thread: 2009-05-04 : Dice and Cloud, the Death Threats thread

On 2009-05-04, Vincent wrote:

Christian: I don't think you can break game design out like that. A game supports things by the intersections of its rules, not by its rules individually or in simple aggregate.

In fact in Storming the Wizard's Tower the player DOES just have her character take the high ground. It's been in my example all along: the player says "I take position on the ridge of the hill." Then - in Storming, this is - she rolls dice to find out how well her character can take advantage of it and thus how many bonus dice she gets, and the GM chooses what kind of bonus dice they are, based on the precise fictional details. In this way, "I take up position on the ridge of the hill" is systemically different from "I crouch down behind the boulder" or "I scramble up a tree out of their reach."

The rule is called "if your character takes advantage of a tactical feature of the battlefield," but the player can't just say "I take advantage of a tactical feature of the battlefield," roll dice, and find out her bonus, like she could if she were playing In a Wicked Age and using her particular strength. In Storming the Wizard's Tower, that would tell her how MUCH her bonus is, but not what it's a bonus TO. The GM has to know what tactical feature her character's taking advantage of, and how, to know what kind of bonus to give her.

If the player could choose it all for herself, in the heat of the moment she'd say things like "I'm taking advantage of a tactical feature. It'll be a bonus to red dice. I roll ... 3 hits, so that's 3 red dice." Instead, she has to think of something her character can do that will spur the GM to give her the bonus in the red dice she wants. Consequently, nothing happens in the game without something happening in the game's fiction.


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