Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Back to Basics: Non-Binary Consequences


Here are tools to use non-binary consequences to further the game. If you're worried about gamist choices is being encouraged this should muddy up the the matter nice and messy. Continued from Empathy is the Goal.

A lot of the results found in the tables alter the success with some minor problems - problems that are distracting and a nuisance. They also give use unexpected costs, consequences and opportunity costs. This, hopefully, let's players learn the mindset of managing their own expectations.

The failures are also altered, with unexpected costs being avoided and failures letting us see opportunities where we did not see any before. In the failed roll players can force a success at a greater cost than they may be capable of paying.

In the end the system seeks to have more incomparables that push the story forward, the Players feel that even if the RP a decision it doesnt mean the game ends prematurely.

Limited use per player and per session. Its just a great way for a Stumped GM to push the story forward when success or failure ends the session or game or story sooner than ideal.

Note: Characters Weak Aspects can be further informed to the GM by a simple Time Allocation method which will be tackled in a later post. A simpler method than a time sheet.

Non-Binary Consequences Tables

This is a table to roll for 
Roll 2d6Chance
22.78%
3-413.89%
5-741.67%
8-925.00%
10-1113.89%
122.78%

Minor Problems/Challenges. These are challenges and problems that does not take a roll to overcome or neutralize but requires the Player to detail his trade offs and how he approaches the situation. The sole objective of this technique is having more details to work with for the GM, creating the sense of scarcity and limitations with trade-offs, and building up towards climax or extending the challenge in pacing.

Challenges. Challenges are mentioned and refers to any tasks, problems, hurdles, objectives, etc... that was resolved or lined up to be resolved. Successes can be undone, while other ongoing challenges can be

Roll 2d6Partial Success Consequences 1d6
21-2)  Misplaced Credit. the credit of the success is diffused or misplaced among people or factors. most people think the character had nothing to do with it. There is word spreading the character is wrongfully getting credit for it. The characters has a hard time proving their work.
3-4)  A sacrifice for success. If the PC is busy or overloaded in some way give him the option of having to drop something valuable in exchange for this success. Otherwise the success is temporary or alleviates the problem partially.
5-6) Double Damned. Roll twice more. The first roll is only on the 3-4 result, the second is in the 5-7 result. 
3-41-2) Bad Timing. The timing of the success is off. It comes a late enough to cause a Minor problem.  that can come back to bite the PCs. Example would be that a deadline has come and the negative consequences are wrecking minor havoc.
3-4) At great cost. The cost of the success is *1d3+1 more than expected. If the cost is more than the PC can pay, the PC accidentally uses up someone's resources and they come to collect. This is a bit harder to resolve than a Minor Problem, consider it a minor problem that grows fairly quickly per session. OR It took more than what the PC expected out of him, the PC is spent. The PC needs to rest or suffers serious penalties when participating in other actions. If the Player decides the PC to rest, you may let a minor problem lapse in his absence.
5-6) Opportunity Cost. Create an Opportunity this success closes off. it has to be a worthwhile opportunity with a real gain. This opportunity presents itself as the character succeeds. The PC has the option to fail, failing that will trigger a Partial Failure consequence, that is automatically shifted to a worse result by one step.
5-71-2) That Escalated Quickly - The success makes the next challenge much harder, and more at stake, more to gain, and with little time to prepare.
3-4) More Problems. The success uncovers a bunch of minor problems. Roll 1d6+1 minor problems pop up.
5-6) Unwanted Attention. The the success has attracted unwanted attention. Someone who will use Deception or force on the PC to extract such services make contact with the PC. Make an existing NPC more resourceful and adversarial, but this matter can be resolved in a session. 
8-91-2) Conundrum. 1d6 minor problems show up as a result of the success. Failure to handle the matter effectively grows the minor problems every session. Solving them grants the PC resources or aid to resolve future minor problems. The PC is free to ignore them and sweep them under the rug. Ignoring all of them adds 1d6 more problems in the next session.
3-4) Repeat Success. A unique and special result came of the PCs attempt. Any attempt to repeat the success at the exact and unique manner is very hard and will require significant investment of time and resources. Failure to replicate will bring some disdain and disappointment all around, from the overlord to peers whose expectations rose to highly. The PC can attempt to manage expectations early, if they are quick enough before the expectations snow ball.
If the PC does not follow up the success and manages the expectations, someone will offer some minor reward in return for insight about the matter. If the PC accepts, some one almost replicates the success next session and diminishes the PCs standing from it, even brings some question if the PC really performed it. If the PC did not take the reward the replication is even better than the PCs initial efforts.
5-6) Apprenticeship.  The success gains the PC an apprentice, either their lord wants more of what the PC has to offer or someone admires the PCs competence and wants to be Apprentice. This person is incompetent and has some complicating factors - the Lord who assigned it is always waiting on improvements who seeks to capitalize on the new apprentice or the People who see or talk to the apprentice creating high expectations - creating more apprentices or putting the PC against his Peers.  
10-111-2) Thrust to Greatness. The Character is fast tracked in his career or path. Gain responsibilities and duties he may not be prepared for. More enemies and rivals show up, people begin to talk about him. While people are mostly undecided many have opinions are plenty and varied, and problematic.
3-4) too valuable a prize. The PC's reward for success is a price that is very hard to keep. Typically something that has a high maintenance cost, like a great Warhorse, A company of savage warriors, valuables too heavy and hard to move, land many want to contest or take, affection of someone who makes many dangerously envious.
5-6) Honors and Duties. The reward is honors that test the character's flaws and weaknesses. A greedy character is awarded the watch over a purse, a lusty character awarded care of a household where his master has a lusty dependent, etc.. basically a match that will end up in much greater failure and a test of the character's weaknesses vs his duties and honor. 
121-2) Fame! the circumstance of this success changes into one that happens to have many things hanging on it. The success of the PC becomes stuff of legend and may see him as a hero, but this is polarized by many who see the success exaggerated and accident. The reputation of success grants a good reaction to people, but the many who have the contrary opinion challenge and see every fault of the charcter. The character does all wrong. Like a celebrity that is deconstructed and demolished for being in the center of attention.
3-4) Burning Bright! The success increases in scope, gains, and attention. The character gains a minor bonus, 1d6 (dont tell the Player, just say he's in the zone). This bonus persists if the PC escalates the challenge, and takes more risks and puts more at stake. If the PC does not maintain this momentum, the bonus disappears, a Big Problem, Rival, or Enemy enters the scene and will try neutralizes the PC and make him fall farther down. He will end up with less than what he started with.
5-6) ...Gift Horse in the Mouth! Play down the success and take the first problem you can think off, ideally one that presses the PCs buttons the wrong way, and present it to the PC. This is a permanent gain in disguise, it looks like a poisoned gift and initially it may be a poisoned gift but all the minor problems iron themselves out.
Ex. more responsibilities, that look impossible but actually is low maintenance. A difficult NPC, who happens to love solving some of the PCs problems. Etc...
Give it a couple of session, treated right it would be a permanent gain. 

Roll 2d6Partial Failure Consequences 1d6
21-2) A disheartening failure. the other PCs have their partial failure and success consequences shifted to a step worse for the session.
3-4) A mark of failure. The player gains a permanent physical mark regarding the failure. A scar, a permanent wound, the inability to do a minor task (play an instrument, carry his maximum load, run for his max speed at half the duration he normally can, etc...).
5-6) Weakness revealed. Characters who have no relationships or personal weaknesses let something slip. They utter a name, of someone who can severely distract them, a memory so strong it can serve as a talisman to make the PC weaker (distracted). Ask the player for a name, any name. If there are enemies in their presence they will learn something.
PCs with relationships, roots or family, will have family seeking them. it may be the failure bringing a loved one to the PC out of concern. This puts the loved one in harms way.  
3-41-2) More Drama. The failure causes 1d3+1 Minor Problems of a social conflict nature to be revealed. This is actually an opportunity where the PC can improve their relationships or gain a relationship if he takes the time to deal with them. Offer the opportunity to walk away from the problem, causing only one of the NPCs to have a deteriorated relationship with the PC.
3-4) A long night Ahead. Add to the failure's consequences a lot more work. The cost to fix this should be in significant time and effort. Give the PC multi-tasking penalty if he has other things he has to do other than fix this problem (if no multitasking rules just make all difficulties harder or the PC is distracted). Let the PC have the option to give up and give him no visible consequences beyond the initial flack for failure.
If the PC chooses to do the work, even if they dont have to increase the PC's virtue related to being professional or give him a bonus in self control or discipline. If that reward is not applicable, let the PC see a different opportunity for cleaning up his own mess.
5-6) Frustration. This failure frustrates and distracts the PC beyond its other negative consequences. Let the PC have some minor penalty as he works through this failure for the entire session. Give the PC the option to drown out the frustration or completely forget about it. This removes the penalty. If the PC works through the frustration by talking through it, meditating/reflecting on it, writing about it give him grant him a reroll in the next session. 
5-71-2) Not that bad.Take the last success or gains or mitigation of a loss or threat, Ask the player how badly he wants this to succeed. If he says yes, then the last success/gains/mitigation/aversion of a loss/threat is undone. Otherwise, if he accepts the failure he gains a minor reputation related to the matter OR some trauma related to the matter for a 1d3 sessions.
3-4) A for Effort. The PC's efforts were heroic and witnessed. Set up the scene where the failure is a test of character, if the character has any virtues let it contrast with his weaknesses. If the Player can Role-Play this scene out, regardless of how comfortable they are with such or bad they are with RPing, some people noticed their virtues (be it compassion, honor, bravery, discretion, etc...).  Roll for 1d6 NPC and name these NPCs and they will come to play later in the game to help with minor problems.
If the player can't role-play or gets really frustrated with the failure a powerful NPC, who has the capability of teaching the PC notices and criticizes the PC.
5-6) A window opens. The failure is demoralizing to the PC and those around him. The PC suffers some reputation damage but in trying an opportunity opens up. One that would have not been noticed or learned without the failure. if the PC pursues this opportunity for the session, let it mature on the next session. 
8-91-2) Cost mitigated failure. If any resources or time was consumed, the cause of failure made it that half or significantly less were consumed. Point this out to the PC. If the PC pursues looking at his current resources a minor challenge leads him to more resources that can only help indirectly. By indirectly, it takes another step or another activity to convert that small gain into a usable one. Looking for water only to find a dried up spring.
3-4)  Zero Sum. If there is someone who gains by the PC's failure, double the gains or double what the PC stood to lose but make the NPC feel pity, mercy, or magnanimous towards the PC. If it was a friendly competition, then the NPC is friendlier towards the PC from some event in the conflict that mattered to the NPC.
Give the PC some incentive to act like a total douche. Either point out that the crowd is jeering at the PC from the appearance of weakness, or NPCs that matter to the PC feel humiliated, crushed, betrayed, disillusioned by association to the PC and this failure.
 5-6) Learning moment. Failure causes a significant loss of resource, but the PC gains insight. Gain 1d3 worth of resources to improve the PC, be it character points, or other character resources. Or grant the PC a conditional bonus for similar circumstances equal to the die roll. 
10-111-2) Failed Reputation. The PC gains a reputation, a nickname, regarding the failure. it catches on and spreads the PC's reputation. Those who have not heard of it, once they learn about the reputation will underestimate the PC. This means the PC has more to prove in any task but, if the PC advances in society he becomes more remarkable and the Nickname intrinsic meaning changes slowly. Every time this result is rolled again by the same PC, the reputation spreads farther.
2-3) Sympathy Win. Everyone gains sympathy of the character. The crowd or witnesses are generally sympathetic to the PC.
5-6) Concentration. The failure has given the PC some trauma regarding the failure. On the next tasks, distractions can be held at bay from the impression left by this loss if the game system or play style does not make use of distractions, then allow a reroll on either the Consequences or the Task.

121-2) Wu Wei. there are serious consequences to the failure, but they completely disappear by next session. Something just happens to matter more and takes precedents. Everyone remembers the event differently, and what ever actions the PC had undertaken laid the groundwork for a new opportunity (which shows up next session).
3-4) A Teacher appears. A mentor, appears and criticizes the character's technique. He antagonizes and makes the character insecure. This mentor does not appear like a mentor but one of the Characters Critics. When the character confronts the mentor he learns of the respect he has of the character when he talks to him face to face, and how much he actually constructively criticizes the PC.
Make the source of a teacher always challenging or easily overlooked. Every time this result is rolled, the teacher can grant a wider range of mastery.
5-6) Center Stage Failure. The PC is propelled into the center stage of a the ongoing event because of the failure. The failure is catastrophic and he survives the failure, those around him barely or not at all. The world is polarized about the opinions about the PC, these opinions can be all negative and nuanced and heaps negative reactions for the PC. What stands out is that it draws so much attention the PC is in a position to Change what people think of him.
Every time this result i re-rolled the reputation grows and the polarization intensifies. So many made up rumors about the PCs exist and his failure is talked about. He is made villain or victim in various stories and retellings. 

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