Re: Argument overridden

From: Mike Holmes <homeydont_at_...>
Date: Mon, 27 Oct 2003 17:36:09 -0000

It very much seems to me that the argument has devolved into a question of what's "narratively appropriate" in this hypothetical. That is, both sides agree that there are times where you have to limit potential player declarations (even the "freedom side" wouldn't argue that a character sans Laser could declare that he was shipping one out to end the conflict), but the question is whether it's merited in this case.
  1. We have very little information. I think that in some cases, it would be more likely that it would be inappropriate, and in others less. Without knowing the exact details, arguments in this vein are useless. We can all stand around and say, "given this" and "given that", but that doesn't answer the question at hand of the hypothetical, to which the appropriate response is, "it all depends on the narrative circumstances."
  2. What is "narratively approporiate" is a judegemnet call, even when you do know the details.

Some may think that shouting at someone isn't a good way to get them to do someting, and other's might. And some may think that it's hard to switch to violence in such a case, and others do not. For example, I can tell you that IME, shouting can be very effective. Given the example, where likely the only thing lost by crossing second, is face, then shouting seems to me to be a very appropriate approach. I hearken back to Basic Training for effective examples of times I was motivated by shouting. Second, given that humans are susceptible to Fight or Flight responses just like animals, I think that going for violence is a typical response for someone who has been socially cowed. So I personally think it's appropriate.

But that doesn't matter, I'm not the GM in this case. No matter how much I argue that it makes sense, it's up to the GM on the scene to make a subjective call. And I'll assume that everyone in this debate will make the decision that they think is best suited. In which case, we're not really arguing, are we, we're just putting out opinions on things like human nature. Which isn't likely to get us anywhere.

3. There's a simple solution to the whole problem that everyone is overlooking. This is a little complex in explanation, so please bear with me.

It seems that the crux of the problem as described often comes down to the fact that people can't imagine an appropriate 8 AP declaration for the cavalryman that meshes with the idea of changing to attacking the other character. But there is, you just have to be creative, consider the parameters, and think *timing*. The problem, it seems to me, is that everyone assumes that the charging character will get to the other side before the end of the conflict, thus voiding the conflict.

But that's out of the question by the parameters of the conclict. By getting into it in the first place, the players are all assuming that the characters doing the insluting could win with one well placed pharase that represents the entirity of the larger pool being bid. That is, if they both start at 23, then the starting player could narrate that they're stating that the other character is of quetionable parentage, etc, and bid the whold 23. This effectively makes it a simple contest, but that's an option.

The point is that this doesn't take any substantial amount of time. That means that, the "rest" of the contest, the part that means the elimination of the other 8 or 34 AP can be theoretically instantly short. So, bidding 8 AP to charge across the bridge, doesn't mean that the character will get to the other side of the bridge. It means that he'll make it part way. That's the only suitable thing I can think of, though any partial accomplishment of the new tactic is also OK.

Meanwhile, as the one character is charging across, the other character can still be firing insults. This is how it'll likely go in my game.

Charging Guy: I want to charge him!
Me: OK, so how many AP do you bid?
Charging: Well, 8.
Me: OK, that'll get you part way across the bridge if you succeed.

I just don't see the problem. Basically, people are saying that if you change tactics that you win the primary contest, because you can suddenly declare things that, if successful will result in that contest being won. But we know that's not allowed by the rules. Declarations of action can't imply that success at the action means success for the contest. There has to always be a potential "partial success" effect if the roll will not automatically result in the reduction of one side or the other to zero on a success or failure. So, the 8 AP bid by the charging guy can't mean that success indicates getting to the other side, because that's not likely the case. It has to mean that he's gained some advantage in getting to the other side.

So, we can use the rules as written and satisfy everyone on the whole "changing tactics" concept. So, you don't ever have to limit a character for that reason. Sure we'll all limit based on what makes narrative sense, but that's subjective. So I don't see what all the discussion is all about.


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