Jianghu Hustle 26: Retellings; Death Duel (1977)

Eric and Eli make their kung fu stronger by watching wuxia films and discussing how to apply their observations to game design.
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Jianghu Hustle 26: Retellings; Death Duel (1977)

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Eric and Eli watched Death Duel, a film adapted from the same Gu Long novel as our previous film, Sword Master! They discuss the nature of retellings. Please support our Patreon campaign!
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Jared Rascher
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Re: Jianghu Hustle 26: Retellings; Death Duel (1977)

Post by Jared Rascher »

I really like the idea of constraining the number of "sets" you can use in a given narrative arc of a story, because it forces you to decide what you want to highlight, and how you want to communicate what happened off-screen. It seems like a great idea to reinforce how a game is intended to flow. In other words, if nothing happens that advances the story in a way that is compelling, detailing the travel between point A and point B isn't important, but if meeting up with the bandits that live in the wastes is a plot point, then the road between cities becomes a "set."

I'm not sure if this is the right number, but I like the idea of reinforcing the flow of the story by saying that you only have four "sets" you can have scenes in until you resolve a narrative arc, so everything circles back around to similar locations. It's way outside of the genre, but it reminds me of a story like Eternal Darkness (which I am compelled to note is one of the best video games ever made when I mention it), and how there were a set number of locations even when you were following different characters in different eras, but you could see how the locations changed between eras.

Discussing advancement by facing someone with a higher rank also puts me in mind of something that happens over time in superhero stories. Often a villain, when introduced, is a major threat. Over time, as new villains are introduced, the hierarchy shifts. I was reminded of this watching the animated version of Batman Hush, and the narrative beat that Riddler was a "C-lister." Once you introduce characters like Ra's al Ghul or Bane, or introduce stories where established characters like Joker have actually been given partial or temporary victories over Batman, it pushes some characters that were obviously "A-list" at one point in the character's history down the hierarchy. Once a new character has injured Batman badly enough that he is temporarily retired, learns his secret identity, or kills someone close to him, it's hard to keep "that guy that made him think hard while stealing stuff" on the top tier.

This next bit is actually more related to the Side Hustle episode, but something about the flow of combat and pacing that I have been thinking about relates to a PBTA moves and some structures I've seen built around them. I've seen a few moves now that if you get a success, you get hold, and you can spend X number on hold to resolve a situation, but you can spend hold 1 at a time to get lesser things you may want.

So you might spend hold to learn a valuable piece of information, so you spend that one hold instead of saving up three hold to win the duel. Maybe in the custom dueling move, when you get a 6-, the GM gets hold, and on a 6-9 both get hold, and on a 10+, the player only gets hold . . . the GM could spend hold to get your character to make concessions or reveal information (for example, the GM might spend a hold to get the concession that you won't kill your opponent even if you win, and maybe another concession that you will set aside your sword and fight hand to hand for the rest of the duel, etc.).
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