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Question on 'Higher Roll Wins' and Group Contests

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In a Peninsular War campaign, Wellington might argue:
"I shall fortify the town, and I am able to do this because:

  • I have a ready source of trained manpower,
  • I have an experienced Engineer in command, and
  • the British Government has recently sent me the money with which to pay for the work".

The matrix stuff is interesting; it sounds like it was very influential in the design of the original Hero Wars. In particular, the 'three reasons' system sounds a lot like the original approach to Hero Wars augments.

Where i suspect that went wrong is  using character abilities for augments, and resolving things purely numerically. This lead to the 'augment hunt' approach were you went over you character sheet line by line and said '+3 for fighting for my clan, + 3 for hating the lunars, +2 for being able to track them down, ...'.

in the current QW  SRD, this is vestigial, as only a single augment is allowed. This is essentially false choice, as 'do you, or someone nearby, you have an ability that could be argued to help?' is a question that is only ever going to have one answer. So personally i would get rid of that totally.

The key point of the matrix system is that going forward, wellington can use 'the town is fortified' as an established fact.

So you can use something like this to incrementally resolve climactic contests. What you do is establish new facts about the situation, one by one.


For example, by the time of Luke's trench run, we have established:

  • the death star can be destroyed by a single hit on the exhaust port
  • the turbolaser batteries covering the trench have been destroyed
  • the tie fighter garrison is engaged dogfighting with rebel X-wings
  • Darth Vader  has spun out of the combat
  • the rebels have taken heavy losses
  • Biggs Darklighter is dead
  • R2D2 is out of action
  • the rebel targeting system cannot hit the exhaust port
  • the Death Star has a clear shot on the rebel base
  • the Death Star's main gun has powered up

This first of these facts was established by many Bothans dying offscreen. The rest had to be rolled for. Establishing a fact about an extended contest requires a simple contest. High levels of success, or failure establish more definitive and permanent facts.

Luke turns off his targeting system and fires his plasma cannon.  What is his target number?


Ladies and gentlemen of this supposed jury, it does not make sense! If Chewbacca lives on Endor, you must acquit! The defense rests.

The key thing is you don't just mathematically sum the facts, but think things through. The empire has established  a lot of facts, but none of them matter to what Luke is trying to do.

So he does an opposed roll against campaign standard difficulty level, succeeds, and flies home to pick up his medal.








Edited by radmonger
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  • 1 month later...
On 7/11/2023 at 5:22 PM, Stan Shinn said:

Over on RPG.net@Ian Cooper had summarized QuestWorlds as follows:

Is "If you tie for successes (including zero) high-roll wins" only applicable for a simple contest (one PC rolling) but ignored in Group Contests? Consider the following:

3 PCs are having a group contest. The rolls come out as:

  • PC #1 gets zero successes and the opposition has zero successes (but the PC has the higher roll)
  • PC #2 gets zero successes and the opposition has zero successes (but the PC has the higher roll)
  • PC #3 has the opposition getting 1 success versus PC #3's zero successes (but the PC has the higher roll)

If you're simply going off of total successes, then the opposition would win (1 net success vs. 0 for the PCs). 

Yep, the PCs do not get the prize. I would probably treat as No..But result. You lose, but you get some insight that gives you advantage next time. We go more into that kind of concept in the Core Book.

But note that individual outcomes would be that PC#1 and PC#2 have a zero degree victory, but PC#3 has a one-degree defeat. So PC #3 would suffer a worse personal consequence if that was important.

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On 7/17/2023 at 12:58 PM, radmonger said:

The simplest approach is to apply a variant of the  costly victory rules. If a PC doesn't want to accept the result of a decisive roll, they have to take 1 wound level for each success the opposition has scored. Doing this resets the contest.






This is what Chained Contests are for

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For anyone who really dislikes counting successes, then just use the older approach of awarding a point that is one greater than the number of successes.

This would change the outcome to a tie:

  • PC #1 gets zero successes and the opposition has zero successes (but the PC has the higher roll): 1 Point to PCs
  • PC #2 gets zero successes and the opposition has zero successes (but the PC has the higher roll): 1 Point to PCs
  • PC #3 has the opposition getting 1 success versus PC #3's zero successes (but the PC has the higher roll): 2 Points to Opposition

 Both sides have two points, and the outcome is a tie. Which is either, something happens to change the terms of the contest, or give a zero degree victory to the PCs.

The trade-off here is what you want to be more decisive in the fiction: the fact that a couple of PCs scrape a victory, or that one is beaten. IMO the story about the PC losing decisively trumps the direction of the narrative from the two who hold off their opponents, just. I think that is how fiction works. YMMV.

But yes, how we tally the outcome in this case, is different to a sequence. If you wanted those individual scrape by results to have more meaning, then perhaps run a sequence instead.

Edited by Ian Cooper
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