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anyway: marginalia

 anyway.



thread: 2009-06-15 : Lazy Play vs IIEE with Teeth

On 2009-07-02, Josh W wrote:

I never got the "but it never actually happens" bit before. I thought that was a little bit mad actually! But now I think I get it: You want a moment where "the how" is fleshed out. Do they swing their first? Do they dive head-first? Or in another example, what's their tone of voice like? How do they first introduce the problem? Do they mention that old forgotten thing?

Or do they just say "you convince them not to leave"? It's like those stupid comedies where someone says "I don't know how you talked me into this". When I see that, I almost want to shout at the screen "Neither do your writers!", :P it's just lazy. You can almost imagine the dice rumbling in the background! Now I have only one friend who plays this way, and he's also the one interested in playing boring games he knows how to win. He's not so into the how, the moment of action itself, he's into the payoff, and he wants to get there as fast as possible!

I on the other hand am more zen than that, thank God! Although that does get me into sticky scrapes with over-compliant GMs: If I set a character's goals, then ten seconds later they have them! They don't realise that what I'm into is using goals like the aiming in peggle, a way to cause a chain of interesting events. I wouldn't be too bothered if they never hit that point, so long as the intervening effects are cool. Although I may feel sorry for the character and try to get them little breaks periodically!

Callan, well spotted, crunchy task based games, laborious as they may be, insure that people mention that stuff!

This very issue has stalled my conflict resolution based game for ages, though I couldn't put it into words; I wanted the game to be about actually talking through what happens, even though the dice only answer one question! My resolution (to the problem of resolution)? Force the dice mechanic to ask how you do stuff, like I always used to, but structure it more than "yeah that sounds convincing", and give help to the weaker player if their character is better than them at something.

That last part shows some of the danger of giving these things teeth; they can chew up the inexperienced! If someone says their character plays the piano, then shouldn't they then say what chord progressions, rhythm and tempo? We ask the same of people in combat. So anything that requires players to specify such things should not underline their ignorance. So here is one mechanic; players may use their characters skill to pick up on the skill of another player at the table, and ask them how their character might achieve such a thing. They explicitly have waffle protection, so if someone goes on about 70 calibre needle point rounds or whatever they can cut them off, but that player has the opportunity to help them flesh out the action to their satisfaction, if the player gives it.

I hope such a structure will mean that those players who would previously over-rule people with their superior knowledge, now act as contractors to fulfil a brief, which is given by intent and skill level, and perhaps by general ideas of strategy that the original player adds, with them being final arbiter of what their character does. So they are now asking players to make it fit to their satisfaction, while still getting to appear as experts.



 

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