Mechanical Effect of Legwork

Discuss costumes, food, game ideas, and characters here with the other B&T players!

Moderator: Snag

Mechanical Effect of Legwork

Postby TheDragonMaster » Sat Oct 24, 2009 1:08 am

This has been bugging me for a little while now, and I think I finally figured out what bit has been doing so, though I'm hoping it's due to a misunderstanding of the rules.

Let's say I want to be able to accuse Baron Rojan Yvarai of having stolen the bloodsword of Count Rolla Tal, but didn't bring my cunning with me, and have a weakness of strength. Not having my cunning means that I have to find someone with cunning to do it for me, not having my strength means losing any strength risk I become involved in. Now I get a contract with Purchet Tal (cunning 5) that he will not only steal the bloodsword, but will also place it on Baron Yvarai's waist (or whatever) in my presence so that I may call him on it, thus causing him... well, a great deal of grief.

Now, as I understand it (based on how an almost identical situation was handled by the staff at one of the LARPs), once the sword is placed on his person successfully, if Baron Yvarai (a rather svelte Fox with a strenth of 4) attempts to run and hide the sword, or in some other way dispose of it before anyone else notices, then there is a Strength risk involved in determining whether I can accuse him before he get's it hidden, even though I'm standing right next to him when it is placed on his belt, by someone who will tell me the instant it is there. And since I have strength as a weakness I automatically lose the risk. (again, that's how the staff handled it at the LARP I went to).

Is that right? If so then it means that the legwork to get the sword placed there had no more effect than if I'd done it myself, less actually, since it would have been a cunning risk (I think) the other way, and I'd have just not had the extra wagers that cunning would have offered me along with my style, rather than no wagers at all.

Let's look at another example (a little different). Let's say that instead I want to gain access to a secret passage in Count Tals castle in order to.. whatever. Again I left my cunning at home. In a normal game I'd probably bribe staff to tell me where the passage is, and find the secret key somewhere, and learn the locations of the traps. All of which would add a small bonus to my final attempt to gain entry to the passage and get to the goods beyond. But in Houses, it would cost me a couple style to get the info from the staff member, and a couple more style to gain the key, and a few more to establish the traps, leaving me with no style to spend once I get to the passage to define (or for that matter find) whatever is in that chamber.

Is that right? If so then it seems it would be (again mechanically) more effective to forget about the servant, and the key, and the traps, and just spend the style on getting in and finding the thing I came there for in the first place. I know that houses is supposed to be about tragedy, but it still seems... off, that someone who is unprepared would have a better chance at success than someone who spent the whole night preparing for that one thing.
TheDragonMaster
 

Re: Mechanical Effect of Legwork

Postby Nihilistic Mind » Mon Oct 26, 2009 12:14 am

Like most Operas and Plays, you'll find that the audience may be unconcerned with the 'How', lest it be a tragic plot device or some such.
The game rewards things happening. Remember the 'contingency plan' in Wilderness of Mirrors? Houses anticipates the need for that reaction, the whole "But I knew you would betray me all along and so I have done this or that".

I'm not entirely sure if this answers the various examples you've described (it certainly doesn't address them specifically), but I hope it explains why it seems to favor the contingency, the "unplanned" over anything else.

The problem with the planning you're referring to is like trying to get everyone on the same page, following the same plan. Basically, yes, it would take a lot of Style to pull something like what you're describing. And there's no telling that it will fall into place in the end either way.
"Sparrow, I'll call you back. I've just gutted a man with a shard of wood and I need to make sure he's dead... I think you're right, Sparrow. I am a bad, bad man..."
~~Dr. Xander Crowe, WORMWOOD.
User avatar
Nihilistic Mind
Site Admin
 
Posts: 1070
Joined: Thu Aug 07, 2008 1:02 pm
Location: Phoenix, AZ U.S.A.

Re: Mechanical Effect of Legwork

Postby wunderworks » Mon Oct 26, 2009 2:03 pm

TheDragonMaster wrote:This has been bugging me for a little while now, and I think I finally figured out what bit has been doing so, though I'm hoping it's due to a misunderstanding of the rules.

Let's say I want to be able to accuse Baron Rojan Yvarai of having stolen the bloodsword of Count Rolla Tal, but didn't bring my cunning with me, and have a weakness of strength. Not having my cunning means that I have to find someone with cunning to do it for me, not having my strength means losing any strength risk I become involved in. Now I get a contract with Purchet Tal (cunning 5) that he will not only steal the bloodsword, but will also place it on Baron Yvarai's waist (or whatever) in my presence so that I may call him on it, thus causing him... well, a great deal of grief.


Actually, you can still make Cunning risks without having brought your Cunning to the party, you just don't get the Cunning bonus. My question then would be why are you trying to be Cunning at a party where you didn't bring your Cunning? Perhaps the tactics you use in a game should be based on the things you bring with you. For example, at the last party Calaban, who's a Cunning fellow, didn't bring his Cunning, he brought his Beauty, because he wanted to meet people and convince them of how nice of a fellow he was, vs. sneaking up on them and backstabbing them or finding the murderer, etc.. This next game Calaban needs to make deals and sign Blood Contracts (Don't Look Beryll Tal!) so he's bringing his Cunning and his Oath Ritual with him. He might still bring his Beauty, but he has to decide to drop something else - like his Spy Network.

TheDragonMaster wrote:Now, as I understand it (based on how an almost identical situation was handled by the staff at one of the LARPs), once the sword is placed on his person successfully, if Baron Yvarai (a rather svelte Fox with a strenth of 4) attempts to run and hide the sword, or in some other way dispose of it before anyone else notices, then there is a Strength risk involved in determining whether I can accuse him before he get's it hidden, even though I'm standing right next to him when it is placed on his belt, by someone who will tell me the instant it is there. And since I have strength as a weakness I automatically lose the risk. (again, that's how the staff handled it at the LARP I went to).

Is that right? If so then it means that the legwork to get the sword placed there had no more effect than if I'd done it myself, less actually, since it would have been a cunning risk (I think) the other way, and I'd have just not had the extra wagers that cunning would have offered me along with my style, rather than no wagers at all.


I can see someone placing a small object like a ring or the like in a person's pocket with them noticing it and then surprising them by pulling the ring out of their pocket and asking them where they got it. Of course, that runs right into ven ownership laws (You own what you hold). Switching someone's sword is a very tricky thing to do without them noticing it, and why are you trying to put the blame on them directly like that. Why not have the sword hidden in Fox's room, and tell the Wolf, who's sword was stolen, that you saw the Fox, that you're trying to frame, take the sword and put it in their room (the Fox's). Then without the Fox knowing go with the Wolf and show him that that devious Fox has stolen their sword and placed it in the Wolf's room. This avoids any physical struggles, which your Cunning fellow isn't good at, and let's the Wolf draw his own evil conclusions and attack the Fox, seeing you as a helpful ven. Of course, you can always get a promise of future favors out of the Wolf for helping him out.


TheDragonMaster wrote:Let's look at another example (a little different). Let's say that instead I want to gain access to a secret passage in Count Tals castle in order to.. whatever. Again I left my cunning at home. In a normal game I'd probably bribe staff to tell me where the passage is, and find the secret key somewhere, and learn the locations of the traps. All of which would add a small bonus to my final attempt to gain entry to the passage and get to the goods beyond. But in Houses, it would cost me a couple style to get the info from the staff member, and a couple more style to gain the key, and a few more to establish the traps, leaving me with no style to spend once I get to the passage to define (or for that matter find) whatever is in that chamber.

Is that right? If so then it seems it would be (again mechanically) more effective to forget about the servant, and the key, and the traps, and just spend the style on getting in and finding the thing I came there for in the first place. I know that houses is supposed to be about tragedy, but it still seems... off, that someone who is unprepared would have a better chance at success than someone who spent the whole night preparing for that one thing.


That sounds like you're mixing the table top concepts a bit with the LARP concepts. Are you creating scene tags with the traps and whatnot in the LARP to get by them without them being set off, and if those obstacles are in the way (they're put there by the Narrator), you can't just ignore them and not spend the style. Anyone who is going to try and get into the secret room will have to get the staff member info, get the key (or a copy or a Key Artifact), and sneak past the traps. So anyone who is trying to get where you character wants to go is spending the same style.

OR if these are things that you're adding to the scene (free tags) as you go along you should be getting Free Style as you go through the Contests that the Narrator is setting up. So potentially, if you create Scene Tags and tag them first (for free) then you're essentially generating 2 points of style for each 1 point of Style spent in the contest that the storyteller is having you go through.

Also, since Style is the fuel of the game, then I'd try to gather a lot of style before you get to that point in the game, so that you don't run out of style when you get to the room, running out of Style is bad and should be avoided. When you spend style you're helping yourself win and helping other people be cool. So if you help out other people (by saying Yes to their Style offerings) you'll get more style which you can then spend later to do what you want (i.e. Break into the secret room and defeat your enemy).
Author of World of Dew a samurai noir sequel to John Wick's Blood & Honor

"Forbearance is the root of quietness and assurance forever. "
~ Tokugawa Ieyasu ~
User avatar
wunderworks
Site Admin
 
Posts: 907
Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 3:44 pm
Location: Surprise, AZ

Re: Mechanical Effect of Legwork

Postby TheDragonMaster » Mon Oct 26, 2009 2:58 pm

I'm talking about using Cunning, because sometimes there isn't any other way to achieve a goal but to use cunning. And (at least in the LARPs I went to) there hasn't been any advantage gained no matter what I brought with me, I have failed at everything I attempted in each of them. Which is actually why I left the last one I was at before it had completed. I had only a couple style left, and had been told by one of the players (regarding a plot thread between our characters I was trying to pursue) that he wasn't interested, and wasn't going to go along with it (despite me making use of one of the three true things his character had to encourage him towards that thread). Of course the character I was playing was basically useless given the games setup, but that's another issue.

As to planting the sword. I chose that example, merely as an altered version of the situation that came up in play, where it was important that he be confronted while wearing the sword. If the example doesn't work in the examples fiction that's fine, I'm just trying to verify how the rules would bear out such a situation, and can't really think of another example that raises the same question.

As to the secret passage, I hadn't thought of using these things as scene tags. That sort of thing hasn't been handled as tags/aspects in any of the tabletop games I played in (we had to pay the style to get them in there and there wasn't ever anything but a narrative advantage to doing so, all we got for the style was them being in there, though we only had to pay one style rather than the two for giving the scene an aspect so it's a bit different, just never came up as something we could do, not that I'd have had the style to do it anyway).

As for your comments on style, the thing is that I haven't ever gotten more than about 5 style in any game session (table top or the LARP) and that includes trying to use my compels, and generally also includes instances where the Narrator refreshed the style during the session. So putting the contest off till later in the session wouldn't make any difference for me (as I wouldn't have any more style at that point, and would likely have less... if I still have any that is). Beyond which, I've only had anyone offer me style on one occasion (and I took that style). Generally speaking it seems that the only person who cares what happens to my character is me (with one exception, but the other player was just being a wanker... I took the style anyway because, per the rules and later verifications of it both here and with John in person, I didn't have the option to say no. I had no style at all, and you have to have style in order to say no when someone spends style to say your character does something). If I waited to do things till I had a lot of style, I'd be waiting for multiple seasons/years before I did anything.

Basically you're saying that I'm playing wrong, which seems to be about the shape of it. Looks like I'm just not cut out for this particular game (creatively speaking that is). It took me two days to come up with the examples in my first post, and I doubt I'd have ever thought of the ones you came up with. I've never been any good at improvisation (seriously, I don't even improvise in my conversations with people), and it looks like that is a talent you'd have to have to at least some degree to achieve anything in the LARP. Shikata ga nai.

Thanks for your help, it's always useful to have things worded a bit different when trying to wrap your head around a subject.
TheDragonMaster
 

Re: Mechanical Effect of Legwork

Postby TheDragonMaster » Mon Oct 26, 2009 7:43 pm

Okay so basically I'm approaching this from the wrong angle. Let's try another way and see if I can get some traction.

Other than stockpiling style (since, as mentioned, I'm lucky to get 5 style during the whole game... well, in the table top one I am, I don't think I've gotten any style at the LARP when I've gone beyond what I started with), is there any other way to improve your chances of actually getting the outcome you want from the risk?
TheDragonMaster
 

Re: Mechanical Effect of Legwork

Postby Nihilistic Mind » Mon Oct 26, 2009 8:12 pm

TheDragonMaster wrote:As for your comments on style, the thing is that I haven't ever gotten more than about 5 style in any game session (table top or the LARP) and that includes trying to use my compels, and generally also includes instances where the Narrator refreshed the style during the session.


I will go ahead and respectfully disagree here.
"Sparrow, I'll call you back. I've just gutted a man with a shard of wood and I need to make sure he's dead... I think you're right, Sparrow. I am a bad, bad man..."
~~Dr. Xander Crowe, WORMWOOD.
User avatar
Nihilistic Mind
Site Admin
 
Posts: 1070
Joined: Thu Aug 07, 2008 1:02 pm
Location: Phoenix, AZ U.S.A.

Re: Mechanical Effect of Legwork

Postby TheDragonMaster » Tue Oct 27, 2009 1:44 pm

If I'm misremembering then I appologize. I may be thinking of the amount of style that I actually have during the game. Since everything I want to do requires style, I tend to run out within the first half hour or so. And since I'm not good at finding points to use my compels, and don't tend to get style for anything but my compels (with few exceptions), that leaves me fairly ineffectual for the rest of the night (the things I try to accomplish almost invariably would require around 8+ style to pull off, and I have yet to be able to pull off anything that I've tried by simple virtue of not having enough style to do so, that's not to say complete failure, just that the actual reason I was spending the style doesn't come to pass).
TheDragonMaster
 

Re: Mechanical Effect of Legwork

Postby Keith Fyans » Wed Oct 28, 2009 9:30 am

Perhaps it would be worth looking at creating compells that will be fun for you to play. I often create compels that are things that I want to be doing or a character quirq that can be used now and again, both for and against me...
Last edited by Keith Fyans on Wed Oct 28, 2009 12:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Glasgow Indie Gamers - Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter
User avatar
Keith Fyans
 
Posts: 786
Joined: Thu Dec 11, 2008 5:35 pm
Location: Glasgow, Scotland

Re: Mechanical Effect of Legwork

Postby Nihilistic Mind » Wed Oct 28, 2009 12:30 pm

Another option, would be to heavily rely on other players to combine Style. That's how Cabals are formed and they are formed for a reason :)
"Sparrow, I'll call you back. I've just gutted a man with a shard of wood and I need to make sure he's dead... I think you're right, Sparrow. I am a bad, bad man..."
~~Dr. Xander Crowe, WORMWOOD.
User avatar
Nihilistic Mind
Site Admin
 
Posts: 1070
Joined: Thu Aug 07, 2008 1:02 pm
Location: Phoenix, AZ U.S.A.

Re: Mechanical Effect of Legwork

Postby TheDragonMaster » Wed Oct 28, 2009 5:30 pm

Tsanuri: That's precisely what I've done. But when those quirks rely on specific circumstances... An example. I made a character with a compel of (basically) sharing more information than he should when he is around the fire. The other players fought my trying to create a scene to bring that into play (and as a result I wasn't able to do so). Other compels I've tried have been talking about past events, explaining things in a given way... really the only one that seemed to work out at all was "knows his role", or something like that. With that one it would come into play when there was a proper way for him to behave in a situation. Other than that I haven't had much luck coming up with compels that ever come into play.

Nihilistic: That would require the other players to actually want to help me achieve the goals I set. That hasn't happened yet. When other players have shown any interest in those goals (that I as player am trying to achieve), they work against me. (I'm thinking of Jay here, as well as Luther, hasn't come up with many other players).
TheDragonMaster
 

Next

Return to Blood & Tears - Out of Character Discussions

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron