How to Fix What I Broke Mechanically?

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PencilBoy99
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How to Fix What I Broke Mechanically?

Post by PencilBoy99 » Mon Oct 30, 2017 4:47 pm

What's happening currently in my game is that it *seems* like we've house ruled the system so that if 1 player succeeds at a task and another fails, that player can give one or more of his surplus successes to the other player. Similarly, if 1 player wants to help another the second player's rolls add automatic successes to the primary player.

The side effect of this is that people rarely fail at anything (which sort of obviates the need for dice in the first place) outside of combat. This breaks the game-designed feedback loop where players have to make hard decisions about when to succeed at things, spend hope, risk becoming miserable, gain shadow, etc. This fits with how the fiction works (being a hero in LotR is hard and dangerous).

I've noticed that to kind of make this happen I've been jacking up the difficulty of tasks (e.g., if they're going thorough HARD terrain I make the travel rolls at TN 18).

1. Can you confirm that what's described above is a house rule? RAW there aren't really helping mechanics (or are there, and if so what).

2. Am I right or wrong about how the mechanics were designed to function to produce the same kind of fiction you see in Tolkien.

If the answer to the above 2 is yes, I think I'm going to go ahead and talk with the players about killing the house rule.

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Wbweather
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Re: How to Fix What I Broke Mechanically?

Post by Wbweather » Mon Oct 30, 2017 5:04 pm

In regard to ambushes, page 168 of the core rulebook says:
All players participating in an ambush must succeed in
their roll for the surprise attack to succeed and catch
their opponents unprepared. A character who obtained a
great success on his roll can assist another character who
failed his own roll, or two characters on an extraordinary
success. An assisted hero is considered to have succeeded
in his own roll.
That is the only official time that this is listed as a way that players can share their success with others that I can find. I think there may be specific instances in some of the published adventures where this is used as well. I think using stealth and athletics, but I can't think of a specific example at the moment, so I could be wrong.

My suggestion is that this is a rule that should only be used sparingly. Most of the time, each player's success should be allowed to stand on its own, otherwise you will get into a situation like you describe where no one fails, and what fun is that?

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Re: How to Fix What I Broke Mechanically?

Post by Stormcrow » Mon Oct 30, 2017 5:41 pm

Most situations in which characters can help each other will probably be prolonged actions involving cooperation (see The One Ring Roleplaying Game, p. 149 or The One Ring, Loremaster's Book, page 23). Each character makes rolls contributing toward an overall goal; superior successes add to the progress of everybody.

In situations in which each character must achieve success separately, they may not cooperate. This is made explicit in The One Ring Roleplaying Game, page 150, where we see that a prolonged action of swimming across a wide river does not allow cooperation. The implication here is that you can't help someone else swim using these rules.

The special case is where one character is helping another character to achieve something but isn't trying to achieve it themselves. For example, a dwarf helps a hobbit climb a tree, but the dwarf isn't also trying to climb the tree at the same time. In cases like this, the difficulty of the action should be evaluated with the assisting character in mind. For instance, for the hobbit to climb that tree might normally be Hard (TN 16), but with the help of a dwarf it is only Moderate (TN14). The effect of assistance is evaluated by the Loremaster as the normal part of assessing a difficulty. The dwarf doesn't roll anything; his presence just lowers the difficulty of the action.

Some actions involving two characters are actually only performed by one. If a man tries to help a hobbit who can't swim cross a river, the hobbit doesn't roll anything; the man rolls against Athletics against a difficulty representing however hard it is to drag that hobbit across that river. If the hobbit is panicked and struggling the difficulty will be higher than if the hobbit can swim a little but not well enough to fight the current.

It all depends on the circumstances of the action, but everything can be resolved with the rules presented in the rule book. Except for superior successes contributing to the overall progress of a prolonged action, quality of success doesn't matter, so sharing successes among friends doesn't make any sense either.

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Re: How to Fix What I Broke Mechanically?

Post by Glorelendil » Mon Oct 30, 2017 7:28 pm

Wbweather wrote:
Mon Oct 30, 2017 5:04 pm
In regard to ambushes, page 168 of the core rulebook says:
All players participating in an ambush must succeed in
their roll for the surprise attack to succeed and catch
their opponents unprepared. A character who obtained a
great success on his roll can assist another character who
failed his own roll, or two characters on an extraordinary
success. An assisted hero is considered to have succeeded
in his own roll.
That is the only official time that this is listed as a way that players can share their success with others that I can find. I think there may be specific instances in some of the published adventures where this is used as well. I think using stealth and athletics, but I can't think of a specific example at the moment, so I could be wrong.

My suggestion is that this is a rule that should only be used sparingly. Most of the time, each player's success should be allowed to stand on its own, otherwise you will get into a situation like you describe where no one fails, and what fun is that?
Rangers with Endurance of the Ranger virtue can also give their bonus Fatigue check successes to companions.

I can't think of any more examples, but I do think it's a fairly common house rule which, I agree, turns out to be too potent.
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Majestic
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Re: How to Fix What I Broke Mechanically?

Post by Majestic » Mon Oct 30, 2017 9:30 pm

I've used the mechanic occasionally (I think I too got the inspiration to do so from Tales), but only sparingly. I agree with what's been stated: it's a good mechanic for when it makes sense to apply it, but it should be a rare occurrence.
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atgxtg
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Re: How to Fix What I Broke Mechanically?

Post by atgxtg » Tue Nov 07, 2017 4:56 pm

I can see a few problems with this house-rule.

First off, it shouldn't be allowed if the hero rolled a Eye of Sauron result.

Secondly, and where I think the rule poses a major problem is that the rule completely ignores the capabilities of the assisted character. For example, a character could be attempting a task at a TN that would be too high for him to succeed normally (barring the Gandalf rune), or at least very difficult for him to succeed, but this gets "trumped" a highly skilled ally who generates higher success levels and has some to spare.
For example a hero with no skill in something attempting a TN 14 task being helped by a friend with skill 6.


What you might want to do is say this ability lets a player max out one of their dice (usually the fate die to 10) unless the ally spends a a point of Hope. That will mitigate the usefulness of this ability most of the time to acceptable levels, and encourage players to work on their characters skills to make the ability more useful.

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Indur Dawndeath
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Re: How to Fix What I Broke Mechanically?

Post by Indur Dawndeath » Wed Nov 08, 2017 5:25 pm

atgxtg wrote:
Tue Nov 07, 2017 4:56 pm
I can see a few problems with this house-rule.

First off, it shouldn't be allowed if the hero rolled a Eye of Sauron result.
EoS has nothing to do with success it just count as 0, and adds to Eye Awareness.
So you can have a Great Success even with an Eye of Sauron.

But the rule where you can assist comrades must be limited to the Stealth when Ambushing and Awareness when surprised.
I went down the path, where travel, climbing, corruption and many other tests could be assisted, but that is a mistake. Everythin gets to be too easy.

I’m still inclined to let them cooperate on a combined escape combat, but now I will set it up to be a combined effort where they need a combined result of, say 5 successes to escape. If they get 4 it is a failure and no one gets away...
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atgxtg
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Re: How to Fix What I Broke Mechanically?

Post by atgxtg » Thu Nov 09, 2017 3:51 pm

Indur Dawndeath wrote:
Wed Nov 08, 2017 5:25 pm
EoS has nothing to do with success it just count as 0, and adds to Eye Awareness.
So you can have a Great Success even with an Eye of Sauron.
Yes, but the odds are doing so, especially with a low skill rating, are rather low, especially with a high TN.

The problem with this rule idea is that somebody could attempt something unskilled, roll an eye, and then have their result bumped up to a success by an ally. So there is no reason to improve that skill. You wind up with the heroes specializing in a handful of skills each and covering for each other's lack of ability.

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Indur Dawndeath
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Re: How to Fix What I Broke Mechanically?

Post by Indur Dawndeath » Thu Nov 09, 2017 11:25 pm

atgxtg wrote:
Thu Nov 09, 2017 3:51 pm
Indur Dawndeath wrote:
Wed Nov 08, 2017 5:25 pm
EoS has nothing to do with success it just count as 0, and adds to Eye Awareness.
So you can have a Great Success even with an Eye of Sauron.
Yes, but the odds are doing so, especially with a low skill rating, are rather low, especially with a high TN.

The problem with this rule idea is that somebody could attempt something unskilled, roll an eye, and then have their result bumped up to a success by an ally. So there is no reason to improve that skill. You wind up with the heroes specializing in a handful of skills each and covering for each other's lack of ability.
I understand what you mean now. Precisly for this reason, you should not allow this rule to govern other parts of the game, than the ones decribed in the RAW.
If your argument is also against Awareness in case of an ambush, then I find it very convincing that a very alert Look-out is able to warn the rest of the company, regardless if they have poor awareness themselves.

But how to reverse the rule, if it has been used on all tests for a while?
The way I did it was straight forward.
“Guys, this was a mistake. From now on it works like this...”
I still get the occational. “Can I assist the Hobbit with my great success in travel?” But they are getting rarer now.

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Rich H
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Re: How to Fix What I Broke Mechanically?

Post by Rich H » Fri Nov 10, 2017 8:54 am

I remember this discussion coming up here (or on RPGNet, can't remember) where lots of folk were saying sharing successes was okay to do and part of the rules. I was one of the few that really cautioned against it for numerous reasons.

Instead I introduced the idea of preliminary rolls to extended tasks (eg, scaling a mountain, navigating a river, creeping up on a stronghold, etc) where PCs could bring an element of planning to such extended undertakings and where multiple skills/expertise can be used. This provides bonus dice in the same way that they get used in combat, encounters and journeys. This has worked really well for my group so could be another option for others; I don't used it all the time just when there's something that requires different skills, is going to need a team effort to complete, and I want to make it central/critical to the adventure in question.
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