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Small niggle with starter box


Aprewett

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Book one says or implies to not make rolls for narrative important events. And then pg 6 example, has the ref asking for a listen roll. For an event that is obviously important and part of his adventure design. The roll is superfluous and a beginner ref would be getting conflicting advice.

My 2d

Edited by Aprewett
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2 hours ago, Aprewett said:

And then pg 6 example, has the ref asking for a listen roll. For an event that is obviously important and part of his adventure design.

What I would do is to have them make the Listen roll anyway.

If they fail then they hear the bare bones of what they could be hearing, perhaps enough to give hints.

On a Normal success they hear enough to give them something to use.

On a Special Success they hear even more.

On a Critical success they hear something that really helps them.

2 hours ago, Aprewett said:

Book one says or implies to make rolls for narrative important events.

Which is fair enough, otherwise people will be making rolls all the time, for things that are just not important.

2 hours ago, Aprewett said:

The roll is superfluous and a beginner ref would be getting conflicting advice.

Yes, I see where you are coming from.

However, in this case it is important from a narrative point of view.

GMs could take a leaf out of Call of Cthulhu, when finding clues. If a clue is so important that not finding it will derail the entire scenario, then the Investigators will find it. Only roll to find out something more about the clue. The same thing could apply to RuneQuest, rolling a skill gives you more information or allows you to do something better, in certain situations. Jumping over a 1 meter wide hole is different to jumping over a 3 meter wide hole, though, so in the latter case the jump would show if you succeeded or not.

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

www.soltakss.com/index.html

Jonstown Compendium author. Find my contributions here

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The general problem with Perception checks in any game is that if it's done too rarely, it alerts the player to an issue. If it's done too often it get boring.

The referee has to strike a balance for his group as to when to make that Listen /Search /Spot /Perception /whatever roll and provide enough information that it's useful to players but that asking for the roll doesn't set off alarm bells that has the players doing the stereotypical AD&D secret door search every 10 feet.

In a RQ sense, a player should only know that a successful Perception roll was really important is when the ref tells them to put a check on the skill box.

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9 minutes ago, svensson said:

The general problem with Perception checks in any game is that if it's done too rarely, it alerts the player to an issue. If it's done too often it get boring.

The referee has to strike a balance for his group as to when to make that Listen /Search /Spot /Perception /whatever roll and provide enough information that it's useful to players but that asking for the roll doesn't set off alarm bells that has the players doing the stereotypical AD&D secret door search every 10 feet.

In a RQ sense, a player should only know that a successful Perception roll was really important is when the ref tells them to put a check on the skill box.

Alternatively: The GM makes all the Perception Checks for the players. 

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21 minutes ago, AndreJarosch said:

Alternatively: The GM makes all the Perception Checks for the players. 

You know, I've done it that way too at times. I've had some players who dislike refs 'taking rolls from them' [as one described it], and some who are fine with it.

As I see it, it gives the players a certain agency and sense of control. And it allows me to disguise when it's important 😆

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48 minutes ago, svensson said:

The general problem with Perception checks in any game is that if it's done too rarely, it alerts the player to an issue. If it's done too often it get boring.

 

41 minutes ago, AndreJarosch said:

Alternatively: The GM makes all the Perception Checks for the players. 

One of the dirty GM secrets here is that when you have an entire group and call for a Spot or Listen roll, it's very likely that someone will succeed. Often the more important thing is who succeeds, as this will keep guiding the story. So as long as total failure doesn't wreck the plot completely, you are safe to call for these rolls.

And my default position is that players enjoy rolling, so it shouldn't be taken away from them unless absolutely necessary.

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Perception/Stealth (and maybe some communication skills) feel to me like those that the GM should roll.

It's not like Climbing, say, where failure and success are obvious (you gain ground, you don't gain ground, you fall to your death). Taking Listen as the example:

Success: you hear something;
Failure: you hear something (even if nothing is there);
Success: you hear nothing (because nothing is there);
Failure: you hear nothing (better clean your ears because there was something).

Until the scenario plays out the character shouldn't be able to differentiate the success/failure variants until told they get an experience check.

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13 minutes ago, Baron Wulfraed said:

Perception/Stealth (and maybe some communication skills) feel to me like those that the GM should roll.

It's not like Climbing, say, where failure and success are obvious (you gain ground, you don't gain ground, you fall to your death). Taking Listen as the example:

Success: you hear something;
Failure: you hear something (even if nothing is there);
Success: you hear nothing (because nothing is there);
Failure: you hear nothing (better clean your ears because there was something).

Until the scenario plays out the character shouldn't be able to differentiate the success/failure variants until told they get an experience check.

Well, unless it's an obvious plot point.

For example, the players are spying on Bad Guy. They've done well, making enough Stealth rolls to get within hearing distance and they can see Bad Guy meeting with a henchmen of some sort. Even a simple success will give them something to work with, so it's obvious that a skill check is in order.

But other than something that obvious, I can see your system working pretty well. I might just give that a try.

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6 hours ago, Aprewett said:

Book one says or implies to not make rolls for narrative important events. And then pg 6 example, has the ref asking for a listen roll. For an event that is obviously important and part of his adventure design. The roll is superfluous and a beginner ref would be getting conflicting advice.

My 2d

I have played in campaigns where the GM has all important plots, which has left me feeling divorced from any sense of agency as a player.

I therefore *hate* situations that *must* go one way or another.

I therefore try to ensure that *all* rolls are made, by players.  If it's an important roll for the story plot, I will always try to think if what happens if they fail, and have an alternative plot line.  It might only be a small diversion, before getting back to the main line.  Or I might have two scenario's planned, and a roll determines which one we go with.

This all sounds like a lot of work for the GM.  It can be, but after you've had a few ideas of what happens on a fails, it becomes easier.  And if I've no ideas, I just cheat, and they stumble on a random encounter unprepared, and then return to the plot line later, when they might make the rolls.  But that's just cheating by the GM, so the players have the illusion they have agency!

Also, get the players to describe why they failed.  It's quite fun for everyone when, for example, the two players who failed the listen roll decide their characters are arguing over whose turn it is to set up camp that night!  If you're lucky you'll get a little vignette to play through, and can defer the main action for a bit.  And buy yourself some thinking time, especially if you can stoke the players up, rune and passion rolls for honourable or lazy conclusions as to whose turn it actually is).  Once I had a near barroom brawl between two players, when one decided that one of the other player characters stole something from them...

Ultimately, the more the players are deciding what happens, the less work it is for me as a GM.  And just asking them what they think might happen can work.

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3 hours ago, AndreJarosch said:

Alternatively: The GM makes all the Perception Checks for the players. 

To me, this is the correct answer and what I have done for years... 

 

3 hours ago, svensson said:

The general problem with Perception checks in any game is that if it's done too rarely, it alerts the player to an issue. If it's done too often it get boring.

The referee has to strike a balance for his group as to when to make that Listen /Search /Spot /Perception /whatever roll and provide enough information that it's useful to players but that asking for the roll doesn't set off alarm bells that has the players doing the stereotypical AD&D secret door search every 10 feet.

In a RQ sense, a player should only know that a successful Perception roll was really important is when the ref tells them to put a check on the skill box.

...and this is the reason!

2 hours ago, svensson said:

You know, I've done it that way too at times. I've had some players who dislike refs 'taking rolls from them' [as one described it],

I have always rolled items the players should not know about, for the reason you mention in the post quoted 2 up. So I make the perception rolls, the players make communication, agility manipulation and magic, stealth I divide. I roll for hide (the players may miss their feet sticking out from the tapestry) or they roll the sneak (they will know only that they have failed not the the bad guy heard). Knowledge is a mixed bag.... and even then, where I can I will let the player roll, for the reason swenson states above

 

2 hours ago, Akhôrahil said:

So as long as total failure doesn't wreck the plot completely, you are safe to call for these rolls.

Sounds good

 

13 minutes ago, Stephen L said:

I therefore try to ensure that *all* rolls are made, by players.  If it's an important roll for the story plot, I will always try to think if what happens if they fail, and have an alternative plot line.  It might only be a small diversion, before getting back to the main line.  Or I might have two scenario's planned, and a roll determines which one we go with.

 

Where I can without ruining surprise, sure... otherwise, as I have said... IMHO.

13 minutes ago, Stephen L said:

Ultimately, the more the players are deciding what happens, the less work it is for me as a GM.  And just asking them what they think might happen can work.

I do use this where I can. Especially the second sentence..

Edited by Bill the barbarian
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... remember, with a TARDIS, one is never late for breakfast!

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1 hour ago, Baron Wulfraed said:

Perception/Stealth (and maybe some communication skills) feel to me like those that the GM should roll.

That depends entirely on your group.  Are they method actors, who have to be completely immersed?  Or can they have fun imagining themselves as their character, and are fine pretending that their character is surprised, even if they're not?  Knowing your character is going to be surprised is quite suspenseful.  Knowing their feet are sticking out when they've failed their hide roll and the big bad monster is slathering away just they other side, is quite fun.  Especially for a GM who likes to over egg such moments...

Some people are fine, if you just ask them not to act on information they've got, because they know if the roll has succeeded or not.  In which case, I'll always have the player roll.

Edited by Stephen L
Added the bit about feet sticking out.
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"Fail forward" is a crucial technique in a game like RuneQuest. Essentially, instead of failure, let a failed roll be success with a (bad!) consequence. Instead of failing to overhear a crucial conversation, a part of it could be misheard, leading the PCs into danger before they get back on the right track (it was "pay the toll", not "pay the troll"), or the PC edges closer to overhear, and is detected after hearing the important stuff. 

Edited by Akhôrahil
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15 minutes ago, Bill the barbarian said:
3 hours ago, AndreJarosch said:

Alternatively: The GM makes all the Perception Checks for the players. 

To me, this is the correct answer and what I have done for years... 

Quite so.  It's what ever works for the style of the GM and players.  We all have our tricks for how we build suspense, and how we involve the players.  And we are best employing those tricks without any worry of how we *should* be doing it.

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That's one of the reasons I've been considering getting a dice tower. Let the players make the rolls, but have the dice exit on the GM side of the screen. Of course that will slow it down a lot on those "everybody roll" situations.

 

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5 hours ago, AndreJarosch said:

Alternatively: The GM makes all the Perception Checks for the players. 

For me, as a GM, life is too short for that kind of thing.

I don't use a GM Screen either, for similar reasons.

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

www.soltakss.com/index.html

Jonstown Compendium author. Find my contributions here

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"Please give me a percentile roll." Player rolls an incognito ability, or possibly an entry on an encounter table.  GM jots down if there is a check earned.

 

How do you handle peripheral perception? Full skill, reduced skill? Do you give bonuses for concentration on perception, or do you do that indirectly by allowing the players to augment those perception rolls?

Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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On the observation roll mechanism, I always liked the MegaTraveller way. Both roll, ref and player. There is a comparison system to both rolls. But for example if the player rolled a success, they have a vague idea they might be getting good info.

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9 minutes ago, Aprewett said:

On the observation roll mechanism, I always liked the MegaTraveller way. Both roll, ref and player. There is a comparison system to both rolls. But for example if the player rolled a success, they have a vague idea they might be getting good info.

It is a great idea, probably why RQ has been using it for a while. Even in the days where opposed rolls were not as used as today one would oppose a perception roll with a stealth roll or another perception roll as dictated by circumstance.
 

good to see traveller living up to its rep as a great game though.

Edited by Bill the barbarian

... remember, with a TARDIS, one is never late for breakfast!

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Hi Bill, I get the impression you read my post as opposed. Just in case wire’s are crossed. It was the same roll. Ref rolls the players perception, the same as player. Could be used for any roll where some element of doubt is possible. If the player failed and the refs secret roll failed, the ref can give false info. Ref failed but player succeeded, some version of the truth. Etc. The player only has half the idea if it is good or bad info.

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6 hours ago, Aprewett said:

Hi Bill, I get the impression you read my post as opposed. Just in case wire’s are crossed. It was the same roll. Ref rolls the players perception, the same as player. Could be used for any roll where some element of doubt is possible. If the player failed and the refs secret roll failed, the ref can give false info. Ref failed but player succeeded, some version of the truth. Etc. The player only has half the idea if it is good or bad info.

So, do you mean there is just one roll for both parties? If so, no I did not understand it that way. And also, if so, yes that is less rolling and as you said earlier it gives you an idea of what you are up against
Cheers... 

... remember, with a TARDIS, one is never late for breakfast!

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Sometimes I roll secretly for the players. Other times I ask them to roll, but I don't tell them what the roll is for. But mostly I let the players roll. Logistics is a big part of that, but another reason is that I sometimes feel a little guilty when I roll very badly for the players. Plus it's usually more entertaining for them and for me when they are 'responsible' for their own successes or failures.

16 hours ago, Aprewett said:

Hi Bill, I get the impression you read my post as opposed. Just in case wire’s are crossed. It was the same roll. Ref rolls the players perception, the same as player. Could be used for any roll where some element of doubt is possible. If the player failed and the refs secret roll failed, the ref can give false info. Ref failed but player succeeded, some version of the truth. Etc. The player only has half the idea if it is good or bad info.

Not certain I'll remember this, but I think this Truth table-like mechanic is cool. The player knows what they rolled, but the GM's roll is like a hole card that the player can't turn over and check. So if the player succeeds they know that they have either SS or SF so they know they did OK. If they fail then they know they have FS or FF so they know that if they are lucky they just did OK.

I think it would be could be very interesting in a situation where the effect may not be immediate like summing up for a jury before they go off and deliberate, persuading the ruler or the council, convincing a crowd. It's reasonable that the PC should have useful information based on the body language and minor responses of the audience, but sometimes the outcome will not be known right away or the GM may want to allow for a multi-step process. Players now have some information so they can decide whether they want to add more weight to their arguments.

And it doesn't only work for arguments, might be nice if the players are building a bridge, crafting some item, doing some alchemy, performing a long ritual or meditation, or just doing something around the farm where the effort now won't be fully tested until sometime later. Again it's reasonable that they have some information on how well their efforts went, but they may not know how successful their effort was until they drive that wagon full of stones over the bridge and they see if the bridge stays up. But giving them some info allows them to try harder if they want to.

Edited by Bren
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