Task Resolution Mechanics


Neel had a posting on The 20′ By 20′ Room about discovering a mechanic for resolving other conflicts in a Star Wars game:


However, I noticed a very clear jump in the quality and fluidity of the action when we finished the wangle-an-invitation sequence and moved on to the scene depicting Han Solo’s rescue from Jabba’s pleasure barge. This was an action sequence in which the players, all gathered together at the barge kicked off their big rescue plan. This part of the game was a fight, and made full use of the Feng Shui combat system. It played out a good deal better than the previous sequence — the improvisations were more fluid, and it was clearer when the players were successful and when they failed.

I think that this was because the combat had a much more concrete indicator of success or failure than the first part did. In particular, the NPCs had a bunch of wound points, and we all knew that they were dead when they ran out. This sounds like a pretty trivial point, but it became clear to me when I made an off-the-cuff ruling — Lando Calrissian was trying to convince Bella Nyx to heroically convert to the side of good, and after his player rolled, I mentioned that his kiss did 14 points of “indecision damage” to her, and that he would convert her if he did enough damage to “kill” her. The other players went “ah-ha” then, and I realized I had stumbled on a good thing.

Here’s why I think it’s good, and what the previous scene was missing. In Feng Shui, the basic way that the game works is that the GM comes up with a general description of the scene, including a number of cool features that the players can seize upon to use in their stunts. They describe doing something cool, and then they roll.

This is basically assigning “hit points” to concepts or abstractions, rather
than monsters. You’re after a project rather than a critter, and you’re
tracking points on vanquishing it in a different fashion, but it’s not that
much of a stretch, really. Comments to the posting suggest that Neel invented HeroQuest. And Thor has been pushing me to read those rules, as well, so maybe this is nothing new after all.

We’ve been having some discussion about doing things like this in the Attention mechanic. A particular task is assigned a particular number of Task Points, and those are tracked much like hit points on an opponent or a monster.

Can anyone say “Legacy”?


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