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Very infrequent use of Complications and Stunts during play

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  • Very infrequent use of Complications and Stunts during play

    Our group has played six sessions of Scion 2E, and although we enthusiastically use Enhancements and Momentum, we almost never develop Complications or Stunts outside of combat. As the GM, I just never remember to stop and think about the things that could go wrong with an attempted non-combat task that would form the basis for a Complication. Instead, I appear to just fold these considerations into the Difficulty of a roll. Similarly, I don't think it ever occurs to my players to use threshold successes from non-combat rolls for Stunts, and I've failed to remind them to do so.

    Does anyone else have this problem? I think if there were well-developed lists of examples of (non-combat) Complications and Stunts, or perhaps some sort of categorization of different kinds of Complications and Stunts, it would be easier to develop and apply these during gameplay. Are there resources like this available anywhere?

  • #2
    There is not any source or table. But this is a good question you can ask yourself between sessions. Like, look back at the previous sessions and realized what situations your party has been in. Then think about how things can be complicated.

    For example, a player whose mom is a SWAT lieutenant was upset her daughter was hurt and would not come home. So, they used Persuasion to convince the mom to let them stay where they were at. I added a 2 pt complication to "Parent is worried about child being hurt" and then made the difficulty based on how hard this would be normally. They failed to buy off the Complication so the mom had two police cars parked in front of the house overnight.

    I think that you should set the difficulty to "How hard would this be under normal circumstances?" and then add in Complications for what makes the situation unique.

    Trying to convince the front desk receptionist to let you in? Ok. That is the difficulty. The company is very high security and so has cameras everywhere? That is the Complication. If not bought off, then some guard watched your PC try to do this. If the PC got past the receptionist, then let them get ALMOST to their destination but then have them stopped by security.

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    • #3
      I'm kinda curious about "we enthusiastically use Enhancements," because IME Stunts are one of the biggest source of those. One of the best ways to use a big roll, is to use all those Threshold successes as Enhancement stunts to help out your Band that aren't as heavily invested in that action. It seems possible that much like you're folding Complications in with Difficulty too much, you might be folding Stunts into situational Enhancements in a similar fashion.

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      • #4
        At my table, we don't use stunts outside combat. 'Threshold successes' are more likely to be encorporated into the storytelling than have a mechanical effect - e.g. J convinced the queen that the rest of the party were to be trusted with 8 successes, so now we are trusted advisors, given half her army to lead against an enemy, rather than arrested as intruders.

        I think if we tried to use stunts more, it would interrupt the flow of the game, as people would be interrupted in their RP working out how to spend their successes/calculating their dice pool. But that's just our group. Remember one of the core rules - Storytellers should prune and edit rules that make the game better for the whole group.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
          I'm kinda curious about "we enthusiastically use Enhancements," because IME Stunts are one of the biggest source of those.
          Teamwork seems to be the most prominent source of non-combat Enhancements in the sessions we've played. I think it's just been easier for the players to roll dice than to come up with a use for threshold successes.

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          • #6
            So, if one character disables a security camera to given an Enhancement to their band to get past an area unseen, how are you handling that?

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            • #7
              Going back to original question, I am still having the same issue as you, after some time playing games with partial success and complications (Storypath and PbA). What I am trying to do is avoiding high difficulties and adding complications instead, for example, let’s say you think an action difficulty should be 5, you can broke it into a difficulty 2 and 2 complications (1 and 2).

              A more solid example, you are driving in the road and there is a narrow space to go by, as you are really fast and the space is really narrow, I would make it difficulty 4, but instead I break it into difficulty 2, plus a complication to avoid damaging the car (2, 1 for each injury you cause the the car) and plus another complication to keep the speed while doing so (not buying it will make you be treated as a lower speed scale for the next round).

              The idea is more about keeping difficulties low and compensate with side effects and less about trying to find issues to easy actions, at least to me.


              House Rules - The Basics - House Rules for Trinity Continuum
              Fists of Flux - Inspired and Powered Martial Arts for Talents
              Tomes of Inspiration - Rituals and Dark Magic in Fists of Flux

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                So, if one character disables a security camera to given an Enhancement to their band to get past an area unseen, how are you handling that?
                Given the way we've been playing the game, I imagine that we would just cut out the Enhancement part, e.g. disabling the camera is enough to allow the band to get past an area unseen.

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                • #9
                  I should add that we do use the Stunts listed for the Procedural rules, simply because they are there in the book and relatively well-defined.

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                  • #10
                    [QUOTE=thedonnie;n1454870

                    For example, a player whose mom is a SWAT lieutenant...
                    [/QUOTE]

                    Originally posted by Mateus Luz View Post

                    A more solid example, you are driving in the road ...
                    Thanks for the examples and suggestions. While I understand the concept of Complications, trying to using them during a game is analogous to trying to do things with my left hand. It's far too easy to give up and just use my right hand instead.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by MegaBob View Post

                      Given the way we've been playing the game, I imagine that we would just cut out the Enhancement part, e.g. disabling the camera is enough to allow the band to get past an area unseen.
                      Humor me a bit? Assume that it wouldn't completely deny the chance for being spotted because there's still guards that might see them on patrol, or hear them moving around, or whatever, even if the cameras are the biggest risk.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post

                        Humor me a bit? Assume that it wouldn't completely deny the chance for being spotted because there's still guards that might see them on patrol, or hear them moving around, or whatever, even if the cameras are the biggest risk.
                        I think I know what you're trying to get at, but the way we've been playing the game, we would probably just do a Technology roll to disable the camera and a separate Subterfuge roll to avoid detection by guards, without developing a Stunt. In this scenario, I understand that a Stunt from the Technology roll could be used to generate an Enhancement for the Subterfuge roll, but generally speaking, this extra step isn't something that's been happening during gameplay...unless there are lists of already-developed Stunts that can be easily incorporated without having to stop and think them into existence first (as is the case for combat and Procedurals).

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                        • #13
                          Actually, I was trying to get at the difference between the Enhancement Stunt, and the Teamwork Enhancement bonus, and when the rules say which should be applied.

                          To your response, the game provide three default Stunts to every roll: create Enhancement, create Complication, create Difficulty. You don't need to think them into existence, you just need to specify what they apply to based on what the character is doing (but you need to do that for the "developed" Stunts too, such as Inflict Injury). There's a point where trying to define a Stunt for everything starts to get cumbersome, and it would really just be highly repetitive since most actions don't have more to modify than those three components.

                          I mean, yes, I get that you're not seeing Stunts get used, but you're assuming that it's because they're not highlighted in generic rolls like they are in subsystems. I'm seeing other factors that could be adjusted that would encourage more Stunting with the generic three Stunts. The whole "I'd just give them narrative permission to skip the rest of this and move on," isn't a bad tool to use, but if it's a default response then it seems kinda obvious that your players aren't going to Stunt much when a high Threshold success action just turns the whole situation into an auto-win. How much combat Stunts do you really think you'd see if one of your combat focused characters regularly gets 8 successes after Defense and you rule that such a staggering hit ends the fight every time? Nobody would be thinking about the list of combat options if none of them matter because someone wins the fight on a big roll most of the time. It might be a cool thing once and awhile for a PC to get to hit someone so hard the opposition just folds and surrenders, but you wouldn't do that every fight if you wanted to keep people using all the combat mechanics.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by MegaBob View Post
                            Thanks for the examples and suggestions. While I understand the concept of Complications, trying to using them during a game is analogous to trying to do things with my left hand. It's far too easy to give up and just use my right hand instead.
                            Another way to go is, try to think what would happen if the character fail the test in a “all or nothing” system, break the possible results into groups and give them individual difficulties to avoid.

                            For example, if you fail you will break a leg (it’s one injury, so complication 1, but you also may call unneeded attention what is a big issue so complicarion 2, or you may make your next few actions harder what is a complication 1.

                            It’s a lot about practice and try to use, and I am working on that now, but that’s the mindset I try to use. For sure it’s much easier to just state a dificulty and go for all or nothing, that’s how my brain is hardwired too.


                            House Rules - The Basics - House Rules for Trinity Continuum
                            Fists of Flux - Inspired and Powered Martial Arts for Talents
                            Tomes of Inspiration - Rituals and Dark Magic in Fists of Flux

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