Author Topic: Seize by force - to kill  (Read 4665 times)

hobbesque

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Re: Seize by force - to kill
« Reply #30 on: November 23, 2017, 05:05:36 PM »
I also wanted to say that I appreciate the discussion. The new battle move setup is really interesting to me, and I'm excited to play with it more and better (relatedly, for some reason I didn't realize that all the new battle/car/subterfuge moves got examples and explanations in the core books, like everything else; suggested reading if you haven't yet!).

With respect to Go Aggro, I take a lot of the "hard" that goes into being good at it as "psychologically prepared to shoot an unarmed unresisting person" as well as the "has good aim and reflexes" that I associate with Seize By Force. So I think in the same way that the MC is allowed to say "he barricades himself in before you get a chance to shoot him, so you neither get what you want nor get to inflict harm" [this time, your reflexes were not good enough] they're allowed to say "he backs off, hands where you can see, so you neither get what you want nor get to inflict harm" [this time, you were not case-hardened enough to shoot him just because he was acting nonthreatening while not doing exactly what you asked]. It's like in Act Under Fire where you have them flinch on a 7-9 -- the player can't just say "Well, obviously flinching is the worse choice, I really wanted to just plow through, so I don't flinch, I plow through."

At that point, if the character decides to overcome their moment of weakness by saying "I just shoot him anyway," I'd probably make it more of an exchange-of-harm type deal, similar to how people who are suggesting that a drawn gun could be part of "backing away with hands where you can see," but in this case because their hestitation between "I point by gun at him and demand the narcostabs" and "fuck it I'm just going to shoot him and take the narcostabs" gives the NPCs a chance to dive for cover, draw weapons, etc., instead of having drawn already (which does seem like an non-colloquial reading of "hands where I can see 'em"). So that part's pretty similar.  I just wanted to point out that while players are the captains of their characters' intentions and desires, they are not of their characters' abilities, and there's a fuzzy place that Go Aggro occupies in that respect.

(p.s ever since I saw the title of this thread I've been imagining a pulp novel cover with "Seize by Force -- to kill!" across in in lurid red letters)

Paul T.

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Re: Seize by force - to kill
« Reply #31 on: November 23, 2017, 05:45:49 PM »
Excellent points. (And I would definitely buy that novel!)

Munin,

My interpretation of "go aggro", it seems, is slightly different from yours. The way I read it, the move shows a character trying to apply force and dominance to someone else. On a 10+, you've cornered them; they have to give in or suffer. On a 7-9, you were still effective in dominating the situation, but they're not responding to it the way you'd like ("Tell them what they want to hear" is a perfect example). You putting the weight of intimidation (or threat of violence) on them has now limited their choices to the outcomes listed in the move.

I *think* we're on the same page. However, it's important to treat it as a hit, and not a miss - simply turning the situation into a tense standoff is undercutting the value of the move. In that regard, then, it depends on the specifics of the scene - working off your brief example, we're probably filling in the gaps differently here online (which would hopefully not be the case in person, at the table). That, to me, underscores the importance of grounding the moves in detailed fiction, once again.

Ebok

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Re: Seize by force - to kill
« Reply #32 on: November 23, 2017, 08:09:52 PM »
I've handled that go aggro situation a much like hobbesque. I tell my players, you know, sometimes your character just isn't as Hard as you want them to be. And so when you choose to go aggro, if you hit a 7-9 and they're backing off, you cannot just shoot them. It's not in your hands, you're just not hard enough to follow through. Generally, though, them backing off comes with words that tend to disarm the violence as well, so I've never had a player even raise a concern about this.

I have also done things similar to Munin's reaction there as well, so long as the NPC didn't get to draw and also start blasting, that's fine by me.

Paul T.

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Re: Seize by force - to kill
« Reply #33 on: November 24, 2017, 04:30:35 AM »
Yeah, 'go aggro' is an interesting move in the way it agency away from the character/player. Somewhat unlike most of the other moves, in that regard (with the possible exception of a 7-9 on an "acting under fire" roll).

Munin

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Re: Seize by force - to kill
« Reply #34 on: November 24, 2017, 05:44:40 AM »
Yes, the issue is absolutely one of player agency, and I think we might see it slightly differently. I have no problem saying "you tried to shoot but missed" when narrating an opponent barricading themselves securely in (if the fictional situation warrants it or it seems like it's a reasonable consequence), but saying, "yeah, you just don't have the stones to pull the trigger" feels like it crosses a subtle but important line. So rather than say, "no, you cannot make this decision about whether or not your character takes this action," I'd much rather tell them the consequences and ask. As in, "yeah, you can totally drop the hammer on this guy - but now he's gonna get his licks in before he goes down. Do you still want to?"

Further, while a 7-9 is a hit, it is important to actually look at the results of the move in question. Much like a 7-9 in act under fire is likely to complicate your life or a 7-9 in pack alpha is going to make you make some tough choices, the 7-9 case for go aggro explicitly gives your opponent the capacity to NOT do what you want. I guess Vincent can chime in here himself if he chooses, but I think this is intentional; if 7-9 always made the other person cave (with or without complications), then everyone would be going aggro all the time because it would be the easiest way to get people to do what you want. There are a number of moves where things are really only "good" for you on a 10+, and while the partial doesn't totally suck, it's 50-50 whether you can really call it a "success." Remember, one of the "ugly choices" you might be given when you act under fire is "you achieve what you wanted but also suffer this other consequence, or you fail to achieve what you wanted and avoid this other consequence - which do you choose?" In other words, failure is a valid player choice even on a 7-9.

This is awesome because it puts the question (and the agency) directly in the player's hands. You know going in what the consequence will be, so how important is it to you to succeed? The example I gave works exactly the same way - Oh, shit, Squiggy has a gun too! How badly do you want those narcostabs? Enough to start a close-quarters gunfight over it? Ball's in you court, friend, what do you do now?

It's also important to point out that I would explicitly not have Squiggy suddenly produce a weapon and start immediately blazing away (exchange harm) as that is not one of my 7-9 options as the MC. But on a miss? Jesus, fuck, Squiggy is quick as a snake! You don't know whether he's jazzed on combat stims or just a fucking gun-snatching kung-fu ninja, but now you're looking down the barrel of your own gun, and Squiggy is jabbering a mile a minute about how you need to back the fuck off or he'll plug you and you can almost feel the trigger spring straining. What do you do? Hey, look at that, I've just flipped the PC's move! But that's appropriate for a miss, not a 7-9.

A 12+ on advanced go aggro is the only situation in the game that completely removes agency over intent from a player (with the possible exception of an arresting skinner, but that has baked-in limitations), and I think that's as it should be. Even a 10+ on seduce or manipulate still leaves the choice of "is leaving XP on the table and/or losing a highlight worth it to me?" which is fantastic!

And again, it's important to note that this is purely a narrative choice on the part of the MC to change up the fictional position of the characters involved because "I go aggro on him again" is pretty uninteresting and (I feel) against the spirit of how PbtA games generally work.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2017, 05:52:27 AM by Munin »

arakn_e

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Re: Seize by force - to kill
« Reply #35 on: November 24, 2017, 08:19:32 AM »
@Munin : you totally answered my question. Which doesn't solve my problem. There is a clear situation in which I don't see which move is triggered.


Keeler has a gang. He faces Dremmer's gang in a western situation style. Everybody is ready to fight.

Keeler : "These dogs are gonna die, now, we just open fire on them, we want them dead." Which move is triggered?

It is not single combat.
Nothing is seized by force.
Maybe you lay down fire, trying to "take an opportune shot on an ennemy within your reach" (but the -1 harm is not very clear for me in this specific case)?

Oh, now that I'm writing it.... This is my question : maybe the whole point is that I misunderstand the meaning of single combat (which I understand as "1vs1 combat") ? It is single combat, but Keeler attacks with its gang, against a gang (which would be a non english native mistake which make sense, I translated it as "1vs1" and sticked to it but with this discussion, I'm doubting)?

hobbesque

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Re: Seize by force - to kill
« Reply #36 on: November 24, 2017, 01:39:33 PM »
You read it in the intuitive English way! "Single combat" means one-on-one, it uses the singular "someone," etc. I think it's fair to say Ebok's read is a bit of a hack -- "whenever two sides fight each other without an objective other than the other's destruction...". Intuitively, it makes sense to me that on any scale larger than 1 vs literal 1, it inevitably gets tactical. Admittedly, my most applicable experience is in paintball, but even in a fight of 2 people vs 2 people, each side is trying to move up the field so they can shoot the other side without cover (seize "tactical advantage"?). Even if there was literally no immediate cover, just a featureless plain, each side is going to be hoping the other side breaks and leaves rather than keeping on blowing them to pieces (seize "the field"). The PC's choices are not the only determiner of what happens -- NPCs on any side are going to try to run, take cover, etc. AW is not by default in a genre where you stand, shirtless, atop rather than behind cover, firing your machine gun from the hip, and it certainly isn't as far as the NPCs are concerned!

So:

Quote
Keeler has a gang. He faces Dremmer's gang in a western situation style. Everybody is ready to fight.

Keeler : "These dogs are gonna die, now, we just open fire on them, we want them dead."

MC: OK, cool. Do you take cover or something? If you just stand there in the open it's probably not going to be fun.

[If no, that's a golden opportunity! Whatever else happens, they're taking harm, or more harm than they would otherwise, if yes...].

MC: OK, you open fire, you tell your gang to open fire. Dremmer and their gang dive for cover, and your gang does too. [some NPCs on both sides] are hit, but nothing decisive yet. What do you do?

Or: They dive for cover and are retreating in good order, covering each other. Your guys aren't breaking cover to chase them yet. You'll get some of them but not nearly all of them, at this rate. What do you do?

The answer to the next question can and probably should be framed in a SBF kind of way. Seize their cover, or maybe the variant where you hold on to something you have (you have tenuous hold of Dremmer and their people, but if you got decisive hold, they'd be surrounded, no way out).

lumpley

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Re: Seize by force - to kill
« Reply #37 on: November 24, 2017, 02:33:36 PM »
arak_ne: Right! If there are no other tactical considerations - no other objectives, no advantage of ground, just bloody battle Gangs of New York style - it's single combat. Keeler and Dremmer are using their gangs as weapons, no big deal.

-Vincent
« Last Edit: November 24, 2017, 02:37:49 PM by lumpley »

Munin

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Re: Seize by force - to kill
« Reply #38 on: November 24, 2017, 03:07:39 PM »
^^^ This.

lumpley

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Re: Seize by force - to kill
« Reply #39 on: November 24, 2017, 03:22:29 PM »
I guess Vincent can chime in here himself if he chooses, but I think this is intentional; if 7-9 always made the other person cave (with or without complications), then everyone would be going aggro all the time because it would be the easiest way to get people to do what you want. There are a number of moves where things are really only "good" for you on a 10+, and while the partial doesn't totally suck, it's 50-50 whether you can really call it a "success."

Here are two ways, of many, that it could go. I'm the MC. You just went aggro on Squiggy and hit with a 7-9.

One Way It Could Go
I choose to have Squiggy back off calmly, hands where you can see. "Squiggy backs off, like whoa, whoa, with his hands out in front of him," I say.

I'm satisfied that I've had my say. I've told you what Squiggy does, as allowed and required by the move. I honestly don't know whether you'll be satisfied with Squiggy's halfassed submission, and I'm curious to find out.

"What do you do?" I say.

"Hell with Squiggy and his backing away calmly," you say. "I shoot his face in."

Cool. I asked what you do and you told me. But...
Quote
And again, it's important to note that this is purely a narrative choice on the part of the MC to change up the fictional position of the characters involved because "I go aggro on him again" is pretty uninteresting...
I'm with you. I wouldn't call for you to go aggro again. Now you're not going aggro, you're suckering him at point blank range. You inflict your harm and in his last instants of life Squiggy regrets that he misjudged the situation like that.

I chose to have him back away with his hands up, not knowing whether he was forcing your hand, or caving, or what. I left that to be your call.

Another Way It Could Go
I choose to have Squiggy back off calmly, hands where you can see. "Squiggy backs off, like whoa, whoa, with his hands out in front of him," I say.

You're still looking at me like I'm not done talking, or else I decide that I'm not done talking yet, either way. So I choose an MC move and make it. I choose to turn your move back on you, in an appropriately soft way, and I keep talking:

"So yeah, you can see Squiggy's hands clear as day - and the giant fucking magnum in them that you didn't know he had is now pointed straight at you. And he's sidling backwards towards the door and saying, 'OK, now let's just all be cool and go our separate ways, right?' Now what do you do?"

Which Way Is Correct?
Both, of course. Any number of other ways, too.

I don't think that everyone should always play it one way OR the other. I think that you can settle which way you personally prefer to play it, if you must, but only for yourself, not for the rest of us. Or else you can take it case by case as it comes, which I'd recommend as more fun and flexible than pre-deciding.

Or, In Other Words
Once I've told you that Squiggy backs away calmly, hands where you can see, the move is done. We've played it out by the rules, in full, the end. You have gone aggro.

What do you or I say next? Go Aggro doesn't tell us. That's not Go Aggro's concern, it's outside of the move, it's my next move or your next move, snowballing.

-Vincent
« Last Edit: November 24, 2017, 04:12:40 PM by lumpley »

hobbesque

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Re: Seize by force - to kill
« Reply #40 on: November 24, 2017, 06:35:14 PM »
arak_ne: Right! If there are no other tactical considerations - no other objectives, no advantage of ground, just bloody battle Gangs of New York style - it's single combat. Keeler and Dremmer are using their gangs as weapons, no big deal.

Vx cathedra! I stand corrected. :p

Some of my inclination to have groups of npcs not necessarily oblige the PCs in bloody battle was thinking that, playing them as people, they'd make it more complicated. But then again, they're not that complicated, sometimes.

I realized the other thing is that I might be biased against the single combat move. Thinking as a PC, seizing is much more advantageous - more choices, even on a miss (hence Ebok hacking it, I think?). My players seem to reach for it quickly, although that might be being more familiar with 1E. Also might might be a sign I should make them tell me what their character does, not what move they make, and take it from there.

Another source of bias is that I'm a fan of fiddly "on a 10+, choose X, on a 7-9, choose X-1..." moves, and zooming in on combat and tactics in general. I think the 2E battle moves as a whole are really neat and want to use 'em. Single combat has that cool decide-in-secret-to-keep-going element, but otherwise is pretty simple.

Paul T.

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Re: Seize by force - to kill
« Reply #41 on: November 24, 2017, 07:14:41 PM »
I really like Vincent's take here, both the explanation and the example. The first option he describes is pretty much exactly how we would play out that 'go aggro' situation at our table. (The NPC's choice to back off, hands up, is sort of a gamble - he's betting the PC doesn't actually want him dead. If he chose wrong, well, I'm looking at him through crosshairs, anyway, if he snuffs it, what is that to me?)

(If he wanted a safer option, I might interpret "barricade himself" more loosely, like jumping behind an overturned table and yelling from there: "Hey, man! Can't we settle this as friends?" It's important to me, though, that the PC gets some impact from their "go aggro" move; just having the NPC draw and turn the situation into a stalemate might feel like more of a miss. I'm a fan on the PC, after all, and he just took a serious risk by making the 'go aggro' move; on a 7-9 I want to make the impact of the move is felt.)

As for "seize by force" in that situation, I agree with the sentiments in the last post above mine:

* Generally speaking, let the fiction dictate the move chosen. If they're really just going head-to-head, then "inflict harm as established" or roll Single Combat, depending on how quick you want this to go.

* Ebok's variation of "seize by force" makes the choice between the two moves easier, since it's balanced mechanically.

* However, usually I want to describe the situation in more detail - who's where? Who's doing what? In that process, I pretty much always find that there's something the player wants. If he really wants to slaughter the enemy gang, it might be to "seize" the exit or their avenue of retreat, to surround them or cut them off. Are some of them inching back towards the bikes parked just downhill? Great, I'd like to stop cut them off from there - I'm seizing ground.

If the player decides that option isn't that important, fine, they don't have to choose it - they can suffer little harm, inflict terrible harm, and dismay their enemies (assuming they manage a 10+). But now we have a much more fictionally vivid situation and a more dynamic battleground (since we now know what might happen next, and what to expect if things don't go as planned).

Borogove

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Re: Seize by force - to kill
« Reply #42 on: November 25, 2017, 05:50:56 AM »
The other thing about going ahead and shooting Squiggy here while he's backing away with his hands up is that anyone in the room with you when you do it knows that's the kind of thing you're willing to do. You can't credibly do the Mal Reynolds "you'll be awake, you'll be facing me, and you'll be armed" thing after that. If you're good with that, fine, but depending on who you were before that, it might mean a permanent change to the status quo.

If Squiggy knew you were a bloodthirsty killer in the first place, he probably would have gone for "barricade himself", right? So whether it was Squiggy or the MC or the player himself who thought that backing off would keep him alive, well, someone learned an important lesson, something interesting happened.

arakn_e

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Re: Seize by force - to kill
« Reply #43 on: November 25, 2017, 10:22:15 AM »
Thank you all for your answers, my problem is solved.

It's crazy to see how many discussions a question can raise. And I could write a thesis about "How do I understand a extremely complex situation a very simple rule" :)

Munin

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Re: Seize by force - to kill
« Reply #44 on: November 25, 2017, 06:19:18 PM »
That's one of the things that's so cool (IMO) about Apocalypse World - its elegant simplicity encapsulates some really nuanced stuff going on under the hood. One of the recent discussions about seize by force was cool in this regard, because it highlighted situations in which MCs were doing very similar things but for slightly different reasons.