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LibrariaNPC
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Daughter Of Fate - In Game Rulings?
rulings, Daughter of Fate, Novel, combat

After finishing Daughter of Fate and submitting far more feedback than I expected (many of them being inconsistencies like some of the notes below), I started to review the book and how certain scenes would pan out in the game. I'll try to keep things as spoiler-free as possible and focus solely on the mechanics.

==Breaking Weapons==

During a duel, a character breaks the weapon of an opponent, forcing them to surrender during a duel. Now, a part of me wants to handle this simply as an Opportunity (i.e. spend a raise and make it happen), but I feel as though it'll become a common game of destroying the opponent's weapon and then making Duelists worthless.

A part of me was considering the idea of requiring to spend a Hero point to destroy the weapon (a nod to 1st Edition schools of Daphan, Kjemper, and Eisenfaust), but again, feels like it may be an overused tactic.

On a related concern: breaking weapons may lead to angry players who have the Signature Item advantage, and said item is their weapon.

==Limits of Sorte?==

We see Sorte make a number of appearances in this novel, but specifically we see curses, a "blessing" (character admits she did nothing), seeing strands, and pulling strands.

The curse that we see works exactly as expected, but may have longer lasting effects than expected. Might be more narrative, but it worked.

Seeing strands was thankfully rather straightforward, but still lacking. We are told of different colors (crimson for passion, red for agression, black for death, a gold strand, a "strand of obedience," and shimmering strands), but don't always get a meaning for them. Seeing the strands also doesn't seem like there's a distance involved; as soon as there's a connection, the character in question can track it, even if it's tracking a ship that has days of a head start. I kind of like the effect, but it does make Sorte seem like the perfect tracking ability, regardless of line of sight.

Pulling strands turned out to be rather odd. First, we are told that a strega should not pull on black strands as they mean death, and influencing them could put that strand onto you. Rather odd situation there, but the only times we see that specific strand pulled could be seen as a form of Pressure in game (to turn and face someone).

Second, line of sight seems to be pointless. As mentioned before, a character doesn't need to see where the other side of the strand is to influence at. At one point, a character pulled a single strand that didn't have an end in sight to nudge fate (and therefor find rescuers). Okay, plot device to move the story forward, I can live with that. But being able to pull a strand to an ally that was probably in Montaigne or Avalon while the character doing the pulling was in Vodacce seems to be a bit of a stretch. This means that, theoretically, as long as you know where a strand of yours leads, you can "pull" it to send a message to the other side...or possibly even trip them. That's. . .a pretty odd way to handle it, especially since the character is tied up and pulled the strand from behind (i.e. hand was at her back, she got it free from the ropes enough to pull).

Finally, the limits of pulling aren't entirely clear. For example, there is one scene in which the strega is pulling a man with the Large advantage, who is holding on to a boat and another crew member, and from quite the distance (maybe half mile or more); she literally uses the strands to pull all of this to shore. There's also the note that objects do not have Fate strands, yet it is explained early on that strands can be pulled to manipulate the results of dice (with no explanation how beyond "pulling the strand" to change the result).

==Porte Inconsistency?==

Porte only makes two appearances in the novel, but there is something important to note about it. Namely, we don't see the heroic ally injuring himself to use Porte in either instance.

There's no screaming of the portals, so this would mean the character did not open a blessure, but the character also did not show any signs of bleeding. Additionally, in both cases, the character did this one handed; in the first, he kept a had over a character's eyes to ensure they remained closed, and the other he appeared with a pistol in hand. In both cases, there were no signs of a physical portal, and it almost seemed like a teleport.

In fact, even when the character appeared with a pistol in hand, he just appeared, pistol in hand, other hand on the aforementioned tied-up character. It was almost like an actual teleport without 

With this in mind, I've been considering houseruling that Porte uses a Hero Point instead of causing a Dramatic Wound (an either/or scenario), or that Porte causes general wounds instead of a Dramatic, with the option of reducing wounds on a good roll. 

Not sure if this was oversight or a special type of inconsistency for the sake of plot, but it does detract from the setting (and leads to the debate), as we often learn more about the mechanics by the samples and flavor text than we do from the normal blocks of rule texts.

 

 

There are a few other random thoughts I had that were caused by the book, but I'm hoping we get more explainations in later rulebooks or even within the novels.

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"Smilies exist because no one's bothered to create a sarcasm font." --Lost_Heretic

Harliquinn Whit...
Harliquinn Whiteshadow's picture

*Breaking Weapons*

I would allow this with Hero Point / Danger Point expenditures (Maybe even a contest of Raises spent in addition)...but would warn players about abusing it :)

With a Signature Weapon, it would have to be repaired by the next scene, that's part of the Advantage they spent points for.

Honestly, I don't think historically weapons were broken that often in most sword fights...and if so, they were repairable.

LibrariaNPC
LibrariaNPC's picture

Yeah, it is a concern of player abuse, but since it came up in the novel (which is how we're getting "official" in-setting scenarios now instead of stories in the books), I'm trying to prepare for the inevitable discussion.

As for repairing swords. . .well, "easier said than done" is the easier answer. I haven't needed to fix a sword after a catastraophic failure yet, but I HAVE ruined them during the smithing process (melted a point about halfway down the blade). At that point, I was told there was no use in trying to repair it; I'd have two smaller blades and would need to start from the beginning.

The only way to repair a broken blade (at least a simple snap) is to weld it back together. In that era, it would mean taking it apart, forge welding it, possibly redoing the tapers and bevels along the whole blade (at least along the area welded), hardening/heat treating, putting it back together, and then sharpening it again. There's the possibility that, even with the weld, it could fail and snap again. At that point, a smith would probably take the broken blade and turn it into something smaller, as your chances of failure after the repair are higher anyway.

Also, considering that "modern" blast furnaces are still new at the time of the game (and most still use charcoal and not coke), there's the concern of the quality of metal. Yes, pig iron was common throughout history, but a combination of steel quality and skill as a smith impacted that.

Yes, I know I'm bringing reality into a game; it's the price I pay for being a librarian and a blacksmith.

 

In any case, I'm wary of the idea of breaking weapons in game solely because of Signature Item, but since we have a canon example, I'm curious the best way to handle it.

"Smilies exist because no one's bothered to create a sarcasm font." --Lost_Heretic

Carlo Lope
Carlo Lope's picture

I would not allow players or npcs to break signature items, regardless of how many Hero/Danger Points they use. Like Harliquinn said, it is an Advantage they paid for.

They main problem is that you cannot bring reality into the game in this case unless you want to make players not want to buy this Advantage anymore because it would be easy to break and hard to repair. I'm not against normal weapons being broken due to special actions because it is easy to grab another weapon from a Brute or in some cases it may lead to interesting situations if it's not done every now and then. I think this will affect duelists the most because weapons don't really matter much... breaking a non-duelist's weapon is almost useless

Bittergeek
Bittergeek's picture

Yes, it's easy to grab a replacement weapon from a Brute - but will that weapon be usable with the villain's known duelling schools? A famed Valroux master with a broken rapier is going to get close to zero utility from grabbing a heavy cutlass or belaying pin from a crew of sea-faring minions, he isn't a duellist wielding it. Replacing a broken/stolen/kicked into the sea weapon may be the only circumstance where the choice of weapon matters for more than flavor, especially minor characters and brutes. The weapon requirements of the various duelling schools are fairly open, but they aren't zero. Obviously, the GM is the one to set the stage with the details of what the unnamed participants in the action are carrying, but a weapon mismatch might provide a striking hidden opportunity for the heroes to exploit if they can recognize it.

Carlo Lope
Carlo Lope's picture

I was talking about non duelists when I said anyone can grab any weapon. Of course a duelist will have a hard time but when I said it would lead to interesting situations I was referring to just what you explained.

Harliquinn Whit...
Harliquinn Whiteshadow's picture

Actually it's only the "Dueling Special Maneuvers" that require any type of special weapon or weapon type, so a Duelist can pick up a tin cup and get all the normal maneuvers with it by the rules.

LibrariaNPC
LibrariaNPC's picture

I agree that I don't like the idea of breaking a Signature Item, but it then means that players will probably invest into it for "plot armor" purposes for never losing their weapon. 

On the flipside, there was a prescedent for this in the first edition that I really hated: Eisenfaust, Kjemper, and Daphan all had ways to break weapons, including Dracheneisen (expensive advantage), Castillian blades (advantage), some Puzzle Swords (potentially costly), Pattern-welded blades, or any other weapon you had to pay advantage points for. I hated that portion of the mechanic as it would mean you either take away an advantage or you omit the possibility of using the signature ability of a school from the core rulebook.

 

On the topic of impacting duelists: I'm not 100% sold on that with some of the samples we are given in the books. In the core rulebook, we have a character using a shillelagh and able to use the Slash manuever (page 184), which leads me to believe that any object with a similar shape/style to the weapon in question meets the criteria for the school, which explains why a character in Heroes and Villains that studied Drexel only carries a large stick.

So the idea of a duelist being useless without a weapon isn't as prominent as before, as replacements are easy.

 

As for reality at the table, it's a bit hard at times; I have YET to run a 7th Sea game that didn't have SCAdians, HEMA fighters, sport fencers, or some other form of historian/craftsperson at the table. Adding some elements of reality improves immersion,especially for people like this, and I know the questions will come up. So far, I stick with disarming as either Pressure or an Opportunity (contestedaction), but that's about it. Breaking is much different, obviously.

"Smilies exist because no one's bothered to create a sarcasm font." --Lost_Heretic

Antti Kautiainen
Antti Kautiainen's picture

I just think breaking the weapon is just version of disarm. Same effect, different description. And for signature items? They are hard to break, thus if someone tries to break one, he just fails and just disarms the fighter.

BluSponge
BluSponge's picture

I would treat breaking weapons a lot like others have suggested treating disarm: with Pressure.

I also wouldn't allow signature items to be broken.

I would be careful about house ruling the game to emulate the fiction.

LibrariaNPC
LibrariaNPC's picture

I would be careful about house ruling the game to emulate the fiction.

I have run Star Wars games for too long to ignore the fiction/canon of the setting. If it's done in the book/movie that inspired/is based off of the game, there will be the player to ask how it's done.

As an example: after Episode VII came out last year, everyone was asking for a Crossguard lightsaber and how to stop blaster bolts in midair. I thankfully got to see the playtest material for a book that gave me the weapon early, but some were trying to figure out what combination was needed for that Force trick.

So really, you can't ignore the fiction, as it's supposed to be an example of what the game can do (and what people can do in game).

"Smilies exist because no one's bothered to create a sarcasm font." --Lost_Heretic

Harliquinn Whit...
Harliquinn Whiteshadow's picture

It's only an example of what the game can do if the ficiton adheres to the same game rules as the game does. Otherwise, it's just a dramatization :)

Donovan Morningfire
Donovan Morningfire's picture

In regards to Episode VII, I saw a lot of those attempts to replicate Crossguard lightsabers and the frozen mid-air blaster bolt, many of which were overly convoluted.  The blaster bolt is easily explained as being the Bind power with a narrative flair (Kylo rolled a Triumph on his opposed Discipline check, so the GM used that to add a cool description for why Kylo would get an upgrade on his Coercion check vs. Poe in the next "round").

Same with the crossguard 'saber.  I had my own houserule version, and wound up going a bit tamer than the FFG did in Endless Vigil (I gave it Defensive 1 and Vicious 1 with a much higher hilt cost, they went for Defensive 1 and two separate means to disarm a foe in combat with not as much of an increased hilt cost).

The problem with introducing rules for weapon-breaking and disarm (and I know this discussion has been had before regarding disarms), is that if you make it too easy of an option to implement for the PCs, then they're going to do it all the time, a problme that D&D 3.X and it's various derivatives ran into frequently in regards to disarming, be it players disarming major foes of their fancy weapons, or monsters doing the same to PCs that pretty much relied on their fancy weapons to pull their weight in a fight.

I'm honestly thinking the best approach to replicating a disarmed foe or one who's weapon is broken is still to just use the existing Pressure mechanic.  Foe is disarmed?  Either spend a Raise to retreive your weapon, or two Raises to attack with a different weapon.  Broken weapon?  Use as Pressure for the target to then surrender, or else they spend 2 Raises to procure a new weapon (either from the scene or a concealed one) or even change their approach to Brawling to attack with their fists.

So long as it's not a Signature Item, the weapon is ultimately replaceable since per the Wealth rules a Hero can easily obtain most basic items (including weapons) at no cost.

Dono's Gaming & Etc Blog
http://jedimorningfire.blogspot.com/

Donovan Morningfire
Donovan Morningfire's picture

I've not read the story (yet), but in the case of "weapon gets broken" (which in reality is very difficult to accomplish, so 1e having it be the domain of a select few schools made a degree of sense), did the target then surrender afterwards or did they keep fighting?

If the person whose weapon got broken surrendered afterwards, then that could just be narrated as the person either being rendered Helpless, or that when the next Round of the Action Sequence came up, they opted to Fail the Risk and concede the fight, not entirely unlike Inigo did to Westley after their duel in The Princess Bride.  Works better than trying to shoehorn in a new mechanic that's bound to be exploited by players looking for an easy way to keep a Duelist Villain from using their style bonus, or using Duelist Maneuvers at all if there's no ability to pick up a proper weapon, seeing as how improvised weapons fall under Brawling, and thus outside the general purview of Duelist Maneuvers.

Dono's Gaming & Etc Blog
http://jedimorningfire.blogspot.com/

LibrariaNPC
LibrariaNPC's picture

I've not read the story (yet), but in the case of "weapon gets broken" (which in reality is very difficult to accomplish, so 1e having it be the domain of a select few schools made a degree of sense), did the target then surrender afterwards or did they keep fighting?

<SPOILER>: The opponent did concede the fight afterward.</SPOILER>

We need a spoiler font on this forum. . .

Anyway, yes, you are correct that either of those options would work, and excellent nod to the Princess Bride. In your approach, narration and/or the use of Failure are key and fitting. 

 

Works better than trying to shoehorn in a new mechanic that's bound to be exploited by players looking for an easy way to keep a Duelist Villain from using their style bonus, or using Duelist Maneuvers at all if there's no ability to pick up a proper weapon, seeing as how improvised weapons fall under Brawling, and thus outside the general purview of Duelist Maneuvers.

There is still the concern about the weapons, though; the gameplay sample in the core rulebook allows a duelist to use a stick (Signature Item: Shillelagh) as a weapon to allow for Duelist Maneuvers and still use Weaponry. With that in mind, improvised weapons that are in the dimensions of the weapon in question seem to be allowed to be used as the weapon itself. Not quite sure how I feel about that.

"Smilies exist because no one's bothered to create a sarcasm font." --Lost_Heretic

Donovan Morningfire
Donovan Morningfire's picture

On the shillelagh, that would still be covered under Weaponry, since it's a hefty club good for thumping those who annoy the piss out of you (or at least that's what my rather Irish uncle claimed his very Irish grandfather claimed).  So a Duelist with a shillelagh could still make use of at least the basic Duelist Maneuvers, they just might not be able to use their style's bonus.  You might be able to claim Donovan's Bulwark (which just requires a heavy weapon used in one hand, which could include a shillelagh with GM approval since the text iself lists a mace as a viable weapon choice for the style bonus) or Mireli's Revision (same deal of heavy weapon in one or each hand) or even Sabat's Gambit (which typically uses a heavy curved saber but works for any heavy weapon).

I guess it boils down to how you define "heavy weapon" vs. "fencing weapon" vs. "improvised weapon."  For me, that last category is "anything that was not explicitely designed to be used as a weapon" ranging from wooden chairs/stools, belaying pins, booze bottles, and candelabras.

Dono's Gaming & Etc Blog
http://jedimorningfire.blogspot.com/

Antti Kautiainen
Antti Kautiainen's picture

People should also recall that stories uses metaphors. If you break someone's weapon and he is so humilitated that he surrenders, it is metaphor for humiliating someone so badly, he loses his will to fight.

Donovan Morningfire
Donovan Morningfire's picture

So now that I've read the story in question...

While I'm very loathe to use the term in general, Elana does come across as a bit of a Mary Sue in this story.  She gets to meet and interact with all sorts of famous individuals, even succeeding at duping two of them, one of whom is noted to be an incredibly accomplished schemer, and is generally held to be "very important" to a number of plots and schemes.

So that being said, I wouldn't try to read too much into some of the things Elena does with Sorte in this story.  Instead, I think a fair chunk of it could be mimiced through the use of Pressure and Opportunties, with the former being the Strega tugging on the strands to get the target to act a certain way ("I give a tug on the nobleman's Cups strand so that he's too busy obsessing over that comely courtier instead of paying attention to his advisor's warnings of our plot.") or create an opening for an ally to exploit ("I give the bravo's Swords strand a thwick so that he's off-balance just as one of my allies attacks him.")

We've got a Fate Witch in the Wednesday night FtF game I'm in, and she's gotten very good at making use of Pressure and Opportunities using Sorte as her justification for what she does, with a mix of Wits+Empathy and Wits+Notice for her Approaches in most Action Sequences and liberal use of Team Player so that she can set up and trigger Opportunities for the rest of the party.

As for Elena summoning help from insane distances or her retribution on Villanova at the end... I'd leave those as pure plot devices, and not something that player-characters should be able to replicate with any sort of reliablity.  Especially with the Curse that Elena laid down, given she had taken multiple injuries to inflict it, enough for at least one Dramatic Wound if not more.

Dono's Gaming & Etc Blog
http://jedimorningfire.blogspot.com/