*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
August 12, 2022, 01:00:14 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: 76 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
Pages: [1]
Print
Author Topic: [Sorcerer] Orthogonal & Oppositional Conflicts.  (Read 10440 times)
jburneko
Member

Posts: 1351


« on: August 30, 2006, 10:57:10 AM »

So, I've been following the conversation about the problem with Stakes setting over on Story Games and I noticed the little side bars about Orthogonal vs. Oppositional Conflicts.  A little lightbulb went off with regard to Sorcerer play and how these are handled and I'd like a confirmation on my understanding.

First I want to make it clear that I fully understand what Oppositional and Orthogonal conflicts are.  That's crystal clear.

So, the first base case: Simple Oppositional Conflict.  Stealing the example from the Story Games thread, Amy is trying to get the vase and Bob just wants to prevent her from doing so.  In Sorcerer this is a simple Stamina vs. Stamina.  I wouldn't even blink an eye adjudicating this as the GM.

The second base case: Total Orthogonal Conflict: Amy is shooting Bob,  Bob is whacking Carmen, Carmen is spitting on Doug, Doug is throwing rocks at Amy.
This is also easy peasy.  Everyone rolls Stamina, order by high die, do the abort to defend thing, etc.

The eureka moment for me was when I realize that most of my "choke" moments while playing Sorcerer is when you embed an oppositional conflict in amongst orthogonal ones.  The most often discussed is total defense and whether the silly notion of aborting to defend against defense is valid.  Here's the example:

Amy wants to get the vase.  Bob wants to stop her.  Carmen is shooting Amy.  Doug is shooting Bob.  We all roll Stamina and this is the situation that throws me every time.  The order comes out like this:

Carmen
Bob
Amy
Doug

So Carmen comes up first.  Does it make any sense for Amy to use the single die defense?  Has Bob simply won out right?  Even if she did defend against Carmen with one die what does it mean that Bob goes next?  Amy aborting her action to defend against Bob makes little sense since the very act of aborting achieves Bob's goal.  The only thing that MIGHT make sense is to power through Carmen and Bob with a single die and if her second single die beats Bob's initial roll then she gets the vase but I'm not sure that's using the mechanics corectly.

So my question is this: When resolving oppositional conflicts within a set of orthogonal ones, do you simply fall back on the default rule, the high initial roll wins forget aborting, defending etc?

Jesse
Logged
Valamir
Member

Posts: 5574


WWW
« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2006, 11:24:55 AM »

I'm not seeing the point of confusion.  Can you clarify for me?

Bob's roll beat Amy's roll...that means Bob stops Amy from getting the vase and possibly earns some roll over bonuses from the deal as a result of comparing his dice to Amy's.  UNLESS something happens before Bob goes that causes Bob to abort...which it didn't in this example...so regardless of what Amy does she doesn't get the vase.

What am I missing?
Logged

jburneko
Member

Posts: 1351


« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2006, 11:50:55 AM »

Oh, I think I see that now (and perhaps longer because I think I've been doing it this way for a while now but the choking feeling still happens).  The major confusion comes from the presentation in the book.  For the longest, longest time I've been left with the impression that during complex conflict the initial roll represented ordering/attack ONLY and were never ever ever compared directly for purposes of success/fail determination and that for any action to be complete it MUST be compared against a second "defense" roll that comes from somewhere.

But given the above situation I could never work out where Amy's defense roll is supposed to come in/from against Bobs attempt to stop her since trying apply the other rules of abort/defend etc make little sense logistically.

Jesse
Logged
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 16490


WWW
« Reply #3 on: August 31, 2006, 06:13:17 AM »

Jesse, I’m going to beat you with a stick.

Quote
So my question is this: When resolving oppositional conflicts within a set of orthogonal ones, do you simply fall back on the default rule, the high initial roll wins forget aborting, defending etc?

NO. You follow the rules because the rules work.

Quote
Amy wants to get the vase.  Bob wants to stop her.  Carmen is shooting Amy.  Doug is shooting Bob.  We all roll Stamina and this is the situation that throws me every time.  The order comes out like this:

Carmen
Bob
Amy
Doug

I suggest taking that paragraph that you next wrote and expunging it from reality. It’s a squirming mass of weirdness. I don’t know what goes through your head when you read the words “defend” and “abort.” I suggest replacing them, in the rules, with the words “try to cancel other guy’s attempt at me” and “automatically cancel my own attempt that I stated before.”

I’m gonna go through this a couple of ways.

VERSION ONE

1. Carmen’s bullet’s on its way. Amy may choose to try to defend with the single die, or abort her grab for the vase to defend with full dice. Let’s say she does the former, and succeeds (yes, this can happen).

2. Bob is next, stopping Amy from grabbing the vase. Same choice for Amy! She can choose to defend against Bob with the single die, or to abort her grab for the vase to defend with full dice. Let’s say she does the former, and succeeds again!

3. Amy is next, grabbing the vase. Let’s say there’s one oppositional die she rolls against, and she succeeds! Amy has the vase! Carmen has missed! Bob dove into the rose bush when he tried to tackle her! Amy gloats!

4. Finally, Doug shoots Bob, and Bob defends with full dice, successfully or not, who knows.

VERSION TWO

1. Carmen’s bullet’s on its way. Amy may choose to try to defend with the single die, or abort her grab for the vase to defend with full dice. Let’s say she does the former, and fails (yes, this can happen).

At this point, one of three things can happen depending on the degree of victory (i.e. damage). (a) If Amy is still functional, she will continue to go for the vase, which will now get some more oppositional “defense” dice of its own based on her injuries. (b) If Amy is not functional (i.e. shot! Bad!) then she loses her action and falls down. (c) However, if Amy is a player-character, (b) might be modified by the Will rules and everything will now proceed for this round as if she hadn’t been shot at all. But the really cool part is that we don’t know about this option until we get to her action.

2. Bob’s action depends on what’s up with Amy. If she’s still functional and grabbing the vase, then I imagine he proceeds as before. If she’s not, though, he needs to decide whether he’ll try to stop her as stated, or abort because the action is now pointless. Ordinarily, the latter is the obvious move. But if Amy is a sorcerer, look out! Because she still has a chance to pull the Will trick on her move.

So let’s say Bob goes ahead and pulls the strange-appearing move of still trying to stop Amy even though she hit the dirt face-first with what looks like a fatal bullet-wound. She defends! With what? Why, with her single die, of course, due to penalties … unless she wants to pull the Will trick now, which is allowed, and use the dice (if she succeeds) for her defensive roll.

3. Amy’s move. Oh man, it all depends, now. She’s either slightly injured, face-down injured, or Will-recovered due to her response to Bob. If she’s face-down injured, too bad. No grab for the vase, that’s done. In either of the other circumstances, though, she’s only facing her lasting penalties and those go to the vase for its oppositional roll.

4. Doug shoots at Bob, and it works out one way or the other.


Anyway, what I’m saying is that the one place where you thought you might be using the mechanics incorrectly, is the one place in which you were correct, about Amy gutting it out through using single-die defense.

And it is totally unclear to me why you keep saying “it wouldn’t make sense” over and over again, regarding her possible decisions to abort. All those options might make perfect sense.

For instance, Amy might decide that the vase isn’t worth getting shot over and abort to defend fully (i.e. dodge desperately) against Carmen’s bullet. I assume you don’t have any difficulty with that one.

But also for instance, let’s say she does dodge the bullet successfully with one die, but then faces Bob. And Jesse, here’s the point …. Sorcerer decisions are all about context. Let’s say Amy fears being touched by Bob worse than she feared Carmen’s bullet, or more than she wants that vase. This isn’t because of Bob’s kewl powerz or anything, but due to personal history between the characters.

If something like that is going on, then Amy may well abort her grab at the vase in order to defend against Bob in such a way that she avoids being touched by him.

Why is this so difficult? Where does this choking feeling come from? Why in the world do I keep facing this resistance? Why do you keep saying, “it makes no sense for her to abort her action,” when I can think of a dozen or a hundred reasons why the player might do so?

It all comes down to some weird thing you must be thinking of when you read the words “defend” or “abort.” I don’t know why. But I’m putting it on you, not on the rules, not on the system.

The Sorcerer resolution system never leaves any character in the conceptual lurch, in terms of what’s happened to them, what they can do, when they can do it, and how it’s going in general. Nor is it ambiguous in any way regarding who can choose what about a character, or when.

Best, Ron
Logged
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 16490


WWW
« Reply #4 on: August 31, 2006, 06:15:07 AM »

Hi Ralph,

I don't know how to put this any softer ...

You're totally incorrect. All we know from the information Jesse provided is that Bob's attempt to stop Amy comes in at her before she has a chance to grab the vase. Not that he succeeds in stopping her. That is a matter of her defensive roll against him, which hasn't happened yet.

Best, Ron
Logged
Valamir
Member

Posts: 5574


WWW
« Reply #5 on: August 31, 2006, 08:43:58 AM »

Huh...

Ok, well given that, I'm now right on the same page as Jesse going...huh?   Cuz while it made super easy sense to me before now...not so much.

Here's the part that is now confusing.  Maybe the same part Jesse is confused at.

Quote
2. Bob is next, stopping Amy from grabbing the vase. Same choice for Amy! She can choose to defend against Bob with the single die, or to abort her grab for the vase to defend with full dice. Let’s say she does the former, and succeeds again!

3. Amy is next, grabbing the vase. Let’s say there’s one oppositional die she rolls against, and she succeeds! Amy has the vase! Carmen has missed! Bob dove into the rose bush when he tried to tackle her! Amy gloats!

Lets say #1.  Amy did NOT succeed with her 1 die defense.  Bob has now succeeded at stopping Amy from grabbing the vace.  So what happens with Amy's actual roll that she preserved by not aborting?  Does it now automatically fail?   If so, then those dice become totally pointless.  Or does Bob's successes against Amy's defense get rolled into the vase's Opposition Dice when its Amy's turn..meaning Amy could STILL succeed at grabbing the vase...even though Bob supposedly won in his bid to stop her.

Lets say #2.  Amy decides to abort and defend against Bob.  She succeeds.  So she has now successfully prevented Bob from preventing her from grabbing the vase...but yet she has no action left to grab the vase...so even though she beat Bob...Bob still won.  So Bob lost his goal of preventing Amy from getting the vase by...preventing Amy from getting the vase.
Logged

jburneko
Member

Posts: 1351


« Reply #6 on: August 31, 2006, 09:05:55 AM »

Ron,

My questions are the same as Ralph's above.

Jesse
Logged
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 16490


WWW
« Reply #7 on: August 31, 2006, 12:38:46 PM »

Hi Ralph,

Bob stopped Amy from grabbing the vase already, while his action is “up” and when she failed her defense roll.

… but how well did he stop her?

She still gets her roll to grab the vase. The vase’s opposition dice are increased by Bob’s victories over her in his “stop her” attempt.

Now, that above paragraph may not apply in many cases. Let’s say, for example that Carmen had shot the vase and hit it as the first action, shattering it. In that case, then Amy’s attempt to grab it is totally worthless, as it’s in pieces all over the place, and she is forced to abort her grab because it’s an impossibility.

Many other situations follow that same path, especially when a character is about to shoot person X, and but another character shoots and kills X first. The first character just aborts, because the target is already dead.

Some circumstances of Total Victory might apply here too. Say Bob got Total Victory over Amy’s single die of defense. Depending on the narration and circumstance, such as “Bob and Amy go crashing through the store-front window onto the street,” the opportunity to grab the vase might be completely gone.

This sort of thing frequently happens in play. If, in this case, Amy’s player insisted on retaining the chance to grab the vase, then she is in her rights (I’m assuming Amy’s player is female just for simplicity). But it is surprising how often players give up that right merely because they love working with the change in the SIS and enjoy the current choreography.

Anyway, though, just because I’m dealing with Jesse and Ralph and neither of you believe any player would ever do such a thing, go ahead and take the “real rule” result as the answer. Amy retains her grab, but the vase is now harder to get.

Quote
Lets say #2.  Amy decides to abort and defend against Bob.  She succeeds.  So she has now successfully prevented Bob from preventing her from grabbing the vase...but yet she has no action left to grab the vase...so even though she beat Bob...Bob still won.  So Bob lost his goal of preventing Amy from getting the vase by...preventing Amy from getting the vase.

No, no, no. [Beats you both with stick.] Think in terms of whole rounds, not just action-by-action.

If Amy aborts and defends against Bob, successfully, then his attempt to control her has failed. Sure, she didn’t grab the vase this time around, but she is Top Dog over Bob, rather than him being Top Dog over her.

So don’t think of it as “Bob prevented her after all.” Think of it as “Bob delayed her a little, but she’s undaunted.”

The implications are immense. Amy’s stated action for the next round is now in a totally different context from being stopped by Bob. What she says next not only takes “I stuffed Bob” as its foundation, but could well take her victories in doing so as a bonus; in fact, given the narrations that accompany these sorts of actions, it’s practically guaranteed.

See? If Bob succeeded, he made grabbing the vase a lot harder, this round. If Amy succeeded, she made grabbing the vase a lot easier, next round.

(Note that if Bob had rolled lower than Amy in the initial rolls, such that she went second and he went third, then he would have looked pretty stupid trying to stop her from grabbing the vase after she already did it. That’s an excellent example of the “sucks to be you, you were too slow” outcome I described above.)

Compare “I squirm out from under Bob, jump back through the window, and go for the vase again!” to “Now that Bob has been sent flying through the window by my aikido, I reach out and casually grab that vase” (probably with mime-gesture). The various bonuses, as well as the plausible actions that others can announce in the context of this one, are totally different.

Best, Ron
edited for italics format fuckups
« Last Edit: August 31, 2006, 01:09:29 PM by Ron Edwards » Logged
jburneko
Member

Posts: 1351


« Reply #8 on: August 31, 2006, 03:24:29 PM »

Hello Ron,

I totally understand the whole changes to the SIS mid round may change the possibility of actions later in the round occuring at all.  Yes, I believe players like that exist, I've even had it happen in my own play.  I think where I'm tripping up is the idea of the "defense" (I only use these terms because that's what the book uses, I get that it's "an effort to thwart the intention of the other character") representing anything other than a simple block or simple stoppage of action.  Your example of Amy tossing Bob across the room as an expression of her *defense* against Bob trying to stop her from getting the vase was the key.  In my mind I simply had Amy stopping with Bob between her and the vase and then thinking, "But if she succeeds, what the hell do those dice mean?"

Note: I realize a big problem with my group when we play Sorcerer.  We don't narrate our defense rolls.  We simple roll and then see if what we announced early happens or not, interpreting failure in the simplest manner (missing, blocking,  side stepping, etc).

In fact before even reading your response I had realized my whole problem goes away if you add a little detail to what Bob is doing.  Instead of announcing, "Bob stops her," he announces "Bob tackles her."  In case one from Ralph's post I can easilly see Bob impacting her and then all of a sudden the camera zooms in all anime style with speed lines over Amy's wide eyed face peering over Bob's shoulder as she stretches her hand out which just tips and then clutches the vase.  In the second case I see Amy doing a sudden side step that doesn't net her the vase but causes Bob to go hurling past her with all his weight.

Another problem is that I read generic statements like, "I stop her...." with an implicit, "...with whatever means makes sense come my turn."

This really helps.  Probably won't stop the choking sensation.  But at least I get it.

Follow up question:  Going back to the "simple" case of just Amy and Bob and no other complicating factors, instinctually I would only roll Stamina vs. Stamina and be done with it.  But given this I'm trying to figure out then where the line is for simple vs. complex conflict.  Is it the presence of Carmen and Doug's orthognal actions that make this complex or is it more like Simple vs. Extended conflicts in HeroQuest where what we're talking about is importance and player investment?

Jesse
Logged
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 16490


WWW
« Reply #9 on: August 31, 2006, 03:40:44 PM »

Hi Jesse,

Quote
Is it the presence of Carmen and Doug's orthognal actions that make this complex or is it more like Simple vs. Extended conflicts in HeroQuest where what we're talking about is importance and player investment?

That is an awesome question. The answer is definitely the former, not like HeroQuest at all. Sorcerer's simple/complex resolution system(s) are totally about oppositional vs. orthogonal, nothing else.

Is that in the rules? No. The oppositional/orthogonal distinction was just brought into the light a couple days ago, even though I pride myself on being a pioneer of orthogonal RPG mechanics. (Actually, I learned it from Lester Smith's Zero, angels-singing-noise, most underrated game ever after Extreme Vengeance).

So chalk this discussion down yet another example of "Ron learns that Sorcerer is a pretty good system for a reason, not just because it empirically seems to work so well."

Best, Ron
Logged
Frank T
Guest
« Reply #10 on: September 01, 2006, 12:29:52 AM »

Player: “My stakes are I want to stop Amy.”
GM: “What do you mean, stakes? She is leaping across the room, arms stretching toward the vase, what do you do, bozo?”

*grins* I like Sorcerer.

- Frank
Logged
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 16490


WWW
« Reply #11 on: September 01, 2006, 07:55:02 AM »

Sorcerer likes you too!

I knew you were a brother-in-arms as soon as I read Mud Planet.

Best, Ron
Logged
Christopher Kubasik
Member

Posts: 1153


« Reply #12 on: November 01, 2006, 09:26:32 AM »

Ron,

Can players used cool description to get Bonus Dice when they're defending fully or sucking up the attack with a base of one die?

Or do bonus die only get added in the original free and clear stage.

Thanks,

Christopher
Logged

"Can't we for once just do what we're supposed to do -- and then stop?
Lemonhead, The Shield
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 16490


WWW
« Reply #13 on: November 01, 2006, 10:20:00 AM »

Hi Christopher,

Whenever! Bonus dice for new narrations may apply to any roll.

I'd really like to emphasize that narrations in Sorcerer are not about what it will look like if the character succeeds, but rather what it looks like when he or she goes into action.

That is huge. I think it's kind of horrifying how it's been mis-applied based on some accounts I've read.

Best, Ron
Logged
Christopher Kubasik
Member

Posts: 1153


« Reply #14 on: November 01, 2006, 10:41:41 AM »

Yeah, "Whatever!" is what I was thinking. It's in keeping with the whole spirit of the Sorcerer fun. I just was thinking, "What if there's some bizarre game balance lesson he figured out a while back that would make this a bad idea."

As for this:

Quote
I'd really like to emphasize that narrations in Sorcerer are not about what it will look like if the character succeeds, but rather what it looks like when he or she goes into action.

That is huge. I think it's kind of horrifying how it's been mis-applied based on some accounts I've read.

I know my brain bumped into that in the past. We declare what we want to get done, but we get Bonus Dice for what we're actually doing right now.
Logged

"Can't we for once just do what we're supposed to do -- and then stop?
Lemonhead, The Shield
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!