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[Sc 2E] Critique - Complications as Difficulties in hiding

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  • [Sc 2E] Critique - Complications as Difficulties in hiding

    On start I want to point out I’m a fan of Scion 2E, as gameline. I love the setting, love especially effort put in to representing gods with good faith from original their cultures. I love general idea of mechanical engine of Storypath. ( even running Polish FB group about those games. ) I still want to run Scion 2E.

    However, after whole year of running Scion 2E, I found one large problem with Rules As Written – that, many times, for Boon or other powers authors used term Complication to mean Difficulty, in reality. Rule are so written that using correct, definition based Complication – the ‘Yes, but’ variant of success – are impossible to achieve in correct way. Where is Difficulty is flat out rising of success to get ‘victory’ in the particular action. Here are only two examples from my own game I found in gameplay.

    Both are Boons, so I quote them, to point the problem with them…

    Visage Great And Terrible from Beauty Purview
    The line between beauty and monstrosity is drawn by your hand. Your very appearance instills your enemies with the absolute terror of confronting your divinity. Trivial targets automatically flee from you, while other characters face a +2 Complication on any action that does not somehow help them flee your presence.

    Analysis of Visage
    So power get’s a +2 Complication on any action that do not leads to fleeing the presence, hmm. So if we have, for example combat or contest building the machines with Boon source, it’s ‘Complication’ that you need to buy or… You cannot win in your action take. Combat, contest, whatever. It’s not ‘Yes, but’ take – it simply is ‘No’. Should be Difficulty increase here, not Complication.

    Second example…
    Master of Disease from Health Purview
    You can withhold the benefits of Health from your foes, magically inflicting disease upon them. This imposes both a +5 disease Complication and the Divine Plague Condition. Until the Condition is resolved with magical healing, the target cannot buy off the Complication or have it treated mundanely. A mortal target who fails to resolve the Condition within (12 − Legend) months suffers automatic death.

    Analysis of Master of Disease
    So we get example with +5 Complication – almost impossible to get in the one roll without high Scale for roller. But let’s look on logical usage of power. Boon target of Master will get this +5 Complication to all and any actions, they are sick. Let’s even look from Storyguide perspective – ‘what wrong can go for Boon target if they not buy this Complication?’ Well, as Boon say, you are super sick. When you are super sick and got ‘bad effects from illness’ –you have very large difficult or even impossible to achieve your planned actions. Logically analysing, it’s not ‘Yes, but’, simply it’s ‘No’. Should be Difficulty increase here, not Complication.

    Sum up: Those two are only my two examples I found myself. Many SGC I talked to found the same problem in other powers. It is frustrating problem, as each power you analyse on spot in the game you run, you must question ‘is this really Complication – or Difficulty in hiding’. 🤨

    Solution: In my games, I just make simple and clear fix for those powers – If Complication is mandatory, in logical sense for power effect, I just change it for increase of Difficulty to achieve action. Visage… generates +2 Difficulty rise for enemies seeing character. With Master of Disease I still have a bit balance issue, as +5 Difficulty is surely too much – as it should be a really nasty power, I think about +3 Difficulty and possible 1 Injury level per scene of actions for target.
    Last edited by wyrdhamster; 12-02-2021, 02:33 AM.


    My stuff for Realms of Pugmire, Scion 2E, CoD Contagion, Dark Eras, VtR 2E, WtF 2E, MtAw 2E, MtC 2E & BtP
    LGBT+ through Ages
    LGBT+ in CoD games

  • #2
    I also seem to recall a number of examples of things being referred to as Complications where they were really described as working more like Difficulty. My group just adjusted on the fly treating them as complications or difficulties as made sense. I suspect it was part of Scion / TC / Storypath coming together in parallel. Scion is really cool, but it does seem to have a few more rough edges when it comes to its Storypath implementation.

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    • #3
      While I've definitely seen cases where Complications are described as difficulty (can't find one just now), these examples are more an issue of "Complication on every action" and "unclear impact" than Complication=Difficulty

      Visage: You can still succeed at actions that don't involve fleeing, but there will be consequences. Maybe you're so focused on attacking the scary thing that other enemies have an easier time hitting you (fail to buy off 2c -> 1e for each next attack?), maybe your nervous sweating while convincing them of something lowers you in the eyes of an ally (2c -> attitude lowered). In both cases, you can still succeed at your goal (hit them, persuade them), but other actions are negatively impacted if you don't buy off the complication

      Disease is the same way, just more dramatic (5c is a lot for a storyteller to punish you with)

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      • #4
        For Visage Great And Terrible you could have that an attack that doesn't buy off the complication causes that the attacker drops his weapon after damage is resolved. Or if he rolling to barter for something, he ends up paying five times the price.

        For Master of Disease it could be anything, maybe you are trying to pick a lock but you felt so bad you forgot to use gloves to hide fingerprints.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Sakii View Post
          For Visage Great And Terrible you could have ... if he rolling to barter for something, he ends up paying five times the price.
          It depends on how you define "barter." If the goal of the action is to acquire the item, then this is fine. If the goal is to get a better deal, then this would be a failure and not appropriate for complications. (given Scion doesn't do much penny-counting, the former is more likely; I just wanted to be precise)

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          • #6
            I agree that they use Complication to mean Difficulty in some cases. I also agree its most likely a result of an earlier draft of the rules. Sometimes I feel that a Complication was originally defined to be the mechanical opposite of an Enhancement. I also support ignoring rules that appear to be wrong as there are clearly mistakes in the books.

            Look at the Shroud quality, giving a +2 complication to the inflict damage stunt. So because its hard to see someone its just as easy to hit with ranged weapons but it causes a complication? Also where else do you apply a complication to a specific stunt? (hint the Stand Tall Quality)

            Or what about how they describe Red Herring? "Every interval of the investigation after Red Herring is invoked suffers a cumulative +1 Complication —eventually rendering the roll all but impossible, as leads dry up and evidence leads nowhere." No matter how high a complication gets, you still have the same level of chance to succeed at the task at hand.

            I get that you can interpret these items in the way its written but it just seems more right to interpret them as written wrong than to try to make them fit.

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