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Author Topic: [iaWA]questions  (Read 3038 times)
Rustin
Member

Posts: 91


« on: November 02, 2007, 02:08:53 PM »

authority

I've been feeling slightly guilty for exercising content authority in this game, as a player.

How would conflict between players or between player and GM on back-story elements proceed? Are players even allowed to introduce back-story under the rules?

 
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Troels
Member

Posts: 77


« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2007, 02:12:18 PM »

Are players allowed to introduce back-story under the rules?

The conflict rules work by dice representing the concrete actions of the characters in concrete situation, though which the players duke it out for the narrative authority to tell just how the other guy gets whipped (or whatever the case might be). That's what the rules are. Introducing backstory really isn't part of the rules.

There's no great big back-story of the GM's to protect, since the established material is derived at the start of the chapter from four little snippets of text. So inspired ideas for content from the players would usually be welcomed by me as GM. However, introduction of back-story can, like scene-framing, be used by creative and aggressive players to bamboozle other players by twisting the plot in their favour, in a way that really sucks in play.

Examples:

Aggressive scene-framing: "OK, the scene starts with my character Ash standing over your character Oak. Oak is asleep in his bed and Ash have daggers drawn" (a scene ensues in which Ash can use his favourite forms and strongest dice, and Oak has to fall back on mediocre stuff because his favourite tactics are irrelevant here).

Aggressive content-introduction: "But really, two years ago my character Ash saved prince Elm in battle, so the prince is totally grateful and wants to help me kill Oak" (and without a roll of the dice, Ash's player has brought in a strong NPC on Ash's side).

My answer is that in a hard conflict game such as In a Wicked Age the authority over such matters must fall back on the GM, who can act as a referee to keep the PvP action reasonably balanced and interesting. But the GM's authority shouldn't stop others from making suggestions. They should just be prepared to be told "no". So bring in cool, colourful stuff, which is much easier to do when the presence of a referee frees you from the temptation of using scene framing and back-story as a bludgeon.
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lumpley
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Posts: 3453


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« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2007, 09:21:50 AM »

Backstory, let's see.

First, nobody's allowed to say any backstory at all until after everybody's best interests are established. Any backstory you do say, absolutely must line up with the best interests as established. This is going to be pretty difficult for a certain set of roleplayers to deal with - you have to commit to your characters' best interests without knowing their backstories.

Second, whenever anybody says any backstory in play, everyone has to agree to it, fully and without reservation, or it isn't true. This includes people whose characters aren't involved in any way (but they'll usually agree to it, for that very reason, so whatever). It also includes when the GM says backstory.

The best thing to do is to leave backstory un-pinned-down, even when it seems important. Odds are, it's not that important at all. Again, this'll be a skill that a certain set of roleplayers will have to work to develop, it won't come naturally.

The game's pretty intolerant of backstory, actually. Like the early fantasy fiction it's based on, it's very much "we start NOW and go forward!" Even when the Conan stories (for instance) take us back in time, they don't tell us backstory, they start now and go forward.

-Vincent
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John Harper
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Posts: 1054

flip you for real


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« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2007, 03:36:39 PM »

Yeah. Now, and then forward.

Also, about the scene framing business: That thing with Ash and Oak doesn't happen when we play. For one, only the GM frames, and I am such a hard ass about it. But let's say you play Durham 3 style so you get this:

Jason: "OK, the scene starts with my character Ash standing over your character Oak. Oak is asleep in his bed and Ash has his daggers drawn."

Tony: "No. Oak knew you were coming, so you only think he's asleep. Really he's awake and he sings a song of peace as you enter the tent."

What happens? Well, you have a conflict. Ash is sneaking around and Oak is singing and someone wins out. You can't short-circuit the conflict system by "just saying" something. Everything someone says as an action is up for grabs for conflict and ultimately negotiation of consequences.

Even this:

Tony: "No, Oak knew you were coming, so he made an illusion of himself sleeping in his bed."

That doesn't mean that Ash doesn't get to stab Oak. It means they're in conflict. One of them is sneaky-stabby, the other is illusion-magicky. Or whatever. You can always, always go to the dice.
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Agon: An ancient Greek RPG. Prove the glory of your name!
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