I have no problem coming up with ideas for routine and difficult checks but the obstacle number those challenging ones are High.
Take a power check to break Down a door. Do I tell the DM that I am only using one arm to do it?
This was ofc just a silly example, but please help me understand how to get those numbers up without resorting to silly stuff Like that.
Well first off, it’s your GM’s job to assign obstacles. But if you’re trying to make your own life difficult the first place to look is in the skill obstacles. Lots of challenging tests to be had there.
If you’re looking to challenge Power, you need to get into Fights with stronger creatures. Try wrestling a troll and see how that goes.
It’s hard to raise skills that are already high! You have to take on really tough challenges when you’re already the best if you want to get better.
One sneaky trick is to try to do just about anything while you’re wounded. If you have B5 Whatevering and you’re at -3D from wounds you’re suddenly back down to 2 dice, and that makes you only need Ob 3 to get your challenging tests. Not so hard now, is it? Sure, you’ll fail early and often, but that’s all part and parcel of the advancement system.
Helping is your best opportunity to get Challenging tests with little risk to yourself. What may be Routine for the tester could be Challenging for you!
Also: get injured.
Breaking down doors after getting gutshot is exactly what you’re looking for.
And when you get injured, FoRKs let you fine-tune the difficulty of your roll. If you need a harder test, leave some FoRKs out.
It seems to me that you’ve got to try stuff that you know you’re gonna fail, unless you spend artha on it. Challenging tests are really “impossible” tests. How can you roll 4 successes with just 3 dice? You can’t, unless you spend Artha. That was one of the hardest things for me to come to terms with as a player. Almost every other game, you play to “win.” In this game, you have to learn to play to fail-with style. You have to embrace failure and make it part of your character. That also requires your GM to learn how to deal with failure too. Since every other game is set up to give you a decent chance of succeed whatever you’ll realistically try to do, a lot of the time, failure in those games is severe and boring. Fail a climbing roll in D&D or WFRP, and you fall and take falling damage depending on how high up you are. Fail a climbing roll in BW, and any number of things could happen, from getting tangled in your climbing gear, losing your grip and dangling upside down, dropping something important, or falling and taking falling damage.
Look at the details for helping other people as well. The tester gets a test of the type based on the full number of dice vs. the Ob. The helper gets a test of the type based on their own skill vs. the Ob. So Alice with B5 Writing helping Bob with B4 Writing (plus a fork or two) in an Ob 6 tests gets to log a Challenging result with a pretty decent change of succeeding. It’s not foolproof but it’s a good way of getting big tests in relative safety.
The other, and I always come back to this, is to fail people on their Intent. So if Thom wants to climb the wall undetected and fails, he makes it up but is seen in the process. Also,as a GM you’re required to let them know what the failure is going to be before they roll so while a lot of stuff can happen it shouldn’t be a surprise after the dice hit the table.
I agree with all of that, but there is a significant difference in attitude towards failure in this system vs others. Often, failure conditions are “hard coded” into the game mechanics. They’re still known before the roll, but they’re not arbitrary. In BW, they are at least somewhat arbitrary. There are very few specific effects hard coded into the failure conditions of BW rolls, all it says is that the intent fails. How much it fails by and what failure entails is pretty much up to the GM. Not so in other games. Failure there is often black and white. Further, in most other games, you’re not even gonna try a roll you know you’re gonna fail, or even one where it’s pretty certain, whether you know what’s gonna happen if you fail or not. In this game, you have to not only accept that there will be times when you certainly fail, you have to not be afraid to seek those times out, and have them on your terms (more or less). So go wrestle that troll, just be sure he doesn’t eat the losers first.