2005-04-15 : FatB for Jason L

A quick, easy one. Jason L:

I'd like to read more musings about a dead horse - FatB.

...In the game, at the beginning of every scene, players roll dice based on character stats. When they roll the dice, they don't know the specific conflict, they don't know the stakes.

They decide the conflict and the stakes after the roll, using the values of the rolled dice as a currency to define the initial states and stakes of conflict in the scene.

Then, the players fight for a final determination of these things (answering the classic 'who wins?' question) through methods of well-designed FitM.

Would that be FatB?


First, I think you get this but: it doesn't matter when you roll the dice, it matters when the rules call upon the result. Roll 100 d10s and lock them in a time capsule for thirty years - the "F" still means when you look at the number, not when you generated it. (Because of this, KitM and KatE are exactly the same as FitM and FatE.)

So now. FitM and FatE refer to the individual decision you're making, not to the conflict or the scene or any such in-game thing. In fact, you can examine non-RPG randomized decisions, where there's no conflict and no scene, for FitM vs. FatE too. This is the crux:

Do I get pizza or Thai food tonight? I'll flip for it.

FatE: heads=pizza, tails=Thai, whichever lands up, that's what I get.

FitM: heads=pizza, tails=Thai, whichever lands up, if I'm happy, that's what I get; if I'm disappointed, I get the other.

What would FatB look like? I'd have to apply the head or the tail without having decided what heads and tails mean; without, in fact, having decided to flip for it at all.

(Per my first point, flipping and then deciding what you've flipped for doesn't change the fact - F is when in the decision-making process you call upon the head or the tail, not when the coin physically landed.)

End crux.

So this procedure you're proposing - it takes a couple of particular pieces of conflict resolution (stakes setting and stage setting) and randomizes them. We can examine your randomization scheme for itM-ness or atE-ness (and we find itM-ness), but before we call upon the numbers we rolled we have to decide what we're randomizing (our answer: stakes setting and stage setting) and furthermore that we're randomizing at all.

Fortune at the beginning of a conflict? Absolutely! It'll be FitM at the beginning of a conflict or else FatE at the beginning of a conflict. The "itM" and "atE" refer to the F's place in the process of the individual decision we're making, not to its place in the conflict or the events of the game.

1. On 2005-04-16, Jason L said:


Thanks, that's what I thought from your earlier musings.  Are you aware of games that have FitM 'at the beginning' to randomize conflicts/stakes?  Preferably ones that do it well...



2. On 2005-04-18, Vincent said:

I don't know any such games. Are you thinking of designing one?


3. On 2005-04-18, Ben Lehman said:

Tales from the Arabian Nights
AD&D with random encounter tables

both have randomized situation/conflict mechanics.



4. On 2005-04-18, Jason L said:

I have my "Design that Will Never Be Complete", my "Monster in a Box", if you will, that I tinker with.

I'm shooting for a game that approaches this kind of use of fortune, but my actual play of the system as it currently sits doesn't reliably produce the kind of play that I want, so I'm in a revising mode.

Reading how other (usually successful) designs works is usually the first step.


I'm familiar with AD&D - and I agree with your assessment procedurally - but that's not the pastiche I want.

I'll check out Tales from the Arabian Nights.




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