Stealth modifiers and limitations

RamblingScribe
Posts: 208
Joined: Fri Jul 14, 2017 3:15 pm

Stealth modifiers and limitations

Postby RamblingScribe » Fri Nov 24, 2017 9:53 am

So, In two of the day one adventures we've played, one of the Storm Knights had a really good stealth score and used it to sneak other people around using the many on one / one on many rules.

Because of the logarithmic scale, the penalties are pretty low overall, even when you combine penalties for multiple sneakers and multiple watchers. In these adventures, I ran with it because it was fun, I didn't want to interrupt the game to find an answer, and the consequences are low for the campaign impact. But I feel it could lead to abuse in future. And some of it seemed to run contrary to common sense.

So here are two situations that I let happen. Abuse me for being a bad GM if you like, I will ignore it.

Spoilers for Day one Nile and Cyberpapcy ahead!

1) In Nile day one, the stealth machine (the player concluded that in site of the listed background, his character was secretly a professional assassin) guided the whole party to sneak right up to the main camp so that they were hidden behind the truck. He then snuck into the camp and pretended to be one of the prisoners. He then stealthily untied them all. He then snuck them all onto the truck while the guards were distracted.

2) In the Cyberpapcy, in broad daylight, the jewel thief (who also left a trail of dead Church Police prior to this) managed to sneak the entire party into position around the train platform, one of them onto the locomotive (where a connection card allowed the storm knight engineer to know the driver) and herself onto the empty train. This wasn't to bad, but we noticed that her initial stealth roll could have snuck the whole party right across the platform onto the train.

So, I am willing to use common sense and say that you can't "hide in plain sight" in an open space with no cover. But at the same time the players made compelling arguments about watching the guards for the right moment to move etc. And I like TORG to be about doing the nearly impossible. But I like to give my players rules to use to judge these things, especially with the new transparency.

I'm thinking about changing the assist rule for stealth to be that the really good stealth person can assist each individual's stealth roll with the extra effort rules, or a group of mooks the same way, and even allow the one on many penalty to help a group sneak, but the other characters still need to make their own roll. I am also thinking of giving a bonus to find for alert guards, and penalties to stealth for lack of cover.

How do other people handle this?

User avatar
Atama
Posts: 950
Joined: Tue Jun 27, 2017 12:30 am
Location: Auburn, WA

Re: Stealth modifiers and limitations

Postby Atama » Fri Nov 24, 2017 2:16 pm

RamblingScribe wrote:I'm thinking about changing the assist rule for stealth to be that the really good stealth person can assist each individual's stealth roll with the extra effort rules, or a group of mooks the same way, and even allow the one on many penalty to help a group sneak, but the other characters still need to make their own roll. I am also thinking of giving a bonus to find for alert guards, and penalties to stealth for lack of cover.

I think that’s a great compromise. The thing about stealth is that all it takes is one person knocking something over, sneezing, stepping on a branch, etc. You’re as strong as your weakest link. I can see a trained person guiding others, showing where to hide, distracting guards, steering people away from noisy ground... But don’t forget the Fellowship of the Ring scene where Pippin knocks the corpse down a well and draws all the orcs to them. Let players roll for a chance to screw up.
“You are a bad person, and should feel bad.”
-TorgHacker (being tongue-in-cheek :D)

Mike McCall
Posts: 180
Joined: Wed Jul 12, 2017 12:54 pm
Location: Regina, Saskatchewan

Re: Stealth modifiers and limitations

Postby Mike McCall » Fri Nov 24, 2017 2:33 pm

I allow stealth as a group roll, but the Value Chart bonus for extra people becomes a penalty unless they are actively assisting.

User avatar
MalicWanderer
Posts: 97
Joined: Mon Aug 07, 2017 9:29 pm

Re: Stealth modifiers and limitations

Postby MalicWanderer » Fri Nov 24, 2017 6:32 pm

One thing you could do is have one check for the group but have the worst stealth character roll out instead of the highest. Perhaps allowing the better character(s) to assist somehow.

User avatar
TorgHacker
Posts: 4408
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2016 6:40 pm

Re: Stealth modifiers and limitations

Postby TorgHacker » Fri Nov 24, 2017 6:58 pm

FYI, Group Penalty on page 121 specifically deals with this.
Deanna Gilbert
Torg Eternity designer
Ulisses North America

utsukushi
Posts: 870
Joined: Fri Feb 10, 2017 7:30 pm

Re: Stealth modifiers and limitations

Postby utsukushi » Sun Nov 26, 2017 1:52 am

I'm pretty sure Scribe got that - he mentioned the penalties for multiple sneakers and multiple watchers. I think his situation was this; Kelsey Kavanaugh, once he transforms, has a base Stealth of 17. So even if you have a full six member party putting him at -4, he's at 13. A group of four Shocktroopers will get a +3 to their Find roll, putting them at 11... except that the scenario gives them a -2 because it's dark and stormy.

So even before, say, cards or Possibilities, Kelsey has a 4 point advantage on the opposed roll in the absolute worst-case scenario. It's just so much better for him to sneak everyone around everywhere than it is for anyone else to roll Stealth... but honestly, looking at the scenario, that might be, like, exactly what he's there for. And his idea of sneaking into the prisoners and then sneaking them out was really clever.

Abuse me for being a bad GM if you like, I will ignore it.

Sorry, can't. I like the way you handled it at the time and your thoughts on it for the future, so... no abuse for you today, I'm afraid.

I think you're absolutely right, and totally backed by the rules, on adding some significant penalties for things like, "It's broad daylight and you're crossing a thirty foot open space." Looking at, like, the Darkness and Concealment charts, that suggests an well-lit, open area should probably be a solid -6.

Overall, though, I do think that the opposed Stealth vs Find roll already assumes alert guards, so I would move that back a step. Sleepy or distracted guards should get a penalty; "Alert", I think, is the default for anyone rolling Find in the first place. A bonus on the Find roll would need more justification than that, to my mind.

Otherwise, really, the example given in the rules for one person sneaking a group around was hiding in the woods at night. I can see that. That's, like, covering tracks, and pointing out paths that won't leave too many signs and things. In a more... um... I'm not finding good words for this. In a more "zoomed-in" kind of situation, I have a hard time really seeing how someone can help more than, like, one, maybe two people sneak like that. Hiding, maybe, but not moving around. So just like they had the explanations about, like, waiting for the guards to be looking away and all that... I'd need some description of how the jewel thief was taking responsibility for someone quieting everyone else's footsteps and.. everything... before he could actually move the whole group across the platform.

So as clever as it was, when Kelsey was sneaking the prisoners out -- I do have the feeling that should probably have required multiple rounds, getting, like, two or three prisoners at a time, with an increasing chance for the guards to notice something going on each time. That feels more cinematic, too, and more dramatic. Of course, I had this whole post to think about it; I'm not at all sure I'd have come up with that on the spur of the moment while running a game, so, again, I have no criticism of your GMing.

The jewel thief, though... again, yeah, I do think the open space could have been worth a penalty, but just grabbing one person and helping them dash across quietly at the right time? I can totally see that.

User avatar
Etan Krel
Posts: 53
Joined: Sat Jul 15, 2017 11:57 am
Location: Nîmes, France

Re: Stealth modifiers and limitations

Postby Etan Krel » Sun Nov 26, 2017 6:45 am

utsukushi wrote:So as clever as it was, when Kelsey was sneaking the prisoners out -- I do have the feeling that should probably have required multiple rounds, getting, like, two or three prisoners at a time, with an increasing chance for the guards to notice something going on each time. That feels more cinematic, too, and more dramatic. Of course, I had this whole post to think about it; I'm not at all sure I'd have come up with that on the spur of the moment while running a game, so, again, I have no criticism of your GMing.

I agreed with this, and more, it could have been a good DRS opportunity.
Step A looking for a path, Step B distracting guards, Step C moving half of the group, Step D moving the rest of the group.

RamblingScribe
Posts: 208
Joined: Fri Jul 14, 2017 3:15 pm

Re: Stealth modifiers and limitations

Postby RamblingScribe » Sun Nov 26, 2017 9:13 am

Thanks for the feedback everyone!

Utsukushi's breakdown of the Nile scenario is exactly what I was dealing with, and shows more specifically how the group penalties we're pretty insignificant compared to the difference between skill and DN in that scenario.

Mainly, I was thinking about how some game systems have specific rules for not being able to hide if there is no terrain, unless you have a specific ability. Also, I've seen a few satirical YouTube videos about sneaking in videogames like Skyrim, and was thinking that by RAW, Torg could look like that.

Fundamentally, if a guard is on duty in front of a door in an empty well-lit corridor, and someone is trying to sneak past them and they are both average, the sneaking person has a 50% chance of success. That's maybe okay in game terms, but not very good for a real world security guard. By RAW, there is no extra difficulty for trying to sneak through the door than down the hall. Again, these are situations where I am okay applying massive penalties or simply saying that it can't be done without a distraction, magic, or something similar, but there is no indication that I should or might in the rules. And for me, there is a certain level of coolness to making it a massive penalty instead of a strict call, because then the sneaky character can really just be that good.

I am totally okay with judging this on my own, I just wanted to make sure I hadn't missed anything, and I'd like to give a pretty concrete rule to my players so that they know what to expect in future.

User avatar
TorgHacker
Posts: 4408
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2016 6:40 pm

Re: Stealth modifiers and limitations

Postby TorgHacker » Sun Nov 26, 2017 10:06 am

RamblingScribe wrote:Thanks for the feedback everyone!

Utsukushi's breakdown of the Nile scenario is exactly what I was dealing with, and shows more specifically how the group penalties we're pretty insignificant compared to the difference between skill and DN in that scenario.


I'm not going to say this was the point, but there is something to be said about giving players opportunities to be awesome.
Deanna Gilbert
Torg Eternity designer
Ulisses North America

RamblingScribe
Posts: 208
Joined: Fri Jul 14, 2017 3:15 pm

Re: Stealth modifiers and limitations

Postby RamblingScribe » Sun Nov 26, 2017 10:19 am

I agree 100%! I just don't want stealth to become the best solution for everything, or for awesome stealth to become mundane for the players.

I totally think the scenario played out well, we were all happy. And honestly, one of the things I like about the day ones is that they let us do these things and not worry that something might have been to powerful or not powerful enough.

And then I get to sit and analyze what the long term repercussions will be if the campaign plays out the same way.

And I don't think that this is game breaking long term, I just want to shift it a bit more towards challenging.


Return to “Rules Questions (TORG)”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 19 guests