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When is a Very Hard test not a Very Hard test?


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#1 Hellebore

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Posted 12 December 2008 - 01:56 PM

I've been ruminating on test difficulties etc whilst looking at attempting to have stats of over 100.

 

One thing that struck me is the names of the difficulty levels:

Easy, Routine, Ordinary, Challenging, Difficult, Hard, Very Hard

 

These seem fairly objective. If a test is Very Hard, then it's Very Hard. If it wasn't it would be Hard instead, or Difficult. Yet the game sets the tests so that no two people will have the same chance of succeeding on a Very Hard test.

For instance, balancing on the edge of a roof might be Very Hard for a human, but Routine for an Eldar. The test itself is subjective to the person making it. If something is Very Hard then the roll should always be the same, because Very Hard never changes. What does change is the level of difficulty an individual has in attempting to do something.

The chance that a blood thirster succeeds on a Very Hard test should be identical to the chance of a Grot succeeding on a Very Hard test, because the difficulty is the same (Very Hard is Very Hard). What is different is what they are actually doing. A grot might find hiding from a genestealer Very Hard, whilst a Bloodthirster might find trying to pick up a puppy Very Hard. The test is different but the difficulty is the same.

So from this perspective does it make sense for a test to be called 'Very Hard' if the creature making it has a greater than 50% chance of succeeding (ie a statistic of 80 ot more)? Wouldn't a test with 50% chance of success be more like a Challenging test?

 

I've been thinking for NON opposed tests, where you're just making a roll against a statistic, that the Difficulty should be set to one of seven levels.

 

This would be for things like Skills etc. You build up your ability to do them:

Easy 90%

Routine 75%

Ordinary 60%

Challenging 50%

Difficult 40%

Hard 25%

Very Hard 10%

 

Only when something is OPPOSED would you actually roll against your statistic, otherwise the chance of success is based on how difficult it is to you.

 

Hellebore



#2 DocIII

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Posted 12 December 2008 - 02:23 PM

By that rationale you're assigning difficulty category subjectively based on task compared to the individual.  Different people have differing degrees of difficulty doing things.  For an olympic gymnast holding themselves up horizontally from a bar is far easier than it is for say, me. 

Look at it this way.  Either tests are made against stats and objective difficulty is a set modifier (as in present rules)  Or difficulty needs to be a set number and stats become the modifier. 

Either way a really strong guy lifting 100 kg has a higher percentage chance of suceeding than a weak guy.

Most people would agree that running a marathon is a fairly difficult task requiring endurance.  So we assign it as a challenging (+/-0) toughness test.  A sedentary fat bum with bad knees (say 25 Toughness for this example) has a much lower chance of sucessful completing the marathon than a high school track star (say toughness 40 for this example)   Track star has higher chance, this makes sense.

Under you suggestion I'm guessing we'd say the run was an ordinary challenge for the track guy, but difficult for the lazy bum.  The end result is essentially the same. 

The system as is just sets an objective baseline difficulty, whether a task is difficult of hard for the individual depends on the individual. 

Your way you cannot preset difficulties for tasks because you then have to compare each task to the individual doing it, then determine the difficulty.  If you're never going to run adventures written by other people or write them for other people either works equally.



#3 Hellebore

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Posted 12 December 2008 - 02:34 PM

DocIII said:

 

By that rationale you're assigning difficulty category subjectively based on task compared to the individual.  Different people have differing degrees of difficulty doing things.  For an olympic gymnast holding themselves up horizontally from a bar is far easier than it is for say, me. 

 

 

 

It's by task AND individual. The term Very Hard doesn't change, but what you CALL Very Hard does.

DocIII said:

 

Look at it this way.  Either tests are made against stats and objective difficulty is a set modifier (as in present rules)  Or difficulty needs to be a set number and stats become the modifier. 

 

 

The objective difficulty modifier isn't the problem, it's the NAME of that modifier that is. Very Hard is Very Hard. If a Very Hard test is easier for YOU to succeed on than ME, the it isn't Very Hard for you is it? It's Easy for you and Very Hard for me, even if it's the same thing. If you succeed on something 75% of the time and I can only do the same thing 25% of the time, I don't see how you can say that the test is Very Hard for BOTH of us.

DocIII said:

 

Either way a really strong guy lifting 100 kg has a higher percentage chance of suceeding than a weak guy.

 

 

Yes, the Weaker guy finds it Very Hard to lift the weight, whilst the Strong guy finds it Easy to lift the weight.

 

DocIII said:

 

Most people would agree that running a marathon is a fairly difficult task requiring endurance.  So we assign it as a challenging (+/-0) toughness test.  A sedentary fat bum with bad knees (say 25 Toughness for this example) has a much lower chance of sucessful completing the marathon than a high school track star (say toughness 40 for this example)   Track star has higher chance, this makes sense.

Under you suggestion I'm guessing we'd say the run was an ordinary challenge for the track guy, but difficult for the lazy bum.  The end result is essentially the same. 

 

 

 

Except the description is inaccurate. Very Hard is Very Hard, yet in the game at the moment someone with 35 Strength has a 5% chance of succeeding on  a Very Hard test and someone with 65 Strength has a 35% chance of succeeding on a Very Hard test. How is that Very Hard? One is unlikely and the other is a 1/3 success rate, hardly Very Hard.

DocIII said:

 

The system as is just sets an objective baseline difficulty, whether a task is difficult of hard for the individual depends on the individual. 

Your way you cannot preset difficulties for tasks because you then have to compare each task to the individual doing it, then determine the difficulty.  If you're never going to run adventures written by other people or write them for other people either works equally.

 

 

The baseline difficulty is objective, but so is the description. It depends on which side of the difficulty table you look at. Even if you aren't assigning any modifiers, individual stats will affect your chances of success on a Challenging test.

According to the rules at the moment, a S60 character has a 60% chance of succeeding on a CHALLENGING Test. A S40 character only has a 40% chance of succeeding on a Challenging test. How are they still both Challenging when one has a 4/10 chance of success and the other has a 6/10 chance of success? Challenging is Challenging.

 

If you remove the names of the tests then the individual modifiers themselves aren't a problem, but when you combine them both together it doesn't make much sense.

 

Hellebore



#4 Dezmond

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Posted 12 December 2008 - 04:40 PM

Just let people have 234% stats. It is so very much easier. 100% means this person has no chance of  failing. -50% means  he has a 50% chance of succeeding. His mate with 120% has an 70% chance on the same test. A big gribbly with 150% can't fail the test.

Mr 234% has a 34% chance to do a -200% test, like, say lifting a car, which mr 100% can't.

Or better yet, run in fear from roll under systems, and something as badly understood as %tages.

 

 

 

Well, I did tell em. So blood inelegant.



#5 masterofweirdness

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Posted 12 December 2008 - 05:35 PM

 Hellebore, I'm not sure what you are trying to say here...

 

If I have a test, lets say, a challenging Fel test to convince someone to help my party... I'm a scum and I have a Fel rating of 40, however my partner, a Guardsmen, only has a Fel rating of 27. Now, IMO the "challenging" name is kinda  a misnomer, its really just a rating on whether or not you get a modifer. Very Easy gives you a +30 to the test, and so on and so forth until Very Hard at -30. 

The test isn't perhaps challenging to a master ortiator with a Fel of 50, but he still doesn't get any special bonuses. Sure if you wanted to make it just as hard for him to convice this person to help him you can make the test a Hard (-20) test... but that's not how I see the rules work here. 



#6 jadrax

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Posted 12 December 2008 - 08:25 PM

I am not sure, but I think you are complaining about the use of the lables for the test Difficultys rather than any issue with mechanics? If so, just call them what you want. (I personally tend to call them things like 'plus 10' and 'minus 20')



#7 Zearoth Kilrathle

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Posted 13 December 2008 - 12:18 AM

So, that wall of text was all about semantics?

Gee, must be a slow day. 



#8 N0-1_H3r3

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Posted 13 December 2008 - 12:54 AM

Hellebore said:

These seem fairly objective. If a test is Very Hard, then it's Very Hard. If it wasn't it would be Hard instead, or Difficult. Yet the game sets the tests so that no two people will have the same chance of succeeding on a Very Hard test.

For instance, balancing on the edge of a roof might be Very Hard for a human, but Routine for an Eldar. The test itself is subjective to the person making it. If something is Very Hard then the roll should always be the same, because Very Hard never changes. What does change is the level of difficulty an individual has in attempting to do something.

It should be noted that, by the rules as they currently stand, this is already the case to an extent - Eldar (who possess the trait Unnatural Agility (x2)) count all Agility-based skill tests as one-step easier than those without the trait, so a Very Hard (-30) Acrobatics test (for, say, balancing on a rooftop) for an Eldar is actually just Hard (-20).

Beyond that, I agree with Jadrax - when actually GMing, I just refer to the modifiers, not the labels they're given. Those, I only use when writing Dark Heresy rules, because it's an established convention.


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#9 Maethalion

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Posted 13 December 2008 - 07:36 AM

I think also you need to consider circumstances and not just natural ability.

It would be Very Hard for a Grot to reach the top shelf, whereas it would be Routine for a human to do so.

It would also be challenging to infiltrate a cult if you were unknown on the planet.  But if you land, start killing people in the name of the Emperor, get caught on Vid and your face passed around, then it would be Very Hard for you to infiltrate that same cult. [Except when passing through US Airport security...]

Test difficulty depends mostly on circumstances, not natural ability.  That's what your BS, S, T, Ag, etc. and level of skill describes.

In your example, running across a rainslick roof would both be Very Hard for a human AND an Eldar.  The Eldar, for example, has an Ag of 50 and is Trained (+20) in Athletics.  The Eldar then has a 40% Chance of running across.  The Human with an Ag of 30 and is only trained in Athletics, has a 0% chance of running across that same rainslick roof.

my $0.02






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