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Framing the Contest

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59 minutes ago, Scout said:

I need to kill the orc because he's trying to kill me. Perhaps it's a chance encounter on a secluded trail or similar

Then that is really the contest - you've been attacked and want to survive.  You use your sword-fighting ability to do so.  Simple contest, and some difficulty level for the orc.

When I got started with HeroQuest after years of playing RQ, I found I had to make a shift in mindset.  RQ was choreography, each step of the 'dance' outlined and detailed.  HeroQuest was screenwriting - the contests are defined and enacted, but not the details.  

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Thanks all for the advice, it's basically enabled me to pick up the game again and take another look. 

I understand there has to be a prize described (and the GM has to do so as well) but I wasn't sure as to the 'why' there had to be. At first, I thought it was to be fair to all involved because it meant everyone knew exactly what they were getting themselves into. I'm still not sure why it's required but I just go with the flow.

Then I ended up asking, well what if you had two opponents that simply wanted to kill the other? The prize is 'survival' but it's a bit obvious and again I can't see the need for it. 

Even if it is to do with contests being over in a succession of actions or just one (simple contest), I don't see why a prize is required. I see it as the default is if you're attacking an orc, you want it dead and if you don't, you'll say so. 

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3 hours ago, Scout said:

Then I ended up asking, well what if you had two opponents that simply wanted to kill the other? The prize is 'survival' but it's a bit obvious and again I can't see the need for it. 

In that case, if one of the opponents didn't care for survival, the difficulty for the other one who has "kill the other guy and survive" has got to be higher.

 

3 hours ago, Scout said:

Even if it is to do with contests being over in a succession of actions or just one (simple contest), I don't see why a prize is required. I see it as the default is if you're attacking an orc, you want it dead and if you don't, you'll say so. 

Do you? If my characters encounter an orc, they will want to 

- avoid being killed

- avoid letting the orc alarm the rest of the dungeon

- get a chance to get at the orc's knowledge about the dungeon

- possibly hire the orc away from his dark overlord, like promising him lordship over the dungeon once they have cleared it of the overlord and the items they desire.

Weapons and/or magi will be argumentation aids for the orc to take his opposition seriously, but other than that, everything is open.
 

Killing that orc is only an objective when the reason for the visit is revenge or extermination.

 

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20 minutes ago, Joerg said:

Do you? If my characters encounter an orc, they will want to 

- avoid being killed

Killing that orc is only an objective when the reason for the visit is revenge or extermination.

 

But, 99.9% of the time when you fight an orc, it's to kill or be killed. Granted there are other reasons (prizes) for engaging with that orc, but that's just the 0.01% of the time. 

I'm not saying there's isn't another reason for conflict other than death-dealing, I'm just saying in most scenarios it's a battle to the death. 

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The funny thing is, I have no problem whatsoever with announcing how you will attempt gaining the 'prize', or what prize you hope to gain. In fact, I quite like it and I think it's a good idea because it also adds tension to the conflict. 

Player: "I will attack the orc with my battle-axe in an attempt to kill it...

GM: "The orc is doing the same..."

Granted it's a bit dry but everyone at the table knows there's death on the menu. Drama and tension are ramped up even if it's simply because everyone's reminded that lives are at stake here. 

The problem I have (other than why you have to declare a prize/goal - and I'm pretty much ok with that part now), is that using this way of doing things, you can go around one-shotting opponents, and major villains at that. 

GM: "You are facing the dragon..."

Player: "I aim my bow and arrow right under its maw in an attempt to rip its throat out and drop it stone dead..."

Let's say you succeed, is that dragon dead?

-------------------------------------------

As an aside, do you have to announce how you are going about achieving a prize and what the prize you are after is - for all contests in HeroQuest? If yes, that's great, that's a positive, because it's a universal ruling and everyone has to do it all the time. For reasons I can't quite explain, this makes sense to me. If it was yes for some contests and no for others, that might complicate matters. 

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47 minutes ago, Scout said:

The problem I have (other than why you have to declare a prize/goal - and I'm pretty much ok with that part now), is that using this way of doing things, you can go around one-shotting opponents, and major villains at that. 

GM: "You are facing the dragon..."

Player: "I aim my bow and arrow right under its maw in an attempt to rip its throat out and drop it stone dead..."

Let's say you succeed, is that dragon dead?

 

If you get the best success possible, then yes.

However, if you get a Marginal or Minor success then, No, but you might have another effect, for example:

  • Complete Success - You kill the Dragon
  • Major Success - You pin the Dragon's Jaws together, so it cannot breathe or bite
  • Minor Success - You pin the Dragon's Jaws together, stopping one of Breathe or Bite
  • Marginal Success - You pin the Dragon's tongue, stopping it talking
  • Tie - You shoot the arrow in its mouth and it has no other effect
  • Marginal Defeat - You shoot the arrow and it hits the mouth but bounces off and the Dragon knows something has hit it
  • Minor Defeat - You shoot the arrow and the Dragon knows where you are
  • Major Defeat - You shoot and the dragon knows where you are and is annoyed that you have tried to kill it
  • Complete Defeat - You shoot the arrow and the Dragon swallows you

It might seem exceessive, but the extremes are difficult to get. In HQ1, a Dragon might have a lot of Masteries and so can bump itself up and you down to the extremes. In HQ2, it is more narrative, with fewer Masteries, so the extremes are harder to get.

As an aside, do you have to announce how you are going about achieving a prize and what the prize you are after is - for all contests in HeroQuest? If yes, that's great, that's a positive, because it's a universal ruling and everyone has to do it all the time. For reasons I can't quite explain, this makes sense to me. If it was yes for some contests and no for others, that might complicate matters. 

In HeroQuest, you don't "have to" do anything. It all depends on your play style and how your group plays HeroQuest.

If declaring the intentions of contests works for you, then do it. If it doesn't, then don't.

I am very comfortable with this kind of approach, as I have played a lot of RuneQuest and a fair amount of HeroQuest (We did the LightBringers Quest in HeroQuest from start to finish). However, I am very aware that people new to the game might think they have to play it in a certain way to get the maximum enjoyment.

Play it however suits you.

 

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1 hour ago, Scout said:

As an aside, do you have to announce how you are going about achieving a prize and what the prize you are after is - for all contests in HeroQuest? If yes, that's great, that's a positive, because it's a universal ruling and everyone has to do it all the time. For reasons I can't quite explain, this makes sense to me. If it was yes for some contests and no for others, that might complicate matters. 

That's the goal.  As an HQ GM, I try to keep my players thinking about what they want to achieve, then how they want to go about it.  Without that, it becomes difficult to determine what the outcome is.

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4 hours ago, Scout said:

But, 99.9% of the time when you fight an orc, it's to kill or be killed. 

We're playing quite different styles of games, then.

Ok, if a horde of orcs has ambushed my party, it is kill or be taken out, possibly immediately killed, possibly taken away for torture or slavery, or possibly taken for ransom.

But more often than not, it will be my party ambushing the orcs in their home territory and environment, or chancing on a patrol or group of non-alerted orcs, making us the aggressors, and also the ones to decide on our objectives. 

Killing them first and then have the necromancer or medium interrogate them might work out in murder hobo settings.

4 hours ago, Scout said:

Granted there are other reasons (prizes) for engaging with that orc, but that's just the 0.01% of the time. 

I have had games where the party volunteered to aid a triibe of orcs against nasty mounted elf invaders following a twisted cult, so I definitely disagree with your 1 in 10000 encounters statistic. They never became friends of those orcs, but they parted in mutual respect and distrust, and with a pointer to the lair of an ancient archmage of dubious allegiances. Not even Tolkien presented all orcs as impersonal victims, some of the more memorable characters in the Lord of the Rings include Ugluk and Grishnakh, the captors of Merry and Pippin, as well as a number of named adversaries of the dwarves in The Hobbit.

If I want opponents that can be mowed down without thought of regret or quarter, I use automatons (like golems or skeletons) or zombies.

 

4 hours ago, Scout said:

I'm not saying there's isn't another reason for conflict other than death-dealing, I'm just saying in most scenarios it's a battle to the death. 

Only if you frame the scenario and setting that way.

There are ways to mislead a patrol rather than to slaughter it. There are ways to recruit the minions of the bosses. While it may be necessary to kill or otherwise incapacitate the current leader of such a group, by reading the social dynamics there is a good chance to bribe or coerce the surviving lieutenant into changing sides. Look at the second biggest employer of orcs in the Lord of the Rings: Saruman.

 

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But why are the characters out  where they might run into Orcs in the first place?  Besides just killing the orc in front of them, what are they hoping to accomplish? Are Orcs just popping up everywhere, like the mooks in a video game?

Consider this example:

"I want to evade the Imperial tie-fighters."

vs.

"I want to evade the  Imperial tie-fighters, evade Lord  Vader as I navigate the Death Star's equatorial trench, and fire a laser bolt into the Death Star's thermal exhaust port."

 

In a simulationist game; each action requires a roll (or a opposed roll):  evading the tie fighters, evading Vader,  firing the laser that will destroy the Death Star.

In HQ you could fold everything into a single contest (or an extended contest, which would be better):  Vader's  skill in the 'Force', augmented by  his squadron of tie-fighters vs. Luke's skill in the 'Force', augmented by Solo's  piloting skill. The contest: "We want to destroy the Death Star by blasting the  thermal exhaust port." The contest  describes a whole series of actions and their outcome.

Parsing a contest down to a single sword-stroke is too granular, and not really in the spirit of the game.

 

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On 5/22/2018 at 11:42 AM, David Scott said:

In this example, with a complete success, his head will come off, with lesser levels you might cut his head and blood gets in his eyes.

 

I'm going to agree and disagree. This is valid RAW, but I think it only really makes sense to apply levels of victory and defeat to PCs. So really, we only care about the outcome for the defender when they are a PC. Everyone else, you care about the level of victory from the point of view of the PC, not the NPC. The 'mirror' rule is not important when you consider most NPCs don't have stats.

Why is this important? Because you get the prize on any victory. So if the agreed prize was lopping off the orc's head (presumably its important that this effect occurs) you get that on even a marginal victory. It's the prize, don't weaken player victory.

The rules do state, but its not obvious, that levels of victory/defeat are optional. You only need to use them when there is value in knowing more graded information about how the PC succeeds. That is useful in contests with graduated goals, or ones where victory encompasses a lot of scope. If you fight off the orc army, it's useful to know when, if ever, they will return for example, if the contest was about saving your community, but may be less important if they were just an obstacle on the way to some bigger goal.

HQ 2.0 changed quite a bit from HQ 1.0 and sometimes its easy to bring baggage from one to the other. in HQ 1.0 NPCs have stats, and it can make some sense to track their current status. But in HQ 2.0 we moved away from that to resistances. However, a lot of folks bring the interpretation from HQ and tend to use the mirroring all the time. I would suggest that you don't play that way.

The prize is often something more than straight death vs. life. It's "I kill the orc so that..." and the so that is the prize. But the narrator should narrate and choose the fate of the orc dependent on what makes sense in the narrative at that point. Otherwise you end up with a lot of unsatisfying minor and marginal victories where the villain lives to fight another day. I would favor just narrating via the PCs outcome, not trying to mirror that for the NPC.

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One important thing to note is that HQ 1.0 is essentially a middle-ground version of the system that appeared in HW, designed to appeal to RQ players more. As such it reverts slightly more to the RQ view that everything has stats just like a PC. With HQ 2.0 we move away from that. And with RQG coming out there is less pressure to provide something that works for RQG fans. So I would focus on it as a rules-lite game, and one that is PC focused. (Compare to PbTA games where only the players roll and only PCs have stats).

Can you kill the dragon with a simple contest? Sure. But don't make it an simple contest if that seems cheap. Will even a marginal victory kill the dragon? Sure. But when it's body crashes into the town below and crushes several houses, killing innocents, and the claims for compensation come...

Use levels of victory and defeat to create new story, not to create a whiff factor. PCs in HQ are heroes not zeroes.

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For me, the thing that always helps is to approach HQ like a movie. In a movie, the scale of action varies depending on what the point of the scene is. A sword fight between a man and an orc might look quite different depending on what point of the film we're in. Early in the movie, when Rurik is a total novice who is the only survivor of an orc attack on his farmstead, the fight might stretch out for several minutes, with each swing of the sword mattering because our hero isn't very skilled yet. So the film might get a lot of drama over whether Rurik can survive this desperate encounter.

Late in the film, when Rurik has finally tracked down the orc chieftain who ordered the raid that slaughtered Rurik's family, the sword fight between Rurik and the watchman orc on the edge of the camp might be totally incidental to the drama, which is about confronting the evil chieftain. So when Rurik fights the watchman, it might just be a single enchange of blows that's over in a second or two. Same challenge (kill the orc with a sword) with two very different dramatic objectives (kill the orc to survive vs kill the orc to get to the chieftain). 

So for me, HQ encourages me not to look at the specific action, but rather to consider the importance of the action in the dramatic narrative. No one at the table really cares about the watchman, but if Rurik can't kill him, we don't get to the much more dramatically interesting moment when Rurik finally gets a chance to avenge his dead family. So let's treat the watchman as a Simple contest while the chieftain is going to be an Extended contest. 

Put another way, in RQ you're simulating a series of fights. In HQ you're simulating a movie or tv show about a character who has a series of fights. Which system you want to use is determined by what it is you're interested in simulating. 

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On 5/25/2018 at 5:36 PM, Scout said:

But, 99.9% of the time when you fight an orc, it's to kill or be killed. Granted there are other reasons (prizes) for engaging with that orc, but that's just the 0.01% of the time. 

I'm not saying there's isn't another reason for conflict other than death-dealing, I'm just saying in most scenarios it's a battle to the death. 

And that is fine, really. Sometimes the prize is the obvious thing. The story may be about survival at this point.

In that case any victory kills the orc.

Things to watch for:

 - This contests, kill the orc, leads to another contest, kick down the door, and another contest, seize the gold from the room. In this case the prize is seize the gold.

- In a simple contest victory tells you if you seized the gold, and the level of victory tells you if the orcs ran off, to fight another day, or were mercilessly slaughtered. Its a simple contest because you just want to know whether we grabbed the gold and get to the next story beat.

In an extended contest victory the steps are important to play out. As we narrate gaining RPs we move through the narrative. Gain two RP - the gate guard falls to your blow, and you are into the main room where a couple of orcs spring from their seats to attach you. So by the time we get to the victory level we know a lot more about what 'seemed' to happen narratively. But because we don't know until the end, exactly how well you did we can't be sure if the orcs were really dead or just badly wounded etc. so we are cautious around 'his head flies off' narrative at this point (unless there are enough orcs a dramatic flourish won't impact our ability to assess results at the end).

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Here is my canonical example of a HeroQuest contest. The Viper vs. The Mountain.

Now this would seem to be a fight to the death, but actually the prize is a little different. The Mountain has a prize of: prove Tyrion's guilt. The Viper has a prize of: Force a confession that the Mountain raped and killed his sister. The GM declares that these are graduated goals. He tells the Viper's player that any victory will free Tyrion but only a Major Defeat or better will force the confession.

The Viper beats the Mountain, but its only a Minor Victory. To get a better Victory, and win the confession, the Viper tries a Parting Shot against his falling opponent. He fails, gives RPs to the Mountain, who then turns the tables and kills the Viper.

The Mountain gets the prize, Tyrion is found guilty.

The Viper is dead too, but that was incidental to the prize (though not to the Viper...)

 

 

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11 hours ago, Ian Cooper said:

Here is my canonical example of a HeroQuest contest. The Viper vs. The Mountain.

Now this would seem to be a fight to the death, but actually the prize is a little different. The Mountain has a prize of: prove Tyrion's guilt. The Viper has a prize of: Force a confession that the Mountain raped and killed his sister. The GM declares that these are graduated goals. He tells the Viper's player that any victory will free Tyrion but only a Major Defeat or better will force the confession.

The Viper beats the Mountain, but its only a Minor Victory. To get a better Victory, and win the confession, the Viper tries a Parting Shot against his falling opponent. He fails, gives RPs to the Mountain, who then turns the tables and kills the Viper.

The Mountain gets the prize, Tyrion is found guilty.

The Viper is dead too, but that was incidental to the prize (though not to the Viper...) 

I have to point out that the Mountain also dies.

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11 hours ago, Mark Mohrfield said:

I have to point out that the Mountain also dies.

But he gets the prize!

(I would point out that in a Climatic Extended Contest the Consequences table allows for both Winner and Loser to suffer consequences.

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This assignment of success or defeat levels is one of the major hurdles for me as a beginner. How to narrate the outcome. I have noticed that many of the fine people who answer nooby questions here with examples, don’t seem to go that little bit further and show the possible outcomes. The ‘yes but’, and ‘yes and’ qualifiers seem to indicate that a Minor victory is the default base line, but the original rules are no so helpful in expressing this - if I recall correctly.

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15 hours ago, Aprewett said:

This assignment of success or defeat levels is one of the major hurdles for me as a beginner. How to narrate the outcome.

I go with what feels right for the level of victory. Which is probably not a particularly helpful response at first glance, but I really don't worry about it in advance.  If I'm uncertain about what I think the result means and how to narrate it, I may ask the player what they think it means. 

15 hours ago, Aprewett said:

I have noticed that many of the fine people who answer nooby questions here with examples, don’t seem to go that little bit further and show the possible outcomes.

I honestly do not spend time explicitly framing most contests nor do I ever elaborate the possible outcomes. And that's ok because spending time doing so would get in the way of my narrative flow.

Now, I do have the advantage of playing PbF so I've got time to consider what makes sense for the result, but it's really a gut feel. "Minor" victory or defeat (which to some post by Ian quite awhile ago I've simply dropped the "minor") is the baseline of what you might expect to be achieved (or not). Marginal, not so much - there's always a "catch" if it's a victory, or some unintended/unexpected "benefit" if its a defeat. Major or complete victories - well, you just get something extra.

It's hard to express generally here - easier with a specific example. 

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I have been reading this thread with interest but finally made a profile so I could add a couple of things.

-

Firstly, the thread has very clearly come to a conclusion that we need more than just a brief description of a contest to properly explore this idea. Examples are hard, but context is absolutely everything. Creating an example where “I try and kill the Orc” is the whole context is kind of cheating, because that is never the complete context.

The term 'framing the conflict' implies external information. We are cropping the wider picture and narrowing down our focus to the conflict at the heart of the issue. Taken in the abstract there is a difference between asking “what are you doing” and asking “what is the conflict here” but that difference gets minimised if we only focus on examples that are already narrow.

This brings me to a cautionary point about the way Task Resolution vs. Conflict Resolution is often described online. Almost everyone uses Vincent’s example with the safe cracker, and it is a terrible example that was designed to tease out an entirely different issue. It takes for granted that the reader already has some idea of what the two things are and is asking a wider question about stakes. RPG theory is littered with misunderstandings and people arguing over each other’s shoulders, but that single blog post is the cause of more than its fair share of confusion and argument. We would be better off forgetting all about it.

It is far better to think of Conflict Resolution as an element of a system that decides the outcome of two conflicting desires of characters or things. Nothing more.

In examples that include fights the whole point is that we need to know why the fight is happening. This often rightly goes unexamined in the heat of the moment because usually when there is a fight in a game everyone is well aware of what the stakes are from the context. This technically means we don’t need to discuss the stakes much, if at all. However what is important to bear in mind is something that has already been handled in this thread, that we are going to resolve the whole thing with this element of the system (regardless of whether the system used is simple contest a group extended contest or any degree of complexity in between).

As a side note, even RQ had a very basic Conflict Resolution system built into it. The resistance table gave you a resolution between an active and passive force so you could tell how successful something was when you weren’t quite using Task Resolution. There is nothing new or weird about conflict resolution, it is just a way of looking at the ‘why’ of the dice roll.

-

My second point is that the HQ text as written is a little weak in this regard. As is often the case with the way RPGs are written there are a lot of implied ideas and concepts boiled down into simple procedures of play, and sometimes these concepts get a little obscured in the rules as written and leave things open to interpretation. In HQ “Naming the Prize” gets a little muddy. It is vital that the sakes of a contest are understood and the game rightly emphasises this. Many games use a ‘Stake Setting’ step in their Conflict Resolution mechanics, and the most successful ones don’t overcomplicate this. It is easy to fall into the trap of defining too much before you roll the dice. Nowhere does HQ encourage us to work towards a process of “if you win this happens and if I win this happens” but some people drift into this as a habit, maybe because they have played other games where this is encouraged, or maybe because a trusted blog or forum poster appears to be telling us this is how it works. That kind of stake setting actively works against us in HQ.

The important thing to remember is that the prize is not quite the same as the stakes, but the rules kind of mix these two concepts together. The prize and the attribute chosen go a long way towards defining the stakes, and usually at this point we understand what is going on enough to not discuss anything else, but in HQ the stakes are actually an abstract concept in the head of the GM based partly upon the conflicting desire of the other party.

I call this tendency to over define the stakes “prenarration” and the danger is it can rob the conflict of all of its nuance by boiling down the conflict too much, too early.

The beauty of HQ, in any of its forms, and the reason it rightly gets a lot of love from system nerds like me, is the way the conflict’s resolution actually hangs on the middle part of the process. Once we have an understanding of the nature of the conflict and what attributes are being used, and once the dice have hit the table, then and only then are we into the heart of the beast. This is when the stakes are really apparent. That is the moment we know how things are shaping up and the hero gets to decide if they wish to spend Hero Points.

The danger of over defining the conflict and prenarrating the stakes before this point is that it narrows interpretation. It hampers us from using our creativity at this key moment in the system. The final narration should be informed by this middle part. Even the choice not to spend hero points can be reflected in this narration. This is why RPG theorists describe the HQ system as a “fortune in the middle” system. The meat of the mechanics is at the point of rolling and applying Hero Points. That is the part that should be informing us. The grabby part. The part that allows us to make sure the outcome of the conflict is meaningful to the player.  This is what makes it more compatible with conflict resolution.

Fortune at the end games sew everything up before the roll, and the roll just gives us a procedural outcome. That makes for good task resolution, ( ie. the dice give us a level of success and a corresponding damage location and a damage quantity) but less than satisfying conflict resolution. You can do either with both, but each is better suited to one approach. We are best avoiding turning the HQ System into a Fortune at the End system. It was not designed to do that.

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My biggest problem, and I don’t know why I never expressed this before, except I did not want to appear to stupid or whiny, and this is after reading many threads and posting myself in oblique terms.

My problem, as a beginner to the system, was the framing. ‘Player states outcome and ref states outcome if player looses’. Now in a life and death struggle, the way I read that was on a defeat, the player could die if that was my failure outcome; eg - player kills enemy or enemy kills player. And then how do you read those success and defeat levels, as the system has this Consequences of Defeat, that just adds to the confusion. Why is the player only Hurt when my Ref frame was for the enemy to kill the player, and I now have to figure out some narrative to match the outcome. It is so very confusing, and I am sure it should be changed or re-written.

Now, I could be still be wrong, but as mentioned, advice I got back from Veterans of the system, is that this is not actually the case. The vets play it player facing, or what ever you might call it. But the rule book text does not support this. It just says - ref to ‘counter frame the contest’. If the vets have it right (which is totally not backed up in the rules, as far as a beginner reading  for the first time), they do it different, I can’t remember examples, I would have to dig up some of my earlier questions. Hence my wish to see more examples of Framing from the Ref’s side.

I mean you could still have a deadly encounter for the player, but in most cases this is not how its played. I just wish the rule book was more clearer on this. It seems like its about the story/narration from the side of the player. Still not sure how I am supposed to Frame most deadly encounters. I hope I do have this correct, otherwise its a supper deadly system.

Anyway, confusion persists, I am sure I will get it one day.

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36 minutes ago, Aprewett said:

My problem, as a beginner to the system, was the framing.

Do you have the HeroQuest core rules, as well as HeroQuest: Glorantha?

My biggest issue with the HQ:G rulebook is that far too many of the great examples in the HQ:CR have been missed out (or not updated to reflect Glorantha, since most of the HQ:CR examples are non-Gloranthan).

Sure, there are examples of play in HQ:G but I found the examples in HQ:CR much much clearer.

Edited by Steve
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13 hours ago, Aprewett said:

My problem, as a beginner to the system, was the framing. ‘Player states outcome and ref states outcome if player looses’. Now in a life and death struggle, the way I read that was on a defeat, the player could die if that was my failure outcome; eg - player kills enemy or enemy kills player. And then how do you read those success and defeat levels, as the system has this Consequences of Defeat, that just adds to the confusion. Why is the player only Hurt when my Ref frame was for the enemy to kill the player, and I now have to figure out some narrative to match the outcome. It is so very confusing, and I am sure it should be changed or re-written.

Now, I could be still be wrong, but as mentioned, advice I got back from Veterans of the system, is that this is not actually the case. The vets play it player facing, or what ever you might call it.

I don't know why I never got in the habit of framing the outcome to determine what might happen if the player loses, but I never did. Maybe I just had an inherent feeling that it was better to roll the dice, consider the outcomes and the margin of victory, and see where the story went from there. Now, maybe if one of my players had been a rules-lawyer that could have been an issue, but none have been.  And so it just becomes a more narrative flow without that explicit framing.

I also tend to reserve life-and-death struggles for extended contests occurring either in the central climax or the final resolution of a given "session". Not exclusively, but that tends to be the case. And with Extended Contests it's quite clear what the outcomes levels are (e.g. Hurt, Impaired, …, Dead).

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13 hours ago, Aprewett said:

Anyway, confusion persists, I am sure I will get it one day.

Btw, if you want examples of how I run it, there's 5+ years worth of my play-by-post HQG game online.

The original starts here: https://rpggeek.com/thread/1204787/ic-heroquest-glorantha-colymar-campaign-2-orlmarth

 Or you look at the middle years with a more "matured" style here: https://rpggeek.com/thread/1564572/ic-heroquest-glorantha-colymar-campaign-2-orlmarth 

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In my opinion, as soon as the players have named the prize, their goal, it is somehow natural to stop here. After all, playing to know whether the characters reach their goal or not is pretty enough in order to frame a conflict.

As Game Masters, we have a lot of things to do and think about when running games, it is thus very easy to forget a rule or process that it is not really required to play the game.

I don't say this is the right way to play, of course, just that it seems to be very easy and natural to drift towards player facing.

Edited by Corvantir

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