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Questions concerning my game reflection

Started by 5niper9, May 19, 2007, 09:44:50 PM

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I'm confused as well.  This is what I make of your post, Ralph:

"Winning the conflict has no effect.  The only effects are those that come out of raises and sees."

Is that right?

The Mule

Maybe "winning the conflict has no cause, only raises and sees create cause"?  So the winner determines the effect that all the already accumulated causes has on whatever was at stake?

So if I go into a shop and want lower prices, I'm not sure what I'd stake.  "Do I get lower prices?" would be my informal way of stating it.  What's really at stake?  The shopkeeper's nerve?  My money?

So my character wants the price to be as low as possible, and the shopkeeper wants the price as high as possible.  So what's at stake is "the price"?

If I want someone to fall in love with me, is what's at stake "her love"?  If I want PC X to think scripture agrees with my position, is what's at stake "PC X's knowledge of scripture (in how it relates to my position)"?  If I win, I say "PC X knows scripture relates to my position in this fashion"?
Raised by wolves.


I think Ralph's post is clearer if you read it in context of the Stakes setting from Afraid. (At least, I didn't have a problem getting it, and that may be why.)

In Afraid it says to not set the stakes as a final outcome, but to set them as what is hanging in the balance. The person that wins the conflict then gets to decide the stakes in a way that is consistent with how they won the conflict.

So if your stakes are "your life" you don't say, "If I win I put you on your knees and shoot you in the back of the head" you just say "the stakes are your life." You then play out the conflict, and if you win you get to say what happens based on what happened in the conflict. If you lose, the other person gets to say.

Significantly, if you win you could end up saying, "I don't kill you after all" or if they win they could chose to have you kill them anyway. Not that such is overly likely, but if it makes sense with the fiction it could happen.

Having played a lot of Dogs I have to say in many cases this kind of stakes setting doesn't make a big difference, but in some multi-way or very dynamic or confused conflicts it is an absolute lifesaver. You should never have stakes set that could end up coming to pass and not making sense with the things you actually did in the conflict, and this is a solid way of preventing that.

(Also, does anyone have a link to Afraid? I think linking to the actual text on Stakes there would help.)
- Brand Robins


Ahh... thanks Brand.  I realize now that Ralph was just clearing up the confusion about stake setting, how and when; I thought initially the post was wrapping up the dispute about whether thoughts or actions could be determined as outcomes of conflicts.

Moreno R.

Brand, I already read Ralph's reply that way as a possibility (see the second paragraph in my last reply) and I still had problems with that.

Let's see if I can explain it better.  At first, when I began to play DitV, I used stakes worded like "if I win, this will happen".  We never arrived to the sort of "stake escalation" than Ron called "chesting" last year, but still this caused some little problem in very antagonistic conflicts with very important things at stake.

So when I read Ron's posts about the "pre-narration of stakes" I took a clue and began to frame the stakes as "I want / you want", as Intent, and not as results (and intents that applied to real, visible things, not "i convince" or "i make him think").  In the example of the "Women's social role in this Town", I think I would frame the conflict between the dogs and the townspeople as something like "I want to force the people of this town to admit that they sinned against the King of Life" and "Instead I want the townspeople to hold to their beliefs". What would happen then would depend on the raises and sees and declarations. It the conflict escalate to gunfighting and the dogs win maybe at the end the people ask for mercy and declare anything the dogs want. Or maybe there's no need and using simple words the dogs win the conflict and the people ask for forgiveness from the King of Life with tears in their eyes.

But the intent is clear. It's like an arrow.  The way the conflict go  can modify the means, the arrow can fall much short or hit the target, can do a lot of damage and fallout or not, it can go well or really wrong. But the players called for a conflict resolution about their intent. They lose, they don't get it. They win, they get it.

And it must be a real choice, there must be a real possibility of both things happening, or the conflict is not a real conflict and you could simply say yes.

And this is the way I read what Ron said: state what you want, not what you will get if you "win".

Now, let's see the same situation if we don't state what we want, but simply say that "Women's social role in this Town" is a stake.

We roll, somebody win. And he get the conch shell.  He can narrate everything he want, the only condition is that he can't cancel what happened in the conflict.  OK, I (the GM) win. So I rule "the dogs attest that the townpeople are right, the King of Life smile on this town, they were wrong".

You see as this don't violate the conflict, and IS "deciding what happen to the thing at stake", but is outside the parameters of the first example of stake-settings? The dogs didn't put at stake what they believed, but it's possibile to use a wording of the result that chance that.

You go into a conflict without having a clear idea of what you are putting at stake, in this way, because in the narrative all is tied, and you can change a lot of things tied to the stakes, in a way that can force someone's agenda on the group.. 

Or, the other way around. The GM win, but he say that people change their mind anyway, because "it would be better for his story", making the conflict meaningless.

My problem with this, is that I don't see the difference with "who has the conch shell say what happen". I assume that there is a difference, but if I should use this kind of stake-setting in my games, not seeing that difference, it would BECOME conch-schell narrativism.

(to be clear, I am not preoccuped by having someone abuse the conch shell. I am preoccupied by the kind of confusion, vetoes abuse and distrust that could go from this. In my experience the clarity of the stakes is the most important way to teach players used to "mainstream games" to trust the system and the other players. I don't want to lose that)


(Excuse my errors, English is not my native language. I'm Italian.)


My post takes your post as a given starting point Moreno.

Dogs is "Say yes or roll the dice".  So before you even reach for dice there has to be a conflict of interest where somebody said something somebody else couldn't say "yes" to.

That should already cover the "what's your intent part".  Your intent is whatever you were doing / saying that triggered the conflict in the first place.

The stakes then aren't your intent...they're the battle field...or as Brand said "what's hanging in the balance"

If you're already golden with how to make Dog conflict work, the distinction is just a quibble.  But if you're struggling to get them to work, I think its a good road marker.