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"My Queen,the fire was set as per your orders" - Confused about Rulebook example

Started by fuxoft, November 10, 2008, 04:42:28 AM

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Hello there.

I am fascinated by Universalis and I just tried our first game (after translating the main game terms into Czech for my fellow players). We made many mistakes but it was still very promising.

I am confused about the example given in revised rulebook at pages 31-32. Here Ed, speaking as the Scout, says: "My Queen, the fire was set as per your orders" and page 32 says this establishes the Fact that the fire (in the scene narrated previously) was indeed set by the Slytherans.

I don't see how this establishes the fact that the fire was set by the Slytherans. I only see it as establishing the fact that "Scout has told the Queen that Slytherans set the fire" but he could be lying or be misinformed. Otherwise, this would mean that during the narrating of one scene, the players can freely add Facts to previously narrated scenes, even when they ended with fade out...?

Eero Tuovinen

Yeah, Universalis examples are always a bit wonky. It seems to have something to do with the fact that the connection between fiction and mechanics in the game is essentially fiated by the whole group on a case-per-case basis. Thus, if the group were just nodding along when you played through this particular example, then that would be a legal play. On the other hand, I for one would find it quite legitimate for a player to contest this sort of interpretation and require the fact to be established as you said - the decision to not play directly through the scene essentially means that there can be no fact that conclusively proves the event, even though later play may make it de facto accepted that something of the sort really happened, even with nobody making a fact of it.
Blogging at Game Design is about Structure.
Publishing Zombie Cinema and Solar System at Arkenstone Publishing.


Thanks. That seems logical. I was just confused that in other part of the book there is an example of !someone saying he was witness to a crime" that directly contradicts this example with the Queen.

I'll also like to ask for some clarification about the first phase of the game ("Establishing the Tenets"). I think it's not necessary to create a new thread for this (correct me if I'm mistaken):

I think this is not specifically mentioned in the rules: Are you allowed to create Characters, Locations and Components during this initial phase? The things like "The Orion must be rescued" (creates Component called "Orion") or "The whole story takes place in maximum security prison" (cretes prison) or "The story is about pregnant Pope" (creates the Pope AND makes her pregnant) all seem to create Components, Locations and Characters. Are these things created during the "proposing the Tenets" phase or only later, during the normal game flow?

Eero Tuovinen

The general rule of thumb, if memory doesn't betray me, is that when the players start creating concrete objects, it's time to wrap up the tenents phase and start actual play. The players can create stuff in the tenets phase, but if it's more than a one-off thing, then stop teneting and start play.
Blogging at Game Design is about Structure.
Publishing Zombie Cinema and Solar System at Arkenstone Publishing.


Yeah, that example could benefit from a bit more precision.  Your interpretation is completely legitimate and is the primary function of the Challenge mechanic (particularly the Negotiation step).  Did we establish that the Slytherans set the fire, or just that the scout claimed that they did to the queen.  Same kind of issue as that of the gun firing example...does the Coin fire the gun, or does the Coin pull the trigger then the trigger fires the gun.  In the gun example its establishing the group consensus on mechanical costs, in the fire example its an issue of establishing group consensus on impact to the fiction.

Ultimately, it can all be handled on the fly, because establishing something as "Fact" actually doesn't mean anything unless someone in the group is willing to spend Coins to defend that Fact.  If when I narrated the scout's report to the queen I had in my head accepted that this meant the Slytheran's started the fire...but then in a later scene you want to throw in a twist establishing that the scout was lying and actually the fire was started by some other cause...and I think your twist is really cool...then I'm not going to waste my Coins to force the issue regardless of what was and wasn't established earlier.

You absolutely can Create Components during the Tenet phase.  What you shouldn't do is narrate those Component's doing anything.  If people are starting to have the Components interact, that's a good sign that you need to call the tenet phase and go to regular scenes for that interaction to take place.

Thanks for the questions!