I’m getting increasingly frustrated with roleplaying DoW, and I think the problem is me. I have a lot of trouble breaking an argument I want to make into its component parts, combining that with a tactically and strategically effective script, and then finding a way to interact with what my opponent is saying. I end up wanting to retort, or throw insults, but I’ve scripted Obfuscate, and my mind doesn’t want to go in that direction. It’s not that I want to rewrite my script because it’s been tactically scuppered - in Fight! and Firefight! I have no trouble taking it on the chin if I scripted poorly. I think it’s that I want the argument to flow in a different way, and I want to RESPOND, rather than plowing through my three paragraph essay supporting my thesis statement. After someone’s said something stupid, I want to be able to insult them, not make another bloody point. I also run out of things to say.
I don’t know. Maybe I’m saying too much per volley. Maybe I’m trying to cram too much in. Thoughts?
Don’t do that. Instead think "I want to make a point, but he is probably going to come out with a point of his own…so, I’ll avoid the topic, then point. Then I’ll use my big Intimidation dice for an Incite.
Then, if you’re going first you say something off topic, that’s easy. Depending on what he says, you say your point next. Then you insult his mama.
Don’t worry about breaking down your argument until your in the thick of it. It’s an argument. There are going to be points you want to make, and rebuttals and insults. Trust that they will be there whan you need them. Avoiding and obfuscating are easy peasy. You don’t need to preplan your argument in minute detail.
And yes, there will be times when you want to rebut an argument but you have obfuscate scripted.
I’ve been thinking about DoW a lot lately as well, and really digging in to the changes between Revised and Gold on them.
The way DoW is presented definitely lends itself to the disconnect you’re talking about. Everyone at the table knows what both sides are after, and you as a player have a general idea of how to go from the color chit-chat to your end point where the other side loses. You script it, have your notes on it, and even if it unfolds exactly as you see the dice can deliver you to more rounds than expected. Or, as you say, you may suddenly find yourself not quite sure what to say and it starts getting a little repetitive.
In Revised these were super frustrating, especially the case where no one was gaining ground because of crap rolls. Tests are already logged, so the rolls are just trying to whittle things down. I think Gold solves it by removing the references to duelling skill and giving you a list of skills. This suggests to me that the way to change it up in reaction to what your opponent says is to reconsider what skill you’re going to use to play out what you’ve scripted.
For instance, you scripted an Incite against your opponent—you were expecting a really hostile engagement and were ready to let rip with a full on Intimdate based Incite where the shouting reaches a fevered pitch. Except, that’s not the feel of things. You get to your Incite and it is a great move, but what the fuck do you do with it in the fiction? Do you suddenly go from this friendly bantar that has a lot on the line to something with more of an edge? Well, instead of doing that you can go with Seduction as the skill for the Incite. The emotional ante goes up, but not in a way that totally reverses the tone. Or perhaps Falsehood to displace the threat you were going to make, you pin it on some third party as the source of things.
Even a basic Point can be given nuance by going with Interrogation instead of Persuasion.
Not only does it help you smooth the move you’ve committed to in with the fiction, it also means more opportunity for tests that’ll actually count.
@The Tim: Just wanted to mention that what you wrote above really gave me food for thought. I hadn’t considered before how using different skills in DoW can really affect the feel of the conflict. Interesting. Thanks.
Also: it’s perfectly legitimate to script Point and then reply to something your opponent has said. I’d try not to make it a retort (that’s more Rebuttal/Incite territory), but “You claim the enemy is weak, I tell you he will be weaker if we wait and attack at harvest-time instead” is an excellent point.
I do find Obfuscate and Avoid very difficult to roleplay, at least when I still have arrows in my quiver: the temptation to make a good point or undermine one of my opponent’s is very strong. I’ve partially solved this: Now, to Obfuscate or Avoid I make a cogent and logical argument that doesn’t actually relate to my statement of purpose. If we’re having a Duel about when to attack, I Obfuscate with a point-speech attacking my opponent’s choice of marching routes. That way it still feels like a sensible part of the argument, but it doesn’t advance my agenda, it just eats up my opponent’s attention. To Avoid, I usually explain some other way in which I am awesome (there are many) besides the ones having anything to do with this Duel.
Thanks everyone for your advice. I’ve been mulling it over. It may be a practice thing, and I think that rather than using the little boxes where you’re supposed to write what your point is, I might just make a list of appropriate points, digressions, and insults, and cross them off as I go. I know that’s not RAW, but I think it might work better for me.
I also think we might not be going to DoW soon enough in some of the games I’ve played… we discuss and hash things over, and by the time we DoW, everyone is just formally repeating things they’ve already said in character, which feels awkward to me.
Yeah, it’s a tricky thing to learn. Err on the side of dice sooner, I say. It’s often kinda “meh” to interrupt roleplaying, but once you encourage people to use roleplaying to color their dice, they’ll get the entire system much better.
There are also lots of players that like to talk their way around conflicts without dice ever touching the table. Don’t let them do that. If someone wants to get something out of the game, but doesn’t want to engage the appropriate subsystems in order to do it, that’s their problem.