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Old 08-05-2015, 06:45 AM   #1
vicky_molokh
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Default Handling a 'Succeed at a cost' and 'Succeed with an unrelated benefit' in GURPS?

Greetings, all!

Sometimes I notice neat things in other systems, and here's one of them: instead of a binary succeed/fail and a single-axis 'fail badly/fail a bit/succeed a bit/succeed a lot' outcome handling, a system allows succeeding with a cost. A bit less related, there's the idea of having one's success also produce some side benefit that has no relation to the task at hand whatsoever. Please note that I am not talking about quantitative things like critical success/failure, which are specific subsets of 'fail more/succeed more'. I'm talking specifically about cases where a success has an additional 'perpendicular' event only remotely related to the task that the character was trying to achieve.

For example, say the Charismatic Hero is trying to calm down a crows during a zombie invasion, explaining that he can cast a spell that will protect the refugees of the settlement from the walking dead. Possible outcomes would include:
  • Fail to convince them, so they panic, trample etc.
  • Fail so badly they accuse the PC of witchcraft (critfail).
  • Succeed in convincing enough of them, so that there's no big panic, and they become clear-eyed enough to help him with the spell.
  • Succeed in convincing all them (big MoS/critical success), yadda yadda.
  • Succeed in convincing most of them to get help with the spell . . . at the cost of some of them becoming misguided/overconfident and leaving the area of the spell's protection.
  • Succeed in convincing most of them (i.e. a moderate success MoS-wise), and also accidentally find some useful information about spells while talking to one of them.

How could GURPS handle the latter two cases?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 08-05-2015, 07:05 AM   #2
Varyon
 
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Default Re: Handling a 'Succeed at a cost' and 'Succeed with an unrelated benefit' in GURPS?

Quote:
Originally Posted by vicky_molokh View Post
Succeed in convincing most of them to get help with the spell . . . at the cost of some of them becoming misguided/overconfident and leaving the area of the spell's protection.
It might be possible to allow the risk of such a cost give a bonus to the roll. "I exaggerate the effectiveness of my spell, making them confident they will become immune to the zombies" might give a +2 bonus to your attempt, but to determine effect subtract 4 from MoS. This represents how well you convinced everyone normally, and however many people would be affected by adding that 4 back in is how many are deluded. So, if you are convincing 20%+MoS*10% of the group on a success and you claim the +2 "delusion" bonus from above and succeed by 5, you'll have 30% of the group convinced normally, and a further 40% who become deluded. Something like that.
You could require the player claim the bonus before rolling, or give them the option of getting it after they roll (they see they aren't convincing anyone and change tactics mid-speech).

An alternative could be to have rolls that only barely fail (MoF 1 or 2) actually succeed after all, but at a cost. I'd probably give the player the option - "They aren't convinced - you can probably manage to get enough of them if you exaggerate, but that's likely to leave some of them deluded enough to try something stupid later."

Quote:
Originally Posted by vicky_molokh View Post
Succeed in convincing most of them (i.e. a moderate success MoS-wise), and also accidentally find some useful information about spells while talking to one of them.
Let the "convince them to calm down and help" roll serve as a Complementary Skill Roll on an attempt to gather information. You might want rules on passive information gathering to have this work.
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Old 08-05-2015, 07:18 AM   #3
Anaraxes
 
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Default Re: Handling a 'Succeed at a cost' and 'Succeed with an unrelated benefit' in GURPS?

"Succeed with an unrelated benefit" is a kind of critical success. You get htat by rolling really well. The difference is that instead of the benefit being "in line" with the success, it's orthogonal. When the hero attempts to motivate the villagers and rolls a crit success, you could express that result as "convincing all of them", as in the OP, but you could just as easily express it as "convince most of them and learn about the spells". If such events aren't frequent enough, then you could lower the bar on the MoS requirement from "win by 10" (for a crit) to some lesser number.

"Succeed at a cost" occurs on what the dice say is a failure. To turn that into a success, you need to "buy" a modifier sufficient to move the result back to a success. That is, it's a negative MoS that you need to overcome. That Margin of Failure tells you how big the cost has to be to succeed despite it. You might award that margin to the bad guys, who get to use it for free on one of their rolls. Or you can turn it into a narrative effect, which would require working out a scale of examples for what a +2 change would be, or a +5, or a +10.

"Taking a consequence" to succeed means putting some other currency on that chart: you might choose to suffer some FP loss, HP loss, or temporary or even permanent Disadvantages to buy that success. You might rate the CP involved in the feature, and have a discount factor based on how easy it is to repair (rest for the FP, heal for days on the HP, full value for taking a permanent Disad, etc)

Another way to look at the mechanic would be to treat it as a sort of negative Deceptive Attack (on any sort of roll). Rather than take a penalty to your roll to get some benefit (reduced defense), the player chooses to claim a bonus on the roll (to ensure success) by taking a penalty elsewhere. This might not be as directly related to the action as in a DA. It also might be a narrative effect, as in the "some villagers get themselves killed" case.

The problem with narrative effects is of course stopping the game to debate what happens and whether it's serious enough to buy the success; that is, how many MoS points any invented situation might be worth. Again, you can work out some typical examples, but since the game situations have a lot of variety, you'll have some unavoidable GM-player negotiation.

The scope of the effects probably ought also to be related to the scope of the roll. Sometimes die rolls are for small things -- one hit in a combat. Sometimes they're big -- persuade the king to declare war. The consequences likely to be similar in scope. While it might be okay to burn some FP as a desperate defense to get a couple of points on one defense roll, it would might a lot less sense to merely burn a couple of FP to win a heated debate that changes the course of the setting. A bigger stake might be called for.
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Old 08-05-2015, 02:01 PM   #4
evileeyore
 
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Default Re: Handling a 'Succeed at a cost' and 'Succeed with an unrelated benefit' in GURPS?

Quote:
Originally Posted by vicky_molokh View Post
  • Succeed in convincing most of them to get help with the spell . . . at the cost of some of them becoming misguided/overconfident and leaving the area of the spell's protection.
  • Succeed in convincing most of them (i.e. a moderate success MoS-wise), and also accidentally find some useful information about spells while talking to one of them.

How could GURPS handle the latter two cases?

Thanks in advance!
Hmmm.

For the first I personally do that as a "You can take an extra bonus, but there will be drawbacks if you do so" on a Skill Check. The latter I'd handle as a bonus effect to a Critical Success.
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Old 08-05-2015, 02:38 PM   #5
trooper6
 
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Default Re: Handling a 'Succeed at a cost' and 'Succeed with an unrelated benefit' in GURPS?

Quote:
Originally Posted by evileeyore View Post
Hmmm.

For the first I personally do that as a "You can take an extra bonus, but there will be drawbacks if you do so" on a Skill Check. The latter I'd handle as a bonus effect to a Critical Success.

That is about where my natural instincts would be. Because I like the way GURPS plays, the things I'd come up with would work to keep the feel of what is currently there as much as possible.

The latter, I'd also handle as a critical success. The Former, eh, I'd suppose I'd institute a house rule saying if you fail by 1, you can turn that into a success at some cost...but I decide the cost...and I don't necessarily tell you what it is. That could be fun. I could see doing something like that.

But if what you want is a really different feel that isn't an extension of what we have? Then I'd take inspiration for Dragon Age. They are are 3d6 system (but roll high rather than roll low). Of the three die, one is a different color. If you roll doubles in your roll, then you get a number of stunt points equal to what is on your differently colored die and you get to spend those stunt points on fun cool bonus orthogonal things.

So if you really want something that feels really different? Instead of rolling 3d6, roll 3d6 (one being your different colored Fate die) and one Fudge die. If you roll doubles those Fate Points come into pay...they represent positive/negative/ambiguous things depending on if the Fudge die was positive/negative/blank.

So you could have, on one axis:
Crit Fail, Fail, Succeed, Crit Succeed
On the other:
Positive, Negative, Ambiguous Fate Points

That is if you really want something that feels very different that would still integrate into GURPS.
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