Tied Conflicts - All or Nothing on goals?

So, the rules say that if a conflict resolves in a tie, both sides get what they want.

We’re playing through Deliver the Mail right now, and sure enough, the mice flubbed their Pathfinder check, and I threw the Raven twist at them. It’s just to juicy to pass up!

Now, the mice bested the raven, but in the post-game catchup (we routinely get together over email to discuss oops’d rules, etc.) the subject of tied conflicts came up.

Our goals were “GET THAT SWEET MAIL” and “Drive off the Raven”.

One of our players pointed out that if the conflict had ended up in a tie, that would have meant that the Raven won. (Since it’s implicit that the Raven wanted to take the mail away, not just lord it over the mice as they trudged on to their desitination without the bags…)

So, is it hard and fast that tied conflicts end with both sides getting absolutely everything they wanted? Or can tied conflicts end with both sides making equally-painful compromises? (A possible third option is that our goals were “bad” – but I don’t think this is the case).

If it’s implicit that the Raven wants to take the mail away, then it’s also implicit that the party wants to drive it away from the mail. But really, this drives the home the importance of being explicit in your goals, as loopholes could, and arguably should, be exploited.

@Heathen – thanks for dropping by.

Ok, checking the mission again, Luke wrote the Raven’s goal to be “Steal the mail and fly off,” so I didn’t present the correct goal.

Assuming I would have presented the correct goal, what variation of the players’ goal should they have written?

Prevent the Raven from Escaping with the Mail?

On a tie, there’s a bit of mixing and matching that can happen. With the goals as stated, the raven may have been driven off, with the mail, to a place the guard could have pursued?

That would fly against the first rule of conflicts, wouldn’t it, @Gnosego ?

I’m referring to “If one side simply wants to defend against the other side’s goal and has no goal of its
own, there’s no conflict here. You can resolve the situation with a versus test.” p.98

Like, sure, technically the mice have stated a goal “of their own” but it really just means “stop the Raven from getting what it wants”.

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Maybe so. :thinking:

How is that different from “Drive Away the Raven (Before it Can Get the Mail)”?

Seems like just about any goal that directly denies the Raven’s goal could be said to be a Vs Test instead.

I suppose the real goal is for the Mice to “Keep the Mail with Us.” A tie means the Raven gets the mail and flies away… With the Mice in tow!

Aside from other conversation, I’ll post my take without attempting to reconcile the previous comments to my view.

In the case of a Conflict in which both sides are reduced to Dispo 0 in the same action interaction between one another, they both lose. Not, they both win. So, this is a bit different perspective, and I’ll use your example of Deliver the Mail for my suggestion.

The mice want to drive off the raven; the raven wants to get that mail away from the mice. The goals are fairly good; it is not an exact denial of one another. In case the mice must compromise, they can offer that the raven is driven off with the mail rather than driven off before getting the mail. In the case of a compromise, the raven can offer that it refuses to be driven away, escalating the scenario to something more aggressive and potentially deadly to these stubborn mice. The goals are fairly good.

But, having both sides reduced to zero in the same action means both sides are losers.

Now, I must admit the rules clearly state that both sides get what they want, so my suggestion is that they get what they want from a losing approach rather than a winning approach. The GM will have more authority to twist up the results with unapproachable issues–the raven grabs the mail from the mice, and gets driven away. In the course of taking flight, it slips out over a gully when the bag rips, spilling most of the mail across the terrain. The mice have driven the raven away, but lost the mailbag and the mail. Some of the mail has been scattered with the winds over a large terrain piece while some might remain with the raven. The raven got only a portion of the prize, and probably knows no better whether it has something of value.

Later, in the design of Deliver the Mail, there is an NPC awaiting mail from this delivery. If it is not delivered, she might attempt solo travel–a dangerous endeavor. This can be further twist in the outcome–they’ve clearly lost the envelope for her, and she is not going to ask for help.

The outcome is a good bit worse looking at it from the perspective of both sides approaching as losers rather than both as winners. Yes, both sides in a tie get what they want, but in the least desirable way.

Such an outcome also invites the players to consider whether and how they gather the scattered mail. Should they? Or might they report the loss with no further effort to recover the mail? What if they go after the raven first? Would something happen to make the case of the scattered mail worse? Like, what if there is also incoming storm clouds rolling overhead? How far would the raven go before realizing the mail is less enticing than the shiny buckle of the mailbag? If they pursue the raven’s roost, might they find the only prize is the shiny buckle of the mailbag, and not the remaining mail?

Right. So, this approach really does amount to both sides compromising, doesn’t it?

Like, I get what you’re saying – it makes total sense (in terms of a reasonable outcome given the fact that neither side really won), but it doesn’t adhere to the rules. (Or at least, not the rules as I understand them).

It does rely on both sides negotiating the mutual loss/end of the conflict. It could look much different in other scenarios. If both sides really want to create a twist that overwhelms the existing scene with something else, there are other possibilities.

Like, imagine if there is another animal watching the encounter and considering how to grab a snack of one or the other side? Maybe the player side says, “Sure, we’ve lost, but you lost too. A fox now wants to make a meal of the distracted raven, fulfilling our desire for the raven to be driven away. But, once it takes flight, we’ve got to run away from the fox before it shifts attention on us. Looks like the mail gets dropped in the snow.”

The GM side could still counter-offer, like, “Well, we’ve both lost, so having a fox show up and break up our fighting seems enticing, but the raven is entangled in the mailbag strap; that bag of mail is coming along at least for a short distance.”

If I had to mark a specific measure of compromise, I’d suggest both sides are facing a moderate compromise, not major nor minor. They’ve both lost all, but took all from their foe, so it seems the middle-ground option is appropriate.

Thanks everyone. Unless Luke wanders in, I think I’ve got what I need from this thread, so am totally ok with considering it closed.