Sebastian
Posts: 99
Joined: Thu 01 Oct 2020, 04:58

### Re: Adjusting TN's for Skill Difficulty

Ultimately TOR is a storytelling game, so if the players aren’t onboard to create a feeling for Middle-earth, no rule will help. I‘m a fiction first LM. You describe your action first and then we look at the rules.

So you have Awe 4 with Strength TN 14 and you want to intimidate the chieftain and his 15 worriers not to take you prison? How are you doing that, would be my first question. Then I look at the numbers: So the chieftain has the Traits Willful and Brave, let’s say that’s a -1d and his 15 fighters give another -1d.

Our Player Hero still has 1d12+2d6 and could use Hope. But that doesn’t mean, that those adversaries might not simply decide to attack, even if he succeeded.

For me personally this system works. Councils and Skill Endeavors have to be reworked, but that’s it.

hsi379
Posts: 23
Joined: Fri 10 Sep 2021, 19:24

### Re: Adjusting TN's for Skill Difficulty

I agree with you, saying there's no need to roll is always a possibility.
But then the question becomes when do you say it ?
If you consider the limit is 20 meter, then climbing 15 meter is possible, you roll, and it's easy for some characters. You just add 5 meters and it becomes impossible for the same character...
The system should be more granular, with probability of success decreasing step by step down to 0, not changing from "easy" to "impossible".
As hsi379 has demonstrated, the probability of success for characters with high skills is always high, if you allow to roll.

...
Putting councils / skill endeavors aside, there is unfortunately a fundamental challenge with the basic dice pool distributions in that the application of a +/-d6 or +/- TN means dramatically different changes to success probability depending on where you are on the curve. And d6 is a very blunt tool.

As you say, it was easier to modulate in 1e since the dice pool was set and you could play with TNs which are a little bit more granular (even for high dice pools).

+/- d6 just gets extremely chunky in those mid dice ranges. For usual TNs in the 1-4 dice range you are talking about 25-30 percentage point swings in success per d6!

You almost have to have the probability tables in front of you at all times. It's pretty hard to just wing it.

3d6 and TN14 is a ~69% of success. Slap on -1d6 and you are at ~42%. -2d6 you are at ~17%. Was the intention of the -2d6 to make it very, very unlikely? Does the LM or player who hasn't looked deeply into the probabilities even know that this is what that means?

Each TN change at 3d6 dice would be roughly 7-8 percentage point difference, which gives you a much more granular tool.

I think it was a mistake in 2e to switch to +/-d6 as the main modifiers.

As LM I will just either adjust d6 or TNs to try to target whatever fictional percentage I perceive the situation is calling for.

Or go back to 1e. Not sure yet.

hsi379
Posts: 23
Joined: Fri 10 Sep 2021, 19:24

### Re: Adjusting TN's for Skill Difficulty

Skill endeavours/councils: agree the maths doesn't work in the right way for these. I've asked a question in the FAQ/errata thread on this. Simplest solution: scale up required successes faster than attempts allowed. That's what Savage Worlds does for its similar "Dramatic tasks" albeit the dice mechanic is slightly different there, but the same principle applies and they solved it elegantly. Same fix applies here. So if a standard task is 3 successes in 3 attempts, something harder might be 4 successes in 3 attempts, or 5 or even 6 successes in 4 attempts.

Different heights of walls: either a skill endeavour with my solution above (hopefully official via errata) or just use the bonus/penalty dice section at the start of the rules. That way you get granular success, albeit -1d,-2d, -3d is less granular than adjusting the TN (like in 1e), it has the advantage of being faster. That way the probability of success doesn't remain high for those with high skills, if the penalty dice stack up high enough or they need lots of successes over a limited number of attempts.
"
That change to Councils will work better and probably fix the outright broken math (that harder challenges are actually easier with higher dice). I've been wanting to run the numbers on something like this but haven't had the time lately.

However, this won't fix the issues with +/-d6 chunkiness. And with Councils where you can get multiple successes per roll, it is potentially worse.

Sebastian
Posts: 99
Joined: Thu 01 Oct 2020, 04:58

### Re: Adjusting TN's for Skill Difficulty

+/- d6 just gets extremely chunky in those mid dice ranges. For usual TNs in the 1-4 dice range you are talking about 25-30 percentage point swings in success per d6!

You almost have to have the probability tables in front of you at all times. It's pretty hard to just wing it.

3d6 and TN14 is a ~69% of success. Slap on -1d6 and you are at ~42%. -2d6 you are at ~17%. Was the intention of the -2d6 to make it very, very unlikely? Does the LM or player who hasn't looked deeply into the probabilities even know that this is what that means?

Interesting read, thanks for the math. So if you go from 3d6 and 69% success rate to -1d and 42%, so your chances go down by 27%. From 3d to 1d it's 52%. I mean, sure, it's not linear, but it's okay for me. Someone with only 1d in a Skill is very unskilled. His chances shouldn't be high.

Dunheved
Posts: 234
Joined: Wed 11 Mar 2020, 02:07
Location: UK

### Re: Adjusting TN's for Skill Difficulty

This thread raises one of the very significant shifts from TOR1e to TOR2e. Going +/- 1d6 or 2d6 is definitely more chunky and less subtle (more random, more wild, - pick your own descriptor) than finite TN shifts.
It changes the game. And for the LM it makes outcomes less predictable.

If you never played TOR1e you won't miss the advantage of being able to be so subtle in setting the level of a task or test. The LM in TOR 2e has a less certain time of it now, and a change in narrative direction can be a big change. Already, I find that I have to be a more Reactive L'M than a Proactive LM. (I am running four TOR on line games currently). I find that the proactive L'M approach keeps the game rolling faster and smoother: my players don't know whats coming next, but at least I am confident about the direction things might take. Most importantly one or two very high or very low dice rolls don't often radically upset the storyline.

Harlath
Posts: 129
Joined: Sun 19 Jul 2020, 10:40

### Re: Adjusting TN's for Skill Difficulty

This thread raises one of the very significant shifts from TOR1e to TOR2e. Going +/- 1d6 or 2d6 is definitely more chunky and less subtle (more random, more wild, - pick your own descriptor) than finite TN shifts.
It changes the game. And for the LM it makes outcomes less predictable.

If you never played TOR1e you won't miss the advantage of being able to be so subtle in setting the level of a task or test. The LM in TOR 2e has a less certain time of it now, and a change in narrative direction can be a big change. Already, I find that I have to be a more Reactive L'M than a Proactive LM. (I am running four TOR on line games currently). I find that the proactive L'M approach keeps the game rolling faster and smoother: my players don't know whats coming next, but at least I am confident about the direction things might take. Most importantly one or two very high or very low dice rolls don't often radically upset the storyline.
p131's "Success with woe" on failed roles can help, as can giving out the essential information without rollin and extra based on success with more for extra successes. Plus Lore gives results without rolling based on culture/calling/home region (p63-64).

For success with woe, as well as narrative complications there are plenty of standard options you can throw at PCs - it can be handy to have a little list to hand.
- Endurance damage.
- Fatigue.
- Loss/breakage of a useful item (as they'll refresh their allocation here at the end of an adventure anyway).
- A point or two of treasure falls from their pack.
- Shadow Tests (Dread) due to the strain/despair of overcoming the failure.

Michele
Posts: 51
Joined: Tue 29 Jun 2021, 16:58

### Re: Adjusting TN's for Skill Difficulty

If you never played TOR1e you won't miss the advantage of being able to be so subtle in setting the level of a task or test.

But is it really an advantage? Being more subtle doesn't necessarily mean being more objective.

Based on what can you objectively determine if a given task has TN 12, 14, 16, 18...? Of course, the table in 1ed gave some guidelines, but it could likely happen that a task that I consider moderately difficult is easy for you, or vice versa. Or, if I consider it harder than average (which was TN 14), what is "average"? And how do I determine how much harder exactly (TN 16, or 18, for example)?. And, I would add, if being "subtle" is really an advantage, then why exclude 13, 15, 17 from the range of possible TNs?

With +/- 1d6 of course you lose granularity and predictability (but is that really bad? Think of the predictability of a d20 roll... one might argue that low predictability has been the key to success of d20 games for decades - not my cup of tea, tbh, but many others love it), but it also narrows the Loremaster's choice down to simply determining whether that task is easy, medium, or difficult, which is objectively easier than arbitrarily assigning a TN.

And, as others have rightly pointed out, you always have to possibility of assigning a Success with Woe if you fear that a couple of freak rolls would radically upset the storyline.

Harlath
Posts: 129
Joined: Sun 19 Jul 2020, 10:40

### Re: Adjusting TN's for Skill Difficulty

And, as others have rightly pointed out, you always have to possibility of assigning a Success with Woe if you fear that a couple of freak rolls would radically upset the storyline.
This is a very good tool, so I was pleased to see the Rulebook encourage this as an option.

I don't use it everytime, but it can make for some genre appropriate scenes: "You clear the gap, but your sturdy rope [useful item] tumbles in to the abyss" type of thing (or perhaps a small amount of fatigue/endurance damage etc). As you say, can be used to keep things moving while still rewarding success/failure.

Michele
Posts: 51
Joined: Tue 29 Jun 2021, 16:58

### Re: Adjusting TN's for Skill Difficulty

And, as others have rightly pointed out, you always have to possibility of assigning a Success with Woe if you fear that a couple of freak rolls would radically upset the storyline.
This is a very good tool, so I was pleased to see the Rulebook encourage this as an option.

I don't use it everytime, but it can make for some genre appropriate scenes: "You clear the gap, but your sturdy rope [useful item] tumbles in to the abyss" type of thing (or perhaps a small amount of fatigue/endurance damage etc). As you say, can be used to keep things moving while still rewarding success/failure.

I'm glad that this tool offers new narrative opportunities. Full disclosure: if I remember correctly, at one point in the design process there was consideration of including scalability in the success of an action (and not just in its failure) based on its risk level as well. For example, a Hazardous action could only succeed as a Success with Woe, unless you got one or more tengwars, which would then eliminate the Woe. Or, obtaining a success with no tengwars in a Foolish action would still count as a Failure (unless you scored a tengwar, which would convert it to a Success with Woe, or two tengwars, which would translate into a complete Success). The introduction of the simpler rule of +/- 1d6 which you can now find in the final release removed the need of being so precise in case of success, but this approach can still be used as a cue when adjudicating the possible outcome of an action.

Harlath
Posts: 129
Joined: Sun 19 Jul 2020, 10:40

### Re: Adjusting TN's for Skill Difficulty

I'm glad that this tool offers new narrative opportunities. Full disclosure: if I remember correctly, at one point in the design process there was consideration of including scalability in the success of an action (and not just in its failure) based on its risk level as well.
That's a fun idea to toy around with - I can why it was dropped in the name of more straightforward rules, but it's a fun tool for us to consider in our home games, cheers.

"The introduction of the simpler rule of +/- 1d6 which you can now find in the final release removed the need of being so precise in case of success, but this approach can still be used as a cue when adjudicating the possible outcome of an action." - I like that, as I think that makes things work well at the table but I like your point on using it as a cue in some cases.

More broadly, wanted to say thanks to you and Francesco for sometimes dipping in on the forums, it's nice to have insight in to different rules that were tried or your thoughts on hate spending etc. I'm normally the one doing that for the Doomtown card game, so it is nice to be on the receiving end of information instead.

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