[Sorcerer] Fast and Multiple Actions. An epiphany... I think

Started by The Dragon Master, September 16, 2010, 04:48:38 AM

Previous topic - Next topic

The Dragon Master

While working up a character who was meant to be a berserker, it occurred to me that the rules don't support a character who's noticably faster than the other characters in the way other systems do (multiple actions). Even with the Demon ability Fast, you still only get a single action, and it irritated me that this entire category of action wasn't present in the game. But I've been reading Sorcerer Unbound, and rereading the books, and talking about the system over on RPG.net, and I think I finally figured it out.

The reason everyone only get's one action isn't because "people all move at the same speed", but rather that the roll isn't about actions. It's about specific conflicts and how they are resolved. The roll isn't about whether you can unlock the gate, it's about whether you can unlock the gate before the guards can arrive on the scene, and before the escaping thief (how dare he steal what you rightfully stole?) can get away. In that instance the guards have only one action, run. The thief may have two actions, start the car, and drive away. You may have 4, unlock the gate, jump over the shrubbery, and dodge the rock (not to mention all the other people you may well be dodging in the process).

Okay, so maybe I stretched that example a bit further than need be, but I think this is why having multiple actions in a round doesn't make sense in the context of Sorcerer. First, the roll is only happening because the action is opposed. Second, the roll isn't about that action, it's about achieving your goal before one of the other characters with a stake in it can achieve their conflicting goal.

Am I at least on the right track here?
"You get what everone gets. You get a lifetime." -Death of the Endless
The names Tony


That interpretation seems consistent with the book.  Your group will accept that the Fast character can declare a lengthy or multi-part action for the round, because he's Fast.  And the Fast ability gives the character extra dice for determining order of actions - an "initiative bonus."  So, the Fast character can run circles around the others, and is likely to go first in the round, but that all has to fall within one roll of the dice.

Practical considerations: Maybe this is obvious, but it took some figuring out for my group initially.  Let's say the PC has Stamina 5, and the Demon conveying Fast has Power 7.  The PC's dice pool for the action roll is 5 blue dice (for example) and 2 red dice, 7 total.  The dice are rolled.  All 7 dice are used to determine order of actions, but the PC's actual action roll (ie. to determine the success of the declared action) is comprised of only the 5 blue dice.  This is only important when the PC acts first - which is likely - so his initial roll stands as his action roll.

Ron Edwards

Hi there,

This issue has a crude, or broad answer, and then more nuanced answers once the baseline is understood.

The crude or broad answer is "yes."

In application, some nuances are necessary. First, when multiple actions are involved in a conflict, they necessarily operate at the same scale, or close enough to interfere with one another potentially. If that's not the case, then you shouldn't be using the complex-conflict rules and can use a simpler method.

Second, as a nuance of the above, "close enough" can be quite flexible every round and every action. So in the last round, we streeeetched Bob's small-scale action out a little and >squeezed< Bill's large-scale action in a little, in terms of narration. That would mean Bill "got the time he needed" in order to do that action in such a way that it might interfere with Bob's or vice versa. AND, in the next round, the reverse might be the case, meaning by character.

Third, let's look at that point two paragraphs above based on "If that's not the case." That would be if two characters were doing things that were either at dramatically different scales, i.e. one is conducting a months-long war campaign and the other is fleeing a mugger in an alley. You could say the same thing if they were doing things at the same scale that weren't interfering with one another. I hope the solution is clear: in neither case would you use the complex conflict system.

Best, Ron

The Dragon Master

Thank you both. That's about how I thought it worked, but wanted verification before I started my campaign this week. (I've noticed a large percentage of the Demons I've been working up as examples end up with the Fast ability).

I've got another question involving powers and multiple targets that was related to this one, but I'm going to reread the rules and come back to that in a separate post.
"You get what everone gets. You get a lifetime." -Death of the Endless
The names Tony