Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.

Main Menu

[IaWA] Challenger names Answerers, Answerers Call Back Later

Started by Paul T, October 04, 2008, 05:17:42 AM

Previous topic - Next topic

Paul T

This is another design question, and a very minor one. I'm just trying to wrap my head around how this game works.

In the rules, it says that when you issue a Challenge, you name who you want to Answer.

Is there some important reason for this? Because it seems to me that, whatever the Challenge is, the Answerers should be all the people who would want to stop your Challenge. That seems in line with the rules and the general design of the game.

If I want to cut someone open (character A), and I say: "A and B Answer" that only makes sense if B doesn't want me to cut open A--i.e. would want to stop me. If B doesn't care if I cut open A, then there's no reason for B to be Answering my Challenge. So, in the end, isn't it up to B?

If I'm right, why don't the rules say, "make your Challenge. Everyone else pick up your dice. If you want to oppose the Challenge, reroll and Answer"?


This is a way more complicated question than you think. I'll give you the practical answer first, in this post. If you still want the complicated theoretical answer after, let me know, I'll compose it.

Practical answer:

Yes, do it the way it seems to you. The answerers are all the people who would want to stop the challenge, in initiative order.

Remember that each answer really happens, in initiative order. So when it gets to be answerer #2's turn, make sure that she still wants to interfere with what's really happening now.

I think that you'll find it helpful overall for the challenger to make a prediction about who the answerer or answerers will be, out loud, when she says what her character does. If she's wrong, though, she's wrong, no big deal - the real answerers will step up.


Paul T

Thanks, Vincent.

I am definitely curious about the "way more complicated than you think" part, and will do some thinking about how the ordering of actions might play into. I spotted this particular rule as being a little bit, well, odd. It sort of jumped out at me from the book. Everywhere else, the rule of "Oh, no you don't" seems to be the basic foundation--it is the person who wants to and has the means to stop someone else's action who initiates conflict. I figured you had some interesting reason for making it so.

If you would find the time to explain that, whether here or by PM, I'd be very keen to hear about it. I can certainly understand if that's not something you have spare time for, however, and will keep playing your game as written. Maybe it'll make sense, eventually.


Raffaele Manzo, "Rafu" for short
(...And yes, I know my English sorta sucks, so please be easy on me...)



There's this moment of ambiguity inherent to all roleplaying, sitting in between when you say something and when it becomes understood and true in the game. It's a moment of interpretation. Each of us individually interprets what you said, and then as a group we interpret what you said. Words and thoughts and body language fills this moment. During this moment, you can keep talking, revising and retracting what you're saying, and so can we.

It's like the moment in Chess after you've moved your piece, but while you're still touching it. Only in roleplaying, we're all still touching it.

The information present at that moment has enormous power over what happens in the game. If you, speaking, fail to communicate effectively, your vision's vulnerable - in this moment of interpretation we can very easily rob you of your say, entirely by accident. You intend "I walk to the door" to reveal your character's insoluble inner conflict, for instance, but I and then we as a group interpret it to the contrary, to mean that your character's wholly committed to this course of action. You intend "I kiss him" to be your character's opening up emotionally, but we interpret it to be an act of cold manipulation. Things like that.

The rule in question - "as challenger, say who should answer" - projects your intentions into that moment of interpretation.

"I walk to the door. Vincent, you should answer."
"I should? Why? OH! Because you're conflicted, I see. Okay!"
Usually I don't even have to say this out loud, it's a flickering of understanding, a direction to my interpretation, too immediate for attention.

Now, sometimes it'll be your interpretation that's wrong. "I walk to the door," you'll say. "Vincent, you should answer." And I'll think, "he must think I care about that, but I don't." The rules that follow - everybody who wants to answer, does, in initiative order - allow me to seamlessly correct you.

"I don't answer," I say.
"You don't? But ... but that must mean that you were never counting on me in the first place. Oh! I see. Okay!"

There's the selfsame rule in Dogs in the Vineyard, by the way: "a raise is something your opponent can't ignore." Most of the time, that rule reminds you not to make weak raises. But part of the time, it signals your opponent to figure out what you're thinking: "I can't ignore that? Why not? ...oh! I see. He's right, I can't ignore that!" And part of the time, it lets me correct you: "I can ignore that." "You can? But ... Oh! I see. You're right. Then this is my raise..."

Make sense? Followup questions?


Paul T


That makes total sense. Thanks!

It doesn't seem all that complicated to me, either. I've seen that "moment" many times, and, indeed, the clarity of such a statement helps get everyone on the same page. It's a wonderful thing at work!

Part of the reason I'm guessing it's particularly valuable for IaWA is because you state *actions* rather than intents. Announcing who you think should answer reveals your intentions more clearly to the rest of the group. In the same way, the very definition of a Raise tells us what your intent is in Dogs. But that isn't present in the same way in IaWA, so the announcement helps it become visible for everyone.

Awesome, and clear, 100%. (Assuming I read you correctly, of course.)


Raffaele Manzo, "Rafu" for short
(...And yes, I know my English sorta sucks, so please be easy on me...)


Cool and good! Glad to help. More questions always welcome.


Thomas Lawrence

Just going to chime in to say that I love this, Vincent. I love it enough that it'd be worthy of being in a post on anyway for archival purposes.