2.8 Degree of Victory or Defeat

Often all you need to know to interpret the outcome of a resolution is whether you gained victory or suffered a defeat.

Sometimes, you’ll want to know how great a victory you won, or how bad a defeat you endured. This may be important in providing consequences or benefits that drive further story.

All of the resolution methods have an option to yield the Degree of Victor or Defeat for the PC. The possible Degree of Victory or Defeat, from least to greatest, are: marginal, minor, major, complete. Ties are also possible.

If you struggle against NPCs or abstract forces, the interpretation of the outcome reveals whether you overcome the story obstacle, and any consequences or benefits; your GM narrates the fate of the NPCs or other forces depending on what makes sense. However, when you and another PC engage in a contest then a victory for one contestant means a corresponding defeat for the loser.

So whilst in a PC vs. PC duel the PC would only be killed on a complete defeat, an NPC, described as a resistance, might be killed on any victory, depending on how the contest was framed.

Tie: Tie means no outcome. Effort was expended, but the net outcome is that nothing consequential occurs, or else both sides lose or gain equally. If this is confusing, and you are not contending with another PC, your GM can rule that you gain a marginal victory.

Marginal Victory: Yes, but… You get what you want, the prize, but there are complications, the effect is more limited than you desired, or you have to make a hard choice between benefits or accept a loss to get one

Minor Victory: Yes… You get exactly what they want i.e. whatever was the prize in the contest.

Major & Complete Victory: Yes, and… You get the prize, and something else. You gain something, stealing a possession, gaining a new follower, or become renowned in song. If you want to distinguish a complete the effect is often permanent and no new contests should be framed for this story obstacle.

Marginal Defeat: No, but… You don’t get what you want, you lose the prize, but it’s not a total loss. You are able to salvage something from the defeat, a little more if you sacrifice something other than the prize to your opponent, that the opponent agrees to take instead.

Minor Defeat: No… You don’t get what you want, you lose the prize. Any consequences or complications such as injury or loss of influence are short term and easily shrugged off. Just take the loss and rest up.

Major & Complete Defeat: No and… You don’t get what you want, you lose the prize, and there are long-term consequences. The situation might grow worse or more complicated or you might suffer adverse consequences that will require other conflicts to resolve: an injury that needs a healer, an insult that requires a formal apology, a loss of influence with the community that requires a triumph to win their trust again etc. You might be dead, or as good as. The prize is likely lost to you permanently. Or perhaps you lose something, an item is taken from you, a follower deserts you, your reputation lies in ruins as poets mock your defeat. If you want to distinguish, a complete should be bigger loss than a major, but you can often ignore this distinction.

Your GM will use the degree of success to determine any benefits and consequences, but be sure to describe the success in narrative terms.

If you are using a stretch, see §2.12.1, then major or complete victories you obtain are instead treated as minor victories.


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