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sinister6

A problem with Universal Effects. Ideas?

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So I recently had player attempt to identify healdry and the accent of the tavern owner. A had a player that managed to stress himself over twice his willpower by "thinking" about this things using folklore and education.

My question is, should I really make him passout by thinking?

 

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light headedness, fainting....? surely a sign that he is over doing it and needs to have a good rest, get some decent food, a decent nights sleep, start to take it a bit easier perhaps? perhaps he's ill, or worse tainted, perhaps the locals might now look at him with an air of untrust?!

I take your point, but if you allow for the direct break between his (poor) rolls and the stress and add more of a role play element, i think it still works.

Granted, this might get a bit stale if characters are constantly falling over in the street due to thinking about things, but perhaps that could be seen as some kind of panic attack that inflicts the character, which he hopefully begins to gain some control over as and when his Willpower increases...

 

 

 

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pumpkin said:

 

light headedness, fainting....? surely a sign that he is over doing it and needs to have a good rest, get some decent food, a decent nights sleep, start to take it a bit easier perhaps? perhaps he's ill, or worse tainted, perhaps the locals might now look at him with an air of untrust?!

I take your point, but if you allow for the direct break between his (poor) rolls and the stress and add more of a role play element, i think it still works.

Granted, this might get a bit stale if characters are constantly falling over in the street due to thinking about things, but perhaps that could be seen as some kind of panic attack that inflicts the character, which he hopefully begins to gain some control over as and when his Willpower increases...

 

 

 

 

 

Well I had him get a headache that rendered him useless until he got less stress, but I did keep him from being knocked out.  also there's a weird sanity draw as well.  I get your point, I just feel it's a little forced when attempting to recall details.

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 Any sort of 'out of action' works, I would say. Migraine, daydreaming, melancholy, nostalgia trip, tantrum, grief, the urge to write an ode, stuff like that can all be used to make the PC not participate in the rest of the encounter.

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Deltabob said:

If I remember, don't the Universal Effects say they are effects that may be applied if there are no others to apply?

Right, this is where you need to get creative to avoid silly results.  Perhaps 2 banes on a success means incomplete/incorrect info or the like.  Or that the people the characters are gathering information on are now tipped off, or that the local authorities are now aware that the characters are searching for black market goods, etc, etc.  You get the idea.

If all else fails, slap a stress on and tell them that the answer was on the tip of their tongues and bugged them until they finally were able to remember it (success) or they finally admitted defeat (failure).

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We're DUMPING IT.  My players are becoming increasingly annoyed with the book-keeping and we had this same rule come up last night (almost the same situation).

jh

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Sinister said:

My question is, should I really make him passout by thinking?

No. It is an option to give Stress for 2 banes. If you can think of a more appropriate negative side effect (such as identifying the accent but having a wrong connected piece of information or weirding out the guy being observed) go with that.

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Thanks for the replies. 

I think the general idea here, is that passing out doesn't have to be the only option, but any creative option that removes them from the encounter will work.  So a headache that forces them to seek medical attention, a moment of needing to sit down, a dizzy spell, knowing the answer but unable to recall it, and you obessess about it for the whole scene.  Stuff like that is what you need.

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I'd like to also voice support for banes translating into other results other than just passing out from stress. Migraines, confusion, paranoia, delusion are all perfectly valid results. In subjective matters I'd even make them pile on misfortune dice for related checks later on.

For example, a PC is trying to determine the authenticity of an ancient treasure map. He rolls and several banes come up. He succeeds and determines the map is authentic, but due to his banes he's become convinced the ink used for the map could not have come from the same time period, it's some form modern ink.  

But it might be worth mentioning that I wouldn't encourage players to keep re-rolling. I'd just let the dice results be conclusive to the task at hand. So if the player is trying to determine the accent and he fails, attempting a second time isn't going to change the original result. It's already been decreed by the dice that he can't tell the accent apart!

Otherwise you're basically engaging in a scenario of roll the dice until a success comes up or the players fall asleep at the table, whichever comes first. With enough chances to roll, the probability of one roll being successful rapidly approaches 1. So might as well skip the rolling, say yes and move on to something that matters.

I would only allow a re-roll it if the situation has changed significantly. Maybe the PC has acquired new knowledge to help him determine the accent? Has the NPC revealed some important detail about his past life? Perhaps another skill check provided additional information to help determine the NPC's origins?

I think following those guidelines will really help prevent characters over-heating their brains. It will most likely cause the players to overheat their own brains trying to come up with new solutions instead of relying on repeated rolls, but that's something I can live with. Like one player once said: "But my character has 6 Int, I have to be able to come up with a better plan!" only to be met with mad laughter.

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