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Old 07-09-2018, 03:46 AM   #1
zot
 
Join Date: May 2018
Default Research and knowledge

I made a simple system for research and knowledge for a game I'm running in another system that I think would work very well in TFT and it would give players another solid reason to round out their characters with non-combat talents (I count at least 10 skills in my skill list that could work for this) because they would actually do something in the game (social conflicts being a significant additional reason for choosing non-combat talents). Without rules, research is completely subjective and there's not much reason for a player to spend points on the talents that might help with it. The rules should work for any type of research such as
  • library research
  • searching a house for clues
  • interviewing people on the street
  • checking with contacts in your guild
  • navigating a bureaucracy
  • torturing a prisoner for information
  • ...
Here's an example of interrogation as a form of research.

Bob: I want to interrogate the goblin to find out everything I can about their motives
GM: OK, you have Interrogation and you're way stronger than the goblin but she's very wily, it may not be as easy as you think. Roll vs IQ at +3, however many dice you want
Bob: (rolls 4 dice and gets a 15) Just made it with a 15
GM: (rolls 3 dice and gets a 12) You find out that "they are raiding the town for revenge" and you get one clarifying question
Bob: (consults with other players) Revenge for what?
GM: The townsfolk killed their children in their campsite two weeks ago

The roll represents all of that research activity -- in the example it represents the entire interrogation, so there are no additional rolls. In the example, I'm using Dark City's simple opposed roll rules discussed here.

If a player succeeds in their roll, the GM gives them a phrase describing the results of their research. If the roll succeeded well, the player can ask one or more clarifying questions. The GM helpfully answers each clarifying question with up to 5 words with these qualifications:
  • articles ("a", "an", "the") don't count as words
  • adjectives (like "big") and modifiers (like "their") don't count as words
  • names (like "Big Ben") or dates (like "two weeks ago") count as single words

So the GM answered the example question with the words "townsfolk", "killed", "children", "campsite", and "two-weeks-ago" and then sprinkled in some modifiers and articles to convert it to English. Instead of "their", the GM could have used, "the goblins'" as a modifier.

Knowledge works similarly except that the player gets to declare the phrase and potentially ask and answer some clarifying questions that represent the depth of their knowledge on the topic (at least that they can remember at the time). This is, of course, subject to GM approval. Example:

Angela: We're low on supplies but we're in a labyrinth that's been dug out and my character is a miner. Can I make some observations about the environment?
GM: OK, it's definitely a familiar environment for you, mining will give you +3 IQ. Roll however many dice you want...
Angela: (rolls 3/IQ and gets 13) Ooh, should have rolled another die...
GM: (decided to set a target number of 10 instead of rolling) You still rolled well enough to get one clarification. What's your declaration?
Angela: My declaration is, "The creatures here live off the environment so we should be able to as well"
GM: Clarifying question?
Angela: "Based on observations, where should the nearest drinkable water be?", answer: "this level"
GM: OK, that's a reasonable clarification and you're down two levels. Your character feels almost certain that a drinkable water supply is on this level...

The knowledge rules let the players use talents to spotlight their characters a little bit and also to flesh out the world in a tiny way (all subject to GM approval).
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Old 07-09-2018, 01:37 PM   #2
JLV
 
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Default Re: Research and knowledge

That's a really good example. I'm going to have to wait and see what Steve comes up with for "opposed" rolls (or contest rolls, if you prefer). but that's pretty much how the outcomes should read in the actual game, in my opinion...

Also, wouldn't some of the things you listed actualy translate into new talents? And if so, could you suggest them over on the "New Skills" thread?
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Old 07-09-2018, 01:41 PM   #3
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Default Re: Research and knowledge

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Originally Posted by JLV View Post
That's a really good example. I'm going to have to wait and see what Steve comes up with for "opposed" rolls (or contest rolls, if you prefer). but that's pretty much how the outcomes should read in the actual game, in my opinion...

Also, wouldn't some of the things you listed actualy translate into new talents? And if so, could you suggest them over on the "New Skills" thread?
I think they're in among the 32 or so new skills I listed there :)
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Old 07-09-2018, 01:45 PM   #4
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Default Re: Research and knowledge

Hah! And so they are! ;-)
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Old 07-09-2018, 07:23 PM   #5
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Default Re: Research and knowledge

Thought I had posted it. Here it is, edited in the last 5 minutes because interrogation is a perfect example of a non-literal contest.

Contests (Opposed Rolls)
Sometimes two players, or a player character and an NPC, are in a “contest.” This might be a literal contest, like arm-wrestling, or a metaphorical one, such as a non-violent interrogation.
Each figure rolls dice – normally 3 dice against the relevant stat, but see below. The winner is the one who makes their roll by the greatest amount. In case of a tie, the GM provides a bit of narration: “The two of you strain, but neither one budges a bit.” Then roll again.
Appropriate talents, as judged by the GM, could let you roll on fewer dice, but obviously you cannot roll fewer than 1 die.
The two sides also don’t have to roll against the same stat. To hold onto a greased pig, you might roll your ST versus the pig’s DX.
The GM can use this mechanic in other ways:
• Multi-player contests (who gets a thrown dagger closest to the mark?)
• Multi-round contests, where you have to be ahead by two or more victories to settle the matter (a race through an obstacle course; a poker game).
• “Player vs. world” contests (can your speech sway the crowd?) Roll your IQ, modified by appropriate talents, against the crowd’s average IQ of 10.
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Old 07-09-2018, 11:17 PM   #6
JLV
 
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Default Re: Research and knowledge

By golly, you DID post that somewhere else! I remember reading it.

(We need an index to this forum, apparently!)
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Old 07-10-2018, 06:48 AM   #7
zot
 
Join Date: May 2018
Default Re: Research and knowledge

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Jackson View Post
Thought I had posted it. Here it is, edited in the last 5 minutes because interrogation is a perfect example of a non-literal contest.

Contests (Opposed Rolls)
Sometimes two players, or a player character and an NPC, are in a “contest.” This might be a literal contest, like arm-wrestling, or a metaphorical one, such as a non-violent interrogation.
Each figure rolls dice – normally 3 dice against the relevant stat, but see below. The winner is the one who makes their roll by the greatest amount. In case of a tie, the GM provides a bit of narration: “The two of you strain, but neither one budges a bit.” Then roll again.
Appropriate talents, as judged by the GM, could let you roll on fewer dice, but obviously you cannot roll fewer than 1 die.
The two sides also don’t have to roll against the same stat. To hold onto a greased pig, you might roll your ST versus the pig’s DX.
The GM can use this mechanic in other ways:
• Multi-player contests (who gets a thrown dagger closest to the mark?)
• Multi-round contests, where you have to be ahead by two or more victories to settle the matter (a race through an obstacle course; a poker game).
• “Player vs. world” contests (can your speech sway the crowd?) Roll your IQ, modified by appropriate talents, against the crowd’s average IQ of 10.
I think both sides should always roll 3 dice since the winner is the one who makes their roll by the greatest amount. Talents should just increase the stat in question.

Also, I would suggest the option of both sides rolling 3 dice vs. 10 in cases where a stat really doesn't apply, like social situations (because a smart wizard with no social acuity shouldn't get an advantage to be charming). Let talents and circumstances adjust the "10" just as if it were a stat.
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Old 07-11-2018, 02:54 AM   #8
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Default Re: Research and knowledge

I much prefer reductions in dice for talents which are appropriate and not shared by the contestants. So two orators roll 3d vs each other; an orator vs a non orator is 2/IQ for the Orator, and 3/IQ for the non.

Die dropping is TFT's schtick. Mods to stats are for GURPS.
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Old 07-11-2018, 08:59 AM   #9
zot
 
Join Date: May 2018
Default Re: Research and knowledge

Quote:
Originally Posted by ak_aramis View Post
I much prefer reductions in dice for talents which are appropriate and not shared by the contestants. So two orators roll 3d vs each other; an orator vs a non orator is 2/IQ for the Orator, and 3/IQ for the non.

Die dropping is TFT's schtick. Mods to stats are for GURPS.
That's true. I guess I've been going back and forth on that one in my posts :).
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Old 08-07-2018, 02:04 AM   #10
zot
 
Join Date: May 2018
Default Re: Research and knowledge

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Jackson View Post
Thought I had posted it. Here it is, edited in the last 5 minutes because interrogation is a perfect example of a non-literal contest.

Contests (Opposed Rolls)
Sometimes two players, or a player character and an NPC, are in a “contest.” This might be a literal contest, like arm-wrestling, or a metaphorical one, such as a non-violent interrogation.
Each figure rolls dice – normally 3 dice against the relevant stat, but see below. The winner is the one who makes their roll by the greatest amount. In case of a tie, the GM provides a bit of narration: “The two of you strain, but neither one budges a bit.” Then roll again.
Appropriate talents, as judged by the GM, could let you roll on fewer dice, but obviously you cannot roll fewer than 1 die.
The two sides also don’t have to roll against the same stat. To hold onto a greased pig, you might roll your ST versus the pig’s DX.
The GM can use this mechanic in other ways:
• Multi-player contests (who gets a thrown dagger closest to the mark?)
• Multi-round contests, where you have to be ahead by two or more victories to settle the matter (a race through an obstacle course; a poker game).
• “Player vs. world” contests (can your speech sway the crowd?) Roll your IQ, modified by appropriate talents, against the crowd’s average IQ of 10.
What about letting either player "raise the stakes" (but not lower them) by adding the same number of dice to both sides? This would give experts a way to roll 3 (or more) fewer dice.
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