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

On 2009-05-05, Graham wrote:

Yo yo yo reprazenting 4 tha yoo kay.

One thing I've noticed, with rightward-pointing arrows, is that they can seem rather unfair. For example, take the rule in Poison'd: if the fiction says you suffer a deadly wound, strike a bargain or die. That judgement call, on whether the wound is deadly, is a life or death decision. At the game table, it can seem like GM fiat.

Similarly, in Apocalypse World, one way you can suffer harm is if it seems natural in the fiction. In a game situation, this can again seem like GM fiat. Say I've got guys with AK-47s and a PC is shouting his mouth off. It seems obvious, to me, that they'd fire, and I've established that in the fiction. But that final decision, take harm or don't take harm, feels like fiat.

Compare how D&D handles this. There's no rightward-pointing arrow for "If the fiction says you take harm, take harm". Instead, it's "If the fiction says someone attacks you, roll dice". It seems much fairer.

For example, last week our thieves were breaking into a warehouse. Unknown to us, there were archers stationed on the roof. If Dave, our GM, had said "Right, an arrow hits you, roll damage", it would have seemed totally unfair. But when he says "Right, there's archers, they're attacking" and rolls to hit, it's fair.

Two things seem important. Firstly, the die roll. Secondly, the fiction that causes the rightward pointing arrow.

So, in the first case, "If someone attacks you, roll damage" seems unfair (there's no roll to avoid the damage). In the second case, "If a wound happens in the fiction, roll for damage" seems unfair, just as it does in Poison'd (who says a wound happens?). But "If someone attacks you, they roll to hit" is fair.



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