Author Topic: Sex Moves into Love Moves  (Read 8558 times)

bankuei

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Sex Moves into Love Moves
« on: August 19, 2011, 08:07:48 PM »
I've already read the other sex moves threads, and had some questions about the mechanics of a Sex Move as I attempt to hack it.

In AW, sex moves are a big deal because you can't really get no-strings-attached sex very easily, and the strings can get messy in a world where people feel comfortable shanking each other over a 6 pack of beer. 

For my L5R hack, it's not hard for nobles to get sex- between servants and sexworkers, no-strings-attached sex is pretty easy.   On the other hand, in a world with social structures, shame, and appearances of ideals to project... love is the messy thing.

So an example of what I'm thinking about:
"When you betray someone you love, then..."
"When you choose duty over the needs of someone you love then..."
"When you fall in love, then..."

I'm quite ok with situations like, "Are you betraying him?" "Well, I don't think it counts as betrayal". "Oh! Ok.  (scribbles down notes for future badness)". 

Questions:
- Will these kinds of things be too widgy compared to the clear cut act of sex?
- Is there a pitfall where this could be a weak cop out?
- Mechanically, anything else about sex moves I need to pay close attention to?

Chris

Shreyas

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Re: Sex Moves into Love Moves
« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2011, 08:10:31 PM »
Mechanically, sex moves between PCs are mutual.

bankuei

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Re: Sex Moves into Love Moves
« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2011, 08:16:01 PM »
Hmm.  Good point.

Which also means that the issues of Seduce become a critical point of Sex Moves, whereas how you personally feel about someone else doesn't demand that kind of interaction.

Chris

Johnstone

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Re: Sex Moves into Love Moves
« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2011, 10:42:02 PM »
The most important question is: Do you need an analogue of the sex moves in your L5R hack?

If it's something integral to the genre/source material, it should be pretty easy to determine when/if/how something happens. Like, if you're hacking AW into a spy game, then you change the moves to "when you obtain secret info from another character," or "when you share info," and you'll probably know when that happens in the game. Doesn't L5R have those houses, each with it's own idea of valour and honour? You might be better off turning those into special moves and leaving sex moves out.

bankuei

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Re: Sex Moves into Love Moves
« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2011, 11:07:16 PM »
Hi John,

You may notice that is exactly what I'm proposing to do.

Chris

Johnstone

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Re: Sex Moves into Love Moves
« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2011, 11:35:02 PM »
Sorry, I was a little vague wasn't I?

What I mean is, if there's some situation that's integral enough to the fiction that everybody has a special move related to it, then you will probably arrive at the group's definition of what counts pretty quickly, in play.

If you change the special moves so that each playbook (or house) has a different circumstance for their special move (also different mechanically) to be activated, then as long as they fit well with the playbook (or house), you probably won't have players being confused or trying to weasel out of them, because they picked them in the first place.

(which one are you actually doing, btw? same special move for all, or different for each?)

Probably the best thing to do at first is to write the move as concisely as you can, then write some commentary about how you want the move to work. If players (or just readers) pick up on your intention without you having to explain it to them with the commentary, it's well-written. If they keep misinterpreting it and you have to use the commentary allatime, then you need to re-write it.

bankuei

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Re: Sex Moves into Love Moves
« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2011, 11:44:15 PM »
Hi John,

Quote
you probably won't have players being confused or trying to weasel out of them, because they picked them in the first place.

I'm not worried about either of these situations.

Maybe this is a clearer statement of my questions:

If I change the triggering condition from sex, a 'concrete' physical act, requiring 2 or more cooperating characters, to a non-physical emotion declared by the player, what mechanical/play concerns should I look out for?

Let's assume everyone is playing in good faith and clarity will not be an issue.

Chris

Johnstone

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Re: Sex Moves into Love Moves
« Reply #7 on: August 20, 2011, 12:32:23 AM »
Oh! I see. In that case:

Just keep the trigger a concrete action. You might notice that almost every rule in AW is focused on what your character does, not who your character is or what your character thinks or feels.

If the trigger is "when you fall in love," what happens when everybody else at the table thinks one character is in love, based on his actions, but the player says no? What about when a player says his character is in love, but won't act on it? That's fine when it comes to role-playing and whatnot, but won't interface with any of the rules until his character actually does something. If the trigger is "when you honestly declare your love," then you have a concrete action (the declaration) that other characters will react to, and a statement of future intent (if you're being honest about being in love) that the MC and other players can anticipate when they're thinking about situations to introduce in the future.

So stuff like "when you choose duty over someone you love" needs something more concrete than just "duty," like "when you obey an order that harms someone you love," which requires more than just a choice, but also an action to demonstrate your choice. As long as there's a concrete demonstration of whatever choice or emotion you want to be important, anything resembling an AW move should work fine.

bankuei

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Re: Sex Moves into Love Moves
« Reply #8 on: August 20, 2011, 02:05:37 AM »
Quote
If the trigger is "when you fall in love," what happens when everybody else at the table thinks one character is in love, based on his actions, but the player says no? What about when a player says his character is in love, but won't act on it?

I wasn't totally clear, there, but in my first post?  The player decides.   

The player decides "Yeah, I'm in love, and that's a betrayal I just did" or "You know what?  I don't -feel- like that was a betrayal".  That's fine by me, the question as I stated, is, is there anything I need to watch out for that?

Do I -need- a concrete action?  The example for "Read a charged situation" shows the player saying, "It's a charged situation now", I could see "Wow, I'm totally betraying someone I love" or "Actually, I don't love them" being both fair, and meaningful things to do.

I'm pretty clear on how to make it work exactly like AW, that's not the problem here.  I'm asking if I step "this far" from AW, will it still work?  Are there things that AW does specifically I need to look out for?

Shreya's point was a great example of what I'm looking for - things to watch out for,  not how to make it more like AW.

Thanks,

Chris

Jeremy

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Re: Sex Moves into Love Moves
« Reply #9 on: August 20, 2011, 03:48:07 AM »
Do you see all the character types having the same set of "Special" moves:  when you betray someone you love; when you declare your love for someone; etc.?  But each playbook has different results?

Or, do you expect that each playbook (or what have you) has a different set of love-related actions?  Like, do the sneaky Scorpion-clan guys have a "when you betray someone you love" move? And the grace-before-all Crane-clan guys have a "when you demonstrate your love through beautiful expression" move?  And if so, do their different triggers result in the same benefit/punishment/outcome?  (Like, mark XP or get +1 Hx.)

If you go with the first (everyone has the same trigger/triggers with different outcomes):  then what you're making those specific love-related triggers an important part of the game and what it's about.  In this case, triggering the love moves feels like something that should be transparant to all the players and pretty objective: action, not feeling.  Since it's a theme that everyone shares, it feels like it should be public.  Then there's the question: is "love" something you want to draw a lot of attention to in a game about samurai and shugenja?

If you go with the second (everyone has different love-related triggers with the same/similar outcomes): then what you're making is a reward system (or maybe a punishment system) that will emphasize what's important about love to each character. That makes the subjective triggers ("no, really, I don't think that was a betrayal") feel more appropriate. The player is in control of what is or isn't important to his character.

If you go with a mix (everyone has different love-related triggers with different outcomes), then maybe you're doing a little of both.  But I don't know that there's an analog to that in AW.

bankuei

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Re: Sex Moves into Love Moves
« Reply #10 on: August 20, 2011, 05:41:12 AM »
Quote
If you go with a mix (everyone has different love-related triggers with different outcomes), then maybe you're doing a little of both.  But I don't know that there's an analog to that in AW.

That's a really good point.  I think each Clan-type will have different triggers, because each type is sort of a take on the issues of the samurai ideal- warrior-artist, etc.  I'm also leaning towards different results, just like how AW does, though which clan gets what I haven't figured out yet.

I'm seeing the subjectivity as a good thing, but asking in case there's big things I'm missing. 

One of the things that I want to highlight is the chasm between the ideals you get in samurai culture vs. realities: the family is supposed to love each other, the liege and sworn warriors are supposed to love each other, people are supposed to love their arranged marriage spouses, there's a whole lot of people you're NOT supposed to love, etc.

Tying the subjective part to the players' declaration makes it both an interesting comment on who your character is in the face of all of this, and, also sets it up as "delivering it on a silver platter" for the GM. 

"You don't see it as a betrayal?  Man, your best friend does.  He's not looking at you the same way, how could you do that to her?"   

"You just doomed your dad to die.  You don't love him?  Oh man, we need to find out what kind of person he was... or maybe we'll find out what kind of person you are..."

"You're not doing this out of duty?"
"No, I'm not choosing duty over him. I'm doing it FOR him."
"Oh! OH. Ooooooooh."

Like I said earlier - in this kind of setting, strings free sex is easy.  Love, that's the one that gets you.

Chris

Johnstone

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Re: Sex Moves into Love Moves
« Reply #11 on: August 20, 2011, 04:27:19 PM »
I'm sorry Chris. I'd like to be helpful, but I guess I'm just not understanding what you want to get out of using the sex moves with a different trigger in the first place? Maybe I'll try again:

1. If what you envision is essentially everybody to have the Touchstone's special (or variation), then just make sure the two opposing behaviours you are incentivizing are the ones you want to incentivize. Depending on how much you leave it up to the player's discretion, though, it might make them feel foolish or resentful (especially with, say, "When you choose duty over love, take +1forward" or something).

But the player making the decision isn't the main issue, with regards to concrete actions in moves. The problem you could run into is rules that push the players to talk to each other about the game/characters when what you want is rules that push characters into action. Maybe you want the former, that's not bad goal, but...

2. If what you really want is that the players talk about their characters and love (or whatever else their characters think and feel), then what does replicating the sex moves get you that telling the MC to ask questions doesn't? (There's no move for players describing the setting, but that happens all the time in AW games.) Or, what does it get you that hacking In a Wicked Age, or just IaWA's stats doesn't get you?

Does that make sense? If I'm completely off-base here, I can butt out, no worries.

Jeremy

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Re: Sex Moves into Love Moves
« Reply #12 on: September 03, 2011, 10:21:54 PM »
I've been rolling this around in my head, and I the more I think about the less I like the ambiguity and subjectivity of these love moves.  It comes down to this:  show, don't tell.

I think John hit it in his last comment.  Making the triggers subjective will generate discussion about how PCs are feeling, table-talk about the characters' internal motivations & loyalties.  I worry that you'll get lots of heady, cerebral talk.  Making the triggers objective will push the characters into action, and leave the *feeling* part more off-screen and unspoken.  That feels a lot more visceral to me, and a lot more appealing.

Here's another thing to consider: Vincent said somewhere that he put the sex moves in the game because he wanted to make sex part of the game.  Lots of gamers would politely leave sex out of most games they play, but the special sex moves force them to be part of the discussion.

So what is it that you want in your LotFR hack that gamers (or the ones you are designing for) don't naturally do, but that you *want* them to do?  For what you describe so far, romantic love & betrayal seem to be the issue.  Do you want them to develop and maintain romantic (or filial) relationships between each other & NPCs?  Do you want them to be constantly tempted to betray those relationships?  If so, design the moves to do *that.*

bankuei

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Re: Sex Moves into Love Moves
« Reply #13 on: September 03, 2011, 10:38:54 PM »
Quote
Making the triggers subjective will generate discussion about how PCs are feeling, table-talk about the characters' internal motivations & loyalties.  I worry that you'll get lots of heady, cerebral talk.

I'm not really worried about that, since, the players are the ones who declare these moves, no one else.  You don't have to justify or explain it.  Just like how AW treats "Read a Sitch":

"The situation's charged?"
"It is now."
"Oh!"

Obviously, I'm going to have to play with it and see what problems come up, but since there are other moves in base AW that seem to work just fine with "because the player says so", I'm not seeing that as a problem.   

Quote
Do you want them to develop and maintain romantic (or filial) relationships between each other & NPCs?  Do you want them to be constantly tempted to betray those relationships?  If so, design the moves to do *that.*

That would be, exactly what I'm aiming to do.  In L5R canon, each of the Clans' is a commentary on the issues of duty, honor, and bushido, and each addresses it a little differently -since it's those things that basically collide with normal human relationships, I figured individualized moves, much like Sex Moves, would be the way to go.

Chris

ctrail

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Re: Sex Moves into Love Moves
« Reply #14 on: September 04, 2011, 03:18:41 PM »
I wouldn't agree that
there are other moves in base AW that seem to work just fine with "because the player says so"
Quote
.
In the example from the book you quote, the player is communicating that their character arriving is making the situation charged, because they are about to make trouble, and this is immediately apparent to the MC when the player says "It is now." I wouldn't take that to mean that the player is the final arbitrator of whether a situation is charged and doesn't have to explain or justify it, just that in that particular situation "it is now" is all they had to say to explain it.
The game as written has the MC arbitrating whether a move is appropriate (probably with input from the table). That's not to say it's bad to include such moves, but the existing game isn't evidence that it will work.
Personally I'd find a move that the player can trigger without a corresponding event in the fiction unappealing, for similar reasons to Jeremy- he seems worried that this move will Tell and not Show, and I'm worried that it will neither Show nor Tell.
Although I'm a little confused because in some of your MC-Player interactions described below, the player does justify the move to the MC.