GM Intrusions E52 - Revealing Difficulties

I’ll talk about when to tell players difficulty numbers, race as a Descriptor, and just how an Artificially Intelligent Nano who Fuses Flesh and Steel would work. Finally in Antagonists and Protagonists, I discuss the Valma.

TM and © 2014 Monte Cook Games, LLC

TM and © 2014 Monte Cook Games, LLC

Opening Segment


I'm getting lots of intrusions now. Thanks to all who’ve submitted them. Thank you Adam Rogers for starting the movement for intrusions on G+. If this keeps up, I think the segment will stick around for a while.

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GM Intrusions’ first Anniversary in mid-October.

I am planning to give the show a bit of a facelift for season 2. This may include:

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Under the Lens

Apostolis Kotselis asks, “Should I tell PCs difficulty numbers?”

This is largely up to individual GM style. However, here are some suggestions and things to consider.

I usually tell all difficulties with new players until they get a hang of the system, spending effort, using edge, recovery rolls, etc.

For simple, straightforward tasks I will usually give them the difficulty. Times when it would be fairly obvious to the character how hard something is. E.g. climbing something, walking across a balance beam, forcing open a door, etc.

With creatures or NPCs, I tend not to tell the difficulty because the PCs wouldn’t know. Also, this is a big benefit of the Scan esotery.

If I don’t think the PCs would know how hard something is, I don’t tell them the difficulty.

I often use varying degrees of success—e.g. perception rolls or social rolls vs. NPCs. In this case I gauge the information the PCs get or what kind of success they achieve based on the difficulty they hit. In this cases I don’t give a difficulty.

I don’t generally give difficulties for things like perception rolls, searching for traps, knowing if someone’s lying. It’s bad enough that you’re giving away information by calling for the roll (hopefully the PCs won’t metagame—“I think I just failed a perception roll”). I don’t want them to know for sure if they succeeded or failed.

In the end it’s situational and a judgment call.

For instance, I will sometimes give the difficulties in combats just to speed things along, even though the PCs wouldn’t know. Especially if it’s not an extremely challenging combat. In a challenging or important combat, I will make them work for that knowledge.

This applies to things like the Armor value of the NPC as well.

Wolfoyote asked how I would handle the interaction of Artificially Intelligent and Fuses Flesh With Steel.

For combining Artificially Intelligent with Flesh and Steel, I would use the restrictions from both, so that they're suffering from both penalties. So only Intellect can be recovered through normal recovery rolls, and 5 points of the intellect would have to be repaired. I think you have to do it that way, otherwise a PC can "cheat" by taking both and getting out of one of the main disadvantages of Fuses Flesh and Steel.

He also asks about my not liking race as a descriptor, and wonders if we should add a second descriptor for race, and if so, what would the human descriptor be like?

As to race, yeah, I think that's how I'd do it, but I'd only add the race descriptor for non-humans. I wouldn't give humans a "human" descriptor. I would also probably come up with some kind of disadvantage for the nonhumans to make up for having 2 descriptors. I'm not sure. Honestly the way I handle it is I don't allow non-human PCs.

Antagonists & Protagonists – Valma


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