A group of 4 comes along and stands face to face with Goblins. 3 party members decide to fight and the 4th says they want to do something else, such as flee or any # of other options, just not fight the Goblins. Can I run two Conflicts at the same time? For example, the 4th player says “ok I run and not fight” and then I want a Goblin to chase while his friends stay and fight.
Or does Torchbearer only “work” when the entire party does the same thing in a Conflict?
Another Q: Can you resolve two actions at the same time? For example, the Party comes across an Ogre and 6 Goblins. Can the Ogre Attack while the Goblins Feint at the same time? Or does it only work if you Action 1: Ogre Attacks and Action 2: Goblins Feint?
That would be splitting the party. You wouldn’t run both at once, you would run one and then the other, and the party would be separated and have to find each other at the end. This sucks for the narrative because you have to either worry about meta-gaming or send each group to another room for every other turn. It also sucks for game mechanics because both split groups are eating the same turn pool for the grind. Basically it’s highly discouraged, and as a GM I encourage you to pull out all the evil GM tricks on anyone who intentionally splits the party. That said, there’s a reason the expedition leader exists, to make that final call, and the players are highly encouraged, by the mechanics themselves, to not mutiny.
Only one action at a time. In Mouse Guard you could split the ogre and goblins into two teams, but Torchbearer groups everybody on a side into a single team, and every team plays out three single conflict actions per round, one after the other.
I would probably just have the fleeing player not participate in the conflict and have him make a single test to escape in order to save time. I wouldn’t give much time to a single person who decided not to be a part of the rest of the group. Another option would be to just block off his exit in some way.
I can dig it. Even if he escapes, though, he was probably chased off and the party still has to deal with being split, but yeah, having a whole conflict involving just one player does feel like it would be more a nuisance to the GM and other players than it would be a punishment to the party splitter. That extra test to escape would still use up an extra turn though, definitely.
Players can mitigate somewhat by taking an instinct about questioning the leader–“Never trust Dralic’s decisions when underground”–but it follows the rules for Player vs. Player(p. 118), so there’s always a twist and the players can’t earn checks doing it. As you say, bad for the players and great for the GM!
I actually like the idea of giving the “rogue” character a single check to attempt to do something different. If he fails, he’s stuck working with the group, (as he should have done in the first place.) If he succeeds, he loses out on the checks he might have earned in the conflict to get the single success. Otherwise, he just sits out the conflict, “hiding in a corner” or something. However, even a success should feel like he leaves the rest of the party hanging.