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Overcoming Everything w/ 1 Roll and 1 Hour Sessions


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Reading the SRD gave me the impression that (1) you don't roll much and (2) when you do you're resolving a very large-scale story obstacle. So this makes it seem like most adventures would be over very quickly.

e.g., characters are vampires that want to take over the city. Player wants to roll "Ventrue political prodigy". Character rolls and succeeds. What normally would have been 10 sessions of interesting and tense intrigue, discussion, negotiation happens in a few minutes.

This can't possibly be how the game works. I think I've misunderstood something.

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You can do it like that, which speeds things up a bit. However, you could also use the interesting and tense intrigue, discussion, negotiations an extended contest over a period of time, with each round relating to the intrigue.

Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 


Jonstown Compendium author. Find my contributions here

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1 hour ago, Archivist said:

This can't possibly be how the game works. I think I've misunderstood something

Try to find analogue from tv series and movies. Depending on the story needs you either drill down to multi session (episode, if you will) season about taking control of the city contesting about the interesting bits. Or, if taking control of the city is mere nuance on their way to take control of the country you roll one contest for it.

Same way tv series and movies can "fast-forward" big events just by storytelling or foreshadowing the events. So, even if it would be technically right to contest about taking control of the city, story wise it is far more interesting (as you said) to split it to multiple sessions each having their own story arc.

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In most cases, you're not going to resolve the entire plot with one die roll. Why would you want to do that? If the story is interesting to run, it's interesting enough to spend some time telling it.

Break the overall story down into Acts. Then break those Acts down into Scenes. Then break those down into Beats. Then play your story out a beat at a time to resolve the scenes, or a scene at a time to resolve the acts. Roll the dice when a random outcome would make the game more fun, tense, or interesting. 

Truthfully, from a game-mastering perspective, I don't run QW any differently than I run ANY game. I'm a big believer in following Elmore Leonard's advice and skipping the boring stuff. ;)

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Reading, I'd say that the key idea is that overcoming a story obstacle should always be tied to a concrete goal, so that success or failure move the story forward. That's can mean "move the story forward to its conclusion", but it can also mean "achieve something meaningful within the broader context", like getting vital information that opens up a whole new line of investigation, overcoming a guardian creature that blocks the entrance to a place from a temple where someone you want to rescue is held, creating an antidote that can save the king ... I think the rules are just suggesting not to split things up into finding the right recipe for the antidote, then finding the right herbs and then preparing it into single rolls, because none of these tasks is meaningful to the story in itself.

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4 hours ago, Archivist said:

Good point. I noticed in the next section they give an example about jumping across something which is definitely a smaller context.

In a simplistic way, you basically roll whenever you want to see which way the story goes... did they manage to jump across or not? Did they break into the warehouse or got caught by the guards? Did they lockpick the door? Did they kill the 2 vampires inside? Etc...  You resolve narrative beats instead of physical actions. The narrative beats can be as small or as large as you want, but of course if the beats are very large, you're going to end up 10 years later after only 2 hours of play, which may or may not be what you want (probably not).

Ludovic aka Lordabdul -- read and listen to  The God Learners , the Gloranthan podcast, newsletter, & blog !

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