So, sorta messed up this thread
a bit. Starting over.
I'm still starting with "I try to trip the snake. I hit! Now the snake is prone."
There's a lot going on in there. A LOT. So let's begin at the beginning, which, for me, is IIEE. A quick summary:
IIEE: Short for Intent, Initiative, Execution, and Effect, referring to the relationship between announcements of action by real people and the establishment of those actions into the shared imaginary game-world.
* Intent is just that — the intention to do something, before one actually begins to do it. For example, "I'm going to attack the troll."
* Initiation is beginning to actually perform the action. Depending on circumstances, the initiation of attacking the troll could be to begin swinging a weapon at it, or it might involve first moving to a position where one can attack. With a ranged weapon, initiation might be when one physically starts to aim at the troll.
* Execution is when the attempt to perform the action completes — the end of the sword swing, or when the shot has been loosed and flown to or past its target.
* Effect is the point at which the question "what did the attempt accomplish?" is answered — when we know what happened to the troll as a result.
(That's the short version; the canon work on this is here
Now, just to get everyone on the same page, let's also define our symbols.
If it exists only in our heads and our conversation, it's in-game. In the past I've sometimes called this "the fiction" which I now believe is a mistake.
If you can pick it up and hand it to another player, or change it with a pencil and eraser, it's a real-world cue. Typically includes things like character sheets, miniatures, and dice.
I'm using this to refer to out-of-game influences in the sense of the Star Wars movies with relation to a Star Wars game, the Lord of the Rings books with relation to a Middle Earth game, and that sort of thing.
This is the particular player under consideration at any given moment.
The Game Master, or Dungeon Master, or whatever the game has.
Everyone else who is playing the game, excluding the Player and the GM.
So. Let's consider Intent. And let's start right from the beginning of Intent and look at the possible influences on the Player -- the things he cares about, and where we can find the answers to the question "Why do you want to do that?"
Here's all the possible influences. Of course, for any given Player, some are going to be more influential than others. Consider the Player's answer to the question "Why are you attacking the orc?"