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Do you use the Hedge Navigation rules? They seem unwieldy as hell

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  • #16
    Why is a completely different system somehow relevant to how the rules regarding navigating the Hedge? It is clunky an unwieldy, and as per how the book was written, is required to traverse point A to B anytime you go into the Hedge.It's not something any of my players are excited about doing, while a fair bit of them enjoy a thorough combat encounter or several.

    What is the important context here? Talking about the faults/merits of a completely different aspect of the game, instead of the one relevant in this thread?

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    • #17
      I view it a lot like feeding scenes/glamour harvesting scenes. Useful for an intro or once or twice, but as a game gets going, my players and myself as the ST have vanishingly less interest in it and it's not appropriate for every session. The biggest contention with the rules is that it's for every travel without a trod.

      And to be honest, no, I rarely use the full combat rules these days. Quick and dirty combat was an excellent addition that mitigates a lot of the flaws of 2E's increased complexity of the combat rules in the core, compared to 1E. Quite often my players have requested that we also just dispense with the initiative modifier mechanics for ease of play too, so yeah.
      Last edited by Xenesis; 11-12-2020, 06:03 AM.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by Vintervalpen View Post
        What is the important context here? Talking about the faults/merits of a completely different aspect of the game, instead of the one relevant in this thread?
        Determining whether the people who are unlikely to use the Hedge navigation mechanics are going to contrariwise be using the other big complicated subsystem present in the game — the one that's in every gameline and doesn't have anything to do with navigating a place that's been a maze-trap since its inception thirteen years ago.

        I ran a real-time PBP game with the playtest mechanics twice a month for two years and can count the number of violent encounters my players got into on one hand, and most of the Hedge navigation done in that time was solo and/or consisted of rushing down established paths while things caught fire.

        I am not going to pretend my experience is universal, but if I asked if the violence systems were needlessly complex and neglected to mention that I ran games where anything more involved than the basic dicepool-and-roll-type system was the threshold for "needlessly complex" that would be kind of disingenuous to the people not expecting ChroD to match the experiences of the average PBTA player.


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        • #19
          No one is questioning the thematics of the Hedge, it's the mechanics we take issue with. If you love them, fine, good for you, use them as often as you want to, but many of us feel like the rules as written are clunky and poorly designed. I am not sure how the comparison to the combat system bears any relevance, because, franky, it sort of doesn't.

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          • #20
            the go to combat rules for CoD games are very complex with many permutations and modifiers and situational conditions. despite this fact, few people complain about the combat resolution mechanic and jus hand wave most of it away as the narrative flow of their table demands, only engaging the system when it is Important for story or player enjoyment.

            i believe that the point that is being made is that the hedge chase rules are very much the same sort of thing. complex if that is what you are looking for, with a mechanic that plays up the harried atmosphere that the game says permeates the hedge, but otherwise easily hand-wavable if your character is on a trod, has magical protections or some other form of plot armor. although the writing is a little vague, your character only has to engage with this system if they go off trod and directly into the thorns for fairy reasons. fairy magic, the hiring of hobgoblin sherpas, befriending a fae mount or a bunch of other strategies can be utilized by a canny player to avoid using the Hedge Chase rules.

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            • #21
              The combat rules have a few key differences:
              • First of all, there's nothing abstract about them. Every roll or modifier comes from something concrete, and it's quite easy to follow the action. The combat rules basically narrate combat scenes automatically as adding modifiers and rolling dice pools literally describe what's happening in the game. Hedge navigation, on the other hand, all too easily devolves into rolling until everyone's done with little to no description of what the characters experience. Even if you make an effort to engage with the system narratively it's an uphill battle to keep it up.
              • Combat have quick optional system in the form of Down & Dirty that resolves fights with a single roll. Hedge navigation is written with the assumption that you're going to use them every time you're not just following a trod, and there's no alternative presented.
              • A minor one, but still worth mentioning, is that everyone expects the combat rules to be quite comprehensive. CofD has been a very combat intensive game from the very first book, World of Darkness, and even in its roots, oWoD. On top of that, RPGs are generally (but not always) very combat focused because that's what many people want to play. That's why very few people dislike the combat rules (and, as mentioned above, those that do dislike them actually get an official alternative in the game).


              Bloodline: The Stygians
              Ordo Dracul Mysteries: Mystery of Smoke, Revised Mystery of Živa
              Mage The Awakening: Spell Quick Reference (single page and landscape for computer screens)

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              • #22
                Originally posted by Tessie View Post
                Combat have quick optional system in the form of Down & Dirty that resolves fights with a single roll. Hedge navigation is written with the assumption that you're going to use them every time you're not just following a trod, and there's no alternative presented.
                I have not been bringing up the Merit that gives you a boost to your Speed and Initiative and the ability to carry passengers with you for my health, nor does the implicit assumption that navigating through the untamed Hedge should be easy seem like something that should go unchallenged.

                The system is pretty definitely written for characters to leverage as many bonuses as they can bring to bear, take their chances with what they have, or avoid the shifting maze altogether. The Hedge has consistently been a place where going off the beaten path is testing your luck in a big way — casual exploration is for confident characters with magical potency and/or a lot of strings to pull, as it is for most otherworlds in this setting that don't map closely to material geography past the front door.

                Every dot of Wyrd your character has shortens the journey they have to make to get anywhere through Faerie Hyperspace, and Goblin Debt shortens it even further. If that is insufficient and you need something to be more accessible then you have multiple means of getting there that don't require rolls, like calling in a Faerie Favor or finding a Hedgeway from the mortal side. Hollows are not maintained in the Hedge because they are easy to reach from inside the Hedge.


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                Currently Consuming: Hunter: the Vigil 1e

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                • #23
                  Yeah, ultimately it's the tedium of arbitrating an entire chase regularly. It's an interesting mechanic, but it's too significantly involved and requires too many dice-rolls to invoke regularly. A "down and dirty" hedge navigation that arbitrated the success/failure of navigating a hedge area in a single roll without engaging in the entire chase system would have been significantly more welcome. It still allows for non-trivial outcomes without dedicating a significant chunk of session play time on what is essentially travel with complications.

                  As an ST, I only invoke the chase rules very rarely for entirely the same reason - it's interesting if it's the primary focus of a scene and that it's a specific circumstance it would be appropriate in, but in most of the other gameplay, it just serves to slow down the game and detract from everyone's enjoyment at the tables I've played at. And while there's mechanical ways to avoid the system my general ethos when STing is not to XP tax the players into avoiding something that is not fun to play for the group. Other tables I've played in have been similar, where we've worked around aspects of various RPGs, just that WoD subsystems is just a common one that comes up that is streamlined, simplified or avoided.

                  Sometimes I get players who are interested in a specific subsystem of CoD and build around it, so then I make sure to build it in, but hedge navigation has consistently been one that very few players are willing to get invested in outside of some fairly superficial aspects of it.

                  Edit: The homebrew rules by Wade L, especially the section on "Forcing the Path" looks like the level of general complexity I'd use on a normal basis in a game.
                  Last edited by Xenesis; 11-13-2020, 12:55 AM.

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Satchel View Post
                    I have not been bringing up the Merit that gives you a boost to your Speed and Initiative and the ability to carry passengers with you for my health, nor does the implicit assumption that navigating through the untamed Hedge should be easy seem like something that should go unchallenged.
                    I don't think an XP buy-in to speed up the process through succeeding in fewer rolls (assuming you do succeed) is in any way comparable to having an optional system that resolves combat encounters in single rolls.
                    And, honestly, "I don't like this system so I'm going to spend XP on things that minimises my interactions with that system" is the worst reason you could spend XP on something. I don't mind spending XP on solving problems, but the problems should be character problems, not gameplay problems.

                    Originally posted by Satchel View Post
                    The system is pretty definitely written for characters to leverage as many bonuses as they can bring to bear, take their chances with what they have, or avoid the shifting maze altogether. The Hedge has consistently been a place where going off the beaten path is testing your luck in a big way — casual exploration is for confident characters with magical potency and/or a lot of strings to pull, as it is for most otherworlds in this setting that don't map closely to material geography past the front door.
                    The thing is, I don't think anyone has argued that traversing the Hedge should be trivial. The problem is the specific system that handles such traversal, not that there is a system in the first place. The characters should absolutely be vary of traversing the Hedge because of the dangers involved, but the players should not be vary of traversing the Hedge (or using the system made for traversing the Hedge) because it's unwieldy and unfun to use.
                    If Hedge navigation rules are to be a barrier making Hedge traversal more rare, then it should be so through difficulty of succeeding or the costs/consequences involved. In this regard the current system still fails because the times we have tried it (before starting to just ignore it) we succeeded every single time anyway.

                    Originally posted by Satchel View Post
                    Every dot of Wyrd your character has shortens the journey they have to make to get anywhere through Faerie Hyperspace, and Goblin Debt shortens it even further. If that is insufficient and you need something to be more accessible then you have multiple means of getting there that don't require rolls, like calling in a Faerie Favor or finding a Hedgeway from the mortal side. Hollows are not maintained in the Hedge because they are easy to reach from inside the Hedge.
                    Again, that makes the Hedge more accessible to the characters; not the players. Being able to gauge how much time/distance the characters have traversed isn't a bad thing, but it's the time the players spend interacting with the system that is the main problem, imo.


                    Bloodline: The Stygians
                    Ordo Dracul Mysteries: Mystery of Smoke, Revised Mystery of Živa
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                    • #25
                      I think the main difference between the combat complexity is that with combat the Storyteller gets a choice - simple, one roll, with abstracted results, or big detailed and complicated with lots of rolls where every roll concretely maps to the fiction. While the Hedge Navigation is big, complicated, with lots of rolls but is at the same time pretty abstract.

                      It adds to the confusion, because it means players have to keep track of both the system and the fictional situation at the same time and they don't always suggest one another. With combat, it might be pretty detailed, but a player who isn't mechanics savvy can go a long ways on "Just tell me what the situation is, I'll tell you what my character does, and you can tell me what dice to roll."

                      I guess that's my main complaint about a lot of the more complicated new subsystems - they don't work very well for the "How about I just say what I do and you tell me what dice to roll?" players. Combat doesn't honestly require much systems-understanding to just get what is happening - you can use systems mastery to optimize for combat tons, but you don't honestly need to understand any of the system to understand a combat scene. Whereas really understanding what is happening in a Hedge Navigation requires a fair amount of systems mastery from the players.

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Wade L View Post
                        Whereas really understanding what is happening in a Hedge Navigation requires a fair amount of systems mastery from the players.
                        And my main problem is — the Hedge Navigation system is not a system for "fuck it, we go to the next location," it's a system for arbitrating a transition scene in a space that is set up to isolate and entrap characters, especially characters who don't have fae power levels approaching the least of the True Fae. It's choosing to pursue a goal by wandering through dark alleys and dimly-lit abandoned backyards on foot instead of sticking to the main roads, hitching a ride, or getting to your destination through a door from outside the maze.

                        Hedge navigation constitutes a scene — a somewhat introspective one, at that — and trying to rush through it is naturally going to confuse things. The idea is that the Hedge might sidetrack characters on a mission based on their personal narrative and the history of the space they're moving through; "we're lost now" is not the only story beat to be gotten out of a character failing their navigation roll, nor does separation necessarily obligate successful characters to double back — scenes can be relatively short, and players can take turns or portray aspects of the environment when their characters aren't together.

                        There's not actually a lot of systems mastery involved in Hedge Navigation — there are charts to reference, sure, but they mostly tell you things that are already somewhat intuitive, like "if you're faster than your opposition, they will have a harder time winning" and "if you're familiar with the area, you will have an easier time getting where you want to go." Interactions with the Hedgespinning system may complicate things, but that's not a player-side concern. (Speaking of which, it's probably fair to say that, between the Hedge's relation to time and the separate caveats for time limits, a Hedge navigation attempt that's not an actual chase probably doesn't necessitate that all of its rolls be one-after-the-other — you can take a moment to get your bearings, spin a useful piece of equipment for your next action, or otherwise boost your odds of success when doing the fae borderland equivalent of open-sea swimming to your destination.)

                        (Looking over the section again, the language used does seem to suggest that "trod" and "on the path" have mostly collapsed into each other in 2e; the nature of milestones breaking up a stretch of path makes it easy enough to have a relatively small number of trods go a long way, particularly given that the Dreaming Roads establish the same place can be a landmark on multiple roads. This could be clearer, but it's consistent with the way the system and the fiction treat the Hedge)
                        Last edited by Satchel; 11-14-2020, 08:16 PM.


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                        • #27
                          What I mean when I say the system is too abstract, and what I think other people mean, is that the system by itself provides almost nothing to make the navigation scenes narrative.
                          What it provides is for the players to say which type of roll they're going to use. "This part of the Thorns is a misty redwood forest maze with no sunshine. I roll Wits+Survival to light a torch and to keep my bearings when wandering through it." The ST should probably describe how the scenery has changed (preferably to something that won't default to Wits+Survival, but that's what's easiest to come up with). But anything after that is so abstract in terms of rules interacting with the game world that it provides minimal help to describe anything.
                          What does it look like for the Hedge to win the Edge or for the characters to increase their lead? No fucking idea.
                          How do you personalise the journey to account for the Hedge's psychoactive nature? I could sure use some guidance for that.
                          What interesting complications could arise from using the system? Nothing of import while you actually use the system, but once you're done rolling and have determined the final outcome the ST could get the great opportunity to put you somewhere else. But if the players succeed, then nothing beyond the complications of having arrived where they set out to arrive before they even started engaging with the system. (Mixed successful and failed players and/or active opposition does provide a potentially wide range of possible final outcomes, which I do admit is good, but it does little to make the system fun to interact with since it only happens once you're finally done with it.)
                          Could you add micro-scenes between rolls to make the journey more interactible than "I choose this dice pool"? Absolutely!... but it's hardly a feature of the system; it's something you do above and beyond the scope of the system. I wouldn't praise the extended action system for anything interesting I do between the rolls of modifying the character's car for future car chases.

                          To be fair, saying "choose a fitting dice pool" can go a long way to inspire interesting descriptions and situations, but it fails to build on that foundation because the framework it sets up is too abstract.

                          I honestly think it would be a lot more fun if the book went to say "For every journey through the Hedge, you will encounter a series of trials and tribulations of various natures. Succeed with X or them to arrive at your desired destination. Fail Y challenges for the Hedge to put you where it thinks you should be." and then spent the rest of the wordcount to give examples of such trials. It makes the whole thing a lot more interactible, a hella lot easier to describe, and even allows the ST to insert their own planned encounters/scenes directly as part of the system instead of doing those in addition to the current Hedge navigation system.

                          Satchel, if you get what you describe out of the Hedge chase rules, then fucking kudos to you. No sarcasm. But it does nothing of the sort for me and seemingly not to a lot of other people as well. It's simply not engaging enough for either players or ST, and devolves all too easily into continuously rolling until you know the final outcome rather than experiencing an actual journey along with the characters. It's a huge shame when ignoring the system makes it easier to experience the Hedge as it is intended.

                          Regarding paths and Trods (from page 200):
                          "Trods (p. 201) are not the only paths through the
                          Hedge, though they are the only ones that remain in
                          place. Most people who travel the Hedge do so on less
                          reliable roads, [..]"
                          I personally had gotten the impression that anything not a Trod (or Hollow) is Thorns, including these paths, but I can't find anything that backs that claim up. Regardless, milestones are specific to Trods only (at least when it comes to modifying the target number for Hedge chases), and most journeys seem to be expected to take place outside of them.


                          Bloodline: The Stygians
                          Ordo Dracul Mysteries: Mystery of Smoke, Revised Mystery of Živa
                          Mage The Awakening: Spell Quick Reference (single page and landscape for computer screens)

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by Satchel View Post
                            — there are charts to reference, sure, but they mostly tell you things that are already somewhat intuitive, like "if you're faster than your opposition, they will have a harder time winning" and "if you're familiar with the area, you will have an easier time getting where you want to go."
                            When your opposition is a briarwolf or a huntsman, sure, it's intuitive what a higher speed rating means for the narrative of a chase. What it means for the Hedge to have a higher speed rating is not. I can think about how that plays out and come up with ideas on what the results of a roll mean but it requires me to work against my intuition, not with it. It requires me to take my understanding of "speed represents how quickly you can move from point A to point B" and map that to an entity that exists simultaneously at point A and B, and every other point and all the spaces between.

                            Casting about for other systems that more intuitively map to how I understand the Hedge the first thing that comes to mind is honestly social maneuvering. I can pretty easily grasp how the Hedge can try to get characters off their chosen path by intimidating them with hostile terrain, persuading them to sidetrack for baubles or goblin fruits or other desirables, or mislead them by disguising paths with subterfuge. That's where I would start when considering an alternate system to use.

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by HelmsDerp View Post
                              When your opposition is a briarwolf or a huntsman, sure, it's intuitive what a higher speed rating means for the narrative of a chase. What it means for the Hedge to have a higher speed rating is not. I can think about how that plays out and come up with ideas on what the results of a roll mean but it requires me to work against my intuition, not with it. It requires me to take my understanding of "speed represents how quickly you can move from point A to point B" and map that to an entity that exists simultaneously at point A and B, and every other point and all the spaces between.
                              The Hedge's Speed is lowered on trods and raised in the Thorns, while its Initiative only changes when the Clarity of those navigating does. Trods are mostly-stable ground and the Thorns are dangerous parts of the Hedge where negative mental/emotional Conditions play themselves out in the landscape. The Hedge's Speed is how fast it can change things. Its Initiative is how well it can get the jump on the characters. This is how it represents itself as a pursuer in the Chase rules when its "pursuit" is being an omnipresent force trying to get the characters lost or mislead them. That seems plenty intuitive for that particular stipulation.


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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by Firefly Night View Post

                                while it is very crunchy, i think of the system more like way the wyld was presented in the fair folk supplements for exalted... where distance was measured not by km/miles, but rather by waypoints (places where "things happen") and journeys (the hand wavey montage part in between the places where things happen). i imagine that this system playing out in a similar way, with "places where things happen" being the result of the Hedge Chase mechanic.
                                This. I am still thinking about possible homerules for Hedge navigation, but this is exactly the direction I would take. Instead of framing it like a chase, have something more similar to Social maneuvers, with waypoints instead of Doors. It gives a sense of journey length, but keeps it interesting by having stuff and events happening along the way. Wade L's alternate rules had a great idea with the concept of Obstacles thrown by the Hedge.
                                It would still provide the theme of having the Hedge opposing you, and yet have the flexibility of ranging from short travels (a single waypoint could be resolved in a single roll) to longer journeys with several waypoints and complications.

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