Sunday, April 2, 2017

Tales from the Loop Review Part 5 of 6

Chapter 5:  Trouble

“Trouble is something that prevents Kids from doing something; it can be a bad thing about to happen or a possibility fraught with danger.”

The GM will give the players challenges, these challenges are called Trouble. When this happens, the player can try to overcome the trouble or sit back and just take it. Not all trouble will give you a condition but when it does, the GM should inform you of such and as to what kind of condition it will be.

The player then rolls a number of six-sided dice equal to the Ability being used and a skill that may apply. Sometimes you will have items that can help and give you some bonus dice to apply to the roll (1-3). Every time you roll a 6, it is counted as a success. Most of the time only one success is required to overcome a trouble.

You also may have some Luck points depending on how old you are. You can use a luck point to reroll failed dice. This can only be done once per dice roll. This is not the same as pushing the roll. Pushing the roll is another way to reroll all failed dice, the difference here is that you must also check off a condition before re-rolling the dice. If you still fail the dice roll, congratulations, you now have two conditions. One thing that is not quite so clear is if you push the roll and gain a condition before the roll, do you apply the -1 condition modifier to the re-roll?

If you roll more successes than necessary, then you can use those to buy effects. Effects are essentially bonuses. The example given in the book was a kid wrestling with his brother. He rolled three successes, so he bought two effects. His brother is humiliated and he doesn’t have to roll again when wrestling with his brother. Effects should not be used to accomplish the task. They are a way to achieve more on top of the task you overcame.

The other players can help you out in a trouble. Only one kid can assist you and give you one extra die to roll. You are stuck with whatever you roll in this case. If you fail the roll, then the kid who helped you also suffers the same effects as well. If everybody is attempting to overcome the same trouble at the same time, then no one can assist each other. The example given was that all of “you are trying to walk home through a blizzard or sneak past the headmaster.”

Next up is Extended Trouble. This is where the kids have to work together to overcome a pivotal moment in the mystery. There are five steps to extended tasks.

1.   Set the stakes.
    The GM declares what is at stake and what will happen on a failure.
2. Threat level.
    The GM tells the kids how many successes are required to overcome the trouble. A normal threat level is 2 successes per kid.
3.   Make a plan.
    The kids come up with a plan and decide who does what and what skill they will use. As long as the GM concurs with the skills used.
4.   Play the scenes.
    Each player gets a scene to act and to roll as normal for the required successes to overcome the threat level.
5.   Outcome.
     If the total number of successes is less than half of the threat level, the kids have failed. If the total number of successes is at least half of the threat level then they may earn more successes by giving themselves conditions in order to reach the threat level. If done this way then they only achieve part of their goal. If they get enough total successes normally then they have overcome the trouble and completely succeed.

Here’s what every GM wants to hear. “The Gamemaster never rolls dice for the NPC’s.” The GM decides if an NPC is successful or fails. NPC’s not only cause trouble for the players but can also help them. An NPC can give the player some bonus dice, but this is rare. Special NPC’s are much harder to beat. They will have special attributes that make them harder and will require more successes to overcome.

Now onto Kid vs. Kid, or PvP as most of us know it. Not only is it not discouraged but they have included some rules for it. You both say what you want to do then you roll the appropriate amount of dice. The player with the most successes wins. You can also push your rolls and buy extra successes by checking off Conditions. You can even push yourself to the limit and become Broken in order to win. If it’s all tied up after all of this then you get interrupted. A teacher breaks up the fight or the recess bell rings and you have to go back to class.

The last four pages of this chapter list the Skills with a brief description and the bonus Effects available when you buy them. An example would be the skill of 
Sneak (Body) - The ability to hide, sneak or steal.
Bonus Effects - Give a success to another Kid or You find something unexpected, or more of what you were looking for.

The dice mechanics are similar to Fri Ligan/Free League Publishing's other games, but unlike Mutant: Year Zero, you don't need different colored dice. This game simply uses a d6 dice pool with results of 6 being a success and no mechanic for rolling a 1. They don't specifically say that each of the condition modifiers of -1 subtract one from the number of successes you rolled (I rolled 3 successes -1 for a condition gives me a total of 2 successes), I'm going to assume that is the case.

This is the last chapter for the players. The next 3 chapters are for the GM, on how to run the mysteries and advice on creating a campaign. The last 4 chapters are mysteries for the kids to solve and I won't be covering those. I don't want to give spoilers on the mysteries included in chapters 9-12, especially since I'm considering hosting a game.