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The Grand Falloon

What to do with Success?

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   There are situations, especially in combat, where folks will want to use non-combat rolls, and I'm not sure what success should grant.  In particular, I'm thinking of social rolls where I know exactly what to do with Opportunity, but not so much with success.  In a Narrative scene, you charm the guard or jump the chasm.  In an Intrige you gain Momentum to sway the Daimyo to your position.  I'm looking for some sort of blanket bonus such a roll would give in other situations, when it's not so clear.  This would obviously be modified depending on the circumstances.

   This came up as I was reading over Fanning the Flames, thinking of its utility in a duel.  Spend a round talking trash, spend one opportunity to hit your opponent with Strife, and another to Daze them.  Hey, that's great, but what would success do? 

   This applies to a lot of situations. Even without techniques, a successful roll should do something.  Let's say a Shiba Bushi cuts down a bandit in a skirmish, and then tries to convince the others that this fight will not be worth the cost (probably with Command/Earth or Water).  If there's fighting all around, it may not be enough to end the skirmish, but at the very least one or two bandits facing the Shiba should be rethinking things, maybe taking a Guard action and backing away.

   I figure the TN of a lot of checks would be the target's Vigilance.  As far as bonuses, I've gotta few ideas:

Target suffers increased TN to certain action types (and the GM is encouraged to avoid those types).

The character or allies either reduce their TN or gain extra dice to their next checks.

Inflict Strife

Perhaps Skirmishes should have something akin to Momentum, which would basically be a guide to when the bad guys turn and run.  Defeating enemies would certainly add Momentum, but you could also gain it by doing other cool things.

 

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1 hour ago, The Grand Falloon said:

Perhaps Skirmishes should have something akin to Momentum, which would basically be a guide to when the bad guys turn and run.  Defeating enemies would certainly add Momentum, but you could also gain it by doing other cool things.

 

I like this idea personally, with the TN/Momentum equal to the focus/vigilance of the apparent leader?

Though based on the Opportunity costs of some of these abilities, it seems like these abilities are balanced to use either Success or Opportunity instead of gunning for both

Edited by drbraininajar

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11 minutes ago, drbraininajar said:

I like this idea personally, with the TN/Momentum equal to the focus/vigilance of the apparent leader?

   Something like that. Maybe add a bit more for each of his lackeys.  A lot of adventures and such will say, "When half the goblins are defeated, the rest will flee," or somesuch.  That's fine if you remember to keep that defeat condition in your head, but I rarely do.  I think a hidden "morale" stat could be just the thing to make enemies behave more realistically.

   Anything is better than, "the bandits fight to the death." Because no, they certainly do not.

I suppose it's easy enough to sum up with a group Composure or Panic score.

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54 minutes ago, The Grand Falloon said:

   Something like that. Maybe add a bit more for each of his lackeys.  A lot of adventures and such will say, "When half the goblins are defeated, the rest will flee," or somesuch.  That's fine if you remember to keep that defeat condition in your head, but I rarely do.  I think a hidden "morale" stat could be just the thing to make enemies behave more realistically.

   Anything is better than, "the bandits fight to the death." Because no, they certainly do not.

I suppose it's easy enough to sum up with a group Composure or Panic score.

I know the book recommends keeping track of the bad guys' composure for how close they are to breaking ranks and use their "unmasking" moment as them fleeing, but I too agree that there needs to be a more defined role for social skills used in combat (especially since many techniques have combat applications). Or not, really, since there really isn't a comparable flip flop for combat skills except "you draw your sword? roll initiative"

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There are quite a few cases where bonus successes are no benefit already in the rules.

A key example: Cleansing Rite. You need the 3 successes. More is no benefit; less fails. But there are lots of things to spend opportunity on - cleansing defiled terrain, spotting supernaturals, extra targets.

My players weren't processing that last night. 

Likewise, commune with the spirits - TN1, extra successes don't matter, extra opportunity does.

Sympathetic Energies - no Bonus Success spend, and only one specific opp spend.

Stride the waves - no bonus success, no specific opp spend

Reflections of P'an Ku...

Just let them know when bonus successes won't matter, or give them a VP for not knowing. (yes, that's a twist of the Hidden TN, but it's a sensible one)

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The thing here isn't so much about bonus successes, rather that there are several social techniques that give you ways to spend opportunity in a physical conflict for certain effects (many of them without the requirement that a check be successful to activate), but very little guidance on what a successful social check might do during physical combat, or the mechanisms to determine it. That, coupled with the oddity of making a Command check (for example) without a clear idea of what its "if I succeed" goal is just to get the opportunity bonus is a bit of a headscratcher from a "translating mechanics to fiction & vice versa" standpoint

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55 minutes ago, AK_Aramis said:

There are quite a few cases where bonus successes are no benefit already in the rules.

   Yeah, but I'm talking about no clear mechanical benefit to a simple success.  In the case of the above Fire Social check, the TN would probably be 2 or 3, for the target's Vigilance, but there's no mechanical effect if you succeed in the first place.  So you may as well try NOT to succeed, and just use the Opportunity options.  Heck, if you can get your GM to leverage a Disadvantage against you, you're in even better shape.  "Oh, no, I have to reroll these two successes.  Aw shucks, they came up Opportunity.  Well, I guess I'll gain a Void Point, inflict 2 Strife, and increase the TN of his attacks next round by two.  Oh, woe is me."
   I'm really just trying to come up with a blanket guideline for mechanical benefits for unexpected skill usage, because I think Success should always be a good thing.  In Star Wars, I made it a simple Increase/Decrease in Difficulty.  If the guy with high Athletics wants to make a mad dash to cover, dodging and weaving all the way, a simple success could increase the difficulty to hit him by 1 (yes, it's a lot, but he's sacrificing his entire action on movement).  Advantage and Triumph could be spent on the usual things, thus making it even more difficult.

Edited by The Grand Falloon

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6 minutes ago, The Grand Falloon said:

   Yeah, but I'm talking about no clear mechanical benefit to a simple success.  In the case of the above Fire Social check, the TN would probably be 2 or 3, for the target's Vigilance, but there's no mechanical effect if you succeed in the first place.  So you may as well try NOT to succeed, and just use the Opportunity options.  Heck, if you can get your GM to leverage a Disadvantage against you, you're in even better shape.  "Oh, no, I have to reroll these two successes.  Aw shucks, they came up Opportunity.  Well, I guess I'll gain a Void Point, inflict 2 Strife, and increase the TN of his attacks next round by two.  Oh, woe is me."
   I'm really just trying to come up with a blanket guideline for mechanical benefits for unexpected skill usage, because I think Success should always be a good thing.  In Star Wars, I made it a simple Increase/Decrease in Difficulty.  If the guy with high Athletics wants to make a mad dash to cover, dodging and weaving all the way, a simple success could increase the difficulty to hit him by 1 (yes, it's a lot, but he's sacrificing his entire action on movement).  Advantage and Triumph could be spent on the usual things, thus making it even more difficult.

This is definitely something I see a lot of mainstream RPGs struggle with. Typically it's "What does Persuasion/Deception/etc" do in physical combat, but it happens anytime skills don't have obvious carry-over from one conflict type/play mode to another. Honestly, I almost wish they'd just went full tilt with it and used the Momentum mechanics as the core for all conflicts, but I digress.

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social skills and shuji can work in combat situations, but not all of them. this requires judgement etc. obviously if all your buddies are killing them and then you go "wait, wait! stop fighting". chances are they won't listen. but the right social roll can work in some ways.

and to answer OP, the fact that opportunities exists, and that you are not forced to keep any dice, means that it doesn't really matter if extra successes are not useful for certain rolls, you just keep opportunities instead or nothing at all.

 

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On ‎11‎/‎11‎/‎2018 at 10:26 PM, drbraininajar said:

The thing here isn't so much about bonus successes, rather that there are several social techniques that give you ways to spend opportunity in a physical conflict for certain effects (many of them without the requirement that a check be successful to activate), but very little guidance on what a successful social check might do during physical combat, or the mechanisms to determine it. That, coupled with the oddity of making a Command check (for example) without a clear idea of what its "if I succeed" goal is just to get the opportunity bonus is a bit of a headscratcher from a "translating mechanics to fiction & vice versa" standpoint

That's the thing, though; it's the reverse to me; if you can't tell the GM what success represents, you don't get to make a check. This is what the TN0 and 'when to make a check' sections are talking about:

Quote

 

The GM gets to decide when it’s worthwhile for a character to make a check. As a rule of thumb, ask yourself the following questions:

Could the character fail?

Could they possibly succeed?

Are the consequences of success different from the consequences of failure?

Are the consequences of success and failure both interesting?

If you answered "no" to any of these questions, don’t have the character make a check.

 

 

On ‎11‎/‎11‎/‎2018 at 5:51 PM, The Grand Falloon said:

This came up as I was reading over Fanning the Flames, thinking of its utility in a duel.  Spend a round talking trash, spend one opportunity to hit your opponent with Strife, and another to Daze them.  Hey, that's great, but what would success do? 

Well - the examples

  • "Intimidating an average person of lower status" as an action, as TN2 with command
    • Fear doesn't have a specific codified set of rules. Because of the "you let me do it once, now I will spam this rules loophole I think I've found" effect you get with some players, you should be very careful with giving a massive mechanical benefit, but there are three real precedents in the rules for "what to do when someone is afraid":
      • Most "fear of" disadvantages are anxieties - either triggering  one, creating one or becoming aware of one is an option, but three strife is a lot in a duel so it should take a lot of extra work to capitalise on it.
      • The invocation Courage of Seven Thunders boosts a characters composure. Logically, the reverse - being intimdated - should reduce it.
      • Probably the best effect - in that it's unlikely to dramatically tip the result of the duel but does actually matter - is that unmastered fear is a minor failing of Yu (the Bushido tenet of Courage), and hence good for a point or so honour loss - which is nice to hit a rival with anyway, but may specifically help by cutting the effectiveness of Warriors/Courtiers resolve.
  • "Getting the attention of someone well above your station (a character with much higher status)" as an action as TN4 with Courtesy
    • Good to increase the glory swing from winning/losing by a point or two; attention is good so long as you don't then screw up....
  • "Assessing a statement for possible lies of omission or missing information" as an action as TN4 with Sentiment
    • Presumably you ended up in a duel for a good reason? This lets you dig into the background information you're trying to get from the other character (or whoever) in the first place - it's more about moving the plot on than winning the duel.

 

 

On ‎11‎/‎11‎/‎2018 at 5:51 PM, The Grand Falloon said:

 This applies to a lot of situations. Even without techniques, a successful roll should do something.  Let's say a Shiba Bushi cuts down a bandit in a skirmish, and then tries to convince the others that this fight will not be worth the cost (probably with Command/Earth or Water).  If there's fighting all around, it may not be enough to end the skirmish, but at the very least one or two bandits facing the Shiba should be rethinking things, maybe taking a Guard action and backing away

I would argue that's de-escalating that bit of the scene from a skirmish to an intrigue, if they're actually bothering to listen to you

Edited by Magnus Grendel

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17 hours ago, drbraininajar said:

The thing here isn't so much about bonus successes, rather that there are several social techniques that give you ways to spend opportunity in a physical conflict for certain effects (many of them without the requirement that a check be successful to activate), but very little guidance on what a successful social check might do during physical combat, or the mechanisms to determine it. That, coupled with the oddity of making a Command check (for example) without a clear idea of what its "if I succeed" goal is just to get the opportunity bonus is a bit of a headscratcher from a "translating mechanics to fiction & vice versa" standpoint

Several of the cases I mentioned don't specify success to do what is attempted, as long as what is attempted is the secondary effect of the technique. 

For example, cleansing rite, the only reason you need the successes is because you're IN the defiled terrain for the ritual itself, and it cleans you of taint with the land you're at.

It's a feature as much as a bug... however, note the GM can always trump the tables when it makes story sense.

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opportunities are as much important as successes in this game.

take duels for example, you can honestly use iaijutsu technique to draw a weapon and attack but making sure you miss the attack but keep a ton of opportunities (that can be used for multiple of reasons, be it techniques or ring opp spending) for next round, which can set you up for a very good strike or whatever other reason you can think of.

basically, you just draw your weapon with a check. only for opportunities to boost next turn attack instead of doing a weaker attack this turn.

the system is very easy to "game" and it really becomes weird if you do, but that's how it rolls. "voluntarily missing" is definitely part of the game and never, never underestimate how good are opportunities, most of the time better than successes (for CSS as an example).

Edited by Avatar111

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