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What is the point of GM's notes?

My (very scant) experience with DW has done little to persuade me that persistent partial success feels heroic. Obviously, different people will feel differently about that.
If you ever roll 7-9s, you'll start collecting sufficient data to know how you feel one way or another! :p

Your ability to roll either 6 or less or 10 + is absolutely extraordinary! In a game that reliably produces a bell curve of results, somehow you've managed to pull off the ultra-rare inverted bell curve!

In all seriousness though, these are the ones off the top of my head for your character. Any of them beyond these that stick out to you?

* Climb down a 100 ft vertical face. You get halfway down and your route narrows you to a dangerous, shallow ledge where you're faced with a decision-point of either a more difficult way down in the now sprinkling rain (where you aren't DDing- Strength) or a huge leap into a cave of unknown nature origin/nature adjacent to you. Its basically a decision-point of "do you want to take to assume the risk of the unknown in trade for the mathematically strong option or do you want to assume the risk of the known with the return of being where you want to be (at the bottom) for the less mathematically strong option." That sort of answer will tell you/us something about your character.

* An Aid for Discern Realities where you'd be eating the complication if there was one (didn't end up being one).

* A grapple escape in the swamp (this was either Shambler or Dire Croc...don't recall). This one ended up costing you 2 ruined Rations as you scrambled free, out of trouble in the water, and onto the tiny bit of land.

* The climb down from the steep lip of the watering hole to wade into the reservoir and pick the Bloodwart. I activated the two Dire Crocs to move toward you for a predation attempt as a result.

* The aforementioned Heirloom weapon move where you consulted your spirits for one of them to help you be proficient with the Ancient Speech. They did and now its on you to make it useful (you did with a follow-up move that won the social conflict).

Those 5 are the ones that come to mind. Is there one that I missed or one that particularly stands out?

The only other thing I can recall is a 10+ Hack and Slash that you decided to take the extra d6 damage in return for a counterattack (effectively turning it into a 7-9 for more damage) and you somehow managed to a 1 on a 1d10 and a 1 on your 1d6 and get absolutely nothing done! Which, by the way, outside of fighting like an Ancient Dragon...this is maybe the 3rd time in all my DW GMing I've seen a Fighter "push" on a 10+ Hack and Slash not yield a kill! Again, extraordinary!

What sticks out for me (with your character) is an deranged abundance of 6- and bad damage rolls.
 
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I do think it is interesting that some acts in Story Now would be viewed as practically cheating in my own style of gaming. I imagine the same would be true in reverse. The social compact is just entirely different.

Another way you might put the above is this:

* In some (not all) Story Now play, these game engines are going to feature powerful player content generation + action resolution capability (see Blades' Flashbacks) that allows them to reframe a situation (not to retcon an outcome, but to add something advantageous to the situation). This is gives everyone a subtler, less beefy form of the kind of apex Wizard/Cleric spells we're used to in D&D (Fly, Teleport, Divinations, Raise Dead, etc). In some (not all) Story Now play, these game engines are going to feature powerful player fiat abilities that do effectively let them retcon a moment (Immediate Interrupts in 4e). In some (not all) Story Now play, "ask questions and use the answers" is a primary principle of GMing whereby the 7-9 result of Spout Lore in DW (the GM will tell you something interesting...its on you to make it useful) is uniformly operationalized except in reverse (the player will tell the table something interesting...its now on the GM and all the other participants, including the initiating player themselves) to make it it useful.

* In Trad and Neo-Trad D&D, the GM's mandate to curate content and oblige either their own (the GM's) conception or a player's conception of "the story" can (not will, but can) manifest in GM Force (the subversion of the system's volition or a non-GM participant's volition when it comes to inputs into the fiction or outputs of action resolution that would change the fiction/gamestate in a way that is perceived as retrograde by the GM).
 

Emerikol

Adventurer
Another way you might put the above is this:

* In some (not all) Story Now play, these game engines are going to feature powerful player content generation + action resolution capability (see Blades' Flashbacks) that allows them to reframe a situation (not to retcon an outcome, but to add something advantageous to the situation). This is gives everyone a subtler, less beefy form of the kind of apex Wizard/Cleric spells we're used to in D&D (Fly, Teleport, Divinations, Raise Dead, etc). In some (not all) Story Now play, these game engines are going to feature powerful player fiat abilities that do effectively let them retcon a moment (Immediate Interrupts in 4e). In some (not all) Story Now play, "ask questions and use the answers" is a primary principle of GMing whereby the 7-9 result of Spout Lore in DW (the GM will tell you something interesting...its on you to make it useful) is uniformly operationalized except in reverse (the player will tell the table something interesting...its now on the GM and all the other participants, including the initiating player themselves) to make it it useful.

* In Trad and Neo-Trad D&D, the GM's mandate to curate content and oblige either their own (the GM's) conception or a player's conception of "the story" can (not will, but can) manifest in GM Force (the subversion of the system's volition or a non-GM participant's volition when it comes to inputs into the fiction or outputs of action resolution that would change the fiction/gamestate in a way that is perceived as retrograde by the GM).
I guess we can see which explanation seems the easiest to grasp ;-).

I was mainly thinking about that moment when a PC said they'd earlier poured oil into the area so the fireball had a greater effect. That may have been in the Blades thread or one like it. In my game, that would be frowned upon because such maneuvers would go against the whole notion of skilled play. If you wanted oil under the guy you should have piped up at that time and not waited until the fireball was being cast and then retconned it. So in my game that would be borderline cheating to even propose the idea. Whereas, I think it would not in the Story Now approach. There can be skill I'm sure in Story Now but I don't think it is skill at making character decisions to win against enemies.
 

I guess we can see which explanation seems the easiest to grasp ;-).

I was mainly thinking about that moment when a PC said they'd earlier poured oil into the area so the fireball had a greater effect. That may have been in the Blades thread or one like it. In my game, that would be frowned upon because such maneuvers would go against the whole notion of skilled play. If you wanted oil under the guy you should have piped up at that time and not waited until the fireball was being cast and then retconned it. So in my game that would be borderline cheating to even propose the idea. Whereas, I think it would not in the Story Now approach. There can be skill I'm sure in Story Now but I don't think it is skill at making character decisions to win against enemies.

Yup, that is exactly what I wrote above; "A Flashback."

Its an interesting contrast you're drawing here. Not only is it "not cheating" in Blades it is actually the "Skillful Play" application of "Act Now, Plan Later"; a Blades in the Dark imperative (for genre and Skilled Play).

The Blades player is playing skillfully because they're making both a tactical and strategic decision using the vehicles of (a) action resolution machinery + (b) fictional positioning manipulation. They're risking (c) the situation going from dangerous to worse (if an Action Roll is required it could bring about a new Complication of varying dastardliness) and (d) putting up a resource (Stress) which could cost them later (both the (c) and the (d) here).

This is thematic + tactical + strategic play in Blades. This is Skilled Play in Blades in the Dark.

The reason why you're feeling it is cheating is something I brought up above (or perhaps in another thread). "Act Now Plan Later" is anathema to Classic D&D. Its quite literally the first hurdle exclusive Classic D&D players have to overcome when playing a game like Blades; their conception that the only kind of Skilled Play is "Plan Now so you don't have to Act Later or so that your Act Later is at considerably reduced risk."
 

Emerikol

Adventurer
The reason why you're feeling it is cheating is something I brought up above (or perhaps in another thread). "Act Now Plan Later" is anathema to Classic D&D. Its quite literally the first hurdle exclusive Classic D&D players have to overcome when playing a game like Blades; their conception that the only kind of Skilled Play is "Plan Now so you don't have to Act Later or so that your Act Later is at considerably reduced risk."
Well I think we are violently agreeing for the most part.

Don't you agree though that if you really were the character living in the fantasy world that my sort of planning is what would really happen? We can't retcon the past in real life. So players of my style are seeking that character viewpoint decision process. That does not by an means imply your approach cannot be fun but it very much is a synthesis of a lot more than just character decision making.
 

Well I think we are violently agreeing for the most part.

Don't you agree though that if you really were the character living in the fantasy world that my sort of planning is what would really happen? We can't retcon the past in real life. So players of my style are seeking that character viewpoint decision process. That does not by an means imply your approach cannot be fun but it very much is a synthesis of a lot more than just character decision making.

I don’t think we’re agreeing or disagreeing (violent or otherwise)!

When you framed things around “cheating” I inferred you were talking about Skilled Play as a priority (eg deploying flashbacks would be “cheating” or “not playing skillfully” at your table in whatever game you’re referring to; which appears to be done instantiation of Classic Skilled Play D&D).

But given your response above, it looks like you meant “cheating” as in “cheating the implacable continuity of time as a person would experience it.” Or something like that usage of “cheating?”
 


Emerikol

Adventurer
I don’t think we’re agreeing or disagreeing (violent or otherwise)!

When you framed things around “cheating” I inferred you were talking about Skilled Play as a priority (eg deploying flashbacks would be “cheating” or “not playing skillfully” at your table in whatever game you’re referring to; which appears to be done instantiation of Classic Skilled Play D&D).

But given your response above, it looks like you meant “cheating” as in “cheating the implacable continuity of time as a person would experience it.” Or something like that usage of “cheating?”
Well "feels like cheating" of course. I wasn't making a moral judgment on anyone.

And again that is according to the accepted social contract of the game. For example one such accepted thing in my games would be that PCs do not invent new "fiction" outside of the actions of their characters. That would absolutely not be an issue in a Story Now game. In fact the social contract would be that players are expected to do exactly that.

So if the premise as you say is skilled play and mine is always including that element, then sure you can't allow a retcon to solve poor earlier choices. In Story Now, I don't want to say there is no skill involved but it is a different sort of skill. There is likely skill at coming up with the retconned explanation. I just think when I talk about skilled play I don't mean that.
 

prabe

Aspiring Lurker (He/Him)
Supporter
If you ever roll 7-9s, you'll start collecting sufficient data to know how you feel one way or another! :p

Your ability to roll either 6 or less or 10 + is absolutely extraordinary! In a game that reliably produces a bell curve of results, somehow you've managed to pull off the ultra-rare inverted bell curve!
I tried to warn you. Dice behave strangely around me. More so if I'm the one rolling.
In all seriousness though, these are the ones off the top of my head for your character. Any of them beyond these that stick out to you?
I don't remember much else, no. I have to say the game is roughly performing the way I expected it to--but then, I know how random behaves around me. I've rolled a handful of d20s (resolving multiple attacks as a DM) and had results in the same combat of four nat-1s, and 3 nat-20s.
What sticks out for me (with your character) is an deranged abundance of 6- and bad damage rolls.
Yeah. In some systems, it'd be possible to build a character who was less dependent on dice (or more resilient to bad results). Or, failing that, to sometimes fall back on actions that weren't dice-dependent. Dungeon World is not one of either type of system, that I can tell.
 



Well I think we are violently agreeing for the most part.

Don't you agree though that if you really were the character living in the fantasy world that my sort of planning is what would really happen? We can't retcon the past in real life. So players of my style are seeking that character viewpoint decision process. That does not by an means imply your approach cannot be fun but it very much is a synthesis of a lot more than just character decision making.

There are two ways to look at this.

In a linear perspective, where the player and the character both experience the events of the game in the same linear order, and can both interact with it in the same interactive order. This is the way you seem to be viewing it. And I would say that I see why.

But how accurate is it? It seems to assume that the player has every opportunity that the character would have. It seems to assume that the player is as free to roam about and interact with the environment, unprompted by the GM, as freely as the character. And that the player is as aware as a native of that world as to what they can and can't do.

But that's not really the case.

So another way to look at it is to recognize that at times, we jump passed some periods of time. When Blades allows a player to Flashback, it's not time travel, it's a filling in of some of that time that was jumped passed. It's allowing the character to be a part of the world in a different way, that's not limited by the GM-Player dynamic.

So is the linearity of time as important to me as a character who seems like a (in the case of Blades) competent and connected criminal with means at his disposal and the foresight to make appropriate plans.
 

pemerton

Legend
@pemerton

Were you planning on responding to this?

I didn't think it needed much response.
 

pemerton

Legend
Don't you agree though that if you really were the character living in the fantasy world that my sort of planning is what would really happen? We can't retcon the past in real life.
I don't have much to add to what @hawkeyefan said. But I thought I would paste this extract from Gygax's DMG (p 20), about the thief's Read Languages ability:

This ability assumes that the language is, in fact, one which the thief has encountered sometime in the past. Ancient and strange languages (those you, as DM, have previously designated as such) are always totally unreadable. Even if able to read a language, the thief should be allowed only to get about that percentage of the meaning of what is written as his or her percentage ability to read the tongue in the first place. The rest they will hove to guess at. Languages which are relatively close to those known by the thief will not incur such a penalty.​

Gygax realised that it's not feasible to specify every past moment of a character's life and training. The BitD flashback mechanic sits in that same space of realisation. The only question is at what point do we insist on the linearity of play coinciding with the linearity of the passage of time in the fiction?
 

pemerton

Legend
In some systems, it'd be possible to build a character who was less dependent on dice (or more resilient to bad results). Or, failing that, to sometimes fall back on actions that weren't dice-dependent. Dungeon World is not one of either type of system, that I can tell.
Nor is Burning Wheel. Or Cortex+ Heroic. All rely upon dice rolls to produce patterns of success and failure that:

(1) Shift whose conception of what happens next gets realised - on success the player's declared action takes place, on failure it doesn't;

(2) Thereby generate some sort of dramatic rhythm - there is neither uniform success nor uniform failure but rising and falling.​

But skilled play of the fiction remains highly relevant. Eg in a PbtA-type game, the questions you ask on a Discern Realities or Read a Situation type of move will establish parameters for downstream Revelations of Future Badness. If you ask who's in charge here? then you're laying the ground for some sort of social/interpersonal conflict to arise out of the situation.
 


Lanefan

Victoria Rules
There are two ways to look at this.

In a linear perspective, where the player and the character both experience the events of the game in the same linear order, and can both interact with it in the same interactive order. This is the way you seem to be viewing it. And I would say that I see why.

But how accurate is it? It seems to assume that the player has every opportunity that the character would have. It seems to assume that the player is as free to roam about and interact with the environment, unprompted by the GM, as freely as the character. And that the player is as aware as a native of that world as to what they can and can't do.

But that's not really the case.

So another way to look at it is to recognize that at times, we jump passed some periods of time. When Blades allows a player to Flashback, it's not time travel, it's a filling in of some of that time that was jumped passed. It's allowing the character to be a part of the world in a different way, that's not limited by the GM-Player dynamic.

So is the linearity of time as important to me as a character who seems like a (in the case of Blades) competent and connected criminal with means at his disposal and the foresight to make appropriate plans.
Short answer to the bolded question: yes it is.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I don't have much to add to what @hawkeyefan said. But I thought I would paste this extract from Gygax's DMG (p 20), about the thief's Read Languages ability:

This ability assumes that the language is, in fact, one which the thief has encountered sometime in the past. Ancient and strange languages (those you, as DM, have previously designated as such) are always totally unreadable. Even if able to read a language, the thief should be allowed only to get about that percentage of the meaning of what is written as his or her percentage ability to read the tongue in the first place. The rest they will hove to guess at. Languages which are relatively close to those known by the thief will not incur such a penalty.​

Gygax realised that it's not feasible to specify every past moment of a character's life and training. The BitD flashback mechanic sits in that same space of realisation. The only question is at what point do we insist on the linearity of play coinciding with the linearity of the passage of time in the fiction?
Big difference, though.

The Gygax passage is trying to cover events and trainiing that occurred before the character's role-played career. From the examples I've seen in other threads (and correct me if I'm wrong) it seems the flashback mechanic is trying to pick up events that in theory happened during the character's roleplayed career but were, at the time, skipped over.

My position is that this just ain't right somehow, and that whatever was skipped over should have instead been sorted at the time rather than after the fact, in order to keep in-game time moving in its usual one direction.
 

Aldarc

Legend
My position is that this just ain't right somehow, and that whatever was skipped over should have instead been sorted at the time rather than after the fact, in order to keep in-game time moving in its usual one direction.
You must have a huge beef with heist movies or any movies that play with the linear story sequences.
 

Imaro

Hero
You must have a huge beef with heist movies or any movies that play with the linear story sequences.

I don't follow... I can enjoy certain types of movies without feeling the particular way a roleplaying game chooses to implement what happens in them is to my liking. I personally don't have an issue with the flashbacks in BitD (it's highly reminiscent of the show Leverage) but I could see how some people would rather play out their planning and execution in the moment and would find flashbacks to things they actually didn't do and did not plan unsatisfactory for their enjoyment.
 
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