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Extended Contests: introducing some tactic or shortening them


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2 hours ago, Aprewett said:

In the end only one player left standing and if I did it correct with the point score difference between him and the monster the monster only came out with a Hurt condition. The Frame was to defeat the thing, so now I am really confused as to how/when/why to use a EC. Probably operator error, but much confusion. What is the point of the 'Frame the outcome' if the system then gives a different result.

In HQ you always look at the contest from the PCs point of view. The monster did not actually get Hurt condition, the players got a Marginal Victory. So, if the frame was to defeat the monster they got it. The monster was defeated. But as it was Marginal the players might've done it so that they don't get some other advance. For example, if they were to bring the monsters head as a trophy they smashed the thing so badly that the head is no use. Also, depending on the type of the EC (Rising Action / Climactic) the PCs might be Hurt or Injured etc.

This was one major thing for me to grok in the system: If the opponent is defeated (in EC), read the whole success level of the contest from the opponent's defeat level. 

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Sure, you could say "The Ghoul has won a Complete Victory and starts eating you, you are all dead". Well done, you get to roll up new characters, Or, you could say "The Ghoul has won a Complete V

If the goal was to kill the Ghoul, they've succeeded. But what does it mean to be a Marginal Victory? Several possibilities with very different outcomes: it was able to unleash its Howl and thou

With chained/serial simple contests, you just frame a simple contest on a specific event or exchange rather than an overall conflict. Any benefits of victory or consequences of defeat are applied imme

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@Aprewett, the degree of success and the consequences are linked but are two things.

When you frame a contest, the players state their goal and then their strategies.After that, do the same

We then play the Extended Contest to determine who wins, the players or their opponents. The final Degree of Success then tells us by how much they succeed or fail.

The Consequences are not directly indicating whether the Heroes succeed or fail, this is the Degree of Success computed from the losers' Consequences that does.

In your case, the players earned a Marginal Victory. As the goal of the players was to defeat the Ghoul, the ghoul is defeated but is only Hurt in the process. May be as it managed to scamper away.

If their goal had been to kill the Ghoul, the Ghoul would be dead, because it was their goal and they succeeded. The Ghoul is dead even if it is a Marginal Victory only.

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1 hour ago, Corvantir said:

If their goal had been to kill the Ghoul, the Ghoul would be dead, because it was their goal and they succeeded. The Ghoul is dead even if it is a Marginal Victory only.

If the goal was to kill the Ghoul, they've succeeded. But what does it mean to be a Marginal Victory? Several possibilities with very different outcomes:

  • it was able to unleash its Howl and though they've won, all heroes are demoralized
  • it was able to unleash its Howl, and call more ghouls - it's dead, but if they don't get away fast, they'll be facing multiple ghouls
  • though they killed it, the malignant ghoul spirit has arisen from the corpse - perhaps seeking a new more suitable host (and then track down the heroes)
  • as the ghoul 'dies', and the ghoulish spirit flees, they discover the corpse was really a long-lost kinsmen possessed by the spirit - have they possibly committed kin-strife? 
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Earlier in the thread I made mention of an alternate system I was considering for extended contests, since like the OP players, I felt the HQ2 extended contests were a bit boring, and lacked strategy, or even risk/reward since everything is boiled down to an opposed D20. Last night, I convinced my regular RQ group to try out my idea of chained contests, and a condition monitor of 20 Action Points. I used the Edge and Handicap rules, and then at the last minute, gave the option of bidding AP, or just using chained contests.

Chained contests, while perfectly usable, gave a bit of a feel of sameness. It was always the same point outcomes. Then one player FINALLY decided to risk big, while engaged with the two leading officers of the war band they were fighting. So the Humakti warrior player bet 10 AP, and rolled a Crit! ( use high roll, with the actual number being the Crit number) The opponent failed, resulting in a huge AP transfer, and took out the officer who had been slowly getting whittled down. 

I am now a solid believer in AP wagering. It certainly adds drama to the contests, and makes every character decision more important than just rolling the dice in a first to five, or chained contests. Im not sure if Im going to continue to use the condition monitor I created, or use the HQ1 AP system (2 times starting ability) But, I AM going to try to convince the group to convert to HQ1, with elements of HQ2, instead of RQG. Its a faster paced game, and from a GM standpoint much easier to run, since there are far fewer stats to track.


CorvantirYou may want to look into the HQ1 extended contests, and AP bidding. That MAY be the trick your players are looking for.

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6 hours ago, Aprewett said:

Where do you find HQ1 please?

I found a copy from a third party seller on Amazon, but you can find them on eBay as well 

I also found the hero wars books. The two systems are similar, but there are differences in character generation especially. 

However, I went with hq2 on character generation, because it's more streamlined. 

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Sorry for the thread derail, but with so many vets on hand it’s great.

So my problem with all this and I am very much a novice. So I will try to explain in short hand so as not to write a thesis.

When you read all these threads for this system and the system its self leads to confusion.

We have system that as written and as I mentioned before delivered a consequence of defeat at odds with the desire of the players, so the advice is to just give them the outcome to greater or lesser extent, that was the frame, but what if the tables are turned and this happened to 2 of the 3 players, they were defeated. I give them a wound level equal to the defeat, but what if all the players went down?

My ghoul wants the same outcome as them, to kill them and in its case eat them. So if it wins by just the least victory level it gets that outcome also? But I remember reading advice that this is not how you do it, instead you assign the consequence of defeat level - hurt etc to them. I just can’t see how to use the Extended Contest in a physical conflict. Other contests I can see working.

I should probably give up and just try to wing some semblance of a system for myself. But what we novices need is more examples, clear examples from multiple outcomes. If all my players had been defeated via the Group Extended Contest what then? TPK? You would sort of think the outcome should be using the same system for both parties.

Sorry if I am being dense, I just cant see the system in action. It must work, but I just need more examples, otherwise I will just keep most system use to Simple Contests.

I should add in case it matters how I ran the contest.

The ghoul came out of the shadows and attacked pc1, so from that point pc1 faced the full difficulty of the encounter. Pc2 and 3 jumped in with magic and sword, so one had MOP -3 and the next MOP -6. I ran each contest separately with points mounting up on each side. The magic was all at range so that had to be narrated and I did plenty of fight narration and movement. But the mage failed first and then I think pc1 went down leaving pc3 on the same exchange to win the day. The Rising Action Resolution gave a Marginal Victory. The Mage who was defeated came out Injured, sort of a game over event as this was just the starting scene as they entered the villains lair. Can’t remember the other defeated pc’s injury and even the last man standing was Hurt.

We are going to have to do a redo, I am fairly sure I mucked up the difficulty level of the encounter, but that aside we came away with a unsatisfying experience. My only idea is to run individual simple contests chained together if I understand how that works and assign consequences at the end of each exchange. They should be able to play more tactically also by moving around and swapping out characters to keep the best fighter type as the one facing the full difficulty and the others snipping from the sides.

So I sort of get how its supposed to play out as a narration system but it’s like the system has two side by side resolution systems, ghosting along but not one clear way to handle situations.

Edited by Aprewett
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3 hours ago, Aprewett said:

Sorry if I am being dense, I just cant see the system in action. It must work, but I just need more examples, otherwise I will just keep most system use to Simple Contests.

Like you, I'm new to these rules, and am trying to treat how to use them. The first to five extended contest just doesn't fire my imagination. I did really enjoy the AP wagering system and am going to use it. 

I do kind of feel that by making the system so flexible, it's lost some edge.  It makes me wonder why they switched from the wager system, to an even more abstract extended contest system.

Edited by godsmonkey
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@Aprewett, the players won because one of the characters was the last to stand up. A side wins an Extended Contest as soon as there are no more contestants on the opposite side. One of the Heroes is the last to stand, they win. Their goal was to defeat the Ghoul, it is defeated.

You then look at the Consequence of Defeat inflicted upon the Ghoul to determine the Level of Victory, which means by how much they succeeded.

If it helps, you can read the Level of Victories otherwise, like this :

Complete Defeat > No, and... and...

Major Defeat > No, and...

Minor Defeat > No

Marginal Defeat > No, but...

Marginal Victory > Yes, but...

Minor Victory > Yes

Major Victory > Yes, and...

Complete Victory > Yes, and... and...

Your players earned a Marginal Victory. This is a "yes, but..." result. So YES, the players have defeated the Ghoul, BUT it managed to escape (or whatever @jajagappa gave as an example a few posts earlier). If we consider the Ghoul, this is a Marginal Defeat, a "No, but..." result. So NO, it didn't kill the characters, BUT it managed to escape, it is Hurt.

@godsmonkey, I have read the Extended Contests rules of HQ1 this weekend. Yes, I agree that there is definitely something interesting in the HQ1 Action Points (AP). It could well fill my players' needs. If my first plans don't work, this is definitely something to test. I might even test it with a one shot someday.

I also think that HQ2 and HQ1 are closer than what I thought. Many Tactical Options of HQ2 seem to me as if they were bids in disguise. I think that HQ2 plays faster than HQ1 though. It feels somehow more natural to me than HQ1.

 

 

Edited by Corvantir
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17 minutes ago, Corvantir said:

I think that HQ2 plays faster than HQ1 though. It feels somehow more natural to me than HQ1.

Agree on the first point, not so much the second. But Like YGMV, YHQMV. For me, and my players, I like the variability of the AP wagers. It seems like the players got far more involved that the more abstract RP system.

However, I can see instances where a simple contest is too macro, and AP bidding would take too long for the level of importance. So maybe, use all three methods? 

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I think that the rules as intended by the author Robin d laws, are that you don't obtain the price of the contest unless you have a major victory.

And this is stated in other threads here on BRP Central an from the same words of Laws on rpg.net. If I interpreted the words correctly (I'm not a native English speaker).

Now I'm writing from mobile phone so it is difficult to link those threads.

 

That said, in my games I use the "no but, no, yes, yes but etc." result table.

And for making the extended contests intersting, I use a personal reworked version of the chained contest rule. Being from mobile I can't describe it in details, anyway at every turn I use a lot the lesson from apocalypse world: fictional positioning and using the result of the single contest to create intersting situations.

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28 minutes ago, Tartarosso said:

And for making the extended contests intersting, I use a personal reworked version of the chained contest rule. Being from mobile I can't describe it in details, anyway at every turn I use a lot the lesson from apocalypse world: fictional positioning and using the result of the single contest to create intersting situations.

When you can, I'd be interested in seeing your  house rules. 

 

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6 hours ago, Tartarosso said:

I think that the rules as intended by the author Robin d laws, are that you don't obtain the price of the contest unless you have a major victory.

And this is stated in other threads here on BRP Central an from the same words of Laws on rpg.net. If I interpreted the words correctly (I'm not a native English speaker).

Now I'm writing from mobile phone so it is difficult to link those threads.

 

That said, in my games I use the "no but, no, yes, yes but etc." result table.

And for making the extended contests intersting, I use a personal reworked version of the chained contest rule. Being from mobile I can't describe it in details, anyway at every turn I use a lot the lesson from apocalypse world: fictional positioning and using the result of the single contest to create intersting situations.

I think you are wrong about only getting the prize with a major victory: 

"All of the resolution methods yield degrees of success for the victor."

Naming the prize: Game Masters start framing the contest by asking the involved player(s) what prize they’re trying to win, or what goal they’re hoping to achieve.

Marginal Victory: A nominal victory or defeat, with little gain or loss. The victor gains only the immediate benefits of winning. The loser suffers no lasting effects of his defeat beyond the end of the contest.
 

I believe it means that you get the prize, and the marginal, major, etc is HOW WELL you did it. So you GET the prize even if you only get a marginal victory. 

 

Here is a good example from the book:

Finding Your Way (The Prize)

  • Complete Victory: You find a secret way or shortcut that lets you pass the way quickly and securely.
  • Major Victory: You are very sure of your way, and get there quickly and without problems.
  • Minor Victory: You know where you are going, and get there easily.
  • Marginal Victory: You get there, but it takes awhile. (You still get the prize even for marginal victory)
  • Marginal Defeat: You thought you knew where you were going, but take a wrong turn.
  • Minor Defeat: You went off track somehow.
  • Major Defeat: You are utterly lost.
  • Complete Defeat: You are lost, and in a dangerous place.

At least that is my interpretation.

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Hello @Telen666gard
probably you are right. Anyway I find the expression

12 hours ago, Telen666gard said:

The victor gains only the immediate benefits of winning

Confusing to me. Moreover an old topic in which Laws answered directly, confused me more because I didn't remembered it well.

In fact the topic was about a particular situation. Here the link to Laws answer

https://forum.rpg.net/index.php?threads/heroquest-hacking-each-other-to-bits.464819/page-5

It was about a conflict between the conflict goal and the consequence chart.

 

On this topic, In my games, when someone is trying to kill someone else I use a different approach. I distinguish between protagonists, main Npcs, and minor Npcs, mooks. But I'm from mobile and I can't describe it well. With the one in my previous post, I've now described all the house rules I use. For the rest I play raw.

 

 I have to say I find more clear the phrasing yes/yes but/etc.

 

Here a topic in which @Ian Cooper

Proposed it.

Excuse me for the poor formatting.

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1 hour ago, Tartarosso said:

Hello @Telen666gard
probably you are right. Anyway I find the expression

Confusing to me. Moreover an old topic in which Laws answered directly, confused me more because I didn't remembered it well.

In fact the topic was about a particular situation. Here the link to Laws answer

https://forum.rpg.net/index.php?threads/heroquest-hacking-each-other-to-bits.464819/page-5

It was about a conflict between the conflict goal and the consequence chart.

 

On this topic, In my games, when someone is trying to kill someone else I use a different approach. I distinguish between protagonists, main Npcs, and minor Npcs, mooks. But I'm from mobile and I can't describe it well. With the one in my previous post, I've now described all the house rules I use. For the rest I play raw.

 

 I have to say I find more clear the phrasing yes/yes but/etc.

 

Here a topic in which @Ian Cooper

Proposed it.

Excuse me for the poor formatting.

When Ian Cooper says above, that "people tend to crock the results of a marginal victory...":

He is saying most people tend to mess up by not giving what the agreed prize was for a marginal victory. 

He is talking about maybe using the "yes, but" technique to show that yes you get the prize, but at a cost. This a house-rule he is thinking about and not what is written in the books.

And Robin Laws is talking in a more philosophical sense about how you might overcome your players not wanting anything less then complete black and white prizes and how Robin thinks that is not useful to the fiction.

Those are my takes after reading them. Hope that helps in someway a doesn't confuse you more.

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On 4/16/2019 at 12:17 PM, Aprewett said:

My ghoul wants the same outcome as them, to kill them and in its case eat them. So if it wins by just the least victory level it gets that outcome also? But I remember reading advice that this is not how you do it, instead you assign the consequence of defeat level - hurt etc to them. I just can’t see how to use the Extended Contest in a physical conflict. Other contests I can see working.

Look at the results. If the PCs have been defeated, then they might have been captured by the ghoul, who wants to eat them later. 

Look at the combat, each loss of Points means something, so you can narrate how each PC fought and what happened to them.

There are many different ways of doing this and the trick is to find the one that suits you.

If you like running each combat as a set of Simple Contests then fine, that works for you. It's what I normally do, but I combine the PCs and NPCs and roll once.

Edited by soltakss
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On 4/16/2019 at 2:17 PM, Aprewett said:

My ghoul wants the same outcome as them, to kill them and in its case eat them. So if it wins by just the least victory level it gets that outcome also? But I remember reading advice that this is not how you do it, instead you assign the consequence of defeat level - hurt etc to them. I just can’t see how to use the Extended Contest in a physical conflict. Other contests I can see working.

To emphasize more on what @soltakss wrote above. In a sense, it does not matter what the Ghoul wants from the contest (the Ghoul does not have its prize). I think they say that in RQ "the Monsters get experience rolls too". In HQ it is always all about the player characters, not the NPCs. If the PCs fail they don't get what they want and then some more consequences. The Ghoul does not get the PCs killed in Marginal Defeat.

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I definitely think that the spirit of HQ is to use Group Simple Contests routinely for battles. 

Even if you only use Extended Contests for climactic battles, they can still get a bit long and dull, as the players have so few tactical choices. 

I have been toying with the idea that on victory in a round of an Extended Contest, instead of the normal consequences, a situational modifier or augment can be removed from the loser. Usually this works pretty well narratively, and makes it tactically much more interesting. Eg the attacker dispels or counters your magical augment, or disarms you so your cool weapon is out of your hands. 

Also, giving major NPCs sidekicks is an interesting way to make a single NPC or two take on an entire group without making them simply much more powerful than the PCs (being much more powerful than the PCs tends to emphasise luck and spending Hero Points over tactics). 

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Some broad notes:

  • The SRD will have two types of long contest:extended (AP) and scored (RP). This reflects a draft Robin wrote for HQ 2
  • It will also reflect advice not to mirror the outcomes, unless it is PC vs. PC i.e. if the PCs gain a Minor Victory then the GM narrates the outcome for the losers based on the story obstacle i.e. what was at stake. You **can** kill your opponent on a Minor Victory.
    • We mirror for PC vs. PC in the interest of balance only
  • HeroQuest deals in story obstacles i.e. steal the princess's necklace. A simple contest is one-roll for the entire obstacle. An extended contest is when you want to break it down into tasks i.e. pick the lock, sneak pas the guards. We break down when tension is high, and the PCs have lots of possible, not just one repetitive action, to complete. Combat is often the least exciting option to break down, unless the players have lots of tactical choices.
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On 4/28/2019 at 5:43 PM, Ian Cooper said:

An extended contest is when you want to break it down into tasks i.e. pick the lock, sneak pas the guards. We break down when tension is high, and the PCs have lots of possible, not just one repetitive action, to complete.

This is an idea that I also use but it brings up one problem: what if the player rolls a Complete Victory on the first roll? The PC is picking the lock and all of sudden the whole stealing of the princess' necklace is solved. Okay, it is a rare situation and you can come up with all the nice ideas of how the door leads PC directly to the closet with the necklace there ready for grabs or something. But in a sense, there is always the possibility that the player can pass the contest in one or two rolls and skips the rest of the tasks. And the tasks here are the things that bring tension to the contest.

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My confusion came from page 58 of HQG that states the GM also Frames the outcome - secretly. I have seen other advise by veterans of the system that does not match the as written rules. Which is fine but leads to confusion when you read threads that don’t match the text.

So in my original post and following that rule; the ghoul - me - thinks that eating the players is a good outcome.

But still no one as really answered my question about what happens if the ghoul wins the extended competition. Is it a total party kill. The advice seems to be no, you twist it narratively to the story to keep it interesting. But the rules don’t point to this way. They say - Players; name the prize, name the tactics and then the GM secretly does the same. So I don’t think to myself ‘kill enemy and eat them’, but some other softer option, based on advice here. But at some point this is not going to be the case. The big climatic monster does want to kill and eat. There is no advice on this outcome, but to find some softly resolution. Where is the threat to the players.

You can see how the system as written and the forum seem to be at odds - unless I am missing something.

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3 hours ago, Aprewett said:

So in my original post and following that rule; the ghoul - me - thinks that eating the players is a good outcome.

But still no one as really answered my question about what happens if the ghoul wins the extended competition. Is it a total party kill. The advice seems to be no, you twist it narratively to the story to keep it interesting. But the rules don’t point to this way. They say - Players; name the prize, name the tactics and then the GM secretly does the same. So I don’t think to myself ‘kill enemy and eat them’, but some other softer option, based on advice here. But at some point this is not going to be the case. The big climatic monster does want to kill and eat. There is no advice on this outcome, but to find some softly resolution. Where is the threat to the players.

Your ghoul's preferred outcome should be the result of a total loss of the player characters.

HQ2 and HQG aren't really simulations of the game world. The rules are protagonist-oriented, not antagonist-oriented.

The goals of said ghoul should affect how its actions are narrated, but the outcome depends entirely on the stakes set by the players, the difficulty you assign to that, and how the opposed rolls turn out.

The players frame the  contest, and how much they risk or take voluntary lasting consequences to adjust their chances for success. A ghoul won't usually accept ransom or negotiation, so for the player characters it is fight and/or flee/retreat. If the Humakti insists that the ghoul must be killed, adjust the difficulty and the risk. If the rest of the party is willing to drag a paralysed Humakti companion away from the ghoul in a fighting retreat, their chances to survive the contest go up. If they stand in unyielding defense over their fallen comrade,  chances are that they approach a total loss.

The ghoul will want to "kill as many of the intruders for the larder as is feasible, and drive the excess ones off if he cannot kill them all." Depending on the development of the conflict, it might have to scamper off without any kill to try another ambush.

If the ghoul manages to paralyse the entire party and to pull them into its larder, it might start eating a total casualty while some of the other party members begin to shake off their paralysis - possibly at the bottom of a stack of lifeless or at least paralysed bodies. TPK V2, with a slight chance to revert their luck from deep disadvantage. In a typical Bond movie, when the protagonist is put away as his interrogation has been interrupted, and needs to improvise his escape, and that of his girl of the week.

 

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