thread: 2005-07-28 : The Ars Magica Knock-off Fishbowl

On 2005-08-04, Vincent wrote:

If you don't know Dogs in the Vineyard's resolution rules, you won't be able to read this section.

Non-casual Adaptation

The conflict & resolution rules can't be about the social ramifications of violence anymore. They have to handle escalation differently. This isn't a game about "will you hurt someone to win?"


The stats are, straightforwardly, arguing, fighting, seeking, working. Fighting and working are physical, what distinguishes them is whether you're engaged in violence. Arguing and seeking are non-physical, what distinguishes them is whether you're engaged in trying to change someone else's mind about something.

You roll only one stat at a time, not pairs.

Stats range from 3 to 6 or so. You'll be rolling fewer dice than in Dogs.

When you start a conflict, you establish the stakes, you set the stage, and you establish the arena. The arena doesn't change over the course of a conflict; if you decide arguing isn't working and you want to switch to fighting, that's a follow-up conflict.

For escalation, instead of rolling new stats into your pool, you roll the same stat again. If you're fighting and you escalate, you roll your fighting stat again.

When a conflict starts, your immediate circumstances and advantage are all that you've put on the line. If you lose them (whether you win or lose the stakes), it's only inconvenient.

To escalate and roll your stat again, you put more on the line. Your well-being. Your friends' well-being. Your good name. Your self-respect. Your integrity. Your life.

This'll be represented by increasing the die size of the fallout you take, of course. Starts at d4s, increase it whenever you want your stat dice again.

However, you take fallout on your raise instead of on your see. On your turn you raise the same as always. Then:

- If I take the blow, I don't take fallout, but you get to keep one of your dice. Me taking the blow means that you're advantaged wrt the stakes.

- If I block or dodge, I block or dodge.

- If I reverse the blow, you take fallout. You get three dice of fallout at the die size appropriate to how far you've escalated.

I'll rewrite both the fallout tables and the fallout number results, to better suit the lower number of fallout dice you'll be rolling. I'm also going to call 'em "challenge" and "answer" not raise and see.

There are changes to how stakes work too: every character in a conflict has a goal; they can be compatible or incompatible with others' goals; there isn't only one thing at stake.

This whole thing really changes multi-party conflicts.

At the beginning of the conflict, each player says a goal for their character. When you raise, raise toward your character's goal. Anyone can see who wants to - including partial sees. Once everyone's seen who wants to, if the total against you is less than your raise, you win your goal. If it's your raise or greater, you take fallout, are blocked, or keep a die, according to how many dice are against you.

A partial see is when I raise, eg "I dash across and grab the book, 10," and you see with less than the full raise, eg "I stick out my foot to trip you, 5," counting on someone else in the conflict to complete the see, eg "...and when you stumble I catch and restrain you, 6."

Traits and relationships will work the same as always. I'll refigure the number of dice you get for traits and relationships, naturally.

That's the non-casual adaptation.


This makes MW go "escalating"
a bit like how you reroll in Trollbabe, no?

This makes JN go "Incompatible Goals"
(First, V, how cool is this? I must re-read a few more times to absorb!) Hmm. So you have the stakes of the conflict -- which are the same for everyone. And then each involved participant *also* has a goal. Right? So, stakes: Do the magi get the magical resources they need for their longevity potions? Goal for PC#1: I want to take the lion's share for myself, and screw the other PCs! PC#2: I want to obtain them while maintaining good relation with the nature spirits in the forest. PC#3: I want as much magical water and fungi as possible. Damn the consequences to the nature spirits. ...Like that?

This makes JN go "Oops..."
I think I mis-read. There *is* more than one thing at stake. Many stakes, V says, right there. :) Ok, so if this is the case - what is there to help us all make sure the stakes are sane and appropriate for just this one conflict?

This makes Chris go "Escalation"
Good call on escalation. I've really noticed and appreciated the concept specific way it was implemented in Dogs- I was wondering how it would be adapted to other games :) TB's raising the Fallout/Injury level is a great idea!

This makes JL go "Multiple goals?"
I'd really love to see this concept of each character having her own goal expanded and put into context of actual play. Right now it makes my head hurt.

This makes VB go "MW: yes indeed."

This makes HS go "Escalation"
First thought was what if each escalation increased the die size of the stat dice? Then, I thought what if escalating worked like turning in cards in Risk? First escalation by anyone in a conflict gets d4s, second gets d6s, etc.

This makes JN go "Attrributes and Arena Die Sizes"
Attribute choices are interesting, and I think appropriate. Seeking is very cool. Arguing makes a lot of sense, based on my experience, too. :) But a great fighter rolling 6d4 as a combat starts seems a little counter-intuitive, given the role of d4s in Dogsy conflict resolution. On the face of it, having someone who's really good in a certain arena start at d6 or higher in that arena confers a more intuitive and immediate advantage, which tracks with the character concept. Yes/no?

This makes ecb go "whooee"
I like how you have to make choices about whether to put your dice towards your goal or against other folks. That will be interesting to see how it plays out. Also, J: i think the d4s were for fallout, not the stats.

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