A few issues

Played another one shot last night, a few queries came up:

  1. How do I handle multiple people that need to make the same test? ex. The group had to descend a rather treacherous escarpment. Does everyone test, or just one person?

  2. If players have a certain goal going into a conflict, but there isn’t a conflict type that fits - what do? ex. The players came across a group of skellies with a staff they needed. They wanted to try and steal the staff and run off, but no one knew how to make that a conflict.

  3. Tapping nature can occur when you don’t have a skill, but the situation fits a nature descriptor - so Humans could use ‘running’ in a flee conflict if they don’t have Rider or Scout?

I will add more as I go through my notes.

  1. One person tests, but the Ob increases for more than one person (in this case, Dungeoneering, take a look at its factors). A whole group counts as two factors, I think, but I’ve not got my book in front of me. Now, of course others can help with this Dungeoneering test.

  2. Make a custom conflict, or just adapt one. Perhaps that could simply be a test to steal the staff first (maybe Scout or Health), followed by a Flee conflict?

  3. Not tapping nature specifically; that’s when you add Nature to a skill, and that requires a Persona point. You can roll Nature instead of a skill when doing most anything; if it’s within your descriptors it’s just a little less risky. Using Nature to do something that doesn’t fit your descriptors is called going “against your Nature”, and can result in Tax. Importantly, however, you cannot use Nature if you have the relevant skill without having Persona to add it to the roll. Have a look at the Nature section of the rules; it’s a rather dense chapter, but it does go through all these uses quite clearly.

I hope that helps! Since I don’t have my book in front of me, I might have made a mistake or two.

  1. I think in the case of a poison gas trap that got set off you would have everyone roll separately but it would only count as one turn. With tests where the group is actively trying to do something you can either go one at a time and take a separate turn for each test, or go as a group as Storapan suggested.

  2. Yeah, I would say that’s just a scout or criminal test, and if they fail a conflict twist. If they were trying to steal it while already having been observed it would probably be a trick conflict or a custom conflict of your choosing. (you basically choose two skills that apply to the situation, each of the skills works for two of the four actions: Attack, Defend, Feint, and Maneuver)

  3. What Storapan said

Also - about conflicts - say we’re doing a pursue/flee conflict and players don’t have the right ‘weapons’ for that one. Do they roll as if unarmed?

The unarmed penalty only applies to Kill and Drive Off Conflicts, i.e., the ones where you’d be using swords and axes and stuff.

Also, I’m for a Criminal or maybe Health Test to steal/grab the staff, followed by a Flee Conflict (if the PCs still want to flee at that point).

I don’t think they’d need a flee conflict if they succeed. After all, wouldn’t the flee conflict be a twist? Isn’t a twist something you get for failing? Of course, if you get a twist that does mean you failed, so you didn’t get the staff… are you going to flee because those guys are scary, or are you going to fight them to steal the staff (Drive off or a variant thereof?)?

That’s where the rules sometimes get confusing. Not every conflict is a Twist. Sometimes it’s just something that happens because of what’s happening in the fiction. You steal the staff. Congratulations. Now the skeletons are coming for you. What do you do? Run? Ok, Flee Conflict.

Hmm, but as a player I would feel betrayed by that. If you succeed you should get what you wanted. I wanted to steal the staff… but I wouldn’t really call it a successful burglary if the alarm goes off and the police show up. If they are later visited by some necrotic agent intent on revenge or retrieval, cool, but I wouldn’t make them flee if they succeed in stealing the staff with stealth, at least not initially, maybe as a twist later for some other failed action (that ends up taking too long or making too much noise).

Of course I suppose this assume they are stealing the staff with stealth. I guess the OP may have been suggesting that they were stealing it aggressively, like a mugging as opposed to a burglary. Then what you’re saying makes a lot of sense, so maybe I was just misreading the discussion.

Presumably, they will eventually notice. It’s also possible to say that a Flee conflict is inevitable, but that the MoS on the stealing test translates to a head start (+Disp) on the Flee conflict.

But the issue is that the players open the door, the skeletons see them walking in, and one of them is actually holding the staff. The only real way to get it is to fight. Is this something that I, as the GM need to be more mindful of? Creating scenarios where players don’t necessarily have to fight?

How do I break my players of the mentality of ‘kill, kill, kill’ which (we play a lot of DnD) is pretty ingrained in our group?

And suppose the players want to do a ‘trick’ conflict, but the Skeletons very much just want to kill them and suck the marrow from their bones, how do I determine whose want is superior?

The players describe how they are interacting with the obstacle, the GM decides from that description what the conflict or test is. They should describe how they want to go about getting the staff, and if they describe killing all the skeletons to get it then it’s a kill conflict, but warn them repeatedly that their life is on the line when they describe a kill conflict. If they want to wrestle the staff from the hands of the skeletons, then you might consider it a drive off conflict or maybe even a capture conflict? If neither of those feel quite right then go with a custom conflict, just pick two skills that feel appropriate to the situation and decide which should be for Attack, Defend, Feint, and Maneuver. (you always pick two skills and dividing them evenly among the actions because you don’t want to give them too many opportunities to mark tests by having 3 skills or have the conflict too scewed toward one skill by not balancing how the skills are used)

Actually in another thread we were discussing why twists conflicts are restricted to just the listed conflicts for that monster and not any other. The explanation of that was basically to keep players from sticking to one type of conflict all the time. So my advice if you want to step outside the kill mentality is to get your players into twist conflicts with beings where kill isn’t on the list. Also consider throwing in some monsters that are too big to kill.

eta: It also might be a decent idea to tilt the screen a little bit and let them know that different monsters are harder or easier to defeat with different conflict choices. You can do this explicitly if you think they need it, but you can always do it subtly. “The troll looks at you with a mean face, muscles bulging, but you notice he’s muttering something under his breath. After a moment you realize he’s reciting riddles.” This might inspire them to try and trick the troll while still making them feel like they are in control of the action. (Not that they can normally kill a troll anyway, but it’s an example)

Jovial - thanks for the insightful response! It feels like a combination of needing to get more comfortable with the rules, and developing situations where non-combat plays a more obvious role. I think I’m just struggling with the idea of tests and conflicts. Combat conflicts are very obvious, but non-combat ones are not so easily identified.

Think of it in a narrative way. Tests are your rising and falling action type activities, they build tension up to the pivotal moment or release tension as you deal with the consequences of that moment. Conflicts are your climax! When you think something very interested or dramatic is on the line or at stake, that’s when you go to a conflict. Even if it isn’t about killing something, if it’s the pivotal moment, finding a way to make it a conflict can make it more intense. Of course it goes both way, try to avoid a hallway of monsters that all have kill/drive-off conflicts as obvious solutions. When it conflict isn’t pivotal it can become routine and kill some of the excitement. Two tips are to remember the human element (politics, desperation, animosity, horror, etc.) and to take a look at fairy tales for inspiration for less direct confrontation. I think the big thing is to try and break the Always Chaotic Evil trope. When you give your monsters wants they become characters instead of just monsters, and you can provide avenues for those “monsters” to want to negotiate instead of just fighting. You don’t need to do that with every monster, that could get old quick, but it might help if you break player expectation every now and then by having the horrific beast just need a thorn to be removed from their paw.

I did break it a little bit. They ran into some goblins whom they slaughtered quite easily, then opened the door on a nasty Hobgoblin, a large wolf, and many more goblins. The players initially tried to flee, but the Hobgoblin narratively followed them and offered to parlay as he needed their help with something.

I love the ‘fiction’ aspect though as I an avid reader and writer and that makes great sense in my world!