[hw-rules] Re: Starting a new contest

From: Nick Brooke <Nick_Brooke_at_7EI_22uFiw95tnS6lN2VxIKxsR7R27UD9UCEXjZ8cjSZp7wCgEntI6813eD39G4Mrk3>
Date: Tue, 28 Mar 2000 19:08:37 +0100

Phil asks:

> Getting back to the Great Troll vs Oscar situation, let's say the
> Great Troll truly doesn't care about humiliation. It barely under-
> stands the concept. How should this be handled?

By the GM *either* telling Oscar's player to pick a more appropriate ability to enter the contest with (nice GM), *or* resolving the encounter in an arbitrary-seeming, abrupt and painful manner (nasty GM). Much the way you would if a PC's statement of intent for the first round of combat focussed on arranging his lapel flower, or making sure his hat was tilted *just so*...

> In a situation where the referee decides that an ability is useless,
> say for persuading a rock that it ought to roll uphill, then she can
> disallow it.

I guess the difference here is that Oscar's ability *needn't* be useless in such a contest -- after all, it has in the past been a pretty good technique against English-speaking, status-conscious opponents. But under these particular circumstances, and perhaps unknown to Oscar, it *will* be useless: the Great Troll doesn't care about humiliation (or doesn't speak Oscar's language). Oscar's player is perhaps being optimistic or abusive to believe that all contests can be resolved with his high Rapier Wit ability; the occasional mistake like this will help him find a more reasonable balance.

> Should Oscar just have a penalty imposed, due to the nature of
> his opponent?

Yes, if that's the way you want to play it.

> Can the Great Troll just whack Oscar regardless of his debating defeat?

Yes, if that's the way you want to play it.

I'd be tempted to say that no debating roll occurs, and that the whacking is a simple roll with AP set by the Great Troll. But I also think that if you go too gently on players trying to "stretch" their abilities in pretty obviously inappropriate directions ("Never engage in a battle of wits against an unarmed opponent"), you're creating precedents which more rules-lawyerly types will latch onto. ("Last time I tried my Rapier Wit against a deaf opponent, you only imposed W4 of resistance. Why are you ruling differently this time?")

> If it had ben a financial negotiation contest, and the Great Troll was
> now poor, then he could still thump Oscar as a separate contest, and
> take all the money back.

Er, I'm not sure I like this. "Victory" in negotiations kinda suggests to me that the victor has a chance of getting away with it. I'd say that if you thought it was appropriate to allow the negotiation, maybe you should allow the victory. (That is: don't segue directly from "Victory in Negotiations" to "Thumping Contest". Give the victor a chance to skedaddle!)

Cheers, Nick             Received on Tue 28 Mar 2000 - 10:03:53 EEST

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