# An example where granular resolution based on setting => situation didn't work

#### soviet

##### Hero
A technique I use to make stealth rolls more exciting is to defer the roll until the moment of truth. So we don't have the hobbits make a stealth check when they duck behind the tree at the sound of an approaching rider. No, we have them make a stealth check when that rider is stood nearby sniffing around. We assume the PCs have done the best they can but it won't be tested until the enemy makes their opposing perception check.

#### FrogReaver

##### As long as i get to be the frog
Where do 1, 2 and 3 come from? There's no rule in Rolemaster that establishes them. RM has rules for random encounters, but they don't say any of these things.
The DM. You established the Paynim were there (unsure whether by Fiat or Process but it really doesn’t matter.). I’ll assume you rolled for a random encounter

As you keep on noting - Establishing they are there is simply not enough. You stop there and say see the rules don’t work, we keep wondering why you arbitrarily stop at establishing they are there without also establishing why - which would have prevented the issue you are raising.

Furthermore, how do we know if the PCs successfully hide? How is this determined? Canonically in RM it involves comparing rolls using (say) Camouflage and (say) Locate Hidden. What roll is made for the latter? How close does a given nomad with a given Locate Hidden bonus pass to the camouflaged area (that distance affects the Locate Hidden roll)?

Etc.
Once you know why they are there you can then determine how close they likely get - worst case scenario you use some kind of a fortune roll to determine that for you.

Last edited:

#### FrogReaver

##### As long as i get to be the frog
A technique I use to make stealth rolls more exciting is to defer the roll until the moment of truth. So we don't have the hobbits make a stealth check when they duck behind the tree at the sound of an approaching rider. No, we have them make a stealth check when that rider is stood nearby sniffing around. We assume the PCs have done the best they can but it won't be tested until the enemy makes their opposing perception check.
This is my preference as well.

#### AbdulAlhazred

##### Legend
well really the question is Why are the Paynim riders there?
1 Are the Paynim just a random encounter passing through? - well the PCs have dealt with that by hiding so Outcome: the Paynim just pass through
2 The Paynim know/suspect the PCs are there and came to investigate - Outcome; the Paynim investigate
3 The Paynim have come to the Standing Stones to camp Outcome: the PCs are trapped and need to escape
Yeah, I don't know exactly what game process, GM whim, preexisting notes, etc. produced "Paynim tribesmen arrive." I guess answer 1 is OK, but it isn't very satisfying to me. You have this charged situation, and Chekhov's Paynim show up, but then nothing happens... 2 seems to be exactly what happened, and illustrates the 'granular resolution didn't work' nature of the example. 3 is just 2 all over again, with perhaps less pressure.

I'm not sure what you are getting at. None of these seem to resolve in a useful way. Nor, barring some fiction in the original scenario setting this up, do we have any reason to pick one over another. Random dice will work of course, or a PbtA-like check where the GM is then obliged to add more fiction, etc.

#### AbdulAlhazred

##### Legend
Shouldn't those questions flow from the restraints and possibilites the fiction that is created as tasks are completed creates?
Yeah, IMHO it would flow from elements of the resolution process, I agree. SC process "Oh, you failed your first check, that's one failure, and oh by the way, there are at least 150 Paynims out there!" etc.

#### FrogReaver

##### As long as i get to be the frog
On a side note I find it mind boggling that RM being so granular doesn’t spell out how to stat out a random encounter with the Paynim.

Perhaps the system expect the GM to already have such factions stated out before introduced to the PCs.

In any case it should boil down to either
a) system establishes
b) dm prestablished before session
c) dm improvises during session.

#### Maxperson

##### Morkus from Orkus
Yeah, we'll have to disagree there as the first point is not about how the scene was established, it's about what the scene does. The problem was the lack of any mechanism/process/principle beyond GM fiat to determine what happens next. For example a 4e skill challenge would have been helpful here.
Those are not the only two options. The DM is capable of creating a process to determine what happens next. It doesn't need to be "a process established by the game" or "a DM fiat decision."

Last edited:

#### AbdulAlhazred

##### Legend
I'd posit that most GM prep games often run into situations that aren't in the gm's prep. The solution in such a game is simply improvise. Use the fiction that has been established and 'preestablished', the genre, what the players will find plausible and interesting and what will move the game forward as a basis for determining what happens next in the non-prepped situations.
OK, but are you really trying to tell me that the material in the WoG Gazetteer, even slightly enhanced by some prior prep, is going to meaningfully inform a decision like "is this a patrol of 10 warriors, a warband of 150 raiders, or a trade caravan of 25 normal humans and a few guards?" I doubt it. I mean, a random encounter table, or a preexisting encounter description would, of course, but if you are positing none of those is in play, then IMHO settings are simply too granular in their level of detail to help (beyond the expectation that its Paynims you will mostly encounter, for example).
This isn't being demonstrated anywhere (though may be true). Though, I'd suggest the opposite is demonstrated... I'd wager your Rolemaster game didn't come to a grinding halt when confronted with the situation established. Instead you improvised and moved on.

As for the example itself, I think the context of why the Paynim were there either fictionally or mechanically should have been enough for the DM to use to navigate the situation.
I think its more a question of whether or not the situation had any inherent drama. @pemerton says "But resolving by way of GM decision-making is almost the opposite of dramatic!" I think we can both understand what he means. In classic D&D if the GM simply resolves something and says "well, you try that and it fails" it isn't all that dramatic. Its just one guy at the table telling another what he thinks the story is, cops and robbers style. Adding some dice will create some tension, but dredging up what I think may be a point from another thread, that's not the most satisfying from a gamist perspective, certainly. It probably isn't that great narratively either, though its hard to say for sure. In the end, it seems like it would be good if the game could tell us "you all need to play this mini-game here and see if the players can get what they want, and put some stakes on the table." In the basic scenario, we don't even really know what those stakes ARE.

#### Imaro

##### Legend
Yeah, IMHO it would flow from elements of the resolution process, I agree. SC process "Oh, you failed your first check, that's one failure, and oh by the way, there are at least 150 Paynims out there!" etc.

Not exactly, the skill challenge has a set number of successes or failures needed before success or failure to reach goals happens... that doesn't take into account whether the fiction itself is or is not flowing towards the goals conclusion. I guess one should assume the fiction being created is pushing towards a resolution but I have seen what I would call meandering fiction... where the player or GM creates fiction that doesn't really change the state of anything, and that can lead to a situation where the mechanics say this challenge is resolved but the fiction is unsatisfying or contrary to that end state.

#### AbdulAlhazred

##### Legend
IMO, that feels alot like arbitrarily deciding what should count as a proper goal and what shouldn't.

'My goal is to open the chest to see what's inside' is no different in construction than 'my goal is to open the chest and find Excalibur.'
I profoundly disagree.

Replies
72
Views
7K
Replies
74
Views
8K
Replies
76
Views
7K
Replies
50
Views
6K
Replies
243
Views
23K