Goal advice wanted

OK, I’m in a MG game on RPOL and we have just been sent on a mission to repair the scent border. So I have written the following as my goal:

Determine if any large predators have breached our section of the scent border.

My GM came back that he didn’t think it was a good goal because:

<i>The problem with the determine if any animals have crossed the scent border, is that it’s a bit ‘wishy-washy’, and also hard to prove.

For example, let’s say you don’t find any tracks. Does this mean no animal has crossed? Or just that you didn’t find any tracks? Do you see the problem?</i>

Now, I’m not sure I buy this argument because if I make my check to look for tracks and succeed, then I should get my intent of knowing if any large animals have been around, fulfill the goal, and get my persona. If I fail, I at least tried and I get my Fate.

Does this sound right to you guys? Any thoughts on refining it? My guy has a bit of a beast hunter past so I want to work that into my goal if I can.

Make the goal more active, so as to engage better with the system:

“Locate a large predator that has crossed the scent barrier” or “Prove that no large predators have crossed the scent barrier.” That makes it less wishy-washy.

Yes, it’s hard to prove a negative – but so what? Hard goals are nevertheless valid goals. If you spend the session making scouting and large predator-wise checks and come up empty, you either succeed or fail.

I’d run this thought by the GM, just to see what he comes back with. It could be you two are not on the same page as far as how success, failure, and complications work.

I think the Goal is fine as is, but Yagathai’s suggestions for punching it up are good. It’s a Goal that’s easy to challenge through hazards and twists, and as GM, I’d be chomping at that bit.

Right. It sounds like your GM just needs to adjust his perspective a bit. Your original goal is fine as far as I’m concerned (though yes, a bit wishy-washy), and one that’s easy to read between the lines. It tells me, as a GM, “Verrain wants to meet a big predator”. As a GM, it then becomes my job to let you meet a big predator.

If I were him, I’d make you make a scouting roll with an Ob of… I dunno, 4? If you succeed, you’d tell me whether or not you found animal tracks (which would determine success/failure of your goals), and whether or not the badger ambushes your patrol or you get advance warning of it. Because not encountering a badger is boring, and the game should never be boring.

Yag’s dead on.

I mean… seriously, you’re not going to fail to find proof that a large predator crossed the Scent Border – the game’s just not wired that way. You either:

  1. Succeed.
  2. Succeed with a consequence (tired, angry, whatever… tracking the damned thing for hours or days until you can figure out which way it went).
  3. Hit a twist.[1] – Which… come on… clearly that should be “and your patrol gets ambushed by the predator you were looking for: ‘I can TELL we’re getting close guys…’”

But in any of those situations, you’re finding what you’re going after. You’re just… not going to fail. There is really no situation in MG where you don’t find tracks – except for #3, in which you maybe don’t find tracks, tell everyone that nothing’s got over the Scent Border, and are then attacked by the thing that you just said wasn’t there. :slight_smile:

[1] - When I run MG, I tend to play #3 as “Succeed with a Twist” rather than “Twist interrupts your attempt.” So if, say, you blow a Pathfinder roll to reach the next town, and I use a Twist in response, you’ll get GET to town eventually – that parts basically assured. I believe that’s a minor bit of rules drift.

Also, this Goal clearly gives your character something on which to spend a check in the Players’ Turn, if it’s not addressed by the GM.