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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 171 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Sneaking  (Read 2272 times)

Posts: 34

« on: December 29, 2003, 09:44:39 AM »

I was just reading the thread regarding the giant tick, and it has helped me understand quite a bit more about game-flow in HQ.

A question, however:

How do you deal with contests that really ARE all vs. nothing.  In particular, hiding.  Either you get noticed, or you don't.  There's not much middle ground there.

For example, let's say the PC is sneaking through the woods, when a group of evil minions of the big bad approach.  They're guarding his fortress, and their declared intent is to 'find anyone out here'.  The PC jumps inside a hollow tree stump and declares their intent is to 'not be noticed'.  

I don't really see any way you can have marginal victories in this situation.  Unless the PC gets a complete victory, any other outcome is in actuality a defeat for them.

How would you resolve this situation?

Posts: 102

« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2003, 10:12:58 AM »

This is how I handle situations such as this.

For a Complete Victory the guards are never aware that the PC is there. He successfully avoids the guards and gets into the palace without them ever being aware he came through. Basically he was able to not only avoid any sort of notice but they won't notice him.

A Major Victory would result in them discovering that he passed through, but not until the point where he has finished whatever he needs to get done inside. As in they would discover that he was there, but not until it mostly does not matter. They have a chance of getting him but it would be in a severely compromised position.

A Minor Victory would be them discovering that he passed through once he is inside and doing his thing. Meaning that they have a chance of getting him but it doesn't immediately lead into a new coflict.

A Marginal Victory would be them discovering that he passed through once he gets inside. Meaning that he succeeds but there is a chance for an immediate contest (Him avoiding them finding him while he is hiding in the BBEG's fortress)

A Marginal Failure would be them discovering him but him getting a good head start in escaping (or getting into a good position for the following battle if he chooses not to flee)

A Minor Failure would be them discovering him.

A Major Failure would be them discovering him while he is in a compromised position. (foot stuck in tree as he is trying to get out)

A Complete Failure (which would require a Fumble on the player's part) I would have it so they discover him in a situation where he is at a severe penalty. I.E. He was hiding and then he tripped and fell face first, prone on the ground. Thus causing him to be in a pretty bad position in the contest that follows.

Does this make sense?

Jesse Dean

Games: Arcana Unearthed, D&D, Hero Quest, Exalted

AIM: doubtofbuddha
Yahoo: jessedn

Posts: 262

« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2003, 12:01:19 PM »

You do not need to finely grade every contest, so that any level of victory means the hero remains unnoticed. You can also grade the defeat levels, so that only a complete defeat results in the hero being discovered in the tree stump. If the story requires that the hero succeed except in extreme circumstances (like the 1-in-400 chance of suffering a complete defeat in a relatively evenly-matched contest), then create contest results that are focussed on victory. The results you outline for a contest allow you to fine-tune the drama just as readily as the type of contest you use.
Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters

Posts: 10459

« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2004, 12:27:30 PM »

Consider the possibilty, too, that if the odds should be 1:400 that the "any respectable hero" rule comes in and just call it an automatic success. If those are the odds then it's just not dramatic enough to merit a roll in many cases. Might be better as part of an extended contest, then perhaps. If you really want the 1:400 and drama, make the guards have 10w3 Alert abilities, or whatever it takes, just to make marginal success the 1 in 400.

Remember that getting any success level is a success at the basic task. So even a marginal victory should result in the guards being evaded. Better victories mean more effects. This is sorta the inverse of the "tick" rule. That is in the tick case, we take "kill the tick" and make it the maximum condition for total victory by saying that it's really "Do what I can to get rid of the tick including killing it if possible." In the case of Hide from the guards, we make that the minimum condition for a marginal success by saying that it's really, "evade the guards by hiding, with the possibility of doing so well that the result may be that I figure out how to get into the castle undetected every time," or somesuch.

The point being that the mechanical result should match the actual outcome. If it's a -1 Hurt for a marginal, the player did it OK, got past the guards, and did so well enough that his confidence in future attempts today will give the guards a -1 on their detection attempts. Same, or the like, with other "wounding" results. If the character gets a complete victory, he discovers a series of shadows and shrubs and a way of getting from one to the other in his approach, that make it possible for him to get in ever after without being detected - no roll.

So, in some ways all conflicts are "all or nothing" in that you always succeed or fail, and from another persepctive none are. That is, there are always greater or lesser effects that you can attach to a contest goal that match the mechanical goals. If the only effects are lesser, then you have the "tick" effect. If the only effects are greater, then you have the "hiding" effect. Apply the appropriate one, and you'll always be able to resolve the "all-or-nothing" resolution.


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Posts: 124

everything is religion

« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2004, 05:10:32 AM »

If you have a closer look at the examples on page65 you get some information how contests grade about three things:
marginal success: very slow
minor victory: slow but steady
major victory: solid
complete victory: very quick/record time
marginal success: clumsy
minor victory: okay
major victory: competent
complete victory: awesome
marginal success: contest
minor victory: one day+
major victory: one season/weeks
complete victory: lasting

maybe thats a little addition for understanding how to grade contests.
I printed me a little table for looking it up.
all the best


Posts: 286

« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2004, 05:25:19 AM »

You could also apply the contest's consequences to subsequent attempts to track or determine the identity of the invader. If the guards suffered a major defeat, then anyone who later attempted to retrace the steps of the intruder would be at a -50% due to the guards' sloppiness.


Posts: 124

everything is religion

« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2004, 05:45:56 AM »

If the guards suffered a major defeat, then anyone who later attempted to retrace the steps of the intruder would be at a -50% due to the guards' sloppiness.

If you do it that way, that would be an exception to the existing HQ rules, but another way of doing exactly that would be to add the contest consequences result to the resistance:
marginal +1
minor +10%
major +50%
complete +100%
So sneaking 10W versus looking for enemies/tracking 18. The simple contest resulted in a major victory, that means 10W (30)+50% (of 10W)=the resistance of tracking the intruder has a resistance of 45=5M2.

just a thought...


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