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Author Topic: [Trollbabe] novice questions, pls help  (Read 12232 times)
MacTele
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« on: October 31, 2006, 05:29:23 PM »

Hello
I role-play for over 15 years but what i discovered at the Forge few days ago it is a revolution. More on that later.
So i bought Trollbabe and want to play it with my friends. Some questions (i am absolute newbe to that kind of stuff):

Let say that the stakes is the life of a young troll: Gorgh. He came from his family group forest dwellings and killed 3 adult men taking their heads with him. He did it to: revange and to prove to his people that they can fight with humans and start active opposition against them. War between two races started long ago, with highs and lows but during last 2-3 years humans devastated trolls by organising well planed attacks and killing few family groups from Gorghs tribe. He is young and full of passion with high leadership skills, but tribes elders do not want to fight, they think it would be better to move deeper to the forest.
Harald Red Eye is the Chieftain of nearby human town. He developed plan and strategy to kill trolls. Everything was going well upto last few days when 3 of his men were killed by troll (band of trolls he is sure). People are scared. His rep. is in danger. Fortunately one of the trolls was injured during one of the fights and now Harald with few warriors are running to kill them. There is Djurful also, an outlow who wants to go back to society. He spoted trolls blood and is tracking him in hope to kill him or help Harald in doing so.
Consequences:
Gorgh deatth or glory, possibly higher position in the tribe (he loves a trollgirl who is doughter of one of elders so he thinks it all helps, too)
Harald: glory and position versus weakening or even loosing position (there is an opposition inside will they help Gorgh, rather not in this situation)
Djurful: obvious.

Trollbabe approaches.

It is only an example i have much more ideas but i want to know do i go in good direction (do i understand the idea)
So, is it personal level adventure? What i miss?
How to start and then proceed with the game? First should be 1st scene with trollbabe meeting (Gorgh, Harald, Djurful, sombody else) let say she meets Djurful and he asks for help, she agrees and... what next ? How the scenes should appear and which scenes. Who would say what is next. Me as a GM ? Do GM as in traditional rpg sets all things to the point when Trollbabe would do something directioning the issue? Motivation and behavior of NPCes i prepare before or should i let myself improvise?

Confllicts. What they should be like. I read here that thay should be meaningfull and connected with issue. So when trollbabe asks for info there is no conflict but decission about do npc would tell or not ? How to build conflicts. As i see it, conflicts are tools for improvisation: let say trollbabe wants to track Gorgh and anounces conflict using magic to get info where he is. If she wins she knows. (maybe not conflict at all just let her know) or she may want to magically spot where are those trolls who she thinks attacked people: does she track Gorgh or some other Trolls not prepared before ??

I wait for Your answers.

And i have to say it. Narrativism and Rons article about it, is long waited revolution.
What are other good narrativistic systems? I know about Primetime Adventures and Sorcerer, what are others.

Thanks for Your answers and sorry for English, it is not my native :)
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MacTele
Member

Posts: 20


« Reply #1 on: October 31, 2006, 05:46:52 PM »

and one more question.

How to deal with giving info to PC? If PC say a social conflict with Harald to take all info about situation and win , should i tell him the story ?
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James_Nostack
Member

Posts: 642


« Reply #2 on: October 31, 2006, 07:26:44 PM »

Hi, and welcome to the Forge! 

Quote
Let say that the stakes is the life of a young troll: Gorgh. He came from his family group forest dwellings and killed 3 adult men taking their heads with him. He did it to: revange and to prove to his people that they can fight with humans and start active opposition against them. War between two races started long ago, with highs and lows but during last 2-3 years humans devastated trolls by organising well planed attacks and killing few family groups from Gorghs tribe. He is young and full of passion with high leadership skills, but tribes elders do not want to fight, they think it would be better to move deeper to the forest.

Harald Red Eye is the Chieftain of nearby human town. He developed plan and strategy to kill trolls. Everything was going well upto last few days when 3 of his men were killed by troll (band of trolls he is sure). People are scared. His rep. is in danger. Fortunately one of the trolls was injured during one of the fights and now Harald with few warriors are running to kill them. There is Djurful also, an outlow who wants to go back to society. He spoted trolls blood and is tracking him in hope to kill him or help Harald in doing so

That is a great set-up!  It sounds perfect to me.

Quote
So, is it personal level adventure? What i miss?

This is tricky to explain.

You described a complex situation: trolls, wars, Harald's standing in the town, whether an outlaw will be accepted, troll genocide, and so on.  It is very, very fun stuff.  Several possible scales might work: small group (Gorgh's family), the town (will Harald protect them?), the land (will trolls survive). 

But you said, in your first line, " the stakes is the life of a young troll: Gorgh."  So the adventure is really all about Gorgh.  The other stuff--Harald's reputation, Djarful, the wars between Men and Trolls--is background, something that gives Gorgh's life meaning and importance.  But Gorgh's death, or survival, is the point of this adventure: you said so yourself.

What this means is that the Trollbabes will take action somehow.  Maybe they will try to help Gorgh; maybe they will try to hurt him; maybe they will try their best to ignore him.  But the things they choose to do, or choose NOT to do,  will determine Gorgh's fate.  The adventure is over when we know what happens to Gorgh.  The other stuff--wars, politics, etc.--cannot be changed permanently by the Trollbabes.  (The Trollbabes can do something, and maybe it works--but the GM can say, "Three days after you leave town, everything goes back to the way it was.")  Their actions only affect Gorgh, because his life is at stake.  If they want more lasting control over the setting, they will have to increase the scale. 

I hope that made sense.  (Ron, if I'm wrong, please correct me.)

Quote
Confllicts. What they should be like. I read here that thay should be meaningfull and connected with issue. So when trollbabe asks for info there is no conflict but decission about do npc would tell or not ? How to build conflicts. As i see it, conflicts are tools for improvisation

Conflicts happen whenever any player, or the GM, says, "I want a conflict.  My goal is: _______________."  I don't think the rules talk about when one player declares a Goal that no one else opposes.  I would say, in those cases the goal succeeds.

Quote
How to deal with giving info to PC? If PC say a social conflict with Harald to take all info about situation and win , should i tell him the story ?

Sure!  The player would say, "My goal is to get all the information that Harald knows."  If the player wins the conflict, you have to respect his or her goal.  (You can adjust the pace of the conflict to make this more difficult for the Trollbabe, but you cannot deny it completely.) 

Quote
What are other good narrativistic systems? I know about Primetime Adventures and Sorcerer, what are others.

That depends: what kind of games do you enjoy playing, and why? 

Quote
Thanks for Your answers and sorry for English, it is not my native :)

Don't apologize, you write very well.  It is clear you are very excited about this game!


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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #3 on: October 31, 2006, 08:46:50 PM »

Hello,

James is right about everything!

I have one strong point to make, however.

Quote
How to deal with giving info to PC? If PC say a social conflict with Harald to take all info about situation and win , should i tell him the story ?

The character will learn what Harald knows. That may not be exactly the same as all the GM-information; in fact, it probably will be less than that. It will also be colored with Harald's personal viewpoint and priorities. He will probably try to tell it to her in a way which makes her do what he wants.

So there is no roll which allows the player to read the GM's mind. But there is a roll for the trollbabe to get an NPC to explain the situation to her as well as that NPC can (which as I say, means a very biased point of view).

Best, Ron
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MacTele
Member

Posts: 20


« Reply #4 on: November 01, 2006, 02:44:21 AM »

Thank You for Your answers.

What about scene building. I have to admit that it is a little tricky to me. Usually PC says that "he" goes to the town or something like that. In narrative play as i undesrstand it, scenes are rather created so GM would not describe journey to town but rather set the scene of meaning somewhere in the road or in the city, saying for example, the towns pub, evening etc. or ... How technically play goes from scene to scene, how it looks at the table ??
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MacTele
Member

Posts: 20


« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2006, 03:01:05 AM »

According to other systems. Sorry for double posting (it is hard morning here). The idea of narrativism is so refreshing and greate that i just want to dive in. Trollbabe saying about system, it is great. Conflict (not task) resolution is a greate idea i was looking for years, i know that it is just technique but still it is greate tool, and fortune in the middle, o my God, thats greate. I prefer rules very light systems oriented for story but still letting colorfull play (as trollbabe) i think about experimenting with giving Author stance or generally GM stuff to players. Sorcerer as i see it would be nice example of game with stron personal issue (but there is task resolution there as i see it from start pack which i downloaded ;) ).
I wanted to start cyberpunk campaign, and was looking for system (as i always thought that system does matter) and found the Forge and Theory and narrativism and Trollbabe. And now all have changed. I have to admitt that me and our group do not play often because of... the Theory changed everything.

One more question about trollbabe, lets say that trollbabe would help troll and Harald would want to kill her. There is fight conflict, best of 5, greate rumble. Trollbabe loses without rerolls and player have to describe it. She off course would live, maybe in very bad situation but she cannot start fight with them (she lost) so can she attack them with magic ?? if she loses again without rerolls, i think that can be a little problem. Or i just announce that norsemen grab her a take to their camp/towm ?? I am a little worry about situations like this. 
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #6 on: November 01, 2006, 05:36:23 AM »

Hello,

The Apprentice pack for Sorcerer is outdated. As it says on the site, do not use those rules for Sorcerer or for thinking you know how to play Sorcerer. I'm saying this in order to state, very clearly, that Sorcerer uses conflict resolution. That PDF is only on the site for historical purposes.

But let's talk about Trollbabe. Here's how scene framing will usually look at the table.

Player: "I want to talk to Helga at the market!"
GM: "Your character is at the market," (describes the situation a little), "and Helga is there. She's buying fish."

In this case, the player has specified both the place and the person that will be in the scene with the trollbabe. If the GM is interested in letting the player desires drive things, then he should not put the trollbabe in the market without Helga present, nor should he put the trollbabe with Helga somewhere else, like off in the forest.

However, in all cases, remember that the GM has the final authority about starting and finishing scenes. So that means he can change what the player suggests, or say, "Sure, but first, let's have a scene in the forest with Nils," or say, "No, you're still in the tavern," or whatever. That power is important, but it is also worth remembering that at least some of the time, the GM behaves as in the above paragraph and does his best to accomodate the player's suggestion. That way the final authority, when it is used, is very significant.

Some other examples for contrast

Player: "I want a scene at the market!"
GM: "Your character is at the market," (describes the situation a little), "and all kinds of people are there, like Helga and Nils, but not Bruno."

In this case, the GM has agreed with the player's suggestion, but has also thought a little bit about who else would be in that spot and who would not. Perhaps at this time, after the scene has started, either the GM or the player decides a conflict with Helga (or anyone else) would be good.

Note: the GM has final authority over how scenes begin and end, but once a scene has started, any person who calls for a conflict cannot be stopped or interrupted or overruled. If anyone says "I want a conflict" or describes actions which are conflict-heavy, then the conflict is in the game and it must be decided by dice.

Player: "I want a scene with Helga!"
GM: (decides where this might be) (names the place) "You're with Helga at the market ..."

In this case, as you can see, the GM has accepted the suggestion for a scene, but has to create the place and time because the player doesn't state them. What the GM should not do (unless he has a reason, like a conflict he's about to announce), is to say "You're at the market, looking for Helga, but she's not there."

Does that help? All of my examples assume that the GM accepts the player's suggestion, which in practice is usually the way things are done. But the GM should also keep in mind, and be ready to use, his unique authority for scenes finishing and ending. This is important because there is one rule, in combat, which allows the player to take over that authority briefly.

I'll answer your next question in the next post.

Best, Ron
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James_Nostack
Member

Posts: 642


« Reply #7 on: November 01, 2006, 05:54:27 AM »

James is right about everything!

If only more people thought as you do...

Quote
Sorcerer as i see it would be nice example of game with stron personal issue (but there is task resolution there as i see it from start pack which i downloaded ;) )

Sorcerer's rules are Conflict Resolution, but the game was written in the late 1990's before these words were developed.  So, it only looks like Task Resolution.  Trollbabe uses Conflict Resolution in a particular way: everyone declares Stakes, the loser gets to say what happens, one roll usually decides things, etc.  But not all Conflict Resolution systems require such things. 
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #8 on: November 01, 2006, 05:58:21 AM »

Hello,

I love example-problems.

Quote
One more question about trollbabe, lets say that trollbabe would help troll and Harald would want to kill her. There is fight conflict, best of 5, greate rumble. Trollbabe loses without rerolls and player have to describe it. She off course would live, maybe in very bad situation but she cannot start fight with them (she lost) so can she attack them with magic ?? if she loses again without rerolls, i think that can be a little problem. Or i just announce that norsemen grab her a take to their camp/towm ??


So ... the trollbabe has lost three rolls, none of them with re-rolls. That's OK!

Here's what you are missing: Harald's desire, in the fight, is irrelevant. Because the trollbabe lost does not mean that Harald got his way (killed her). It only means that the trollbabe failed to help the troll (her goal).

The NPC's goal to kill the character will only be achieved if the player decides to take enough re-rolls to make that risk possible.

Always think of the dice in Trollbabe as resolving what the player-character's goal is, not what the NPC's goal is.

In the case of your example, there are several points to make.

1. The trollbabe fails to help the troll. Whatever the troll was doing, it probably fails too, based on the fact that the trollbabe lost her roll.

2. Harald's desire to kill the trollbabe is not achieved. He stopped her from helping the troll, but that's all, regardless of what he wanted.

3. What else? Nothing else. Anything else is a different conflict - whether the norsemen carry her off to town, or whether they fight about something else, or whether she escapes, or anything else at all.

Why? Because the trollbabe was not defeated or injured by Harald. She was stopped from helping the troll, that's all.

4. And the last point ... I think you forgot that the player narrates the outcome of every failed roll, not the GM. Remember, the GM only narrates successful rolls' outcomes.

a) The GM says "Harald screams and swings his sword at you," and the player (who says something too, I'll save it for space) rolls and fails. He chooses not to re-roll and now narrates. He might say, for instance, "I duck, but that action keeps me away from the troll." That's the first failure.

b) Second roll. The GM says, "Harald recovers his warrior-sense and fights with more skill this time - he dodges, then leaps into the air and tries to cut your head off!" The player says something like "I throw him aside and go help the troll," but rolls and fails. He again chooses not to re-roll and now narrates. "I'm too fast for his strike at my neck, and I take away his sword and throw it into the river ... but now I'm further than ever away from the troll." That's the second failure.

Do you see how the player is narrating his character's failure at her goal with every failed roll? That's important and required. He is also narrating how she is not getting hurt, which is also required because he is choosing not to take re-rolls.

c) Third roll. The GM says, "Harald isn't stopping just because he lost his sword! [technically, Harald cannot stop at this point by the rules; that's just Color] He's going to drown you in the river!" The player says "Ha, no way, she's tossing him in and going to help the troll." And the player's roll fails again, and again, he chooses not to re-roll. So that's the third and final failure (three out of five possible rolls).

Now the player narrates the final roll's failure: "Harald tackles me and we both go into the water, and we thrash all around for a while. Nothing really happens because we're both trying not to drown. He gets swept downstream, away, but I end up on the other side of the river. There's no way I can help the troll now."

You see?

1. She failed to help the troll.
2. Harald tried to kill her but could not (because the player would not take re-rolls).
3. The player has narrated the end of the conflict and set up a new situation or context, and he was also smart enough to get Harald out of the immediate location.
4. The player cannot try to help the troll again. That is over, and whatever the troll was trying to do has failed (the player might narrate this too, as it depended on his roll.)

The GM may choose to end the scene right now, or he may choose to continue it. That is his authority - but note that he had no authority to override the player's narration of the end of the conflict. If he continues the scene, another conflict might well be proposed, perhaps with Harald's men or perhaps something else about the troll.

How does that sound? Does it make sense? Any other questions are welcome!!

We can talk about Sorcerer some other time.

Oh yes, one more thing - where are you, and what is your native language? Is MacTele your real name?

Best, Ron

P.S. James, please do not use the word "stakes" to describe goals during a conflict in Trollbabe. In this game, Stakes refers only to the ultimate fate of the key character(s) in the overall scenario. Your use of "stakes" in that post is an abomination which has ruined the fun of countless people over the past year across a wide variety of games.
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James_Nostack
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« Reply #9 on: November 01, 2006, 06:53:00 AM »

It's all my fault.  I killed those poor people!  [Weeps.]  But seriously: yes, I should have said, players in Trollbabe explicitly declare goals at the start of the conflict.  (In Trollbabe, "Stakes" is a technical term that applies to what is "at stake" during the adventure as a whole.)
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MacTele
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« Reply #10 on: November 01, 2006, 07:21:55 AM »

Yes that helps, thanks a lot.

So let me introduce myself: I am Maciej Teleglow, 32 years old, live in Europe, Poland, Gdansk: one of the biggest Polish cities, but much less then Chicago, it is a port. I finnished university: hostory exactly. I am interesed in many things: sf-fantasy, antrophology, sports, games. I role-play for 17 years now with breaks. The biggest problem in our rpg here was WOD. We knew at that time that we want something more from rpg and that all those numbers heavy systems are not exactly what we need and WOD has changed things but for us, it was unplayable. As i see it now i wanted to play narrative but i didn't realise it and did not know how and what to change to achieve what i want (plus work, wife other daily problems and time things). We have plaied some narrative scenarios, very light rules but i have realised that something is going bad: railroading by GM. But one or two tries were not that bad. As for our gamistic needs we started to play boardgames. But, we all wanted to role-play but not knowing what to change. As i said i wanted to run cyberpunk game (narrativism in cyberpunk) but i could not find system i wanted. I think i would have finished with Tri Stat Ex Machina but exactly at that moment i spoted review of PMA. It was something but i wasn't prepared. Then i found the Forge and Theory and all that things. It is exactly what i was missing.
I have to admitt that narrativism is what i have always wanted to play but after reading Your thoughts about Dead of Night i realised that there is strong simulationist in me either. Once i made scenario in which players where Neandertal people (do not know in English hope it is undarstandable) for example. But i do not need to simulate physics but rather feel of things, climate if You know what i mean and emotions in the particular situation. So narrativism is what i need and start tomorrow with Trollbabe i hope and simulationism of my special kind would wait for finding good system for what i need (Dead of night seems good). All in all GNS theory is revolution for me. Now i start new rpg :)

Thanks.

Trollbabe scene building: so as i see it, players give their ideas to GM and he may go for it but from the other hand he can and should build his own scenes, too.
I would check it in practice, a little scared.

And personally Trollbabe has the best mechanics i know to this moment and believe me, i have a lot of systems on the shelf. 
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #11 on: November 01, 2006, 07:37:27 AM »

Hi Maciej,

It's great to have you here! I'm glad my ideas and games are matching what you want.

I have been near Gdansk, but have never visited. I've spent some time in Rügen (in Germany) and Berlin, and I've read a lot about the history of Gdansk/Danzig.

Here's an important concept that only becomes clearer in my longer essays. I'll quote from a recent post in which I explained it to someone else:

Quote
Imagine a little platform made of green-painted wood, standing a few inches high off the ground on its little legs. That's Exploration, the necessary imaginative communication for role-playing to occur at all. Perhaps it's a very pretty shade of green or particularly well-crafted in terms of pegs and glue. Doesn't matter. It's not the Creative Agenda.

Now imagine a secondary wooden structure built on top of it, reaching a whole foot off the ground at its tip. That's your game in action. Whatever shared goal or priority puts it there, or (in the analogy) whatever shape or material it is, that's your Creative Agenda. It's what you and the group do with the platform.

A Simulationist CA happens to be made of wood and happens to be painted green. That's why people are always mistaking Exploration for Simulationism, when it's not. It's still a secondary structure on top of the platform. It also so happens that Gamist and Narrativist CAs are always brutally, recognizably distinct from the platform that supports them - made of plastic or aluminum, and always painted a different color or not painted at all. That's why people are always forgetting that no matter what, those agendas need the platform too.

Andreas, I'm going through this kindergarten imagery because, in your post, I see a lot of rhapsodizing about "wonder moments" and all that. I anticipate that you are going to claim that's some kind of Simulationist presence in your group. Well, if you think that's Simulationist, lose that mistaken idea right now. That's foundational Exploration, the platform. Maybe your group's CA on top of it is "the same stuff," and hence Simulationist, and maybe it's not. We have to look at it to see.

That's the point from 2001, the essay "GNS and other matters of role-playing theory."

Now it's 2006 and I have the Big Model. CA exists as the goal or priority that ties together the features of the Big Model, during play. So the question about your game is (a) whether you guys had any goal or priority tying the Model of your play-experience together, and if so, (b) what was it? And no, you can't point at the platform. We're talking about the thing you all built on top of the platform, what you do with it.

I decided to quote this for you because, possibly what you are seeing (and liking) in the Dead of Night thread is the basic shared imagination that we established - not the Simulationist priority. Playing Trollbabe tends to bring the same excitement as Dead of Night, but it is usually Narrativist play, because the people are excited about making their own story with its own unique theme (point). Whereas in Dead of Night, the story's point isn't very important and everyone already knows what it is, just like you know the point of a ghost story before anyone tells it.

Does the distinction between (1) the "platform" and (2) the goal/point of play make sense? I suggest taking a day or two to think about it, and not replying right away.

Best, Ron
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James_Nostack
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« Reply #12 on: November 01, 2006, 07:40:51 AM »

MacTele, there are some good games which might work science-fiction stories.  Primetime Adventures, for example, could do a science-fiction TV show.  People have played Sorcerer, where the "demons" are types of technology.  One game you might want to try is Shock: Social Science-Fiction, which is about how technology and social problems interact.

Quote
Trollbabe scene building: so as i see it, players give their ideas to GM and he may go for it but from the other hand he can and should build his own scenes, too.
I would check it in practice, a little scared.

No need to be scared!  The worst that can happen is that you make a few mistakes, and learn from them.  And yes, that's my understanding of scene-building too!
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Paul Czege
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« Reply #13 on: November 01, 2006, 08:29:00 AM »

Hey Ron,

Those three failed rolls you describe, would you say "the action takes me away from the troll," "now I'm further than ever away from the troll," and "I end up on the other side of the river" all meet the definition of discommoded?

Paul
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #14 on: November 01, 2006, 08:51:30 AM »

Hi Paul,

No, they only meet the requirements for "failed the roll and not re-rolling."

The discommoding can be seen to a small, sufficient extent in two of my example narrations:

- first roll's failure: being forced to duck (a reaction, replacing the intended action)

- third roll's failure: getting dunked in the river and thrashing about in it

My description for the second failed roll's narration is not discommoded enough. To satisfy that requirement, I might describe any number of things along with what I stated ... perhaps she stumbles on the slippery river-bank upon hurling the sword and loses her balance momentarily, or perhaps Harald clawed at her face while she was taking his sword and she had to shut her eyes. Or anything like that.

Best, Ron
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