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Author Topic: [THRESHOLD] Developments on the Gamer Formerly Known as ‘Fade’  (Read 1964 times)
Bailywolf
Member

Posts: 729


« on: February 07, 2006, 09:36:05 AM »



This is a game that’s been simmering on my back burner for a goodly long while now, and one I’ve discussed earlier on the Forge in this thread and in this thread, from which I received some quite helpful comments and suggestions.

So, the other I move this game back to the front burner when in the shower I had some real revelations on how to further develop it from the stall I’d run into, which made me leave it to simmer for a while.

I’ve had the premise well sussed for a while, but my approach to it has varied greatly as I’ve tried different resolution schemes, ways of framing conflict, mechanics for driving play… I start strong, loose focus, and put it down for a while.

At its core, Threshold (formerly ‘Fade’) is supposed to be about characters who exist in the middle- between the World and the Otherword.  Like village shamans, they are intercessors between the two worlds, resolving conflicts which arise when the mundane and the magical mix.  And like Samantha in the show Bewitched, when the source of this interaction is the result of a character’s action (rather, a player’s choice to cross the line), this brings Trouble which complicates things and ups the stakes in a given situation.  If a character fails to deal with Trouble, the cosmic balance is readdressed through them, and they shift closer to either mundanity or the unknowable weirdness of the mystery.  Either you fix it externally, or you get fixed

So… a game of mediation with constantly rising stakes and personal risk in which the players have a great deal of power to take control of the imaginary world (both at the table level with authoring powers and within the setting in terms of influence and scope of action), but in doing so they tend to make things more complicated, if not actually worse.

It isn’t that complicated really, but I tend to psyche myself out over thinking it.

Alright, start with the basics.

Basic dice Stuff- A smallish dice pool system using d6’s (because I just love them) rolled equal or under one of two scores- Identity (rolled when dealing with things of the World) or Mystery (rolled when dealing with things of the Otherworld).  At chargen, 7 points are divided between these two scores, and they can fluctuate with play as points shift back and forth between them. 

You get 1 die free if the elements of a conflict relate to the general description of these two traits, and you can get additional dice if you have relevant Traits (Identity-specific experiences, convictions, or relationships) or Wonders (mystery-specific arts, arcana, or patrons).  Boons (either situational or rolled-over from earlier tasks) can give you additional dice, and Banes (either rolled over, or situational as well) cost you dice. 

The successes you need to roll for a given conflict are determined by scale, pacing, and other factors which roll into a Rank which gives you the required number of successes to achieve your described intent, and the number of rounds (rolls) you have to  accumulate them in.  Successes beyond this can be noted down and rolled over later as boon dice.  Sometimes, the degree you fall short rolls over as bane dice.

If you call in power from across the Gulfs- use a Wonder when dealing with a mundane conflict, or use a Trait when handling a magical one- you get free successes.  Its powerful, but comes with a price (see below).

Characters- Characters are defined by two scores and a short list of Traits or Wonders for each (one per point of Score).
Identity- score governing conflicts rooted in the mundane World.
Traits
Experience- stuff you’ve done, seen, trained for… focused elements of your character background.  Each relevant Experience can be used as often as desired in a conflict, and grants you a bonus die to each roll. 
Conviction- something you believe in, something that drives you, something you feel deeply- for good or ill.  Each relevant Conviction can be used once per conflict, and grants you 3 bonus dice, but increases the Consequences of the conflict by 1. 
Relationship- a connection to someone or something beyond yourself you feel deeply which strongly motivates your actions.  Each Relationship can be used only once per session and grants you 5 bonus dice, but increases the Scale of the conflict by 1.   

Mystery- score governing conflicts rooted in the magical Otherworld.
Art- a personal magical power or talent you can use in your immediate surroundings to your advantage.  Each relevant Art can be used as often as desired in a conflict, and grants you a bonus die to each roll. 
Arcana- a magical thing or creature you control that you can use or command beyond your immediate surroundings.  Each relevant Arcana can be used once per conflict, and grants you 3 bonus dice, but increases the Consequences of the conflict by 1.
Patron- a connection to one of the great Powers of the Otherworld- god, demon, monster, spirit… Patrons are awesome, and the source of great power.  Each Patron can be used only once per session and grants you 5 bonus dice, but increases the Scale of the conflict by 1.

I'll divide this into multiple posts so as not to clog things up...

   


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Bailywolf
Member

Posts: 729


« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2006, 09:37:27 AM »

Structuring Conflicts- Conflicts arise naturally from play- when someone declares an intent to do something, anyone else can challenge it (the GM or other players).  If nobody wants to call it into question, then it can be assumed to go off more or less as desired, and play continues in a conventional way.  Rather than the test “is this likely to fail”, when considering a challenge, think “does this matter?  Would it be interesting to see more detail about this?”  If someone challenges (typically the GM, as he’s responsible for most of the traditional things a GM does), then you get a Conflict. 

The Challenger frames the conflict, and the player states the desired outcome in general terms- usually this is obvious from the situation leading to the Challenge.  You have a Free/Clear stage here where any questions can be answered, and the scene can be well set and the stage dressed to the satisfaction of those involved.  Everyone at the table can of course contribute and riff suggestions, but the Player says when this stage is done.

The Challenger gets to set one aspect of the Conflict- Scale, Consequences, Resistance, or Pace.  The Player sets another.  The Challenger sets a third, and the Player sets the fourth.  With each designation, that aspect is described. 

Scale
1  Personal (only you and those closest to you)
2  Immediate (you, those close to you, and those close to anyone else in the conflict)
3  Local Community (a group, association, or local class of people)
4  Whole Community  (a wide and cross-class grouping of people with something in common)

Consequences
1  Discomforting (1 Bane die/1 roll))
2  Severe but Fleeting (2 Bane dice/1 roll)
3  Discomforting and Persistent (1 Bane die/Persistent)
4  Severe and Persistent (2 Bane dice/Persistent)

Resistance
1 Typical  (Talk your way past a guard; enchant a goblin to ignore you+1 boon die)
2 Challenging (Escape a police dragnet; evade a furious river demon +2 boon dice) 
3 Crushing (Defeat a lobby full of elite special forces bodyguards in tactical armor; staredown a dragon and make is flinch; +1 persistent boon die)
4 Overwhelming (Hack into a secure NSA system and tap live satellite imagery; win back your Soul from the Devil by playing the guitar; +2 persistent boon dice)

Pace
Simply the number of rounds the player gets to accumulate successes equal to the Resistance of the conflict.  Each failed roll (no successes) increases the Consequences, Resistance, or the Scale of the conflict by 1. 

It is possible to spread out the rolls to resolve a Conflict across a whole session (or beyond) of the time scales involve would overlap with other, quicker, conflicts.  For example, a political campaign which is rolled once per session across several sessions. 

Example of Conflict:


Walker Crowley

Identity 4- Handyman (Ex); Good with Ladies (Ex); Thinks he Basically a Good Person (Con); Family Farm (Re)
Mystery 3- Green Magic (Art); Scarecrow Jack (Arc); Grandfather Oak (Pat)
Boons- Jar of Gold Coins (+2)
Banes- on the County Sheriff’s Bad Side (-1 persistent)

Walker’s estranged son has been arrested for selling Meth, but he suspects the Sheriff has set him up.  Walker’s player says, “I’m going to go down to the county jail, and see if I can bail William out.”  If nobody has any problem with this, then it can be assumed to succeed, and play can move on from here.  If someone (the GM, for example) thinks this could be interesting, he can Challenge.  “The Sheriff is waiting for you at the front desk, a shit-eating grin on his face.  He says ‘weeeeeel, Walker.  You come down to join your boy in lockup, or you got something you want to say to me?’”  The player’s Goal is obvious- get William out of jail through more or less legal means, overcoming the Sheriff’s hostility and goldbricking.  The GM (as challenger) says, “The Sheriff really hates you.  He hates your guts.  This is going to be Challenging at Resistance 2”.  The player says, “that may be, but he can’t do much worse than he’s already done, so the Consequences are 1”   The GM nods, and says “This obviously only deals with you and yours, so the scale is 2.”  And the player says, “this won’t take long, so the Pace will be 2.”

With this exchange, we have the numbers- Resistance 2 (2 successes needed to achieve the Goal), Scale 2 (affecting Walker and his family), the Consequences are 1 (1 bane die; beyond simply not getting the Goal), and the Pace is 2, meaning the player has 2 rolls to accumulate the required 2 successes. 

Looking over his sheet, the player notes that he doesn’t have any Experiences which might bear on the situation.  If the Sheriff had been female, his ‘Good with the Ladies’ might have worked, but as it is… But he figures his ‘Basically a Good Person’ Conviction applies, and the GM agrees.  He’s doing the right thing, even if his son hates him.  This gives him 4 dice for the first roll of this Conflict, but the persistent Bane he carries knocks one of these out, and so he throws… 5, 6, 6.  A fantastic roll for a D&D character’s Strength score, but terrible for Walker’s son.  No successes.  This means that in addition to the +1 to the Consequences caused by using his Conviction, Walker’s player has to decide which of the other elements of the conflict increase.  He picks Scale, bumping it up to 3.  He says, “I’m working on the sheriff, making a good point the right thing to do, and on not taking his anger out on the boy, and the room gradually fills up with other cops listening in, and word starts to spread.”

Next round, he can’t use his Conviction again (once per conflict only), so he reaches into his bag and pulls out the jar of gold coins (a one-time boon of +2 dice).  His player marks this off his sheet, and with the basic die, minus the Bane, rolls three getting 1, and 5- only 1 success!  This means a failure, unless… Walker’s player decides we wants this, and screw the consequences.  He uses his Green Magic- the magic of plants and growing things- causing the collard greens the Sheriff had for lunch to twist and grow in his stomach, breaking his concentration and making him gimace and fart horribly in front of his men.  Calling this power across the Gulfs grants him not a bonus die, but a bonus success, and with the one he rolled, this means he succeeds in getting his son out of jail, and earns a +2 one-time Boon because of the Resistance.  Walker’s player notes down “Sheriff Unsettled and Slightly Afraid of Me +2” on his sheet. 

However, because he used an Art to aid in a mundane conflict, he gains a point of Trouble, and draws a line across the Gulfs from “Green Magic” to “Basically a Good Person”- a connection has been formed between these two things, and it will come back to haunt him…
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Bailywolf
Member

Posts: 729


« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2006, 09:38:12 AM »

Trouble
Check out this mockup of a character sheet:



The circle in the center of the sheet is the Gulfs.  When you call power from across the Gulfs- using Traits in the Otherworld or Wonders in the World- you draw lines across the Gulfs.  Channels, currents, connections- lines of synchronicity.  When Trouble breaks out, it flows along these lines, and brings the mundane aspects of you life into conflict with the magical ones.

Whenever you call across the Gulfs, you gain Trouble equal to the successes granted you.  You also draw a line connecting any Traits used in the conflict to any Wonders used.  If you didn’t get any bonus dice from Traits or Wonders to roll, then draw the line directly to Mystery or Identity.  These direct links are more potent, and will always come into play if you Trouble breaks loose.

When Trouble comes to a head, its called a Crisis, and works mostly according to the Conflict structure above save for the Consequences which work differently.  If you have Trouble and you call across the Gulfs, roll a single die.  If this die rolls equal or under your Trouble score, then a Crisis begins.  You reduce your Trouble score by the number rolled on this die, and this many points goes into defining the Crisis.  If your Trouble total ever rises to 7 or more, then a Crisis automatically triggers and uses all 7 of these points.

Like a Conflict, a Crisis has the same four elements- Scale, Pace, Resistance, and Consequences.  Scale, Pace, and Resistance work normally, but Consequences changes.  The way these elements are determined also changes somewhat.  A Crisis involves any Traits and Wonders linked with lines in the Gulfs on the character sheet, and any linked directly to Mystery or Identity. 

The number of inter-linked elements becomes the Resistance of the Crisis, and they should all figure into the descriptive elements somehow.  Each Conviction or Arcana linked into the Crisis adds 1 to the Pace, and each Relationship or Patron adds 1 to the Scale.  The Trouble liberated in the Crisis is divided between the resulting elements however the GM desires.

Consequences in a Crisis work like so:
1  Change (change the affected Trait or Wonder somewhat to reflect the Crisis)
2  Transformation (change the Trait or Wonder to a different type and redefine it)
3  Shift (lose 1 point from the affected Score and one trait or wonder, gain 1 point in the other score and one new trait or wonder)
4  Skew (lose 2 point from the affected Score and two traits or wonders, gain 2 points in the other score and two new traits or wonders)

Whichever Score you were rolling against is the threatened score, where the balance between the worlds you disrupted will correct itself if you don’t handle the Crisis.  Any of the Traits or Wonders linked into the Crisis can be specifically threatened as well- based on the logic of the situation, and a threatened Trait or Wonder can not be used when resolving a crisis. 

A Crisis doesn’t need to begin immediately, but should ‘hit’ before the end of the session.



Alright, this is sort of convoluted (perhaps too convoluted), but here’s an example following the above one…

Walker manages to luck out for a while, picking up three more points of Trouble and three more lines across the Gulfs (linking his scores in the following ways):
*Thinks He’s a Good Person to Green Magic
*Good with the ladies to Green Magic
*Family Farm to Scarecrow Jack
*Good with the Ladies to Grandfather Oak

The Crisis is triggered when Walker uses the Good with the Ladies convince a dryad to find another tree and leave Grandfather Oak (the last link noted above), and when he rolls the single trouble die it comes up 3- which is under his Trouble total of 4.  A Crisis results.

Walker’s player looks over his sheet.  The link between Good With the Ladies and Grandfather Oak is obvious, but Good With the Ladies is also linked to Green Magic and Green Magic is linked to Thinks He’s a Good Person.  That’s 3 links, for a Resistance of 3.  The Crisis involves a Patron (+1 to Scale) and a Conviction (+1 to Pace) and 3 points of Trouble were liberated, which the GM divides evenly between Consequences, Scale, and Pace.  The Crisis thus looks like this: Resistance 3, Consequences 2, Scale 3, Pace 3.  It threatens Mystery, so this is the score used to resolve it. 

The GM thinks for a moment, and describes what the fallout is… The Dryad falls in love with Walker- his way with the ladies and his green magic intensely attractive to a tree spirit such as she.  She becomes insanely jealous of Walker’s connection to the Oak, and seeks to supplant it.  The Consequences are then pretty obvious to figure out- failure to resolve the Crisis means losing Grandfather Oak (a Patron wonder) and gaining the Dryad as a new Wonder (an Arcana, as the rank 2 Consequences demand a Wonder be redefined into another type).

There is no reason Walker couldn’t use his Identity traits to easily sweep this Crisis aside, but that would be digging himself in deeper.  Instead, he elects to use magic to solve this magical Crisis, and luckily all his Wonders handily apply to this, even if he can’t use the Grandfather Oak’s powers (as this is the very Wonder being threatened).  Instead, he uses his Green Magic (+1 die) and orders Scarecrow Jack to drag the Dryad out into an open field until she agrees to return to her Tree and abandon this foolishness (+3 dice to one roll).  He throws 5 dice in the first round of the 3 he has to achieve the needed successes, and gets 1, 3, 4, 5, 5, not enough to win, but enough to keep things from escalating.  Next round, he only has his Green Magic, and rolls two dice… getting no successes.  In some way, the situation has gotten worse.  The Player elects to add 1 to Scale, brining it to 4… the whole community of the Otherworld is now going to be affected by this Crisis in some way- perhaps it will affect how nature spirits react to each other, or to humanity.  In the last round, he rolls the same two dice, needing only one success to achieve his goals, and… fails, with two sixes. 

The Consequences come to pass- and in the resolving narration Walker’s player gets to describe what this change means.  He loses Grandfather Oak but gains the Dryad.




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Bailywolf
Member

Posts: 729


« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2006, 05:54:35 AM »


Crap- I just realized I forgot some significant elements, and further, didn't actually ask the questions I was looking to get answered... here goes...

Who Gets to Say:  Narrating the final resolution of a Conflict falls to either Player or Challenger (who may or may not be the GM) based on whether the Conflict was successfully resolved in the player’s favor and how much Trouble the character has accumulated (including any gained during the conflict itself).  Like so:

*Success & Trouble Lower than Score- Player narrates (within the frame created in the free/clear and modified during the rounds of conflict)
*Success & Trouble Equal or More than Score- Challenger narrates (again, within the frame)
*Failure & Trouble Lower than Score- Challenger narrates (yada)
*Failure & Trouble More than Score- Player narrates (yada)

So, if you have a Mystery of 3 and 2 trouble, and you enter a conflict to try an settle the angry spirit possessing your grandmother’s antique sewing machine and you fail, the Challenger would narrate the results- including consequences, and some indication of how the scale affects the shared setting. 

Crisis is a bit different.  The Player describes a Failed crisis, and redefines or changes his character based on the outcome.  The GM describes the results of a Success, as well as any rewards or positive fallout. 

Stuff I forgot to Say:  Some things I’m pretty sure I should add… 

* A Crisis erases lines in the Gulfs as well as purging Trouble.

Questions & Concerns:

* I’m note sure about how I frame conflict- I’m quite taken with mechanical representation for different elements of the conflict, and on the concept of escalation during extended conflicts- each die roll representing a key dramatic moment or potential turning point when the stakes get more dire, and the risk increases.  Extended conflicts give you more chances to meet the required number of successes, but expose you to increasing risk of disaster.  That’s the concept, but I’m fairly sure what I have only hits this at about 30%, and certainly isn’t the most efficient design.  Each element of conflict needs both mechanical risks and potential gains- high Resistance increases the payoff reward for success.  High pace increases the risk of escalation but gives you a better chance of success overall. 

Basically, I need to refine conflict framing, and codify the procedure… and make sure the numbers actually hold together.

I also need to think how conflicts working on different time scales affect each other, with boons or banes passing up or down the frameworks of time and scale. 

*Crisis is a mess right now… but as Conflicts get better defined, some of this will improve.  I wanted to create the elements for a Crisis mechanically rather than through player/challenger interaction, so they aren’t entirely predictable.  I like the idea of a Crisis’ parameters arising from the Conflict that precipitated it…

*Mechanically, I’m waffling on how difficult to make Conflicts… the tipping point should be somewhere in the middle… a character with a couple of dice (the basic gratis die for passing familiarity and a die from an experience or art) should be able to achieve success in a typical conflict about half the time, yeah?  It’s a bit tough to figure with the floating target the Scores represent- what is typical?  If things are fairly tough beyond the basic level, it encourages use of cross-abilities, which lead to complications and trouble and crisis.

*I need a some kind of balancing factor on Trouble- some kind of reward for fixing things, for intercession.  For doing what the characters in this game are supposed to be doing- resolving Crisis between the real and the magical.  I don’t have anything like an experience system here… and another avenue of mechanical effectiveness beyond boons/banes, and I’m sort of unsure if more mechanical effectiveness is the way to go here.  What I’m considering is some kind of shared structure all the PC’s partake of- the Community they serve, both the local supernatural and the local real worlds…

*Following the previous point- Community.  If all the characters partake of the same shared socio/magical ‘environment’ and their successes and failures in handling Crisis alter the balances and health of this shared thing… perhaps this would be both a binding element to bring PC’s together (something I like as a GM), and as a motivator to track how well they do what they do… it could also neatly link to Scale, and could act also as a big evolving R-map.  Need more thought on this, as its pretty fresh…

-Ben   
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Dreez
Registree

Posts: 3


« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2006, 09:13:31 AM »

I've read through it and I think that I have a good understanding of what you are doing.  Some questions that occurred to me:

Can more than one PLAYER participate in a conflict? 

If Crisis changes the shared environment, how about a way to draw in all the pc?

If more pcs enter into a conflict, have the scale change?

Are the changes in the shared environment represented mechanically through Bane and Boon dice?

What I understood least was how you set Stakes in the Crisis.
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Bailywolf
Member

Posts: 729


« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2006, 09:52:35 AM »

I've read through it and I think that I have a good understanding of what you are doing.  Some questions that occurred to me:

Can more than one PLAYER participate in a conflict? 

If Crisis changes the shared environment, how about a way to draw in all the pc?

If more pcs enter into a conflict, have the scale change?

Are the changes in the shared environment represented mechanically through Bane and Boon dice?

What I understood least was how you set Stakes in the Crisis.


Yeah, more than one PC can participate in a Crisis or Conflict... how... now that's something of a different story.  Since the way I define conflicts is still somewhat up in the air, I'm hoping to solve this issue there.  It is also possible to have multiple conflicts running parallel in the same scene- one player binds the demon while the other rescues the sacrifice from the cultists.  Separate Goals which could succeed or fail independent of each other.  When two PC's work on the same Goal... have to think about that one a bit.

I very much wanted to loop other player characters into Crisis- just not entirely sure how to handle it yet… but as I get a better lock on the Community concept, I hope to use that as the lever.  In this case, the Scale would determine how much of the Community is affected by the outcome, and beyond the personal consequences of failing to resolve a Crisis, there would be ripples into the shared setting.

More on this as it evolves.

Changes in the environment would affect the Community- a concept I’m only just now starting to flesh out.  This is a shared stated-out thing… a realm…a protectorate… the village to these modern shaman.   

I just had some thoughts about how Communities- they can be as large or as small as the group wishes, and can encompass something as little as a house and the people who live in it and pass through it up to the entire world or politics and nation states. 

Ideally, you’d use exactly the same rules for running a game based around a little local coffee shop, the community defined by the people who work there and who pass through every day as you would for a game centered around the CIA or a multinational cooperation.  Community encompasses the magical and mundane sides, and its up to the PC’s to see things stay balanced and out of conflict. 

These ideas are going off like popcorn right now- more when they cool down a bit.

I was too vague about States in a given Crisis… I’ll give it some serious thought.

-Ben
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Doug Ruff
Member

Posts: 445


« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2006, 05:56:47 AM »

Ben,

I'm really glad to see this back in development, I thouroughly enjoyed the earlier incarnation of this game.

One straight-out rules question: in the Crisis example, is it a Mystical Crisis because Good With the Ladies was used to buy auto-successes on a Mystical conflict?

Another question, about design intentions: would you ever want players to have the option to buy auto-succeses during a Crisis (thus digging themselves an either deeper hole?)

I need to think a bit more about the rest, especially group conflicts.

Cheers,

Doug
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'Come and see the violence inherent in the System.'
Bailywolf
Member

Posts: 729


« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2006, 07:47:01 AM »

Ben,

I'm really glad to see this back in development, I thouroughly enjoyed the earlier incarnation of this game.

One straight-out rules question: in the Crisis example, is it a Mystical Crisis because Good With the Ladies was used to buy auto-successes on a Mystical conflict?

Another question, about design intentions: would you ever want players to have the option to buy auto-succeses during a Crisis (thus digging themselves an either deeper hole?)

I need to think a bit more about the rest, especially group conflicts.

Cheers,

Doug

A Crisis threatens the score which you rolled against in the conflict which precipitated it... and that's a convoluted sentence.  Basically, if you call across the Gulfs, the score you roll against is the one threatened by the crisis- so, if you call in mundane strengths to handle a mystical problem, and if a Crisis is triggered, your Mystery is threatened. 

I wasn't entirely sure on the whether I wanted players to auto-success on Crisis rolls... part of me loves the idea of getting into worse trouble, and digging the hole deeper.  But that requires figuring out what happens of another Crisis is triggered while you try and resolve one... logically, the first would just get a hell of a lot worse.  Alternately, requiring they handle such problems with only the 'native' power for that score might be interesting too- get yourself in trouble with Magic, and you can't use Magic to solve it.  Which do you suppose would produce the most compelling play?

-B
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Bailywolf
Member

Posts: 729


« Reply #8 on: February 14, 2006, 12:08:24 PM »


While I should have been working, I cooked up a dramatically simpler Conflict/Crisis mechanic. 

Conflicts have three elements:

Stakes- the basic fallout for success or failure figured out during the free/clear stage.  It serves as a guide for narrating the results.

Scale- how broadly the Stakes of the Conflict will apply to the Community, for good or ill. 

Threat- how serious the opposition or resistance is to the character’s actions in the conflict.  This is the number of successes which must be rolled to gain the desired outcome.

Conflicts are rolled as described above, but if the player fails to meet the Threat, he has two options- accept the Stakes and don’t push it further, or push it.  If the player chooses to Push It, the Challenger raises or lowers the Scale of the conflict by 1 point, or alters the Stakes as they relate to failure. 

Net successes (beyond those needed to meet the Threat) become a Boon (or 3 can become a single die persistent boon), likewise with failure to meet the Threat- beyond the Stakes, you get a Bane equal to the difference in your total successes and the Threat. 

The scales for Threat and Stakes are altered somewhat- running 1-6. 

In a Crisis, the Scale of the thing is equal to the number of Lines, and the Threat is the loosed Trouble.


For example-

Walker Crowley has run afoul of the Sheriff again, and he sends a few of his officers around in plain clothes to teach Crowley a little lesson about respecting the law.  They catch him coming out of the package store on Highway 441, and jump him from the shadows.  In the free/clear the stakes are laid out and agreed on- success results in Walker getting away, and failure results in a humiliating asskicking.  The GM (as challenger) assigns the Threat (3) and the Scale (2).  Walker’s player needs 3 successes to meet this threat, and it will have consequences which affect Crowley and his immediate environs.  The player checks his sheet, and finds Crowley isn’t much of a fighter- no Experiences really apply- and though he might Think He’s a Good Person, that hardly matters here.  He’s looking at an asskicking with only his gratis die to meet this Threat, so sighs and whistles out loud and long.  His base die rolls 2, at success.  From the shadows a bone-thin figure emerges behind his attackers- darting like an insect, it strikes with fists or knotted twigs.  In a moment only, Scarecrow Jack stands over the unconscious officers, and then fades back into the shadows.  The three successes from the use of an Arcana give Crowley a total of 4- that’s enough for a +1 boon, which Walker’s player notes down on the sheet as “Local Law Afraid of Me +1”.  However, calling on Scarecrow Jack’s aid gives Walker 3 points of Trouble and a line is drawn between Jack and Walker’s Identity score (as he didn’t use any of his Traits). 

Next the Community, and more on how personal crisis and conflict affect the larger reality of the Community.

-B
   
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