Can I Grant bonus disposition for good ideas/fiction?

Sorry if I have made too many posts with different questions, but I felt like this was different enough to warrant its own thread.

This is in regards to eyeballing it and a specific example.
Usually I let my friends know that if I am stumped in a situation i’ll quickly eyeball a stat or give a ruling on something specific (sure you can do that, but test this at this ob), but the precedent of that situation is overruled if a specific rule was found or clarified. They are happy with that and it usually keeps the fiction flowing.

The example I have though is in regards to cover. I can’t tell if I have missed a rule or if it doesnt exist, but I like to reward my players if they are quick to describe how they use their environment to their advantage, especially in the middle of a conflict.

Dungeon World has a pretty simple mechanic, just award a player 1 or 2 armor points depending on their level of cover.
But since TB doesn’t have health this system is less useful for me.

Until I took a closer look at disposition. Say my players find themselves in fight, driving off a group of monsters or whatever, and they have huddled behind a makeshift shield (like an overturned table, or maybe they have even had time to fortify their own position, or are even just fighting from an elevated or advantageous position).
Do you think it would be fair to award them bonus disposition? Almost like temporary HP? As in, the table they are hiding behind could award them 1-2 extra disposition that could NOT be recovered once lost (the table would be destroyed).

I can’t find any rules for this in the book.

Also by that same token, say they are attacking in a kill conflict, and they describe a good a idea in their fiction (I shoot an arrow at the chain, holding up the chandelier, hoping it falls and crushes the enemies), could I grant a bonus 1S if I rule that, yeah that is totally effing awesome. COULD a good idea even prematurely end a conflict? or does that only apply to tests?

I wouldn’t apply any modifier to disposition, mainly because Disposition is very abstract. Disposition is lost and regained and lost again, which raises all sort of questions about the narration of cover if you do it that way.

Instead, I tend to narrate most environmental interactions as applications of the Maneuver action. So if a group describes taking up a position behind cover for a fight they know is coming (a Good Idea) or they use a roll to prepare an ambush (that’s a nice instinct), I let the players apply the effects of a maneuver (Impede, Gain Position, or both) to the first action of a conflict. I just find that easier to narrate and interpret.

Also by that same token, say they are attacking in a kill conflict, and they describe a good a idea in their fiction (I shoot an arrow at the chain, holding up the chandelier, hoping it falls and crushes the enemies), could I grant a bonus 1S if I rule that, yeah that is totally effing awesome. COULD a good idea even prematurely end a conflict? or does that only apply to tests?

I’ve granted advantage dice for situations where the player can argue they’re in a better position to succeed (see above), but I generally don’t give out “Rule of Cool” dice like that. Torchbearer feels different from BW to me in this respect. Your example is a great opportunity for a player to tap a trait, tap Nature, or burn rewards on a wise to rise to the occasion. Remember, unlike BW you actually need failure to advance, so biasing a roll isn’t as great as it might seem at first.

There’s nothing wrong with it, I just think there’s already plenty of character-driven bonuses to work with. Torchbearer is a game where the world is against you – coolness bending reality seems out of place with that.

In your example, I would allow a single skill test. I would set the Ob as fairly as I could, knowing the player could maybe tap nature (“Hey guys, watch this!”) and pull it off. Then sure, let it obviate the conflict, why not? A good scout roll can bypass a conflict, why not a showy fighter roll?

We’ve definitely toyed around with dispo bonuses for situation effects. I shy away from such awards for sheer description, but if the group can back it their idea with a test before the conflict, I’m into it. Want to build barricades? Rad! Laborer test. Want set up an ambush? Sweet. Scout test.
Then assess one or two points of dispo max. And even better, assign them to the player who worked on the plan prior to the conflict.

Good ideas, on the other hand, should avoid or bypass a conflict completely. Once a conflict is on, you should fight it out to the end.

And lastly, description is the grease that moves the wheels of Torchbearer. Without it, it all grinds to a halt. So rather than rewarding description, stop the game when the players start getting rote and mechanical about their actions. Ask them questions about how or why they are going to make that skill test.

Hope that helps!

Really great to see devs being active and answering questions, your reply has clarified a few things. I absolutely had prior tests in mind, situations like this have happened in other games and I’m just trying to translate them into TB

An example would be the characters huddled in a room, they know they are being chased by something or something is trying to break into the room but they have about 1 turns worth of time to ‘prepare’.
In other games I’ve seen people build barricades which awarded armor bonuses. The way I thought it could translate to TB is with a laborer test. possibly factored by the the type of materials they had on hand/in the room and how big they wanted to make the barricade (big enough to protect yourself, two people, the party (or a simpler list if i want to keep ob level low).

So now, in this situation the PCs would have a nice make shift barricade. Which could have disposition given to it itself. "okay you managed to build a barricade that has +2 dispo assigned to it. so it’ll absorb 2 damage before breaking down and you lose your advantage).

I like the idea of giving an extra dispo for setting up an ambush. But as abstracted as dispo, just giving extra dispo doesn’t ‘feel’ right. So I’ve also toyed with the idea of just giving the PCs 1 free conflict action without any repercussion or action on the part of the enemy to simulate catching them by surprise. But I feel like this 1 free action would have a HUGE impact. But then again, maybe it SHOULD be if they overcame a difficult ob to set up a killer ambush.

What do you think?

We’ve experimented with all of these things. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t! Best I can tell you is to try them—but make as small a change possible to effect what you’re after. Big changes tend to get characters unexpectedly killed.

That’s fair enough! At least with small changes there is lots of room to tweak things. I’ve made the mistake of setting a large change as precedent, which usually results in the PCs being stupidly overpowered leaving no room for growth or horrendously weak with no chance to overcome a situation.

Thanks for your input Luke!

In the situation you describe, I’d probably turn the barricade into a makeshift Maneuver weapon that players can equip. Maybe +1s to Maneuver. The other side can “disarm” as normal with a Maneuver of their own.

Interesting how you’d have a maneuver interpretation for a barricade, though I do like the idea of it acting as a dispo buffer of sorts, making it a maneuver weapon does change the dynamics quite a bit. Would make for more aggressive play.

I’ll experiment with different interpretations, eyeballing it in accordance with the fiction.

Though I have one more question. In your opinions (being the designers). What would you think is more valuable in a conflict. +1dispo, +1s or +1D? (in regards to anything giving you that bonus, what would be considered more ‘powerful’ in winning that conflict?).

It’s all somewhat situational.

The value of 1 point of disposition is relative based on the overall disposition. If disposition is already high, +1 is nice but not a showstopper. If your disposition is already low, +1 could be very valuable indeed. +1s is roughly equivalent to +2D, but not quite because you only get the benefit if you tie or succeed on the roll. It’s definitely valuable, but situational. You always get the benefit of +1D, and as an added benefit, there’s a roughly 17% chance that it will result in a 6, which could be valuable if you have Fate points to spare.