Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Alternate Hedge Navigation Rules

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Alternate Hedge Navigation Rules

    I found the existing Hedge Navigation rules to both be complicated (the chase rules are a bit on the heavy side for me, but combining the chase rules with yet another separate table of modifiers pushed it over the edge for me), and not actually all that interesting. I want Hedge navigation to be relatively simple mechanically, but also provide some interesting twists and turns and force the characters to maybe make some hard choices. I also hated how easy it was for a group to get separated in the Hedge unless they moved at the pace of the least lucky or skilled member.

    In my modified system, instead of being a chase using varying die pools, it is an extended and contested roll using Clarity. This is a system more about navigating the Hedge instead of racing through it - if you're being chased, use the chase rules. This is more about answering the question "Can you find your way to your destination despite the Obstacle the Hedge throws in your way?"

    Each turn of the extended action, you roll your Clarity, and the Hedge rolls its dice. If you beat the Hedge, you add to your total successes. If you fail, instead of gaining a Condition (the normal penalty for failing a roll in an extended action) you instead encounter some Obstacle in the Hedge. If the Hedge beats you, you don't add any successes to your total but you can voluntarily choose to encounter some Obstacle in the Hedge to add your successes to the total anyways.

    Characters can help you navigate using the Teamwork rules, but with a wrinkle - if you're trying to help using Teamwork and the Hedge beats your number of successes, you get separated from the group unless you fight through an Obstacle. If you get the whole group scouting paths and trying to find a way forward you might get where you're going much faster - or you might just all end up separated in the Hedge.

    What's an Obstacle? It's just some barrier the Storyteller decides you run into in the Hedge. Every character needs to get past it, not just the leader. You can do it as a simple Attribute + Skill roll with some penalty for failure (roll Dexterity + Athletics to down that rocky slope without suffering the Leg Wrack Tilt, or roll Resolve + Survival crawl through the pile of Hobgoblin maggots without getting the Shaken Condition, etc), or run it as a mini-scene.

    Google doc to the full text is below, feel encouraged to leave any comments you may wish, or just reply to this thread with your insights and suggestions!

    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1...it?usp=sharing

  • #2
    "However, if the character wishes they can power through the opposition the Hedge puts in their way and try to overcome an Obstacle - if they succeed, they can add their navigation successes to their total despite losing the contest."

    In contested rolls you only count the successes in excess of the opponent's succcesses. This part seem to say that you get to add all your successes, meaning failing a roll and overcoming the Obstacle would very often grant more progress on the extended action than just simply succeeding. Is this intended?

    Having skimmed the document it just looks like the regular Hedge navigation rules with some modifications. The Edge from the chase rules is simply replaced with Obstacles, and the base dice pool is standardised to Clarity instead of relevant Attribute+Skill combo.
    I have a few grievances with the base rules but this modification would only partly alleviate one of them: Running into Obstacles breaks up the abstract nature of the rolling, creating situations that are easy to narrate. That's a significant advantage over the base rules and I really think you can expand on that. One way to do that is to add guidelines for appropriate consequences for failing "single roll" Obstacles.

    My other grievance with the base Hedge navigation rules is that it's a huge time sink having to roll an extended action every time you want to navigate the Hedge, and adding Obstacles makes that part even worse. I like them as a concept, but what the system really needs is a way to quickly resolve navigating the Hedge.
    I suggest a single contested roll (modified appropriately for Trod rating/Thorns, distance, difficulty of finding the goal, etc), with Obstacles being the failure condition after which you simply reroll (with a cummulative bonus, rather than the cummulative penalty, to make it worth the time players spend overcoming the Obstacle) until you succeed. Doing that would make it so much quicker to navigate short and/or known distances, and make it a potential gauntlet of Obstacles if it's too far/difficult to reach the goal.
    Would it be okay for me to post a draft of such a system later when I have time to write it down, or would you prefer this thread to be about your system?


    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)

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Tessie View Post
      In contested rolls you only count the successes in excess of the opponent's succcesses.
      This is false. You count all your successes. The person with more successes wins and applies all of their successes. This is true in all of the CofD games.

      From the core book, pages 69 and 70:

      When two people fight over a specific goal, they engage in a
      contested action. You roll your dice pool and the Storyteller (or
      other player) rolls the dice pool for the other party. Whoever
      rolls the most successes is the victor. Note that you count the
      total number of successes rolled when working out if you scored
      an exceptional success — don’t subtract the other party’s suc-
      cesses from yours.
      Emphasis mine.

      Comment


      • #4
        It is, however, a common houserule, which was even blessed by Olivia Hill back in the day; but yes, by RAW there is no success subtraction in contested rolls. This does make fights between high-powered opponents very swingy as both sides in contested rolls will regularly roll Exceptional Successes but only one side is going to get an ES with more total successes.


        Politeness is the lubricant of social intercourse.

        Comment


        • #5
          Most Contested rolls aren't "fights," where you'll be rolling lots of times; esp. not in direct competition with someone else. Chase and Combat but use a mix of Contested and Resisted actions as what "fights" are supposed to look like. So the obvious solution to "high powered roll offs getting lots of successes," is to make them Contested and Resisted actions to bring the numbers done to something more sensible, rather than changing how Contested actions work completely. So you don't mess with Contested actions where opponents aren't actively hindering each other. If I'm trying to compose a poem to win over a hobgolin to my cause, and someone else is doing the same, my exceptional 5 successes poem shouldn't be reduced to a normal 4 successes poem because they managed to put some words to paper.

          ---------

          Beyond that, I find myself agreeing with the rest of Tessie's point that the issue is that trading one complex Hedge Navigation system for another doesn't really accomplish much to address most stated concerns with the RAW.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Maina View Post

            This is false. You count all your successes. The person with more successes wins and applies all of their successes. This is true in all of the CofD games.

            From the core book, pages 69 and 70:



            Emphasis mine.

            When two people fight over a specific goal, they engage in a
            contested action. You roll your dice pool and the Storyteller (or
            other player) rolls the dice pool for the other party. Whoever
            rolls the most successes is the victor. Note that you count the
            total number of successes rolled when working out if you scored
            an exceptional success
            — don’t subtract the other party’s suc-
            cesses from yours.
            Emphasis mine.

            Technically I suppose it's never stated whether you should subtract successes or not for contested rolls as a general rule since the number of successes aren't supposed to matter for contested rolls so no general rule is supposed to be needed. But despite that we actually do have a singular precedent. The one time successes matter in a contested roll (which is the attack roll vs Dodge roll) and there is an explicit ruling about it, you are indeed supposed to subtract the loser's successes from the winner's successes.
            Now this might not seem to be RAI, but right now I'm just so fucking tired of Onyx Path's tendency of being sloppy when explaining the rules, which combos horrendously with their refusal of releasing errata. (And before anyone says anything: The "errata phase" is a public editing pass, but regardless of what it's called its only supposed to correct any typos and would not affect the rules anyway.) OPP has amazing devs and writers who create amazing games and I'm really not singling out anyone because I don't think anyone in particular is at fault, but there's something in OPP's process of developing a book that just fails to catch this kind of stuff at an alarming regularity. Not to say that other companies are perfect, but most don't seem to make as many mistakes when it comes to conveying or explaining their rules, and when they do mess up at least they release errata documents to fix it.
            Edit: Yeah, I get that it's a weird thing to get hung up on, but despite my love for the games this is something that have frustrated me since I started playing back with GMC/B&S, and it has not improved one single bit since.
            Last edited by Tessie; 11-06-2020, 05:28 PM.


            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)

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Tessie View Post

              In contested rolls you only count the successes in excess of the opponent's succcesses. This part seem to say that you get to add all your successes, meaning failing a roll and overcoming the Obstacle would very often grant more progress on the extended action than just simply succeeding. Is this intended?
              Discussed by others above. I've generally always done the "don't subtract successes" thing for contested rolls thing and assumed everyone else did it that way. If you don't - and it seems like the rulebooks can be read either way here - that'd be a problem.

              There's also just not much clarification in general on what happens if an action is both contested and extended. I went with a particular variation (you roll each turn, and on turns you beat your opposition you add your successes, on turns you fail to beat your opposition you gain nothing). But there's probably several different ways to run an action that is both contested and extended, some of them probably fairly different - we're a bit in the weeds here.

              Originally posted by Tessie View Post
              Having skimmed the document it just looks like the regular Hedge navigation rules with some modifications. The Edge from the chase rules is simply replaced with Obstacles, and the base dice pool is standardised to Clarity instead of relevant Attribute+Skill combo.
              So, in actual play my (and my players') main complaints were:
              - "The Edge" is even fuzzier in Hedge navigation than it is in Chases, and keeping track of it seems like extra work
              - The varying dice pools are extra cumbersome because the Hedge is so variable - in a chase in the mundane world it is a lot simpler to figure out appropriate dice pools based on circumstance, whereas in the Hedge it is perfectly reasonable for a player to be like "I want to find a way to roll Intelligence + Subterfuge for the chase pool this turn" and it just feels harder to navigate
              - Having everyone roll every turn is a bunch of extra rolls, especially when all that matters is who rolls the least successes since the group will usually want to stick together. So you just go at the pace of the slowest
              - It is weird that the Hedge's target number of successes is the same as yours - racing to accumulate a certain number of successes before the Hedge could stop you makes sense, but the Hedge also needing to race to accumulate successes is strange

              Those were mostly the things I was trying to cut out - basically by transforming it from a chase to a regular contested action, it streamlines the mechanical complexity a bit but there's still a system to it other than just a pass/fail. I could definitely see why someone would want to streamline it further.

              Originally posted by Tessie View Post
              I have a few grievances with the base rules but this modification would only partly alleviate one of them: Running into Obstacles breaks up the abstract nature of the rolling, creating situations that are easy to narrate. That's a significant advantage over the base rules and I really think you can expand on that. One way to do that is to add guidelines for appropriate consequences for failing "single roll" Obstacles.
              Thanks for that feedback! I threw in a couple of ideas I thought might help people, but I could definitely see expanding that productively!

              Originally posted by Tessie View Post
              My other grievance with the base Hedge navigation rules is that it's a huge time sink having to roll an extended action every time you want to navigate the Hedge, and adding Obstacles makes that part even worse. I like them as a concept, but what the system really needs is a way to quickly resolve navigating the Hedge.
              I suggest a single contested roll (modified appropriately for Trod rating/Thorns, distance, difficulty of finding the goal, etc), with Obstacles being the failure condition after which you simply reroll (with a cummulative bonus, rather than the cummulative penalty, to make it worth the time players spend overcoming the Obstacle) until you succeed. Doing that would make it so much quicker to navigate short and/or known distances, and make it a potential gauntlet of Obstacles if it's too far/difficult to reach the goal.
              I definitely see doing it as a single contested roll instead. Part of it just comes down how much of a "journey" you want Hedge navigation to be. The characters in the campaign I'm currently running are fresh escapees and every trip into the Hedge kinda should feel like an ordeal at this point, but for more typical chronicles I could definitely see wanting most Hedge trips to be a simple roll, only with possibility of complication if you fail. I definitely like that idea.

              An alternate idea I just came up with (and added to the Google doc) is to have a "Forcing the Path" option much like Forcing Doors in social manuvering. If you want to dispense with the extended action and just finish it now, in one roll, roll as normal but with a penalty equal to how many successes you still need. For characters with decent Wyrd on a Trod, that could be a pretty modest penalty. But if you fail that attempt - well, now you tried to make the trip without properly taking your time and you're well and proper lost.

              I might also jiggle around the numbers. I chose the target number of successes to start at eight because that's what the rulebook does for Hedge Navigation, but the default five might be better.


              Originally posted by Tessie View Post
              Would it be okay for me to post a draft of such a system later when I have time to write it down, or would you prefer this thread to be about your system?
              Feel free to post a draft for yours as well! You've given me good ideas already and I'd love to see what you come up with.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Tessie View Post
                Now this might not seem to be RAI, but right now I'm just so fucking tired of Onyx Path's tendency of being sloppy when explaining the rules, which combos horrendously with their refusal of releasing errata. (And before anyone says anything: The "errata phase" is a public editing pass, but regardless of what it's called its only supposed to correct any typos and would not affect the rules anyway.) OPP has amazing devs and writers who create amazing games and I'm really not singling out anyone because I don't think anyone in particular is at fault, but there's something in OPP's process of developing a book that just fails to catch this kind of stuff at an alarming regularity. Not to say that other companies are perfect, but most don't seem to make as many mistakes when it comes to conveying or explaining their rules, and when they do mess up at least they release errata documents to fix it.
                I do understand the frustration here. I've been running a lot of small, focused indie games lately where the mechanics are tight, and it's...quite the paradigm shift coming back to Chronicles of Darkness.

                Part of it I think comes from the fact the rules are descended from the very 1990s school of simulation-first game design where you develop a world and rules on how the world works in character, and then after the fact create some mechanical rules to simulate that fictional world. The focus is very much on the fictional world first, and the rules second.

                Which would be fine if they were rules light games. But they tend to be extremely rules dense, with tons of different subsystems. The amount of editing and design hours needed to actually maintain all that in any kind of reasonable way is really out of the reach of any company that doesn't produce The World's Most Popular Roleplaying Game. It was a struggle for them back in the 90s when White Wolf was a comparatively huge and successful company, but I think the rules have gotten more complex while the developer hours alotted to it has probably only shrunk.

                I think the winning move would be to move to a much simpler system with more unified but less detailed mechanics, but it's a rock and a hard place because a lot of the existing fans simultaniously really love complicated rules. But they also want the rules to be tight and slick. And getting both complicated and tight is just really really hard.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I think many of the more complex or dragging rules in Chronicles of Darkness should be optional, and used only when you to put the focus into the scene.
                  There should always be a choice between using an advanced system and a simplified one, including Hedge navigation.
                  Think about Down and Dirty combat vs. the full combat sequence, or Social Maneuver vs. a simple Social roll.
                  So if you want to treat Hedge navigation like "routine stuff", you can simply ask for a Attribute + Skill + Wyrd roll, or something like that.

                  Regarding the suggested rules, I like the idea. Personally, I haven't had the chance to try the RAW chase and Hedge navigation rules yet, so I don't have first-hand experience on what's wrong with it, if any. But I know that Extended actions are much more interesting when something happens between rolls and when there is some variation, and the idea of adding Obstacles does exactly that.
                  One idea could be to use a system similar to Social Maneuvering: instead of having the Hedge try to "reach" the characters in an abstract way, you roll to establish how many "Doors/Obstacles" the Hedge throws at you, how much it has led you astray to a longer and more dangerous path. Then you play out each different Obstacle/Door.

                  Currently I'm writing this off the top of my head. Maybe I'll think about it, and come up with something.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by moonwhisper View Post
                    So if you want to treat Hedge navigation like "routine stuff", you can simply ask for a Attribute + Skill + Wyrd roll, or something like that.
                    Not that I don't have plenty of sympathy for the problem this thread is addressing, but "routine stuff" in Hedge navigation is handled by using trods, for which the base game's main issue is lack of guidance on how common those should be — you literally don't need to roll at all if you're using a trod and you're not being pursued or in a hurry. Otherwise, the main way of speeding through Hedge navigation is to have such a high Wyrd rating that you only need one or two successful rolls to get where you're going.


                    Resident Lore-Hound
                    Currently Consuming: Hunter: the Vigil 1e

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Satchel View Post
                      Not that I don't have plenty of sympathy for the problem this thread is addressing, but "routine stuff" in Hedge navigation is handled by using trods, for which the base game's main issue is lack of guidance on how common those should be — you literally don't need to roll at all if you're using a trod and you're not being pursued or in a hurry. Otherwise, the main way of speeding through Hedge navigation is to have such a high Wyrd rating that you only need one or two successful rolls to get where you're going.

                      Damn, I missed the whole "you don't have to roll for Hedge navigation on a Trod unless you've being chased or under a time limit" part. It is kinda hidden away at the end of the section on Trods.

                      The lack of guidance on Trods is frustrating though. Especially because the Stable Trod Merit says "Your freehold has established..." so it kinda makes one wonder "Oh, if the characters don't take any Stable Trod Merits, does it mean there are no Trods for them to use in the area?" And on the flip side, if you have the local Freehold having established bunches of Trods in the area already that the PCs can just use, it feels like it devalues the Merit (though I guess there is still the side benefits of getting Hollow enhancements and Goblin Fruit).

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by moonwhisper View Post
                        One idea could be to use a system similar to Social Maneuvering: instead of having the Hedge try to "reach" the characters in an abstract way, you roll to establish how many "Doors/Obstacles" the Hedge throws at you, how much it has led you astray to a longer and more dangerous path. Then you play out each different Obstacle/Door.
                        I kinda debated taking a page from the social manuvering and giving a name to the successes you need like "Steps" or something like that. Make it feel a bit different from just a normal extended action.

                        Of course, in Social Manuvering you also open only one (or two with an exceptional success) Doors with each action, so it makes sense to call them something different than successes.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Wade L View Post


                          Damn, I missed the whole "you don't have to roll for Hedge navigation on a Trod unless you've being chased or under a time limit" part. It is kinda hidden away at the end of the section on Trods.

                          The lack of guidance on Trods is frustrating though. Especially because the Stable Trod Merit says "Your freehold has established..." so it kinda makes one wonder "Oh, if the characters don't take any Stable Trod Merits, does it mean there are no Trods for them to use in the area?" And on the flip side, if you have the local Freehold having established bunches of Trods in the area already that the PCs can just use, it feels like it devalues the Merit (though I guess there is still the side benefits of getting Hollow enhancements and Goblin Fruit).
                          I missed that too, especially since you know that Hedge's Speed is (10 - Trod rating) and it gets stuck in your head, so you just assume you always need to roll navigation on Trods.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Wade L View Post
                            And on the flip side, if you have the local Freehold having established bunches of Trods in the area already that the PCs can just use, it feels like it devalues the Merit (though I guess there is still the side benefits of getting Hollow enhancements and Goblin Fruit).
                            I feel it's a bit more meta than that. Having the merit or not doesn't mean that there is one or isn't, it's more of a storytelling/contractual device. If you don't have the merit, then the Storyteller is 100% allowed/expected to do things like "That Trod you suddenly desperately need to travel fast in this crisis situation? Yeah, it's gone. Someone must have hedgespun it out of existence recently... looks like you'll need to take a different path.", while if you have the merit the ST should not simply disappear the Trod between one scene and the next without giving the PCs warning/making it a more central focus for a few scenes and something the PCs might be able to stop.

                            In other words, without the merit, a Trod essentially has an expiration date. The Freehold trods will be maintained by the Freehold, but any personal trods you want, you'll either have to take them as a merit or you'll likely lose them very soon, since the Hedge is in constant flux.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              It's never said outright but I'm pretty sure extended-contested rolls don't have anyone winning or losing the individual rolls, it's just "Who can reach their target number first."

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X