It seems to me that there is never any reason to not work “Patiently” as described on page 29+30. I also note that extra success can be used for working “Patiently” after the roll. Is this something you just shouldn’t worry about and just let players embellish whatever they were doing after the fact? The same goes for working “Quickly”
Should we just assume that all tests are, by default, working patiently and quickly and assign extra successes after the fact, since it seems these options are always on for skill tests?
robutmike is correct, as called out under the Mixing Methods heading on page 30. Which I think also answers the original question. Only Carefully needs to be called before the dice are rolled. Patiently and Quickly are just things to allocate extra successes to, if that matters for the current test, or if the players simply would like to incorporate that into the fiction. “Wow, you banged that out in no time!” “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a better looking shovel.”
OP is talking about working quickly/patiently, not carefully.
I don’t really think there’s anything to “handle” in game. If a player rolls extra successes and wants to put them towards working quickly or patiently, they can describe it as such. It may or may not always make sense narratively, so I don’t think I’d consider either to be always on. If the player rolled extra successes and it adds to the fiction, great!
I’d think declaring one’s working quickly/patiently is important for determining the outcome when one fails. It’s not the same to break your tools trying to pick a lock than being caught by a guard for taking too much time.
I can’t remember right know if the book says you can retroactively declare you were working patiently, but imo it’s more interesting if you declare it beforehand
Patiently doesn’t actually really do anything though. It just means the result is a bit better in a game fluff kind of way. Carefully is the only one that needs to be declared beforehand becuase it’s the only one that will significantly change the succeed/failure conditions.
Right, and it’s safe to assume everyone is always working quickly whenever time is a factor, so asking players to explicitly declare that is a bit silly. I could pretty much make a sign reading “I am working patiently and quickly” and put it in front of my character sheet.
There’s actually a subtlety here, in the difference between time pressure of the if-you’re-too-slow-you-fail kind (which is referenced in the drawback to working carefully) and time pressure of the lots-to-do kind:
I have three minutes before the guard makes his rounds. I need to pick the lock and get inside before he walks down the hall. Picking the lock would be Ob 2, GM assigns +2Ob due to limited time.
I have ten minutes to pick the lock, search the office, and get out again before the guard looks in the office window and sees me. There’s plenty of time to pick the lock, but the less time I spend on that, the more time I can spend searching. This can be handled a couple of ways: Maybe it’s a linked test (with failure representing a delay rather than a lockout), or if you have some more detail on the search, you could use the Working Quickly rules to figure out how many minutes it takes to pick the lock, and use that to determine how much searching gets done.
The first situation is NOT appropriate for Working Quickly. You could use that rule as a guideline to set the Ob, but if you know that meeting the Ob or exceeding it by 1 will still result in a failure (due to discovery by the guard) you’re basically just cheating at Advancement. You’re forcing the player to log a B5 skill against Ob 2 as a Routine, but in fact they need four successes if they want to actually succeed, so shouldn’t that be an Ob 4 test?
Of course, there’s a grey area: the guard catching you picking the lock invalidates the whole point of the exercise, but what if there’s a time pressure that doesn’t mean total ruin? What if you need to, say, destroy the tapes of your hero confessing to murder, and you also need to clean up so it doesn’t lead back to you? Then, you could destroy them and get caught, and it’s a partial victory: your hero gets off, but you’re in hot water. First, ask if both elements matter. If one is trivial (once you’ve made the decision to tarnish your badge by destroying evidence, the trial isn’t so important anymore, so we’ll Say Yes to destroying the tapes and only test to see if you get away with it), skip it. If they do matter, you have several options: You could use Working Quickly, you could set up a linked test, or you could get creative. If the same task governs both aspects (build a barn, and do it before the sheep come back from pasture) and the times given for the skill are appropriate to the situation, Working Quickly is probably a good bet. Linked tests are better for times when “do the job” is one ability and “don’t get caught” (or whatever the time pressure is) is another (probably the case with our tapes: Maybe Persuasion to get into the evidence room, and Paperwork-wise to make it look like the tapes were checked out by somebody else and never returned?)