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Not the Iron DM Tournament

It's kind of you to say so!


I'm sure it's not a technique that's original to me or this scenario. But from my point of view, I invented it for this scenario to solve a particular structural problem: how do I ensure there's a conflict that points strongly towards a morale check (one of the ingredients) while avoiding a railroad?

EDIT: I'm familiar with BitD in general terms, but I think my flashbacks work differently. Also the old 3E/d20 module Three Days to Kill doesn't use flashbacks but does have a tight structure with an ultimate scene - I've never played it but have read it and thought about running it, and it influenced me a bit too I think.
Yeah, BitD uses them in a different way, as I understand it. DMG2 for 4e does talk about vignettes, though I don't recall that it quite describes using one in precisely the way you've done here. Certainly it is consonant with various literary strategies of organizing stories 'in media res' which you see pretty frequently in movies/TV. The main characters are first seen speeding to the climactic confrontation in their air raft, and then we start to learn how they got there... Much of the action is flashbacks with the final outcome resolved at the end. The Usual Suspects is an obvious example which kind of layers the whole thing because the interrogator keeps digging back further and further.

As you say, some RPG scenario must have used it before. I am not able to recall such though. It would be a nice ploy to use in Paranoia! hehe.
 

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Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
I tend to link vignettes mechanically with complex skill challenges or something like that. It's not so much about discrete actions as more general success and consequences. It takes some wrapping your head around though.
 

Yeah, I do think that the way FitD engineers their whole 'flash back to explain how you did X' is pretty solid. It is, of course, far from covering all uses of that sort of technique. I'm thinking about how to incorporate something a little broader in the SC mechanics in my game.
 

pemerton

Legend
I'm thinking about how to incorporate something a little broader in the SC mechanics in my game.
Here's my only contribution to the theory of flashbacks-in-a-skill-challenge, from 2008:

As others have posted, it looks like you're just ignoring the bit where it says "It's up to you to think of ways you can use your skills to meet the challenges you face."

<snip>

The passage says that you have to thinking of a way your PC can use his/her skills to meet the challenge.

<snip>

The skill checks have to be using appropriate skills. This is a roleplaying issue.

But which of Diplomacy, Acrobatics or Arcana is the correct skill? You (the player) tell me (another player, or the GM).

Using Diplomacy: "Remember that time we were visiting the Wizards' Guild in Greyhawk? And I was buttering up that Burglomancer specialist? She told me a heap of old magical passwords - I try them all." The player rolls Diplomacy (probably at a hard DC - it's a pretty far-fetched story!) to see if this is true.

Using Acrobatics: "As the Watcher in the Water writhes about with its tentacles, I dodge at the last minute so it smashes into the door and breaks it." That might be a hard DC as well.

Using Arcana: "I speak a spell of opening". Medium DC. Or "I speak a spell of recall, to remember all the passwords and riddles I've learned over the years". That's more interesting and more clever- let's say a Medium DC with a +2 circumstance modifier.
I said that a PC can use diplomacy on a Burglomancer (a species of wizard I coined for the purposes of my post), and that when confronted with a door might remember something that Burglomancer told him/her which would be useful to open the door. In the skill challenge, the player explains how and when the diplomacy was used, as I illustrated in my example.

<snip>

I showed how a player might have his/her PC use diplomacy to contribute to a skill challenge involving a door - by retroacively using diplomacy on a person who has the requisite knowledge of how to open the door.
As a side-comment, it's kind of reassuring in re-reading that thread to see that my views have remained fairly coherent and consistent over the course of 13 years; but also a bit disappointing to see that many of the conversations on these boards have not moved on over that same period of time!
 

@pemerton Yeah, that is a pretty decent example of a flashback, ala FitD (as I understand it, though it has a few more moving parts to it I guess). Your Traveller scenario is a bit more open-ended case, and in any event the overall action doesn't seem like it fits very coherently as presented into a single SC-like type of resolution (Mainly because the flashback part revolves around the motives and thus desired outcomes of the participants, I would hold you cannot run something like an SC without knowing what the outcomes are).

So, that does point out a place where SCs may not work, at least at that level of resolution. I'm not sure you could run a FitD 'score' in that situation either though, what would the clocks signify? I guess FitD allows for MULTIPLE clocks, so perhaps you could devise a type of challenge where, potentially, various PCs work towards different outcomes. Their actions might INCIDENTALLY advance other clocks but they would be after advancing their own. That might be seen as an advantage of that approach. I guess it might also adapt to radically changed circumstances by establishment of new clocks. I don't know if that sort of thing is in there or not.
 

pemerton

Legend
Yeah, that is a pretty decent example of a flashback, ala FitD (as I understand it, though it has a few more moving parts to it I guess). Your Traveller scenario is a bit more open-ended case
Agreed on this. I can't speculate any further about BitD, as I've never read it and don't know its intricacies well enough.
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Agreed on this. I can't speculate any further about BitD, as I've never read it and don't know its intricacies well enough.
This reply is huge step up from the more common "I don't know the game but won't let that stop me talking about it like an expert" sort of reply I see a lot on forums.
 
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