I don’t get the point of “limited success”

I was just reading an RPG where a successful skill roll, by default, results in “limited success.” I.e., “You succeed, but just barely.”*

To me, this is like “a little bit pregnant” or “mostly dead”.

Sure, I’m cool with “mixed” success, where you “succeed, but” and the “but” is something more than “but barely” — success at a cost, as the kids say these days.

But WTF do I care if I “barely” accomplished what I was trying to do? I still did it, didn’t I?**

Look, IMO there are three states we care about in a resolution mechanic:

1. Failure
2. Success, but at a cost
3. Success

(Look familiar?)

You can add in Fumbles and Criticals as long as they have, IMO, more mechanical weight than “The GM says that something really [good|bad] happens.” There has to be concrete guidance of some kind: “You do max damage” or “You lose your next turn.”

But “barely”? I’ll just barely pass, thanks.

* What’s dumber is that the only other options were to fail or achieve a “critical success”. I.e., you can’t just plain succeed. You either scrape by or else dazzle everyone for miles.

** Reminds me of that episode of Friends (my apologies for invoking Friends) where Chandler is grousing about how Monica tricked him into having sex, and Joey’s response is, “But you got to have sex, right?” and Chandler is suddenly enlightened.

140 thoughts on “I don’t get the point of “limited success”

  1. I’m trying to think of a situation where the fictional positioning is improved by describing, by default, near-hits, success with no margin for error. Dunno. Maybe some variation on PbtA but then are you being a fan of the characters?

    The success/failure binary is so dull anyway.

  2. < ![CDATA[I'm trying to think of a situation where the fictional positioning is improved by describing, by default, near-hits, success with no margin for error. Dunno. Maybe some variation on PbtA but then are you being a fan of the characters? The success/failure binary is so dull anyway.]]>

  3. So in this case, Mark Delsing​ is talking about the Free League games (MY0, MGA, Coriolis). In the Mutant games, at least, it’s a meaningless flourish. It’s just a success.

    There’s this legal concept, dicta, that I understand to mean something along the lines of “additional material that’s intended to clarify but instead muddles.” That’s what “limited success” always feels like to me.

  4. < ![CDATA[So in this case, Mark Delsing​ is talking about the Free League games (MY0, MGA, Coriolis). In the Mutant games, at least, it's a meaningless flourish. It's just a success. There's this legal concept, dicta, that I understand to mean something along the lines of “additional material that’s intended to clarify but instead muddles.” That’s what “limited success” always feels like to me.]]>

  5. When I ran shadowrun I ran into this and it really left me at a lost. Floating target number, where one success meant you succeeded but only barely and 4 successes means you’re doing somersaults while doing it.

    There was no real concrete advice for how to handle this, other than ‘advice’ for how to read the bones so to speak.  I often floundered at trying to interpret the results, and my players were left usually unsure to whether the roll they made was good or not.

  6. < ![CDATA[When I ran shadowrun I ran into this and it really left me at a lost. Floating target number, where one success meant you succeeded but only barely and 4 successes means you're doing somersaults while doing it. There was no real concrete advice for how to handle this, other than 'advice' for how to read the bones so to speak.  I often floundered at trying to interpret the results, and my players were left usually unsure to whether the roll they made was good or not.]]>

  7. Slight tangent: do you find your description of outcomes, and therefore the fictional positioning, changes depending on the numeric margin? For example, if you get a 6 or less in PbtA games, you miss. Shouldn’t matter if it’s a 6 or a 0. But snake-eyes!!! is a cultural thing.

  8. < ![CDATA[Slight tangent: do you find your description of outcomes, and therefore the fictional positioning, changes depending on the numeric margin? For example, if you get a 6 or less in PbtA games, you miss. Shouldn't matter if it's a 6 or a 0. But snake-eyes!!! is a cultural thing.]]>

  9. Joe Beason Sometimes? I generally try to stick to the text. If snake eyes is the same as a six, then I don’t let it inform my narration.

    (In the Force Grey videos, everyone always goes nuts when a natural 20 is rolled on a skill check, and it always makes me grit my teeth. “It. Doesn’t. Mean. Anything.”)

  10. < ![CDATA[Joe Beason Sometimes? I generally try to stick to the text. If snake eyes is the same as a six, then I don't let it inform my narration. (In the Force Grey videos, everyone always goes nuts when a natural 20 is rolled on a skill check, and it always makes me grit my teeth. “It. Doesn’t. Mean. Anything.”)]]>

  11. < ![CDATA[Now, something along the lines of "you succeed at your task but your intent remains unresolved" could be very interesting. Obvs only works where those things are explicit and separate.]]>

  12. I guess it depends on the system, and this might be overcomplicated, or might even be accounted for if critical results are accounted for, but I see the spectrum as:

    1. No, and
    2. No
    3. No, but
    4. Yes, but
    5. Yes
    6.Yes, and

    I do think that’s overcomplicated (Too granular) for most games. Some shortened form (with 4 options or so) works for things like Fate, D&D, etc. The 3 tiered result you describe works wonderfully for PbtA, and I believe there are rules for 12+ ? That would make it into 4 options, with critical success.

  13. < ![CDATA[I guess it depends on the system, and this might be overcomplicated, or might even be accounted for if critical results are accounted for, but I see the spectrum as: 1. No, and 2. No 3. No, but 4. Yes, but 5. Yes 6.Yes, and I do think that's overcomplicated (Too granular) for most games. Some shortened form (with 4 options or so) works for things like Fate, D&D, etc. The 3 tiered result you describe works wonderfully for PbtA, and I believe there are rules for 12+ ? That would make it into 4 options, with critical success.]]>

  14. Yeah, it’s grating that the degree of success idea in a lot of games is meant to be universal but usually only has direct application to combat and doing more damage. The PBTA or BW approach is much better. You succeed but there’s a problem, or you fail, but at least this other thing happens.

  15. < ![CDATA[Yeah, it's grating that the degree of success idea in a lot of games is meant to be universal but usually only has direct application to combat and doing more damage. The PBTA or BW approach is much better. You succeed but there's a problem, or you fail, but at least this other thing happens.]]>

  16. If it’s a Free League game thing, I think it’s probably safe to assume that’s a translation issue thing. Probably means just: Plain vanilla success (as opposed to a critical success). English isn’t my first language either, so I know how that can go sometimes.

  17. < ![CDATA[If it's a Free League game thing, I think it's probably safe to assume that's a translation issue thing. Probably means just: Plain vanilla success (as opposed to a critical success). English isn't my first language either, so I know how that can go sometimes.]]>

  18. I think that binary only obtains in situations where absolutes are possible. Actual conflict is messier than that, and compromise is necessary: both parties get what they want, or both parties get something, or even neither party gets what they want. Perhaps I should say actual conflict between two parties with agency. PvP should involve more compromise.

  19. < ![CDATA[I think that binary only obtains in situations where absolutes are possible. Actual conflict is messier than that, and compromise is necessary: both parties get what they want, or both parties get something, or even neither party gets what they want. Perhaps I should say actual conflict between two parties with agency. PvP should involve more compromise.]]>

  20. < ![CDATA[Paul Beakley you succeed at your task but your intent remains unresolved
    That sounds a lot like failure to me. Or even a lot like trad games that don’t take into account intent.]]>

  21. Matt Wilson  FWIW FFG Star Wars (Edge of the Empire, Age of Rebellion, etc) has an interesting use of the 6 degree scale I described earlier. The funny dice actually produce all 6 results and it works in combat and out of combat/skill task resolution. Clever!

    LOL. Mark Delsing Simoultaneous post

  22. < ![CDATA[Matt Wilson  FWIW FFG Star Wars (Edge of the Empire, Age of Rebellion, etc) has an interesting use of the 6 degree scale I described earlier. The funny dice actually produce all 6 results and it works in combat and out of combat/skill task resolution. Clever! LOL. Mark Delsing Simoultaneous post]]>

  23. I agree, this usually irks me too. Generally it feels like it’s just adding constraints on the GM as to how they can color an outcome. It would make it more meaningful if it meant “succeed with a cost” or “this triggers a follow-up conflict,” but the examples in all the rules I’ve read just mean it’s “you jump from one rooftop to another and barely grab the edge before pulling yourself up” vs “you easily leap from one rooftop to another” which is like so fucking what if it’s not consequential. There’s no tension in barely accomplishing something if there was never any uncertainty after the dice hit the table.

    I’ve seen some systems (RQ6 I think) that add conditions with minimal successes so you succeed but now you’re winded or exhausted or sore or whatever and it has some mechanical effect. That’s a good way of implementing it.

  24. < ![CDATA[I agree, this usually irks me too. Generally it feels like it's just adding constraints on the GM as to how they can color an outcome. It would make it more meaningful if it meant "succeed with a cost" or "this triggers a follow-up conflict," but the examples in all the rules I've read just mean it's "you jump from one rooftop to another and barely grab the edge before pulling yourself up" vs "you easily leap from one rooftop to another" which is like so fucking what if it's not consequential. There's no tension in barely accomplishing something if there was never any uncertainty after the dice hit the table. I've seen some systems (RQ6 I think) that add conditions with minimal successes so you succeed but now you're winded or exhausted or sore or whatever and it has some mechanical effect. That's a good way of implementing it.]]>

  25. Alexander Newman Agreed, but what I’m citing is a basic task mechanic. “You manage to jump the chasm, but just barely.” Uh… okay?

    But, yes, if we’re talking about something like Duel of Wits, just barely getting what you want works great (and is a common outcome).

    Though is it really that different from “success at a cost”?

  26. < ![CDATA[Alexander Newman Agreed, but what I'm citing is a basic task mechanic. "You manage to jump the chasm, but just barely.” Uh… okay?
    But, yes, if we’re talking about something like Duel of Wits, just barely getting what you want works great (and is a common outcome).
    Though is it really that different from “success at a cost”?]]>

  27. Mark Delsing no no no. You misread me.

    You fail at the roll (which resolves intent) but succeed at the task. Since task and intent are separate things in BW, you can most definitely fail at your intent while achieving your task. It’s how you make your heroes not look like incompetent punks.

  28. < ![CDATA[Mark Delsing no no no. You misread me. You fail at the roll (which resolves intent) but succeed at the task. Since task and intent are separate things in BW, you can most definitely fail at your intent while achieving your task. It's how you make your heroes not look like incompetent punks.]]>

  29. As a task resolution outcome, it’s useless mechanically and deleterious to the ability of the players (inc. GM) to describe the scene. It sucks drama away!

    “Success at a cost” seems to me different: in your example, your weapon falling irretrievably in to the chasm might be a cost, but that could happen whether you leap the chasm handily or just grasp the edge of the cliff and pull yourself up. One is a mechanical cost, the other is just drama. If the system prescribes mechanical condition effects, then they’re a cost, of course.

  30. < ![CDATA[As a task resolution outcome, it's useless mechanically and deleterious to the ability of the players (inc. GM) to describe the scene. It sucks drama away! "Success at a cost" seems to me different: in your example, your weapon falling irretrievably in to the chasm might be a cost, but that could happen whether you leap the chasm handily or just grasp the edge of the cliff and pull yourself up. One is a mechanical cost, the other is just drama. If the system prescribes mechanical condition effects, then they're a cost, of course.]]>

  31. Most of the examples in books treat “barely succeed” as “succeed with a cost”, but on the worst end, you can find White Wolf books from around 1999 onwards forgetting that in their own system 2 successes is a “complete success”.

  32. < ![CDATA[Most of the examples in books treat "barely succeed" as "succeed with a cost", but on the worst end, you can find White Wolf books from around 1999 onwards forgetting that in their own system 2 successes is a “complete success”.]]>

  33. Perhaps instead of a cost it could be a choice?

    “You leap across the ravine and barely manage to grip the other side. You dangle over the darkness below. Your quiver was jostled in the leap and is now tipping slowly downward, like a broken clock. You could pull yourself up, but your bow and arrows would surely drop into the ravine.”

    Pulling yourself up means your weapons are lost, but the question is what if they decide not to pull themselves up? Do they fall with their bow? Do they have to make another roll to see if they can stop their gear from spilling out? Is that too much rolling?

    Making this decision though can throw off a dice economy that doesn’t factor such a cost in its initial design.

  34. < ![CDATA[Perhaps instead of a cost it could be a choice? "You leap across the ravine and barely manage to grip the other side. You dangle over the darkness below. Your quiver was jostled in the leap and is now tipping slowly downward, like a broken clock. You could pull yourself up, but your bow and arrows would surely drop into the ravine." Pulling yourself up means your weapons are lost, but the question is what if they decide not to pull themselves up? Do they fall with their bow? Do they have to make another roll to see if they can stop their gear from spilling out? Is that too much rolling? Making this decision though can throw off a dice economy that doesn't factor such a cost in its initial design.]]>

  35. I’m not sure what the controversy is here.

    Limited Success as in Succeed but barely is: Yes.

    As distinct from Succeed at a Cost: Yes, but.

    And Succeed while being amazing: Yes, and.

    As in, “you succeeded, but don’t go crazy with the narration because you weren’t all that bad ass while doing it.”

    That seems like a pretty solid distinction to me. What am I missing.

  36. < ![CDATA[I'm not sure what the controversy is here. Limited Success as in Succeed but barely is: Yes. As distinct from Succeed at a Cost: Yes, but. And Succeed while being amazing: Yes, and. As in, "you succeeded, but don't go crazy with the narration because you weren't all that bad ass while doing it." That seems like a pretty solid distinction to me. What am I missing.]]>

  37. Aaron Berger I definitely think this can end up in too many rolls, or options that are non-starters. “I fall to my death so I can save my bow” seems like a non-option to me.

    “You make the leap, but your bow falls into the ravine” makes the most sense to me. It;s a new branch in the narrative: press on or go back for my bow.

  38. < ![CDATA[Aaron Berger I definitely think this can end up in too many rolls, or options that are non-starters. "I fall to my death so I can save my bow" seems like a non-option to me. "You make the leap, but your bow falls into the ravine" makes the most sense to me. It;s a new branch in the narrative: press on or go back for my bow.]]>

  39. This doesn’t bother me. For the most part, I think ‘limited success’ just plays into fictional positioning for whatever comes next. You jump a cliff, and you make it, but you’re just on the edge. If you have all the time in the world to recover, no biggie. If there’s an orc trying to shove you into the chasm, well, you’re flat-footed and in serious trouble. Total success would be a graceful landing, all ready to roll into whatever’s next. I’m not sure how it’s ‘lazy’, I’m not sure where that comes from. Surely limited success is context-dependent, like outright success and failure?

  40. < ![CDATA[This doesn't bother me. For the most part, I think 'limited success' just plays into fictional positioning for whatever comes next. You jump a cliff, and you make it, but you're just on the edge. If you have all the time in the world to recover, no biggie. If there's an orc trying to shove you into the chasm, well, you're flat-footed and in serious trouble. Total success would be a graceful landing, all ready to roll into whatever's next. I'm not sure how it's 'lazy', I'm not sure where that comes from. Surely limited success is context-dependent, like outright success and failure?]]>

  41. Ralph Mazza I’m saying that if the outcome is “Yes,” let the outcome be “Yes.” WTF is a success that is “limited” but doesn’t come at a cost? Sounds like a plain ol’ success to me.

    “Don’t go nuts with narration” seems kind of pointless GM advice, since I am assuming that the terms of success were clearly defined at the outset. If you’re rolling to jump a chasm, success isn’t “You jump the chasm and everyone is totally amazed at your grace.”

    Mind you, this is compounded by the fact that, as currently written — it’s a draft, I know — the game I’m discussing has no option for “plain ol’ success.”

  42. < ![CDATA[Ralph Mazza I'm saying that if the outcome is "Yes," let the outcome be "Yes." WTF is a success that is "limited" but doesn't come at a cost? Sounds like a plain ol' success to me. "Don't go nuts with narration" seems kind of pointless GM advice, since I am assuming that the terms of success were clearly defined at the outset. If you're rolling to jump a chasm, success isn't "You jump the chasm and everyone is totally amazed at your grace.”
    Mind you, this is compounded by the fact that, as currently written — it’s a draft, I know — the game I’m discussing has no option for “plain ol’ success.”]]>

  43. I’m going to interpret Michael Prescott’s comment as something like “if a 7-9 rolls in the forest and no one’s there to see it, does it require a cost?” I confess on occasion when I can’t think of a meaningful 7-9 cost I just say “meh whatever, fine, you do it” and move on.

  44. < ![CDATA[I'm going to interpret Michael Prescott's comment as something like "if a 7-9 rolls in the forest and no one's there to see it, does it require a cost?" I confess on occasion when I can't think of a meaningful 7-9 cost I just say "meh whatever, fine, you do it" and move on.]]>

  45. Drama?

    “You leap across the chasm, just barely grabbing the edge of the far side with one hand before clambering to safety, even as your pursuers reach the lip of the chasm and shout insults at your retreating back.”

    versus

    “You leap across the chasm, easily clearing the gap, even as your pursuers reach the lip of the chasm and shout insults at your retreating back.”

  46. < ![CDATA[Drama? "You leap across the chasm, just barely grabbing the edge of the far side with one hand before clambering to safety, even as your pursuers reach the lip of the chasm and shout insults at your retreating back." versus "You leap across the chasm, easily clearing the gap, even as your pursuers reach the lip of the chasm and shout insults at your retreating back."]]>

  47. Anton Sweeney Who cares? Other than expended breath, what’s the difference? Either option results in moving on to the next thing. And, IME, the GM is eventually going to stop wasting time with said breath.

  48. < ![CDATA[Anton Sweeney Who cares? Other than expended breath, what's the difference? Either option results in moving on to the next thing. And, IME, the GM is eventually going to stop wasting time with said breath.]]>

  49. If it has no practical effect (either numerical/mechanical or fictional position), then really, it makes no difference.

    I still think it only matters to them in so far as it makes a contrast to Critical success.

    Could have been worded better, I suppose.

  50. < ![CDATA[If it has no practical effect (either numerical/mechanical or fictional position), then really, it makes no difference. I still think it only matters to them in so far as it makes a contrast to Critical success. Could have been worded better, I suppose.]]>

  51. Eloy Cintron I looked at Coriolis sample Skills chapter again, and some skills define Limited Success as “success at a cost”. Which is extra bizarre, because it means that, at those skills, your only options are “at a cost” or “critical success with bonus effects”. You can’t just succeed.

  52. < ![CDATA[Eloy Cintron I looked at Coriolis sample Skills chapter again, and some skills define Limited Success as “success at a cost”. Which is extra bizarre, because it means that, at those skills, your only options are “at a cost” or “critical success with bonus effects”. You can’t just succeed.]]>

  53. Mark Delsing /shrug. I guess it depends if one prefers roll-play over role-play. I’m playing for story as much as anything. Sure, a lot of the time “barely succeeding” is fairly meaningless and should be treated as “succeeding”; other times, it can be used dramatically. YMMV.

  54. < ![CDATA[Mark Delsing /shrug. I guess it depends if one prefers roll-play over role-play. I'm playing for story as much as anything. Sure, a lot of the time "barely succeeding" is fairly meaningless and should be treated as "succeeding"; other times, it can be used dramatically. YMMV.]]>

  55. Anton Sweeney roll-play over role-play.

    This is a false dichotomy in my personal universe. (It’s also like nails on a chalkboard for me, so if the rest of this seems… heated, that’s the reason. It’s not personal.)

    For something to be “dramatic”, I need it to impact the fiction. If it doesn’t impact the fiction, then I gots no use for it. Drama is about forcing me to make hard choices; it is not, IMO, about whether the GM’s description is five words long or ten words.

  56. < ![CDATA[Anton Sweeney roll-play over role-play.
    This is a false dichotomy in my personal universe. (It’s also like nails on a chalkboard for me, so if the rest of this seems… heated, that’s the reason. It’s not personal.)
    For something to be “dramatic”, I need it to impact the fiction. If it doesn’t impact the fiction, then I gots no use for it. Drama is about forcing me to make hard choices; it is not, IMO, about whether the GM’s description is five words long or ten words.]]>

  57. Talking generally, “limited” success that doesn’t carry a “cost” sounds to me like “you succeed but don’t get everything you wanted”, or in some applications “you gain an advantage but the conflict continues”.

    “Cost” sounds like either “you lose something you already possess” or “your opponent gains something in the process”.

    But whether any of that is a meaningful distinction probably depends on the rules of whatever game you’re talking about.

  58. < ![CDATA[Talking generally, "limited" success that doesn't carry a "cost" sounds to me like "you succeed but don't get everything you wanted", or in some applications "you gain an advantage but the conflict continues". "Cost" sounds like either "you lose something you already possess" or "your opponent gains something in the process". But whether any of that is a meaningful distinction probably depends on the rules of whatever game you're talking about.]]>

  59. Mark Delsing

    I’m saying that if the outcome is “Yes,” let the outcome be “Yes.” WTF is a success that is “limited” but doesn’t come at a cost? Sounds like a plain ol’ success to me.”

    Seems to me Limited Succes is yes. It’s synonymous. You barely succeeded…which means you succeeded, but got nothing extra other than the bare minimum required to succeed. It’s yes, not yes-and. It’s limited because you are limited to just getting that and no more.

    “Don’t go nuts with narration” seems kind of pointless GM advice, since I am assuming that the terms of success were clearly defined at the outset. If you’re rolling to jump a chasm, success isn’t “You jump the chasm and everyone is totally amazed at your grace.”

    Why would you assume that? The game uses the same basic MY0 system, yeah? If you get a bunch more successes than you need then that’s exactly what success is…”you jump the chasm AND”

    That’s rather inherent to whole notion of rolling a die pool and counting successes.

    Mind you, this is compounded by the fact that, as currently written — it’s a draft, I know — the game I’m discussing has no option for “plain ol’ success.”

    Based on what you’ve described here (I haven’t read it) Limited success is plain ole success. Your’re limited to just a plain ole success and no more.

  60. < ![CDATA[Mark Delsing I’m saying that if the outcome is “Yes,” let the outcome be “Yes.” WTF is a success that is “limited” but doesn’t come at a cost? Sounds like a plain ol’ success to me.”
    Seems to me Limited Succes is yes. It’s synonymous. You barely succeeded…which means you succeeded, but got nothing extra other than the bare minimum required to succeed. It’s yes, not yes-and. It’s limited because you are limited to just getting that and no more.
    “Don’t go nuts with narration” seems kind of pointless GM advice, since I am assuming that the terms of success were clearly defined at the outset. If you’re rolling to jump a chasm, success isn’t “You jump the chasm and everyone is totally amazed at your grace.”
    Why would you assume that? The game uses the same basic MY0 system, yeah? If you get a bunch more successes than you need then that’s exactly what success is…”you jump the chasm AND”
    That’s rather inherent to whole notion of rolling a die pool and counting successes.
    Mind you, this is compounded by the fact that, as currently written — it’s a draft, I know — the game I’m discussing has no option for “plain ol’ success.”
    Based on what you’ve described here (I haven’t read it) Limited success is plain ole success. Your’re limited to just a plain ole success and no more.]]>

  61. Ralph Mazza that’s my take on what’s going on in Coriolis as well. I’m sure it’s a translation thing, because the same folks wrote MY0 and it’s fundamentally the same system.

    That said, there are non-translated, native English systems where there’s at least a strong implication that “barely” means something dramatic (arguably fake-dramatic, since catching yourself from falling into the chasm was never really a point of tension), and not just a minimal/no frills success.

  62. < ![CDATA[Ralph Mazza that's my take on what's going on in Coriolis as well. I’m sure it’s a translation thing, because the same folks wrote MY0 and it’s fundamentally the same system.
    That said, there are non-translated, native English systems where there’s at least a strong implication that “barely” means something dramatic (arguably fake-dramatic, since catching yourself from falling into the chasm was never really a point of tension), and not just a minimal/no frills success.]]>

  63. Well, Mark Delsing . I just read the Coriolis preview chapters and I think it’s just like you said. Critical Success is the easiest. It’s always Yes, And. Failure is No, with ‘No, and’ at the GM’s discretion.

    Limited Success is either ‘Yes’ or ‘Yes, but’ depending on which skill is being used. Meaning that you’re going to pretty much have to look up the specific skill each time you use it, unless you memorize which is which or make a note in your GM screen or notes.

    Fortunately, there are only a few ‘Succeed at Cost’ skills. It’s just 2 out of the six basic (non-combat) skills: Manipulation and Infiltration, and 2 of the 8 Advanced Skills: Data Djinn and Technology.

    A bit weird, but not too difficult.

  64. < ![CDATA[Well, Mark Delsing . I just read the Coriolis preview chapters and I think it's just like you said. Critical Success is the easiest. It's always Yes, And. Failure is No, with 'No, and' at the GM's discretion. Limited Success is either 'Yes' or 'Yes, but' depending on which skill is being used. Meaning that you’re going to pretty much have to look up the specific skill each time you use it, unless you memorize which is which or make a note in your GM screen or notes.
    Fortunately, there are only a few ‘Succeed at Cost’ skills. It’s just 2 out of the six basic (non-combat) skills: Manipulation and Infiltration, and 2 of the 8 Advanced Skills: Data Djinn and Technology.
    A bit weird, but not too difficult.]]>

  65. So, I’ve been obessing pondering this whole thing a bit more.

    I think this is not a translation artifact. It’s a conscious design to enforce the Tone of the game. This game is about cinematic action, high intensity stuff.

    Limited success is a prompt for the GM or whoever is describing.

    It feels weird at first, but think about it. You either fail, barely succeed or super-succeed. It’s every rooftop chase scene you’ve ever seen in a movie.

    Note that there is a paragraph explaining that you don’t roll if nothing exciting is going on (basically Say Yes or Roll Dice).

    So rooftop chase goes like this: Hero chases bad guy over the rooftops. At first they jump over small gaps, as the buildings are close together. (Say Yes. Don’t roll). Eventually they come to the Big Chasm. Bad guy leaps across. Hero stops, curses, hesitates, backs up and takes a running start leaps and one of 3 things happen.

    1. Hero fails and falls, gets tangled in clothelines, bangs up against fire escape and/or dumpster. Takes damage, goes home to lick wounds. Bad Guy gets away. (Failure)

    2. Hero barely makes it. Clings on to ledge, climbs up, breathes hard for a few seconds. Gets up and runs after badguy. (Limited success). In some cases, this is also success at cost. He loses gun when he jumps, or twists his ankle, but keeps going, or something. This, narratively, all falls under the same thing.

    I get that this can be mechanically interpreted several ways, but end result is that it’s not an easy success (narratively).

    3. Hero parkours/james bonds the hell out of the jump. He gets ahead of the bad guy and tackles him or something. (Critical success).

    In any case, notice that you NEVER see a regular, plain old success. Hero jumps across, keeps running as if nothing had just happened. The Big Chasm has to be acknowledged in some way.

    Hell, even Mark Delsing ‘s Vin Diesel example picture here says it all. Toretto wins the race by an inch. It’s either neck to neck until the end, barely squeezing by, or its a dramatic, car-flips-over-the-other-car barrel roll, for the win. It’s never: “Ah, he wins the race by a car length or two… what next?”

    I kind of like it. It’s all about the tone. Makes sense to me now.

  66. < ![CDATA[So, I've been obessing pondering this whole thing a bit more.
    I think this is not a translation artifact. It’s a conscious design to enforce the Tone of the game. This game is about cinematic action, high intensity stuff.
    Limited success is a prompt for the GM or whoever is describing.
    It feels weird at first, but think about it. You either fail, barely succeed or super-succeed. It’s every rooftop chase scene you’ve ever seen in a movie.
    Note that there is a paragraph explaining that you don’t roll if nothing exciting is going on (basically Say Yes or Roll Dice).
    So rooftop chase goes like this: Hero chases bad guy over the rooftops. At first they jump over small gaps, as the buildings are close together. (Say Yes. Don’t roll). Eventually they come to the Big Chasm. Bad guy leaps across. Hero stops, curses, hesitates, backs up and takes a running start leaps and one of 3 things happen.
    1. Hero fails and falls, gets tangled in clothelines, bangs up against fire escape and/or dumpster. Takes damage, goes home to lick wounds. Bad Guy gets away. (Failure)
    2. Hero barely makes it. Clings on to ledge, climbs up, breathes hard for a few seconds. Gets up and runs after badguy. (Limited success). In some cases, this is also success at cost. He loses gun when he jumps, or twists his ankle, but keeps going, or something. This, narratively, all falls under the same thing.
    I get that this can be mechanically interpreted several ways, but end result is that it’s not an easy success (narratively).
    3. Hero parkours/james bonds the hell out of the jump. He gets ahead of the bad guy and tackles him or something. (Critical success).
    In any case, notice that you NEVER see a regular, plain old success. Hero jumps across, keeps running as if nothing had just happened. The Big Chasm has to be acknowledged in some way.
    Hell, even Mark Delsing ‘s Vin Diesel example picture here says it all. Toretto wins the race by an inch. It’s either neck to neck until the end, barely squeezing by, or its a dramatic, car-flips-over-the-other-car barrel roll, for the win. It’s never: “Ah, he wins the race by a car length or two… what next?”
    I kind of like it. It’s all about the tone. Makes sense to me now.]]>

  67. < ![CDATA[Eloy Cintron not having read it it I couldn't see that. But if it is indeed intentional in this way...that's pretty cool. The kind of form follows function design I give props to.]]>

  68. Eloy Cintron I see what you are saying, but I think you’re assuming a lot about the designers’ intent. If we look at the available text like Mr. Spock, then none of that is actually present. My Spock-like reading is that, barring issues of translation, the designers’ have implemented the MY0 mechanic poorly.

    (The fact that per the text, one 6 = “limited”, two 6s = ???, and three 6s = “critical” says to me that someone is not connecting the dots here.)

    And to riff on your chase scene example, I can think of plenty of moments in, say, the chases that open any of the Daniel Craig Bond films where he pulls off a “skill check” with easy competence (“plain success”) and moves on.

  69. < ![CDATA[Eloy Cintron I see what you are saying, but I think you're assuming a lot about the designers' intent. If we look at the available text like Mr. Spock, then none of that is actually present. My Spock-like reading is that, barring issues of translation, the designers' have implemented the MY0 mechanic poorly. (The fact that per the text, one 6 = "limited", two 6s = ???, and three 6s = "critical" says to me that someone is not connecting the dots here.) And to riff on your chase scene example, I can think of plenty of moments in, say, the chases that open any of the Daniel Craig Bond films where he pulls off a "skill check" with easy competence ("plain success") and moves on.]]>

  70. There’s story telling advice that goes something like, “You never want to start your next story beat with ‘and then’. You always want it to be ‘therefore’ or ‘but…’.”

    To me ‘barely succeeds’ sounds like an “And then” development.  It’s a flat beat that doesn’t change anything if you skip the drama. You can go the route of barely making the jump but then atleast make it so, “therefore the rest of this chase will be harder as you have fallen behind.”

    I run into problems with this. Where I’ll pull punches because I lack that killer instinct. But if the game text tells me to punch harder, it gives me more reassurance to hold my ground. This was the magic of pbta, to me. There are moves that force the GM not to handwave but to stop and consider what the costs would be.

  71. < ![CDATA[There's story telling advice that goes something like, "You never want to start your next story beat with 'and then'. You always want it to be 'therefore' or 'but...'." To me 'barely succeeds' sounds like an "And then" development.  It's a flat beat that doesn't change anything if you skip the drama. You can go the route of barely making the jump but then atleast make it so, "therefore the rest of this chase will be harder as you have fallen behind." I run into problems with this. Where I'll pull punches because I lack that killer instinct. But if the game text tells me to punch harder, it gives me more reassurance to hold my ground. This was the magic of pbta, to me. There are moves that force the GM not to handwave but to stop and consider what the costs would be.]]>

  72. In that light, generic HP-like systems are a nice fallback for those times when no good “therefore” or “but” presents itself, or the players are fatigued by constant complications from middling success. It’s akin to the idea that in PbtA combat, you don’t always have to unleash a full-hog creative move; sometimes you can just deal harm as established.

  73. < ![CDATA[In that light, generic HP-like systems are a nice fallback for those times when no good "therefore" or "but" presents itself, or the players are fatigued by constant complications from middling success. It's akin to the idea that in PbtA combat, you don't always have to unleash a full-hog creative move; sometimes you can just deal harm as established.]]>

  74. Ralph Mazza Paul Beakley It’s entirely possible that I am obsessing over semantics, or that this is just translation issues. Still, I expect a rule text to be carefully and intentionally written — semantics matter. If they’re going to use the term “limited”, that creates the expectation of a set of possible states, especially since “success” is common rule jargon in RPGs.

    On top of this, MY0 and MG:A do not work like this, as I understand them. If I’m seeing differences, then I am going to start wondering why, especially if the text is not clear.

    Ergo, I am sticking to my guns. 🙂 I demand clarity at a bare minimum. If you’re going to have “limited” success or “partial” hits, then there better something more to them than “describe it a little differently” — especially if that directive is only implied and not explicitly stated. (“Just run it like a roleplaying game.” Ugh.)

  75. < ![CDATA[Ralph Mazza Paul Beakley It's entirely possible that I am obsessing over semantics, or that this is just translation issues. Still, I expect a rule text to be carefully and intentionally written — semantics matter. If they're going to use the term "limited", that creates the expectation of a set of possible states, especially since "success" is common rule jargon in RPGs. On top of this, MY0 and MG:A do not work like this, as I understand them. If I’m seeing differences, then I am going to start wondering why, especially if the text is not clear.
    Ergo, I am sticking to my guns. 🙂 I demand clarity at a bare minimum. If you’re going to have “limited” success or “partial” hits, then there better something more to them than “describe it a little differently” — especially if that directive is only implied and not explicitly stated. (“Just run it like a roleplaying game.” Ugh.)]]>

  76. I’ll concede that I’m probably reading more into it… I could have sworn I saw a comment regarding the tone of the game somewhere in the KS or in the Intro chapter, but careful re-read fails to confirm this.
    The closest thing I could find was:
    Sidebar page 9 (#4 in the document)
    “Testing a skill should be a dramatic high point.”

    The call for ‘barely’ succeeding or succeeding by the narrowest of margin is explicitly made on both the general description of how skills work, and called out in several of the individual skill descriptions.

    Critical success calls out an ‘extra bonus’ in EVERY single description.

    Also, on p. 16, Survival skill says “Great Sucess” [sic] (instead of Critical Success), so we’re back to the possibility that ‘limited success’ is a translation thing to differentiate one type of success from the other.

    I dunno. I got nothin’ 😀

  77. < ![CDATA[I'll concede that I'm probably reading more into it... I could have sworn I saw a comment regarding the tone of the game somewhere in the KS or in the Intro chapter, but careful re-read fails to confirm this. The closest thing I could find was: Sidebar page 9 (#4 in the document) "Testing a skill should be a dramatic high point." The call for 'barely' succeeding or succeeding by the narrowest of margin is explicitly made on both the general description of how skills work, and called out in several of the individual skill descriptions. Critical success calls out an 'extra bonus' in EVERY single description. Also, on p. 16, Survival skill says "Great Sucess" [sic] (instead of Critical Success), so we're back to the possibility that 'limited success' is a translation thing to differentiate one type of success from the other. I dunno. I got nothin' :D]]>