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Strain Recovery

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I've been trying to parse how strain recovery works and am unclear. I get the skill check immediately after combat to get back a few stamina but am not clear on the actual affect of something like a meal or short rest. Do people give all strain back after the PCs do these things?  Is the idea that characters should be able to recover all strain between encounters or that it should carry over?

Thanks for your thoughts!

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CRB117:

 

Screen_Shot_2018-10-19_at_1.10.09_PM.png

 

To answer your question, I think that a "short rest" constitutes "taking a moment to catch one's breath" and eating a meal is one of the examples.

Regardless of the situation, you make the skill check and recover strain per the results of the roll. Of course, this roll cares only about success, so as a houserule (that, apparently, a lot of people besides me use) is 2 advantage can be spent for 1 strain and 1 triumph can be spent to recover 4 strain.

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C_Beck,

 

I guess I'm unclear how to read what you quoted from the book. Is the first paragraph providing different ways to activate what is in the second paragraph or are they separate? I get that "taking a moment to catch one's breath could be what happens after the end of the encounter.  If that wasn't sufficient would you let them eat a meal and get another roll?  ...then maybe relax with friends for a bit to get a third roll?

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I think the first paragraph is a list of example justifications for (or special effects of) the Cool/Discipline check made at the end of each encounter. They're effectively all genre-neutral forms of 'taking a short rest'. The game just automates the process for ease of use I think.

They might also be references to the facts that you could consume items, such as stamina potions (from RoT) or stimulants to recover Strain; or participate in a nonstraining social encounter, such as a dinner with friendly NPCs (at the end of which you would naturally recieve a check to recover some strain). 

The final sentence of the second paragraph is just the most genre-neutral form of 'taking a long rest'

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FFG have a certain way of writing and presenting their rules, which can often lead to confusion over what is narrative description and what is actual mechanics. But their method is quite consistent across all their rpg’s I have owned; first comes the narrative description of a thing, next is the actual mechanical rules.

So in this case that first paragraph is only a narrative description of how players may recover strain, to help you visualise what the mechanics are trying to emulate. The second paragraph is “the rules” and is the actual information you need to be able to allow your characters to recover Strain in the intended way. In the case of strain recovery there are two specific ways that strain is recovered:

1. After an encounter, typically one which used the Initiative system (ie a structured encounter). This could be social, combat, a chase, or any other situation where the order in which characters act is important. It’s important to understand that there are often times in between encounters where a few dice rolls are made, you should read the section on Encounters carefully to get s good understanding of their intended use.

2. After an extended period of rest for the characters, such as sleeping at night, but it could also be an afternoon of fishing, painting, or reading a book. In this case there’s no need to roll the dice, the players just recover all their strain.

 

The second option can also be an opportunity to reinforce the difficulty of a situation; perhaps the party are out in the wilderness with wolf howls all around, they try sleeping in shifts but ultimately no one gets a good rest, perhaps for this once they only recover half the strain they where suffering instead of all of it.

 

 

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That's fairly frequently considering that the nearly everything you do 'on-screen' constitutes either a social or combat encounter. Even a largely uneventful trip to the market (to buy Stamina Potions) is technically an encounter. Also you can use Stamina Potions (or whatever similar consumables your GM allows) to heal up to 15 strain per day during encounters. There are also talents which can make you more strain-efficient.

Edited by Cantriped

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The crucial thing is that the gm remains in control. If the gm limits how often during a session the players recover Strain then they are essentially increasing the difficulty of encounters, it’s subtle but very useful. In contrast if the game flow dictates a single encounter per day (or more) of game time then the characters will seem a lot more powerful, a lot more mobile, and probably more reckless.

All this can play into the setting you are playing as well, in a high tension horror/mystery game I would consider having as many encounters as possible in a day to ensure the players are going insane from too much Strain. But in a really high fantasy setting I may let them recover double Strain after every encounter, except on rare circumstances.

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8 hours ago, Richardbuxton said:

The crucial thing is that the gm remains in control. If the gm limits how often during a session the players recover Strain then they are essentially increasing the difficulty of encounters, it’s subtle but very useful. In contrast if the game flow dictates a single encounter per day (or more) of game time then the characters will seem a lot more powerful, a lot more mobile, and probably more reckless.

Similarly it is important what the GM considers an Encounter. GCRB provides a rather open defination compared to other systems. So note that I'm not just talking about structured combat encounters with Initiative slots.

Going to Ye Olde Magic Shoppe and paying full price for a stamina potion (no haggling) is an example of a very short narrative social encounter. Thus at the end of it your character can make a check to recover strain (even if they didn't spend any during the encounter).

Given that, I would generally just allow a group to spend an hour or so 'taking a short rest' (eating a meal, maintaining their gear, recreating, etc) between strainful encounters. To avoid players going looking for 'easy encounters'.

9 hours ago, Zenom said:

So it sounds like frequent stamina recovery isn’t a part of the rules.

I also forgot to mention that every Action you take can also recover (or expend) a small amount of Strain. Considering the default 1-minute round, that recovered strain likely represents taking a moment to catch your breath, or reminding yourself (anime-style) 'what you're fighting for', or whatever.

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The next question has always been, can you use Advantages in the same way to recover strain (as this is a given in all "skill checks"). Since the recovery of strain is a skill check,  you can also apply the Advantages.  This was asked of the developers who confirmed this was the case for Star Wars, although no similar confirmation has occurred with GeneSys.

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21 minutes ago, GM Hooly said:

The next question has always been, can you use Advantages in the same way to recover strain (as this is a given in all "skill checks"). Since the recovery of strain is a skill check,  you can also apply the Advantages.  This was asked of the developers who confirmed this was the case for Star Wars, although no similar confirmation has occurred with GeneSys.

I would be inclined to rule that the recovery check is treated just like any other check. I would expect that the rules for "Recovering from Strain" (GCRB 117) would mention it if there were any unique rules associated with the check (such as ignoring certain types of results, or modifying how they can be spent). 

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On 10/21/2018 at 9:30 PM, Cantriped said:

I would be inclined to rule that the recovery check is treated just like any other check. I would expect that the rules for "Recovering from Strain" (GCRB 117) would mention it if there were any unique rules associated with the check (such as ignoring certain types of results, or modifying how they can be spent). 

Agreed, but it seems odd that a triumph wouldn't have some sort of extra benefit to apply directly to a strain recovery check, and yet the chart on 104 mentions nothing about how you might do so.  Seems lame that it would just default to one success.  C__Beck had a pretty good suggestion to allow a triumph to recover 4, but I think I'd go a step further and say after applying straight successes, a triumph recovers half the remaining strain.  More than one triumph recovers it all.

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At my table, we just recover all Strain between scenes, and just have the roll for Strain recovery after an encounter for sequences where there are multiple encounters in a scene.

We define a scene as any point in the narrative where, if this were a movie, there is a "screen wipe." Some notable skip in time, because the things in between are boring.

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On 11/30/2018 at 5:19 PM, Kommissar said:

At my table, we just recover all Strain between scenes, and just have the roll for Strain recovery after an encounter for sequences where there are multiple encounters in a scene.

We define a scene as any point in the narrative where, if this were a movie, there is a "screen wipe." Some notable skip in time, because the things in between are boring.

For the most part I agree with this method although there are some scene cuts where this does not hold true.  On one adventure, I had the PCs trying to get reach the safety of a city after crashing on a planet with less than perfect atmosphere and some nasty creatures out there that would like the PCs for dinner.  I did a couple encounters to show the dangers and then did a scene cut to as they approached the city.  As you said, this would have been a "screen wipe" in the movie but their Strain and Wounds were still weighing them down as they entered the city and had to deal with the locals (who weren't real trusting of outsiders).

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