During our living campaign playtest, my players decided to employ the scientific method in order to create a solution for the mechanical breakdown of the planet’s gyroscopic control system. The way it is written up in the core rulebook (Chapter 06.40, p.157-158) left us scratching our heads.
Step 1 and Step 2 are pretty clear and simple. It is Step 3, Testing, that had us confused.
It reads, “The Gamemaster now assigns a number of successes needed to determine if the Hypothesis is correct. This is between 1 and 10 depending on the difficulty of the research or the problem. The Research Lead then chooses a direction to focus the research on. Players may pursue the wrong path and, if they are pressed for time, they may need to decide if they should continue to work on the Hypothesis they have chosen, or switch to another (see Timed Challenges). This is to represent the unknowns of research and development. Once the Players reach a total number of successes equal to the Difficulty in the correct research path, the Gamemaster informs the Players of their success. If a character has a Discipline of 2 or greater in the category of the problem (i.e., Engineering, Science, or Medicine) they are allowed to be an Assistant in the research regardless of what Focuses they have. This is due to common training amongst scientists and the ability of ideas to cross-pollinate between Focuses.”
I placed in bold the parts that are unclear. So here are my questions:
- “This is between 1 and 10 depending on the difficulty of the research or the problem.” How do I assign this? I though difficulties top out at 5.
- “If they are pressed for time”. Not all research is pressed for time. In the case of my players, I had earlier informed them that they had six months before the world machine broke down again. They rightfully asked, “Can we take 6 months to research it then?” This would take out the need for Timed Challenges. So how many times should the players be allowed to roll and over what period of time?
- “reach a total number of successes equal to the Difficulty in the correct research path”. Waitasecond. Does this mean that no matter the project, given enough time, players will always succeed? Well, that hardly seems suspenseful.
I would really appreciate some feedback on how we can improve the explanation for this methodology. I would like to employ it in my next game….launching soon.
Image Credit and Featured Image Credit: Modiphius Entertainment