Mishap question

Fuzzy
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Mishap question

Postby Fuzzy » Sat Nov 30, 2019 1:33 pm

Re-reading rules on my time off... question on Mishaps. I'd thought that ANY roll of a 1 ALWAYS caused a mishap, but now I'm not so sure. Mishaps says:

Some tests, such as casting spells or firing Rapid Fire, have additional effects in case of “Mishaps.“ A Mishap is a natural roll of 1 on the first die roll when testing a skill or attribute total. Don’t count 1s that come up as part of rerolls, Up results, or spending Possibilities—only for the first die rolled. Some situations might expand the range of Mishaps, such as 1–2 or even 1–4. This may also add extra consequences to a Mishap. This is explained in the particular section whenever necessary. If multiple conditions apply, they all trigger on any Mishap.
A roll of 1 always fails, and no Possibilities may be spent to change it. That means even characters with the highest skills and attributes aren’t always successful.
Other Mishaps, such as those that are triggered by a natural roll of 2, 3, or 4, for example, may be successful if the total is high enough (or more likely, Possibilities are spent), but the action still triggers any applicable Mishap consequences.


Looking through uses of the word "Mishap", it seems that Mishaps are specified by different skills and situations... For example, driving a vehicle, a Mishap causes a collision. A Mishap on reconnecting causes a transformation. On casting a spell, a Mishap makes the caster very stymied.

So there are three interpretations: First, a Mishap ALWAYS occurs on any skill test and causes a failure AND something else bad to happen, and in certain conditions the nature of the Mishap is defined specifically in the text, but in other conditions, the GM makes it up. The second interpretation is that a mishap ALWAYS occurs and the GM should ALWAYS make up added bad effects, and for some tests there are ADDITIONAL effects (so, the Very Stymied on a spell roll of 1 is in addition so another Mishap). The third interpretation is that a Mishap is simply an auto-failure (a roll of 1, in which possibilities cannot typically be spent), and that for some tests an additional effect occurs (collision for vehicles, etc.).

We've been playing the second interpretation, but now I'm starting to think it's actually the third interpretation: Basically, the definition of a Mishap IS an auto-failure with no allowance for re-rolls, and for certain types of tests there may be ADDITIONAL effects that occur.




So, let's say someone is doing something with no contradiction and no specified mishap (for example, making a simple persuasion or streetwise roll). A 1 always fails, but would not disconnect.

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pkitty
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Re: Mishap question

Postby pkitty » Sat Nov 30, 2019 4:17 pm

I definitely took the first interpretation. A mishap is an auto-fail plus something bad; sometimes the "something bad" is specified, if not, it's up to the GM to creatively screw over the player.
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Fuzzy
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Re: Mishap question

Postby Fuzzy » Sat Nov 30, 2019 5:04 pm

Yeah, we kinda did that too - and probably worse. But the text doesn't actually define a basic Mishap until the second sentence.

A Mishap is a natural roll of 1 on the first die roll when testing a skill or attribute total.


That appears to be the definition... The first sentence just says that some things have ADDITIONAL effects. Some things... but not everything?

Then it says other mishaps can occur on rolls of 2, 3, or 4... and those rolls could be successful, implying that maybe a Mishap is always more than just a roll of 1 (i.e. it's a different thing). Except it doesn't actually say anywhere that a Mishap causes something ELSE that's bad to happen, and so I find myself wondering if we just transplanted the concept of a "1 equals Critical Failure" from D&D into TORG without actually reading the rules.

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Greymarch2000
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Re: Mishap question

Postby Greymarch2000 » Sat Nov 30, 2019 10:18 pm

I thought it was one originally, but I have more and more come around to it being #3. I'm thinking keeping "mishap" and "setback" distinct.

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Wotan
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Re: Mishap question

Postby Wotan » Sat Nov 30, 2019 10:58 pm

I mostly go with 3. The main consequence of a Mishap is the auto-fail. I will throw additional consequences on top if something interesting & appropriate leaps out at me, but I don't waste any brain power or session time on coming up with stuff on the fly. I'd rather just keep the game moving.

One of my big gripes with systems with botches/critical failures is that they can very often crap all over "character competence", and IMHO that's not great for player immersion.

RPGs are ultimately a form of escapism & very few players want to play an incompetent clutz. I mean fun can be had with these kinds of characters (e.g. the comedy sidekick) but, unless the player's bought into that choice, botch systems which have characters fail embarrassingly can very easily grate against players' character concepts, and I'd contend that this isn't good for a game. It's an actively negative experience for the botching player, and usually adds nothing positive to the game overall.

Fun can definitely be had with failure, if it's done right, and it can be a great tool for escalating drama/tension (see obstacle stacking in the NE) but when it comes to failures in a character's areas of competence I try to paint failure as circumstances crapping on the PCs' efforts rather than them just having an uncharacteristically inept moment. OTOH, failures outside a character's areas of expertise are fair game though, IMHO.*

What does the rant above have to do with botch systems? well, when a GM is forced to come up with "something bad" on the fly it's often easier to come up with explanations which lean on PC ineptitude, rather than environmental circumstances, and, IMHO, this can feel grating/frustrating for many players.
/tuppence

*As examples lets looks at Han Solo. His failures with tests which don't fall into his areas of expertise are played for comedy and at no cost to Han's competence as a character, e.g. "Boring conversation anyway" (failed persuasion), or "I got it" (failed Lockpicking on command bunker on Endor.) But when the Falcon fails to go to lightspeed in ESB "This is not my fault", and indeed it turns out not to be, at worst he didn't notice something unexpected. So, even though Han's player rolled a 1 on that repair roll the failure doesn't undermine his competence.
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GeniusCodeMonkey
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Re: Mishap question

Postby GeniusCodeMonkey » Sun Dec 01, 2019 6:04 am

I've been running it as option 3. But I get input from the players as to what the mishap was (see below). Normally they come up with something fun.

I don't like automatic failures, so I normally say that the character got a standard success but something bad happened (with PC input)... alarms go off, electronic lock picks fried, locking mechanism open but broken etc.
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Gargoyle
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Re: Mishap question

Postby Gargoyle » Sun Dec 01, 2019 1:00 pm

Fuzzy wrote:Yeah, we kinda did that too - and probably worse. But the text doesn't actually define a basic Mishap until the second sentence.

A Mishap is a natural roll of 1 on the first die roll when testing a skill or attribute total.


That appears to be the definition... The first sentence just says that some things have ADDITIONAL effects. Some things... but not everything?

Then it says other mishaps can occur on rolls of 2, 3, or 4... and those rolls could be successful, implying that maybe a Mishap is always more than just a roll of 1 (i.e. it's a different thing). Except it doesn't actually say anywhere that a Mishap causes something ELSE that's bad to happen, and so I find myself wondering if we just transplanted the concept of a "1 equals Critical Failure" from D&D into TORG without actually reading the rules.


So one thing about this is that there is errata about malfunctions/mishaps and some frequently asked questions about them as well.

From https://www.ulisses-us.com/TorgEternity ... ?title=FAQ
Page 124. Malfunctions. Replace last sentence of first paragraph with “This is similar to a Mishap, and occurs when the user’s first roll is a 1, unless the Malfunction range is larger.”
Page 125. Rapid Fire. Replace all instances of ‘Mishap’ with ‘Malfunction’.
Page 125. Malfunctions. Replace the first sentence with “A Malfunction roll of 1 when using Rapid Fire means the attack fails and the weapon suffers a Malfunction (page 124).”


Q: Are Malfunctions the same as Mishaps?

A: No. Malfunctions are similar to Mishaps, in that they activate the same way (usually if a 1 is rolled on the first die roll), but an increased Malfunction range does not increase the Mishap range or vice versa.

Q: Are contradiction tests Mishaps?

A: No. They activate in a similar manner (on a 1 on the first die roll, occasionally on a 1-4), but a Four Case contradiction does not increase the Mishap range, and in all cases a disconnection causes the action to fail, even on an initial roll of 2-4.

Q: If a character does a test with a Favored skill, and the result is not a Mishap, can the new roll cause a Mishap or a Malfunction?

A: No. It is a re-roll and Mishaps or Malfunctions are not checked on re-rolls.


AFAIK mishaps only occur on a natural "1" on your first roll, the range doesn't increase like it does for contradictions and malfunctions.

And also AFAIK there is nothing in the rules that says that a mishap must have an additional negative effect. If I roll a natural one when trying to do a skill check, the GM doesn't have to screw me over in some way, negative effects only happen if specified, like when casting a spell or shooting a gun. I like this because it allows for certain tools to be designed to be more powerful without being horribly unbalanced because 5% of the time they have a negative effect, and it grounds them a bit.

So my take on it is that unless the rules specify that a mishap triggers something bad, I don't have to add any additional effects to it. I might though, to increase tension; I just try to avoid silly outcomes, anything too damaging, or anything that makes the Storm Knights look too incompetent, though even that now and then can be entertaining.

I do like the "Fail Forward" method of dealing with some failed skill checks though from some other games and I've started to use that, especially for things that would result in insta-death if failed completely, like the good ole jumping across a bottomless pit scenario. A failure, even a mishap wouldn't result in falling IMC, but probably in hanging by their fingernails on the other side and being Very Vulnerable, and maybe some additional negative effect on a mishap like some gear falling in if it's appropriate (Like in the Living Land where the World Laws conspire to make them lose gear).
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Atama
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Re: Mishap question

Postby Atama » Sun Dec 01, 2019 7:58 pm

I think our standard mishap is something that makes you lose an action. Drop your weapon, slip and fall, get mud in your eyes, etc. Something minor that causes a distraction that you need to deal with. Whatever makes sense in the situation.
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Kuildeous
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Re: Mishap question

Postby Kuildeous » Wed Dec 04, 2019 10:20 am

Heh, I think some of my PbP players may have PTSD from fumbles in other games. When they roll a natural 1, they’ve cringed and wondered what evil thing I’m going to inflict on them.

I mean, I did inflict some evil things on them, but it wasn’t in every situation. Sometimes a natural 1 is just a natural 1, and you move on. But adding a little drama to a failure can be interesting, though that could also be done with Fail Forward, in which case a 1 is just as dramatic as any other failed roll.
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utsukushi
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Re: Mishap question

Postby utsukushi » Wed Dec 04, 2019 11:21 am

I think there's a whole lot to that, really. The concept of Natural 1 and a Natural 20 have been pretty deeply ingrained in many of us by now. If I go to do something and it comes up a 2 or a 3, my instinct is, "Eh, guess not." When it comes up a 1, my immediate response is, "Ack!"

And of course, Eternity does still reenforce that, since with a 2 or a 3 I have the option of, "Actually, darnit, yes!", whereas with a 1 that's it, it's over, the answer is No, and that's final! Unless you're a Math Ninja, in which case maybe, because the universe loves us all equally but let's face it, Math Ninjas are the favorite.

Though, that reminds me. Hm. Actually no, I guess not. I thought the 1x4x9 spell kind of emphasized the idea that a 1 always did cause some kind of Mishap, because as I remember playing it, that reroll meant that she could still succeed... but there would also be a Mishap. But it just says "Any Mishap or Malfunction still takes effect..." Which does actually read that there might not be one, just that if there would have been it still happens. So if a Nile Mathematician rolls a 1 trying to solve a puzzle, they can probably just keep going. If they roll a 1 casting Harmonic Wave, they can keep going, but they will also take Backlash.


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