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Circle of Hands - Rules Queries

Unnamed Characters Making FriendsManaged to get Circle of Hands to the table last night - I'm running it for my wife (age redacted ;) ) and two of our sons (18 and 16) and they’re having a blast. Happy times!
 
Got a couple of queries after prep and first Venture that I'm hoping Ron will sort out for me.
 
First one is a minor detail that's possibly half- / mis-remembered from playtesting conversations.
Although Demon 2 and 3 are instant spells, Demon 1 is definitely the exception as a ritual, right?
Makes sense, both in setting terms and tactically, but my brain keeps saying they were all instant spells at some point so I need to check for peace of mind.
 
In more crunchy areas, a couple of things came up for me in combat that for some reason I’ve never encountered before.
 
- If a character takes damage (from a spell, for instance) but it’s *outside* a clash, do they remain where they are in the action order? 
Case in point being someone trapped by Vine, who is then targeted by Suck. 
Classic white-black combo and a bad day for them but it raised the issue.
They can’t avoid being touched or do much of anything else because they’re bound up, so it doesn't seem like a Clash exactly and their own intended action is to try to escape with a Bv12 ... so having survived the Suck, do they retain their go? In a Clash they’d get pulled to the back of the order but it’s not a Clash so they ... wouldn’t ...?
I suppose this would include the case of simply being targeted at range by an arrow too.
 
- Second bit regards unnamed characters in the mix with named ones.
The book tells us that they’re “always there at 3:00”, kind of just constantly in the damn way I suppose. They’re engaged with in the usual Qv12 method. All fine.
But my question is how does that actually interact with clashes and order of goes and other actions?
So a PC wants to do something more pressing than dealing with the unnamed dudes - attack a named character, cast a spell, whatever it is - but the unnamed people ‘pop up’ at 3:00. If it was a normal Clash with a named character, no problem - go full defence and hope to muscle through unhurt. But with unnamed folks, is that sort of thing even an option or is the PC blocked from acting in any other way until the threat from the unnamed characters is dealt with? Would certainly favour the whole 'wizard with a human shield of minions' schtick.
Or is it something else..?
As you say in the text, the tidiest answer is probably to ascend them, but the flavour of having those unnamed guys involved made a lot of sense at the time. 
In the end, the players just magic-ed the snot out of them so the question went away, but what am I missing process-wise? Am I making things unnecessarily complicated for myself here?
 
Thanks for any clarity you can give! :)
 
Gethyn
Department: 
Actual Play

Comments

Ron Edwards's picture

... fun to answer.

1. For the Demon spells, you may be recalling old forum discussions, because I did start with the idea that the Avatar/Eidolon spells would be rituals whereas the Demon spells would be fast and dirty. But I modified it in later development, when I thought more about imps being the "gateway" to Rbaja magic. It seemed cool to have that gateway demon require a great big ritual (and funny that it's just a little imp), and then once through the gate, monstrous horrors are available at the snap of your fingers.

So, briefly, yes: Demon 1 is a ritual, Demon(s) 2 and 3 are not.

2. Regarding your Vine + Suck or any similar situation, the character does not lose his or her time-slot. We could go into why or why not, or try out this or that case study, but that is going to be the answer in all cases as long as the character isn't incapacitated in some way.

3. Regarding the unnamed opponents, we have to be a bit careful. First, there can't be so many of them that they count as a Group - we can't think of them as a mob or "countless foes." That makes it a little easier because each unit of them ("person") is easily understood as a chunk of fiction, namless or not.

If I'm reading you right, it is easiest to answer by considering this specific case: I want to go kill That Guy Over There, but a couple of his nameless buddies are in my face. Can I just ignore them and stride through? What happens if I do nothing about them? (With the tacit ridiculous suggestion that if I ignore them, ,they can't do anything, right?)

The answer is that every time my turn comes up, their action is right there in my face, arriving first. If I address them directly, that's the Brawn vs. 12 roll, so that's fine, we get that. But if I don't, then - basically - they get to do whatever they want, with no roll. That includes killing me. So the first point is that you can't ignore the fuckers, they're totally in your face with their pointy weapons, or their claws or whatever.

So how can you tough it out and still cast your spell or throw your axe at That Guy Over There? Is it simply not going to happen? The answer is that it can happen, because that Brawn vs. 12 roll was the nameless foes' turn, not yours. If you are not taken down by their action, you can still address your intended action.

I think that's what's missing in your question - it looks to me as if you were thinking of the unnamed opponent's "pop up" as replacing the character's turn to go, whereas all it does is precede it. You can't ignore them but they can't entirely tie you down from acting.

That adverb "entirely" does matter because there are plenty of immediate fictional concerns of getting rushed by these guys while you're trying to hit That Guy Over There; for example, your movement to get Over There is necessarily hampered. But it's not a full lockdown as implied by (or worried about) in your question.

Gethyn's picture

Perfect, as anticipated. :)

The sticking point for me with the unnamed dudes was that I had the sense that their action at 3:00 was always their go, but I couldn't see a clear way in the rules for it to ever get to the PC's go until those unnamed people were out of the picture one way or another. There was no "full defence" available on a Qvs12 roll, to my eye.

My ad hoc ruling was going to be "if you get through your Qv12 roll against them unharmed, then you get your go, otherwise you go back to the end of the queue". But if by "taken down by their action" you mean "killed or rendered helpless/unconscious" then it sounds as if your view on it is more lenient than mine was, which is even better.

As it turned out, one received a quick dose of Die and the remainer got well and truly Vined so the problem went away in pretty short order. Great to have the procedure cleared up though.

Thanks!

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