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Spending Advantage/Threat

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What are different ways to spend Advantage and Threat outside of combat?

And do you always spend it when it's rolled and say something beneficial/detrimental happens, or if there really is nothing to do with it do you just skip it?

 

Some examples, a character is negotiation with an NPC, he succeeds and rolls threat, what can happen?

One that came up in a brief session of Long Arm of the Hutt, was the player searching for the source of the smell. For his character, he rolled no success and a threat. All I said was while searching around, you hit your head and get a strain. He rolls for the second character (1 player is all I got..) and same result. So I said he exhausts himself searching and suffers strain as well.

I just feel like maybe theres something more creative that could happen, I just couldn't think of an alternative negative outcome from searching around.

 

Also leads me to asking - what do I do when they completely fail at a task they need to accomplish?

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I use Strain as a currency for this a lot, so I don't think you're off base there.  The smell could make them gag, or make them queasy, or...  Otherwise it's too interruptive to have to think up a new amazing narrative twist for a single Threat or Advantage.  I save those for at least 2, but more likely 3 or more.  What I find is the players respect the Strain mechanic more when they see it dwindling over the course of a day (though they can always recover it through Advantage).

 

For larger amounts of Threat and Advantage, I'd pick up one of the published modules and see what kinds of examples they have in there.  Beyond the Rim has some good examples of clue gathering when trying to determine the location of Cholganna, and how Advantages can be spent to pick up additional information that impacts later results.  But generally, if you're going to make a player roll, you need to have some idea before they do what the result grid might look like.

 

Also, and this is just MHO, I usually don't let all the PCs roll for the same thing, unless in, say, a search, they are covering distinctly different areas.  The Assist rules are for helping one party cover an area, if you let each PC roll for the same thing then you pretty much guarantee success.

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It's highly variable. Strain is the easiest way though, just work on descriptions and ideas. In the smell scenario, hitting thier head works, but being overcome by the stench and chucking a little is more fitting. Next time you're sitting around waiting for the bus or something start looking for some thing nearby a character can attempt to do and try and come up with A/T/Tr/D results. "Hmmm I want to jump on that dumpster and leap to the fire escape... Sooo.... Advantage=it's easier then I thought and I gain strain, threat=I'm a little heavier then I thought I was so I lose strain, Triumph=I kick the dumpster out from under me as I jump, so the guy following has to move it back or upgrade his attempt, and Despair the fire escape latch slams on my hands and crush my fingers a little, making me take 2 setback for the next few turns on any action I take that requires the use of my hands.

 

Also try listening to Skill Monkey. Over the course of the series he goes over pretty much everything you can think of.

 

 


Also leads me to asking - what do I do when they completely fail at a task they need to accomplish?

This is one of those GM things you have to learn. Try not to make any scenario that requires a specific successful skill check to succeed. You always want at least two solutions to any problem, preferably more. Event hen, try and have a simple backup plan in case it all fails.

 

I once played an adventure someone else wrote that had an encounter where the players needed to pass at least 2 different  checks out of 6 to proceed, almost all different skills. My players failed every single check. The writer left a small window for the players to continue with, but the story itself completely lost credibility as the players were brought in as "experts" on a specific field they ended up knowing nothing about.

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Also leads me to asking - what do I do when they completely fail at a task they need to accomplish?

 

I'd go a little further than Ghost and say if they *need* to accomplish it then don't necessarily make them roll.  You'll just frustrate everybody at the table, including yourself.  You always need to leave yourself an out.  So if the players need to get through a locked door, and they couldn't get the keys from the Twi-lek at the bar, and they couldn't get the security clearance override from the sergeant they jumped in an alley because he ran off, and they can't hack their way through with a brute force Mechanics check...then just as all hope is lost, two stormtroopers will exit the door babbling away about some new speeder they bought...

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Also leads me to asking - what do I do when they completely fail at a task they need to accomplish?

 

Same advice as above, basically, but perhaps a little more explicit - never gate your adventure on something that has a chance for failure.  If the PC's need to find a clue for your story involving the mystery of the disappearing albino Wookie, then know as the GM that they will find the clue.  It is a given, and your story will move forward.

 

That said, there are different approaches to that.

 

One approach is the "don't roll if failure isn't an option" method.  If they need to get through the locked door, they do.  Simply narrate the scene and move on.  This approach works well in some cases, usually fairly simple ones, but can be dismissive of a players choices in how they have invested in their character.  If my character is an expert lock picker, and we breeze over getting past a locked door .... well, that doesn't feel too great.

 

Another approach is what I call the "gradated success" option.  In this method, you do have a player roll, but a failure isn't really a failure, it is a minimum amount of success; just enough to move the story ahead.  Anything beyond is increasing amount of success.  If your story calls for your characters to notice the Twi'lek slipping out of the cantina between drinks, then go ahead and have the character with best vigilance roll.  However, in this case, a failure is defined as the bare minimum to move the story forward - "You notice the creepy Twi'lek is no longer at the bar; that closing door in the back may have been him ...".  Any success, from 1 to Many, is actually just greater amounts of success.  This does get a bit more complicated in the EotE mechanics, where you have Advantage and Threat / Triumph and Despair to worry about, in addition to degree of success but should be workable.

 

 

What are different ways to spend Advantage and Threat outside of combat?

 

And do you always spend it when it's rolled and say something beneficial/detrimental happens, or if there really is nothing to do with it do you just skip it?

 

Some examples, a character is negotiation with an NPC, he succeeds and rolls threat, what can happen?

 

I believe this a question most groups will struggle with on some level at some point. 

 

To answer you second question first, I am firm believer that all Advantage and Threat / Triumph and Despair should be "spent" on every roll - ignoring it means cutting out a part of the core resolution mechanic of the system, and I believe undermines that foundations of the game.  If I ignore it outside of combat, or when it is inconvenient, why shouldn't I ignore it in combat, or whenever it doesn't suit me?  If I just start ignoring results on the dice, what purpose does having those symbols on the dice serve?  A boost die or setback die becomes less interesting if you start ignoring about half of the potential results on it

 

As an aside, none of that is aimed at you (OP) or anyone else, just a bunch of rhetoric to state how I feel and why I feel that way.

 

 

So, given that I believe you absolutely should use all those results, how to represent them? 

 

Well, in some cases I believe you can create a link between the die pool and the results.  If you gave someone a setback die when they attempted to climb a wall because it was raining, and then they roll a Threat result, you can make that link and say something about the rain.  Succeed with Threat?  You make it over the wall, but the rain caused you to slip several times and scuff your clothes/armor on the way - it may be noticeable later.  Failure with Threat?  You attempt to climb over the wall but slip and fall due to the rain, landing with a loud thump - someone may have heard that.

 

I also believe you can "back in to" a roll result; that is, you may have narrated an intended scenario as you stated the action and formed the die pool, but the results on the dice can be used to extend or even change that original narration to fit.  Most skills in the book give pretty solid examples of how to interpret the different results.

 

Finally, to address the explicit example of negotiations - personally, I believe that success and failure on the roll would pertain to the immediate topic, but that other results can be extrapolated out to the larger social interaction.  Success with Threat could mean that you get what you want in this deal, but your next deal will be even harder to negotiate.  It could mean that you succeed in knocking the price down, but not as much as you would have hoped.  It could mean that the treaty is signed, but that the opposition is likely to going to be trouble or that a group will splinter off and not accept the terms.

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The Skills section of the Core Book will show you examples of how to spent Threat, Advantage, etc for each skill.  In regards to Strain, I don't feel it can be overused.  Haven't you struggled with a home work problem or a work-related problem and had an insane headache after finishing the problem?  Haven't you lifted something a little too heavy and pulled a muscle?  Have you felt tired after dealing with an intensely stressful situation?  These are all real-life analogs to suffering Strain in the game.  When the Strain Threshold is exceeded the PC is considered incapacitated (whether conscious and dazed or completely unconscious) and cannot perform any skill checks until Strain has been recovered.  On Page 233 in the AoR rulebook is where Strain Recovery is covered.

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You can even just add stuff to the narrative as a result of spending Advantages.

 

Maybe when you're looking you don't find the source of the smell yet, but you do uncover a smuggled case of Corellian Whiskey, or some credits, or an extra frag grenade, or something small but interesting to have.

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I just find coming up with different ways to cause strain to be a little taxing, and bland especially when he keeps rolling threats.

 

Where can I find the sheets from GM Hooly?

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There’s a whole host of articles in this forum where GM Hooly discussed his various sheets that he’s been working on, but the best summaries I can find are the ones he posted to the AoR and F&D boards, for the benefit of players there who don’t visit these EotE boards.

For one example, see https://community.fantasyflightgames.com/index.php?/topic/134750-player-aids/?hl=hooly#entry1446675

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