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Thread: The Line Between Wises and Circles

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    Default The Line Between Wises and Circles

    I got very excited about Wises after my game at BWHQ where I played a Noble Bastard Duelist with Family Secrets-Wise.

    So at the beginning of my session last night I reminded the players about Wises (everyone in the game is new and it was only our 3rd session) and made sure I knew what the Wise was for each character. For the players who didn't have one I encouraged them to start thinking about opening one up.

    The players responded enthusiastically and we had several tests throughout the evening. By the end, between the four characters we had four Wises: Bard-Wise, Assassination-Wise, Dire Forest-Wise, and Kansk-Wise and the tests really helped the setting come to life and also introduced some new complications to the Big Story of trying to find several missing elves, including my father's elf's one true love.

    Well into the session, through, I noticed, though, that the players were using Wises to create NPC's.

    Then I suddenly asked myself, "Wait, isn't that what Circles tests are for?" Maybe you can't create an NPC with a Wise. I mentioned this doubt to the players but then said, "Okay, if you create an NPC with a Wise, you'll still have to use Circles if you want to go find this new NPC and to determine his or her disposition toward you."

    Then after the session I re-read the write-up on Wises in the Adventure Burner and the example of Village of Hochen-Wise specifically lists "Who's the chief of Hochen?" as an Ob 1 test. So clearly you can discover or create an NPC with a Wise.

    So maybe I did everything right, but I thought I'd check here on the forums for any clarifying thoughts on this.

    Peter

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    Oh, before someone suggests these should be linked tests, I thought of that. The problem was that in most cases I couldn't tell if the players were going to go find the NPC or not, or were just creating the NPC to develop options.

    I definitely hope they go circle up the half-orc cullinarian who likes to eat elves.

    Peter

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    What's the intent?

    It sounds a little bit like there was no legitimate intent and the players were just kinda noodling around, which is fine, but don't let them test until there's an intent.
    -Devin

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    One of the Wise tests wasn't grabby enough and didn't have solid intent so I did, in fact, simply say no. (I think I saw a post recently, perhaps even by Luke, where it seems you can use Roll the Dice of Say Yes in the negative. True?)

    The Wise test to establish that there are two half-orcs living in Kansk who like to eat elven flesh had the intent of establishing a possible lead for investigating the missing elves. In other words, start at the other end of the food chain (ahem!) and work your way back toward the source.

    I'll admit I probably don't think about intent as much as I should. At the time it seemed sufficient that the fiction being created was grabby and related to several characters' beliefs (I think 3 of the 4 characters now have beliefs around finding these missing elves). In the context of a Wise test should I be asking the players what they intend to do with the information? Is that what you mean by intent here?

    Peter

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    G'day Pete,
    Nice. I like the way you are adjudicating this situation. It seems to me that the Intent is solid to the task (of rolling for the wise), but if they are only just opening them up, surely the OB for that sort of specificty of Kansk-wise would preclude success? What was your failure complication? I really like to follow the various points of Advice in the AdBu that suggest success with a condition or twist (rather than refuting the story element introduced through the wise).

    One thought on the difference between Circles and Wises that I employ is that when players ask for a Circles test, and we establish intent, part of the task included in the circles test is to interact with the NPC, rather than just breathing them into life. This ties them to the NPC for good or ill, and they will appear and be involved in the players lives.

    The wise test you outline makes no need to interact with the half-orcs. Just that they are going about their business eating folks. Trivia, useful info - thus a -wise. Make sense?

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    G'day to you too, Noofy!

    I didn't want to admit it but the two players who didn't have a Wise I just let them have one, opened, at Per/2.

    That said, yes, there was one failed Wise roll that I just now finished roleplaying with my father during a one-on-one "interstitial" over Infrno. (He's in Korea, two of the other players are in Colorado, I'm in Seattle.)

    His character, Vol, the elf who's true love is one of the missing elves decided it would be a good idea to alert any local bards (she's a bard) of the missing elf problem. Basically she's trying to expand the dragnet. So she used Circles to find "an elven bard in the vicinity of Kansk". Since it was clear she wanted to go visit this bard we didn't fall into the question of "Wise or Circles?" But we did think about whether she should use a Wise for a linked test. Sparing you the details of the calculations, the Circles test was "easy" (odds in her favor) but the Wise test was "hard" (odds not in her favor). Unless I botched my arithmetic-fu it seemed that mathematically it was better for her to skip the Wise link and go straight to Circles.

    But she botched the Circles roll anyway! 6 dice, Ob 2, rolled only one success.

    Fail forward? That's easy. She goes out to the vineyard where this bard lives only to discover that he's gone missing.

    Aaarrrggghhh!

    Now there are seven missing elves!

    Dad felt HORRIBLE! He told me he raised a cruel son.

    Peter

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    Any time a character is being invented to help the players, you should test Circles.

    Any time a player is trying to find information, test a wise.
    "Athos—Porthos, farewell till we meet again! Aramis, adieu forever!"
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    Luke, in your game at BWHQ I used Family Secrets-Wise to create a character (Mitra) as "Jubal's secret cousin" so we could draw him out Jubal and not have to fight him in a tower. By your logic above, I should have tested Circles as I was inventing a character to help us players.

    Help me out, buddy!

    Peter

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    I seem to remember that you asked me if you could use Family Secrets-wise to see if Jhubal had a skeleton in his closet, a person you could exploit. You basically just handed me a giant obstacle to put in front of you.

    You did not define the parameters of a character you wanted to bring into play to help you in some fashion.
    "Athos—Porthos, farewell till we meet again! Aramis, adieu forever!"
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    Yeah, it sounded like you used the wise to establish that the cousin existed. To actually meet him would've required a Circles test.
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