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John1701

What to do if the roll is a wash?

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(Kevin Spacey asking "But why?")

 

 

Because they like to accommodate pc's to the extreme. I've seen this guy on d20 radio Facebook page creating several threads where he asked if it's OK to allow players to re roll failed rolls, lower difficulties of said rolls etc( BEFORE even gm'ing the system for the first time ). As a player in such game I would feel exactly zero sense of accomplishment as I can't fail. Less of a game now, more of a bad movie. ALL HAIL NARRATIVE.

 

Some people are just not made out to be GMs...

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I usually deal with failure/wash like a small despair. You might succeded, but something bad happens or you done it very poorly.

 

Um, so what then is the point of having despairs on the dice if the GM is just going to override the result and assign them anyway?

 

A null result means nothing happened. No Thing. No good result, no bad result.

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I usually deal with failure/wash like a small despair. You might succeded, but something bad happens or you done it very poorly.

 

Um, so what then is the point of having despairs on the dice if the GM is just going to override the result and assign them anyway?

 

A null result means nothing happened. No Thing. No good result, no bad result.

 

Nothing SIGNIFICANT happened. Despair is a tremor in the plot, such failure that holovids would speak of :)

As many suggest here, don't roll for everything, and know when to spare the PC and keep the play and story happening. My point being, that all failures, especially this kind of "wash fail", can and should be be still successful, just not beneficial.

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I usually deal with failure/wash like a small despair. You might succeded, but something bad happens or you done it very poorly.

 

Um, so what then is the point of having despairs on the dice if the GM is just going to override the result and assign them anyway?

 

A null result means nothing happened. No Thing. No good result, no bad result.

Nothing SIGNIFICANT happened. Despair is a tremor in the plot, such failure that holovids would speak of :)

As many suggest here, don't roll for everything, and know when to spare the PC and keep the play and story happening. My point being, that all failures, especially this kind of "wash fail", can and should be be still successful, just not beneficial.

At the unintentional risk of sounding mean, but what on Earth are you talking about???

Nothing in you post either makes any sense in relation to the topic at hand or is directly in contradiction to the rules.

What do you mean "don't roll for everything?" The topic is about a dice result...

What do you mean "nothing significant happens"? We are talking about failure here plain and simple.

What do you mean with that whole despair schpiel? You were the one bringing it up in the first place.

And what do you mean "all failures, especially this kind of "wash fail", can and should be be still successful"? I just don't understand the reasoning here...

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As many suggest here, don't roll for everything, and know when to spare the PC and keep the play and story happening. My point being, that all failures, especially this kind of "wash fail", can and should be be still successful, just not beneficial.

 

 

 

A null result is a failure, plain and simple. The character has not completed the task before him. Period, full stop, end of line . Why you insist overriding the rules baffles me. Why do you bother rolling? Just narrate the scene as you wish it to be, bypass the dice altogether and save yourself the 15 bucks on a bunch of plastic?

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I will say I've contemplated, as a house rule for "overly dramatic play," that any roll that turns up a wash is to be rerolled, with an upgrade for both the skill and the difficulty (so as to increase the chances of triumphs/despairs).

 

Obviously, I don't think I would ever actually call for this rule in my game, but its at least funny to consider.

 

As an edit to this thought, perhaps it should only be an upgraded difficulty, and a player choice if they want to try the re-roll (and I should continue to point out I don't actually intend to ever do something like this, just a fun optional thing to consider). It would give the sense of a slight pause in the action, a held breath in anticipation/dread of what is to happen, then either clearly good or bad results.

 

I think the problem here is that while yes, indeed, the rules do indicate that a lack of net-successes on a roll means that the check failed, the lack of net failures often causes players/gms to think of the result pool differently. At my table, the general mood that often comes up with a result like this is that it doesn't really add anything to the narrative/drama. Something was attempted, and a completely underwhelming -nothing- happened as a result. For example, we were at the base of a turbolift shaft. We had climbing gear, and plenty of time. First time someone attempted to climb, the result came up as a total wash. Didn't seem right to impose a fall + falling damage from an initial failure, and it did feel that checks were needed to account for potential dangers (the GM was spending destiny points to upgrade the difficulty in this case). A wash result in this case just felt -boring-.

 

Consider that one of the heart concepts of this system is that an "action" is supposed to be something interesting, and the actual length of a turn is how long it takes for something -interesting- to occur, not some fixed length of time. The idea of a check being made and nothing happening as a result seems counter to this. Now again, sure, this is largely the failure of the players/GM to recognize that no net-hits = check failure (and something failing to happen is as equally "interesting" as something happening), but it still just feels like pressing a button and -nothing- happening.

Edited by KommissarK

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Just an aside, not succeeding a climb does not equal falling. That is a despair or two or three threat if you want to have it done realistically. A fail is just a "you can't find a foothold and don't get up on the ledge.

Hence why we didn't have the players fall. But when the only way out of the place we were at was this turbolift shaft (given that the stairs had been destroyed due to seismic activity), a failed result just meant that we would be rolling again.

 

The point is, rolling a wash was underwhelming and felt like it took away from the experience. At least having disadvantages would add something, and net failures would at least suitably felt like we actually screwed up.

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Just an aside, not succeeding a climb does not equal falling. That is a despair or two or three threat if you want to have it done realistically. A fail is just a "you can't find a foothold and don't get up on the ledge.

Hence why we didn't have the players fall. But when the only way out of the place we were at was this turbolift shaft (given that the stairs had been destroyed due to seismic activity), a failed result just meant that we would be rolling again.

 

The point is, rolling a wash was underwhelming and felt like it took away from the experience. At least having disadvantages would add something, and net failures would at least suitably felt like we actually screwed up.

 

 

 

That's because in this particular case you're describing, there should be no roll at all. 

Edited by Artuard

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Just an aside, not succeeding a climb does not equal falling. That is a despair or two or three threat if you want to have it done realistically. A fail is just a "you can't find a foothold and don't get up on the ledge.

Hence why we didn't have the players fall. But when the only way out of the place we were at was this turbolift shaft (given that the stairs had been destroyed due to seismic activity), a failed result just meant that we would be rolling again.

 

The point is, rolling a wash was underwhelming and felt like it took away from the experience. At least having disadvantages would add something, and net failures would at least suitably felt like we actually screwed up.

 

 

 

That's because in this particular case you're describing there should be no roll at all. 

 

Again though, we want there to be penaltyies for failure, e.g. falling, causing too much noise and attracting attention, other disastrous events, and the GM was spending destiny points to upgrade the difficulty. It just felt that a wash was underwhelming.

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Then failure could have been they climb up the turbolift shaft, but they cause noise doing so, alerting the guards. This isn't D&D where failure means your character sticks their thumb up their *** instead of accomplishing anything.

Or the failure means that they manage to climb up the turbolift shaft, but are exhausted by the effort and thus suffer a small amount of strain.

 

On a semi-tangent, I've been reading through the quickstart playtest rules for 7th Seas second edition, and one of the elements presented is that your "degrees of success" in that system are used to accomplish a goal as well as avoid a consequence, with the example given of "I race through the burning room to reach the door in pursuit of the villain," with the goal being to reach the door quickly, but the consequence is damage from the fire.

 

So to put that sort of thing in perspective for this system, a successful check would let the PC navigate through the burning room without taking any damage (though threat could be used for strain due to smoke inhalation).  A failed check (no net successes) would mean that the PC still crosses the room, but they also take a bit of damage from the fire in the process having suffered some minor burns from bits of their clothes that caught on fire but were pretty quickly extinguished.  So in that vein, the goal (racing through the room to the door) is successful, but the consequence (damage from the fire) wasn't avoided.

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It's one of the biggest ways I've had to reevaluate about the way I GM a game. When I tell a player to roll dice, the pass/fail, advantage/threat, triumph/despair axes are not always going to be the same, just similar. It's a lot easier in combat, as combat checks do, for the most part, contain identical outcomes along each axes. That's why there is a chart for spending results, in combat. Outside of combat, basic success moves the story forward without causing a problem. Basic failure moves the story forward while causing a problem.

Edited by Werewyvernx

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I think the biggest issue is the Gm not knowing what failure looks like ahead of time. Which can lead to a lot of issues and a lot of unneeded rolls.

 

In the climbing example. If they are using a ladder, failure could mean no progress.

If the are climbing up the ladder trying not to make noise, failure could mean they made noise.

If they are climbing a wet slippery mountain ledge failure could mean they lose their grip and fall.

 

Honestly, failure can really mean anything, but what's most important is that the GM and players know what base success and failure looks like before a roll is made. If failure of a roll doesn't have a clear consequence or isn't fun and exciting there is no need to call for a roll.

 

As to the original question. No Success and No Failures = no success, a failure. It's the same as if the roll came up 1 failure and 0 successes.

Edited by archon007

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Also... don't be afraid to let the dice help tell the story. To me, that's one of the greatest things about this system.

 

Compare the dice - If they failed, where did those Threats and Failures come from?

Purple dice out roll the Yellow? Your skills weren't up to the task.

Yellows beat Purple, but the Blacks turned the tide? Ordinarily, you could have handled it, but the smoke/darkness/chaos/whatever got the better of you.

Yellows were good, but you rolled crap on your Greens? Your strength gave out at the last second, or you were just a little too slow...

 

No matter what the roll, even a 'wash' as you called it, will help you narrate the events. That's one more reason to roll in the open for every roll, regardless of who is acting.

 

Lastly, for my money, a wash (no Success or Failure) tells an even more interesting story, because it's *that* down to the wire... Suddenly those Setback or Bonus dice become even more critical (not to mention Setback removal Talents) and those Advantages/Disadvantages generated will turn the tide the next time around, or for the next character who rolls...

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