Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Hamlet Aroused

The girl has a strong effect on the cluster of houses.  She shouts about the death of her pig, and about the party waiting on the road nearby.  Sofia is able to hear something else - apparently, the pig's principle value was that it was able to sniff out truffles.

The rest is predictable.  The hamlet rouses itself, the men shouting for justice, and some twenty men arm themselves with pitchforks and start towards the road and the party, and the girl among them.  Sofia is quite able to outrun them - and the men of the hamlet are not running, but walking with purpose.  They do not seem angry so much as determined and resolute.


Lukas said...

Lukas does follow Sofia, and braces himself as he walks directly towards the stern men.

Alexis said...

The men do not see Lukas at first - It is only when they are six yards away when the mage becomes evident in the darkness. "Halt!"
shouts the one at the front. "Stop talking you all!" he has to add.

The cluster of men, and the girl, falls back a step, and then those in the back press forward to form a semi-circle in front of Lukas.

Lukas said...

Lukas halts and keeps his hands visible and away from anything that could possibly be considered dangerous.

He pretty much figures he will only get one line in with so many angry people so he might as well get a good one. "It seems we have have had a terrible accident." Assuming they give him time, he continues, "I believe you are aware of the pig, who is it's owner?"

Lukas said...

Alright Sofia, I'm thinking I've got a few good arguments in tow here if things get to reasonable conversation...

A: Jest about relieving oneself and insecurities of Ahmet to reduce their hostility and increase their empathy with the situation.

B: Reason that the pig was practically unattended in the middle of the night.

C: Persuade that we mean to make amends and that we are good folk who made an honest mistake.


Andrej said...

Go with C.

Andrej said...

Sofia stands beside Lukas as the latter speaks.

(OOC: How was the golf outing, Alexis?)

Alexis said...

(Outstanding - like I said, I scored 129 ... which is almost 7 strokes a hole! Amazing)

Lukas said...

(OOC: I do worse with mini-golf. Congratulations.)

Alexis said...

The campaign hangs upon your next word, Lukas.

Lukas said...

Really? I was hoping someone would speak up as to who the owner was.

Lukas said...

Assuming someone speaks up, Lukas will address them more directly.

"As I said, my companions and I have made a grave mistake.

While one of us was away from the rest, he heard the thrashing of the pig approaching. Not knowing what it was, and it sounding distinctly not human, he struck out.

That leaves us where we are now. I and my companion here have come to discuss our steps towards making amends."

Lukas said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alexis said...

"And the one that killed the pig?" sneers the leader. "Where is he?"

Alexis said...

Most of the crowd believes that Lukas is here to make amends - you have persuaded them of that much. The story is not scoffed at out of hand.

Lukas said...

"I don't see how that is important." Lukas replies. "What is important is we're here to make amends."

Lukas said...

(OOC: sorry Alexis, bad math, number was 11)

Alexis said...

(OOC: LOL, I know)

"Not important! A crime has been committed! The criminal will be brought before the town elder and he shall decide the manner of amends. We are familiar with smooth talking travellers. Now take us to he who killed the pig, or confess to the crime yourself!"

Andrej said...

Sofia steps forward, "We will not bring an armed mob to our companion. Choose any five of your number to accompany us back to our camp. The rest of you may go back to your homes."

Ahmet said...

Ahmet, blissfully unaware, continues cleaning his sword back at the camp.

Lukas said...

"That makes more sense. I am also familiar with the concept of overreacting townsfolk." Lukas replies. "I came here to you to speak on the matter politely and discuss how this was to proceed. The others were left at camp to ensure our own goods meet no accidents. Since this is how things will proceed I will go fetch my companion, I believe you will want at least four of your men to accompany us? Are there any other terms to this arrangement I should be aware of?"

Lukas said...

(OOC: So, yes take either option or have Lukas interrupt and try to use a less accusatory tone. Whichever you would like.)

Andrej said...

(OOC: I think it played out nice as is. Sofia rather bluntly laid the terms out and Lukas smoothed it over and should make the Conflict! roll if one is necessary)

Andrej said...

Andrej to Lukas: "What are we going to do with this pig. Lukas? Lukas? Sofia, where... where did those two get off to, Ahmet?"

Alexis said...

"You call us a mob? We have parleyed with you; we have listened to your words. But we do not take it upon ourselves to decide this matter! We take it upon ourselves to arrest the killer of this pig - you say you know the man! If you conceal him from us now, from justice, then you too hazard a judgement. Thus I ask you again - take us to this killer or confess the crime, if you are the killer yourself. Amends shall not be made until the matter is judged by the Village Elder!"

And he will roll dice for reasoning with the party: he rolls a 7 for Lukas and a 10 for Sofia; the latter has no defense cards that I'm aware of, and while not the robot slave of the mob, she can no longer oppose their decision in this matter (unless she has a defense card I do not know about. She has fortitude cards for certain - but the link on Andrej's profile leads to a blog with no posts, so I cannot see just now Sofia's character.

Andrej said...

Sofia has been given no Conflict! cards. Her own page on Andrej's blog can be found here:

Andrej said...

"We conceal nothing, we sought you out." Sofia mutters with less conviction.

Alexis said...

Sofia's cards are easy to work out, however. She has a persuasion, a jest and a beauty card, she has a reason card, befuddlement and two fortitude cards.

This is all.

Please TRY to remember, party, that in any conflict situation, THEY get to go as well. Lukas used his persuasion ... it is up to the other side to go afterwards, BEFORE Lukas can try to reason himself.

They have now ... and as far as I know, Sofia is out of it.

But I repeat - this "mob" does not look angry, but determined.

Ahmet said...

Ahmet shrugs. "If it was truly the little child's, uh, pet, we should return it to her."

He puts his newly cleaned sword at his side. "But hopefully we can decide in the morning."

He lays down to sleep.

Lukas said...

Lukas will crack a slight grin and shake his head as he tries to distract from Sofia's interruption. He tries to ensure the light hit's him properly to display his appearance better.

"Hold on a moment. I never said I wouldn't take you to him. We were just saying there's no need for all of you to come just to escort one man! I'm sure the rest of you would probably rather be sleeping or ensuring the elder is awake rather than out here for a midnight parade!"

Jest + Beauty 2 + 2

2d6: 5, 3 (8 + 2 + 2 = 12)

(OOC: Triple checks math)

Alexis said...

@ Ahmet, Andrej & Janos,

It is clear that while the laborers have returned to their own fire, none makes any effort to lay down and sleep. They are watching the three of you around your own fire.

Andrej said...

Andrej looks about for a stout stick to tie the pig carcass to for easier carrying and keeps a lookout for Sofia and Lukas.

Andrej said...

... and keeps another eye out for the laborers.

Ahmet said...

Ahmet folds his hands behind his head to make a makeshift pillow.

Lukas said...

For the record Ahmet, if I get you out of something ridiculously horrible, I'm taking it out on you over time. Forgetting I had a dry spell and risking you get hypothermia will only be a start!

Killing valuable animals that ambush you through tall grass in the middle of the night. Jeeze what were you thinking? ;)

Alexis said...

Remember Lukas, that when rolling for Conflict you must roll SEPARATELY for every person you wish to affect - rolling once only gives an answer to the first person. What I need is 20 rolls, for everyone there, including the girl ... which I shall save time and do for you.

Lukas is surprised to find that some of those listening chuckle a bit, and one laughs right out loud. He looks at the others and says, "Sorry. I would rather be sleeping."

In general, the consensus agrees with Lukas's plan, including the leader Lukas rolled for - but there are seven who DO NOT. But none get angry, and Lukas does not need to use a fortitude card.

(In Conflict terms, Lukas has gained 5 allies; 8 of the 25, including the girl, are now neutral along with Sofia, and 7 oppose the idea).

It is now the other side's turn:

One of those dissenting shouts, "And when those five are murdered by strangers on the road, shall we send another five? And another five after that? Perhaps we could send one at a time and give them plenty of time to defend against us! NO, we are strong when we are unified. Do not let this stranger divide us up!"

He convinces two of Lukas's side to rethink their position. He rolls a 9 against Lukas (he does not need to roll against Sofia) and has no effect.

So as things stand NOW:

Lukas has three of the villagers actively on his side; he opposes seven of the villagers. He can choose to let one of the villagers speak for this turn, or he can speak himself.

Lukas, if there is anything which is not clear here, please say so.

Before taking ANY action, just answer if you will speak yourself next turn, or let one of the convinced villagers speak for you.

Lukas said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lukas said...

I will speak. I have a very 'REASON'able solution I have been cooking up.

Alexis said...

Confusing, Lukas. Try again.

You do not roll dice for those who have been knocked out of the conflict. Those who are neutral no longer make the decision. Please note I did not roll for Sofia this last time, because Sofia is no longer a part of the conflict.

Furthermore, I DO NOT CARE what to see your math. Please, please, please, only the final result.

Thus, I need SEVEN rolls for the SEVEN people who oppose you.

I do not know why I cannot seem to make clear the nature of the Conflict cards, and why I must explain again and again how they work. I know I have said all this before, but it doesn't seem to register. It is exhausting to explain and explain and explain.

If I can't explain it in a way that it can be understood, let's please give it up. I'm not getting much out of a system that cannot be made comprehensible.

Alexis said...

(OOC: I have an appointment to get my hair cut, so I'm going to step away for now. Please don't take it hard, Lukas. This conflict thing has been a headache since I first conceived of it)

Lukas said...

(OOC: No I think I'm getting what's going on here now. We no longer care about any neutral results, just opposition. Prior to this I had not had that clarified yet.)

Lukas will follow this action.

"If you are so worried I will offer myself up as insurance those five will return. I will stay here with whoever wishes, those who wish to pick up my companions can do so with Sofia, and the rest can go to their warm and quiet homes."

Reason: +3

2d6x7 (with math): 11, 12, 12, 13, 13, 11, 9

At this point, Lukas will gladly leave any talking to anyone else. As if there is any opposition to this arrangement, he will be exasperated.

(OOC: If you decide we do not need this system, I will be alright with the situation, I feel it could go either way.)

Andrej said...

I like the system and want to keep using it.

Ahmet said...

Whatever's easier for you, Alexis. I think it's a great concept and if we're helping to playtest it, I'm all for using it. But if it has become a source of stress, we can find another way.

Alexis said...

My stress is arising from several sources.

1) The need to explain the cards and their use with every conflict. Perhaps if we were live somehow, and I could use a visual medium as a cue to explain the various elements, the elements would stick and I would not have to remind the players every time to do this or that. Moreover, I believe that some of the failure to comprehend is due to a resistance against the use of the cards against the players.

2) It is particularly overlooked that the other side gets a turn to use their cards against the players. I have noticed a tendency for the party to treat success in terms of trying this, and then when that fails, trying the next thing - without any acknowledgement given that the other side is entitled to try anything. It is a turn based game, but it seems to be always forgotten that the other side gets a turn.

3) There is a strong resistance that I'm feeling, perhaps imaginary, against the idea of the party, or a party member, losing a conflict. I felt this same resistance from readers when I first posted the rules last year. It seems people are perfectly comfortable with forcing NPCs to take various actions, but not at all comfortable with NPCs forcing players to take actions. I have never depicted an NPC grumbling about losing a conflict roll - but Sofia was depicted as such in this latest conflict. That may have been in character, but since I have already experienced much resistance against the prospect of failure, it rankled.

Alexis said...

4) The cards and the system are being used as a sort of hand-waving mechanism to redirect NPCs in the manner of a charm spell. It is somewhat silly to imagine that villagers would be dissuaded from the honest pursuit of justice - bringing a possible criminal to the town elder for trial - by a man they've never met making a joke or two and a tacitly unrealistic suggestion. Its a dangerous world. There are dangerous people in it. Five villagers couldn't hope to handle an equal number of adventurers upon a public road, and they would very much know it.

The solution is to add modifiers to behavior to counteract such irrationality, but since the number of situations is vast and unmeasurable, said modifiers quickly become as ad hoc as social mechanics in D&D without the cards. In other words, the cards solve nothing. I'm forced to either allow irrationality to occur, because the cards are a weapon, or I am forced to judge things by the seat of my pants, which the cards were designed to stop.

5) In this situation, we all know that when five men go out to arrest Ahmet, he will refuse to come with them. These five men will then have to return to their village and obtain greater, more determined help - the elder himself, or members of the local Calenburg military.

Now we all know we can talk our way out of a speeding ticket, but when the cops come to arrest you for killing your neighbor's dog, you're not going to talk your way out of that. You may get to talk to the judge, but the cops are simply not going to listen.

In this case, it ought to be the same with the villagers. But like I say, I have no way within the conflict system to reflect that reality, apart from enacting a DM's fiat, and I am loathe to do so. I created this situation and I will live by it.

However, since I don't want my hands to be bound like this in the future, proliferating irrationality through the use of a system, yes, I am considering throwing out the cards.

If the system only enables players to waltz through difficulties, and if those same players experience only unhappiness when said waltzing is done by others at their expense, then the system is broken.

I have no use for a broken system.

James C. said...

It looks like my longer reply to the first of the above was eaten. I'll just say this: Just as the villagers have a legitimate reason to seek out Ahmet, I feel we've got legitimate reasons to prevent a mob action. That we each have a justifiable but opposed position is the nature of why you created a Conflict! system in the first place. I'm ready and willing to accept the results of this Conflict! and only await them. If the DM is frustrated we can toss it and either role play this or roll initiative. It would seem a shame to me, though.

Alexis said...

Yes, but this isn't a mob action, is it? The villagers aren't banding together to go kill Ahmet, they're banding together to obey the law as they understand it - when such things happen, get the perp and bring him to the judge. This is what they are trying to do.

It's not a "mob." Repeatedly depicting it as such, although I've said now several times that it isn't one, is part of the resistance I'm feeling.

Ahmet said...

I can assure you that any confusion I might have about Conflict! isn't based on any kind of opposition or reluctance about the system.

It's a sophisticated, detailed mini-game with a learning curve. We're just not as familiar with it as you are, as should be expected.

I think has promise for eliminating some of the problems with NPC interactions. As I've noted before, I've always had a problem with the idea that a low-intelligence, low-charisma character, if played by a smooth-talking, smart player, can talk himself out of any situation -- and vice versa, when it comes to an intelligent, charismatic character being played by an inexperienced or dimwitted player.

Imagine if combat was handled the same way -- if we were somehow LARPing combat, but the barbarian is being played by an old fat guy (ahem) and the magic-user was played by a Marine in his physical prime.

So I'm all for Conflict!, but if you think the system is broken, let's move on without it.

Alexis said...

I appreciate the praise, Ahmet, but it doesn't address any of the issues.

I am clearly trying NOT to throw out the system. But I need to address the issues I've described before I can go on with it.

James C. said...

As for resisting the NPCs winning, Sofia's grumbling was not meant to be a stand-in for my own grumbling. I was OK with the whole thing, so please don't feel otherwise.

I felt the comment was perfectly in keeping with your direction that she wasn't a robot of the mob, but was effectively out of the discussion.

Ahmet said...

Speaking of being out of the discussion... I'm going to be on vacation from tomorrow to the following Sunday (September 2).

Alexis said...

I did understand that, James. I'm just getting ... tetchy.

Well, Ahmet, don't worry about the present situation, because I'm washing it out. Lukas returns to the road, having convinced the villagers that these things happen, no worries, etc.

Situation closed.

James C. said...

Yes, you've been careful to describe the armed villagers as not being a mob... just as we've been careful to try to handle the situation responsibly. So if any adventurer upon the road is a brigand and a criminal, then every group of country rubes armed with pitchforks is a mob. I don't think its unreasonable that the street accepts traffic both ways, is my view. I don't say this as an accusation or to create a conflict, but rather to explain Sofia's stance.

That said, I've hit my limit today on dealing with this particular situation. I was ready to accept the cards as they fell, so to speak, regarding the Conflict! and tried to play the situation up for what it was. That I've rankled the DM somehow and that our characters have spent two days on an argument over a dead pig has taken all of the wind out of my sails for the campaign today.

I'm willing to accept whatever you decide regarding Conflict! both in general and this specifically Alexis, and will be ready to play next week.

Ahmet said...

Maybe everyone should take a week off?

James C. said...

I just caught Ahemt's vacation plans and that the situation is now closed. Given that, I'd rather keep playing then miss today and all of next week. Can I take a mulligan? I'll be back at the computer in about an hour or so.

Lukas said...

I'm here, I could go either way with the loss of the cards. I see your problem. Personally I found that the halting response to each action was perhaps what threw me.

What happened...

1. Party Post Card Action
2. Alexis Post Response to Card Action
3. Party Post Next Action
4. Alexis Post Chastising Remark + NPC action.

It feels like it should be more like combat...

1. Party Post Action
2. Alexis Post Response then Return Action.
3. Party Post Response then Return Action.

In the first set, I'm not sure what should be the parties response after step 2.

Regardless, perhaps social actions might resolve quicker and 'more accurately' if we don't have the cards and just go with Alexis' logic.

James C. said...

Quicker, perhaps, but accurately is open to interpretation. I like what the system is trying to objectively accomplish and think its a whole lot closer to accomplishing it than anything else I've played.

Alexis, I'm really having trouble understanding this resistance you speak of and at the risk of speaking for the others feel you are misinterpreting us. If you've been holding back on forcing us into some action it has escaped me and I recommend not holding back and seeing what happens.

I think it should also be recognized that the party is not abusing this system. I think we've used it in good faith; we're not running around the game world initiating Conflicts! ad nauseum... each time its come up I've felt it was well-placed in the context of the overall game.

That said, I understand your problem regarding when to say when and what modifiers should constrain abuse of the system. I understand it completely.

I also recognize that our failure to wait and give the other side their turn is a fair criticism of our play. I will do my personal best to remedy this should we continue using the system.

I would offer this in addition to Lukas's recommendation above. It's not always clear to me that we have entered a Conflict! and its not always clear who all of the actual participants are when we do. To help, perhaps you could be more explicit in your direction. As in, "Ok fellas, A Conflict! has begun. Lukas has initiated it against 10 villagers. Sofia, will you be participating?" This may not be necessary once it becomes 2nd nature, but it's still what I would call new.

All the above said, I hope lacking cues of tone and body language the above doesn't come across as angry or exasperated. I'm still happy with where we are, a little frustrated we've spent this much time on the pig but maybe it will be for the best. If I'm alone in wanting to continue using Conflict! so be it. There is much more that is still, interesting and unique about this game. Enjoy your vacation Ahmet. I'll check in to see where we're at next week and beyond. Take care all.

Alexis said...

I've been thinking all weekend about this, and before I start to answer, let me make some things clear.

I'm still running this game as long as people are still playing.

Alexis said...

On the subject of tone and body language.

I grew up in a house where, whenever conflict occurred, my father and mother preferred to first ignore it, then pretend it had never happened. I would learn with my maturity that it was impossible to ever reason anything out with either because of this overriding passiveness...which was really just a technique my parents used to outwait everyone who chose to disagree with them. Since they would not argue, nothing could EVER be resolved.

As such, my policy has been that there is NEVER such a thing as "hitting a limit on dealing with a particular situation." Deciding that the situation had been discussed "enough" was my parent's method of shutting down others. I disagree with this policy. I will argue a subject until doomsday if I feel that there is ANY part of that subject which is not clear to everyone. I will not pretend that we did not have a disagreement last week, and I will not suspend the discussion just because we've already discussed it.

I am not quite satisfied, yet, that my position is clear, and therefore I still want to discuss this. Please recognize that clearing the matter, rather than simply dispensing it one way or the other, is practical in the long run.

When I say "resistance" I do not mean that the party has deliberately resolved to take up arms against the thing. I mean that there is evidence of legitimate forgetfulness of things on what may even be a subconscious level. I mean that in some ways, the conflict system encourages people for perfectly innocent reasons to overlook things which are flatly unpleasant - such as having your character shut down in a manner that does not involve blood, swordplay and unconsciousness. I've observed it in more parties than this one, and I believe I recognize the same patterns here that I've seen elsewhere.

I'm not looking for excuses not to use the cards; I'm saying that the use of the cards is difficult because human beings are acting like human beings.

The discussion is not, to my mind, "should we use the cards." The discussion is, "IF we use the cards, how is this to be addressed." But if the only answer I can get back is, "Do what you like Alexis," then in light of a lack of effort to help me resolve the issue, then yes, I'll have to dispense with the cards.

Now, does anyone want to discuss this problem? There are bound to be other problems with the game, exascerbated by playing online, and we should recognize that addressing these things in the future does not necessarily mean my ad hoc rule. I am open to debate ... and in order for there to be debate, I need people to understand my perspective.

Lukas said...

As I said before, a more 'combat-like' approach to posting the interaction might be a good idea.
Maybe not multi-post since it isn't as complicated, but with a specific format for each post.

1. Action [begin]
2. Reaction and Action
3. Reaction and Action
4. Reaction [end]

I feel like I was left with a hanging post, where either the NPCs weren't acting or where we were supposed to add some unknown post.

One of my confusions with the number of targets was when I got allies. If this is possible, then that WOULD make a potential benefit to target neutrals (with a poyential risk of alienation). Should this be a mechanic to be able to target a portion of a group? If not, could you not alienate your new allies with a poorly placed word?

Of coarse, this does not solve your end of the problem, where it sounds like the villagers should not under normal circumstances be nearly as yielding as they were, or how you seem to feel we are using the cards too often.

Personally I wanted to assess the situation and keep the cards as a backup in-case the villagers were too hostile. But then felt pressured into using them early. I wanted to learn what they intended to do rather than just have them storm Ahmet. Perhaps I was even going to try and use the cards on Ahmet if he wasn't going to cooperate. But, here we are.

Alexis said...

The 'combat-like' approach works for me, Lukas - except that this is what I was doing.

The difference is, if you swing and miss, you are trained as players to automatically think, "now the enemy will attack." Thus, if I say you miss, and I don't say anything else right away because I'm managing a lot of other details, as a player you don't post right off, "I swing again."

Moreover, before you attack at all, you tend to think in your mind, "Do we have initiative" ... and therefore ask if you have it before attacking.

But the conflict system is not hammered into your mind. Thus, there is no pause before starting to use the system. And when your attempt is done, there is no knee-jerk memory that says, "let the other side go" ... since you've been trained to interact in standard D&D fashion, where there are no rules, you don't WAIT for the other side to go before going again. This has been trained into you.

However, since I have a lot of things to do, when I give the reaction to a conflict, I need the player to help me and WAIT for the other side to go, remembering that the other side is entitled to ... without my having to say so every time.

The players have to remember the turn cycle every bit as much as me ... and they have to acknowledge that the complexity of the response in conflict is greater than, "you hit and do this much damage."

(more coming)

Alexis said...

In the case of the conflict, neutrality, or neutralized participants, means they are already beyond further activation. It is, in effect, saying that they are dead for the purpose of the conflict. They feel they are out of their depth. Thus you cannot "target" them - they've been overwhelmed and now they just want to do whatever those still arguing decide.

Gaining allies in the discussion is a reflection of the actual way conflicts are resolved. Part of the cleverness of the system is that it does not suppose that everyone in the conflict is necessarily on one side.

A huge part of describing this process is in having to explain the language of the system using the language of text. In voice, I think I could explain this very quickly - but in text, it is frustrating as hell, since it forces me to redescribe every buzzword in the system with another word that isn't used in the system. Such as having to explain that "resistance" against being neutralized means that the person in conflict is able to keep on talking despite the die you've thrown against him.

Alexis said...

Unfortunately, I feel that this system requires visual cues to properly understand how it works, and I feel frustrated that I cannot simply sit the party down and explain this in a few minutes.

Lukas said...

If this is you explaining with visual information, perhaps we could avoid any Conflict! until after this upcoming weekend and maybe a video blog is in order? ;)

Alexis said...

I think you're right, Lukas.

Do you happen to know how to make the cam in your computer film your desktop?

Lukas said...

Oooh, that's a good one. I think there's a program called FRAPS that should do that?

I know it's a commonly done thing though so there should be something out there.

But, I'm thinking if you have a webcam window open (so its on the desktop) and have a mic set to listen (so it comes out of your speakers) that MIGHT work if FRAPS works for desktop recording.

Alexis said...

I'll look into it. I should have all the tools, but I don't know if I have the software

Lukas said...

Research is ongoing, since I work in a 'high tech' company I'm polling my co-workers. Following recommendations came up...


James C. said...

I read all that you wrote twice, Alexis, today and yesterday. I will help you make clearer these rules in whatever way I can but it is difficult to help you work towards a solution when you continue to ignore the very specific feedback you've been given by both Lukas and I. I don't know what else to say.

Alexis said...


Here’s what I think you’ve said:

1) You don’t believe you’ve given me any resistance.
2) You recommend that I force you into an action if I haven’t been, but want to.
3) You’re not initiating too many Conflicts.
4) You appreciate that on occasion you’ve failed to wait for the other side.
5) You would like it if I’d make it clear whenever you have entered a Conflict.
6) Every group of country rubes armed with pitchforks is a mob.
7) You’ve hit your limit on dealing with this situation.
8) You’ll accept whatever I decide.

Now, have I missed anything?

My previous point was that your No. 4 is the resistance I’m describing with your No. 1.

I don’t agree with No. 2 or No. 6.

I feel every player has the right to determine No. 8, not just me.

I’m not happy with your No. 7.

I can try to adhere to No. 5.

All that’s left is No. 3. I agree, you have not initiated too many conflicts. However, this is one point I have not addressed clearly. I shall try again, in as few words as possible.

It may be that I had not previously considered the degree to which the conflict cards could be used defensively. I had primarily conceived of them as an offensive system enabling the party to overcome obstacles. I had not considered that they could be used to deactivate situations of inconvenience – such as a whole village administering the law, or a guard defending a door in the midst of an attack. This gives me pause. I have not yet figured out where are the limitations of such things.

James C. said...

OK, so maybe you didn't ignore it entirely.

All numbered points are correct except #6 seems to miss entirely the point I was trying to make (you say tomato, I say tomahto) and #7 is either a misunderstanding or an intentional misrepresentation. Hitting my limit for the day is not the same as bailing altogether on it, please understand. Nobody said anything about wearing anybody down with silence and passive aggressiveness.

As far as being willing to accept your decision on the matter, yes you've earned that with me. I don't think my trust is misplaced.

As for forcing us into an action, you implied that you were holding back from doing so. I recommend you no longer hold back and let us then deal with the results. This "holding back" point has been a vague aspect of your stated concerns. Held back when? In what manner? If you don't hold back maybe I can understand better what you're talking about.

I don't think the video blog is necessary, but its certainly not harmful. To execute the current system better I think we just need to be clearer and more deliberate when embarking upon a Conflict!

As to whether the current system needs tweaking, that seems to be the real crux of all this, isn't it? There really is nothing built into the rules to prevent a PC or NPC from getting away with anything they can cook up other than DM judgement. I offer that time and energy would be better spent upon this problem.

Alexis said...

I don't want to belabor this point ... I am honestly confused. I'm looking for the place where I made reference to holding back, and I can't find it. I've searched "hold" and "back" and I'm stumped.

I have never had a policy of forcing players to do anything. Now and then a situation arises where the players have worked their way into a place where there's only one way out ... but I don't remember ever consciously forcing players back into that place.

My intention here was to find Ahmet guilty, give him three days in the stocks (can't buy unfound truffles with money), waste the party's time in going south, then move forward. In retrospect, it would have been easier to give him a real boar to fight.

I get into trouble whenever I create an unusual encounter. No wonder most stick to the tried and true.

I am going to try to establish a better clarity with regards to when a conflict starts, whose turn it is in that conflict, and possibly work at making some kind of film. I just didn't have the spirit to fight with computer lingo last night to follow up on Lukas's suggestion.

I'll answer your question about holding back, James, when I'm clearer about what you mean.

James C. said...

You know, I can't find it either but last week I came away with the distinct impression that you were "holding back" as it pertained to using the cards against the party. Mea culpa. I think I either misread the meaning of the last sentence of your first numbered point and carried it forward or imagined it. Sorry if that confused things needlessly.

I think the encounter wa sjust fine and really, tuly think that Conflict! is worth working on and tweaking and half of our trouble in execution comes from just making it 2nd nature.

Alexis said...

My instinct, James, was to kill it - but this is why I do not trust my instincts, and I insist on dragging on these uncomfortable dialogues past the desirable point.

Let's keep the cards then. I had a moment of clarity last night about modifiers, and I'll be posting as soon as I can regarding that.

I'm satisfied at this point. If everyone else is, I'll drop this and we can move on.

Lukas said...


James C. said...

Okay, so now the bad news. I'll be enjoying one last summer hurrah and am out for playing starting this Friday going through Tuesday. Ahmet is out this week, possibly next Monday as well and that's a holiday in both Canada and the States, yes? I'm not sure what Alexis and Lukas look like and Janos is either already enjoying vacation or has bailed. How should we proceed?

Lukas said...

I'm an attractive young man, long flowing red hair, pale skin and... Oh wait, um yeah I have Monday off, but that doesn't mean I'm not available for fun things.

Otherwise I'm around.

Alexis said...

There's no reason we must struggle against such realities now. Summer is the time for hiatus.

Let us leave it until a week today; everyone goes and has a great last hurrah, we come back and tuck in for the coming deep freeze (deeper here than there, obviously, and I doubt Lukas will even see ice, but there you are).

Until then my friends.

James C. said...

Enjoy yourselves. I look forward to picking back up next week.

James C. said...

One last thing before we part. I've recently been digging around my own blog, looking at unfinished posts and starting new unfinished posts when I stumbled upon a blog toward the bottom of my linked list. It belongs to my dear and remarkable friend (and home-campaign D&D player) Mike Bair, who spent a winter in Antarctica and photographed and wrote on the experience. I've been re-reading the blog and felt you, my fellow adventurer's, might enjoy it. It's chronological, so start at the beginning, though Mike really hits his groove more toward the middle and end.

James C. said...

Ah, correction. Should read Mike slips his groove toward the end, brutal conditions wreaking havoc on mind and body.

Lukas said...

Correction, I will see ice, but it will probably be in my lemonade as I sit on the beach. This being San Francisco, however a more desirable beverage would be hot chocolate, but still I'm a bit of a masochist when it comes to my beach walks.

Ahmet said...

Hey, I'm back!

Alexis, you might appreciate this. I typically don't remember my dreams, but in the midst of vacation I had a dream that I was back in high school, and had to pick a history elective. One of the choices was "History Through Roleplaying". The idea was the students would be players in an RPG, with the teacher as DM and the game set in a historically accurate setting.

I must have been going through serious Tao's Campaign withdrawl to come up with that one!