Alternative Hack for AW2 Seize by Force

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Ebok

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Re: Alternative Hack for AW2 Seize by Force
« Reply #15 on: March 23, 2017, 11:08:17 PM »
Fairenough!

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Ebok

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Re: Alternative Hack for AW2 Seize by Force
« Reply #16 on: March 23, 2017, 11:31:52 PM »
I'm still trying to figure out my feelings about the overall design, but I just wanted to point out this little detail:
Quote
On a 7-9 the MC chooses 1 for the NPCs, and then you choose 2.
On a miss the MC chooses 2 or 3 for the NPCs, and then you choose 1.
Having the MC pick first is definitely the right way to do it. This keeps the ultimate choice in the players' hands. Like, I roll 7-9, you pick "the gang gets +1 harm," and now I've got the choice whether to mitigate the damage or make it an all-out bloodbath on both sides instead.

Quick question, also: how do you interpret the MC choosing "impress, dismay, or frighten your enemy" for the NPCs?

Sorry I missed your response in the middle of the walls of text.

The answer? Very carefully. Normally I choose this option when I'm affecting the Player's allies, or the bystanders. And it's normally baked into the fictional response. For example: The player is routing the other gang, but they've got some hold on the 7-9, they choose to fright/dismay the player and his boys. I then tell the player that they start firing into the crowd, killing and wounding the bystanders in the area. Or maybe they throw molatovs to start catching the city on fire.

Basically, I only rarely, and with a players consent, choose to impress dismay or frighten a player. By consent, I don't mean I ask them for permission. I mean I pick the result and see if they push back or run with it. Sometimes I ask them a loaded question, like what did they do to impress dismay or frighten you? Sometimes I suggest something cinematically to see if that inspires them to pick up on it. Maybe the guy the player just shot, even though he is dying, he holds his head up and is proud. Whereas most are screaming and weeping and dying like cowards under normal situations. So the player might be impressed with the people.

Alternatively, I might suggest that the gang behaves /honorably/ in their defeat, maybe shielding some bystanders, keeping their word, or something else that reduces the hostility the player might feel for that faction.

It very much depends on the fiction.

Re: Alternative Hack for AW2 Seize by Force
« Reply #17 on: March 24, 2017, 12:03:30 AM »
I would do the same. It's mostly for NPCs, or applied carefully and selectively, with player buy-in, to the PC. A good overview!

It's actually one of my concerns with "choose 3 against the player", particularly if the PC chooses one as well - you'll often be stuck with choosing that option even when it might not be relevant or applicable.

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Ebok

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Re: Alternative Hack for AW2 Seize by Force
« Reply #18 on: March 24, 2017, 12:51:58 AM »
To be honest Paul, I was only going to have the choose 2 option there. The reason there is an OR there, is for that very reason. If picking 3 on a miss seems like to much, or is troublesome with the narrative, pick 2. If there is a great opportunity there, you can pick 3. I was thinking back to one of your suggestions in the other thread, where the player chooses 1 and the other 3 go against him. I didn't like that because it removed all agency from the other side of the conflict, and I've always found choosing 3 was too harsh when reversing a move. But since the play can counter one, or pick one himself, I figured, well there could be a case for it! Probably not every time, but maybe sometimes.

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Munin

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Re: Alternative Hack for AW2 Seize by Force
« Reply #19 on: March 24, 2017, 01:12:48 AM »
Paul, it should be pointed out that the damage from the miss condition of in-brain puppet strings does not have the loud tag. Does that change your opinion at all?

Ebok, I think the "hard move" issue is one of semantics. I think we all get the idea that the MC can make as hard and direct a move as he or she likes at any time, but it is codified into the advice given to the MC that he or she should view a player miss as an opportunity. In other words: that's not the only time can happen, but it's a good time for it to happen.

As a side note, I have no problem impressing, dismaying, frightening, panicking, confusing, or stunning a PC, but what I will not do is remove the player's agency when doing it. I view it as exactly the same as the "stick" condition of a successful PvP manipulate under AW1: You can still do whatever it was that you were planning to do, but understand that now you're doing it under fire. "Stunned" in AW2 works this way too. And it can have other consequences even if you manage to overcome it - the last time I remember doing this was against a Chopper who had face-palmed with an 11 on a harm move. I ruled him as momentarily panicked; if he followed that cue (break and run, duck for cover, cower behind others, whatever) the there'd be no roll necessary. But if he wanted to get his shit together and press on through the bile rising in his rapidly constricting throat, he'd need to roll+Cool. Wanting to live up to his hard-ass reputation, he did so and managed a success, soldiering through it and ultimately winning the fight. But here's the important part - he had a moment of hesitation, showed a split-second of fear, and everyone in his gang saw it.

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Ebok

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Re: Alternative Hack for AW2 Seize by Force
« Reply #20 on: March 24, 2017, 07:42:41 AM »
Munin: That's a solid approach. I'll probably also do that in the future.

Daniel: I see where you're coming from, but I also disagree. :)

As a fan of the characters, I'm not going always choose seize definite control for the NPCs. The focus is not on picking the mechanic that best fits the NPC maths, it functions in the same way that hitting 7-9 for Act Under Fire has you picking a part of the fiction to bite or degrade the players 10+ expectations. It's a complication, and because it happens before the player chooses (just like they can change their mind for a 7-9 act under fire) they can use their choice to remove the NPC's selection.

If being able to "hold" seize by force is really that much of a problem, you could also let the player choose that option twice, the first time countering it, the second time selecting it, at the cost of choosing two others. Thus perhaps alleviating some of the concerns mentioned here.

For me an important bit was always that I didn't like the 7-9 result of seize by force anyway. It felt too much like a complete an absolute win. You rarely need to choose more then two options in a seize by force roll. So the differences between a 10+ are not great. The more consequence between 7-9 and 10+ has a lot of impact on how useful Hard is as a stat.

Re: Alternative Hack for AW2 Seize by Force
« Reply #21 on: March 24, 2017, 01:56:13 PM »
That's a really good way to look at it, Munin. And you're right about the in-puppet strings - I was thinking of direct brain whisper projection, and it made sense, in my mind, to generalize to harm caused by brainer powers in general. :) I suppose there's a subtle distinction at play, where describing the results of a mechanical action on the fiction is being contrasted to bringing in an entirely different, or new action. In this particular example, I feel that the MC is "making a move" on the part of the victim, most definitely. However, it's a pretty soft move - not the kind of action I would expect on a typical miss ("hard and irrevocable"), since it leaves the initiative in the hands of the player. An interesting example to consider, in any case.

Ebok, I like that interpretation of it, as well. It's an interesting question, too, whether the MC should choose according to what the NPC prioritizes or according to what they think is dramatically most interesting. Choosing "twice" is not a bad idea, as well. A potential downside is that it could make the outcomes look similar (see below)...

I agree with you about the outcomes on a "seize" roll being fairly similar, although that's never really been an issue for me in play - the mess of combat and the harm dealt just meant that things are never quite perfect. That's, perhaps, why I'm worried about the 2nd Ed version of the move - now even the miss option starts to feel, in my situation, like the 7-9 or 10+ - given mismatched harm/armor numbers, those three outcomes might be almost identical. Sometimes, the only difference between the strongest hit and the most terrible miss is going to be two segments filled on your harm clock. That sounds a bit disappointing to me.

If we're choosing an option (to "take definite hold") several times, as you suggest, that could be even worse. If I rolled better than you, I can always choose to win the thing, in other words - and then the other outcomes might not even come into play. A lot of conflicts could come down to a direct exchange of harm in that case (for example, you miss, so you choose to take definite hold, but I roll a 7-9, so I choose to take definite hold twice). I'm not sure; just wondering out loud here.

I like how your version of the move makes the three tiers much more meaningfully distinct.

There might also be some fun options to play around how the options are chosen - perhaps, if you miss the roll, you must pick first, for instance, or rolling certain outcomes enables you to block an option for the other party.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2017, 03:35:49 PM by Paul T. »

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Ebok

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Re: Alternative Hack for AW2 Seize by Force
« Reply #22 on: March 24, 2017, 05:59:20 PM »
Paul, I was only considering allowing the Player to override the NPC, not other players. The only roll that could even occur in is the 7-9 roll vs NPCs. It would basically be the same as on a 7-9, choose 1, or the MC chooses 1 and you choose 2. The player chooses which. Granted, I personally don't believe giving the NPCs hold is problematic. Doing takes a binary result for each choice and provides a third messy state between.

...

I suppose in my games I also do a lot more with the choices then one needs to. If you choose suffer less harm, in the cinematic that follows that action takes a lot of precedence in describing where a PC might go, descriptions of the cover, and it might also extend that aware to his gang. This adds a abstraction of personality to the result, rather then just -1 harm. When I make my move following this, I take that cover into consideration.

Likewise, an enemy inflicting more harm and the player suffering less, has the player using cover and the enemies preforming tactics that counter that. If the player isn't suffering less, then it's the enemies assault that's tearing into your less defensively positioned gang. Or if neither choose these, then both sides are (on an individual level) relatively even in terms of their performance. All of this info acts as fodder for knowing where they aren't in control and where they are.

That's useful for me when a barf forth apocalyptica.

 

Re: Alternative Hack for AW2 Seize by Force
« Reply #23 on: March 24, 2017, 07:33:25 PM »
Vincent did that nicely, too, in his example in the other thread. I like that!

I think *most* people won't do it when playing the game, but I'd find it a very welcome addition, and it would build nicely into the following action, as well.

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Ebok

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Re: Alternative Hack for AW2 Seize by Force
« Reply #24 on: March 24, 2017, 09:02:17 PM »
So this is how it stands as of now.

Seize By Force
For PCs: To seize something by force, you both roll+hard.
Exchange Harm as established and:
On a 10+ choose 3.
On a 7-9 choose 2.
On a miss choose 1.

For NPCs: To seize something by force, roll+hard.
Exchange Harm as established and:
On a 10+ choose 3.
On a 7-9 choose 1 or the MC chooses 1 for the NPCs and you choose 2.
On a miss the MC chooses 2 or 3 for the NPCs and you choose 1.

• You inflict terrible harm (+1harm).
• You suffer little harm (-1harm).
• You take definite and undeniable control of it.
• You impress, dismay, or frighten your enemy.

Re: Alternative Hack for AW2 Seize by Force
« Reply #25 on: March 25, 2017, 01:13:45 PM »
That's a very clear restatement.

I'm afraid I still don't understand the objection to "choose 1, but expect the worst". Did you ever come up with an example of how that might be unsatisfying or disruptive in play? Where does it fall flat?

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Munin

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Re: Alternative Hack for AW2 Seize by Force
« Reply #26 on: March 25, 2017, 03:27:29 PM »
Ebok's main complaint against that interpretation was that it was a little less clear for PvP, as it implied that the MC would be inserting complicating narrative into the middle of two PCs' actions. I don't think that's a big issue, but I believe that was his concern.

Re: Alternative Hack for AW2 Seize by Force
« Reply #27 on: March 25, 2017, 05:47:22 PM »
Indeed. Is that the only objection, Ebok?

It seems simple enough to ignore it in PvP, especially since you already do so for the "interfere" move (as I believe you said in the other thread).

Incidentally, has there ever been a concise/complete ruling as to when and how to engage with the interfere move (particularly in opposed rolls)? I've never seen a coherent take on it, really.

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Ebok

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Re: Alternative Hack for AW2 Seize by Force
« Reply #28 on: March 25, 2017, 06:27:39 PM »
Paul T, if you check out the start of our 12page Seize by Force thread, you'll see that I've been playing with the choose 1 and expect the worst for my last couple of games. I have many examples there, and it clearly worked. However, over the course of that I bought into some of the 2e design, and realize that the previous pattern was playing into some of my bad habits.

1.) Munin is right. PvP + unexperienced MC might do strange and hacky feeling things here.
I know I did when I first started and we had misses in PvP. Sure we can just ignore the clause when its a problem.

2.) But wait, we can ignore it too if there doesn't happen to be a good hard move to make against NPCs, or maybe we just want it to end there. Such as if the enemy is dead either way, and there's nothing else around, or if another player was following up with something battle ending anyway.

3.) We should make hard and direct moves when the character provides us with a golden opportunity, whether that's following a hit or miss. Most misses are golden opportunities anyway, even without the clause.

That's why I tend to be in the "pick 1 and prepare for the worst" camp - because I'm probably going to fuck with you on a miss anyway. At least this way everyone involved knows it's coming.  ;)

My bad habit was this: I got into the pattern where I exclusively made hard moves only on a miss. Then my players saw the clause on a miss, and we all thought, okay, the MC doesn't make a move on a hit. So we had many battles that were "brushed over" on a very high level, because a 7+ means they won, and a miss means they lost. That was our AW1 pattern (right or wrong we started it because of the moves)

Adding the choose 1 on a miss when I started Aw2 actually worked out fine. I still made a hard move on a miss, but they still got at least something out of it. Many of the battle moves dont actually talk about the Player risking harm either, giving us the impression that they only took harm on the seize by force. That was not a good pattern, we solved it by scrapping all of them entirely. Turns out, if I had just realized I could be hard when I should be hard fictionally, we never would have had these issues.

I was talking about this with one of my players after the other discussion. He told he that he honestly had more fun when he missed, because everything got exciting. The hard moves putting characters in peril made things more fun. Huh. Maybe reserving that for misses (especially in a group that might rarely miss) is a bad idea.

conclusion: If 1, 2, and 3 are true, then be prepared for the worst is basically just flavor text reminding us to spice it up by prompting our players into looking to us for a move.

4.) My group didn't notice or care about hitting a 10+ on seize by force. It was a gimme move. We always wanted 7-9 to feel more half and half, rather than auto success. It was an issue from the very first time we played and continued without a good answer through my last game. This hack provides this.

a.) Opposed rolls work with this move already.
b.) It doesn't give anyone the impression the battle will not turn deadly on a 7+
c.) It provides some descriptive agency to a 7-9 option, in a familiar act under fire pattern
d.) It boosts the importance of a higher Hard when seizing by force for 2e.
e.) It falls in line with the same pattern as the other battles moves for 2e.
f.) It contains a miss criteria that is the only thing we lost out on by removing "be prepared for the worst".

Overall, that's why I like it. Could it be better? Absolutely, we should have different battle moves and a different armor / harm setup entirely that could set up more nuanced fights, but for a high level move, seize by force has always been pretty effective in my fiction.

Re: Alternative Hack for AW2 Seize by Force
« Reply #29 on: March 27, 2017, 11:12:13 AM »
Very interesting, thanks, Ebok!

I'm having a little bit of trouble grasping exactly what the problem was, because I can't really imagine that being an issue in games we played, but I can try to imagine harder, perhaps.

Any chance I could talk you into giving me an example of a situation where a) the rules don't tell you to make a hard move, and how it is better if you do (a contrast between the "old way" you used to play and the "new way"), and b) someone rolls a miss on a Seize by Force and you think the game is better off when you don't make a move? I was really hoping for an actual example from your games, because talking about it in the abstract, it's really easy to misunderstand each other.

(Also: I'm not talking about opposed rolls; those are clearly better off without MC moves. This is really about PC vs NPC here.)

I agree with your assessment of the benefits of your new move, by the way. It's a bit messy, which I don't love, but it does have some significant benefits, as you point out. I like, for instance, the stronger distinction between a 7-9 and a 10+.