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How would you adjudicate one group trying to sneak past another group (who are aware of them)?  Say 4 adventurers try to sneak past 4 guards. 

With one-on-one stealth (assuming that sight is more important than hearing):

  1. The adventurer rolls Move Quietly as an augment to Hide.
  2. The guard rolls Listen as an augment to Search (or Scan, if more relevant).
  3. Now that the augments have been resolved, if either contestant has a skill over 100, then he/she lowers his/her skill to 100, and the other contestant lowers his/her skill by the same amount.
  4. The adventurer rolls Hide.
  5. The guard rolls Search (or Scan).

The results of the two final rolls (Hide vs Search) are compared, and if the adventurer gets a better result, he/she is past the guard.  If the guard gets the better result, the adventurer is found, and if they tie, presumably the task is ongoing (maybe the adventurer hasn't got by yet, but the guard also hasn't found the adventurer).

This seems fair enough. 

However, what happens in the initially mentioned situation, where it's 4 on 4?  Several solutions present themselves:

  • The guards all roll their skills, and the adventurers all roll theirs, and we compare the best guard result to the worst adventurer result.  This has problems if one of the adventurers has skill (after augment) of over 100: how would that be resolved?  Further, with larger groups, the odds of at least one guard getting a success and at least one adventurer getting a failure start getting large to the point where the guards will always succeed.
  • Each pair gets resolved individually.  So adventurer 1 makes an opposed roll with guard 1, then with guard 2, then with guard 3, and then guard 4.  Then adventurer 2 repeats the process.  This deals with the over 100 skill problem, but still leaves pretty good odds that somewhere along the line, an adventurer will lose to a guard.  Plus it's 16 opposed rolls, which would be cumbersome to resolve (and heaven forbid that there were more guards/adventurers!).
  • The worst adventurer pairs off with the best guard, and they make an opposed roll.  Nobody else needs to roll.  This cuts down on the rolls, deals with the over 100 problem, but leaves a few issues unaddressed.  Namely, it's no more difficult for one person to sneak than 10, as long as they all have similar skill levels.  Conversely, it's no more easy to find someone when searching alone, than when in a posse.  Further, if some of the adventurers are better at sneaking, couldn't they help the more inept member of the group in some way?
  • Calculate an average skill for the adventurers and an average skill for the guards, and then roll opposed rolls once for each group.   This involves a bit of arithmetic, especially if the guards and adventurers have heterogeneous skill levels.

I'm curious as to how people would deal with this in their game. 

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I would say it depends.
In the Adventure Book of RQG it's suggested that all adventurers roll for Listen or Scan. Not as opposed rolls but rather scene-defining to help or hinder the group.

Regarding the question of Group tasks I would use the different mechanisms for different purposes.
Is this scene from your narrative perspective important or just an obstacle? Then maybe let only roll one of them for one skill (plus augmentation). Or maybe all of them and decide the outcome of the scene according to the results.

I would use opposed rolls as zoom-in rules mechanics, but only for 1on1-situations, i.e. the character is trying to sneak behind the guard. Even if there are a couple of guards I would only use ONE opposition.

I understand the rules not as a tool for simulate scenes but rather as a toolset for modelling scenes rules-wise. Which application of the "Game System" is useful for certain situations to produce tension and complies the RQG credo of MGF.

A resolution like "let's roll for all involved NPCs and PCs" and calculate the outcome like an accountant is not so good imho. Especially when a situation only serve as an obstacle or template for narration.

Edited by prinz.slasar

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I agree with either not rolling for the guards or using only one roll for the guards. Otherwise that mathematics behind things turns heavily against the players, who not only must succeed in order to be quiet, but must also hope one of the four NPCs don't beat them. What happens is that the need to have all the rolls in the series come out in favor of the PCs in order to succeed, can quickly make stealth completely impractical, and thus not worth trying.

For instance, let's say you got 4 PCs who are good at Stealth (75%) and four guards who are not especially Perceptive (say 25%) skill. The chances of all four PCs succeeding in Stealth is less than 32%, as is the chance for all four guards to fail to make their roll. The final chance of success is only 10%, and that is without factoring in degrees of success or opposed rolls, which would make things even worse for the PCs.

I'd suggest that if the PCs are just sneaking past the guards, have good cover, and not attacking them, that the guards shouldn't even get a roll unless a PC fails, or if the guard's relevant perception skill (i.e. Listen) is higher than the PCs Move Quietly/Hide, and that would be after factoring in any modifiers (range, lighting, cover, distractions, fatigue, weather). Otherwise the guards will notice something just about all the time. Most of the time nothing happens on guard duty, so most of the time the guards wouldn't expect trouble and wouldn't notice much. If when the guards have a good reason to be expecting someone to be sneaking by, fairly soon, that they would be more alert and attentive, and harder to sneak past. I'd probably just reat numbers of guards as a modfier to the roll, should they get one, and that's assuming the guards are close together.

 

 

Edited by Atgxtg
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Thanks for the replies, and do keep them coming!

Just to clarify one point from Atgxtg's suggestions: in the case where no-one is actively searching, the method suggested in the corebook (for one character) is simply to check for success (no opposed roll).

However, to crib Atgxtg's example, with 4 adventurers with 75% stealth, they would only have a 32% chance of getting past guards who were not looking for them, which seems low for such skilled folk. 

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I completely agree with Atgxtg. If you insist on rolling dices, I would suggest 1 die roll (the worse) for the stealth part and 1 die roll (the worse) for the perception part. In case of success, all the member of the party receives an experience check because the roll has been made below all the scores of the party. This is how we did in our last RQIII campaign.

Kloster

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The other thing you could do is have the party nominate a group action leader (usually the person with the best skill level, who is effectively pathfinding or instructing the others how to move/act). In this example they would move quietly ahead of the others, and would make their skill roll as normal. If that roll succeeds then all is well, and if not the group action fails. The other players also roll, but the group action does not fail unless one or more players rolls a fumble (i.e. a failed roll does not affect the success of the group moving quietly). Therefore all players play a part in the action, but the chances of success are kept at a reasonable level.

You could do the same for the guards with Listen rolls but just the highest skilled NCP, if you wanted to do opposed rolls.

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What I normally do is:

  • For a contest with 1 PC and a group of NPCs, the best NPC rolls to see if they can beat the PC
  • For a contest with 1 NPC and a group of PCs, each PC can roll to see if they can beat the NPC

That way, the PCs have an advantage.

I know that it breaks the rule that the rules work the same for PCs as NPCs, but it is more satisfying for players.

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My immediate inclination would be to ask all PCs to roll the Augment, but then have only the one with the worst augmented Hide skill make the actual roll for sneaking, and to similarly have only the guard with the best augmented Scan or Search make the opposing roll (or, more accurately, make a single roll for all of the guards).

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OH, just to clarify, this "problem" with groups is more a matter of mathematics and dice than one of game system and game mechanics. The same sort of thing happens with most RPGs. It's just a case of the more rolls you make the better the chances are than one roll will fail, but the PCs can't afford even one failure.

Some possible ways to address this could be:

1. Allow the PCs to fail a roll, or just say the majority of the group has to succeed in order to succeed. If only some of the PCs fail you get one of those classic scenes where sone guard asks another 'Did you hear something?" they Reply" No, did you?" followed by the sound of chirping crickets and and a return to the poker game.

2. Give those who move quietly a certain safe distance that can be where they don't have to make a roll. This kinda makes sense, since if someone is 100 meters away when they trip, they probably won't be heard. Something like, say the lowest of thier MQ special chance (in yards/meters) or the opponents Listen special chance. Same for Hide and Spot/Search, That would encourage PCs to keep their distance when sneaking (realistic) but also keep them a bit unsure as to just what a safe distance would be (also realistic). And it's playable too. 

 

 

 

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I'll ask the PCs to pick one of them (the one with the best move quietly/hide skill), then have the others roll the same skill to augment him. Same with the NPCs, then one opposition roll.

Result should be similar to a sum of the PCs hide versus a sum of the NPCs search.

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5 minutes ago, kirinyaga said:

I'll ask the PCs to pick one of them (the one with the best move quietly/hide skill), then have the others roll the same skill to augment him. Same with the NPCs, then one opposition roll.

Result should be similar to a sum of the PCs hide versus a sum of the NPCs search.

Not really. The thing is more people shouldn't make hiding or sneaking easier. Think about it. An army can't sneak past another army easier than one guy can sneak past another.

 

Instead of an augment, maybe you have failure take away from the best character?

 

 

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Sure, each successful augment increases the skill percentage, but so it does for the opposing group. So what really matters here is the difference between the average skill of the two groups. 

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23 minutes ago, kirinyaga said:

Sure, each successful augment increases the skill percentage, but so it does for the opposing group. So what really matters here is the difference between the average skill of the two groups. 

Noit really. What matters is how good the best characters are, and how much the average varies from 50%, as those over 50% will get more augments Going with my four on four example above, the PCs a 75% will probably get two augments and be in the 95% success range, while the guards will be lucky to get any augments. So you wind up with 95% vs. 25% which is better for the PCs.

And frankly it doesn't make sense, and sets a bad precedent for future sessions.. From now on your group of PCs will want to sneak in larger groups so as not to be detected. I could see a grouip of PC hiring a small army of incompetents just for the augment bonuses.

 

 

Edited by Atgxtg

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Failing an augment give -20%, you don't want an army of incompetents 😉

And, indeed, with 25% in search, the guards have few chances to detect the PCs. I'm fine with that. 

In practice, you will have 3-5 PCs and 2-6 guards, with close average skill. One/two PCs with a high hide skill will allow the group to pass undetected. Maybe it's a bit too HeroQuesty, but I find it fine.

Of course, it depends why this scene is happening, scenario-wise. But I think another way I'll play it will be the opposite : allow the highest skilled PC to augment the skill of the others PCs and make each of them roll against a global search from the guards.

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I ran up a quick graph of what the average effect is of an augment on a skill.  Reading off a couple of pertinent numbers:

  • With skill level 25, you have an average augment of -9.6 (you fail a lot, and fumble quite a bit).
  • With skill level 75, you have an average augment of 12 (you rarely fumble, and have good odds of getting special or critical successes).

So if a 25 skill level is augmented with a 25 skill level, that lowers the chance of success to 15%, whereas at skill 75, the augment raises the success chance to 87%.

I like the idea of using augments to deal with these group activities.  For example, you could do:

  • The worst adventurer (in terms of hiding) makes the roll, with an augment from the best adventurer.
  • The best guard (in terms of searching) makes the roll, with an augment from the second best guard.

However, there's one problem with using augments here: augmentation might already be going on between Move Quietly and Hide (or Listen and Scan/Search for the searchers).  I suppose if one is happy to augment augmentation rolls, then one could have:

  • The best Move Quietly adventurer makes an augmentation roll.
  • The worst Move Quietly adventurer makes an augmentation roll (using the preceding MQ augmentation).  Now we know how well Moving Quietly is going for the group.
  • The best Hide adventurer makes an augmentation roll (using the preceding MQ augmentation).
  • The worst Hide adventurer makes a final roll (using the preceding Hide augmentation).

Meanwhile, from the guards' perspective:

  • The second best Listen guard makes an augmentation roll.
  • The best Listen guard makes an augmentation roll (using the previous Listen augmentation).  Now we know how much listening is contributing for the group.
  • The second best Scan/Search guard makes an augmentation roll (using the preceding Listen augmentation).
  • The best Scan/Search guard makes a final roll (using the preceding Scan/Search augmentation).

This would mean that as a searcher, having helpers with skill 48 or more will make for an easier time.  Similarly being a hider, if your team leader has a skill 48 or more, they may be able to help you pull through even if your skills are fairly mediocre.  Note that this would mean that from the guards' perspective, it may be better to let one person do the searching.  This seems reasonable: "We sent Mr Magoo to check the haystack, and he said he didn't see anyone there."

RQ_augment.jpg

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4 minutes ago, Tupper said:

However, there's one problem with using augments here: augmentation might already be going on between Move Quietly and Hide (or Listen and Scan/Search for the searchers).  I suppose if one is happy to augment augmentation rolls, then one could have:

  • The best Move Quietly adventurer makes an augmentation roll.
  • The worst Move Quietly adventurer makes an augmentation roll (using the preceding MQ augmentation).  Now we know how well Moving Quietly is going for the group.
  • The best Hide adventurer makes an augmentation roll (using the preceding MQ augmentation).
  • The worst Hide adventurer makes a final roll (using the preceding Hide augmentation).

Meanwhile, from the guards' perspective:

  • The second best Listen guard makes an augmentation roll.
  • The best Listen guard makes an augmentation roll (using the previous Listen augmentation).  Now we know how much listening is contributing for the group.
  • The second best Scan/Search guard makes an augmentation roll (using the preceding Listen augmentation).
  • The best Scan/Search guard makes a final roll (using the preceding Scan/Search augmentation).

This would mean that as a searcher, having helpers with skill 48 or more will make for an easier time.  Similarly being a hider, if your team leader has a skill 48 or more, they may be able to help you pull through even if your skills are fairly mediocre.  Note that this would mean that from the guards' perspective, it may be better to let one person do the searching.  This seems reasonable: "We sent Mr Magoo to check the haystack, and he said he didn't see anyone there."

Is this canonically legal, though?  Using A to augment B, using the (augmented) B to augment C, using the (doubly-augmented) C to augment D...?

I'm pretty sure it's NOT legal for a single character to entrain a suite of augmentations this way.  I'm not sure (either way) about a group.

This COULD be a very nice mechanism for expressing how group activities work, why a Group is better than the sum of their parts...

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I'd keep it simple. Ultimately your pitching the least effective PC vs the most perceptive NPC. As was mentioned above, the PC's only need to fail once, and the Guards just need to pass once. So make it one opposed roll. If they both pass then, as a tie, the situation is unresolved, warranting another roll to keep the tension.

I personally would not allow one PC to augment another's Move Quietly in the manner described above. The players would need to come up with a valid reason why one persons actions can make another person more 'stealthy'; 

 

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I guess if one doesn't like chained augmentation, then one has a choice between making the task depend on one skill (but with group contributions)

  • Have the best hider make a Hide augment roll.
  • Use this augment for the worst hider who makes the final Hide roll.
  • Now have the second best scanner/searcher make a Scan/Search augment roll.
  • Use this augment for the best scanner/searcher to make the final Scan/Search roll.

or have the task depend on both skills (but with less group contributions)

  • Have the worst Move Quietly adventurer make a Move Quietly augment roll.
  • Use this augment for the worst Hider who makes the actual roll.
  • Now have the best listener amongst the guards make a Listen augment roll.
  • Use this augment for the best scanner/searcher to make the final Scan/Search roll.

or (as Psullie suggests) make it simpler again (and ignore both linked skills and group dynamics)

  • Have the worst hider make a hide roll.
  • Have the best scanner/searcher make a scan/search roll.

The appeal here (besides speed at the table) would be that this leaves both the adventurer and the guard able to use their passions/runes to augment the task roll.

As a comment in terms of simplicity versus complexity, I'm generally in favour of simple solutions.  However, in this case, given that a fight between 8 (or more) people could easily take over an hour to resolve, spending a couple of minutes resolving a stealth situation that replaces it is probably "good value" from the point of view of having lots happen in a gaming session.  More players getting to roll dice keeps everyone engaged in what's going on.  Lastly, if you're the player whose character is good at hiding, it seems a shame that you don't get to contribute anything when the group decides to be stealthy. 😀

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1 hour ago, g33k said:

Is this canonically legal, though?  Using A to augment B, using the (augmented) B to augment C, using the (doubly-augmented) C to augment D...? 

I'm pretty sure it's NOT legal for a single character to entrain a suite of augmentations this way.  I'm not sure (either way) about a group.

"Only one augment may be attempted per ability, and an ability can only be used once per session to augment a task being attempted." (RQG, p 144)

"At the gamemaster’s discretion, an adventurer can use one ability to augment another adventurer’s ability, such as using one skill to bolster another, working cooperatively or in support of another." (RQG, p 145)

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2 hours ago, prinz.slasar said:

"Only one augment may be attempted per ability, and an ability can only be used once per session to augment a task being attempted." (RQG, p 144)

Yes. but if we're being pedantic the Fire/Sky rune's Perception use isn't the same ability as Listen isn't the same ability as Scan.  So... can I augment my Scan with my Listen, which was augmented by a Fire/Sky?

I'm not sure there's a clear RAW answer (I'm not sure there's not, either), but I'm disinclined to permit it, in any case.

2 hours ago, prinz.slasar said:

"At the gamemaster’s discretion, an adventurer can use one ability to augment another adventurer’s ability, such as using one skill to bolster another, working cooperatively or in support of another." (RQG, p 145)

But can adventurer A augment adventurer B who uses the augmented ability to augment Adventurer C (and so on, and so on, and so on)?  The RAW doesn't seem to address this "induction to infinity" case, but it makes the first step from which (by induction) all the rest follow.

By the RAW, this appears legal...  And this one I AM inclined to allow -- it makes for teamwork within the party, adds some interesting tactical options (do I take my OWN action as Harmast, or augment Vasana's possibly-better action to be even-better?)

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23 hours ago, Psullie said:

The players would need to come up with a valid reason why one persons actions can make another person more 'stealthy'; 

Speaking as someone who has done this in RL -- as the "lead" person I can point to snap'able sticks, rustling leaves, slippery spots, branches & twigs that might snag/grab.  If I spot one of a flocking bird species nearby, I can halt the group until the flock naturally moves on (where if I/anyone moved in, they'd startle en masse); etc etc etc.  The stealthiest won't be able to raise others to the same level, but they can help others who are less-skilled!

Edited by g33k
typo

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13 minutes ago, g33k said:

Yes. but if we're being pedantic the Fire/Sky rune's Perception use isn't the same ability as Listen isn't the same ability as Scan.  So... can I augment my Scan with my Listen, which was augmented by a Fire/Sky? 

 

Maybe there is a significant difference between RAW and RAI, but I interpret the phrase chronological backwards.
You wrote: " Using A to augment B, using the (augmented) B to augment C, using the (doubly-augmented) C to augment D"

Let's take ability D, which is a triple-augmented ability. According to the paragraph on page 144 this is not allowed, because an ability may be augmented only once.

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2 minutes ago, prinz.slasar said:

Maybe there is a significant difference between RAW and RAI, but I interpret the phrase chronological backwards.
You wrote: " Using A to augment B, using the (augmented) B to augment C, using the (doubly-augmented) C to augment D"

Let's take ability D, which is a triple-augmented ability. According to the paragraph on page 144 this is not allowed, because an ability may be augmented only once.

We're getting into the semantic weeds, here...  You may be right, EXCEPT that abilities A & B were never applied to D; only C augmented D.  So that's legal... kinda...

I'm playing devil's advocate here -- I think the argument I make (above) is incorrect, and I disallow it at my table.  But I can understand a different reading of the RAW and I cannot find either one to be the definitively correct one.

In the end, I don't actually mind if another table plays another way; but I do wish Chaosium would clarify this point, because I expect to get into disagreements (at a 'Con or FLGS, if the game flourishes enough) and I really dislike this sort of disagreement at the actual gaming-table, particularly in the limited timeframe of 'Con/demo/etc.

 

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my main point here is that creating an ad hoc rule to resolve a situation not explicit in the book should obey the parcimony principle and reuse a mechanism already present in the existing rules. It enforces a rule consistency and it helps players to get a sense of how the world works. I always try to reuse stuff like decreasing multiplier from drowning rules for an increasingly difficult situation, attack skill limitation to ride skill for a skill composition situation, and so on ...

Here, the augment system is the first thing popping to my mind for this situation. Still, it needs to stay simple, and I feel the chaining augment is not part of the rules. Normal rule is one augment for one PC. Chaining is possible only when you allow one PC to augment someone else. While rules allow this, it should not be used to disable the initial limitation.

Finally I think I like the idead to just let the best PC augment the skill of the worst one then let the second best guard augment the best one, and do an opposition roll without further augments. Remember we're talking about a simple situation here, it has to be resolved in a simple way. If you want to make this an extensive scene, you'll have a PC rolling a few skills to make distracting noises away from the other PCs path, maybe a few spells used, and a lot more stuff going on anyway.

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15 hours ago, g33k said:

Speaking as someone who has done this in RL -- as the "lead" person I can point to snap'able sticks, rustling leaves, slippery spots, branches & twings that might snag/grab.  If I spot one of a flocking bird species nearby, I can halt the group until the flock naturally moves on (where if I/anyone moved in, they'd startle en masse); etc etc etc.  The stealthiest won't be able to raise others to the same level, but they can help others who are less-skilled!

As a side note, The One Ring allows for exactly this sort of assistance; you can get one, two, or three successes if you make your Stealth skill test, but you only need one to be stealthy yourself, and the rules allow you to spend the extra successes to compensate for other party members who fail their own Stealth tests. It's one of my favourite things about that game.

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