[UnPlayable Fantasy PbtA] - Violence Moves

edited October 2017 in Game Design Help
INTRO
I'm working on a yet unnamed fantasy PbtA game.
Let's just call it UnPlayable Fantasy PbtA for now :P

It started as just a descriptive harm system, an idea prompted by @Paul_T in one of his posts from 2014 (LINK). Later in 2016 I posted there an embryo of what would then evolve into a thorough reimagining of the whole game.

The current project draws deeply from #ApocalypseWorld2 and #DungeonWorld and some cool ideas I've seen floating around in other projects, like the #Stonetop one. But it then goes down the rabbit hole following my own personal design goals and aesthetic.

*I'm currently looking for comments, opinions and critiques* on its various game elements (harm, basic moves, class moves, etc) while I work on packaging it all in something that could be actually used in a normal game session.
The complete WIP design gdoc is available to my Patreons, but here I would like to focus on a single element at a time, to make the discussion easier to follow and more fruitful.

Other threads in the series:
- Fictional Harm System
- Violence Moves
- Basic Moves

Comments

  • edited October 2017
    .
    ..
    ...

    HACK & SLASH

    When you use physical violence against one or more opponent that are doing the same to you...

    ...exchange harm, but first roll+STR.

    10+ = choose 2
    7-9 = choose 1
    6- = choose 1 + Hard Move (not Inflict Harm)

    - inflict terrible harm
    - suffer little harm
    - impress, dismay or frighten your enemy
    - take or keep clear hold of some thing/person/position
    - keep some thing/person/position safe and undamaged
    - force your way into the opponent’s position/guard
    - force the opponent towards a position of your choosing

    H&S is not triggered if you or your opponents are unable to inflict at least Nasty physical harm to one another.

    If PCs do H&S against one another, all roll separately to pick their own options, then harm is exchanged as established, only once.
    .
    ..
    ...

    THREATEN
    When you are about to use cause immediate physical harm to someone to have them say or do something...

    ...make it clear what you want them to do, then roll+CHA.

    10+ = they choose between:
    - force your hand, suffering harm as established; if you don’t go through with this, the GM does an immediate Soft Move
    - cave and do what you ask, for real, to the best of their means

    7-9 = your hand is forced: inflict Harm as established. If able they now choose one option from the following list:
    - get the hell out of your way
    - barricade themselves securely
    - give you something they think you want, or tell you what you want to hear
    - back off calmly, hands where you can see

    6- = Hard Move
  • edited October 2017
    OBVIOUS CLARITY
    [This is not in the book; it is just me commenting on the above mechanics]

    After my first post about the Fictional Harm System I think it is appropriate to follow up with the Moves dedicated to violence, as this is too a very strongly opinionated section of my PbtA hack.

    One problem I have with most PbtA games is that they leave empty spaces where they should offer clear guidance, while over complicating parts of the game they should leave open for personal interpretation.

    This usually translates into a host of problems, from my very personal point of view. Things like unnecessary negotiations in the least appropriate times, when the action should flow smoothly... which leads towards a polarisation of the GM's role that, instead of facilitating the game and doing their part, is forced to somehow build their own interpretation of "how to play"... which leads back to a tribal state of play where every table almost plays a different game than anyone else.
    Fortunately we're not talking about a phenomenon as marked as what happens with traditional/incoherent games. But that's the same general direction. And to me, this is problem enough.

    So when designing my moves I attempt to support both GM and Players with a text that is as unambiguous as possible to minimise negotiation. It has to be clear, so clear it is obvious by just looking at the fiction, if a Move is triggered or not.

    I don't believe perfect clarity is humanly achievable. But I firmly believe that the current state of things has plenty of room to improve towards that direction. This is my attempt to move towards that direction.

    This ties deeply with the Fictional Harm System described in my previous post.
  • HACK & SLASH ... WHY?
    [This is not in the book; it is just me commenting on the above mechanics]

    The reason behind this version of the H&S move is that I want H&S to not be a the "generic attack" that it too often ends up being in both DW and many other PbtA games.
    I want it to trigger during a melee.
    And I want a melee to feel dangerous.
    And I want skilled fighters to be able to get more out of it than just hurting one another.
    And I want it to be clear that if you get into a melee you will get hurt, and you will hurt someone.

    A friendly duel? Not H&S.
    Attacking someone that is not attacking you? Not H&S.
    Attacking someone that is unable to meaningfully hurt you? Not H&S.
    Attacking someone you can't meaningfully hurt? Not H&S.
    Being clever and describing an attack that is truly aimed at producing some special effect, rather than hurting someone? Not H&S.

    H&S is what you get for not being able to come up with anything better than "I attack". It exposes and damages you; in the end is a losing game. Although, on the short term, you might achieve important results that maybe are worth the effort.

    Putting H&S together with the Fictional Harm System (FHS) is also important.
    I was always positively impressed by the (in)famous "16HP Dragon" example, especially the part where the adventurers swing their swords at the dragon, are already grabbing the dice to H&S, and the GM stops them: nope, a simple swords, no matter how cool, can't do shit against what amounts to a building covered by metal plates 1cm thick ... think of something else to do.
    The problem there was that it felt arbitrary. It blindsided the Players. And I heard/read a LOT of people complain against such use of the rules because they felt it actually moved outside of the rules as they perceived them: if I swing my sword at the beats, it is H&S, and I must roll.

    The FHS prevents this all.
    It focuses everyone's attention on the fiction, first and foremost, and offers a normal, non-exceptional, base to establish that yes, indeed swinging a puny sword is useless against a metal tank.
    There are no mechanical alibis.
    And if someone disagrees, it will be brought to light early and cleanly.
    At least, that's what these rules hope to facilitate :mrgreen:
  • THREATEN ... WHY?
    [This is not in the book; it is just me commenting on the above mechanics]

    I always loved the sentiment behind Go Aggro, but I also always had problems when using that move in actual play. "Luckily" I was not the only one :P
    With the Threaten move I hope to fix that.

    First I clarified the fictional trigger.
    I've read with great interest many discussions about Go Aggro and how it was supposed to work, but even after Vincent himself pitched in, I was not satisfied.

    A famous example is this:
    A PC with a chainsaw shouts threats from outside the gates of a city against a target character, while the target is safely withing the city ... roll to Go Aggro ... 10+ ... the target chooses to force the PC's hand, which results in... nothing... because there is no way for the PC to actually harm the target, so harm as established is nothing.
    Makes perfect sense.
    But I can't help but feel that something is wrong.
    Just like with H&S... if the action is useless and can't produce the expected effect, it should not be triggered in the first place.

    So I changed the trigger in a way that makes this clear and unambiguous.

    You are about to inflict physical harm. You are there. You are able to do it. You are almost already doing it.
    If not, this is not the move.

    You are doing this to have them say or do something.
    There is a clear intention behind your violence.
    I've seen often Go Aggro be triggered by Players that were just having their PC posing and posturing, be cool and badass. It fit the trigger, but it did not fit the effects of the roll.
    So you need something from them.
    If not, this is not the move.

    You are instructed to clearly express what it is your PC wants.
    Many times I have seen awkward moments come out of Players trying to "play-act" what their PC wanted from the target of a Go Aggro. Many times I have seen GMs assume they understood, and pick one of the possible effects of the move, and totally miss what the Player hoped for; in turn seeing such Players feel robbed of an earned victory (I rolled well, didn't I?).

    And then comes the result of the roll.
    Go Aggro was always intended to show the brutality of using violence as a means to bossing people around.
    But this is emotional, this is harsh, and not everyone is ok with it... which is OK, but then you should not use violence as a tool to boss people around.
    That's the whole point of the move, to me.
    You REALLY use violence to boss people around? Then prepare to hurt them, because they might force your hand.

    This is all very nice, but again, not clearly enforced by the mechanics. I believe everyone is familiar with the looong discussions about people attempting Go Aggro with no real intention of going through with the violence... which in the best of cases leads the GM to negotiate the clarification of the PC's intentions: are you REALLY going to shoot if they don't comply? Yes? No? Then it is the Manipulate move (which for me has always been another critical can of worm of PbtA games, by the way).

    My mechanics remove this ambiguity.

    You are about to hurt someone.
    You do it for a practical and clear reason.
    You roll 10+ ... your victory is that you are in control of the situation.
    They do it?
    Good.
    They don't do it? (because you never take away a PC's freedom)
    Then you choose to hurt them as promised, or not. The choice is yours, but at a price. You scare someone, you threaten them, you abuse them, and then you hesitate and show that you were "just talk" after all. Sure, you can do it, it is the moral and noble (the human?) thing to do. But chances are this will hurt you back, or at least give a chance to the GM to make your life more interesting.

    You are about to hurt someone.
    You do it for a practical and clear reason.
    You roll 7-9 ... your victory is that you force a meaningful (maybe useful) reaction out of them, but you are not in control of the situation.
    Shit happens and your hand is forced. No choice here. You hurt them. You were about to, and there is no toying around with violence.

    This is the crux of it, to me. This truly removes the ambiguity. This follows through with what the move initiated, without stealing the victory from the Player. This delivers the message.
    If you use violence, things will get ugly.
    Player intention becomes irrelevant.
    You don't want this?
    Then don't describe your PC using violence to threaten people.

    This too leverages the FHS, as then the GM can use harm on the NPCs for all sorts of "through the crosshair" dramatic effects as Fictional Harm is concrete and meaningful. No abstract 1 damage. A single "Nasty" harm can render an NPC unconscious, a single "Serious" harm can leave a permanent scar or disability.

    On the other hand if a PC makes abstract threats, it can only possibly be Manipulate.
  • NO VOLLEY ... WHY?
    [This is not in the book; it is just me commenting on the above mechanics]

    In my PbtA Fantasy game there is no Volley move.

    One reason is that I never found that Move interesting; in the original DW it only seemed to be there to make you spend ammunition. It felt like one of those legacy thing you have to have in the game because everyone else has it too. These are not enough reason for me, especially because I'm trying to streamline and minimise resource bookkeeping (ammunition, food, coins, etc).

    Another reason is that I want violence to have more weight and meaning in this game, as my long winded analysis of H&S and Threaten might have made clear.
    I want Violence to be a powerful tool to solve problems, but with consequences, to be "brutal" even when embellished by the narrative of fantasy adventuring.
    The original Volley expressed none of this, and all the many variations I found floating around the web too. After much pondering I opted to just drop the move.

    Besides, what are you doing in the fiction anyway?
    When you HnS you are exchanging blows in a furious melee.
    When you Threaten you are having your hand forced in a tense situation.
    But when you Volley?
    In the fiction you are simply pointing an thing towards a distant target thing, trying to perform skillfully no matter how chaotic the situation is.
    Maybe you want the thing to go through the target's skull.
    Maybe you want the thing to hit something different to achieve a specific effect.
    Either way it looks an awful lot like a simple Defy Danger.
    So that's what I am using... good old Defy Danger. (my version of it)
    I'll let special class moves take care of adding special twists to this activity.
  • edited October 2017
    I quite like the approach to combat with H&S. Start with "both injured" as the default, roll to see how much choice you have to improve that, then choose as per your aims.

    I think the parts I'd enjoy most would be choosing various sorts of positioning, but the part that I'd feel obligated to choose most often would be "suffer little harm" because dying sucks. I might recommend either more choices period (2 on a 7+, 3 on a 10+?) or the ability to trade (e.g. I choose an additional option, the MC gets an additional Hard Move). Just a thought.

    As for Threaten, I think it resolves a problem -- Going Aggro for no reason, or when you can't attack -- that I haven't really encountered. If you could streamline what it means to "force your hand", on the other hand, now that I'd find useful. :)
  • edited October 2017
    The basis for the "both injured" part comes straight from AW2 battle moves :)

    Trading one extra Option for a HM sounds interesting, I'll give it some thought :D

    "force your hand" means "you inflict harm to them" ... I thought it was clear enough, but I guess I was wrong :bawling:
    I'll make it clearer.
  • So, these are basically Seize By Force and Go Aggro, am I right? (that's a good thing) With a couple clarifications where you felt where needed.
  • Pretty much :smiley:
  • While I get the moves and all, I still have a bit of a hard time getting in my mind how it is that it becomes so hard to get more input from the players after they say "I attack" and get to the dice. I mean, I usually ask them "how do you do that?" explaining them the opponent's situation and guard for the players to come up with an informed response. Maybe I'll use gestures to get things clear or give them suggestions: "Do you swing your axe like this or like this?" "Are you aiming for a particular spot, or attacking with a particular goal?".

    My group won't usually go for way too fancy things, with some exceptions; so after the roll I use the result as a gauge to add something else to the fiction. Most of the things I'd add are listed in the moves here, though I'd let things flow more organically depending on the fiction and the players input. This is part of what I get the moves here, get how they could perfectly work, but still feel a bit rigid for me.

    I mean, they work perfectly if players just say "I attack" and roll, then it's up to the mechanic, the players and the narrator to choose from the given options to finally come up with a description of how the scene turns out. If players or the GM have a bit more specific goals in mind, I guess the move can adapt just fine. But I believe that just asking "and how do you do that?" might give enough data to the GM and the players to entirely avoid additional moves that engage only on very specific circumstances.

  • "force your hand" means "you inflict harm to them" ... I thought it was clear enough, but I guess I was wrong :bawling:
    I think I failed to explain what I meant. What I meant was, what fictional actions on the part of the NPC count as forcing the PC's hand? Or, if those details don't matter, how else do we establish at the table that your hand has been forced?
  • "force your hand" means "you inflict harm to them" ... I thought it was clear enough, but I guess I was wrong :bawling:
    I think I failed to explain what I meant. What I meant was, what fictional actions on the part of the NPC count as forcing the PC's hand? Or, if those details don't matter, how else do we establish at the table that your hand has been forced?
    Oh, that's actually a very good question! I totally misunderstood.
    Yes, it's important, and I would say that it is the place of the Player to answer... I mean... of all the people at the table YOU are the know that knows what needs to happen to force YOUR PC's hand :)
    I definitely need to specify this!
    I usually ask them "how do you do that?" explaining them the opponent's situation and guard for the players to come up with an informed response.
    [...]
    Most of the things I'd add are listed in the moves here, though I'd let things flow more organically depending on the fiction and the players input.
    [...]
    But I believe that just asking "and how do you do that?" might give enough data to the GM and the players
    THIS.
    Here lies the problem. For me at least.
    The things you do?
    I do them too when I GM, and more.
    But in my personal experience a LOOOOOT of people just don't.
    It's a cultural baggage that is just not that common, and although the best PbtA rulebooks usually mention and explain what to do and how, it is HARD to actually adopt this way of playing, to internalise these procedures as habits.

    So just having procedures explained somewhere in the rulebook is not enough. And depending on how you write them it can even cause interpretation problems. Not to mention that lots of people with a more Traditional background will reject anything they don't obviously perceive as a "hard mechanic" as something optional, while most n00bs will simply have a hard time remebering all the stuff that the book instructs them about.

    Making things clear and functional right there in the Moves, helps a lot... everyone.
    If you know better, the rules support what you're doing anyway.
    If for any reason you don't know better, then the rules are accessible where and when they are the most needed, during the actual live play.
  • edited October 2017
    I think the fictional sequence in which Go Aggro belongs has a few interesting possible steps:
    1) I'm initiating the threat of violence. What's their initial reaction?
    2) They're giving me inconclusive feedback. Do I want to bring my threat closer to reality, or even just follow through on it?
    3) Now it's clear that they aren't going to comply. It's on me to either follow through or not, right now.

    I think it's interesting because we don't know my character's exact tipping point, whether they'll beat on someone who's crying or flipping them off or just frustrating them with useless pseudo-compliance, or whether they won't actually initiate violence period and it's all just threats. I mean, as far as I can tell, that exploration of character is kinda the point of calling out a Go Aggro moment as a Move.

    Either that, or this is actually really simple, and Go Aggro should simply resolve whether the NPC finds the PC's threat credible so we have an answer and play can proceed with that knowledge. :tongue:
  • Nice, Dave!

    That's incisive and insightful.
  • Either that, or this is actually really simple, and Go Aggro should simply resolve whether the NPC finds the PC's threat credible so we have an answer and play can proceed with that knowledge. :tongue:
    I would say... a bit of both? :wink:

    In my mind, first and foremost it establishes NPC behaviour in response to PC action. Like most moves. The introspective part is there too, but I would not use those 3 steps.

    1) I'm initiating the threat of violence. What's their initial reaction?
    2) They're giving me inconclusive feedback. Do I want to bring my threat closer to reality, or even just follow through on it?
    3) Now it's clear that they aren't going to comply. It's on me to either follow through or not, right now.
    The problem in my mind is that people don't think threats are already "real" violence.
    So they create an imaginary wall between the initial false-violence and the later true-violence.
    Then they add one more layer of separation by adding the fact that true-violence is actually only a possibility.

    I would like to rip off this safe fantasy.

    The instant you "initiate the threat of violence" you are already being violent.
    And the move ensures that there will be a meaningful reaction.
    That's your payoff.
    Your win condition.
    The point of the roll is then to see how much control you can exert on the situation.

    With 10+ you have much more control; they believe. Problem is... it is not Manipulate.
    You don't achieve cooperation.
    You achieve violence.
    And people can have all sorts of reactions to violence.
    Maybe they comply... that's a possibility.
    Maybe they don't... and for good or ill they force your hand.
    But it's a 10+ ... you are in control ... you can choose to stop being violent (read well: not "choose to not be violent", but rather "stop being violent", because you are already violent).
    But they believe you are violent, they chose to resist to your violence, and you hesitate, so it's their move, and I'm thinking it should be as Hard as the GM sees fit.

    With 7-9 you still win.
    You ensue a meaningful reaction.
    That's the payoff of the move.
    But you have less control. Somehow the situation devolves in a way where you, maybe against your own planning and best judgement, act on the threat. Then you get your meaningful consequence in the form of the list of options they have to choose from.

    This fits the message I want the moves to deliver: direct and blatant violence might be effective, but for sure is not pretty nor "efficient" ... it's messy, and comes at a price.

    H&S is the same.
    The baseline is: you get hurt AND you hurt someone.
    If you use that, just charging ahead into a melee rather than coming up with a more focused, cleverer plan, then that's what you get: a hot mess where something useful can be salvaged.
    The "good" effects are so few for the same reason. Most of the times (7-9) you only get 1 hold.
    Want to spend it always to protect your ass? Fine.
    But the one time you hope to achieve something more/different than standard damage to the opponent, THEN you have an interesting choice in your hands. This, to me, is the value and fun of H&S: waging personal safety against the achievement of your goals.

    Likewise Threaten is not Manipulate.
    If you convince someone somehow to cooperate, that's the win. You get a safer, stabler, more predictable outcome.
    If you add real immediate violence to this equation, they can't ignore you, but they are also less predictable and controllable.

    That, I think, as I'm thinking this stuff up while I write it*, is the game vision I would like to convey.



    *And that's the reason why these threads are so useful to me! Thanks a lot for the participation and critical input :D
  • edited October 2017
    This would be a possible revised Threaten move.
    Threaten
    When you are about to cause immediate physical harm to someone to have them say or do something...

    ...explain clearly what you want them to do, then roll+CHA.

    10+ = they choose one:
    - they cave and do what you ask, for real, to the best of their means
    - they force your hand and as a result you harm them; you describe how they force your hand, then you choose one:
    - - you refuse to hurt them, but the GM makes a Hard Move
    - - you harm them as established, and they choose one from the 7-9 list

    7-9 = they force your hand and as a result you harm them; you describe how they force your hand, then they choose one:
    - get the hell out of your way
    - barricade themselves securely
    - give you something they think you want, or tell you what you want to hear
    - back off calmly, hands where you can see

    6- = Hard Move

  • Here lies the problem. For me at least.
    The things you do?
    I do them too when I GM, and more.
    But in my personal experience a LOOOOOT of people just don't.
    It's a cultural baggage that is just not that common, and although the best PbtA rulebooks usually mention and explain what to do and how, it is HARD to actually adopt this way of playing, to internalise these procedures as habits.
    INDEED! I've been struggling with this for years too! It's true, people just don't, and those who do have interiorized it so much they think thatit's natural to do so and that everybody should already know this. The worst was that designers thought that these ritual phrases weren't important at all, while they actually are the core of the game and help a lot more to understand the very nature of the game designed. Those phrases will actually change from one game to another in subtle forms that should be considered by the designer to help players achieve the experience meant by the game.

    The thing is that these ritual phrases should be enforced by the game rules in somewhat hardcoded procedures. Not only because trad players won't use them or that people will disregard them as "good playing advice" that they don't need, but because they are as important as all other rules for the game to generate a particular experience in a proper and efficient way.

    Moves were a great step in that sense, so no wonder they have become so popular. It's one of the nicest implementations for explaining the Narrator and the players what kind of things they could say in many different situations to keep the game going and avoid most immersion breaking situations. Game design is going in a good direction there, though things could still be a bit more clear. Or maybe the same games could use minimized moves (or just the ritual phrases) for more experienced players to use when they have interiorized the extended ones.

    Also, all Input sources should be considered to make the exchange more fluid, as focusing in a single one seems to me to actually make things more cumbersome. Like, all right, GM input in the shape of prep or impro has worked for years, but something as simple as mountain-witching the layers or paying attention to their flags is a major input source that not only relieves the GM work but creates player investment as a byproduct. Using the dice as a oracle is another perfect source of input as well as random tables of all sorts. And there's also the designer's input in the rules and the setting or the modules as well. All these sources create problems when a single one is abused, but when combined they help immensely to generate Flow in the most efficient way.

    But that's outside the scope here. My apologies for the derail, but finally talking a bit of this in a context as clear as your game is liberating Hasimir, thanks. Btw, the revised move looks better now, despite most of what I expressed above, I've got no real complaints about it.
  • edited October 2017
    I think that new wording for Threaten is unambiguous with one exception. Without being quite sure what you like about Go Aggro in the first place, I don't know if other trade-offs have been made. "You describe how they force your hand" is super interesting. It might significantly change the way it feels... or not. I'd have to try it.

    The one exception:
    "When you are about to cause immediate physical harm to someone" sounds to me like your fist is in motion and only their clear and instant compliance can halt it. But then later I see "- - you refuse to hurt them, but the GM makes a Hard Move", so I guess my prior impression was not necessarily correct.

    Unfortunately the only way I can think improve upon the clarity here would be quite clunky. But oh well, here it is:
    Threaten
    When you are about to cause immediate physical harm to someone* to have them say or do something...

    ...explain clearly what you want them to do, then roll+CHA.

    [outcome lists]

    *or reveal that your threat was a bluff by not causing them immediate physical harm
    Thinking more on Threaten / Go Aggro, I wonder if it'd be fun to play a game where all the moves were "roll to make something interesting happen, but only 50% of it will be what you were aiming for". Especially when the other 50%, while not in the class of the MC moves you face on a bad roll, have their negatives (e.g. "you just hit someone").
  • I like the idea of leaving "whether you hit someone" explicitly up to another player.

    Having it spelled out as an outcome might make it easier to swallow.
  • Overall, these are good attempts to clarify seize by force and go aggro, and I applaud that.

    You might want to rewrite the list of choices for Threaten, though, since they look (at least to me) somewhat more like responses to a *threat* of violence than responses to actual violence.

  • "When you are about to cause immediate physical harm to someone" sounds to me like your fist is in motion and only their clear and instant compliance can halt it. But then later I see "- - you refuse to hurt them, but the GM makes a Hard Move", so I guess my prior impression was not necessarily correct.
    I see your problem. And it is indeed a very critical bit of text. The trigger.

    In my mind to trigger the move a PC must be in a position where the Threat can be made real at the drop of a hat.

    If I suggest the use of violence on your person, then we must be in the same place, at the same time, with no obvious obstacles between us and the realisation of the threat.
    Maybe I'm shaking my fist at you.
    Maybe I'm suggestively touching my gun.
    Maybe I'm caressing your face my a blade.
    Maybe I'm describing with soft words how I will break your fingers.

    If I instead threaten you in an indirect way, maybe by threatening a friend of yours, then the move triggers even if you and me are far apart... but your friend is exposed to me, now, immediately in danger if I say so.

    For example...
    If you and me are in a place, and I somehow communicate to you that I'll do bad things to your family unless X. But your family is not here, nor it is (demonstrably) in the hands of someone that by all means is an extension of me (henchmen, allies, a remote control in my hand, etc) then my hand can't be forced here and now.
    My threats are just words.
    Not because of my true intent.
    But because of the situation, in a physical, functional way.
    The threat is immaterial.
    It might be a perfect trigger for Manipulate, though.

    If instead I could make my threat (however it is communicated) a reality at the drop of a hat (regardless of my true intent) then Threaten is triggered.

    So maybe the trigger could read as such?

    You threaten to harm someone, physically or otherwise, if they don't comply with a request of yours. If it's possible for the threat to be made real here and now, at the drop of a hat...

  • You might want to rewrite the list of choices for Threaten, though, since they look (at least to me) somewhat more like responses to a *threat* of violence than responses to actual violence.
    Do you have something specific in mind? :)

    Because to me the current options read as appropriate responses to violence.
    (remember, a threat is already real violence)

    - get the hell out of your way
    - barricade themselves securely
    - give you something they think you want, or tell you what you want to hear
    - back off calmly, hands where you can see

    Whatever you pick, you are acknowledging the reality of violence and either try to prevent (more of) it, or you surrender in front of it. Either way my violence dominates you and your immediate reactions to it.
  • I don't think you need a dice roll for threatening someone.

    When you threaten violence against someone, he will:

    - get the hell out of your way
    - barricade himself securely
    - give you something he thinks you want
    - tell you what you want to hear
    - back off calmly, hands where you can see
    - tell you to piss off
    - escalate to violence


    The fiction determines the most appropriate response. No roll required.
  • That's a valid approach, but I don't see it expressing the same things that I want Players to experience with this game.

  • You threaten to harm someone, physically or otherwise, if they don't comply with a request of yours. If it's possible for the threat to be made real here and now, at the drop of a hat...
    That wording sounds pretty clear to me!
  • I agree with ValyrianSteelKatana, but I also see the benefit of a "threaten violence" move if it highlights a theme in the game.

    In AW, I think it is, in a part, a way for the MC to "disclaim responsibility" about the way NPCs react to threatening PCs. A PC who is really Hard, in other words, tends to be in control of such situations or to get what they want.


    Do you have something specific in mind? :)

    Because to me the current options read as appropriate responses to violence.
    (remember, a threat is already real violence)

    - get the hell out of your way
    - barricade themselves securely
    - give you something they think you want, or tell you what you want to hear
    - back off calmly, hands where you can see
    There's one main difference between Vincent's version and yours, and that's what happens on a hit - especially on a 7-9.

    In AW, a 7-9 on a go aggro, the victim escapes your wrath but loses the initiative - they have to retreat, run, back away, or tell you what you want to hear. So, you haven't brought violence to bear yet, but they are clearly influenced. The image is of someone intimidated, who managed to forestall violence but is frightened/cowed/whatever.

    (Other notable differences: they can't choose to cave on a 7-9, and you get to describe how they force your hand. Also important!)

    In your version, on a 7-9 you harm them, every time. And *then* they choose an option. This is a very different dynamic - they are the victim of your violence.

    To me, this would require different options. "Tell them what they want to hear" is great. But you stab me with a knife, and I "back off calmly, hands where you can see"? That's just weird; it doesn't flow. Something like "cower, clutching their wounds" would be more appropriate.

    It says *very* different things about the nature of the world you're playing in.
  • Great observations @Paul_T !
    I'll work on that, it makes great sense.
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