Introductions and Tolerance

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Stormcrow
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Re: Introductions and Tolerance

Post by Stormcrow » Thu Jan 18, 2018 11:51 pm

SurrenderMonkey wrote:
Thu Jan 18, 2018 8:53 pm
Can I take it then that your own experiences contradict the general impression I've received from others (and my own limited experience) that Tolerance is not a meaningful aspect of the rules? Do your players concern themselves with its implications?
When I run the game, my players are less aware of the rules than I am. Some don't care to learn rules at all. They know that Wisdom and Valour are on a scale of 1 to 6, they know that the highest one determines basic Tolerance and that that has to do with how many failed rolls an NPC will tolerate, but they pay more attention to the encounter goal than trying to find things they can roll to rack up successes. If they exceed the Tolerance, which is rare, it flows naturally from the circumstances of the encounter, and isn't just an arbitrary cut off.

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Indur Dawndeath
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Re: Introductions and Tolerance

Post by Indur Dawndeath » Fri Jan 19, 2018 6:07 am

SurrenderMonkey wrote:
Thu Jan 18, 2018 7:14 pm
Majestic wrote:
Thu Jan 18, 2018 5:27 pm
That said, I don't believe my players ever ended up failing an Encounter...
This seems to be a common observation, which suggests to me a weakness in the RAW. Why put rules in the way of play for something that generates no suspense or interest?
Not having failed an encounter is not the same thing as not having fun.
We’ve had many very close calls, where lots of hope were spend to succeed.
No characters have died in my game, so they have not failed combat either. And they always got to where they needed to be on a journey, in the end.
All parts of the game generates lots of suspense and interest...

But I have to say, that the Beorning Noble Armour did make some of the encounters easy. Without it I’m sure there would have been more failed encounters.

Adjust your encounters the same way you would a combat.
Set the TN high if you want. Make it an autofailure to use ex. Awe... remove tolerance if they do not hand over their weapons...
Introduce NPCs that argue against the players to remove successes.
Do what you have to!
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Rich H
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Re: Introductions and Tolerance

Post by Rich H » Fri Jan 19, 2018 9:49 am

Going to riff off of a couple of points made by you and Stormcrow, SurrenderMonkey...
SurrenderMonkey wrote:
Thu Jan 18, 2018 8:14 pm
My concern has specifically to do with the rules for Tolerance and if they have any real bearing on play.
It does in rare circumstances; for instance, I can see it being critical in the Encounter with Raenar the Dragon - to the point where our Dwarf PC may well get eaten which isn't something I'm enamoured with and don't really like those kind of things in adventures so may alter what happens there; need to think about other options.

Also, if it fits the interaction, I use Tolerance as a gauge as to the attitude of the NPC. Low Tolerance means the character starts off already pretty spikey and as it's used up I play it out accordingly. However I do think this needs to be tempered against the number of successes the PCs are getting and shape the behaviour of the NPC accordingly. The starting Tolerance (and associated NPC attitude) can be a great clue for the players and a good element of RPing the NPC for the Loremaster though.
Stormcrow wrote:
Thu Jan 18, 2018 8:03 pm
Probably because the suspense or interest in encounters is not supposed to be a struggle to avoid completely pissing off the Loremaster character. That outcome represents the worst you can do.

I also suspect that Loremasters tend to reserve encounters for really important Loremaster characters, whereas the rules clearly mean for you to use them for most interactions where the company is trying to achieve a goal. In the section of the rules where Tolerance is explained, the examples have to do with "a group of wandering Elves," not a ruler or great figure. When you're talking with someone really important, you're more likely to be very careful in choosing your tasks and to use Hope. Thus, it's not surprising that when Loremasters restrict encounters to important Loremaster characters, the company rarely exceeds Tolerance.

So I don't think this is a weakness of the rules; I think it's a consequence of not applying the rules as they were intended.
... And this is spot on!

If we look at the published adventures then many of the Encounters relate to important NPCs requiring aid from the players etc so Tolerance is high as the interaction is more about how impressive the PCs are and what support and/or reward the NPC is willing to give them. In those situations, like Stormcrow states, it's deliberate that Tolerance shouldn't be exceeded as the encounter is more focussed on evaluating the degree of success. However, there are two other encounters that spring to mind (the Elf Patrol in the Marsh Bell adventure and the meeting with Raenar the Dragon) where this isn't really the case and those encounters can play out really differently. I think Stormcrow hits the nail on the head that we often focus on how the rules work when interacting with Kings and Lords to the detriment of how the encounter mechanics can be used elsewhere; and in those cases how Tolerance becomes more critical.
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SurrenderMonkey
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Re: Introductions and Tolerance

Post by SurrenderMonkey » Fri Jan 19, 2018 1:38 pm

Indur Dawndeath wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 6:07 am
Not having failed an encounter is not the same thing as not having fun. We’ve had many very close calls, where lots of hope were spend to succeed.
No characters have died in my game, so they have not failed combat either. And they always got to where they needed to be on a journey, in the end.
I'm really talking about one specific aspect encounters only. Let's say hypothetically that for some reason my experience was that nobody ever got Wounded in combat (i.e., everything always seemed to come down to Endurance attrition). We might still be having fun with combats, but might wonder if all the edge/injury and protection roll rules were really just extra baggage or needed to be tweaked.

Admittedly not a perfect comparison (the Tolerance rules are a relatively minor aspect of Encounters), but maybe you see where I'm going with this.
Indur Dawndeath wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 6:07 am
Adjust your encounters the same way you would a combat.
Set the TN high if you want. Make it an autofailure to use ex. Awe... remove tolerance if they do not hand over their weapons...
Introduce NPCs that argue against the players to remove successes.
Do what you have to!
All points well taken. My main takeaway from this part of the discussion is that it is up to me to make Tolerance matter.

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Re: Introductions and Tolerance

Post by Stormcrow » Fri Jan 19, 2018 2:53 pm

SurrenderMonkey wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 1:38 pm
My main takeaway from this part of the discussion is that it is up to me to make Tolerance matter.
It's up to your players to make Tolerance matter. Don't force them to exceed Tolerance just to activate this particular rule.

Any role-playing game requires a careful balance between the challenges being too difficult and too easy. To difficult, and the players get frustrated. Too easy, they get bored. Every group will have a difference balancing point. The Tolerance rule is not meant to define that point; don't base your challenges on whether Tolerance is being approached.

Decide whether your players find encounters engaging. If they just breeze through them, they're not interested; your encounters are too easy. If they avoid encounters, they're probably remembering them being too hard. If your players like having encounters, then you're doing everything right; don't change.

Different groups will have more... erm... tolerance for the Tolerance rules. Some groups want to win everything and never fail. Some groups want to play in a world that is conspiring against them, and they have to claw their painful way to the top in every situation. Most groups lie somewhere in between. The always-win group expects never to exceed Tolerance; the always-struggle group expects Tolerance to be an obstacle in every encounter; the average group expects Tolerance to come up once in a while, but they can overcome it when it really matters. Find out where your players fall on this spectrum to help find the balancing point.

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Re: Introductions and Tolerance

Post by SurrenderMonkey » Fri Jan 19, 2018 4:28 pm

Stormcrow wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 2:53 pm
It's up to your players to make Tolerance matter. Don't force them to exceed Tolerance just to activate this particular rule.

Any role-playing game requires a careful balance between the challenges being too difficult and too easy. To difficult, and the players get frustrated. Too easy, they get bored. Every group will have a difference balancing point. The Tolerance rule is not meant to define that point; don't base your challenges on whether Tolerance is being approached.
Point taken, but my players seem to have the most fun when they feel like their choices matter, and I believe they would enjoy the additional tension that the Tolerance rules are clearly meant to generate (at least in certain situations). It is only after running several encounters and noticing that Tolerance has never remotely been an issue -- combined with corroborating anecdotal evidence from others in these forums -- that I began to wonder if the Tolerance rules were in fact superfluous as presented.
Decide whether your players find encounters engaging. If they just breeze through them, they're not interested; your encounters are too easy. If they avoid encounters, they're probably remembering them being too hard. If your players like having encounters, then you're doing everything right; don't change.
I begin with the assumption that any rule taking up space in a rulebook is at least intended to augment fun at the table, and with that in mind I am always willing to consider the possibility of user error when a rule isn't "performing." As I've stated previously, understanding a designer's intention is a big part of mastering a new system, and I do appreciate the good advice I've received here along those lines (including your suggestion to consider the intended variety of encounters).

But my first principle is that the rules serve the game, not vice versa. In concluding that it was "up to me" to me to make Tolerance matter, I didn't mean to express a sense of mission. I get that I can also choose to let it not matter based on my group's preferences. ;)

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jamesrbrown
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Re: Introductions and Tolerance

Post by jamesrbrown » Sun Jan 21, 2018 2:57 pm

The rules indicate that all results in the Introduction and Interaction phase count toward Success and failure (as Rich has pointed out). The only other suggestion in writing has been that a failed Introduction roll could mean the player-hero is prevented from participating in the Interaction phase. Also, in some cases, player-heroes who do not participate in the Introduction phase, are also prevented from participation in the Interaction phase.

On a different note, I always felt that adding up Successes in an encounter forces players to push harder. If they know that 7 or more successes will give them the best result possible, then that usually becomes the goal. So, for me, it's important to focus more on designing specific outcomes (information gained, etc.) for particular skill usage during the encounter to keep the players involved in meaningful conversation.

You can see that if each player introduces himself/herself well, they may gain enough successes to get the best result possible from the start and have no need for interaction. When you build in "information" as a form of reward, only to be gained through interaction, you keep encounters more about roleplaying than roll-playing.

I find it surprising that some veteran Loremasters have never had a group exceed Tolerance. Did I understand that correctly? That's pretty amazing, especially with starting groups and a low Tolerance rating. TN 14 can be easily failed with 0-2 levels in a skill, as we can see by the feedback concerning Travel rolls. Or is it that groups only put their best spokesman forward?

OFF TOPIC: Maybe we need additional guidelines that set the TN for the encounter? But, there must be definition between how Tolerance is set and how TN is determined (similar to the the way Journey TNs and the number of rolls required is set). So, setting the TN cannot be about standing, prejudice, or the other situations that modify Tolerance, for example. Perhaps it should simply be about who the Loremaster character is and how difficult it is to impress them.
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Re: Introductions and Tolerance

Post by Stormcrow » Sun Jan 21, 2018 3:44 pm

jamesrbrown wrote:
Sun Jan 21, 2018 2:57 pm
OFF TOPIC: Maybe we need additional guidelines that set the TN for the encounter? But, there must be definition between how Tolerance is set and how TN is determined (similar to the the way Journey TNs and the number of rolls required is set). So, setting the TN cannot be about standing, prejudice, or the other situations that modify Tolerance, for example. Perhaps it should simply be about who the Loremaster character is and how difficult it is to impress them.
One of the reasons the rules make a point to say that most rolls should be against TN 14 is that various difficulties are already accounted for by other rules. For instance, wanting to achieve something very difficult usually involves rolling great or extraordinary success, not beating a higher difficulty.

In general, if you want to achieve more, you need successes. If achieving the normal is simply harder, you increase the difficulty. For instance, the normal outcome of Awe is to get someone to respect or fear you. If you want them to do more than respect you, like adore you or revere you, you need extra successes. If you want ordinary respect but you have to do it while being heckled by someone nearby, you raise the difficulty level but only roll against 14.

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Re: Introductions and Tolerance

Post by Dunkelbrink » Sun Jan 21, 2018 8:18 pm

jamesrbrown wrote:
Sun Jan 21, 2018 2:57 pm
I find it surprising that some veteran Loremasters have never had a group exceed Tolerance. Did I understand that correctly? That's pretty amazing, especially with starting groups and a low Tolerance rating. TN 14 can be easily failed with 0-2 levels in a skill, as we can see by the feedback concerning Travel rolls. Or is it that groups only put their best spokesman forward?
This seems to be the case for most veteran Loremasters though, at least according to reports on this forum. After 49 sessions of my own campaign the company has only failed a single Encounter, and that was the first one with the cellar master in Don't leave the path (session 3 or so). The explanation is twofold I think: one is that Tolerance is often quite high and seldom reached. The other is (at least true for my party) that only heroes with good scores in social skills use them in encounters (the Woodman with 1 rank in persuade isn't even going to try) and they use Hope when they think the Encounter is important (they ofter are when the Encounter rules are used). Travel tests, for example, don't have the same consequences and I've not seen a single use of Hope there yet.

I am trying out your house rules, James, and so far find them being a clever use of Tolerance.

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Re: Introductions and Tolerance

Post by jamesrbrown » Sun Jan 21, 2018 8:47 pm

That makes total sense about Hope and the best spokesman being used in an Encounter, while Travel rolls are taken less seriously.

Glad to hear you're trying my house rules making Tolerance the number of "influential" rolls allowed. I have found that it makes it a little bit harder to achieve the maximum outcome in an Encounter, and it gives focus to the meeting, knowing there will only be a certain number of results to count.
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