Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Starting 2012

So, it's time we were thinking about getting the campaign started again.  I am going to be around for the rest of this week, with three days off for New Years, so a good day to start again might be around Tuesday to Wednesday next week.  Probably we can count on a day of questions and catching up, before the party starts off to Leer to re-equip.

I'll be putting up some new maps covering the change in location the party has experienced, if only to make clear how one gets to Munster from Engelke, presuming the party would want to go there.

Regarding the cards, and the use of cards.  I trust the party will take note of the links on the previous to seeing what all the cards are, as actions will create additional cards for players.  When it comes to playing the cards themselves, there will probably be some troubles arising from the internet.  I found I was able to teach people pretty quickly how to use them while face-to-face, but things may not be so evident without my smiling face showing how it's done.

I would recommend roleplaying the action cards when they are used.  For example, if Ahmet were to use his persuade card, he might do so by saying, "We would look upon it kindly if you could step aside and let us enter the town, despite our appearance; I assure you we will look much better once we have found an inn and partaken in a bath and a shave.  We are upstanding citizens, believe me when I tell you this; we simply had some bad luck with a manure wagon."

Or some similar presentation.  It really is quite easy once you have the idea what persuasion is, or jesting or boasting or lying.

I would encourage people to suggest other cards that could be added; for example, there is no 'threaten' card, which might be created by exchanging some other card suggesting the player has a threatening appearance (a survivor-type card, or perhaps the Once Convicted card), or which implies having developed a sense of what it takes to threaten people (a Hardened Adventurer card, or Fortitude).  I haven't decided ... though I'd probably make a decision if someone indicated they would want such a card.  In truth, it would work pretty much the same as 'Boast,' but obtained by trading in something other than what Boast requires.

Let me know if there's something else we want to consider before starting.


Ahmet said...

As much as I would love a Threaten card (although I think Intimidate is probably a more apt description... threatening being more overt), you probably don't want to start getting too fine.

Intimidating, cajoling, flirting... they're all just different forms of persuasion, no? I would focus on the result rather than the method, to keep the card as open-ended as possible.

Alexis said...

As 'intimidate' is defined as an aspect of the conflict effects (you threaten someone in order to intimidate them), it couldn't be used. However, while 'boast' and 'threaten' may seem similar in that they both offer a +1 to the action's die roll, the interpretation of the effect of the two cards is VERY different ... someone may be intimidated by a boast or by a threat, but that doesn't mean the intimidation response would be the same.

Remember that ANY roleplaying is hugely subjective, and that the cards do not seek to obliterate that subjectivity. It is still up to the DM to determine the precise effects of the cards from their general purpose (whatever verb they employ). None of the cards are ever intended to be a 'controlling' mechanism. An intimidated bartender may give you a free drink, but an intimidated bartender might also signal covertly to someone to get the guard. The intimidation would only guarantee the bartender did not take any personal action against the character, unless the intimidation ceased (i.e., the guard arriving).

Technically, as I've tried to explain, you can do any action, not just those written on the cards ... but doing something similar to the card gives you a bonus, while something completely obscure doesn't give you a bonus. You are NOT limited by the scope of the cards.

Incidentally, 'cajoling' is to persuade, and 'flirting' is covered under the card 'seduce.' While there is nuance there, this nuance is meant to be achieved in the moment when the player roleplays the card.

Alexis said...

Also, continuing this on the next comment, all the players had better be sure they read this post carefully - because there are going to be circumstances where, just like the sword laying you out and stopping you from taking an action, a played card is going to be a big annoying obstacle to your free choice of action. I know I've had some disagreement about this ... but the point of the cards in the first place was to recognize that, as characters/persons, we are not cardboard heroes who never quail, or hesitate, or fail to act. Sometimes your character WILL fail to act, and that WILL suck, big time.

I mean it will really, really, really ... really SUCK.

But tough tookies. I'm an intellectual, and I believe that if a moron can stop you with a sword, a smart guy can do just as much with an argument. If you think that can't be true with your characters, then these cards are a bad, bad idea.

Nine-toes said...

I don't anticipate as much friction this time around now that I have a little experience with your style of play. If I'm told I can't do something, I'll roll with it. I wasn't thinking of Nine-toes as a being a person who could talk himself out of much, anyway. When he does interact with NPC's, it's when I'm trying to gather info as a player and I'm pretty sure combat is not a possibility at that point.

We may need someone with better stats than Nine-toes to do all our shopping if I wind up getting talked into buying a sway-backed horse with fungal infections in 3 hooves everytime I try to get bread, however.

Ahmet said...

An intimidated bartender may give you a free drink, but an intimidated bartender might also signal covertly to someone to get the guard. The intimidation would only guarantee the bartender did not take any personal action against the character, unless the intimidation ceased (i.e., the guard arriving).

I don't understand how a successful intimidation would allow the bartender to covertly signal the guard. Of course that's a "personal action" against you!

It's like one of those movies where the bad guy says, "I can't kill you," then turns to his goon and says, "kill him." In the end, what's the difference?

If you're going to allow a successfully intimidated NPC to covertly signal the guard, what's the point of playing that card, ever? You're better off trying to flatter, flirt, or otherwise persuade without the hint of intimidation. Because what's the worst that's going to happen if your flattery is unsuccessful? He's going to tell the authorities that you're a fool for thinking his month-old mutton is the best in town?

I would think a successful intimidation would leave the man so scared, disturbed, or awed that he wouldn't dare covertly signal -- because you succeeded in intimidating him.

Now, if you blow your roll, perhaps he feigns trembling and slides you that free drink -- and flashes that covert signal.

Ahmet said...

I do think there's a difference between Threaten and Intimidate.

Westley: Give us the gate key.
Yellin: I have no gate key.
Inigo: Fezzik, tear his arms off.
Yellin: Oh, you mean this gate key.

That's a threat.

Miracle Max: Go away or I'll call the Brute Squad.
Fezzik: I'm on the Brute Squad.
Miracle Max: You are the Brute Squad!

That's intimidation. Fezzik didn't make an actual threat. He's just standing there. Under those circumstances, Miracle Max isn't going to call the guards -- what's he going to say, "That man is large and scary-looking!"

Intimidation, by the way, wouldn't have to be the fear of physical violence. It could be the power of the church or some other institution. I could even see a situation where Sir Do-Right the Paladin gets a free drink through Intimidation -- not because the bartender is afraid he'll be struck down by Sir Do-Right (who would never do such a thing), but because the bartender doesn't want to be known as the bastard who wouldn't give Sir Do-Right a free drink!

Alexis said...

Philosophically, you may have a point Ahmet.

However, in the Conflict system, 'intimidation' has a very specific meaning, separate from 'influence.' With regards to gameplay, I am only interested in a definition of intimidation (in this case) as it applies to the cards.

The reference to the Results Table from this post, 'intimidation' would be defined as any negatively charged act intended to cause another person to retreat, give in or offer no personal resistance against a player.

The result 'indifferent' - which I used because there is no other word I could think of to use, and which I admit is inadequate, indicates that the person is NOT intimidated, but NOT angry, either.

The result 'fearful,' on the other hand, does NOT also indicate a total inactivity. The fearful person does not become a willing, obedient slave. The fearful person will acquiesce to the point that they will preserve their own being, but it does NOT mean they wouldn't surreptitiously gesture at another person to give or get aid.

Total acceptance would be the result 'obsequious,' in which case the intimidated person would be so impressed and frightened that no, they wouldn't seek aid.

Yellin would be fearful (gives up the key), but probably not obsequious (which is why Fezzik hits him, so he won't go rouse the guard).

Please understand, these are GAME TERMS, and as such, if the cards are to applied to the game, the terms have to be used as they are defined by the system (denotative), and not as you personally define them (connotative).

Will you be able to play with the cards in this fashion? This is all I need to know.

Alexis said...

There is something else I forgot to mention.

In the game, the principle point about getting a 'fearful' or 'obsequious' reaction is that the individual then CANNOT take any other Conflict action against the speaker. In an argument, they are taken out of the equation. This is the point of the cards, to win and resolve arguments/conflicts without the DM's personal bias operating. The cards are not intended to remove or obscure overall roleplay or elements of D&D, such as still having to deal with a neverending host of unforseen possibilities.

Ahmet said...

Of course I'll play with your rules... just my 2 cents. :)

I like the various degrees of success and failure... makes for a much more nuanced result than just a straight up or down.

Alexis said...

I should be able to publish the new starting post tomorrow. I shall get a copy of the Leer market page to players this evening - there's no reason why we shouldn't start the campaign from Leer, letting you all resupply.

I'm having a bit of trouble with the new maps - ran into a bit of a snag with Holland (things that weren't done that I thought were). I should have at least one of the maps up this evening.

James C. said...

Guys... the plan is to regroup, recoup and re-supply at Leer, then travel to Munster, yes?

Andrej said...

Assuming that our plan is to head to Munster (I vote yes), then I recommend that we re-trace our steps to Cuxhaven and once there see if our reward for finding the Pale is ready.

In Cuxhaven we see about boat passage to Hamburg and if not to our liking stick to the road.

From Hamburg we should make for Luneburg via road and possibly visit friends of Andrej's there (the Paladin Hornung and Dame Seraphina) possibly to our betterment should something arise there. From Luneburg we make for Munster an der Ortze and see what luck or adventure awaits us there.

From this point, if no other opportunity or calamaty sweeps us away, we can decide if we wish to retrieve Andrej's book from Eichstatt, some 400 miles further south and into The Upper Palatinate of the Empire.

Andrej said...

And another thing, Alexis, there was some discussion regarding the Aid spell that stands unresolved in my mind. You stated in the last Engelke post that Aid only provided temporary hit points while the text you had previously provided indicated otherwise (copied and pasted in the comments for the last Engelke post).

If the text stands I'd like to keep the spell and cast as indicated. If your ruling in the comments section stands instead, I'd like for you to allow me to exchange Aid for Enthrall as one of my newly learned spells for attaining 3rd level.

Alexis said...


At last I understand something that was not clear to me. You refer to Munster-an-der-Ortze. As I did not add the appellation, I had intended the reference to be the city of Munster in Westphalia. Aren't duplicate place names interesting?

I shall look at the description of the Aid spell and say more.

Alexis said...

Ah, right. The description of the Aid spell I gave stands. My bad.

Ahmet said...

Ah, didn't see the rest of this discussion before posting on the new thread. Yes, some rest and then Leer and then on to Munster-an-der-Ortze.

Nine-toes said...


Alexis said...

Once again, wrong Munster.

You will take note that on the map, Munster in Westphalia is directly south of Engleke ... this would be the Munster that anyone in Engleke would refer to, if casually. They would hardly know of the other Munster's existence.

Andrej said...

Ahhh... twin Munsters. I see. Hence the need for new maps, which I didn't understand. Same page now. Will read the other post and update. As for Aid, got it. Thanks.