Information Declaration with non-wises

I’m gonna go out on a limb here and suggest that that’s probably the root of the problem then, with the information skills thing being more of a symptom.

Also, I have another question about this guy, but I’ll start a new thread.


Oh, absolutely. As I mentioned above, he’s getting better at it though! And his sorcerer fiiiinally started turning into a bit of a badass. Was a long time in coming.

I have a big problem with this, particularly point 3.

A player wanting to know something is not an Intent, IMO.

When a player asks me something, I return the question to him. If the player does not know what to say, I pass the question to the group. Only rarely I answer the question myself. (But that’s just my technique.)

Do I have something planned for the Big Picture, but a player says something that contradicts it? Great! We have a conflict. Let’s roll the dice!

If it is plausible and interesting, I say ‘Yes’. If I can think in an interesting failure consecuence then, and only then, I say to the player: Roll the dice.

Here is the problem Etsu Riot: this will get contentious and should be taken to a new thread anyway.

I’ve quoted specific page numbers from the Adventure Burner – specific examples that contradict what you’ve just stated in fact. I can explain further and I’m more than happy to in another thread. I’ll even give direct quotes and actual play examples if you want to drag it out. First I suggest you go back and read the pages I quoted.

I’ll make an assumption and say that I think you are coming from a more Story Game perspective (games like Fiasco), and while that is fine we just won’t see eye to eye unless you can give me cold hard facts and page numbers like I just did.

To quote Ron Edwards:

These [games] are not Story Games. They are arterially-spurting Narrativist, yes, but the whole connotation of the “story game” term is totally not applicable. That connotation, as I see it, is a cute little wind-up game which you sit down to and kind of free-associate into, and you move tokens around the table and stuff, and it spits back a fun little story for you. It will take care of that little task no matter what you say. Your job is to figure out how the currency works and at most, strategize about how to get a lot of the black tokens, or something of that sort. These are not like that. They demand commitment to the moment on the part of everyone playing, specifically, without reference to how things are going to go, without planning for the ending. Everyone has to read and know the rules; there cannot be a person who says, “Hey, look at this Ron Edwards hotness, let’s sit down and I’ll show it to you.”

Furthermore, not one of them will give you a blowjob.

Sorry. I do not understand what you meant. I don’t understand Ron’s quote neither without a context. (What games is he talking about?) Maybe you should start another thread to explain further. The mention of specific playing techniques refers to me and my style of play. These are just footnotes, and does not make to the issue.

But I insist on my assessment:

  1. A player wanting to know something is not an Intent. 2) The fact that I have something planned for the Big Picture is not important (to me anyway). The actual play it is. So if a player contradicts some plan of mine with a successful wise test, or any other test, I drop the plan. 3) If there are not interesting consequences of failure, I simply say ‘Yes’.

Note: I don’t play Fiasco.

Etus, I don’t have the BWG in front of me now, but I’m fairly sure it’s well established that if the Game Master has something per-established he is allowed to say no. That said, to much ‘fleshing out’ before hand can choke the creativity and surprises out of a campaign. But most Game Masters still have a story they are looking to tell. It may not be grand and epic, but they have established facts about the world they are playing in. Going to an extreme, If a player had “Illusion-wise” and just started saying “This thing/person/country is an illusion.” you would have to say no at some point.

It maybe Adventure Burner (an excellent read if you haven’t read it already) that has some great words on Wises. Maybe I read it here or in the forums, but the best example was “Smelly Person Wise”. It is not a magical ability to say that a person is smelly. It is a skill to know about Smelly people.

An example from my own game last night.

A bishop NPC had adopted this young girl the protagonist saved.
They didn’t want the Bishop to do this, fearing his intentions.
A priestess PC decided to use Church Conspiracy wise to state that generations ago it was actually illegal for Ranking church members to adopt, but it had been fraudulently changed so the church could the orphaned son of a duke - to help with their continued land grab.
This won’t reverse the current adoption, but it could create enough scandal, and lessen the power of the church in the future, that the PC’s maybe able to leverage against the powers that be.

I was fine with that.

I would not have been ok with “Church Conspiracy Wise” to say the Bishop was adopting the girl, as part of a secret Demon Worshiping sect inside the church, making her an offering to a lesser deamon. I already knew why the Bishop had abducted the girl, it was a very clear reason tied to his beliefs. So in the second case, I would have been in my rights to say no, and suggest they think of a different way to use the skill - or another skill for that matter.

No one can contradict established facts, of course. But you have not established anything yet. IMO, if you have not already said it, is not real. So you can change it.

If you want the prince be gay, but you don’t have said it to the group yet, and some player say something different… something that contradicts the informetion you’re about to reveal, then you can set an obstacle. If the player fails, then it will be a quite a surprise when the player knows that the prince is really gay. You have an interesting conflict here, and an awesome consecuence of failure.

Sure, you can say ‘No’, because you want so hard that the prince to be gay, for whatever reason, but… how much fun can that be?

Players can establish facts about people and places. That is the function of Wises. It is a game. Sometimes you win. Sometimes you lose. Let the dice decide.

The setting is not created by the GM. It’s a group thing. So you don’t need to say ‘No’ to this one. It never going to happen. (I think.)

I’m with you on this one, Etsu. In fact, I’d go a bit further and say that the story is not created by the GM. It’s a group thing.

Some of my funnest game moments in BW thus far came about when I let the players make declarations that drastically changed something I had planned. In each and every case, I was pleasantly surprised at the sudden change in direction the story took. The story took on a life of its own.

I couldn’t stress this enough. Really. If GMs can stop worrying about telling the story the way they envision it and embrace collective story-telling, the BW mechanics absolutely shine. You don’t need to preplan the story. A GM only needs to have a bunch of ideas to bring to the table, to toss out to the players when you feel the story needs a change in direction. But when the players are being proactive, especially with declarations, you’ll find the story pretty much writes itself. Which is the absolute funnest thing to do together – you’re not just playing the story together, you’re collectively creating the story all at the same time.

I am curious, Etsu, have you read the Adventure Burners commentary on wises? I think it can express my thoughts on the matter a lot better than I can.

All this stuff falls under he GM’s power to declare intents invalid. The GM does have the power to say no and that power doesn’t depend upon having established facts.

The GM also has the power to say yes. So, it may be a good idea to allow the roll to establish a new fact. That’s a GM call.

And saying no is not always about preplanning the story, but staying true to the NPC motivations that are driving the game. Wises are fine, but the game is fueled by challenging character BITs. I’d happily say no to anything that got in the way of that.

Yikes. What is all this about story? Not the point at all and I not what I’m talking about anyway. And of course one doesn’t pre-plan a story in BW. But what about NPC BITs? How about “Bangs”?

So I’ll respond with a quote from this thread since nobody seems to have read page 300+ of the AdBu. Emphasis mine:


So lets say you are playing Trouble in Hochen and the group just discovered the black ooze. They don’t know it makes zombies or any qualities of it yet… So a player says, “I want to declare that drinking the black ooze is like a healing tonic”.

You’d allow that because it hasn’t been established in-game what the black ooze does?

Whether or not I’d allow it depends entirely on how fun it’d be. Sometimes I’d say yes, sometimes no. My point is that allowing the players to change something the GM had preplanned isn’t always a game-breaker. In fact, it rarely is.

The important thing to keep in mind here is that the PCs are infinitely more important than all of the GM’s NPCs together. The GM has tons of characters, all with their own BITs, motivations, wants and needs, etc. But a single PC is more important than all of that, because the story is about the PCs, not the NPCs. So, allowing players to have a bit of creative control is a good thing, as it keeps the story centered on their characters, not the GM’s.

And yes, it IS all about story. This entire game is about story. The general plot of the story is following BITs around, yes. But declarations are a great tool players can use to do this with.

As with anything, common sense must prevail. No, nobody’s going to allow ridiculous declarations. Come on man, don’t take us for idiots here.

Yes, I did it. I understand your point. I’m not sure that contradicts anything I have said. My point is that I prefer to stay flexible. It does not mean you can not have a different level of flexibility. You, the Game Master, are a player. In this game there are a lot of conflicts. Sometimes you have to be ready to lose.

Yes. Maybe. If you want to. Why not? And the player has to justify how his character has that information, which is, IMO, the very purpose of playing in the first place: to generate an interesting fiction.

And just think what could happen if the player fails the roll: the character, thinking it’s a healing tonic, drinks the black ooze and becomes infected with the substance! Sweet!

Now it sounds like everyone is violently agreeing. The GM can say yes if they want to.