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ccarlson101

Obligation Check Quirkiness

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Once the group's Obligation is laid out in table format, and the GM rolls at the beginning of the session, there is always the chance of a "doubles" roll, thus doubling the Strain loss to everyone.

 

But because of the way %'s work, and where doubles can hit on a chart, some PCs can be immune to being hit directly with the doubling penalty.

 

For example, in a group of 6, where PCs are going to have - at most - 10 Obligation to start, the first guy on the chart cannot have doubles hit his Obligation. Somethimes others as well.

 

01-10  |  PC1  |  Debt

11-20  |  PC2  |  Addiction

21-30  |  PC3  |  Bounty

31-40  |  PC4  |  Debt

41-45  |  PC5  |  Favor

46-50  |  PC6  |  Dutybound

 

On this table, PC1 and PC6 will never have a risk of suffering 4 Strain.

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Another way you might deal with this is to make 01-10 part of the "no Obligation" range and assign the PCs 21-30, 31-40, 41-50, and so on. This way any of the PCs can roll doubles, and you don't have to rewrite the chart until they accumulate more Obligation.

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Personally, not a big fan of that strain rule.  It feels like dirt in the game, mechanically and narratively.  Ignoring it averts the quirk entirely.

I considered that fact as well. Though I pondered the possiblity of, instead of doubling everyone's Strain (to 4 and 2), I blanket hit everyone with just 2 across the board. And, of course, the PC who's obligation came up is stlll the focus of the trouble. So a doubles result still nets more dramatic results to the group on occasion, but everyone shares in the "ow".

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If I recall correctly, the rules state that a group can never have less than 5 obligation. If that's the case then perhaps start the first player on the chart at 6-16.

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Personally, not a big fan of that strain rule.  It feels like dirt in the game, mechanically and narratively.  Ignoring it averts the quirk entirely.

I considered that fact as well. Though I pondered the possiblity of, instead of doubling everyone's Strain (to 4 and 2), I blanket hit everyone with just 2 across the board. And, of course, the PC who's obligation came up is stlll the focus of the trouble. So a doubles result still nets more dramatic results to the group on occasion, but everyone shares in the "ow".  

 

It’s just too meta-gamey and anti-immersive.

 

If the Obligation is going to inflict stress, let the triggering event do it. While prepping for the next adventure, roll to see whose Ob comes up. Let’s say it’s a PC with a bounty.  Just plan to have a BH show up at the worst possible moment – let the Greedo be the instrument of stress (and wounds).  Maybe it’s someone with a family obligation – early-on as the next session gets rolling, the PC receives a holo-recording: bad news about Pa’, inflicting 2 stress which won’t go away until the adventure is over and the PC has time to act on it.

 

I'd also forgo inflicting stress on the rest of the crew, making them share the "ow" -- I'd rather rub moist potting soil into my notes. "You take 1 stress, too." "Why? I don't give a s--t about his Pa'!  If we stuff him out the airlock, do we recover that 1 point of stress?" So not worth it... 

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I'd also forgo inflicting stress on the rest of the crew, making them share the "ow" -- I'd rather rub moist potting soil into my notes. "You take 1 stress, too." "Why? I don't give a s--t about his Pa'!  If we stuff him out the airlock, do we recover that 1 point of stress?" So not worth it...

 

IMO, if the PCs are acting that way, someone's doing something wrong. They should be a team, not a bunch of lone wolves forced to play together against their wills.

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IMO, if the PCs are acting that way, someone's doing something wrong.

 

Yeah, and as a general rule, I look at the person in the mirror first.  Why make them feel like they're being nickeled-and-dimed to death, for what? 1 point of strain?  I GM a lot of pick-up games at FLGSs, never knowing who's going to be at a table, so I've built an aversion to small stuff that doesn't really add much.

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IMO, if the PCs are acting that way, someone's doing something wrong.

 

Yeah, and as a general rule, I look at the person in the mirror first.  Why make them feel like they're being nickeled-and-dimed to death, for what? 1 point of strain?  I GM a lot of pick-up games at FLGSs, never knowing who's going to be at a table, so I've built an aversion to small stuff that doesn't really add much.

 

 

 

Nah, its there as a rule to encourage people to pay down their obligations and the rest of the party gets the penalty to encourage them to assist and push the other person to take care of their obligations.

Pick-up one shots really matter so little to the continuity of the game/campaigns that you might as well just do away with obligation altogether.

 

Obligation is absolutely intended for campaign play, not one shot throw away games.

 

My current thought is to just treat each obligation as a separate "block"

 

01-05 Player A Debt

06-10 Player A Bounty

11-15 Player B Criminal

16-20 Player B Criminal

 

If you roll the minimum for that "block" it triggers for that PC (01,06,11,16, etc). Yes it doubles the chance of "super strain" but I think I am ok with that, it keeps PC's focused on the obligations they owe and encourages them to be paid down.

Edited by Valdier

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 Obligation is absolutely intended for campaign play, not one shot throw away games.

 

Yeah, but like I said, the aversion carries over.  It seems the massive chance of rolling obligations and the threat of not being able to spend xp should do the job of encouraging pay-down.

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Obligation is absolutely intended for campaign play, not one shot throw away games.

 

The Free RPG Day adventure for EotE actually managed to do a great job of giving mechanical or story penalties to the group if the characters started with extra Obligation. It might be a bit of a pain to design, but that's a great way to give players some choices with Obligation and still have it matter.

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I noted this numeric quirk a little while ago, and I like the solution of starting with 00 and rotating PC order if needed.

 

As for the legitimacy of Obligtion as part of the game, I think it's a great storytelling add, and a fantastic opportunity for RPGers. I typically view my RPGs like a TV series, and in a good TV series, there are often many little plot threads that don't come to the fore every episode, but do periodically spark up and take a little attention -- even if it's only as the "C story" for the episode. This rule, if RPGed properly, does the same thing, and allows different players to take center stage a little more without forcing the overall story to change.

 

I'm a big fan of Joss Whedon and I can see potential for some Whedon-y goodness based on this. If Buffy and the gang are saving Sunnydale, the story may remain unchanged, but the tone is different if Buffy is concerned about where her next paycheck is coming from vs Xander is arguing with Anya vs Willow is trying to hide her growing addition to using magic...

 

In a narrative/RPG sense, there's so very much possibility.

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