Inwazja Mechanika Notatka 160709 Complex Conflicts

Complex conflicts

This thing is connected to decision trees. Let’s take a simple fight: two wizards throwing fireballs at each other. On high level this conflict can be solved by a question “who won this fight”? But the question we really would like to ask here would be “was any party hurt? Who won this fight? What is the current state of the situation?” In short, the conflict is simple yet the outcome is sophisticated.

There exists a rule that the result of the conflict is final. But something is lacking in the mechanics; either the stakes are perceived to be too high or the stakes are perceived to be nonexistent at all. We have tried counters. They failed. On one hand players need some kind of resource they are able to expend to be able to push forward and on the other hand game master needs to be able to deplete them of something to be able to “win”.

Perhaps the conflict should be final, but players should be able to expend some kind of resource after the conflict to escalate? For example, on top of resources players have one more resource called ‘health’. And they always have it at value ‘3’ before the mission. And they can expend it to override the result of the conflict.

Then, the conflict can be more than just one roll; it can be a set of rolls for different things we want to achieve. So high level conflict can be decomposed into smaller, smaller scale conflicts and where the players deem it’s not important they can let the conflict to be final and where they consider something to be very important they can pay the counter (any resource suiting the task) and either go different direction or have a chance to reroll.

An ingenious way to regenerate the health counter: if a player wins a conflict he can sell the success and regenerate the health counter. Or, if several micro conflicts take place inside the scope of a larger conflict, the player can trade a success here for failure there. Because by definition the conflicts take place only if both sides care, this mechanism is quite resistant to minimaxing.

It promotes more conflicts, more complex resolutions of the conflicts where the player characters are not gods and where you win some and you lose some.

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