I've been thinking about situations where the hero can succeed but still be injured or suffer a drawback, and mechanics for handling such situations. I'd be delighted to hear how people have solved it mechanically.
Argol tries to rescue his sister from a burning building.
Running into burning buildings is dangerous business. And, unless he has some really nifty magic to withstand fire, he's gonna suffer, even if he succeeds.
A simple (but clumsy) mechanic i've come up with is this: since the object is to rescue Argol's sister (his own skin being of lesser importance), victory or defeat in a simple contest determines whether she is rescured or not, while the level of victory/ defeat determine Argols state of health, as per the consequences table, but applied to victory as well. Assuming that the building is a raging inferno, Argol puts himself in mortal jeopardy. If Argol fails, he doesn't rescue his sister, and the level of defeat determines how injured he is. If its a marginal defeat he can't force himself to go very far, meaning that he doesn't rescue his sister but sustains little or no damage to himself. On a complete defeat he fails, staggers out and falls down, dying. If Argol succeeds, he rescues his sister, and the victory level determines his state of health. On a complete victory he rescues his sister and is himself barely injured. On a marginal victory he staggers out of the building, carrying his sister, and falls down, dying; the reasin for this being that a marginal victory is the worst possible result that is still a vcitory, and the worst possible outcome in this situation that is still a victory is a rescued sister and a dying Argol. If the fire isn't that intense, the narrator could cap the damage at a marginal victory to Injured or even Impaired, depending on the perceived danger.
If Argol was really determined ("I will succeed or i will die!"), then i'd allow him to do repeated attempts if he fails, but let damage levels be cumulative. If the first attempt was a minor defeat, he'd be Impaired when trying his second attempt; and if that attempt is a marginal defeat, he'll be Injured. In the unlikely event that his third attempt is a complete victory, he would rescue his sister but still be Injured.
Argol wants to rescue his sister. The fire doesn't want anything; it just burns. So, Argol needs to reduce the AP of the resistance, and he's the only one acting; his initiatives are aimed at finding and then rescuing his sister. The fire doesn't take any "initiatives". Instead Argol needs to resist the fire's burning every round, resolved as a simple contest; if the fire wins, Argol is wounded. Alternatively, Argol simply gets a wound level at the end of every round.
Comments or alternative mechanics, anyone?
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