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Author Topic: RUSTBELT ERRATA  (Read 18782 times)
Marshall Burns
Posts: 485

« on: August 26, 2008, 03:33:31 PM »

There's a few things that should have made it into the book that did not.  And they are:

This isn't clear in the text, but doubts and fears make good Woes too.  Not the "I'm terrified of spiders" kind of fears, which are lame; the more personal "What if something happens to him?" kind of fears.

Money isn't discussed in the text anywhere, so that might raise some questions.  So, here's the thing.  If a situation comes up where you need money, look at your Concept.  If your Concept makes you out to be wealthy (which I doubt), you've got enough money.  Otherwise, you don't, and you have to figure out a way to get some.

Also, if you've got one of the old playtest documents,

Marshall Burns
Posts: 485

« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2008, 09:19:36 AM »

ROLEPLAYING TO YOUR PSYCHE<Hunger<Vice<Faith<Woe<WAITING FOR THE MAN<Waiting for the Man<Examples of Waiting for the Man in action:<now

Marshall Burns
Posts: 485

« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2008, 10:35:18 AM »

Here's how I've been interpreting Injury and how many points it's worth:

<5:  Minor Injuries that probably only last for the duration of the scene (twisted ankles, that sort of thing), not too hard to overcome (10 Challenge).

~5: This is Injury in the realm of sprained ankles, broken fingers, and such.  In other words, not too hard to overcome (~10 Challenge), and it can be pretty well alleviated by medical treatment.  I've interpreted this as momentary stunning as well, which can be a big deal in the middle of a fight.

~10:  Knockouts, or major sprains and strains, or losing a finger.  More difficult to overcome (~15 Challenge), and harder to alleviate (if not permanent, as with losing a finger).

~20:  Broken bones, severed tendons, that sort of thing.  These Injuries are hard to overcome (~20 Challenge), and they can be assumed to last for the duration of the Yarn.

~30:  Compound fractures, bones sticking out through the skin, that sort of thing.  Take superhuman effort to overcome (25-30 Challenge), and can be assumed to last for the duration of the Yarn.

40+:  Catastrophic Injury.  Like mangled, useless limbs requiring immanent amputation, if not losing a limb outright.  Almost certainly permanent, given the state of the technology, but the intervention of Devices or something might be able to do something about it.

All of these give the GM the authority to make them hurt.  The most simple way is through the Tough checks to overcome them, or by increasing Challenge ratings on what would ordinarily be simple tasks.  With really severe Injuries, like 30+, the GM can mandate Tough checks to see if the character can keep from passing out from the pain.  And, of course, things like knockouts can often mean getting captured, or being left stripped in the street, or any other manner of unpleasantness.  You get knocked out, then the GM gets to say what things are like when you wake up.

Marshall Burns
Posts: 485

« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2008, 04:05:30 PM »

This is a revised version of the text describing how to frame conflicts and unopposed tasks.  In response to feedback that certain areas were unclear and there were a few holes, I decided to just go all-out and detail everything I could think of.  That revised text follows.  The Price rules and special rules for fights and influence and such that are added onto the basic rules aren't included; use your extant text for that.  None of the rules have changed, just the way I explain them.  

The resolution system for this game is all about the characters' resolve.  It revolves around the following idea:  you can accomplish anything, if you're willing to lose enough in the process.  Sometimes, if you're lucky, you'll get what you want for free.  Sooner or later, though, it's going to come down to a judgment on your part:  is my goal worth the price?

The basic mechanic is a simple d10 roll added to an attribute score then compared to a target number.  If you fail that, you are given a choice:  do you Push or do you Give?  If you Give, you take your failure and like it.  If you Push, you get to succeed anyway.  You'll have to pay for it somehow, but, as William S. Burroughs might say, them's the breaks, kid; you gotta take a broad, general view of things.  When the going gets tough, that roll of yours is really just there to determine how much you gotta pay.

Pushing means paying a Price with a value equal to the margin of failure.  The Price can manifest as a variety of inconveniences and loss of resourcs, including but not limited to damage; the various implementations of the Price are discussed later in this chapter.  Essentially, you "buy" the number of points you need to achieve success.  In the cases of unopposed tasks and orthogonal conflicts, you need only meet the target number, but in diametric conflicts, you must exceed the target number.  These situations are discussed in more detail below.

If you want to Push, you must meet any one of the following criteria:

  • You are acting to pursue your Hunger
  • You used Vice or Faith to steady your nerve (this counts as Coping)
  • You are acting to get a fix for a Vice
  • You are acting to uphold or prove a Faith
  • You are acting to achieve absolution or redemption for a Woe
  • You are acting for the sake of someone you care about
  • Note to the GM:  when the roll fails, ask the player, "Do you give or do you Push?"  The Push is the most important mechanic in the game, and you don't want anyone to miss an opportunity to use it.

    CHECKS<If you have been performing a physically demanding task for an extended time (carrying a heavy weight, running, going without food), the GM may call for a Tough check to see if you can carry on.

    If you have been performing a mentally demanding task for an extended time (complex mathematics, studying a strange book, investigating a crime scene), the GM may call for a Thorough check to see if you can carry on.

    If you're about to trigger a trap, the GM can call for a Cagey check to see if you notice in time.  When failed, this can usually be followed up with a Slick check to see if you can get out of the way once the thing is triggered.

    When you witness or experience human carnage (ranging from seeing someone get mutilated to coming across a corpse) or weird, supernatural occurrences, the GM may call for a Grizzled check to see if you can suppress response (screaming, panic, nausea, etc., at your call).  In such cases, you can also Cope with Faith or Vice instead or if you fail.

    The procedure for resolving checks is as follows:

    Step 1:  Declare Intent & Danger
    The player first needs to state the Intent.  This should consist of three factors:

    1. The Goal:  what are you trying to accomplish?
    2. The motivation for achieving the Goal.  This will usually be implicit, but may occasionally require verbalization.  As GM, feel free to ask a player to elaborate when motivation is unclear.
    3. The Task:  how will you go about accomplishing your Goal?
    The difference between Task and Goal is crucial.  For example, picking a lock and kicking down a door are both Tasks performed to accomplish the Goal of getting past a locked door.  The Task tells us what exactly is happening, and it determines which attribute is used.  The Goal tells us what will happen if you succeed.

    The best way to declare a Task is to describe exactly how you'd like it to turn out.  Use concrete details; avoid generics (like "I swing at him") whenever possible.  We need a clear picture of what exactly your character is trying to do.

    You can change your mind about your Intent and return to this step any time you want, up until you roll the dice (Step 4).

    The Danger is what will happen if you fail.  A good Danger needs to be dangerous, disadvantageous, or at least inconvenient in some way.  The GM decides the Danger; other people can suggest Dangers, but it's the GM's call.

    Here's some example Dangers:

    When stealthily infiltrating a compound, the Danger is that someone might see you.
    When trying to get past an obstacle to rescue a friend from enemies, the Danger is that they might kill him (or at least hurt him) before you get there.
    When trying to jump out of a window in order to escape a bomb, the Danger is that it might go off before you make it.

    Not every single check needs a Danger; sometimes the consequences for failure are just that the intended course of action can't be taken, and you must pursue a different tack.  As long as there is somewhere for events to go after failure besides trying the same thing again, you're good.

    Step 2:  Set the Challenge
    The Challenge is a numerical rating representing how much effort, expertise, and/or presence of mind is needed to succeed.  It's the target number that you roll against in checks.  The GM chooses a Challenge rating based on pacing and  the importance of the Goal, then describes things to explain why it's that high.  This is a bit of a reversal from most games; rather than look at the fiction in terms of what's being attempted and gauging how difficult it should be, you decide how difficult it should be and then narrate the reason into the fiction.

    Now, this doesn't mean that the same door is easier to knock down when it's not as important and then harder when it is; it means that when getting past a door is going to be important, that's when the GM starts putting in steel doors with reinforced locks.  As GM, you'll have to think on your feet for this and pay close attention to what the characters are working towards.  When it's time to escalate the tension, that's when you throw in a high-Challenge obstacle.

    Challenge ratings should be set in increments of 5.  Here's a breakdown of Challenge values:

    10:  Moderately difficult.  This means that a slightly above-average person (with a relevant attribute of 5) can do it without breaking a sweat roughly half the time.  This is as easy as it gets; if the Challenge would be less than 10, don't bother with the check; it just happens.

    15:  Considerably difficult.  this means that someone at the pinnacle of human ability (with a relevant attribute of 10) can do it without breaking a sweat roughly half the time.

    20:  Extremely difficult.  The only people who can make this without Pushing are those with a relevant attribute of 10, and they only have a 10% chance to do so.

    25+:  This requires an amount of effort that is beyond the human frame of reference.  It is, strictly speaking, impossible.  But, with enough resolve, you can do it anyway.  When someone does, it should be something awesome, and also awful due to the price.  Challenges in this range are best reserved for climactic or otherwise momentous situations.  

    Step 3:  Identify Attribute & Advantage
    The GM decides which of the eight attributes would best help the character to accomplish the Task, based on their described functions.  Only one attribute should be applied.

    This will be pretty clear-cut most of the time, but sometimes more than one will seem like a good candidate; pick the one that is most applicable.  If you're still at a loss, just pick the one that has a higher score.

    We also need to know how many Advantage dice you will get.  The Rule of Advantage is this:  one advantaging factor yields one Advantage die.  If expertise in the Task at hand is contained or implied in your Concept, you get an Advantage die.  If you have appropriate tools or other relevant equipment, that's worth an Advantage die.  Concrete details of the situation can also provide Advantage dice, as determined by the GM.

    Step 4:  Roll the Dice
    All rolls in this game are to be made in public, for all participants to see.  You get one die automatically, plus any Advantage dice you've been awarded.  To recap, all the dice are ten-siders.  You do not add the values of the dice together; you take the highest rolled value and add it to the attribute being used.  This total value is Performance, and represents how well you're able to perform the Task, at this moment in time without Pushing.

    Step 5:  Determine Success or Failure
    Compare your Performance to the Challenge.  If Performance meets or exceeds Challenge, then you performed so well that the Task is accomplished and the Goal attained without any problems.

    If the Challenge exceeds Performance, however, you gotta choose whether to Give or Push.  If you Give, you fail the Task, forfeit the Goal, and face the Danger.  Giving is the only way to fail.  If you Push, you accomplish the Task, attain the Goal, avoid the Danger, and pay a Price equal to the difference between your Performance and the Challenge.

    Step 6:  Narrate What Happens<Step 7:  Fallout
    Now you apply all mechanical effects and consequences, such as the effects of the Price or perhaps damage due to Danger.  Don't forget this:  effects are applied only after actions are resolved, even if they incapacitate the character!

    Many times, the consequences of a check (especially a failed one) will lead directly to another check or a conflict.  For instance, if the Danger was that someone might see you, now you'll have to deal with that somehow.  If you're the GM, you need to be thinking about this.  You need to capitalize on the consequences of the characters' actions.

Marshall Burns
Posts: 485

« Reply #4 on: November 04, 2008, 04:06:01 PM »


Diametric conflicts occur when characters are acting against each other in directly opposed ways, such that only one of their goals can be achieved.  These are pretty easy to spot:  if we're both trying to grab the same gun from the floor at the same time, that's a diametric conflict; if I'm trying to punch you, and you're trying to dodge, that's a diametric conflict.

Here's the procedure for resolving diametric conflicts:

Step 1:  Declare Intents
Intents are declared as in the check rules:  Goal, motivation, and Task.  Keep in mind that "I stop him!" and similar things are declarations of your Goal, and thus only half of the picture; you still need to tell us how you stop him.

Either player can adjust his Intent as much as desired up until the dice are rolled.  Note that these changes might change the nature of the conflict from diametric to orthogonal (see below), or even avoid conflict altogether.

Step 2:  Identify Attributes & Advantage
This step works just like checks.  Note, however, that the attribute a character uses is determined by the Task he is attempting, and is not influenced by the other character's Task at all.

Step 3:  Roll the Dice
Again, this works just like checks.  Each player rolls their dice, takes the highest and adds it to the appropriate attribute to derive their Performance value.

Step 4:  Success & Failure
In a diametric conflict, only one person can succeed.  The person with the lowest Performance value gets the option to Push or to Give.  If he Gives, then his Goal is forfeit and his opponent's is accomplished.  If he Pushes, then he pays a Price equal to the difference between his Performance and his opponent's.

If the loser of the roll Pushed, then at this point the two characters are evenly matched.  The winner of the roll must now decide whether to Give or to Push Back.  If he Pushes Back, the conflict becomes a Deadlock.  Deadlock also occurs if the Performance values are tied.  To resolve a Deadlock, follow these steps in order:

1. The players may both choose to back down, in which case neither player succeeds.  This step only applies to tied rolls or bids; if you Pushed back to get to Deadlock, it doesn't make any sense to back down immediately after that.  If one of players does not wish to do this, go to the next step.
2. The players each write down a bid for how much additional Price they are willing to pay, then reveal them simultaneously.  The person who bid lowest must Give, and the other must pay a Price equal to the lower bid plus one.
3. If the bids tied, return to step 1.  If more bids are called for, they are cumulative with the previous set.

The Price of the Push Back that brings it to a Deadlock is determined solely by the bids.

Fair warning:  Deadlocks can get nasty real fast.  In diametric conflicts, before you end up at a Deadlock, you need to be thinking hard about how much you're willing to pay in order to win this thing.  There is nothing more dangerous than the terrible resolve of someone willing to pay more than you.

Step 5:  Narration and Step 6:  Fallout work exactly like the narration and fallout in checks.

Orthogonal conflicts occur when characters are acting against each other in ways that, while antagonistic, are not mutually exclusive, such that both Goals could be achieved.  If you visualize the characters running toward their goals at right angles to each other such that they are going to intersect, that's what an orthogonal conflict is like.  The question is, will one block the path of the other, or will they both make it through the intersection?  An instance of this that you will see frequently in play is a fight in which both sides are trying to hurt each other at the same time.

Here's the procedure:

are the same as diametric conflicts.

Step 4:  Success & Failure
In an orthogonal conflict, either one Goal will be achieved or both will.  First, compare the Performance values.  The person with the highest one will succeed in his Goal.  The loser must now choose whether to Push or to Give.  If he Gives, his Goal is forfeit.  If he Pushes, he pays a Price equal to the difference between the two Performance values, and achieves his Goal.  Pushing won't affect the first guy's success; it's set in stone.  If the rolls tied, then both Goals are achieved.

Step 5:  Narrate What Happens
This works just as before.  It's worth noting, however, that the actual sequence of the actions is irrelevant as far as the rules are concerned; there is no "initiative" in any shape, form, or fashion in this game, and you can narrate it however it makes sense.  If you were punching me, and I was punching you, and we both succeeded, then maybe you hit me first, or I hit you first, or we hit each other at the same time.  As far as the rules are concerned, it's all the same thing.

Step 6:  Fallout works just as before.

The above structures are all based on fairly straightforward situations, but you'll find that much, much messier ones will often arise in play.  These are handled by extensions and combinations of the basic three structures:  checks, diametric conflicts, and orthogonal conflicts.  Here's some scenarios:

Diametric conflict for more than two people<Cooperation<Check plus diametric interference<Check plus orthogonal interference<There's a subtle but crucial factor differentiating between diametric and orthogonal interference, and that's the interferer's Goal -- not necessarily his Task.  In the first example, the Tasks could both feasibly be accomplished:  you could pick the lock and get tackled.  But because the Goal was to PREVENT you from picking the lock, it was diametric.  Cases like the second example, where an interferer is trying to harm you, will ALWAYS be orthogonal because the Goal is to inflict damage.  My stated Goal can't be "I prevent you and inflict damage"; I have to pick just one of them.  Both might happen (if I'm lucky), but I only get to roll for one of them.

Conflict plus diametric interference<Conflict plus orthogonal interference<Circular conflict<twice to get what he wants, once against each person who rolled higher than him.  You can extend this to as many participants as necessary.  For each person that rolls higher than you and does not Give, you have to Push once to get your Goal; so if there's three people who rolled better than you, and none of them Gave, you have to Push three times to get what you want. 


Marshall Burns
Posts: 485

« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2008, 10:36:30 AM »

(Because I did a terrible job of explaining this in the ashcan)

You can talk, threaten, bargain, and beg all you want in-character, and it might work, but if you want to give that some teeth, you need to inflict Influence

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