What does a 0-0 result for a flee conflict look like?

I had a flee conflict end in a 0-0 tie tonight.

I understand I should give each side the equivalent of a major compromise, that’s no problem.

However I’m struggling with the fictional part of the outcome: were the PCs caught? The pursuers dispo reached zero, so they can’t have been caught.
Did the PCs escape? Their dispo reached zero too, so they can’t have escaped…

How does everyone else handle the fiction in this scenario?

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It depends on the specifics of what’s happening in the fiction, but the PCs have not escaped. Nor have they been caught. It might shift to another type of conflict (they can’t run anymore; now they have to stand their ground or try to kill it), or the circumstances might change in some drastic way for both parties (you run right into the arms of something even worse; it frightens off/eats the thing that was chasing you but now you’ve got to deal with it!).

What was the situation in your game? Where were they trying to run to?

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Let’s say you’re running from a giant monster. 0 - 0 could means you fled into a dead end where the monster couldn’t reach you. It didn’t (and can’t) catch you there, but you are now trapped and you’ll have to try something else to escape. You could try to drive it off, or use other skills to effect an escape from there, but you can’t flee.

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It was skogenby - in HV’s throne room one PC got himself possessed, and upset HV at the same time.
One of the remaining two PCs has the 7 ascension symbols on his skin, and angry HV decided it was now time to relieve him of them.

The PCs grabbed Jora and ran for the dolmen exit, chased by HV-in-a-PC plus the honour guard, and somehow managed to pull off a highly improbable draw (I was certain they had no chance).

The final action was both PCs with a total of 3 dispo against HV alone (the honour guards had already dropped out earlier) with 1 dispo.

When both sides went to 0 I was left scratching my head. I wasn’t sure what to describe - had HV caught up to them or not?

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My first instinct based on what you describe is to roll right into another conflict. If the PCs had won, they would have gotten away (though I would have made them roll for the Tight Squeeze). If Haathor-Vash had won, they would have been captured (and probably brought back to her vault stripped of their weapons and bound – they would have been forced to find some other way to escape her clutches…perhaps a Convince conflict). Obviously compromises would have been offered to the losing side based on the winner’s lost disposition.

In this case, the PCs didn’t get away, and Haathor-Vash hasn’t managed to capture them, but she did run them right into the Tight Squeeze. So major compromises for both sides: The PCs are cornered and have to fight or drive Haathor-Vash off. Haathor-Vash has left her minions behind and must face the PCs on her own (as the possessed PC).

If the players weren’t satisfied with that, I could be convinced to allow them to make the Dungeoneer test to escape through the Tight Squeeze provided one of the PCs gave themselves up to Haathor-Vash to keep her occupied while the rest tried to get out.

That’s how I would go about it anyway.

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Ok, thanks Thor.

So it’s really quite important to bundle being captured into a lost flee result?
Then for a draw that can instead be left open ended to differentiate from a loss.

I understand of course that NPC goals are irrelevant to conflict type selection, but I’m thinking now that philosophy also applies to the fictional result of a conflict?

I had played HV as wanting to flay the PC with the skin symbols immediately, and that was what caused the PCs to decide to flee.

If the PCs had outright lost I’d have them now cornered with no escape, HV right on top of them wanting to flay one. Then depending on how they reacted I may have gone to a kill conflict or drive off. But this is too gentle for a loss, it’s more appropriate for a draw, yes?

Capturing them on a loss and dragging them back to the vault would put me in a bit of a sticky spot - it wouldn’t make fictional sense according to how I’d played HV before the flee conflict (what would make sense is killing one and flaying the other).

Is this a case of me over-committing too early (i.e. GM inexperience)? Should I have been less specific before the flee conflict, so that I could still use captured as part of the result if they lost?

As a follow-on, how would you handle a flee conflict loss if the pursuer had been a creeping ooze? I’m assuming there’d be no capturing…

It’s not required that a flee conflict result in capture if lost, but it is the suggested outcome as per the table on page 73. I don’t think simply catching up to them is enough of a consequence though. That’s more the realm of a tie.

You’ve got to be true to how you played Haathor-Vash, so don’t take my interpretation by rote. But even if that is how you’re playing her, maybe she wants something from the captured characters first? She might very well want to do hideous things to them, but buy yourself time for her to monologue a little, play up your interpretation of her.

Even if the antagonist is monstrous, getting captured shouldn’t immediately be the end. In stories it’s just a chance for the protagonists to show their cleverness in a new way. Think Bilbo coming to the rescue of the captured dwarves in The Hobbit, or Indiana Jones and his father escaping the Nazi castle in The Last Crusade. The characters have an opportunity to learn something they wouldn’t have otherwise and then there’s the dramatic escape.

I tend to play Haathor-Vash with a slightly softer touch. She’s terrifying, yes. But she’s also got a point. She wasn’t bothering anyone until someone broke into her house, stole from her and disturbed her rest. She wants things made right. In her mind she’s not doing evil. She’s getting payback for a crime that was committed against her.

I try to get in her head: She’s been out of the world for countless ages. She has no idea what’s going on in the outside world. She doesn’t know how things have changed. She doesn’t understand why she hasn’t ascended to become an Immortal. Jora can only tell her so much: She’s only an adolescent and from a remote village to boot.

Maybe she doesn’t want to flay the one who stole the runes and wear his skin like a shawl? Maybe she just wants to keep him? That’s often how I play it. I typically have her desire that everything stolen from her be returned and that the villagers establish a shrine to her and provide her with regular offerings.

I generally play her as vengeful, demanding, supremely arrogant, confused and a little lonely. It throws players for a loop!

I don’t think specificity is a problem, just give a little nuance. Maybe it isn’t as simple as just flaying the one character. Maybe a certain ritual needs to be conducted to stop the runes from flowing so they don’t get damaged when she cuts his skin off. Give them the opportunity to sneak out or talk their way out and you would be fine.

As for the Creeping Ooze, to be honest, it’s the deadliest thing in that dungeon, including Haathor-Vash (unless she manages to possess a high Might individual that allows her to use her Might to its fullest). They can’t capture it because its Might is too high. They can run though. It can attempt to follow, but running fast is outside its Nature, so I would roll half its Nature rather than its full Nature when it takes action in a flee conflict. Really, it’s an ambush predator. It’s only really dangerous if you try to kill it or it gets you in its special Trapped conflict.

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I think making sympathetic (if still unreasonable) monsters is one of my favorite parts of GMing dungeon crawls. I often think of Guillermo del Toro’s claim that “Monsters are the patron saints of imperfection”.

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Thanks Thor, that’s great stuff - really helps clear things up a lot.

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