Stalker0's Obsidian Skill Challenge System (NEW VERSION: 1.2!!!) - Page 14




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  1. #131
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    Quote Originally Posted by jayoungr View Post
    I see this thread has been quiet for a while, but I hope someone can help me. I'm running a Star Wars Saga Edition game, and I've already tried running one Obsidian challenge in it. I'm basically pleased with the result and would like to do more, but there are some things about the system as written that I still don't get. I was hoping someone with experience could describe how it works in a little more detail.

    1. How does having the whole group roll at once for a round actually work, in practical terms? Does this mean that nobody in the group can build off anyone else's action until the next round, when they find out whether it succeeded? Does it mean that the GM has to keep track of exactly who succeeded and who failed, and if so, isn't it easier to remember if they roll one by one? (I ended up having my group roll one at a time when I did my challenge, but I did feel that spoiled a bit of suspense.)

    2. In a basic three-round challenge, do you typically introduce new circumstances with each round, or do you save that for the "large challenges"?

    3. If anyone's tried using Obsidian with SWSE, do you feel that the DCs are appropriate or too high? I dropped the DCs for my level 1 party from 18 to 15. They didn't blow the challenge away, getting exactly the number of successes required to beat the challenge, but perhaps the math works better leaving the DCs where they are and I shouldn't mess with it?

    Any help would be much appreciated! A recording or roll-by-roll transcription of a sample Obsidian challenge would be ideal, if anyone knows where such a thing could be found.
    I think the original PDF had some examples. Other than that I haven't really seen any and I'm not sure I kept real good notes on any of the challenges I did use it with (it was only a fraction of all of them).

    The order of action thing I just solved in the old-fashioned way, everyone announced their actions after they all decided them, then they rolled in any order.

    As for things happening between rounds, yes. In general I would say every SC should have a plot and thus having a beginning middle and end that are at some level scenes of their own is good. Of course they're going to be fairly minimal scenes and not a lot may happen between rounds, but it is POSSIBLE to have rounds happen with quite a bit of time/space/plot between them. I might do that if I wanted a fast paced sequence with a few key choices. That way it all runs quick and intense but all hangs together.

    I would go by the math Stalker0 used. He was looking for a specific chance of success and I'm pretty sure he provided the math for that. You would just want to tweak in theory by the average difference in total bonuses between the two games. I'm not familiar enough with SWSE to know exactly what that number would be.

 

  • #132
    Quote Originally Posted by AbdulAlhazred View Post
    I think the original PDF had some examples.
    Sadly, no--I read both the 1.1 and 1.2 PDFs, but they only have the bare-bones outline of a "large" skill challenge (i.e., three segments of three rounds each). There's no example of the design for a plain three-round challenge, and no example of resolution.

    The order of action thing I just solved in the old-fashioned way, everyone announced their actions after they all decided them, then they rolled in any order.
    So what I'm hearing is that (as you played it) players couldn't build off each other's actions until the next round. What did you do if players declared mutually contradictory actions--for example, say they were fleeing from guards, and one player declared that she was going to set a fire to distract the guards while another said he was going to impersonate the commander and order them to go back to their posts?

    As for things happening between rounds, yes. In general I would say every SC should have a plot and thus having a beginning middle and end that are at some level scenes of their own is good. Of course they're going to be fairly minimal scenes and not a lot may happen between rounds, but it is POSSIBLE to have rounds happen with quite a bit of time/space/plot between them. I might do that if I wanted a fast paced sequence with a few key choices. That way it all runs quick and intense but all hangs together.
    Thanks, that helps!

  • #133
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    If players do contradictory things? Well, then they are guilty of poor planning. I never said they couldn't PLAN, just that whatever they were doing was all happening at once (and even here take this with a grain of salt, SCs cover such hugely different situations that I honestly have probably done or allowed or mandated every permutation under the Sun at least once). In other words USUALLY PCs don't do contradictory things. Now and then if communication is impossible or things happen too fast they may, but in those cases it seems realistic, if not always a good story.

  • #134
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    Quote Originally Posted by jayoungr View Post
    What did you do if players declared mutually contradictory actions--for example, say they were fleeing from guards, and one player declared that she was going to set a fire to distract the guards while another said he was going to impersonate the commander and order them to go back to their posts?
    My general response to that sort of situation is to do my best to keep both courses of action alive, just because it makes for more interesting and engaged play.

    The example you give is especially extreme - but if the impersonating PC adds in a barked command to the fire-setting PC maybe the whole scheme won't fall over.

    Here is a link to an example of a skill challenge I ran (not an Obsidian one, but that shouldn't matter for present purposes) where I had to adjudicate some PCs trying to soothe a bear while others intimidated it.

  • #135
    Thanks for the link! I'll check it out.

    Regarding the contradictory situation, would you feel you had to keep track of exactly who succeeded and who failed? I mean, if only one of those diverging strategies succeeded, then the situation at the end of the round is going to look substantially different depending on which one it was. In such a case, it seems like having the players roll all at once creates extra headaches for the GM ... or am I missing something?

  • #136
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    Quote Originally Posted by jayoungr View Post
    Regarding the contradictory situation, would you feel you had to keep track of exactly who succeeded and who failed? I mean, if only one of those diverging strategies succeeded, then the situation at the end of the round is going to look substantially different depending on which one it was.
    I would say yes to all that: the situation should reflect who did what, and whether they succeeded or failed. (A bit like combat - the party might win, but one PC still be dead or badly hurt.)

    Quote Originally Posted by jayoungr View Post
    such a case, it seems like having the players roll all at once creates extra headaches for the GM
    I think that it would be the same whether or not all the players roll at once, but I would agree that if they all roll at once it might be harder to adjudicate what influences what.

  • #137
    Quote Originally Posted by pemerton View Post
    I think that it would be the same whether or not all the players roll at once, but I would agree that if they all roll at once it might be harder to adjudicate what influences what.
    Then what's the benefit to everyone rolling at once? I hope that doesn't sound snide, because I don't mean it that way. I just feel like I'm missing something major about the Obsidian system.

    (Sorry for the pause--I'm finally back online after Thanksgiving travel.)

  • #138
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    Quote Originally Posted by jayoungr View Post
    Then what's the benefit to everyone rolling at once? I hope that doesn't sound snide, because I don't mean it that way. I just feel like I'm missing something major about the Obsidian system.

    (Sorry for the pause--I'm finally back online after Thanksgiving travel.)
    I think it is intended to allow you to capture the sort of confusion that happens when events are fast-paced. If the tempo is slower, then I would generally just have the players discuss what they do next, probably in-character. In that case they might even roll in sequence, if say a plan had a bunch of steps that were supposed to go in sequence where everyone knew the plan and was acting sequentially. That sort of situation might see a PC change his course of action or even discuss it with other PCs in light of their successes or failures. There is just no one absolute set of rules that always works.

  • #139
    Quote Originally Posted by pemerton View Post
    Here is a link to an example of a skill challenge I ran (not an Obsidian one, but that shouldn't matter for present purposes) where I had to adjudicate some PCs trying to soothe a bear while others intimidated it.
    Thanks for the link. I did read it, but I'm afraid I'm still confused. How did you, as the GM, play the bear as simultaneously soothed and intimidated? Or did you decide that one canceled out the other, and if so, how did you decide which one got priority?

    Quote Originally Posted by AbdulAlhazred View Post
    I think it is intended to allow you to capture the sort of confusion that happens when events are fast-paced. If the tempo is slower, then I would generally just have the players discuss what they do next, probably in-character. In that case they might even roll in sequence, if say a plan had a bunch of steps that were supposed to go in sequence where everyone knew the plan and was acting sequentially.
    I just prompted the players to say what they were doing and had each one roll immediately after declaring. I can see that it might have taken away some of the suspense, but the all-roll-at-once option just seemed like too much work for the GM. Maybe it depends on the nature of the challenge, but it seems like most challenges (especially social challenges) would not be quite so jumbled that everything would have to happen at once.

    Particularly if there are knowledge checks involved--the GM would have to remember "Okay, Mary says she's making a knowledge check" while Bill, Bobby, and John all declare their actions; then the GM has to pay attention to whether Mary succeeds or fails at the end of the round and give her appropriate feedback if she makes a success. Then Bill, Bobby, and John can't do anything based on Mary's knowledge check until the next round after that. Have I got that right, for the classic Obsidian system?

  • #140
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    Quote Originally Posted by jayoungr View Post
    How did you, as the GM, play the bear as simultaneously soothed and intimidated?
    I played it as scared of 2 of the PCs, and friendly to the other 2 (and still keen to eat the dwarf, who hadn't succeeded at anything). So the bear wandered off in the company of the ranger and the mage, whom it was looking to protect it from the scary sorcerer and paladin.

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