Is Fighting supposed to be Seize By Force?

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Is Fighting supposed to be Seize By Force?
« on: May 29, 2011, 12:59:13 PM »
So, I have this conflict with one of my players who used to run the game. He's pretty confident that if you want to, say, cold shoot a dude that's necessarily Seize By Force, with you wanting to "seize his life by force."

This makes, like, zero sense to me. If he has something you want (the high ground, everyone's attention, moral authority) sure. But sometimes you don't want something ... you just want to plain shoot a dude. For this, I've been not making people roll: if the fiction is set up so that they shoot a dude, they just do it.

Alternatively, sometimes shooting a dude is, like acting under fire. Shooting a dude while he's blasting away with an assault rifle? Isn't that acting under fire? It feels weird to make someone roll anything but for that. Or maybe you shoot a dude in order to threaten violence on others unless they do what you want. Isn't that, basically, manipulate, with shooting the dude as leverage?

Help me out here. Am I missing some important part of the rules?

yrs--
--Ben

Re: Is Fighting supposed to be Seize By Force?
« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2011, 01:03:24 PM »
Cold shooting a dude who's not ready to shoot you back is Going Aggro. What you want him to do is die. (Or you can just shoot a dude, if it's all set up nicely in the fiction.)

Shooting a dude who's blasting you with an assault rifle is Sieze By Force, that's why Sieze By Force makes you take harm too.

Re: Is Fighting supposed to be Seize By Force?
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2011, 01:09:59 PM »
OK, why is it seize by force? What are the seizing ("I'm seizing un-bullet-filled air")? Why is it not acting under fire, if you're literally, during the process, under fire?

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lumpley

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Re: Is Fighting supposed to be Seize By Force?
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2011, 01:15:23 PM »
Ben, I agree with you in absolute full about seizing by force. One of the playtest documents included something about seizing someone's life by force, but it led to stupidness and I cut it out. I imagine it's still in a few people's minds, though.

I use going aggro for just about everything, personally. When a player's like "I cold shoot the dude," I look at the 7-9 outcomes for going aggro. If they seem like things that might possibly happen this time, then that's the move.

One thing you can always, always do is call for a setup move and a followthrough move. If the dude's blasting away at them, you can call for them to act under fire to get into a position to go aggro. Or, you can call for them to seize the dude by force to get leverage to manipulate his friends.

Re: Is Fighting supposed to be Seize By Force?
« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2011, 01:19:32 PM »
Well, I was going to say something, but looks like I've been beaten to it.

Re: Is Fighting supposed to be Seize By Force?
« Reply #5 on: May 29, 2011, 01:45:08 PM »
In my experience, shooting a dude is sometimes Go Aggro, sometimes Seize By Force, sometimes Acting Under Fire, and sometimes it's not a move at all, it just happens.

In practice, I break it down kinda like this:

1. typically, it's Go Aggro: you're shooting some dude and that dude doesn't want to be shot, but you're insisting.

2. if the PC doesn't really care about the harm they're taking and/or is trying to seize a particular objective, regardless of the cost, that's Seize By Force (Seizing means the PC takes harm as well), but that doesn't happen very often, as it's not very smart in AW unless you're a Gunlugger, Faceless, or some other tough-as-nails bruiser who can suck up the harm

3. sometimes, a PC is being shot at and the question is really can they get the other guy first, before he gets the PC or one of the PC's buddies or some other thing; then it's Acting Under Fire (the fire is getting shot at and the need to do something quickly, and the acting is shooting some other dude)

4. finally, sometimes the PC has set things up perfectly or the dude they're shooting is not really taking precautions or is otherwise at their mercy (tied up, not paying attention, looking the other way, distracted, etc.); then I just ask the PC how much harm they do and it just happens.

Hope that helps.

Re: Is Fighting supposed to be Seize By Force?
« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2011, 01:54:59 PM »
Thanks, dudes!

Figurefour, I'd love to hear what you have to say, even if you're like "Vincent you're wrong you poopyhead." I mean, he just wrote the game. I'm running it. If you've got a good viewpoint I'd like to have access to it.

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Chroma

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Re: Is Fighting supposed to be Seize By Force?
« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2011, 04:32:16 PM »
OK, why is it seize by force? What are the seizing ("I'm seizing un-bullet-filled air")? Why is it not acting under fire, if you're literally, during the process, under fire?

You're seizing "victory" at that point... essentially saying, "I'm blasting you and soaking up your fire until you're dead or scattered before me, regardless of the cost."

You're seizing something metaphorical as opposed to a location or object.
"If you get shot enough times, your body will actually build up immunity to bullets. The real trick lies in surviving the first dozen or so..."
-- Pope Nag, RPG.net - UNKNOWN ARMIES

Re: Is Fighting supposed to be Seize By Force?
« Reply #8 on: May 29, 2011, 08:55:24 PM »
Thanks, dudes!

Figurefour, I'd love to hear what you have to say, even if you're like "Vincent you're wrong you poopyhead." I mean, he just wrote the game. I'm running it. If you've got a good viewpoint I'd like to have access to it.

Actually, I think J. Walton summed up what I was going to say rather nicely.

I totally agree that seizing someone's life by force seems to suck every time I've seen it tried, but sometimes Seize by Force is still the right move to use because the situation calls for trading harm. In that case, I've often resorted to strange abstract objectives to seize, like "seizing the initiative", "seizing the upper hand" or otherwise trying to take control of the fight by slugging it out with a dude.

Re: Is Fighting supposed to be Seize By Force?
« Reply #9 on: May 30, 2011, 03:59:48 AM »
1. typically, it's Go Aggro: you're shooting some dude and that dude doesn't want to be shot, but you're insisting.

2. if the PC doesn't really care about the harm they're taking and/or is trying to seize a particular objective, regardless of the cost, that's Seize By Force (Seizing means the PC takes harm as well), but that doesn't happen very often,

I see this (or something like it) a lot and I have to say I am profoundly skeptical of this breakdown when it comes to dealing with armed people who are fighting back. (And you know, as a rule if someone is shooting you you want to be either fighting back or getting away.) Mostly what concerns me is the idea that the Go Aggro option is universally available, simply based on the PCs intentions regarding whether or not they personally want to take harm. At what point do you decide that to shoot the person they must be doing it "regardless of the cost", and otherwise they simply cannot shoot them at all? Isn't the actual deciding factor not the PCs attitude towards the confrontation but whether or not the NPC in question is in a position to defend themselves?

It's true that mechanically, it is easier to kill people using Seize by Force, since a 7-9 result will often allow you to do enough harm to kill them, whereas a similar result on Go Aggro leaves them unharmed. But it also seems a little kludgy to me to have a 10+ Go Aggro result that in practical terms removes the NPC's choice -- since 'die or take 3 harm' is basically 'die or die'.

In any case, my own take is not practically that different, I guess, but I think Seize by Force has more of a place than common wisdom seems to be slanting, assuming your game involves actual straight-up fighting. Lots of games don't, I guess, but I have never really encountered a situation where I felt like Seize by Force was used mistakenly, or produced poor results when it was used -- but I hear a lot of people suggesting that it has done that for them. I would be curious to hear some specific examples of this problem, from people who have run into trouble with the move.

My group has used 'seize X's life' by force and it worked perfectly -- it was used during a skirmish-level firefight to give the PC control over that NPC's life, ie. it was essentially a set-up move that then allowed them to decide whether or not they wanted to kill the NPC or not (which they did, on their next turn.) They could just as easily have used it to then wield the NPC as a hostage, or paint a silly moustache on them, or anything else you can do when you have basically established that you can kill somebody whenever you want.

We have also used it to account for simple firefights or melees between two armed, violent, mutually aware individuals, and it worked just fine. In these situations it barely seems necessary to define what is being Seized by Force, because the results of the move are so clearly appropriate to the fiction -- I think this idea that there must be some thing that is being seized is a kind of overthinking it. If 'what you want is for the NPC to die' is appropriate for Going Aggro, then 'seizing this guy's head with my fire axe' should do just as well.

Like Vincent said, the things that the move allows to happen seem like the best guideline in the final analysis. Go Aggro is perfect for violent situations where what you want to know is whether the target gets away unhurt or not; Seize by Force is for violent situations where what you want to know is how much hurt it costs the PC to achieve their objective.

And I guess Acting Under Fire is an all-purpose filter that can be applied overtop either situation, either replacing the other moves or enhancing them.


Re: Is Fighting supposed to be Seize By Force?
« Reply #10 on: May 30, 2011, 04:15:07 AM »
To make things a bit more concrete, I think the best grey-area fictional example I can think of is something like this:

There's a firefight going on. There are some armed dudes in a bunker and the PCs want to get them out of it, and possibly occupy it themselves.

On the one hand, this really seems like a fine time to use Seize by Force -- the PCs are going to seize the crap out of that bunker, going in guns blazing and killing/routing the NPCs. They can choose to 'take definite hold of it' if they want to prioritize being in the bunker, or they can make other choices if they're more concerned about killing the dudes and/or avoiding fire on the way.

But then it also seems like a good opportunity to Go Aggro. If the PCs start throwing grenades into the bunker and spraying it with bullets, it seems pretty clear they're offering the NPCs a choice: either get out of the bunker or start taking some harm. A 10+ will force the NPCs to either take serious harm or evacuate the bunker, while a 7-9 will let them either run away, evacuate, take harm or 'barricade themselves securely in' -- which would presumably stop them from shooting at people from the bunker, at least for awhile.

On the third hand, if a PC just wants to get IN the bunker, and doesn't care who else is there, Acting Under Fire is clearly the way to go -- with the assumption that the PC hesitating means they probably get shot on the way in, whereas a 10+ gets them in the bunker unharmed. But of course now they're in a bunker with a bunch of violent armed NPCs.

Now for me it's pretty hard to choose between the first two options -- if I was MCing I would probably just kind of pick one intuitively. The main consideration would probably be the general state of the fighting in the fiction -- of this is like a war zone, full-out-Battle, I would lean towards using Seize by Force, because that suggests that there really isn't a lot of mental room for decision making by anyone involved. Whereas if the NPCs in the bunker were the ONLY armed opposition to the PCs, I would probably lean more towards using Go Aggro.

In the end though I would probably turn the choice back to the players, based on the possible results of the move -- particularly due to the possibility of the 'barricaded securely in' result, which could in some cases be equivalent to a failure from their point of view. And 'failing' on a 7-9 is never a fun thing. (I admit that this example is also making me think of Jonathan's metric about how much the PCs are willing to risk, so probably I dismissed that somewhat unfairly earlier.)

For those who have already commented or for anyone else, what are your thoughts on this situation? Which move would you use, and why?
« Last Edit: May 30, 2011, 04:20:30 AM by Daniel Wood »

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lumpley

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Re: Is Fighting supposed to be Seize By Force?
« Reply #11 on: May 30, 2011, 08:10:51 AM »
Yes! Right on.

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Chris

  • 342
Re: Is Fighting supposed to be Seize By Force?
« Reply #12 on: May 30, 2011, 09:42:27 AM »
When, I MC, "Go Aggro or Seize" is not a me decision. That's decided by the fiction the characters, both PC and NPC, are putting in motion. On the PC side, if, like you said, they're throwing grenades in and not even trying to enter, they're clearly Going Aggro. If they're going in guns ablazing and I decide that the NPCs are going to fight THAT fight, in that little space, rather than try to surrender, then it's Seize.

So while my choices and those of the players are creating the fiction that leads to the move, by the time we get to the move, it's not a choice. The fiction decides.

Do it to do it and if it's happening, then it's fucking happening. If harm is being traded in the fiction then it's Seizing. If not, then it's something else.

In other words, the MC and the players don't decide if harm is being traded by looking at the moves tri-fold and picking either Seize or Go Aggro. The characters decide if harm is being traded and then we roll the move the fiction demands.
A player of mine playing a gunlugger - "So now that I took infinite knives, I'm setting up a knife store." Me - "....what?" Him - "Yeah, I figure with no overhead, I'm gonna make a pretty nice profit." Me - "......"

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Chris

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Re: Is Fighting supposed to be Seize By Force?
« Reply #13 on: May 30, 2011, 10:03:06 AM »
Also, that harm that's being traded? I mean that it's being traded right the fuck NOW.

From the other day:

One of the mutant-people's Big Fuckers is charging down on a PC and is like, ten feet away with a lead pipe and bad intentions. The PC is going to shoot it, of course. Fuck those Big Fuckers.

So is this Seize or Go Aggro? Clearly, there's going to be harm that's traded. But it's not being traded RIGHT NOW. He's Going Aggro. After that, we might be Seizing, we might not. In our case, we didn't.



A player of mine playing a gunlugger - "So now that I took infinite knives, I'm setting up a knife store." Me - "....what?" Him - "Yeah, I figure with no overhead, I'm gonna make a pretty nice profit." Me - "......"

Re: Is Fighting supposed to be Seize By Force?
« Reply #14 on: May 31, 2011, 12:33:15 AM »
Go Aggro is perfect for violent situations where what you want to know is whether the target gets away unhurt or not; Seize by Force is for violent situations where what you want to know is how much hurt it costs the PC to achieve their objective.

I actually like that division too, Daniel. Makes sense to me and isn't that different from what I was trying to suggest above.

However, experience has led me to feel strongly that seizing metaphorical stuff or "someone's life" is often bullshit, as is having the "do what you want" of Go Aggro be "die." I feel like, when players declare those kinds of aims, they are often searching for a simple "kill a dude / inflict harm" move that just doesn't exist in Apocalypse World, at least in my mind (outside some playbook moves, maybe). They're resisting how the game tries to structure violence and it makes some of the choices inherent in the moves (like "suck it up or do what you want" or choosing between the various options on Seize) completely meaningless. Does it matter that you "inflict terrible harm" if you're Seizing the guy's life? Not really. It may not break the game, but it creates some tension that's not necessarily productive. Definitely something to be careful with.