More thinking on Maneuvers

So I had a flash of maybe-insight this morning about Maneuvers, their skills, rolling those skills and Luke’s overarching design intent. Lord Crane, I hope you’ll drop your two pfennig into this as well and let me know if I’m guessing right.

Here are the facts and issues as I see them:
[li]Each Maneuver within each Phase has a set of skills associated with it.[/li][li]As written, there is no direct correlation between skills rolled in the scenes and the character who makes the Maneuver roll.[/li][li]In my big Wiki essay, I overlook/bypass/contradict this and suggest that there “should” be at least a thematic connection between what happened in the scenes and what skill will be rolled. In stating this, I now realize I’ve moved the emphasis toward the narrative contents of the scene and away from the character being spotlighted.[/li][li]In many other cases throughout the design, it’s apparent to me that Luke’s overarching design concern is to reward how things happen, not the specifics of what happened. Examples: GM gets Fate for including all GMFoN in the Maneuver regardless of what those characters accomplished; players get to add help dice if they helped, regardless of whether that help was necessary or successful; players earn Fate for putting character traits in their own way, which usually means circumventing their own “success” at least temporarily.[/li][li]While the previous point is mostly true, it’s not absolutely consistent. For example, you get a Persona for fulfilling a Belief. Clearly in that case you’re rewarded for success and not just intent.[/li][li]So, does my suggestion of thematic connection to (or for the truly hardcore, direct use of) one of the Maneuver skills to the skills used in the scenes break the design intent behind the Infection rules?[/ul]Okay, so I’m thinking I whiffed my analysis of the issues underlying the “why” of the Infection rules. Here’s my revelation:[/li]
The incentive behind the Infection rules appears to be to put the character with the listed Maneuver skills into the spotlight, because that character will be best suited to making the Maneuver roll at the end. When that character is in the spotlight, they will tend to use the listed skills…but it won’t be mandated. Thus, the Maneuver choice is only a gentle nudge toward using those skills in the spotlighted player’s scenes.

My initial thought on the Maneuver roll, based largely on my players’ dissatisfaction with the Infection rules-as-written, was to change the incentive from a gentle nudge to a full mandate. Now I’m concerned that this undermines the design intent.

Is any of this making sense? It’s still gelling in my head.


i’m very busy at the moment. it may take me a bit to get to this. Nudge me if I don’t get back to it.

What? You’re not hunched in front of your machine neurotically hitting the “RELOAD” button every few seconds?

No worries. Just something I wanted to put out there (and I’m hoping for other non-Luke feedback as well).


Nudge, nudge…

Luke, may I humbly ask you for your insight? The maneuver thing is quite important, and even my group had a few issues with it. Paul’s advices are really usefull (thanks, Paul!), but I guess we’d all appreciate your “official” statement.

Thanks in advance,


My thoughts, writing and intent don’t really gel with what Paul’s saying.

Maneuvers are narrative chunks – chapters, if you will – in a story. That’s it.

The act of choosing a maneuver helps the players focus and choose a goal for that chapter. We, as players, do not know the results or effect of that goal for a variety of reasons, but primarily because this is a game of indeterminate outcome.

The mechanical specifics of what happens in the maneuver – skills tested and their results – do two main things: first and foremost, they build consensual context for the players – the game results and attendant narration keeps us all on the same page and gives us an idea of what to do next. Secondarily, your actions in the game trigger conditions for acheiving additional affect (bonus dice) in the coming maneuver (via help) and possibly future maneuvers (via artha).

Skills chosen for use in scenes do not mechanically restrict any action in the macro game. Doing so would be the same as binding players and characters to the success/failure paradigm that I so studiously avoid.

The maneuver structure exists only to provide a narrative pacing mechanic – your story has a beginning and an end. Your actions affect the pace at which the end arrives, but in an indirect fashion. The actual content of the story – scenes – are more important than the direction of individual maneuvers.

Does that help?

Ah! Thanks for the input, Luke.

In our group, a total delinkage of the contents of the scenes and the outcome of the Maneuvers is something of a deal-breaker…mostly because of the ongoing “you win the game by driving your opponent’s disposition to 0” issue. If I cast it as a value-neutral metagame generating tool (as we are treating it in the current game) then there are some interesting strategic choices to be made in terms of timing of maneuvers. In this case, winning the Phase isn’t done by driving the opponent’s dispo to 0, but by controlling the clock to your advantage: Extending the clock long enough to get stuff done this phase before it’s over, squeezing out downtime while denying it to your opponent, etc.

I just can’t see any rational way to make winning BE “about” driving dispos to 0 and still have it be about roleplaying.

I do think there’s still an unavoidable link between the contents of the maneuver and the contents of the scenes insofar as your requirement that the “most important” PCFON this maneuver be the one to make the Infection roll. If the players are using even a little bit of Infection-level strategy, they’ll want to ensure the most qualified character to make the Infection roll is the “most important” character in the scenes, which in turn will nudge the scene events toward stuff that character is either good at or cares about. I see this as a design feature – perhaps unintended – and not a flaw by any means.


And I would not disagree with that assessment.

Okay, good conversation! Thanks for opening the kimono just a little bit more. I’m going to rethink that part of my wiki thing to incorporate some of this.