Tupper
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Joined: Sun 04 Jul 2021, 08:37

Getting Across the Water

Sun 18 Sep 2022, 23:39

Just ran a first session of The One Ring yesterday with some very small hobbits (my daughter and her friends). We had a bit of frustration with the first encounter in the adventures and I wondered what other people did with this.

"A conspiracy most cracked" starts off with the characters having to cross The Water. The suggestions for this in game terms are:
  • Using athletics to swim across (with special successes being used to help people who fail).
  • Using scan to find a hollow log on the other side. Then potentially either swimming across (with athletics) to get the log, shooting an arrow and rope over, or using rope and a grappling hook to get the log over (using craft).
We had Primula, Paladin, and Esmerelda as characters.

First up, using athletics is nigh impossible for the characters. Paladin has athletics 1 (and it is a favoured skill). Esmerelda has athletics 1, and Primula has athletics 0. So that's pretty much a non-starter. All of them spent hope and still failed. I let Esmerelda and Paladin use their Eager distinctive traits, which I thought was generous, but they were unlucky. If one didn't let anyone use a distinctive trait, then this would be a complete non-starter.

Scan wasn't much better. None of them have the scan skill, so even with hope, that wasn't much use.

Even if they had succeeded at their scan roll, at this stage of the story, nobody should have a bow (they get armed in the second adventure). And in terms of craft skills, the hobbits in question have only 1 rank there, and it runs off strength, so it's hard for them to do.

I handwaved past the encounter by letting them go back to town for some rope and letting them use the bow skill to throw it across the river.

Later, I looked at the characters they *hadn't* chosen. The scan roll would have been eminently do-able by Lobelia (who has scan 2, favoured, and the keen-eyed distinctive feature) or at a pinch by Rorimac (scan 1, keen-eyed), but nobody's got the athletics skill to pull off swimming the river. And nobody's any good at craft. And nobody's got a bow (or a grappling hook, for that matter).

It seems like a dreadful mess of an encounter, so I'm curious what other folk did.

To be fair, after that, things seemed to pick up. Riddling the yokels in Waymeet was easy pickings, as was dealing to the owl (where we finished up). I suspect moving forward that the stealth part of the adventure should be well within the characters' skills (all of the hobbits have 3 levels there). It just seems that that first encounter showcases what the pregens *can't* do.
 
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Xelforp
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Location: Iceland

Re: Getting Across the Water

Mon 19 Sep 2022, 16:32

Yeah, I had the same problem. I'd read the adventure, but I had not looked over the pre-gen characters closely, so I didn't realize that both Athletics and Scan were almost non-existent skills in the group!

I finally had them visit a farm nearby where they managed to borrow a boat (using the Courtesy skill).
 
santagnolla
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Joined: Sat 24 Sep 2022, 04:28

Re: Getting Across the Water

Sat 24 Sep 2022, 04:41

Hi, indeed that first Athletics test is quite challenging.

If players would try to swim across the Water, it would be better for the character swimming get 'Inspired' (e.g. Rustic and Eager Hobbits may easily be said to do so), and then spend a point of Hope to get a 2d6 bonus.

One of the other characters may also help, e.g. by tying a rope to their friend and make the crossing safer. This helping character will have to spend a point of Hope too, doing so will grant an additional Success die to the pool. I think that the helping mechanics is not included in the Starter Box rules, but players do not know :)

There is still the possibility of letting the Hobbits try more than once, and I would rule that the Hope bonus can be applied to all attempts.
 
Myst
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Joined: Mon 06 Jun 2022, 09:01

Re: Getting Across the Water

Mon 26 Sep 2022, 18:06

You could also use Success with Woe (p131) assuming the risk level of the endeavour is "Standard" and not too hard. So if they failed you could say they did swim across but at the cost of gaining fatigue.
 
Sebastian
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Joined: Thu 01 Oct 2020, 04:58

Re: Getting Across the Water

Thu 29 Sep 2022, 08:16

I‘m always eager to hear, if players have ideas on their own an go with it. My question in this particular scene was, why they don’t organize a small fishing boat or take the main road one by one or distract the neighbors first. All in all I don’t get the reason, why they have to cross the river there.
 
Tupper
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Joined: Sun 04 Jul 2021, 08:37

Re: Getting Across the Water

Wed 05 Oct 2022, 02:13

Thanks for the comments everyone! :)
One of the other characters may also help, e.g. by tying a rope to their friend and make the crossing safer. This helping character will have to spend a point of Hope too, doing so will grant an additional Success die to the pool. I think that the helping mechanics is not included in the Starter Box rules, but players do not know
I was trying to cleave to the starter set rules since I figured it'd be simpler for the kiddies. But I agree, in the full ruleset, that's a good way to get even more dice by dumping more hope.
There is still the possibility of letting the Hobbits try more than once, and I would rule that the Hope bonus can be applied to all attempts.
I thought that was a no-no in The One Ring in general: if you want to try again, you have to try something different.
You could also use Success with Woe (p131) assuming the risk level of the endeavour is "Standard" and not too hard. So if they failed you could say they did swim across but at the cost of gaining fatigue.
I'm not sure that's in the starter ruleset either ... although it seems like a really good solution to the "oh dear, nobody in the party can do this, and the story's going to fall flat on its face if they can't cross the river" problem. Make them pay a tax for not being good at athletics and then move on with the story.
My question in this particular scene was, why they don’t organize a small fishing boat or take the main road one by one or distract the neighbors first. All in all I don’t get the reason, why they have to cross the river there.
Or, more fundamentally, as my daughter said: "why don't we just take a pencil and paper, walk down to the museum, make a copy of the map, and walk home ... why do we need to steal the map?"

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