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

pemerton

Legend
Well.... OK, so it DOES provide a structure, which is not a bad thing. In that sense it fulfills the basic part of the 4e SC, by defining a number and type of checks that will resolve the situation (or maybe not completely resolve it, I am not going to break out my RM books to read up on it all).
All it does is tell us whether or not Paynims turn up. Once they turn up, it says nothing about what they do, whether they find the hidden PCs, etc.

Part of the reason for this is that it is based around a setting => situation model: that is, it takes setting input (terrain, weather, general attitude of the population, etc) and feeds that into the likelihood of a random encounter with a setting-appropriate being (or beings). But it doesn't take PC goal into account at all. So, for instance, it doesn't differentiate between (say) Frodo and Sam hoping not to get discovered by the marching soldiers at the Black Gate and (say) Aragorn declaring himself to Emoer and his riders, announcing his lineage and thus establishing a firm alliance (beginning with the loan of horses).

So it can tell you whether or not Easterlings or Rohirrim (or Paynim nomads) turn up in the PCs vicinity, but doesn't tell us whether or not they spot the PCs, or look for them, or any of the things that are actually central to resolving the situation described in the OP.

The RM system in question is probably a bit less adaptable to every situation.
I GMed RM for nearly 20 years - hundreds of sessions, thousands of hours. The system is not only "a bit less adaptable", it's virtually worthless. It's lack of utility begins with "variable" for spells and "this may be modified due to an unusual circumstance, or if there is a tracker in the pursuing group" and only grows from there.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

All it does is tell us whether or not Paynims turn up. Once they turn up, it says nothing about what they do, whether they find the hidden PCs, etc.

Part of the reason for this is that it is based around a setting => situation model: that is, it takes setting input (terrain, weather, general attitude of the population, etc) and feeds that into the likelihood of a random encounter with a setting-appropriate being (or beings). But it doesn't take PC goal into account at all. So, for instance, it doesn't differentiate between (say) Frodo and Sam hoping not to get discovered by the marching soldiers at the Black Gate and (say) Aragorn declaring himself to Emoer and his riders, announcing his lineage and thus establishing a firm alliance (beginning with the loan of horses).

So it can tell you whether or not Easterlings or Rohirrim (or Paynim nomads) turn up in the PCs vicinity, but doesn't tell us whether or not they spot the PCs, or look for them, or any of the things that are actually central to resolving the situation described in the OP.
Ah, OK, so I assumed there was some sort of 'evasion' aspect to it. In 1e AD&D at the start of an encounter there's a decision point where each side declares 'evade', 'fight', or 'parley'. Admittedly the 1e evade rules don't contemplate evasion by means of stealth, it really doesn't have a way to handle that sort of tactic, except maybe extrapolating surprise, but I was under the impression Arms/Character Law did have something like that.
I GMed RM for nearly 20 years - hundreds of sessions, thousands of hours. The system is not only "a bit less adaptable", it's virtually worthless. It's lack of utility begins with "variable" for spells and "this may be modified due to an unusual circumstance, or if there is a tracker in the pursuing group" and only grows from there.
Right, there will always be SOME 'fill in the blanks here' in any system of course.

Anyway, my spin is that narrative focus systems of the PbtA, FitD, or even Torchbearer (I don't know if that can be extrapolated to BW generally) variety all have a 'generalized conflict resolver' kind of setup (BW/TB have several flavors you can sometimes choose from).
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
These posts present themselves as in some sort of disagreement with the OP, but to me they seem to be agreeing with it, in so far as both suggest adding something besides granular resolution and setting => situation.
Ah, but we see what we are adding as an obviously implied part of the granular resolution.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
It's already established that there is an encounter with nomads. So a system for determining whether or not an encounter occurs - ie that generates modifiers to the Standard Encounter Chart - is unhelpful.
If you aren't using those rules for establishing whether the encounter occurs, then what rules did you consult to determine the encounter occurred?

Followup question - what is meant by 'encounter' in RM?
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
The OP is an example of how setting => situation doesn't work. And how granular resolution doesn't work.

If you're saying that we have to adapt the rules away from granular resolution; and that the GM stipulates and manages the situation independent of setting, then aren't you agreeing with the OP?
Um, adapting the rules does not imply adapting them away from granular resolution...
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
That system is analogous to the Stealth check in 5e D&D to avoid an encounter roll. It doesn't resolve hiding from nomads who have turned up by conjuring a cover over one's pit.

Here is the relevant text (p 134 of my copy of C&CL, and it is also found on p 149 of the RMSS GM Law):

1) Avoidance roll — the PC group makes a “avoidance” dice roll and applies the appropriate modifiers to get an adjusted result;​
2) Activity roll — the GM then makes an “activity” roll and applies the proper modifiers to get an adjusted result;​
3) Roll comparison — the GM compares the two adjusted rolls;​
4) Negative differential — if the avoidance roll exceeds the activity roll there is a negative differential and no chance of an encounter and the table is not used, and any pursuit is thrown off or avoided. This may be modified due to an unusual circumstance, or if there is a tracker in the pursuing group.​
5) Positive differential — if the activity roll exceeds the avoidance roll there is a positive differential and the Standard Encounter Chart is consulted.​

The Avoidance Roll modifiers include adjustments for speed and mode of travel (going more quickly makes you more likely to be noticed; the adjustment for flying and for sailing is listed as "variable"), for night time (this makes you less likely to be noticed) and for camping (this makes you more likely to be noticed). The adjustment for "Spells employed" is "variable".

The Activity Roll modifiers include terrain and weather adjustments (the clearer these are, the harder it is to avoid an encounter), literal activity adjustments (eg +100 to the roll if a hue and cry has been raised), and adjustments for night time that are sensitive to the difference in this respect between humans and Orcs. For "Spells", the adjustment is "variable".

That system is not useful for resolving the scene I described in the OP.
Agreed, such a system would have no bearing on the situation in the OP.

Yet, a granular system is either going to have a general system that covers hiding, a specific system that covers hiding or have assumptions baked into it's encounter mechanics that imply starting an encounter means you've been spotted - or at least should have one of those things given how often hiding to avoid an encounter can come up . If it doesn't have anything like I just described then that would imply a fault with a specific system itself, but not as a general point against granular resolution based on setting methodologies.
 
Last edited:

MarkB

Legend
It's already established that there is an encounter with nomads. So a system for determining whether or not an encounter occurs - ie that generates modifiers to the Standard Encounter Chart - is unhelpful.
I don't get it. If it's already been established that an encounter occurs, then presumably the parties are aware of each other and the possibility of hiding no longer applies.

If the parties are not yet aware of each other, then you haven't established that an encounter will occur and can use the avoidance/activity system to determine whether it does.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
I don't get it. If it's already been established that an encounter occurs, then presumably the parties are aware of each other and the possibility of hiding no longer applies.

If the parties are not yet aware of each other, then you haven't established that an encounter will occur and can use the avoidance/activity system to determine whether it does.
I take him to mean that the avoidance/encounter rules are just for 'travel'. It would be like applying the D&D rules for random encounters while traveling to resolve whether an encounter occurs within a dungeon.

At least if I'm understanding correctly.
 

MarkB

Legend
I take him to mean that the avoidance/encounter rules are just for 'travel'. It would be like applying the D&D rules for random encounters while traveling to resolve whether an encounter occurs within a dungeon.

At least if I'm understanding correctly.
Okay, but he described the mechanic as being analogous to a D&D stealth check.

If the system provides the possibility of an encounter occurring in which the parties are not mutually aware of each other, but provides no resolution mechanic for stealth/detection once that scenario has been established, that sounds like a deficiency in this specific system rather than in the nature of granular resolution mechanics in general.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
Okay, but he described the mechanic as being analogous to a D&D stealth check.

If the system provides the possibility of an encounter occurring in which the parties are not mutually aware of each other, but provides no resolution mechanic for stealth/detection once that scenario has been established, that sounds like a deficiency in this specific system rather than in the nature of granular resolution mechanics in general.
Agreed, that's the worst case conclusion. I strongly suspect that the RM either has something for that situation that's been overlooked and if that's not the case then my next suspicion is that it's not designed for encounters to occur where the NPC's are not aware of the PC's.
 

Voidrunner's Codex

Remove ads

Top