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Using Levels of Difficulty?

Wed 16 Sep 2020, 05:11

After having read drafts of the core book during the Kickstarter, I (belatedly) started reading the final published version and saw the section on Levels of Difficulty (p 41).

First off, I didn't remember seeing this in the prior drafts, though I didn't save them so I can't go back and check. Anyone remember when they were introduced?

Second, I'm curious about the advantages and disadvantages of Levels of Difficulty (requiring multiple successes) vs. subtracting one or more dice from players' dice pools as in other games. From my analysis even a "Challenging" check is drastically less likely to pass, especially if the player started with five dice or less.

Although the rules do say, "In extreme cases, the Game­master may decide that it takes more than one success to succeed." (Emphasis added.)

For those who've gotten to run Vaesen already, or who have experience with Tales From the Loop: how did Levels of Difficulty work for you and your players? Is it simpler in practice than deciding how many dice to remove? Or is it one of those rules you use with caution, if at all?
Frank Mitchell

HILDA: This isn't much of a pep talk. Can't you say, 'you can do it!'
ALFUR: Sure! You can do it! (Statement for encouragement purposes only. You may not actually be able to do it.)
-- Hilda ep. 9 (Netflix, 2018)
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Re: Using Levels of Difficulty?

Wed 16 Sep 2020, 09:19

I think the only time I required the players to make more than one success was for a fear test. Some made it, others ‘had a moment’, which was fine.

Otherwise, I tend to gauge results by how many successes a player rolls, giving more information or letting them achieve a task a bit quicker.

Requiring more successes should be used sparingly, and only if a task should be quite tricky, in my opinion.
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Re: Using Levels of Difficulty?

Wed 16 Sep 2020, 11:38

I've played for quite a while, now. I seldom require more than 1 success, because even that is sometimes tough to get. Last game, my players rolled a total of 42 successive dice without a single success! :roll:
Same as Ralph here, I only ask for 2 for some Fear tests, and people with only one success lose 1 (max 2) turns from the shock, but don't suffer from the other consequences of failing a Fear test.
Only exception is when the players want to try something highly unlikely to succeed. Then, I tell them "it's not something you could normally do, but let's try, and if you have at least 2 successes, you are lucky enough to succeed".
Works for me!
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Re: Using Levels of Difficulty?

Sun 20 Sep 2020, 07:21

I've been using the following in my thought process for difficulties:

First is if auto-success or auto-failure is indicated. if so, do that.
If neither auto-success nor auto-failure, is failure interesting for me &or the player? If yes, set a difficulty. If not, let it succeed.

Difficulty 1 is my default. I raise it for each of the following:
  • Does it trigger memories of the trauma?
  • Is the character ill equipped for the task?
  • Is the failure significantly more interesting than success?
  • Is the task really hard?
If it's opposed, I just use the opposed roll, giving the opponent +2d if triggering the trauma.
I have wound up giving a couple 3's - 1 base, +1 for ill equipped and +1 for really hard.
I had one opposed test hit 4s resist...more impressive, the test passed.
Smith & Wesson: the original point and click interface...
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Re: Using Levels of Difficulty?

Sun 20 Sep 2020, 08:59

My take on it is the same as the others in the thread—more than one success should only be used for those rare instances when the player wants his character to do something extreme: “ok, so you want to jump down from the church-tower and in mid-air shoot the apple from the troll’s head...?”

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