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### TNs for starting character

Posted: Fri 02 Jul 2021, 13:02
It's occurred to me that there are several variations of starting characters who cannot reliably, according to statistics, pass a check under one of their 3 attributes without either rolling a Gandalf or spending hope. Is this as intended?

Every culture has 2 Attribute stat lines that contain a 2. As far as I can see, these Attributes are not boosted from anywhere else during character creation?

With TNs now being calculated as 20-the attribute score, this leave the characters in question with a TN of 18 to succeed on a check.

Following the maths purely for average dice rolls (and baring in mind that the feat die isn't a standard d12, so these numbers are slightly skewed) below is the average rolls for the available variations of skill scores:

0 success dice - 6.5
1 success die - 10
2 success dice - 13.5
3 success dice - 17
4 success dice - 20.5
(A feat die gives a 8.33% chance of rolling a Gandalf, but also the same chance of rolling a 0)

This means you'd need to be rolling 4 success dice to reliable expect to pass a check at TN18. That's twice what was required for the old static TN14.

The other interesting consideration is the probability of a character rolling that TN18:
0 success dice - 8.33%
1 success die - 8.33%
2 success dice - 16.42%
3 success dice - 38.85%
4 success dice - 66.01%

This tells me that my Hobbit with a Strength Attribute of 2 better not get in a fight without either investing heavily into my combat skills, or spending heavily on hope, as I would need to roll almost perfectly to be able to score a hit. But I also need to spend those points to boost my hearty Hobbit song... what a dilemma!

This seems overly punishing to me, especially for new characters. Compounding their lack of skill with a higher difficulty is another instance of this game doubling down on the feel bad opportunity in an unfavourable situation. Please feel free to tell me that I have missed something!

### Re: TNs for starting character

Posted: Fri 02 Jul 2021, 13:56
I do not like the new system for determining TN. I think it imprecise - now the same task is harder for one character to achieve than another, even if they have the same skill level, based on their attributes. And I find it deterministic - now the game, rather than the Loremaster, determines how difficult it is for my players to achieve success.

While I don’t like this change, I also understand it even less. This is meant to streamline the game? The LM setting a TN never slowed my game down at all. This seems to make things not only harder for the players, but harder for me to predict as well.

The reduction of dice rolled through penalties also makes it harder to roll a Tengwar, and to get multiple Tengwar - this feels deliberate, but amassing multiple Tengwar was a key way I as a storyteller disseminate additional helpful information. Out of habit for Skill checks, I would write into my sessions the information gleaned from basic, great, and extraordinary successes. Now I feel great and extraordinary successes will become incredibly rare, especially on the more difficult tasks where penalties are imposed.

### Re: TNs for starting character

Posted: Fri 02 Jul 2021, 14:14
I think anyone choosing to start with a 2 on an attribute must purchase the Prowess virtue which reduces in one the TN for that attribute.

This also has a important point statically that the reliability to roll near the average increase as you roll more dice, in other words, the chance of rolling 18 or above with 4 dice is much higher than rolling 11 on 2 dice.

The good solution now is that there are many more options to roll additional dice, a Hobbit will probably favour forward stance to get an additional die, even though it will also be attacked with an additional dice hobbits have good parry, matching those of Rangers, slightly worse than elves.

But looking at the rules and cultures, there is no balance between cultures on combat, rangers and elves are just better, but as you said, they will have a much shallower pool of hope, as starting figures and slow at recovering. Well, one must play to grasp the feeling of all these moving parts on a game session, but it important to note that some effects may require multiple sessions to get the correct feeling, like hope and shadow recovery rate.

### Re: TNs for starting character

Posted: Fri 02 Jul 2021, 15:40
This tells me that my Hobbit with a Strength Attribute of 2 better not get in a fight without either investing heavily into my combat skills, or spending heavily on hope, as I would need to roll almost perfectly to be able to score a hit. But I also need to spend those points to boost my hearty Hobbit song... what a dilemma!

This seems overly punishing to me, especially for new characters. Compounding their lack of skill with a higher difficulty is another instance of this game doubling down on the feel bad opportunity in an unfavourable situation. Please feel free to tell me that I have missed something!

Well, first of all, one might observe that it is only fitting that a Strength 2 Hobbit should not get in a fight lightly and if a player wanted to play a more battle-hardened Hobbit, maybe he should have created a character with Strength 3 or 4 instead, and invested his previous Experience in the third rank of his Weapon Proficiency. And if you needed those point to boost your hearty Hobbit songs... well, you cannot have your cake and eat it too either you play a Hobbit musician, or a Hobbit warrior!

But besides such considerations, I get your point and I think that there are definitely options for weak (low Strength) characters:

1) First, the aforementioned Prowess Virtue: now characters always start with a Virtue, so it's definitely an option I would choose to mitigate such a high Strength TN;

2) In combat, the Forward Stance allows to gain (1d), so a weak Hobbit has always the option to fight more recklessly to compensate for his lack of strength. And if he's shooting arrows from the Rearward, he can use the combat task Prepare Shot to gain (1d) or more;

3) Last but not least, a Hobbit can safely spend at least 5 to 7 Hope points per adventure, plus additional points depending on the Fellowship score of the Company, and recover them all by the start of the next adventure. That's quite a lot of points, which would be wise to invest mostly in rolls against your Strength TN, especially attack rolls.

### Re: TNs for starting character

Posted: Fri 02 Jul 2021, 15:54
Hobbits can also get the virtue where all rolls are inspired! Including combat! This is a large boost for someone with larger hope pool.

Hobbits can also get a virtue that makes all ranged attacks favored!

So, looking into it I can only say I have no idea how all these moving parts are going to come together, but I am loving how dwarves are tough as nails, hobbits are "lucky", elves are magical and ancient.

### Re: TNs for starting character

Posted: Fri 02 Jul 2021, 18:31
In 1e the success probabilities were quite low as well for starting characters and I was told by someone (a forum post I guess) that this was to make Hope very important in the game, as it was in the books.

### Re: TNs for starting character

Posted: Fri 02 Jul 2021, 21:16
Sigh...

People HAVE TO STOP evaluating game mechanics in a vacuum.

Yes, TNs will be, on average, higher than it was in 1st ed.

BUT...

There are multiple ways to add dice to the skill roll.

There's the Favoured/lll-favoured mechanic.

Hope is easier to spend, because it's easier to recover.

Attributes can go up with experience, thus lowering the corresponding TN.

There's the Inspiration and Support mechanics.

There's even the Magical success mechanic.

So as I see the situation, some rolls will be easier and some will be harder than in 1st ed. I think that rolls that play into the strengths of the Player-Hero will be easier, thus helping make Player-Heroes feel special and distinct.

Myself, I'm greatful and think it's one of the best things about this 2nd edition that Attributes really matter, compared to 1st edition.

As for the "LM can't select the TN, the game decides for him" argument:

LM can apply the Favoured and Ill-favoured mechanic to take different factors into account.

LM can adjust the Risk Level.

For complex tasks, LM can turn the test into a Skill Endeavour as opposed to a single roll.

I think LMs wanting to adjust the difficulty of a skill test have plenty of opportunities to do so.

### Re: TNs for starting character

Posted: Fri 02 Jul 2021, 21:59
Sigh...

People HAVE TO STOP evaluating game mechanics in a vacuum.

Yes, TNs will be, on average, higher than it was in 1st ed.

BUT...

There are multiple ways to add dice to the skill roll.
With all due respect, this was true in the first edition as well, and I don’t see how my complaint is invalid. Offering a critique of this particular mechanic does not make it “in a vacuum” - I appreciate you pointing out the many things the Loremaster can do to tweak the difficulty, but I shouldn’t have to offer Favoured conditions and throw a ton of bonus dice out there just to ensure my players have a better than 50% chance of succeeding at a key roll.

We can argue about the relative value of how Hope and circumstances interact with TNs, sure, but you aren’t going to tell me that this is somehow a small minded criticism of the game overall. It’s one of the core rules that players will interact with every single session.

### Re: TNs for starting character

Posted: Sat 03 Jul 2021, 01:54

With all due respect, this was true in the first edition as well, and I don’t see how my complaint is invalid. Offering a critique of this particular mechanic does not make it “in a vacuum” - I appreciate you pointing out the many things the Loremaster can do to tweak the difficulty, but I shouldn’t have to offer Favoured conditions and throw a ton of bonus dice out there just to ensure my players have a better than 50% chance of succeeding at a key roll.
When I talk about analysis "in a vacuum", I'm not talking only of this particular mechanic or this particular critique that you've made.

By the way, your critique is completely legitemate; it's just that there are a gazillion threads right now, each of them arguing about some small subset of the rules.

I feel that, not having experienced the ruleset in a real game with players, we should be prudent before stating that such-and-such mechanic is bad, or overpowered, or underpowered, or whatever.

The game HAS been playtested by Francesco. And he is (some of you may not know this) a designer who has proven his mettle, not only with One Ring RPG, but with many mechanics-heavy boardgames like War of the Ring and Battle of the Five Armies. Personally, I'd be prudent before making any statements about the game or its mechanics.

Now, when we all have experienced the game and seen how the different mechanics interact? Sure, go ahead. After all, that's what happened during the 1st edition of the game; people played it a lot, and then could make substantial critiques that were based on having experienced the game.

We can argue about the relative value of how Hope and circumstances interact with TNs, sure, but you aren’t going to tell me that this is somehow a small minded criticism of the game overall. It’s one of the core rules that players will interact with every single session.
I haven't used the words "small minded criticism", or anything similar. That would implicate that I thought people are dumb or unthinking, and I said nothing of the kind.

But I stand by what I expressed: I wished people had a more "macro" level of criticism regarding intricate game mechanics, because none of us have experienced the game yet.

### Re: TNs for starting character

Posted: Sat 03 Jul 2021, 02:18
….because none of us have experienced the game yet.
That’s not entirely true. There may only be a limited amount of gameplay experience so far, but some of us folks have already made use of the alpha rules for testing. That’s in no way enough experience to have a definitive feel for the game, but it’s also not nothing.

People should feel free to express their concerns, especially given that this is a public forum of discussion. Whether or not those concerns are founded or not, only time will tell.

With regard to your original response, the maths presented accounts for using hope to gain extra dice, as the maths is the same. Favoured is something I didn’t throw in, but off the top of my head you can just add 8% to each of those percentages if the roll is favoured. Advancement and any culture specific virtues aren’t really relevant to this since I was talking specifically about new characters. There are mitigations, but the variance in achievability of skills for a new character is probably the most drastic I have ever come across in a RPG. Not being able to use half your skills is no fun in my opinion.