Re: Misc questions

From: Tim Ellis <tim_at_...>
Date: Thu, 17 May 2001 12:56:23 -0000

>>>Another scenario which presents itself is a man in the bush
>>>encountering a snake.  The snake bites the man, the man kills it 
>>>but then dies of the poison before reaching help.  Who won the 
>>> contest? 
>>>Was there even a contest?  Any thoughts on rules for such delayed

One possibility is that there are actually two (consecutive) contests going on here. The first is the combat between the man and the snake, which the man wins when he kills the snake. - However he has been bitten (A marginal victory in a simple contest? AP loss converted to wounds in an extended contest? Lost a round of combat where the snakes action was "Bite"...)

The second contest is the poison against the man - he will need to resist with an ability like "Tough", "Hardy", or maybe "First Aid", "Bush Survival" etc (or one augmented by another...) The venom wins this contest when the man dies.

Either or both of these contests could be run as simple contests or run as extended contests, depending on the tastes and needs of the GM and the players

>> It depends on the contest, no? I'm loath to inflict random and 
>> frivolous death-threats on player characters, so if there was a 
>> contest where a player character died then he surely lost horribly 
>> whatever the contest was about.

This seems to be the way that HW works. You have to try quite hard to actually kill someone, since a contest ends at 0 AP, but death doesn't kick in until you get much lower. (Which might give you an interesting problem in this situation - if the Poison drives the man to -1 AP while he is still alone in the bush then he is not "Dead" but, officially the contest is over. - There are, I suppose, a number of options here too - The man is a Hero, so allow him to continue to fight against the poison until either he is "dead" or the poison drops to 0AP - The poison automatically delivers a coup de grace with enough AP to cause death once it has "won" - The poison doesn't actually kill the man, but leaves him permenantly affected with the appropriate penalty dependant on the level of victory - The poison is lethal so the victim dies on reaching 0 AP regardless...)

The general principal is true though - if you don't want to have a chance that the PC will be poisoned after defeating the snake, don't run a contest between the PC and the poison! (Treat it as an Edge on the snake's attack, maybe, or just don't have the characters encounter a poisonous snake!)

> 2 points:
> 1) I think it's merely an illustration of a kind of contest where
> the 'winner' is neither immediately clear, nor obvious - in a
> sense, it's a mutual loss. You could just as likely have a mutual
> win, etc. I think that's what was being asked.

Yes, if both Characters are reduced to 0 AP in the same exchange (both players roll failures or fumbles) then both players will have "lost" (because they have reached 0 AP or "won" (because their opponent has) at the same time. What this means will have to depend on the nature of the question being asked (Torvald and Starrak are arguing over who rightly owns a fine White Bull - both roll failures and drop to 0 AP - the Chief decides to solve the argument by taking possession of the bull himself...)

> 2) While I wouldn't object to some clarity (from comments here) I
> can see this being a very common occurrence in interpersonal
> conflicts, where (for example) you may have deeply offended someone
> or made a nasty enemy, but he/she doesn't necessarily have to make
> that obvious. Question for the list: have people done this much so
> far, or is it almost too much to keep in a DM's mind?

The nature of the contest (where after one round the Players know their opponents AP's will tend to mean that they are likely to have a good idea of the overall outcome of any extended contest, even where the Characters might not be are of the full implications. (You are trying to seduce a young maiden. If you fall to 0 AP she politely turns you down, if you drop to -30, she sets her Brothers on you to teach you a lesson in manners)

Again it is a matter of GM style and choice how much information you give the players either before of after making the roll (even how much you decide...)

Taking a simple contest to persuade the Chief to support your Raid against a rival clan. You might just roll - on anything better than a marginal success he supports you and on anything less he doesn't. If the result turns out Complete success or failure you decide at that point what difference it makes.

Alternatively you might make a list out for yourself, for example - "Complete success - the Chief himself leads the raid, Major Success - The Chief gives his blessings to the raid, Minor success - The Chief allows the raid, Marginal success - The chief doesn't ban you from raiding, Tie - The chief advises you not to raid, Marginal Defeat - The chief forbids you from raiding that clan. Minor Defeat - The chief forbids you from raiding (anyone) on threat of a fine
Major Defeat - The chief forbids you from raiding (anyone) on threat of outlawry
Complete Defeat - The chief fines you for attempting to stir up trouble between the clans"
but not tell the Players what each level of success indicates, beyond "If you want his support you need to win..."

Or you might tell them up front what outcomes are possible...

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