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Old 01-31-2016, 08:43 AM   #11
Flinx
 
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Default Re: Success rolls: effective skill below 3

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Originally Posted by Maz View Post
In my experience this rule is really important in two situations.

1) When the PC's can keep trying. For instance, picking "an impossible to pick"-lock might only require a few minutes of time but have a -10 penalty to attempt. repeated attempts are at -1. […]
Of course a sensible GM might just declare "No you can't no matter how much you try". But I know several type of gamers who might start arguing if the rules say "you can always attempt and succeed on a roll of 3".
Good point. I would probably solve this by having a failure interfere with further attempts (“your pick broke off inside the lock”, “your bowstring snapped”). But this does make the “no try below 3” rule seem like the simpler solution.


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Originally Posted by Maz View Post
2) In combat. The only thing preventing my archer from shooting you in the eye at 500y in darkness is the -30 or so penalty.
WITHOUT this rule I might as well try (assuming I have enough arrows). Other similar situations where you are heavily penalized in combat. Then you might as well "go for the eye" as IF you then hit, it's much worse.
I just read up the critical miss rules and apparently for ranged attacks the span of critical misses does not expand beyond 17 and 18. This actually makes the “no try below 3” rule really important here.

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Of course some GM's and players might like this. I do not as it, in my experience, lead to players attempting stupid things only because the rules allow it, not because "that is what my character would do".
I still like the idea of a Hail Mary, but I could just rule on it on a case by case basis (“Okay, you have one chance, you must roll a 3, for all other results something bad happens”).

Perhaps it’s that I’ve slept in the meantime, but I feel a bit silly now as someone new to the game having argued against an official rule with people who have years of experience. Thank you all for your replies, I really appreciate it.
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Old 01-31-2016, 10:07 AM   #12
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Default Re: Success rolls: effective skill below 3

To prevent your players from doing these feats:

http://www.d20srd.org/srd/epic/skills.htm

even if they'll roll 3 on the 3d6.

Sounds like special rule to hard players which don't respect "GM authority" and always answer "show me preventing rule in the book".

Last edited by GWJ; 01-31-2016 at 10:11 AM.
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Old 01-31-2016, 10:31 AM   #13
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Default Re: Success rolls: effective skill below 3

Isn't part of this the mentality of favoring the "defensive" option in GURPS?

Instead of looking at it as "Defense Rolls always have a chance, so why not all rolls?" look at it as "If odds of success fall below rolling a three on 3d6, the task is considered functionally impossible and so you don't even get to roll for it. The exception being for Defense Rolls, just because as a matter of keeping the game fun, we've found that it is better to still allow a Defense Roll no matter what."

The only hiccup then becomes why Critical Successes on an attack roll don't still allow a Defense Roll in the case of a Critical Success there as well.
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Old 01-31-2016, 10:38 AM   #14
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Default Re: Success rolls: effective skill below 3

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Originally Posted by Flinx View Post
Good point. I would probably solve this by having a failure interfere with further attempts (“your pick broke off inside the lock”, “your bowstring snapped”). But this does make the “no try below 3” rule seem like the simpler solution.
That's turning every failure into a critical failure because you want me to cut it out, but can't be bothered to tell me that. Not Cool. If you want me to stop doing something, just tell me to stop doing something.
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Old 01-31-2016, 01:13 PM   #15
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Default Re: Success rolls: effective skill below 3

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That's turning every failure into a critical failure because you want me to cut it out, but can't be bothered to tell me that.
If the effective skill were low enough, most or all failures would be critical.

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Not Cool. If you want me to stop doing something, just tell me to stop doing something.
Setting aside the question of balanced game mechanics, this is not really how I would approach it as GM. If I tell a player that their character can’t even try something there has to be an in-game explanation for it. By now I am convinced that the rule of “no success roll below 3” is sensible, mainly because the mechanics don’t support extremely low probabilities. In these cases I would still allow a PC to try anything as long as it was in character and just tell them without a roll that they failed.
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Old 01-31-2016, 01:34 PM   #16
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Default Re: Success rolls: effective skill below 3

Ranged attack are the obvious way to abuse this.
Quick gadgetering is probably a close second, although the crit failures should keep things interesting...
Also, don't forget super luck ... if I succeed on a 3 no matter what, it is a must buy.
Intuition(winning lotery number) is also a great money maker...

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Old 01-31-2016, 10:40 PM   #17
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Default Re: Success rolls: effective skill below 3

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Originally Posted by Flinx View Post
Let me know if you think this is a rule that can be ignored without any impact.
Definitely not.

Imagine a group of PCs with unimpressive Guns skills (say, 10 to 12) who need to snipe a quickly moving target through the eye from a little under a mile away.

Even with a decent sniper rifle, the shooter's effective skill would be at +6 (Acc) +2 (full Aim) -18 (range) -9 (eye) = -19 to skill. There are expanded rules to get a slightly better bonus, but the point is he's definitely in the negatives.

Now let's say your house rule would let him succeed on a 3-4 even if he's negative. Why bother with the nice sniper rifle, if he's probably going to critically fail anyway?

Instead, he takes a box full of cheap pistols up onto the roof and starts having his friends hand him one, he shoots it, it explodes or jams (good thing he's wearing armor), and so he shoots another one. At this rate, he can fire once every two seconds, so he'll put a bullet through his target's eye in (on average) just under a minute.

The target is moving at supersonic speeds? No problem, because his chance to hit is the same. The target is actually a tiny transmitter (SM -10)? Same chance to hit. The shooter is operating in pitch black darkness? Just another -10, same chance to hit.

That's the problem with establishing an "auto-win" situation. No matter how likely it makes a critical failure, it also means that (A) past a certain point, penalties mean nothing, and that (B) because literally anything can succeed, there's no reason not to keep trying again and again.
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Old 01-31-2016, 11:08 PM   #18
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Default Re: Success rolls: effective skill below 3

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Also, don't forget super luck ... if I succeed on a 3 no matter what, it is a must buy.
I think this is another good point: other aspects of the system count on no successful roll when the target number is under three. Super Luck is already powerful, but when it becomes on miracle per game? Pretty game breaking. Sure you could jack up its price or otherwise restrict it, but this should have been one of the first things to occur (only because PK's example takes just a bit more thought to work out).

So again I'd say that if we are going to question anything, it would be the charitable rules that state you always get a Defense Roll. I don't think I would enjoy it much as a player to lose that, but that seems like the real inconsistency. If one really wants to allow for far lower chances of success (or failure), verification rolls seem in order. Everything stays the same as now except if a situation occurs where a critical success or failure makes little sense as a result with the usual probability (but eliminating entirely similarly breaks suspension of disbelief or possibly something even more important)... add a second roll. All the second roll does is verify the critical nature of the first. A double three or double eighteen is hopefully all that would be needed to represent the most extreme of odds worth nitpicking over, and I offer this not as a tried and tested "solution" because I don't see a real problem in the first place that it solves.

Plus I think I only used it a few times. With mixed results. Over 15 years ago. XD
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Old 02-01-2016, 05:58 AM   #19
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Default Re: Success rolls: effective skill below 3

Am I the only one who sees this obvious use case?

"Hey, I'm an Ant, I'm gonna try grapple and pin the PC! Oh look, critical success!"

Just saying.
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Old 02-02-2016, 01:25 PM   #20
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Default Re: Success rolls: effective skill below 3

Thanks again, guys, for the added explanations, especially from PK. I get it now. As I said in the beginning I have just started learning the rules (didn’t even know about things like super luck yet) and it’s really nice to get so many helpful responses.
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