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In Shock: Social Science Fiction, in explaining the conflict mechanics, pages 34-35 state:

If your *Tagonists are not involved in this Conflict, you’re Audience in this scene. Roll 1d4 to use at your discretion to effect the outcome of the Conflict with Minutiæ. Every Audience member will be rolling one, but only the highest will count right now. (If more than one is the highest and wants to do something, all those players should roll anther die each. Whoever gets the highest number on that die gets to use hir Minutia.) Now tell how one of the Minutiæ in the middle of the table — either one that already exist or a new one you made up on the spot — changes the outcome of the Conflict.

My understanding of this is that the Audience member who rolls highest gets to single-handedly determine the outcome. Isn't that a bit excessive? It sounds as though the entire conflict mechanics between the two *Tagonists get completely overridden by a simple 1d4 toss.

Is that the intention, or am I misreading this? Does this work better in real-play than it sounds on paper?

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Could someone with rep create an appropriate tag? "shock-ssf" sounds right to me. –  Standback Jul 4 '11 at 18:59
    
I added a 'shock' tag. –  okeefe Jul 4 '11 at 19:04
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The highest-rolling Audience member doesn't automatically get to choose the outcome.

There are two sides of the Conflict, and it is possible for both *Tagonists to win or both to lose because their Intents are not mutually exclusive. The Audience can choose to (but is not required to) affect one *Tagonist's result by adjusting the *Tagonist's d10 roll by adding or subtracting the Audience's d4 roll. Affecting a *Tagonist's result also requires the Audience to narrate the complication with Minutiæ. If one *Tagonist is winning by a large enough margin (or if the Audience rolls poorly), then they can't change the outcome except by the introduction of Minutiæ.

The intention is that the Audience has significant sway in one side of the Conflict.

This is slightly clarified on page 36 and in the Playing the Audience section on page 64.

Page 64

Your job as an Audience member is to push things the way you want them to go.

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"If a side is winning by a large enough margin (or if the Audience rolls poorly), then they can't change the outcome." I think this is what I'm missing. Control isn't automatic? The die roll is factored into the conflict rolls? It doesn't say that, but that makes sense. I thought the high-rolling member just gets to change the outcome, no questions asked. What if I'm pushing the outcome in the direction I want, but not enough to change it - what do I narrate then? This mechanism isn't as clearly phrased as it could be :-/ –  Standback Jul 4 '11 at 20:13
    
Oh, I see what you mean. The value rolled affects one side's result, hence the mention of the final result that gets compared to the Fulcrum and if the roll was changed by an Audience member, that player gets to say how circumstances helped your character (page 36). There's nothing to narrate if the Audience's Minutiæ didn't affect anything. I suppose you could narrate a closer call because of the Minutiæ, but the end result would be the same without it. –  okeefe Jul 4 '11 at 20:38
    
Remember that at the end of the game there are no players who won or lost, but a story of what happened. Minutiæ are a major input to that end product: you can say things like robots are capable of love, or that Lost Old Earth is a dying cinder instead of the tropical Eden they were looking for, and that's why the conflict outcome is slightly different than it would have been… –  SevenSidedDie Jul 5 '11 at 4:59
    
@Seven: so you're saying that even if an Audience member doesn't change the outcome, the opportunity to add a Minutiae might prompt audience influence anyway? –  Standback Jul 5 '11 at 7:44
    
@okeefe: I proposed an edit adding a paragraph to your answer; it summarizes clearly what you've added here in the comments, which answers my question more directly. Hope that's OK by you. Thanks much :) –  Standback Jul 5 '11 at 7:55
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