Joining a conflict

A situation arose in a session of House of the Three Squires. One player fell down the trapped stairs into the cellar and the twist was a trio of Giant Rats emerging from the debris to check the commotion for an easy meal. I think the rules for a twist would require, if I wanted, to immediately enter a conflict within the Giant Rats established dispositions, as chosen by the players.

My question is this: If someone starts a conflict and there is an obstacle between the party and the player engaged in a conflict, how can the other players join the conflict while it’s going. I see the rules say that people who come late are allowed to join and take an action like normal. But what if they have to climb down a wall to join, which would normally require a Dungeoneering test? I thought maybe a maneuver action could be used to jump down, but I figured this must have come up in play with other groups. So how do you deal with it?

I dealt with it by not starting the conflict right away, allowing the other players a chance to climb down and join. It’s not how I’d like to do it in the future.

This happened on my group’s first outing. We had missile weapons, so not too big a deal. We did end up joining the fray on the ground by declaring Maneuver actions and describing us descending on a (previously anchored) rope past the broken stairs to help.

If the other players are joining late, why can’t they make a dungeoneering test before they join in order to climb down?

It would take a turn, potentially changing the dynamics of the conflict. Like torches expire, or the grind sets in, bringing unfavorable conditions into play.

I figured this must be a fairly common situation and I thought someone may have a solution.

It could potentially do those things.

IIRC, I don’t think I’ve ever been in a conflict where we made skill tests that weren’t based around the conflict action types.

There’s so many questions I have about conflicts, I hate to inundate this forum with them all. The only solution that seems to fit is what noclue suggested. Allow them to attempt a test to join the conflict, with all the rules that accompany it. If the grind adds a condition, the group will have to decide if it’s worth it. If the torch goes out, relight it.

Any other solution brings about more ad hoc rulings, which I’d like to avoid. For instance; if you let them join from above with missle weapons, how could they ever lose disposition in a kill conflict? The rats can’t reach them, so they couldn’t feasibly enter a kill conflict with them. If you allow a PC to be part of a conflict, they must have at least 1 disposition to participate.

The rats can’t reach them? They’re rats. They can climb.

Being a life-long D&D fan, something I still have trouble adapting to in TB (even after playing for a couple of years now), is the flexibility on conflicts for both the GM and the players. For example, like I said, the rats can climb. But not only that, rats tunnel, so they could get to the characters through existing tunnels you could make up on the fly. Even more, these tunnels could have weakened the ledge that the characters are standing on. Should they lose, the compromise could involve the tunnels collapsing, dumping the elevated characters over the cliff, killing them or the rats climbing the walls or tunnels and just killing the players. Anything can happen. Just make it happen. Like I said, that goes for the players and the GM.

If it made sense in the fiction, I would allow margin of success on a defend action to bring additional players into a fight, with the margin of success adding to the new team member’s disposition.

Each success would raise the new character’s HP by transferring them from the party member with the highest current HP. You must still abide by the rules that evenly distribute hit points. If transferring would put another team member at zero, you’ve hit your cap.