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Monologue of Defeat

Started by Jeffrey Straszheim, November 06, 2001, 09:21:00 PM

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Jeffrey Straszheim

I had a different idea for adding a "Monologue of Defeat" (I guess it is an inevitable name).  A character can take a certain number of flaws , quirks, or limitations.  Anytime the player thinks that one of these would meaningfully hinder or harm his character, he may describe how with an MoD.  No die roll is needed.  The mechanics are the same as an MoV.  Then the players is rewarded with some dice (say usually two) by the GM.
Jeffrey Straszheim

James V. West


The idea of the MoD is a natural response to the MoV but was dropped from the original rules. I wanted to streamline the game as much as possible and that was one of the things that got ixnayed early on.

However, THE QUESTING BEAST will feature the Monologue of Defeat.

I'm not personally keen on adding any rules that work outside the die roll. I like having one single game mechanic that takes care of all functions. I also don't want any rules for gaining dice except the success=die rule.

But your post and my work on TQB have really clued me in to how infinitely customizable The Pool is. Maybe I need to add a section to the site for rules modifications by other people...

James V

Paul Czege


A character can take a certain number of flaws , quirks, or limitations. Anytime the player thinks that one of these would meaningfully hinder or harm his character, he may describe how with an MoD....Then the players is rewarded with some dice...

I like it. I think I'd say that rather than having flaws or limitations, that a player can just use any of the character's traits to trigger a MoD in exchange for adding a die to his pool. "My 'bravery' gets the best of me and I find myself surrounded and separated from my companions." It solves a lot of things that are problematic for me about the existing mechanics for pool replenishment and the MoD. I don't like having to pay attention to sixes for the MoD. It clutters the mechanic. I think anything besides ones should be irrelevant. And I don't like the two dice replenishment for a success and the replenishment at the beginning of a game session. Those things feel tacked on.

I realize that everyone has his hands in The Pool, but I guess I can't help it. Forgive me? One dice or a MoV for a rolling a one. Add a dice to the pool if you narrate a voluntary failure related to one of your traits. Ask for a Trait roll for Director power related to that trait. It's lean and mean.

My Life with Master knows codependence.
And if you're doing anything with your Acts of Evil ashcan license, of course I'm curious and would love to hear about your plans


I'm with Paul on this.  Looking at sixes and whatnot clutters the mechanic, and many of the other suggestions seem less intuitive than the original rule set.  From the beginning it's been said that Traits do not necessarily have to reflect positive virtues of a character, and a rule such as what Paul is suggesting would provide ample player impetus to bring such Traits into play.

Just my thoughts.

- Moose

Blake Hutchins

I also like the Trait use for MoD, but I disagree with moose and Paul on the "deep-six" MoD rule.  Having played with it, I'd have to say it was FUN.  Damn fun, in fact, and it helped make up for players losing a ton of dice on a blown role.  Though the Pool does indeed have an elegant mechanic, the symmetry of the MoD versus the MoV doesn't detract in the least from that elegance, in my opinion.  Players are spending plenty of creative energy already, but the MoD is more challenging, and my players loved it.  In fact, they burned themselves far worse than I did, so I don't think self-serving players represent a problem in mature groups.  One consequence, of course, is that the MoD rules shifts the narrative sto a much more distributed format, since with a group of three players you will almost always have someone in a roll-heavy game engaging in Monologues.  That's very cool in my book, but it may not work for all groups.

As far as the dice pool gain ratio, the two dice feels just right to me.  Gaining one die seems way too little for the risk of a roll, and it discourages aggressive gambling.  Even two dice seems a bit low if you're rolling frequently, as we did.  The Trait MoD rule mitigates this nicely, but I still think two dice works better.  This element looks like a scaleability issue for the group.  If you want fewer rolls, go with a one die gain.  If you want more rolls, go with two or more.

Regarding MoV thresholds for significant NPC characters, I like having some kind of guideline to permit the narrator some leeway for plot immunity.  Counting the ones on a roll as a shortcut to overcome plot immunity seems like the most elegant way to go, and it gives a purpose to multiple ones that doesn't drift into task resolution.  In my game, if the Black Knight had a Plot Immunity Threshold of 4, it  takes either four successes/Monologues of Victory or four ones on an MoV roll to overcome that plot immunity.  Four is actually somewhat high, but it lets me as a narrator distinguish between mooks and bosses in a more structured way that ties directly into the die mechanic.  I realize this guideline could be applied to anything, but I just like it for those situations where a major challenge needs some staying power.  Clever roleplaying and storytelling could of course overcome PIT at any time, which is why I see it as a guideline, not a rule.

Thanks.  Just my two cents.


Blake Hutchins

Oh, and the MoD didn't clutter the handling time in any measurable way, from my observation.  It worked great.



James V. West


I just read Paul's suggestion and I'm processing it as I type.

I agree that the beginning-of-session replenishment was not cool, that's why I ditched it. But I don't find the two-dice reward awkward. This could certainly be a group preference, as Blake pointed out.

Also, I can appreciate your statement about 6s cluttering the mechanic. I have no plans for adding that rule to The Pool. However, The Questing Beast has taken on a life well beyond the borders of The Pool and I find the so-called "deep-six" rule is fitting for it.

Paul's suggestion about voluntary failures is interesting. It seems like it would work best with a highly goal or task oriented approach. A kind of win/lose standard role-playing style. But if the use of die rolls was much less task oriented the difference between a success and a failure might bet muddy. I'm not sure about it. Good idea, though. Really cool.

I've started the process of laying out the pages for TQB so I hope to have it finished soon. I haven't posted much about it and I probably won't until its done. The rules are different from The Pool, but no too different. Just tweaked a little bit. I've taken the narrativist elements of the game and went hogwild with them, in some ways. Wether or not the game ends up being something people will want to actually play is something I can't say. Right now its just a blast and a half working on it.


James V. West