
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« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2006, 02:58:14 PM »

I was in the middle of a post clarifying the rule Mod when I needed to start dinner.  Coming back to it I think that it can be better served by declaring the re-roll as written with the Trollbabe altering the nature of the Relationship or screwing the NPC in some way as the narrative content, and then breaking or redefining the relationship as desired.  And if it fails the NPC still dies, so a two-fer there.  Given that the Trollbabe's player would have to be in on the "but they actually lived" twist anyway this works just as well for the "Oh, shit, there's that kid that used to follow me around that I thought got killed by pirates actually ended up getting abducted by them, serving as pegboy and now has become a captain of a vicious crew" thing.
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Eero Tuovinen
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« Reply #7 on: March 15, 2006, 05:06:30 AM »

Hey, apparently my post last night didn't make it here. Here's a paraphrase of what I wrote:

After further thinking I'm of the mind that the rules serve best if relationships cannot be broken at all, apart from the literal death of the NPC. The relationship can change from friend to rival to enemy back to sidekick if warranted, and the NPC won't necessarily make an appearance for a long while, but the relationship stays. This emphasizes the importance of choosing your relationships, I think, and literally forces the Trollbabe to suffer injury to get rid of her enemies, for instance.

So yeah, pretty much what Tim said. I'm sure Ron could tell us what he intented with the rules in this case.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #8 on: March 15, 2006, 08:32:10 AM »

Hi,

I think the discussion's concluded well, but since you asked, Eero, I simply support the rules as written. (I may be wrong, but your last post seems odd in referring to Tim; perhaps you meant Jon?)

Tim, the proposed rules-modification seems to me to be an easy way out of the choices that the game is all about. I advise strongly against it.

To clarify the rules: If the trollbabe emerges from a conflict discommoded, then the relationship-character she's used is now injured. Take it down the line from there, and that's the rule. If she's injured, the relationship-character is incapacitated; if she's incapacitated, the relationship-character is killed.

Aside from the relationship-character's death, there is no escape from a relationship, and in some cases I've seen in play, not even then.

However, if you want relationships' descriptions to change, so that a lover now becomes an enemy, that's no big deal. As you know, the description of a relationship doesn't change anything about the rules for its use.

Tim, your description of the little kid who becomes a pirate captain is easily achieved via the existing rules, without any modification.

Best,
Ron
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The_Tim
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« Reply #9 on: March 15, 2006, 08:55:39 AM »

Yeah, it was while thinking of a concrete example that I realized the rules already supported what I wanted out of the change.
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