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Inquisitor Tremayne

Difficulty Upgrades and Increases

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Just trying to get a sense of when and how often other GMs upgrade and increase difficulties.  I know it can be very situational, but I was doing it very regularly.  After listening to the Order66 podcast episode Ghosts of Memory, I noticed there were not a lot of upgrades or increases but lots of setback.  It got me thinking that maybe I've been doing it wrong.  So I have been trying it out for a few game sessions; adding setbacks instead of upgrading difficulty and I think the players have been enjoying it more.  What do you guys do?

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If you do not routinely add Setback dice, then all of those ignore 1 set back per rank of X talents are just an XP tax to get to something else in the tree.  With upgrading dice pools, the DP economy should keep flowing one way or the other and used by the GM to add the possibility of a Despair result when dramatically appropriate.  

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I think it's a little harder at first to set difficulties in this game than others, because you have to separate out the components.  After a while it gets easier and allows more flexibility (and consistency IMHO).

 

It's really a three step process.  The first thing to do is separate the native difficulty of a task from the environment or other factors.  In other words, picking a cheap lock should always start with an Easy (P) difficulty.  Then, if that cheap lock comes with a spring loaded poison dart, it's still Easy, but you might upgrade (replace the P with R) because the added Threats or Despair might mean the character has to deal with getting jabbed by a soporific-laced needle.  Then you consider environmental factors like lighting, weather, etc to add setback.  If none of these conditions are particularly severe you could roll them into one, e.g.:  it's a bit dim, and misty, so 1 setback; or each could be severe and separate, e.g.:  it's really dark, raining loth-cats and klatooinians, and flashes of lighting temporarily blind you, so 3 setback.

 

Hope that helps...

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Setbacks are obvious environmental issues that make something harder, it's raining, it's dark, you're on a moving vehicle, etc. Upgrading difficulty to me is about the unforeseen stuff that pops up and when a GM wants to have that Despair option. You're about to take the shot and then a group of innocent by standers enters into the area as an example.

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Setbacks don't have to always be environmental.

Can you elaborate with a couple of examples (as I am curious)?

 

 

I guess it depends where you draw the "environmental" line.  Might be more accurate to say that most setback is "external".  Setback can come from Threat on previous rolls, or Advantage on an opponent's roll.

 

"The Hutt looms over you as you enter the coordinates, you have to enter them quickly, or he'll get irritated...it's making you nervous..."

 

"The image of the child falling into the pit just moments ago haunts you, you're having a hard time concentrating as you desperately try to pick the lock..."

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