Argue About In A Wicked Age

RyRy
edited April 2012 in Play Advice
So I've been daydreaming about In A Wicked Age again lately.

I had this idea, which was... the idea that the circumstances drive who wins/loses is a very modern idea.

In A Wicked Age you have a much more classical mentality. You throw yourself into conflict (i.e. one character acts and another one can and would interfere) and we see who Fate favors.

Contrast:

"I climbed up the hill and my sword was advantageous versus your spear, so I won."

"The gods favored me, so they let me take the hilltop and made my sword victorious over your spear."

I'm thinking about Oracles again, and doing up a "starter kit" with a few gameboard-like flow charts to include the various things I've learned about the rules.

Anyone else playing this lately?
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Comments

  • RyRy
    edited April 2012

    Oh, my 4 year old's Oracle is driving me batty. I need more variety than:

    • Someone has the flu
    • The Mommy died
    • The Daddy died
    • Someone moved to Sabbi Awrabia
    • Someone is someone else's best friend
    • The bad guys are really sneaky
    • Queen Makoto!
    • Someone wants to kidnap Babes the baby
    • Somebody is lost

    Maybe it's not the oracle, it's the fact that all the conflicts are resolved Directly and With Violence.

  • I haven't played in a while since my current group and previous group both disliked PVP, but it's one of my regular go-to games for game nights with new people. My Vista Heights Oracle still gets a lot of use and e-mails from people.
  • I'll be running it at Fastaval this year, and had a group running a couple of campaigns, but we switched to AW last year. We might switch back when our exceedingly epic AW campaign has finally wrought the destruction of the world, or something. IaWA is possibly my all-time favourite game, warts and all.

    Actually I believe IaWA runs on neither circumstance or fate-as-the-will-of-the-gods. I mean, you can actually kick godly butt in IaWA.

    I'd say IaWA runs on character as destiny. You do what you do because you are who you are, and those are the dice you get. Plus, being all high and mighty (using your best dice) actually sets you up to fall. That's sort of what fate is like in the Iliad.
  • Why are you even trying? That game is bad.

  • RyRy
    edited April 2012

    I really prefer when all of the PCs are basically competent human, so I don't have to teach people or socially mediate what is and isn't possible.

    I've seen ghosts / blind kids / gods go sideways too often.

  • RyRy
    edited April 2012
    Posted By: shreyasWhy are you even trying? That game is bad.
    Don't blame the game for the players not getting how great it is.

    My daughter is so dumb.
  • I'm not saying that kicking godly butt is something to aim for (people are generally more engaging characters too), but setups can grow out of the oracles where it's a relevant possibility. Also, "some god decided to give it to me, but I was just a pawn" is a boring-ass setup. Might be my atheism speaking, but that's how I feel.

    Shreyas: If it's a bad game, it's a bad game that I've had and probably will have a great deal of fun with! ;-)
  • shreyas, can you explain? I haven't had a chance to play IAWA yet.
  • RyRy
    edited April 2012
    Posted By: Troels KenAlso, "some god decided to give it to me, but I was just a pawn" is a boring-ass setup.
    Huh?
  • @Troels Oh, I get it.

    What I'm thinking is more like Hector and Achilles squaring off, and Hector is saying "I've made the sacrifices, I am a pious man, the gods will favor me."

    and Achilles is saying "Let's see."
  • @Nomdeplume,

    In A Wicked Age was hotly debated and extensively dissected in the six months or so following its release.

    IMO The best criticisms of In A Wicked Age are:

    1. The game text is very brief and takes a conversational writing style that uses example text to convey many parts of the rules. The criticism has been raised that the true masters of In A Wicked Age are combining the rules in the book with podcasts and forum posts they found online. c.f. Ryan Macklin's criticism in the Master Plan podcast.

    2. The game's mechanics often drive the narrative, to the point of ignoring what is implied by the fiction. The game relies on social mediation to manage any disconnects caused by this. c.f. the discussions about Rightward-Pointing Arrows on lumpley.com

  • IME: #1 is valid and fair. We failed at IaWA hard twice until Vincents forum posts on how to play.
    After that...pure unadulterated awesome.

    #2 is a reasonable supposition but not actually born out in play once you make the adjustments needed from #1.
  • RyRy
    edited April 2012

    I agree with Ralph, btw.

    /#2 is a criticism that could be leveled against many (most?) story games, when played artlessly.

  • I didn't follow any of those forum posts or podcasts or anything, they all seemed to go in the wrong direction and get tied up with what's a pretty straightforward game.
  • Posted By: JDCorleyI didn't follow any of those forum posts or podcasts or anything, they all seemed to go in the wrong direction and get tied up with what's a pretty straightforward game.
    These are my feelings.
  • I don't have a defense against #1 because I didn't read IAWA until I'd already heard Vincent talking about it on the Independent Insurgency (episode 2).

    But I have heard and seen a lot of people struggle with the game, going directly from the text.

  • edited April 2012
    It's just I guess a matter of perspective. Everyone seems to understand Apocalypse World just fine and I find it completely incomprehensible. On the other hand, IAWA was so straight forward to me I played in a successful game the first time I tried it. Actually I think it was a game you GMed over Skype, Ry.
  • going directly from the text

    This is the thing, right here - the TEXT does not contain all the procedures that are necessary to render the game playable, and it's a game that's built entirely on mechanics that have nothing to do with the fiction. Either of those things is itself a damning indictment, but together they are disastrous.

    You can change the rules, and then it might be a better game, but at that point you're no longer playing IAWA.

    Now that's not to say that IAWA does not have good qualities - for instance, it reminded the SG hivemind that random tables can be fun - but if you follow its written procedures you do not arrive at good PLAY.

  • Posted By: shreyasThis is the thing, right here - the TEXT does not contain all the procedures that are necessary to render the game playable, and it's a game that's built entirely on mechanics that have nothing to do with the fiction. Either of those things is itself a damning indictment, but together they are disastrous.
    Shreyas, I think you are being a little melodramatic. I've played 'In A Wicked Age' many times, often with inexperienced players, and always had great sessions.

    The mechanics can give rise to situations that are not necessarily fully-covered by the rules, so I did find it useful sometimes to go to the internets afterwards, but a) it was never anything that ruined the game, or even held it up, and b) I definitely did not need to listen to extensive podcasts with Vincent to understand the rules.

    In fact, I don't think I've ever heard those podcasts, so if someone would drop some links in this thread, I'd be much obliged.
  • edited April 2012
    shreyas is being hyperbolic but I guess not every game can be 4E :(

    It is totally false to say the game is not playable from the text. I have only played the game from the text. I have never read a single post explaining how people should play the game. I have enjoyed all but one session of the game and found the fiction engaging. Am I brain-damaged by IaWA?
  • It has been a long time since I read the actual text. I suspect that the text itself might not be the problem except in so far as it does zero hand holding in walking you through the mind set you need to be in to approach the mechanics properly. Without that, there is a tendency (apparently not for everyone) to bring in baggage from other games that is simply not compatible with IaWA. So the lack of "do it this way, don't do it that way" spelled out in the text is unfortunate.

    The forum threads that clicked for us were the ones that said "treat the mechanics like a stick. Whoever wins has the stick. Use the stick to beat on the other players in the fiction. They will either accept the beating or decide its too much and take the exhaustion instead." We actually got an authentic wooden dowel rod and passed it around to whoever had the "stick" as a tactile reminder of how to play. After that Golden.


    Also: in this thread Shreyas is as wrong as its humanly possible to be about anything ever. The density of his wrongness threatens to collapse into a universe devouring singularity. Only JDCorley has ever approached this magnitude of wrong in a roleplaying discussion in the history of historicity.
  • edited April 2012
    Hmmm. According to Ralph's Unified Theory of Shreyas' Wrongness (UTSW), the density of the wrongness may already have reached a collapsed state; so impenetrable that information cannot escape to reach outside observers.

    If this has, indeed, happened, Shreyas may have posted any number of times since his last visible post, but, as we are beyond the event horizon, we are, sadly, incapable of reading them.

    See also: JDCorley Redshift.
  • The "holding the stick" mechanic is brilliant.

    There are problems though.. and they lie where fictional logic touches crunch logic:

    a/ fictional positioning and interpretation of the mechanics -- a kid has good chances to take out a god using the IAWA mechanics. I tried to prevent it by using fictional positioning and questions "ok, how is the kid going to take out the god exactly?" but it is not explained and it can feel a bit awkward and arbitrary and I am not sure we are playing the game as intended by VB.

    b/ you can accept dice reduction if you deny the winner's authorial statements. this means that in theory you can keep all your dice if you accept you have been hurt or you die. It's ok about being hurt, as heroes often get hurt, and it will influence your future fictional positioning (eg: you will not be able to jump a cliff or fight..). However if you accept death then you will have to come up with awkward stories about the ghost of your character, or flashbacks, etc.. which is all novel the first time you play but can get old quickly. I would like to know how to deal with this situation.. a solution could be to accept character death and redistribute dice in another way.. or use them to create adversity.

    c/ exhausted dice do not refresh within the same story.. however new NPCs always have new full dice.. and new NPCs can be introduced at any time. I would like to see rules about this: are new NPCs just color? Can anyone just dispatch them? Do they deserve full dice? Can they be seen as an extension of PCs when they further their goals and PCs can lend them dice?

    I also like the fact that Forms (with Love, Violence etc..) don't seem to be related to the physical/mental/social stats of characters, but rather seem to be fictional themes associated with a character. This is not stated explicitly, but it seems to be the only explanation for some of the apparent paradoxes in the rules. E.g: yes the kid destroys a god with a higher Direct die, but that's because the servants of another god helped him out.

    --i
  • What Oracles do you like best?

  • Shreyas is both 100% right AND melodramatic, but I wouldn't have him any other way.

    The view from inside his event horizon looks good to me.
  • I would really love an opinion on the above points as I would buy a starter kit that makes them clearer and expands on them. Answering to those points would also allow a GM-less IAWA in my opinion.

    a/ fictional positioning and interpretation of the mechanics: how a kid can take out a god
    b/ interpretation of dice exhaustion
    c/ dice refresh, NPCs and pacing

    bonus points: thematic interpretation of forms.

    Hopefully I am not thread-jacking the conversation.

    cheers,
    -i
  • Urg. I don't believe in GMless IAWA. I've heard of it and seen it done but the experiments I've seen haven't gone anywhere.

    With no GM applying pressure the characters often dance around each other all night.

  • One of the things I like about IAWA is that, yes, a kid can take out a god. The powers of the gods, demons, etc. are for color and theme, not efficacy. In my recent play, the supernatural folk were slapped around as much as the mortal. The narration took into account the supernatural, so that slapping around a god meant imploring other spirits or chanting ancient spells rather than just, well, slapping.
  • Posted By: RyAnyone else playing this lately?
    This is one of my favorite stand-bys. I run it 3 or 4 times a year at local conventions. I've still only used book Oracles.

    Two things I am sure to do.

    Make clear that action is based on other players responding "No, you do NOT!" Give your actions as if they are happening or have already happened. It's another player's job to tell you when you've gone to far. TRY to go to far. Go for the throat. Want to kill the king? Don't tell us how you swing your sword. Tell us how he is decapitated and about the spray of the blood and the wailing of his children.

    Keep each chapter limited to about two hours, including character creation. This is usually because I have only four hours, but in an ideal world, I would only give an extra half-hour to the first chapter if any players haven't played before. Two hours keeps everyone focused on getting their best interests and keeps the pace quickly. If those things don't happen, then I will jump ahead scenes, skipping over stories "about the journey" and the tendency for us to want to go step by step from beginning to end.
  • I'd also love to see flow-charts, or any "game aid" stuff for In A Wicked Age. It's one of my favorites.

    Oh, also, I made a samurai / mythic Japan oracle. The one time I used it in a game, it somehow turned into a Japanese pirate story, but that's how it goes.
  • edited April 2012
    Posted By: Jogesh EZMake clear that action is based on other players responding "No, you do NOT!" Give your actions as if they are happening or have already happened.
    This!
  • Posted By: Brian MinterI'd also love to see flow-charts, or any "game aid" stuff for In A Wicked Age. It's one of my favorites.

    Oh, also, I madea samurai / mythic Japan oracle. The one time I used it in a game, it somehow turned into a Japanese pirate story, but that's how it goes.
    Here ya go: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/4107640/Wicked-Dice-Map-v0.5.pdf

    I don't remember where I found that, it might have been from the notes section in one of the Walking Eye AP podcasts.
  • Posted By: ValamirThe forum threads that clicked for us were the ones that said "treat the mechanics like a stick. Whoever wins has the stick. Use the stick to beat on the other players in the fiction. They will either accept the beating or decide its too much and take the exhaustion instead."
    Don't you see how this is exactly like saying "to play D&D, you have only to roll a d20. It's easy!" ?

    If there are no other procedures around, to fall back, the negotiation between someone with a stick and someone without a stick is usually "twack!"

    The group that don't do this are the ones who use limiting procedures or behavior, often without even realizing that they do it. Or they use their best interests to justify something that mechanically has no sense. Something that can work, in a game very strictly tied to the fiction (to the point that fictional advantages can be more useful that not fictional ones), but in IAWA, the fiction count very little. It's a little afterthought you do after rolling dice (You don't play like this? Good, this mean that you have added the missing procedures)

    It's not broken, but it's missing important parts. So it's very hit or miss: the game text is written deliberately in a way that encourage you to use you habitual procedures in the empty places. If they fit, the game works. If not, it doesn't.
  • Posted By: Moreno R.[T]he game text is written deliberately in a way that encourage you to use you habitual procedures in the empty places. If they fit, the game works. If not, it doesn't.
    Maybe this is right. Clearly other people have problems with the text. I never even noticed, so maybe I filled in the gaps without thinking about it.
  • edited April 2012
    Moreno, no, I'm not sure I see what you're saying. Its been too long since I've read the book to recall exactly what it says, but I don't think its as blank as all that.

    1) you're playing a role playing game, which means you are portraying the actions of a character in fictional situations within a fictional setting. Portraying actions that are consistent with your character, the situation, and the setting seems definitional to the act of roleplaying. Sure I suppose you could have your character act in some bizarre unrelated fashion that doesn't tie into the fiction in any way...(though I seem to recall the book actually does have things to say about that)...but why would you do that? You're playing a roleplaying game, presumably that means you want to portray the actions of your character in fictional situations within a fictional setting...so it seems 100% reasonable to me that the game presumes that you'll be doing that.

    2) you have best interests and all the connections and color that was added when the scenario was created to inform your actions and ground your decisions in. So its not as if the game gives you nothing to hang your hat on. You should know enough about who your character is to be able to reasonably portray what they'd do in a given situation. Choosing to do something unreasonable doesn't strike me as a missing procedure of the game.

    3) you made a choice to act "with love" you should have a pretty compelling idea of what it is about your action that is loving. A player who says something like "I'm loving to hit you with my axe, hur, hur" knows full well that's not how it works...hence the "hur hur" part. To the extent you can't think of a reason...use something else, that also seems pretty obvious. The selection of which dice to use acts as a powerful creative spring board, and works equally well IME used in either direction. If you know what your character would do, you map that to the appropriate dice and that's what you roll. If you know what dice you want to roll, you use that to reverse engineer what your character would do...but its still your character in a fictional situation in a fictional setting and has to make sense in that context

    Given all that, it seems pretty self explanatory that when you're in a situation you take what you know about your character, about what's in their best interest, about the world you've created and how it works, and about all of the explicit fictional stuff that has led to this situation and you portray your character within that context...I'm not sure what part of the procedure you're seeing as missing there. If you're not grounding your character choices in that context, I'm not sure you're even roleplaying at that point.

    Once you have that context, the stick is as natural as can be. The dice have given me the advantage, within the confines of the context we are now in and the scope of the situation...what would be my character's ideal preferred outcome, that's what I'll ask for...or maybe that's not likely to be accepted so what is the minimum acceptable outcome my character would want. Somewhere in between there is what I'll ask for.

    Now before I understood the stick concept, I was admittedly unsure of what the dice DID (in the sense of what did they actually resolve...what changes in the situation as a result of that roll)...but once the "hit 'em with the stick" analogy was described...that's a completely functional approach what the dice tell you.
  • edited April 2012
    Posted By: Moreno R.If there are no other procedures around, to fall back, the negotiation between someone with a stick and someone without a stick is usually "twack!"
    But the game does give a procedure. The two people involved negotiate. And it gives you a really strong guideline for how to negotiate and in what direction: your Best Interest.

    Maybe if you don't do a lot of negotiation in your life it's harder?
  • edited April 2012
    Posted By: ValamirMoreno, no, I'm not sure I see what you're saying. Its been too long since I've read the book to recall exactly what it says, but I don't think its as blank as all that.
    I am in the same situation. The last time I looked at / played IAWA was almost four years ago. I am not prepared to argue specific points of a rule system that I don't even remember well, and I sure am not going to read the book again (even if it's short) only to debate this point.

    What I remember are the play experiences, with three different groups and three different GM (I was one of them, and other two times as a player). Every one of these games was with different play procedures. None of us, at the end, played the game with the real rules, as I realized after reading a lot of threads about the game. A really big chunk of the game procedures simply are not in the manual (as you discovered yourself the first time you tried it), three GM's put their own procedures in the empty slots, none of them did fit. The End.

    Quoting from an old thread:
    "- page 17, the right-aligned column that start with "if you've played many other role-playing games" imply that the only thing that you can get from a roll is the advantage die. It doesn't talk about the narration and what you can do with it during the conflict. It's another place where the text it's actually misleading, in this case almost lying to the reader ("almost" because it doesn't REALLY say that all you are fighting for is the advantage die. It only make you think so)
    In the entire chapter, it isn't explained what you can narrate, what are the limits, and who narrate the last action.
    "- Page 18, "negotiating consequences", a lot examples are abstract: for example, "how about I lose a die size from my for myself and my for violence instead?", "how about you lose your particular strenght?", and using the game fiction is treated as optional: "it can include wholly in-fiction circumstances" and "it can include a mix"

    What can you say in the game? Who narrate what? When? How? "Do as you did usually" is not a satisfying answer: I don't play a single game all the time, I don't have a way I "always" play. Should I have played it like D&D, as Polaris or as Kagematsu?

    This was about IAWA. The following point is more general:

    1) you're playing a role playing game, which means you are portraying the actions of a character in fictional situations within a fictional setting. Portraying actions that are consistent with your character, the situation, and the setting seems definitional to the act of roleplaying. Sure I suppose you could have your character act in some bizarre unrelated fashion that doesn't tie into the fiction in any way...(though I seem to recall the book actually does have things to say about that)...but why would you do that? You're playing a roleplaying game, presumably that means you want to portray the actions of your character in fictional situations within a fictional setting...so it seems 100% reasonable to me that the game presumes that you'll be doing that.
    This is a very superficial answer.

    Let's try a thought experiment. We agree that we want to play a role playing game, and we both enjoy a detailed fictional experience. So, let's cut out all the rules that stay in the middle. Let's roll a coin.

    Head: you can narrate the way your character, Groo the Berserk, kills 18 adversaries without suffering a single scratch. The he save the princess, find the treasure hidden in the cave, and become rich and powerful.
    Tail:; you can narrate the way your character dies, trying to save the princess.

    So, roll the coin. What result you got?

    Head? OK, so we already know how the story go and ends.
    So, now, narrate it. From the beginning. With all the details we both enjoy.

    It's possible to do so without boring both of us to sleep? I don't think so. What you narrate is meaningless. We both know how the story goes. You are going back and parroting a story we both already played. We are playing AGAIN the same moment we already played.

    We are in a loop, made like this (1) play this game with dices and coins and numbers, then /2) play it again adding fiction with no value, nothing to add, like you are reciting a pre-writtem text.

    Why this is so boring? As you said, should it not be enough, that we are here because we want to play in a detailed fictional situation?

    No, it's not enough. Not by a long shot. The fictional situation, what you narrate, has to be NEW. As to happen IN THIS MOMENT, or it's so boring that skipping it is the least of the two evils.

    In my "thought experiment" the rules and dices did run forward, leaving the fiction behind, and you had to go back to get the fiction and move it, limping and tired, to the finish line, where the dices already were for a long time.

    The dice should not leave the fiction behind. If they do, I am not going to go back and return to the fiction: I don't play to bore myself and others. When the rules leave the fiction behind, I leave the old fiction where the rules did leave it and go on with the game.

    My though experiment was something surreal that doesn't happen in any game? No, we all know something like this. We all played something like this. Think back to D&D (Old editions, I am not familiar with any edition of D&D past 1995). Do you know that the "roll to hit" is not a roll to hit at all, right? In old AD&D, every roll was to see what happened in a entire minute. The HP measured luck, the god's favor, the ability to dodge blows: it was for this reason that they increased with level.

    So, let's see, you roll to hit, you hit, and you do 12 points of damage, but you get hit for 8 points..
    What did you do at this point? Did you narrate, for an entire minute, what just happened? Explaining how your character did get out of the way at the last microsecond (justifying the 8 points loss) but was not hit, and how you did miss your opponents by less than a inch (justifying the 12 points loss)?
    Or did you simply go to the next "roll to hit", without narrating all this?

    It's something we all know, that we all did, but there is a tendency to refuse, against every evidence, to acknowledge this ever happening in a "story game". Why? Because we are "good players" and "good players always narrate the details"?

    Bollocks. System matter. The right (wrong) system can make ANYBODY stop narrating the details of the fiction.

    So, let's see other games. How they avoid this. (not everybody do: there are A LOT of storygames that in play simply skip the story...).
    In Primetime Adventures, you draw cards to decide (1) who win what was at stake, and, more important, (2) who decide everything else. If you did not make the error of pre-narrating the conflict (misunderstanding the rules), you did not leave the fiction behind. You simply "stopped time", fixed a single constraint for the situation ("he has to get to run away at the end") but everything else is still unknown.

    In Dogs in the Vineyard, the dice and the fiction go at the same time (even here, playing the game "wrong" destroy the game: think about the people who play DitV pushing dice without saying what they are doing: the game crash after a few turns)

    And in IAWA?

    In IAWA, I have the stick, and say to you "if you don't want to get hit, you have to do this", and you go "but only it's like this", and I "no, at most it will happen this", and on , and on, and on, until we both agree about what will happen.

    After this, I surely am not going to say AGAIN what will happen to the other players! The fiction was left a mile behind, and it will stay there!

    Example: this is from a actual play thread at the forge,

    "I played a vengeful ghost. My murderer (another PC) paid a sorcerer (a NPC) to bind me to my (dead) body, and watched from hiding while this happened. All this happened in a deep tunnel.

    During the conflict with the sorcerer I won the first conflict, and stated that I would have continued to injure him until he will die. The GM offered to me to have the Sorcerer die right then, if I would have accepted to be bound to the inside of the tunnel by the half-done ritual. I said that I accepted if the ritual could be canceled by the powers of my lover (a living priestess of the death goddess, both NPC), that I did know was coming there."

    Do you see the problem now?

    And not only that: what relevance has what you say before? All that matter is that at the end you have the stick. The fiction count for nothing during the conflict.
  • In IAWA, I have the stick, and say to you "if you don't want to get hit, you have to do this", and you go "but only it's like this", and I "no, at most it will happen this", and on , and on, and on, until we both agree about what will happen.

    After this, I surely am not going to say AGAIN what will happen to the other players! The fiction was left a mile behind, and it will stay there!

    I don't want to line by line it, so I'll just highlight this part which I think drills down to the heart of the different places we're coming from.

    I couldn't disagree with the idea that the fiction has been left behind here more. In fact, I've soapboxed against this point of view a bunch of times because I think it is an extraordinarily limiting way to conceive of what happens at the game table. As I've said elsewhere, and more than once, most of the details of what gets imagined at the table never actually get shared...they happen in the minds and mental movies of each individual person.

    What you sketched out above is MORE than enough to trigger that fiction. Far from being left behind...it's instead focused and spot lighted right where the vast majority of RPG fiction occurs...in the imagination. I don't need, and often times don't want a whole lot more than that.

    I like Dogs and I like AW a ton, and I think the whole "lead with the fiction" thing works well for them. But that's far from the only way to approach creating compelling stories in a TTRPG...nor is it my preferred way.
  • Posted By: Moreno R.Example: this is from a actual play thread at the forge,

    "I played a vengeful ghost. My murderer (another PC) paid a sorcerer (a NPC) to bind me to my (dead) body, and watched from hiding while this happened. All this happened in a deep tunnel.

    During the conflict with the sorcerer I won the first conflict, and stated that I would have continued to injure him until he will die. The GM offered to me to have the Sorcerer die right then, if I would have accepted to be bound to the inside of the tunnel by the half-done ritual. I said that I accepted if the ritual could be canceled by the powers of my lover (a living priestess of the death goddess, both NPC), that I did know was coming there."

    Do you see the problem now?
    I am not seeing a problem either. (I found the thread in case I was missing context.)

    Far from leaving the fiction behind, it's right there. You came out of the conflict with three (potentially) huge new pieces of fiction: the sorcerer is dead, the ghost is bound, the ghost can be freed by the living priests of the death goddess.

    On the other hand, I am speaking of regular experience with the game ever since it was released. I certainly can see why it could have been a problem.

    Questions of how far you can go in conflict, how you get in and out of it, and particularly edge cases when you have the fiction suddenly go in unexpected directions are fairly common. The answers aren't explicit in the text (and the implications require knowing the answer already). It has a pseudo stakes system that's not like many other games, which is also a cause for confusion. And the most interesting ways to use the conflict resolutions requires some practice and/or coaching. On top of it all, there's a bit of a disconnect - outside of conflict it's all "go for the throat" but in a conflict there needs to be all of this distancing and wider perspective on the fiction.

    But I've found all of those things to be costs for learning a great game. I think I can safely say that I'm able to help most players through those in a short convention setting. The concepts and difficulties aren't hard, they just aren't clear in the text, and the game logic is different enough that it requires some time to figure out, or a lot of questions answered from others who have done so.
  • It's seems that we agree on one thing: there is no sense in "going back" and detail what was already decided, by the players, debating out of character about "what they want to happen".

    So what remain is probably a matter of taste. Debating with another player for minutes about how the next day, or week, will go in the "story we are creating", with the system only giving "the stick" to one of us (or, in other games with similar mechanics that give narration rights and not only the stick, the "conch shell"), is not a sort of play I enjoy.
  • I agree with Moreno, I think it's fairly problematic if people pre-play too much stuff. However, I read the negotiation rules as being much more structured and limited than that. "but only if" "but only if" "but only if" didn't really happen if I played. (Is this a Played-too-much-Polaris problem?)

    The way I put it to the groups I played with was: if the winner wants something other than to exhaust or injure, they say what they want. The loser can say "yes, cool" or "no, exhaust or injure me". Sometimes there was a single counterproposal. But normally it didn't get to that point. The winner won, they want what they want, if the loser won't give it up, they can exhaust or injure them and come back and hit them again next time.

    Maybe that's just because formal negotiations are part of what I do on a day to day basis and who proposes what when is really instinctive to me? But I don't think the text really supports the "but only if"-forever debate.
  • Yeah, JD...while I also really liked Polaris, I don't think IaWA is served well by a string of "but only ifs". Can't recall if that's addressed at all in the rules (which are admittedly far from ideal).

    One of the things that made it work well for us, is that we'd been playing long enough to know how we each tend to think. We had a multiple session campaign (9 sessions...10 maybe...something like that) in which my main character was one of, if not THE most repeated character. IIRC I NEVER got exhausted or injured and that wasn't because I won a lot (dice hate me).

    Rather it was because the other players were really good at giving me beatings that were painful, that made me squirm, that made me curse my horrible dice luck...but stopped short of being so bad that I'd reject them. That's a key skill to have to make the game sing. Injury and exhaustion are fictionally boring. You have to know how to bring pain that's still palatable enough for the loser to accept.

    And that is really the key reason why IaWA is FAR better as campaign play than in a one shot. Every time your character comes back you get to "level up". But that gives you (IIRC) one and only one thing off the menu of choices. One of the things off the menu is healing up your dice. If you're always taking a beating, then you're always "wasting" your advancement opportunity on healing rather than grabbing cool new stuff. That makes avoiding exhaustion and injury even more valuable...but only in extended play where you have the expectation of being able to play that character again.
  • Posted By: Moreno R.Debating with another player for minutes about how the next day, or week, will go in the "story we are creating", with the system only giving "the stick" to one of us (or, in other games with similar mechanics that give narration rights and not only the stick, the "conch shell"), is not a sort of play I enjoy.
    But, err, IaWA doesn't do that?!?

    The game text specifically advises against negotiating for future consequences. The negotiations are supposed to determine the immediate fallout from the conflict. Both conflict challenges and statements, as well as negotiated consequences, are now, now, now. Negotiating for in-game promises of future behaviour is fine, but those are just words, now.
  • Posted By: Troels KenPosted By: Moreno R.Debating with another player for minutes about how the next day, or week, will go in the "story we are creating", with the system only giving "the stick" to one of us (or, in other games with similar mechanics that give narration rights and not only the stick, the "conch shell"), is not a sort of play I enjoy.
    But, err, IaWA doesn't do that?!?

    I think we left IAWA behind a few posts ago. Now I am replying to Ralph's assertion in one of his latest posts, and I am talking in general of out-of-game pre-narration.

    Is IAWA played in this way? I don't know. Nobody really knowns. The game book default for a lot of game procedure to a "do what you always do" approach that usually (in my experience) result in similar forms of disconnection between out-of-game pre-narration and fiction (even between players that don't do that usually).

    Even if you limit the kind of negotiations you can do (but that is not in the rules) or use a specific procedure to avoid dragging the negotiation (as the one Ralph added in his drift of the system), you still pre-narrate during a out-of-game negotiation about what will happen. All you get is to limit this disconnection in time and space (you don't decide what will happen in the next month, but in the next minutes. You don't argue for minutes to get this result, but for seconds, etc.)

    What usually happened after a while in our games was that we disliked so much the haggling and pre-narration, that we did go for wound or exhaustion every single time.
  • I don't really have a dog in this fight (it seems like a lot of it is just personal taste), but I would point out that this:
    Posted By: Moreno R.Is IAWA played in this way? I don't know. Nobody really knowns.
    is false. Page 19, in the sidebar titled "Don't negotiate for...":

    "Future actions. 'How about I don't oppose you when you attack us later?' Nah. Sometimes this is okay, but more often it turns bad and awkward. Promises are fine, though, if extracting a promise is really worth it to the winner."
  • Posted By: PeterBBI don't really have a dog in this fight (it seems like a lot of it is just personal taste), but I would point out that this:

    Posted By: Moreno R.Is IAWA played in this way? I don't know. Nobody really knowns.
    is false. Page 19, in the sidebar titled "Don't negotiate for...":

    "Future actions. 'How about I don't oppose you when you attack us later?' Nah. Sometimes this is okay, but more often it turns bad and awkward. Promises are fine, though, if extracting a promise is really worth it to the winner."

    First: I have to specify better that "nobody": obviously Vincent know, and the people who played IAWA with him know. Maybe some people that only read forum threads with explanation know, but they can't be really sure.
    I surely don't know how to play this game. And I did read every single thread and post on the game here, on the Forge and in Vincent's blog.

    Second: you objection is not valid, though. That quote only say to avoid offering to act in a certain way in the future. It's not what I am saying at all.
    I am not talking about offering future actions. I am talking about the way you get agreement to what already happened in the fiction, right here, right now. What happened before? At this time, do you accept I did steal your horse during this fight that is ended? Or did you get wounded by my sword? What are you offering me? Let's agree to some fiction we both like in this story we are creating together, talking like two writers writing a book. Play? What is play?

    But I am using examples more and more exaggerated trying to explain a problem that, obviously, people perceive as a problem already or they don't. If they don't, exaggerating the examples only make them confuse the problem with the increase and not with the basic action. At the end, you see the problem or you don't. For me, it's complete deal-breaker in play.
  • Listen, guys, I am SUPER curious about what cool stuff you've been doing with In A Wicked Age.

    I am significantly less curious, even incurious, about any bones anyone has to pick with it.

    Let's all go and do five to ten cool things with In A Wicked Age and then we get back here with a new thread. If you don't want to do five to ten cool things with In A Wicked Age that's fine, carry on, this thread has been renamed!

  • @Valamir

    we also negotiated A LOT. Since there is no way to refresh dice, either you negotiate or you are a goner pretty soon.

    However we had a problem when Best Interests implied the destruction of another character, as in that case Injury or Exhaustion seemed to be the only choice available. How did you deal with that? A few times we negotiated purely fictional wounds and beatings without reducing the dice, but it was so much harder to do when best interests drive you to annihilate another character..

    How can you negotiate purely fictional death without reducing the dice? Yeah, the character can come back as a ghost, but it feels a little like weak sauce after it happens a few times. A couple of times we allowed a player to negotiate his own death, moving his dice to another focus, such as another character, his family, his bandit gang.

    How did you deal with this?
  • Posted By: ivanSince there is no way to refresh dice, either you negotiate or you are a goner pretty soon.
    I think this is why I routinely did 2 chapters in a session. Being a goner is not seen as a bad thing when you're switching up characters every chapter anyway.
    Posted By: ivanHowever we had a problem when Best Interests implied the destruction of another character, as in that case Injury or Exhaustion seemed to be the only choice available. How did you deal with that? A few times we negotiated purely fictional wounds and beatings without reducing the dice, but it was so much harder to do when best interests drive you to annihilate another character..
    Don't negotiate then. Win and annihilate them and do the next chapter.

    The next chapter happens (among other times) when someone decisively achieves their Best Interest.
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