Conflicting Task Resolution: Part 1

With my ‘Drifting HERO’ as a specific example, let us consider the following question:

Just what *does* a system need for Conflict Resolution?  And how does this differ from what is needed for Task Resolution?

Ron Edwards defines Task Resolution as “A Technique in which the Resolution mechanisms of play focus on within-game cause, in linear in-game time, in terms of whether the acting character is competent to perform a task. Contrast with Conflict resolution.”

Why, I think I will go ahead and contrast it, Ron!  What else does he have to say?  He says Conflict Resolution is “A Technique in which the mechanisms of play focus on conflicts of interest, rather than on the component tasks within that conflict. When using this Technique, inanimate objects are conceived to have “interests” at odds with the character, if necessary. Contrast with Task resolution. ”

Ok, so what do you need for Task Resolution?

*An action,

*A means of determining success of the action,

*And a means of determining the effects of the action.

This typically takes the form of a player’s announcement (“I waste him with my crossbow,”) some sort of GM called for die-roll (“Ok, roll to hit,”) and some sort of GM interpretation (“You hit.  Roll for damage.”)

To resolve an entire ‘conflict,’ with Task resolution, you need:

*A series of actions, each one built on the results of what came before,

*A means of determining the success of each individual action,

*A means of determining the effect of each action,

*And, a means of declaring when the conflict is ‘over.’

(Note that in typical games, every step but the first is in the hands of the GM.)

For Conflict Resolution, what you need is:

*An intent: one’s preferred outcome,

*A means of determining the outcome,

*And a means of determining how it happened.

(Some games split up step 3, with narrating the results at the end, and with selecting skills between step one and two.) But consider: this is mostly the reverse of the Task resolution scene.  However, more of the decisions are in the hands of the players, which is why this is often preferred by those familiar with both.

So, on a theoretical level at least, any Task system or any Conflict system has all the necessary parts to be transformed into the other.  On a practical level, it is not always that easy, which will be explored in Part 2.


7 thoughts on “Conflicting Task Resolution: Part 1

  1. Rahvin says:

    This discussion is kind of superfluous, isn’t it? I mean, it’s a rule system. Any game can theoretically be run under any rulesystem… what remains to be answered is whether or not we still have the same game or not.

    If I wanted to, I could run Dungeons and Dragons using the DitV rules, making stats and traits for my elven fighter/mage. Or I could play DitV using D&D rules, but then are we still playing the same game? Just how much can be changed before we say that it’s totally different? That’s what you haven’t even begun to address and until you do, the fact that we can swap out mechanics if we want to isn’t contraversial in the least.

  2. Willow says:

    What I’m actually talking about is changing mechanics within a game system.

    Part 2 should make this more obvious.

  3. […] In part one, I talked about Task and Conflict on a very theoretical level, and set down some basic definitions.  Now let’s get to the good stuff. […]

  4. […] In Part 1 I laid down some defintions, and in Part 2 I discussed some simple drift using techniques.  Now it’s time to go full on gonzo system-reconstruction. […]

  5. […] And it all comes down to this.  The long awaited conclusion.  If you haven’t already, start with Part One. […]

  6. […] And it all comes down to this.  The long awaited conclusion.  If you haven’t already, start with Part One. […]

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