Questions after first session

So we all enjoyed it.

And we all came away with the feeling that we didn’t quite get it yet.

It looks to be a system that rewards mastery, so we’re settling in to learn it.

I’m having a hard time deciding between twists and conditions as a consequence for failure. If I’m understanding it correctly, if a player fails their roll, I can give them what they wanted and a condition, or I can introduce a twist.

Does this make me the arbiter of Fresh? For instance, if the first test they make is an Ob 2 Dungeoneering to climb a swaying rope ladder, and I hand out hungry and thirsty to anyone who fails, I’ve just killed fresh for those characters right?

Or, I can make any failures on the first three turns twists, and let them keep fresh as long as they camp on turn 4. Right?

Just seems like it’s all on me. And maybe that’s intentional, just a difficulty lever I can pull. If so, how quickly do you take Fresh from your players?

In terms of checks and traits, we got the mechanics mostly right, but it still didn’t feel like it would ever work in their favor. I.e., use it against yourself, get a check and a condition maybe then use that check later to recover from that condition. My guess is that this system will gel now that the players have some fate and persona. Specifically because now they can use traits against themselves and still get what they want. Have I understood this correctly?

I thought I read on these forums somewhere that a cloak provided +1D to tests to recover from exhausted, but the book says +1D to Survivalist and Health tests for staying warm and dry. Is this shorthand for “I test Health to recover from exhausted, since I have this cloak and I’m using it to stay warm and dry, I get +1D?” Or did I miss this somewhere else?

Also, can characters eat pre-emptively? They knew that on the next turn they were going to get hungry, and they didn’t have any checks yet. Is there anyway they could have used their rations to prevent getting hungry other than making camp before turn 4?

Fresh seems incredibly fragile, but I think that’s by design. :slight_smile:

Thanks in advance, really enjoying the system, just want to get more of it right, more often. :slight_smile:

Okay, answering some questions!

Twists and Conditions are definitely a difficulty lever! Bear in mind that a Twist is typically just a forestalling of a Condition, since Twists generally require more rolls. But you’re spot-on with the fact that this makes you the aribiter of Fresh. Every test is a potential destroyer of Fresh, and it’s only your malevolent benevolence that keeps them Fresh. :smiley:

On using Traits against yourself, it’s important to notice a few things. First, if you grant an opponent +2D on a test, you get two checks instead of one. That gives you one check to recover from a condition you gained, and one check to recover from a new condition. It requires you to be in a Versus Test, but that’s it. Second, if you know you’re probably going to fail anyway (this happens if there’s a required test) you can take the -1D because you may as well reap a check from your failure. Finally, the dirty secret of using traits is that you can use them in conflicts. Stockpile checks in conflicts! Be smart about it, but losing a couple points of Disposition can often be far superior to failing a normal roll. And yeah, as you noted, having artha (and higher skills) lets you use traits and still succeed.

As I recall, characters cannot pre-emptively eat in order to preserve Fresh. They can eat afterwards to get rid of Hungry and Thirsty, but they won’t be Fresh any longer.

Hi there!

It’s definitely a game that rewards system mastery. I like to think that if you hang in there, you’ll get it pretty quickly.

With regard to twists and conditions, it’s really up to your best judgment, as the GM, which would be better at that point. There’s definitely a lot of power in the GM’s role. The best advice I can give you as a GM is to be a fan of the player characters. You’re not competing with them, you’re rooting for them. But part of that is presenting them with difficult challenges/choices so they can show you what they’ve got. If you’ve got a really cool twist that makes things more interesting than they currently are, use it! If not, give out a condition and let them push forward to the good stuff.

In a way, yes, this does make you the arbiter of whether they keep Fresh. But remember that it’s really the players that push tests. They’re the ones describing their characters actions and interacting with the world that you’re creating together. You, as the GM, are the one that decides when those interactions merit a test. You only want to call for a test if there’s something significant at stake. If they happen to fail those tests, that’s on them. They’re the ones that put you in the position to decide whether they keep Fresh or not.

I’ve given characters a condition (and thus taken away Fresh) on the very first test of an adventure before, but I generally only do it if a twist doesn’t seem appropriate.

As for checks and traits: The first few sessions of Torchbearer are probably the harshest conditions that your players will face. This game skips the frying pan and shoves you directly into the fire. Once you’ve got Fate and Persona at your disposal, things change a lot. I’ve seen a lot of different strategies for using traits (both for and against yourself). If you guys stick with it, you’ll start coming up with your own. Some of the simple ones: If you’re facing an extremely high obstacle test, eschew help (thus shielding your companions from the repercussions) and take a check; after all, you were going to fail anyway, so get something out of it. If you’re facing an extremely low obstacle test and you’ve got a lot of dice, it’s often worth taking a chance, especially if the stakes of the test don’t seem very high. Or, if you’re in a conflict, look for opportunities to break ties in the GM’s favor – this is a great source of checks (though I don’t recommend doing it in Kill conflicts).

Recovering from Exhausted is a Health test. Since staying warm and dry helps you rest, it qualifies for the +1D in my book. But really, think of it this way: If a player describes their character using an object from the game world to do something, and it seems like that object would genuinely help, then go ahead and give a +1D. A skin of wine doesn’t explicitly say that it can be used for cooking, but if the halfling pours a skin into the pot as he’s cooking a meal, that’s probably worth +1D to the Cook test in my view. It’s a reward for adding a little detail and color to the world.

Characters can’t eat pre-emptively. They can eat, but they’ll still get hungry when the appointed time comes.

I’ve given characters a condition (and thus taken away Fresh) on the very first test of an adventure before, but I generally only do it if a twist doesn’t seem appropriate.

Yes, Thor. But only on Sundays (spoiler alert: we only play on Sundays).

BTW, one of the Barbarian’s level 3 benefits is a pre-emptive eating ability (“Feast”). I’m just saying…


Regarding the twists and conditions dynamics there was an interesting thread about that, might help (and yes, is a problem we all stumble with, I have problems with it even after months of GMing). Hope it helps.

Stay cool :cool:

Thanks everyone for the help, it is much appreciated.

Thor, thanks especially for the clarification on the cloak. It makes me feel better, as that’s how I like to GM anyway, and it’s good to know that’s within the intended spirit of the game.

My players, having reason not to return to town without enough money to pay their debts, are planning on setting up a base camp outside the dungeon and foraging for supplies and such. Seems like a good plan.

I see lots of reference in the rules to making improvements to camp, but I’m not clear on how those work. I allowed the Strider to make a Survivalist roll to barricade the doors and take a +1 on the camp events roll if he passed.

Is that how I should handle improvements? Incremental bonuses on camp events? So long as I can make it fit into the narrative. I mean, at some point they’ll have built a house. :slight_smile:

Dagaz, thanks for that link, it was helpful.

Thanks again everyone for the answers. Very much looking forward to playing again.

This is so super important. Thanks :slight_smile:

No problem! It’s two checks for giving +2D, and two checks for breaking the tie. Both great ways to earn checks.