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Valnar

Does anyone have the players roll the narrator's dice.

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I ran my first session of HQ last night and it went OK. Our RQ was curtailed so I pulled out HQ char sheets and rolled a random encounter and riffed an adventure from there. HQ works as well as I hoped for improvisation. A couple of things appeared in play that felt odd.

First rolling the narrator's dice felt like I was representing the obstacle rather than narrating the result, I thought I might get the players roll the narrator dice, which turns it into a FF star wars/genesys type pool, or puddle in this case. The obvious problem with this is no "pretend' contest but I don't feel I'll miss them. 

Also masteries with a low target number such as 2W felt weird, I probably didn't explain the system well but "you have improved your skill so now you have to roll under an impossibly small number but its OK because your mastery boosts the result to more of a success" was met with somewhat bemused looks. The other thing was 95% of the results were marginal victories of losses, which felt a bit flat. There are 8 levels of result but it felt like a a very narrow bell.  

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1 hour ago, Valnar said:

Also masteries with a low target number such as 2W felt weird, I probably didn't explain the system well but "you have improved your skill so now you have to roll under an impossibly small number but its OK because your mastery boosts the result to more of a success" was met with somewhat bemused looks. The other thing was 95% of the results were marginal victories of losses, which felt a bit flat. There are 8 levels of result but it felt like a a very narrow bell.  

well obviously it's literally relative, because 7 and two (2W7) versus 13 and two (2W13) turns into just 7 v. 13, right? Then you roll... err, I mean the player rolls the die. If your target numbers are low, remember what the genius said: "I've got a fever, and the only prescription, is more cowbell scorpionmen." Make game harder!

Edited by Qizilbashwoman

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1 hour ago, Valnar said:

Also masteries with a low target number such as 2W felt weird, I probably didn't explain the system well but "you have improved your skill so now you have to roll under an impossibly small number but its OK because your mastery boosts the result to more of a success" was met with somewhat bemused looks. The other thing was 95% of the results were marginal victories of losses, which felt a bit flat. There are 8 levels of result but it felt like a a very narrow bell.  

Yes, having a higher skill and failing more often is really awkward. You can rephrase the concept and tell your players they already have a success but are rolling to see if they can shift the success level. But the system's wording doesn't help. You can fail a roll and still win the contest... I believe the Crit, success, Fail, Fumble terms should be replaced with more friendly and intuitive words.

The probability curve is something I also felt playing. You can make the extreme results more often by changing the dice type. Make the scale 1-10... roll 1d10, 1 is a crit, 0 is a fumble... and you are aproximately doubling the chances of these other outcomes. Make starting levels a 7 and thats it...

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12 hours ago, Valnar said:

First rolling the narrator's dice felt like I was representing the obstacle rather than narrating the result

I usually have some phrase that expresses the difficulty/obstacle, then roll, and then narrate the outcome. Bear in mind that I play-by-forum, so using that approach is necessary where it's not immediate back-and-forth responses.  But there is a sense where you are the story obstacle(s).  

12 hours ago, Valnar said:

I thought I might get the players roll the narrator dice

Think of it as a collective story. You are part of it, but let the players determine why the outcome went the way it did given the obstacle/difficulty you described.

12 hours ago, Valnar said:

Also masteries with a low target number such as 2W felt weird

They are different. It's important to get across the concept of a "bump". Each character has skills they've mastered that they can literally influence the outcome with that mastery. They regularly pull out a success where there might have been failure. 

12 hours ago, Valnar said:

The other thing was 95% of the results were marginal victories of losses, which felt a bit flat

Vary your difficulties more.  I added difficulty levels so for new characters it would be:  8, 14, 20, 6W, 14W, 20W, 14W2.

Remember to let them utilize augments (I use basic augment so it's quick to calculate - and does make a difference if they can justify). 

Carryover success if the obstacle was key to get past.  Carryover failure if they've suffered a loss that should penalize them.  Whether +3, +6, +9, or +W, that can shift out of the marginal rut.

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Yes, having a higher skill and failing more often is really awkward. You can rephrase the concept and tell your players they already have a success but are rolling to see if they can shift the success level. But the system's wording doesn't help. You can fail a roll and still win the contest... I believe the Crit, success, Fail, Fumble terms should be replaced with more friendly and intuitive words.

I'm thinking I'll stop using the phrase marginal and go with victory, because that is a win with no other consequences and change minor to significant victory. I like the idea of the renaming the fumble and critical too, I might borrow triumph and disaster from SWRPG, crit and fumble are too tied to "traditional" RPGs I think.

 

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I use marginal victory only when justified by the story. In many conflicts, the minimum victory level is higher depoending on the situation. in a mortal duel for example the minimum level will be Major. 

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On 10/1/2019 at 3:28 PM, Valnar said:

The other thing was 95% of the results were marginal victories of losses, which felt a bit flat. There are 8 levels of result but it felt like a a very narrow bell.  

Here is a nice thread about thinking the different levels as "Yes, but", "Yes" and "Yes, and" etc.

The overall point (I think) was that the marginal victory/defeat introduces more juice to the machine. Yes, the characters get their goal, but this other thing happens that they now have to deal with.

On 10/1/2019 at 5:10 PM, el_octogono said:

You can fail a roll and still win the contest... I believe the Crit, success, Fail, Fumble terms should be replaced with more friendly and intuitive words.

This discussion had some good pointers about this:

 

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On 1 October 2019 at 1:28 PM, Valnar said:

Also masteries with a low target number such as 2W felt weird, I probably didn't explain the system well but "you have improved your skill so now you have to roll under an impossibly small number but its OK because your mastery boosts the result to more of a success" was met with somewhat bemused looks. 

I figure the best way to answer that is "you're at a level where you should automatically succeed, you're instead rolling to see if it's a special success or if something goes incredibly wrong."

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14 hours ago, Valnar said:

I'm thinking I'll stop using the phrase marginal and go with victory, because that is a win with no other consequences and change minor to significant victory.

I've followed Ian's lead on this with Marginal representing:  Yes, you won, But... (any number of possibilities: you were hurt, some of the villains escaped, you got through the gateway but now it is blocked behind you, etc.)

I dropped "minor" - those are just Victories now.

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9 hours ago, jajagappa said:

I've followed Ian's lead on this with Marginal representing:  Yes, you won, But... (any number of possibilities: you were hurt, some of the villains escaped, you got through the gateway but now it is blocked behind you, etc.)

I dropped "minor" - those are just Victories now.

 

That feels even worse. RAW marginal is victory or failure with no consequences beyond the success failure, which is a bit dull I grant you given that is the vast majority of results, unless you and Ian are suggesting that the result of marginal is always "yes but" so always a success with a complication but not a mechanical boost and disregarding marginal failures. I quite like that. It solves the problem of high rolls and low rolls. differentiating between the two.  

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1 hour ago, Valnar said:

That feels even worse. RAW marginal is victory or failure with no consequences beyond the success failure, which is a bit dull I grant you given that is the vast majority of results, unless you and Ian are suggesting that the result of marginal is always "yes but" so always a success with a complication but not a mechanical boost and disregarding marginal failures. I quite like that. It solves the problem of high rolls and low rolls. differentiating between the two.  

I think you are reading this "Yes, but" in a purely negative way.

From a narrator's perspective, this is a "Yes, you succeed, and I gain a plot hook from this." From the players' perspective, it is a victory with the knowledge that the villain still has an ace down his sleeve, or a replacement villain ready to plague them again in the future (think Boba Fett's identical progenitor, for instance, or - from the Wooden Sword chronicles - the Zorak Zoran rune lord killed by Urrrgh the Ugly's warhorse, and then again as a zombie).

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3 hours ago, Joerg said:

I think you are reading this "Yes, but" in a purely negative way.

From a narrator's perspective, this is a "Yes, you succeed, and I gain a plot hook from this." From the players' perspective, it is a victory with the knowledge that the villain still has an ace down his sleeve, or a replacement villain ready to plague them again in the future (think Boba Fett's identical progenitor, for instance, or - from the Wooden Sword chronicles - the Zorak Zoran rune lord killed by Urrrgh the Ugly's warhorse, and then again as a zombie).

That might be good at the end of an extended contest, I'll consider it when I run one. :D 

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4 hours ago, Valnar said:

That feels even worse. RAW marginal is victory or failure with no consequences beyond the success failure, which is a bit dull I grant you given that is the vast majority of results, unless you and Ian are suggesting that the result of marginal is always "yes but" so always a success with a complication but not a mechanical boost and disregarding marginal failures. I quite like that. It solves the problem of high rolls and low rolls. differentiating between the two.  

I'm pretty sure that @jajagappa meant that he was changing "Marginal Victory" to "Yes, but ...", not that he was changing Marginal Defeat to that too (which would be "No, but ..." in this way of thinking).

See below:

 

 

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8 hours ago, Steve said:

meant that he was changing "Marginal Victory" to "Yes, but ...", not that he was changing Marginal Defeat to that too (which would be "No, but ..." in this way of thinking).

Correct. Marginal Victory = "Yes, but... there's a complication".  Marginal Defeat = "No, you don't succeed, but... something that you might subsequently take advantage of"

 

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Well I tried my idea of the players rolling the "difficulty" dice and it did make a difference. It gave me more space to focus on the fiction. And it did feel more collaborative and less combative. I also used yes but on marginals which did work better and just to have them roll less, habits are hard to break.

Which was all good because having been presented the challenge of dealing with a new criminal gang muscling in on an existing gang's turf our heroic watch men hatched a plan that only be described as a fist full of dollars meets the Bolshevik revolution. I am sure that one player aims to install himself as dictator for life. Even if we weren't fully on the same page as far as what the fictional genre was, Heroquest the system pivoted and adapted to the players shenanigans with grace and aplomb, I'm not sure about the GM who was too busy trying to control his combination of hysterical laughter and horror at the inner working of his friend's minds. Heroquest is my new favourite system. Now about that re-launch?

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I haven't had a chance to try it out yet, but I've bought the dice to support the following solution:

I stick out a huge-*ss red d20 on the table to indicate the difficulty level--a nod to the ever-present Red Moon. (And, no, I don't know how I'll indicate masteries yet.)

Each player has 2 d20's of their own--one red (for the narrator/opposition) and one of any other color.

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I went with black dice for the narrator dice. The dice of Doooom. Of course one player got out their own black dice to roll alongside. 

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