thread: 2008-12-04 : Traits Before and After

On 2008-12-05, valamir wrote:

I don’t think there are any bright line categories here, just a lot of variant techniques that groups fall into primarily by habit and hapenstance and what feels right when the ball is rolling.

I’ve played games where things like Advantages and Disadvantages had to be demonstrated before the “call to dice” or they didn’t count.  If someone grabbed the dice and said “time to roll” and you hadn’t positioned yourself to claim an advantage, too bad so sad—The “too late Sucker!” technique.

I’ve played games where a Trait (whatever label it has in the game) is called upon and the players pause and wait expectantly for the player to act it out sufficiently to “get it”—the “Dance for us, monkey” technique.

I’ve played in games where a trait is called upon with the assumption that it will get played out sometime before the final resolution but no one really polices it too hard and inevitiably sometimes that gets forgotten—the “fit it in where you can” technique.

In Blood Red Sands Traits are announced and the die for them acquired and rolled but after that they may or may not ever be explicitly referenced in the fiction.  In this sense they are pure color.  Their purpose is the image of the character built in the other player’s minds as the Traits are announced more so than guiding any particular immediate behavior or character action.  The fact that you know Kreeling Flesh Eater wears a coat made from the raw flesh of his enemies is more important then whether that coat actually is or isn’t useful in the context of a particular fight.  That said, players are free to include their Traits in their narration.  If I’m advancing dice in an attack described as intimidating you into surrendering and I notice that I’m using the die provided by my coat…I can think of lots ways to narrate that bit of squick into how I’m intimidating you.  But the game doesn’t require it…in a sense its neither Before nor After.


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