What happens when improvements change the story?

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What happens when improvements change the story?
« on: March 06, 2014, 05:10:28 PM »
In apocalypse world, improving your character sometimes creates a car or a gang or something. It's important to know where these things come from, but mostly the answer is pretty obvious: Your friends or underlings or whoever can become your gang. You build the car or you find it and fix it up. Simple.

The same cannot be said of your new dragon. Those things aren't just lying around! Does the Herald need to know about some specific dragon? Can he awaken one under a major city when previously there's been no hint that it was there? Can he define anything about it, or is he stuck with what he's given?

Similarly, what happens when a character's rank goes up? The improvement would appear to contradict the established facts of the narrative. Does the sitting monarch have a cardiac arrest? Does new evidence of a higher birth come to light? Can this be used to automatically and successfully improve your standing through marriage?

Thanks.

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DWeird

  • 166
Re: What happens when improvements change the story?
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2014, 05:45:10 PM »
Don't know what to tell you about the dragons, specifically. Whatever makes sense? There's lots of room for what makes sense in case of dark age kinship, is all.

Maybe you band up your supporters and say that thing that used to be a dutchy? - well it's a kingdom now. Maybe your older sibling steps down and gets carted off to a monastery somewhere, and so you become king or queen. Maybe whoever the other major players are in the kingdom decide that they want to calculate who's the most royal by a different genealogical system, and so you're royal now. Or maybe some sort of weird change comes about and you institute a royal diarchy, where there are two kings or queens instead of one. Or maybe you crown yourself king by right of conquest.

The thing to note that medieval politics are a bit of a mess.  In Game of Thrones terms, Geoffrey, Stannis, Rob, Renly and Daenerys are all Rank 1. Which is a messy but understandable (and replicable) situation, right?

Re: What happens when improvements change the story?
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2014, 05:50:10 PM »
I think it's incumbent on the players & MC to determine what's happened to cause a change in rank.

Clearly, a change from 2nd to 1st or 3rd to 2nd implies that the old king has died or is otherwise removed from the throne, while a change from 4th to 3rd implies ennoblement while 6th to 5th implies a grand of land.  It's really 5th to 4th that is tough to justify.

Re: What happens when improvements change the story?
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2014, 05:54:53 PM »
Rank also isn't necessarilly uncontested. A change from 2nd to 1st means that you're crowned king. It doesn't mean that there are no other claimants to the throne. Maybe you crowned yourself.

Re: What happens when improvements change the story?
« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2014, 02:25:46 AM »
The trouble is that rank is supposed to be about right. Sure, there can be multiple people with the same right, but just crowning yourself out of nowhere when you aren't considered king material is a pretty crappy improvement. Anybody can do that. The trick is defending yourself from then on and getting taken seriously by the other power players (who don't automatically accept you because of your rank).
You need some appearance of legitimacy to your claim or you might as well just make it regardless.

Conquest has a similar problem. That sounds like something that should be earned through play, not experience. It is the game and if you win it you should not have to pay experience to claim your prize. Nor should you skip over it by ticking a bunch of boxes.

Anyway, my opinion aside, there doesn't seem to be much consensus here, so that probably shows it needs looking at. Mission accomplished, I guess?

Re: What happens when improvements change the story?
« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2014, 03:19:23 AM »
Well, sure.  But you only go up in rank once.  You can't start as a serf and end as a king--at best, you can start as a serf and end as a free tenant.  If you get to be king, it's because you were already the king's son (or the king's daughter's son, or the king's brother, etc.)

Re: What happens when improvements change the story?
« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2014, 07:14:29 AM »
I never meant to suggest otherwise.  I don't see why that would make my position any weaker though.

It doesn't matter how much your rank changes; any change still requires an explanation for your new rights.
You can learn entitlement by living an interesting life, you can't get it through boring work unless you're pretty low on the scale and if you acquire it by a stroke of luck that probably means somebody has died or the balance of power has shifted, locally or nationally.

I don't meant to suggest that the system is unworkable, that everybody's high rank or that there will always be problems. I'm just hoping for clarification or guidelines, either here or in the eventual book.

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lumpley

  • 1293
Re: What happens when improvements change the story?
« Reply #7 on: March 07, 2014, 07:31:57 AM »
In the eventual book, yes. "If your rank improves from 2nd to 1st, one of the following must have happened..."

-Vincent