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Difficulty Modifiers and Modifiers


Nick War

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Hi all,

I just purchased the BRP pdf and have a question.

BRP uses two types of difficulty modifiers, one called difficulty modifiers and the other just modifiers. Here are their abbreviated glossary definitions:

Difficulty Modifiers - The amount a skill’s chance is adjusted by, based on the circumstances surrounding its use. (Followed by fractional adjustments.)

Modifiers - These are temporary additions or subtractions to your character’s rating in a skill, usually stemming from circumstances, environment, or equipment. (Followed by examples like +20% for good equipment.)

Now, since both types of modifiers are based on circumstances, how do I know which kind to apply in a given situation? The skill examples are all over the place.

Thanks!

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Difficulty Modifiers - The amount a skill’s chance is adjusted by, based on the circumstances surrounding its use. (Followed by fractional adjustments.)

Hi. Personally, I'd just use the 'Difficulty Modifiers' variety (for which the 'fractions' are really simple: either x2, x1/2 - or Auto-succeed/Auto-fail!).

The +X% 'Modifiers' seem too fiddly to me. I'd only use them when some other rule/spell insisted on it.

Britain has been infiltrated by soviet agents to the highest levels. They control the BBC, the main political party leaderships, NHS & local council executives, much of the police, most newspapers and the utility companies. Of course the EU is theirs, through-and-through. And they are among us - a pervasive evil, like Stasi.

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In general, if the action being attempted seems as if it would be easy/harder for a character without any external force, use the Easy/Difficult multipliers.

The other modifiers are almost always situational, and are based on external forces like particular quality of gear or specific temporary environmental issues.

I'll admit that it's a bit fuzzy as to which to apply when, and that's because it's been a bit fuzzy throughout the history of BRP, and GM preference about which to use when varies tremendously.

I personally like the ease of the multipliers than the fractional ones, saving the latter solely for gear or weather conditions.

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Now, since both types of modifiers are based on circumstances, how do I know which kind to apply in a given situation?

Which seem more appropriate to the situation? Which serves the game better? If a quick, overall assessment of the challenge, will serve then modify the base score by the difficulty: "It's a hard Pilot roll to do that." "Getting up the wall requires an easy Climb roll". If the details of the situation matter, or can add something to the players enjoyment of the game then use circumstantial modifiers, but don't let them bog the game down. To quote the rule book: "Circumstantial modifiers are intended to be dramatic tools that add drama to tense situations, not strict guidelines that attempt to simulate absolute realism."

Cheers,

Nick

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We only subtract and add the following modifiers: +-20/40/60%.

Multiplier we consider as not very intuitive. IMO its more linear and intuitive to calculate a certain chance of success in adding a simple +-20% to say 77 than to double or to halve it. (doubling or halving additionally to beeing not intuitive produce sometimes odd results with high numbers)

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I would handle it something like this:

You are trying to pick a lock built by a Master Locksmith with 120% skill? That's a minus 20% to your skill.

Oh, you are using a bent paperclip instead of proper tools? That's makes the task Hard; roll against 1/2 skill.

Sadly, that's almost the exact opposite way around from an example given in the BRP book! Yes, it's a tricky call.

We only subtract and add the following modifiers: +-20/40/60%.

Multiplier we consider as not very intuitive. IMO its more linear and intuitive to calculate a certain chance of success in adding a simple +-20% to say 77 than to double or to halve it. (doubling or halving additionally to beeing not intuitive produce sometimes odd results with high numbers)

Fair enough. But personally I find the opposite - multipliers are easy (factors of 2 I can manage!), but +/- modifiers muck up the critical/special/fumble values.

Britain has been infiltrated by soviet agents to the highest levels. They control the BBC, the main political party leaderships, NHS & local council executives, much of the police, most newspapers and the utility companies. Of course the EU is theirs, through-and-through. And they are among us - a pervasive evil, like Stasi.

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Fair enough. But personally I find the opposite - multipliers are easy (factors of 2 I can manage!), but +/- modifiers muck up the critical/special/fumble values.

It probably depends how much you can internalize that sort of thing; the special results are 20% of a value, so as long as you're dealing with 5% or bigger modifiers its easy to remember, and the occurance of fumbles or crits is low enough that the marginal cases are easy to check when they come up.

The real issue is whether you see adders/subtractors or multipliers/dividers as representing the process better; even though both do some of the same work, the results differ enormously when you get to one end of the skill rating or the other.

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I personally like the ease of the multipliers than the fractional ones, saving the latter solely for gear or weather conditions.

... and that's good enough for me. :)

Britain has been infiltrated by soviet agents to the highest levels. They control the BBC, the main political party leaderships, NHS & local council executives, much of the police, most newspapers and the utility companies. Of course the EU is theirs, through-and-through. And they are among us - a pervasive evil, like Stasi.

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It probably depends how much you can internalize that sort of thing; the special results are 20% of a value, so as long as you're dealing with 5% or bigger modifiers its easy to remember, and the occurance of fumbles or crits is low enough that the marginal cases are easy to check when they come up.

The real issue is whether you see adders/subtractors or multipliers/dividers as representing the process better; even though both do some of the same work, the results differ enormously when you get to one end of the skill rating or the other.

Yes this I see similar. Eg if your style prohibits high skills and see it as unrealistic, you should avoid multipliers at all. Eg. a 65% fighter would suddenly have 130% when shooting at point blank range (DEX/3) which is plain silly in a gritty environment.

OTOH if you like heroic gaming % and skills with 150% or more are not a horror for you (see SB5 were the PCs reach regularly skills of 100% or higher) then multiplying is nothing special.

There are no standards in BRP how GMs should evaluate skills in their games so it all comes down to the personal gaming style if you like multipliers or fixed values.

I know for my personal style which I like. I know WHAT +-20% to any skill means in my games but I dont know what a x2 means. Linearity counts in my games, not arbitrarity.

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Yes this I see similar. Eg if your style prohibits high skills and see it as unrealistic, you should avoid multipliers at all. Eg. a 65% fighter would suddenly have 130% when shooting at point blank range (DEX/3) which is plain silly in a gritty environment.

OTOH if you like heroic gaming % and skills with 150% or more are not a horror for you (see SB5 were the PCs reach regularly skills of 100% or higher) then multiplying is nothing special.

There are no standards in BRP how GMs should evaluate skills in their games so it all comes down to the personal gaming style if you like multipliers or fixed values.

I know for my personal style which I like. I know WHAT +-20% to any skill means in my games but I dont know what a x2 means. Linearity counts in my games, not arbitrarity.

It also matters how much impact you want those modifiers to have; a divisor multiplier tends to have much more impact on someone with already high skill than on low, while an adder (if decent sized) tends to do the inverse.

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