And I, myself Gm, would not run it as such, as an FKR "Play worlds... bla bla", if there were procedures to follow, rules to resolute, in place.Yes.
Edit: Yeah, I think so. If your table relies on numbers of dice to inform their choices, and there is a formalized set of player facing rules they expect to follow in order to proceed in the game, then, as I understand it, it is not FKR.
This is like saying that since FKR play allows for a hard GM railroad (bad faith play), that the game is flawed and basing a theory of play around this. If people are engaging in bad faith play -- explicitly against the guidance, rules, and principles of play -- then this is not sufficient reason to blame the structure of the game for the experience.It's a really slick game. Fantastic really. One tagline is "powerful ambition & poor impulse control". You're playing a Coen brothers film, basically. But you need a group you can trust. Like a lot. It's very narrative heavy. There's no skills or stats. No task resolution. Conflict resolution is handled by playing through scenes. The short version is you: 1) pick a setting; 2) roll for connections and build a relationship web between the characters; 3) everyone takes turns being in the spotlight until the game resolves after so many scenes. That's a gross oversimplification of a really elegant game, but it's the only bit that's relevant.
Everyone takes turns being in the spotlight. You do that with scenes. When it's your turn, the scene is about your character. You get to pick whether you establish the scene or resolve the scene. If you establish, the table resolves; if you resolve, the table establishes. Establish meaning you decide the who, what, where, when, and why of the scene. Flashbacks, flashforwards, everyone's there naked in a sauna or everyone's bundled up tight in the back of a freezer truck bound for Alaska...as long as the scene is about the spotlight character. Resolve meaning decide how the scene ends in a positive or negative for the spotlight character. Very much a shared-authority, high-trust game. Sounds like an absolute dream on paper...unless you play with "that guy." And we did.
The trouble is there's no conflict resolution for what happens within scenes...except for this: "To be perfectly clear, you don’t set stakes as such (although it’s OK to say what you want), you don’t roll the die to determine an outcome, and the only limits on your description are those imposed by your friends on a social level − if they balk, figure it out together as players, with you (the player whose character is in the spotlight) having the final say."
So whoever is in the spotlight controls the scene, basically. Push comes to shove, the entire table disagrees...doesn't matter. The rules are clear: the spotlight player has the final say. They have carte blanche. So when the spotlight player decides their character is going to hack bits off of other players' characters...despite the entire rest of the table objecting...that's that. The other characters are now missing limbs. Period. That was the first spotlight scene for that player. The second went about the same...before we stopped. Mid game. Booted the guy and never played Fiasco again.
Yes, that absolutely was an example of bad faith play. But it's also perfectly within the rules. So I'm not interested in shared authority. Gimme a good, old-fashioned Referee/GM/DM any day. This was years ago, when the game was new. Thinking back, there's a lot of things we could have done. Put in a house rule about a table veto, now we know about things like X cards (which they did in 2E), so could use that...but I'm not into RPGs with lots of tchotchkes. I was over the moon about that game. It's perfectly in my wheelhouse of interests and I still use it as an idea generator. But I'm over the idea of shared authority, especially anything to the level of spotlight = DM.
Sounds like an absolute dream on paper...unless you play with "that guy." And we did.
So when the spotlight player decides their character is going to hack bits off of other players' characters...despite the entire rest of the table objecting...that's that. The other characters are now missing limbs. Period. That was the first spotlight scene for that player. The second went about the same...before we stopped. Mid game. Booted the guy and never played Fiasco again.
OK. I'm not sure if you count memory as looking up the sheet or not. PCs in Prince Valiant have rankings in Brawn, Presence and up to two-dozen skills. They also have equipment lists. And there are canonical resolution procedures.I'll try. Do players need to take into account extra diegetic, out of fiction stuff, looking at their char sheets, rules, follow procedures, in order to play the game?
If yes, then no FKR.
Upthread I posted an ostensibly FKR bloggers formalised set of someone-facing rules for playing AW-flavoured FKR: Apocalypse World, powered by ancient rulesIf your table relies on numbers of dice to inform their choices, and there is a formalized set of player facing rules they expect to follow in order to proceed in the game, then, as I understand it, it is not FKR.
As I posted upthread, Risus is very similar to OtE but with tighter editing, and replacing OtE's combat rules with a simpler, more universal, conflict resolution system that has some resemblance to Prince Valiant. In terms of rules systems it's no lighter than OtE without the combat rules (eg just use opposed checks and drop hit points altogether) or Prince Valiant.So Risus is not FKR? Or does its FKR status quantumly fluctuate based upon whether I am looking or not looking at my character sheet?
I had the same thought!Oh...
Over the Edge and FUDGE were explicit influences for Risus, Fate, and Cortex. This is one reason why I typically think of them as coming from a similar game philosophy that places an importance on fictional tags for establishing the character: e.g., Clichés (Risus), Aspects (Fate), and Distinctions (Cortex). So even if these games have different underlying architecture - Cortex (Savage Worlds), Fate (FUDGE), etc. - their fictional tags are an important part of how they understand character. One could, for example, potentially make a d20 based game that operates along similar game design philosophy and principles as Fate, Cortex, and Risus.As I posted upthread, Risus is very similar to OtE but with tighter editing, and replacing OtE's combat rules with a simpler, more universal, conflict resolution system that has some resemblance to Prince Valiant. In terms of rules systems it's no lighter than OtE without the combat rules (eg just use opposed checks and drop hit points altogether) or Prince Valiant.
I had the same thought!
A further comment on this: Prince Valiant is classic Greg Stafford design. So there is nothing like WotC D&D feats, or other quirky exception-based stuff that generates pure mechanical manipulation. (With one exception: players can get Gold Stars on their PC sheets that entitle them to a bonus die once per session.)If your table relies on numbers of dice to inform their choices, and there is a formalized set of player facing rules they expect to follow in order to proceed in the game, then, as I understand it, it is not FKR.
I think if you read the second of @Numidius's links to Lizard Wizard you'll get an answer: Example of Play in Diceless Combat with Norbert G. Matausch + Free Zine!The thing I don't get/don't like about some of the examples in the blog posts I linked to is how the verbal descriptors turn into mechanical bonuses, to wit at the discretion of the GM. One of the purposes of mechanical bonuses is to replace or model the certainty of the character vis a vis skill X for the player. So, the character would climb a given wall because they think they have the skills, but the player doesn't have access to that, they have stats and whatnot. So, sure, in a FKR game I have the descriptor 'climby' or somesuch, but that doesn't really tell me anything about the wall in question, just about my character relative to other characters. Which leaves me to ask the GM - does this wall look like one I can climb without too much trouble or do I think I'm likely to fall to my death? I find having to ask those questions intensely annoying. So how does FKR not end up feeling like that? I haven't played FKR, so that's an honest question, not a baited trap.
Well, I imagine you would say that you (as your character) look at the wall, to see what the best way to tackle it might be. The GM would say something about what you can see, and perhaps what it's "rating" is or something else about the apparent difficulty. Then you'd say what you do. If you don't say that you chalk your fingers maybe the GM narrates slipping due to sweat, and then you have to explain how you hold your position with legs and one hand while getting to your chalk bag with the sweaty hand.Hmm. Yes and no. I'm talking more about that moment when the player is trying to decide what to do, not the narration of doing it. I suppose it works to a point, but when you expand my example to anything that would normally be covered by skills it feels like an awfully shallow information environment for the players as regards decision making. That could just be my lack of experience with FKR in play though.
That last sentence is problematic for me. What about players who don't know about climbing? Or martial arts? Or swordfighting? Or machine guns? Or the nuances of a criminal enterprise? I mean this on both ends, for the player and GM, a significant imbalance of practical knowledge seems troublesome. Again, I'm not naysaying here, just a little boggled.Well, I imagine you would say that you (as your character) look at the wall, to see what the best way to tackle it might be. The GM would say something about what you can see, and perhaps what it's "rating" is or something else about the apparent difficulty. Then you'd say what you do. If you don't say that you chalk your fingers maybe the GM narrates slipping due to sweat, and then you have to explain how you hold your position with legs and one hand while getting to your chalk bag with the sweaty hand.
At least something like that (and with apologies to posters who actually know something about climbing).
That feels like you've pre-determined what should be in question. What I loved seeing in my play was more akin to the 'representative of one of the most liberal states in Europe' coming to the conclusion that 'political stability depends upon affirming the most reactionary forms of government'. To me those are the golden moments. Sometimes they seem to change the worldview of a player as well as the worldview of their PC. I've seen players have political-moral epiphanies in-game. Right up there with "Are we the Baddies?"
To me, there seem to be two readings of in accordance with: a causal reading; and a consistency reading. I've got nothing against the second - the goals etc set some sort of soft/fuzzy boundary of tenability/plausibility around a character's reactions and responses. I tend to find the first implausible. It's a creative decision, what a character does.I may create or use a Situation with NPCs that may superficially resemble the start conditions of a murder mystery - there might even be a murder - but I'm not interested in seeing it resolved according to the beats & tropes of murder mystery fiction. What I'm interested in is the people - PC & NPC - their motivations, personalities etc. I love seeing them interact in accordance with their goals etc, with no pre-determined outcome. If the PC detective falls in love with the murderess NPC and they run off together, that's certainly fine by me. I love me the immersion, the experience of being 'in' the fictional world. I don't find murder mystery fiction immersive at all; the world seems to exist only as a thin backdrop for the mystery/plot/puzzle
For my part, I think the fiction has to get pretty emotionally laden for these sorts of things to feel "emergent" rather than "deliberate".My PC is Thurgon, a warrior cleric type (heavy armour, Faithful to the Lord of Battle, Last Knight of the Iron Tower, etc). His companion is Aramina, a sorcerer. His ancestral estate, which he has not visited for 5 years, is Auxol.
At the start of the session, Thurgon had the following four Beliefs - The Lord of Battle will lead me to glory; I am a Knight of the Iron Tower, and by devotion and example I will lead the righteous to glorious victory; Harm and infamy will befall Auxol no more!; Aramina will need my protection - and three Instincts - When entering battle, always speak a prayer to the Lord of Battle; If an innocent is threatened, interpose myself; When camping, always ensure that the campfire is burning.
Aramina's had three Beliefs - I'm not going to finish my career with no spellbooks and an empty purse! - next, some coins!; I don't need Thurgon's pity; If in doubt, burn it! and three instincts - Never catch the glance or gaze of a stranger; Always wear my cloak; Always Assess before casting a spell.
Friedrich [a NPC] took them as far as the next tributary's inflow - at that point the river turns north-east, and the two character's wanted to continue more-or-less due east on the other side of both streams. This was heading into the neighbourhood of Auxol, and so Thurgon kept his eye out for friends and family. The Circles check (base 3 dice +1 for an Affiliation with the nobility and another +1 for an Affiliation with his family) succeeded again, and the two characters came upon Thurgon's older brother Rufus driving a horse and cart. (Thurgon has a Rationship with his mother Xanthippe but no other family members; hence the Circles check to meet his brother.)
There was a reunion between Rufus and Thurgon. But (as described by the GM) it was clear to Thurgon that Rufus was not who he had been, but seemed cowed - as Rufus explained when Thurgon asked after Auxol, he (Rufus) was on his way to collect wine for the master. Rufus mentioned that Thurgon's younger son had married not long ago - a bit of lore (like Rufus hmself) taken from the background I'd prepared for Thurgon as part of PC gen - and had headed south in search of glory (that was something new the GM introduced). I mentioned that Aramina was not meeting Rufus's gaze, and the GM picked up on this - Rufus asked Thurgon who this woman was who wouldn't look at him from beneath the hood of her cloak - was she a witch? Thurgon answered that she travelled with him and mended his armour. Then I switched to Aramina, and she looked Rufus directly in the eye and told him what she thought of him - "Thurgon has trained and is now seeking glory on his errantry, and his younger brother has gone too to seek glory, but your, Rufus . . ." I told the GM that I wanted to check Ugly Truth for Aramina, to cause a Steel check on Rufus's part. The GM decided that Rufus has Will 3, and then we quickly calculated his Steel which also came out at 3. My Ugly Truth check was a success, and the Steel check failed. Rufus looked at Aramina, shamed but unable to respond. Switching back to Thurgon, I tried to break Rufus out of it with a Command check: he should pull himself together and join in restoring Auxol to its former glory. But the check failed, and Rufus, broken, explained that he had to go and get the wine. Switching back to Aramina, I had a last go - she tried for untrained Command, saying that if he wasn't going to join with Thurgon he might at least give us some coin so that we might spend the night at an inn rather than camping. This was Will 5, with an advantage die for having cowed him the first time, against a double obstacle penalty for untrained (ie 6) +1 penalty because Rufus was very set in his way. It failed. and so Rufus rode on and now has animosity towards Aramina. As the GM said, she better not have her back to him while he has a knife ready to hand.
The characters continued on, and soon arrived at Auxol,. The GM narrated the estate still being worked, but looking somewhat run-down compared to Thrugon's memories of it. An old, bowed woman greeted us - Xanthippe, looking much more than her 61 years. She welcomed Thurgon back, but chided him for having been away. And asked him not to leave again. The GM was getting ready to force a Duel of Wits on the point - ie that Thurgon should not leave again - when I tried a different approach. I'd already made a point of Thurgon having his arms on clear display as he rode through the countryside and the estate; now he raised his mace and shield to the heavens, and called on the Lord of Battle to bring strength back to his mother so that Auxol might be restored to its former greatness. This was a prayer for a Minor Miracle, obstacle 5. Thurgon has Faith 5 and I burned his last point of Persona to take it to 6 dice (the significance of this being that, without 1 Persona, you can't stop the effect of a mortal wound should one be suffered). With 6s being open-ended (ie auto-rolls), the expected success rate is 3/5, so that's 3.6 successes there. And I had a Fate point to reroll one failure, for an overall expected 4-ish successes. Against an obstacle of 5.
As it turned out, I finished up with 7 successes. So a beam of light shot down from the sky, and Xanthippe straightened up and greeted Thurgon again, but this time with vigour and readiness to restore Auxol. The GM accepted my proposition that this played out Thurgon's Belief that Harm and infamy will befall Auxol no more! (earning a Persona point). His new Belief is Xanthippe and I will liberate Auxol. He picked up a second Persona point for Embodiment ("Your roleplay (a performance or a decision) captures the mood of the table and drives the story onward").
Turning back to Aramina, I decided that this made an impact on her too: up until now she had been cynical and slightly bitter, but now she was genuinely inspired and determined: instead of never meeting the gaze of a stranger, her Instinct is to look strangers in the eyes and Assess. And rather than I don't need Thurgon's pity, her Belief is Thurgon and I will liberate Auxol. This earned a Persona point for Mouldbreaker ("If a situation brings your Beliefs, Instincts and Traits into conflict with a decision your PC must make, you play out your inner turmoil as you dramatically play against a Belief in a believable and engaging manner").
I think if you read the second of @Numidius's links to Lizard Wizard you'll get an answer: Example of Play in Diceless Combat with Norbert G. Matausch + Free Zine!
I think that could be translated to climbing easily enough (in principle: I imagine the narration would be about handholds, tired fingers, straining tendons, etc. @Manbearcat should be able to elaborate!).
Wiz: could I stab his eyes with my fingers? Or is he holding me by the shoulders?
Norbert: my old rule is, "if you ask 'can I', my answer is always 'no', but if you just DO, it might work"
Well, I think a premise of at least some FKRery is that the player will bring their expertise. That seems to be the implication of the blog I linked to just upthread.That last sentence is problematic for me. What about players who don't know about climbing? Or martial arts? Or swordfighting? Or machine guns? Or the nuances of a criminal enterprise? I mean this on both ends, for the player and GM, a significant imbalance of practical knowledge seems troublesome. Again, I'm not naysaying here, just a little boggled.
I had a similar response. The blog refers to Theatrix, which I've heard of but don't know. Maybe it says something about when to say yes and when to say no? Here is the Wikipedia entry:Theatrix (role-playing game) - Wikipedia. If that's accurate, then I don't think the example in the blog was strictly by the book!Ok. I don’t mean to be a jerk…but holy mother of god. I can’t imagine playing that?
That is a depiction of actual play? That feels like that has to be an orthodox-deviant version of FKR. That does not look like what I’ve read this far. That play example is on a continuum of Consensual Story Time or Calvinball depending upon the frequency of seemingly arbitrarily “yes” or “no” responses by the GM.
Well, I think a premise of at least some FKRery is that the player will bring their expertise. That seems to be the implication of the blog I linked to just upthread.
This is the logic of referee and player expertise in free kriegsspiel, I think.