Ronin World

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Ronin World
« on: January 14, 2014, 04:36:29 PM »
In another thread, plausiblefabulist wrote:
Lastly, we ought to move this to another thread! Are you going to make one for this game?

Ask and ye shall receive!

Quote from: plausiblefabulist date=1389707363
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.
True.  Terminology is important.  Ultimately I'd like to use Japanese terminology, but the downside of that is that it breaks many of the connotation links that non-Japanese-speaking people have for certain terms.  You think something particular when I say "Passion," which is interesting and cool.  I wonder if I used more obscure terminology if that would still be the case.

Quote from: plausiblefabulist date=1389707363
If anything, Passion suggests "roll-Passion to resist being seduced" -- and it might be interesting to flip the move around that way.
I had considered that.  But I'm not sure about "resistance" moves for various things.  AW has very cleverly lumped all of this stuff into Act Under Fire, but the downside of course is that resisting everything relies on one stat - your Cool.  With the possible exception of spotting a lie, which could fall under Read A Person.

Quote from: plausiblefabulist date=1389707363
I like where you're going with Composure, but again I do wonder there too a little about the English word.
I agree, that's why I used the Japanese terms "ochitsuki" and "gambarimasu" in my explanation.  Your further comments about the orthogonality of stats are good ones, and certainly worth considering.  It could very well be that roll-Fury is inappropriate, and that roll+Composure is what I'd use instead.  In which case, the term "Fury" should probably be rethought because it too has connotations.  I want Fury to be the stat that means "adept at inflicting physical violence," because I think such a stat needs to exist.  In AW, it's Hard, but that has connotation as well, which may not be appropriate to the subject matter at hand.

Quote from: plausiblefabulist date=1389707363
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...
Actually, the discussions in the AW rulebook (as well as here on the forums) make it clear that Seduce is explicitly using sex to get what you want.  It is the carrot.  It is the thing that you are offering when making the move.  And even in AW, on a 10+ whether you keep the promise is up to you later (i.e. you're could be just leading the person on).  But if you hit 7-9, they want something concrete now.  Quid pro quo, as it were.

Quote from: plausiblefabulist date=1389707363
Geishas have playbook moves allowing them to replace actual consummation with artful leading-on?
This I like.

Quote from: plausiblefabulist date=1389707363
Your seduce move and drive a hard bargain move are identical in their effects when you use them on PCs, which is interesting.
Not quite.  It depends on what you're offering them to entice them to do what you want.  And if that thing is sex, then you are seducing them (and use the appropriate stat).  And if they take it, that has further ramifications, especially when it comes to their Special moves.  As a vanilla AW example, say that I as the Skinner want to get the Operator to keep me happy (perhaps by giving me bling).  The best way to do that is to seduce him or her into having sex with me such that the Operator Special kicks in, because the Operator picks up the associated obligation gig of keeping me happy.

Quote from: plausiblefabulist date=1389707363
I think, for balance, if you have -Honor and -Fury moves, then you need -stat moves for the other stats too.
Perhaps, but the more I think about these, the more I wonder if they are appropriate.  See above under "resistance" moves.  It is touching on some player agency issues, though.  I don't ever want to tell a player, "because of the result of X roll, you must do Y."  Even in the case of massively flubbing the let an insult go unchallenged example, you only pick two of the bad outcomes, which means that you are never required to strike without warning.  You can if you so choose, but because striking is an action on the part of the character, the player should never be forced into it.

Quote from: plausiblefabulist date=1389707363
I'm also not sure the "-Fury if private, -Honor if public" distinction is crisp.
I agree, and think I would limit it to just roll-Honor.

Quote from: plausiblefabulist date=1389707363
(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)

Quote from: plausiblefabulist date=1389707363
Shouldn't being caught in a lie have a consequence to Reputation?
It does, and was mentioned in the example I typed up that got eaten by the internet.

Quote from: plausiblefabulist date=1389707363
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?
Remember that there is no "resistance" roll.  If you are lying and your roll is successful, it means that you have lied successfully.  But because I don't want to remove player agency, I want to leave players an "out" when another PC lies to their character.  It is exactly the same as AW manipulate - I am successful at my roll, but the option to go along with it is yours.  Same here, and I decided to use Obligation because if you refuse a reasonable request or treat someone as dishonest when all "evidence" points to the contrary, you incur a social debt.

Quote from: plausiblefabulist date=1389707363
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?
No, the High-Born Lady is attempting to advance her station within her overall class.  She is looking to marry up, make influential friends, and build a web of obligations from influential people.  In a society that has distinct class divisions, the low-born lady doesn't have as far to go, and her social climbing is of a different sort.

Quote from: plausiblefabulist date=1389707363
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;
I am thinking that the best way to do this is to have gender-neutral playbooks with a few gender-specific moves.  So for instance, I might have the "Noble" playbook with "daimyo" and "high-born lady" as potential starting moves.  Similarly, you could have a Courtier playbook with "geisha" and "aide-de-camp" as opening moves.  Not all playbooks need these.  I could easily see female Ninja, Monk (Nun), or Bandit characters.  And historical record has ladies who became Samurai (or "onna-bugeisha" which is not exactly a samurai but has most of the same important qualities for purposes of the game), thus opening the way to Ronin and making these playooks gender-neutral as well.  And the interesting thing about the gender-specific moves within a gender-neutral playbook is that you don't have to take them.  So if you want to play a female Courtier without being a geisha, that should be an option.

Re: Ronin World
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2014, 05:30:58 AM »
I think "generic playbook with gender specific moves" is a great way of handing the gender issue: Courtier with opening moves "geisha" and "aide-de-camp" is a great example. As you know, I'm a stickler for language, so I think it will be important to have truly generic names for the playbooks... that is, have the playbook be called "Monastic", say, rather than having to say "you can have a female Monk", since there's actually a word for female monk, i.e. nun.

I like that the cool thing to do in a historical game set in a patriarchal culture is, like SotI, to be gender-balanced (in terms of PC agency) without being gender blind (i.e., not imposing unnecessarily on the fiction the pretense that gender expectations and norms were less powerful than they were in history). So I think it would be interesting to offer gender-specific moves in as many playbooks as possible. I can see Monastics being really almost gender blind -- part of the whole idea of monasticism being to get away from those aspects of the mundane world, and since Buddhist nuns have been organized into separate, theoretically equal orders since the inception of Buddhism -- but, for instance, I'd like to see the difference between a male samurai and an onna-bugeisha show up in the fiction.

So: if you're a male samurai, you have a certain understood status, your challenges will be respected as such, you can easily recruit retainers, and so on. But if you're an onna-bugeisha, as soon as you venture outside your limited circle of loyal family retainers, people loyal to your noble house, etc., you will constantly encounter challenges to your right to bear a sword. In an AW-style game, it's easy to make mechanical advantage out of fictional adversity. So: male samurai move -- you can enter a martial space and command respect based on your status, recruit retainers, etc. Female samurai move -- when you enter a martial space, you will be challenged; when you deal with the challenge, mark experience. If you balance the moves right, the male samurai starts out with social-power advantages, but the onna-bugeisha is an experience machine (like, say, the Mortal in Monsterhearts).

Regarding the high-born lady, I accept your correction. But are "marrying your way to the top" and "sleeping your way to the top" quite the same thing? I can see that they might be -- your secret teenaged affair with the Prince might lead to him thinking of you with fondness and arranging your marriage to an important Daimyo -- but on the other hand, he'd be more likely to keep you as a minor concubine of his, right? Did the culture of extramarital affairs in the feudal Japanese nobility not largely concern extramarital (as opposed to premarital) affairs? I assumed that, as in other traditional cultures, there was a certain importance set on virginity in marriage (though divorce was possible, in contradistinction to Christendom, so presumably if you're a widow or divorcée this is less of a thing). It seems like the "marriage game", concerning dynastic alliance and interfamily politics, is a different thing than the "courtly affair game"? It's maybe interesting to model both of these, and it would be interesting to see how the moves differ for the Courtier and Noble, as well as between genders (presumably men could also advance their fortunes by the right love affair...). I wonder whether in addition to "reputation", the courtly playbooks might have some specific currency, like "favor"? (Maybe the Courtiers are currying noble favor, and the Nobles are currying favor with the Imperial household?)

Player agency is important to preserve, sure (though some of the interesting AW hacks do mess with it -- the Darker Self in Monsterhearts being the obvious, and in my view tremendously successful, example -- but when successful, they mess with it in very considered and clear ways). I definitely like giving various options in an affair of honor -- strike back, insult in turn, or swallow the insult silently at some cost to agency or reputation. (That's the same with the rebuke escalation in Shtetl World, I didn't mean to imply otherwise).

I wonder, though, if it's important to distinguish between internal and external costs and consequences? "If you refuse a reasonable request or treat someone as dishonest when all 'evidence' points to the contrary, you incur a social debt." Is this true even if you succeed at your "tell a lie" roll when we are alone? What if I am a low-Honor Bandit?

Your smooth Courtier PC has successfully (by the dice) lied to my honorless Bandit PC. We're alone, and the matter isn't one that the Courtier can go tell the world about (since you wants my help to do something illicit, that's why you're here in the first place). The dice say that "all the evidence" points to your lie being true. If my PC nonetheless refuses to comply with your request, and I'm "under obligation" to you, what does that mean in the fiction? No one else knows, and I don't give a fig for what you think of me. So how does the "obligation" happen?

Re: Ronin World
« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2014, 05:32:31 AM »
I'd like to see the difference between a male samurai and an onna-bugeisha show up in the fiction.
(I mean in the mechanics, obviously. Or rather, that the mechanics make sure it show up in the fiction!)