Need some help on framing contests

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Need some help on framing contests Submitted by Sdrolion on Wed, 11/07/2012 – 13:43

Hey, all…I’m used to systems that break things down into turn-by-turn, round-by-round sort of play, and I’ve been trying to gain an understanding of HeroQuest’s structure by working on framing some scenes from earlier games as HeroQuest contests.

I’ve been able to answer a number of my questions thanks to the excellent examples in HQ, but there’s one that is a bit of a bugaboo for me: what do you do when you’ve got a group simple contest, but one player has decided to do something that is also vital, but not part of the goal?

The situation in question: we’ve got a thief, a barbarian, an archer, and a mage. Due to various events involving a smarmy evil wizard, they’re being chased by a horde of crazed, plague-ridden animals. They’ve reached a hidden entrance to a manor and are trying to get inside before they get eaten and/or infected.

Now, in this scene (which was using GURPS), the thief got to work picking the lock, the barbarian and the archer held off the horde, and the mage inspected some runes marking the area around the door to try to find out what was inside the place.

At first, I thought we had three goals here: Hold of the Horde, Get the Door Open, and Gather Information. But I realized that you could really combine the lockpicking and the battle under one goal: Escape the Horde (as long as you’re okay with them still escaping if the lockpicking fails–I’d figure that the guy just had trouble with the lock but the others managed to fight well enough to give him time to succeed). Gather Information can’t be combined, though.

It seems like you’d probably just run that as a Group Simple Contest for the Escape the Horde trio, and then a separate Simple Contest for the mage, but…should there be some disadvantage for the fact that the mage is working on something else? Or is there another way this should be framed? (For instance, technically if the Escape the Horde defenders fail, the mage should be pressed for time too, not just the lockpicker…so is it actually two Group Simple contests, with the barbarian and archer in both?)

(Obviously as a GM you can avoid this situation by just not having Runes of Great Interest show up in the middle of a chase, but I can see situations where it does come up, cinematically…for example, some scenes from Stargate SG-1, where Daniel is trying to understand some archeological element while the rest of the team is doing other things, could theoretically result in this…though they could also be Group Simple Contests to resolve the overall threat, with Archaeology and Combat just tactics towards that, depending on the situation.)

If anyone has any input I would appreciate it. ^_^

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Juggle the Framing

Submitted by Philmagpie on Thu, 12/07/2012 – 05:34.

Hi,

I can see a couple of options here;

1    Tinker with the Framing

If you Frame the Contest as Escape through the Door with the Knowledge, then it is all rolled together into one simple contest.  

2    Knowledge is Automatic

You could resolve the Mage’s actions independent of any contest, by simply considering the level of the relevant knowledge Ability, and then automatically present to the Mage the amount of knowledge that this level would typically convey.

You could rule that the Mage would not have the time to study the Runes in depth given the situation, thus losing the opportunity to roll for possibly higher results.

3    Lack of Magical Aid

If you wish to penalize the group for the Mage not contributing to the Group Simple Contest, then I would suggest that you simply increase the overall diffculty of the Contest, rather than handing out individual modifiers.  Thus, you would still only need to roll the once and all of the Players are rolling against the same Resistence.

I hope that this helps.  I have found HQ to be very flexible, and the GM can mould the narrative to accomodate all sorts of mechanical variations

Phil

Herve's picture

Framing a groupe simple contest

Submitted by Herve on Wed, 11/07/2012 – 14:24.

OK then, I’d say this falls under my “all actions have consequences” mantra. If the wizard doesn’t want to contribute to open the door / hold off the slimy beast, or somehow explain how deciphering the Runes helps in getting the door opened (he recognized a dwarvish writing pattern specific to IFU notices), then he’s off doing his own, individual simple contest, while the others try to get the job done.

First consequence : it’s harder for the other three to reach their goal, add + 3 or +6 to the difficulty level – and make sure the players know it. Let them get the wizard back in line.

Second consequence : if they don’t make it and the slimy creatures get through, the wizard gets attacked at +6 or +9 as he is engrossed in his readings, his back turned toward the hopping horrors. Make sure the player does understand that. Perhaps he’ll change his mind and use his magics to fight off the beasts ?

 

That’s pretty much what I was

Submitted by Sdrolion on Wed, 11/07/2012 – 14:46.

That’s pretty much what I was starting to figure…if a player wants to do something utterly separate, he’s removing resources from the rest of them, so you just kind of treat it as them having more to deal with? (Could even probably describe it as such in play–regardless of success or failure, you describe another creature jumping them–though on a success, they manage to slay it anyway–where the wizard might have either killed it for them or helped get the door open before the attack happened.)

That seems to make sense in general. The other thing I was thinking was to give the opposition 1 or 2 Resolution Points for each character not participating in the group goal, but is that too harsh? (Basic reasoning was that there’s something that happens that the wizard wasn’t there to stop, or the work goes slower or beasts come quicker, etc.)

To be clear: I don’t regard what the wizard did as problematic–it’s a tactical/story choice I’d like to allow, but I agree there should be consequences that the group should have to consider. Just trying to see what an “appropriate” level of consequence would be.

Ooh, or here’s an option for

Submitted by Sdrolion on Wed, 11/07/2012 – 15:30.

Ooh, or here’s an option for using the difficulties but letting the players adapt a bit: what if we said “if you do this, the group takes a +9 to difficulty overall–but they can divide that in 3s at they see fit?” So if the barbarian and archer are feeling confident, they can claim the entire difficulty increase between them: the barbarian says “While I’m fighting, more creatures surround me” and takes +6, and the archer says “There’s just too many targets to handle alone, and they’re getting closer and closer” and takes +3. By taking those, they prevent the thief from taking any increase. That seems to mesh well with HQ’s “let the players help set the contest” idea.

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