Author Topic: Rules question: what move for restraining someone?  (Read 1617 times)

Paul T.

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Rules question: what move for restraining someone?
« on: March 07, 2018, 04:44:02 AM »
I recently started running a game of AW, and we had a situation come up which was a bit of head-scratcher (surprisingly; normally we don't struggle with this kind of thing, since we've all played a bunch of AW).

I'd like to hear some opinions on what might work well, and what you would do with your home group.

The situation is as follows:

A violent individual is trying to catch a thief, who is hiding inside a house.

The PC thinks it's a case of mistaken identity: the thief they're looking for is someone else! The person inside is someone they don't want to get hurt.

Now, this violent individual - let's say Dremmer - is in a rage, and doesn't care about the PC - he just wants to get in there and get at the person inside, who he thinks stole from him.

The PC is standing behind the violent individual at the door to the house. She doesn't want to hurt Dremmer, but she does want to protect her friend, inside. She says, "I reach out from behind, and put my pipe (she's carrying one, just in case!) around this guy's neck. I want to keep him from going inside!"

How would you resolve this? The PC wants to stop Dremmer from getting inside, and she's willing to be physical with him, but not willing to hurt him. Dremmer is pissed, but he's not looking to hurt the PC, or even really paying any attention to her - he's focused on his target.

It feels like it's a move of some sort (if not, what MC move would you respond with?), and several options are possible, but the choice isn't obvious. Sure, we can always fall back on "act under fire", but, with the fire being "he gets into the house", that feels a bit... not quite right.

I'd love to hear some takes on this. How would you handle it, at your table?

Himalayan Salt

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Re: Rules question: what move for restraining someone?
« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2018, 05:52:02 AM »
You can Seize By Force and just grab/grapple with someone and inflict 0 Harm. There's an example in the book in the Seize By Force section:

Quote
Keeler decides that enough’s enough and goes to take Birdie’s magnum away from her. (Who gave Birdie a magnum in the first place? Jesus.) Keeler doesn’t want to kill Birdie, so she’s not using a weapon, just her bare hands. She seizes the gun by force and hits the roll with a 9. She chooses to take definite control of it and to impress, dismay, or frighten Birdie.

In the exchange of harm, Keeler hits Birdie for 0-harm for grappling and restraining, minus 0 because Birdie’s wearing no armor, for a total of 0-harm. Birdie hits Keeler for 3-harm for her magnum (3-harm close reload loud), minus 2 for Keeler’s body armor, for a total of 1-harm.

“As soon as Birdie realizes that she’s shot you,” I say, “and she sees the look on your face, she panics. She throws the gun down and runs.”

“She better,” Keeler says.

So you'd be Seizing Dremmer by Force if he's able to attack back (maybe he starts fighting once you try to restrain him). If the MC thinks he's not aware of you trying to stop him and can't fight back yet, it seems like Act Under Fire could fit.

Ebok

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Re: Rules question: what move for restraining someone?
« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2018, 12:52:49 AM »
Typically it is actually really hard to stop someone without really hurting them unless you know what you're doing. i.e. Quarantine's combat discipline. Hollywood has that fake knocked out cause you hit them in the head, thing, so you can roll with that--but it's lies. Beating someone into a pulp with a 1-harm weapon can do it, 1-harm is a weapon that won't typically kill someone, so as long as they don't give themselves +1 harm via a move or option in seize by force, or keep beating them after they're down... you can put them down that way.

In my games, because people aren't trained with old-world fighting secrets, you really cannot just wrestle someone down and pin them. If you're playing a BIG character, and you just want to lay your mass on their face or something, sure-- roll seize by force with yourself as a weapon (1-harm btw). If you're a small person trying to do that to a large person... I hope you have a move with s-harm otherwise... looool, no.

Basically, s-harm, is the only HARM that can do that.
Manipulate, and GoAggro are better.

If I were to play it out, it would most certainly be a seize by force roll. But I wouldn't be okay with that with standard AW, because rolling a miss and getting take definite hold makes the move an auto win. So Yuck. With my Seize by force move hack, (NPC gets 10+ 0, 7-9 1, miss 3 hold to choose from) it is better because the NPC on a 9 or less can try to counter the take definite hold, (though a 7-9 pc can always choose to take definite hold twice) thus making the scene actually feel like a fight.

I really don't like the move presented as an example, because if you take definite hold of someone with a grapple, how can they just throw down the gun and run away? Why would they do that? Take definite hold and impress them? Maybe then you've leverage to talk them out of it if you didnt before... but really. It's VERY hard to stop someone belligerently trying to get someone else with violence without seriously hurting them.

To be honest, it should actually break down into a real fight. You don't want to hurt them? Don't roll HARD MOVEs. Use hot. Fighting isn't cool. Using a pipe isn't non-lethal. You don't want to kill them? Use your hands, fight for control over the door way. WIN, or dismay them enough to route. If you dont get definite hold of the door, then you're fighting over it still unless they got definite hold. Pretty simple to work with.
« Last Edit: March 08, 2018, 12:57:59 AM by Ebok »

Borogove

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Re: Rules question: what move for restraining someone?
« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2018, 04:24:12 AM »
I really don't like the move presented as an example, because if you take definite hold of someone with a grapple, how can they just throw down the gun and run away? Why would they do that? Take definite hold and impress them? Maybe then you've leverage to talk them out of it if you didnt before... but really. It's VERY hard to stop someone belligerently trying to get someone else with violence without seriously hurting them.

The stakes weren't getting hold of Birdie, they were getting hold of the gun. PC chose "take definite hold of it" and "impress/dismay/frighten", so the resolution has to be that the PC has the gun and Birdie doesn't. Exchange of harm is mandatory because it's Seize By Force; if PC had chosen "suffer little harm" then maybe it would have been an elbow to the jaw instead of a gunshot in the flak vest.

Ebok

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Re: Rules question: what move for restraining someone?
« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2018, 03:48:11 AM »
While true, if it was to be applied to the original stake: "restraining someone". I feel that it absolutely would not provide a good example for playing it out.

However, having let the concept stew for awhile-- I would probably not play it out over restraining someone at all. They might be trying to restrain someone, but what they're fighting over would be getting access to the door. So if Go Aggro and Manipulate cannot be applied, fighting to defend the door is a viable exchange--which might entail a grapple of some kind.

Maleficum

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Re: Rules question: what move for restraining someone?
« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2018, 04:16:53 PM »
In the original question and situation described I'd have them roll Act under fire.

On a 10+ Sure, no problem.

On a 7-9 maybe an ugly choice? "Sure, you can stop them, but you'll have to harm them." or a worse outcome: "You do it, no problem, but while you strugge they bite your hand, take 1-harm and roll the When you take harm move.

On a miss: They get inside and start thrashing on the perceived thief, he/she is on their back arms raised in a defencive position and look terrifyed. They're clearly taking harm. What do you do?

Paul T.

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Re: Rules question: what move for restraining someone?
« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2018, 11:19:18 PM »
This has been quite interesting to ponder.

I agree that "acting under fire" is probably the most "by-the-book" approach to this situation.

It didn't sit right with me at that moment, because, first, I'm always leery of using "act under fire" for everything and all the time (tempting; it being such a versatile move), and, second, it seemed a little odd to say what the "fire" here was. Him getting into the cabin?

I always try to think of "the character should be able to succeed and for the fire to still strike" on a 7-9, and that wasn't a good fit here. (I know the move doesn't *always* have to act this way, but it's an easy way to think of logical and "obvious" 7-9 outcomes.)

We also considered:

* An MC move. (Always a good option to remember; here it might have been, "You won't be able to restrain him without hurting him/him biting your arm, do you still want to do it?")

* Seize by force.

This is, after all, literally about seizing something or someone by force.

Unfortunately, this was tricky because a) neither side was really interested in hurting the other, b) it didn't seem to represent the character's position of power appropriately (it was part of her stated intent here to prevent violence, as well as not to get hurt - quite the opposite of launching into a painful face-to-face fight or battle), and c) in 2nd Ed, Seize by Force can succeed even on a miss, which would make the roll rather boring in this instance (especially since significant harm wasn't on the table).

* Go aggro

This one appealed to me, since this was definitely a "threat of violence being used to control someone's behaviour". It wasn't clear how we would rationalize the harm, though - s-harm? 0-harm? In the fiction, the PC was definitely threatening 0-harm (she very intentionally wanted to avoid hurting the guy), and that doesn't mesh well with the move - why wouldn't the NPC choose to suck it up, right?

A tricky one, and one I'm still pondering. More thoughts and opinions welcome! Some excellent discussion so far.

Ebok

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Re: Rules question: what move for restraining someone?
« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2018, 12:57:37 AM »
I think you're looking at this wrong.

I don't understand how cool would even work here. You've not described anything that would have the stakes for a cool move. You're not acting under fire. You're the FIRE. Do you want to grab a person? YOU GRAB THEM, this is AW we don't roll to hit. You think a grapple ends after you get a grip? No, that's where it STARTS.

EXAMPLE

NPC wants to break someone's face.
Player wants to stop them.

Player tries to grab ahold of the NPC, okay cool it happens. Player begs against the NPC fighting them off to listen, if NPC cares about the player's opinion, you've got leverage. Roll Hot. On miss, we've got the cross hairs, the NPC wants to the break the face more then they give a fuck about the player. Also, we've got a miss to snowball with.


OR

Player tries to grab ahold of the NPC, okay cool it happens. The Player doesn't want to beg, they want to FORCE them violently to the earth. NPCs and Characters in the apocalypse world don't s-harm for free, they get the harm they threaten to deal as a motivation. So this is not a 0-harm or s-harm, this is 1-harm fighting. 1-harm fighting probably isn't going to kill them. If the NPC isn't interested in killing the player, fine, but bashing you in the face with your own pipe to get you off and then into the door--maybe that's still fine. Is the player just going to let it happen or fight back too, how much does each side actually want what they want?

If you are willing to hurt but not kill the NPC to stop this. Seize by force, where the goal to prevent to the NPC from getting inside, this can be summed up nicely as defending a place.

I gotta say, if the PC doesn't want to hurt the NPC, and the NPC doesn't want to hurt the PC. Maybe grapple doesn't mean shit, maybe it happens, no one rolls, and you keep role-playing the scene right through.


OR

Player tries to grab ahold of the NPC, okay cool it happens. The Player puts the gun against the NPC's head and threatens to blow it off if they don't settle down. Hot is the player won't follow through, hard if they will.


OR

If I wanted to do cool, it would look more like this: You grab the tackle the NPC as they try to break into the home. While holding on them you scream for the guy to RUN AWAY. Let us assume he does and starts to flee. NPC now likes you a lot less, and they're going to fight you off and go kill that fucker. Roll cool to hold him down long enough.

10 + You do it.
7-9 You manage to give the NPC a head start but you got elbowed in the face when the NPC finally gets you off. 0-harm, roll harm move. Or any other halfway you did it! But you're not holding him anymore and the sitch is still rolling downhill.
Miss, You fail, you got gut /groin punched, then decked in the nose, through blurry vision and a shit load of pain you see the NPC catch his target, and then shoot him, stab him, or kick the ever-loving shit out of him, as per the fiction.

P.S. Going Aggro with 0-harm is LOL, and should be treated as such. It's a bad bluff, at best. So hard. Player clearly doesnt want whatever they're doing enough. That said, I've had go aggro rolled on blackmail, do this OR I"LL TELL! And thats works out fine.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2018, 01:14:06 AM by Ebok »

Munin

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Re: Rules question: what move for restraining someone?
« Reply #8 on: March 14, 2018, 05:40:06 PM »
I don't understand how cool would even work here. You've not described anything that would have the stakes for a cool move.
I disagree completely. Cool is keeping your nerve while you're trying to restrain Dremmer and he fucking bites you. Cool is not escalating the situation and accidentally killing him because he pissed you off. HE's the fire, not you.

For me the breakdown is easy - if you're willing (and able) to inflict Harm (actual, honest-to-god Harm, not some milquetoast base-0-Harm bullshit), then sure, you can seize by force. But understand that even inflicting the bare-handed 1-Harm on an NPC means you had to literally beat Dremmer half to death to keep him from going through that door. Fucker just would not stay down. That can (and should) have consequences.

But if you're trying to avoid Harm all the way around? Nah, man, that's Cool. As in, "hoping that cooler heads prevail." There's nothing that says that Cool can't involve physical contact or violence, but in my opinion it's the ultimate intent behind what you're trying to achieve (i.e. hurting or not hurting Dremmer as you keep him outside) that matters most.

P.S. Going Aggro with 0-harm is LOL, and should be treated as such. It's a bad bluff, at best. So hard. Player clearly doesnt want whatever they're doing enough. That said, I've had go aggro rolled on blackmail, do this OR I"LL TELL! And thats works out fine.
I disagree again. If there's no immediate violence on offer, that's not go aggro, that's manipulate, if for no other reason than that it's funny to watch Tough Guys (TM) have to roll+Hot.

Paul T.

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Re: Rules question: what move for restraining someone?
« Reply #9 on: March 14, 2018, 10:55:29 PM »
Some good thoughts here; it's fun to see how differently each person sees the situation and its resolution.

I very much like Ebok's angle: not making it a move at all - the grapple just happens. I think that would usually be my preferred way of handling this. However, that doesn't take into account the table dynamic we had at the time, which was the PC already trying a few things which didn't work, and now being backed into a corner: she had to act NOW or it would be too late. This meant that all the players were looking at me, implicitly asking, "Can she do it [perhaps fast enough]?"

It was clear that none of us felt it was at all a given, and that there was very little time to act here - it was in the middle of a scramble/chase, so it would be over within a second or two, and just grabbing this guy hard enough to restrain him would be sufficient to resolve the situation.

Having said that, it seems to me that the two of you are actually in agreement:

But if you're trying to avoid Harm all the way around? Nah, man, that's Cool. As in, "hoping that cooler heads prevail." There's nothing that says that Cool can't involve physical contact or violence, but in my opinion it's the ultimate intent behind what you're trying to achieve (i.e. hurting or not hurting Dremmer as you keep him outside) that matters most.

If I wanted to do cool, it would look more like this: You grab the tackle the NPC as they try to break into the home. While holding on them you scream for the guy to RUN AWAY. Let us assume he does and starts to flee. NPC now likes you a lot less, and they're going to fight you off and go kill that fucker. Roll cool to hold him down long enough.

10 + You do it.
7-9 You manage to give the NPC a head start but you got elbowed in the face when the NPC finally gets you off. 0-harm, roll harm move. Or any other halfway you did it! But you're not holding him anymore and the sitch is still rolling downhill.
Miss, You fail, you got gut /groin punched, then decked in the nose, through blurry vision and a shit load of pain you see the NPC catch his target, and then shoot him, stab him, or kick the ever-loving shit out of him, as per the fiction.

That's the same solution, isn't it? A straightforward "act under fire".

Ebok

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Re: Rules question: what move for restraining someone?
« Reply #10 on: March 14, 2018, 11:09:00 PM »
For the most part, I don't really get Munin's objections.

The only difference I see is in the stakes Paul. A grapple is a narrative tactic for delaying, not resolving a situation. It could potentially resolve it, but TIME is what the act under fire was buying. If the guy inside the house wasn't going anywhere, it wouldn't mean a damn thing.

If the PC was backed into a corner by trying a bunch of other stuff, maybe you needed to let that snowball roll further before giving them the next "what do you do?" Maybe he should have been inside and be swinging something at the other one, and the PC is now rolling act under fire to drive tackle him. i.e. Under the threat of the other guy getting beaten up, I try to hold the aggressor down. On a hit, the other guys gets away. On a miss, he doesn't. On a 10+ and I or the other guy also didnt get whacked with something mean.


Quote
However, that doesn't take into account the table dynamic we had at the time, which was the PC already trying a few things which didn't work, and now being backed into a corner: she had to act NOW or it would be too late. This meant that all the players were looking at me, implicitly asking, "Can she do it [perhaps fast enough]?

This just makes me think you might have been babying the situation. It happens sometimes, you pause before you should have, you give them a chance to say something, and whatever they say doesn't seem like it'll work. It's okay to say it does not. If she's not willing to hurt him, and she doesn't have some distinct skill in this type of take down, or maybe she's just too small by comparison for it to be realistic, maybe she just gets smacked into the dirt, or grabs a hold, but it pushed off while he breaks into the door, and you carry the sitch forward until you HAVE the stakes you feel comfortable with.

If you don't think what she says will work, tell her that's not enough to stop him. A pipe against the throat? Unless you're planning to hurt them, that pipe is in your way.

Maybe, you roll cool anyway, and on a 7-9 she is grappled by him. 6 she is tossed aside groaning and he's got the other one. 10+ phew. I dont like this much because the 7-9 doesnt mean much unless he's going to threaten her. If he just lets go and goes back to the door, the roll didnt change the sitch, and that's a good example of a roll that should not be made.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2018, 11:29:47 PM by Ebok »

Munin

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Re: Rules question: what move for restraining someone?
« Reply #11 on: March 15, 2018, 02:34:58 AM »
Ebok, I think it boils down to the fact that I'm not a fan of making 0-Harm attacks. It feels like a lame way to bring Hard into the equation, which seems kind of cheap considering that Hard is literally a measure of how willing you are to inflict bodily harm to get what you want. If you're not inflicting any Harm - indeed have no intention of inflicting Harm - then that's doesn't really read as "Hard" to me, which takes the Hard-based moves more or less off the table.

That said, I do agree with Ebok whole-heartedly in that I think the issue is one of what's at stake. I also think that's where clearly determining the PC's intent should happen as well.

And yes, part of the issue is "what happens after," right? OK, so what if you can stop Dremmer from going through the door? Does that give the quarry time to get away? Or does it just kick the can down the road a minute or two and Dremmer is still in a homicidal fury?

If delaying Dremmer by grappling - with the intention of not hurting him - gives the quarry time to get away, then sure, this seems like a good fit for act under fire. 10+ you do it, by the time Dremmer breaks free the quarry has vanished. 7-9, you get the standard worse outcome (you slow Dremmer down a little bit, but he slips out or your grasp quickly enough that the chase is still on, though in another location and certainly under different circumstances), hard bargain (Yeah, you manage to restrain Dremmer long enough for the quarry to make a clean get-away, but he fucking bites you in the process - have some Harm, chuckle-head), or ugly choice (You can stop Dremmer long enough for the quarry to make a clean get-away, but you'll actually have to inflict Harm on him to do so - do you want to? Also, hope you're not merciless; oh shit, you are). 6-, you probably get popped/bitten/thrown and Dremmer gets his hands on the quarry while you're still seeing stars.

But if there's no where for the quarry to go, what you're actually talking about isn't slowing Dremmer down, but changing his mind, and that's a whole different kettle of fish. As I see it, your options are to a) throw Dremmer a serious enough beat-down that he re-thinks his position (and whether or not he's willing to fight you back determines whether this is go aggro or sieze by force) or b) convince him that there is a better time/place/method/opportunity to handle whatever his beef with the quarry may be, which is classic manipulation. This might be a tough sell, and as the MC I'd be pretty fucking specific about having the PC establish just what leverage he or she might have over ol' Dremmer. You might be robbing Peter to pay Paul, and I'd probably pretty brutal about what constitutes the "concrete assurance" required to get Dremmer to stand down if the PC managed only a 7-9.

Ebok

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Re: Rules question: what move for restraining someone?
« Reply #12 on: March 15, 2018, 03:48:03 AM »
Munin, now we're saying exactly the same things.

Quote
P.S. Going Aggro with 0-harm is LOL
This was me MOCKING a 0harm Hard move, not condoning it.

Paul T.

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Re: Rules question: what move for restraining someone?
« Reply #13 on: March 15, 2018, 06:54:18 PM »
Great, sounds like we're all on the same page now.

Basically, the conditions you're describing are exactly what we saw in our game: the PC had the jump on the NPC, and was just looking to buy a few moments of time.

Still, the "grab someone from behind" is a bit of a funny thing, mechanically, in AW.

Munin

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Re: Rules question: what move for restraining someone?
« Reply #14 on: March 15, 2018, 08:54:13 PM »
Not really. I mean, like anything else it largely depends on your goal/intention when grabbing them from behind. Furthermore, just because you grab someone doesn't automatically mean you control them. Gods know I've studied martial arts long enough to know that grabbing someone is usually only a brief prelude to getting your ass kicked. Even if someone's not actually trying to hurt you, the way they generally flail about trying to break your hold means they're all hip-checks and stepping on you and flying elbows, and if you're not careful you're likely to get clocked regardless of their (or your) intent.