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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 72 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: Task Resolution Turned Inside-Out  (Read 5798 times)

Posts: 152

« on: November 25, 2006, 05:40:55 PM »

This is, at this moment, only a VERY bizzare thought.  So I thought I'd see what y'all co-think.

Most games give you a skill and assume that if you roll under it (or whatever) you succeed.

What if, instead, your character was a list of FLAWS, and if you roll under it (or whatever) you fail?  Otherwise, waltz on, Juan, you're golden.  Is this stupid?  Insane?  Clever for a beer 'n' skittles game?  Hm.

Ben Lehman

Posts: 2094


« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2006, 05:46:58 PM »

I tried this with On the Ecology of the Mud Dragon and it worked out pretty well.  The rest of the game has problems, but that part is great.  You can even use "high attribute = stronger trait" and "rolling high = good" with a simple system with no adding.



Posts: 150

« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2006, 07:48:24 PM »


The flaw threshold could be used with a system of balanced assets and flaws. In some games you add the skill to a die roll then compare it to a difficulty. If you roll a 20 on the physical die then you automatically succeed. If you roll a 1 then you automatically fail. I personally don't like critical successes or failures.

The flaw built into the skill works like this. For each point of advantage you have in a skill you must take the same number of points as an automatic failure in some other common skill. Example: If you want a +2 to hit with your sword then you automatically fail a dodge on a die roll of 1-3 (not just on a 1). This simulates having focus in one area but lacking in another. In this way, flaws could be directly tied to skills and only come into play when you roll the automatic failure.

Or the flaw is given a strength that must be exceeded by the die roll. The GM secretly knows what flaw is about to be triggered. During the next skill check, interaction, etc. the player's physical die roll must be higher than the flaw strength to avoid a problem. Otherwise, the flaw comes into play. If the player rolls a 1 during the flaw check then a serious complication occurs.

Its important for the GM to be familiar with the character flaws to make them useful. I find that most flaws tend to disappear in games unless it is numerical in nature and affects the system mechanics.

Paul T

Posts: 369

« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2006, 09:26:02 PM »

I've half-designed a game like this. It was called "Impotence".

Unfortunately, I never got to play it, so I don't know if it would be fun to play, or if it would just be a one-time joke--I mostly wanted to see the players' faces when they got their character sheets...

The catch, in my mind, is a psychological one. If you use numbers (like "Stupidity 7"), all the player has to do is think "Stupidity is Intelligence, and low scores are good". The effect is lost.

However, if you take some other approach (freeform traits or adjectives), you can retain the effect. My system was inspired by Fudge (so you used a 0-centered dice mechanic with adjectives rating traits).


Anders Larsen

Posts: 270

« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2006, 04:44:34 AM »


Could you give some examples of flaws? This idea seems to depend a lot on how the flaws are formulated and what effect they have on the game.

If you have a flaw like "unskilled with a sword" where you have to roll above to succeed, it is really the same as if you have an ability: "skilled with a sword" where you have to roll under.

On the other hand, you could have flaws like: "will often stumble and hurt myself in combat", and every time the character is in a combat situation, the player will roll for that (and maybe other combat related flaws). If the roll activate the flaw, it will actually happen in the game: the character will stumble and hurt himself.

I think this could be rather funny.

 - Anders


Posts: 152

« Reply #5 on: November 26, 2006, 05:48:15 AM »

I don't really have many firm thoughts, but there was a vague idea that the badass warrior automatically defeats any poorly-described opponents... but because he has "Afraid of Girls 20%" there's a 1 in 5 chance of him getting flustered and whiffing it any time he fights a female enemy. 

If you want to be fiddly, you have to rate flaws by their rarity and possibly by how dangerous they are (or how broadly they affect the character?).  Superman, for example, only has one flaw: Kryptonite.  It's rare, but it kicks in 100% of the time it's present and it's totally debilitating.


Posts: 170

« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2006, 12:38:38 AM »

Although there's deffinately a way you could play this "Flaws only" thing for laughs (beers and skittles as you call it), I could see it being a good method for a narrativist heavy game with few stats. Imagine, for example, where your characters only stats were his Sins (you know, the seven deadly ones) and you'd have to roll over your Sloth say, to succeed on a physical task...

Nolan Callender
Simon C

Posts: 495

« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2006, 02:43:55 AM »

The interesting thing about this idea is that, contrary to how it sounds at first, most interpretations will result in a very competent character, given that you succeed at everything unless there's a reason you should fail.  I don't know what sort of feeling this gives to a game, but, yes, comedy is the first thing that springs to mind.  I'm imagining something like "Kobolds ate my baby", maybe? 

Perhaps a way to do this that doesn't lead to awesomely powerful characters (but completely subverts your idea) is to make the Flaws a list of things that must be rolled for every single time no matter what. Even if it's really trivial and stupid and you can't believe how unfair it is but that's the way the game works.  Even if it means you eat your own sword or hump the king's leg in the middle of the dance in front of the lady that you like, and couldn't we just play a proper roleplaying game next time, with like feats and stuff?

List of possible flaws to go with this idea:

Clumsy - you must roll every time you describe a physical action other than (including?) walking.
Randy - you must roll or attempt to seduce any NPC introduced to the game.  Very badly.
Cowardly - you must roll to enter into any kind of conflict.
Moronic - you must roll to make any kind of in character suggestion.
Loose-lipped - Each time you meet a new NPC, you must roll not to reveal any and all secrets.
Filthy - you must roll at the start of every scene or have soiled yourself in an inconceivably messy fashion.

You get where this is going.  And it's not good.  To fit with the topsy-turvyness of this game, I'd make the characters start with a rating of 0% chance of success in all possible flaws, and make them buy off what they wanted to be slightly less apalling at.  Then I'd make them some notoriously despised race, like Goblins, and get ready for a night of stupid fun.

In fact, I think I might write this up...

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