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Author Topic: Re: [Afraid] Fallout and Stakes Questions  (Read 5260 times)
Valvorik
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« on: March 21, 2007, 09:11:07 AM »

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Valvorik
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« Reply #1 on: March 21, 2007, 09:38:14 AM »

One more fallout question, on Reflection Fallout.

There's no reflection fallout for defeating/destroying the Monster?
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Ludanto
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« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2007, 02:14:46 PM »

Yay!  You visited my site! Smiley

I can't say for certain (after all, if it was wrong, I was the one who was doing it wrong) but here's why I did it that way.

First of all, that Stake might have been a bit chunky, might have been a bit too "big", but the forums are so slow that I don't feel like I can go through a "get her to talk to me", "get her to gain my trust", "get her to tell me the truth about her involvement with demons".

Secondly, as I understand it, Dogs at least isn't a mystery.  The GM will usually tell you when it's obvious that somebody is lying.  I think that the only reason we even had that particular conflict is that my players weren't used to that style of play and assumed that I was hiding things from them.

Also, I didn't have to give.  If the character resented the question or something, she might have fought tooth and nail, waiting for the Dogs to put a bullet into her before finally breaking down in tears at how cruel they were, and it would be obvious to the Dogs that they had tormented an innocent.

Just my take on things...
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Valvorik
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« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2007, 03:10:14 PM »

Yup, read through most of it ~ was fun (a big difference of DitV and similar games vs traditional games - reading a record of most table rpg action would be considerably less than riveting), something about DitV seems to fit texting etc and creating the "record of the story being told".  I'm surprised there aren't more iirc/board based DitV games.

Could have been completely right there.  I think that Afraid and DitV might approach these issues differently as Afraid is more of a mystery (e.g., if the monster has a power of looking like people, being able to go around asking "are you the monster" and having people give doesn't work so well).

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Ludanto
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« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2007, 04:06:40 PM »

Ah, but that's just it.  I suppose it takes a cooperative player, but he could know.  After all, you want there to be that tension, that conflict.  Just because the player knows doesn't mean that the character knows.  As a matter of fact, as a player, knowing that your character is alone (Alone?) with the monster and that the character doesn't know it, is awesome!  The Stakes of "the NPC's true identity" then play out.  Will the character figure it out in time?  *Ker-drama-splosion!*

And yes, while Afraid treats "info about the monster" as a "reward", I don't think that the GM is actively hiding the information, either.

The conflicts, especially in Afraid, happen in a sort of "meta-game" context.  It's like being in a movie.  The characters would go from person to person, asking them if they are the monster, and then they ask the monster.  The monster says, "No, of course not."  Then, as he invites the characters in for tea, he gets all shifty-eyed and the music changes, but the characters never see it.  Now the Stakes become "the poison" or "the character's lives" or even "the NPC's true identity".  Win or lose, the players know the jig is up, but the characters may get avoid the poison, walk out alive and thank the monster for his help, none the wiser.  Of course now the players know what kind of dramatic stuff they need to do to move the story forward.  "OOC" knowledge is not automatically evil...
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Valvorik
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« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2007, 05:16:03 AM »

The movie/TV scene concept comes across very effectively I think, with players "casting their characters" for scenes etc.

However, I was thinking that Afraid was a "controlled access to Monster information" game though one in which the GM is flinging bits of it at players constantly whether in their initiated conflicts or ones the GM initiates.  The GM is looking for ways to put the information out there not hoarding it, but puts it out through scenes, conflicts, stakes, particular challenges and answers etc.

One reason I like circumstances is that as I read boards and game, they shouldn't be used to frame "pointless, out of story flow" scenes, they are used to frame scenes that have some aspect of Monster's agenda, Victims, the web of relationships etc. around them in play.  Every "crap, my character gets a circumstance" is also "more information coming to you from the GM about this monster story, just with the sharp end pointed at you is all".  That's why having a starting circumstance is cool.  You don't start with "so what do we do", you start with a "bang".

Even when you "fail", you "fail forward into more story".

You could still easily have the player knowing more than character (e.g., character is alone and doesn't know what others have learned in another scene).  I think that as scenes cutting between each other would be cool.  The example of "do I drink the tea I shouldn't" when player knows it and the other players are fighting an acolyte who's gloating, "even as I speak your friend is taking his final drink!"

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Ludanto
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« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2007, 01:00:40 PM »

Other than the bit about Afraid being a "controlled access to Monster information" game, I'm pretty sure I totally agree with what you just said, and even that other bit has some truth to it.

Our discussion stemmed from your question about "innocents" Giving in conflicts about "the truth".  Getting back to that, I'll say that having the innocent Give is not broken.  Much like what you said above about Circumstances, that they "...shouldn't be used to frame 'pointless, out of story flow' scenes...", conflicts shouldn't be pointless either.  The Dogs are going to get the same answer ("I didn't do it") from the innocent whether they win or lose, so why not just Give early?  Having thought about it, why have a conflict at all, since there is no "conflict" there to begin with.

With regard to "controlled access to Monster information", I'm still of the opinion that while the GM should pace himself as he reveals monster info, if the players can figure out stuff on their own, by whatever means, more power to them.  Even if they use the information OOC ("The monster's lair must be there!  My guy goes there!") it doesn't really break anything.  It takes the characters where the players want them to go.  Although some kind of IC justification would be nice, like "I'm walking by the monster's lair and I hear a strange noise.  I go in", or something.

I think you could tell the players everything about the monster before-hand, and the only difference would be that the game might take a little less time to play and that the players might feel a little let-down at not having figured the info out on their own (IC or OOC).
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Valvorik
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« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2007, 03:30:05 PM »

Well, perhaps Vincent can weigh in, but I see in the Afraid write up

http://www.lumpley.com/afraid-resolution.html

That the revelations on fallout are things "the players don't know".  That suggests in this instance a fair degree of "character-player" knowledge matching.  I admit in my own summary I've put together I have changed that to "things the characters don't know".
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lumpley
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« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2007, 03:51:49 PM »

I'll weigh in on the rest later, but this is too good to pass up.

The opposite.

When your character's knowledge lags behind your own, which it inevitably will, because you-the-player have all the information that any character has, because you've been watching all their scenes - when that happens, it's illegit for the GM to give your character information as fallout that you already have. Even if it'd be total news to your character.

In fact the GM isn't required to reveal the fallout information to your character at all.

-Vincent
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Valvorik
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« Reply #9 on: March 22, 2007, 06:41:07 PM »

Sorry, slow learner,

Up to the "in fact" statement, my thought reading Vincent's post was "so, the GM always reveals new information from player perspective, If character A knows 1,3,5 and character B knows 1,2,3 (and they haven't had chance to share yet "in the fiction"), then for the information reveal on Fallout to Character A the GM reveals to Character A the item 4.  The players can play their characters each knowing only what they do and deciding how to "play into" what they don't know in the fiction, the point is when they put it all together they don't find they've earned redundant information awards, which if the GM could satisfy the Fallout reveal by telling Character A item 2 would be the case ."  I could see the "forward momentum always" logic of that.

With the "in fact" statement, I'm left a bit perplexed - or is this pointing out the GM does have other options than information fallout, even if just handing over dice?

On the point of it never being legitimate to reveal information that players know, what if Character B learned 2 in a scene where they died at end - thus there is no "inside the fiction" basis for Character A to learn item 2.  Is that information only subsequently revealed "for free" during play (which lots of information is as resources etc. are used against players eventually)?

It would be interesting to know your thoughts on initiations where players learned information about the Monster that their characters wouldn't have starting off.

I admit I'm being influenced by my group's play style, I've polled them several times on the issue of player/character knowledge and they always say they prefer to "not know what their characters don't know" etc..  They're very good roleplayers and good at keeping firewalls intact even when they do know stuff but it's just the style of play they prefer.  They prefer to be "surprised" as player not just as character.


The players are supposed to not know the Monster's traits, resources, identities of slaves etc. at start right?  They discover this through play.
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lumpley
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« Reply #10 on: March 24, 2007, 06:51:41 AM »

If you GM with camera angles and cut scenes and stuff, you can just plain reveal fallout info to the players, not the characters, is what I meant. "You leave the bedroom, but the camera stays. We focus on the window, we can see your retreating reflection in it, the light from the hallway. We can see you close the door behind you as you leave, and now the room's dark, and now we can see through the window. On the tree branch outside there's a dead owl, staring in."

It's fine if the characters never learn about the dead owl on the monster's character sheet. Once you've revealed it to the players, consider it revealed and never give it another thought, just bring it into play or don't as circumstances require.

So - you're very right that lots of info gets revealed for free, naturalistically. The fallout option exists specifically to reveal information that you can't, just then, reveal naturalistically.

My thought on initiation is that the whole point of it in Afraid is to give the players information about the monster that their characters don't have.

I overwhelmingly prefer to be surprised as a player. Whether my character's surprised too right then, or later, or never, I don't care so much about. The dead owl thing is a great surprise, and now I get to worry about my character's fate while he walks oblivious into danger, which is wicked fun.

Here's an important old post by Ron about surprise: Re: Deciding scope for conflict-based resolution. Let me know what you think of it.

-Vincent
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Valvorik
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« Reply #11 on: March 24, 2007, 10:48:06 AM »

Thanks for the response (any chance of answers to the initial questions in thread?).  That's very good way of putting it (camera angles etc.)  I think a table discussing if it is up for this style a good idea, and that it's fairly core to Afraid as a 'cinematic horror' game (and by that I don't mean slasher movies etc).

Interesting post linked, per Ron's Sorcerer reference, this may be one of the things (like standards for raises/challenges etc.) that varies from group to group and should be fine tuned and established for each in play.

The tension of "player knows that watching that video tape is bad, bad, bad, bad move, but character doesn't" and conflict of - "do you watch the video tape" is a very cool kind of scene in a movie (character constantly on the edge of drinking the poisoned glass of scotch but then puts it down, picks it up, almost, phone rings - just then someone bursts in - "don't drink", etc.), and a game that lets you play that out brings in that tension around the table.  When the task is "balance across the chasm on the tattered rope bridge", character/player meshes in knowing the rough shape at least of the result of failure (something between dangling from lianna to smeared over rocks), but when it's the poisoned tea being drunk, or (from the post linked), "hearing the goblins on the roof" you either deny players the enjoyment of knowing what's at stake or keep the surprise factor of not knowing at all (listen check to hear I'm not telling you want if anything).  Not knowing at all is probably less juicy fun.

In Afraid system, I suppose this would be staked as "GM, unprepared time, scene - your character doesn't know it but that video they received in the unmarked envelope is cursed and if they watch it the Monster demon will pop out and try to snack on them.  Staked as "Player, well I'm calling for conflict over whether I just open envelope and view the video - stakes I don't unwittingly walk into supernatural booby trap (even though I don't know that's what it is)", and the player's challenges are all "intuition, gut" information type challenges ~ on the other hand it's hard to see the GM escalating out of "information (hiding it)" type challenges too (if the tape has some hypnotic lure to it that would be social/talk type challenge I think).  In fact, would that type of "player you do but character does not know the real stakes of this scene are greater than they appear" be a classic for "unprepared" in that the character is "not taking it seriously" - there will be no "I hurl the video tape in the fireplace" challenges.  It is so iconic a scene in both horror and mystery genres that if players are willing to play as required, it might qualify for its own "circumstance" of "unsuspected danger" ~ except I'm not sure a GM would want to give up being able to use it whenever apt and make it "only circumstanced".

In other similar scenes more arenas would come into play.  Stakes, "I am not seduced by the Acolyte that I don't know is an Acolyte - which I suspect is nothing but setting me up for a scene where I'm 'unprepared' or 'in trouble' for some lethal intent coming at me".  There "physical" raises/challenges by the GM are definitely on the menu (I would put anything from dancing well to physical seduction in that arena).  The player winning the first stakes there might never know "in character" that the Acolyte was one.

This seems naturally be a part of Afraid and is practically required - some seduction by slave/acolyte has got to happen sometime and how else do you handle it?

I think another point in Ron's post is the "goblins in Elven citadel?" example and where he speaks to them being relevant.  If the thing the players learn but characters have to win conflict to learn is itself something that begs questions, then there is still an information-based tension for the players - and a heightened one.  That is a very nice GM move he's suggesting for any system where it can work.  For example, if the scene is "okay, the tea is poisoned, your character doesn't know that, stakes are do you drink it" but there is still a mystery "how did the tea get poisoned, who did that" then there is still a player tension at stake.  In a sense, this is a heightened player tension - there's something they want to know but they have to win this conflict before they can even try to find out, if they fail, they have to wait and "see it sprung".

The task vs conflict stakes issue is one that haunts me.  For example, in a current variant/D&D game I'm GMing, The "we don't want to know what we don't know" players are desperately trying succeed at something using their task skills where they would be better to fail in terms of their real agenda and as characters have missed about 3 chances to learn that so far.  I think it would be more fun if this was being done on a "conflict" basis rather than the "task basis" it is being handled as (then again I'm the one reading Forge and trying to interest them in indie games not vice versa).
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lumpley
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« Reply #12 on: March 24, 2007, 11:45:23 AM »

A chance, yes, be patient!

In principle, I oppose discussing anything with the group. (Yes I'm serious, and I don't mean just you and your group, I mean all of us and all of our groups.) But whatever works for you.

-Vincent
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lumpley
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« Reply #13 on: March 26, 2007, 10:25:33 AM »

Okay, the original questions.

1) Legit.

2) If you need first aid but you're alone, yes, you go straight to real medical care.

3) I don't think it's intentional. I don't remember what I was thinking about when I cut it from the list, if I was. It might've been just a copy-paste error.

4) I strongly support "I give. She has no relationship with the monster" as a technique.

I also strongly support the GM naming the stakes instead sometimes, as a technique. Don't let your players line everybody up and do "tell me the truth" conflicts to them one after the other. Boring. You get to set stakes too you know.

And yeah, the players don't get to define the fact of innocence or guilt. You've already established it in your monster writeup.

A question you (or maybe it was someone else!) asked somewhere else:

There's no reflection fallout when you defeat the monster because that's the end of the game. If you play again with the same characters, recreate them from scratch.
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