OOC Heart of Darkness (Part II) - Page 27 - RPG Crossing
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  #391  
Old Feb 18th, 2023, 09:50 PM
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I really don't think that the term hostile is going to work well as a trigger. The gas spore is totally in that tunnel to go after any characters that it can get to (I hope that's not a spoiler, if it is, I'm sorry). Since the GM has to decide when the trigger of a readied action occurs but cannot decide who the player or PC consider as a hostile creature, that makes for a bit of an awkward exchange between player and GM whenever the creature's hostility isn't clearly established. Asking the player whether they consider a creature hostile when they didn't previously might have simply considered it neutral would certainly give them the idea that they maybe should reconsider. Of course I could also simply not pose the question and simply act under the assumption that the player mistakenly believes the creature not to be hostile, but especially in PbP that will lead to annoying retcons if the player indeed did consider the creature as hostile. Same with the spider in this case. The dryad have fairly little to go by for judging the spider's hostility (not that hostility was included in the trigger, but I'm using it as an example). In this case I'm comfortable revealing that the spider isn't hostile and is simply fleeing, but there will be scenarios when the hostility isn't trivially assessed by the characters. Even with the spider, flight and irrational aggression would look very similar from the dryad's perspective. Any sort of trigger that requires meta-knowledge that the characters don't necessarily possess feels difficult to resolve for the GM. What to do for example if you announce that the trigger for attacking the surrendering darkling is his alignment being evil? There's no way that I will accept that trigger. I'm inclined to consider the same for the question of hostility too.

@edit:
Just so you know, this is more of an aside. I currently have everything that I need to resolve your last post and to give you the next update.
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Last edited by Mindsiege; Feb 18th, 2023 at 09:55 PM.
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  #392  
Old Feb 19th, 2023, 03:44 PM
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I really don't see it as difficult or complicated, but let me know what you'd like me to do.
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  #393  
Old Feb 19th, 2023, 10:19 PM
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It's not very difficult to resolve and we won't be stalling the game too much if it's only the two of us, but it's definitely a bit awkward. Every time that hostility is in question I'll have to press pause, explain the details of everything that has happened and what the creature is doing right now, and then pose an inquiry if this meets your character's assessment of hostility. I prefer a trigger that doesn't require the player's input for me to be able to interpret when it occurs.

At a live table all of this is a lot easier because I can simply not worry about what the player's interpretation is, narrate the action without announcing the trigger to occur, and let the player interject if they believe that the trigger has occurred. In PbP this could be leading to significant retcons though, so that's impractical.

Considering the above, I don't have any mandates that I'll impose on you. I'd just hope that you'd find a trigger that doesn't require your interpretation for me to resolve. I suppose if that isn't possible, we'll just have to do it the awkward way. I don't know what I like about it less. That it disrupts the game pace (as we saw not too badly, in our solo game it only took a day to resolve) or that it necessarily forces me to go into a lot of detail to narratively illuminate the levels of a character's hostility. Basically, it makes me provide the narration twice, once to confirm what's happening in the OOC and then in the IC.

I'm not sure yet what I prefer as my adjudication. Generally, I want it to be a player challenge to judge friends from foes for their character. If the player means to rely on the impressions of their character, I would generally grant them Insight checks to assess another character's hostility. Where I'm stuck is resolving it like this as part of a reaction during high tension. I think that the timing with which the characters are reacting to a creature that simply jumps out creates a window to react that's too small to be eligible for any sort of Insight check. So in terms of assessing the jumped-out character's hostility, the character would only have their preconceived notions and whatever they can see happening immediately in front of them to make their decision. As the GM I know whether the creature is hostile or not, but what do I do when I've decided that the character doesn't have the opportunity to make a proper judgment? That's when I pass the ball back to the player and have them evaluate what they think their character would decide.

If you have a hint on how to do this better, I'd be glad to listen to it. Until then, I'll just say that it's a lot easier for me to evaluate if a creature takes hostile action in front of your character than to judge whether your character believes a creature to be hostile to them. What your character knows is in the GM's domain, but what they believe is up to the player.

PS: I could see myself letting a character roll an Insight check that occurs outside of the combat's action economy, in order to color the character's impressions of the scene, but not for the sake of the sort of split-second decisions that occurred in the current scene.
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Last edited by Mindsiege; Feb 19th, 2023 at 10:21 PM.
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  #394  
Old Feb 21st, 2023, 02:24 PM
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I think this is less about the phrasing of the trigger and more about the somewhat unusual circumstances combined with your mechanical preferences in this scene. I don't recall any scene before this in which "hostile" was in question at the time of a Ready trigger. The very large majority of fights seem to proceed as if there's no question who is on what side. I guess a cliche barroom brawl might have that problem, but I've never encountered the problem before this. Usually the question is whether/when there will be violence at all, which is usually resolved by the binary initiative system.

The issue here was primarily caused by the darkling's extreme foolishness in charging toward a group he knew (or should have known) to be preparing to fight his group, without making any effort to communicate his peacefulness. Hopefully not everyone similarly situated would be similarly reckless.

Really, this potential for a version of this problem often exists. One could Ready attack on "the next orc entering range," and then have some difficultly identifying the race of a potential target. Jimmy (and the others) must judge "hostile" just as they must judge all kinds of things, including whether the potential target is even approaching. Consider a situation probably more common than this one, in which a character is trying to distinguish kidnappers from hostages in poor visibility. Let's say the actor is waiting outside a building with a ranged weapon as a mixed group rushes out the door. When the actor Readies an attack on "the first kidnapper I see," there will be a need to resolve that identification in some way.

By the way, IIRC I didn't use "hostile" because I thought there was a significant possibility of a peaceful individual approaching the group; I was just referring to the individuals on the other team. Had we discussed it, I think I would have identified everyone originally in the big chamber as a "hostile." If you had then had a darkling round the corner unarmed, shouting "Don't shoot - I'm not with them" or something, I would not have triggered the attack.

That brings me to the most important point: we already have to check whether I choose to take the Readied action. If I had said "the first darkling other than Boanagh to come into view," I still would have had the option not to fire on this one. The only difference with using "hostile" - which now does seem to have an important distinct meaning - as opposed to "someone who was in the big chamber" is that Jimmy can decline to fire because the potential target doesn't appear hostile to Jimmy, and still retain the ability to fire on the next potential target. If the trigger is "darkling other than Boanagh," then once Jimmy sees what he believes to be a darkling and doesn't fire, he loses his Ready action. Obviously, this depends on me being honorable about Jimmy's determinations. But this process is no slower than the one already in the RAW for Ready. (And BTW, given our responsiveness in OOC, it doesn't seem to at all cumbersome to me.)

It works the same way with the dryads - someone must determine the dryad's judgment, whether the dryad is judging hostility, race, proximity, etc. In the specific situation of the spider fleeing the spore after the darkling had already surrendered, I think most reasonably intelligent individuals would not consider the spider "hostile," but there was no reason for the dryads to err on the side of charming, because if the spider did attack, thus obviously qualifying itself as "hostile," they could trigger the charm right then, before the spider completed its attack. As I said, I'm perfectly fine with you making the dryads' decisions here, though I do think the decision to charm would have been strange in this case.

So...my suggestion is simply that we ride out this unusual situation. If/when an individual who might be judged hostile approaches, I can tell you that Jimmy fires, that he doesn't fire because he doesn't think the individual hostile, or that he doesn't fire because I choose to ignore the trigger as the rules allow. I suspect that we've spent much more time and text on this than those short OOC exchanges would take.

If you don't like that, then...whatever you like. You can roll Jimmy's Insight to determine whether he fires; you can insist that I use a more objective criterion like "anything rounding the corner," and I'll just decide each time whether to ignore the trigger per the rules; or if you don't like the rules option to ignore the trigger, let me know and maybe I'll just forgo using Ready here.
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  #395  
Old Feb 21st, 2023, 03:05 PM
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Oh. Yeah, I didn't expect there to be so much to say in response. I'll try to keep myself brief in return.

The darkling acted as he did for reasons. But also, he didn't look or sound entirely rational when he came around that corner. Maybe you'll figure out why he acted that way as we continue the scene.

So, I'll agree that in this case the ambiguity of hostility was special in that it rarely ever is that ambiguous. I disagree that it's the same as with the other "identify as orc/kidnapper" examples that you gave. Those are pretty clear triggers. If it isn't obvious to your character what they're looking at, the trigger doesn't occur, which is something I can judge as the GM without any player input. In the case with "identify as hostile" it's different. The darkling and gas spore examples showed that the decision hinges on the preconceived notions of the character or player. I can't decide those as the GM.

I'm not worried about honorable decision-making. But you are right that usually, reactions need to be taken by the player. This is more of a PbP issue here. I've gotten comfortable with most reactions getting stated in a way that the GM can resolve them without verifying with the player. Again, that's not something that I'll mandate, but it's certainly preferred.

I think that it might have been me who brought up the dryads as a second example. But let me repeat that their trigger did not contain the word hostile. The trigger occurred when the spider got into the range of their charm. If it would have been an NPC decision, they would have just charmed it, because you've already seen how trigger-happy and whimsical they are on using their charm. The spider certainly won't hold it against them and its wounded rider has no right to complain. But I wanted this to be a player decision, so they didn't use their reaction although the trigger occurred. Either way, since I know who the dryads are considering hostile at any given point, it wouldn't have been an issue to use that as a trigger for them.

But at the end of it, all of the above doesn't really matter. I'll not be telling you how to word your trigger and the player always retains the right not to take their reaction when the trigger to their readied action occurs. I'm not sure what the best way in PbP will be with players that aren't as responsive as you in the OOC, but I suppose we can just keep doing it like this for now.
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Last edited by Mindsiege; Feb 21st, 2023 at 03:07 PM.
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  #396  
Old Feb 21st, 2023, 05:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mindsiege View Post
I disagree that it's the same as with the other "identify as orc/kidnapper" examples that you gave. Those are pretty clear triggers. If it isn't obvious to your character what they're looking at, the trigger doesn't occur
I don't see how you maintain this distinction. Why is orc/kidnapper triggered only when it's obvious, but hostile may be triggered otherwise? Why would either be triggered only when it's obvious? I think the reasonable interpretation of any trigger is "when my character believes X to be true," not "when X is obviously true," but in any case, I think both triggers should be treated the same way. Anyway, the player can of course just state the trigger either way, in either case. I think the kidnapper analogy is perfect.
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  #397  
Old Feb 21st, 2023, 05:52 PM
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How would pulling the darkling away work? Grapple? Help in some way? Something else?

Edit: Pulling him away from the spore, in the directions he's already headed, that is.

Last edited by secretID; Feb 21st, 2023 at 05:53 PM.
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  #398  
Old Feb 21st, 2023, 10:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by secretID View Post
How would pulling the darkling away work? Grapple? Help in some way? Something else?

Edit: Pulling him away from the spore, in the directions he's already headed, that is.
Depends on what your character is doing. If you'll be lending him a shoulder to help him walk, I'd say a grapple sounds fair. If you'll pick him up for a fireman carry, I'll say just take an action and then you can keep moving at full speed.
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  #399  
Old Feb 22nd, 2023, 06:22 AM
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The standard formation we established, not counting Tink scouting ahead, is:
Boanagh & Ilala
Jimmy & Sashaya
Loch

Jimmy told Boanagh to come back and form up, so I assume this is how they're arrayed, with the addition of Tink nearby.

How far is the crawling darkling from Boanagh? How from from the spore?
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  #400  
Old Feb 22nd, 2023, 06:30 AM
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Based on what Jimmy announced in your last IC post, Ilala's and Loch's positions are currently swapped in your formation. The darkling is currently 15' away from the spore and 30' away from Boanagh and Loch.
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  #401  
Old Feb 22nd, 2023, 06:56 AM
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OK; this is what I have:
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  #402  
Old Feb 22nd, 2023, 07:02 AM
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Will the darkling move before the spore?
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  #403  
Old Feb 22nd, 2023, 07:26 AM
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If you put the darkling and spore 5' to the top, it will be accurate.

During this combat I've been pretty consistent with adhering to the initiative order. So yes, the rider goes before the spore. But if you'll go in to help him walk, I'll rely on your character's movement instead of making him crawl.
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  #404  
Old Feb 22nd, 2023, 07:31 AM
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  #405  
Old Feb 22nd, 2023, 07:33 AM
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To pick him the darkling up, can one be in row 60?
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