Re: Digest Number 1825

From: Doug Bonar <dbonar_at_...>
Date: Tue, 22 Mar 2005 07:18:52 -0500

> From: "Mike Holmes" <mike_c_holmes_at_...>
> Subject: Re: Digest Number 1824

> The problem occurs because of play style. For some groups (mine and others)
> what you call a problem is a feature.

    :nods. I do find it hard to imagine a play style that is built on constant digressions into which attribute might apply or whether the GM understood the player's intent correctly. But I do understand that it works for you, and, because I like many things about the system, I want to see if there is a way it might work for us.

> From: "Rob" <robert_m_davis_at_...>

> > Every context could (can? will?) becomes
> > an exercise in trying to convince the other players and the GM
> > what skills and augments apply. Then, after the roll, there is
> > still a huge judgement call in how the results apply.
> The narrator should, IMO, always ask what the players intent is.
> Even if you assume he wants to kill the broo, he should be asked.

    That's my point. The GM asked and got 'save my children'. Dice are rolled and we get a marginal success. So, we know the children are alive. But we don't know much else. As I wrote before,

> > Did she 'save her children' by killling the raiders, driving
> them
> > off, chasing them away after they started the sted burning and
> > stole the cattle, or even by dying while seeing the youngest
> carried
> > off to be sold into slavery (still alive!). Obviously level of
> victory is
> > one input into figuring out what should happen. But if the goal
> is
> > ambiguous ('save my children'), there is a lot of room for after
> the
> > fact arguing.
> If its save my children, how can that be construed ambiguous? A
> success is the kids are saved. The raiders are driven off. Even on
> a complete defeat, at the narrators option. There is no debate.

    As far as I can see, a success does not indicate the raiders are driven off. Just that the children are saved. Maybe she made a deal with the raiders that they won't harm her or the kids if she lets them hide out here for the night? That saves the kids, but sets up further problems. Or maybe it is a marginal success so she is left with a wrecked farm, but her kids are alive. Two very different outcomes and both are allowing the GM to penalize the player (by throwing more trouble at the character) on what was a successful contest.

    Is the GM supposed to query the player in detail about all shades of the outcome before the dice? Is he supposed to query the player about intent after the dice? Just make it up and assume the players will be OK with it?

    I expect it is the later. And I expect it can work (Mike H's group being an example). My, very slight, HQ experience seems to be that the players expect that they won, so nothing bad happened to them. They got not only their stated objective, but also done in a way that doesn't cause later problems. Which seems to lead to rather bland gaming.

    I realize some of the issue comes from our very standard RPG background. Task based rolls, the rules generally tell you if you succeeded or failed. You may or may not get what you want from succeeding on the roll, but you never hurt yourself by succeeding. With stating goals like 'save my children', it seems like there is so much room for interpretation of 'how' you succeed that the roll becomes less meaningful. It is the interpretation afterwards that matters.

Sorry for being so long,

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