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Harliquinn Whit...
Harliquinn Whiteshadow's picture
Action Sequence - Opportunities and Consequences
action sequence, consequence, opportunity

All,

  I'd like to get folks' thoughts on something. Now I'll preface this with "This was something that was asked for by the players."

  For an Action Sequence, the way the rules are written, it's exact in what the GM is supposed to tell the players about a Risk (You will take 3 wounds as a consequence, you have 3 opportunities to grab the rare map, protect the child, and overhear the conversation with the Duke). My players decided they didn't want everything laid out exactly and to make it more 'descriptive' until they actually spend a Raise.

  For example:

  You need to get across the burning room to the exit on the other side (Risk)

   There are burning timbers and fires that could fall on you or catch your clothes on fire unless you spend Raises to avoid them. The damage would be moderate (That would be a keyword for around 3-5 wounds) if you don't negate it

   You also see a small pouch lying on a table that's about to be burned (Opportunity)

   You also see a door and hear some voices (Opportunity)

   You also see some shadows in the corner moving around (Opportunity)

    However, the players wouldn't be told what it was exactly until they decided to Negate the Consequence or Exploit the Opportunity. After spending the Raise, the details would become clear: "The pouch jingles from the weight of many coins," "The voices sound like the Duke discussing where he's hidden the jewels" or "The shadows belong to a small child crawling on the ground behind a table."

    For the Consequences, once they decided to negate Wounds the amount of Raises spent would be described as "Enough to escape unwounded" or "You'll keep most of the fires at bay but may take a small bit of heat damage."

   Has anyone else's players asked for this? Has anyone tried this? I think it's still important to list the 'number' of consequences and opportunities but keeping some details hidden seems to add to the mystery and suspense of whether to spend a Raise on one of them. The main reason for this is that the Heroes aren't omniscient when they 'enter a scene' and especially if the scene is high action there isn't time to plot and plan agonizingly over details.

John

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Tec Goblin
Tec Goblin's picture

My players didn't ask for this, but not knowing exactly what the opportunities offer in advance sounds as a very good idea to me and something that would satisfy my player's requirement for a bit more tension.

BluSponge
BluSponge's picture

This came up a bit with the early Quick Start.  John Wick said that during the playtests, leaving the consequences and opportunities vague didn't report back as being as satisfactory in play.

Personally, I think you can mix it up.  When it comes to damage, I think you need to be exact.  Otherwise, players might "waste" raises they could have spent elsewhere.  With opportunities, I think you can play coy ("There might be an opportunity in that old chest, if anyone wants to spend a raise on it.").  I think the trick is you have to make the raise worth it.  Don't be a jerk and bait and switch.  Don't con the players into taking a wound to rescue a worthless scrap of paper from a fire.  If you do that enough, your players won't trust you and will start avoiding your opportunities and play will suffer.

But as for the delivery, I think you can work that out with your group.  I don't think there is a wrong way, so long as the players buy in and you aren't using vague descriptive terms to trick them into wasting their resources.

NeoTanuki
NeoTanuki's picture

I have a friend who is just starting 7th Sea 2e as a GM for her kids. We were discussing this issue and both found in test play our games were more fun if we didn't explicity spell out Opportunities, to provide more surprise for the players. 

Harliquinn Whit...
Harliquinn Whiteshadow's picture

As part of making things vague, the intent was not to screw the players out of Raises, so if they want to devote raises to Wounds, I wouldn't let them waste any. Also any Opportunities would be valuable in some way but they might not know how.

Salamanca
Salamanca's picture
I can see offering timed wounds as vague but with a restriction that it will never exceed to trigger number. So wounds happening on 3 would be 3 or less. That way a player could use the raise on that action to negate them all or, if they had important things to do, ignore some or all. Could be that trigger on action 3 is a single wound and the players will still have a few to spare. Could be a player wants to spend early while the villain blows his actions to close in. At that point, the whole table finds out anyhow.
The Fezig
The Fezig's picture

I have not had my players ask specifically to not be notified about opportunities and consequences, however we have been using the "players can create opportunities for others" rule to allow some manipulation of the scene as things progress in order to create more opportunities as the sequence continues.

Mars University
Mars University's picture

I don't necessarily see a problem with this, and I think it would be a good compromise for a group of players that might want more surprise from their actions' results that they might be expecting from history with other systems.

Doctor
Doctor's picture

I foresee a similar request from my group and have given some thought to this. The problem is that if you want to leave things vague, you have to strictly apply the principal of Chekhov’s gun, which here would mean “everything you mention needs to be of mechanical consequence.” In your example, this would be the exit, the timbers, the pouch, the voices, and the shadow.

What this denies you is the ability to add non-essential details which might be of dramatic importance, such as a burning map of Theah on the wall, flames slowly consuming Vodacce. The map might be foreshadowing, or simply a poignant image, but if it has no mechanical value, it must be left out as the players might mistake it for such. Some of this limitation can be avoided by a very clear demarcation between “setting description” and “mechanical description” but even then, expect mix ups.

One idea I have toyed with is a “checklist” style template for set-piece Risks, in which I have descriptions a lot like yours listed on the sheet along with their category (Risk, Consequence, Opportunity). That way, not only will players not have to worry about forgetting something (I have a large group, there will be a lot to track) but also, I can add all the flavor I want because the players will know that if it has mechanical importance, it’s on the list. 

“Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats.”
- H.L. Mencken

Harliquinn Whit...
Harliquinn Whiteshadow's picture

Quoted from Doctor

which here would mean “everything you mention needs to be of mechanical consequence.” In your example, this would be the exit, the timbers, the pouch, the voices, and the shadow.

I agree with this...the original intent was not to mask "What is" an Opportunity or Consequence but to keep the impact of those somewhat vague until such time that they were taken advantage of or avoided.

Therefore, if I also said "Oh yeah you see a desk burning" and it wasn't one of my intended Opportunities, I would make that clear OR if a hero wanted to spend a raise on it, I would adapt and make it an Opportunity.

 

Anon Adderlan
Anon Adderlan's picture

This essentially makes Opportunities perception checks which enable the GM to draw attention to the important parts of the scene and then offer to tell the player more about them. A small pouch is lying on a table. What's in it? Voices behind the door. Who are they? Shadows in the corner moving around. What are they? And even if they don't spend a Raise to find out they still have some information to go on.

In fact, I think this mechanic is even more effective than the one in Gumshoe, a game whose raison d'être is following clues and solving mysteries. Shame that the system and designer of 7th Sea suggest otherwise.

#NoClue

Harliquinn Whit...
Harliquinn Whiteshadow's picture

Anon

   The intent was not to create additional Perception checks. The intent was that 'spending a Raise' would not only get you the information about what it was, who was speaking, etc. but also get you the item, information, etc. in question. 

   That said, you could add additional checks and it would add some new elements, but I would be careful about Perception/Notice becoming that pervasive in every Sequence.

John

Wyrd GM
Wyrd GM's picture

So, I tend to believe that consequences should always be explicit. 

"There is currently a fire near the powder room. It will explode on Raise 2, causing 5 Wounds to anyone still on the ship."
"There is a group of 5 riflemen on the rooftop across from the one you are on. They are sharpshooters, and will be aiming at anyone still on the rooftop"

I admit, however, that I am trying to think of lists of common/uncommon/rare consequences for off the cuff situations.

Opportunities, however... they can be explicit, or vague, in my opinion. Especially since it is easy for players to make opportunities.

I am a big fan of letting people KNOW there is a clue, however. They do not have to get it... but "You see an official looking letter on the desk of the captains quarters..." If they spend a raise to get it, even if I did not have a plan before, I am letting them have it, and it will be worth something. In addition, it won't be ruined if they get wet, or get blown up. It might be wet or singed, but it will be readable, because they paid for it.

But, even if I know what it is, I see no reason to say "You see a letter... it has information on the Duke who has been blackmailing your paramour."

BluSponge
BluSponge's picture

I admit, however, that I am trying to think of lists of common/uncommon/rare consequences for off the cuff situations.

Oh!  There's a thing!

If the link doesn't work – its hosted on the Facebook forums – then let me know.  I'll get it up here somehow.

 

Wyrd GM
Wyrd GM's picture
It downloaded perfectly for me! Thank you!
BluSponge
BluSponge's picture

You bet. The idea is to create a community resource that we can all add to and modify. It won't cover every instance, naturally, but it'll be nice to not have to reinvent the wheel every time.

Salamanca
Salamanca's picture
Consequences do not have to be explicit. Say the bad guys lit a fuse below decks and THEY know it will go off soon. The players may get a clue from their actions to get away instead of fight BUT they don't know why.
Wyrd GM
Wyrd GM's picture
Naw, they do not have to be. But I find people enjoy it more, especially when they are spending resources, like raises.
Doctor
Doctor's picture

There is one major reason I think Opportunities don’t have to be explicit but Consequences absolutely do: the players’ perception of fairness. As a GM, I have had several situations where players totally missed a hint that I thought I was hammering pretty hard. This sort of miscommunication (if that’s even the right way to describe it) can easily lead to a player or players feeling a bit screwed over when that they miss the hints that the building is about to explode. It’s even possible that they, the players, completely miscalculate the danger of a situation because they forgot where I said the powder kegs were stored at the start of the session. The bottom line is that no one likes bad surprises and I don’t think the system is intended to create tension that way. Players generally prefer a "no BS" assessment of the dangers with surprises unfolding based on the choices they make.

“Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats.”
- H.L. Mencken

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