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Kshatriya

Awareness rolls, metagaming, and Fate Point use

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OK, I'm talking mostly about Awareness rolls, since most other failed rolls it's pretty easy to say "you can't think of anything" with Lore or "you fail to overcome the safeguards" with Security. With Awareness though, the GM simply calling for the roll makes players think that something is out there to be noticed; if they succeed, they will obviously expect to be told some info and if they fail, the players know that they're missing something and it can bleed into IC.

If they roll openly and fail, they will know OOC that they missed something; they can sit on it (but risk metagaming where OOC they know they missed something, which can bleed to IC suspicion) or Fate it for a reroll.

If the GM rolls for Awareness secretly, the GM can easily tell the people who passed the roll if their characters notice something (the implication being that those who failed did not notice/don't get told they notice anything), but if you roll secretly for Awareness, those who failed theoretically lose the opportunity to call a Fate reroll. Then they know they failed some roll, they didn't have the chance to Fate it, and they suspect they missed something, leading to the same OOC-to-IC bleed. And maybe some resentment since you took away their chance to reroll it.

This happened with me last week; in the sake of time, I rolled secretly. One of the players later brought up "if I had known there was a roll and I knew I failed, I would have Fated it." I recognized the problem, just wasn't really sure how to address it. Awareness and maybe Navigation seem to be the only things that this would really affect, though I could be wrong on that.

Just wondering how other GMs handle it.

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Kshatriya said:

OK, I'm talking mostly about Awareness rolls, since most other failed rolls it's pretty easy to say "you can't think of anything" with Lore or "you fail to overcome the safeguards" with Security. With Awareness though, the GM simply calling for the roll makes players think that something is out there to be noticed; if they succeed, they will obviously expect to be told some info and if they fail, the players know that they're missing something and it can bleed into IC.

If they roll openly and fail, they will know OOC that they missed something; they can sit on it (but risk metagaming where OOC they know they missed something, which can bleed to IC suspicion) or Fate it for a reroll.

If the GM rolls for Awareness secretly, the GM can easily tell the people who passed the roll if their characters notice something (the implication being that those who failed did not notice/don't get told they notice anything), but if you roll secretly for Awareness, those who failed theoretically lose the opportunity to call a Fate reroll. Then they know they failed some roll, they didn't have the chance to Fate it, and they suspect they missed something, leading to the same OOC-to-IC bleed. And maybe some resentment since you took away their chance to reroll it.

This happened with me last week; in the sake of time, I rolled secretly. One of the players later brought up "if I had known there was a roll and I knew I failed, I would have Fated it." I recognized the problem, just wasn't really sure how to address it. Awareness and maybe Navigation seem to be the only things that this would really affect, though I could be wrong on that.

Just wondering how other GMs handle it.

 

I have never had a player use a fate point to reroll awareness. They are practically always used to ensure a crucial hit, a crucial dodge, a crucial (social) test and to heal wounds. It sounds a bit gamey to me tbh unless that player has a history of using fate points to reroll awareness.

If you still want to roll for your players, explain the situation regarding game mechanics and ask them for their preference in advance, i.e. should you always use a fate point on the player's behalf for awareness, only one fate point, or no fate point at all....(keep the options down to keep it simple®.

 

 

 

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I periodically have my players make about a dozen percentage rolls, and jot down their results in a notebook. When I need a "secret spot check", as I call it, I take their next roll in sequence, thus not tipping the players off about the presence of something they may not know about. One of my players pointed out that this system doesn't allow them to Fate Point failures; my rationale is that invoking Fate requires conscious focus- maybe a flimsy excuse, but it's what I go with...

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if you fail a perception roll, you also fail to notice you failed; thus, no chance for a fate reroll.  seems quite cromulent.  Or the professor's idear.  Actually, his idea is probly best for whining players...i'm sure few would take him up on his 'spend a fate point' offer, preferring to save 'em for more desperate actions...

(yeah, if the player had pulled that argument on me, we'd have laughed and skorned him...tryin' to wheedle his way out of a failed perception roll...with a fate point...sheesh...laugh and move on...and , of course, remind him of it every time he rolls perception....of course, we're a pretty tight group, your guys might not be so...)

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Well, part of the reason you can Fate an Awareness roll is the degree of OOC/IC transparency. The character doesn't know about the failure. The player obviously does if he doesn't beat his TN, and one of the explicit (and most-often-used) purposes for Fate use is to reroll failed rolls. So the character doesn't know but the player does, and then we get into whether Fate use is purely an OOC or IC action.

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ahh, i see yer point....i don't take things so...dammit, what's the word....we are not so....hmmmm...never mind!  I'll say something else:  ok, taking your premise as it is, it seems that Fate and Fate Points would be Out Of Character - it's Fate/the Emprah, not the mortal recipient, which decides these things, so, yeah:  using Fate is OOC...this is not the way we do things, so i'm drawin' a bit of a blank...seems to me the professor's idear might be the one...you roll their awareness, then ask if anyone wants to Fate a reroll...or (this just came to me, so it may suck) you ask players to give you some awareness rolls pre-mission...they see what they roll, and can decide if they want to add Fate or not at that time...the rolls are recorded and used as necessity dictates...

meself, i will either roll awareness myself or ask for random aware rolls at various times, and use the results on upcoming ambushes/incidents (i.e. if i know an ork ambush is waiting at the next intersection, i'll get the pc's to roll awareness at the outset of their patrol/sweep/whathaveyou, then use the results when they hit the appropriate spot.) 

This is a humdinger, though...there may not be a perfect solution....

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Logically if a player fails an awareness roll, his/her character fails to notice a piece of information that the GM.  Unless the player declare that the character is actively searching for something or on the alert, a GM may award the character another chance on awareness tests.

There is no way that a character would be able to use a fate point to re-roll failed awareness checks during missions.  Neither should a gm grant a fate point awareness re-roll.  In hindsight, if one character is able to notice something, they should share the information so those who do not notice will not be caught off guard.

Getting caught unaware is also part of the playing experience.  Some of the my most memorable fights was getting out of an ambush.  So if players meta-game it'll just spoil the fun.

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The way I handle Awareness is by having my players roll for anything hidden that may cause them harm, and then allowing a fate reroll if they truly wish to use it, but anything regarding scenery, description or plot significance, I simply roll for them and add it in as part of the description if they pass. However this system was made known to them prior to beginning the campaign and since we have played in many campaigns together, its pretty common place

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Deepstriker said:

There is no way that a character would be able to use a fate point to re-roll failed awareness checks during missions.  Neither should a gm grant a fate point awareness re-roll.  In hindsight, if one character is able to notice something, they should share the information so those who do not notice will not be caught off guard.

Getting caught unaware is also part of the playing experience.  Some of the my most memorable fights was getting out of an ambush.  So if players meta-game it'll just spoil the fun.

I see your argument, but nothing in the rules refer to Fate use as a conscious IC mechanic, as opposed to, say, calling a Squad Mode.

Getting caught unawares might be fun a couple of times, certainly not every time, and players like to know how the rules are handled. I don't consider the use of Fate for a failed roll by itself necessarily metagaming, just the potential implications of players rolling their own Awareness rolls and appropriately responding to a failure.

The metagaming concern only comes up with the potential effect of specific rolls. Failing a Lore roll means…you can't think of anything relevant, which could be quite a broad field of things you didn't think of. If a player fails a FL: Xenos roll he may not even be able to guess at all what a success would have told him. But failing Awareness typically only means you didn't notice something that you could have with a successful roll.

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A lot of this comes down to the skill level of the players themselves.  Ideally when they fail, they move along as best as they can without dwelling on it or take an extreme action like they'd made a stunning success.  One of my favorites was when the players were getting ready to jump down from the prison to the patriarch's layer.  The auspex roll came back 95% so the devastator said all clear and jumped right down even though he knew 1) it was stupid going ahead of the assault marine and 2) Something had to be down there.

Clearly the landing area was genestealer free.

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personally, i try to ask for the awareness rolls before i give any description of the scene and adjust that description accordingly.  that way i can always give them something even if they all fail.  and sometimes success just means a more colorful (color? in the 41st millenium?) description.  i once had a session where the pcs were searching a body and they spent multiple fate points to get a success because they (meta)knew that he had to have a clue on him.  well, after they finally got the success, i told them "you search and search and you finally find……..10 thrones….."  i eventually stopped laughing at them and gave them the clue but i'm not afraid to use their own meta against them.

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In my group we roll our own perception as it is, though in other groups there have been secret rolls and it's better in some ways but not sure for this game though.

But Fate points are not an IC (in character) thing to do. Saying you shoot someone, dodge, or search a room is an IC action. Using a fate point for a re-roll is an attempt at being more important, being more heroic, having a better fate. It's a "luck" re-roll, because the character is a hero. So it SHOULD be allowed for awareness rolls. Despite not knowing it failed.

The way I would handle it would be to ask the players if they would allow you (the GM) to use a fate point to re-roll awareness in case of something important. The judge of what's important would be you, but should be things like a re-roll to notice an ambush, or an important piece of information (perhaps tracks of an enemy in the middle of the jungle). Also it shouldn't be used in the hidden track example if one or more people in the group succeeded.

After all, if their Fate is to live long and become heroes, to succeed at this particular mission and so on.. That re-roll for awareness might be the thing that ensures their victory.

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 If my players fail an Awareness check I simply tell them "Something doesn't feel right" or something to that effect. This is no different than what the actual player is thinking but for some reason actually giving them that information is enough to calm players need to get the test right as they usually go investigate something anyway. If the Awareness check was just to spot something like a data-slate then the failed Awareness check has done it's job, leading the players on a goose chase as they think enemies are near. 

 

And am I the only person who have them roll misleading Awareness checks anyway? I have them roll Awareness ALL THE TIME for mundane things in addition to important things. Passing these mundane checks allow them to spot unusual but flavorful events that add to the atmosphere of the game, like maybe while walking through an Imperial world they witness the public stoning of a criminal. Not exactly the role Awareness was created for but players do feel rewarded when they pick up these little dashes of flavor. On the other hand Awareness is also tested to test things that are completely harmless. Once had a squad of Astartes tumbling and leaping through a jungle chasing what they later found out was just the local fauna (Like a deer, except this is WarHammer so it has like skulls and spikes all over it and can spit poison or something. A WarHammer deer.)

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Minnjitsu said:

 Fate should be used for a "deliberate" action not a passive skill roll the player isn't even aware he is making

Why? Surely in this case the clue is in the name - Fate is almost by definition something out of the hands of the characters. It doesn't represent any additional *effort* on the part of the PC, it's literally good luck. You can luckily notice something just as easily as you can luckily shoot somebody.

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 I agree. If anything you're basically twisting fate in your favor. So the difference between spotting the Eldar Ranger aiming his rifle at you and being oblivious to him is reasonable grounds to spend a fate point. I don't recall there being any prerequisite for the use of a Fate Point other than, in this instance, that the player is making a test and the point allows a reroll.

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 RAW, fate is totally OOC. You decide that your character shouldn't suck so hard and you spend a point to attempt to do better.

Fate is nothing like, say, willpower in World of Darkness. Willpower is spent on actions your character can consciously push themselves at such as driving a car really fast in the rain or writing an essay with a deadline looming. You can't spend it retro-actively however.

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I don't think anyone has said it represents that the characters are trying harder, but rather that fate itself is being manipulated in their favor (which, for all intents and purposes, is exactly what's going on since you're improving the chances of their success). The character is not conciously aware of the fate point being spent, but rather it's more like a plot device in a film where coincidences seem to line up nicely.

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