Re: Augments/When does the contest begin?

From: Nils Weinander <nils_w_at_...>
Date: Fri, 12 Apr 2002 00:03:08 -0700 (PDT)

Michael Schwartz:
>>Simple contests should be used for the most
>>dramatic situations as well... The "level of
>>drama" is not the sole criterion.
>Wrong wrong wrong. A simple contest is used in situations "when the
>must overcome some sort of resistance or opposition... but no great
>suspense rests on the outcome" (HERO WARS, p. 126) and, thus, drama
>the rule.

I know it says so, but I disagree about the practical use of it in this case. If the action is instantaneous, using an extended contest rather than a simple contest would _reduce_ suspense, not increase it in my opinion, as it becomes a numbers exercise. More below.

>>To use an extended contest the situation must
>>be conceivable as an ongoing process.
>Stop thinking in antiquated terms like "rounds" or "actions", and
>re-evaluate situations from their perspective *within the story*. The
>biggest obstacle for people to overcome, where HERO WARS/HEROQUEST is
>concerned, is the shift from traditional methods of scene resolution
>an actual narrative focus. A narrator must analyze his or her story to

>determine where the real dramatic tensions lay before deciding upon
>means (ability test, simple contest, extended contest) he or she will
>to resolve them. Narrative is always a process.

I am not thinking in rounds, and narrative is actually the reason why you should not use extended contests for instantaneous actions. If you cannot narrate what the flow of APs mean, an extended contest is out of place.

Then again, you are quite right that you can include a lot of the "preparation phase" into the actual contest and thus turn it into an extended contest that can be narrated.

Nils Weinander

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