I got frustrated by some people on SG saying "Fictional positioning doesn't matter unless it affects your odds of success." Phooey on that, I say! I got so frustrated that I wrote a game to make my point.

50/50
A game of fictional positioning

When your character takes a risk and you're not sure which outcome should occur, do the following:
- Consider the situation at hand and how its details interface with the capabilities of the character.
- Take a coin. Think of a best outcome and assign it to 'heads'. Think of a worst outcome and assign it to 'tails'. Flip the coin.
- Describe the outcome, based on the result of the coin flip.

Example One
Rodrigo, master duelist of the Dardi school, is accosted by three young bravos in the street. They threaten to beat him if he fails to hand over his purse. Rodrigo's player says that he will draw his sword and kill them.

Rodrigo is armed with his side-sword, is sober, and well out of the reach of the three bravos. He is a master of deadly swordplay. The bravos are young, fierce, slightly drunk, and ready for violence, but not especially skillful.

To 'heads' we assign this outcome: Rodrigo kills the first bravo with a cut from the draw, punta riversa, then the second with a thrust to the heart. He is on his guard, ready to finish the third if the bravo makes the slightest move.

To 'tails' we assign this outcome: Rodrigo kills the first bravo with a cut from the draw, punta riversa, but misses the second strike as the second bravo tumbles backward in mortal fear, entangled in his own cloak. Rodrigo is on his guard, ready to finish the third if the bravo makes the slightest move.

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Example Two
Pietro, stable boy at the Two Owls inn, is accosted by three young bravos in the street. They threaten to beat him if he fails to hand over his loaf of bread. Pietro's player says that he will grab a stone from the ground and kill them.

Pietro is small and not especially strong. He isn't quick. He's never been in a deadly fight in his life. The bravos are young, fierce, and ready for violence.

To 'heads' we assign this outcome: Pietro fumbles with the rock, drops the loaf of bread, and takes only a savage kick to the ribs before the bravos saunter off, laughing and munching on his lunch.

To 'tails' we assign this outcome: Pietro hits the first bravo in the nose with the rock, enraging him. The bravos beat Pietro to a bloody pulp, leaving him unconscious and dying in the gutter.

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Example Three
Pietro, stable boy at the Two Owls inn, is accosted by three young bravos in the street. They threaten to beat him if he fails to hand over his loaf of bread. Pietro's player says that he'll be as compliant as possible, stare at the ground, and meekly hand over his bread.

Pietro is small and not especially strong. He is unassuming and non-threatening.

To 'heads' we assign this outcome: Pietro hands over his bread and the bravos take it, jeering. One of them feels bad about it, though, and sneaks back later to give Pietro his portion.

To 'tails' we assign this outcome: Pietro hands over the bread, and he's such a push-over that the bravos are emboldened. 'Sneak into the larder' they say 'and bring us a jug of wine to wash this down.'

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So, anyway, that's that. Fictional positioning matters, even in a game where every 'roll' is always 50/50. The fiction shapes the boundaries of the resolution. It may affect the mechanical odds of some outcomes but that isn't required. (That's a game design choice) Right? Right.

(I don't expect this is controversial, but lord, who knows?)
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