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Author Topic: [Trollbabe] A simple rules question about injury  (Read 5471 times)
GreatWolf
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« on: October 03, 2006, 06:28:26 AM »

Back in June, my wife (Crystal) and I played Trollbabe for the first time.  In fact, it was part of our anniversary festivities.  We bought special Trollbabe dice with different colors for the different conflict types.  Then we found a picnic table in a park overlooking the Illinois River and played.  It was a lot of fun, and the only reason that I didn't write up an actual play post at the time was that we were within a few weeks of moving and were stupid busy.

So, fast-forward to today.  Crystal and I are going camping on the weekend, and I suggested playing Trollbabe.  This time, you may actually get an AP post out of the deal.  But, as I began to kick around prep ideas, I remembered a rules question that we had about injury.  Specifically, I'm looking at the timing of injury.  Are the effects of being discommoded or injured applied immediately?  Or are they applied at the end of the Conflict?  By extension, are injury effects applied to relationships immediately or at the end of the conflict?

An example: we're in a conflict using the Action-by-Action pace, needing to win three Series to win the conflict.  We start the first Series with Crystal rolling.  She fails and is now discommoded.    She rerolls and wins.  Onto the next series.  She rolls and fails again.  Now, is she currently discommoded and therefore injured if she takes this reroll?  Or is the injury status applied after the conflict is over?

To extend the example, let's say that the first reroll she used was a relationship.  Is that person immediately injured?  Or is that applied at the end of conflict?

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Seth Ben-Ezra
Dark Omen Games
producing Legends of Alyria, Dirty Secrets, A Flower for Mara
coming soon: Showdown
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2006, 06:52:28 AM »

Hi there,

The answer to the first question regarding the trollbabe herself is "immediately." Yes, that's very hard on player-characters when the player stays in the series after failing the first roll in the set.

For clarity: "set" = maximum of one, maximum of three, or maximum of five rolls per conflict, as set by the Pace
"series" = sequence of escalating-consequences re-rolls - you should think of this as a single die-roll no matter how many times it's re-rolled

Most people figure out that if they fail the first roll of the series in the first set (given a multi-roll Pace), they should bag that roll and move on to the next in the set. Because yes, a trollbabe can be taken out in that very first roll if the player goes all the way with it and fails throughout. Which negates all the other rolls to come, if she's incapacitated or killed.

And yes, let's say she's injured during that first series and moves on to the second one, in such a conflict. That injury counts, meaning the next series are going to be more risky from the outset.

Regarding NPCs, you can narrate the effects on them during the conflict-rolling procedure as apparent effects, but I recommend reserving final descriptions of their outcomes for the very end of the conflict.

Best, Ron
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2006, 06:58:14 AM »

Oh wait, one last thing ...

Regarding being discommoded, I've found that to be rather flexible in actual play largely through on-the-spot carelessness.

So let's say in the first roll of a middle-level Pace conflict, Crystal fails her first roll and thus her character is discommoded, but she re-rolls successfully. Now she can move on to the next roll of the set.

So if she fails this roll, is the character injured, or merely discommoded again?

Given my answer above, she should be injured. Yet in practice, it makes more sense for being discommoded to have no carrying consequences beyond that moment (i.e. the first roll). Going into the next roll, she's treated as unharmed and can start the series from the top of the diagram.

However, when it comes to injury, the honeymoon's over. Injuries do carry over to the next roll - starting at "discommoded." Did you get that? If she's injured, but moves on to the next roll, then failing the roll will not incapacitate her, it will injure her again. That's important.

Sorry about the first reply. It's accurate so far as it goes, but then my brain fired on more cylinders and I could answer more completely.

Best, Ron
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GreatWolf
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« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2006, 07:06:03 AM »

Thanks for the quick response.

That makes the setting of the Pace even more critical.  Initially, it felt odd not rolling any dice as GM, mostly because it felt like I had no mechanical input into the conflict system.  But I quickly came to see that GM input into the Pace and the ability to narrate success gives a great deal of input.  Once I got used to it, I rather enjoyed it.

Just saw your response.  So, essentially, if I'm reading you correctly, being discommoded should de facto go away after each series (die roll) if nothing further happened.  Once the trollbabe is injured, though, the consequences of a failed roll starts at injured.

Another question then.  If I'm reading you correctly, it's possible for a trollbabe to be injured multiple times without actually being incapacitated.  Is that true?
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Seth Ben-Ezra
Dark Omen Games
producing Legends of Alyria, Dirty Secrets, A Flower for Mara
coming soon: Showdown
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2006, 07:39:27 AM »

Correction: once a trollbabe is injured, the next series starts at discommoded. And if she's injured again, and still moves on to a new series, then she'll start at injured.

See? Each injury means her next roll starts one level down further, starting at the top.

That puts a hard limit on how many times she can get away with being injured through the course of a longer-Paced conflict.

Best, Ron
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GreatWolf
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« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2006, 12:46:49 PM »

I have this nagging sense that this is all easier than I'm making it out to be, but I'm still a little confused.  To help me, I'll use the term "hurt" in this follow-up question to mean "used one or more rerolls in a series" and "injured" as the Wound Level for the trollbabe. (e.g. Fine, Discommoded, Injured, Incapacitated.)

Quote
Correction: once a trollbabe is injured, the next series starts at discommoded. And if she's injured again, and still moves on to a new series, then she'll start at injured.

What I'm reading here is this:  if a trollbabe is hurt in a given series, the next series starts at discommoded.  If the trollbabe is hurt in the series which started as discommoded, then the next series starts at injured.

What this means is that a trollbabe who starts a series as Fine can potentially use up to three rerolls in that series.  If a trollbabe gets hurt in that series, then she starts as "discommoded" and only can use two rerolls in a following series.

Have I understood you correctly?
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Seth Ben-Ezra
Dark Omen Games
producing Legends of Alyria, Dirty Secrets, A Flower for Mara
coming soon: Showdown
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #6 on: October 03, 2006, 04:15:29 PM »

Nope. Your "hurt" category is only making things more confused. Please abandon it.

If the trollbabe is merely discommoded, then she starts the next series at the Perfectly Fine and Untouched position (top of the diagram).

It is only when she is injured that she starts the next series at the Discommoded box in the diagram.

If, in that series, she is injured again, then she starts the next series at the Injured box in the diagram (i.e. another failure will Incapacitate her).

Best, Ron
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GreatWolf
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« Reply #7 on: October 03, 2006, 05:16:09 PM »

And the light bulb comes on! 

I was right; I was making it more complicated than it was.  Got it now.  Thanks for the help, Ron!


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Seth Ben-Ezra
Dark Omen Games
producing Legends of Alyria, Dirty Secrets, A Flower for Mara
coming soon: Showdown
Paul Czege
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« Reply #8 on: October 03, 2006, 06:39:34 PM »

Wait...

An example: we're in a conflict using the Action-by-Action pace, needing to win three Series to win the conflict.  We start the first Series with Crystal rolling. She fails and is now discommoded. She rerolls and wins.

That's not a failure at all. My understanding was that discommoded only happens if she accepts the failure. If she re-rolls and wins there's no discommoded, right?

Paul
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My Life with Master knows codependence.
And if you're doing anything with your Acts of Evil ashcan license, of course I'm curious and would love to hear about your plans
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #9 on: October 03, 2006, 07:07:37 PM »

Hi Paul,

She's discommoded for purposes of narrating that little bit of action, whether she concedes the goal's failure or not. A typical set of narrations:

Player: I'm getting past that bridge! I'll kick his ass to do it!

GM: Grrrrrah! (sufficient to communicate the opposition to that stated goal)

[the player states it's a Fight conflict, sets the Pace at one roll; the GM bumps it to the middle level; so the conflict is now two-out-of-three]

Player [rolls]: Fuck. Failed. The troll catches my axe easily in his hand. He doesn't even budge. He smiles casually, then shoves on the haft, and I go stumbling backwards. All right, I concede this roll, I don't go on with the series.

GM: Oh-for-one then. Next roll. What are you doing?

Player: [moves into describing exchange for the next roll]

So Paul, do you see where the narration included the trollbabe being discommoded, in the context of that one series? However, to tie in with Seth's question, she is mechanically unhurt, undiscommoded, un-everything - she'll start this new series all fresh and new.

Best, Ron
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Paul Czege
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« Reply #10 on: October 03, 2006, 07:12:00 PM »

Hey Ron,

I see how she's discommoded in your example. But in your example the player concedes the series. I read Seth's example, where he writes "she fails" as her roll being unsuccessful. And "she rerolls and wins" as continuing the series and achieving the win on the reroll.

Paul
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My Life with Master knows codependence.
And if you're doing anything with your Acts of Evil ashcan license, of course I'm curious and would love to hear about your plans
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #11 on: October 03, 2006, 07:14:46 PM »

Whoa, I hit send too soon, quick-boy!!

Let's do the other branch of that example.

(Actually, let's pretend that they set the Pace at one roll. Otherwise this example gets screwy.)

Player [rolls]: Fuck. Failed. The troll catches my axe easily in his hand. He doesn't even budge. He smiles casually, then shoves on the haft, and I go stumbling backwards. OK, I'm calling in that handy springy branch on the nearby pine tree. [checks off box] Gimme the die ... [re-rolls] Ha! I get it!

Now, since this is a one-roll conflict, she wins! That means that the GM now narrates her getting over that bridge, fair and square.

But just as before, in the other version of this example, the player did have to describe the discommoding, for narrating that little bit of the action.

Paul, is that working? I kind of got sidetracked between your question and Seth's.

Best, Ron
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Paul Czege
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« Reply #12 on: October 04, 2006, 05:44:01 AM »

Hey Ron,

I got it now. So not only do the reroll items (e.g. a carried object) get incorporated into events, but so do discommoded, injured, etc., even if the trollbabe's reroll produces success for the series. I had read the text to say that electing to reroll bypasses the product of failure (discommoded, injured, etc.) from the flowchart, effectively escalating the effect that can be produced by the series.

Hmm...I'll have to give it some thought. The way you're explaining it here means that incapacitation as an effect is always preceded by being injured and injury is always preceded by being discommoded, even in a "one roll" (i.e. one series) pace. I think I rather like the possibility of abrupt injuries not preceded by the trollbabe being discommoded, and the similarly abrupt incapacitations possible if the product of failure is simple escalated when the player elects to re-roll, rather than being written incrementally into game events. Can I ask why you chose for it to work incrementally?

Thanks,

Paul
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My Life with Master knows codependence.
And if you're doing anything with your Acts of Evil ashcan license, of course I'm curious and would love to hear about your plans
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #13 on: October 04, 2006, 06:36:13 AM »

Hi Paul,

Because incremental risk, and incremental consequences, are fundamental to the thematic decisions of the game.

The more the trollbabe puts her relationships at risk, the more chance she has to succeed, but the more damage she might do to the things she cares about (in any way).

So every external adversity she encounters (e.g. the troll guarding the bridge) is an opportunity for her to abuse her relationships ... and the incremental quality highlights the "slippery slope" aspect of that decision. If the trollbabe could be injured snap-like-that, then that means a relationship who's involved in that conflict can be incapacitated snap-like-that. And that undercuts her decisions as instrumental in what happens to her relationships. Hence, not possible by the mechanics.

Can a woman be powerful without exploiting those who care about her? That's Trollbabe. I think the answer is potentially "yes," which is why I wrote the game. I also think real people are failing to ask that question of themselves, thus functionally answering with "no" on a daily basis, which is also why I wrote the game.

The details of what all this has to do with real women, any players of role-playing games, significant others roped into role-playing, and big ol' thighs and horns, I leave to the reader and his or her actual experiences of play.

Best, Ron
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