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Rawls

Strife and Skirmishes

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Overall, I really like the strife mechanism. It encourages players to balance risk with reward. In intrigues, duels, and mass battles, accumulating strife can provide significant advantages to the player. However, failing to manage ones strife also comes with significant risk of failure. That is, excessive strife build up in an intrigue can cause one to fail in that intrigue. Excessive strife build up in a duel can cause one to fail in that duel. Excessive strife build up in a mass battle can cause one to fail in that mass battle.

Then we have skirmishes. As far as I can tell, other than the enraged effect, the penalties to outbursts in a skirmish are purely social. Outbursts in a skirmish may cost a character honor and glory. They may make subsequent intrigues more likely to fail. However, they do not lead to failure in the skirmish itself. I'm not sure that's a good way to balance the game. When fighting Oni and goblins, there needs to be a downside to excessive strife accumulation in the skirmish itself. The enraged state isn't mandatory; and even if it were, it's not clear that it's a downside at all. 

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Intrigue, Duels and Mass Battles are the things that epic stories are about. Skirmishes are just filler. Skirmishes are where the characters can just sort of cut loose a bit, there's no "need" for a downside. Ultimately it's up to the GM to determine if/when there is a downside of strife accumulation during a skirmish: Maybe a villain shows up and there's an Intrigue scene or a Duel before the PCs have had a chance to flush accumulated strife. Or maybe they don't. Strife is just another resource to be managed by the characters (and the GM). In D&D, sometimes you have a fight and how many HP and spells you have left matters because another danger is right around the corner, and sometimes you just camp and you're rested and you move on.

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Compromise (or Flee) can remove a character from a Skirmish.

Expose a Weakness makes Scheme actions easier to perform on the Target. This makes getting Challenged far easier.

Shut Down prevents a character from doing Attack or Scheme actions even if it makes you more resistant to Scheme actions. You can still do Movement and Support actions.

Become Enrage is as much a bonus as it is a penalty in Skirmishes.

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I don't see how having an outburst means the character fails? Sure, it is an additional complication, but it doesn't mean the has lost.

I mean the compromise for example mean sexactly the opposite as I read it. It keeps the character in battle, but she compromises herself by crossing a moral value she holds (for which she loses honour). It is not a compromise with the enemy to stop fighting, but it is about an internal conflict the character has.

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Actually, upon further reading, panic and strife are unrelated.  So it appears that the optimal strategy for an honorable commander/leader is to load up on strife to ensure bonus successes for the army. Strife only affects you while your bonus successes affect the entire army. Anything less would be dishonorable.

The authors should consider linking commander/leader strife to army panic in some way.

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4 hours ago, Rawls said:

Actually, upon further reading, panic and strife are unrelated.  So it appears that the optimal strategy for an honorable commander/leader is to load up on strife to ensure bonus successes for the army. Strife only affects you while your bonus successes affect the entire army. Anything less would be dishonorable.

The authors should consider linking commander/leader strife to army panic in some way.

Correct, except an outburst may compromise your ability to lead your cohort after you have the outburst (by messing with your ability to pass - or even take, in the case of 'shut down' outbursts - skill checks)

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