giovedì 23 agosto 2012

The One Ring "Living Rules": Journeys revised II

Hi all! Following a fruitful discussion over at the Cubicle 7 forums for The One Ring, I revised my alternate rules for journeys. As I explained before, these modified rules are aimed to reduce the number of required rolls, at the same time preserving (or enhancing!) the mood and objective of the original mechanics.

For those that read the previous version, know that, following the suggestions of players, I made all Fatigue increases be applied immediately (and not at the end of a journey). Additionally, companions now do not necessarily see their Fatigue increase at the same pace, as they are sometimes required to make individual Travel rolls.

All in all, a good result, that preserves the goals I set for myself when I approached the variant.

One thing: the writing is rather 'terse', meaning that I didn't make any attempt at adding flavour to the rules as written - it was already difficult to make everything clear (not sure I succede, you tell me). So, I didn't specify what the challenges that target a single travelling role or all companions are meant to represent. You are of course invited to suggest what kind of trouble is represented by a challenge requiring the Guide to intervene, or the Scouts of the company, etc. Luckily, the books are filled with vivid examples...

Journeys Rules Revision II (JRR II!) - removed!

Edit for the 28th of August

Time for JRR III already! This time including ponies! This new version is the result of the discussions over at the Cubicle 7 forums, and of my own ponderations with the help of Southron chieftain Amado Angulo. All I have written above stands, so click on the link at see how it came up. 
Many thanks to everyone who gave his comments on the subject matter, here and over at the Cubicle 7 web site. I hope this is going to be the final version, at least for a little while... :)

Journey Rules Revision III
(link removed, as I am pretty happy with the new Revised rules for TOR! :)

17 commenti:

  1. One suggestion I had, which I plan to try with these rules the next time my players make a journey, is having the Travelling Roles roll their "signature skill" rather than Travel. So Guide rolls Travel, Scout Explore, Huntsmen Hunting, and Look-Out Awareness. Then everyone rolls Travel, then we loop around again.

    Other than that, I really love these rules! So much more evocative!

    1. ...I like it and had thought about it, but that would mean a stronger departure from the original rules, possibly compromising what players have chosen to do with the developement of their characters so far. But of course this reasoning doesn't have to concern you! :)

    2. And indeed it doesn't - my house rules document now says, basically, "use JRR II but swap out skills". My main concern with "roll Travel for everything" is that more than half the cultures (Beorning, Elves, Woodmen, and Hobbits) don't get Travel as part of their starting skill package. So they've either got to use their precious customization resources becoming good at making Journeys or they've got to be okay with being responsible for lots of Fatigue and Hazards. But even with my suggested change, everyone still wants Travel for long journeys.

      On the other hand, there's no culture that doesn't have at least one of Travel, Hunting, Explore, and Awareness at a reasonable level, just like there's no culture that doesn't have at least one social skill at a reasonable level.

    3. You can roll Awe or Battle to intimidate foes, Inspire or Song to inspire allies...why not Travel or your signature skill for your individual checks?

      (I'd post this on your thread on the Cubicle 7 forums, but I registered recently and for some reason I don't have posting privileges)

    4. ...check out the new iteration of the tweak, soon to be posted here. You guys here (and the people over at the C7 forums) convinced me after all... :)

  2. It's always amazing to see an idea evolve and sharpen. I like this version better than the previous. It solves the potential need for individual Fatigue gains, but keeps the corporate aspect as well.

    Rather than a forced Marching Order, however, I would like to try and let the players and the Loremaster decide on a customised Marching Order for a particular journey. Each of the travelling roles would still need to be covered, but the order may be different each time. In this way, I feel the players and the Loremaster are having some say in the way a journey unfolds and which role may be making more tests overall.

    1. I chose to apply that Marching order because it respects the order the travelling roles have benn listed on the back of the character sheet, and so it's easy to check! :)

    2. Yes, indeed. It is easier for everyone at the table to remember. And sometimes easier is more desirable because it keeps the game flowing and everyone roleplaying, rather than wondering who's next, or taking the extra step to set up a marching order, etc.

  3. I really like that you regularly put out these rules tweaks. I especially like that this iteration applies fatigue immediately, which is what I've been houseruling for my group all along.

    And I definitely think it's clear enough, and agree that it doesn't need examples (without them I can print the document on a single page, front and back).

  4. I'm not sure about this revision...still trying to accept it. I like the prominence of the Travel skill in journeys. I like that it is tested primarily and then signature skills are used to overcome hazards.

    If a Scout fails a Fatigue test showing an Eye while using the Explore skill, a hazard episode is triggered. Would you still roll randomly to determine which role was responsible for the hazard and must now overcome it? If not, would the Scout just be responsible and simply make a second Explore roll to overcome it?

    1. I would tally the eyes rolled, if any, and then proceed to generate the hazard episode as usual. So, yes, I would 'disconnect' the hazard from the roll that caused it.

  5. Ok. So the hazard that is generated is not necessarily the fault of the companion that rolled an Eye, correct? The Eye then simply indicates that something has gone awry with the fellowship and any one of the travelling roles may be tested to overcome it.

    1. Yes. I find the separation between the 'journey resolution' rolls and hazards to be convenient as a Loremaster. But I see you feel it shouldn't be so (reading on the C7 forums). Can you elaborate why?

      Let me see if I can interpret your feeling of 'redundancy': you are afraid that since the new resolution mechanics already introduce the roles of the travelling companions, it feels a bit repetitive to roll again to select a role for the hazard.

      You are probably right in there... in fact, I think that to go down the revision road 100% we should probably rethink the hazard phase, and re-envision hazard episodes a bit like the 'Encounter gaffes' you wrote about on the forums - episodes that require entirely different skills to be resolved (different from the signature skills of the travelling roles). A Courtesy test to have the merchants blocking the road get out of the way without incidents, a Craft test to repair the rickety-looking bridge you have to cross, a roll of Song to convince those haughty-looking Elves that woke you up in the night that you are not Orcs, a roll of Healing to cure everyone of the illness that is plaguing your stomachs after eating deer in Mirkwood, etc. etc.

    2. First, let me answer your question. I think you understand my thinking for the most part. But, here is why I used the word 'redundant.' As revised, every role will be tested through the Marching Order. If a role comes up without a companion assigned, someone can spend a point of Hope to cover it in order to make the Fatigue test. If an Eye comes up when they make the roll, a hazard episode is triggered. A random hazard is rolled and there is a possibility that the role won't be covered again, so a companion will need to spend a Hope point to cover it in order to save them from the effects of the hazard.

      I just think that it is smoother narratively to assume that if a hazard episode is triggered by a roll that a Scout made, for example, that the hazard should be related to the Scout's performance in some way. It can be confusing for players to think that the Scout rolled a hazard and now another roll needs to be made to see who actually messed up.

      Now, about your new idea that uses different skills to resolve a hazard- I like it! I like it because it forces a variety of skills to be used and it makes for interesting storytelling. A hero triggers a hazard while using a signature skill and now he must remedy it with a different skill. Some players might not like this and think there should be hazards that still allow signature skills to be used, arguing that it represents "trying harder." In that case, I would create some hazards that do use the signature skill of a role, but increase the TN. So, if a Scout trips a hazard while using Explore the first time, a test of Explore to remedy the hazard might require a TN 16 or higher (if indeed the random hazard turned out to be based on the Scout role).

    3. Two thoughts:

      1. With the new Journey system, you no longer need role-based Hazards. Before you needed to roll to see who's Hazard it was because that was the only time that role mattered in the game; otherwise it was just everyone making Travel checks.

      In the new version, the roles play out in the Fatigue checks, so you don't have to have them play out in Hazards. Maybe Hazards could be group activities, that require more than one roll from more than one person.

      2. Another idea for Hazards is that instead of just a straight forward roll, they require a choice.

      Go left or go right
      Press ahead or take a break
      Go over or around

      Maybe each choice involves a different roll (which they find out after the choice), or maybe there is no roll, just consequences of the choice. You could also mix (choose the left path and take a fatigue, take the right and make a Corruption check).

      It takes more work to generate Hazards, but this way you can have different skills to roll and also breaks up the "Roll Explore, then roll Explore again" issue.

  6. Have you gone back to The Hobbit or The LotR to see how well the JRR III replicate some of Tolkien's own journey narratives? This has continually impressed me that the core set rules seem to grow not only out of good mechanics; but, also, a vivid sense of and a possibility for re-creating the stories in The Hobbit and The LotR.

    I have yet to try the revisited rules in play so it would be hard for me to comment in any practical sense. This is why i wanted to ask.

    1. A few relevant quotes from The Hobbit:

      Altogether it was a very slow business following the track, even guided by Gandalf, who seemed to know his way about pretty well.

      The end of their argument was that they sent Fill and Kili to look for a better shelter. They had very sharp eyes, and being the youngest of the dwarves by some fifty years they usually got these sort of jobs

      The food would not last for ever: it was in fact already beginning to get low. They tried shooting at the squirrels, and they wasted many arrows before they managed to bring one down on the path. But when they roasted it, it proved horrible to taste, and they shot no more

      Look-out Man:
      Bilbo was sadly reflecting that adventures are not all pony-rides in May-sunshine, when Balin, who was always their look-out man, said: "There's a light over there!"

      Then one of the ponies took fright at nothing and bolted. He got into the river before they could catch him; and before they could get him out again, Fili and Kili were nearly drowned, and all the baggage that he carried was washed away off him.

      General Fatigue: was pouring with rain, and had been all day; his hood was dripping into his eyes, his cloak was full of water; the pony was tired and stumbled on stones; the others were too grumpy to talk.