[1E] Are dice the deciding factor in rewards? Or is it fiction?

I’ve been playing TB1E for a few years and I’ve only really played w/ 1 group. The way we do Instinct rewards is “Did you pass your Instinct test or did you fail?” and that’s it. Passing means a Fate. Failing means no reward.

I’ve been having some friction w/ my group about the MVP reward. In the 1E text on pg 109 it states “The MVP reward goes to the player who made the crucial roll so the party could face down the big problem besetting it in the session.” And directly below it describes Merrill successfully casting a spell and saving the group to earn the MVP persona reward.

The question is. If Merrill did that, but the reason they successfully cast the spell is because they actually failed on their dice roll but took condition w/ success from the GM… does that disqualify them from earning MVP? Does the dice roll for whatever you’re talking about for MVP have to be successful to earn MVP? Does “Face down” = “succeed dice roll against”?

My opinion is that the rewards are about the fiction. They’re NOT about dice rolls. But I can concede that there is some foggy space in between these two things where the rewards live that is distasteful to me, though I would really prefer to not have to operate there. “Facing down the big problem” means confronting it. Taking stand. Being an Ob to their goal. Having that dramatic moment in the session.
Whether you succeed on the dice roll or not doesn’t actually matter.

I empathize with you here, because this is my vexation with D&D players. Everyone seems more impressed with a die comes up on a damn twenty than when the wizard jumps in front of an arrow for his wounded friend. I think the operative words are “the crucial roll,” not the crucial success. MVP is not the Most Lucky Player, MVP is for the Most Valuable Player. I think the wording of the rules here makes your interpretation entirely valid.

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Hey Rich,

It’s about both the dice and the fiction at once.

Take instincts: To qualify for that fate point reward, you have to meet two criteria:

  1. You must test the instinct, i.e., roll the dice.
  2. The outcome of that roll must benefit the group.

You might have a “Always cook a meal when we make camp” instinct, but if no one in the group is hungry, even succeeding on that test won’t get you the reward. It didn’t really help. It actually wasted resources. Likewise, if only one person is hungry, I’d also argue the instinct didn’t help. The ration you used would have fed them just as well. On the other hand, if you are cooking for multiple people and you fail the roll, the GM might give you a condition, allowing you to feed your companions. That would earn the reward even though you failed the test.

When it comes to MVP, we’re asking the group to dig a little deeper: Identify the climax of the session, the turning point at which the group gets closer to resolving the current adventure. It’s specifically about the group and what it’s seeking, not an individual achievement. This trips groups up sometimes. It’s easy to say: “Rich rolled a gajillion successes on that one roll. He’s got to be the MVP.” But it’s not just about successes; it’s really about what moves the group closer to the prize.

It’s often a moment during a conflict, because conflicts are, by their nature, the big turning point moments during a session. The GM calls for a conflict because it’s one of those key, turning point moments. Sometimes it’s not. Sometimes it’s that one Scholar test that allows the group to put all the various clues they’ve encountered together so they finally understand how and why this place was cursed and how they can lift it. Regardless, it’s a test; you have to roll the dice.

Once you identify the most important of those moments during the session, look for who shone in that moment. Is it required that the player succeed on the roll? No. The character might have taken a condition to get the result the group needed. That would still qualify. What’s important is that the player stepped up in that moment of need, put their character on the line by making a test, and carried the team.

That said, if the roll failed and left the group in a worse position, then there’s no MVP that session. That’s OK too! Sometimes you fail. Sometimes it’s a quiet session and there’s no key moment. That’s a good signal for everyone, GM and players alike, to drive for more action in the next session.


I feel like I should note that the above is why neither the description of earning fate for Instincts nor earning persona for MVP say anything about successful rolls. Just that they require a test.


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