Game Design: Task Resolution

So I’ve explained how characters have Resources and Guts which can fuel maneuvers and factor emphases to overcome Challenges. Challenges are rated on a scale from 1 to 9.

Challenge Rating
1 Average
2 Excellent
3 Great
4 Incredible
5 Awesome
6 Unbelievable
7 Godlike
8 Cosmic
9 Beyond Imaginable

If you have a Resource Pool of that rating, you can accomplish all appropriate tasks rated at that number or below. As you can guess, the scale goes up incredibly fast. 1 is average human, while 3 is approximately human maximum. So why does the scale keep going for 6 more levels? It is there to capture the power levels at which most anime operate on. Anime showcase characters who can lift a full ton, or run as fast as a sports car within limited areas. In some cases they have villains who can destroy entire planets. The scale has to go so far beyond human that it covers these levels of prowess as well.

Basic Task Resolution
Basic task resolution starts with the GM deciding on one of the challenge ratings above to describe the difficulty of the action that the player describes. For example, if a player were to attempt to run through a mine field so quickly that any exploding mines are too slow to catch him in a blast, that would be an Awesome(5) Challenge. It’s not probable that even the fastest human alive could succeed, but it’s not so unbelievable that someone possessing superhuman running speed wouldn’t stand a chance.

Next the acting character allocates a Resource, and possibly Guts to a maneuver or emphasis in an attempt to succeed at the task. The Challenge Total is equal to the sum of the character’s allocation, the Guts spent, plus the Strength of the factor, if one is used. As factors always have at least a Strength of 1, this is an inherent benefit to using a factor over a maneuver.

This character has Speed of 3, and a Super Swift factor with a strength of 1. Even if the player allocates all 3 points to the Challenge they would still fail. If the player allocates all 3 Speed and spends 1 Guts however, that is a Challenge Total of 5, which is the amount needed for a marginal success. The GM describes that the hero makes it across the mine field, but the last batch of mines explode with enough force to throw him from his feet, and he takes 1 point of Physical damage from the ordeal. If he had spent one more point of Guts to raise his total to 6, he would have run through unscathed.

Pushing It
This leads to an optional rule. If the GM decides that the hero deserves a break, he can offer the player a chance to spend more Guts after the fact. If the player decides to spend more Guts, this is called Pushing It. Normally, this applies only when the player’s Challenge Total is within one of marginal success. However, the GM can offer the opportunity to push it to the players at any time she chooses. If the hero is going up against an environmental challenge that would be the end of it. However, when a hero pushes it against another character, the GM has the option to push it as well. This leads to a bidding war until one side decides to stop spending Guts.

Versus Task Resolution
Normally when a player character uses a maneuver on an opponent, that opponent gets to allocate Resources in reaction. That means that they build a Challenge Total in opposition to that built by the player character. Here the GM needs to consider character resource totals and get into the character’s heads as well. If the characters already spent almost all of their Resources in an attack earlier on, or they intend to make an action later that depends on that pool, they won’t be likely to spend a lot of Guts to make up for it. If the character acting has a Challenge Total equal to or higher than the Challenge Total of the defender the acting character succeeds. If it is lower and the GM allows the acting character to Push It, things may go back and forth a while, but normally this means the Defender wins.

So what happens once everybody is satisfied with the challenge totals and the acting character has succeeded? The acting character’s challenge total is lowered by the opposing Challenge Total and that is the Result. In some cases, the amount of result is important. In others it is not. A zero Result is still a marginal success, but when the number actually matters it isn’t any better than a failure mechanically. For example, the amount of Result equals the amount of damage dealt to an opponent by an attack, but a 0 Result equals minimum damage. In this case it is equal to 1 point of damage. However, with an emphasis which lowers the opponent’s Resource Pool temporarily a 0 means no change.

All terms subject to change.

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About Byron D. Molix

I am an information technology professional in Missouri. I've been an avid fan of fantasy and science fiction novels, comic books, pen and paper role-playing games, computer games and console video games for the last two decades. My dream would be to one day make a comfortable living while having the time to pursue writing (novels, rpgs, etc.) as a full-time hobby.

Posted on January 2, 2013, in CFS, Gaming and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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