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Author Topic: Conflict resolution in a diceless game  (Read 668 times)

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Offline BlinkinTopic starter

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Conflict resolution in a diceless game
« on: May 22, 2014, 03:38:07 PM »
Howdy Gang:

I've had this idea floating around in my mind for some time. There are two problems though.

1. I can't think of a system that would suit it and E very well, or at least not one that I'm familiar enough with to run.
2. There will be conflict, and I have no idea how to resolve it without dice.

So, I'm looking for advice or suggestions/options on how to deal with this. In the past, when dealing with systemless games, I've seen a tendency for players to write their own results and always come out on top. Usually, this isn't a problem, but it can put a strain on a game that relies on not only what, but how you do things if the player simply writes something like...

"Betty Sue blows the bad guy away before blowing across the end of the smoking barrel..."

or

"Billy Bo Bob shrugs off the gunshot and continues to bash away at his opponent..."

It kinda takes away the challenge and the drama if I can't maintain some control of events and how they play out... so, help?

Offline Synecdoche17

Re: Conflict resolution in a diceless game
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2014, 04:30:43 PM »
Generally, though characters conflict, players shouldn't. If we're all collaboratively writing a story, we should all have agreed, if not on the ending, then at least on the general course of events. If the conflict was unforeseen, then the players ought to take it amongst themselves to communicate OOC about how they want the conflict to end ("Hey, I know you need to win for your storyline to progress, but a big part of my character is how she's a good fighter, so can we spin it that my character injures yours, then loses through bad luck?"). The GM's role in this would be to facilitate or encourage that communication.

If you have players who make conflicting characters and who aren't mature enough to find an IC resolution that satisfies them both, then they shouldn't play diceless games.

Offline BlinkinTopic starter

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Re: Conflict resolution in a diceless game
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2014, 06:57:16 PM »
I'm not speaking particularly of PVP, but of PC VS NPC's. If, for example, I need for a PC to do this particular thing, and don't want the PC to simply say, "ok, I do it, job done." Then, how do I keep the PC from saying, "Ok, I did it, Job doen."?

Example, PC 1 is surprised by a NPC who has been sent to pursuade PC 1, via violence, to give up the chase. PC 1 decides that he's just going to pull his .45 and blow the NPC away as a message to the big boss that he's not going to be intimidated and means business. Rather than just a dull and boring, "Bang, he's dead!" How do I resolve the conflict without giving more away to the PC about the why's than I have to. How he deals with the situation is of importance, but I know more than a few players who think that the simple way is to just write a success, even if I need something more to happen. It's difficult to write more into an event when the player has written an ending without consulting or consideration of the greater story.

Offline ebpohmr

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Re: Conflict resolution in a diceless game
« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2014, 02:31:50 AM »
In my experience, there are four ways around your problem:

1) Players write their actions, but not the resolution. The GM then writes a meta-post describing the outcome of all the PC's actions. That way, resolution is in your hands. Its a lot more work on the GM though.

2) PM the players, compromise on the result of their actions and let them write them up.

3) Good players aren't afraid of showing character weakness or giving themselves setback. Let your players know that they shouldn't be auto-succeeding at everything and that they need to be writing more 'realistically'.

4) Reward the players who are doing it right, thereby encouraging others to do it right too.

Offline BlinkinTopic starter

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Re: Conflict resolution in a diceless game
« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2014, 05:26:40 AM »
Thanks, I'll take those under advisement and when I'm ready to offer the thing, we'll see what happens. I'm just concerned that someone is going to hamstring me, the storyteller, by simply overwriting me before they get a chance to enjoy the flavor and rewards of thinking rather than simply acting.

Offline Dallas

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Re: Conflict resolution in a diceless game
« Reply #5 on: May 25, 2014, 07:42:04 PM »
Generally, though characters conflict, players shouldn't. If we're all collaboratively writing a story, we should all have agreed, if not on the ending, then at least on the general course of events. If the conflict was unforeseen, then the players ought to take it amongst themselves to communicate OOC about how they want the conflict to end ("Hey, I know you need to win for your storyline to progress, but a big part of my character is how she's a good fighter, so can we spin it that my character injures yours, then loses through bad luck?"). The GM's role in this would be to facilitate or encourage that communication.

If you have players who make conflicting characters and who aren't mature enough to find an IC resolution that satisfies them both, then they shouldn't play diceless games.

This is kind of my approach in freeform, due to the fact that there needs to be a pre-cut plan in place... so I find that I take a "dive" in some situations on freeform so that my partners can do so in return for me later. It's a bit of a give and take. I also like to clue in at my actions... to kind of give a cue that my "attack" might not work. Leaving it up to the partner I'm participating with. 
« Last Edit: May 25, 2014, 07:43:21 PM by twisted crow »

Offline BlinkinTopic starter

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Re: Conflict resolution in a diceless game
« Reply #6 on: May 26, 2014, 05:37:07 AM »
Once again, this is not about a player or character conflict, or PVP. The question was about how to resolve in game combat. I apologize if this hasn't been more clear in my two previous post, but if the characters must engage NCPs (Non-Player Characters) in a fight, how do I avoid a player spoiling the encounter by simply writing that he wins the fight or that he/she never accepts a blow from anything in a combat event?

Again, this is not, nor has it ever been implied to be a disagreement between players. I don't believe in PVP and do not support it in any of my games. An argument between characters can be great for character development and drama, but swinging at another PC isn't. This is strictly in any game that I run...

So... in a diceless, freeform or sandbox game (Pick your term), how would you go about resolving a combat scene so as to avoid someone just saying "I win, lets go on." or however you might put it. I have a concern about this because I often pass information to the player by results of what happens during a fight, or by how a character  conducts their character in such an encounter. If someone simply writes, "I Win!" then, that may make it more difficult for other players who needed the information that would of beeen imparted.

Offline Dallas

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Re: Conflict resolution in a diceless game
« Reply #7 on: May 26, 2014, 05:58:42 AM »
*strokes beard*

Hmmm...

That's a toughie... I'll give that some thought before I get back to you.

Offline Jarick

Re: Conflict resolution in a diceless game
« Reply #8 on: May 26, 2014, 11:34:50 AM »
I'd recommend this: set up a baseline rule saying that while players can do whatever they wish with NPCs they've created, but for NPCs created by the GM, they can set up the beginnings of an action ("The Marquessa draws her sword and steps into the Flagrante stance, tip forward and up, and slashes out with intent to open a second smile on that bastard's neck"), but cannot determine its resolution unless you explicitly give them the option to do so.

Offline BlinkinTopic starter

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Re: Conflict resolution in a diceless game
« Reply #9 on: May 26, 2014, 11:45:25 AM »
I wasn't sure how well that would fly, nor if very many would pay attention to it, but I'll give that a try... now, to flesh the thing out. lol

Offline Thufir Hawat

Re: Conflict resolution in a diceless game
« Reply #10 on: June 06, 2014, 02:59:26 AM »
Howdy Gang:

I've had this idea floating around in my mind for some time. There are two problems though.

1. I can't think of a system that would suit it and E very well, or at least not one that I'm familiar enough with to run.
2. There will be conflict, and I have no idea how to resolve it without dice.

So, I'm looking for advice or suggestions/options on how to deal with this. In the past, when dealing with systemless games, I've seen a tendency for players to write their own results and always come out on top. Usually, this isn't a problem, but it can put a strain on a game that relies on not only what, but how you do things if the player simply writes something like...

"Betty Sue blows the bad guy away before blowing across the end of the smoking barrel..."

or

"Billy Bo Bob shrugs off the gunshot and continues to bash away at his opponent..."

It kinda takes away the challenge and the drama if I can't maintain some control of events and how they play out... so, help?
Step one, take a diceless system ;). Amber and Lords of Olympus would fit E. like a glove, that's for sure. Things like Stalker RPG, Heartquest and Dreamwalker might very well gain a following, since they facilitate the kind of stories that are popular around here :P. And PMs are very useful for hidden spending of resources.
Step two, enjoy. Diceless systems are great fun, as I can attest ;D!

Offline Chrystal

Re: Conflict resolution in a diceless game
« Reply #11 on: June 06, 2014, 06:13:55 AM »
The other method, which is the one I always use is to trust your players to do it right.

This has already been mentioned a couple of times. You put a statement in the opening post saying something like, "There will be player versus non-player character interaction in this game. Players are expected to interact with NPCs realistically".

Then players know what to expect. When a player comes up against a NPC, if they god-mode and auto-hit, you PM them and tell them to change their post. If they refuse, you tell them in the OOC thread to do it and point out why. If they still refuse, you tell them they are out of the game!

You, as GM have the right to do that. You are controlling the NPCs. The player would be told off for god-moding another player character. Well the NPCs are the GM's characters. (Technically if the GM has a "player character", that character is also a NPC, according to some definitions). Simply do not allow a player to god-mode your NPCs.

That said, we are all adults here - or at least, we have all managed to convince the staff that we are over 18. We are here because we want to do text-based role-playing, what some call collaborative writing, in an adult environment. Behaving like a teenager who doesn't like to loose is, in my opinion, grounds for reporting the player to staff, to investigate how old they really are!

So, my best advice in answer to the question is, you don't have any way of stopping a player doing what you said, other thantheir own commitment to write a good story!

A minimum post length rule could be a way of helping prevent such things, in so far as if a player posts that they just kill the bad-guy, that is likely to be a short post. In order to pad the post to the correct length, they will need to add detail of how they killed it, which, if it is detailed and realistic enough, could (not saying it will) qualify the post as being okay.

Even so, the GM can still say "Uh, great post, but you might want to make the fight a little less one-sided? You're just one thief armed with a dagger in leather armour against a squad of battle droids.... Not saying you should loose, necessarily, but  you might want to take a hit or two?"

Offline Thufir Hawat

Re: Conflict resolution in a diceless game
« Reply #12 on: June 06, 2014, 11:23:49 AM »
The other method, which is the one I always use is to trust your players to do it right.

This has already been mentioned a couple of times. You put a statement in the opening post saying something like, "There will be player versus non-player character interaction in this game. Players are expected to interact with NPCs realistically".
Yeah, although I find it weird if when such things need to be said at all ;).

Offline TheGlyphstone

Re: Conflict resolution in a diceless game
« Reply #13 on: June 07, 2014, 09:46:01 AM »
Agreeing with Thufir, this is just one of the things I'd consider to be so default it didn't need to be stated. Mature players should know to avoid god-modding, and all it takes it a reminder that NPCs are not exempt from this. They can attempt whatever they want, but success/failure will always be contextual.

Offline Whowhatwhere

Re: Conflict resolution in a diceless game
« Reply #14 on: June 26, 2014, 01:20:25 PM »
Confusion like this is why I always feel like the GM should spell it out in advance - conflict resolution is either collaborative or competitive.

Collaborative means soft RP. I don't know the official term for the process of one player declaring an action, and the other player determining the result, but it ended up being really effective in the many RPs I've been in. It's generally called "Soft RP", but I don't know if that means the same thing to everyone.
Competitive means rule sets - dice rolling, or some other hard-and-fast ruleset that is adhered to. Combined conflict resolution systems, to me, have to be spelled out explicitly.

I wish the Soft RP system had a formalized existence, sort of like the Oath of the Drake, that we could link to and say, "Use this system." It was in a previous RP elsewhere. I wish I could find it.

Speaking of rule systems and game mechanics - which is a favorite topic of mine - I'd invite everyone to check out my new Group Game,  Sex Magick. I'm going to make a post in the GM's corner about the magic system, hoping to get input on the rules. And if the game looks interesting to you, feel free to join! (If advertising is not allowed here, sorry, I'll modify.)