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Thread: Circles: I go and find my boss

  1. #1
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    Default Circles: I go and find my boss

    Hey there,

    I was just playing in a game (see here for the character: http://burningwheel.org/forum/showthread.php?p=86838 ), and we came upon a slight stumbling block.

    Basically, my character is involved with a street gang, and wanted to find the leader of the gang. Now, I didn't buy a relationship for that character, so I would have to roll Circles, I guess. Where we hesitated was in determining the correct difficulty.

    Would "leader of the gang" make this guy higher station, or would it rather be an uncommon profession? If I'm looking for this specific guy, would this indeed be a specific occupation, only with +1D on the Circles test for me knowing his name? Would it be both specific occupation *and* higher station? Maybe even higher difficulty for uncommon dispostion (considering he doesn't like my character)?

    Basically, we thought it was kind of funny to have a very high Circles obstacle to find someone "soon" (i.e. within the session) when my characte regularly meets up with the guy at gang meetings.

    I mean, it's possible to say I should buy a relationship if I want to always be able to find him, and normally the GM would just say yes (as he did here, too), so the high Obstacle would only come into play when the test was important.

    I guess it's not even a real question I have, I just want to make sure. In this case, figuring out the obstacle as:

    specific occupation (leader of a specific gang) +3
    higher status +1

    i.e. obstacle 5 would be correct?
    Patrick

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    Sounds like it really depends on the fiction. If you see the guy at regular meetings and can wait for the staff meeting, no circle needed. If you want him now and he hangs out at the gang headquarters where there's an open door policy for gang members, he's not a higher station, he's in your circle even though he leads the gang. You just want to find him in and if he's always in, then you may not need a roll. If he's a big high mucky muck who walks around with nobles and shit, and your an errand boy beneath his notice who sits in the bleachers during the meetings...well, then you might have a little higher ob.

    So: sure
    --James R.

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    The GM didn't have anything in mind for an NPC gangboss? If he did, why didn't he say yes?

    Otherwise, yes, higher obstacle. You didn't spend the points on a relationship so now it seems that gang boss is likely to be your enemy. It's a nice complication. Lots of grist to play with.
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    No, the GM said yes - It's just then we got to talking, "well, what would I have to roll if..."

    and yes, I said, "no wonder he doesn't like me" if I can only "find" him via enemy clause

    Thanks!
    Patrick

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    Quote Originally Posted by luke View Post
    The GM didn't have anything in mind for an NPC gangboss? If he did, why didn't he say yes?

    Otherwise, yes, higher obstacle. You didn't spend the points on a relationship so now it seems that gang boss is likely to be your enemy. It's a nice complication. Lots of grist to play with.
    juicy!
    --James R.

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    At that moment there really was no reason to force a circles role, so I said yes. What made the thought of circling your own gang boss a bit weird was the fact that he is part of a belief (and thereby already named). Also, we assumed this street gang to be rather small, around 30 youngsters maybe.

    Using circles for something/someone previously undefined is rather clear, but circling up persons rather involved in the story still feels odd. I guess it all comes down to the "when it really matters" part. If you really have to find this one guy for something important and it can't wait, some interesting complications may arise.
    Carsten

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    Leaving aside the question of whether to call a test at all (which others have ably addressed), a few comments on your obstacle:

    Remember that the modifiers are all a) only applied if they matter, and b) applied relative to the character's own station and circles.

    I don't think "gang leader" is really an uncommon occupation in a gang member's circles. I bet your gang member could locate (through friends of friends) several gang leaders. It certainly is higher station, though.

    I'm not sure you're using the disposition modifier correctly. That modifier is not applied to describe a known subject's actual disposition. Instead, it is applied to describe the desired disposition of the subject. If you are looking for a barber-surgeon, and you need to find one who will come to your safehouse in the middle of the night, that's +1Ob. If you are looking for a particular barber-surgeon (let's say you've met him before but he's not a relationship), and it's business hours and you have lots of money to pay him so you don't care if he likes you, but it just so happens that this guy does like you? Don't apply the modifier.

    This comes into focus with the time modifier: If you need to find someone NOW before your buddy bleeds out, apply the modifier. If you have all week, don't apply the modifier even if the GM decides to have him show up in the next hour.
    -Devin

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    100% agreement with Devin. Beyond that, be careful not to treat Circles as a social network simulator. Its real job is to determine whether characters are friends or enemies.

    Circling up someone you already know and who is established in the story is perfectly valid. Afterall, they're already known and established the second or third time you make a Circles roll to bring them in.

    In your case, if and when you do decide to ask for a Circles test to meet with the gang boss, what the test will actually be doing is determining how the boss feels about the character. Does he consider him a son? A friend? A valued lieutenant? A dangerous upstart who will soon outgrow his usefulness? Does he think the character is a snitch? Has he simply decided to sacrifice the character like a pawn in pursuit of some goal?

    A Circles roll will determine whether it goes one way or the other, and then you'll decide what that means, maybe using one of the examples above or something completely different.

    I corner him and stab him in the face!

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    Or, I guess, that the gang boss can't be approached at the moment, if said moment is critical.
    Patrick

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    Quote Originally Posted by Berandor View Post
    Or, I guess, that the gang boss can't be approached at the moment, if said moment is critical.
    And if it is, you'd definitely be using one of the time-sensitive modifiers.

    I'd have probably gone:

    * Specific role
    * Specific disposition (if I wanted to ensure he showed up happy and ready to help, i.e. my DOW skills sucked worse than my Circles)
    * The Here and Now modifiers

    p.
    It might help: Getting Past the First Turn
    At the wiki: Paul B's Belief Workshop, among other things

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