Has anyone ever tried importing the idea of partial successes/success at a cost to other non-PbtA games?

Has anyone ever tried importing the idea of partial successes/success at a cost to other non-PbtA games?

Has anyone ever tried importing the idea of partial successes/success at a cost to other non-PbtA games? For example, the 5e Dungeon Master’s Guide mentions these principles on page 242. What are they like to implement in play?

21 thoughts on “Has anyone ever tried importing the idea of partial successes/success at a cost to other non-PbtA games?”

  1. Oh, absolutely. In D&D alone, it works brilliantly, because it cuts out the drudgery of the dreaded “nothing happens” on a failed skill check. In that case, it’s as simpple as looking at a failed skill check, realizing it would be boring to simple say “you fail,” and instead deciding to treat it as a success gone awry.

    So, for example, it’s choosing not to say “you fail to pick the lock.” It’s saying “Okay, so you fiddle with the lock and it springs open, you hear the shout of guards coming up behind you!” The former is treating a failure as just not-succeeding — the latter is treating a failed roll as a fictional success-but-oh-snap-here’s-a-problem!

    As an aside, this isn’t really importing the idea, but the Doctor Who RPG is a neat little RPG that rates all success and failure on a ladder of “Yes And, Yes, Yes But, No But, No, No And” to keep things dynamic and interesting.

    EDITED: for clarity

  2. I implemented a bunch of “moves” for D&D 4e. Usually, hitting the “medium” DC got you the soft success, hitting the “hard” DC got you the full success. They were mostly for info-gathering moves (investigate, spout lore, search for traps, etc.) and social moves (read a person, manipulate). I think there was one for “traversing hostile terrain” too (both physical and social).

    It worked fine, though the rules were much fiddlier than PbtA moves usually are.

    The biggest issue was the disconnect between exploration/interaction play and combat/action play. Because 4e’s ruleset for fighting was so robust and reliable and defined, it really stood out when we rolled initiative and felt like we were playing two completely different games.

    (And there was no way I was going to hack the combat system of that game to use mixed results.)

    I think Eric Nieudan was just talking about implementing something like this for B/X combat.

  3. I have seen someone use 5 and under on a d20 to indicate abject failure, and any other failure to be a partial success / success at a cost.

    In games like The Black Hack or Macchiato Monsters that use a roll-under-stat mechanic, I have used a concept of “roll under stat but over some number” for true success, and under that same target number as partial success.

  4. Dude, I have no clue what you’re trying to fight me about. The thread is about using Success at a Cost and Partial Success in other games, and I said “Yeah, if someone fails a roll to pick a lock in D&D, treat it as a success with a cost instead.”

    EDIT: We’re not fighting, we settled this like cool cats in PM. I jumped to conclusions! We’re good 😀

  5. Jeremy Strandberg Yeah, I made a couple attempts. I’d have to look for the G+ posts, but the procedure I’m going to try out next week is this:

    When you miss, choose:

    – take +1 to your next roll

    – do 1 damage

    – do full damage and accept a consequence

    Consequences are at the referee’s discretion depending on the situation (they don’t have to tell you before you choose). Examples:

    – You’re knocked prone

    – You’re pushed back from the doorway you’re defending

    – A monster slips past you to attack the magic-user

    – You drop it break your weapon

    – Your shield is splintered

    – An item at your belt is destroyed

    – You are thrown clear off and separated from your companions

    – Your armour is badly dented

  6. Claytonian JP As Alfred Rudzki has said, the thread is about using partial success (success at a cost, mitigated success, choose your lingo…) in games that do not have partial successes. In D&D, if you move to pick a lock and roll poorly, you simply do not pick the lock, as written in the rules. That is a failure. Alfred suggests making it not a failure, and making it a partial success – which is exactly what was at question here.

    Can you explain your position clearly, because I have no idea what you point is?

  7. I have used it in 5E but modified the DMG guideline, so partial successes worked if the roll was missed by 5 or less (if I math right, 7-9 happens naturally 27% of the time).

    We enjoyed it because the game could deviate from plan due to a sudden GM move. For example, “I check for traps,” becomes “reveal an unwelcome truth,” after a “failed roll.” Or, it may become, “show signs of an approaching threat,” i.e. a wandering monster occurs.

  8. I’ve been doing partial success in Pathfinder by offering something like a Devil’s Bargain from Blades in the Dark. I’ll offer some unfortunate complication before the roll, and if they accept it they can roll 2d20 and take the highest (just 5e Advantage). They seem to like it quite a bit, and succeed (with that guaranteed complication) more often than not. It’s something of an out-of-character choice they’re making, but doesn’t seem to be damaging the game.

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