Question about Nature in a conflict

Using Nature can be really helpful, I’ve noticed, especially as a substitute for a skill you don’t have. Usually the catch to this is that you have a chance to fail the test and get taxed; I’ve noticed though that in a conflict there are plenty of times where failing is impossible (read: all obs 0 independent tests, like when two teams both choose “attack”). Can Nature still be substituted in these situations?

Procedurally (I’m looking at pages 104 to 105 here), there’s nothing to prevent substituting Nature for another skill after actions are revealed. Just make sure it’s roleplayed out and the players aren’t simply dice-mongering.

Tapping Nature to add dice to a roll still taxes Nature by one even if the roll is successful (page 234). Also, I’d take the top of page 233 literally: “If your character is in a situation that is against his Nature . . . and doesn’t have the proper skill, he may make the test using his current Nature rating.” If the character has even one rank in the skill in question, I wouldn’t allow him to substitute Nature for it. He still has the option to spend Persona to tap his Nature and add dice.

I see the loophole you’ve recognized. If it’s a problem for your group, you could rule that Nature is taxed by one whenever it’s acted against and tested successfully (essentially, extrapolating page 234 onto page 233).

Thanks for your response, Daniel. I don’t think it will be too much of a problem, but I wanted to make sure it really was a loophole and not just me missing a rule.

Thanks again!

No problem. If you’re missing a rule, I’m missing it too.

We have always ruled that if you get 0 successes on your dice for an independent roll it’s a failure even if it’s Ob 0 (but strictly speaking that’s not a failure). That way there are taxation on Nature sometimes.

I’m trying to test out a mission that I’m making and the character the GM is controlling gets into an argument. Since the character doesn’t have persuader or deceiver, it would be most logical (since they’re not looking to break into new grounds from a skill-standpoint) to test nature.

Nature use in a conflict seems tricky (as other players pointed out here). You might tax it, but if not, it can be a tremendous advantage versus someone who has a higher rating in a “real” skill.

Given the above discussion, I guess my only question is whether or not I can doc the GM’s character a point on nature if they play like a defend vs. a feint or a defend vs. a defend. If it’s an independent test then I think illern was saying, it’s another failure. I take it that the taxes take effect immediately at the completion of the action so the very next action this character would take would be reduced.

Also, since nature can’t “fail” at the disposition roll, I guess that definitely gives them a pretty big boost to start.

Be interested to know what everyone thinks!

As GM if my mouse doesn’t have a skill, I only test nature if the task is within their mouse nature. Otherwise I test using beginner’s luck. Anything else feels cheap - who cares if I tax the nature on a mouse I may never use again?

This is MG GM Best Practice #1!

Hey everyone,

thanks for the input, that makes a lot of sense. At first I was trying to do what was most logical for the NPC (after all, why would they want to learn a new skill?), but this definitely makes things pan out a lot better. Thanks for the help! I’ve been trying to help get a better handle on these things so I can teach my brother and some of my friends the game, but it’s always easier when I feel I’ve got a really solid grip on things myself.

Technically on page 95 under Beginner’s Luck it says under the first sentence, “Nature can be substituted for any ability or skill that you don’t have.”. You risk it being taxed when it is within your Nature or when it is NOT within your Nature and you fail. As a GM, if you are not in a Conflict you should set the Obstacle for the required skill before they choose if they want to substitute Nature or not. They are pretty much committed to trying that skill at that obstacle or maybe offereing one alternative to which you would give an Obstacle Rating for (pg. 87). If the task is so easy and meanial that the Ob is 0 then you shouldn’t be testing it (in most circumstances outside of Conflicts, this would be boring so really the only time this would happen is in conflicts where there is an independent test of Ob 0).
If you are in a Conflict and the test is within their Nature then it will not be taxed at all unless they fail and then it is taxed by the margin of failure (obviously with an Ob 0 there will never be a margin of failure so there is no risk of a tax at Ob 0). If they choose to substitute thier Nature for say, Fighter (which for most Fight conflicts is used as the Attack Skill), then even with an Ob 0 their Nature wouldn’t be taxed (because Fighting is NOT within their Nature regardless of the difficulty). Their margin of Failure is still 0. This makes for a dodgy rules exploit when you’re not trained in Fighter but Have a 4 or 5 in Nature but like others have said, I would force them to use Beginner’s Luck but it’s really up to the GM because technically on page 95 under Beginner’s Luck it says under the first sentence, “Nature can be substituted for any ability or skill that you don’t have.” If your characters are exploiting this I would give their opponents bows because this will make Attack vs Attack a versus test rather than independent Ob 0 (pg. 118).
Hope this helps.

You only risk tax when the action is against your nature. p. 232 says “When action in the game involves escaping, climbing, hiding or foraging, you can roll your Nature instead of a skill at no cost. It’s very useful!”

Tapping Nature by spending a persona point is another story - then you risk tax if you fail whether the action was within your nature or not.