Failure Thread Commentary [Split]

Why are you picking the lock?

I suppose it speaks to the style we use when we run our games, but I don’t think catching the bandits should be a foregone conclusion. If you can’t run them down, you’ll have to investigate. Talk to the locals and find out who’s sheltering them, or talk to the sheriff and learn where their lair is. Or maybe you don’t meet your husband again until months later, and now he’s riding with the brigands. I think what you want to avoid in the situation with the boat-building is saying, “You try to build a boat but you can’t. You’re still in the same place with the same situation.” Maybe I should have specified where you ended up.

If you fail, your boat breaks up and you float down-river until a fisherman pulls you out of the river beside a little village where many of the buildings have been burned.

But I think the GM doesn’t need to supply all that in the failure clause - he can reveal the village and the burned buildings after the failure. What do you think?

Good point. I see it as an extension of the “say yes” rule. Keeping you in the ballroom isn’t interesting, so I’m inclined to say yes, but now you’re waving your sword around and that seems like it could have interesting consequences. I feel like the consequences can speak to the intent (escape the ballroom) or the task (threaten people with my sword). The best ones do both.

Sure. I don’t think catching bandits is a foregone conclusion either, just that “you’ve lost them” is bad. Even as simple a change as “you’ve lost them unless you can pick up the trail again in the town across the river” fixes my complaints entirely.

Next one: I want to use my Wine-Tasting to sample the trader’s so-called Kalgan red and see if he really has access to restricted vintages—in which case I must know more!—or if he’s scamming me. (With credit to The Lies of Locke Lamora)

turn to the next page “Failure Complicates the Matter”

Food poisoning for everyone! B6 wounds all around!

Do you guys think it’s kosher to use the skill that got you into a bad situation to get out of it? Examples:

I use Falsehood to try to convince the sheriff that the queen’s agent is actually a spy from a foreign power, but I fail and the sheriff seizes me as a spy instead. Can I use Falsehood to convince him that he’s “passed the test” and his queen commends him for his shrewdness and now he ought to let me out?

I use Sword to cut down the sentry before he can scream, but I fail and he screams and now four more guards have arrived. Can I use Sword again and kill my way out of my problem?

I use Sorcery (art magic) to turn my nephew into a bird so he can fly up and perch on the branch outside Jasmine’s window and overhear her conversation with the imp, but I fail and the spell wears off early, leaving him dangling from a branch in human form in plain view of Jasmine and the imp. Can I just turn him into a bird again so he can escape?

I think Let it Ride interferes with your attempts to lie to sheriff again, but I don’t see anything wrong with killing the four dudes. The situation’s definitely changed.

The third example is trickier. The problem with the example is that it’s hard to tell if there’s any meat in the failure. He’s dangling on the branch. He’s in full sight. Has anything bad happened to you yet? If you can just turn him into a bird again and fix the problem, more care should have been taken when the consequences of failure were set up. Failure should matter. It’s not a momentary delay.

So, yes you can try to change him into a bird again. But, there should already be a price paid. Like the guards are roused and heading your way. A failed Forte test would really suck about how, hmm? Or Jasmine sees you and knows you’re behind it all. Or whatever. Not just your nephew hangs from a branch for a bit, but to no effect.

I’d not accept that one unless the player hadn’t let me start with the “If you fail…” I might let you convince him you’re working for someone other than who he thinks, perhaps someone too powerful to piss off. And, I agree, LIR means you can’t modify his beliefs about the Queen’s Agent. He’s quite unlikely to fall for the “I’m the queen’s agent” line. Perhaps, “I’m the King’s liegeman, you dolt. Harm me, and your head WILL roll”… sure.

Absolutely. Reach for scripting material… Because it’s Fight or be captured. No bloody verssus there.

Probably, but if you fail, I’m going to put forward “He transforms, permanently” or “Only his mind transforms.” Big, nasty-bad conditions.

No, but only on my unofficial ruling: you don’t ever roll the same thing twice in succession without many long minutes of non-rolling happening in between.

  1. If you’ve failed Falsehood, you’ve just shown that you can’t lie to this guy. Or rather, you can’t sway him by lying. If you say he’s passed the test, he’s not willing to trust that. Maybe it buys you time held at swordpoint until the real authorities arrive and disavow you (Let It Ride) but you’re still stuck.

  2. If you’ve failed to deal with one guy using Sword, four guys are beyond your skills. You can’t kill your way out unless it becomes a Fight, and I’d argue against letting it become one here. The consequence of failing Sword is more guards than you can handle with a sword. Now you need a clever ruse or desperate, headlong flight. Any handy windows to leap through?

  3. Sorcery has its own failure built in, so maybe. I’d call this dice-chucking worthy, though, and quite possibly fodder for a trait signifying that this guy’s only got a sorcerous hammer and every problem is a nail. And his nephew will be pissed.

“I kill this guy before he can raise the alarm” is not the same as “I fend them off with my sword until I can position myself close enough to the gate to make a run for it.” The first was about speed, the second defense and tactics. Maybe the character easily outmatched the single NPC, just couldn’t take care of him quite as fast as was needed. So if you ask me, in that case, two Sword rolls in a row is fine. Why not?

If it were simply a case of “Fight one guy with swords” vs “Fight him and his three buddies with swords”, then sure, don’t roll the same skill again. But that’s just letting it ride.