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Neil Smith
Neil Smith's picture
Action sequences: social and ongoing actions
action sequence, Actual play

I ran my first decent Action Sequence in my tryout game last week. I have some questions about how to handle simple or ongoing actions.

The PCs are in rural Montaigne. The come across a revolutionary leader in the village square, trying to persaude the villagers to rise up against the nobles. But really, that's just her distracting the villagers while the other revolutionaries steal bread. The priest PC starts to berate the leader, challenging her rhetoric. The musketeer PC rushes in to arrest the revolutionary leader. Meanwhile, the mercenary PC spots an ex-comrade in the revolutionaries (the colleague is corrupted somehow) and sets out to caputure him. The fourth PC is off making Porte marks on the revolutionaries' equipment. 

All this is going on in the moment, so it needs to be an Action Sequence. But how to handle all the disparate actions?

  • How to handle the duel of words between the priest and the revolutionary leader? Some of what he was saying was directed towards the villagers, getting them to aid the PCs. Mechanically, I represented that as reducing the Strength of the Brute Squad that was the bulk of the revolutionaries. But some was directed towards the leader herself. How would I judge that effect? Wounds are useful for physical peril, but is there a good way to track mental/social effects?
  • How to handle a chase? The musketeer rushed the crowd and the revolutionary decided to flee. How could the musketeer capture her? How could she escape? Simply spending a bunch of Raises seems a rather dull way of doing it. (Yes, you can make chases more interesting with different obstacles and the like, but there's still the basic situation.)
  • How to handle capture and escape? The mercenary could spend one Raise to push through the crowd and one to initially grab the ex-comrade. But one to grapple him into submission? One Raise to knock him out? One Raise to throw him over the mercenary's horse? Would the captured comrade just require one Raise to escape? Again, how could this be more interesting than an exchange of Raises on the lines of "You're captured, " "I'm free," "You're captured," "I'm free"?


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