*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
August 19, 2022, 06:32:36 PM

Login with username, password and session length
Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.
Search:     Advanced search
275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 83 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
Pages: 1 [2]
Print
Author Topic: Pitching a "new way"  (Read 14540 times)
Valamir
Member

Posts: 5574


WWW
« Reply #15 on: August 06, 2003, 08:35:12 AM »

Quote from: talex
I assume this includes any relevent NPCs in the situation, ie:


yup

Quote
GM: "Billy bad is going to try and get the relic"
Bob: "Crud, ok, I'll have my demon eat Billy Bad."
GM: "Billy bad is going to try and not be eaten..."


Sure...BUT...given the way the die mechanic works, not necessary.  In Sorcerer you can always "abort to defend".  Meaning the GM can have Billy continue to go for the relic.  IF Billy wins, he gets the relic AND can fully defend himself against bob's demon (with a new roll).

If Billy loses he has a choice, either to continue to go after the relic (assuming he survives the demon) and defend with only a single die OR he can abort his effort at going after the relic and roll full defense.

Quote
Has anyone ever seen this degrade into, "Well, if you're doing that, I'll do this, and if you stop doing that, I'll go back to this.." circular discussions?


Haven't ever seen it.  Sorcerer is what we would call fortune in the middle.  Most games are fortune at the end...meaning that dice aren't rolled until after every detail is described about exactly what's happening, and then the dice indicate success or failure.

In Sorcerer (and other FiTM games) intent is described before the roll...(my demon is going to try and eat Billy bob) but the actual description of what happens waits until after the dice are rolled...i.e. the dice are rolled in the middle of the description.

So after the dice are rolled, say billy loses but decides to keep going after the relic and get lucky on defense.  He doesn't.  The demon wins big.  The player can now describe the details of exactly what winning big means (within the number of successes and damage rules of the game).  Billy may get eaten, may have his head yanked off and popped into the demon's maw like a bon bon, may be slammed against the wall a few times before the juice is sucked out of him...whatever...that description waits till after the roll.

This has the effect of mitigating alot of the "but then I..." well no, then I'm gonna" back and forth that might occur.  Because during the free and clear you are taking mostly in generalities about intent and the specific details are left until after the roll, its much easier to reach a consensus about who is trying what.

The ability to get a full defend if you win, or abort to defend if you don't is a pretty ho-hum seeming rule, until one groks the free-and-clear concept, and then one realizes that its a stroke of genius that actually allows the free-and-clear stage to function (Rerolls in Troll Babe fill a similiar purpose in facilitating functional free and clear).


Once the dice hit the table turn order and player options become very rigid and strictly defined.
Logged

Tim Alexander
Member

Posts: 304


« Reply #16 on: August 06, 2003, 08:56:05 AM »

Quote

If Billy loses he has a choice, either to continue to go after the relic (assuming he survives the demon) and defend with only a single die OR he can abort his effort at going after the relic and roll full defense.


OK, I get it, and it makes a lot of sense that it would resolve a lot of the potential back and forth. As an aside, this is a positively brilliant mechanic. Who does initial credit for FiTM, as a mechanic go to?

-Tim
Logged
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 16490


WWW
« Reply #17 on: August 06, 2003, 09:34:51 AM »

Hi there,

Ralph's point is very important: defensive actions by targets don't have to be brought up during the "Free and Clear" phase at all. That'll be handled case-by-case during resolution itself. The uncertainty about who is really going to have to concern himself about defense in the first place is a source of major dramatic and choreographic impact during play, once the dice have hit the table.

The technique of Fortune-in-the-middle dates back to the origins of role-playing. The very long combat rounds found in early D&D and Tunnels & Trolls are a good example, and I can even cite some neat text from my old Players' Guide about how Hit Points don't actually model literal wounds, and taking a certain amount of damage should be retroactively defined, considering that a whole minute went by to incur it.

Plenty of re-roll or bonus mechanics based on a resource ("burning experience for bonuses" in 1980s terms; "metagame mechanics" in 1990s terms) are scattered liberally through games texts, and I well remember their origins as house rules in Champions, for instance, long before they showed up in texts. Not all of these represent Fortune-in-the-middle (some are purely metagame do-over), but some of them do.

Rules that are more explicit about it, specifically separating "generalized intent" from "what the hell happened, including pre-outcome," are much harder to find. I could be wrong, but Lester Smith's system for Zero (later altered somewhat for Sovereign Stone) is the first instance of the absolutely explicit free-and-clear approach in RPG texts.

I take credit for the actual term "Fortune-in-the-middle."

Best,
Ron
Logged
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 16490


WWW
« Reply #18 on: August 06, 2003, 09:37:40 AM »

Oh yeah,

See also, Sorcerer combat.

Best,
Ron
Logged
jburneko
Member

Posts: 1351


« Reply #19 on: August 06, 2003, 09:46:38 AM »

Hello,

Wow, I was invoked twice in this thread.  I feel honored.

I believe the article Ron is refering to is this one here:

http://www.geocities.com/devil_bunnys/mindset.html

I still don't consider that article 100% finished and so much material here on The Forge I feel has sort of replaced the need for it but if you find it useful I'm happy to oblige.

The advice in this thread so far as been really good so I'm going to add my own thoughts to this.

I think ultimately one of the most difficult things to get around is understanding the new function of NPCs.  The way a GM plays the NPCs is a lot closer to how the players play their PCs than in other modes.  In a lot of other games NPCs serve a very specific function and out side of that function they're sort just a characature of jumbled dialog.  This has been one of the hardest things to get around.  The NPCs need to be active and doing things and those things need to bump into the PCs in non-railroady meaningful ways.  In other threads that discuss relationship maps I think you'll find this refered to as a relationship map that is "grabby."

Example:

If I can jump games for a second, in my current 7th Sea game, in which I am using TONS AND TONS AND TONS AND TONS of Sorcerer techniques to run, I have this set of NPCs:

Madame Gabriella D'Aur is a Montaigne noble woman.  She has one child with her husband Henri, her son Felix (who is married is the daughter of one of the PCs).  A long time ago she had an affair with an Eisen noble man and that relationship bore a daughter.  Neither Henri nor Felix know of this child's existance.  The Eisen noble man also happened to possess the power of the destructive Eisen Sorcery.  He was killed but the power passed on to his daughter.  Gabriella confided in a priest who was a friend of the family and he urged her to destroy the child but she begged him to help her child live.  So he agreed to see that the child was imprisoned but could come to visit her under armed surveillance when her husband and son were gone.

Interesting right?  I have a small little relationship map that ties directly into a PC.  I have some cool back story.  Know what?  All these NPCs SUCK!  Royally.  This whole section (and this is just a sub-section) of the scenario just died and fell really flat.  Know why?  Because while all these NPCs have secrets and conflicts and stuff I have no idea what any of them would actually DO about it.  Not one itoa.  They're just kind of sitting there waiting to be discovered.  It's a relationship map and it's a backstory but it's static.  It's over and done with.  These NPCs have fallen into an understanding and a settled repetitious behavior pattern that can only be discovered and stirred but has no motion of its own in anyway.

Contrast that with this much simpler sub-section.

Liam O'Conner is an Inish peasent and expert tracker.  The love of his life was murdered for "inconvenicing" a montaigne noble (one of the PC's (Renaux) father).  The PC in question is betrothed to another PC (Genieve) and Liam knows about this.   Liam wants to kill Genieve to make the Renaux and his father grieve the way he has.

See?  This character has motion.  Even better, unlike the previous set of NPCs, I know things about how Liam feels about the world and those around him.  I know that Liam thinks Montaigne nobles are more concerned with politics and money than real passion.  This manifests in the fact that Liam started out by trying to befriend Renaux because he wanted to make sure Renaux really LOVED Genieve and this wasn't just some kind of Montaigne land deal (which it is, by the way).  Liam does stuff and I know how he goes about doing that stuff.  I can play Liam all night long, improvising all kinds of behaviors because I understand him on a passion and emotional level rather than strictly a functional game level.

This, by the way ties heavily into the coaxing new behaviors out of players.  If you play your NPCs with passion and verve that do not make direct demands on player behavior most players who have any investment in their characters at all will respond in some way.  The key is to take that response and run with it.

A second trap that I fall into with characters is mistaking adjective for action.  This comes in two forms, the NPC form and the PC form.  

The NPC form is simple to recognize and avoid.  Avoid describing your NPCs with observer driven emotional adjectives.  For example, I used to write things like, "This character is *charmingly* naive."  I would then get frustrated to no end when the players did not find the character charming.  I would assume that I was this awful GM who couldn't properly convey the NPC.  Then one day it occured to me that perhaps I WAS conveying the NPC but the other players didn't find it charming.  It's very easy to start trying to railroad your players by convincing yourself that you're not properly DESCRIBING something.

The PC version of this problem has a few more subtleties to it because on the one hand they're the PCs and your want to faciilitate them presenting their characters as they see them on the other hand without variance in emotional PC and NPC reaction you don't get any conflict.

I have one particular player I have a lot of problems with because she builds all these really beautful emotionally evocative characters but she usually describes them entirely in terms of how OTHER people react to her character rather than what her character does to provoke those reactions.  She uses phrases like, "She commands people's respect" or "Men will fight for her."  As a result, in game she usually does nothing proactive instead she just waits for NPCs to respect her and men to start fighting over her.  So, while I agree with Josh's comments that if a PC views themselves as "seductive" your shouldn't compromise that image BUT the PC should be out there actively seducing rather than hanging at the bar waiting for the Important Female NPC (tm) to come to him.

A lot of headache can be avoided right at character creation if you can get your players to describe their characters in terms of concrete facts, their OWN emotions and passions and pro-active verbs.  Do the same for your NPCs.

Hope that helps.

Jesse
Logged
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 16490


WWW
« Reply #20 on: August 06, 2003, 10:27:30 AM »

Most awesome.

Jesse, you do realize that "Sorcerer Unbound" is just begging to be written. By you. And sold.

Best,
Ron
Logged
Tim Alexander
Member

Posts: 304


« Reply #21 on: August 06, 2003, 12:23:49 PM »

Hey Again,

Just when I think this couldn't _get_ anymore helpful, it just gets better.

Ron: The twist on defensive actions is really cool, and seems to do a neat job of keeping the players cognizant of the FiTM. It's another place where Sorc's system really seems to support the style. In so many games, when you're trying a narrativist approach, you're doing a lot of system 'fudging' to keep from having the whole game unwound from _anyone's_ authorship. It seems that in Sorc, you're much more likely to let the fortune aspect really support in the way it should, by adding a random element. It keeps everyone on their feet. Also, the history lesson is really useful. I'm left awed by the number of games you've played/read/researched. The Sorcerer Combat thread was also really informative, I've socked it away to reread once I flex the system a bit.

Jesse: Holy cow. First off, the mindset link is great. While it may not be content that isn't already here, it's all in one place and gives a great springboard to some of the more detailed forum discussions. I think it's extremely useful, and I may well send my players that way to have a gander. If they read the GNS material I sent them it should help frame the game a bit better. Second, your NPC and relationship map example is bang on. I guarantee I would have fallen right into the trap (and still may, but hopefully now I'll check myself) of a 'map in stasis,' instead of a 'map in motion.' Same goes for adjective vs. action, it's amazing how those little things can make such a huge difference.

I'm positively drooling at this point at the prospect of getting the game into my grubby little hands and trying it out on some folks.

Thanks again,

-Tim
Logged
Valamir
Member

Posts: 5574


WWW
« Reply #22 on: August 06, 2003, 02:15:36 PM »

Quote
In so many games, when you're trying a narrativist approach, you're doing a lot of system 'fudging' to keep from having the whole game unwound from _anyone's_ authorship. It seems that in Sorc, you're much more likely to let the fortune aspect really support in the way it should, by adding a random element. It keeps everyone on their feet


Now you're just warming the cockles of Ron's heart.  He's big into letting the dice fall where they may in Sorcerer and using the result as an idea spring board.  

Looking forward to reading an actual play thread from you, Tim.
Logged

Tim Alexander
Member

Posts: 304


« Reply #23 on: August 06, 2003, 02:39:55 PM »

Hey Ralph,

Don't worry, you can count on seeing some actual play stuff. More than that, I'll likely have questions on my beginning R-maps and Bang setups. In reading a couple of threads organized that way it seems too good of a sounding board resource to pass up. Very rarely am I able to get any real input into my scenario prep before running the scenario. While talking it out afterwards is invaluable, being able to catch possible issues up front and get some outside input is fantastic.

-Tim
Logged
Bryant
Member

Posts: 51


« Reply #24 on: August 07, 2003, 03:47:33 AM »

I am just an egg, but one additional suggestion which I haven't seen in this thread yet:

Run a Trollbabe single session game first. It's admirably suited for getting the idea of narrative play across, and there will be less pressure on your group (and perhaps on you) if they don't feel like they'll be screwing up a campaign if they hate it.

The "player narrates failure" rule is particularly useful, because it negates the "warm fuzzy" effect you were talking about earlier -- players aren't given the opportunity to inflate their successes through narration, which makes it very clear that the Narrativist rules aren't just an excuse for powergaming.
Logged
Tim Alexander
Member

Posts: 304


« Reply #25 on: August 07, 2003, 08:26:18 AM »

Hey Bryant,

Unfortunately, I don't have my hands on Trollbabe, and selling them on learning another system may be rough. It does highlight another potential benefit/risk of the indie game world though. On the one hand, I'm tempted to say, "Hey, it's ten bucks, that's totally worth it even if it just gives me some valid ideas to apply elsewhere." On the other hand, those purchases add up, and the wife will eventually kill me. :)

In the end, given what I've read about it, I'll probably end up picking up Trollbabe at _some_ point. Mainly because I think it would appeal to a couple of folks I have pegged as potential players who don't play right now.

As for the potential of screwing up a campaign, I'm not terribly worried about it. The first time through I'm not planning on going with anything that _has_ to be played out endlessly, mainly because I don't want that presure on the players or me. If they hook into the game and want to keep going with the concept then great, but if not, then no big deal. We can always try something else with it later if the first time through doesn't grab them. The main thing is making sure that it leaves them with promise.

-Tim
Logged
Tim Alexander
Member

Posts: 304


« Reply #26 on: August 07, 2003, 02:54:39 PM »

Hello All,

Well, My copies of Sorcerer and Sorcerer's Soul came in the mail today. I hadn't really known what the format of the print copies were, but way cool! They're just the right size, and the dust jacket adds a level of class unseen before (by me at least) in a role playing release. I'll be out of town this weekend, so I'll be without posting ability, but with any luck I'll be able to get my reading in and will be armed and ready for some discussion next week.

-Tim
Logged
Pages: 1 [2]
Print
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC
Oxygen design by Bloc
Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!