Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Task/Conflict Clarifications

mark vallianatos asked some questions about the 2d6 effects rolls, which I haven't described in detail here because I haven't needed to work on them as hard, but maybe I should give a run-down here to show what I'm thinking. As I've mentioned, I call the guts of the game that handle stuff you'd find in any RPG "portable mechanics". Task and conflict resolution, for example, are portable. So, too, are the effects of generic actions (damage, skill effectiveness.)

For my task resolution, I'm using a Drama-style mechanic: the GM decides if someone with the character's background and current situation could perform that action; if they could, they did. I then move on to whether that action was powerful enough or quick enough -- the 2d6 roll, with one result assigned to speed and the other to power. Finally, I use the tried-and-true method of conflict resolution: damage done compared to hit points. Since I generalize this to all kinds of conflict, I call the hit points "Luck". Do more points of "damage" than Luck and you make a permanent change in your target: if it's physical combat, you kill them; if it's social interaction, you create permanent feelings of trust, fear, love, or whatever you were trying for.

It seems easier and more intuitive to me to say that actions occur in order of speed. So, if you roll a 1 and I roll a 2, your action comes first, mine second. That means that low results for speed are better. On the other hand, if an action is resisted -- you parry my cutlass, I laugh off your mocking words -- the power of the action must beat (not tie) the power of the resistance; we both roll 2d6, and the higher power wins.

Most actions won't be directly resisted. If we're both swinging swords at each other, we compare speeds to see who strikes first, but unless one of us is wearing armor or has some other kind of protection, my resistance to your sword is 0, your resistance to my sword is 0. Weapons and armor are lumped together as "tools". In any conflict, having a proper tool adds +1 to your power or resistance, as appropriate. For more detail, compare the weapon and the armor to see which is better for this conflict; a wooden club against metal armor might be worth an extra +1 resistance, an arrow against chain or ring armor might be worth an extra +1 power. I wouldn't let the bonuses go very high, but other GMs might allow large stacks of bonuses.

There are a couple other tricks I would use. Some things are just not on the same scale, like a human being and a large galleon. If a human being were to try to lift a galleon, I'd just say "no, it's too big for you; try getting a team to lift it." Some things might act together in layers; an attacker's roll might have to beat:
  • the effect of shadows;
  • the effect of concealment behind an obstacle;
  • the effect of the opponent dodging or ducking.
Each of which might have a separate roll. The shadows might also (or instead) act as a "tool", improving the concealment by +1. A GM has to decide if and when to use that much detail.

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