More rules questions

Got a few rules questions for the experts. Thanks in advance for any and all replies…

  1. In a recent session one of our players had his pistol pressed against the head of a bad guy and he pulled the trigger… and rolled nothing above a 3. I ruled that the bad guy jerked his head at the last second and tried to make a break for it. My question is, could the PC have resisted this and turned that shot into a hit? I admit to enjoying the moment a bit and taking the opportunity to turn what would have been an easy but underwhelming murder into a chase scene that ended on rooftop in far more dramatic fashion. However, in thinking about it later I wondered if I’d done the player a disservice by not offering him the chance to resist. Would there have been a happy medium here, whereby the consequence of the terrible roll was avoided yet the NPC was still not killed outright.?

  2. Our Whisper took Compel as his starting ability, which is great. His go-to move3 is to try to find a ghost to apply to whatever problem the crew is facing. My question is, how easy is that for him to do? Just how common are ghosts in the city? I’ve just been rolling a couple of dice and letting him find a ghost on a 4, 5, or 6, but I feel like this is an imperfect system.

  3. The crew is Tier II and they kind of inherited an NPC physicker early on in their career. I’ve basically ruled him an expert cohort by now. My question: Should he be rolling three dice, as per the rules under cohorts (cohort quality is crew tier +1)? Under the recovery rules it just says to roll the NPC’s tier, but I’m starting to suspect that he should get that third dice.

  4. How long does Not To Be Trifled With last? Is it only for the single action, or for an entire combat?

  5. Does our Leech need to craft new grenades/potions/etc after using them, or are they just assumed to refill during downtime?

Again, thanks for your input.

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  1. That sounds like a situation where the fiction was at odds to the mechanic. Why make a roll at all when a character has a pistol pressed against the head of an opponent? Why is that a situation that makes you go “yes, this is something that could affect serious circumstances?”. I say this, because i think we’ve all made this mistake before. My general experience with it is that if i can’t think of a consequence or complication that makes sense, then there’s no reason to roll.

  2. Your whisper is just casually calling on creatures that are wild and dangerous, surrounded by arcane and electroplasmic effects, and literally cause supernatural fear to everyone nearby? That is just a bundle of fun! This is the opposite of no.1, there are LOTS of obvious complications here. I would always “yes, and” to this sort of thing. Sure, whisper, you can summon a ghost in the middle of the brightstone avenue, but you best believe there’ll be spirit wardens coming running.

  3. I’ve generally understood it to be the full amount of dice for an expert, yeah.

  4. I’ve always understood is as ‘for the scene’ - if you’re in an extended fight sequence you don’t need to push yourself for every roll, just the once and you can count as a gang for the whole fight.

  5. The leech playbook in the main book has some details on this: “During downtime, you automatically refill your bandoliers, so long as you have reasonable access to a supplier or workshop.”

  1. So a little context, the NPC in question was a pivitol person. Had he just been mook, then yeah, no roll, splatter his brains out and move on. But this NPC was the guy the score revolved around so I felt like it made sense to at least give him a chance of survival, plus the PC had other things on his mind as well, such as bad guy back up charging up the stairs. At any rate, on a 4,5, or 6 the dude would have been dead, but the player shanked it into the weeds. It actually led to a much more satisfying and dramatic conclusion, so it worked out. I guess the nut of my question is, can a PC turn a resist (of a failure) into a success?

    1. Generally our Whisper isn’t compelling ghosts in the middle of Bright Stone ave. My question is really just, how easy is it to find a ghost wandering around the area of Duskvol you happen to be in? Your answer seems to say: Always!
      But that leads me to more questions.
      If there are that many ghosts wandering the city, why aern’t they constantly killing the citizenry? And if there are that many ghosts, it doesn’t seem like the lightning barrier is doing it’s job very well. And if I have it right, the ghosts out in the Death Lands would swarm in and wipe out Duskvol if the lightning barrier went down, so what’s the difference between those ghosts and the ones inside the barrier?

    The way I’ve always kind of envisioned it, there are enough ghosts that either slip through the lightning barrier somehow, or get missed by the Spirit Wardens, or that are remnants from a long forgotten age, or that cultests have somehow created, that there’s a reasonable chance to find one, but certainly not 100% given that most ghosts are keeping a low profile, knowing that the Spirit Wardens are just waiting to track them down and destroy them if they show their ectoplasmic faces. In other words, they just don’t have the numbers to swarm the city and wipe out the mortals.

    That’'s what makes logical sense to me, but you seem to take it the polar opposite direction. Can you tell me why?

    1. Cool. Seems I’ve been robbing the crew of a recovery dice. I’ll have to make that up to them.

    2. That’s kind of the way I’ve been working it. I figure the initial roll get’s the bonus stress dice, but any rolls after that only get a bump to effect. That sound about right?

    3. Ah! I missed that. Thanks. My crew needs to get themselves a workshop in a hurry then.

    Again, thanks for the input.

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  1. If the NPC was a fast, competent guy, as you seem to imply, and the PC was somehow distracted by other threats and risks, you could have done several things, I will list two:
  • Having the player make a action roll, as you did, here it’s ok because the fiction make it possible. But then you can’t “turn a failure into a success with a Resist roll”, that’s flatly again the RAW and the spirit of the game.
  • But you could have done another thing. Here the act of the NPC "jerking his head at the last second " could just have been how a “dangerous or master” NPC can seize the initiative or even act against the PC (see page 167, “NPC Threat levels”). And THIS, the PC could have resisted. So in that case, the sequences of action would have been:

GM: OK, you have your gun against his head, but the guy is super)fast, he just ducks under your gun, hits you in the stomach with all his strength (level 3 temporary Harm : out of breath and blinded by the pain) and jumps through the door: lost opportunity. Do you want to resist any of that?
Player: sure, I don’t want to be incapacitated, and I want to resist him getting away. I’ll resist both consequences, and I reduce the Harm further by spending my armour (rolls twice, once against each consequence)
GM: Ok, so you take only level 1 temporary Harm “bruised belly”, and your gun is back on his head in less han half a second. He freezes in his tracks.
Player: I press the trigger. Shall I roll Shoot?
GM: no need to roll. He’s dead.

Or (if the GM decides not to negate entirely the consequence):
GM: Ok, so you take only level 1 temporary Harm “bruised belly”, and you bring your gun back up as he goes through the door. You can shoot him, Limited effect because you’re in pain and can’t aim straight. If you miss him, he’s gone.
Player: I’ll push myself for effect. (spends 2 stress, rolls)

Ah, i see what the thing with no.1 was now. Yeah, i’d probably do something similar to the above poster here: make it hard to get to a point where you have a gun against their head (though certainly, the trope you used is also a great fun one!). That said, i do disagree that you can “resist” a failure. Playing as-written, rolling a 1-3 means you fail to get what you wanted, and a bad consequence happens.

I.e. in this example, maybe the cool enemy hits the gun out of your hand just as you come around the corner, and it becomes a brawl. You roll a 1-3: you fail to kill him, and the consequence is a “lost opportunity” - he jumps out of a window into the canal and disappears. You might resist this lost opportunity, but that doesn’t mean that you now succeeded - and resists aren’t time travel, so he definitely still jumped out of the window - that happened. Resisting would mean you still can make a roll to try and kill him. Maybe an Insight resist to spot him even under the water, at which point it turns into a hunt roll to shoot - a prowess resist to jump after him, at which point it might become a prowl to parkour after your target, and so forth. If the NPC was particularly skilled, i’d probably give the player some harm too, and make the second “follow up” roll limited effect or desperate.

As far as 2. goes, i think this is just part of the game. It gives us a bunch of semi-contradictory statements, and leaves us to figure out how it all works - “draw maps, leave blanks”. One thing you may have missed is that ghosts expend energy to “manifest” in the real world, so while they are around, they’re not necessarily in “our” world all the time. I’ve definitely always thought of compel as something like a summoning, you are forcing the ghost to appear.

As far as ghosts being common, there is a rule that you can take a devíl’s bargain in crow’s foot on any violence that makes a ghost appear, so i would think they are pretty common. If my whisper liked to use compel a lot, i would probably complicate that situation mostly with the reactions and effects on the people in the area, the desires of the ghost themselves, and the threat of spirit wardens.

I run 4 the same as you, yeah. The effect/scale/etc persists, but if you pushed for a bonus dice the first time, you don’t keep that on every roll.

I don’t think so. Flashbacks aren’t time travel, but Resists ARE a little bit of time travel. The consequence is announced by the GM as if it had already happened. Then the resist reduces or negates it. Check the resist example at the end of page 32 wihich is about the same situation.
In your example a Resist should indeed have negated the adversary going through the window, because this is a Consequence, not the Failure itself.

Moreover, when a “cool ennemy” acts first, there can be a Resist roll before any action roll. The PC could have resisted the NPC " hitting the gun out of his hand", and the brawl (or whatever) roll would have happened after.

If you want a handy guide to the level of ghost density in an area you might want to look at the locations in the book/pdf (they have a level of occult activity as a series of dots as well as wealth and crime even security) Also i like to frame the idea based on where the ghosts are. The wardens do a good job but if 1,000 people die everyday, some maybe not such an obvious way or the crow hunting it dies [by accident of course] then a ghost is easily born from the corpse that no one found.

I’m often inclined to say “YES” to summoning a ghost unless there is a huge narrative reason why not (warding etc) but would argue this is the start of chaos; level 1 harm “spooked” on every non whisper, a ghost might be a terror just hungry and requires commanding or wrestling into submission every action they take. Perhaps it causes a complication for others or raises heat dramatically. If all else fails the spirit wardens or gondoliers might have something to say about summoning ghosts let alone the reconciled if you bottle them!


I don’t think so. there are two rules at play here, first off, we don’t roll twice for the same thing:

Consequences are clear mechanics. You can resist harm, not being stabbed. You can resist losing an opportunity, but not rewind time. This is why we still describe what happens when we resist, and why there’s different types of resistance - we don’t just go “that didn’t happen”. The fiction moves forward.

Second, we display NPC threat levels in the fiction:


All this combines to say that Skilled NPCs are always in action, our rolls resolve both their actions and ours, and a failed roll means that the Skilled NPC does what they set out to do, and that the player doesn’t get what they wanted. The player can resist (the severity of) consequences that occur as a result of that fiction, but they cannot rewind, they cannot resist to succeed on a 1-3 roll, and they definitely cannot resist to ensure that the skilled NPC does nothing at all, with the fiction ending up back where it started.

As far as consequences that have to be straight-out resisted, this applies to a tier above “skilled” called “master”. A master just inflicts a consequences which has to be resisted, and cannot be avoided with an action roll. A skilled NPC threatens a clear consequence, at which point action rolls resolve both the PC and NPC actions, as shown above.


You are not adressing the remark I was doing.

You said that Resists are not time travel, which is clearly wrong. The example p 32 shows exactly a time travel sequence: "“She stabs you and then leaps off the balcony. Level 2 harm and you lose the opportunity to catch her with fighting.” “I’ll resist losing the opportunity by grappling her as she attacks. She can stab me, but I don’t want to let her escape.” The player resists, and suddenly the opponent is back on the balcony. If that is not time travel, I don’t know what that is. We have travelled back to just before the opponent jumps, and the PC catches her.

A Resist cannot undo a Failure, we agree – that’s what I said to the OP. But a Resist can undo a consequence. Sometimes entirely. Page 32 again: “The GM also has the option to rule that your character completely avoids the consequence. For instance, maybe you’re in a sword fight and the consequence is getting disarmed. When you resist, the GM says that you avoid that consequence completely: you keep hold of your weapon.” Here, once again, we have had a “time travel” to the moment the PC was not yet disarmed.

You write: “This is why we still describe what happens when we resist, and why there’s different types of resistance - we don’t just go “that didn’t happen”” Of course, the fiction of the PC acting has happened. But as I wrote, Resist is a little bit of time travel: You don’t go back to before the PC acts, but (if the GM agrees that the consequence can be avoided entirely), you can perfectly go back to just before the result of that action happens.

In your example, you write: “You roll a 1-3: you fail to kill him”. This makes clear that the objective of the roll was to kill the guy, not to prevent him from jumping through the window. So him jumping through the window is an Added consequence, not the Failure itself. If you resist losing the opportunity, you have not lost the opportunity. It does not mean that you have transformed your Failure in success: you still haven’t killed him and you have to try again.

I think it is useful here to compare the text of “Lost Opportunity” on page 30 to the example of resistance on page 32 (end of the page), because they are about the same situation. This comparison proves unequivocally that if you resist a Lost Opportunity represented by your target escaping, the target has indeed not escaped.

The situation would be different if you had specifically been trying to prevent the target escaping: if you fail, then he is escaped. It’s the Failure. It cannot be resisted. You have to find another approach.

As for the comments about the NPC Threat levels, well, I can only agree since I refered to this page in my initial answer. This is stating the obvious. If the “cool enemy” that you described was able to hit the gun out of the hand of the PC, then he is obviously a Master, not only a “skilled” adversary. If he had only been skilled, you should have described him as “being about to knock the gun out of your hand”. But that’s not what you did, you described him as having already done that. So he is a Master, and now the player can choose to resist if he wants to keep the gun in his hand.

If you want to nitpick down to the bone every example, i’m really not here to argue for days about that. What it sounds like to me is that you would portray certain things differently in the fiction, and that’s fine. Personally, i place importance on the idea that something always happens in the fiction to move it forward. The situation always changes, and we don’t roll twice for the same thing. It’s not a failure if we end up in the exact same situation that we begun with - therefore, we continue describing the NPC taking actions. Resistance can change that, but it can’t put the fiction to to a standstill, back to where we started before the roll. This assumption is at the core of everything, and resistance being 3 different “stats” could not possibly work if the assumption was that you just go “that doesn’t happen” - at best, we describe how an NPC is about to do the cool thing and how they are prevented from doing that, and then continue describing the situation as it evolves.

Nowhere have I written that the situation does not change, nor that we should roll twice for the same thing, nor that we should “end up in the exact same situation that we begun with”, nor that resisting should “put the fiction to a standstill, back to where we started before the roll.” , nor that “nothing happens”.

In fact, I have written quite exactly the opposite. It’s perfecly fine to disagree, not to distort my words.

What I have done is giving you examples from the rulebook to support my argument. Call that nitpicking if you wish.

At least we agree on the answer given to the OP, that a resist cannot cancel Failure, which was what I was saying from the beginning, and what the OP wanted to know.

I’m gonna try to say this in the nicest way possible: it ain’t about you. I’m not trying to “adress” anything you said, I’m not here to argue with you. Simply clarifying the rules using examples from the book, for the benefit of the person who started this thread, to explain exactly how and why things function the way they do. Like i said, i ain’t here to argue for days about any and every example in the book and that both of us said, because we could do that forever, and different people portray the same mechanics in different ways fictionally anyway.

Exactly. That’s why you shouldn’t distort the words of the people you’re discussing with.

And I’m gonna say in the same nicest way: it ain’t about you either. It was about a point of rules, which is afaik one of the purpose of this forum.

Have a good night.

I’ll give you the benefit of assuming you’re not just being obtuse one more time: i was not replying to your words specifically with every single thing i said. I did not claim that you said anything in particular. If anyone’s distorted any words, it’s you by assuming i was talking to you directly, or accusing you of anything. All i did was describe my own playstyle.

“Nitpicking”. “Obtuse”. Indeed, it’s good that you were not talking to me directly. In fact, you were talking indirectly to anybody but the person you were answering to.

Whatever. As I said, have a good night. Or a good day.

Hate to get nitpicky here, but in the resistance example, the roll is specifically for not getting forced off the edge. This makes falling a result of the failed roll, but not the consequence, which is the harm from falling.

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Agreed, and this is exactly the distinction i was making with the quoted block of rules. Failure still means something happens, the fiction changes into a new situation. Especially when it comes to skilled NPCs, it means they are always continuing to do things and threatening new consequences.

NPC takes an action, PC takes an action, action roll resolves both, the fiction continues, we assign mechanics to it, adjust the mchanics with resistance if we want, and continue on to the new situation.

While I agree that failure should move things forward, I think that it’s important to establish what the failure is vs. what the consequence is, because consequences can resisted regardless of whether they’re harm or fictional positioning, because resistance is essentially time travel. I mean, I never really thought of it that way, I personally think of descriptions of actions more as statements of intent, until everything gets nailed down narratively, so resisting a consequence isn’t anymore time travel than when a player says that they stab their foe but roll a 2.

To tie this back to the escaping master example the failure was at shooting them, and that can’t be walked back, but them jumping out of the window absolutely can. The degree to which something can be resisted is up to the table, but if the consequence is The Enemy Escapes Through the Window then resisting can range from strong arming the struggling opponent back down, to being able to shoot at them again before they make it to the window. These don’t completely reset the scene to before the failed roll, but can reset to before the full consequences are played out.

Oh, I had forgotten about the occult levels by district dots. That’s an excellent way to determine a baseline chance of there being a ghost nearby.

Although the idea of Compel being akin to a summoning is interesting too. So far I’ve ruled that, with his spirit mask on he’s able to determine if there is a ghost in the area, and if so he can attempt to use Attune to Compel it. I’ll have to think more on this.

Part of the issue is that our Whisper, I think, feels like all he can do is Compel (it’s his only special ability thus far), but I’ve seen lots of good examples of what a Whisper might be able to do with just Attuning to the ghost field on this forum. I’ve made a list and plan to give it to him at our next session. I think it’ll jump start him into broadening his options when/if he can’t find a ghost.


:ok_hand: Thanks for being able to say it calmly.