Aiding/Interfering and the game fiction

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Scrape

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Aiding/Interfering and the game fiction
« on: September 07, 2012, 02:28:48 PM »
This is something that's bugged me for a while now. I don't fully understand how basing Aid/Interfere on +Bonds is related to the game fiction. Like, if a PC helps his friend sneak by providing covering fire, he's not rolling +Dex. Or if he helps his buddy climb a cliff, it's not +Str. Instead, he rolls +Bonds in both cases. It feels kinda like a legacy mechanic sometimes, a holdover from ApocWorld.

In ApocWorld, the Aid/Interfere rules made much more sense to me, because stats were more descriptive and moves were broader; both in definition and in terms of how much action they covered. I could easily see how Aiding someone depended on predicting their actions in that game.

But Dungeon World stats are very much a hard measure of physical ability; they dictate just how strong or fast a character is. To me, it makes more sense that those stats might come into play when Aiding. In a social context, like corroborating a story, I could see using +Bonds instead of +Cha: you need to really know the person to predict what kind of story they'll concoct. But I dunno, I don't fully understand how "_______ has trusted me with a secret" helps you provide covering fire for them.

How do I base this in the game fiction? When a PC helps his buddy climb up a wall, can I ask him for +Str or will that somehow muck things up? Can anyone shed some light on this?

Re: Aiding/Interfering and the game fiction
« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2012, 04:37:55 PM »
You're best able to collude quickly with people who you've worked together with extensively in the past and become entangled with.

So in a sense, your long history of helping your buddy sneak past a guard -- knowing exactly how long they will hesitate before going for it -- will influence your decision to shoot.

(Personally, I'm fine with it being solely meta.)

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Scrape

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Re: Aiding/Interfering and the game fiction
« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2012, 05:58:58 PM »
To be clear, I understand the reasoning of "you know this character well, and can predict their moves." I understand that, that's not my issue at all.

It's that sometimes, well, it doesn't matter how well you know someone. If you're helping them climb a wall, it doesn't matter that you told them a secret or that they insulted your diety, fiction-wise. I keep thinking that it often makes more sense to roll +stat to Aid someone.

I can definitely deal with meta mechanics, and that might be what happens here. It's just that the game really pushes a "fiction first" philosophy in so many places, and then BOOM hits you with this mechanic that leaves me scratching my head a bit. I really love the Bonds as a roleplaying tool and an xp source, that's great stuff, but I often have trouble making them apply to Aid/Interfere at my table.

I think maybe Aid/Interfere is more narrowly defined in DW than in AW. Like maybe helping your friend climb a cliff isn't Aid, it's a Defy Danger using +Str. If I think of it like that, it makes more sense to me: only use Aid when Bonds really might come into play. Either that, or treat it as entirely meta.

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noofy

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Re: Aiding/Interfering and the game fiction
« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2012, 07:22:46 AM »
Hmmmm. I get where you are coming from Scrape. It can be a curly conundrum. Especially in the 'physical' realm of the first three stats.

I think your query may contain the seed of a satisfying fictional-mechanical interface. If it matters how well you know someone in order to effect their attempt at something physical, then Aid/interfere is appropriate. But how?

Go back to my personal favourite principle and ask questions and use the answers...

[Astrix has failed her defy danger on DEX moving quickly to scale the cliff and so the GM makes as hard a move as they like]
GM - Well Astrix, you slip and slide precariously at the overhang, managing to save yourself from falling as you grip for sheer life, legs dangling, the contents of your pack spilling out to smash on the rocks below. But you are losing strength fast, your grip is slipping you are in danger of falling to your doom! What do you do?

Astrix - I plead despairingly back at Franz at the top of the cliff... Help Me!!

Franz - I Aid Astrix!

GM - Sure, what do you do?

Franz - I keep her eyes locked into mine as I remind her of the time she nimbly scaled the daggers of the moon with me in our youth (they have the bond - Has my back when things go wrong - and have established a childhood backstory).

GM - Nice, so what were you stealing that time? [Grins] Roll + Bond.

Franz - [7-9 result.] Later, we'll share stories later! I'm exposing myself to Danger, I'm leaning dangerously too far over to help her! I call out to Astrix: Use your feet, I remind her, don't look down! Keep looking at me! You can do it! Relax your breathing! Meanwhile I scrounge around in my pack for that elvish rope and fling an end down to her...

Astrix - I remember! I try and focus on Franz's calming words,  holding on for grim death, scrabbling at the cliff with my feet to get purchase.

GM - Sounds great, you grant her a +1 Franz but if she fails, the danger is you'll be pulled over the edge too. Astrix, I do believe you are Defying the danger of falling by enduring. Roll +CON +1 for Franz's Aid. But if you fail....

OR....

Franz - I Aid Astrix!

GM - Sure, what do you do?

Franz - I throw down my elvish rope, and tell her to grab on!

GM - Hmmm, sounds more like you are Defying the Danger of Astrix  falling to her death with your quick thinking, Roll + INT.

Fictionally, a very similar story is taking place, but the mechanics engage a little differently depending on how deep you dig with your questions and how willing the players are to invest in the developing narrative. It is very easy to sit shallow at the basic narrative level of the moves: This usually just involves the direct marry of trigger and narrated action, and choosing simple, direct outcomes based on the roll.

If you slow down a little, despite the frenetic or tense nature of the evolving nature of the situation, you can author the story the way you like, choosing to focus on the narrative means that 'grab' you and your players. Maybe the above scene was best served with detailing a bond a little, playing out a flashback and utilising AID, or perhaps another group would have gone the practicable Defy Danger route, or even Discern Realities.

You have an excellent grasp of the system Scrape, I really think your disconnect is nothing to worry about if you keep on following your own advice to lead with the fiction. Both ways of engaging the mechanics are fine, and I think an imaginative group could easily ascertain (with a little indulgent banter) how well a particular bond could influence a tense 'physical' situation in the story.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2012, 07:30:18 AM by noofy »

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Scrape

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Re: Aiding/Interfering and the game fiction
« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2012, 10:53:35 AM »
Those are some good examples. I think that's how I will run it, where you can Aid someone only by conjuring up the fiction necessary. Otherwise I'm totally happy using Defy Danger. Thanks.

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noclue

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Re: Aiding/Interfering and the game fiction
« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2012, 07:24:09 PM »
I don't like bonds much, but I'm not too twigged by the aid/interfere mechanic using them. But, I also wouldn't be opposed to the GM asking "how does the fact that she knows your secret apply to helping her climb this wall?" before allowing the roll.
James R.

    "There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which can not fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance-that principle is contempt prior to investigation."
     --HERBERT SPENCER

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Scrape

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Re: Aiding/Interfering and the game fiction
« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2012, 11:17:41 PM »
I don't like bonds much, but I'm not too twigged by the aid/interfere mechanic using them. But, I also wouldn't be opposed to the GM asking "how does the fact that she knows your secret apply to helping her climb this wall?" before allowing the roll.

Do you not like Bonds at all? Like, as a roleplaying tool and/or xp source? I'm curious because I really like them for inter-party politics and I'd like to hear a counterpoint.

On a side note, I have had a slight issue with Bonds-as-xp-source, but it's more a player issue than anything else. One of my players has a very D&D3.5, exploit-the-system type mindset, and he is constantly trying to abuse Bonds for xp. He took "I worry about _____'s ability to survive outside the dungeon" and then tried to say it was "fulfilled" after they had a single fight outside the dungeon. He was like, "Well, technically he left the dungeon and survived, so I should get xp for this." What a facepalm moment. I don't blame the Bonds, though... I blame terrible games for breeding terrible gaming habits.

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noofy

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Re: Aiding/Interfering and the game fiction
« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2012, 01:57:09 AM »
Ha ha, classic.
That's ok Scrape, you are a fan of the characters, yeah? Let him have the XP, that's all fine and dandy. But now he has to write a new bond to keep the XP mine flowing (and has to liaise with the other player too). This is your chance to dig deep with your questioning and develop cool narrative hooks and situations to exploit for drama. Its all good!

If you can, tie his advance choice at level up back into the story too. I assume he's the fighter with that odd reversal of the bond as written? Give him what he wants, threaten that bond with violence and give him a chance to shine. Present a difficult choice that pushes say his Merciless advance against the bond to protect...   He'll love you for it.

Re: Aiding/Interfering and the game fiction
« Reply #8 on: September 09, 2012, 08:32:39 AM »
Great worked example noofy.

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Scrape

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Re: Aiding/Interfering and the game fiction
« Reply #9 on: September 09, 2012, 12:33:04 PM »
Indefinitely compromise with the player and that's a great idea. I really want to break him of the "you must cheat the system to win" mindset. I want him to immerse himself a little more so I explained the idea of Bonds as a roleplaying tool. Thanks for the advice, as always.

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noofy

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Re: Aiding/Interfering and the game fiction
« Reply #10 on: September 10, 2012, 06:23:31 AM »
No worries :)
I wish we could have a DW forum game 'face-to-face' sometime at a con or whatnot. It'd be so cool to jam with you guys! How AWESOME would our game be?

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Scrape

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Re: Aiding/Interfering and the game fiction
« Reply #11 on: September 10, 2012, 10:57:55 AM »
That would be rad. Unfortunately, I don't get to Cons much, between married life and the job. :(

Re: Aiding/Interfering and the game fiction
« Reply #12 on: September 10, 2012, 12:11:41 PM »
We could always do a forum user PbF and use all the classes.  Better yet, do a living DW PbF with all the forum users who were interested and multiple "tables."

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noofy

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Re: Aiding/Interfering and the game fiction
« Reply #13 on: September 10, 2012, 07:07:01 PM »
Great idea Marshall, I'd be up for that. But who would be GM? :)