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Fiddler27

Humorous and Interesting Skill Test Failures

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Hey everyone! So as a GM I have a bit of trouble coming up with interesting effects when my players absolutely bomb their Skill tests. 

 

Some are pretty straightforward - Failing Trade (Armorer) destroys the item being worked on and Navigate gets the party hopelessly lost.

 

But when they abysmally fail a Commerce test to barter with the locals for food or Interrogation for information... I have no idea where that goes other than "You don't get what you want." But 3+ DoF deserves something more than that.

 

What do you think, fellow GMs? Or more accurately, what have you done to your players when they've failed in the worst way possible on their Skill rolls?

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Well, in those examples, characters may get the opposite they are asking for... without knowing it.

 

For example, rotten food that has allucinogen effects.

 

Or outdated intel that leads them into a trap.

 

This is difficult to roleplay (players know they failed the test), but can be fun if done well.

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All sorts of amusing switches. The above mentioned for example. Or, the seller (if truly tribal) feels the players have somehow offended their traditions and begins demanding they pay a tithe. But they don't care for your mere thrones. They demand equipment or a living tribute. Did this. Que side quest through the jungle to catch a certain predator and sacrifice it.

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Just spitablling here, but...

 

 

Any skill that requires physical exertion failing by 3 DoF or more should result in damage that is not negated by armor or toughness. At the very least, no armor.

 

Charm and Deceive should have some kind of challenge or social problem as a result. Fail you charm on some local royal highness? Well, her honor has been severely called into question. Maybe a duel is in order. Fail your deceive? You and your entire unit are thought to be liars and untrustworth by whatever group you were trying to deceive.

 

Failing Lore tests by that much should result in PCs not simply not knowing the correct lore, but also being fed blatantly false lore. "Ah, yes. The Imperium of Man WAS founded on Mars in the year 12. That's right, I remember now!"

 

Failed Interrogation or Intimidate should not only result in an immediate fight, but the failing PC having to pass a fear (1) test from the person they were trying to intimidate!

 

Linguistics... well that should just be amazing. No need to put anything else here.

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Badly failed Charm could also have the side effect of 'oops, you volunteered yourself for X', where X is something nobody wants to do - ie, go diving in the sewage processing plant to make sure the tanks are clear of concealed hostiles/traps, or 'you've just landed yourself a most actively undesirable/unwanted person as a dependent in one way or another (ward, spouse, overseer, etc)'.

Get creative.

 

For badly failed Commerce tests ... they give up something valuable and get something completely useless.

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3 or more DoF on survival could be interesting; "I am totally sure that the brightly coloured flowers are edible, its obvious!" cue hallucinations/penalised toughness tests for cramps or something along that/walking up in an allied camp and finding the squad covered in blood (yeah I know its excessive but in 40k there's no reason it can't happen)

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But when they abysmally fail a Commerce test to barter with the locals for food or Interrogation for information... I have no idea where that goes other than "You don't get what you want." But 3+ DoF deserves something more than that.

 

What do you think, fellow GMs? Or more accurately, what have you done to your players when they've failed in the worst way possible on their Skill rolls?

I'd say that one of them accidentaly rubbed his nose which in a non-verbal language of those locals means "I wish to slice your throat and make you watch while I **** your wife".

 

That should do it.

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But when they abysmally fail a Commerce test to barter with the locals for food or Interrogation for information... I have no idea where that goes other than "You don't get what you want." But 3+ DoF deserves something more than that.

 

What do you think, fellow GMs? Or more accurately, what have you done to your players when they've failed in the worst way possible on their Skill rolls?

I'd say that one of them accidentaly rubbed his nose which in a non-verbal language of those locals means "I wish to slice your throat and make you watch while I **** your wife".

 

That should do it.

 

That's a bit excessive for a botched Commerce test. Now, were it a Charm/Diplomacy type test, and probably more degrees of failure, sure.

 

The consequences of the botch should be related to the context it happened in.

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But when they abysmally fail a Commerce test to barter with the locals for food or Interrogation for information... I have no idea where that goes other than "You don't get what you want." But 3+ DoF deserves something more than that.

 

What do you think, fellow GMs? Or more accurately, what have you done to your players when they've failed in the worst way possible on their Skill rolls?

I'd say that one of them accidentaly rubbed his nose which in a non-verbal language of those locals means "I wish to slice your throat and make you watch while I **** your wife".

 

That should do it.

 

That's a bit excessive for a botched Commerce test. Now, were it a Charm/Diplomacy type test, and probably more degrees of failure, sure.

 

The consequences of the botch should be related to the context it happened in.

 

 

It is possible. You can be charmful and diplomatic by nature and still walk into the mosque clad in shoes if you've never heard about islam.

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But when they abysmally fail a Commerce test to barter with the locals for food or Interrogation for information... I have no idea where that goes other than "You don't get what you want." But 3+ DoF deserves something more than that.

 

What do you think, fellow GMs? Or more accurately, what have you done to your players when they've failed in the worst way possible on their Skill rolls?

I'd say that one of them accidentaly rubbed his nose which in a non-verbal language of those locals means "I wish to slice your throat and make you watch while I **** your wife".

 

That should do it.

 

That's a bit excessive for a botched Commerce test. Now, were it a Charm/Diplomacy type test, and probably more degrees of failure, sure.

 

The consequences of the botch should be related to the context it happened in.

 

 

It is possible. You can be charmful and diplomatic by nature and still walk into the mosque clad in shoes if you've never heard about islam.

 

Well, yes, but as a general guideline, ie, without context, the failure result should be more closely connected to whatever test you were attempting.

With the appropriate context, sure, adjust the scope of the botch possibilities to fit ... but be careful about applying results that basically kill the possibility of peaceful interaction in the future - because then the players will stop trying.

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Sometimes, I give the players a success even if they totally botch it. Makes it SOOOOOO hilarious if they always look for the hook and just dive deeper and deeper into whatever problems they had.

 

Or give them what they want. But with a looooot of hooks and problems. 

 

Other then that? Embarrassing and potentially deadly stuff, such as having the map turned the wrong way, costing them a few hours. Or gloriously rolling down a flight of stairs.

 

Sorry of this very general advice, but I construct those sort of scenes always from the current context in play.

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