Regrouping Go Aggro/Manipulate around Coercion/Convincing

  • 32 Replies
Re: Regrouping Go Aggro/Manipulate around Coercion/Convincing
« Reply #30 on: January 13, 2014, 02:00:40 PM »
And Honour to convince with the truth, and Passion to seduce.



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Re: Regrouping Go Aggro/Manipulate around Coercion/Convincing
« Reply #31 on: January 13, 2014, 06:10:54 PM »
Argh.  I wrote a long post which was then promptly eaten by teh intarwebz.  :(  Roight, I'w'll come in again!

Great post, plausible, lots of good stuff to consider.

I've had some further chance to ruminate on this.  I give you the following in no particular order:

I want to preserve the difference between Passion and Fury because I want the Samurai to be better at killing people than the Geisha.  Or at least better in a stand-up fight.  The alternative offers a certain ironic hilarity, but it's not what I'm going for.  Similarly, I would like a counterpoint to Passion or Fury that is more than just their negative, hence Composure.

I am seeing Composure as the rough equivalent of the Cool stat.  It's "ochitsuki" in Japanese.  A related term/saying is "gambatte," which entreats someone to keep going, to not give up.  The two are complementary terms, and perseverence could be very much a part of Composure.  People who have high Composure stats are people who tend to transcend the material, or who take the long view.  Monks and Priests and the like might have a high Composure stat, and it would be a secondary stat for The Ninja.

It has occurred to me that perhaps the concept that is not getting represented in a stat is Ambition.

I am envisioning that most of the playbooks will have a primary and a secondary stat.  So for instance the Daimyo might be Ambition and Honor.  The Samurai is Honor and Fury.  The Ronin is Fury and Composure, whereas the Bandit is Ambition and Fury.  The Geisha is Passion and Honor, but the High-Born Lady is Ambition and Passion.  The Ninja is Insight and Composure, the Monk is Composure and Insight, and the Artist is Passion and Insight.

By differentiating between Passion and Ambition, you have stat separation between seduction and manipulation, which intrigues me a little bit.  That might give you the following basic moves:

When you attempt to seduce someone, tell them what you want and roll+Passion. For NPCs: on a 10+, they are so smitten that they will comply before you have sex, and whether you do or not is up to you.  On a 7-9 they're happy to comply, but not until after.  For PCs: on a 10+, both. On a 7–9, choose 1:
if they do it, they mark experience
if they refuse, they're weathering adversity
What they do then is up to them.

When you drive a hard bargain, tell someone what you want and roll+Ambition. For NPCs: on a hit, they ask you to promise something first, and do it if you promise. On a 10+, whether you keep your promise is up to you, later. On a 7–9, they need some concrete assurance right now. For PCs: on a 10+, both. On a 7–9, choose 1:
if they do it, they mark experience
if they refuse, they're weathering adversity
What they do then is up to them.

When you lie to get what you want, tell someone what you want (or what you want them to believe) and roll-Honor.  For NPCs: on a 10+ they believe you and act accordingly.  On a 7-9, choose one:
accept that it must have been a misunderstanding, drop the matter, and avoid suspicion
stick to your story, arouse suspicion, and take -1 ongoing with this NPC
weave an ever more tangled web of lies by weathering adversity
On a miss, you are caught in the lie.
For PCs: On a 10+ both, on a 7-9 pick one:
if they believe you and act accordingly, they mark experience
if they refuse, they're exposing themselves to obligation (you)
What they do then is up to them.

This splits up some of the manipulation and social scheming across a couple of different stats.  It also paves the way for some interesting stat substition moves, like the High-Born Lady might have screw your way to the top, which allows her to roll+Ambition when attempting to seduce.

I also like the idea of making the downsides of stats meaningful, and that sometimes having a low score in something might be useful.  For instance, having a low Honor makes it easier to lie.  I want to have violence be consequential, and because it is there are certain social constraints that must be incorporated.  For instance, you might find yourself in a setting where violence is inappropriate, which paves the way for interesting basic social moves like:

When you attempt to let an insult go unchallenged roll-Fury if the setting is private, or roll-Honor if the setting is public.  On a 10+, you laugh, brush it off, and suffer no ill consequences.  Otherwise, on a 7-9 pick one, and on a miss pick two:
you are stung by it, take -1 ongoing with this NPC
you lose face over it, take -1 Reputation
you offer insult
you strike without warning

Thus, the higher your Honor is the more you'll feel the stain of those insults and the more obligated you'll feel to defend that Honor.  So insulting the Samurai (who is prickly, being both Honorable and Furious) is a dangerous proposition, whereas insulting the Priest (who is neither) is less so.

I suppose I could structure it like the Harm move, and have it be roll+Honor: on a miss you're good, on a 7-9 pick one, on a 10+ pick two.  I'd have to look at the distribution of chances of success/failure for both options, but it conveys the idea of what I am thinking.

I also kind of like the built-in snowballing of moves.  For instance, if I lie and get a partial hit, I can still pull it out by weathering adversity.  If my Composure is high, it means I don't crack under the pressure and can continue to lie with a straight face.  It's like doubling down, and exposes the player to more complications and fuckery, which is always a plus.

Re: Regrouping Go Aggro/Manipulate around Coercion/Convincing
« Reply #32 on: January 14, 2014, 08:49:23 AM »
Munin, very interesting, and this sounds good. Minor thoughts and quibbles:

I think my objection to Passion/Fury has to do with the English word, "passion". Passion originally comes from the root for suffering -- it's cognate with pathetic, and the German is the same, "Leidenschaft. Someone passionate about something feels strongly about it whether they want to or not; they are moved by it despite themselves. A passionate lover is one carried away by the storms of passion. A dispassionate lover is one who can say no, who can say "sure, I'll do you, but only if X." A passionate lover has no such option. A passionate artist paints what they are driven to paint; a dispassionate artist can decide what offers the best chance of advancement, etc.

So "passion" just does not sound at all to me like the stat for "why geishas are good at getting what they want via sex and not violence" -- not unless you're going to write that into the structure of the moves, like, on a 7-9, they are smitten but so are you, take -1 ongoing to resist any request they make of you, or something (meaning that your game is tying *passion* -- the ability to feel deeply *yourself* -- explicitly to the ability to inspire deep feelings *in others*).

If anything, Passion suggests "roll-Passion to resist being seduced" -- and it might be interesting to flip the move around that way.

The way you've written the moves, it sounds like you just want a setting-appropriate synonym for Hot. And "passion" just doesn't mean that. Elegance, Beauty, Charisma, Grace? Is this stat used for anything other than strict physical/sexual attractiveness? You mentioned artists; is it used for creating beauty in general? Is it used for commanding troops by force of personality?

There's a fundamental distinction between being affected by something and affecting something.

I like where you're going with Composure, but again I do wonder there too a little about the English word. It seems reasonable when you're talking about a Samurai rolling to control his temper. If it's the basic stat for monks that underpins their ability to do powerful monkish things, though, then the name seems to me to undersell the stat. In Japanese and Chinese folklore, monks can move heaven and earth, do magic, endure impossible extremes of pain and environmental conditions, etc., because of their nonattachment, their enlightenment, their tranquility, even just their self-control.... but to reduce it to their "composure" sounds like ascending to the Pure Lands requires nothing more than what is necessary to avoid remarking on your rival's choice of outfit at the garden party. Or rather (since on some level they *are* the same thing), it privileges the withheld snark over the satori.

I like the moves. Notice that your "seduce" move is now constrained to an explicit, literal offer of sex, which makes it far more constrained, in context, than any AW-hack seduce move I know of, and also seems possibly a little off for the setting, since it seems to me that there were probably plenty of geishas having sex, it's certainly a big part of geisha PR that they're getting what they want and winning the undying love of their admirers with mere smouldering looks, gentle touches on the knuckles, and playing the lute. Or indeed, that their lovers are in their pockets precisely because they *haven't* gotten the goods yet, and actually yielding would make them suddenly purchasable commodities rather than mystic visions of loveliness. I mean, I guess they can keep rolling 10+, and I do like the sort of implied threat that on a 7-9 you'll have to have sex... hmm, also, perhaps this here is the ordinary seduce, available to commoners and samurai and barmaids, and Geishas have playbook moves allowing them to replace actual consummation with artful leading-on?

I think, for balance, if you have -Honor and -Fury moves, then you need -stat moves for the other stats too. However, there's a bit of a problem with the -Fury move, because if that's what you have to roll to not respond to an insult, then whatever is Composure for? You characterized Composure as being precisely that. You have to think through what it means to have not-entirely-orthogonal stats; what does a character with a high Fury and a high Composure look like, and how does he respond to an insult?

One fix would be that if they fail on the -Fury/-Honor roll, the consequences are like "weather adversity not to strike without warning", etc; then you have a chain of moves, which is a slightly more AW-compatible way of involving multiple stats.

I'm also not sure the "-Fury if private, -Honor if public" distinction is crisp. For one thing, how many observers make it public? If one observer, -Fury becomes something of a rare case. For another thing, if you are a high-fury person with a low honor -- a gang kingpin, perhaps -- why is it that you lose control and lash out at someone who insults you in private, because of your furious nature, but as soon as there are observers present, your lack-of-honor protects you from your Fury? That seems like it doesn't make sense.

I suspect that either you're heading into multi-stat move territory, or derivative stats (the average of fury and honor)... or else this isn't really the -fury/-honor move, it's just roll on Composure, and those moves are something else. Or else you need to rejig the stats for orthogonality.

(This is making me realize that one aspect of the genius of AW, and one reason it works, is the orthogonality of Hot/Cool/Sharp/Hard/Weird -- they really describe different things and don't overlap)

It would be interesting to think about what the roll-Passion and roll-Insight moves are.

If you go with -stat moves, which I really like, it makes sense best if all your stats are both a power and a vulnerability. In that case Passion actually works -- it's an ability to inspire love and feeling, and a vulnerability to falling in love or being carried away by feeling. Fury works easily too -- an ability to impose your will violently on the universe, and an inability to resist imposing your will violently on the universe. Honor... what is, actually, honor for? I don't yet have your description of the move where you roll+honor, so I sort of don't know if you mean Honor more as social status, or Honor more as an internal code. I'm assuming the latter, but the mechanics so far look like the former. Your high-Honor characters, as listed, are those with high social status, irrespective of their internal values (perhaps the Ronin is masterless because of strict adherence to a vow, but that doesn't seem to help his Honor; perhaps the Daimyo is completely corrupt, etc.) In that case, Honor would be the ability to alter social reality by virtue of commanding respect, and the dependence on the respect of others (the vulnerability to disrespect, the inability to allow yourself to be treated with disrespect). And what's the downside of Insight?

Your seduce move and drive a hard bargain move are identical in their effects when you use them on PCs, which is interesting. It means that a high-Passion character needs to be explicitly offering sex to an NPC, but to a PC, they can use the same move and, as written, all they have to do is "tell them what you want". No requirement to have sex or even show a little ankle; unless you make the fictional trigger more explicit, what you've really written is "when you want something from a PC, tell them what and roll+ either Ambition or Passion, your choice" -- which makes the stats somewhat weaker, by virtue of making them interchangeable.

Shouldn't being caught in a lie have a consequence to Reputation?

Why are PCs under obligation to you if you lie to them and they don't believe you? Because other people believe you? Do they have some option to expose your lie for what it is?

In Shtetl World I'm also planning on having escalating insult/rebuke move-snowballing wars that you can only escape when someone manages to roll their equivalent of Composure! V. cool.

I don't think High-Born Ladies really need to screw their way to the top. It's low-born ladies who want to ascend via that ladder who would need that move, right? Some kind of social climber through sex playbook (or playbook subset) would be interesting, though it ought to be available to both genders, wouldn't you think?

How are you handling gender anyway? Currently -- unless your Artist and Bandit can be either gender -- you only have two classes that are explicitly female -- the Geisha and High-Born Lady -- and so far (admittedly we only have a smattering of moves) you've characterized them both as mostly using sex to get what they want; the Geisha's high stat is tied to a move which requires (at least with NPCs) an explicit possibility of sexual quid pro quo, and one of the HBL's playbook moves allows her to do the same thing with *her* high stat (making her more sex-oriented than the Daimyo and Bandit, though just as good at driving a hard bargain); we also know Geishas are bad at lying (high Honor).

AW goes to some lengths to make sure that every class is available to every gender; in its post-apocalyptic setting, that works fine; we can easily imagine as many male as female Skinners, as many female as male Gunluggers. Ditto Monsterhearts. Dungeon World is in a quasi-medieval setting, but a fantastical one, where  we can ignore gender constraints. Sagas of the Icelanders, since it's dealing with a historical context in which gender distinctions were very real, goes to some lengths to design a gender-distinct but balanced model. There are lots of things men do besides fight; there are lots of things women do besides have sex and babies. SotI offers powerful moves where women (and only women) get to challenge men's honor and require them to do things or lose face. I think either route can work; but it's disappointing to implicitly reserve most of the roles for men (Monk and not [Buddhist] Nun; Shoguns, Samurai, Ronin, and Daimyo we know are historically male roles;  "High Born Lady" (but not male courtier) and Geisha we know are female) and give the female roles mainly sex-for-gain moves. If you're not going to do the fantasy-of-gender-liberalism thing and explicitly make room for female Samurai acting just like male Samurai (which invents an ahistorical Japan, because while there were female warriors in Japan, their lives and histories and constraints were very different than male warriors'), then it would be interesting to look at the whole panoply of women's agency in that time and place, and how things that they do and men don't are powerful moves.

It's worth noting that the inventor of the novel, Murasaki Shikibu, was a medieval Japanese woman, and I again recommend you get ahold of a playtest copy of Emily Care Boss's City of the Moon (I could send you it, I guess).

Lastly, we ought to move this to another thread! Are you going to make one for this game?