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Old 10-11-2019, 10:18 AM   #1
WaterAndWindSpirit
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Default "Could be worse" advantage

Hello!

So, basically, I would like to know how much a "could be worse" advantage to mitigate bad situations by half-lucky breaks would cost, subject to GM approval and that always have a GM decided/approved backlash.

Example:

John Doe is a soldier deployed in a hot zone, and is caught in the blast zone of an IED. The player says "Okay, I use "Could be worse", John Doe is alright but his gear is not so lucky." John Doe gets away with minor injury but his radio is out, his rifle snapped in half, a fair number of his MREs are ruined, and his canteens pierced, meaning he's low on clean water and food. If John Doe gets into a fight now, he'll have to rely on his sidearm, he can't call for backup anymore, and hopefully he's got enough points in the Survival skill to find food or water, but he's not crippled for weeks or dying in a ditch somewhere.

John Doe, now low on gear and unable to call backup, has made very unlucky rolls on Survival and is close to get serious health problems from dehydration. "I have another use of "could be worse", I don't suppose I could find tainted water? John Doe will be sick, but at least he won't die from dehydration..." The GM agrees, and John Doe will contract a GM chosen sickness, or will drink irradiated water and will need to find anti-rad drugs to recover, but at least he didn't fall into a dehydration induced coma...

A few weeks later, John Doe has managed to find his way back to base, having gone through several Death Checks from a combination of close fights he would have performed better if he wasn't stuck with a less accurate, less powerful sidearm that didn't kill his enemies quite as fast as his rifle, and Toxic Damage from the sickness he contracted, and after receiving medical attention and having his gear replaced, John Doe is deployed again. John Doe receives a mission: bad guys have captured a VIP and are holding said VIP for ransom. John Doe's superiors "do not negotiate with terrorists", though they will stall as much as possible to delay the VIP's execution so that John Doe and his squad can extract the VIP. On the way, they are ambushed, and the vehicle's fuel tank is hit. The damage is easily patched up, but the fuel is lost, the bad guy intentionally targeting the vehicle to hinder the rescue attempt. "Time is of the essence, and my "Could be worse" uses are refreshed. We could find fuel right?" John Doe and his squad end up trading medical supplies and other useful gear to a shifty trader in exchange for bootleg fuel sold at a massive markup. They'll get there on time, but the engine dies from poor quality fuel, making extraction much more difficult, and the rescue operation will be much more dangerous without the supplies they traded away, but at least John Doe didn't arrive three days after the VIP got executed.

During extraction, the VIP is killed by shrapnel. "I have one use of "Could be worse" left. John Doe just happened to be in the way and took the shrapnel. He's got better health and is wearing a fragmentation vest, so he's more likely to survive, right?" John Doe takes the damage instead of the VIP, and, true to the prediction, his superior ST (and thus HP), HT (and thus better Death Checks), and his fragmentation vest (Providing him better DR than the 0 DR the VIP's rags gave him) keep both him and the VIP alive. But now extraction is complicated by one member of the rescue squad being seriously banged up.

How would you price such an ability?

Last edited by WaterAndWindSpirit; 10-11-2019 at 10:47 AM. Reason: typo
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Old 10-11-2019, 10:44 AM   #2
martinl
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Default Re: "Could be worse" advantage

I think that's just Serendipity with a limitation.
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Old 10-11-2019, 10:47 AM   #3
awesomenessofme1
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Default Re: "Could be worse" advantage

Seconding the Serendipity suggestion. I'd probably put it around the -20% of Aspected, but you might be able to convince me to go a bit lower.

Last edited by awesomenessofme1; 10-11-2019 at 10:54 AM. Reason: Rrally weird autocorrect.
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Old 10-11-2019, 10:54 AM   #4
WaterAndWindSpirit
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Default Re: "Could be worse" advantage

Serendipity with a -20% limitation sounds about right. Thanks!

There are so many dis/advantages I still struggle to find the one I want at times.
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Old 10-11-2019, 12:27 PM   #5
martinl
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Default Re: "Could be worse" advantage

Quote:
Originally Posted by martinl View Post
I think that's just Serendipity with a limitation.
I failed on this post. I should have said:

"I think that's just Serendipity with an AWESOME limitation."

Seriously, this sounds like a really fun way to modify that advantage.
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Old 10-11-2019, 12:44 PM   #6
Anthony
 
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Default Re: "Could be worse" advantage

Then you have the Cursed variant 'It can always be worse", which adds additional complications to already bad situations.
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Old 10-11-2019, 01:27 PM   #7
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Default Re: "Could be worse" advantage

Quote:
Originally Posted by WaterAndWindSpirit View Post
Hello!

So, basically, I would like to know how much a "could be worse" advantage to mitigate bad situations by half-lucky breaks would cost, subject to GM approval and that always have a GM decided/approved backlash.

(...)

During extraction, the VIP is killed by shrapnel. "I have one use of "Could be worse" left. John Doe just happened to be in the way and took the shrapnel. He's got better health and is wearing a fragmentation vest, so he's more likely to survive, right?" John Doe takes the damage instead of the VIP, and, true to the prediction, his superior ST (and thus HP), HT (and thus better Death Checks), and his fragmentation vest (Providing him better DR than the 0 DR the VIP's rags gave him) keep both him and the VIP alive. But now extraction is complicated by one member of the rescue squad being seriously banged up.

How would you price such an ability?
Man, I don’t want to be that guy… but I can't help thinking this is overpowered and that you are misunderstanding serendipity.

You could partially wrap what you require with serendipity, but without discounts.

What you describe is a guy going through different situations, each time requiring a different advantage, namely: Luck, several levels of serendipity and maybe daredevil. Each of them is worth 15 points, assuming you picked 2 levels of serendipity, that’s 60 CP in total.

IMO, setting aside that most of the situations you described involve daring attitudes, “could be worse” is only a re-skin of the serendipity ability.

This is because your PC is always free of choosing or “suggesting” how/when to use the advantage. And its results are overly convenient.

Indeed, your narrative brings harsh-scenarios which give an air of stress, but this is not necessarily justifying that “could be worse” is working under emergencies only (or its subclasses, that provide a -20% discount).

In the situations you described, the advantage takes place when it is most appropriate to you, not when a real emergency hits (and sometimes, it is just too timely). In other words, the situations you described seem very lenient.

Let’s analyze the shrapnel & pilot situation in your narrative (the las part):

The shrapnel is going to hit the pilot, you want to use serendipity to save him.
Serendipity might help you notice that the pilot is going to be hit by super-fast (almost invisible) shrapnel.
So your GM allows it, you notice the shrapnel and the serendipity is burnt, then:

If you are very close to him, you attempt a sacrificial dodge.
If you are not so close to him, you may attempt a sacrificial parry (if you have the perk); and then I would apply the penalties for lacking ETS, fast-draw, parry-missile skills, and appropriate equipment to parry (e.g. long melee weapon). As a GM I could allow (by stretching the rules in your favor) you to try throwing something in the way of the shrapnel and the pilot IF there’s something you can fast-draw or pick.

And if you fail, then you may try again with your luck (if you bought it).

Can you see why is your suggestion seemingly overpowered? You need a lot of conditions to make the stunt work.

Making your wish come true under certain situations is something else, and that probably lies in the field of cosmic (+100% or more) and GM criterions.
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Old 10-11-2019, 01:47 PM   #8
WaterAndWindSpirit
 
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Default Re: "Could be worse" advantage

Serendipity allows one "fortuitous but plausible" 100% positive coincidence.

True Serendipity would be "it's an IED, what if the bomb maker did a shoddy job and the IED detonated too early when John Doe was outside it's radius?" (always plausible with amateurish bomb-makers, which are most of them), "John Doe finds a place where a fight had taken place and dead combatants still have clean water canteens that hadn't been fully looted" (not implausible in a hot zone, a lot of people would grab the guns, ammo and flak jackets first, if only because you could trade them for much more than their weight in food/water if that's what you're after. Unless I really need the food/water, and I can't get away with consuming it now, I prioritize expensive items like 10 mm pistols or semi-expensive armor over water/food when looting bodies in Fallout: New Vegas), "John Doe finds a wreckage he could pull some fuel out of" (again, plausible in a hot zone depending on what hit the vehicle-turned-wreckage and what the survivors of the engagement (if there even are survivors, if the vehicle is relatively intact except for being breached and it's tracks destroyed, and the area was hit by mustard gas that since then dispersed you can have a mostly intact vehicle with no survivors) looted), and "something that's neither John Doe nor mission critical is between the source of the shrapnel and the VIP", respectively. All of these seem mostly in line with "Would you look at that, a sports car is parked next to the bank when I have to get into a chase scene with bank robbers" which is a canonical example of Serendipity.

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Old 10-11-2019, 02:16 PM   #9
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Default Re: "Could be worse" advantage

Quote:
Originally Posted by WaterAndWindSpirit View Post
Serendipity allows one "fortuitous but plausible" 100% positive coincidence (...) " which is a canonical example of Serendipity.
Indeed, you can employ serendipity to make for a single (plausible) coincidental event; however, most of the examples you describe (in the OP) are not events, they are a succession of events. On the other hand, serendipity is not the same as buying success in advance (it mostly is about situational benefits).

It already is fortuitous turning a single event into your favor, now you want to justify forcing a succession (not an event) into your favor through a single use of serendipity (and at discounted value); I don’t think that’s appropriate.

If you want to connect a succession of events into serendipity, this means you need to buy several levels to connect all of the dots that make your “wish” more likely to come true.

Your shrapnel & pilot narrative is a perfect example.

A fair use of serendipity under the same situation is this: The enemy has orders to shoot the pilot. However, the enemy decides shooting you instead (defying his orders), because John Doe is his lifetime rival. That is a fortuitous event that may save the pilot (from that enemy).

On the other hand… If you want to notice the shrapnel, that’s the first serendipity level, if you also want to be in the way of the shrapnel that’s a 2nd level, and if you want to take all the bullets that’s a third level.

And well, neither of these deserve a discount, at all. It could have been worse if you did not have serendipity.
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Old 10-11-2019, 02:44 PM   #10
WaterAndWindSpirit
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Default Re: "Could be worse" advantage

Two things:

One, in my own example, "John Doe is mostly okay but his gear isn't so lucky" and "John Doe is lucky enough to find some water to not get into a dehydration coma" are two uses, and I've made it clear that John Doe's player bought at least 2 uses (I did say "I have another use left"), and that the two next uses are after a time skip (I did explicitly use the words "Could be worse uses are refreshed"), the words I just put in bold being pretty much non-controversial in their meaning. So in my examples, we're looking at 2 levels of a leveled advantage.

Second, like I said, "amateur bomb maker messes up the IED", "Yeah, I just happen to find a dead patrol that has been looted of it's most valuable stuff but that had just enough low value stuff to keep me alive, because dead soldiers and looters in a hot zone are dime a dozen", "I just happen to find a recent wreckage that has been hit by something less than a cruise missile and the fleshies have been hit by something that leaves machinery intact, in a hot zone where unscrupulous irregular fighters are more likely to use nerve gas than cruise missiles" and "something that's neither me nor mission critical just happens to be in-between the source of shrapnel and the VIP" are more statstically plausible coincidences than "I just happened to find a sports car that's just great for a car chase parked when I needed it the most, despite the fact that most people haven't even seen a sports car with their own eyes in their lives" (Again, the last example is the canonical Serendipity). Serendipity is explicitly a free pass. Seredipity-but-it's-not-a-free-pass (I'm lucky to have survived the blast but my gear was not, I found tainted water in a hot zone, I found a shifty black marketer in a hot zone when I needed something fast, and he abused my desperation, and I just happened to have taken the shrapnel instead of the VIP I was sent to rescue, with my already established stats and the kit I was established to have been carrying saving me) is worth a discount.
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