I was thinking of the test mechanics in Burning Wheel and how they are not exactly a “conflict resolution”. To me they’re more of a hybrid between a task resolution system and a conflict resolutions system. I mean it in a good way: the game can be played both styles at once. Also I do not like games where there is too much stakes setting quibbling outside of the fiction. OTOH, I like when conflicts escalate to higher stakes and players accept more severe consequences for failure. This is to me the very essence of “fighting for what you (really) believe”.
By the rules, when you call for a test, you declare in advance intent and outcomes/complications (this sounds to me a sort of stakes setting, albeit more implicit than in other games) and gather beforehand all of the dice you can trough arguing, in the form of FoRKs, Helps, Advantages, Call-ons, Die traits, Instructions and so on. After the dice are rolled and the result is known, the outcome has been already set and there’s no way a character can modify it. This is clearly a “fortune in the end” type of mechanic. Maybe Artha could be considered a sort of exception to this, since it can be spent after the roll (not all Artha, just Fate and Deeds), but it’s an exception nonetheless. I think this subtracts some thrilling potential to the conflict itself.
Then I realized many times I used those “dice arguing” as a sort of FitM mechanic on important conflicts. This added a lot to the emotional impact of the conflict itself, and also sped up the game a lot (arguing over advantages ahead of a conflict can lead to breaking the game cycle and delay timing - but it is perfectly understandable if a player tries to gather any advantage he can before rolling for an important test).
Sometimes however I did it differently. We set up the conflict (I’m talking here of active oppositions, then Bloody Versus & Versus only), I exorted the player to gather the basic dice he could think of (generally from the skill or stat involved) and then we rolled for them. Then I had the character and the opposing NPC throwing in other dice as they could think of a good reason to justify them. When describing the conflict, sometimes the description itself bears to mind other ways to involve tangential knowledge (FoRKs), advantages, and so on. Then I let sometimes other characters to step in and help during a conflict even if they didn’t in the first place.
This can be theoretically pushed as far as adding in whole new pools from other stat, following the description and evolution of the conflict. Is a sort of escalation mechanic like in Dogs in the Vineyard. Altough I never used this and it is not in the rules (handling escalation could be done with separate tests or linked tests) I can see some advantages in both approaches.
What do you think of this techniques?