Some questions based on test game session

Some random questions and notes after my first test game:

  1. It doesn’t actually seem to be clearly stated anywhere that monsters (and NPCs) use Nature at their Attack/Defend/etc skill in conflicts (and elsewhere, I guess, unless otherwise specified). I found confirmation for that in the example Conflict description, but it’s missing from the actual rules as far as I can figure out. That stumped me for a while, I was looking at stuff like “Kill conflict weapon +1D” in the monster stat block and going “+1D to what?” :slight_smile:

  2. I’m still a bit unclear on how the “damage” in a conflict is supposed to be distributed (say in a case of Attack coming through Defense). The rules seem to state that the acting PC takes the damage, and if any is left over then the captain decides where it goes… but the example conflict seems to imply that the damage can be distributed however the captain sees fit. Hmmm.

  3. Related to above, it’s clear that damage coming to the acting character can be mitigated via armor. But how about leftover damage going to other characters? In other words, say that there is 3 damage incoming, with 2 coming to the acting character and 1 going to another PC. The acting character can naturally enough try to use armor to reduce the damage. But can the second PC also try to use his/her armor to reduce the “overflow” damage?

  4. This didn’t come up in our game, but… how exactly do kobold bombs work in a conflict? Can someone give me an example?

  5. The example characters in the book all have one skill underlined. What’s the meaning there?

  6. The player of the Halfling Burglar was complaining that all his character was good at was cooking (which didn’t come up in this adventure), leaving him with a feeling that he couldn’t contribute much to the game. Any suggestions on how that character (the example one from the rulebook) can be useful in a non-cooking way? As compared to the other example characters, that is :). Sure, he has Sneaking + Nature 5, but due to his also having the Scout skill that seems pretty useless (he’d be forced to use the inferior Scout skill in most “sneak” situations).

His complaint was that since everyone else seemed to be more competent than him in any given area (relevant to the scenario), and due to the fact that the rules encourage the party to minimize the number of tests made, the party always chose the character with a highest skill to do things… which meant he never got to do anything other than provide helper dice. I can see that as a valid complaint… while the rules allow for beginner’s luck and low skills do raise up pretty fast, the party as a whole is not encouraged to let characters with those lower skills ever try their hands at things, since all tests “cost” (due to the Grind). Not sure how to solve this, other than reducing the strict “each test always pushes the clock forward” rule.

  1. Spillover damage can’t be reduced by other peoples armor
  2. That is the specialty skill
  3. Scout is used to find traps etc. it is really useful. And cooking is great because you can use 1 ration for the whole group during camp.

Ok, so only the acting character is able to use armor for “soak”? Good to know.

Can someone provide a concise explanation of how damage is handled (does the captain decide or must some of it go to the acting character always, how spillover is handed, etc)? Or point me towards the correct passages in the rulebook? I tried to figure it out last night, but it seemed to me that the book had somewhat conflicting info on that – but maybe I was just tired :}

Ah, right. Did a search with that keyword in the book and found the relevant spot(s), thanks :slight_smile:

Well, sure. But he only has it at 2, leading him to never get to use it (since other characters had better).

Ah, ok, missed that tidbit.

  1. Kobold Bombs are used like any other weapon. You equip them before an exchange. When used in a succesful Attack action, they provide +1s. If the Attack is played against an opponent’s attack, the usual independent test is turned into a versus test, i.e. attack vs attack. If the kobolds win, apply the margin of success as damage against the opponent AND also apply it against the kobolds. Thus, if an attack vs attack hurts the enemy with 3 points damage, the kobolds get also hit with 3 points. (Fun! You should have seen my players’ faces.)

  2. Apply the Describe to Live approach. Players don’t ask for tests, they only describe, what their characters do; the GM asks for tests. The first player to pipe up is the one whose character has to test. See “Never Volunteer” on p. 63. If your players insist on huddling up before every action, making safe, boring choices in secret and then announcing it as a group decision to the GM, well, yes, that’s boring. So don’t do it. Making sub-optimal decisions in some situations is an important part of the game. Also, you can only advance by failing a number of times.

So, if the player in question wants more action, he only has to act. If he says his guy goes and does something, it’s done.

Ok, thanks, that helps :slight_smile:

  1. Monsters don’t have any other attributes to test, so the only thing they can test is their Nature. Also in “Weapons outside conflict (pg 150)” it implies that they use their Nature to test. Regardless even characters can test with their Nature if they don’t have the skill (taxing themselves if the test doesn’t fall in their Descriptor), since Monsters don’t have skills, they test Nature :stuck_out_tongue:

  2. The acting character takes the damage, any leftover gets distributed to the rest of the group as the captain sees fit.

  3. I think there was a thread for that… Here it is!

  4. F*** halflings.

Stay cool :cool:

Yeah, it’s logical and can be puzzled out. It just might be something worth explicitly mentioning in the Critters chapter (or whatever that chapter was called :), to save someone else some frustration :).

Great, thanks!

Fair enough :smiley:

He used scout to help right? And he narrated how he helped? Did you spotlight him helping or just pass a helping die?

Well, everyone was helping on most of those, so he didn’t get all that much spotlight. He felt that not being the primary actor and only being in a support role was a bit meh.

However, as we noted afterwards, much of that was due to how the players played the game. Next time they’ll be more proactive and less minmaxers :).

Another way to encourage characters with low skills to step forward: remember to hit characters with conditions! You can do that, after all. The nice thing about a larger party with redundant skills is that when the higher-skilled people get taken down by conditions, the lower-skilled people can step up, because they haven’t taken conditions yet.

Next time, try this, ask each player some pointed questions about what everyone is doing to help. What are they searching. Where? How do they go about it? Then when the dice roll, note who actually helped successfully and weave that into the description of the results. Maybe the halfling smells something on the wind and points out the Orc scent to the elf, or maybe the dwarf notices scuff marks on the poor and that leads the elf to a trail to follow…

Now, of course you’re not going to go into that amount of detail with each roll. Sometimes, you’ll just want to zip along speedily. But it’s totally a dial you control as GM. If he’s feeling like a second stringer, put the spotlight on the helpers.

Edit: also, make sure to do this in conflicts! They’ll take on a totally different feel and pacing for everyone. I once helped in Mouse guard by knocking over a table of crockery and sending it tumbling into the approaching weasels. So much fun!

Solid suggestions, thanks!