Nils chooses condition and marks injured.
Success--> Nils describes that Rocky gets an elbow in the face (and gets injured) and then Rocky beats Tank in front of everyone and scares and humiliates him
Failure --> Tank beats Rocky to a pulp, everyone laughs at Rocky and shy away from him. Rocky can't help himself from crying.
Is "can't help himself from crying" another condition, or is the "everyone laughing" the actual outcome?
What I mean is, maybe Rocky wanted to talk to some of the classmates to find out clues, but now, Tank beating him makes that hard - he has to rethink what to do.
The actual outcome is that he can't get access to the action he wanted to do, due to the "blocker" that is Tank.
Look at this section of the rules:
- Pushing the Roll: "If the Trouble came with a threat of a Condition, you may have to check two Conditions if you first choose to check one for pushing the roll but still fail at it. "
The example you had above would be a possible "double condition".
Nils chooses consequence
Success --> Rocky beats Tank but something bad happens. The Gamemaster decides. Some examples:
* Rocky's dad happens to pass by and sees the whole fight, how Rocky punches his classmate and then celebrates his victory. When Rocky comes home he gets punished.
* Rocky wins but after a while he notices that the whole school is afraid of him, his friends too. He gets a reputation as a bad guy
* He gets a black eye and looses a tooth.
* He gets a condition, Injured
The injury is then the same as in taking a Condition?
And I'm assuming that since you use "Consequence" instead of "Complication", something has already changed from the Alpha PDF rules, or?
Because the problem with the wording of the Complications paragraph is that it has no text describing what failure means.
And for some skills and Trouble, a Complication seem right, but what happens when you use an investigate, or a skill and Trouble that isn't really about a confrontation, or about making something, but rather is about finding clues?
By removing it as a player choice, and placing it fully in the hands of the Gamemaster, you enable the GM to judge the outcome of the situation, and use it just like a new Trouble or a Condition.
I still think the best way to handle it is to simply redefine Complications as "a threat of future Trouble".
For example, in a play session I had my Kids arguing (using the versus rules). They used a complication, which allowed me to add the sound of security guards on their way - flashlights flickering in the forest. The kids had to just get the hell out of there, or they would be facing a new Trouble. But, and this is the important bit, the complication was that they could see that they had to change their current behaviour. The complication forced them to make a decision on what their next scene would be.
- Push, choose a Condition, and succeed – you get that condition, but no additional fallout from the outcome (since you made it)
- Push, choose a Condition, and fail – you get that condition, and any additional consequence from failing (another condition, new trouble, threat of new trouble etc...)
- Push, choose a Complication, and succeed – the rules says you get a "succeed, but..." (some twist that will haunt you going forward – but it can't be huge, right, like guaranteeing a new Trouble, because then it really feels like a failure rather than a success, and is somewhat off the scale from just taking a Condition: another potential roll and condition in the future, versus a -1 now).
- Push, choose Complication, and fail – this has no mention in the rules at all. You "fail, but..."? That doesn't seem plausible. When failing you kind of get the consequence anyway. So by choosing this, you get the same as a regular failure, but without the extra condition from pushing. This is where you today can "game the system".
It's not a problem if the player chooses consequence every single time, the Kids will end up in so much trouble the game will play itself.
Well. Constantly failing will also just put them in more Trouble, or give them Conditions, which kind of goes against the clue-fidning of the Mystery.
Unless failure can also bring some clue as to "how to move forward", I think Complications as a different kind of failure just adds to the burden.
By instead allowing soft failure, or partial success (with a condition or a consequence) then you drive the plot forward, but force the players to act differently – change their plans etc.
I have "hijacked" Complications as a means to describe this (since I don't think its current definition holds).
If Complication makes pushing complicated (no pun intended), I would say, remove that choice. It muddles the rules.
Instead use Conditions (for pushing):
We want the game to go back and forth between Mystery scenes and Everyday Life (not one straight after the other, but they should interject over the course of the mystery. Activity VS Downtime).
- Conditions are definitive.
- Pushing gives Condition.
- Conditions lead to interesting Everyday Life scenes.
If Complications essentially are "new trouble", then let's just define it as new trouble. But if they are the "threat of new trouble", or the "catalyst for interjecting Everyday Life scenes", then it's still worth keeping as a definition, but then it has to communicate "uncertainty of future trouble
". Essentially, a Complication is something that can be avoided, while if a consequence from failing one Trouble is another Trouble – then that's not a Complication – that is Trouble.
The text in red (failing) above is what fails the rules definition for me, and I do like how MG has done it, where they allow the story to continue, but allows the Complication to fork the progress into something that can have more effect further on.
Another situation is if the Trouble is something the Kids must pass for the story to go on. In that case the failure is something really bad AND they pass the thing. Kinda like a consequence but worse. If they have to pass a locked door a failure could be that they all get injured and discovered, that one of them is stuck on the wrong side.
This is my problem. Here you describe an ACTUAL failure: One of them on the wrong side might be a New Trouble
, all getting Injured is a group-based Condition
, getting discovered is a New Trouble
Actually, getting discovered and CAUGHT is an outcome, rather than a new Trouble. But that in turn might lead to the Kids' parents picking them up at the police station, with some individual new Trouble (grounding, beating, removal of someones toys or things etc) that has to be played before the Mystery can continue.
It all comes down to clarity, which I don't think we have now. And that a definition covers all alternatives, which Complications don't currently do.