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End of encounter, end of act, rally steps…in relation to fatigue/stress and insanities?


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#1 Ceodryn

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 02:09 AM

Alright, I am curious how GMs use the mechanisms of the "end of an encounter", the "end of an act" and the "rally step", in relation to recovering faigue and stress, checking for insanities and especially in FFG published stories. 

According to the rules…

1) At the end of an Encounter:

  • Characters recover a number of fatigue equal to their TO
  • Characters recover a number of stress equal to their WP

2) During a Rally Step:

  • Characters recover 1 fatigue and 1 stress
  • May choose to do an Easy (1d) Resilience or Discipline check to recover more fatigue or stress

3) At the end of an Act:

  • A character check whether a temporary insanity becomes permananent
  • A Rally Step occurs (it's in the GM's Guide)

I understand a Rally Step can also be used in between "wave" of monsters during an Encounter, or to break an Encounter in several pieces. This isn't what I am talking about here. I am talking about the Rally Step phase that "linked" two acts as described in the GM's Guide.

The problem is that in many published adventures, an Encounter is nearly an act. A little of description may go after the Encounter, but really not much. Applying the rules as above, it means the characters will recover fatigue and stress at the end the Encounter, then maybe a couple minutes of description/story mode will occur, then the Act will end and the characters will check for their insanities in a much better condition (not stressed anymore, since they recovered it at the end of the Encounter), then recover more fatigue and stress with the end of an Act Rally Step.

With all of that, they will surely starts the next Act with no stress and fatigue at all. It doesn't feel very WFRP, especially when the tension should be high. 

So, what do GMs do when an Encounter nearly equal an Act?

  • Do you sometimes forgo the end of Act Rally Step? It could be dangerous though since the Rally Step allows for healing time.
  • Do you forgo the end of an Encounter recovery phase, and replace it with a Rally Step? It seems to me the better solution.
  • Do you forgo the mandatory Rally Step in between each Act? Again, it means healing will have to wait quite a long time. It may however be a solution in particular situations.

What else? Or did I misunderstood something?

Cheers

Ceodryn

 



#2 Emirikol

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 03:44 AM

Yes, recovery of stress and fatigue is a clunky part of the game included in the clunky acts, rallies and "encounters."

I think a better method might be to exchange "act" with "good night's sleep," especially when not playing a published adventure.  Guaranteed that fatigue/stress recovery was not calculated into any scenarios.

I don't use the rally step between acts, I usually just tell players that they all go back to normal.

 

Let's run some numbers and come up with some actual situations:

Roadwarden:  TO 3, WP 3

Encounter (4-5 rounds )
Gains:  4 fatigue, 4 stress  (is this a high estimate?)
During encounter uses Assess the Situation: 1 fatigue/ 1 stress
Rally step:  regain 1 fatigue and 1 stress - DID NOT DO A RESILIENCE OR DISC CHECK B/C BANDAGING WOUNDS
End of the Encounter: recover 3 fatigue, 3 stress

Total remaining:  1 fatigue and 1 stress

While walking around town they start up a conversation with a local with FOLKLORE:  2 boons; regained one stress

Total:  1 fatigue, 0 stress.

End of the Act:  Recovers final fatigue.

Rally step between Act (pointless).

 

Seems that Fatigue and Stress are pretty pointless except to limit the amount of Maneuvers or Stance shifts you can do during an encounter.

 

See if you can come up with some other situations where this might be different.  The only person that ever has to drag out the recovery of fatigue in our group is someone with high toughness.

 

 

jh

 

Ceodryn said:

 

Alright, I am curious how GMs use the mechanisms of the "end of an encounter", the "end of an act" and the "rally step", in relation to recovering faigue and stress, checking for insanities and especially in FFG published stories. 

According to the rules…

1) At the end of an Encounter:

  • Characters recover a number of fatigue equal to their TO
  • Characters recover a number of stress equal to their WP

2) During a Rally Step:

  • Characters recover 1 fatigue and 1 stress
  • May choose to do an Easy (1d) Resilience or Discipline check to recover more fatigue or stress

3) At the end of an Act:

  • A character check whether a temporary insanity becomes permananent
  • A Rally Step occurs (it's in the GM's Guide)

I understand a Rally Step can also be used in between "wave" of monsters during an Encounter, or to break an Encounter in several pieces. This isn't what I am talking about here. I am talking about the Rally Step phase that "linked" two acts as described in the GM's Guide.

The problem is that in many published adventures, an Encounter is nearly an act. A little of description may go after the Encounter, but really not much. Applying the rules as above, it means the characters will recover fatigue and stress at the end the Encounter, then maybe a couple minutes of description/story mode will occur, then the Act will end and the characters will check for their insanities in a much better condition (not stressed anymore, since they recovered it at the end of the Encounter), then recover more fatigue and stress with the end of an Act Rally Step.

With all of that, they will surely starts the next Act with no stress and fatigue at all. It doesn't feel very WFRP, especially when the tension should be high. 

So, what do GMs do when an Encounter nearly equal an Act?

  • Do you sometimes forgo the end of Act Rally Step? It could be dangerous though since the Rally Step allows for healing time.
  • Do you forgo the end of an Encounter recovery phase, and replace it with a Rally Step? It seems to me the better solution.
  • Do you forgo the mandatory Rally Step in between each Act? Again, it means healing will have to wait quite a long time. It may however be a solution in particular situations.

What else? Or did I misunderstood something?

Cheers

Ceodryn

 

 

 



#3 Yepesnopes

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 06:05 AM

I don't use any of these things.

When there is the end of an "encounter" I still work with the concept of resting. That is, at the end of an encounter there is no recovery unless the characters decide to rest. Half an hour of rest is enough to recover Fatigue = To and Stress = Wp.

I don't use the rallystep, it feels "unnatural" to me. The rally step makes me think of these manga cartoons, that when the bad boy enters the room, you have 5 minuts of cartoon where everybody is still and gasping

 

 

Finally I also work with the concept of long term fatigue and stress. These ones are gained while travelling for example. To recover from this type of stress or fatigue you need a good night rest.

Cheers,

Yepes


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#4 dvang

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 06:26 AM

In general, fatigue and stress are short-term effects. They recover quickly.  I don't see anything odd about it. Simply, fatigue and stress generally don't persist beyond a single encounter. You might have one or two left after an encounter, but that's usually about all, unless the encounter was extremely lengthy. Wounds are what persist between Acts.

Honestly, I cannot think of a published adventure that has a single enounter that spans the entire length of an act … and I own all of them burla. There is almost always a lot of stuff happening before an encounter at the start of the Act.  A lot of Acts, especially later ones, do often end with an Encounter. That is because the "big bad" is usually the climax of the Act, and is faced in an encounter. 

An 'encounter' is essentially a 'fight' (or perhaps a series of fights very close together). 

Lastly, think about this in cinematic terms… which is the intent of the rules.  As the GM, if the PCs do not have time after an encounter to recover … then I would argue that the encounter is not really over.  In the aftermath of a fight, the heroes catch their breath. They have defeated or evaded their opponent. Chests heaving, they take a breather. They are able to revive exhausted comrades before returning to town, or going on their way, etc.  So, I would ask 'how much time is available?' after an Encounter. If the PCs have no time pressure, then I don't see why they wouldn't recover a significant amount of fatigue and/or stress.

Longer-term effects, for the 'gritty Warhammer' feel that you are expecting come from the accumulation of Wounds, Insantities, and Diseases. Those persist through acts (and often multiple adventures).  However, as a GM, you are free to impose restrictions on the recovery of stress and fatigue. I believe there are even location cards that impose stress/fatigue or inhibit stress/fatigue recovery. 

 

 

 



#5 r_b_bergstrom

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 12:14 PM

Three Four points I'd like to make in regards to this topic:

1) Act, Episode and Encounter are rather defined very loosely in the game. If you look through the various supplements, you'll find both Encounters composed of multiple Acts and Acts composed of multiple Encounters.  Rally steps can happen between either/any of these, but I would never consider them to be compulsory. 

The Rally step is meant to represent a few seconds break in the middle of some event.  The end of an encounter is almost by definition a longer break than that. The Fatigue & Stress recovery of a rally step are almost always less than those of the end of an Encounter, unless you get a really lucky roll and/or have a very unusual dice pool (such as Toughness 2 but 3 ranks in Resilience).


2) I'm not sure where the notion is coming from that not having a Rally Step after the fight is over is somehow going to reduce the amount of healing the PCs have access to. Per page 65 of the main rulebook: "Outside of a structured encounter, a character can benefit from one successful First Aid check per scene, or per the GM's discretion." So there's no reason why a Rally Step would result in them getting more shots at healing than just a mundane scene change.

There are a few spells and blessings that heal and say they recharge at the end of the Act, Encounter, or Rally Step. Rather than having to constantly field questions from the players about such things, I'd just assume that the End of the Encounter qualifies as all 3. It's just easier that way, and it's not likely to break anything. (Especially if your main concern was that skipping the Rally steps would cheat the PCs out of healing opportunities.)



3) Fatigue, Stress, and normal Wounds are all things that PCs can recover from very quickly.  It's just the realities of the math.  A character with Toughness X passes out from 2X Fatigue, but also recovers a _minimum_ of X Fatigue per encounter.  When you start your next encounter most of the PCs will be starting with 0 Fatigue most of the time.

The Fatigue mechanic does a good job of modeling short-term fatigue such as "You're winded for a minute because you just ran half a mile". It's not nearly as good at modeling "You're exhausted and sore because you marched 20 miles in full kit yesterday and haven't gotten any sleep."  Ways to overcome or diminish Fatigue are numerous and scattered throughout the actions, talents, rally steps, etc. It's almost impossible for Fatigue to linger on a character for more than a couple turns. If you want to represent sleeplessness, starvation, long term aches and pains, or anything the players can't just brush off, you'll want to use Conditions instead of Fatigue.  Overwhelmed and Sluggish are especially good for these purposes.

Same thing for Stress. It's great at representing panic, surprise, or when events are happening too fast to process. It doesn't really handle long-term stress like what you feel if you lose your job, get diagnosed with a life-threatening disease, or your spouse asks for a divorce. Those are the sorts of things that don't get better a minute later when you you happen to roll 2 boons on an nature lore check. Long-term stressors are better off being represented by the Demoralised, Perplexed, or Shock Conditions than with mere Stress tokens.

Wounds linger a little more than Fatigue/Stress, but not really that much. Between immediate First Aid, the automatic recovery overnight, and the Resilience check in the morning, most characters can (and often will) recover nearly their entire Wound Threshold per day. Criticals (and Severe Injuries, if you're using those cards) stick around a bit longer (at least without Blessings or Medicine to throw at them).  Unless you have a good story reason to make multiple fights happen in a row with no rest breaks in between, it's probably best to assume your players will start every fight recovered from everything but their Criticals.
 

4) The check for turning temporary Insanity permanent is made based on the number of tokens on the Insanity Card, NOT the current level of Stress or Fatigue. So it's irrelevant whether that happens before or after Stress and Fatigue are recovered. It's based off the worst state their situation got to during that Act, not where it is at the time they are rolling.



#6 dvang

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Posted 26 April 2013 - 05:06 AM

Excellent comments, r_b_bergstrom.

I totally endorse using Conditions if you, as the GM, want the PCs to suffer from a more 'thorough' type of fatigue or stress, as r_b mentioned.






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