Reaction Check

Reaction Check

Reaction Check

When you approach a wary or hostile NPC and try to communicate, roll +CHA: on a 10+, they’ll hear you out and choose 2; on a 7-9, they’ll hear you out and choose 1.

• They are impressed, intrigued, or amused by you, as the GM sees fit (otherwise, they remain wary or hostile)

• You’ve got their complete attention, for now at least (otherwise, they remain alert)

• You glean a valuable insight; ask a question from the Discern Realities list at take +1 forward to act on the answer

15 thoughts on “Reaction Check”

  1. Jeremy Strandberg so in ye olde D&D you generally roll a random encounter, then based on the encounter you roll a reaction roll.

    Perilous Wilds encounters don’t include the reaction part. It’s just “a Danger is there, GM decides what’s up”.

  2. I love the implications of the second choice – something you’d only choose if you were trying to pull a swift one on them (“While you talk with them and get their attention, I’ll sneak around and…”)

    The trigger could occur even during a fight though. I’m not sure how I feel about that. On the one hand, it would be very useful as a way to try to stop a conflict that had already broken out. On the other, I feel that it might be a bit too easy to trigger – like, if you’d already started talking with them, then your companions back-stabbed them and a fight broke out, you shouldn’t be able to try talking again.

    Although perhaps it’s just a case of GM judgement, like whether attacking a dragon using a mundane sword triggers Hack and Slash.

  3. Aaron Griffin I don’t think that’s true about Perilous Wilds. The tables for creatures all indicate that you should roll on both the Activity and Disposition tables, and the Disposition table is exactly the kind of thing you’re describing (1: Attacking; 2-4: Hostile/Aggressive; 5-6 cautious/doubtful, etc.).

    This move would then give you a way to resolve a playing trying to get a hostile/wary creature to talk to you.

  4. Robert Rendell Yup, that’s definitely the intent of the second choice. Glad it came across!

    Regarding the move triggering during a fight… I think it’s fine. There’s definitely a moment of judgement, like whether H&S triggers. And if you do manage to get it to work during a fight, the 10+ means they’ll hear you out. It doesn’t mean the fight is over… just maybe that it’s on pause while you have some dialogue. It’s tense and everyone’s jockying for position and the bloodshed could resume any moment!

  5. Could you tell us more about the niche that this would fill? Where in between Parley and Defy Danger with Charisma does this move lie?

    When I mentally compare this to Defy Danger, it seems powerful. Maybe as an advanced move, I would keep it as-is, but as a basic move, it needs to be trimmed back.

  6. Peter J as far the niche this fills:

    1) It’s a callback to old school play

    2) It encourages a sort of fairy tale/fantastic setting where high Charisma is universally appealing, regardless of species/cultural norm. Which is both a hugely problematic but hugely interesting trope.

    3) It’s an encouragement to “try talking first” instead of reacting to hostility with hostility

    That #2 is why I want it to be better than Defy Danger. Defy Danger is pretty much the worst move you can make as a player (only RAW Aid is worse). It forms the baseline, sure, but Defend, Discern Realities, Spout Lore, and Volley are all considerably better moves to make from a risk/benefit standpoint.

    However! I agree that this is too good as written. Mostly because on a 7-9, you can get the benefit of a 7-9 Discern Realities and you get them to hear you out.

    So… possible rewrites would be:

    option a) On a 10+, they hear you out and choose 1; on a 7-9, they hear you out.

    option b) as-is, but add a complication on the 7-9 result (either freeform or from a list?)

    option c) as option a, but let them choose 1 extra option if they accept a complication.

    …and of those, option A seems the right one to me.

  7. I agree, I think that A is the best option of the three.

    I’m naturally wary of moves that can be exploited as “Parley without leverage”, but I don’t think this will cross that line. It can improve the subject’s disposition to you, but they’re still not going to do something they normally wouldn’t without leverage.

    That being said, maybe tweak the trigger a little? If the NPC isn’t interested in talking, this shouldn’t be an out to get them to stop hitting you simply because you pushed the right button and rolled high enough.

  8. Jeremy Strandberg I love the idea of the move, don’t get me wrong, and I agree that all Basic Moves are better than Defy Danger, but the “problem” with this one is that while those other moves are triggered somewhat differently froma simple Defy Danger, this seems (to me) as an actual Defy Danger move approached with Charisma.

    Maybe it’s the “hostile” part which is problematic for me (because it screams Defy Danger). Maybe if it was something like “When you approach a wary NPC and try to act friendly” it would seem more like a reaction roll (instead of something you can try to do with every enemy, even in combat).

    Having said that, option A is the best, and I also think that this type of move could have something like “on a 6-, the GM chooses 1 option.”

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