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2/23/2015 4:53 am  #1


Success With Complications

I’d like to take a closer look at the following from BoL: 

A good rule of thumb is not to let a roll of the dice determine whether a character succeeds or fails in a task, but to determine the level of success or failure.  

Would you like to see this codified a bit more? 

I think levels of success are probably covered (Success, Mighty Success and Legendary Success) and whilst we have Failure and Calamitous Failure, should we perhaps have Success With Complications? 

Success With Complications would be at some level of failure (to be determined) and might be the introduction of NPCs, loss of equipment/resources, penalty dice carrying over to future actions, etc. 

Thoughts?

Last edited by Venomous Filigree (2/23/2015 4:54 am)

 

2/23/2015 6:54 am  #2


Re: Success With Complications

Funny you mention this, because I just recently decided to implement something like this in my next one shot session. What I've come up with so far is a bit of an amalgamation of Dungeon Worlds' moves with BoLs more freeform career system (didn't play DW myself yet, but the mechanics looked fun). Specifically: you roll 2d6. 1-5 is a failure, 6-8 is a success with complications and 9-12 is a regular success. (mighty success etc. etc. still in play). I may still adjust the numbers a bit, though. This will obviously be even more improv-heavy than Dungeon World, because there are no lists of complications, but hopefully will make the game even more nuanced.

The group I'm planning on testing this system with are all first timers, though, so results may not be significant enough.

 

2/23/2015 10:23 am  #3


Re: Success With Complications

I've tried this and found this to work.

Success with Complications
When a roll fails by 1 any player may spend a Hero Point to turn the failure into a Success with Complications. Sometimes this is a better option than spending a Hero Point for a reroll.

Last edited by jasales (2/23/2015 10:24 am)

 

2/23/2015 10:39 am  #4


Re: Success With Complications

Another option is the And/But mechanic...

As it stands, BoL has Calamitous Failure and Mighty/Legendary Success. What it does not have is Success with Complications or Partial Failure.

The thought is to add an And/But style mechanic that allows for varying degrees of success and failure rather than outright success/failure. 

Success/And OR Failure/But indicates that something positive happens in addition to the general task result.

Success/But OR Failure/And indicates that something negative happens in addition to the general task result.

The additional result can be pretty much anything the group can come up with -- an environmental factor, a prop, a minor incident or condition for either party, and so on. The GM should always have final say. What's allowed is highly tuneable to group preferences, and can lead to a lot of creative fun if the players help come up with the and/but rather than the GM doing it all. 

So perhaps you're chasing someone and have to jump a wooden fence. Let's look at the options: 

12+: Success/And; not only do you clear the fence, but your opponent has stumbled and is prone or stunned for a turn. 
9-11: Success; you succeed at the task you are attempting.
7-8: Success/But; you clear the fence, but drop your gun or slip and have to make a roll to maintain balance. 
3-6: Failure/But; the fence is too high for you to clear, but you notice some rotten planks you can bash through. 
Natural 2: Failure; you fail at the task you are attempting.
Natural 2 Calamitous Failure: Failure/And; not only do you not clear the fence, your leg punches through a plank and you get stuck, possibly injured. 

In my All For One campaign (Ubiquity Ruleset) I have been using the And/But die, using different game mechanics, to great effect but it may not be to everyones taste.

This may seem complicated but really the table above is just giving examples of possible outcomes. The actual mechanics are really just a scale of success and failure. The difference with this system is that you also have the option of Failure/But (not complete failure) which is different to Success/But (success with complications)

Last edited by The GIT! (2/23/2015 10:45 am)


Wealth can be wonderful, but you know, success can test one's mettle as surely as the strongest adversary.
 

2/24/2015 12:27 am  #5


Re: Success With Complications

Hmm, my approach is a bit simpler. Looking again at that passage: A good rule of thumb is not to let a roll of the dice determine whether a character succeeds or fails in a task, but to determine the level of success or failure.

When this is declared in a scene or for a particular task roll, there character succeeds (unless on a calamitous failure). Where a regular failure is indicated, the character now succeeds, but with some complication.

This seems most in the spirit of the rules. We don't want to necessarily know if the hero failed, but the degree with which he succeeds. If a calamitous failure happens, a Hero Point should get them out of hot water, which is sort of interesting...a small chance to fail, but with a question: how bad do you want to succeed?

 

2/24/2015 12:47 am  #6


Re: Success With Complications

I've always used degrees of success/failure, at least some, even in systems that don't have it as a mechanic.  However, I generally "eyeball it" or only think about it in critical situations.  If a complication or bonus comes to me I might just ask "how badly did you fail the roll?" Conversly playerswill usually tell m if the roll really well, and Ill go with it  by describing how cool the action was or throw in some benefit.  In other words, the rule of thumb above is simply intuitive to me. Its how I play naturally.

I think I first encountered systems that "codify" degrees of success with Omni and WFRP 2nd ed - two great systems.  After playing them, I have often houseruled yes/buts and no/ands as others have done above into whatever game I am playing.  I now tend to favor such resolution mechanics.

For Everywhen, what I would like to see is options.  Lots of them.  Switches and dials please.  I would keep the core system simple.  I don't know that I would build in a codified degrees of success into the base mechanic and make it a core rule - but if you made an option - I'd use it. I would probably scale it a little differently for my personal games (12 = yes and, 11-10 yes, 8-9 yes but, 6-7 no but, 4-5 no, 2-3 no and) but that is just me.

Codified degrees of success would be awsome in Everywhen - but I think they should be an option rather than the core.
 

Last edited by madprofessor (2/24/2015 12:54 am)

 

2/24/2015 8:43 am  #7


Re: Success With Complications

madprofessor wrote:

Codified degrees of success would be awsome in Everywhen - but I think they should be an option rather than the core.

Totally agree with this sentiment.
 


Wealth can be wonderful, but you know, success can test one's mettle as surely as the strongest adversary.
 

2/24/2015 9:29 am  #8


Re: Success With Complications

madprofessor wrote:

I would probably scale it a little differently for my personal games (12 = yes and, 11-10 yes, 8-9 yes but, 6-7 no but, 4-5 no, 2-3 no and) but that is just me.

My concern with this scale is that it kind of alters the regular game mechanics. In BoL a roll of 9+ has always been the target number for a success. With the above scale a 9 now becomes a success with complications. It's a minor point and, considering we are talking about an optional rule rather than a codified rule being the preference, probably not much of a concern.


Wealth can be wonderful, but you know, success can test one's mettle as surely as the strongest adversary.
 

2/24/2015 12:02 pm  #9


Re: Success With Complications

True, my scale mucks with the number 9.  It is just my personal preference.  I'm not recommending a major change.  My thought is that "+2" is about a "normal" or average mod to a die roll, and a natural "7" is on top of the 2d6 curve.  In a Pass/Fail mechanic, this means that successes are slightly more common than failures with a +2 mod.  However, with a finer gradation of 6 outcomes (Yes and, yes, yes but, no but, no, no and) a roll of  "9" with a result of "yes" becomes the center of success 5/6ths of the way up the success ladder, rather than the cusp of success just past center.  When you roll a "9" in play you think "I got it, but just barely" which to me is a "yes but" with a codified gradiated 6 outcome scale.

The other reason for my scale is simply that I like a slightly less heroic feel to the game with characters being slightly less competent from the get go.  I got the idea from my first BoL campaign where I dished out too many advancement points on accedent and then moved the base TN to "10" to compensate.  It worked OK.  Later, I ran a one off where I wanted "low level" characters and started the game with a TN of 10.  It added a little granularity.  More importantly, it made the players feel more cautious about their actions and less confident about thier abilities.  It worked well for me as a simple way to get a little "low level" feel from the game.

I'm not trying to sell anybody on it, or say my way is better overall.  Its just my personal preference for such a scale.



 

 

2/24/2015 12:08 pm  #10


Re: Success With Complications

I actually think there are a lot of good points to your reasoning. What this also demonstrates is how an optional system can be shown to having a sliding scale to allow for grittier or more heroic games. BoL really is that flexible.


Wealth can be wonderful, but you know, success can test one's mettle as surely as the strongest adversary.
 

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