The next step is for players to select five Methods and or Tricks that they feel will help them win the conflict. Each player’s list is kept secret. Some Methods are useful for blocking another character’s actions, others are intended to help accomplish the task. Selecting the right blend of Methods and tricks may be difficult at first, but players will soon find a list that works best for them.
All players in the conflict now reveal their list of methods. All actions occur roughly simultaneously so there is no first or last action. The list of methods and tricks will give a rough outline of all the things that a character is doing. The players should narrate these actions into a story as they reveal their lists. This is the end of the first turn.
Conflicts will not usually be resolved in the first turn. The next turn all players get to replace two of their methods and tricks being used. Players can keep their list as is if they choose. The alterations are kept secret until the reveal. Again the players should narrate their character’s actions.
Character Vs. Character ExampleStephen is a good swordsman with an Agility of +4 Strength +1 and a Perception of +2. He meets Big James the Crusher in battle who has Agility +2, Strength +4 and a Perception of +1. Stephen looks at Big James and his heavy sword and is sure that he'll try to use his strength to win the fight. He looks at the Methods and Tricks under Swordplay. First he wants to get his strength score up so he chooses Brace (Strength +1) and Overhead Blow (Strength +2 Agility -1) hoping that will be enough. He also chooses the trick Bluff and Invitation (Perception +1) which will require Big James to beat his perception to win the contest. For his last Method he chooses Parry (+2 Agility). So his scores at the end are Agility +5 Strength +4 and Perception +3. Big James picks his methods and true to form chooses the trick Power Blow, Heavy Sword (Strength +1), Parry (Agility +2), Lunge (Agility +1) and Riposte (Agility +1). This gives him a final score of Agility +6 Strength +5.
If things had gone Big James' way, he would have won this contest handily but because of Stephen's Bluff trick, James' blow does not connect because the bluff trick requires his perception score to beat Stephen's. However Stephen did not beat James' Agility or Strength and so the first round is a stalemate. Both look at their methods and tricks and try to find some way around their opponent's advantage. But can only change two a turn now.
Stephen tries to guess what Big James' next move would be. Last turn the only thing that saved him was the Bluff trick so James will expect to have to overcome that and will probably try swapping out the Lunge or Riposte or maybe the Heavy Sword. Stephen decides to drop the Overhead Blow and Invitation. He swaps them out with Proper Form (+1 Agility) and Follow Through. His final scores are now Agility +6 Strength +1 Perception +2. Big James reveals his swaps. He swapped out Lunge for Charge. His final scores are now Agility +5, Strength +5 but since no one is using the Bluff trick, his Charge trick only hurts him. Stephen scores a win that takes off 2 SP from Big James.
Character Vs. GroupWhen a group of characters challenge a single character the attribute scores of the group add up. Two or three ganging up on one makes it much harder to beat even low score characters when massed together.
In large numbers, it would be nearly impossible to come up with Methods and Tricks for every member of a group. To help simplify this groups have their own methods and tricks. The bonuses for these tricks are for every ten members of the group. There are two types of groups, Unskilled and Martial. Martial groups are military are armed and have a leader. They can use unskilled methods but an Unskilled group cannot use Martial methods.
Unskilled Groups (Mobs) - Per 10
Rush - Agility +3
Surround - Agility +3
Harass - Agility +3 (Requires Surround)
Pile On - Strength +3
Knock Over - Strength +3
Search - Perception +3
Watchful - Perception +3
Taunt - Charm +3
Martial Groups - Per 10
Formation - Agility +5
Attack - Agility +5
Charge - Strength +5
Comb - Perception +5
Slight of hand, pickpocketing and other Thief skill tricks are often not just against the victim but against the crowd. However even in a crowd of hundreds in a busy street very few will have the opportunity to defend against the thief. The GM should determine the number of people in the crowd that the thief will be up against and let the player know the number.
GM: Checking the crowd, you see five people that might be able to see what you’re up to.
Player: Are any of them bobbies?
GM: No just regular people walking about.
Most in a crowd will only have a Perception of 1 but law enforcement are likely to have 2 or 3 for Perception. An unwary crowd will not use any methods but if they are tipped off by odd behavior or clothing, they may use methods such as watchful to increase the crowd’s perception.
Skill ChallengesSkill challenges do not only apply to character conflicts. When a character has to accomplish a difficult task, the GM assigns a number of difficulty thresholds that the character’s scores must match or pass in order to pass the skill challenge. In many situations, given enough time, players will be able to solve the challenge. Therefore the tension from a inanimate challenge is based on finding the right combination of Methods and Tricks within a time constraint. Below is an example of how the GM can construct an inanimate skill challenge.
Skill Challenge Complications
If a character fails a skill challenge three times, the GM may rule that they must pay an SP or they cannot try again for a significant period of time (15 min to an hour). Alternatively, the GM may rule that the failures have caused a second complication.
Skill Challenge Tricks
These are conditions that the GM wants to apply to the skill challenge. For example, a skill challenge trick could be scoring too high on Strength for a boiler skill challenge means that the character broke something. Another possible use could be that if a certain method or trick is used a secondary effect occurs. An example of this could be, if the Experiment method is used to pass a Science skill test the character receives an electrical shock.
Skill Challenge Example
The Boilers skill is an Intelligence based skill so any attempt to fix a Boiler will have an Intelligence threshold. Most maintenance work on a boiler is routine so the GM decides on a difficulty of five. Lenny the engineer has a +3 for Intelligence +1 Strength and a +1 Perception. He applies the methods Diagnostic (+2 Intelligence), Trace Out (+1 Intelligence), Check Gauges (+1 Intelligence) Study (+1 Intelligence) and Double Check (+1 Intelligence). His final Intelligence score is +8.
If this was a standard test, then the boiler is fixed. If the GM wants to make it a tougher task, two things could be done. Either the boiler could require a test far higher than Lenny can accomplish on his own (say +15) and he would have to bring in someone else with a Boiler skill to help or just someone with a really high Intelligence to add up their scores and overcome it.
The second thing the GM could do is to apply tricks to the boiler. The player will not know what these are until he has overcome them and even then the GM might only give hints. For example the boiler may have a Intelligence threshold of five like before which Lenny beats on the first try. The GM says "It should be working at this point, there must be something you're missing." Which tells Lenny that he needs to look around a bit so he drops two Intelligence Methods, brings in the perception trick Examination and ups his perception with Fine Tooth Comb (Perception +2) and gets his Perception score up to +3. The Boiler required a +2 to find a stuck valve. The GM could bring in a strength test for the stuck valve but Lenny probably can't afford to bring in the strength trick Brute Force because he'd have to drop an Intelligence method. He would probably have to call for help at that point from Bruno in the other room.
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