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Patrick McCoy
Patrick McCoy's picture
How to handle this dramatic sequence?
dramatic sequence

I know there has been a ton of clarifications but I am working on a story and wondering how you would handle the following:

Typically when I am writing my stories if I think something is a RISK. Then I include something like below

Risk: Example

1 success does this

1 success avoids this wound (consequences)

1 success notices this object (opportunity)

These are simple guidelines. For how I structure a risk. However, I am trying to do a risk where essentially it would be like Indiana Jones style and there is a sequence of risks that lead to consequences if successes aren't spent to bypass or achieve them. How would you handle this?

My first intial idea was to allow everyone to tell me their approach. Roll the dice and then handle each risk based on who goes in which order. Example RISK 1, RISK 2, RISK 3, RISK 4. In which case certain characters might have advantages over other characters depending on their approach but gives everyone a chance to run into a RISK, if that makes sense?

Any better ways to handle this?

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Darl Loh
Darl Loh's picture

I'm not clear...are you trying to pre-plan several branching/interweaving paths? If so, I don't know if I could say much without more info.

If you are asking how to improv, I would suggest something like this:

1 raise accomplishes stated goal

X raises avoids associated trouble Y 

B raises avoids associated trouble Z 

You can use wounds for troubles Y or Z, but make sure not to do it for both, and default to narrative instead of mechanical (i.e. wounds) consequences.

At first blush it seems like it might be hard to come up with narrative consequences all the time, but you can break them down into easy categories. For instance:

-In a spot (took too long, distracted, too nosy, too obvious)

-Lost something (equipment, a position, footing, sight of, opportunity)

-Incomplete goal (sloppy work, shoddy materials, missed something)

Since most characters aren't going to want to spend 3 (or more) raises for every obstacle, the consequence they choose not to avoid informs the next risk they face. If you want the PCs to intersect, allow a 1 raise opportunitiy created by another PC to negate multiple raises worth of consequences for an ally, thereby giving the group a substantial raise "discount" for clever teamwork. 

Darl Loh
Darl Loh's picture

And, of course, throw in extra opportunities as the situation warrants.

Patrick McCoy
Patrick McCoy's picture

I was trying to interweave different consequences. Example:

All the characters are walking along we would determine who is first, second, third, etc.

As such players would dramatically face those set of consequences based upon what they run into. So each player would get a chance to spring a trap, so to speak...I don't know if an easier way mechanically to do this.

Thanks.

Darl Loh
Darl Loh's picture

I think I see now. You are literally talking about walking through an ancient tomb and spikes come out of the wall. That type of thing?

My first thought is to let the fiction be the guide. Whatever character is threatened by a trap has to play a RISK, because they are threatened. You could then ask the other players what they do as the trap springs out at their ally. If its nothing, they aren't involved in the risk. If they are all involved in the risk, they roll too. If that is the scenario, you might consider ramping up the consequence and/or opportunity cost (i.e. more than 1 per) to challenge multiple players.

If multiple players are being attacked by multiple traps simultaneously, you could run it as a combined risk where the characters are all participating at once. In this case, you might want to put a map down. You could do miniatures and squares, but a sketch would work just as well. You could make the traps location based, with the consequence for each trap triggering at a specified number of raises. Any player in the vicinity at that raise count would have to pay raises to avoid the consequence (probably wounds). If you set the consequence trigger lower than the average number of raises rolled, the scene will change from baseline before the consequences trigger as the players try to move away from, or disarm/disable to traps. You would just need to make sure the players descriptions fit the actual fiction. For instance, if Bob is sandwiched between Marly with her trap in the front, and Edward with his trap in behind him, his options for escaping unscathed start to become very bleak. Certainly, its not easy to simply hop aside in this situation. Maybe Bob is an acrobat, and can jump up and cling to the ceiling. Or, maybe Marly can move out of the way in time for Bob to get by. Maybe Edward can create an opportunity for Bob.

Is that at all helpful?

Harliquinn Whit...
Harliquinn Whiteshadow's picture

This might also be a good Dramatic Sequence example (Which you eluded to originally). If the goal is "Retrieve the ancient artifact from the tomb" you could have all players describe their characters' approach.

Character 1: I'm going to move cautiously keeping an eye out for traps put down by others - Wits + Theft

Character 2: I'm staying in the front to intercept any other tomb raiders or dangers - Resolve + Weaponry

Character 3: I'm going to be prepared to read any ancient or unknown writing we come across - Wits + Scholarship

Character 4: I'm going to take a long pole and tap along walls and floors and make sure the structure is sound - Finesse + Notice

Now as you go through the Sequence, you can create Consequences and Opportunities that various characters can spend their Raises on based upon their approach (or add additional Raises if it's outside)

For instance:

Consequence: As you're moving along, there's a spray of dust from one of the walls as some darts shoot towards Character 2. Character 1 (Searching for traps) can choose to spend a Raise to alert or push Character 1 out of the way (Avoid the consequence). Other characters can choose to spend additional Raises to do the same thing (outside their Approach)

Consequence: You hear the chittering of a lot of teeth as a swarm of rats emerges seeking food (Everyone will take 1 Wound). Character 2 could spend some Raises to avoid 1 or more wounds to the party

Opportunity: As you bypass a small alcove, some strange writing looks partially erased. Character 3 can spend a Raise to read the ancient script which might offer a clue to bypassing another trap, etc. (Giving a free Raise to do so0

Opportunity: A slight stirring of wind and a hollow sound ahead might offer some information. Character 4 can spend a Raise to discover the secret passage which might be a shortcut.

In this way, each character is contributing...The characters are limited in their Raises, but other characters can help (with extra cost) if they run out. As long as 1 character keeps a Raise to 'succeed' later on, they will succeed as intended. (If no Raises are available they can still succeed but maybe with lots of problems)

In this way the Consequences and Opportunities don't require the expenditure of Raises so characters can pick and choose where they want to spend them.

John