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[Hurt Locker] Torture mechanics

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  • #16
    Originally posted by wyrdhamster View Post

    This can be helpful to topic. I will update first post on this idea.
    That is a good idea, because it helps convey that torture does not result in reliable information.

    I'm not against house rules for a system modeling torture. I'm against that system allowing torture to work as an effective information gathering tactic.
    Last edited by Charlaquin; 02-22-2017, 03:20 PM.


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    • #17
      Social Maneuvering seems a bit of a messy fit for this.

      For torture for information: Chase system seems a better fit. It's a "Mental" Chase of trying to maneuver the victim into a psychological place where they can't help but answer your question to the best of their ability; however pointless you choose make this effort.

      For torture for "breaking" the target and no other goal: Any system that will result in Breaking Points for the victim until you wear their Integrity into the ground and have them dramatically failing into a Persistent Condition or two.

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      • #18
        It mystifies me how people feel the need to romanticize torture. You want to use torture? Just Force Doors. Everyone suffers breaking points, and then done. This is literally what its there for.

        But... Trying to make up a subsystem for players to engage in and invest in and have fun? *rubs eyes* I'm sorry, but are you trying to encourage players to engage in torture? I'm sorry, but what the hell? Seriously, what kind of game are you running? Vampire is dripping with unavoidable mind controls and divinations. Mage specializes in divination. Werewolves can just ask spirits or make the Cahalith go take a nap. Changelings have mind control and dreamwalking and divinations of their own. Prometheans have Azothic Memory at minimum plus their own mind control powers (what the hells would a Prommie be torturing for anyways?). Demons can get a multitude of information trivally easily. Beasts literally can have a library in their head, and there's a number of mind control and divinatory abilties available.

        Every game has ways of getting information that's far better, faster, and more accurate than any interogation, let alone torture. Mortal/low tier games are pretty much the only exception, and even then, they could pull together some other methods. Hells, they can use just regular Social Maneuvering to get an accurate answer. Get a gun, take a breaking point for threatening someone with a gun, and Force some Doors. Done. There is literally no reason this won't work unless the ST wants to force players down a torture route.

        I have to question what this is even for. Even if I put aside everything moral and misinformed aside, this is still mindboggling. Why would you ever want this beyond saying that you can torture people for pretend-fun? What does it even add in a world you can literally magic up answers?
        Last edited by MCN; 02-22-2017, 08:28 AM.

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        • #19
          Players being torturers - probably not, but I'm just not throwing it to garbage on start if party pressing for this. Players being tortured by villain - this I can easily see in most games I run - I literally run this kind subplot few weeks ago. When stakes are high and NPC motivations can lead him to those dark deeds - there should be subsystem for showing when torturer should get his Goal. Other way it's more:

          ST- 'He spends with you few hours and get all he info needs...'
          Player- 'No way, I do not tell him anything!'
          ST - 'So you lost all your Integrity from resisting it...'
          Player -'No way!'
          ST - Sigh,,,

          So reason is simple - If you want to run torture scene, you need some rules for it to let it resolve in civilized way. Do not want to run it, do not use it. And stay from this topic at it's for those that would used this kind mechanics.
          Last edited by wyrdhamster; 02-22-2017, 08:39 AM.


          My stuff for Scion 2E, Dark Eras, VtR 2E, WtF 2E, MtAw 2E & BtP
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          • #20
            Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
            Social Maneuvering seems a bit of a messy fit for this.

            For torture for information: Chase system seems a better fit. It's a "Mental" Chase of trying to maneuver the victim into a psychological place where they can't help but answer your question to the best of their ability; however pointless you choose make this effort.
            How in 'Mental' Chase you would point that high Resolve and Composure on character make her harder to torture?

            Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
            For torture for "breaking" the target and no other goal: Any system that will result in Breaking Points for the victim until you wear their Integrity into the ground and have them dramatically failing into a Persistent Condition or two.
            Oh, with this I agree.


            My stuff for Scion 2E, Dark Eras, VtR 2E, WtF 2E, MtAw 2E & BtP
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            • #21
              Everything I said about players and their characters applies to STs and their NPCs as well. But worse. NPCs aren't limited by XP - its trivally easy to toss on a magic item or retainer with the ability even if you don't want to give the villain the power directly. You have a ton of abilities at your fingertips without once dropping to torture. Instead, that's exactly where you want to take the story when its unnecessary.

              And I'm not even going to touch on the effects of successfully breaking a PC's psychology.
              Last edited by MCN; 02-22-2017, 09:46 AM.

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              • #22
                MCN, I will not write more on the subject 'why to do this' - This topic is for those that want to use this kind of trope and mechanics in their games. Do not want to add on shaping mechanics here, stop posting here. Simple.


                My stuff for Scion 2E, Dark Eras, VtR 2E, WtF 2E, MtAw 2E & BtP
                LGBT+ in CoD games

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                • #23
                  No. If someone is running around with fake information, I will bring it up. This is not "This is something I disagree with." This is "something offensive that needs to be addressed." You are attempting to normalize something that has the end goal of breaking a PCs mind. You're not even looking at the end effects on the PC. You're not taking into account any facets about how torture works. There's no training you can take to learn to resist torture. You're not looking into how people lie under torture just to make it stop or delay, and the fact that its nothing more than a coin toss to guess if they are or not. And there are people who can't be broken, due to personality.

                  Mature topics need to be handled with care and respect. Not turned into a caracture. You want mechanics? They already exist. Cooersion is literally what Forcing Doors is for. Rules for using Forcing Doors on PCs exist.

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                  • #24
                    Maybe we should expand the conversation from torture mechanics to mechanics for Intimidation as a Violent Skill, because I honestly was disappointed that they didn't give Intimidation its own unique mechanics in Hurt Locker.

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by wyrdhamster View Post
                      How in 'Mental' Chase you would point that high Resolve and Composure on character make her harder to torture?
                      Chases are opposed rolls. Have the torturers rolls [Attribute depending on Method] + Intimidation vs. Resolve + [Composure or a higher Skill if relevant like Subterfuge].

                      Have things like successful Breaking Point checks for the victim allow them to seize the edge in the Chase (again, this is going to favor higher Resolve and Composure) as they fail to be "broken" by the trauma.

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                      • #26
                        I guess I find it hypocritical to see torture condemned in a political manifesto while the core game contains a (critically acclaimed) mechanic that boils down to "Punch people in the face so they will give you what you want", which is basically what Beaten Down is - portraying violence as a reliable method of attaining your ends.
                        Actually, you probably can use Beaten Down as a way to mechanically portray torture, I guess? Just make resisting the interrogator a "violent" action that needs Willpower to be spent if you want to take it.
                        Last edited by WHW; 02-22-2017, 08:28 PM.

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by WHW View Post
                          I guess I find it hypocritical to see torture condemned in a political manifesto while the core game contains a (critically acclaimed) mechanic that boils down to "Punch people in the face so they will give you what you want", which is basically what Beaten Down is - portraying violence as a reliable method of attaining your ends.

                          Actually, you probably can use Beaten Down as a way to mechanically portray torture, I guess? Just make resisting the interrogator a "violent" action that needs Willpower to be spent if you want to take it.
                          I would argue that if you're going into a combat scene with the intent of using violence to force your victim to do what you want, then the victim will be immune to Beaten Down. Beaten down only applies when the opposition's Intent is something other than to inflict harm on you. It's for situations where your opponent doesn't want to be in a violent exchange. If their intent is "escape", or "take your money", or something similar. If their intent is "beat you into telling me what I want to know", you shouldn't be subject to Beaten Down.


                          Onyx Path Forum Moderator

                          My mod voice is red. I use it so you know when I'm speaking in an official capacity, not as an indication of tone.

                          Going by Willow now, or Wil for short. She/Her/Hers.

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                          • #28
                            Hm, the closest I ever came to torturing somebody for info in a game was the time we interrogated my fetch on his connection with a hobgoblin slaver in a Changeling game. Our Autumn courtier rolled an exceptional success on an intimidate check and terrified him into agreeing to a pledge to answer our questions honestly and to the best of his ability.

                            I really wanted that information and was prepared to do some nasty things to get it, and it was intensely satisfying to come up with an alternative that was... well, it wasn't nice but it was significantly more ethical and effective than torture would have been.

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by Charlaquin View Post
                              I would argue that if you're going into a combat scene with the intent of using violence to force your victim to do what you want, then the victim will be immune to Beaten Down. Beaten down only applies when the opposition's Intent is something other than to inflict harm on you. It's for situations where your opponent doesn't want to be in a violent exchange. If their intent is "escape", or "take your money", or something similar. If their intent is "beat you into telling me what I want to know", you shouldn't be subject to Beaten Down.

                              I honestly don't understand the distinction you are making.
                              Larry wants to know if Teddy saw Bob kissing with Jake. Larry engages into Violence Segment, stating his intent as "I WANT TEDDY TO TELL ME WHAT HE SAW". Teddy want's to get the hell out of the dodge without betraying Bob's trust, so he states his intent of "I WANT TO AVOID HURTING LARRY OR BOB, DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY". So Larry, determined to get his answer no matter what, punches Bob in the face demanding an answer. Bob still refuses, so Larry continues until Bob is Beaten Down - Larry's goal isn't to kill him or whatever, he is TORTURING him (!) in order to extract an answer. Bob faces a choice - surrender and answer, which will end the violence segment (Torture succeed!), or oppose and get his face kicked in.

                              This seems to follow spirit of Beaten Down & Surrender rules. Intent is supposed to be formulated using "I want [Objective]", not "I'm going to use [method xyz] in order to [objective]". Properly formulated intent in your example would be "I want him to tell me what he really knows", not "I want to kick his shit in". Purpose of the violence scene is to find out what exactly you are ready to do in order to achieve your goal.

                              So yeah, I think that one of easiest ways to introduce "torture-sque" scenes is to use Beaten Down rules, with a note that refusing to give an answer should be considered "a violent action" for purpose of needing to Willpower.

                              EDIT
                              BTW, winning move for Teddy is to survive until his whole health bar is full of bashing, and then opt to dramatically fail his Stamina roll to remain conscious.
                              Last edited by WHW; 02-22-2017, 10:37 PM.

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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by MCN View Post
                                It mystifies me how people feel the need to romanticize torture. You want to use torture? Just Force Doors. Everyone suffers breaking points, and then done. This is literally what its there for.

                                But... Trying to make up a subsystem for players to engage in and invest in and have fun? *rubs eyes* I'm sorry, but are you trying to encourage players to engage in torture? I'm sorry, but what the hell? Seriously, what kind of game are you running? Vampire is dripping with unavoidable mind controls and divinations. Mage specializes in divination. Werewolves can just ask spirits or make the Cahalith go take a nap. Changelings have mind control and dreamwalking and divinations of their own. Prometheans have Azothic Memory at minimum plus their own mind control powers (what the hells would a Prommie be torturing for anyways?). Demons can get a multitude of information trivally easily. Beasts literally can have a library in their head, and there's a number of mind control and divinatory abilties available.

                                Every game has ways of getting information that's far better, faster, and more accurate than any interogation, let alone torture. Mortal/low tier games are pretty much the only exception, and even then, they could pull together some other methods. Hells, they can use just regular Social Maneuvering to get an accurate answer. Get a gun, take a breaking point for threatening someone with a gun, and Force some Doors. Done. There is literally no reason this won't work unless the ST wants to force players down a torture route.

                                I have to question what this is even for. Even if I put aside everything moral and misinformed aside, this is still mindboggling. Why would you ever want this beyond saying that you can torture people for pretend-fun? What does it even add in a world you can literally magic up answers?
                                Some people play mortals, with no supernatural method of gaining information. Some player characters may be the sort of people to use torture, and rules make things less abusable for the sake of game balance so the storyteller doesn't just make one way of gathering information equal in every situation. There are plenty of things that offend me in Onyx Path games including the preachy torture side notes that attempt to tell the storyteller they are morally wrong to include a scenario where the players characters must choose with a time limit if torture is nessessary or not. It can be good drama in some stories to force players to choose between taking the easy road,or the right road.


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