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Author Topic: A few questions from a pair of HQ newbies  (Read 5094 times)
herrmess
Member

Posts: 14


« on: August 30, 2006, 07:30:36 AM »

Hi all,

I had HQ for a year or so, and although Glorantha doesn't appeal to me much (I'm the guy with the EarthDawn conversion in a coma) I do like HQ's system enough to convince my friend to give it a try. We both read the book several times and have managed to grok some of the stuff there, with a good degree of success (except for magic, naturally). However, we do not understand everything, and so here come questions. We also have tentative answers, but I am not sure how good they are, and so I'm including them for the sake of discussion.

1) The default resistance is 14 if one does not have an appropriate ability. However, the beginning value of an ability is 13 and at times 6. Therefore it seems that at times it is better to have no ability than a low one. How does this work? [My bet: no idea]

2) In extended contest, the contest ends when one side reaches 0 or lower AP, however this means that if one is in a major disadvantage, the best thing he can do is bid his remaining AP (or rather half) with a specific goal to lose with 0 AP. Is this correct? Doesn't this mean that the weaker one who knows he is going to lose decides the outcome of the combat no matter how powerful his enemy? This is especially true if someone is completely outmatched (say 10 against 10W3) in which case he can bet on getting total defeat. That can lead to a situation where I as a novice can pick a fight with a veteran and just gamble everything, worst thing I'll just lose all the AP. [My bet: yes, a novice pretty much has to gamble everything on a lucky shot; but why can't he get worse than 0 as a result? Or does that leave him open to a parting shot, so a worse result is possible after all?]

3) Let us assume we have a warrior with Taunt 6 and Sword Combat 10W3. If he would begin an extended contest with a Taunt action he would have 6 AP even if he would make most of the extended contest a sword fight (using his Sword Combat score). Shouldn't there be an AP effect to switching abilities in the middle of an extended contest? [My bet: why make it an extended contest in the first place? Make it simple, and if you lose then impose a penalty accordingly to the Sword Combat extended contest that ensues as you're enraged. But for the sake of argument, let's stick to the original example and see how we can make this work.]

4) What are keywords? Should there always be a set number = three? Should every character describe himself using those three keywords? What if it's irrelevant to the game we want to play (say, race or religion)? Do you still have them then? [My bet: Keywords in this case are a nice-to-have-for-free set of skills, use them or don't, as you wish. Also, HQ can be played perfectly well without keywords at all].

Well, that's that (for now). As you can see, some of the questions come from a "non-HQ" mindset, so please be gentle.

MarK.
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MarK.
aaronil
Member

Posts: 24

Aaron Infante-levy


« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2006, 08:04:12 AM »

Mark,
As a newcomer to HQ I thought I'd try my hand at answering your questions for my own benefit. :) So take with a grain of salt.

1) When you have no appropriate ability the default value for your ability is 6. The "default resistance" is for when the Narrator isn't sure how challenging something would be.

2) One idea is to not reveal the opposition's ability ranking...so you don't know how powerful your enemy is unless you use an ability like "Assess opponent" (which may give you the advantage of minimizing the extent to which they defeat you).

3) First of all, Taunt 6 represents something the hero is untrained in, so they could not augment with it. It sounds like the focus of the EC is a fight with some pleasantries thrown in at the beginning and inbetween (e.g. "Princess Bride"). I would simply make this a part of the narration of each round of the EC, and use the Sword Combat 10W3 as the relevant ability.
Another way to handle this might be a simple contest of taunting before the EC of fighting (or vice versa).

4) Keywords are templates describing the character's background. It seems there is no "right" number to have, but many people divide them this way: What do you do? (occupation) Where do you come from? (homeland) What makes you special? (magic/trademark/or whatever it appropriate for the setting). In HQ a character with more Keywords doesn't really have an advantage over a character with fewer Keywords (with the possible exception of defaulting to untrained abilities at 6 less). I think it's a good idea to strive to include one keyword at character creation because it helps the player to conceptualize the character (as is done when creating a character as you go).
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Aaron Infante-Levy

Published: Tales of the Caliphate Nights
Working On: (as yet untitled)
sebastianz
Member

Posts: 51


« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2006, 09:45:51 AM »

Hi, Mark.
1) The default resistance is 14 if one does not have an appropriate ability. However, the beginning value of an ability is 13 and at times 6. Therefore it seems that at times it is better to have no ability than a low one. How does this work? [My bet: no idea]

As Aaron said. If you have learned an ability, it starts at 13. If you have no ability listed, that is, you neither have one specifically bought or in your keywords, you can always use a rating of 6. After all, heroes should at least be able to try anything. Note, a character has all abilities which belong to his keywords.
Your point about being better off with no pertaining ability would be spot on, if you could only use abilities as resistance. But this is not the case. Resistance is a number picked by the narrator. This can be an ability, but there is no need for this. But perhaps Mike will be so nice and elaborate on this point.

Quote
2) In extended contest, the contest ends when one side reaches 0 or lower AP, however this means that if one is in a major disadvantage, the best thing he can do is bid his remaining AP (or rather half) with a specific goal to lose with 0 AP. Is this correct? Doesn't this mean that the weaker one who knows he is going to lose decides the outcome of the combat no matter how powerful his enemy? This is especially true if someone is completely outmatched (say 10 against 10W3) in which case he can bet on getting total defeat. That can lead to a situation where I as a novice can pick a fight with a veteran and just gamble everything, worst thing I'll just lose all the AP. [My bet: yes, a novice pretty much has to gamble everything on a lucky shot; but why can't he get worse than 0 as a result? Or does that leave him open to a parting shot, so a worse result is possible after all?]

First, yes, the EC ends once all but one party have reached 0 or lower AP. But there are some points you have to take into account. One is that you can lose up to 3x your bet. So, let's say you have 6 AP and bid them. Using your numbers: Your TN 10, opposition 10W3. You get a success, opposition as well. Opp. is bumped to a crit, two Masteries left, so bumps you down to a fumble. Complete defeat. You transfer three times your bid. You see, that you would be at -12 AP (But your opponent only gains those points, you had actually left, so he receives 6 points only. Still, you lose the whole 18 points). But now, there is still the parting shot. Such a mismatched contest probably ends with a complete defeat.
Also, you assume that your character gets to act first. Possible, but not necessary. It can all be over with the first action of the opposition. Therefore, if the three mastery difference is the final numbers, don't bother with an EC.

Quote
3) Let us assume we have a warrior with Taunt 6 and Sword Combat 10W3. If he would begin an extended contest with a Taunt action he would have 6 AP even if he would make most of the extended contest a sword fight (using his Sword Combat score). Shouldn't there be an AP effect to switching abilities in the middle of an extended contest? [My bet: why make it an extended contest in the first place? Make it simple, and if you lose then impose a penalty accordingly to the Sword Combat extended contest that ensues as you're enraged. But for the sake of argument, let's stick to the original example and see how we can make this work.]

AP measure advantage. If you start with your worst ability, you deliberately put yourself at a disadvantage. Changing your ability during the contest does change nothing of the situation you are in now. Therefore there is no change in APs and there should be none. Now I hear you say:" But that's stupid. The character is a far better fighter. He now has an edge." All true. But this edge is represented by the changed TN you now have. If you change from a mere 6 to a 10W3, that certainly catches your opponent off guard. Now your swordplay changes the number of AP for you, if you win your rolls. You can get a transfer and get more AP. So I see no problem here at all.
I plain disagree with Aaron here. It is not just some pleasantries. At least not usually. The change of abilities is one of the strong features of an EC. You just have to keep in mind, that the ability must allow you to accomplish your goal. Also, your bet must reflect this as well. With taunt, you cannot kill your opponent (well, usually). So you have to make a low bid. But it can be a very high bid, if you want to ruin his reputation, belittling him in front of his peers.

Quote
4) What are keywords? Should there always be a set number = three? Should every character describe himself using those three keywords? What if it's irrelevant to the game we want to play (say, race or religion)? Do you still have them then? [My bet: Keywords in this case are a nice-to-have-for-free set of skills, use them or don't, as you wish. Also, HQ can be played perfectly well without keywords at all].

I will put it the other way around: You can play HQ just with keywords. They are sort of a package, summing up what you can, who you are and what you know. You ever wanted to play an intrepid journalist or something? Well, in HQ, thanks to the keywords, the character has all the abilities you expect from such a character. In other systems, you never have enough points to buy all the skills you should. Okay, Mike certainly will provide more info on this point as well.

Keep up asking

Sebastian.
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herrmess
Member

Posts: 14


« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2006, 12:51:30 PM »

Thanks guys, I think I'm more clear on some stuff now.

1) So if I understand correctly, when Greg is attempting to resist my Crush Bones I have to roll against an actual ability of his (or if he has none then against the default of 6?) but if a bone just lying there is attempting to resist my Crush Bones then I roll against 14?

2) Aaron, you're right about not knowing the other side's AP, that's for sure. Unless you clearly see he's far far better than you are, like a peasant vs. armored knight in a duel. So that's one point. As for the 10 vs 10W3 I was being facetious; 10W2 and bidding half would've served as well. But point taken. There are always chances and you cannot manipulate them as safely as we assumed.

3) I was explicitly thinking along the lines of Sebastian's reckoning. Yet something didn't seem right. Now I see how it works, but then I need to ask (my gamist mind kicking in) - why would someone not want to use his best ability both for the start of the contest and for the remainder of it? (Possible options: you can't because you lost your sword, or it's too dangerous and someone might get seriously hurt or even killed, or it's silly to wave your sword in a pie-eating contest, or you want to surprise your opponent as Sebastian described above. But otherwise, if the situation fits, then why not?)

4) I agree with both of you. On this point my friend and I differ. I say - more power to keywords. Why, you get a pack of skills bundled up together, all as a part of your education/occupation. He says - but the typing of keywords is problematic. This makes the game be about those keywords (so if you have Western Tribesman suddenly you can bring all that stuff into play). I say - cool! Let them! He says, but what about my romantic swordsman who doesn't care a rat's ass about the city-state he grew up in? Keywords should be the center of my character's being, why should he take Megalopolis Citizen when these points can be spent elsewhere? The question he then raised is "what if I want to have a set of skills that can qualify together as a keyword, but it's not community/occupation/religion/magic/whatever type of descriptor the game uses as keyword". (I believe his example was a "hopeless romancer" keyword or somesuch, as keyword is, as he quoted from the book something that is in the "core" of your character.)

I think he's more about "this upsets 'game balance' and the game direction itself in favor of those who use 'typed' keywords". I'm more about "take whatever abilities you want, what does it matter if it's keyword or not". We finally settled on one keyword (the equivalent of "character class", big surprise there) and the rest as individual abilities or GM/Player negotiated "packages" wherever applicable.

MarK.
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MarK.
aaronil
Member

Posts: 24

Aaron Infante-levy


« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2006, 01:23:06 PM »

Sebastian, really good comment about how risky ECs can be. I'm really eager to play one!

Quote from: herrmess
why would someone not want to use his best ability both for the start of the contest and for the remainder of it? (Possible options: you can't because you lost your sword, or it's too dangerous and someone might get seriously hurt or even killed, or it's silly to wave your sword in a pie-eating contest, or you want to surprise your opponent as Sebastian described above. But otherwise, if the situation fits, then why not?)
If the situation fits then use the maximum ability. If you are anxious about the player succeeding too often, stiffen the opposition, or make success/failure less black and white. Of course, it goes without saying that the Narrator decides when to throw a fighting challenge at the players...you could always choose a different sort of challenge.

Quote
The question he then raised is "what if I want to have a set of skills that can qualify together as a keyword, but it's not community/occupation/religion/magic/whatever type of descriptor the game uses as keyword". (I believe his example was a "hopeless romancer" keyword or somesuch, as keyword is, as he quoted from the book something that is in the "core" of your character.)
Hopeless romancer sounds like a great keyword, just make sure that a solid paragraph is written about what the player means by "hopeless romancer". Even recording specific abilities for a keyword just gives a rough idea of what the keyword allows you to do - I imagine such things can easily be ad-libbed during the game with a little creativity.

Quote
I think he's more about "this upsets 'game balance' and the game direction itself in favor of those who use 'typed' keywords". I'm more about "take whatever abilities you want, what does it matter if it's keyword or not". We finally settled on one keyword (the equivalent of "character class", big surprise there) and the rest as individual abilities or GM/Player negotiated "packages" wherever applicable.
Mark, as you pointed out, in a contest players use their highest relevant ability. Mike pointed out to me that the *only* advantage having more keywords gives you is breadth of experience, not depth of experience. It's fairly easy for the Narrator to create scenarios where a keyword's abilities don't come into play (e.g. exploring lands far from your homeland), but that's no fun all the time. The point is, when a player selects a keyword it's as if they're ordering a milkshake, "I'd like romance and swashbuckling, with a side of quirky comedy, thanks." For me, keywords are menu orders.
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Aaron Infante-Levy

Published: Tales of the Caliphate Nights
Working On: (as yet untitled)
Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 10459


« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2006, 01:26:41 PM »

[Note, crossposted with the last two posts.]

I don't know that you guys need me, you're doing pretty well all on your own.

But since when have I let that stop me. :-)

BTW, when I say doing well, that includes you, too, Mark. First, you've realized that there is a paradigm change going on with these new rules. You haven't quite got the gist of the change yet, IMO, but you're instincts are serving you pretty well.

Also note that the perspective that I'm going to give, and that of some others here, tends to be about playing HQ to a certain paradigm that not all people who play the game would agree is neccessarily best. So consider everything that I say, "The way Mike reads it, and makes sense to him."

1) Everybody's telling you the same thing, but the language is messy.

The player has an ability rating, and with augments and modifiers, ends up with his Target Number or TN. This is what the player rolls against. The Narrator selects a Resistance, and rolls against that. So the 14 resistance is the default "difficulty," if you will.

Now, why would you ever need one of those? Well, actually you may find it pretty handy. I use it a lot. Did the character hear the sound? Oh, sure, you could agonize about how loud the sound is, or how far away it is...but don't. Just pick 14 and roll. Those other details are just not that important. In fact, use a Default 6 resistance if the thing attempted seems really easy (if you roll at all). Er, using Grooming ability before going to the ball? Just pick 14.

2) Sebastian sorta got this one right. That is, with the system, a wide number of things can still result from the situation described. Further, you, Mark, got it right when you guessed that this shouldn't be an EC. Oh, I'd probably run it occasionally as an EC, but you'd find that when I did, it would be right to have a 6 AP to start. Largely the criteria for an EC comes down to, "Do the players think it would be cool as an EC?" If you're seeing a problem with 6AP, then don't do an EC - simple enough.

In fact, keep in mind that it might simply be something that's better off just using the "automatic failure" rule. Missed that in the rules? Well, there's no specific method like Automatic Success, but you can think of it two ways. Sometimes the resisting side is the hero effectively and is facing an conflict that "no self-respecting hero would fail at." But, even more rigorously, in the rules for Improvisational Modifiers, it says that you can rule that if a situation makes sense that the player automatically fails.

Often in these cases, it's best just to skip the roll, and keep on moving.

OTOH, I love default ability contests. I'm always pointing them out for my own characters, for instance. Because a lack of ability is often as interesting as having lots of an ability.

So, OK:
1. Don't do ECs
2. Consider automatic failure here

but there's a third point I want to make that's even more important. Yes, HQ lets the character who is on the downside "Cheat" to get away with taking less lumps. OK, yeah, sure, the Narrator has the "Parting Shot" at his disposal. But let's just forget about that for a second. Oh, and lets forget that the opposition may go big early, and the PC is never "low on AP" so can't take advantage of this. Let's forget all of that for a moment.

HQ intentionally let's the player "get away" if that's what he wants.

As a zen koan, I can't think of anything else to say about HQ that better explains the paradigm of it's system. At the risk of marring it's crystaline clarity, I'll explain this one. HQ contests aren't about players proving how good they are at winning. They're about interesting resolutions. The system actually goes a long way to enabling a player to tailor those outcomes as he sees fit.

I mean, consider HP for bumps. Is that "cheating?" Then why is it cheating for the player to use the equally drama-based EC resolution system to produce the outcome he wants.

Note that players have a huge incentive to actually bid more than the "safe" amount at this point. First, you're assuming that the player is OK with the character losing. If he wants to win, often it's best policy to bid large at this point. Basically the system is about risk. How much are you willing to put on the line for victory? Are you willing to take on the risk of a minor defeat instead of just a marginal to give yourself a better chance to win? Are you willing to risk a major defeat? Complete defeat?

See how dramatic this is? Quite as often as I see players "play it safe" here, I see them also make desperation bids, knowing the repercussions if they loose. Why do they do it? Because it's far more heroic and fun. Especially because...

In HQ, it's fun to lose. Or can be, if you do it right: http://www.glorantha.com/support/na_defeat.html

So, given that it's fun to risk, and that losing is fun...why would you bid low? Weak...

3) The real question is why would you assume that this was an EC in the first place? Because a sword was involved? Are you laboring under the assumption that ECs are a "Combat System?" There is no combat system in HQ. Just a contest system. Run massive battles as simple contests, and verbal sparring between men and women interested in each other at a picnic as ECs.

Or do the reverse. Sometimes, rarely, it makes sense to do a fight as an EC.

The question of when to do an EC should have to do with what drama would require. Ask yourself if it would get an extended scene all itself in a movie - if so, then EC away. If not, then Simple Contest. Mostly just stay away from EC.

Second, Sebastian caught this one, but...there's nothing cooler than Vin Diesel killing a man with a tin cup. Oh, to be sure his AP are higher than 6, because his taunt is higher, but it's the only example that I can think of. You thought that contest was to see if he could kill the guy? No, it was to get everyone away from the girl. He starts with intimidation, and and manages to shift the AP total a bit. But not so much as to end the contest, so some guy comes at him, and he's forced to change tactics to using his, "Killing With Random Objects" ability. Where he wins handily with his 4 masteries. And, lo, the bad guys go away after one of them lies dead (on his marginal victory result).

Like, Dude, he so beat those guys starting with only 6 AP. Coooool.

AP aren't near as important to EC victory as the abilities used. They're just relative placeholders.

4) This is a fascinating question. Keywords are ability groups which include all abilities that should be under the keyword. After play starts, and you have actually listed, say, the abilities from the book that are listed as under the keyword, the keyword could be discarded except that it continues to serve one important function. Determining the level at which all of the other abilities under the keyword are at, if and when you discover any.

So, for instance, you're playing a warrior, and his sword has gotten in bad shape through overuse in extended contests, and you look on the sheet and see that there's nothing there for repairing weapons. So you ask the narrator, "Shouldn't he have something like Weapon Maintainence?" and the narrator agrees. You get that ability at keyword level.

Now the really interesting question is what "should" go in every keyword. Mostly the answer should be "anything the player thinks should be there," but that's not a criteria, really. So the most used criteria is, "What everyone  - or almost everyone - who has the keyword has." Does every warrior know how to maintain weapons? Yeah? Then this warrior does too.

Want your warrior character not to know how? Then don't ask the narrator for the ability.

Now, neccessarily, there is some bend in occupations to account for differences in homelands. In one maybe they don't all learn how to maintain weapons, but learn other things instead. You can pretty much play with this a lot as you go, and give the player the benefit of the doubt.

No, you don't have to worry about the player abusing this because, after all as pointed out above, the player is not trying to win, he's only trying to make the most interesting character he can. The rules support this here. In any case, narrator approval is neccessary, so you can always say no if you're feeling mean.

The three keywords suggested for starting characters are a good idea. No, you can certainly get away with dropping some or bringing in others. It's been done. But consider this...

If you think that the religion keywords aren't important to your play, then you might be playing the wrong game. Actually, more likely, you're not understanding what they're about, and what options exist. Starting with the keywords suggested leads to a particular sort of play. Without them, you're playing only 10% of Hero Quest.

That said, don't feel nailed down to the keywords that are in the books, they're just examples. Make more as you need them: http://www.glorantha.com/support/na_keywords.html

Mike
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soviet
Member

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« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2006, 01:32:58 PM »

Note: crossposted with Mike. Man I have got to learn to type quicker :-)

1) The default resistance is 14 if one does not have an appropriate ability. However, the beginning value of an ability is 13 and at times 6. Therefore it seems that at times it is better to have no ability than a low one. How does this work? [My bet: no idea]

I personally would allow them to use the default 14 as a defence against something, and then augment with their 13 for a total of 15. I think it's quite important not to penalise players simply for having certain abilities (flaws excepted) by insisting that one ability or another 'should be' the primary, for example. The default 14 and all the abilities on the character sheet are all just parts of the puzzle - my philosophy is to let the players put it together how they want, and apply any improv bonuses or penalties afterward.

3) Let us assume we have a warrior with Taunt 6 and Sword Combat 10W3. If he would begin an extended contest with a Taunt action he would have 6 AP even if he would make most of the extended contest a sword fight (using his Sword Combat score). Shouldn't there be an AP effect to switching abilities in the middle of an extended contest? [My bet: why make it an extended contest in the first place? Make it simple, and if you lose then impose a penalty accordingly to the Sword Combat extended contest that ensues as you're enraged. But for the sake of argument, let's stick to the original example and see how we can make this work.]

What Sebastian said. One thing this does incidentally is to stop Mr. Big Sword the Barbarian always being able to trump any kind of social conflict by simply stabbing people in the face. Context is everything.

It might also be worth noting here that having more APs than your opponent is much less important in an EC than just having the higher rating. This is why hordes of kobold followers etc never turn out to be very impressive in actual play.

4) What are keywords? Should there always be a set number = three? Should every character describe himself using those three keywords? What if it's irrelevant to the game we want to play (say, race or religion)? Do you still have them then? [My bet: Keywords in this case are a nice-to-have-for-free set of skills, use them or don't, as you wish. Also, HQ can be played perfectly well without keywords at all].

Keywords are there to plug your character into the genre or setting and answer whichever thematic questions are relevant. So in Glorantha those questions are Where do you come from? (Home keyword), What do you do? (Occupation keyword), and What do you believe in? (Magic keyword).

In general I think three is quite a nice number of keywords to have but you can have more, less, or just different keywords altogether depending on the game in question. So in a 'gritty, realistic' kind of game you might just have home and occupation keywords, or in a pulpy superspies game you might have an agency keyword, a secret agenda keyword, a gadget keyword and a contacts keyword but never once think about where your character actually comes from or what religion he is.

That said, I don't think I would generally let players swap out these keywords for more 'cool stuff'. By all means let people make up their own keywords, but if we have already agreed that everyone has a religion keyword or a culture keyword, presumably it's because those are important parts of the game world or genre we are playing in. HQ is expressly set up not to reward the 'lone wolf / random assortment of kewl powers' characters that sometimes come out of other systems.

Mark

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Web_Weaver
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WWW
« Reply #7 on: August 30, 2006, 11:50:19 PM »

Hi MarK,

You probably got most of the answers you need here, but I cant resist chipping in here:

1) So if I understand correctly, when Greg is attempting to resist my Crush Bones I have to roll against an actual ability of his (or if he has none then against the default of 6?) but if a bone just lying there is attempting to resist my Crush Bones then I roll against 14?

This seems muddy to me. In my way of thinking it matters which guy is the narrator here, you or Greg.

If you are using an NPC or other effect to attempt to crush a player character's bones then the player gets to choose which skill he uses to 'resist it', but can never use a default resistance as that is not a skill. Sure, the narrator can give negative modifiers or rule out certain skills but this is not the issue here. Semantically the word resist is used in the wrong context here, player characters don't really resist, they react to a challenge. An experienced HQ player trying to react to a troll using 'Crush Bones' will never be scrabbling for an ability, they will immediately jump in with contextual reactions like "I distract the troll with my Intimidating Gaze, using this as an augment on my Unarmed Combat",

On the other hand if you the Narrator are resisting Greg's use of 'Crush Bones' you are free to interpret it any way you see fit and select any resistance based on circumstance, but 6 is not a standard option here, it is a standard option for selecting player skill levels. You would be best advised to select a resistance that reflects how important to your story it is. Which brings me to my last point.

A possible insight to your thinking is your "bone just lying there" example. One answer to that is why select a resistance at all? But another more pertinent answer is that resistance can be selected based on how important something is to the story. Your example suggests triviality and not important enough for a roll. If, on the other hand, the bone is a sacred relic and you are standing over it with a clear shot but the assembled priests are all watching with intimidating stares then it is much more important; the resistance would be much higher.

The point overall is that rolling the dice in HQ is used to resolve more than just the success of an action, it is used to provide a framework for the narrative.

Other games would not deal with it in this way, in RQ for example your skill and damage would be unaffected by this circumstance. HQ is not one of those games. HQ is not just a set of tools to allow everything to be resolved in the same way as combat, its the reverse, a set of tools to allow everything to be resolved in the same storytelling manner, including combat.

The box on page 62 says it best "This is not the logic of a rigidly simulated reality with dragons and magic thrown in, but the dramatic logic used by storytellers since the first times".
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Vaxalon
Member

Posts: 1619


« Reply #8 on: August 31, 2006, 04:47:03 AM »

In Mike's IRC HQ game, Okhfels has a common magical ability, "Eat Fire 14".  On several occasions I have narrated him reaching into a campfire to idly munch on hot coals.  It wasn't used in a conflict, it was just a little piece of business I used to show that he's a magical guy,  in his own way.  Mike never made me roll, and frankly if he had, Okhfels would have gotten burned... the resistance would have been way too high, even at 14. 

On the other hand, on several occasions Okhfels used his "Heat metal" common magic to heat up his weapon to sparking, flashing, nearly-molten state.  Because it was only at 14, it gave a +1 in combat for the augment.  Was that appropriate to a weapon hot enough to sear flesh on contact?  Sure it was... because the scores aren't about effectiveness they're about impact.
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10459


« Reply #9 on: August 31, 2006, 05:52:32 AM »

Good actual play reference, Fred. Fred also knows about, and has used, the variable augment rule. He could try with his Heat Metal, to get a far greater bonus for this ability. Defeat representing the fact that magic is never a sure thing, and victory representing the fact that the magic in question may be pariticularly cool in a given situation.

Basically it's up to the player to decide if he wants to push these things or not. Most of the time people just take the straight augment, because, as Fred says, even if it's a small bonus, it still gets incorporated in the TN, and we feel that it's involved.

As I always say, Augmenting isn't about making sure that we have some accurate representation of the proportional effects of all of the abilities used (indeed, neither is the regular resoultion system applied to abilities alone, nevermind augments). It's about showing how the character fits into the contest in question.

Think of it this way...would the author of a book describing the conflict involving this character have bothered to put in some comment about the ability in question in writing about the character? If so, then you should augment with that ability, and for the same reason. The author doesn't put the description of the ability in to make the character more likely to win - he gets to decide the outcome by fiat anyhow. The author does it to show us things about the character. Same in HQ. Yes, it does, in fact, have an effect on whether or not the character will win. That's a little incentive for the player to do the augmenting. But the effect of an augment is to have us all go, "Ahhh, I hadn't considered that he might be in this fight because he sees these guys as a threat to his family. Cooool." Or, even more traditionally, "Oh yeah, I had totally forgotten that he's so resistant to pain. That's neat!"

Mike
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soru
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Posts: 141


« Reply #10 on: August 31, 2006, 02:36:05 PM »

I think I've got slightly different answers to most people:

1.

I play 14 is the default resistance only for active magic abilities, representing the idea that those are often unreliable and fickle unless mastered.

If you framed a scene to start with the PC prepared and hidden behind a civilian with no relevant combat abilities or magic, then if they simply tried to stab them that might be resistance 6, but tried to cast a death spell that would be resistance 14. In other words, the resistance opposing an ability of that kind can never go below 14.

This is not something that often comes up, as the resistance is usually higher outside of some special case like that.

2.

At 0AP, you are out of the contest (apart from one last gasp action), but your opponent is not, they can still act. If they are really trying to kill you, what ability are you going to use to resist their 20AP 'plunge a sword into your guts' bid? If not, a similar bid can be 'tie you up', 'knock you out', 'ask you to yield'

3.

This is the one area I use what's definitely a variant rule, contradicting the text. Everyone always use their full APs in any extended contest, no matter what skills are involved.

When Bond played Goldfinger at golf, which afaik he had never before been mentioned as playing, it still took up the full allocation of screen time as it would have if he had been playing him at his specialist abilities of bacarra-playing or martini-drinking. He just had to use non-golf skills to win.

The way I run things, simple contests are about _whether_ the PCs win, extended contests are about _how_ they win. If you want the player to risk losing, use a simple contest, if you wan to showcase the character's ability to take a beating, recover and win by turning the tables in an amusing and heroic fashion, give them the full APs they need to do that.

4.

As several people have already said, the set of keywords is a technique aimed at pushing characters into fitting into a particular genre. If you want to play a game more in the 'sword and sorcery' genre, instead of HQ's default 'secondary world fantasy', then you might use a slightly different set of keywords, emphasising personal character over cultural background.

Alternatively, in a particular setting there might be a 'cosmopolitan' or 'seafarer' homeland keyword that some characters had, indicating that its a distinctive and interesting fact about them that were one of those unusual people with no real roots in any particular place, like a UN diplomat's daughter in the modern world. 
 
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Joel P. Shempert
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« Reply #11 on: September 01, 2006, 12:06:37 AM »

If you think that the religion keywords aren't important to your play, then you might be playing the wrong game.

I would expand this statement to include all the keywords; I suggest that if the idea of having a character grounded in a culture isn't important to your play, you might be playing the wrong game. See, this is one of the great strengths of Heroquest, that it produces fully rounded characters, which means (among other things) cultural grounding. Who you are (real-life-wise) is shaped by innumeral factors including upbringing, religion, profession, ecconomic background, and so on. But fantasy characters in RPGs tend to be cookie-cutter "wandering adventurers," which is shallow and gets old fast. Sure, there may be many, many different flavors of "wanderers," but they all sort of  exist in a vacuum, personality and motivation seemingly springing from the ether. HQ, on the other hand, while not doing away with the adventuring party, at least requires some roots that tell a lot about where the character's outlook comes from, what forces shaped him, and so on.

This is vitally important, it seems to me. This is to a large degree what HQ's all about. And sure, the stuff in the book is Glorantha-specific, but the principles apply to whatever setting you want to use or create. Mike's doing a great job exploring the remifications and applicability of Religion (i.e. the Magic keyword) over in this thread, but in my book that goes for the other keywords too. Note that the character can relate to the background in his keywords in any number of ways. You may have a "romantic swordsman who doesn't care a rat's ass about the city-state he grew up in," but hey, he still does come from that city-state. Did that, or did that not, shape him to a large degree? Even if he's turned his back on it? He's probably in some degree of denial even, so that "doesn't care a rat's ass" is really a gloss for "trying desperately to leave that life behind." Or if he left city life young and truly grew up outside it, then invent a "nomad" keyword or something. But even then, i'll bet he was raised by someone, whether it's the Wandering folk of the Desert Wastes, or Wolves, or whatever. No man is an island. It's kind of like relationships, how you can put anything down from "loves his brother" to "lives in shadow by brother" to "Hates his brother down to his very bones." Even the outsiders of society exist in relation to society.

So anyway, just food for thought, if you and/or your friend just really aren't interested in cultural grounding for your heroes, you should probably move on to a different game, but if you're willing to give it a shot, I have a feeling this more fleshed-out kind of character will be pretty rewarding.

Peace,
-Jorel

PS yeah, that name was a typo, but it was too awesome to delete!
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Lamorak33
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Posts: 183


« Reply #12 on: September 01, 2006, 06:19:48 AM »

Hi

I would run contrary to the 'you may be playing the wrong game' theory. If you want to drop stuff or add stuff, including keywords then you can quite easily. I personally dont like the Earthdawn game system, and I have no idea about the background to that game because we played in a generic D&D type fantasy world. I certainly think its a good idea to migrate to Heroquest.

The HQ rules are also dead easy to introduce new people to, it can just be a little difficult getting into the HQ mindset, because its quite a departure from game systems that go into mechanics of how things work to the nth degree. As it proved for me. Its very much a game of interperatation of the rules rather than the rules being there to tell you exactly what a particular die roll means.

Regards
Rob
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herrmess
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Posts: 14


« Reply #13 on: September 02, 2006, 01:06:27 AM »

Thanks, guys!

I now got #1 certainly cleared, as well as #2 and #3. BTW Mike I think you will find it interesting to know that as I typed in the original questions I had to edit #3 somewhat. All instances of "conflict" were originally "combat". Go ahead an count 'em. :-)

As far as #4 is involved, I agree with you Mike that we might be playing "the wrong game" - but only insofar as HQ's typed keywords are involved. I see no harm in grouping "what's important to my character" or "how my character defines himself" into a keyword. I see no harm in not doing so, either. I know all too well that not using those keywords can "strip" my character of any setting components (which is IMHO the real strength of HQ, see the fascinating discussion at http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?topic=13831.0) and this is why I'm biased against it. You see, I love using the setting for conflict (otherwise what's the point? pre-made Color?). I think that for EarthDawn's setting HQ is a dragon's breath of fresh air. But my sentiments are not necessarily shared, and the roleplaying background we come from doesn't really help. But the fact that is can be used by anyone who wishes, and that a keyword does mean "whatever is important to my character" (and not only by way of "I want to be the best in it"), this is enough of a step in the right direction for us.

MarK.
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MarK.
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