Sneaking as a group

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Gargoyle
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Sneaking as a group

Postby Gargoyle » Tue Jul 24, 2018 10:23 pm

I like Combined Actions when the group tries to do something together. It speeds things up. But with something like Stealth where the more people you have makes it harder, it doesn't work. And checking individually also makes it very unlikely that the group will succeed as the chance of a bad roll is pretty high when everyone is rolling. So what typically happens is that the players figure that out and stop trying. They fight everything, or the one person with Stealth might sneak ahead to scout, splitting the party, forcing me to effectively manage two groups.

So I created this rule to encourage more use of Stealth while at the same time speeding things up and not making it too easy, I hope. I know that a Super Dex/Super Stealth build may break this making it too easy to get surprise all the time, but that's probably a problem with those perks, so I'm not going to worry about that. For more standard stealth builds though that are relatively well rounded, I think it will be ok. Thoughts? Threw tracking into it too, as I could see some interesting things with ravagons IMC in the future.


Sneaking as a Group

The Stealth skill can be used to help not only you, but also your allies to sneak undetected, generating one Stealth total for the group. You must be close to your allies for the quiet communication required to guide them. This is a multi-action, with each ally counting as an additional stealth action, and allies without any adds in Stealth counting twice. If used during rounds this requires everyone to use an action to participate. This use of Stealth cannot be attempted unskilled. Opponents who succeed at their Find check detect the entire group.

Tracking can be used in the same way to travel overland at half speed to oppose Tracking checks to pick up their trail.
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Arcesilaus
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Re: Sneaking as a group

Postby Arcesilaus » Tue Jul 24, 2018 10:29 pm

I typically follow the suggestion (from the Core Rules?) that in the case of multiple people performing a skill in which numbers are a detriment, I use the Combined Action modifier as a PENALTY rather than a benefit.

So, if 3 players are all trying to Stealth, I let the highest value character make a single roll, with a -2 for the group size.
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Gargoyle
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Re: Sneaking as a group

Postby Gargoyle » Tue Jul 24, 2018 10:32 pm

Arcesilaus wrote:I typically follow the suggestion (from the Core Rules?) that in the case of multiple people performing a skill in which numbers are a detriment, I use the Combined Action modifier as a PENALTY rather than a benefit.

So, if 3 players are all trying to Stealth, I let the highest value character make a single roll, with a -2 for the group size.


That makes sense, missed that. Slightly lower penalties that way, but simpler so I may go that way, thanks.
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Re: Sneaking as a group

Postby Atama » Tue Jul 24, 2018 10:37 pm

In case people are wondering, the rule being discussed is in the Core Rules, page 121, left column, under “Group Penalty”.
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Re: Sneaking as a group

Postby fougerec » Wed Jul 25, 2018 6:37 am

I'm of the mind that group rules are bad. It encourages characters to take part in everything, even if they're not good at it. Some of our best scenes have come from one person blowing a stealth roll and having to think fast/talk their way out of something while the rest of the group hides and watches.

If I were to use the suggestion in the book, I'd have the least skilled person roll (after all if you have a Ninja and a Tank, who's more likely to be noticed?) and then the super skilled can do extra effort if they like.

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Re: Sneaking as a group

Postby mica » Wed Jul 25, 2018 8:12 am

If you use that approach, use the extra effort as a negative to group size, e.g. if super skill dude counts as three people, he reduces the party size by 3. I would be tempted to use this approach when escorting a bunch of NPC's through hostile territory. You could justify this as super skill dude actively making sure that the least able NPC's are being guided.

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Re: Sneaking as a group

Postby bchoinski » Wed Jul 25, 2018 8:36 am

Tasks like this, where everyone needs to succeed otherwise you can't go forward (Stealth past guards, climbing a rock face, crossing a chasm, etc) are ones where simple mechanics start to get iffy. I dislike all on one roll, otherwise the party hides behind Mr. super skill all the time, and likewise having everyone make a raw roll for success just increases the likelihood of group failure.

My plan is to use a "chained" success to allow for the group to perform these tests as a sort of mix of the two:

  1. First character makes their attempt; if successful the degree of success is a bonus to the next person:
    Success: +1; Good: +2; Outstanding: +4
  2. The next person makes his roll, with any bonus provided by the proceeding person, and his results becoming the new chained bonus.
  3. Continue for all members
I grant the base +1 for success because the people behind should get something for seeing how it's done the right way. This also allows for Ords to be carried along with some assistance if you can "sandwitch" them between Storm Knights.

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Re: Sneaking as a group

Postby fougerec » Wed Jul 25, 2018 9:10 am

bchoinski wrote: Tasks like this, where everyone needs to succeed otherwise you can't go forward


If everyone needs to succeed to go forward, that's poor adventure design. I like to think that the stories aren't if the characters succeed but how the characters succeed. What John Rogers has referred to as competency porn in referring to Leverage. Torg Eternity characters are good at what they do, just as with Star Trek or Leverage. The characters are going to overcome the challenge - climbing a cliff, getting past the guards, finding the hidden base. The interesting part of the story is how they do so.

bchoinski wrote: and likewise having everyone make a raw roll for success just increases the likelihood of group failure.


Why? It increases the odds of an individual failing, not the group. One member can't climb the cliff so they need to think of another avenue or approach. One person can't be stealthy so they need to hang back on the scouting mission. One member can't research worth crap so they stay in the hotel.

There's nothing wrong with splitting the group or with some characters having to hang back as long as the GM is ready to handle that. I much prefer that to treating the group as one single organism that either succeeds or fails together.

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Gargoyle
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Re: Sneaking as a group

Postby Gargoyle » Wed Jul 25, 2018 9:45 am

Thanks for all the suggestions, I'm going to go with the Combined Actions as penalties though, as it does what I need, is simple, and doesn't require a house rule.

Regarding the wisdom of group checks for this, I think that for my table it's a good thing for the reasons I gave. The party can and will split up on occasion, so cool scenes will still result from that. The benefits of speeding up gameplay and allowing someone with high Stealth to stay with the group when they want to outweigh the downsides IMO.

Splitting up the party isn't inherently a bad thing and I can handle that as a GM. I even encourage it sometimes, like when they're in Orrorsh. :twisted:
But I've found that if they feel like they HAVE to do so all the time, it's not a good thing, so I like to give them options that allow them to still use the skills they've bought and feel more like a special ops team than having to fight everything.
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Arcesilaus
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Re: Sneaking as a group

Postby Arcesilaus » Wed Jul 25, 2018 9:59 am

Gargoyle wrote:Splitting up the party isn't inherently a bad thing and I can handle that as a GM. I even encourage it sometimes, like when they're in Orrorsh. :twisted:
But I've found that if they feel like they HAVE to do so all the time, it's not a good thing, so I like to give them options that allow them to still use the skills they've bought and feel more like a special ops team than having to fight everything.

This.

I've also noticed that one drawback of lots of players rolling individually was the increased opportunity for Glory results. In my first real session (after completing the Day One adventures), I asked everyone to make a boring Stealth roll to sneak up on some edeinos and BOOM lucky roll leads to Glory result for a non-dramatic action. I'm not saying this is the worst outcome in the world, but for those who have been bummed by the increased occurrence of Glory results at their tables, reducing the number of rolls is another way to control this.
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